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Full text of "The minor poems of John Milton. Edited with notes"

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The Merchant of Venice. 


Julius Cassar. 

A Midsummer-Night's Dream. 



Much Ado about Nothing. 

Romeo and Juliet. 

As You Like It. 

The Tempest. 

Twelfth Night. 

The Winter's Tale. 

King John. 

Richard II. 

Henry IV. Part I. 

Henry IV. Part II. 

Henry V. 

Henry VI. Part I. 

Henry VI Part II. 

Henry VI. Part III. 

Richard III. 

Henry VIII. 

King Lear. 

The Taming of the Shrew. 

All 's Well that Ends Well. 


The Comedy of Errors. 


Antony and Cleopatra. 

Measure for Measure- 

Merry Wives of Windsor. 

Love's Labour 's Lost. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. 

Timon of Athens. 

Troihis and Cressida. 

Pericles, Prince of Tyre. 

The Two Noble Kinsmen. 

Venus and Adonis, Lucrece, etc. 


Titus Andronicus. 




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Copyright, 1887, by HAKPER & BROTHERS. 





W V must be free or die, who speak the tongue 
That Shakespeare spoke, the faith and morals hold 
That Milton held I 


The sight of his books, the sound of his name, are pleasant to us. His thoughts 
resemble those celestial fruits and flowers which the Virgin Martyr of Massinger 
sent down from the gardens of Paradise to the earth, and which were distinguished 
from the productions of other soils, not only by superior blooms and sweetness, but 
by miraculous efficacy to invigorate and to heal. They are powerful, not oniy to 
delight, but to elevate and purify. 



THIS book includes all the minor poems of Milton in English except 
his " translations " of Psalms i.-viii. and Ixxx.-lxxxviii. and of Horace, 
Od, i. 5. The juvenile "paraphrases" of Psalms cxiv. and cxxxvi. are 
not put by Milton among his "translations." These, with a few other 
early or incomplete poems which at first I intended to omit, have been 
added in an Appendix. 

A considerable portion of the matter in the Notes was prepared more 
than twenty years ago. In revising and completing it for the press, I 
have made free use of Keightley's, Browne's, and Masson's excellent edi 
tions, as the frequent references to them will show. Masson's edition (I 
mean the larger one in three octavo volumes) is indispensable to the crit 
ical student. In the notes on Lycidas I have drawn some material from 
Mr. C. S. Jerrarn's scholarly monograph on that poem (London, 1874). 

It seems to me not improper to "add that many notes which I do not 
credit to other editions wherein the same or similar explanations or illus 
trations may be found, are honestly my own, having been obtained by in 
dependent study. Here and there, indeed, that I might avoid even the 
appearance of injustice to a former editor, I have given him credit for 
what was really as much mine as his. 

CAMBRIDGE, Jutte 23, 1887. 













AT A SOLEMN Music 52 


L'ALLEGRO . . . 53 



COMUS - ... 67 

LYCIDAS - ... 101 


THREE 107 







VII. ON THE SAME - . no 




X. To MR. LAURENCE - i" 





















NOTES 131 





JOHN MILTON was born in Bread Street, Cheapside, near 
St. Paul's, London, on the gth of December, 1608, and was 
baptized on the 2oth in the adjacent Allhallows Church. 
His father, John Milton, was a scrivener,* who had taken up 
that profession after being disinherited by his father, under- 
ranger of the royal forest of Shotover near Oxford, for be 
coming a Protestant. He was prosperous in business, and 
acquired " a plentiful estate." He had also a talent for 
music, and became noted among the composers of the time. 
The poet owed his skill as an organist to his father's train 

Whether Milton wrote verses at the age of ten, as Aubrey 
tells us, or not, he early gave promise of becoming a scholar. 
He says himself: " My father destined me while yet a child 
to the study of polite literature, which I embraced with such 
avidity that from the twelfth year of my age I hardly ever re- 

* The scrivener (Old French escrivain} was originally, as the name im 
plies, a mere scribe, or legal copyist, but came to do some of the minor 
work of the attorney, such as drawing up wills, bonds, mortgages, leases, 
and other legal contracts. He was also in many cases a money-lender, 
using his own money or that of his clients. 


tired to rest from my studies till midnight, which was the 
first source of injury to my eyes, to the natural weakness of 
which were added frequent headaches; all of which not re 
tarding my eagerness after knowledge, he took care to have 
me instructed daily both at school and by other masters at 
home." His first tutor was Thomas Young, a Puritan cler 
gyman, to whom he became strongly attached. In a Latin 
poem he says that his master is dearer to him " than was 
Socrates to Alcibiades, Aristotle to Alexander, or Chiron to 
Achilles." Young continued to instruct him for some time 
after he was sent to the neighbouring Sr. Paul's School, at 
that time under the charge of Alexander Gill, " an ingeniose 
person, notwithstanding his humours, particularly his whip 
ping fits." Gill's son Alexander, then an usher in the 
school, took a great liking to Milton, and the two afterwards 
became intimate friends. Besides the Greek and Latin, in 
which latter language he wrote both prose and verse with 
ease, he seems also to have acquired a knowledge of Hebrew 
under Young's tutorship. We are informed, moreover, that 
Humphrey Lowndes the printer, who lived in Bread Street, 
used to lend him books, chiefly of poetry, and among them 
the works of Spenser and Sylvester's translation of Du Bartas. 
The earliest specimens of Milton's own poetry that have 
come down to us the versions of Psalms cxiv. and cxxxvi. 
date from this schoolboy period, having been written when 
he was fifteen (1624). 

On the izth of February, 1624-25, Milton was admitted as 
a pensioner at Christ College, Cambridge. The tutor under 
whom he was placed was the Rev. William Chappell, after 
wards Bishop of Cork and Ross. Early in the next year he 
had some disagreement with Chappell, which compelled Dr. 
Bainbrigge, the Master of the College, to interfere, and the 
result was that " Milton withdrew, or was sent, from college 
in circumstances equivalent to rustication." His absence, 
however, was not of long duration, for he took the degrees of 


Bachelor and of Master of Arts at the regular times. At a 
later period, in reply to the malicious charge that he had 
been " vomited out" of the University after spending a riot 
ous life there, he replied : " It hath given me an apt occasion 
to acknowledge publicly with all grateful mind the more 
than ordinary favour and respect which I found, above any 
of my equals, at the hands of those courteous and learned 
men, the Fellows of the College wherein I spent some years, 
who, at my parting, after I had taken two degrees, as the 
manner is, signified many ways how much better it would 
content them if I would stay, as by many letters full of kind 
ness and loving respect, both before that time and long af 
ter, I was assured of their singular good affection toward 
me." Again, in reply to a similar charge, he says : " My 
father sent me to Cambridge ; there I devoted myself for a 
space of seven years to the literature and arts usually taught, 
free from all reproach, and approved of by all good men, as 
far as the degree of Master, as it is termed." 

It was at Cambridge, in the spring of 1626, that Milton 
wrote the Elegy on a Fair Infant, the child of his sister 
Anne, who two years before had married Edward Phillips, 
of the Crown Office in Chancery. In 1628 the Vacation Ex 
ercise was written ; in 1629, the Hymn on the Nativity, which 
was followed by the poems on The Circumcision, Time, and 
The Passion. The lines on Shakespeare, dated 1630, and 
prefixed to the second folio edition of the plays (1632), were 
the first English verses of Milton's that appeared in print. 
The epitaphs on Hobson and on the Marchioness of West 
minster were written in 1631, and the Sonnet "on his being 
arrived to the age of 23 " in December of that year or early 
in 1632. 

In July, 1632, Milton, having taken his degree of M. A., 
left Cambridge and went to Horton, in Buckinghamshire, 
where his father, who had retired from business, was now re 
siding. Here he spent five happy years in classical, mathe- 


matical, and musical studies ; and during this period it is 
almost certain that he wrote V Allegro and // Penseroso, the 
Sonnet to the Nightingale,- Arcades, Comus, and Lycidas. 
His mother died on the 6th of April, 1637 ; and his friend 
King, whom he laments in Lycidas, was drowned on the i ith 
of August in the same year. 

Early in 1638 Milton obtained his father's permission to 
make a journey to the Continent. Sir Henry Wooton, who 
had been for some time ambassador at Venice, wrote him 
a letter of advice and directions for his travels ; and Lord 
Scudamore, Viscount Sligo, ambassador at Paris, to whom he 
had an introduction, showed him courteous attentions during 
his brief stay in that city, besides introducing him to Hugo 
Grotius, who was resident there in the service of Christina, 
Queen of Sweden. Phillips says that " Grotius took the visit 
kindly,. and gave him entertainment suitable to his worth and 
the high commendations he had heard of him." 

From Paris Milton went to Nice and by sea to Genoa, and 
thence, by way of Leghorn and Pisa, to Florence, where he 
stayed two months. He was hospitably received by the Acad 
emies, or private literary societies, and became intimate with 
many of the learned men of the city. Either at this time or 
on his return to Florence he does not tell us which he 
made the acquaintance of Galileo. " There it was," he says, 
" that I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, 
a prisoner to the Inquisition for thinking in astronomy 
otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers 

Milton next went to Rome, where he also made a stay of 
two months. Lucas Holstein, the learned librarian of the 
Vatican, received him with great courtesy, and showed him all 
the treasures of the library. He was also entertained by the 
Pope's nephew, Cardinal Barberini, who was a kind of " vol 
untary British consul," or patron of English visitors to Rome. 
At the Cardinal's musical concerts Milton heard the cele- 


brated Leonora Baroni sing, and complimented her in three 
Latin epigrams. 

The poet went from Rome to Naples, where he was intro 
duced to the venerable Manso, Marquis of Villa, the patron 
and biographer of Tasso. " I experienced from him," says 
Milton, " as long as I remained there, the most friendly at 
tentions. He accompanied me to the various parts of the 
city, and took me over the Viceroy's palace, and came more 
than once to my lodgings to visit me. At my departure he 
made earnest excuses to me for not having been able to show 
me the further attentions which he desired in that city, on 
account of my unwillingness to conceal my religious senti 
ments." Milton wrote a Latin poem in honour of Manso, 
to which the latter responded with a gift of two engraved 
goblets, and a Latin epigram, in which he said that Milton 
would be " non Anglus sed Angelus " if only his creed were 
the true one. 

It had been the poet's intention to extend his travels to 
Sicily and Greece, but while he was in Naples he received 
tidings of the civil disturbances in England, and resolved to 
turn his steps homeward. " I deemed it," he says, " to be dis 
graceful for me to be idling away my time abroad for my own 
gratification, while my countrymen were contending for their 
liberty." Returning to Rome, though friends warned him 
that the English Jesuits there were plotting against him on 
account of his freedom of speech on religious subjects, he re 
mained two months, "defending the reformed religion in the 
very metropolis of popery." He then proceeded to Florence, 
where he found himself as welcome, he says, as if it had 
been his own country. 

At Venice, whither he next went by way of Bologna and 
Ferrara, Milton spent a month, and there he shipped to 
England the books and music he had collected in Italy. 
He then continued his journey to Verona and Milan, and 
over the Pennine Alps (that is, Mount St. Bernard) to Ge- 


neva, where he was much in the society of John Diodati, the 
professor of theology, an uncle of his friend Charles Diodati. 
Thence he returned to Paris and home to England, late in 
July or early in August, 1639, after an absence of about fifteen 

On reaching London he took lodgings in the house of 
one Russell, a tailor, in St. Bride's Churchyard, Fleet Street; 
but he soon left them for what was called a "garden-house" 
(that is, a detached house, enclosed by a garden, not uncom 
mon in the city at that time) in Aldersgate Street "the 
fitter for his turn," says Phillips, "by the reason of the pri 
vacy, besides that there were few streets in London more free 
from noise than that." Milton himself says: "Things being 
in such a disturbed and fluctuating state, I looked about to 
see if I could get any place that would hold myself and my 
books, and so I took a house of sufficient size in the city; 
and there, with no small delight, I resumed my intermitted 
studies, cheerfully leaving the issue of public affairs, first to 
God, and then to those to whom the people had committed 
that charge." 

Milton had already taken his nephew John Phillips, a 
bright boy of nine years, to keep and educate ; and now that 
he had a house of his own the elder nephew Edward Phillips 
was "put to board" with him. In addition to these he was 
induced to receive a few more pupils, " the sons of gentle 
men who were his intimate friends." The curriculum of this 
select school included not only Greek and Latin, French 
and Italian, but Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, with mathe 
matics and astronomy. The boys also wrote, from their mas 
ter's dictation, a portion of a system of divinity which he had 

In his treatment of his pupils, Aubrey says, " as he was 
severe on the one hand, so he was most familiar and free 
in Iiis conversation to those whom he must serve in the way 
of education." He set them an example of hard labour and 


spare diet, but about once a month he used to indulge in "a 
gaudy clay "with some "young sparks of his acquaintance, 
the chief of whom were Mr. Alphry and Mr. Miller, the beaux 
of those times," says Phillips, writing after the Revolution, 
"but nothing near so bad as those nowadays." 

Meanwhile the civil and religious controversies of the time 
were approaching a crisis, and Milton felt it his duty to "em 
bark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse disputes." Early 
in 1641 he brought out his treatise Of Reformation in Eng 
land and the Causes that have hitherto Hindered It. The same 
year Bishop Hall published, at the request of Laud, An 
Humble Remonstrance in favour of Episcopacy, to which an 
answer was written under the title of Smectymnuus a word 
composed of the initials of their names by five Puritan 
divines.* Archbishop Usher then published in reply 7he 
Apostolical Institution of Episcopacy, which drew forth from 
Milton his treatise Of Prelatical Episcopacy and also The 
Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Bishop 
Hall then issued a Defence of the Humble Remonstrance, on 
which Milton wrote Animadversions. The following year 
(1642) an anonymous reply to the Animadversions appeared, 
in which the private character of the author was assailed, 
and to which he rejoined in An Apology for Smectymnuus. 
With this the controversy ended. 

Milton's father, who had been residing in his son Chris 
topher's house at Reading, now (1643) came to live with the 
poet, and remained until his death in March, 1647. 

In this same year, 1643, tne household in Aldersgate Street 
received another accession. "About Whitsuntide," says 
Phillips, " he [Milton] took a journey into the country, nobody 
about him certainly knowing the reason, or that it w r as more 
than a journey of recreation. After a month's stay home, he 

* Stephen Marshall, Edward Calamy, Thomas Young (Milton's old 
tutor), Matthew Nevvcomen, and William Spurstow. The W of this last 
name is resolved into rut. 


returns a married man who set out a bachelor ; his wife be 
ing Mary, the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, then 
a Justice of the Peace of Forest Hill, near Shotover, in Ox 
fordshire." The bridegroom was now in his thirty-fifth year, 
the bride perhaps a dozen years younger. 

It was only a few weeks after she had been welcomed to 
her new home with the "feasting held for some days in cele 
bration of the nuptials," that the young wife was invited to 
visit her friends in the country. Milton gave her leave to 
go, on condition that she should be back at Michaelmas, but 
when the appointed time came she refused to return. He 
wrote again and again, but his letters were unanswered ; he 
then sent a special messenger, who, according to Phillips, 
" was dismissed with some sort of contempt." Milton, find 
ing that she intended to desert him, resolved to repudiate 
her, and to justify his course he published, at first anony 
mously, his Doctrine and Discipline of .Divorce (1644), in 
which he maintained that the dissolution of the marriage tie 
should be allowed in other cases than were then admitted. 
His views were opposed by the Presbyterian clergy, by 
whose influence he was cited to appear at the bar of the 
House of Lords ; " but that House, whether approving the 
doctrine or not favouring his accusers, did soon dismiss 

In the following year (1645) Milton published his Tetra- 
chordon, or Exposition of the Four chief Places in Scripture 
which treat of Marriage, and also his Colasterion, in reply to 
an anonymous attack upon his first book on divorce. He 
began, moreover, to put his new theories into practice by 
paying his addresses to a Miss Davis, who is said to have 
been both beautiful and accomplished. Whether Mistress 
Milton heard of this we do not know, but just then she ap 
pears to have made up her mind to seek a reconciliation 
with her husband. Accordingly, when he was paying a visit 
at the house of a relative "who lived in the lane'of St. Mar- 


tin le Grand," she suddenly came forth from an inner room, 
threw herself on her knees before him, and implored his for 
giveness, which he finally granted. 

In 1644, besides the controversial works mentioned above, 
Milton wrote his Tractate on Education and his Areopagitica, 
or a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, the noblest 
of his prose works. In 1645 ^ ie published a volume of 
poems, which contains, the sonnets To a Virtuous Young 
Lady and To the Lady Margaret Ley. To the same year be 
long the two sonnets on the Tetrachordon and the one ad 
dressed to his friend Henry Lawes. 

About the time of his reconciliation with his wife Milton 
removed to a house in Barbican; and here he soon received 
his father-in-law and his family, who came to London after 
the surrender of Oxford. Mr. Powell had lost much of his 
estate in the Royalist service, and the remainder had been 
sequestrated by the Parliament. He afterwards recovered 
a portion of it, with the help of Milton, with whom he con 
tinued to reside until his death in January, 1647. Soon 
after this event his family appear to have returned to Forest 
Hill, and the poet's house, as Phillips says, " looked again 
like a home of the Muses." Here his first child, a daughter 
named Anne, had been born on the 29th of July, 1646. A 
second daughter, named Mary, after her mother, was born, 
October 25th, 1648, in a house in Holborn whither Milton 
had removed in the latter part of 1647. 

After the execution of Charles I. in 1649, Milton came 
forward to defend that act in The Tenure of Kings and Mag 
istrates, and also to prove that the Presbyterians, who had 
raised a great outcry at the deed, were really responsible for 
it. About the same time he published his Observations on 
the Articles of Peace, concluded by Ormond, the lieutenant of 
Charles, just before the execution. 

Milton was appointed Secretary of Foreign Tongues un 
der the new Commonwealth, and was commissioned by the 



Council of State in March, 1649. The duties of the office 
were chiefly the translation of despatches to and from for 
eign governments. For greater convenience in attending 
the meetings of the Council he changed his residence to 
Charing Cross, and later to "a pretty garden-house" in 
Westminster, opening into St. James's Park.* Here he con 
tinued to live for the next nine years. 

Almost immediately after his appointment to the secre 
taryship Milton was ordered by the Council to prepare a 
reply to the book entitled "Ikon Basilike, the portraiture of 
his sacred majesty in his solitude and sufferings," which pro 
fessed to be the work of the king himself, and soon ran 
through forty-seven editions. Milton's rejoinder, which was 
named Ikonoklastes, set forth the unconstitutional acts of 
Charles and refuted the arguments by which these had been 

His next work was also imposed by the Council, name 
ly, "to prepare something in answer to the book of Salma- 
sius (Claude de Saumaise, professor at Leyclen and one of 
the most eminent scholars in Europe) entitled Defeiisio Re- 
gia, and written at the request of Charles II., who was then 
living in exile at the Hague. The order of the Council was 
given on the 8th of January 1650, and Milton's Pro Populo 
Anglicano Defensio was published early in the following 
March. It has been asserted that he was paid ^"1000 for 
the work, but he received nothing in addition to his official 
salary except the cheap compliment of a formal vote of 

Milton's sight had been failing for some years, and about 
1650 one eye had become entirely blind. He was warned 

* This house, afterwards separated from the Park by intervening 
streets, stood at 19 York Street, Westminster, until 1877, being the last 
of Milton's many London residences to disappear. It had been occupied 
also by William Hazlitt, who rented it of Jeremy Bentham. The latter 
had marked it by the inscription, " Sacred to Milton, Prince of Poets." 


that he would lose the other if he continued to use it in lit 
erary labour; but he nevertheless went on to write his Defcn- 
sio Secunda, a reply to the Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Ccelum, 
published in 1652, in which the bitterest abuse of Mihon 
was combined with the most virulent invectives against the 
English people. "The choice lay before me," Milton writes 
in his preface, " between dereliction of a supreme duty and 
loss of eyesight ; in such a case I could not listen to the 
physician, not if v^Esculapius himself had spoken from his 
sanctuary : I could not but obey that inward monitor, I know 
not what, that spake to me from heaven. I considered with 
myself that many had purchased less good with worse ill, as 
they who give their lives to reap only glory, and I thereupon 
concluded to employ the little remaining eyesight I was to 
enjoy in doing this, the greatest service to the common weal 
it was in my power to render." As Mr. Church remarks in 
his Life of Milton (p. 106), "he could not foresee that, in 
less than ten years, the great work would be totally annihi 
lated, . . . and the Defensio, on which he had expended his 
last year of eyesight, only mentioned because it had been 
written by the author of Paradise Lost" 

In the same year, 1652, that Milton became totally blind, 
his wife died in giving birth to a third daughter, Deborah. 
A son, born in March, 1650, had died soon after coming into 
the world. 

Alexander More (or Morus, as he Latinized his name), to 
whom Milton had ascribed the anonymous Regii Sanguinis 
Clamor, though it was really written by Peter Du Moulin, 
attempted a reply to the Defensio Secunda in his Fides Pub- 
lica, which was in turn answered by Milton in his Pro se De 
fensio, published in August, 1655. This was met by a Sup- 
plementum from Morus, to which his opponent rejoined in 
another, and so the controversy ended at last. 

In November, 1656, the poet married his second wife, 
Catherine Woodcock, who died about fifteen months after- 



wards. " Her monument is the sonnet in which the widower 
commemorated his loss." 

After the Restoration the author of Tkonoklastes was fain 
to hide himself until the passage of the Act of Indemnity, a 
few months later, made it safe for him to come out of his 
concealment. In the meantime two of his books had been 
burned by the hangman. In December, 1660, we find him 
under arrest for some unknown cause, the only record con 
cerning the matter being the official order for his discharge. 

In February, 1663, the blind widower again took to him 
self a wife, recommended to him by his friend Dr. Paget, to 
whom she was related. Her name was Elizabeth Minshull, 
and she belonged to a good family in Cheshire. The mar 
riage appears to have been in all respects a happy one. 

Paradise Lost had been begun as early as 1642, but it was 
not until 1658 that Milton appears to have gone to work 
upon it in earnest. According to Aubrey and Phillips it 
was finished in 1663, though it is probable that much re 
mained to be done before it was absolutely complete. In 
1665 the poet put the manuscript in the hands of his friend 
Ell wood, asking him to read and pass judgment upon it. It 
was on returning it that the young Quaker made the remark 
to which Milton afterwards said the writing of Paradise Re 
gained was due "Thou hast said much here of Paradise 
lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise found ?" 

This was at the time of the Great Plague, when the poet 
had left London for a temporary residence near Chalfont 
St. Giles in the county of Bucks. The Great Fire of 1666 
followed soon after his return to the city, but he was now liv 
ing near Bunhill Fields, beyond the range of the conflagra 
tion. In the following April the copyright of Paradise Lost 
was sold to Samuel .Simmons for five pounds, with the un 
derstanding that the same sum was to be paid on the sale 
of thirteen hundred copies of the first edition, and also on 
the sale of a like number of the second and third editions 


respectively. Milton lived to receive the second $, and 
his widow accepted ;8 in discharge of all further claims. 

Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes were published 
together in the autumn of 1670, being the last poetry written 
by Milton. His History of England, which he brought down 
to the Norman Conquest, appeared in the same year. A 
treatise on Logic followed in 1672, and a tract on True Re 
ligion, fferesy, Schism, and Toleration in 1673, when he also 
reprinted his early poems, with some additions. The next 
year he published his Familiar Epistles in Latin (letters 
written in that language to his foreign friends), the Academi 
cal Exercises of his college clays, and a translation of the 
Declaration of the Poles on the election of John Sobieski. 
A compendium of theology, De Doctrina Christiana, which 
he was preparing for the press at the time of his death, did 
not see the light until a century and a half later. 

Milton had been for some years afflicted with the gout 
or what was called so in that day and in July, 1674, feeling 
that his end was not far distant, he made an oral declara 
tion of his last will and testament in the presence of his 
brother, who was then paying him a visit. He left all his 
property, amounting to some ,1500, to his wife. A person 
who saw him early in the following October states that he 
then " talked and discoursed sensibly and well, and was very 
merry, and seemed to be in good health of body ;" but re 
peated attacks of disease soon told upon his constitution, 
and on Sunday, the 8th of November, he died " by a quiet 
and silent expiration." He was buried the next Thursday 
in the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate, one of the few old 
London churches that had escaped the Great Fire of 1666. 
"The funeral was attended," says Toland, "by all the au 
thor's learned and great friends in London, not without a 
friendly concourse of the vulgar." 

In person Milton was rather below middle size, but well- 
built and eminently handsome. At Cambridge, as Aubrey 


tells us, he was called the "Lady" of his college. His hair 
was of a light brown, and he wore it long and parted in the 
middle, as represented in his portraits. His eyes were gray, 
and their appearance was not affected by his blindness. 
" His deportment was affable, and his gait erect and manly, 
bespeaking courage and undaunteclness." 

In his mode of life he was regular and temperate. In his 
early years he used to sit up late at his studies ; but towards 
the close of his life he retired every night at nine o'clock, 
and lay till four in summer and till five in winter. If not dis 
posed to rise then, he had some one sit at his bedside and 
read to him. When he rose he had a chapter of the Hebrew 
Bible read, and after breakfast studied till twelve. He then 
exercised for an hour, dined, played on the organ or bass-viol, 
and sang or heard his wife sing, after which he studied again 
till six. From that time till eight he conversed with friends 
who came to visit him, and after a light supper, followed by 
a pipe of tobacco and a glass of water, retired to rest. 

We have a description of the poet in his declining years 
from " an ancient clergyman of Dorsetshire," one Dr. Wright, 
who found him " in a small chamber hung with rusty green, 
sitting in an elbow-chair, and dressed neatly in black; 
pale, but not cadaverous ; his hands and feet gouty and with 
chalk-stones. . . . He used also to sit in a gray coarse cloth 
coat, at the door of his house near Bunhill Fields, in warm 
sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh air. And so, as well as 
in his room, he received the visits of people of distinguished 
parts as well as quality." 

Milton's nuncupative will in favour of his widow was con 
tested by his daughters, to whom he had devised only the por 
tion due to him from Mr. Powell, his first wife's father, "they 
having," he says, " been very undutiful to me." According to 
the evidence of a servant given during the litigation, Mary Mil 
ton, when told of her father's intended marriage, " replyed to 
the said maid-servant that that was noe news to heare of his 


wedding, but if shee could heare of his deaxh that was some 
thing." The same witness testified that v ' all his said chil- 


dren did combine together and counsel his maid-servant to 
cheat him the deceased in her market tings, and that his said 
children had made away with some of his bookes and would 
have sold the rest of his bookes to the dunghill women." 

On the other hand, Phillips states that Milton condemned 
his daughters to "reading and exactly pronouncing the lan 
guage of whatever book he thought fit to peruse, viz. the 
Hebrew (and I think the Syriac), the Latin, the Italian, 
Spanish, and French." The eldest daughter having been 
excused from this task-work on account of an impediment 
in her speech, the two younger, after enduring it for a long 
time, " broke out more and more into expressions of uneasi 
ness; so they were all sent out to learn some curious and 
ingenious sorts of manufacture proper for women to learn, 
particularly embroideries in gold or silver." This was some 
years before Milton's death, but they never returned to share 
their father's house. 

