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Queene, I. i. 39. Keightley observes that it is a fixed principle in Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and even French poetry, that words the same in orthography but differing in sense may rhyme. So Chaucer uses 'seeke' (Prologue, 17, 18). Pity and ruth are combined in Faery Queene, I. vi. 12.
1. 9. Psalm cviii. 1.
1. 12. feastful occurs in Samson Agonistes 1741. The allusion is to the midnight feasts of the Jews before the commencement of marriage, with especial reference to Matthew xxv.
Sonnet v. 1. I. Sir James Ley, an eminent lawyer, was made Earl of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer, and Lord President of the Council, by James I. The Parliament referred to was dissolved on March 10, 1628-9, by Charles, who went down to the House of Lords for the purpose, and angrily referred to the patriots in the other House as ‘some vipers.' On the 2nd, while the Speaker and the Sergeant-at-Arms were forcibly kept in their places, and the King's Messenger with the announcement of dissolution was locked out, the Commons had passed their resolution against the levying or the paying of tonnage and poundage. Dugdale (Baron. ii. 490) gives the date of the Earl's death as March 14. Todd says that Margaret was married to Captain Hobson, of the Isle of Wight, and that, in 1643, Milton was their frequent visitor.
1. 8. Isocrates is said to have voluntarily starved himself on hearing the news of the victory of Philip. He died at the age of ninety-eight (B.C. 336).
Sonnet VI. Tetrachordon was an exposition of the four chief places in Scripture which treat of divorce. Milton afterwards wished that he had written it in Latin, so as to have avoided their ridicule who are wont to be ignorant of their own happiness, and to laugh at the woes of others.'
1. 9. Scott (in a note to Legend of Montrose) remarks that 'Milton here only intends to ridicule the barbarism of Scotch names in general, and quotes indiscriminately that of Galasp, or Gillespie, one of the apostles of the Covenant, and those of Colkitto and McDonnell, both belonging to one person, one of its bitterest enemies.'
1. 12. Sir John Cheke is mentioned by Ascham as one of the two worthy stars of Cambridge.' Strype gives an account of his controversy with Gardiner, bishop of Winchester and Chancellor of the University, as to the right pronunciation of Greek.
1. 13. worse than toad ;-Hall, in his Chronicle, writes that divers noble persons hated King Richard worse than a toad or serpent.
Sonnet VII. The story is told by Ovid (Metamorphoses, vi. 317-381) of the rustics who refused to the weary Latona permission to drink of a lake, and insulted
her and the twin-born progeny’she carried. At the prayer of the goddess they were changed into frogs.
1.7. in fee ;-in fee simple, full possession.
1. 13. To'rove at a mark' was to hit it, not by aiming at it point-blank, but (like Locksley) allowing for the wind. So Spenser says of Clarinda (Faery Queene, V. v. 35),
• Even at the markewhite (bull's eye) of his heart she roved.' The rovers were heavy, strong arrows, and these shot with a certain elevation, were the all-dreaded weapons of the English.' (Gifford.) To‘rove from a mark' is, of course, to miss it.
Sonnet VIII. Henry Lawes was the son of a vicar-choral of Salisbury. In 1625 he was ‘of the private music' to Charles I. He composed, in 1633, the music of the splendid Inns of Court Masque, managed by Noy, Selden, Hyde and Bulstrode. He also set to music the poems of Walter, Carew, and Cartwright, and the story of Ariadne by the last-named. The coronation anthem of Charles II. was his composition. He was buried in Westminster Abbey in 1662.
l. 4. Midas, when Pan and Apollo contended in song, was the umpire, and decided for Pan. Apollo thereupon changed his ears into those of an ass. (Ovid, Metamorphoses, xi. 174.)
committing ;-setting at variance, from the Latin phrase for matching gladiators, joining battle, &c. This discord of words and notes is ridiculed by Addison (Spectator. 18), when he speaks of the long cadences assigned to such words as 'and,' then,' and · from,' in the opera music of his day.
1. 5. Horace, Odes, i. 1. 32.
1. 13. Dante, Purgatorio (ii. 76-114) sees among a crowd of souls newly arrived in Purgatory his old friend Casella, who sings to him a song of Dante's own writing. The shades of Purgatory are 'milder' compared with those of the Inferno,
Sonnet IX. When Milton was appointed Latin Secretary, he lodged at one Thomson's, at Charing Cross. The subject of this sonnet was probably one of his host's family.
1. 3. Rom. vii. 21.
Sonnet X. 1. 1. Suggested by Horace (Odes, i. 16. 1), though comparison would be out of place here. Of the virtuous son,' says Warton, nothing has transpired.' The father, Henry Lawrence, was member for Herefordshire, in the Little
Parliament of 1653. He was President of Cromwell's Council, and high in favour with Richard Cromwell. He was author of Our Communion and War with Angels (1646).
1. 6. Favonius = Zephyrus (a favendo vel fovendo). Horace, Odes, i. 4. I.
1. 13. spare to interpose ;-refrain from interposing them. Keightley however supplies 'time' after spare, and thus interprets the passage in a contrary sense. Brutus says of Marcius,
He will not spare to gird the gods' (Coriolanus, i. 1). Cf. Aeneid, iii. 42.
1.1. Cyriac Skinner's mother was Bridget, second daughter of Sir E. Coke, Chief Justice of England. Wood (Athenae Oxonienses) says, he was an ingenious young gentleman, and scholar of John Milton; which Skinner sometimes held the chair in the Rota'-Harrington's political club.
1. 8. The allusion to the Thirty Years' War is too general to give any clue to the date of the sonnet. It would apply to any period between 1635 and 1648, when the war was concluded by the Peace of Westphalia.
intend. So in the early printed copy. Later editors read intends, which is supported by the analogy of resounds in Sonnet xiii. 8. The former reading is an inversion of what the Swede and the French intend.'
