Imatges de pÓgina

Here, besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon;

And some flowers, and some bays,

For thy herse, to strow the ways,

Sent thee from the banks of Came,"

Devoted to thy virtuous name;

Whilst thou, bright saint, high sitt'st in glory,

Next her, much like to thee in story,

That fair Syrian shepherdess,"

Who, after years of barrenness,

The highly-favour'd Joseph bore

To him that served for her before;

And at her next birth, much like thee,
Through pangs fled to felicity,t
Far within the bosom bright
Of blazing Majesty and Light:
There with thee, new welcome saint,
Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
No marchioness, but now a queen.






Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.

r Sent thee from the banks of Came.

I have been told that there was a Cambridge collection of verses on her death among which Milton's elegiac ode first appeared: but I have never seen it, and I rather think this was not the case: at least, we are sure that Milton was now a student at Cambridge. Our marchioness was the daughter of Thomas Lord Viscount Savage, of Rocksavage in Cheshire; and it is natural to suppose, that her family was well acquainted with the family of Lord Bridgewater, belonging to the same county, for whom Milton wrote the Mask of "Comus." It is therefore not improbable that Milton wrote this elegy, another poetical favour, in consequence of his acquaintance with the Egerton family. The accomplished lady, here celebrated, died in child-bed of a second son in her twenty-third year, and was the mother of Charles, the first Duke of Bolton. -T. WARTON.

That fair Syrian shepherdess.

Rachel. See Gen. xxix. 9, xxxv. 18.-T. WARTON.

Through pangs fled to felicity.

We cannot too much admire the beauty of this line: I wish it had closed the poem ; which it would have done with singular effect. What follows serves only to weaken it; and the last verse is an eminent instance of the bathos, where the "saint clad in radiant sheen" sinks into a marchioness and a queen: but Milton seldom closes his little poems well.-DUNSter.

There is a pleasing vein of lyric sweetness and ease in Milton's use of this metre, which is that of "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso:" he has used it with equal success in Comus's festive song, and the last speech of the Spirit, in "Comus," 93, 922. From these specimens we may justly wish that he had used it more frequently. Perhaps in Comus's song it has a peculiar propriety: it has certainly a happy effect.-T. WARTON.

Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing!
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

This beautiful little song presents an eminent proof of Milton's attention to the effect of metre, in that admirable change of numbers, with which he describes the appearance of the May Morning, and salutes her after she has appeared; as different as the subject is, and produced by the transition from iambics to trochaics. So in "L'Allegro," he banishes Melancholy in iambics, but invites Euphrosyne and her attendants in trochaics.-TODD.



At a vacation Exercise in the College, part Latin, part English. The Latin speeches ended, the English thus began:


HAIL, native Language, that by sinews weak

Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak;
And madest imperfect words with childish trips,
Half unpronounced, slide through my infant lips;
Driving dumb Silence from the portal door,
Where he had mutely sat two years before!
Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask,
That now I use thee in my latter task:
Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee;

I know my tongue but little grace can do thee:
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first;
Believe me, I have thither pack'd the worst:
And if it happen as I did forecast,

The daintiest dishes shall be served up last.
I pray thee, then, deny me not thy aid

For this same small neglect that I have made:
But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure,
And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure;
Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight,
Which takes our late fantasticks with delight;"




Written in 1627: it is hard to say why these poems did not first appear in edition 1645. They were first added, but misplaced, in edition 1673.-T. WARTON.

h Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight,
Which takes our late fantasticks with delight.

Perhaps he here alludes to Lily's "Euphues," a book full of affected phraseology, which pretended to reform or refine the English language; and whose effects, although it was published some years before, still remained. The ladies and the courtiers were all instructed in this new style: and it was esteemed a mark of ignorance or unpoliteness not to understand Euphuism.-T. WARTON.

But cull those richest robes, and gayest attire,
Which deepest spirits and choicest wits desire.
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And, weary of their place, do only stay,
Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array;
That so they may, without suspect or fears,
Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears:
Yet I had rather, if I were to chuse,
Thy service in some graver subject use,

Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound:
Such where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at heaven's door
Look in, and see each blissful deity,

How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings


To the touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire:


Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,
And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow, and lofts of piled thunder,
May tell at length how green-eyed Neptune raves,
In Heaven's defiance mustering all his waves;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last of kings, and queens, and heroes old,
Such as the wise Demodocus once told

In solemn songs at king Alcinous' feast,
While sad Ulysses' soul, and all the rest,

e Yet I had rather, if I were to chuse,

Thy service in some graver subject use, &c.






It appears, by this address of Milton to his native language, that even in these green years he had the ambition to think of writing an epic poem; and it is worth the curious reader's attention to observe how much the "Paradise Lost" corresponds in its circumstances to the prophetic wish he now formed.-THYER.

Here are strong indications of a young mind anticipating the subject of the "Paradise Lost," if we substitute Christian for Pagan ideas. He was now deep in the Greek poets.-T. WARTON.