The disputed will was set aside, but letters of administra 
tion were granted to Milton's widow, who eventually came 
into possession of the bulk of the estate. All three of the 
daughters married, but only the youngest had any children, 
and no descendants of these were destined to perpetuate the 
poet's name. Milton's family, like Shakespeare's and Spen 
ser's, became extinct in the third generation. 


In speaking of the intellectual qualities of Milton, we may 
begin with observing that the very splendour of his poetic 

* Remarks on tJie Character and Writings of John Milton, by William 
Kllery Channing, D.D., first published in the Christian Examiner, Jan. 
1826 (Works, vol. i. p. 4 fol.). 

Sundry briefer extracts from other critical comments on Milton will 
be found in the Notes. 


fame has tended to obscure or conceal the extent of his mind, 
and the variety of its energies and attainments. To many 
he seems only a poet, when in truth he was a profound schol 
ar, a man of vast compass of thought, imbued thoroughly 
with all ancient and modern learning, and able to master, to 
mould, to impregnate with his own intellectual power, his 
great and various acquisitions. He had not learned the 
superficial docrine of a later clay, that poetry flourishes most 
in an uncultivated soil, and that imagination shapes its bright 
est visions from the mists of a superstitious age ; and he had 
no dread of accumulating knowledge, lest it should oppress 
and smother his genius. He was conscious of that within 
him which could quicken all knowledge and wield it with 
ease and might ; which could give freshness to old truths 
and harmony to discordant thoughts ; which could bind 
together, by living ties and mysterious affinities, the most 
remote discoveries, and rear fabrics of glory and beauty from 
the rude materials which other minds had collected. Milton 
had that universality which marks the highest order of intel 
lect. Though accustomed almost from infancy to drink at 
the fountains of classical literature, he had nothing of the 
pedantry and fastidiousness which disdain all other draughts. 
His healthy mind delighted in genius, on whatever soil, or 
in whatever age, it burst forth and poured out its fulness. 
He understood too well the rights and dignity and pride 
of creative imagination, to lay on it the laws of the Greek 
or Roman school. Parnassus was not to him the only holy 
ground of genius. He felt that poetry was as a universal 
presence. Great minds were everywhere his kindred. He 
felt the enchantment of Oriental fiction, surrendered himself 
to the strange creations of "Araby the Blest," and delighted 
still more in the romantic spirit of chivalry, and in the tales 
of wonder in which it was embodied. Accordingly his poetry 
reminds us of the ocean, which adds to its own boundless 
ness contributions from all regions under heaven. Nor was 


it only in the department of imagination that his acquisitions 
were vast. He travelled over the whole field of knowledge, 
as far as it had then been explored. His various philological 
attainments were used to put him in possession of the wis 
dom stored in all countries where the intellect had been 
cultivated. The natural philosophy, metaphysics, ethics, his 
tory, theology, and political science, of his own and former 
times, were familiar to him. Never was there a more uncon- 
fined mind ; and we would cite Milton as a practical exam 
ple of the benefits of that universal culture of intellect which 
forms one distinction of our times, but which some dread as 
unfriendly to original thought. Let such remember that 
mind is in its own nature diffusive. Its object is the uni 
verse, which is strictly one, or bound together by infinite 
connections and correspondences; and accordingly its nat 
ural progress is from one to another field of thought ; and 
wherever original power, creative genius, exists, the mind, far 
from being distracted or oppressed by the variety of its ac 
quisitions, will see more and more common bearings and 
hidden and beautiful analogies in all the objects of knowl 
edge, will see mutual light shed from truth to truth, and will 
compel, as with a kingly power, whatever it understands to 
yield some tribute of proof, or illustration, or splendour, to 
whatever topic it would unfold. 

Milton's fame rests chiefly on his poetry, and to this we 
naturally give our first attention. By those who are accus 
tomed to speak of poetry as light reading, Milton's eminence 
in this sphere may be considered only as giving him a high 
rank among the contributors to public amusement. Not so 
thought Milton. Of all God's gifts of intellect he esteemed 
poetical genius the most transcendent. He esteemed it in 
himself as a kind of inspiration, and wrote his great works 
with something of the conscious dignity of a prophet. We 
agree with Milton in his estimate of poetry. It seems to us 
the divinest of all arts ; for it is the breathing or expression 


of that principle or sentiment which is deepest and sublim- 
est in human nature ; we mean of that thirst or aspiration 
to which no mind is wholly a stranger, for something purer 
and lovelier, something more powerful, lofty, and thrilling, 
than ordinary and real life affords. No doctrine is more 
common among Christians than that of man's immortality ; 
but it is not so generally understood that the germs or prin 
ciples of his whole future being are now wrapped up in his 
soul, as the rudiments of the future plant in the seed. As a 
necessary result of this constitution, the soul, possessed and 
moved by these mighty though infant energies, is perpetually 
stretching beyond what is present and visible, struggling 
against the bounds of its earthly prison-house, and seeking 
relief and joy in imaginings of unseen and ideal being. This 
view of our nature, which has never been fully developed, 
and which goes further towards explaining the contradictions 
of human life than all others, carries us to the very founda 
tion and sources of poetry. He who cannot interpret by his 
own consciousness what we now have said wants the true 
key to works of genius. He has not penetrated those secret 
recesses of the soul where poetry is born and nourished, 
and inhales immortal vigour, and wings herself for her heav 
enward flight. In an intellectual nature, framed for progress 
and for higher modes of being, there must be creative en 
ergies, powers of original and ever-growing thought; and 
poetry is the form in which these energies are chiefly mani 
fested. It is the glorious prerogative of this art, that it 
"makes all things new" for the gratification of a divine in 
stinct. It indeed finds its elements in what it actually sees 
and experiences, in the worlds of matter and mind; but it 
combines and blends these into new forms and according 
to new affinities ; breaks down, if we may so say, the distinc 
tions and bounds of nature; imparts to material objects life 
and sentiment and emotion, and invests the mind with the 
powers and splendours of the outward creation ; describes 


the surrounding universe in the colours which the passions 
throw over it, and depicts the soul in those modes of repose 
or agitation, of tenderness or sublime emotion, which mani 
fest its thirst for a more powerful and joyful existence. To 
a man of a literal and prosaic character the mind may seem 
lawless in these workings; but it observes higher laws than 
it transgresses, the laws of the immortal intellect ; it is try 
ing and developing its best faculties ; and in the objects 
which it describes, or in the emotions which it awakens, an 
ticipates those states of progressive power, splendour, beauty, 
and happiness for which it was created. 

We accordingly believe that poetry, far from injuring so 
ciety, is one of the great instruments of its refinement and 
exaltation. It lifts the mind above ordinary life, gives it a 
respite from, depressing cares, and awakens the conscious 
ness of its affinity with what is pure and noble. In its legiti 
mate and highest efforts, it has the same tendency and aim 
with Christianity ; that is, to spiritualize our nature. True, 
poetry has been made the instrument of vice, the pander of 
bad passions ; but, when genius thus stoops, it dims its fires, 
and parts with much of its power; and, even when poetry is 
enslaved to licentiousness or misanthropy, she cannot wholly 
forget her true vocation. Strains of pure feeling, touches of 
tenderness, images of innocent happiness, sympathies with 
suffering virtue, bursts of scorn or indignation at the hollow- 
ness of the world, passages true to our moral nature, often 
escape in an immoral work, and show us how hard it is for 
a gifted spirit to divorce itself wholly from what is good. 
Poetry has a natural alliance with our best affections. It 
delights in the beauty and sublimity of the outward creation 
and of the soul. It indeed portrays with terrible energy 
the excesses of the passions ; but they are passions which 
show a mighty nature, which are full of power, which com 
mand awe, and excite a deep though shuddering sympathy. 
Its great tendency and purpose is to carry the mind beyond 


and above the beaten, dusty, weary walks of ordinary life ; 
to lift it into a purer element ; and to breathe into it more 
profound and generous emotion. It reveals to us the love 
liness of nature, brings back the freshness of early feeling, 
revives the relish of simple pleasures, keeps unquenched the 
enthusiasm which warmed the springtime of our being, re 
fines youthful love, strengthens our interest in human nature 
by vivid delineations of its tenderest and loftiest feelings, 
spreads our sympathies over all classes of society, knits us 
by new ties with universal being, and, through the brightness 
of its prophetic visions, helps faith to lay hold on the future 
life. . . . 

In delineating Milton's character as a poet, we are saved 
the necessity of looking far for its distinguishing attributes. 
His name is almost identified with sublimity. He is in truth 
the sublimest of men. He rises, not by effort or discipline, 
but by a native tendency and a godlike instinct, to the con 
templation of objects of grandeur and awfulness. He always 
moves with a conscious energy. There is no subject so vast 
or terrific as to repel or intimidate him. The overpower 
ing grandeur of a theme kindles and attracts him. He en 
ters on the description of the infernal regions with a fearless 
tread, as if he felt within himself a power to erect the prison- 
house of fallen spirits, to encircle them with flames and hor 
rors worthy of their crimes, to call forth from them shouts 
which should " tear hell's concave," and to embody in their 
chief an archangel's energies, and a demon's pride and 
hate. Even the stupendous conception of Satan seems nev 
er to oppress his faculties. This character of power runs 
through all Milton's works. His descriptions of nature show 
a free and bold hand. He has no need of the minute, 
graphic skill which we prize in Cowper or Crabbe. With a 
few strong or delicate touches, he impresses, as it were, his 
own mind on the scenes which he would describe, and kin 
dles the imagination of the gifted reader to clothe them with 


the same radiant hues under which they appeared to his 

This attribute of power is universally felt to character 
ize Milton. His sublimity is in every man's mouth. Is it 
felt that his poetry breathes a sensibility and tenderness 
hardly surpassed by its sublimity? We apprehend that the 
grandeur of Milton's mind has thrown some shade over his 
milder beauties ; and this it has done, not only by being 
more striking and imposing, but by the tendency of vast 
mental energy to give a certain calmness to the expression 
of tenderness and deep feeling. A great mind is the mas 
ter of its own enthusiasm, and does not often break out 
into those tumults which pass with many for the signs of 
profound emotion. Its sensibility, though more intense 
and enduring, is more self-possessed and less perturbed 
than that of other men, and is therefore less observed and 
felt, except by those who understand, through their own 
consciousness, the workings and utterance of genuine feel 
ing. . . . 

We should not fulfil our duty were we not to say one word 
on what has been justly celebrated, the harmony of Milton's 
versification. His numbers have the prime charm of ex 
pressiveness. They vary with, and answer to, the depth or 
tenderness or sublimity of his conceptions, and hold inti 
mate alliance with the soul. Like Michael Angelo, in whose 
hands the marble was said to be flexible, he bends our lan 
guage, which foreigners reproach with hardness, into what 
ever forms the subject demands. All the treasures of sweet 
and solemn sound are at his command. Words, harsh and 
discordant in the writings of less gifted men, flow through 
his poetry in a full stream of harmony. This power over 
language is not to be ascribed to Milton's musical ear. It 
belongs to the soul. It is a gift or exercise of genius, which 
has power to impress itself on whatever it touches, and finds 
or frames, in sounds, motions, and material forms, corre- 


spondences and harmonies with its own fervid thoughts and 

We close our remarks on Milton's poetry with observing 
that it is characterized by seriousness. Great and various 
as are its merits, it does not discover all the variety of genius 
which we find in Shakspeare, whose imagination revelled 
equally in regions of mirth, beauty, and terror, now evoking 
spectres, now sporting with fairies, and now " ascending the 
highest heaven of invention." Milton was cast on times too 
solemn and eventful, was called to take part in transactions 
too perilous, and had too perpetual need of the presence of 
high thoughts and motives, to indulge himself in light and 
gay creations, even had his genius been more flexible and 
sportive. But Milton's poetry, though habitually serious, is 
always healthful and bright and vigorous. It has no gloom. 
He took no pleasure in drawing dark pictures of life; for 
he knew by experience that there is a power in the soul to 
transmute calamity into an occasion and nutriment of moral 
power and triumphant virtue. We find nowhere in his writ 
ings that whining sensibility and exaggeration of morbid 
feeling which makes so much of modern poetry effeminat 
ing. If he is not gay, he is not spirit-broken. His IS Allegro 
proves that he understood thoroughly the bright and joy 
ous aspects of nature; and in his Penseroso, where he was 
tempted to accumulate images of gloom, we learn that the 
saddest views which he took of creation are such as inspire 
only pensive musing or lofty contemplation. . . . 

We now leave the writings of Milton to offer a few remarks 
on his moral qualities. His moral character was as strongly 
marked as his intellectual, and it may be expressed in one 
word, magnanimity. It was in harmony with his poetry. 
He had a passionate love of the higher, more commanding, 
and majestic virtues, and fed his youthful mind with medita 
tions on the perfection of a human being. In a letter written 
to an Italian friend before his thirtieth year, and translated 


by Hayley, we have this vivid picture of his aspirations after 
virtue : 

" As to other points, what God may have determined for 
me I know not; but this I know, that if he ever instilled an 
intense love of moral beauty into the breast of any man, he 
has instilled it into mine. Ceres, in the fable, pursued not 
her daughter with a greater keenness of inquiry than I day 
and night the idea of perfection. Hence, wherever I find a 
man despising the false estimates of the vulgar, and daring 
to aspire, in sentiment, language, and conduct, to what the 
highest wisdom, through every age, has taught us as most 
excellent, to him I unite myself by a sort of necessary attach 
ment ; and if I am so influenced by nature or destiny that 
by no exertion or labours of my own I may exalt myself to 
this summit of worth and honour, yet no powers of heaven or 
earth will hinder me from looking with reverence and affec 
tion upon those who have thoroughly attained this glory, or 
appeared engaged in the successful pursuit of it." 

His Comus was written in his twenty-sixth year, and on 
reading this exquisite work our admiration is awakened, 
not so much by observing how the whole spirit of poetry 
had descended on him at that early age, as by witnessing 
how his whole youthful soul was penetrated, awed, and lifted 
up by the austere charms, " the radiant light," the invincible 
power, the celestial peace of saintly virtue. He reverenced 
moral purity and elevation, not only for its own sake, but as 
the inspirer of intellect, and especially of the higher efforts 
of poetry. " I was confirmed," he says, in his usual noble 
style, " I was confirmed in this opinion : that he who would 
not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laud 
able things, ought himself to be a true poem ; that is, a com 
position and pattern of the best and honourablest things ; not 
presuming to sing of high praises of heroic men or famous 
cities, unless he have in himself the experience and the prac 
tice of all that which is praiseworthy." 


We learn from his works that he used his multifarious 
reading to build up within himself this reverence for virtue. 
Ancient history, the sublime musings of Plato, and the heroic 
self-abandonment of chivalry, joined their influences with 
prophets and apostles in binding him "everlastingly in will 
ing homage" to the great, the honourable, and the lovely in 
character. A remarkable passage to this effect, we quote 
from his account of his youth : 

"I betook me among those lofty fables and romances, 
which recount, in solemn cantos, the deeds of knighthood 
founded by our victorious kings, and from hence had in 
renown over all Christendom. There I read it in the oath 
of every knight, that he should defend to the expense of his 
best blood or of his life, if it so befell him, the honour and 
chastity of virgin or matron ; from whence even then I 
learned what a noble virtue chastity sure must be, to the 
defence of which so many worthies by such a clear adventure 
of themselves had sworn. ... So that even these, books 
which to many others have been the fuel of wantonness and 
loose living, I cannot think how, unless by divine indulgence, 
proved to me so many incitements, as you have heard, to the 
love and steadfast observation of virtue " (vol. i. pp. 238, 


All Milton's habits were expressive of a refined and self- 
denying character. When charged by his unprincipled slan 
derers with licentious habits, he thus gives an account of his 
morning hours : 

"Those morning haunts are where they should be, at 
home ; not sleeping, or concocting the surfeits of an irreg 
ular feast, but up and stirring, in winter often ere the sound 
of any bell awake men to labour or devotion ; in summer as 
oft with the bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to 
read good authors, or cause them to be read, till the attention 
be weary or memory have its full fraught ; then with useful 
and generous labours preserving the body's health and hardi- 


ness, to render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedience 
to the mind, to the cause of religion, and our country's lib 
erty, when it shall require firm hearts in sound bodies to 
stand and cover their stations, rather than to see the ruin 
of our protestation and the enforcement of a slavish life" 
(vol. i. p. 233). 

We have enlarged on the strictness and loftiness of Mil 
ton's virtue, not only from our interest in the subject, but 
that we may put to shame and silence those men who make 
genius an apology for vice, and take the sacred fire, kindled 
by God within them, to inflame men's passions and to min 
ister to a vile sensuality. 

We see Milton's greatness of mind in his fervent and con 
stant attachment to liberty. Freedom, in all its forms and 
branches, was dear to him, but especially freedom of thought 
and speech, of conscience and worship, freedom to seek, pro 
fess, and propagate truth. The liberty of ordinary politi 
cians, which protects men's outward rights and removes 
restraints from the pursuit of property and outward good, 
fell very short of that for which Milton lived and was ready 
to die. The tyranny which he hated most was that which 
broke the intellectual and moral power of the community. 
The worst feature of the institutions which he assailed was, 
that they fettered the mind. He felt within himself that 
the human mind had a principle of perpetual growth, that 
it was essentially diffusive and made for progress, and he 
wished every chain broken, that it might run the race of 
truth and virtue with increasing ardour and success. This 
attachment to a spiritual and refined freedom, which never 
forsook him in the hottest controversies, contributed greatly 
to protect his genius, imagination, taste, and sensibility, 
from the withering and polluting influences of public station 
and of the rage of parties. It threw a hue of poetry over 
politics, and gave a sublime reference to his service of the 
commonwealth. The fact that Milton,' in that stormy day, 


and amidst the trials of public office, kept his high faculties 
undepraved, was a proof of no common greatness. Politics, 
however they make the intellect active, sagacious, and inven 
tive, within a certain sphere, generally extinguish its thirst 
for universal truth, paralyze sentiment and imagination, cor 
rupt the simplicity of the mind, destroy that confidence in 
human virtue which lies at the foundation of philanthropy 
and generous sacrifices, and end in cold and prudent selfish 
ness. Milton passed through a revolution, which, in its last 
stages and issue, was peculiarly fitted to damp enthusiasm, 
to scatter the visions of hope, and to infuse doubts of the 
reality of virtuous principle ; and yet the ardour, and moral 
feeling, and enthusiasm of his youth came forth unhurt, and 
even exalted, from the trial. 

Before quitting the subject of Milton's devotion to liberty, 
it ought to be recorded that he wrote his celebrated De 
fence of the People of England after being distinctly fore 
warned by his physicians that the effect of this exertion 
would be the utter loss of sight. His reference to this part 
of his history, in a short poetical effusion, is too character 
istic to be withheld. It is inscribed to Cyriac Skinner, the 
friend to whom he appears to have confided his lately dis 
covered Treatise on Christian Doctrine. 

" Cyriac, this three years day these eyes, though clear, 
To outward view, of blemish or of spot, 
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot, 
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear 
Of sun or moon or star throughout the year, 
Or man or woman. Yet I argue not 
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot 
Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer 
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? 
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied 
In Liberty's defence, my noble task, 
Of which all Europe rings from side to side. 
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask, 
Content though blind, had I no better guide." 


We see Milton's magnanimity in the circumstances under 
which Paradise Lost was written. It was not in prosper 
ity, in honour, and amidst triumphs, but in disappointment, 
desertion, and in what the world calls disgrace, that he com 
posed that work. The cause with which he had identified 
himself had failed. His friends were scattered ; liberty was 
trodden under foot ; and her devoted champion was a by 
word among the triumphant Royalists. But it is the prerog 
ative of true greatness to glorify itself in adversity, and to 
meditate and execute vast enterprises in defeat. Milton, 
fallen in outward condition, afflicted with blindness, disap 
pointed in his best hopes, applied himself with character 
istic energy to the sublimest achievement of intellect, sol 
acing himself with great thoughts, with splendid creations, 
and with a prophetic confidence that, however neglected in 
his own age, he was framing in his works a bond of union 
and fellowship with the illustrious spirits of a brighter day. 
We delight to contemplate him in his retreat and last years. 
To the passing spectator he seemed fallen and forsaken, and 
his blindness was reproached as a judgment from God. But 
though sightless, he lived in light. His inward eye ranged 
through universal nature, and his imagination shed on it 
brighter beams than the sun. Heaven and hell and para 
dise were open to him. He visited past ages, and gathered 
round him ancient sages and heroes, prophets and apostles, 
brave knights and gifted bards. As he looked forward, 
ages of liberty dawned and rose to his view, and he felt 
that he was about to bequeath to them an inheritance of 
genius, "which would not fade away," and was to live 
in the memory, reverence, and love of remotest genera 
tions. . . . 

We here close our general remarks on Milton's intellect 
ual and moral qualities. We venerate him as a man of 
genius, but still more as a man of magnanimity and Chris 
tian virtue, who regarded genius and poetry as sacred gifts, 


imparted to him, not to amuse men or to build up a reputa- 
tation, but that he might quicken and call forth what was 
great and divine in his fellow-creatures, and might secure 
the only true fame, the admiration of minds which his writ 
ings were to kindle and exalt. 


Milton ! thou shouldst be living at this hour : 

England hath need of thee ; she is a fen 

Of stagnant waters ; altar, sword, and pen, 

Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower, 

Have forfeited their ancient English dower 

Of inward happiness. We are selfish men ; 

Oh ! raise us up, return to us again ; 

And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. 

Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart ; 

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea ; 

Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free, 

So didst thou travel on life's common way, 

In cheerful godliness ; and yet thy heart 

The lowliest duties on herself did lay. 




THIS is the month and this the happy morn, 
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King, 
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born, 
Our great redemption from above did bring; 
For so the holy sages once did sing 
That he our deadly forfeit should release, 
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace. 


That glorious form, that light unsuflferable, 
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty, 
Wherewith he wont at heaven's high council-table 
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity, 
He laid aside ; and, here with us to be, 
Forsook the courts of everlasting day, 
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. 


Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 
Afford a present to the Infant God? 


Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain 
To welcome him to this his new abode, 
Now while the heaven, by the Sun's team untrod, 
Hath took no print of the approaching light, 
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons 
bright ? 


See how from far upon the eastern road 
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet! 
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, 
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet! 
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, 
And join thy voice unto the angel quire, 
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallo w'd fire. 


It was the winter wild, 
While the heaven-born child 

All meanly wrapp'd in the rude manger lies ; 
Nature in awe to him 
Had dofF'd her gaudy trim, 

With her great Master so to sympathize : 
It was no season then for her 
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour. 

Only with speeches fail- 
She woos the gentle air 

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow, 
And on her naked shame, 
Pollute with sinful blame, 


The saintly veil of maiden white to throw, 
Confounded that her Maker's eyes 
Should look so near upon her foul deformities. 


But he her fears to cease 

Sent down the meek-eyed Peace ; 

She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding 
Down through the turning sphere, 
His ready harbinger, 

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing ; 50 

And, waving wide her myrtle wand, 
She strikes a universal peace through sea and land. 


No war or battle's sound 
Was heard the world around : 

The idle spear and shield were high uphung, 
The hooked chariot stood 
Unstain'd with hostile blood, 

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ; 
And kings sat still with awful eye, 
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 6 


But peaceful was the night 
Wherein the Prince of Light 

His reign of peace upon the earth began. 
The winds with wonder whist 
Smoothly the waters kiss'd, 

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean, 
Who now hath quite forgot to rave, 
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave. 



The stars with deep amaze 

Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze, 7 o 

Bending one way their precious influence, 
And will not take their flight, 
For all the morning light, 

Or Lucifer that often warnVl them thence, 
But in their glimmering orbs did glow 
Until their Lord himself bespake and bid them go. 


And, though the shady gloom 
Had given day her room, 

The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed, 
And hid his head for shame, 8o 

As his inferior flame 

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need ; 
He saw a greater Sun appear 
Than his bright throne or burning axletree could bear. 


The shepherds on the lawn, 
Or ere the point of dawn, 

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row ; 
Full little thought they than 
That the mighty Pan 

Was kindly come to live with them below ; 90 

Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep, 
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. 


When such music sweet 

Their hearts and ears did greet 

As never was by mortal finger strook, 


Divinely-warbled voice 
Answering the stringed noise, 

As all their souls in blissful rapture took : 
The air, such pleasure loath to lose, 
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close. 

Nature, that heard such sound 
Beneath the hollow round 

Of Cynthia's seat the airy region thrilling, 
Now was almost won 
To think her part was done, 

And that her reign had here its last fulfilling; 
She knew such harmony alone 
Could hold all heaven and earth in happier union. 


At last surrounds their sight 
A globe of circular light, 

That with long beams the shamefac'd Night array'd ; 
The helmed Cherubim 
And sworded Seraphim 

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd, 
Harping in loud and solemn quire, 
With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born Heir. 


Such music, as 'tis said, 
Before was never made, 

But when of old the Sons of Morning sung, 
While the Creator great 
His constellations set, 

And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung, 
And cast the dark foundations deep, 
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep. 




Ring out, ye crystal spheres ! 
Once bless our human ears, 

If ye have power to touch our senses so j 
And let your silver chime 
Move in melodious time, 

And let the bass of heaven's deep organ blow ; 
And with your ninefold harmony 
Make up full consort to the angelic symphony. 


For if such holy song 
Inwrap our fancy long, 

Time will run back and fetch the age of gold ; 
And speckled Vanity 
Will sicken soon and die, 

And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould ; 
And hell itself will pass away, 
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day. 


Yea, Truth and Justice then 
Will down return to men, 

Orb'd in a rainbow ; and, like glories wearing, 
Mercy will sit between, 
Thron'd in celestial sheen, 

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering 
And heaven, as at some festival, 
Will open wide the gates of her high palace-hall. 


But wisest Fate says, No, 
This must not yet be so ; 

The babe yet lies in smiling infancy 




Til/': HYMN. 45 

That on the bitter cross 
Must redeem our loss, 

So both himself and us to glorify; 
Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep, 

The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the 


With such a horrid clang 
As on Mount Sinai rang, 

While the red fire and smouldering clouds outbrake : 
The aged Earth, aghast 160 

With terror of that blast, 

Shall from the surface to the centre shake, 
When at. the world's last session 
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his throne. 


And then at last our bliss 
Full and perfect is, 

But now begins ; for from this happy day 
The old Dragon under ground, 
In straiter limits bound, 

Not half so far casts his usurped sway, i 70 

And, wroth to see his kingdom fail, 
Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail. 


The oracles are dumb ; 
No voice or hideous hum 

Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. 
Apollo from his shrine 
Can no more divine, 

With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. 


No nightly trance or breathed spell 

Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell. j8 


The lonely mountains o'er, 
And the resounding shore, 

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament ; 
From haunted spring and dale 
Edg'd with poplar pale, 

The parting Genius is with sighing sent ; 
With flower-inwoven tresses torn 
The Nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn. 


In consecrated earth, 

And on the holy hearth, 19 

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint ; 
In urns and altars round, 
A drear and dying sound 

Affrights the flamens at their service quaint ; 
And the chill marble seems to sweat, 
While each peculiar power foregoes his wonted seat. 


