Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill,

While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eve of day, 5

First heard before the shallow cuccoo's bill,
Portend success in love ; O if Jove's will
Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay,

[ocr errors]

See alfo PARAD. L. vii. 435. Where doctor Newton observes, “ his fondness for this little bird is very remarkable.”

4. While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.] Because the nightingale is supposed to begin singing in April

. So Sydney, in ENGLAND's Helicon, Signat. O. edit. 1614.

The nightingale, so soone as Aprill bringeth
Vnto her rested sense a perfect waking,
While late bare earth proud of new clothing springeth,

Singes out her woes, &c.
5. Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day.) So in Com. v.978.

And those happy climes that lie

Where day never s H UTS his eye.
And in LYCIDAS, v. 26.

Under the opening EYELIDs of the morn.
Compare Browne, Brit. Past. B. ii. S. iii. p. 78.

When from a wood, wherein the EYE OF DAY

Had long a stranger beene.
See Note on IL PENS. V. 141.

6. Firft beard before the shallow cuccoo's bill, &c.] That is, if they happen to be heard before the cuckow, it is lucky for the lover. But Spenser calls the cuckow the messenger of spring, and supposes that his trumpet fbrill warns all lovers to wait upon Cupid, Sonn. xix. Jonson gives this appellation to the nightingale, in the SAD SHEPHERD, A. ii. S. vi.

But beft, the dear good angel of the spring,

The nightingale. ANGEL is messenger. And the whole expression seems to be literally from a fragment of Sappho, preserved by the scholiast on Sophocles, Electr. v. 148.

ΗΡΟΣ Δ' ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ, ομερόφωνος αηδων.

Veris nuntia, amabiliter cantans lufcinia. Or from one of Simonides, of the swallow. Schol. Aristoph. Av. 1410,

ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ

V.

II

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

Now timely sing, 'ere the rude bird of hate

Foretel my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;

As thou from year to year haft fung too late
For my relief, yet hadft no reason why :

Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

II.
Donna leggiadra il qui bel nome honora

L'herbosa val di Rheno, e il nobil varco, irona
Bene è colui d'ogni valore scarco

Qual tuo spirto gentil non innamoro,
Che dolcemente mostra fi di fuora

5
De sui atti soavi giamai parco,
E i don', che fon d'amor faette ed arco,

La onde ľ alta tua virtu s'infiora.
Quando tu vaga parli,: o lieta canti

Che mover possa duro alpestre legno

Guardi ciascun a gli occhi, ed a gli orecchi
L'entrata, chi di te fi trouva indegno;

Gratia fola di su gli vaglia, inanti
Chel difio amoroso al cuor s'invecchi: 1.6.;

III.
Qual in colle aspro, al imbrunir di sera

L'avezza giovinetta pastorella

10

5.

ΑΓΓΕΛΟΣ κλυτα ΕΑΡΟΣ αδυόσμο, κυανέα χελιδών.

Nuntia inclyta veris suaveolentis, fusca hirundo. Milton laments afterwards, that hitherto the nightingale had not preceded the cuckow as the ought: had always fung too late, that is, after the cuckow,

1. Qual in colle aspro, al imbrunir di fera.] To express the approach of evening, the Italians say, fu l'imbrunir. And thus Petrarch, as Mr. Bowle observes, IMBRUNIR veggio la sera.CANZ. xxxvii. Milton had this Italian word in his head, where he ases the word IMBROWN, in PARAD. L. B. iv. 246.

-Where

2

[ocr errors]

Vá bagnando l'herbetta strana e bella

Che mal fi spande a disusata spera
Fuor di sua natia alma primavera,

Cofi Amor meco insù la lingua fnella
Desta il fior novo di strania favella,

Mentre io di te, vezzosamente altera,
Canto, dal mio buon popol non inteso

E'l bel Tamigi cangio col bel Arno.

Amor lo volse, ed io a l'altrui peso
Seppi ch'Amor cosa mai volse indarno.

Deh! foss'il mio cuor lento e'l duro feno
A chi pianta dal ciel fi buon terreno.*

[ocr errors]

Where the unpierc'd shade

IM BROWN'D the noontide bowers. So also, in Il Pens. V, 134.

And shadows Brown that Sylvan loves

Of pine and monumental oak. And “ Alleys BROWN,” in Par. Reg. . 293. Compare Taffo, Gier. Lib. C. xiv. 70.

Quinci ella in cima à una montagna ascende

Dilhabitata, e d'ombre oscura, e' BRUNA. And Marino, L'ADON. C. viii. 147.

