Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

move

[ocr errors]

berita Volveret Eurydicem, vox ipsa et frigida ful nightingale, in the deseription of lingua,

Evening in the Garden. cab) Ah miseram Eurydicem ! anima fugiente, vocabat;

“ She all night long her amorous descant bew) Eurydicem toto referebant flumine ripæ.'

sung,' This idiotical note Mr Prendeville " That is,” says Mr Prendeville, by die makes his own by adoption. We

showing affection, in allusion to her ning a shall never find fault with any thing lamentation for her lost young!!!! en in Virgil; and we know that there

- Virg, Georg. iv. 514." bere are moods of mind in which that fan

Does he mean to say that a cat had i des ciful passage may be read with that got into the garden of Eden and the di peculiar kind of pleasure which he in- devoured the young ones, and that fie de tended it to produce. But for bring- silence was pleased” with the " miave my ing it alongside, by way of parallel, serabile carmen of the bereft mo. bo do with one of the sublimest in Milton, ther? ka N, that is Noodle, and P, that is Pren- Hear him on Milton's picture of Trna deville, ought to be made

Paradise. Hand in hand, with wandering steps and “ It is unnecessary to call attention to slow,

this famous description, which contains 10* Through Eden take their solitary way.” more than the condensed beauties of Ho. 04 LT " Then feed on thoughts that voluntary mer's description of the gardens of Alci.

nous, and the grotto of Circe; of Virgil's SM Harmonious numbers, as the wakeful bird descriptions; of Ariosto's picture of the He Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid garden of Paradise ; Tasso's garden of ET Tunes her nocturnal note."

Armida ; and Marino's garden of Venus.;

also Spenser's descriptions. Faëry Queen, This,” says Mr Prendeville, “ is

II. XII. 42; VI. X. 6; Dante, Purg. a beautiful and concise imitation of XXVIII. (See N., Th., H., T.)”. Virgil's simile of the nightingale, (Geor. iv. 511,) omitting the circum

Here we have the concentrated esin stance of the nightingale's lamentation

sence of the folly of four commenta. for her ravish'd brood, as being un

tors, produced by the “chemist's masuited to him :

gic art,” which, at the same time, has

crystallized the sacred treasure.' Qualis populeâ morens philomela sub The moment we come in sight of Paumbrâ

radise, this nether world loses its Flet noctem, ramisque sedens miserabile

existence; and creation is confined

within those bounds of bliss. Milton Integrat, et moestis late loca quæstibus im

was then inspired as no poet had ever plet.'

been before, and he poured forth his 1 See Odyss. xix. 518."

own poetry, unconscious of any other, Omitting the circumstance of the embodied in words. These five blocknightingale's lamentation for her lost heads believe that he was all the while brood, as being unsuited to him !! laboriously occupied in "condensing Why will not Mr Prendeville for a beauties ;” that is, in robbing Homer, single moment make use of his ears, Virgil, Ariosto, Tasso, Marino, Spenser, which appear to be long enough for and Dante. Not a mother's son of all the ordinary purposes of life? Vir- them did Milton remember. How gil's nightingale fills the night with her could he? The oldest of them was grief. If he is deaf, let him use his not born for Heaven knows how eyes, and look at the words “mærens," many thousand years after! Circe! 6 flet," « miserabile," or mæstis," and Armida! Venus ! Faugh! faugh! “quæstibus," and he will see that her faugh! Hence ! avaunt! 'Tis holy heart, though breaking all night long, ground!

is never broken; whereas that other But let us smooth our ruffled temper Bill nightingale is sublimely happy, tunes by, a bit of Bishop Newton. The

her nocturnal note, and sings in Para- Bishop, conceiving that Milton has dise.

not painted the Mount of Paradise Mr Prendeville shows himself equal- with sufficient distinctness-a defect, ly blind and deaf, indeed utterly sense- perhaps, naturally incident to poetry less, in his short note about the wake. thinks it expedient to assist our ima

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

carmen

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

N

gination of the scene by a prose of all, let us quote the line fairlysketch, traced by a firmer and a that is entirely. heavier hand. Poetry is a very fine thing, no doubt; but for common

“ Discite justitiam, moniti et non temnere

divos." use, for wear and tear, commend us to prose-good, plain, thick, stout home- By leaving out “ discite,” Mr Prenspun, linsey-woolsey prose_equally deville has it all his own way, like a well adapted for a petticoat or a wrap. bull in a china shop. By reinstating rascal.