Peor and Baalim 

Forsake their temples dim, 

With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine j 
And mooned Ashtaroth, 20 

Heaven's queen and mother both, 

Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine j 
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn ; 
In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn. 


And sullen Moloch, fled, 
Hath left in shadows dread 


His burning idol all of blackest hue ; 
In vain with cymbals' ring 
They call the grisly king, 

In dismal dance about the furnace blue : 210 

The brutish gods of Nile as fast, 
Isis and Orus and the dog Anubis, haste. 


Nor is Osiris seen 

In Memphian grove or green, 

Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud ; 
Nor can he be at rest 
Within his sacred chest ; 

Nought but profoundest hell can be his shroud ; 
In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark 
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipp'd ark. 220 


He feels from Juda's land 
The dreaded Infant's hand, 

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyne ; 
Nor all the gods beside 
Longer clare abide, 

Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine : 
Our Babe, to show his Godhead true, 
Can in his swaddling bands control the damned crew. 


So when the sun in bed, 

Curtain'd with cloudy red, 230 

Pillows his chin upon an orient wave, 
The flocking shadows pale 
Troop to the infernal jail, 

Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave, 
And the yellow-skirted fays 
Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-lov'd maze. 



But see ! the Virgin blest 
Hath laid her Babe to rest. 

Time is our tedious song should here have ending : 
Heaven's youngest-teemed star 240 

Hath fix'd her polish'd car, 

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending; 
And all about the courtly stable 
Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable. 


WHAT needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones 

The labour of an age in piled stones ? 

Or that his hallow'd reliqnes 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 livelong monument. 

For whilst to the shame of slow-endeavouring art 

Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart I0 

Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book 

Those Delphic 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. 



THIS rich marble doth inter 
The honour'd wife of Winchester, 
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir, 
Besides what her virtues fair 
Added to her noble birth, 
More than she could own from earth. 
Summers three times eight save one 
She had told ; alas ! too soon, 
After so short time of breath, 

To house with darkness and with death. ,. 

Yet, had the number of her days 
Been as complete as was her praise, 
Nature and Fate had had no strife 
In giving limit to her life. 
Her hi;h birth and her graces sweet 
Quickly found a lover meet ; 
The virgin quire for her request 
The god that sits at marriage-feast ; 
He at their invoking came, 

But with a scarce well-lighted flame ; m 

And in his garland as he stood 
Ye might discern a cypress-bud. 
Once had the early matrons run 
To greet her of a lovely son, 
And now with second hope she goes, 
And calls Lucina to her throes ; 
But, whether by mischance or blame 
Atropos for Lucina came, 
And with remorseless cruelty 

Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree. 30 

The hapless babe before his birth 
Had burial, yet not laid in earth, 


And the languish'd mother's womb 

Was not long a living tomb. 

So have I seen some tender slip, 

Sav'd with care from winter's nip, 

The pride of her carnation train, 

Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain, 

Who only thought to crop the flower 

New shot up from vernal shower ; 

But the fair blossom hangs the head 

Sideways, as on a dying bed, 

And those pearls of dew she wears 

Prove to be presaging tears 

Which the sad morn had let fall 

On her hastening funeral. 

Gentle lady, may thy grave 

Peace and quiet ever have ! 

After this thy travail sore 

Sweet rest seize thee evermore, 

That, to give the world increase, 

Shorten'd hast thy own life's lease! 

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 hearse to strew 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 serv'd for her before, 

And at her next birth much like thee 

ON TIME. 5! 

Through pangs fled to felicity, 

Far within the bosom bright 

Of blazing Majesty and Light: 70 

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. 


FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race : 
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping Hours, 
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace ; 
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours, 
Which is no more than what is false and vain, 
And merely mortal dross ; 
So little is our loss, 
So little is thy gain ! 

For whenas each thing bad thou hast intomb'd, 
And last of all thy greedy self consum'd, 
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss 
With an individual kiss; 
And joy shall overtake us as a flood, 
When every thing that is sincerely good 
And perfectly divine, 

With truth and peace and love, shall ever shine 
About the supreme throne 
Of Him, to whose happy-making sight alone 
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb, 
Then, all this earthly grossness quit, 
Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit, 
Triumphing over Death and Chance and thee, 
O Time ! 

S 2 



BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heaven's joy, 

Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse, 

Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ, 

Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce ; 

And to our high-rais'd phantasy present 

That undisturbed song of pure concent, 

Aye sung before the sapphire-colour' d throne 

To Him that sits thereon, 

With saintly shout and solemn jubilee, 

Where the bright Seraphim in burning row 

Their loud uplifted angel-trumpets blow, 

And the Cherubic host in thousand quires 

Touch their immortal harps of golden wires, 

With those just Spirits that wear victorious palms, 

Hymns devout and holy psalms 

Singing everlastingly: 

That we on earth with undiscording voice 

May rightly answer that melodious noise; 

As once we did, till clisproportion'd sin 

Jarr'd against nature's chime, and with harsh din 

Broke the fair music that all creatures made 

To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd 

In perfect diapason, whilst they stood 

In first obedience and their state of good. 

O, may we soon again renew that song, 

And keep in tune with heaven, till God ere long 

To his celestial consort us unite, 

To live with him and sing in endless morn of light! 




Now the bright morning star, clay'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. 
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. 


HENCE, loathed Melancholy, 

Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born 
In Stygian cave forlorn, 

'Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks and sights unholy! 
Find out some uncouth cell, 

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings 
And the night-raven sings ; 

There under ebon shades and low-brow'd rocks, 
As ragged as thy locks, 

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. 
But come, thou goddess fair and free, 
In heaven yclept Euphrosyne, 
And by men heart-easing Mirth, 
Whom lovely Venus, at a birth 
With two sister Graces more, 
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore ; 
Or whether as some sager sing 
The frolic wind that breathes the spring, 



Zephyr, with Aurora playing 

As he met her once a-Maying, 

There, on beds of violets blue 

And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew, 

Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair, 

So buxom, blithe, and debonair. 

Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee 

Jest and youthful Jollity, 

Quips and cranks and wanton wiles, 

Nods and becks and wreathed smiles, 

Such as hang on Hebe's cheek 

And love to live in dimple sleek ; 

Sport that wrinkled Care derides, 

And Laughter holding both his sides. 

Come, and trip it as you go, 

On the light fantastic toe ; 

And in thy right hand lead with thee 

The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty; 

And if I give thee honour due, 

Mirth, admit me of thy crew, 

To live with her and live with thee, 

In unreproved pleasures free; 

To hear the lark begin his flight, 

And singing startle the dull night, 

From his watch-tower in the skies, 

Till the dappled dawn doth rise; 

Then to come in spite of sorrow, 

And at my window bid good-morrow, 

Through the sweet-briar or the vine, 

Or the twisted eglantine : 

While the cock with lively din 

Scatters the rear of darkness thin, 

And to the stack or the barn-door 

Stoutly struts his dames before : 

Oft listening how the hounds and horn 


i: ALLEGRO. 55 

Cheerly rouse the slumbering Morn, 

From the side of some hoar hill, 

Through the high wood echoing shrill: 

Sometime walking, not unseen, 

By hedgerow elms, on hillocks green, 

Right against the eastern gate 

Where the great Sun begins his state, 60 

Rob'd in flames and amber light, 

The clouds in thousand liveries dight; 

While the ploughman near at hand 

Whistles o'er the furrow'd land, 

And the milkmaid singeth blithe, 

And the mower whets his scythe, 

And every shepherd tells his tale 

Under the hawthorn in the dale. 

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures 

Whilst the landscape round it measures: 70 

Russet lawns and fallows gray, 

Where the nibbling flocks do stray; 

Mountains on whose barren breast 

The labouring clouds do often rest ; 

Meadows trim with daisies pied, 

Shallow brooks and rivers wide; 

Towers and battlements it sees 

Bosom'd high in tufted trees, 

Where perhaps some beauty lies, 

The cynosure of neighbouring eyes. &> 

Hard by a cottage chimney smokes 

From betwixt two aged oaks, 

Where Corydon and Thyrsis met 

Are at their savoury dinner set 

Of herbs and other country messes, 

Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; 

And then in haste her bower she leaves^ 

With Thestylis to bind the sheaves, 


Or, if the earlier season lead, 

To the tann'd haycock in the mead. 

Sometimes with secure delight 

The upland hamlets will invite, 

When the merry bells ring round, 

And the jocund rebecks sound 

To many a youth and many a maid 

Dancing in the chequer'd shade, 

And young and old come forth to play 

On a sunshine holiday, 

Till the livelong daylight fail: 

Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, 

With stories told of many a feat, 

How fairy Mab the junkets eat. 

She was pinch'd and pull'd, she said, 

And he, by Friar's lantern led, 

Tells how the drudging goblin sweat 

To earn his cream-bowl duly set, 

When in one night, ere glimpse of morn, 

His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn 

That ten day-labourers could not end ; 

Then lies him down the lubber fiend, 

And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length, 

Basks at the fire his hairy strength, 

And crop-full out of doors he flings 

Ere the first cock his matin rings. 

Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, 

By whispering winds soon luil'd asleep. 

Tower'd cities please us then, 

And the busy hum of men, 

Where throngs of knights and barons bold 

In weeds of peace high triumphs hold, 

With store of ladies, whose bright eyes 

Rain influence and judge the prize 

Of wit or arms, while both contend 

L 1 ALLEGRO. 57 

To win her grace whom all commend. 

There let Hymen oft appear 

In saffron robe, with taper clear, 

And pomp and feast and revelry, 

With mask and antique pageantry, 

Such sights as youthful poets dream 

On summer eves by haunted stream. IJO 

Then to the well-trod stage anon, 

If Jonson's learned sock be on, 

Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, 

Warble his native wood-notes wild. 

And ever, against eating cares, 

.Lap me in soft Lydian airs, 

Married to immortal verse, 

Such as the meeting soul may pierce, 

In notes with many a winding bout 

Of linked sweetness long drawn out 140 

With wanton heed and giddy cunning, 

The melting voice through mazes running, 

Untwisting all the chains that tie 

The hidden soul of harmony ; 

That Orpheus' self may heave his head 

From golden slumber on a bed 

Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear 

Such strains as would have won the ear 

Of Pluto to have quite set free 

His half-regain'd Eurydice. i5 o 

These delights if thou canst give,, 

Mirth, with thee I mean to live. 



HENCE, vain deluding Joys, 

The brood of Folly without father bred ! 
How little you bestead, 

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys ! 
Dwell in some idle brain, 

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, 
As thick and numberless 

As the gay motes that people the sunbeams, 
Or likest hovering dreams, 

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train. , 

But hail, thou goddess sage and holy, 
Hail, divinest Melancholy! 
Whose saintly visage is too bright 
To hit the sense of human sight, 
And therefore to our weaker view 
O'erlaid wjth black, staid Wisdom's hue; 
Black, but such as in esteem 
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem, 
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove 
To set her beauty's praise above 20 

The Sea-Nymphs, and their powers offended. 
Yet thou art higher far descended: 
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore 
To solitary Saturn bore ; 
His daughter she in Saturn's reign 
Such mixture was not held a stain. 
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades 
He met her, and in secret shades 
Of woody Ida's inmost grove, 

While yet there was no fear of Jove. 30 

Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, 
Sober, steadfast, and demure, 



All in a robe of darkest grain, 

Flowing with majestic train, 

And sable stole of cypress lawn 

Over thy decent shoulders drawn. 

Come, but keep thy wonted state, 

With even step and musing gait, 

And looks commercing with the skies, 

Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes : 40 

There, held in holy passion still, 

Forget thyself to marble, till 

With a sad leaden downward cast 

Thou fix them on the earth as fast. 

And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet, 

Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, 

And hears the Muses in a ring 

Aye round about Jove's altar sing : 

And add to these retired Leisure, 

That in trim gardens takes his pleasure \ so 

But, first and chiefest, with thee bring 

Him that yon soars on golden wing, 

Guiding the fiery- wheeled throne, 

The Cherub Contemplation ; 

And the mute Silence hist along, 

'Less Philomel will deign a song 

In her sweetest, saddest plight, 

Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, 

While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke 

Gently o'er the accustom'd oak; 6c 

Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, 

Most musical, most melancholy ! 

Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among 

I woo, to hear thy even-song ; 

And, missing thee, I walk unseen 

On the dry smooth-shaven green, 

To behold the wandering moon, 


Riding near her highest noon, 

Like one that had been led astray 

Through the heaven's wide pathless way, 

And oft, as if her head she bow'd, 

Stooping through a fleecy cloud. 

Oft on a plat of rising ground, 

I hear the far-off curfew sound 

Over some wide-water'd shore, 

Swinging slow with sullen roar; 

Or if the air will not permit, 

Some still removed place will fit, 

Where glowing embers through the room 

Teach light to counterfeit a gloom; 

Far from all resort of mirth, 

Save the cricket on the hearth, 

Or the bellman's drowsy charm 

To bless the doors from nightly harm. 

Or let my lamp at midnight hour 

Be seen in some high lonely tower, 

Where I may oft outwatch the Bear, 

With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere 

The spirit of Piato, to unfold 

What worlds or what vast regions hold 9 

The immortal mind that hath forsook 

Her mansion in this fleshly nook ; 

And of those demons that are found 

In fire, air, flood, or under ground, 

Whose power hath a true consent 

With planet or with element. 

Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy 

In sceptred pall come sweeping by, 

Presenting Thebes or Pelops' line, 

Or the tale of Troy divine, I0 

Or what though rare of later age 

Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage. 


But, O sad virgin, that thy power 

Might raise Musaeus from his bower, 

Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing 

Such notes as, warbled to the string, 

Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek, 

And made Hell grant what love did seek! 

Or call up him that left half-told 

The story of Cambuscan bold, 

Of Camball and of Algarsife, 

And who had Canace to wife, 

That own'd the virtuous ring and glass, 

And of the wondrous horse of brass 

On which the Tartar king did ride; 

And if aught else great bards beside 

In sage and solemn tunes have sung, 

Of turneys and of trophies hung, 

Of forests and enchantments drear, 

Where more is meant than meets the ear. 

Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career, 

Till civil-suited Morn appear, 

Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont 

With the Attic boy to hunt, 

But kerchiefd in a comely cloud, 

While rocking winds are piping loud, 

Or usher'd with a shower still, 

When the gust hath blown his fill, 

Ending on the rustling leaves 

With minute-drops from off the eaves. 

And when the sun begins to fling 

His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring 

To arched walks of twilight groves, 

And shadows brown that Silvan loves 

Of pine or monumental oak, 

Where the rude axe with heaved stroke 

Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt, 



Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt. 

There in close covert by some brook, 

Where no profaner eye may look, 

Hide me from day's garish eye, 

While the bee with honey'd thigh, 

That at her flowery work doth sing, 

And the waters murmuring, 

With such consort as they keep, 

Entice the dewy-feather'd Sleep ; 

And let some strange mysterious dream 

Wave at his wings in airy stream 

Of lively portraiture display'd, 

Softly on my eyelids laid. 

And, as I wake, sweet music breathe 

Above, about, or underneath, 

Sent by some spirit to mortals good, 

Or the unseen Genius of the wood. 

But let my due feet never fail 

To walk the studious cloister's pale, 

And love the high embowed roof, 

With antique pillars massy-proof, 

And storied windows richly dight, 

Casting a dim religious light. 

There let the pealing organ blow 

To the full-voic'd quire below, 

In service high and anthems clear, 

As may with sweetness, through mine ear, 

Dissolve me into ecstasies, 

And bring all heaven before mine eyes. 

And may at last my weary age 

Find out the peaceful hermitage, 

The hairy gown and mossy cell, 

Where I may sit and rightly spell 

Of every star that heaven doth show, 

And every herb that sips the dew, 





Till old experience do attain 
To something like prophetic strain. 
These pleasures, Melancholy, give, 
And I with thee will choose to live. 


Part of an Entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby, at 
Harefield, by some noble persons of her family ; who appear on the scene 
in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state, witJi this Song. 


LOOK, nymphs and shepherds, look ! 
What sudden blaze of majesty 
Is that which we from hence descry, 
Too divine to be mistook? 

This, this is she 

To whom our vows and wishes bend ; 
Here our solemn search hath end. 

Fame, that her high worth to raise, 

Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse, 

We may justly now accuse 10 

Of detraction from her praise; 

Less than half we find express'd, 

Envy bid conceal the rest. 

Mark what radiant state she spreads 
In circle round her shining throne, 
Shooting her beams like silver threads : 
This, this is she alone, 

Sitting like a goddess bright 

In the centre of her light. 


Might she the wise Latona be, a 

Or the tower'd Cybele, 
Mother of a hundred Gods? 
Juno dares not give her odds; 

Who had thought this clime had held 

A deity so unparallel'd ? 

As they come forward the GENIUS of the wood appears, and, 
turning toward them, speaks. 

Genius. Stay, gentle swains, for, though in this disguise, 
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes; 
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung 
Of that renowned flood so often sung, 

Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluice 3 

Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse; 
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood, 
Fair silver-buskin'd nymphs, as great and good, 
I know this quest of yours and free intent 
Was all in honour and devotion meant 
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine, 
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine, 
And with all helpful service will comply 
To further this night's glad solemnity, 

And lead ye where ye may more near behold 

What shallow-searching Fame has left untold; 
Which I full oft, amidst these shades alone, 
Have sat to wonder at and gaze upon : 
For know, by lot from Jove I am the power 
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower, 
To nurse the saplings tall, and curl the grove 
With ringlets quaint and wanton windings wove ; 
And all my plants I save from nightly ill 
Of noisome winds and blasting vapours chill : 
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew, 5 

And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue, 


Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites, 
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites. 
When evening gray doth rise, I fetch my round 
Over the mount and all this hallow'd ground ; 
And early, ere the odorous breath of morn 
Awakes the slumbering leaves or tassell'd horn 
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about, 
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout 
With puissant words and murmurs made to bless. 60 

But else, in deep of night when drowsiness 
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I 
To the celestial Sirens' harmony, 
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres, 
And sing to those that hold the vital shears, 
And turn the adamantine spindle round 
On which the fate of gods and men is wound. 
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie, 
To lull the daughters of Necessity, 

And keep unsteady Nature to her law, j 

And the low world in measur'd motion draw 
After the heavenly tune which none can hear 
Of human mould with gross unpurged ear; 
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze 
The peerless height of her immortal praise 
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit, 
If my inferior hand or voice could hit 
Inimitable sounds. Yet, as we go, 
Whate'er the skill of lesser gods can show 
I will assay, her worth to celebrate, So 

And so attend ye toward her glittering state; 
Where ye may all that are of noble stem 
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem. 



O'er the smooth enamelTd green 
Where no print of step hath been, 

Follow me, as I sing 

And touch the warbled string. 
Under the shady roof 
Of branching elm star-proof, 

Follow me. 90 

I will bring you where she sits, 
Clad in splendour as befits 

Her deity. 
Such a rural queen 
All Arcadia hath not seen. 


Nymphs and shepherds, dance no more 

By sandy Ladon's lilied banks; 
On old Lycaeus or Cyllene hoar 

Trip no more in twilight ranks; 
Though Erymanth your loss deplore, 100 

A better soil shall give ye thanks. 
From the stony Maenalus 
Bring your flocks, and live with us; 
Here ye shall have greater grace, 
To serve the lady of this place. 
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were, 
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. 
Such a rural queen 
All Arcadia hath not seen. 






The ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterwards in the habit of THYRSIS 

COMUS with his crew. 

The LADY. 


Second BROTHER. 

SABRINA, the Nymph. 


The First Scene Discovers a Wild Wood. 
The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters. 

Spirit. Before the starry threshold of Jove's court 
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes 
Of bright aerial spirits live inspher'd 
In regions mild of calm and serene air, 
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot 
Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care, 
Confin'd and pester'd in this pinfold here, 
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, 
Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives, 
After this mortal change, to her true servants 
Amongst the enthron'd gods on sainted seats. 
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire 
To lay their just hands on that golden key 
That opes the palace of eternity. 
To such my errand is ; and but for such 
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds 
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. 

But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway 
Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream, 
Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove 
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles 
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay 
The unadorned bosom of the deep ; 


Which he, to grace his tributary gods, 

By course commits to several government, 

And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns 

And wield their little tridents. But this isle, 

The greatest and the best of all the main, 

He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities ; 

And all this tract that fronts the falling sun 30 

A noble peer of mickle trust and power 

Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide 

An old and haughty nation proud in arms : 

Where his fair offspring, nurs'd in princely lore, 

Are coming to attend their father's state 

And new-intrusted sceptre. But their way 

Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood, 

The nodding horror of whose shady brows 

Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger; 

And here their tender age might suffer peril, 40 

But that by quick command from sovran Jove 

I was dispatclVd for their defence and guard j 

And listen why, for I will tell you now 

What never yet was heard in tale or song, 

From old or modern bard in hall or bower. 

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape 
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, 
After the Tuscan mariners transform'd, 
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, 
On Circe's island fell. Who knows not Circe, 50 

The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup 
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape 
And downward fell into a grovelling swine ? 
This nymph, that gaz'd upon his clustering locks 
With ivy berries wreath'd and his blithe youth, 
Had by him ere he parted thence a son 
Much like his father, but his mother more, 
Whom therefore she brought up and Comus nam'd; 


Who, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age, 

Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields, 6o 

At last betakes him to this ominous wood, 

And in thick shelter of black shades embower'd 

Excels his mother at her mighty art, 

Offering to every weary traveller 

His orient liquor in a crystal glass, 

To quench the drouth of Phcebus ; which as they taste 

For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst 

Soon as the potion works, their human countenance, 

The express resemblance of the gods, is chang'd 

Into some brutish form of wolf or bear, 70 

Or ounce or tiger, hog or bearded goat, 

All other parts remaining as they were; 

And they, so perfect is their misery, 

Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, 

But boast themselves more comely than before, 

And all their friends and native home forget, 

To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty. 

Therefore, when any favour'd of high Jove 

Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, 

Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star 80 

I shoot from heaven to give him safe convoy, 

As now I do. But first I must put off 

These my sky-robes spun out of Iris' woof, 

And take the weeds and likeness of a swain 

That to the service of this house belongs, 

Who with his soft pipe and smooth-dittied song 

Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar 

And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith, 

And in this office of his mountain watch 

Likeliest and nearest to the present aid 90 

Of this occasion. But I hear the tread 

Of hateful steps ; I must be viewless now. 


COMUS enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass in 
the other ; with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry 
sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their 
apparel glistering ; they come in making a riotous and un 
ruly noise, with torches in their hands. 

Comus. The star that bids the shepherd fold 
Now the top of heaven doth hold ; 
And the gilded car of day 
His glowing axle doth allay 
In the steep Atlantic stream ; 
And the slope sun his upward beam 
Shoots against the dusky pole, 

Pacing toward the other goal <*> 

Of his chamber in the east. 
Meanwhile welcome joy and feast, 
Midnight shout and revelry, 
Tipsy dance and jollity ! 
Braid your locks with rosy twine, 
Dropping odours, dropping wine. 
Rigour now is gone to bed ; 
And Advice with scrupulous head, 
Strict Age, and sour Severity, 

With their grave saws in slumber lie. no 

We that are of purer fire 
Imitate the starry quire, 
Who in their nightly watchful spheres 
Lead in swift round the months and years. 
The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, 
Now to the moon in wavering morrice move ; 
And on the tawny sands and shelves 
Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves. 
By dimpled brook and fountain brim 

The wood-nymphs deck'd with daisies trim J2C 

Their merry wakes and pastimes keep : 

COMUS. 73 

What hath night to do with sleep ? 

Night hath better sweets to prove ; 

Venus now wakes, and wakens Love. 

Come, let us our rites begin; 

'Tis only daylight that makes sin, 

Which these dun shades will ne'er report. 

Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport, 

Dark-veil'd Cotytto, to whom the secret flame 

Of midnight torches burns ! mysterious darne, 130 

That ne'er art call'd but when the dragon womb 

Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, 

And makes one blot of all- the air! 

Stay thy cloudy ebon chair, 

Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend 

Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end 

Of all thy dues be done and none left out, 

Ere the blabbing eastern scout, 

The nice Morn on the Indian steep. 

From her cabin'd loophole peep, 140 

And to the tell-tale Sun descry 

Our conceal'd solemnity. 

Come, knit hands, and beat the ground 

In a light fantastic round. 

The Measure. 

Break off, break off, I feel the different pace 

Of some chaste footing near about this ground. 

Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees ; 

Our number may affright. Some virgin sure 

For so I can distinguish by mine art 

Benighted in these woods! Now to my charms, 150 

And w to my wily trains; I shall ere long 

Be well stock'd with as fair a herd as graz'd 

About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl 



My dazzling spells into the spongy air, 

Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion, 

And give it false presentments, lest the place 

And my quaint habits breed astonishment, 

And put the damsel to suspicious flight; 

Which must not be, for that 's against my course. 

I, under fair pretence of friendly ends, 160 

And well-plac'd words of glozing courtesy 

Baited with reasons not unplausible, 

Wind me into the easy-hearted man, 

And hug him into snares. When once her eye 

Hath met the virtue of this magic dust, 

I shall appear some harmless villager 

Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear. 

But here she comes ; I fairly step aside, 

And hearken if I may her business hear. 

The LADY enters. 

Lady. This way the noise was, if mine ear be true, 170 
My best guide now ; methought it was the sound 
Of riot and ill-manag'd merriment, 
Such as the jocund flute or gamesome pipe 
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds, 
When, for their teeming flocks and granges full, 
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan, 
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loath 
To meet the rudeness and swill'd insolence 
Of such late wassailers ; yet O, where else 
Shall I inform my unacquainted feet 180 

In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ? 
My brothers, when they saw me wearied out 
With this long way, resolving here to lodge , 

Under the spreading favour of these pines, 
Stepp'd, as they said, to the next thicket side 



To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit 
As the kind hospitable woods provide. 
They left me then when the gray-hooded Even, 
Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed, 

Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus' wain. 190 

But where they are, and why they came not back, 
Is now the labour of my thoughts ; 'tis likeliest 
They had engaged their wandering steps too far, 
And envious darkness ere they could return 
Had stole them from me : else, O thievish Night, 
Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end, 
In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars 
That Nature hung in heaven, and fill'd their lamps 
With everlasting oil, to give due light 

To the misled and lonely traveller? 200 

This is the place, as well as I may guess, 
Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth- 
Was rife and perfect in my listening ear, 
Yet nought but single darkness do I find. 
What might this be ? A thousand fantasies 
Begin to throng into my memory, 
Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire, 
And airy tongues that syllable men's names 
On sands and shores and desert wildernesses. 
These thoughts may startle well, but not astound 210 

The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended 
By a strong siding champion, Conscience. r- 
O, welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope, 
Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings, 
And thou unblemish'd form of Chastity ! 
I see ye visibly, and now believe 
That He, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill 
Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, 
Would send a glistering guardian, if need were, 
To keep my life and honour unassail'd. 220 


Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud 
Turn forth her silver lining on the night? 
I did not err; there does a sable cloud 
Turn forth her silver lining on the night, 
And casts a gleam over this tufted grove. 
I cannot halloo to my brothers, but 
Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest 
I'll venture ; for my new-enliven'd spirits 
Prompt me, and they perhaps are not far off. 


Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen 230 

Within thy airy shell 
JBy slow Meander's mar gent green. 
And in the violet-embroider 1 d vale 
Where the love-lorn nightingale 
Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well ; 
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair 
That likest thy Narcissus are ? 

O, if thou have 

Hid them in some flowery cave, 

Tell me but where, 240 

Sweet queen of parley, daughter of the sphere ! 
So mayst thou be translated to the skies, 
And give resounding grace to all heaven's harmonies ! 

Enter COMUS. 

Comus. Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould 
Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ? 
Sure something holy lodges in that breast, 
And with these raptures moves the vocal air 
To testify his hidden residence. 
How sweetly did they float upon the wings 
Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night, 25 

At every fall smoothing the raven down 

COMUS. 77 

Of darkness till it smiPd ! I have oft heard 

My mother Circe with the Sirens three, 

Amidst the flowery-kirtlecl Naiades, 

Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs, 

Who as they sung would take the prison'd soul 

And lap it in Elysium ; Scylla wept 

And chid her barking waves into attention, 

And fell Charybdis murmur'd soft applause. 

Yet they in pleasing slumber lull'd the sense, 260 

And in sweet madness robb'd it of itself; 

But such a sacred and home-felt delight, 

Such sober certainty of waking bliss, 

I never heard till now. I '11 speak to her, 

And she shall be my queen. Hail, foreign wonder ! 

Whom certain these rough shades did never breed, 

Unless the goddess that in rural shrine 

Dwell'st here with Pan or Silvan, by blest song 

Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog 

To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood. 270 

Lady. Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise 
That is address'd to unattending ears. 
Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift 
How to regain my sever'd company, 
Compell'd me to awake the courteous Echo 
To give me answer from her mossy couch. 

Comus. What chance, good lady, hath bereft you thus ? 

Lady. Dim darkness and this leavy labyrinth. 

Comus. Could that divide you from near-ushering guides? 

Lady. They left me weary on a grassy turf. 280 

Comus. By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why ? 

Lady. To seek i' the valley some cool friendly spring. 

Comus. And left your fair side all unguarded, lady? 

Lady. They were but twain, and purpos'cl quick re 

Comus. Perhaps forestalling night prevented them. 


Lady. How easy my misfortune is to hit! 

Comus. Imports their loss beside the present need ? 

Lady. No less than if I should my brothers lose. 

Comus. Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom ? 

Lady. As smooth as Hebe's their unrazor'd lips. 290 

Comus. Two such I saw, what time the labour'd ox 
In his loose traces from the furrow came, 
And the swink'd hedger at his supper sat. 
I saw them under a green mantling vine 
That crawls along the side of yon small hill, 
Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots ; 
Their port was more than human, as they stood : 
I took it for a fairy vision 
Of some gay creatures of the element, 

That in the colours of the rainbow live, 300 

And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-strook, 
And as I pass'd I worshipp'd. If those you seek, 
It were a journey like the path to heaven 
To help you find them. 

Lady. Gentle villager, 

What readiest way would bring me to that place ? 

Comus. Due west it rises from this shrubby point. 

Lady. To find that out, good shepherd, I suppose, 
In such a scant allowance of starlight, 
Would overtask the best land-pilot's art, 
Without the sure guess of well-practis'd feet. 3 io 

Comus. I know each lane, and every alley green, 
Dingle or bushy dell of this wild wood, 
And every bosky bourn from side to side, 
My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood; 
And if your stray attendance be yet lodg'd 
Or shroud within these limits, I shall know 
Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark ' 
From her thatch'd pallet rouse. If otherwise, 
I can conduct you, lady, to a low 

COMUS. 79 

But loyal cottage, where you may be safe 320 

Till further quest. 

Lady. Shepherd, I take thy word, 

And trust thy honest offer'd courtesy, 
Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds 
With smoky rafters than in tapestry halls 
And courts of princes, where it first was nam'd, 
And yet is most pretended In a place 
Less warranted than this, or less secure, 
I cannot be, that I should fear to change it. 
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial 
To my proportion'd strength! Shepherd, lead on. 330 

Enter the two Brothers. 

1 Brother. Unmufrle, ye faint stars, and thou, fair moon, 
That wont'st to love the traveller's benison, 

Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud, 

And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here 

In double night of darkness and of shades ; 

Or if your influence be quite damm'd up 

With black usurping mists, some gentle taper, 

Though a rush candle from the wicker hole 

Of some clay habitation, visit us 

With thy long levell'd rule of streaming light, 340 

And thou shalt be our star of Arcady 

Or Tyrian Cynosure ! 

2 Brother. Or if our eyes 

Be barr'd that happiness, might we but hear 

The folded flocks penn'd in their wattled cotes, 

Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops, 

Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock 

Count the night watches to his feathery dames, 

'T would be some solace yet, some little cheering 

In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs. 

But O that hapless virgin, our lost sister! 35^ 


Where may she wander now, whither betake her 
From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles? 
Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now, 
Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm 
Leans her unpillow'd head, fraught with sad fears. 
What if in wild amazement and affright, 
Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp 
Of savage hunger or of savage heat ? 

i Brother. Peace, brother, be not over-exquisite 
To cast the fashion of uncertain evils ; 360 

For grant they be so, while they rest unknown 
What need a man forestall his date of grief, 
And run to meet what he would most avoid? 
Or if they be but false alarms of fear, 
How bitter is such self-delusion ! 
I do not think my sister so to seek, 
Or so unprincipled in virtue's book 
And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever, 
As that the single want of light and noise 
Not being in danger, as I trust she is not 370 

Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts, 
And put them into misbecoming plight. 
Virtue could see to do what Virtue would 
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon 
Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self 
Oft seeks to sweet retired solitude, 
Where, with her best nurse Contemplation, 
She plumes her feathers and lets grow her wings, 
That in the various bustle of resort 

Were all to-ruffled and sometimes impair'd. 380 

He that has light within his own clear breast 
May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day : 
But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts 
Benighted walks under the mid-day sun ; 
Himself is his own dungeon. 

COMUS. 8 1 

2 Brother. 'T is most true 

That musing Meditation most affects 
The pensive secrecy of desert cell, 
Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds, 
And sits as safe as in a senate-house ; 

For who would rob a hermit of his weeds, 390 

His few books, or his beads, or maple dish, 
Or do his gray hairs any violence ? 
But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree 
Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard 
Of dragon watch with unenchanted eye, 
To save her blossoms and defend her fruit 
From the rash hand of bold Incontinence. 
You may as well spread out the unsunn'd heaps 
Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den, 

And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope 400 

Danger will wink on opportunity, 
And let a single helpless maiden pass 
Uninjur'd in this wild surrounding waste. 
Of night or loneliness it recks me not; 
I fear the dread events that dog them both, 
Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person 
Of our unowned sister. 

1 Brother. I do not, brother, 
Infer as if I thought my sister's state 
Secure without all doubt or controversy; 

Yet where an equal poise of hope and fear 410 

Does arbitrate the event, my nature is 

That I incline to hope rather than fear, 

And gladly banish squint suspicion. 

My sister is not so defenceless left 

As you imagine; she has a hidden strength 

Which you remember not. 

2 Brother. What hidden strength, 
Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that? 



i Brother. I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength 
Which, if Heaven gave it, may be term'd her own. 
'T is chastity, my brother, chastity : 420 

She that has that is clad in complete steel, 
And, like a quiver'd nymph with arrows keen, 
May trace huge forests and unharbour'd heaths, 
Infamous hills and sandy perilous wilds, 
Where through the sacred rays of chastity 
No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer 
Will dare to soil her virgin purity. 
Yea, there where very desolation dwells, 
By grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades, 
She may pass on with unblench'cl majesty, 430 

Be it not done in pride or in presumption. 
Some say no evil thing that walks by night, 
In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen, 
Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost 
That breaks his magic chains at curfew time, 
No goblin or swart fairy of the mine, 
Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity. 
Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call 
Antiquity from the old schools of Greece 
To testify the arms of chastity? 440 

Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow, 
P'air silver-shafted queen for ever chaste, 
Wherewith she tam'd the brinded lioness 
And spotted mountain pard, but set at nought 
The frivolous bolt of Cupid ; gods and men 
Fear'd her stern frown, and she was queen o' the woods. 
What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield 
That wise Minerva wore, unconquer'd virgin, 
Wherewith she freez'cl her foes to congeal'd stone, 
But rigid looks of chaste austerity, 450 

And noble grace that dash'd brute violence 
With sudden adoration and blank awe? 

COML^. 83 

So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity 

That, when a soul is found sincerely so, 

A thousand liveried angels lackey her, 

Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt, 

And in clear dream and solemn vision 

Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear ; 

Till oft converse with heavenly habitants 

Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape, 460 

The unpolluted temple of the mind, 

And turns it by degrees to .the soul's essence, 

Till all be made immortal : but when lust, 

By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk, 

But most by lewd and lavish act of sin, 

Lets in defilement to the inward parts, 

The soul grows clotted by contagion, 

Imbodies and imbrutes, till she quite lose 

The divine property of her first being. 

Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp 470 

Oft seen in charnel vaults and sepulchres, 

Lingering and sitting by a new-made grave, 

As loath to leave the body that it lov'd, 

And link'd itself by carnal sensually 

To a degenerate and degraded state. 

2 Brother. How charming is divine philosophy! 
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose, 
But musical as is Apollo's lute, 
And a perpetual feast of nectar'd sweets, 
Where no crude surfeit reigns. 

1 Brother. ^ List, list ! I hear 4 8o 
Some far-off halloo break the silent air. 

2 Brother. Methought so too ; what should it be ? 

i Brother. For certain 

Either some one like us night-founder'cl here, 
Or else some neighbour woodman, or at worst 
Some roving robber calling to his fellows. 


2 Brother. Heaven keep my sister ! Again, again, and near ! 
Best draw, and stand upon our guard. 

i, Brother. I '11 halloo : 

If he be friendly, he comes well ; if not, 
Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us ! 

Enter the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, habited like a sheplierd. 
That halloo I should know. What are you ? speak. 490 

Come not too near ; you fall on iron stakes else. 

Spirit. What voice is that? my young lord? speak again. 

2 Brother. O brother, 't is my father's shepherd, sure ! 

i Brother. Thyrsis ! whose artful strains have oft delay'cl 
The huddling brook to hear his madrigal, 
And sweeten'd every musk-rose of the dale. 
How cam'st thou here, good swain ? hath any ram 
Slipt from the fold, or young kid lost his dam, 
Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook ? 
How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook ? 500 

Spirit. O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy, 
I came not here on such a trivial toy 
As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth 
Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth 
That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought 
To this my errand, and the care it brought. 
But O, my virgin lady, where is she ? 
How chance she is not in your company? 

i Brother. To tell thee sadly, shepherd, without blame 
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came. 51 

Spirit. Ay me unhappy ! then my fears are true. 

i Brother. What fears, good Thyrsis ? Prithee briefly show. 

Spirit. I '11 tell ye: 't is not vain or fabulous, 
Though so esteem'd by shallow ignorance, 
What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse, 
Storied of old in high immortal verse 
Of dire Chimeras and enchanted isles, 

COMUS. 85 

And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to hell ; 
For such there be, but unbelief is blind. 

Within the navel of this hideous wood, 520 

Immur'd in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells, 
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus, 
Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries ; 
And here to every thirsty wanderer 
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, 
With many murmurs mix'd, whose pleasing poison 
The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, 
And the inglorious likeness of a beast 
Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage 
Character'd in the face. This I have learnt 530 

Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts 
That brow this bottom-glade ; whence night by night 
He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl 
Like stabled wolves" or tigers at their prey, 
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate 
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers. 
Yet have they many baits and guileful spells 
To inveigle and invite the unwary sense 
Of them that pass unweeting by the way. 
This evening late, by then the chewing flocks 540 

Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb 
Of knot-grass dew-besprent and were in fold, 
I sat me down to watch upon a bank 
With ivy canopied and interwove 
W T ith flaunting honeysuckle, and began, 
Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, 
To meditate my rural minstrelsy, 
Till fancy had her fill : but ere a close 
The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, 
And fill'd the air with barbarous dissonance ; 550 

At which I ceas'd, and listen'd them a while, 
Till an unusual stop of sudden silence 


Gave respite to the drowsy frighted steeds, 

That draw the litter of close-curtain'd Sleep. 

At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound 

Rose like a steam of rich distill'd perfumes, 

And stole upon the air, that even Silence 

Was took ere she was ware, and wish'd she might 

Deny her nature and be never more, 

Still to be so displac'd. I was all ear, 5 6o 

And took in strains that might create a soul 

Under the ribs of Death ; but O, ere long 

Too well I did perceive it was the voice 

Of my most honour'd lady, your dear sister ! 

Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear ; 

And ' O poor hapless nightingale,' thought I, 

' How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare !' 

Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste, 

Through paths and turnings often trod by day, 

Till guided by mine ear I found the place, 570 

Wherethat damn'd wizard, hid in sly disguise 

For so by certain signs I knew had met 

Already, ere my best speed could prevent, 

The aidless innocent lady, his wish'd prey; 

Who gently ask'd if he had seen such two, 

Supposing him some* neighbour villager. 

Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guess'd 

Ye were the two she meant ; with that I sprung 

Into swift flight till I had found you here, 

But further know I not. 

2 Brother. O night and shades, 580 

How are ye join'd with Hell in triple knot, 
Against the unarm'd weakness of one virgin, 
Alone and helpless ! Is this the confidence 
You gave me, brother ? 

i Brother. Yes, and keep it still ; 

Lean on it safely : not a period 

COMUS. 8 7 

Shall be unsaid for me. Against the threats 

Of malice or of sorcery, or that power 

Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm : 

Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt, 

Surpris'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd ; 590 

Yea, even that which mischief meant most harm 

Shall in the happy trial prove most glory : 

But evil on itself shall back recoil, 

And mix no more with goodness, when at last, 

Gather'd like scum and settled to itself, 

It shall be in eternal restless change 

Self-fed and self-consumed. If this fail, 

The pillar'd firmament is rottenness, 

And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on ! 

Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven 600 

May never this just sword be lifted up ; 

But for that damn'cl magician, let him be girt 

With all the grisly legions that troop 

Under the sooty flag of Acheron, 

Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms 

'Twixt Africa and Ind, I '11 find him out, 

And force him to return his purchase back, 

Or drag him by the curls to a foul death, 

Curs'd as his life. 

Spirit. Alas ! good venturous youth, 

I love thy courage yet and bold emprise ; 610 

But here thy sword can do thee little stead : 
Far other arms and other weapons must 
Be those that quell the might of hellish charms. 
He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints, 
And crumble all thy sinews. 

i Brother. Why, prithee, shepherd, 

How durst thou then thyself approach so near 
As to make this relation ? 

Spirit. Care and utmost shifts 


How to secure the lady from surprisal 

Brought to my mind a certain shepherd lad, 

Of small regard to see to, yet well skill'd 630 

In every virtuous plant and healing herb 

That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray. 

He lov'd me well, and oft would beg me sing ; 

Which when I did, he on the tender grass 

Would sit and hearken e'en to ecstasy, 

And in requital ope his leathern scrip, 

And show me simples of a thousand names, 

Telling their strange and vigorous faculties. 

Amongst the rest a small unsightly root, 

But of divine effect, he cull'd rne out. 6 3 o 

The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it, 

But in another country, as he said, 

Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil : 

Unknown, and like esteem'd, and the dull swain 

Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon ; 

And yet more med'cinal is it than that moly 

That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave. 

He call'd it haemony, and gave it me, 

And bade me keep it as of sovran use 

'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast, or damp, 6 4 o 

Or ghastly Furies' apparition. 

I purs'd it up, but little reckoning made, 

Till now that this extremity compell'd ; 

But now I find it true, for by this means 

I knew the foul enchanter though disguis'd, 

Enter'cl the very lime-twigs of His spells, 

And yet came off. If you have this about you 

As I will give you when we go you may 

Boldly assault the necromancer's hall ; 

Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood 6 5 o 

And brandish'd blade rush on him, break his glass, 

And shed the luscious liquor on the ground, 

8 9 


But seize his wand. Though he and his curs'd crew - 
Fierce sign of battle make and menace high, 
Or like the sons of Vulcan vomit smoke, 
Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink. 

i Brother. Thyrsis, lead on apace ; I'll follow thee, 
And some good angel bear a shield before us ! 

The Scene changes to a stately Palace, set out with all man 
ner of deliciousness ; soft music, tables spread with all dainties. 
COMUS appears with his rabble, and the LADY set in an en 
chanted chair; to whom he offers his glass, which she puts by, 
and goes about to rise. 

Comus. Nay, lady, sit ; if I but wave this wand, 
Your nerves are all chain'd up in alabaster, 660 

And you a statue, or as Daphne was, 
Root-bound, that fled Apollo. 

Lady. Fool, do not boast ; 

Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind 
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind 
Thou hast immanacled while Heaven sees good. 

Comus. Why are you vext, lady ? why do you frown ? 
Here dwell no frowns nor anger ; from these gates 
Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures 
That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts, 
When the fresh blood grows lively and returns 6 7 o 

Brisk as the April buds in primrose-season. 
And first behold this cordial julep here, 
That flames and dances in his crystal bounds, 
With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mix'd. 
Not that Nepenthes which the wife of Thone 
In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena 
Is of such power to stir up joy as this, 
To life so friendly or so cool to thirst. 
Why should you be so cruel to yourself, 


And to those dainty limbs which Nature lent 

For gentle usage and soft delicacy ? 

But you invert the covenants of her trust, 

And harshly deal, like an ill borrower, 

With that which you receiv'd on other terms ; 

Scorning the unexempt condition 

By which all mortal frailty must subsist, 

Refreshment after toil, ease after pain, 

That have been tir'd all day without repast, 

And timely rest have wanted. But, fair virgin, 

This will restore all soon. 

Lady. 'T will not, false traitor ! 6 9 o 

'T will not restore the truth and honesty 
That thou hast banish'd from thy tongue with lies. 
Was this the cottage and the safe abode 
Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these, 
These ugly-headed monsters ? Mercy guard me ! 
Hence with thy brew'd enchantments, foul deceiver ! 
Hast thou betray'd my credulous innocence 
With visor'd falsehood and base forgery ? 
And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here 
With liquorish baits fit to ensnare a brute? . 700 

Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets, 
I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None 
But such as are good men can give good things ; 
And that which is not good is not delicious 
To a well-govern'd and wise appetite. 

Comus. O foolishness of men ! that lend their ears 
To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur, 
And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub, 
Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence ! 
Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth 710 

With such a full and unwithdrawing hand, 
Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks, 
Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable, 


9 1 

But all to please and sate the curious taste ? 

And set to work millions of spinning worms, 

That in their green shops weave the'smooth-hair'd silk 

To deck her sons ; and that no corner might 

Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins 

She hutch'd the all-worshipp'd ore and precious gems 

To store her children with. If all the world 72 

Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse, 

Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze, 

The All-giver would be unthank'd, would be unprais'd, 

Not half his riches known, and yet despis'd ; 

And we should serve him as a grudging master, 

As a penurious niggard of his wealth, 

And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons, 

Who would be quite surcharg'cl with her own weight, 

And strangled with her waste fertility : 

The earth cumber'd, and the wing'd air dark'd with plumes, 730 

The herds would over-multitude their lords, 

The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds 

Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep, 

And so bestud with stars, that they below 

Would grow inur'd to light, and come at last 

To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows. 

List, lady ; be not coy, and be not cozen'd 

With that same vaunted name, Virginity. 

Beauty is Nature's coin, must not be hoarded, 

But must be current ; and the good thereof 740 

Consists in mutual and partaken bliss, 

Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself. 

If you let slip time, like a ne'glected rose 

It withers on the stalk with languish'd head. 

Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown 

In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities, 

Where most may wonder at the workmanship. 

It is for homely features to keep home ; 


They had their name thence : coarse complexions 
And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply 73 

The sampler and to tease the huswife's wool. 
What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that, 
Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn ? 
There was another meaning in these gifts : 
Think what, and be advis'd ; you are but young yet. 
Lady. I had not thought to have unlocked my lips 
In this unhallow'd air, but that this juggler 
Would think to charm my judgment as mine eyes, 
Obtruding false rules prank'd in reason's garb. 
I hate when Vice can bolt her arguments, 760 

And Virtue has no tongue to check her pride. 
Impostor, do not charge most innocent Nature, 
As if she would her children should be riotous 
With her abundance. She, good cateress, 
Means her provision only to the good, 
That live according to her sober laws 
And holy dictate of spare Temperance. 
If every just man that now pines with want 
Had but a moderate and beseeming share 
Of that which lewdly-pamper'd Luxury 77 

Now heaps upon some few with vast excess, 
Nature's full blessings would be well dispens'd 
In unsuperfluous even proportion, 
And she no wit encumber'cl with her store : 
And then the Giver would be better thank'd, 
His praise due paid; for swinish Gluttony 
Ne'er looks to heaven amidst his gorgeous feast, 
But with besotted base ingratitude 
Crams, and blasphemes his feeder. Shall I go on ? 
Or have I said enough ? To him that dares 780 

Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words 
Against the sun-clad power of chastity, 
Fain would I something say, yet to what end? 

COMUS. 93 

Thou hast not ear nor soul to apprehend 

The sublime notion and high mystery 

That must be utter'd to unfold the sage 

And serious doctrine of Virginity ; 

And thou art worthy that thou shoulclst not know 

More happiness than this thy present lot. 

Enjoy your clear wit and gay rhetoric, 790 

That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence ; 

Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinc'd. 

Yet should I try, the uncontrolled worth 

Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits 

To such a flame of sacred vehemence 

That dumb things would be mov'd to sympathize, 

And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake, 

Till all thy magic structures rear'd so high 

A^ere shatter'd into heaps o'er thy false head. 

Camus. She fables not. I feel that I do fear 800 

Her words set off by some superior power : 
And, though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew 
Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove 
Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus 
To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble, 
And try her yet more strongly. Come, no more ! 
This is mere moral babWe, and direct 
Against the canon laws of our foundation. 
I must not sufTer this : yet 't is but the lees 
And settlings of a melancholy blood. 810 

But this will cure all straight; one sip of this 
Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight 
Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste. 



The Brothers rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass out 
of his hand, and break it against the ground ; his rout make 
sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The ATTENDANT 
SPIRIT comes in. 

Spirit. What, have you let the false enchanter scape ? 
O, ye mistook ! ye should have snatch'cl his wand, 
And bound him fast. Without his rod revers'd 
And backward mutters of dissevering power, 
We cannot free the lady that sits here 
In stony fetters fix'd and motionless. 

Yet stay, be not disturb'd : now I bethink me, 820 

Some other means I have which may be us'cl, 
Which once of Melibceus old I learnt, 
The soothest shepherd that e'er pip'd on plains. 

There is a gentle nymph not far from hence, 

That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream : 
Sabrina is her name, a virgin pure; 
Whilome she was the daughter of Locrine, 
That had the sceptre from his father Brute. 
She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit 
Of her enraged stepdame Guendolen, 8 3 o 

Commended her fair innocence to the flood 
That stay'd her flight with his crosS-flowing course. 
The water-nymphs that in the bottom play'd 
Held up their pearled wrists and took her in, 
Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall ; 
Who, piteous of her woes, rear'd her lank head, 
And gave her to his daughters to imbathe 
In nectar'd lavers strew'd with asphodel, 
And through the porch and inlet of each sense 
Dropp'd in ambrosial oils, till she revived, 8 4 o 

And underwent a quick immortal change, 
Made goddess of the river. Still she retains 
Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve 



Visits the herds along the twilight meadows, 

Helping all urchin blasts and ill-luck signs 

That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make, 

Which she with precious vial'd liquors heals; 

For which the shepherds at their festivals 

Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays, 

And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream 850 

Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils. 

And, as the old swain said, she can unlock 

The clasping charm and thaw the numbing spell, 

If she be right invok'd in warbled song ; 

For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift 

To aid a virgin, such as was herself, 

In hard-besetting need. This will I try, 

And add the power of some adjuring verse. 


Sab rina fair, 

Listen where thou art sitting 860 

Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave, 

In twisted braids of lilies knitting 
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair ; 
Listen for dear honour's sake, 
Goddess of the silver lake, 
Listen and save ! 

Listen and appear to us 

In name of great Oceanus; 

By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace, 

And Tethys' grave majestic pace ; 870 

By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look, 

And the Carpathian wizard's hook ; 

By scaly Triton's winding shell, 

And old soothsaying Glaucus 1 spell ; 

By Leucothea's lovely hands, 

And her son that rules the strands; 


By Thetis' tinsel-si ipper'd feet, 
And the songs of Sirens sweet ; 
By dead Parthenope's clear tomb, 
And fair Ligea's golden comb, 
Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks 
Sleeking her soft alluring locks; 
By all the nymphs that nightly dance 
Upon thy streams with wily glance, 
Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head 
From thy coral-paven bed, 
And bridle in thy headlong wave, 
Till thou our summons answer'd have. 
Listen and save ! 

SABRINA rises, attended by Water-nymphs, and sings. 

By the rushy-fringed bank, 890 

Where grow the willow and tJie osier dank, 

My sliding chariot stays, 
Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen 
Of turkis blue, and emerald green, 

That in the channel strays ; 
Whilst from off the waters fleet 
Thus I set my printless feet 
O'er the cowslip's velvet head, 
That bends not as I tread. 

Gentle swain, at thy request 900 

I am here. 

Spirit. Goddess dear, 
We implore thy powerful hand 
To undo the charmed band 
Of true virgin here clistrest, 
Through the force and through the wile 
Of unblest enchanter vile. 

Sabrina. Shepherd, 't is my office best 
To help ensnared chastity. 



Brightest lady, look on me. 9 io 

Thus I sprinkle on thy breast 

Drops that from my fountain pure 

I have kept of precious cure ; 

Thrice upon thy finger's tip, 

Thrice upon thy rubied lip: 

Next this marble venom'd seat, 

Smear'd with gums of glutinous heat, 

I touch with chaste palms moist and cold. 

Now the spell hath lost his hold ; 

And I must haste ere morning hour 920 

To wait in Amphitrite's bower. 

SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat. 

Spirit. Virgin, daughter of Locrine, 
Sprung of old Anchises' line, 
May thy brimmed waves for this 
Their full tribute never miss 
From a thousand petty rills 
That tumble down the snowy hills; 
Summer drouth or singed air 
Never scorch thy tresses fair, 

Nor wet October's torrent flood 9^0 

Thy molten crystal fill with mud; 
May thy billows roll ashore 
The beryl and the golden ore ; 
May thy lofty head be crown'd 
With many a tower and terrace round, 
And here and there thy banks upon 
With groves of myrrh and cinnamon. 

Come, lady, while Heaven lends us grace, 
Let us fly this cursed place, 

Lest the sorcerer us entice . 940 

With some other new device. 
Not a' waste or needless sound 


Till we come to holier ground! 

I shall be your faithful guide 

Through this gloomy covert wide ; 

And not many furlongs thence 

Is your father's residence, 

Where this night are met in slate 

Many a friend to gratulate 

His wish'd presence, and beside 950. 

All the swains that there abide 

With jigs and rural dance resort. 

We shall catch them at their sport, 

And our sudden coming there 

Will double all their mirth and cheer. 

