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cannot be driven through it, each interested person takes a burning brand, a branch of a bush or tree, and strives to strike the animals, who are frequently hemmed in by a circle of men and women, to prevent their escape in their consternation. The affrighted beasts running to and fro, and their fire-armed pursuers, present together a curious and exciting scene, which spreads over the whole country. Some of the men and women leap through the fire. The cattle are supposed
to be rendered fruitful, and preserved from evil during the ensuing seasons, by this contact with the holy fire. This ceremony ended, all the people of a district, young and old, assemble at the general bonefire,' for which great preparations have been made. It is generally an immense pile of turf, of a pyramidal shape, with the decayed trunk of a tree in the middle and out-topping the lofty pile, decked round with dry bones and green boughs, and surrounded with the skull of a horse or cow, when it can be procured. out these the fire is incomplete. is always music and dancing till a late hour-sometimes till the dawn.
places a long file of men bearing flambeaus proceed from the fire a considerable distance, until they meet parties belonging to another fire, marching in similar procession; and then both parties, waving their torches in mutual salutation, return. These long rows of moving light seen on the slopes of the hills, and the columns of flame from the blazing piles, exhibit a very imposing spectacle."
Mr Prendeville, we see, very properly spells, and no doubt derives bonefire," "as the English (?) call it," just in the manner that his countrymen pronounce it. We think that, in these religious ceremonies, Baal is not the only god adored, being of opinion that Chemos, the peculiar nature of whose phallic worship is agreeably described by Mr Prendeville, in a note on P. L. B. i. 406, meets with due attention from the male and fe
male votaries. The late Mr Henry O'Brien wrote a most entertaining Essay on the Round Towers of Ireland as connected with that worship, which we think might be judiciously transferred into Mr Prendeville's notes. It is a very ancient religion; and, notwithstanding the introduction of another creed, it is still devoutly honoured in all parts of Ireland. In one thing, however, we deem our learned annotator decidedly wrong. "In the British isles," he says, "strong
remnants of this worship, [that of Baal,] which was introduced by the Druids, still exist." It is plain that Mr Prendeville, though Irish, is not Milesian, as indeed his name would lead us to suspect. Introduced by the Druids indeed! Does not Milton himself point out its original seat, from Euphrates to the brook which parts Egypt from Syrian ground? And do not Keating, O'Halloran, O'Flaherty, Macgeoghegan, and other Druidical historians inform us, that Milesius, father of Heber, Herenen, and Ir, and all the other Milesians of the world, married Scota, daughter of king Pharaoh of Egypt, we know not whether Amenophis the Second or not? And was it not he, then, who brought the worship with him straight from Egypt itself, fresh as a daisy, without the Irish being beholden to the Druids or any other such second-hand authorities for the same? Mr Prendeville records in his note on
"I have often heard a pugnacious Irishman say, in his native language,' I strike the shield and call for battle;' a phrase, no doubt, derived from the custom of the Celtic tribes;"
and if he broaches theories so disparindebted to the alien Druids—mere aging to the Milesians, as their being mushroom moderns to them-for any and battle against him called for, by thing, he may find the shield struck, some pugnacious Celt. It is a pity he did not give us the original Irish of cry; for it would look neat in a commentary upon Milton.
China, it might be imagined, was rather too remote from Ireland, to allow of its calling up Irish reminis Prendeville saw an opportunity, and cences; but the patriotic mind of Mr accordingly, when we, (or rather Sa tan,) came to some place resembling
Sandymount; which, when the wind was favourable, and the tide out, ran along for miles at great speed on the level strand, requiring no other human management than that of regulating the sails, of which there were two or three; the steersman standing with several others on a platform on the deck."
But it is not merely the productions of Irish art which are thus appropri ately commemorated-those of Irish nature are not forgotten. In the garden of Eden,
"Blossoms and fruits at once of golden
hue Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed."-P. L. B. iv. 148-9.