1. II. Eccles. iii. I; Matt. vi. 34. Cf. Horace, Odes, i. 9. 13; ii. 11. I.
On the Forcers of Conscience.
1. 3. Plurality. See note on Sonnet xiii. 14.
1.7. classic ;- from the classes in the Presbyterian scheme. Every parish had its presbytery, and these parochial presbyteries were combined in the classes that chose representatives for the provincial, as did the provincial for the national assembly.
1.8. A.S. is Adam Stewart, who wrote a controversial treatise against the Independents. Rutherford, one of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, wrote a disputation against pretended liberty of conscience,' in 1649. Edwards was the author of Reason against Independence and Toleration (1641), and of Antapologia (1644), an answer to a work by some ministers in the Assembly who had been exiles in the Netherlands.
1. 14. Trent;—the council at that place (A.D. 1545-1563).
1. 17. phylacteries ;-—These were slips of parchment, with passages from the Law written on them, worn by the Pharisees on their foreheads as frontlets, between their eyes. balk;- stop short at The line was originally written
Crop you as close as marginal Prynne's ears.' Milton alludes to Prynne in Means to remove Hirelings, as 'a late hot querist for tithes, whom ye may know by his wits lying ever beside him in the margin, to be ever beside his wits in the text.'
1. 19. charge ;-i. e. the directory compiled by them. 1. 26. large ;-in full : ‘priest ’ being a contracted form of presbyter.
This sonnet was addressed to Fairfax, when engaged in the siege of Colchester. Sonnets XII, XIII, XIV and XVII, were first printed at the end of Phillips' Life of Milton, prefixed to the English version of his Letters of State (1694). They appear in Tonson's edition of 1705, but with variations from the present text, which was first supplied by Newton from the Cambridge MSS.
1. 7. Euripides (though in a controverted passage) assigns wings to the Hydra (Ion 198). (Todd.)
1. 8. Hamilton's march into England (July 8, 1648) was in support of simultaneous risings for the King, in Wales, Lancashire, and Essex. But Pembroke Castle yielded to Cromwell (July 11), who hastened to Lancashire, and routed the Cavaliers and the Scotch in three battles (August 17-19). Colchester surrendered (August 27) to Fairfax, and the movement (which at first comprehended several smaller insurrections than the three above-named) was at an end. The broken league is the solemn league which had united Scotland and England against Charles.
imp (from A.S. impan, to engraft)= to add a new piece to the broken wing of a hawk. Cf. • Imp out our drooping country's broken wing.'
(Richard II. ii. 2.) 1. 13. Cf. the passage in Milton's History of England (Bk. jii.) suppressed in earlier editions, especially. • The public faith, after infinite sums received, and all the wealth of the church not better employed, but swallowed up into a private gulf, was not ere long ashamed to confess bankrupt. And now besides the sweetness of bribery and other gain, with the love of rule, their own guiltiness, and the dreaded name of Just Account, which the people had long called for, discovered plainly that there were of their own number, who secretly contrived and fomented those troubles and combustions in the land, which openly they sat to remedy.'
1. 1. cloud of war ;-a Virgilian expression (Aeneid x. 809).
• And of those thirty floods that wait the Trent upon,
(Drayton's Polyolbion.) 1. 8. The singular verb resounds must be understood as taken separately with each clause.
1. 14. The same charges are here brought against the Presbyterian ministers, as in Lycidas against the Episcopal clergy. The great rebukers of non-residence were not ashamed to be seen quickly pluralists and nonresidents themselves, to a fearful condemnation doubtless by their own mouths. (Milton, History of England, iii.)
Mr. Stoughton (Ecclesiastical History) says of Vane — As to the genuineness of his character, and the pure truthfulness which lived in the centre of his soul, no one acquainted with his history can have any reasonable doubt.' He proceeds to observe that the mysticism which tinged the piety of Cromwell, gave the predominant hue to Vane's whole life, and that Vane, as compared with Cromwell, was a theorist compared to a man of robust English common sense.
1. 4. Pyrrhus and Hannibal are intended. Their attacks on Rome were frustrated by the wisdom of the Senate rather than by the repelling force of arms.
1. 6. states. Perhaps States, i. e. the States-General of Holland are meant.
1. 3. Milton only claims to have received one talent. (Matt. xxv.)
1. 12. Spenser's Hymn to Heavenly Love, with its outline of the story of the fall of Lucifer, seems to have been familiar to Milton. The angels are there said
• Either with nimble wings to cut the skies,
Sonnet XVI. The Duke of Savoy, urged by Capuchin propagandists, gave to the Vaudois, his Protestant subjects in Piedmont, the alternative of attending Mass or of leaving their country in twenty days. Savoyard troops were sent to enforce the edict, and carried fire and sword into the valleys of Piedmont. All England was indignant at this crime, and Cromwell loudly remonstrated with the Duke of Savoy and Louis XIV. A collection of £80,000 was made for the sufferers. A treaty was concluded between the Duke and his subjects by French mediation (August 1655), and was ratified before the arrival of Cromwell's protest against the unfairness of its terms. Even this arrangement was violated three years afterwards, and Cromwell again employed Milton to write to Louis XIV. The Vaudois had peace thenceforward till the Restoration.
1. 7. There is a print of this particular act of cruelty in a contemporary history of the massacre, by Sir W. Moreland.
1. 10. Alluding to the proverb that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.'
l. 14. Babylonian woe ;-i. e. the woe denounced against Babylon. Milton, in his Latin verses on November 5, calls the Pope the Babylonian highpriest.