Come, let us haste; the stars grow high, 

But Night sits monarch yet in the mid-sky. 

The Scene changes, presenting Lndlow town and the President's 
castle; then come in Country Dancers, after them the AT 
TENDANT SPIRIT, with the two Brothers and the LADY. 


Spirit. Back, shepherds, back! enough your play 
Till next sunshine holiday. 

Here be, without duck or nod, 9 6o 

Other trippings to be trod 
Of lighter toes, and such court guise 
As Mercury did first devise 
With the mincing Dryades 
On the lawns and on the leas. 

This second Song presents them to their Father and Mother. 

Noble lord and lady bright, 
I have brought y new delight: 
Here behold so goodly grown 
Three fair branches of your own. 

COMUS. 99 

Heaven hath timely tried their youth, 97 o 

Their faith, their patience, and their truth, 
And sent them here through hard assays 
With a crown of deathless praise, 
To triumph in victorious dance 
O'er sensual folly and intemperance. 

The dances ended, the SPIRIT epiloguizes. 

Spirit. To the ocean now I fly, 
And those happy climes that lie 
Where Day never shuts his eye, 
Up in the broad fields of the sky. 

There I suck the liquid air Q 8o 

All amidst the gardens fair 
Of Hesperus and his daughters three 
That sing about the golden tree. 
Along the crisped shades and bowers 
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring ; 
The Graces and the rosy-bosom'd Hours 
Thither all their bounties bring. 
There eternal summer dwells, 
And west winds with musky wing 

About the cedarn alleys fling 990 

Nard and cassia's balmy smells. 
Iris there with humid bow 
Waters the odorous banks, that blow 
Flowers of more mingled hue 
Than her purfled scarf can shew, 
And drenches with Elysian dew 
List, mortals, if your ears be true! 
Beds of hyacinth and roses, 
Where young Adonis oft reposes, 

Waxing well of his deep wound 1000 

In slumber soft, and on the ground 
Sadly sits the Assyrian queen. 



But far above in spangled sheen 
Celestial Cupid her fam'd son advanc'd 
Holds his dear Psyche, sweet entranc'd 
After her wandering labours long, 
Till free consent the gods among 
Make her his eternal bride, 
And from her fair unspotted side 
Two blissful twins are to be born, 
Youth and Joy ; so Jove hath sworn. 

But now my task is smoothly done, 
I can fly, or I can run 
Quickly to the green earth's end, 
Where the bow'd welkin slow cloth bend, 
And from thence can soar as soon 
To the corners of the moon. 

Mortals, that would follow me, 
Love Virtue ; she alone is free. 
She can teach ye how to climb 
Higher than the sphery chime; 
Or, if Virtue feeble were, 
Heaven itself would stoop to her. 



In this Monody the author bewails a learned friend, unfortunately drowned 
in his passage from Chester on the Irish seas, 1637 ; and by occasion fore 
tells the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their height. 

YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more, 

Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere, 

I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude, 

And with forc'd fingers rude 

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year. 

Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear 

Compels me to disturb your season due ; 

For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime, 

Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer. 

Who would not sing for Lycidas ? He knew 10 

Himself to sing and build the lofty rhyme. 

He must not float upon his watery bier 

Unwept, and welter to the parching wind, 

Without the meed of some melodious tear. 

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well * 
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring; 
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. 
Hence with denial vain and coy excuse ; 
So may some gentle Muse 

With lucky words favour my destin'd urn, 20 

And as he passes turn, 
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud ! "* 

For we were nurs'd upon the selfsame hill, 
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill j 
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd 
Under the opening eyelids of the Morn, 


, O 
We drove a-field, and both together heard 

What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn, 

Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, 

Oft till the star that rose at evening bright 30 

Toward heaven's descent had slop'd his westering wheel. 

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, 

Temper'd to the oaten flute ; 

Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with cloven heel 

From the glad sound would not be absent long, 

And old Damcetas lov'd to hear our song. 

But O the heavy change, now thou art gone, 
Now thou art gone and never must return ! 
Thee, shepherd, thee the woods and desert caves, 
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, 40 

And all their echoes mourn. 
The willows and the hazel copses green 
Shall now no more be seen 
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays. 
As killing as the canker to the rose, 
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze, 
Or frost to flowers that their gay wardrobe wear 
When first the white-thorn blows, 
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear. 

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep 50 
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas? 
For neither were ye playing on the steep 
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie, 
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high, 
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream. 
Ay me, I fondly dream ! 

Had ye been there for what could that have done? 
What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore, 
The Muse herself, for her enchanting son, 
Whom universal nature did lament, 60 

When by the rout that made the hideous roar 



His gory visage clown the stream was sent, 
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore ? 

Alas ! what boots it with incessant care 
To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade, 
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse ? 
Were it not better done, as others use, 
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, ,M- 
Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair ? 

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise 70 

That last infirmity of noble mind 
To scorn delights and live laborious days 
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, 
And think to burst out into sudden blaze, 
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, 
And slits the thin-spun life.\ ' But not the praise,' 
Phoebus replied, and touch 'd my trembling ears; 
'Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil, 
Nor in the glistering foil 

Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies, 
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes 
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove; x 
As he pronounces lastly on each deed, 
Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.' XL 

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood, 
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds, 
That strain I heard was of a higher mood ; 
But now my oat proceeds, 
And listens to the herald of the sea 

That came in Neptune's plea. 90 

He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds, 1* 
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain ? 
And question'd every gust of rugged wings 
That blows from off each beaked promontory. 
They knew not of his story; 
And sage Hippo tades their answer brings, 

io 4 


That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd: 

The air was calm, and on the level brine 

Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd. 

It was that fatal and perfidious bark, 

Built in the eclipse and rigg'd with curses dark, 

That sunk so low that sacred head of thine. 

Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, 
His mantle hairy and his bonnet sedge, 
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge 
Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe. %- 
' Ah ! who hath reft,' quoth he, ' my dearest pledge ?' i 
Last came, and last did go, 
The pilot of the Galilean lake ; 
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain 
The golden opes, the iron shuts amain. 
He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake: 
' How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain, 
Enow of such as for their bellies' sake 
Creep and intrude and climb into the fold! 
Of other care they little reckoning make 
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, 
And shove away the worthy bidden guest. 
Blind mouths ! that scarce themselves know how to hold 
A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least 
That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ! 
What recks it them ? What need they? They are sped ; 
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs 
Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw. 
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, 
But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw, 
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread ; 
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw 
Daily devours apace, and nothing said. 
But that two-handed engine at the door 
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.* 


Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past 
That shrunk thy streams ; return, Sicilian Muse, 
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast 
Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues. 
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use 
Of shades and wanton winds and gushing brooks, 
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks, 
Throw hither all your quaint enamell'd eyes, 
That on the green turf suck the honey'cl showers 140 

And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. 
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies, 
The tufted crow-toe and pale jessamine, 
The white pink and the pansy freak'd with jet, 
The glowing violet, 

The musk-rose and the well-attir'd woodbine, 
With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head, 
And every flower that sad embroidery wears : 
Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed, 

And daffodillies fill their cups with tears, 150 

To strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies. 
For so, to interpose a little ease, 
Let our frail thoughts dally with false" surmise, 
Ay me ! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas 
Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd : 
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides, 
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide 
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world ; 
Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied, 
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old, ifo 

Where the great vision of the guarded mount 
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold. 
Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth, 
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth! 

Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more, 
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead, 



Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor. 

So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed, 

And yet anon repairs his drooping head, 

And tricks his beams, and with new- spangled ore 

Flames in the forehead of the morning sky : 

So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high. 

Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves, 

Where, other groves and other streams along, 

With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, 

And hears the unexpressive nuptial song 

In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love. 

There entertain him all the saints above, 

In solemn troops and sweet societies, 

That sing, and singing in their glory move, 

And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes. 

Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more ; 

Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore, 

In thy large recompense, and shall be good 

To all that wander in that perilous flood. 

Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and ril^s, 
While the still Morn went out with sandals gray. 
He touch'd the tender stops of various quills, 
With eager thought warbling his Doric lay; 
And now the sun had stretch'd out all the hills, 
And now was dropt into the western bay. 
At last he rose, and twitch'd his mantle blue: 
To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new. 








How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, 

Stolen on his wing my three-and-twendeth year ! 

My hasting days fly on with full career, 

But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. 

Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth 

That I to manhood am arriv'd so near; 

And inward ripeness doth much less appear, 

That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th. 

Yet, be it less or more, or soon or slow, 

It shall be still in strictest measure even . 10 

To that same lot, however mean or high, 

Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven. 

All is, if I have grace to use it so, 

As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye. 


O NIGHTINGALE, that on yon bloomy spray 
Warblest at eve when all the woods are still, 
Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill, 
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May. 
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day, 
First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill, 
Portend success in love. O, if Jove's will 
Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay, 


Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate 

Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh ; > 

As thou from year to year hast sung too late 

For my relief, yet haclst no reason why. 

Whether the Muse or Love call thee his mate, 

Both them I serve, and of their train am I. 


CAPTAIN or Colonel, or Knight in Arms, 

Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize, 

If deed of honour did thee ever please, 

Guard them, and him within protect from harms. 

He can requite thee, for he knows the charms 

That call fame on such gentle acts as these, 

And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas, 

Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms. 

Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower : 

The great Emathian conqueror bid spare 10 

The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower 

Went to the ground ; and the repeated air 

Of sad Electra's poet had the power 

To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare. 


LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth 
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green, 
And with those few art eminently seen 
That labour up the hill of heavenly truth, 
The better part with Mary and with Ruth 
Chosen thou hast ; and they that overween, 
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen, 
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth. 


Thy care is fix'cl, and zealously attends 

To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, 10 

And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure 

Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends 

Passes to bliss at the mid-hour of night, 

Hast gain'd thy entrance, virgin wise and pure. 


DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President 

Of England's Council and her Treasury, 

Who liv'd in both unstain'd with gold or fee, 

And left them both, more in himself content, 

Till the sad breaking of that Parliament 

Broke him, as that dishonest victory 

At Chaeronea, fatal to liberty, 

Kill'd with report that old man eloquent ; 

Though later born than to have known the days 

Wherein your father flourish'd, yet by you, 10 

Madam, methinks I see him living yet : 

So well your words his noble virtues praise 

That all both judge you to relate them true 

And to possess them, honour'd Margaret. 



A BOOK was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon, 
And woven close, both matter, form, and style ; 
The subject new : it walk'd the town a while, 
Numbering good intellects ; now seldom por'd on. 
Cries the stall-reader, ' Bless us ! what a word on 
A title-page is this !' and some in file 
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile- 
End Green. Why is it harder, sirs, than Gordon-, 


Coikitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp ? 

Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek, 

That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. 

Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek, 

Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, 

When thou taught'st Cambridge and King Edward Greek. 


I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs 

By the known rules of ancient liberty, 

When straight a barbarous noise environs me 

Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs ; 

As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogs 

Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny, 

Which after held the sun and moon in fee. 

But this is got by casting pearl to hogs, 

That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood, 

And still revolt when truth would set them free. 

License they mean when they cry Liberty ; 

For who loves that must first be wise and good: 

But from that mark how far they rove we see, 

For all this waste of wealth and loss of blood. 


HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measur'd song 

First taught our English music how to span 

Words with just note and accent, not to scan 

With Midas 1 ears, committing short and long, 

Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng, 

With praise enough for Envy to look wan ; 

To after age thou shall be writ the man 

That with smooth air couldst humour best our tong N ue. 


Thou honour's! verse, and verse must lend her wing 

To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire, 10 

That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn or story. 

Dante shall give fame leave to set thee higher 

Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing 

Met in the milder shades of Purgatory. 



WHEN Faith and Love, which parted from thee never, 

Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God, 

Meekly thou didst resign this earthy load 

Of death, calFd life, which us from life doth sever. 

Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour, 

Stay'd not behind, nor in the grave were trod, 

But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod, 

Followed thee up to joy and bliss for ever. 

Love led them on ; and Faith, who knew them best 

Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams i 

And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, 

And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes 

Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest 

And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams. 



LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son, 
Now that the fields are dank and ways are mire, 
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire 
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won 
From the hard season gaining? Time will run 
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire 



The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire 
The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun. 
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, 
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise 
To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice 
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air? 
He who of those delights can judge, and spare 
To interpose them oft, is not unwise. 


CYRIAC, whose grandsire on the royal bench 
Of British Themis, with no mean applause 
Pronounc'd and in his volumes taught our laws, 
Which others at their bar so often wrench, 
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench 
In mirth that after no repenting draws; 
Let Euclid rest and Archimedes pause, 
And what the Swede intend, and what the French. 
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know 
Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; 
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains, 
And disapproves that care, though wise in show, 
That with superfluous burden loads the day, 
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains. 


FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings, 
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise, 
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze 
And rumours loud that daunt remotest kings, 
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings 
Victory home, though new rebellions raise 


Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays 

Her broken league to imp their serpent wings. 

O, yet a nobler task awaits thy hand 

For what can war but endless war still breed? J0 

Till truth and right from violence be freed, 

And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand 

Of public fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed, 

While Avarice and Rapine share the land. 


CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud 

Not of war only, but detractions rude, 

Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, 

To peace and truth thy glorious way hast ploughed, 

And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud 

Hast rear'd God's trophies and his work pursued, 

While Darvven stream, with blood of Scots imbrued, 

And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, 

And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much remains 

To conquer still ; peace hath her victories 10 

No less renown'd than war : new foes arise, 

Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains. 

Help us to save free conscience from the paw 

Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw. 


VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old, 
Than whom a better senator ne'er held 
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell'd 
The fierce Epirot and the African bold, 
Whether to settle peace or to unfold 


The drift of hollow states hard to be spelPd; 

Then to advise how war may best upheld 

Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, 

In all her equipage : besides to know 

Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, 10 

What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few have done. 

The bounds of either sword to thee we owe : 

Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans 

In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son. 



WHEN I consider how my light is spent 

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, 

And that one talent which is death to hide 

Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more bent 

To serve therewith my Maker, and present 

My true account, lest he returning chide, 

'Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?' 

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent 

That murmur, soon replies, * God doth not need 

Either man's work, or his own gifts. Who best > 

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state 

Is kingly : thousands at his bidding speed, 

And post o'er land and ocean without rest ; 

They also serve who only stand and wait.' 


AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones 
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold ; 
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old. 
When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones, 
Forget not : in thy book record their groans 


Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold 
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd 
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans 
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they 
To heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow 
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway 
The triple tyrant ; that from these may grow 
A hundredfold, who having learnt thy way 
Early may fly the Babylonian woe. 


CYRIAC, this three years' day these eyes, though clear 

To outward view of blemish or of spot, 

Bereft of light their seeing have forgot; 

Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear 

Of sun or moon or star, throughout the year, 

Or man or woman. Yet I argue not 

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot 

Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer 

Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? 

The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied 1 

In Liberty's defence, my noble task, 

Of which all Europe rings from side to side. 

This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask 

Content though blind, had I no better guide. 


METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint 
Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave, 
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, 
Rescued from death by force though pale and faint. 
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint 



Purification in the old Law did save, 

And such as yet once more I trust to have 

Full sight of her in heaven without restraint, 

Came vested all in white, pure as her mind. 

Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight 

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd 

So clear as in no face with more d'elight. 

But O, as to embrace me she incliird, 

I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night ! 


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, 

And ride us with a classic hierarchy 

Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rutherford ? 

Men whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent 

Would have been held in high esteem with Paul 10 

Must now be nam'd and printed heretics 

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 balk your ears, 

And succour our just fears, 

When they shall read this clearly in your charge: 
I New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large. 20 



WHEN the blest seed of Terah's faithful son 

After long toil their liberty had won, 

And past from Pharian fields to Canaan land, 

Led by the strength of the Almighty's hand, 

Jehovah's wonders were in Israel shown, 

His praise and glory was in Israel known. 

That saw the troubled sea, and shivering fled, 

And sought to hide his froth-becurled head 

Low in the earth ; Jordan's clear streams recoil, 

As a faint host that hath receiv'd the foil. 

The high huge-bellied mountains skip like rams 

Amongst their ewes, the little hills like lambs. 

Why fled the ocean, and why skipp'd the mountains? 

Why turned Jordan toward his crystal fountains ? 

Shake, Earth, and at the presence be aghast 

Of Him that ever was and aye shall last, 

That glassy floods from rugged rocks can crush, 

And make soft rills from fiery flint-stones gush. 


LET us with a gladsome mind 
Praise the Lord, for he is kind ; 

For his mercies aye endure, 

Ever faithful, ever sure. 
Let us blaze his name abroad, 
For of gods he is the God : 

For his, etc. 


O, let us his praises tell 

Who doth the wrathful tyrants quell ; 10 

For his, etc. 

Who with his miracles doth make 
Amazed heaven and earth to shake ; 

For his, etc. 

Who by his wisdom did create 
The painted heavens so full of state ; 

For his, etc. 20 

Who did the solid earth ordain 
To rise above the watery plain ; 

For his, etc. 

Who by his all-commanding might 
Did fill the new-made world with light ; 

For his, etc. 

And caus'd the golden-tressed sun 
All the day long his course to run ; 30 

For his, etc. 

The horned moon to shine by night 
Amongst her spangled sisters bright ; 

For his, etc. 

He with his thunder-clasping hand 
Smote the first-born of Egypt land ; 

For his, etc. 40 

And, in despite of Pharaoh fell, 
He brought from thence his Israel ; 

For his, etc. 

The ruddy waves he cleft in twain 
Of the Erythraean main ; 

For his, etc. 

The floods stood still like walls of glass, 
While the Hebrew bands did pass ; 50 

For his, etc. 

But full soon they did devour 
The tawny king with all his power ; 

For his, etc. 

His chosen people he did bless 
In the wasteful wilderness ; 

For his, etc. 60 



In bloody battle he brought down 
Kings of prowess and renown ; 

For his, etc. 

He foil'd bold Seon and his host, 
That rul'd the Amorrean coast ; 

For his, etc. 

And large-limb'd Og he did subdue, 
With all his over-hardy crew ; 70 

For his, etc. 

And to his servant Israel 
He gave their land therein to dwell ; 

For his, etc. 

He hath with a piteous eye 
Beheld us in our misery ; 

For his, etc. 80 

And freed us from the slavery 
Of the invading enemy ; 

For his, etc. 

All living creatures he doth feed, 
And with full hand supplies their need ; 

For his, etc. 

Let us therefore warble forth 
His mighty majesty and worth ; 90 

For his, etc. 

That his mansion hath on high, 
Above the reach of mortal eye ; 

For his mercies aye endure, 

Ever faithful, ever sure. 



O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted, 
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly, 
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst outlasted 
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry ; 
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye 
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, 
But kilPd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss. 



For since grim Aquilo his charioteer 
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got, 
He thought it touch'd his deity full near 10 

If likewise he some fair one wedded not, 
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot 
Of long-uncoupled bed and childless eld, 
Which 'mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was held. 


So mounting up in icy-pearled car, 
Through middle empire of the freezing air 
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far ; 
There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his care : 
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair, 
But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace 20 

Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair 


Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate ; 

For so Apollo, with unweeting hand, 

Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate, 

Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas' strand, 

Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land, 

But then transform'd him to a purple flower : 

Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no power! 


Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead, 
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb, 30 

Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed, 
Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb ; 
Could Heaven for pity thee so strictly doom ? 
O, no ! for something in thy face did shine 
Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine. 


Resolve me then, O soul most surely blest 
If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear 
Tell me, bright spirit, where'er thou hoverest, 


Whether above that high first-moving sphere, 

Or in the Elysian fields if such there were 40 

O, say me true if thou wert mortal wight, 

And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight. 


Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof 

Of shak'd Olympus by mischance didst fall, 

Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof 

Took up and in fit place did reinstall ? 

Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall 

Of sheeny heaven, and thou some goddess fled 

Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar' d head ? 


Or wert thou that just maid who once before 50 

Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth, 

And cam'st again to visit us once more ? 

Or wert thou [Mercy,] that sweet-smiling youth ? 

Or that crown'd matron, sage white-robed Truth ? 

Or any other of that heavenly brood 

Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good ? 


Or wert thou of the golden-winged host, 

Who, having clad thyself in human weed, 

To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post, 

And after short abode fly back with speed, 60 

As if to show what creatures heaven doth breed, 

Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire 

To scorn the sordid world and unto heaven aspire ? 


But O, why didst thou not stay here below 

To bless us with thy heaven-lov'd innocence, 

To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe, 

To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence, 

Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence, 

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart? 

But thou canst best perform that office where thou art. 70 



Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child, 
Her false-imagin'd loss cease to lament, 
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild ; 
Think what a present thou to God hast sent, 
And render him with patience what he lent : 
This if thou do, he will an offspring give 
That till the world's last end shall make thy name to live. 


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 mad'st imperfect words with childish trips, 

Half unpronounc'd, 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. 10 

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 serv'd 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 fantastics with delight, 20 

But cull those richest robes and gay'st 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 choose, 

Thy service in some graver subject use, 30 

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, 40 

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 50 

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 purpos'd 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, 


Good luck befriend thee, son, for at thy birth 

The fairy ladies danc'd upon the hearth J 60 

Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy 

Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie, 


And sweetly singing round about thy bed 

Strew 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, 70 

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, Co 

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? 90 

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 Ouse, or gulfy 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, 

Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lea, 

Or coaly Tyne, 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.'] 


YE flaming powers and winged warriors bright, 
That erst with music and triumphant song, 
First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear, 
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along 
Through the soft silence of the listening night, 
Now mourn ; and, if sad share with us to bear 
Your fiery essence can distil no tear, 
Burn in your sighs, and borrow 
Seas wept from our deep sorrow. 
He who with all heaven's heraldry whilere 
Enter'd the world now bleeds to give us ease. 
Alas ! how soon our sin 
Sore doth begin 
His infancy to seize ! 

O more exceeding love, or law more just ? 

Just law indeed, but more exceeding love ! 

For we by rightful doom remediless 

Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above, 

High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust 

Emptied his glory, even to nakedness ; 

And that great covenant which we still transgress 

Entirely satisfied, 

And the full wrath beside 

Of vengeful justice bore for our excess, 

And seals obedience first with wounding smart 

This day ; but O, ere long, 

Huge pangs and strong 

Will pierce more near his heart ! 




EREWHILE of music and ethereal mirth, 

Wherewith the stage of air and earth did ring, 

And joyous news of Heavenly Infant's birth, 

My Muse with angels did divide to sing ; 

But headlong joy is ever on the wing, 

In wintry solstice like the shorten'd light 

Soon swallow'd up in dark and long outliving night. 


For now to sorrow must I tune my song, 
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe, 
Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long, 10 

Dangers and snares and wrongs, and worse than so, 
Which he for us did freely undergo : 
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight 
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight ! 


He, sovran Priest, stooping his regal head, 
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes, 
Poor fleshly tabernacle entered, 
His starry front low-roof'd beneath the skies: 
O, what a mask was there, what a disguise ! 
Yet more : the stroke of death he must abide, 20 

Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethren's side. 


These latest scenes confine my roving verse, 

To this horizon is my Phoebus bound. 

His godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, 

And former sufferings otherwhere are found ; 

Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound : 

Me softer airs befit, and softer strings 

Of lute or viol still, more apt for mournful things. 




Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief ! 
Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw, 3 

And work my flatter'd fancy to belief 
That heaven and earth are colour'd with my woe : 
My sorrows are 1 too dark for day to know : 
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, 
And letters, where my tears have wash'd, a wannish white. 


See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels, 

That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood ! 

My spirit some transporting cherub feels 

To bear me where the towers of Salem stood, 

Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood. 40 

There doth my soul in holy vision sit, 

In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit. 


Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock 
That was the casket of heaven's richest store, 
And here, though grief my feeble hands uplock, 
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score 
My plaining verse as lively as before ; 
For sure so well instructed are my tears 
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters. 


Or should I, thence hurried on viewless wing, 50 

Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, 
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring 
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild ; 
And I for grief is easily beguil'd 
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud 
Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. 

This subject the Author finding to be above the years he had when he wrote 
if, and nothing satisfied %vith what was begun, left it unfinished. 



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. 

T was 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 

Dodg'd with him betwixt Cambridge and the Bull. 

And surely Death could never have prevail'd, 

Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd ; 10 

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 said, 

' 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 ; 

And, like an engine mov'd with wheel and weight, 

His principles being^ceas'd, 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 out-stretch'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.' 20 

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 even 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 30 

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. 



Abbott's Gr., Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar (third ed.). 
B., R. C Browne's "Clarendon Press" ed. of Milton (Oxford, 1870). 
Cf. (confer), compare. 

Ep. Mar. Win., Milton's Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester. 
F. Q. , Spenser's Faerie Queene. 
Fol., following. 
Id. (idem), the same. 

Imp. Diet., Ogilvie's Imperial Dictionary (Century Co.'s ed., New York, 1883). 
J., C. S. Jerram's ed. of Milton's Lycidas (London, '.874). 
K., Thos. Keightley's ed. of Miiton (London, 1859). 
M., David Masson's ed. of Milton (London, 1874). 
Matzner, English Grammar , trans, by Grece (London, 1874). 
Nares, Glossary, edited by Halliwell and Wright (London, 1859). 
New Eng. Diet., the Philological Society's New English Dictionary, edited by 
J. A. H. Murray (Oxford, 1885). 

Rich , Richardson's Dictionary (London, 1838). 

Skeat, W. W. Skeat's Concise Etymological Dictionary (Harper's ed., 1882). 

Sol. MMS. Milton's At a Solemn Music. 

Wb., Webster's Dictionary (revised quarto ed. of 1879). 

Other abbreviations will be readily understood. The line-numbers in the references 
to Shakespeare are those of the " Globe " edition. 



HALLAM calls this ode " perhaps the most beautiful in the English 
language ; v and Landor says that stanzas 4-7 of the hymn itself are "in 
comparably the noblest piece of lyric poetry in any modern language " 
that he is conversant with. He adds an expression of regret that "the 
remainder is here and there marred by the bubbles and fetid mud of the 
Italian," to the influence of which literature he ascribes many of the re 
dundancies and exaggerations of Milton's verse. Johnson did not deign 
to notice the poem ; and Warton, after referring to stanzas 19 and 26 as 
" the best part" of it, adds : " The rest chiefly consists of a string of af 
fected conceits, which his early youth and the fashion of the times can 
only excuse." He admits, however, that " there is a dignity and simplic 
ity in the fourth stanza of the hymn worthy the maturest years and the 
best times ;" and the next stanza, he says, is not, "an expression or two 
excepted, unworthy of Milton." 

The stanza of the introduction is the same that the young poet had al 
ready devised for the verses On the Death of a Fair Infant; and that of 
the hymn is also original with him. 

A passage in Milton's sixth Latin elegy (quoted by M.) shows that the 
poem was begun on Christmas Day, 1629. The elegy is addressed to his 
friend Charles Diodati, then residing in the country, in answer to a met 
rical epistle sent to Milton on the ijth of December. The reference to 
the ode is as follows : 

" At tu, si quid agam scitabere, si modo saltern 

Esse putas tanti noscere si quid agam. 
Paciferum canimus caelesti semine regem, 

Faustaque sacratis secula pacta lihris ; 
Vagitumque Dei, et stahulantem paupere tecto 

Qui suprema suo cum patre regna colit ; 
Stelliparumque polum, modulantesque aethere turnias, 

Et subito elisos ad sua fana deos. 
Dona quidem dedimus Christi natalibus ilia; 

Ilia sub auroram lux milii prima tulit. 
'Tu quoque pressa manent patriis meditata cicutis; 

Tu mihi, cui recitem, judicis instar eris." 