or discite,” Mr Prendeville is shown by " The Mount of Paradise was situated

that imperative dactyl out of the

door. Will Mr Prendeville please in a champaign country, on the top of a

to observe the cæsural pause is upon steep bill, whose sides were overgrown the last syllable of “ justitiam," with impassable thickets at the foot, and, above them, with stately trees, rising showing that Virgil intended that row above row, like seats in an amphi- word to be connected in thought theatre hence forming a kind of natural with discite,” and not with « motheatre; and above these was the wall of niti.” Had he intended “ justitiam" Paradise, like a bank set with a green to be connected with “ moniti," he hedge, which was low enough for Adam would have constructed the line so as to look over it downwards on Eden; and to have had the cæsural pause upon above this hedge grew a row of the finest moniti," instead of having the final fruit-trees; and the only entrance was by “;" elided, as at present. The elision a gate on the eastern side.-(N.)” of " į" shows that " moniti" is not em66 And oft be warn'd

phatically connected with justitiam." Their sinful state, and to appease by Adopt Mr Prendeville's reading, and

discite" looks somewhat absurd, times,” &c.-B. ii. 1. 160.

standing upon three feet, and ejacula“ This is a classical syntax of a ting what no sinner can comprehend. very unusual kind. It is a principle By the way, Gibbon, we believe, in laid down by the Latin gramınarians, his animadversions on Warburton's that a verb governing in the active Dissertation on the Sixth Book of the voice two cases, one being in tlie ac- Æneid, ridicules the admonition of cusative, governs still the accusative Phlegyas, as if it were intended for in the passive; accordingly state' his fellow-sufferers in the infernal remust be the accusative or objective gions, to whom it could be of no avail. case after warn'd.' The conjunc. But it is addressed to his fellow-mortion copulative and,' in place of tals still in the upper regions, and coupling, according to its strict use whom the poet makes him thus address and meaning, a like case, mood, or with a loud voice, “per umbras," for tense, couples sometimes an accusa

their good. 66 Ye sons of men, learn tive case, with an infinitive mood; justice, being warned also" (that is, • state' and 'to appease, both de. " and be warned" by our punishment) pending on warned.' The follow- “ not to despise the gods.". Mankind ing passage will be a sufficient classi

were supposed to be already aware of cal authority, Æn. vi. 620.

their several crimes and punishments. Justitiam moniti, et non temnere divos.'

Phlegyas had been slain by Apollo

for plundering and setting fire to the “ But, strictly speaking, and utterly temple at Delphi, and consigned to abandoning the subtleties of the gram- punishment commensurate with the marians, I may say that the accu- enormity of his crime. He, miserrisative case, as in Greek, is governed mus, is well entitled to call upon all to by a preposition understood, (secun- take warning by his fate. The line dum, xatu,) as such phrases are ellip looks like a translation from some tical.”

Greek poet, and has in it something We have no great idea of Mr Pren- of Pindaric grandeur. deville's scholarship; but all this is But Mr P. is no Grecian. He speaks sufficiently pompous, pedantic, and of the expression “ss aki z Thucy' true; and must be familiar to every having been used by Herodotus. schoolboy sitting above the middle of Let him say monuia es asi," Thucy. the third form. But we cannot go dides--and then he will be right. along with Mr Prendeville's reading “ Though all admire Paradise Lost of the celebrated line in Virgil. First as the greatest poem in our language,

a

6

as

[ocr errors]

or of modern ages,” says Mr Prende- planations of many difficult passages ville," while most of the eminent overlooked or misunderstood by his literati contend for its supremacy over predecessors, and among these, some any poem in any language or age,-- of the most difficult as to syntactical though it is a work now more gen. structure. Explanations, moreover, erally read and esteemed than any of many of Milton's most idiomatic other poetic work ever published; yet and classical phrases and expressions, it is a fact to be regretted that com- and new illustrations from the best paratively but a few fully understand ancient authors. “ In fine," quoth he, it.”

I have taken pains to make this We hope this is a mistake. As far edition perfect for all classes of read. as our own experience goes, we do ers, and by reducing it to one volume, not believe that one, ordinary reader to save them labour and expense.' of poetry in a hundred has once read By this perfect edition, Mr Prendethrough Paradise Lost. We believe ville hopes greatly to benefit the cause that its frequent perusal is confined to of classical literature and Christian readers of high imaginative and in- faith. Boys at school, and students at tellectual character. Supposing, how- the universities, get disgusted with the ever, that Mr Prendeville is in the

classics on account of phrases, comright, then it certainly is a fact to be bination of words, uses of metaphor, regretted, that by so few of the mul- illustration, and comparison, turns of titudes by whom it is esteemed should thought, and modes of allusion incon. it be understood. This general ig- sistent with the common rules and norance results, Mr Prendeville in principles of English composition. forms us, from the character of the But clap this edition of Paradise Lost poem, and of the commentaries upon into their hands, and they will have an it. “Such an abundance of profound English poem in which all the pecu- . erudition, and of all the embellish- liarities of the style and sentiments of ments of poetry has been condensed the classics will be made familiar and in it, that even a sound scholar, un- alluring. Homer and Virgil will thus aided, should expend in acquiring a be understood and enjoyed, and the correct knowledge of it the labour of cause of classical and polite literature years; wbile the good editions are so advanced in our high schools and col. voluminous and expensive, that many leges. Some years ago, Mr Prendewho could afford to purchase them ville had the boldness to propound this would not undergo the labour of their doctrine in a note in the third book perusal, and many who would undergo of the first volume of his edition of it could not well afford to purchase Livy, and it has now,