and Eden must not be allowed to outdo Erin. Accordingly,
"It is a remarkable fact, that a species of the arbutus, which abounds near the lakes of Killarney, shooting out of the bare solid rocks, produces blossom and fruit at once. I have often, when a schoolboy, plucked blossom, green fruit, and ripe fruit from the same tree at the same time." Another touch of Paradise puts Mr Prendeville in mind of the first flower of the earth and first gem of the sea. Eve says,
"As in a shady nook I stood retired, Just then return'd at shut of evening flowers;"
on which the commentator remarks:
"At shut of evening flowers.' A beautiful epithet of evening, according to the occupation of Adam and Eve. The Greek husbandman termed the evening Βουλυτον, or, 'unyoking time of oxen. Flowers become contracted in the evening, and expand with the rising sun. As various epithets have been applied to the evening by people of all nations, according to their several pursuits, (in some of the pastoral parts of Ireland the evening is called milking-time,') this epithet of shut of evening flowers' is admirably descriptive of the occupation of Adam and
Is Mr P. so ignorant as not to know that the Greeks called morning and evening duoλyos, i. e. milking-time? But our national vanity makes us here put in a claim for the superiority of Scotland in marking this picturesque hour of the day. What are the base mechanical unyokings of the Greeks, or the milkings of the Irish and the Arcadians, compared with our dating of the hour when
"We kiss a bonnie lassie, when the kye comes hame ?"
ton's Adam and Eve sinks into tame Even the flowery occupation of Miland sleepy prose, if brought into contrast with the Scotch mode of computing the hour of evening by polite and forest of living flesh and blood, to say gallant attention to the flowers of the nothing of bone.
We shall only extract one other Irish anecdote, because we have a somewhat peculiar and personal knowledge of the subject.
"Now when ambrosial night, with clouds exhaled
From that high mount," &c.
P. L. B. v. 642-3. On this we have the following note. "So Homer calls night 6 ambrosial,' Il. ii. 97; and sleep, for the same reason, 6 ambrosial,' v. 19, because it strengthens and refreshes.(N.) Mr Wyse, M.P. for Waterford, a great Oriental traveller, and one of the best scholars I know, has told me that the word ambrosial' (auBgoon) applied to night in Homer, evidently refers to the delightful serenity of the air, and the fragrant exhalations from the flowers, during the summer nights in Ionia, (the country of Homer,) which have a composing and invigorating effect."
Mr Wise now may be a great Oriental, or hereafter a great Australasian traveller, for any thing we know to the contrary, as well as being one of the best scholars Mr Prendeville is acquainted with: no doubt a high commendation. But what can he tell about Ambrosial nights? Was he ever present at any of the Noctes Ambrosiana? If he pretends that he was, he is an impostor, and fit only to be president of the Anti-Education Board. If he had been among us, he would have known that it was not the
fragrance of flowers, but of something far more potent, exhaling during not only the summer but the winter nights in Gabriel's Road, or Picardy Place, (the native countries of the Noctes,) which had the composing and invigorating effects upon all who enjoyed it; rendering their immortal conversations such a world's wonder of wit, eloquence, fun, pathos, poetry, learning, and balaam; and during their too brief existence delighting and instructing, awing, as Aristotle says, with terror, or soothing with pity, all the sons and daughters of mankind.
The learned Dr Maginn learnedly maintains that the
"Nepenthes which the wife of Thon In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,"
Νηπενθές τ' αχολον, τι κακων E26.0 ληθον άπαντων,
is nothing but Sanscrit for punch, which he proves by cutting off Nn at the beginning, and throwing away s at the end, changing into u, and into ch; which, it must be admitted, is very much in the approved fashion of etymologists in general. Perhaps that Nepenthes might have been the fragrant flower which so much pleased the nostril, and composed and invigorated, in the Ambrosian nights' entertainments. The great Oriental traveller Mr Wise, we remark in passing, settles for ever, in a parenthesis, the long-vexed question as to the birthplace of Homer, with a slapdash nonchalance which is highly edifying. After these displays of attention to the land of his birth, it is perfectly correct to find Mr Prendeville maintaining its character for the illustrious figure of speech for which it is so famous-as for instance, when he tells us in a note on
Where he substitutes Taurus in the text, unwisely changed in a note, for Tauris. The Prendevillian reading suggests a pleasant association with the horns of a line or two before, and a bull should be always uppermost in the head of an Irishman.