5. The holy sages. The Prophets. 

6. Our deadly forfeit. All that was forfeited when Adam fell, 
10. He ivont. Cf. P. L. i . 764 : 



" Though like a cover'd field, where champions bold 
Wont ride in arm'd," etc. 

As K. remarks, " the allusion to earthly councils is perhaps too familiar." 
14. A darksome house, etc. Cf. // Pens. 91 : 

" The immortal mind that hath forsook 
Her mansion in this fleshly nook." 

23. Wizards. Wise men ; the original sense of the word. Cf. Spen 
ser, F. Q. i. 4. 12 : "And strong advizement of six wizards old ;" and Id. 
iv. 12. 2 : 

" Therefore the antique wizards well invented 
That Venus of the fomy sea was bred." 

24. Prevent. Anticipate. W.Julius Cczsar, v. i. 105 : "to prevent the 
time of life " (by suicide), etc. 

27. The angel quire. See Luke, ii. 13. 

28. From out his secret altar, etc. See Isa. vi. 6 ; and cf. Milton's Rea 
son of Church Government: " that Eternal Spirit who can enrich with all 
utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with the hallowed 
fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom He pleases." 

36. To wanton with the Snn, etc. Cf. Milton's Eleg. v. 55 : 

" Exuit invisam Tellus rediviva senectam, 

Et cupit amplexus, Phoebe, subire tuos," etc. 

41. Pollute. Milton often uses these contracted participles of Latin 
origin ; as increate (/'. L. iii. 6), devote (Id. iii. 208), situate (Id. vi. 641), sns- 
f>fct (P. K. ii. 399), etc. Cf. Abbott's Gr. 342. 

45. Cease. For the causative sense, cf. Cymbeline, v. 5. 255 : 

" A certain stuff, which being ta'en would cease 
The present power of life," etc. 

We find it in the passive in Timon of Athens, ii. i. 16: 

" P>e not ceas'd 
With slight denial," etc. 

47. Sliding. Gliding ; as often in writers of the time. Cf. Vac. Ex. 4, 
Lye. 86, etc. See also Shakespeare, Sonn. 45. 4 : 

" The first my thought, the other my desire. 
These present-absent with swift motion slide." 

48. The turning sphere. The Ptolemaic system of crystalline spheres. 
Cf. 125 below. 

50. Turtle. Turtle-dove ; the only instance of the word in Milton's 
verse. Cf. Winters Tale, v. 3. 132 : 

" I, an old turtle, 
Will wing me to some wither'd bough," etc. 

56. The hooked chariot. The ancient war-chariot, armed with scythes 
or hooks. K. cites the description of the Sotildan's chariot in F. Q. v. 8. 
28: " With yron wheeles and hookes arm'd dreadfully." 

59. Awful. Full of awe, awe-struck; as in Richard II. iii. 3. 76: "To 
pay their awful duty to our presence," etc. 


60. Sovran. Milton's form for sovereign, and etymologically the nioro 
correct, as the word is from the Latin superanns (Ital. sovrano}. The 
common spelling is due to a fancied connection with reign. 

64. Whist. Hushed ; the contracted participle of the old verb u<hist 
or hist. Cf. Tempest, i. 2. 379 : 

" Curtsied when you have, and kiss'd 
The wild waves whist " 

(that is, kissed them into silence); F. Q. vii. 7. 59: " So was the Titanesse 
put down and whist," etc. 

66. Ocean. A trisyllable; as in Merchant of Venice, \. 1.8: "Your 
mind is tossing on the ocean ;" King John, ii. 1.340 : " A peaceful progress 
to the ocean ;" 2 Henry IV. iii. I. 50: "The beachy girdle of the ocean," 
etc. See also on 108 and 163 below. 

68. Birds of calm. The halcyons, or kingfishers. According to the 
old myth, the sea was calm at the time of their incubation, which was 
about the winter solstice. 

71. Influence. An astrological word. As used by Milton and Shake 
speare, it always refers, literally or figuratively, to the influence of the 
heavenly bodies. See on L' All. 12 1 below. 

73. For all the morning light. Cf. Alacbeth, iv. 2. 36 : " My father is not 
dead for all your saying," etc. 

76. Bespake. An emphatic spake. Cf. Lye. 1 12. Z?/V/=bade ; as in 124 

78. Room. Place ; as in Vac. Ex. 58. 

81. As. As if. Cf. Macbeth, i. 4. 1 1 : 

" To throw away the dearest thing he owed, 
As 'twere a careless trifle," etc. 

85. Lawn. In its old sense of a " wild bushy plain," or clear space in a 
forest. It was formerly spelt laund or Unvnd (Fr. lande). Cf. L" 1 All. 71 ; 
and see Shakespeare, V. and A. 813 : "And homeward through the dark 
laund runs apace," etc. 

86. Or ere. A reduplication, the or being = before ; as in Chaucer, 
Knightes Tale, 1685 : " Cleer was the day,~as I have told or this." Ere 
seems to have been added to or for emphasis when the meaning of the 
latter was dying out. In early English we find such combinations as erst 
er, before er, before or (Matzner, iii. 451). 

Some explain or ere, which they write or e'er, as a contraction of or 
ever (before ever). Or ever is, indeed, not unfrequently found (as in the 
Bible, in Eccles. xii. 6, Prov. viii. 23, etc.) ; but, as Abbott remarks (Gr. 
131), it is much more likely that ever should be substituted for ere than 
ere for ever. 

88. Than. Then ; an old form used for the rhyme. 

89. Pan. The name was sometimes poetically applied to Christ ; as 
by Spenser, Shep. Kal. May: " When great Pan account of shepeherdes 
shall aske." The Glosse on the passage says : " Great Pan is Christ, the 
very God of all shepheards, which calleth himselfe the greate and good 
shepherd. The name is most rightly (methinkes) applyed to him; for 

136 MOTES. 

Pan signified! all, or omnipotent, which is onely the Lord Jesus " See 
also Shep. Kal. July : 

" And wonned not the great God Pan 

Upon mount Olivet, 
Feeding the blessed flocke of Dan, 
Which dyd himselfe beget?" 

95. Strook. Here apparently used for the rhyme ; but, as M. remarks, 
Milton " seems to have preferred sirook for musical reasons, and to have 
always used it except where some particular modification of those rea 
sons recommended struck" He has strook even in prose; as in Kef. in 
Eng. : " Strook through the black and settled night of Ignorance." 

97. Noise, Music; as in Sol. Mtts. 18. Cf. F. Q. i. 12. 39: "During 
which time there was an heavenly noise ;" Tempest, iii. 2. 144 : 

"the isle is full of noises, 
Sounds and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not ;" 

and Coleridge, Anc. Mariner : 

" It ceased ; yet still the sails made on 
A pleasant noise till noon 
A noise like of a hidden brook 
In the leafy month of June, 
That to the sleeping woods all night 
Singeth a quiet tune." 

98. As all. The force of such in 93 seems to be carried forward to 96. 
For took, cf. Vac. Kx. 20. 

100. Close. Cadence, or conclusion of a strain. Cf. Comus, 548. 

101-104. Nature that heard, etc. " The prose order of the words here 
is, 'Nature, that heard such sound thrilling the airy region beneath the 
hollow round of Cynthia's seat, was now,' etc.; and the meaning is, 'Nat 
ure, on hearing such a sound thrilling through the earth's atmosphere 
under the concave of the moon's orbit, was now,' etc." (M.). 

106. Its. The word occurs in only two other instances ii Milton's 
verse : P. L. i. 254 and iv. 813. K. says that the latter is a printer's al 
teration. For Shakespeare's use of its, see our ed. of Tempest, p. 120 
(note on 392), and Winters Tale, p. 172 (note on 178) ; also Abbott's Gr. 

107. Alone. Of itself, without her aid. 

108. Union. A trisyllable. See on 66 above. 

116. Unexpressive. Inexpressible; as in Lye. 176. Cf. also As You 
Like It, iii. 2. IO : " The fair, the chaste, the unexpressive she ;" and for 
examples of similar adjectives used passively by Shakespeare, see Ab 
bott's Gr. 3. 

117. Such music, etc. The stanza is suggested by Job, xxxviii. 4-11. 
Cf. P. L. vii. 557 fol. 

124. Weltering. Rolling. Cf. Lye. 13. 

125. King out, ye crystal spheres. An allusion to the "music of the 
spheres," or that made by the motion of the crystalline spheres of the 
Ptolemaic astronomy. Milton wrote an academic oration on the subject 
(De Sphcerarum Coticentii), perhaps at about the same time with this ode. 


For the notion that human ears are too dull to perceive this harmony, cf. 
Merchant of Venice, v. I. 60 fol. ; and for other allusions to the music of 
the spheres in Shakespeare, see A. Y. L. ii. 7. 6, T. N. iii. I. 121, and A. 
and C. v. 2. 84. 

131. Ninefold harmony. The nine spheres of the system, as here re 
ferred to, were those of the seven planets (the moon, Mercury, Venus, the 
sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), with that of the stars, and the primntn 
mobile, which gave motion to the whole. A tenth sphere, " the crystal 
line heaven," was added in the later phase of the theory. 

132. Consort. Literally, fellowship (Latin consortium, from cottsors). 
It must not be confounded with concert, which we should now use in a 
passage like this. Cf. F. Q. iii. i. 40 : 

'And all the while sweet Musicke did divide 
Her looser notes with Lydian harmony ; 
And all the while sweet birdes thereto applide 
Their dainty layes and dulcet melody, 
Ay caroling of love and jollity, 
That wonder was to hear their trim consort." 

See also At a Solemn Music, 27, where the word is clearly = choir ; and 
// Pens. 145, where it may have that sense, or is perhaps concert. 
Shakespeare uses it for a company of musicians in T. G. of V. iii. 2. 84 : 

" Visit by night your lady's chamber-window 
With some sweet consort ; to their instruments 
Tune a deploring dump." 

Cf. also the play upon the word in R. and J. iii. 1. 48 : 

" Tybalt. Mercutio, thou consort'st with Romeo. 

Mercntio. Consort! What, dost thou make us minstrels? An thou make minstrels 
of us, look to hear nothing but discords !" 

136. Speckled. Covered with plague-spots ; a figure in keeping with 
the leprous Sin just below. J. Warton compares the "maculosum ne- 
fas"of Horace (Od. iv. 5. 22). Shakespeare has maculate, opposed to 
immaculate, in L. L. L. i. 2. 97; and macnlation (=stain of inconstancy) 
in T. and C. iv. 4. 66. 

141. Yea, Truth and Justice, etc. As Astraea was to return to the 
earth, according to the ancient myth, when the Golden Age should come 
again. Cf. Virgil, Eel. iv. 6: "Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia 
regna." Pope, like Milton, connects the idea with the advent of the 
Messiah : 

"All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail, 
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale," etc. 

143. Ortfdin a rainbow, etc. We follow (with B. and M.) the point 
ing of the ed. of 1673. K. joins and like glories wearing with what pre 
cedes. The first reading of the passage (ed. of 1645) was: 

" Th' enameld Arras of the Rainbow wearing, 
And Mercy set between," etc. 

145. Sheen. " Shine" (202 below), brightness. Cf. Counts, 893, 1003, 



146. Tissued. Interwoven ; or, perhaps, " variegated " (Imp. Dict.\ 
Do%vn steering. " Directing down their course " (K.). 
152. The bitter cross. Cf. I Henry IV. i. i. 27 : " For our advantage on 
the bitter cross." 

154. So both himself and us to glorify. K. quotes John, xvii. 22. 

155. Ychairfd. The past participle with the ancient prefix (cf. the 
Germany- ); as in yclept (from the old clepe, which occurs in Hamlet, i. 
4. 19), etc. Cf. i Thess. iv. 16. 

163. Session. A trisyllable. See on 66 above. 
168. Old Dragon. See Rev. xxii. 2, and cf. Id. xii. 4. 

172. Swinges. Lashes ; the only instance of the word in Milton. 
Shakespeare has it seven times in the sense of whip. 

173. The oracles are dumb, etc. "This was a frequent assertion of 
the Fathers, who ascribed to the coming of Christ what was the effect of 
time. They regarded the ancient oracles as having been the inspiration 
of the devil" (K.). 

In this and the following stanzas there is an evident allusion to the 
story narrated by Plutarch of the shipmaster, who, as he was sailing by 
the island of Paxa, heard a voice bidding him tell the people at Palodas 
that the great god Pan was dead ; and when he reached that port and 
delivered the message, loud shrieks and piteous outcries were heard. 
This is related in the Glosse on Spenser's Shep.Kal. May, where Milton 
might have seen it, if not in Plutarch. 

183. A voice of weeping, etc. Warton cites Matt. ii. 18 and Jer. xxxi. 15. 

185. Poplar pale. The white poplar. 

187. Flmver-itnvoveii t res sea. Cf. Comns, 862. 

191. Lars and Lemures. Ghosts and goblins. The Lares were prop 
erly ancestral spirits worshipped as household gods ; while the term 
Lemures was applied to ghosts in general. In Milton's time, however, 
the words had come to be loosely used as nearly synonymous. Lemures 
is a dissyllable. 

194. Flamens. Here used in a general way for priests. Quaint = curi 
ous, elaborate. 

195. The cJiill marble seems to sweat. A prodigy not {infrequently noted 
by ancient writers. Cf. Virgil, Geor. i. 480 : "Et maestum illacrimat tem- 

s plis ebur, aeraque suclant." 

197. Peor and Baalim. The latter word is a plural of Baal, and used 
for Phenician deities in general. Cf. Judges, ii. II. Peor, or Baal-peor 
(Numbers, xxv. 3, Psa. cvi. 28, etc.) was one of these gods. 

199. 77idt twice-batter\i god of Palestine. Dagon. Cf. I Sam. v. 3, 4. 
See also P. L. i. 457 fol. 

200. Ashtaroth. See P. L. \. 438 : 

" Astoreth, whom the Phenicians called 
Astarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns ; 
To whose bright image, nightly by the moon, 
Sidonian virgins paid their vows and songs," etc. 

Cf. also Judges, ii. 13, x. 6. K. says that Milton seems to have taken the 
idea of her being heaven's mother from Selden, De Diis Syriis, for it does 
not occur in Scripture. 


203. Hammon. The Egyptian god Hammon or Ammon, who was 
represented with the horns of a rani. 

204. Thiimmuz. A Syrian love-god, said to have been killed by a wild- 
boar, and yearly mourned by women. His worship spread into Greece, 
where he became identified with Adonis. Cf. Ezek. viii. 14. See also P. 
L. i. 446 : 

" Thammuz came next behind, 
Whose annual wound in Lebanon allur'd 
The Syrian damsels to lament his fate 
In amorous ditties all a summer's day," etc. 

205. RToloch. See Levit. xviii. 21, i Kings, xi. 7, 2 S<IM. xii. 26 fol., 
Jui/ges, xi. 12 fol., etc. B. quotes the account of the valley of Tophet in 
Sandys's Travels : "Therein the Hebrews sacrificed their children to Mo 
loch, an idol of brass, having the head of a calf, the rest of a kingly figure 
with arms extended to receive the miserable sacrifice seared to death 
with his burning embracements. For the idol was hollow within, and 
filled with fire ; and lest their lamentable shrieks should sad the heart of 
their parents, the priests of Moloch did deaf their ears with the continual 
clang of trumpets and timbrels." Cf. also P. L. i. 392 fol. 

209. Grisly. Grim, horrible; as in Counts, 603, etc. 

212. Isis and Orns, etc. Osiris was the Nile-god, afterwards the sun- 
god, /sis, his wife, the goddess of the earth, came to be associated with 
the moon. Orus, or Horjis, was the son of Osiris. Amibis was origi 
nally the dog, as Apis was the bull. Milton here seems to confound Apis 
and Osiris, though the chest (in which Osiris was shut up and thrown 
into the Nile) belongs to the latter god. 

214. Memphian grove or green. The fields surrounding the Egyptian 
Memphis. Un$h*wer > d refers to the comparatively rainless climate. B. 
quotes Cowley's Sleep : 

" The fate of Egypt I sustain, 
And never feel the dew of rain." 

220. Sable-stoled. Black-robed. Cf. // Pens. 35. 

223. Eyne. The old plural of eye, used for the rhyme ; the only in 
stance of the form in Milton. Cf. shoon in Cornier, 635. 

2.26. Typhon. The Greek name of the Egyptian Set or Suti, a brother 
of Osiris, to whom he became an enemy. He is represented in various 
forms, sometimes as a crocodile. Not is here = not even. 

227. Our Babe, etc. " The smiky twine suggests the infant Hercules 
strangling serpents in his cradle" (M.). 

229. The sun in bed. This expression suggests the sunset, but as we 
go on we see that the sunrise is meant. 

231. Orient. Eastern; not " bright," as K. explains it. 

232. The flocking sliadows, etc. Cf. Shakespeare, M. N. D. iii. 2. 380 : 

"And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger, 
At whose approach ghosts wandering here and there 
Troop home to churchyards ; damned spirits ail, 
That in cross-ways and floods have burial, 
Already to their wormy beds have gone." 

234. Several. Separate. Cf. Comus, 25. Fetter' d bound to return. 



236. The night-steeds. That draw the chariot of Night. Cf. Comus, 
553. M. takes it to be a reference to nightmares, or " night-hags," and 
compares P. L. ii. 662 : 

" Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, call'd 
In secret, riding through the air she comes, 
Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, 11 etc. 

240. Youngest-teemed. Latest-born ; referring to the Star of Beth 

241. Hath fix*d, etc. Has come to rest, after leading the wise men to 

243. Courtly. Now the palace of" the Son of Heaven's eternal King." 

244. B right-harness 1 d. In bright armour. Cf. Exod. xiii. 18. 


These lines, written in 1630, were first printed in the second folio edi 
tion of Shakespeare's works (1632), where the)' have the title given in the 
text. The author's name is not given there, and we do not find them 
ascribed to him until he included them in the 1645 ed. of his poems, 
where they are entitled "On Shakespear" and dated 1630. So far as 
we know, this was the first composition of Milton's that appeared in 

I. What. For what, why ; a common use of what in that day. Cf. 
Julius Ccesnr, ii. i. 123 : " What need we any spur but our own cause ? 
CymMine, iii. 4. 31 : " What shall I need to draw my sword ?" etc. Some 
editors, not understanding this, have put an interrogation-point at the end 
of the line. 

4. Star-ypointing. Pointing to the stars. The y- was properly pre 
fixed only to the past participle. See on Nativ. 155. Chaucer, however, 
has " a swerd yhanging by a thred " (see Oliphant's New English, vol. i. 
p. 125), which Milton may have had in mind. Some would read "starry- 
pointing," but there is no reason to suspect a misprint in the early eds. 

8. Livelong. The 1632 reading is " lasting." 

IO. And that. The full construction would be " For whilst [that] . . . 
and [whilst] that," etc. Cf. Winter's Tale, i. 2. 84: 

" If you first sinn'd with us, and that with us 
You did continue fault, and that you slipp'd not 
With any but with us." 

See Abbott's Gr. 285, and cf. 287. 

12. Delphic. Inspired by Apollo. B. explains the word as "oracu 
lar," and compares " Delphian " in Wotton's letter on Conius. 

14. Dost make us marble, etc. Cf.. //. Pens. 42. As M. notes, the us is 
emphatic: "we, Shakespeare's readers, are the true marble of his tomb or 

15. Sepulchred. The accent is on the second syllable; as in the three 
instances in which Shakespeare uses the verb (R. of L. 805, T. G. of V. iv. 



2. n8, and Lear, ii. 4. 134). The noun had the modern accent, but we 
find sepiilchre in Rich. II. 5. 3. 196. Cf. Comiis, 471, and 6". A. 102 ; the 
only instances of the noun in Milton's verse, as the present is the only 
one of the verb. 


This poem was written in 1631, the death of the noble lady to whom it 
refers Jane, wife of John Paulet, fifth Marquis of Winchester having 
occurred on the 1 5th of April in that year. How Milton came to be 
interested in the event is not known. 

3. A viscount' 's daughter, etc. She was the daughter of Thomas, Vis 
count Savage, of Rock-Savage, Cheshire, by his wife Elizabeth, the eldest 
daughter of Thomas Darcy, Earl of Rivers. 

7. Summers three times eight save one, etc. The lady had told (num 
bered) twenty-three years when she died. See on I? AIL 67. 

13. Nature and Fate, etc. That is, Fate would have prolonged her life 

to the natural limit, instead of cutting it short, as if in strife with Nature. 

15-24. Her high birth . . - lovely son. A contemporaneous MS. copy 

of this poem in the British Museum, mentioned by M. (vol. ii. p. 202), 

reads : 

' Seven times had the yearlie starre 
In every signe sett upp his carr 
Since for her they did request 
The god that sitts at marriage feast, 
When first the earlie matrons runne 
To greet her of her lovelie sonne. 
And now," etc. 

17. The virgin quire. The bride's-maids, who invoke the presence of 
Hymen at her nuptials. 

19. He . . . came,elc. Cf. Ovid, Met. x. 4: 

" Adfuit ille quidem ; sed nee solemnia verba, 
Nee laetos voltus, nee felix attulit omen ; 
Fax quoque quam tenuit lacrimoso stridula fumo 
Utque fuit, nuliosque invenit motibus ignes." 

22. A cypress-bud. Twined with the marriage garland as a funere'al 

24. Son. Afterwards Charles, Duke of Bolton. 

26. Litcina. The Roman goddess of childbirth. 

28. Atropos. The Fate that "slits the thin-spun life " (Lye. 76). 

32. Yet not. M. has " not yet ;" apparently a misprint, as there is no 
note upon the reading. 

33. Languish 'd. Used causatively or actively. Cf. Coriolanns, i. 9. 6 : 

" Where ladies shall be frighted, 
And, gladly quak'd [made to quake], hear more." 

For other examples, see Abbott's Gr. 374. 

35. Slip. Plant. The whole plant is pulled up by the careless swain 
in attempting to pluck a flower. 



48. Have. This is one of the English words that have no perfect 
rhyme ; but Milton follows Shakespeare in rhyming it with grave. Cf. 
Cymbeiine, iv. 2. 280 : 

" Quiet consummation have, 
And renowned be thy grave." 

50. Seize. " In the peculiar legal sense of ' to put one in possession 

55. Here be fears, etc. Referring to the elegiac verses by Ben Jonson, 
Davenant, and others, written on the death of this lady, who is, however, 
sometimes confounded with another Marchioness of Winchester that died 
in 1614. 

For /v=are, cf. Comns, 960 ; and see Abbott's Gr. 300. 

56. Wept. The early eds. have " Weept." 

Helicon is here used in its proper sense of the mountain-range in Bceo- 
tia sacred to the Muses. It is often applied to the fountain Aganippe as 
sociated with the same locality. 

57. And some flowers, etc. This implies that other tributes than this 
of Milton's were sent from Cambridge ; but what these may have been 
is not now known. 

58. Hearse. M. says that this is not used in our sense of a carriage 
for the dead, but in the older meaning of a tomb or framework over a 
tomb ; but to strew the ways favours the former. B. suggests that For 
should perhaps be " Fore," but no change is called for. For the modern 
sense of hearse (perhaps the only one in Shakespeare), cf. Rich. III. \. 
2. 2: 

" Set down, set down your honourable load, 
If honour may be shrouded in a hearse," etc. 

For the other, see Ben Jonson's Epitaph on the Countess oj Pembroke : 

" Underneath this sable herse 
Lies the subject of all verse," etc. 

59. Came. Camus, or the Cam. Cf. Lye. 103. 

63. 77iat fair Syrian shepherdess. Rachel. See Gen. xxix., xxx., and 
xxxv. 16-20. 

73. Sheen. Cf. Nativ. 145. 

74. But now a Queen. Jonson, in his Elegy, has a similar idea, as K. 
notes : 

" Beholds her Maker, and in him doth see 
What the beginnings of all beauties be, 
And all beatitudes which thence do flow ; 
Which they that have the crown are sure to know." 

Todd fancies that there is a reference to Anne Boleyn's last message to 
Henry VIII., thanking him for making her first a marchioness, then a 
queen, and finally a saint in heaven. 



These lines, as the early draft in Milton's own hand states, were writ 
ten " to be set on a clock-case." The date is probably 1630. 

3. The li eavy plum met 1 s pace. K. and B. take the plummet to be the 
pendulum ; but M. is probably right in making it the weight of the clock. 

4. Womb. In the old sense of belly. Cf. FalstafT s speech in 2 Hen. 
IV. iv. 3. 25 : " My womb, my womb, my womb undoes me." Wiclif's Bi 
ble, in Luke, xv. 1 6, has, " he coveted to fill his womb of the cods that the 
hogs did eat." 

9. Whenas. When ; often printed as two words. Cf. Shakespeare, 
So/in. 49. 3 : " Whenas thy love hath cast his utmost sum," etc. 

12. Individual. Indivisible, inseparable ; as in P. L. iv.486: "Hence 
forth an individual solace dear." Cf. dividual in Id. vii. 382 and xii. 85. 

18. Happy-making sight. The "beatific vision." Cf. /'. L. iii. 62 : 

"and from his sight receiv'd 
Beatitude past utterance." 

21. Attir\iwith stars. Probably crowned with stare, as K. explains 
it, rather than clothed with stars, as Warton and others have made it. 
Cf. Lev. xvi. 4 and Ezek. iii. 15, and see Imp. Diet. s. v. Addison (Taller, 
No. no) has "certain attire, made either of cambric, muslin, or other 
linen, on her head." For tire in the sense of head-dress, cf. Afitch Ado, 
iii. 4. 13 : "I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought 
browner," etc. 


The title, as M. remarks, is equivalent to " At a Concert of Sacred 
Music." The poem was probably written in 1630. Three early drafts 
in Milton's hand are among the Cambridge MSS. 

2. Sphere-born. We have no doubt that here, as in Comus, 241, where 
Echo is called "daughter of the sphere," the word sphere is equivalent 
to air, or atmosphere. It is curious that none of the commentators who 
have puzzled their brains over these passages have suggested this inter 
pretation. Tennyson appears to use sphere in a similar sense in The 
Princess, iii. 90 : 

"The dove may murmur of the dove, but I 
An eagle clang an eagle to the sphere ;" 

that is, to the upper air. See our ed. of the poem, p. 163, where we have 
quoted these passages of Milton in support of this explanation. 

3. Wed your divine sounds, etc. The following variations are found in 
the early drafts of the poem : 


" Mixe your choise words, and happiest sense employ. 
Dead things "with inbreath'd sense able to pierce ; 
And as [whilst] your equal raptures, temper'd sweet, 
In high misterious [holie] [happiej spousale meet ; 
Snatch us from earth a while, 

Us of ourselves, and native [home-bred] woes beguile, 
And to our high-rays'd," etc. 

