Imatges de pÓgina

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 thy 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:
In worth and excellence he shall outgo them;
Yet, being above them, he shall be below them:
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.

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

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

Rivers, arise; whether thou be the son

Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphy Dun,

Quality, and Relation, are personified, and speak. This affectation will appear more excusable in Milton, if we recollect that every thing, 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.

61. Faery ladies, &c. 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.

62. Come tripping, &c. So barren, unpoetical, and abstracted a subject could not have been adorned with finer touches of fancy.-T. WARTON.

74. To many an Accident. A pun on the logical Accidens.-T. WARTON.

75. O'er all his brethren, &c. The Pre

dicaments are his brethren; of or to which he is the Subjectum, although first in excellence or order.

78. Ungratefully, &c. They cannot exist but as inherent in Substance.

81. From others, &c. He is still substance, with or without Accident.

82. Yet on his brothers; By whom he is clothed, superinduced, modified, &c. But he is still the same.-T. WARTON.

88. Those that are at enmity. His Acci dents.

91. Rivers, arise, &c. Milton is sup posed, in the invocation and assemblago of these rivers, to have had an eye on Spenser's Episode of the Nuptials of Thames and Medway, "Faerie Queeno," iv. xi. I rather think he consulted Dray. ton'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.

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;
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,

Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee;

Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name;
Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower'd Thame.
[The rest was prose.]





WHAT needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in piled stones?

Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid

Under a star-ypointing pyramid?

Dear Son of Memory, great heir of fame,


What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a live-long monument.

For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book,
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took,
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die.



As to the "Epitaph on Shakspeare," Hurd despises it too much. It is true that it is neither equal to the grand cast of Milton's poems, nor worthy of the subject; but still it would honour most poets, except the last four lines, which are a poor conceit.-BRYDGES.

These first appeared among other recommendatory verses, prefixed to the folio edition of Shakspeare's plays in 1632; but without Milton's name or initials.

It is therefore the first of Milton's pieces that was published. I may here remark that it was with great difficulty and reluctance that Milton first appeared as an author. He could not be prevailed upon to put his name to "Comus," his first performance of any length that was printed, notwithstanding the singular approbation with which it had been previously received in a long and extensive course of private circulation. "Lycidas," in the Cambridge collection, is only subscribed with his initial, while most of the other contributors have left their names at full length.-T. WARTON.

93. Or Trent. 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 of Trent.-T. WARTON.

95. Or sullen Mole, &c. 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.

96. Maiden's death. The maid is Sabrina. See "Comus,” 827.

99. Humber loud. Humber, a Scythian king, landed in Britain three hundred years before the Roman invasion, and was drowned in this river by Locrine, after conquering king Albanact.-T. WAR


100. Royal tower'd Thame, alluding to the royal towers of Windsor Castle upon its banks.

5. Dear Son of Memory. He honours his favourite Shakspeare with the same


Who sickened in the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London by reason of the plague.

HERE lies old Hobson; Death hath broke his girt,
And here, alas! hath laid him in the dirt;
Or else, the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that, if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down:
For he had, any time this ten years full,
Dodged with him betwixt Cambridge and the Bull:
And surely Death could never have prevail'd,
Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd;

But lately finding him so long at home,

And thinking now his journey's end was come,
And that he had ta'en up his latest inn;

In the kind office of a chamberlin

Show'd him his room where he must lodge that night,
Pull'd off his boots, and took away the light:

If any ask for him, it shall be sed,

Hobson has supp'd, and 's newly gone to bed.


HERE lieth one, who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny, never to rot

While he might still jog on and keep his trot,
Made of sphere-metal, never to decay

Until his revolution was at stay.

Time numbers motion; yet, without a crime

'Gainst old truth, motion number'd out his time;




The two strange "Epitaphs on Hobson the Carrier," are unworthy of the uthor.-BRYDGES.

relation as the Muses themselves, who are called by the old poets "the daughters of Memory."-NEWTON.

11. Unvalued, invaluable.

8. Hobson's inn at London was the "Bull" in Bishop-gate street, where his figure in fresco, with an inscription, was lately to be seen.-T. WARTON. The following account of the origin of the phrase "Hobson's choice," is to be found in No. 509 of the Spectator:-"I shall conclude this discourse with an explanation of a proverb, which by vulgar error is taken and used when a man is reduced to an extremity, whereas the propriety of the maxim is to use it when you would say there is plenty, but you must make such a choice as not to hurt another who is to come after you.

"Mr. Tobias Hobson, from whom we have the expression, was a very honourable man, for I shall ever call the man so who gets an estate honestly. Mr. Tobias Hobson was a carrier; and, being a man of great abilities and invention, and one that saw where there might good profit arise, though the duller men overlooked it, this ingenious man was the first in this island who let out hackneyhorses. He lived in Cambridge: and, observing that the scholars rid hard, his manner was to keep a large stable of horses, with boots, bridles, and whips, to furnish the gentlemen at once, without going from college to college to borrow, as they have done since the death of this worthy man. I say, Mr. Hobson kept a stable of forty good cattle always

And, like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest, that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm,

Too long vacation hasten'd on his term.
Merely to drive the time away, he sicken'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quicken'd;
Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch'd,
If I may n't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetch'd;
But vow, though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
For one carrier put down to make six bearers.
Ease was his chief disease; and, to judge right,
He died for heaviness that his cart went light:
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That ev'n to his last breath, there be that say't,

As he were press'd to death, he cried, More weight;
But, had his doings lasted as they were,

He had been an immortal carrier.

