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1. 531. croft;— a small home-close in a farm.' (Nares.) Keightley gives the meaning as a small enclosed field near a town or village, and adds that its use here is not strictly correct.
1. 534. stabld wolves ;—Cf. triste lupus stabulis' (Virgil, Eclogues, iïi. 80).
• The setting sun, and music at the close,
(Richard II. ii. 1.)
1. 555. Cf. opening lines of Twelfth Night. Bacon (Essay on Gardens) had compared the scent of flowers in the air to the 'warbling of music. The nightingale's song is called solemn' in Paradise Lost, iv. 648, and vii. 435.
1. 557. Cf. Paradise Lost, iv. 604,
1. 560. Prospero, enjoining silence while the mystic masque proceeds, says “No tongues : all eyes. Drummond, in his Sonnet to the Nightingale speaks of her
Sad lamenting strains that Night attends
Become all ear' still ;—for always'; frequent in Shakespeare, as in Florizel's speech beginning
What you do Still betters what is done. (Winter's Tale, iv. 2.) 1. 561. An allusion is here supposed to an illustration of the old ed. of Quarles' Emblems, the picture of an infant within the ribs of a skeleton, with the motto Rom. vii. 24.
1. 565. To barrow is to subdue,' as in the old miracle-play entitled the Harrowing of Hell. Horatio says of the Ghost (Hamlet, i. I),
It harrows me with fear and wonder.'
1. 590. enthralld;—enslaved; from thrall, a slave (frequent in Spenser). 1. 603. legions is here trisyllabic.
grisly ;-horrible. See Agrise in Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. II. 1. 604. •All hell run out and sooty flags display' is a line in Phineas Fletcher's Locusts (1627.)
1. 607. Purchase ;—what is stolen (from Fr. pourchasser). The word is thus used in i Henry IV. ii, 1, but generally in the modern sense by Shakespeare. The above meaning is given in Henry V. iii. 2, “Steal anything and call it purchase.' So Spenser, Faery Queene 1. iii. 16. Cf. Paradise Lost, x. 579.
1. 620. To see, or look to is an old phrase='to behold.' (Ezek. xxiii, 15.) 1. 621. virtuous ;-of magic virtue. Il Penseroso 113.
1. 635. Cade tells his followers to “spare none but such as go in clouted shoon' (2 Henry VI. iv, 2). clouted = patched.
1. 637. In Browne's Inner Temple Mask, Circe uses “moly' for a charm, But Milton here follows Homer (Odyssey x. 305) and Ovid (Metamorphoses, xiv. 292) in representing it as the gift of Hermes to Ulysses, by which the latter escaped the charms of Circe.
1. 638. bamony. This plant seems of Milton's own creation. He probably derived its name from Haemonia, Thessaly, the land of magic. 1. 640. Cf.
Like a mildew'd ear, Blasting his wholesome brother. (Hamlet iii. 4.) 1. 651. Thus Ulysses attacks Circe with a drawn sword, and Guyon breaks the goblet of Acrasia (Faery Queene, II. xii. 57).
1. 655. Cf. Aeneid viii. 252.
1. 660. Cf. “monumental alabaster' (Othello v. 2). “Alablaster' is the old (but incorrect) form (Faery Queene, II. ix. 44). Cf. note on Paradise Regained, iv. 548 (vol. ii.).
1.661. Inversion-or root bound, turned to a laurel, as was Daphne, who fled from Apollo.
1. 669. Cf. the line in Tennyson's Locksley Hall* In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.'
1. 675. Cf. Odyssey, iv. 221. Nepenthes was the care-dispelling drug that Helen (daughter of Jupiter by Leda) infused into the wine of her husband Menelaus. It had been given her by Polydamna, wife of Thone. Its effects are commemorated by Spenser (Faery Queene, IV. iii. 43.) With him it is the cup of eternal happiness reserved for the sober and sage, not (as in Homer) of mere indifference to suffering, even to that of the nearest and dearest to the drinker. 1. 679. Cf. Shakespeare, Sonnet i.
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self so cruel.' 1. 680. dainty limbs ;-a phrase frequent in Spenser. Cf. Shakespeare, Sonnet iv.
Nature's bequest gives nothing but doth lend.' 1.700. lickerish;—dainty. (Nares.) Cf.
• Ingrateful man, with liquorish draughts,
(Timon of Athens, iv. 3.) l. 702. • The gift of a bad man profiteth not' is the sentiment of Medea in Euripides (618). Cf. Paradise Regained, ii. 391.