4. Pierce. For the rhyme, cf. L'AIL 138. B. says : " Perhaps pierce was 
once pronounced perse, for Chaucer has persaunt and Spenser fersant" 
He might also have cited the play upon pierce %.\\& person in Shakespeare, 
L. L. L. iv. 2. 86, and that on pierce and Percy in I Hen. IV. \. 3. 59. In 
Rich. If. v. 3. 127, pierce rhymes with rehearse. It is not clear, however, 
what was then the sound of tr, eir, ear, etc. 

6. Concent. Singing together ; from the Latin concentus. The ed. of 
1645 has "content," which B. retains in the text. 

7. Sapphire-coloured throne. Cf. Ezek. i. 26. 

10. Where the bright seraphim, etc. Cf. I\ev. v. 1 1, vii. 9. For burning 
the early drafts have "tripled" and "princely." 

u. Their loud, etc. The early drafts have "immortal" for uplifted; 
also "Loud symphonie of silver trumpets" and "High lifted, loud, and 
angel trumpets." 

12. And the Cherubic host, etc. An early draft has "and Cherubim, 
sweet-winged squires." 

13. Golden wires. Cf. Vac. \r. 38. 

14. Wear victorious palms. K. says that wear should be " bear." See 
Rev. vii. 9, cited above. Spenser, however, has wear in this sense, though 
evidently for the sake of the rhyme, in Shep. A'al. April, 104 : 

"Bene they not Bay braunches which they do beare, 
All for Elisa in her hand to weare?" 

An early draft has: 

"With those just Spirits that wear the blooming palms, 
Hymns devout and sacred psalms, 
Singing everlastingly ; 

While all the starry roundes and arches blue 
Resound and echo Hallelu : 
Thai we on earth," etc. 

18. Noise. See on Na/iv.g*]. K. explains it here as "chorus, sym 
phony, band ;" a sense the word has in 2 Hen. IV. ii. 4. 13 : " See if thou 
canst find out Sneak's noise ; Mistress Tearsheet would fain hear some 
music." Cf. Ben Jonson, Silent Woman, iii. 4 : " You must get us music 
too. Call us in a cleanly noise." 

After this line an early draft adds : 

" By leaving out those harsh, ill-sounding [chromatick] jarres 
Of clamorous sin that all our musick marres ; 
And in our lives and in our song 
May keep in tune," etc. 

19. Did. An early reading is "could." 

23. Diapason. Harmony; literally, the concord of the octave. 
27. Consort. See on Nativ. 132. 


28. 71? live with Him, etc. Early readings are : 



live a 


sing wi 

th h r 


, U 

m in ever endless light. 
' " glorious 
" uneclipsed " 
where day dwells without night, 
in endless morn of light, 
in cloudless birth of light, 
in never pan ing light. 


The date of this little poem is uncertain. M. thinks it may be 1630 ; 
K. puts it in the period of Milton's residence at Horton (1632-1638). 

As M. remarks, some phrases in the piece such as '"''day's harbinger" 
" conies dancing" "green lap" " pale primrose" etc. "belong to the 
traditional diction of poetry, and are found in poets older than Milton." 
The commentators have illustrated this by many superfluous quotations. 
Spenser, for example, describes May (F. Q. vii. 7. 34) as " throwing flowers 
out of her lap around ;" and Phoebus (F. Q. i. 5. 2), who " Came dauncing 
forth," etc. 


L 1 Allegro and // Penseroso are companion pieces, and were probably 
written during his residence at Horton. The question of their date has 
been much discussed, but cannot be said to have been settled. Attempts 
have been made to identify the scenery with that of Forest Hill near Ox 
ford, but its main features accord as well with that of Ilorton. But, as 
M. remarks, "it is a mistaken notion of the poems, and a somewhat crude 
notion, to suppose that they must contain a transcript of the scenery of 
any one place, even the place where they were written." He adds : " That 
place (and we are inclined to think it was Horton) may have shed its in 
fluence over the poems ; but the purpose of the poet was not to describe 
actual scenery, but to represent two moods, and to do so by making each 
mood move, as it were, amid circumstances and adjuncts akin to it and 
nutritive of it. Hence the scenery is visionary scenery, made up of eclectic 
recollections from various spots blended into one ideal landscape. It is, 
indeed, the exquisite fitness with which circumstances are chosen or in 
vented or, let us rather say, passively occurred to'the poet in true poetic 
affinity with the two moods, that makes the poems so beautiful, and se 
cures them, while the English language lasts, against the possibility of 
being forgotten." 

L? Allegro is not the " merry man," as the title is often translated, but 
rather the cheerful man "an educated youth, like Milton himself, in a 
mood of light cheerfulness." So // Penseroso is not the "melancholy 
man," but the thoughtful man" the same youth, but in a mood more 

I4 6 NOTES. 

2. Cerberus. The three-headed canine janitor of the infernal regions. 
In the classical mythology Erebus is the husband of Night; but Milton, 
like the ancient poets, varies the genealogy to suit his purpose. 

3. Stygian. The adjective derived from "Abhorred Styx, the flood of 
deadly hate" (P. L. ii. 577), one of the four infernal rivers. 

6. Jealous. Warburton supposes an allusion "to the watch which 
fowls keep when they are sitting." 

7. The night-raven. Cf. Mnch Ado, ii. 3. 84: "I pray God his bad 
voice bode no mischief; I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come 
what plague could have come after it." 

9. Ragged. Common in early writers in the sense of rugged- Cf. 
Shakespeare, T. G. of V. \. 2. 121 : " Unto a ragged, fearful -hanging rock ;" 
2 Hen. IV. ind. 35 : " And this worm-eaten hold of ragged stone," etc. 
See also Isa. ii. 21. S,o rugged often = ragged ; as in Lye. 93. 

10. Cimmerian. Homer, in the Odyssey (xi. 14), describes the land of 
the Cimmerians as shrouded in perpetual gloom. 

11. Fair and free. A familiar combination in the old ballads; as, for 
example, in Sir Eglamour: "The erle's daughter fair and free," etc. 
Free has been variously explained as = frank, graceful, affable, and artless. 

12. Yclept. Used by Milton only here. See on Nativ. 155. 
Enphrosyne (Mirth) was one of the three Graces, Aglaia (Brightness) 

and Thalia (Bloom) being the others. Warburton, followed by Todd 
Mitford, and sundry others, says that the "sister Graces" were "Meat 
and Drink " ! 

17. As some sager sing. Some eds. misprint "sages." The expression 
is merely intended to cover Milton's own invention of a genealogy more 
to his taste than the ancient one. No trace of it is to be found in any 
classical authority. It is equally beautiful and appropriate here. 

22. Frtsk'bloum roses, -washed in dew. Cf. Shakespeare, T. of S. ii. I. 
174 : " As morning roses newly wash'd with clew." 

24. Buxom. Originally, flexible, yielding ; then, cheerful, lively which 
seems to be its meaning here. Shakespeare uses the word only in Hen. 
V. iii. 6. 27 (Pistol's speech): "of buxom valour." It occurs also in 
Pericles, prol. 23 (not Shakespeare's) : " So buxom, blithe, and full of 
face." For the early sense of yielding, see P. L. ii. 842 : " the buxom air," 
which occurs also in F. Q. i. 11.37; and for that of obedient, Id. iii. 2. 23 : 
"Of them that to him buxome are and prone." Milton uses the word 
only twice. 

Debonair (de bonne air) had much the same meaning as buxom. " It 
is a favourite word with the old Romancers" (M.). 

27. Quips and cranks, etc. A quip is a smart repartee. Rich, quotes 
Lyly's Alexander and Campaspe (iii. 2), where it is defined as "a short 
saying of a sharp wit, with a bitter sense in a sweet word." A crank, as 
the name implies, is some odd turn of speech. 

28. Wreathed. " Because in a smile the features are wreathed or curled, 
twisted " (Warton). For Hebe, cf. Counts, 290. 

33. Come, and trip it, etc. Cf. Tempest,\\-. 1.45: "Each one tripping 
on his toe." See also Comus, 143. 

40. Unreproved. Not to be reproved, innocent; as in F. Q. ii. 7. 16: 

i: ALLEGRO. I47 

" and unreproved truth." Cf. nnavoided=. unavoidable, in Rich. III. iv. 4. 
217; imagined-= imaginable, in Merchant of Venice, iii. 4. 52, etc. See 
Abbott's Gr. 375. 

44. Dappled dawn. Cf. Much Ado, v. 3. 27 * 

"and look, the gentle day, 
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about 
Dapples the drowsy east with spots of gray " 

45. Then to come, etc. Some of the editors have taken this as referring 
to the lark, and have found fault with Milton because the bird never comes 
to people's windows in that way ; but to come is perhaps in the same con 
struction as to live and to hear in the preceding lines. B. explains the 
passage thus: ' Awakened by the lark, the poet, after listening to that 
early song, arises to give a blithe good-morrow at his window. Other 
matin sounds are heard, and he goes forth," etc. M., on the other hand, 
assumes that he is already out of doors. He says : " Milton, or whoever 
the imaginary speaker is, asks Mirth to admit him to her company and 
that of the nymph Liberty, and to let him enjoy the pleasures natural to 
such companionship. He then goes on to specify such pleasures, or to 
give examples of them. The first is that of the sensations of early morn 
ing, when, walking, round a country cottage, one hears the song of the 
mounting skylark, welcoming the signs of sunrise. The second is that 
of coming to the cottage window, looking in, and bidding a cheerful good- 
morrow through the sweet-briar, vine, or eglantine, to those of the family 
who are also early astir." We prefer this exegesis to the other. It doe's 
not seem to us that the poet is in bed when he hears the lark ; and he 
would hardly use come of going to the window to bid good-morrow to any 
body or anything outside. But come may refer to the lark after all. 

In spite of sorrow is probably = in defiance of sorrow or melancholy. 
M. thinks there may possibly be "a subtle reference to some recent grief 
that had been in the special cottage in view." 

47. The sweet-briar, etc. The sweet-briar and the eglantine are now 
English names for the same plant (Rosa ritbigenosa) ; but K. and M. agree 
that by the eglantine Milton means the dog-rose (Rosa canina). Warton 
takes it to be the honeysuckle. 

53. Oft listening, etc. " Here the poet passes on to a new pleasure, or 
a prolongation of the former. He has been looking round about the cot 
tage or farmhouse, listening to the cock crowing or watching him strutting 
to the stack or barn-door; and now, sauntering in its neighbourhood, he 
hears from the hillside, and echoing through the wood, the horn of the 
early huntsman, out with the hounds" (M.). 

57. Not unseen. "Happy men love witnesses of their joy" (Hurd). 
Cf. // Pens. 65. 

59. The eastern gate. Cf. Shakespeare, M. N. D. iii. 2. 391 : 

" Even till the eastern gate, all fiery-red, 
Opening on Neptune with fair blessed beams, 
Turns into yellow gold his salt green streams." 

60. His state. " His stately progress" (K.). 

61. Dight. Decked, adorned. Cf. // Pens. 159. 

148 NOTES. 

67. Tells his t^le. B. follows Warton in making this = " counts his 
sheep. 1 ' Cf. (ale in Exod. v. 8, etc. M. thinks this "may be right, the 
rather because counting the sheep was a morning occupation for each 
shepherd, whereas one can hardly fancy shepherds met under a hawthorn 
and telling stories to each other so early in the day." vStill he considers 
that the other interpretation "may be defended." K. lays much stress 
on the fact that when tell and tale are thus combined "the almost inva 
riable meaning is to narrate something." Occasionally tell a tale has 
the sense of "taking account of, paying attention to;" as in Chaucer, 
Nonnes Prestes Tale : 

"And therefore little tale hath he told 
Of any dream, so holy was his heart." 

K. adds : "The image in the poet's mind may have been the same as in 
Nativ. 85 fol., and in both cases he may have thought of Virgil's ' Forte 
sub arguta,' etc. (Eel. vii.)." It is not easy to decide between the two in 
terpretations, but we incline to this latter one. 

70. Landscape. The early eds. have "lantskip," and some modern 
ones print "landskip." 

71. Lawns. See on A^/z'. 85. 

73. Mountains. There are no mountains near Horton, and Milton had 
seen none when he wrote this poem. 

75. Daisies pied. That is, variegated. Cf. Shakespeare, L. L. L. v. 2. 
904: "When daisies pied and violets blue," etc. 

77. Towers and battlements. Perhaps those of Windsor Castle, some 
four miles west of Horton. K. says that this can hardly be, as the castle 
"towers on an eminence far above its silvan girdle;" but we should say 
that from some points in the vicinity it appears as here described. So 
striking a feature of the Horton landscape would be likely to be included 
in the poetic pictuie. The reference to the beanly that follows would, 
however, suggest some baronial mansion rather than the royal residence. 

79. Lies. Lodges, resides ; as often in our old writers. Cf. 2 Hen. IV. 
iii. 2. 299 : "When I lay at Clement's Inn." etc. How completely this 
sense of the word was " dissociated " from that which now survives is il 
lustrated by a quaint passage in Holinshecl, who says of Kdward Balliol 
after his expulsion from Scotland, " After this he went and laie a time 
with the Lady of Gines, that was his kinswoman." 

80. Cynosure. Pole-star. The word literally means dog's-tail (xvi'vt; 
ovpa), and was applied to the constellation Ursa Minor when it was re 
garded as a dog instead of a bear. Cf. Ovid, Fasti, iii. 107 ; 

" Esse duas Arctos, quarum Cynosura petatur 
Sidoniis, Helicen Giaia cariua notet." 

83. Corydon and Thyrsis. The "stock-names" of Greek pastoral 
poetry, borrowed by the English poets as by their Latin predecessors. 

89. Or, if the earlier season lead, etc. Some editors omit the commas, 
making the next line dependent on lead. With the pointing in the text, 
"she goes" or "they go" is understood before what follows. 

91. Secure. In its original sense of "free from care" (Latin secnms). 
B. quotes Quarles, Enchiridion : " The way to be safe is not to be se- 


cure;" and Ben Jonson, Epode . "Men may securely sin, but safely 

94. Rebecks. A kind of fiddle. In Romeo and Juliet (iv. 5) Hugh Re 
beck is one of the three musicians. Warton says he is "the fiddler," 
but we find no evidence of this in the text. No argument can be based 
upon his name, as Simon Catling (=catgut) is a piper, and James Sound- 
post the "singer." Rebeck is probably a piper, as Catling says, " We 
may put up our pipes," etc. 

97. Come. The past participle. 

98. Sunshine holiday. Cf. Comns, 959. In Rich. II. iv. I. 221 we have 
"sunshine days ;" and in 3 Hen. VI. ii. I. 187, "a sunshine day." 

loo. Spicy nut-brown ale. The wassail -bowl of ale, warmed, sweet 
ened, and spiced, with roasted crab-apples floating in it. Cf. Shakespeare, 
M. N. D. ii. i. 46 : 

" And sometimes lurk I in a gossip's bowl, 
In very likeness of a roasted crab, 
And when she drinks against her lips I bob 
And on her wither'd dewlap pour the ale ;" 

and the old anonymous play of Henry V. : 

" Yet we will have in store a crab in the fire, 
With nut-brown ale that is full stale." 

102. Fairy Mab. See Mercutio's familiar description of her in Romeo 
and Juliet, 1.4. 53 fol. 

Junkets. Curds sweetened and flavoured, or similar preparations ot 
milk and cream ; originally so called from the rushes (.ttal. giunchi] in 
which such cheeses were wrapped. We have heard junket used in this 
old sense in a New England country town. 

103. She. In the demonstrative sense (this maid), referring to one 
of the company. He in the next line is similarly used. Cf. Hen Jonson's 
description of Mab in The Satyr : 

" She that pinches country wenclies 

If they rub not clean the:r benches," etc. 

See also Drayton's Nymphidia: 

" These make our girls their sluttery rue 
By pinching them both black and blue, 
And put a penny in their shoe 

The house for cleanly sweeping;" 

and Shakespeare, Merry Wires, v. 5. 48 : 

" Where fires thou find'st unrak'd and hearths unswept, 
There pinch the maids as blue as bilberry ; 
Our radiant queen hates sluts and sluttery.'' 

104. And he, l>y Friar's lantern led, etc. The ed. of 1673 reads : " And 
by the Friar's lantern led ;" which is probably a misprint. 

The Friar is the Friar Rush of the Fairy mythology, whom the poet 
seems here to identify with Jack-o'-the-Lanthorn, or Will-o'-the-Wisp, 
the luminous phenomenon sometimes seen in marshy places. K. says 
that Friar Rush "haunted houses, not fields, and was never the same 
with Jack-o'-the-Lanthorn." 

150 NOTES. 

105. The drudging goblin. Robin Goodfellow, the Puck of Shakes 
peare. Cf. M. N. J). ii. i. 40 : 

" Those that Hobgoblin call you and sweet Puck, 
You do their work, and they shall have good luck." 

Burton (Aunt, of Melancholy, i. 2) says : " A bigger kind there is of them 
[fairies], called with us Hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows, that would, 
in those superstitious times, grind corn for a mess of milk," etc. Cf. 
The Pranks of Puck, ascribed to Ben Jonson : 

" Yet now and then, the maids to please, 

I card at midnight up their wool ; 
And while they sleep and take their ease, 
With wheel to thread their flax I pull: 
I grind at mill 
Their malt up still, 
I dress their hemp, I spin their tow ; 
If any wake, 
And would me take, 
I wend me laughing, ho, ho, ho !" 

Reginald Scot, in his Discoverie of Witchcraft, 1584, says : " Your gran- 
dame's maids were wont to set a bowl of milk for him, for his pains in 
grinding malt and mustard, and sweeping the house at midnight," etc. 

no. The lubber fiend. In the M. N. D. (ii. i. 16) the fairy addresses 
Puck as " thou lob of spirits." He might seem so to his dainty little 
critic, but he is a far more delicate conception than Milton's " lubber 
fiend," who is rather, as M. puts it," the genuine uncultured Robin Good- 
fellow of the rustics themselves." For ties, see on Passion, 21. 

115. To bed they creep. , Somewhat reluctantly and timidly after the 
stories of fairies and goblins. 

117. Then. "When the rustics, with their early habits, are asleep, 
and the pall of darkness comes over the country fields, the mood of 
L'Allegro, the educated youth who could still prolong his waking hours 
with fit employment, transfers itself to cities and their objects of interest. 
Observe, it is the mood that is transferred, not the youth in person. The 
rest of the poem may be taken as describing the evening reveries, read 
ings, and other recreations of the imaginary youth in his country-cottage 
after his morning's walk and afternoon among the rustics" (M.). 

120. Weeds of peace. For weeds in the old sense of garments in general, 
cf. Comas, 16, 84, 390, etc. See also Shakespeare, 71 and C. iii. 3. 239 : 
" To see great Hector in his weeds of peace," etc. 

Triumphs^ shows, tournaments. Cf. Bacon's Essay, " On Masks and 
Triumphs," in which he includes under the latter head "justs and tour 
neys," etc. See also Kich. II. v. 2. 52 : " What news from Oxford ? hold 
those justs and triumphs?" and the reference to the same tournaments in 
the next scene (v. 3. 13) as " these triumphs held at Oxford ;" and i Hen. 
VI. v. 5.31 : 

" Or one that at a triumph having vow'd 
To try his strength, forsaketh yet the lists 
By reason of his adversary's odds." 

121. Store. Often used of persons in former times. Sidney, for exam- 

i: ALLEGRO. ! 5I 

pie {Astrophel and Stella), has "store of faire ladies," and Spenser (F. Q. 
v. 3. 2), " Of Lords and Ladies infinite great store." 

121. Whose bright eyes, etc. The eyes are compared to stars, as the as 
trological influence shows. See on Nativ. 71 ; and cf. Comus, 336, P. L. 
iv. 669, vii. 375, viii. 513, ix. 107, x. 662, etc. 

125. There let Hymen oft appear, etc. As he was often introduced in 
the masques performed in honour of a marriage. Cf. the introduction to 
lien Jonson's Hymenai, written for the marriage of the Earl of Essex in 
1606: "On the other hand entered HYMEN (the god of marriage) in a 
saffron-colour'd robe, his under vestures white, his socks yellow, a yellow 
veil of silk on his left arm, his head crowned with roses and marjoram, in 
his right hand a torch of pine-tree." See also As You Like It, v. 4. 103, 

127. Pomp. Probably used in its original sense of a solemn procession. 
Cf. S. A. 1312. 

132. Jonson's learned so'ck. The sock, or low-heeled shoe, is the em 
blem of comedy, as the buskin, or high-heeled shoe, of tragedy. Cf. Il 
Pens. 102. The learned'^ appropriate to the scholarly Ben. 

133. Sweetest Shakespeare. The critics who have found fault with this 
characterization of Shakespeare as inadequate appear to have forgotten 
that it is his comedies, and especially the rural comedies like A. Y. L. for 
example that are referred to, and from the point of view of L 1 Allegro, 
who goes to the theatre as on his morning walk, for innocent recreation, 
not as a dramatic critic. Milton's high estimate of Shakespeare is suffi 
ciently shown in his Epitaph, written some years earlier. 

135'. Eating cares. The " mordaces sollicitudines " of Horace (Od. i. 
18. 4) or his " curas edaces " (Od. ii. II. 18). 

136. Lap. Wrap, enfold ; as in Comus, 257. Cf. Macbeth, \. 2. 54 : " Bel- 
lona's bridegroom, lapp'd in proof;" Cymbeline, v. 5. 360 : 

" he. sir, was lapp'd 
In a most curious mantle," etc. 

The Lydian music was soft and sweet. Cf. Dryden, Alexanders 
Feast, 97 : 

" Softly sweet, in Lydian measures, 
Soon he sooth'd his soul to pleasures." 

137. Married, etc. Cf. Sol. Mns. 3 ; and Shakespeare, Satin. 8. 4 : 

" If the true concord of well-tuned sounds, 
By unions married, do offend thine ear," etc. 

138. Pierce. For the rhyme, see on Sol. Mns. 4. 

139. Bout. Turn ; as in F. Q.\. I. 15 : " Yet was in knots and many 
boughtes upwound," etc. 

141. With wanton heed, etc. " The adjectives describe the appearance, 
the nouns the reality" (B.). 

145. That. So that ; as often in the English of that day. See Ab 
bott's Gr. 283. 

Heave his head. Cf. Comus, 885. 

146. Golden slumber. Cf. the " golden sleep " of Romeo and Juliet, ii. 



3. 38 and I Henry IV. ii. 3. 44, and the "golden dew of sleep " of Rich. 
III. iv. i. 84. The metaphoric use oi golden (=precious, excellent) is fa 
miliar enough. 

149. Quite. Opposed to the "^//-regained" below. 

For other allusions to Orpheus, see // Pens. 105 and Lye. 58. Cf. also 
P. L. iii. 17 :" With other notes than to the Orphean lyre." 


"The studied antithesis of// Penseroso and L Allegro throughout de 
clares itself in the opening thirty lines, which exactly match and counter 
poise the first four-and-twenty lines of L'Allegi o. So closely is the one 
poem framed on the model of the other that it would be impossible to 
say, on mere internal evidence, which was written first" (M.). 

2. Without father. And therefore "all mother," as we say, or pure 

3. Bestead. Avail, or stand one in stead ; the only instance of the 
word in Milton's verse. Spenser uses it often in the sense of situated (ns 
in F. Q. i. I. 24: "Thus ill bestedd," etc.), treated, attended, beset, and 
the like. Rich, gives an example of the present meaning from Sir F. 
Drake, West India Voyage : "it did very greatly bestead us in the whole 
course of our voyage." 

4. The fixed mind. Cf. P. L. i. 97 : " that fix'd mind." See also F. 
Q. iv. 7. 16: " Yet nothing could my fixed mind remove." 

6. Fond. Foolish ; as in Comus, 67, Lye. 56, 6". A. 812, etc. Cf. Julius 
Ccesar, iii. I. 39: 

" Be not fond 
To think that Caesar bears such rebel blood," etc. 

IO. Pensioners, etc. Retinue. In the only two instances of the word 
in Shakespeare (M. N. D. ii. i. 10 : "The cowslips tall her pensioners 
be;" and Merry Wives, ii. 2. 79: "and yet there has been earls, nay, 
which is more, pensioners," etc.) there is an allusion to Queen Elizabeth's 
band of military courtiers ca\\t<\ pensioners, who were the handsomest and 
tallest young men of good family that could be found. From this use of 
the word it came to have the more general sense of which the present 
passage is an example. 

14. Hit. Meet, encounter. Cf. Arcades, 77. 1>. quotes Shakespeare, 
A. and C. ii. 2. 217 : "A strange invisible perfume hits the sense," etc. 

18. Prince Memnoii's sister. Memnon, son of Tithonus and Aurora, 
and king of Ethiopia, became an ally of the Trojans and was slain by 
Achilles. He was "black but comely " (Odyss. xi. 522), and his sister 
might be supposed to be even more beautiful. Trench remarks that Mil 
ton did not, as some have asserted, invent the sister. Her name was He- 
mera, and she is mentioned by Dictys Cretensis. 

19. That starred Ethiop queen. Cassiope, wife of Cepheus, and moth 
er of Andromeda, who boasted herself as fairer than the Nereids. It 
was to appease their anger at the insult that Andromeda was exposed to 


the sea-monster, from which she was rescued by Perseus. Cassiope, like 
her husband and daughter, was placed among the stars. Milton proba 
bly assumed that she was black because she was an Ethiopian. 

21. Sea- Nymphs. K. prints this as a possessive, praise being under 

23. Thee bright-hair'' d Vesta, etc. Milton invents a genealogy for Mel 
ancholy, as for Mirth. That the solitary Saturn should be made her fa 
ther is natural enough, but the selection of Vesta as her mother is not so 
easily explained. Warton identifies her with Genius, and supposes Mil 
ton to mean that Melancholy is the daughter of Solitude and Genius or 
" Retirement and Culture," as B. puts it. M. remarks : "One remem 
bers, however, that Vesta was the goddess of the sacred eternal fire that 
could be tended only by vowed virginity ; and here one is on the track 
of a peculiarly Miltonic idea. See Comns, 783-789, Elegia VI. 55-66, 
and a famous autobiographic passage in the prose Apology for Smectym- 
11 it us." 

30. No fear of Jove. Alluding to his destined usurpation of his fa 
ther's throne. 

32. Demure. Since Milton's day the word has come to suggest a 
mingling of affectation with the sobriety of demeanour which was then its 
only meaning. Cf. F. Q. ii. I. 6 : 

" His carriage was full comely and upright ; 
His countenance demure and temperate," etc, 

33. Grain. Dye, colour ; perhaps, as Mr. G. P. Marsh (Led. on Eng. 
Lang. p. 65 fol.) argues, the purple dye obtained from grannm, or the 
prepared coccus. So in P. L. xi. 242 "grain of Sarra" = purple of Tyre, 
which city Latin authors sometimes called Sarra. In P. L. v. 285, "Sky- 
tinctur'd grain," according to Mr. Marsh, is not necessarily azure, for sky 
in old writers " meant clouds, and Milton does not confine its application 
to the concave blue, but embraces in the epithet all the brighter tints 
which belong to meteoric phenomena." In C omits, 750, grain means ver 
milion, scarlet and purple shades being confounded in modern as in Greek 
and Latin poetry. Dyeing in grain (the colour) came to be confounded 
with dyeing in grain (texture), because grain was a peculiarly fast dye, 
like one that becomes fixed in the fibre of the fabric. All this is plausi 
ble enough, and Mr. Marsh's explanation of grain is generally accepted 
lv linguists and lexicographers ; but as the other sense of the word 
was a familiar one in Milton's day, as earlier, we may sometimes be in 
doubt whether colour or texture is meant in a given passage. In Co- 
mus, 750, for instance, it is by no means clear that ^VYH/H has the former 

35. Stole. Evidently not the long robe, like the Roman stola, but some 
kind of scarf worn, like the ecclesiastical stole, over the shoulders. In 
Spenser, Colin Clout, 493, it seems to be a veil : 

" Ne lesse praise-worthie I Theana read, 
Whose goodly beames, though they be overdight 
With mourning stole of carefull wydowhead, 
Yet through that darksome vale do glister bright;" 



but in F. Q. i. 1.4, where both K. and B. take it to be a "veil or hood," we 
are inclined to think the long robe is meant: 

" Yet she much whiter ; but the same did hide 
Under a vele, that wimpled was full low ; 
And over all a black stole she did throw ;" 

that is, as we understand it, over her whole person ; certainly not over the 
veil covering her face. 