These are among the most original Prendeville's volume, almost every passages which we can find in Mr thing else in his commentary being conveyed cleanly from former editors. He gives the following account of his own labours. After having noticed Newton and Todd, he goes on to say,
"As I wished to consult not alone
utility but brevity, all through this commentary, I have often given the substance merely (faithfully however) of a note of a
commentator, especially if a long one; and often when two or more commentators have given in different words the same explanation of a passage, or have severally expounded several parts of a passage, I have fused all these together, so as to give, for the sake of perspicuity, a consecutive and even exposition of the whole, affixing to the note the initials of their names, Whenever I found the commentator's words brief and explicit enough, I have given them. Whenever there have been many conflicting opinions, I have given the main points, and compared them, so as to enable, the reader to form his judgment, while I express my own. I often, too, intersperse in the notes ascribed to others, remarks of my own, in order to render the explanation more complete. Without swelling out the work by giving many objections, I have so shaped the answers as to let the reader know what these objections are, while they are fully refuted.
The notes to which no initial is affixed, I hold myself responsible for; of these many have been derived from various sources, and many are exclusively my own. Of my own notes it is enough for me to say, that they have been only given to rectify the misinterpretation, or supply the omissions
of former commentators; or to explain difficult passages which these commentators did not explain. My own notes can be easily distinguished, for I speak in the first person; so that I alone am entitled to blame or praise for them. In unravelling the structure of many of Milton's sentences, I have often found it necessary to analyse them on classical principles, differently from those who judge of them according to the rules of English composition. The fact is, his style is peculiar to himself, embodying all the graces and peculiarities of the ancient tongues."
is better the reader should form his own judgment of all this from an examination of the original passages and their explanations. I have also excluded an immense mass of quotations from obscure English and Italian authors, in which similitudes have been attempted to be shown by men more ambitious of character for learning and research, than for useful and appropriate commentary; i. e. I have discarded what is called the treasures of the Gothic library, just because I have found them useless. Todd's edition is full of this curious
though idle learning (yet he has some good original notes). All these references to such passages I have unscrupulously swept away. To no reader could they be instructive; and most readers they would tire and disgust. My wish is to fill, not to overload, the mind of the reader. It would require a great stretch of credulity to believe that there was even a remote coincidence between the original passages and most of the passages often quoted as parallel. It is doubtful to me, if Milton, allowing that he read most of these productions, (including sonnets, madrigals, low comedies, romances, and fairy tales, &c.) ever thought of them, when composing Paradise Lost. I have confined myself to comparisons with passages of the greatest authors, which he is known to have constantly read and admired-Shakspeare, Spenser, Dante, Ariosto, and Tasso; and the most approved of the Greek and Latin authors; adding, of course, the scriptural writers. Whenever I found only a gleam of likeness, I have barely given a reference to the passage referred to: but when I find a coincidence in sentiment or style, I
commas a plan which, though novel in the printing of this poem, I imagine the reader will find convenient. I have also occasionally used the dash (thus -) between members of a sentence, to mark apposition, and the absence of the copulative conjunction, especially when the ordinary punctuation would be insufficient to determine the necessary pause. In the first portion of the poem, I have marked many elisions and contractions, to serve the inexperienced reader as a guide during the remainder. The text is now pretty
well established, (the punctuation of Milton's editions having been, in consequence of his blindness, very incorrect,) and I have generally followed that of Todd's edition, which is the best. There may be discovered some typographical mistakes in this edition, but they cannot be very important. I have noticed in the notes errors (chiefly of punctuation) in this text and others. I cannot claim a peculiar exemption from verbal errors-no work is free from them. In the Index I have contrived to blend the advantages of an historical and verbal index."
He has discarded what is called the treasures of the Gothic library. Has he? Are the English authors, contemporary with Shakspeare and Milton himself? Are the Italian contemporaries of Dante, Tasso, Ariosto, Gothic? If they be, we do not understand the word, whether taken literally or metaphorically. A very few instances, and we shall not travel further than the first book, will show how judiciously Mr Prendeville has acted in discarding these Gothic treasures.
1. "Hurl'd headlong flaming from the ethereal sky."—L. 45.
Prendeville is content to refer us to Jupiter flinging Vulcan out of hea
quote the original passage, not alone for 'Ριψε, ποδος τεταγων, απο θήλου θέσπι
the sake of elucidation, but for an exercise to the classical reader's mind and memory. I have observed the same rule, in a great degree, as to the scriptural authorities. Translations of the passages quoted from the classics I have also omitted, because to the learned reader they are unnecessary; and to the unclassical, delusive. Poetic translations (especially if in rhyme) of the ancient authors are never faithful; they are decorative paraphrases at best, if not mutilations carried on with great nicety of dissection. I have divided the text into paragraphs, for a more proper distinction of the several parts of the subject; and have marked the speeches by inverted
which bears but a slight resemblance to Milton. Boyd refers, and he is followed by Todd, to Dante.