1. 707. Warton says that "budge means " fur” (a kind of miniver). The passage is tautological.' But Todd adduces instances from Ellwood's Life to shew that budge meant . surly.' Landor remarks, “It is the first time that Cynic or Stoic ever put on fur.
l. 708. The tub of Diogenes the Cynic.
1.729. strangle is used in Shakespeare to denote suffocation. When hanging is meant, 'with a cord,' or some similar phrase, is added. Desdemona is strangled ; Juliet fears to be strangled (stifled) in the vault.
1. 737. coy ;-Drayton uses it for 'rare,"curious'; Shakespeare for shy' (Much Ado about Nothing, iii. 1), or for • reserved,' "averse' (Taming of the Shrew, ii. 1; Two Gentlemen of Verona, iii. 1). The latter is its meaning here. Elsewhere in Milton it means · modest' (Lycidas 18; Paradise Lost, iv. 310).
1. 743. Cf. Theseus' speech to Hermia (Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1) and Herrick's
• Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,' as far as the general statement and harmless part of the argument. The temptation lurking beneath is more amply, and more beautifully set forth in the song of Acrasia's bower (Faery Queene, II. xii. 74). See note on Paradise Lost, i. 178.
1. 750. grain here for "colour.' Cf. Paradise Lost, v. 285, xi. 242, and note on Il Penseroso 33. In a sonnet, Drummond speaks of
Cheekes with Tyrian grain enrolled.' 1.753. 'Love-darting eyn' is a phrase of Sylvester's. Spenser (Hymn to Beauty) speaks of the little fierie lances' darted from the eyes of Beauty. • Fair-tressed' is the Homeric epithet for the Dawn (Odyssey v. 390). 1. 756. Cf. Tennyson: She lock'd her lips, she left me where I stood.'
(Dream of Fair Women.) 1. 759 prank't ;—for decked.' Perdita (Winter's Tale, iv. 3) complains that she is ‘goddess-like prank’t up.' See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. I. Cf. Paradise Lost, ii. 226.
1. 760. To bolt is to separate flour from bran, and is metaphorically applied to discussion. Menenius says of Coriolanus (iii. 1) that he is
He throws without distinction.' in North's Lives, i. 50, there is an account of those meetings for private discussion of law cases, called 'mootings' and 'boultings.' See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. II. Boult.
1. 767. Cf. Il Penseroso 46.
1.785. Milton expounds his sense of the high mysteries' of Chastity in his Apology for Smectymnuus.
1.790. fence ;—art of defence. Cf. St. George . . . teach us some fence' (King John ii. 1).
1. 797. Horace's ' bruta Tellus' is here translated (Odes, i. 34. 9).
1. 804. By Saturn is here meant Cronos, and by his crew, the Titans, whom Zeus subdued and imprisoned below Tartarus.
1. 816. Thus in Ovid (Metamorphoses, xiv. 300) the companions of Ulysses are restored to their human shape by Circe, with a stroke of her rod revers't' and spells said backwards.
1. 823. soothest ;-truest. "Sooth' is used by Shakespeare both as noun and adjective.
1. 824. Sabrina's legend had been told by the poets Sackville, Drayton, and Spenser (Faery Queene, II. x, 19). Milton afterwards gave a prose version of it in his History of England.
There is not only a general resemblance between this part of Comus and Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, but some epithets and lighter touches are common to both poems.
1. 838. asphodel ;-a plant which grew in Elysium, in the meadow haunted by the ghosts of heroes. (Odyssey xi. 539.)
1. 839. Cf. In the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment.' (Hamlet, i. 4.) 1. 868 et sqq. The epithets of Oceanus and Neptune are those assigned to them by Hesiod and Homer. Tethys is the wife of Oceanus, and the mother of the Gods. Nereus is called aged' at 1. 835. (Virgil's epithet is
grandaevus.') Proteus had a cave at Carpathus, an island of the Mediterranean. He was a prophet, and Neptune's shepherd, therefore bearing a hook (Georgics iv. 395). Triton is described by Pliny as scaly, and his horn is mentioned in Ovid (Metamorphoses, i. 333). Wordsworth would hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.' Aristotle writes that Glaucus, the sea-deity, prophesied to the Gods. Ino, flying from the rage of her husband Athamas, threw herself (with her son Melicerta in her arms) into the sea. Neptune, at the prayer of Venus, made them sea-deities, giving her the name of Leucothea (the white goddess), and him that of Palaemon. He was called by the Romans, Portumnus, the ruler of the ports. (Ovid, Metamorphoses, iv. 542; Fasti, vi. 545.)