IMBRUNIR d'oriente il ciel fi vede.
And, to come home to the text, compare Parad. L. ix. 1088.

Highest wood, impenetrable
To star or sun-light, spread their umbrage broad,

And BROWN as evening. 3. Va bagnando l'herbetta, &c.] See Petrarch's Canzone just quoted, v. 24.

Da BAGNAR l'HERBE, &c. * Of Milton's Sonnets only this, the fourth, fifth, and fixteenth, are closed with rhyming couplets.

CANZONE.

CANZONE.t

R

,

[ocr errors]

5

Idonfi donne e giovani amorofi

M'accostandosi attorno, e perche scrivi,
Perche tu scrivi in lingua ignota e strana
Verseggiando d'amor, e come t'ofi?
Dinne, se la tua fpema fia mai vana,
E de pensieri lo miglior t'arrivi;
Cofi mi van burlando, altri rivi
Altri lidi t'aspettan, ed altre onde
Nelle cui verdi sponde
Spuntati ad hor, ad hor a la tua chioma
L'immortal guiderdon d' eterne frondi
Perche alle spalle tue soverchia soma ?

Canzon dirotti, e tu per me rispondi
Dice mia Donna, e'l suo dir, é il mio cuore
Questa e lingua di cui si vanta Amore.

[ocr errors][merged small]

+ Not to disturb the numbers of the Sonnets, I have placed the CANzone here, according to the other editions. It is from Pe. trarch, that Milton mixes the CANZONE with the Sonetto. Dante regarded the Canzone as the most perfect species of lyric composition. Della Volg. ELOQU. c. iv. But for the CANZONE he allows more laxity than for the Sonnet. He says, when the Song is written on a grave or tragic subject, it is denominated Can. ZONE, and when on a comic, CANTILENA, as diminutive. See Newton, p. 206. 7.

-Altri rivi

Altri lidi t'aspettan, ed altre onde, &c.] The lines are an echo to a stanza in Ariosto, where Aftolpho explores the regions of the moon. Orl. Fur. xxxiv. 72.

Altri fiumi, altri laghi, altre compagne, &c.

Altri piani, altre valli altre montagne, &c.
See LYCIDAS, V. 174.

Where other groves, and other shores along, &c.
The lady implied in the Italian Sonnets is perhaps Leonora, of
whom more will be said hereafter.
VOL. I.
Tt

IV..

IV.
Diodati, e te'l dirò con maraviglia,

Quel ritroso iọ ch’ampor spreggiar soléa
E de fuoi lacci fpeffo mi ridéa

Gia caddi, ov’huom dabben talhor s'impiglia.
Ne treccie d'oro, ne guancia vermiglia

M'abbaglian sì, ma sotto nova idea
Pellegrina bellezza che'l cuor bea,
Portamenti alti honefti, e nelle ciglia

5

5. Ne treccie d'oro, ne guancia vermiglia

M abbaglian fi, &c.] So in Comus, v. 752.
What need a verMIL-tin&tur'd lip for that,

Love-darting eyes, and treffes like the morn?
And on the Death OF A FAIR INFANT, v. 5.

That lovely dye
That did thy chEEK ENVER MEIL.
See the laft Note.

8. Portamenti alti honefti. -] So before, Sonn. iii. 8. “ Ve. « rozzamenti altiera.Portamento expresses the lofty dignified deportment, by which the Italian poets constantly describe female beauty; and which is strikingly characteristic of the composed majestic carriage of the Italian Ladies, either as contrafted with the liveliness of the French, or the timid delicacy of the English. Compare Petrarch's first Sonnet on the Death of Laura. Sonn. ccxxix.

Ohime, il bel viso! Ohime, il soave sgardo !

Ohime, il portamento leggiadro altiero! Our author appears to have applied this Italian idea of a gracefal folemnity in his description of Eve.

Milton, as it may be seen from these Sonnets, appears to have been struck, on going into Italy, with a new idea of foreign beauty, sotto novo idea Pellegrina Bellezza.” He is now no longer captivated with the breccie d'oro, nor the bloom so conspicuous in fairhaired complexions, guancia vermiglia; but with the nelle ciglia, Quel sereno d'amabil nero, the degli occhi, fa gran fuoco. I would add the E’l cantar, unless that was a particular compliment to his Leonora. The dark hair and eye of Italy are now become his new favourites. When a youth of nineteen, in his general description of the English Fair, he celebrates Cupid's golden nets of hair. Lo i. El.i.

« PreviousContinue »