he tells us, bethem.” To remove this general igno- come universal. But it is not alone rance of a work now more generally as a subsidium to classical instruction read and esteemed than any other that this book is useful, it is prepoetic work ever published, is the eminently useful for an easy, a pleasavowed object of our Christian and ing, and complete acquisition of a a philanthropical editor. “ I conceived knowledge of all the great elementary long since,” says he, “the idea of truths and facts of the Bible. We are giving an edition of this poem, em- informed that all Milton's most emibodying often the words, and some- nent critics, no matter the complexion times the essence, of whatever I could of their creed, declare that he is always find practically instructive in all the perfectly orthodox. Hitherto we had previous editions and commentaries; imagined that many of his most emi. together with the subsidiary remarks nent critics had declared that he is that I had been compiling during a often extremely heterodox ; but Mr careful examination of the book for Prendeville has set all our doubts at many years. Thus by omitting what rest, by telling us that a learned Geris really useless in these editions, and man has assured him that Paradise supplying what was necessary, fur. Lost is read in German families, not nishing to the learned and unlearned alone as the sublimest of all poems, in Europe, in a single and cheap but as one of the most religious of all volume, a complete and easily underbooks. “ It is in truth," he adds, “a stood commentary."

synopsis of all the elegances of anTo all this he promises to add ex- cient literature; and indispensable to

a

[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the study of the Iliad the Æneid, and imperfect knowledge of the Latin, than the Bible." The Preface is followed from his circumscribed command of by a Memoir of Milton's Life. In it the English tongue.

The Memoir Mr Prendeville tells us he has com, is very poorly written indeed, and pressed whatever he could find of in- cannot be read with patience after terest or advantage to the reader in the animated and accurate works, all the numerous biographies, from the published within these very few years, Sketches of his Nephew to the elabo- of Mitford, Bell, and Brydges. As to rate Life by Symmons; and that he correct exposition of the views, has endeavoured to combine, with the principles, and feelings" of John Milchief incidents of his life, a correct ton, Mr Prendeville must be satisfied, exposition of his views, principles, and on a moment's reflection, that he has feelings. For that purpose, he has given none at all. His political prin. very properly quoted a good many pas- eiples he is afraid either to praise or sages from his prose works. " These blame, and speaks of them mawkishly quotations," says Mr Prendeville, “ I thus :- " It is vulgarly imagined that have adopted from the best accredited his republicanism tended to inculcate translations, (for most of the passages a system of general equality. Nothing are taken from his Latin prose works,) can be more erroneous. He has left although these translations I think ob- living records in his writings that he jectionable in point of style and fideli. contemplated no such absurdity. No: ty." They are so indeed ; and pray, he only wished for constitutional freewhat is the use of an editor if he have dom such as we now enjoy; and, not the sense and spirit to give good had he lived in these times, he would translations ? Mr Prendeville tells us have been a bold defender of our that he has been engaged on this edition limited monarchy, if not of our now of Milton for many years: and yet he more tolerant Church. He opposed foists upon the rising generation trans- the hierarchy and monarchy of his lations, which he thinks objectionable time, because he conceived both hosin point of style and fidelity, of some of tile to civil and religious liberty. It the most interesting passages, in which was against their abuse of

power

he Milton has spoken of himself, his cha, contended : and it cannot be denied racter, and his condition. For such that there were abuses. If he advo: stupid laziness Mr Prendeville de. cated the abolition of those institutions, serves to be soundly whipped. But it was because he did not imagine we are in a good humour, and there, they could be brought under control fore content ourselves with remark. through the independence of Parliaing, that his own version of the cha.

ment. However, hear himself. At racter and vindication of Cromwell, the opening of his Areopagitica, he in which he says he has preserved, says, when complaints are freely as far as possible, the character and heard, deeply considered, and speedily spirit of the original, while at the reformed, there is the utmost bound same time it is more correct than any of civil liberty that wise men look for.' former one, is immeasurably inferior There is nothing extravagant in this, to Wrangbam's in Symmons' Life Whig and Tory say the same.

