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197, xii. 566 ; as often in Shakespeare, e. g. still-vext Bermoothes' (Tempest, i. 2).
1. 24. excess ;-transgression, as in Paradise Lost, xi. III.
On the Passion.
• And all the while sweet music did divide
(Faery Queene, III. i. 40.) Division occurs in this special sense in Romeo and Juliet, iii. 5; 1 Henry IV. iii. I, and Lear, i. 2.
1.6. The order is inverted. “Like the short’nd light in the wintry solstice.'
1. 13. Carlyle writes (Hero-worship): “The greatest Hero is One whom we name not here.'
1. 14. wight ;—from A.S. witan, to know; old word for person male or female, any intelligent being. Chaucer's perfect knight never did villainy to no maner wight.'
1. 26. The allusion is to the Christiad of Vida, a poet of Cremona who published that work in 1535. He also wrote poems on Chess, the Art of Poetry, and Silkworms. (See Hallam, Literature of Europe.)
1. 28. still is applied to gentle sound, as in i Kings xix, 12, Il Penseroso 127 (note).
1. 34. Warton tells us that Steevens had a volume of elegies in which all the title-pages were black, with white letters. To this conceit, and that in V. 49, there are parallels in the poems of Crashaw.
1. 50. viewless ;-invisible: viewless winds,' Measure for Measure, iii. 1. Cf. . sightless couriers of the air,' Macbeth i. 7. Scott has · viewless forms of air,' Lay of Last Minstrel, i. 12.
1. 51. Jer. ix, 10.
Epitaph on Shakespear. On Shakespear, 1630'-edition 1645. The title given in the text is from the second folio of the plays, 1632.
1. 1. Milton spells • Shakespear' according to the derivation of the name commemorated in Jonson's lines:
He seems to shake a lance As brandish'd at the eyes of Ignorance.' 1. 4. star-ypointing ;-See note on Nativity Ode 155. 1. 11. unvalu'd ;-invaluable. So Drayton, Polyolbion 13:
• With the unvalued prize of Blanch the beauteous crowned ;' and Shakespeare, Richard III. i. 4:
• Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels.' See note on L'Allegro 40.
1. 12. Delphic ;--for oracular”; so Delphian' in Sir H. Wotton's letter before Comus.
1. 14. Cf, Il Penseroso, 42.
l. 15. sepúlchre is so accented in Shakespeare (Richard II. i. 3; Lear, ï. 4). One of Crashaw's epitaphs concludes
• Now, alas! not in this stone,
On the University Carrier. Hobson was born in 1544. Since 1564, Shakespeare's birth-year, he had weekly made the journey from Cambridge to the Bull Inn, Bishopsgate. He had so thriftily used the property left him by his father, that at his death he was one of the wealthiest citizens of Cambridge. He had combined farming, malting, and innkeeping with his business as a carrier. He was, according to tradition, the first man in England who let out horses to hire.' It would then be his sign that bore in such great letters, . Here is good horse to hire' (Much Ado about Nothing, i. 1). He compelled each customer to take the steed which stood next the stable-door, Hobson's choice.' He died Jan. I, 1631, leaving an ample fortune. To his bounty is owing the perpetual maintenance of the conduit at Cambridge, with a rivulet of clear water running through the main streets. (From Masson's Life.) He is mentioned in the Spectator, No. 509. The line in the second epitaph
•As he were pressed to death, he cried “more weight.”' alludes to the peine forte et dure,' by which accused persons refusing to plead, were pressed with heavy weights until they complied or expired. The torture sometimes lasted so long that the victims begged for the mercy of a speedy death by more weight.'
Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester. This lady was Jane, one of the daughters of Viscount Savage, and was married to John Paulett, fifth Marquis of Winchester. Her death (in April, 1631) was caused by accident. An imposthume on her cheek was lanced, and the humour fell down into her throat and quickly despatched her.' Ben Jonson and Davenant also bewailed her early death. (Masson.) Her husband had his house of Basing sacked after a two years' siege by the Parliament forces. He died in 1674, was buried at Englefield, and had an epitaph by Dryden.