& Unshorn Apollo.

An epithet, by which he is distinguished in the Greek and Latin poets.-NEWTON.

c Watchful fire.

See "Ode, Chr. Nativity," v. 21:-" And all the spangled host keep watch in order bright."-HURD.

We have "vigil flamma” in Ovid, "Trist." iii. v. 4: and "vigiles flammas," "Art. Am." iii. 463.-T. WARTON.

Virgil "Georg." iv. 451.

f Green-eyed Neptune.

Of Proteus :

Ardentes oculos intorsit lumine glauco.-T. WArton.

Such as the wise Demodocus once told.

He now little thought that Homer's beautiful couplet of the fate of Demodocus could, in a few years, with so much propriety be applied to himself. He was but too conscious of his resemblance to some other Greek bards of antiquity when he wrote the "Paradise Lost." See b. iii. 33 seq.-T. WARTON.

Are held, with his melodious harmony,

In willing chains and sweet captivity.

But fie, my wandering Muse, how thou dost stray!
Expectance calls thee now another way:

Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent

To keep in compass of thy predicament;

Then quick about thy purposed business come,

That to the next I may resign my room.


Then ENS is represented as father of the Predicaments, his ten sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which ENs, thus speaking, explains:

Good luck befriend thee, son; for, at thy birth,

The faery ladies danced upon the hearth;1
Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spie


Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie;

And, sweetly singing round about thy bed,
Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head.

She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
From eyes of mortals walk invisible:


Yet there is something that doth force my fear;

For once it was my dismal hap to hear

A sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,

That far events full wisely could presage,

And in time's long and dark prospective glass
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass;
Your son, said she, nor can you it prevent,
Shall subject be to many an Accident:
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king,
Yet every one shall make him underling;
And those, that cannot live from him asunder,
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under:1
In worth and excellence he shall outgo them;
Yet, being above them, he shall be below them;

h Good luck befriend thee, son, &c.



Here the metaphysical or logical Ens is introduced as a person, and addressing his eldest son Substance; afterwards the logical Quantity, Quality, and Relation, are personified, and speak. This affectation will appear more excusable in Milton, if we recollect that everything, in the masks of this age, appeared in a bodily shape. "Airy Nothing" had not only a "local habitation and a name," but a visible figure.-T. Warton. For, at thy birth,

The faery ladies danced upon the hearth.

This is the first and last time that the system of the fairies was ever introduced to illustrate the doctrine of Aristotle's ten categories. It may be remarked that they both were in fashion, and both exploded, at the same time.-T. WARTON.

i Shall subject be to many an Accident.

A pun on the logical Accidens.-T. Warton.

* O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king.

The Predicaments are his brethren; of or to which he is the Subjectum, although first in excellence and order.-T. WARTON.

1 Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under.

They cannot exist, but as inherent in Substance.-T. WArton.

From others he shall stand in need of nothing,"
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing: "
To find a foe it shall not be his hap,

And Peace shall lull him in her flowery lap;
Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door
Devouring War shall never cease to roar;
Yea, it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.P

What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot?



The next, QUANTITY and QUALITY, spake in prose; then RELATION was called by his name.

Rivers, arise; whether thou be the son

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Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphy Dun,

Or Trent, who, like some Earth-born giant, spreads
His thirty arms along the indented meads;

Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath;•
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death; t

Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,

Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee;"

From others he shall stand in need of nothing.

He is still Substance, with or without Accident.-T. WArton.

a Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.


By whom he is clothed, superinduced, modified, &c.: but he is still the same.—T. WARTON.

• "Substantia substantiæ novæ contrariatur," is a school maxim.-T. WARTON.

p To harbour those that are at enmity.

His Accidents.-T. WARTON.

a Rivers, arise, &c.

Milton is supposed, in the invocation and assemblage of these rivers, to have had an eye on Spenser's episode of the nuptials of Thames and Medway, "Faerie Queene," iv. xi. I rather think he consulted Drayton's "Polyolbion." It is hard to say, in what sense, or in what manner, this introduction of the rivers was to be applied to the subject.-T. WARton.

r Or Trent, who, like some Earth-born giant, spreads
His thirty arms along the indented meads.

It is said that there were thirty sorts of fish in this river, and thirty religious houses on its banks. These traditions, on which Milton has raised a noble image, are a rebus on the name Trent.-T. WARTON.

• Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath.

At Mickleham, near Dorking in Surrey, the river Mole, during the summer, except in heavy rains, sinks through its sandy bed into a subterraneous and invisible channel. In winter it constantly keeps its current.-T. WARTON.

t Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death.

The maiden is Sabrina. See "Comus," v. 827.-T. Warton.

u Ancient hallow'd Dee.

Dee's divinity was Druidical. From the same superstition, some rivers in Wales are still held to have the gift or virtue of prophecy. See note on "Lycidas," ver. 55.-T WARTON.

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