1.877. tinsel-slipper'd;-One of the Miltonic epithets that Trench calls * poems in miniature.' linsel is derived from Fr. étincelle (Lat. scintillula), and brings before us the quick glitter and sparkle of the waves in the light of the sun or moon.' So Herrick writes of moonlight tinselling the streams.' The Homeric epithet for Thetis is silver-footed. Keightley thinks that tinsel was 'a silver texture less stout and dense than cloth of silver.'
1. 879. Parthenope and Ligea were Sirens. Ligea is the name of a seanymph in Virgil (Georgics, iv. 336). Parthenope was buried at Naples, which is called by her name in Virgil and Ovid. In his lines to Leonora, Milton asks Naples why it boasts the tomb of the dead Siren, when she is living and singing at Rome.
1.880. The comb belongs to the mermaids of Northern, not to the Sirens of Greek mythology. (Keightley.)
1. 893. azurn is perhaps from Ital. azzurino, as cedarn (1. 990) from cedrino. 1. 897. Cf. "Ye that on the sands with printless foot
Do chase the ebbing Neptune. (Tempest, v. I.) 1. 899. Under Venus, in Shakespeare's poem,
The grass stoops not, she treads on it so light.' 1. 915. Cf. “Diana's lip is not more smooth and rubious.
(Twelfth Night, i. 4.) 1. 943. So the Palmer exhorts Guyon quickly to depart from the bower of Acrasia (Faery Queene, II. xii. 87).
1. 960. Awkward courtesy is implied by duck and nod,' and more graceful movements by 'mincing
1. 972. assay ;-trial. See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bks. I and II.
l. 982. Milton at first made them the daughters of Atlas, as Spenser does (Faery Queene, II. vii. 54). Cf. notes thereon. Apollonius Rhodius (an author read with his scholars by Milton) celebrates their skill in singing. Ovid (Metamorphoses, iv. 637) is the only writer who says that the trees in the garden of the Hesperides were of gold.
1. 984. crisped ;—' rippled' by the wind. Cf. 'the crisped yew' (Herrick "crisp channels' (Tempest, iv. 1). See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk.
l. 993. blow is here used actively=make the flowers blow. Jonson has this use of it in his Mask of Highgate.
1. 995. purfl'd ;-fringed, embroidered (Fr. pourfiler, to work on the edge). Cf. ' his sleeves purfiled atte honde' (Canterbury Tales 197). Cf. Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. II.
1. 1002. Venus was worshipped by the Assyrians under the names of Astarte and Ashtoreth.
1. 1003. See note on Fair Infant 48.
1. 1010. Cf. Faery Queene, III. vi. 48-50, wherein Spenser treats the legend of Cupid and Psyche. Pleasure is their child. In the Apology for Smectymnuus, Milton speaks of that 'Love which is truly so, whose charming cup is only virtue, which she bears in her hand to those who are worthy ; (the rest are cheated with a thick intoxicating poison, which a certain sorceress, the abuser of Love's name, carries about ;) and how the first and chiefest office of Love begins and ends in the Soul, producing those happy twins of her divine generation, Knowledge and Virtue.' We may observe that Milton, eight years after Comus, changed the names of the twins in l. III. 1. 1017. corner ;-horn (Lat. cornu). Cf.
On the corner of the moon
*(Macbeth, iii. 5.) Cf. note on Il Penseroso 67. 1. 1021. sphery chime;—the music of the spheres. Herrick thus invokes Music,
* Fall down from those thy chiming spheres
To charm our souls.'
Lycidas. The title was added in ed. 1645.
a learned friend;—Edward King was the son of Sir John King, Secretary for Ireland to Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I. He was admitted to Christ's College, June 9, 1626, under Chappell, Milton's tutor. By a royal mandate of June 10, 1630, he was inade Fellow. It was rather' hard for Milton, now in his twenty-third year, to see a youth of eighteen seated above him at the Fellow's table.' On August 10, 1637, King was drowned on his passage from Chester to Ireland. Those who escaped the wreck told the story of his end, how he knelt in prayer on the sinking deck, and so went down. A volume of verses was dedicated to the memory of King by his Cambridge friends : Milton's contribution, written in November, 1637, was Lycidas, signed with his initials only. The verses were published in 1638.
1. 1. Yet once more;—Milton had been compelled to forego the resolution to wait till time should ripen his powers and enable him to enter on that great poetic work which he thought himself destined to achieve, though ot highest hope and hardest attempting.' Such appears to be the bearing of this opening passage, though some critics have supposed that it refers to his earlier elegies, or is merely a formula (as with Spenser in the beginning of the Faery Queene) in imitation of Virgil's . Ille ego qui quondam,' &c. Allusion has been supposed to be made to King's poetry, beauty, and learning, by