1. 1. Inter can only be correctly used of persons qui in terram ponunt.' (Keightley.) Enterr, of the old copies, brings out more prominently than the modern spelling, the derivation from Lat. terra, Fr. terre.
1. 19. Ovid, Metamorphoses, X. 4.
1. 26. Lucina ;--the goddess who brings to light,' presiding over the birth of children. Lucina was a surname of Juno and of Diana : its Greek equivalent was Ilithyia. Ilithyia was the servant of Hera (Juno), and the companion of the Fates.
1. 28. Atropos ;—the name of the third Fate, the personification of Death (not to be turned, inflexible). The other two are Clotho (the spinster of the thread of life), and Lachesis (the disposer of human lots). Cf. Arcades 69.
1. 36. Cf. Samson Agonistes 1576. 1. 46. funeral ;– death, like the Latin funus (Horace, Odes, ii. 18. 18).
I. 47. Though Milton used considerable licence in the matter of rhyme, these two endings are often found together, as in the dirge in Cymbeline,
Quiet consummation have,
And renowned be thy grave.' 1. 50. Cf. • Sleep hath seiz'd me wholly' (Cymbeline, ii. 2). I 55. Cf. Lycidas 14.
1. 56. Helicon here (as in Spenser's Tears of the Muses) has the last syllable long ('Elinár). Although properly the name of a mountain, it is often applied by English writers to the springs (Aganippe and Hippocrene) which flowed from thence. Instances may be found in abundance-from Chaucer, who sings of · Elicon's clear well,' to Swift in his Battle of the Books. In Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels, Helicon being named, Crites says, “O, the Muses' well !
1. 58. Fore is, perhaps, the correct reading, but both editions 1645 and 1673 have for.
1. 59. Came ;—Camus. Lycidas 103. 1. 63. Genesis xxix. 9, xxxv., 18.
Archbishop Trench, in his Lecture on the Sonnet, thus lays down the canon of its formation : It must, in strictness, consist of fourteen lines in two groups : (1) Major group, lines 1-8; (2) Minor group, lines 9-14. In (1) there should be but two rhymes, a, b, thus distributed—1, 4, 5, 8, a; 2, 3, 6, 7, b. (Arnold, in his English Versification, expresses the same thing thus : lines 1-8 consist of two quatrains with extreme and mean rhymes.) At the close of (1) there should be a pause in the sense. Then in (2) there should again be but two rhymes; and in the most finished specimens of the sonnet these alternate with one another.
• But even the very best sonnetteers have transgressed these rules. The most frequent relaxation is this, viz. that while the strong outer framework of (1) remains unimpaired, the interior is filled with lines which do not rhyme to one another, but only 2 with 3, and 6 with 7; while in (2) three rhymes instead of two are admitted and disposed in almost any order that is most convenient to the writer. On the merits of this form of composition the Archbishop remarks, “The necessity of condensation has often compressed and rounded a nebulous vapour into a star. The sonnet, like a Grecian temple, may be limited in its scope, but like that, if successful, it is altogether perfect.' (Afternoon Lectures, Fourth Series.)
The canon of the sonnet thus laid down is pretty nearly observed in Wordsworth's lines that follow :
Scorn not the Sonnet: Critic, you have frowned,
A thousand times this pipe did Tasso sound;
Soul-animating strains-alas, too few !! 1. 10. still ;-See note on Circumcision 21.
1. 13. All is ;-i.e. 'in strictest measure even,' &c. He had said, 'It shall be;' now he corrects himself — nay, all my life is so already, if I have grace to use it as in God's sight.'
1. 14. In the library at Langley, near Horton, the emblematic eye still looks down from the painted panel on the shelves laden with old-world learning, and on the catalogue that hangs by them, dated the very year of Milton's continental journey. Charles Knight, visiting the library, noticed the decoration, and connected it with the last line of this first sonnet.
On Time. 1. 3. The plummet here meant is the pendulum.
1. 12. Individual ;-here in its strict sense, not to be divided, inseparable. Cf. Paradise Lost, iv. 486, v. 610.