This Thus he translates -" Tu igitur, liberty we now enjoy; but his contemCromuelle, magnitudine illa animi poraries did not. So he also says in macte esto." “ Success, then, O Crom, Paradise Lost :well, in that greatness of soul.” - Re

- for orders and degrees jar not verere de te spem patriæ unicam,he calls “ Revere the main hope which

With liberty, but well consist ', your country entertains of you.”- Indeed the subject and scope of Para« Que si tam cito quasi aborta evanu- dise Lost present a moral, that revolt erit,” he translates, “ Which if it pere against a just monarch is an act of ish abortively so soon.” Besides such high guilt, and that nothing but high weaknesses, inaccuracies, and vulgar. misdemeanour on the part of the soveities as these, we could quote a dozen reign ruler could warrant it." from this much vaunted version. Yet it Pappy stuff, indeed! But has Mr is not without merit. He deserves praise Prendeville read Milton's political for his manifest efforts to be literal ; writings ? We suspect not. He says and his failure proceeds less from an of the Defensio pro populo Angli

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

1

6

[ocr errors]

eano," that it was every where read of that atrocious crime? Does Mr * TEXTM and admired for the great learning, Prendeville deny that Milton was a op genius, logical reasoning, and elo- regicide? But in all matters, great quence

it showed. Yes, we know that and small alike, where it was possible Eu all Europe rang with it from side to to be inaccurate or erroneous, Mr 20. side ; but we again ask, has Mr Pren. Prendeville is so.

As, for example, a " deville himself read it up to this day ? he pronounces the well-established being de A first-rate writer in the last Number fact, that Milton had incurred severe Dea of the Quarterly Review says justly, academical censure, a pure fiction. bona " Never, perhaps, was a great cause He speaks, in a note, of Milton's SELLE 11 more unworthily pleaded, than in the “ intimacy with Galileo,” whereas it s potes Arraignment and Defence of the seems certain that they met but once.

People of England for the Execution He twice mentions that Dryden was a ini etei of Charles the First.' Milton could constant visitor" of his, which novais détan not write for a long time without body can believe. He tells us indirectly

una flashes of his nobility of thought and that Milton's first wife died in child. in tanti language ; but in general his victory bed in 1652; but he will not tell us

over his antagonist Salmasius is ob- when the poet married his second rozas i tained solely by his more perfect absurdly saying, that it was after a in the command of Latin Billingsgate. The proper interval. It was, we believe, o gured the controversy is more like that of two in 1655. And he did right to marry. For een schoolmasters quarrelling about points again, having been for three years

of grammar and expression, and lash- stone-blind, with three infant daughche in ing each other into the coarsest per- ters. Neither will Mr Prendeville haid bente sonalities, than the advocates of two give us the date of Milton's third ur, great conflicting principles debating marriage. After his pardon, at the fire

a solemn question before astonished close of 1660," he removed into Jewin Europe. Mr Prendeville, of course, Street, where his infirm state of health believes that the mortification Salma* requiring some better attention than sius felt at his overthrow accelerated that of servants, he married, by the his death. If he had looked into Ro. advice of his friend Dr Paget, Elizabert Bell's excellent Life of Milton, in beth Minshull, of a respectable family the Cabinet Cyclopædia, he would have in Cheshire, and a relation of that learned that there is no ground for gentleman.

Mr Prendeville then be ir supposing that it had the least effect says, “ He soon left Jewin Street,

even upon his spirits ; and that his and removed to a small house in the posthumous answer is as strongly Artillery Walk, leading to Bunhillmarked with exultation as his original fields, where he continued till his treatise was with confidence. He death." • In 1661, he published his could have had no fear that the glory Accidence Commence Grammar, and of a long life was to be extinguished a Tract of Sir Walter Raleigh's, en. by a single blow; and though Milton titled Aphorisms of State." Who unquestionably was the more power- would not suppose from this that Milful" controversialist, Salmasius was ton must have married Elizabeth Minjustly proud of his own matchless eru- shull immediately after his pardon ? dition; and if, shortly before his de- But he did not do so before 1664. He cease, he met with contumely from says that Milton's youngest daughter, any quarter, he no doubt treated it Deborah, was his amanuensis for Par

adise Lost. It was finished, we know, Mr Prendeville afterwards says, in the summer of 1665, and few will when speaking of Milton's life and believe it possible that it could have condition after the Restoration. He been written in less than five or six was not directly involved in the mur- years. Suppose the first words, " Of der of the late King ; he never took man's first disobedience," were put on arms against him; never by speech or paper on the 1st of January, 1660, writing recommended his execution.” Deborah at that time was seven years How does he know that? Can he be and a half old, rather too tender an ignorant, that though Milton's justi- age to be called out of bed in the fication of Charles' execution was not middle of the night, and employed as published till after the King's death, an amanuensis. Mr Prendeville says, much of it was written in anticipation “Milton had, no doubt, been preparing

5

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a

[ocr errors]

WÁM

with scorn.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »