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Hurd, in his note, observes, " Publica materies is just the reverse of what the poet had before stiled communia ; the latter meaning such subjects or characters as, though by their nature left in common to all, had yet, in fact, not been occupied by any writer; the former, those which had already been made public, by occu pation. Moraberis orbem. Horace seems to me to mean in this passage, "That you are not to spend your time in writing, on the system or circle kvkxov of fables in vogue amongst all poets. Those writers he terms " Cyclicus," vid.

Cicero uses the word orbis in the same sense, " circuitum et quasi orbem verborum. De Orat. Nec sic incipies, ut scriptor cyclicus olim: Princi- "Fortunam Priami cantabo, et nobile bellum.

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Referre, MS. Nobile regnum, Sax. But this very advice, about taking the subjects and characters from the epic poets, might be apt to lead into two faults,.

Epistola Quinti Horatii Flacci ad Pisones; sive De arte poetica liber, ex ...

Demosthenes, observes, de Opt. Nec desilies in arctum. Ci- cero's rule is, de Orat. Aut operis lex. Contained in the writings of Aristotle,Cicero, and others; but which is briefly this,"that the last shall agree with the first; and that uniformity must be preserved throughout the whole. Quid dignum tanto feret hie promissor hiatu? Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quanto rectius hie, qui nil molitur inepte:. Parturient, al. For, 1. And, 2.

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Now both these improprieties, which appear so shocking in the epic poem, must needs, with still higher reason, deform the tragic. For, taking its rise not from the nattering. I have translated it a vague writer, though in opposition to many; but from what he has said at verses Vide note Hie promissor hiatu.

Vide Persius, Sat. Fabulasen moesto ponatur hianda tragoedo. A Greek proverb, applied to those, as Phaedrus has it, Lib.

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Qui magna qtium miliaria, extricas nihil. Whence came the expression, "Qdivtv oupof, lira fwv amrtKt, of which Horace has given us a faithful translation. Quanto rectius hie. Homer is here alluded to.

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Mania, MS. Pergama, conj. And, being, from its short term of action, unable naturally to prepare and bring about many events, it, of course, confines itself to one ; as also for the sake of producing a due distress in the plot; which can never be wrought up to any trying pitch, unless the whole attention be made to fix on one single object. The way to.

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It must therefore be confessed that Horace did not regard this, when he translated the first line of the Odyssey with the verb for the first word in the sentence. The uniform practice of of Homer, Virgil, and Milton, in this particular, seems to prove that it was not accidental, but a thing really designed by them. Ciceroobserves, de Orat. Ut speciosa dehinc miracula promat, which is according to Aristotle's rule, vid.

Account Options Sign in. These are not points of likeness; indeed, nothing could be much more unlike than a fresh, dewy spring morning and the terrible place Milton has been forcing upon our imagination; than the quaint straw bee-hives among the old-fashioned flowers and this great palaOe Pandemonium. These rather detailed similes are not an invention of Milton's : they were a part of the traditional epic manner, coming down to modern literature from Homer.

Matthew Arnold's poem is very simple and plain, except for these marked similes; Tenny- son's has few figures of any such length, but the whole fabric of his poem is so interwoven with figure that the reader comes near being dazzled by tbe irridescence. And here I must ob- serve, that when Milton alludes either to Things or Per- sons, he never quits his Simile till it rises to some very great Idea, whicn is often foreign to the Occasion which gave Birth to it.

The Eesemblance does not, perhaps, last above a Line or two, but the Poet runs on with flie Hint, till he has raised out of it some glorious Image or Sentiment, proper to inflame the Mind of the Eeader, and to give it that sublime Kind of Entertainment, which is suitable to an Heroic Poem.

He then goes on to mention a certain M. If the Header considers the Comparisons in the First Book of Milton, of the Sun in an Eclipse, of the Sleeping Levia- than, of the Bees swarming about their Hive, of the Fairy Dance, in the view wherein I have placed them, he will easily discover the great Beauties that are in each of those Passages. Another marked thing about Milton's way of writing in "Paradise Lost" is his use of geographical names, or, we might almost say, of proper names in general.

The sub- ject is one so easily misconceived that it is worth while to say a few words upon it. Take, for example, the lines, " And all who since, baptised or infidel.


When Charlemain with all his peerage fell By Pontarabbia. Aspramont is six miles north of Nice, Montalban was a castle in Languedoc, and so on. Doubtless it is better, other things being equal, to know where these places were, but that knowledge alone does not give us much enjoyment. There are, however, the literary allusions; they add an interest. They certainly do add an interest when one has them at his fingers' ends as Milton had. The half -legend- ary struggles between the Saracen knighthood and the Crusaders, the romantic adventures of the Paladins of Charlemagne, the final sacrifice of the Song of Eoland, — these are all called up, vaguely but effectively, by those few lines.

And when Aspramont reminds of the great Orlando, and Montalban is the castle of Einaldo, the pas- sage certainly has grown in meaning. Still, there is more yet to be said. Even the geographical and literary allu- sions do not make up the whole atmosphere of the lines. There is little doubt that to Milton and to many of his readers the mere mention of strange, well-sounding names had a certain effect, wholly aside from the definite ideas brought to mind by them.

They have generally a sono- rous, magnificent sound, often from their very unfamiliar- ity, — a half -mysterious, romantic feeling. When they are geographical, the very fact that they are but half known gives a sort of exhilarating, wide-ranging sensation.

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In- deed, absolute exactness rather interferes with our enjoy- ment. It is better, just now, to think of Aspramont as a mediaeval castle somewhere in the sunny south of France near the exquisite blue of the Mediterranean than to con- ceive of it more exactly as six miles north of Nice.

Look at these passages from more recent poets, and you will see that the names themselves really have a sort of power, beyond geographical information or literary allusion. When the strong neighings of the wild White Horse Set every gilded parapet shuddering.

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And up in Agned-Cathregonion too. And break them. They were strange wild places in that old legendary Britain, and that is enough. In the following, from a great contemporary of Tenny- son's, some of the names are not unfamiliar, but the effect is much the same. Next the more temperate Toorkmuns of the south. The Tukas, and the lances of Salore, And those from Attruck and the Caspian sands; Light men and on light steeds who only drink The acrid milk of camels, and their wells. And then a swarm of wandering horse, who came From far, and a more doubtful service owned; The Tartars of Ferghana, from the banks Of the Jaxartes, men with scanty beards And close-set skull-caps; and those wilder hordes Who roam o'er Kipchak and the northern waste, Kalmucks and unkempt Kuzzaks, tribes who stray Nearest the Pole, and wandering Kirghizzes, Who come on shaggy ponies from Pamere — These all filed out from camp into the plain.

We must know something of them; in i. But if they do not appeal to us in the other way too, we should try to cultivate the appreciation of them.