"Vedea colui, che fu nobil creato Piu d'altra creatura, giù dal cielo Folgoreggiando, scender da un lato." Purgat. c. xii. 25. And the passage quoted from Heywood's Hierarchy of Angels, by Todd, is so similar to Milton's as almost to seem to have suggested it.
2. "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." L. 263.
Prendeville notices the remarkable saying of Julius Cæsar, that he would rather be the first man in a country town than the second in Rome; and observes, after Newton, that Milton has improved upon Prometheus's answer to Mercury in Eschylus. Todd would have supplied him with a passage from Phineas Fletcher's Locusts: when speaking of the Prince of darkness, he says:
7. "Pandemonium." This he tells us is from way and depovsoy-the dwelling of all the devils. How does he make that out? Pandemonium is formed on the same analogy as Panionion, Пavivio, the assembly of all the Ionians mentioned by Herodotus. But one of the Gothic authors, Henry More, in his Song of the " Soul," had already called the castle strong on Ida hill, resorted to by a rascal rabble "To be in heaven the second he disdains, moniathen, as Todd might have inthrong of miscreant wights, Pande
So now the first in hell and flames he
3. "He called so loud, that all the hollow deeps
Of hell resounded.-L. 315,
On this Prendeville has no note. Todd quotes the celebrated lines of Tasso
"Tremar le spaziose atre caverne," &c. and two from Marino, " Strage degl' Innocenti," one of which is "Ulularo trè volte i cavi spechi,
Trè volte rimbombor l'ombre profonde."
4. "Fair Damascus," L. 468.-is the bel Damasco of the Jerusalem Delivered.-C. iv. 43.
5. "That proud honour claimed Azazel as his right."-L. 534.
Warton and others after him refer to "Age, the hoar, he was in the vaward,
And bare the banner before death, by
right he it claimed"
from the Vision of Perse Ploughman, which Milton had undoubtedly read. We may remark by-and-by, that Mr Prendeville has no notion of the reason why Azazel is the standard-bearer
6. "Thrice he assay'd, and thriceTears-burst forth-interwove with
sighs.-L. 619. Prendeville quotes Ovid's "Ter conata loqui, ter fletibus ora rigavit" after Bentley-and then adds some trifling remarks of his own. Might
he not have taken from Bowles the lines of Sackville, in the Mirror for Magistrates?—
"Thryse he began to tell his doleful tale, And thryse the sighs did swallow up his voice.
commentator from Phineas Fletcher's 8. The passage quoted by the same Locusts, describing the meeting of the devils in conclave in hell's palace, is too long to extract for such a trifling purpose as that on which we are engaged; but it was evidently in Milton's mind when he wrote the concluding lines of the first book of " Paradise Lost."
It is needless to go through all the books in this manner: it is sufficient to say that Mr Prendeville has omitted at least two hundred strikingly illustrative passages, on the absurd principle of discarding what is called the treasures of the Gothic library. It may be answered, that we ought not to expect him to squeeze into one volume what occupies two in the edition of Todd; but we think he might safely have discarded the treasures of the schoolboy library, the mere commonplaces which every well educated lad has by heart, to make room for matter more difficult of access. For instance, we have, B. i. 1. 84—“ O, how fallen!" paralleled with Virgil's "Hei mihi, qualis erat-quantum mutatus ab illo”
-208. "The ocean stream," wxɛavov TOTAμov, which is not the thing: it is ριος ωκεανος -376. "Whom first, whom last," with Homer's Tive TewTOV TIVα &
TaTo-B. ii. "Sceptred king," with σκηπτέχος βασιλευς— 174. « His red right hand," with Horace's "Rubente Dexterâ"-588. "Dire hail," with his “ Diræ grandinis ". "The gods who live at ease," with Homer's 90 COUNTES, &c. &c. Trivialities like these are to be found in scores, and they are not much more than waste of of information as those by which we paper. Equally useless are such pieces learn that Moses is called "That Shepherd," i. 8, because he tended the flocks of his father-in-law Jethro; that Satan means "enemy," and Mo