1. 18. happy-making sight is a translation of beatific vision. Cf. Paradise Lost, iii, 62.
1. 20. quit ;-i.e. all this earthy grossness being left.
1. 22. The Christian, sings Ben Jonson (Elegy on the Marchioness of Winchester),
“Gets above Death and Sin,
And sure of Heaven, rides triumphing in.' Marvell, in the conclusion of his Dialogue between the resolved Soul and Pleasure, exclaims “Triumph, triumph victorious Soul!' Cf. Paradise Regained, ii. 36.
At a Solemn Music. 1. 4. Perhaps pierce was once pronounced perse, for Chaucer has persaunt, and Spenser persant. But Milton's rhymes are often irregular.
1. 6. content ;---so in ed. 1645. Most editions have concent, in the sense of harmony (Lat. concentus).
1.7. Ezekiel i. 26. 1. 13. Cf. Paradise Lost, viii. 597; Vacation Exercise 37. 1. 18. noise. Cf. note on Nativity, 97. 1. 19. Cf. Paradise Lost, xi. 55; Richard II. v. 5 (Richard's first speech).
1. 23. diapason ;--the concord of the octave. Bacon calls it the sweetest concord inasmuch as it is in effect a unison.' 1. 27. consort ;-band. So Mercutio says (Romeo and Juliet, iii. 1)
Consort! Dost thou make us minstrels ?' Cf. Nativity 132, note.
Sonnet II. 1. 1. Cf. Paradise Lost, vii. 435.
1. 3. Chaucer relates that among lovers the tradition ran that it was of better omen to hear the nightingale than the cuckoo, and complains of ill-luck similar to that here lamented by Milton. (Cuckoo and Nightingale.)
4. jolly has here not quite lost its primary meaning of handsome, 'comely' (Fr. joli). Spenser not only applies it to June and to Summer, but to the Red Cross Knight, who was 'too solemn sad.'
propitious;-Cf. May Morning 6. 1. 5. Cf. Comus 978, Il Penseroso 141, and Lycidas 26.
L'Allegro. Many touches in this and the following poem occur in the lines prefixed to Burton's Anatomy, a dialogue between Pleasure and Pain.
1. 3. Styx, the hateful,' was one of the four infernal rivers. The adjective Stygian is used here as it is by Euripides, for detested.' Cf. Paradise Lost, i. 239; ii. 577.
1. 9. 'ragged, fatal rock' is the epithet given by Margaret to Richard, Duke of Gloucester (3 Henry VI. v. 4). Cf. Isaiah ii. 19.
1. 10. The Cimmerians (Odyssey xi. 14) were a mythical people who lived in perpetual mist, and on whom the sun never shone. Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses, xi. 592.
1. 14. This parentage of the Graces occurs in Servius, on Aeneid i. 720. (Keightley.) Aglaia (the bright) and Thalia (the blooming) are the remaining sisters. Euphrosyne (the kindly) presided over festivities. Spenser (Faery Queene, VI. x. 22) makes them the daughters of Jove and Eurynome (the daughter of Ocean) —
•The first of them hight mild Euphrosyne,
Next faire Aglaia, last Thalia merry.' 1. 22. Cf. “Morning roses newly washed in dew.'
(Taming of the Shrew, ii. 1.) 1. 24. Cf. “So buxom, blithe, and full of face'
(Gower's speech, Pericles i. I),
(Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy.) Buxom is used by Spenser for yielding,'' obedient;' but this true meaning had already passed away when Milton used the word as equivalent to lively.' (Trench.) Debonair, in the sense of courteous, .gentle,' is used by Chaucer, and it is an epithet applied to knights and ladies in the Faery Queene. (See Glossary to Book II. in this series.)
1. 27. We have a practical illustration of quid in the Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 3. Crank implies the turns of wit. Hotspur, speaking of the winding Trent, exclaims See how this river comes me cranking in.'
(1 Henry IV. iii. 1.) Of the planets, Mutability (Faery Queene, VII. vii. 52) says“So many turning cranks these have, so many crookes."