Obedient to the moon, he spent his date
In course reciprocal, and had his fate

Link'd to the mutual flowing of the seas;

Yet, strange to think, his wain was his increase:
His letters are deliver'd all and gone;

Only remains this superscription.


BECAUSE you have thrown off your Prelate Lord,
And with stiff vows renounced his Liturgy,
To seize the widow'd whore Plurality
From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorr'd;
Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword

To force our consciences that Christ set free,

ready and fit for travelling; but, when a man came for a horse, he was led into the stable, where there was great choice; but he obliged him to take the horse which stood next to the stable door; so that every customer was alike well Berved according to his chance, and every horse ridden with the same justice; from whence it became a proverb, when what ought to be your election was forced upon you, to say, "Hobson's choice."

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which every man is to be his own priest. When these verses were written, which form an irregular sonnet, presbyterianism was triumphant; and the independ ents and the churchmen joined in one common complaint against a want of toleration. The church of Calvin had now its beretics. Milton's haughty temper brooked no human control: even the parliamentary hierarchy was too coercive for one who acknowledged only King Jesus. His froward and refining philo sophy was contented with no species of carnal policy: conformity of all sorts was slavery. He was persuaded that the modern presbyter was as much calcu lated for persecution and oppression as the ancient bishop.-T WARTON.

1. Because, &c. In railing at establishments, Milton condemned not episcopacy only be thought even the simple institutions of the new Reformation too rigid and arbitrary for the natural freedom of conscience: he contended for that sort of individual or personal religion, by

And ride us with a classick hierarchy
Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rotherford?
Men, whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul,
Must now be named and printed Hereticks
By shallow Edwards and Scotch what d'ye call:
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent;
That so the Parliament

May, with their wholesome and preventive shears,
Clip your phylacteries, though bauk your ears,
And succour our just fears,

When they shall read this clearly in your charge;
New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large.

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their own, he left them, and joined the Independents or Congregationalists. He held, as all Congregationalists now hold, that every body of believers that meet together for mutual improvement, instruction, and worship, is a complete church in itself, independent, capable of transacting its own business, electing its

8. Taught ye by mere A. S. The inde-views as the prelates before them were to pendents were now contending for toleration. In 1643 their principal leaders published a pamphlet with this title, "An Apologeticall Narration of some Ministers formerly exiles in the Netherlands, now members of the Assembly of Divines. Humbly submitted to the honourable Houses of Parliament." This piece was answered by one A. S., the per-own pastor, bishop, or ruling elder, adminson intended by Milton.-T. WARTON.

perfect church, so far as it regards its religious rites; nor has it any superior on earth, whether individual, or assembly, or convention, to whom it can be lawfully required to render submission." Matt. xviii.17-20, especially ver. 17; Acts xiv. 23.

istering its own discipline, and determining Rother ford. Samuel Rutherford, or finally all ecclesiastical matters that may Rotherfoord, was one of the chief com- properly come before it. He says-"Every missioners of the Church of Scotland, church, however small its numbers, is to who sat with the Assembly at Westmin-be considered as in itself an integral and ster, and who concurred in settling the grand points of presbyterian discipline. He was professor of divinity in the university of St. Andrew's, and has left a great variety of Calvinistic tracts. He was an avowed enemy to the independents, as appears from his "Disputation Milton also maintained that all true on pretended Liberty of Conscience, and sincere believers not only have an 1649." It is hence easy to see, why Roth- equal right to preach the gospel, but that erford was an obnoxious character to Mil- it is their duty so to do. He says-" Any ton.-T. WARTON. believer is competent to act as an ordi12. And Scotch what d'ye call. Perhaps nary minister, according as convenience Henderson, or George Galaspie, another may require, provided only he be endowed Scotch minister with a harder name, and with the necessary gifts; these gifts conone of the ecclesiastical commissioners at stituting his mission." * "If, thereWestminster, is here meant.-T. WARTON. fore, it be competent to any believer what14. Trent, the famous Council of Trent. ever to preach the gospel, provided he be 17. Clip, &c. That is, although your furnished with the requisite gifts, it is ears cry out that they need clipping, yet also competent to him to administer the the mild and gentle parliament will con- rite of baptism; inasmuch as the latter tent itself with only clipping away your office is inferior to the former."-Christ. Jewish and persecuting principles.- Doc. c. xxix. Again: "Heretofore, in the WARBURTON. first evangelic times, (and it were happy for Christendom if it were so again,) ministers of the gospel were by nothing else distinguished from other Christians but by their spiritual knowledge and sanctity 20. Writ large, that is, more domineer of life." Considerations, &c. In his Reasons ing and tyrannical. Milton, in his early of Church Government, he also shows that life, was a Presbyterian; but seeing that the distinction of clergy and laity is a this sect, when in power, was quite as ty-mere arrogating, papal figment, having tannical in enforcing conformity to their no authority in the New Testament,

The meaning of the present context is, "Check your insolence, without proceed ing to cruel punishments." To "balk," is to spare.-T. WARTON.

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