Jn A r ativ. 220 sable-stoled is probably = black-robed, as we have ex 
plained it. 

Cypress lawn is crape, which word is perhaps derived from Cyprus, 
whence the fabric may have been first brought like copper, which the 
Romans imported from the same island. Skeat and others derive crape, 
through the Fr. crepe, from crispns, curled, and regard the old cypress 
(sometimes spelt cyprus} as an independent word of doubtful origin. Cf. 
Hunter's Tale, iv. 4. 221 : 

" Lawn as white as driven snow; 
Cypress black as e'er was crow;" 

and Tioe[fth Night, iii. i. 132 : "A cypress, not a bosom, hides my poor 
heart," etc. 

36. Decent. Probably = comely. Cf. Horace, Od. iii. 27. 53 : " decen- 
tes . . . malas." Warton takes it in its ordinary sense " decent because 

37. State. Stately bearing or demeanour. Cf. L 1 All. 60. 

39. Commercing. Communing ; the only instance of the word (verb or 
noun) in Milton's verse. Cf. the noun in Twelfth Night, iii. 4. 191 : " he 
is now in some commerce with my lady," etc. 

53. The fiery-wheeled throne. An allusion to Ezek. x. " Possibly Mil 
ton chose to regard Contemplation as the chief of the four cherubim 
which gttided or conveyed that fiery-wheeled throne, and he may have 
meant to hint at the ecstasy, or deep fit of contemplation, incident to the 
prophetic state productive of such a vision " (K.). " With Milton, as 
with other writers of his century, contemplation was a word of high 
meaning. It was by the serene faculty named contemplation that one 
attained the clearest notions of divine things mounted, as it were, 
into the very blaze of the Eternal, or the sight of the Throne of God " 
(M.). Contemplation is metrically five syllables. 

55. And (lie mute Silence hist along. That is, whisper to her to come 
along with thee. K. explains thus : " as it were, come stealing along, and 
crying hist!" M. says: "The meaning is ' Move through the mute Si 
lence hushingly, or saying Hush ! that is, telling the Silence to continue 
unless the nightingale shall choose to break it by one of her songs.' " 
This paraphrase seems to confuse the ordinary and the personified senses 
of silence. Hist along seems to us simply a concise expression for " Bid 
her come by whispering hist /" 

57. Plight. Condition, style (now used only of a bad condition) ; or 
possibly referring to the involutions of the bird's music. Cf. F. Q. ii. 3. 
26 : " Purfled upon with many a folded plight." See also the verb in 
Counts, 301. 



59. Cynlhia. Cf. Nativ. 103. In one of his Latin poems also Milton 
gives Diana, or Luna, a chariot drawn by dragons : 


Vidi triformem, dum coercebat suos 
Fraenis dracones aureis." 

Tn the classical mythology, as K. notes, it is only Demeter, or Ceres, that 
has such a team. ' Shakespeare twice refers to " dragons " as drawing the 
chariot of Night (M. A r . D. iii. 2. 379 and Cymb. ii. 2. 48). In T. and C. 
v. 8. 17, " The dragon wing of Night o'erspreads the earth." 

60. The accustom* d oak. The epithet is apparently suggested by some 
particular oak above which the moon seemed to linger as the poet 
watched her perhaps in front of his chamber-window at Horton, or at 
some point on one of his favourite evening walks. 

61. Sweet bird, etc. For other tributes to the nightingale, cf. So/in. 2, 
Cot/ins, 234, 566, P. L. iv. 602, 771, and vii. 435. 

65. Unseen. Preferring the lonely path. Cf. L* All. 57. 

69. Had been' led. Some eels, misprint " has been led." 

71. As if her head she bow*d. Alluding to the familiar optical illusion 
by which the moon seems to be in motion instead of the clouds that are 
passing over her face. 

74. The far-off curfew. The curfew-bell is still rung in some parts of 
England at eight or nine o'clock in the evening ; and in Milton's day it 
must have been common. Mitford objected to Gray's " The curfew tolls*'' 
on the ground that the bell was- rung, not tolled ; but that probably de 
pended, to some extent, on the fancy of the ringer. The present passage 
is certainly in keeping with Gray's description. 

78. Removed. Retired, secluded. Cf. Shakespeare, M. for M. i. 3. 8: 
" How I have ever lov'd the life remov'd," etc. " Observe that, where 
as in L* Allegro the evening indoors did not begin till line 117, or near the 
end of the poem, here we are indoors at line 77, and three fifths of the 
poem are yet to come" (M.). 

83. The bellman's drowsy charm. The watchman, who in Queen Mary's 
time, according to Stow, " began to go all night with a bell, and at every 
lane's end, and at the ward's end, gave warning of fire and candle and to 
help the poor and pray for the dead." Cf. Herrick, The Bellman : 

" From noise of scare-fires rest ye free, 
From murder, Benedicite! 
From all mischances that may fright 
Your pleasing slumbers in the night, 
Mercy secure ye all, and keep 
The goblin from ye while ye sleep!" 

87. Ontwatch the Bear. That is, sit up all night, as the Bear never 
sets in the latitude of England. Cf. 121 below. 

88. Thrice-great Hermes. Hermes Trismegistus (of w\\\c\\ thrice-great 
is a translation), a fabled king and philosopher of Egypt, to whom certain 
scientific and other works were ascribed which were really written by the 
Neo-Platonists. Bacon (quoted by B.) speaks, in the Adv. of Learn 
ing, of "the triplicity which in great veneration was ascribed to the an 
cient Hermes; the power and fortune of a king, the knowledge and illu- 

156 NOTES. 

initiation of a priest, and the learning and universality of a philoso 

Unsphere. Call back from the sphere in which he now dwells. Cf. 
Com us, 3. 

89. To unfold What worlds, etc. To discuss the doctrine of immortal 
ity, as in the Phcedo. 

91. Hath forsook. Cf. Comus, 499, and S. A. 629. On the other hand, 
we ftxA forsaken in Lye. 142 and P. L. v. 878. See on Arcades, 4. 

93. Demons that are found, etc. Plato treats of demons in some of his 
dialogues; "but this assigning them their abode in the four elements 
over which they have power rather belongs to the later Platonists, and 
to the writers of the Middle Ages" (K.). 

95. Consent. " Sympathetic connection " (M.). 

98. In sceptred pall. Bearing the sceptre and wearing the robe (Latin 
falla) of royalty. K. remarks that Milton may have had in mind a pas 
sage of Lydgate's, quoted by Selden : 

" He is a king y-crown'd in Faerie 
With sceptre and pail and with his royaltie." 

99. Presenting. Representing, personating. Cf. Tempest, iv. I. 167: 
" when I presented Ceres ;" Merry Wives, iv. 6. 20 : " present the fairy 
queen," etc. 

Thebes or Pelops'' line. Referring to the tragedies of ^Eschylus, Soph 
ocles, and Euripides, the scenes of which are laid in the Boeotian capi 
tal, and to the trilogy of ^schylus on the murder of Agamemnon, who 
was descended from the ancient Pelops. The. tale of Troy divine is epi 
sodically treated in some of the plays of Sophocles and Euripides. 

101. Or what though rare, etc. There can be little doubt that he has 
the tragedies of Shakespeare in mind here. Cf. the reference to his com 
edies in UAH. 133 fol. For buskiifd, see on L'All. 132. 

104. Mnsceus. A mythical poet of ancient Thrace. 

105. Orpheus. See on L'All. 149. 

1 06. Warbled to the string. Cf. Arcades, 87. 

107. Iron tears. Cf. Virgil's " ferrea vox " (sn. vi. 626). 

109. ////// that left half -told. Chaucer, whose Sqniers Tale was left un 
finished. The lines that follow refer to characters and incidents in this 

113. Virtuous. Having magical virtue or power. Cf.Cowtts,62i. 

116. And if aught else, etc. Doubtless referring to Spenser; possibly 
also, as some have thought, to Ariosto and Tasso. Cf. p. 32 above. 

120. Where more is meant, etc. That is, wherein there is an allegorical 
meaning, as in the F. Q. 

122. Civil-suited. In sober civilian dress, as distinguished from that 
of courtiers or soldiers. Cf. Romeo and Juliet, iii. 2. 10 : 

" Come, civil Night, 
Thou sober-suited matron, all in black," etc. 

123. Trictfd. Adorned. Cf. Lye. 170. We still say " tricked out." 
Frounced was often used of plaiting the hair ; as in /'. Q. i. 4. 14 : " Some 



frounce their curled heare in courtly guise/' The word has now become 
flounce, and is never applied to the hair. 

124. The Attic boy. Cephalus,with whom Eos (Aurora) was for a time 
in love. 

125. Kerchiefd, etc. That is, wearing the cloud as a covering for the 
head the original sense of kerchief. 

\2-j.Still. Gentle. Cf. Passion, 28. 

130. Minute-drops. Falling at intervals of a minute, as it were. Cf. 

133. Twilight groves. Cf. the " glimmering shades and bowers " of 27 

134. Silvan. The woodland god Silvanus. Cf. Cot/ins, 268. 

135. Monumental oak. So called, K. says, "because the monuments 
in churches were often formed of carved oak ;" but it rather means stand 
ing like a monument, or, as M. expresses it, " memorial, old, telling of 
bygone years." B. compares Tennyson's Talking Oak. 

136. Where the rude axe, etc. K. quotes Horace,^/, i. 7. 27: "fertur 
quo rara securis." 

140. Profaner. Used in the absolute Latin sense. 

141. Garish. Over-bright, gaudy. Cf. Romeo and Juliet, iii. 2. 25: 
" And pay no worship to the garish sun." 

142. Honey'd thigh. One of Milton's slips in natural history. Dray- 
ton makes the same mistake in his Owl : "Each bee with honey laden to 
the thigh." 

145. Comort. Companionship ; or perhaps in the sense of concert. 
See on Nativ. 132. 

146. Dewy-feather'd. With "feathers steeped in Lethean dew" (K.). 
He may have had in mind the description of the dream in Virgil, /"//. v. 
854 fol. Cf. also F. Q. i. i. 44: "And on his little wings the dreame he 
[the sprite] bore." 

154. Genius. Cf. Arcades, 44. 

155. Due. As in the discharge of a regular duty. 

156. Cloister's pale. The enclosure of the cloister. Some eds. have 
"cloisters pale," making pale the adjective. 

157. Embmved. Arched. 

158. Antique. Accented on the first syllable, as regularly in that day. 
K. prints "antic," to indicate the pronunciation. The early eds. of 
Shakespeare have antick and antique indiscriminately. 

Massy-proof. Massive and proof against the pressure they have to 
bear; a compound of Milton's own coinage. For massy, cf. Lye. no. 
Milton uses the word eleven times in his poems, massive not at all. 
Shakespeare also has only the former. Massive occurs, however, as early 
as Congreve's translation of Juvenal, Sat. xi. : " No sweating slaves with 
massive dishes press'd." Warton borrows Milton's compound in his 
Ode for the New Year, 1788 : " Rude was the pile, and massy-proof." 

159. Storied. Illustrating Scripture history in their stained glass. For 
dight, see on UAH. 62. 

164. As may, etc. Such as may, etc. Such ellipses were common in 
the English of that day. See on L'All. 145, for instance. 

1 5 8 NOTES. 

170. Spell. Study. Cf. P. R. iv. 385. 

172. And every herb i etc. "Milton speaks (Epitaphinm Damonis} of 
his hopes of being assisted in the study of botany by his friend Carlo 
Diodati " (B.). 


The words added to the, title by Milton himself make it clear that the 
poem is only " part " of a masque presented at Hanfield. The rest of it, 
apparently supplied by others, has not been preserved. 

The date of the piece has been generally supposed to be 1633 or early 
in 1634, not long before the production of Connis ; but M. (vol. ii. p. 210 
fol.) gives good reasons for believing that it was " not later than the year 

Spenser dedicated the Teares of the Mnses to the same lady for whose 
entertainment the Arcades was written ; and in 1607 John Marston wrote 
a masque in her honour, portions of which have a resemblance to Milton's 

i. Look, nymphs, etc. The early eds. (followed by B. and some oth 
ers) have a comma at the end of the first line, and a colon at the end of 
the fourth. 

4. Mistook. We find mistaken in S. A. 907. These are the only in 
stances of the participle in Milton's verse. Cf. hath took in Nativ. 20, 
was took in Comns, 558, etc. See Abbott's Gr. 343 ; also on // Pens. 
91 above. 

14. Mark what radiant state, etc. Perhaps, as K. and M. suggest, a 
reference to the actual surroundings of the Countess in the masque de 
vices of bright light, silver rays seeming to shoot from her throne, etc. 

20. Latona. The mother of Apollo and Diana. 

21. The lowered Cybele. This " great Idaean mother of the gods " was 
represented as wearing a diadem surmounted with three towers. Cf. 
Virgil, sn. vi. 784 : 

" qualis Berecyntia mater 
Invehitur curru Phrygias turrita per urbes, 
Laeta deum pnrtu, centum complexa nepotes, 
Omnes caelicolas, omnes supera aha tenentes;" 

and 7^. Q. iv. 11.28: 

"Old Cybele, array'd with pompous pride, 
Wearing a Diademe embattild wide 
With hundred turrets, like a Turribant ;" 

that is, like a turban. 

23. Dares not give her odds. Must meet her on equal terms, cannot 
assume to be her superior. 

26. Gentle. Of gentle blood. 

30. Alpheus. A river in Arcadia, which ran underground for some dis 
tance. This fact gave rise to the myth that Alpheus, a young hunter, 
was in love with the nymph Arethusa ; and when she fled from him to 


the island of Ortygia, near Sicily, he was turned into a river and followed 
her by a channel beneath the sea. Rising again in Ortygia. the river 
blended its waters with the fountain into which Arethusa had been trans 
formed. Cf. Lye. 132 ; and see Virgil, JEn* iii. 692 : 

" Sicanio praetenta sinu jacet insula contra 
Plemmyrium undosum ; nomen dixere priores 
Ortygiam. Alpheum fama est hue Elidis amnem 
Occultas egisse vias subter mare, qui nunc 
Ore, Arethusa, tuo Siculis confunditur undis. " 

.33- Silver-buskin' d nymphs. The ladies in the masque, wearing bus 
kins like Diana and her nymphs. 
34. Free. Generous. 

46. Curl the grove. A common metaphor in that day. Cf. Drayton, 
Polyolbion, vii. : 

"Where she [a grovej her curled head unto the eye may show;" 
Browne, Brit. Past. {.4: 

" And trees that on the hillside waving grew 
Did nod their curled heads," etc. 

47. Wove. That is, -woven, which we have in Sonn. 6. 2. See on 4 

48. From nightly ill, etc. Cf. Connts* 269. 

51. Thwarting thunder bine. We have "cross blue lightning" in 
Julitis C&sar, i. 3. 50. Thwarting, like cross there, means zigzag. 

52. The cross dire-looking planet. This may be Saturn, as M. makes 
it, or any other planet in its malignant aspect. 

53. Hurtful worm. Cf. Lye. 45. 

57. Tassell\l horn. The hunter's horn; as in UAH. 56. Cf. F. Q. i. 
8. 3 : 

" Then tooke that Squire an home of bugle small, 
Which hong adowne his side in twisted gold 
And tasselles gay. ; ' 

60. Puissant. A dissyllable, as regularly in Milton and Shakespeare. 
The former makes puissance a dissyllable in the two instances in which 
he uses it in verse ; the latter makes it either a dissyllable or trisyllable. 

Murmurs. Charms, spells. Cf. Comus, 526. 

63. Celestial Sirens. Apparently Muses, as B. and others explain it. 

64. The nine infolded spheres. See on Nativ. 125. 

66. 77/<? adamantine spindle. The spindle of the Fates, the daughters 
of Necessity; called adamantine, because the decrees of fate are unalter 
able. The whole passage, as Warton pointed out, is a close imitation of 
one in Plato's Republic, x. 14. 

70. Unsteady Nature. As nature appears in some of its phenomena, 
when we do not recognize the law that governs them. 

72. Which none can hear, etc. See Nativ. 127, and cf. Shakespeare, 
M. ofV.v. 1.64: 

" But whilst this muddy vesture of decay 
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it." 

T 6o NOTES. 

74. Blaze. Blazon, proclaim ; as in Romeo and Juliet, iii. 3. 151 : "to 
blaze your marriage," etc. 

81. State. Throne, chair of state ; as in I Hen. IV. ii. 4. 16: "this 
chair shall be my state ;" Macbeth, iii. 4. 5 : " Our hostess keeps her state," 

87. Warbled string. K. says that this should be "wnrlling string ;" 
but it is a concise expression for "the string to which the song is war 
bled." W. It Pens. 106. 

89. Star-proof. Cf. F. Q. i. I. 7 (which may have suggested the epithet 
here) : 

" Whose loftie trees, yclad with sommers pride. 
Did spred so broad, that heavens light did hide, 
Not perceable with power of any starr." 

97. Ladon. A river in Arcadia. Lycceus, Cyllene, Erymanthns, and 
Mcenalus were mountains of the same region. M. inadvertently makes 
Eryiiianthim " an Arcadian river-god." 

106. Syrinx. A nymph, who, when pursued by Pan, was changed into 
a reed, from which the god made his pipe. 


In June, 1631, the Earl of Bridgewater was nominated by Charles I. to 
the Viceroyalty of Wales, but he did not enter upon the duties of his office 
until late in 1633. Just when he went to take up his residence at Lud- 
low, his official seat, we do not know ; but probably not until the next 
year, as the festivities in honour of his inauguration were prolonged until 
Michaelmas, Sept. 29, 1634, when this masque of Comus was performed 
before him in the great hall of Ludlow Castle by members of his family. 

Milton was asked to write the masque by his friend Henry Lawes, at 
that time the most celebrated musical composer in England, who had 
been appointed to furnish the music on the festive occasion. This fixes 
the date of the poem in the summer of 1634. 

The plot of Comus was probably suggested by George Peele's Old 
Wives' Tale, which Milton may have seen on the stage. The mytholog 
ical hero who gives name to it appears to have been borrowed from a 
Latin extravaganza by Hendrick van cler Putten (or Eyricius Puteanus), 
a Dutchman who was'then professor of eloquence at Louvain. His Co- 
nuts was first published in 1608, but an edition was brought out at Oxford 
in 1634, the very year in which the English Comus was written. There 
is a tradition that the incident of the Lady's being lost in the wood was 
suggested to Milton by an actual experience of Lady Alice Egerton and 
her two brothers in Haywood Forest near Ludlow. It is said that night 
overtook them in the wood, and that Lady Alice was for some time sep 
arated from her companions. It is more probable, however, as Masson 
and Church have suggested, that this story grew out of the poem than 
that the poem grew out of the story. 

In the performance of the masque at Ludlow, the parts of the Lady 

COM US. l6r 

and her brothers were taken by Lady Alice* and her brothers, and that 
of the Attendant Spirit by Lavves. The names of the other two actors 
(Comus and Sabrina) have not been preserved. 

Two manuscripts of the poem are in existence ; one in Milton's hand 
writing, among the Cambridge MSS. ; the other, probably the family 
copy or Lawes's stage-copy, in the library at Bridgewater House. Lawes 
was so importuned for copies that in 1637 he had the poem printed, no 
doubt with the author's consent. The title-page bears as a motto the 
following quotation (Virgil, EcL ii. 58) : 

" Eheu ! quid volui misera milii ? floribus anstrum 

Church says : " The words are Virgil's, but the appropriation of them, 
and their application in this ' second intention,' is too exquisite to have 
been made by any but Milton." 

" In the entire myth of Comus, as invented and developed by Milton 
for the purposes of his masque, one sees an act of poetic genius singular 
ly characteristic of its author, singularly Miltonic. . . . Phantasy of the 
purest poetic kind regnant undeniably through all, the hand of the artist 
and the lover of beauty perceptible in every scene and every line, he yet 
contrives to make the whole a serene spiritual lesson, a construction to 
one moral, and that moral the deepest and most treasured idea of his 
own private philosophy. The Earl of Briclgewater's incipient Welsh 
Presidentship, the prepared stage, the scenery, the coloured lights, Lawes's 
music and managership, the sweet Lady Alice's acting and singing, the 
boyish elocution of the brothers, the cheering and clapping of hands 
among the spectators (many of whom, doubtless, were Comus's own dis 
ciples, trapped theatrically into momentary treason to him) all these, by 
the skill of the resolute young Plato of Morton, were made to subserve a 
principle that had taken possession of himself. That sensual indulgence 
is intellectual and spiritual ruin ; that the most essential outfit for a 
powerful and worthy life of any kind is fastidious scrupulosity of per 
sonal ethics ; that the true root of real magnanimity, or the highest hu 
man degree of endeavour or attainment, is unsullied conscience, and such 
personal strictness as may be named even by the mystic name of virgin 
ity ; that Virtue will always in the long run beat Vice even in this world, 
unless the whole frame of things is rottenness, God a delusion, and the 
world not worth living in, or dying in, or thinking about : ransack all 
Milton's writings from the very earliest, and this will be found, in one 
form or another, the idea ever deepest with him and most frequently re 
curring. It breaks out in prose passages, sometimes general, sometimes 
autobiographic; and it arrests one in his juvenile poems. And so here 
throughout Comus it is inculcated at length, softly and poetically, but yet 
unmistakably. . . And indeed he ends the whole poem with a quiet lyr- 
| ical reiteration of the same lesson " (M.). Cf. p. 32 above. 

* She was not fifteen years old at the time, and her brothers were both younger. As 
Keightley remarks, it is "difficult to conceive how children like these could fully com 
prehend the lofty language which they had to deliver." 


i62 NOTES. 

Lawes's ed. of Comus contained the following dedication : 



Son and Heir Apparent to the Earl of Bridgeivater, &>c. 


This Poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself, and 
others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in 
the performance, now returns again to make a final Dedication of it 
self to you. Although not openly acknowledged by the Author, yet it 
is a legitimate offspring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often 
copying of it hath tired my pen to give my several friends satisfaction, and 
brought me to a necessity of producing it to the public view ; and now to 
offer it up in all rightful devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endow 
ments of your much promising youth, which give a full assurance, to all 
that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the hon 
our of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him 
who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured par 
ents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsi s, so now in all 
real expression, 

Your faithful and most humble servant, 


In the 1645 cd. of Milton's Poems, this dedication is retained; and a 
letter to Milton from Sir Henry Wotton (at that time Provost of Eton 
College, near Morton) in acknowledgment of a copy of Lawes's ed. 
which the poet had sent him, is inserted as a pendant to the dedication, 
with the following heading : "The Copy of a Letter written by Sir Henry 
Wotton to the Author, upon the following Poem." The opening para 
graphs of the letter (all that refer to Comus, the rest being some advice 
concerning Milton's intended journey on the Continent) were as follows : 

From the College, this 13 of April, 1638. 

It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here the 
first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer than to make me know 
that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly ; and in 
truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, 
which I understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would have been bold, in 
our vulgar phrase, to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme 
thirst) and to have begged your conversation again jointly with your said 
learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded togeth 
er some good authors of the ancient time ; among which I observed you 
to have been familiar. 

Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for 
a very kind letter from you dated the sixth of this month, and for a dainty 
piece of entertainment which came therewith ; wherein I should much 
commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a certain 

COM US. X 6 3 

Doric delicacy in your songs and odes, wherein I must plainly confess to 
have seen yet nothing parallel in our language : S/>sa mollifies. But I 
must not omit to tell you, that I now only owe you thanks for intimating 
unto me (how modestly soever) the true artificer. For the work itself I 
had viewed some good while before, with singular delight, having re 
ceived it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R.'s 
poems, printed at Oxford ; whereunto it is added (as I now suppose) that 
the accessory might help out the principal, according to the art of station 
ers, and leave the reader con la bocca dolce. . . . 

In the second (1673) ec ^- f t^ 6 Pvwis, both Lawes's dedication and 
Wot ton '3 letter were omitted. 

3. Inspher'd. Cf. // Pens. 88. 

4. Serene. Accented on the first syllable ; as dissyllabic adjectives and 
participles very often are in the poets of that day (and sometimes even 
now) when they come before the noun. This law, as it may be called, was 
first enunciated and fully illustrated, so far as we are aware, in Schmidt's 
Shakespeare-Lexicon, Appendix, p. 1413 fol. M. thinks that here the or 
dinary pronunciation has " a finer effect," and adds that " the first sylla 
ble of serenus is short" as if that had anything to do with it. 

7. Pestered. Clogged, encumbered ; or, perhaps, crowded though the 
word is not from the Italian pesla, a crowd, as Todd, K., and B. make it. 
Neither is it from the Latin pestis, as M. suggests. Skeat and others are 
no doubt right in deriving it, through the Fr. empttrer (Q\A Yv.empestrer) 
from the Low Latin ///, upon, and/aj/0r*//, a clog for a horse at pas 
ture. From meaning to clog or encumber, it got the sense of crowd ; as 
in a quotation from Holland in the Imp. Diet, (where the derivation is 
given correctly) : "all rivers and pools would be so pestered full with 
fishes that a man would see nothing else." K. cites Hall, 6'rt/. iv. 7 : 

" Or saw the churches and new Calendar 
Pester'd with mongrel saints and relics dear;" 

but there it may be = encumbered. One can see how this idea often im 
plies that of crowding. 

Pinfold. A pound, in which stray beasts were pinned, or shut up. Cf. 
Shakespeare, T. G. of V. i. I. 114: "I mean the pound a pinfold ;" and 
Lear, ii. 2. 9 : "in Lipsbury pinfold." B. and M. explain it as "sheep- 
fold," a sense not recognized by the dictionaries. 

10. After this mortal change. After the changes of this mortal life, or 
this mortal life of change. M. explains it as " this mortal state of life ;" 
and B. thinks that change " has its old meaning of a figure in a dance " 
a metaphor which seems to us peculiarly out of place here. 

11. Enthroned. Two syllables, with accent on the first. See on 4 
above. This is according to the printing of the early eds. (followed by 
B. and M.) ; but K. reads " the enthroned gods," which no doubt suits the 
modern ear better. 

13. Golden kev. Cf. Lye. in. 

16. Ambrosial weeds. Celestial garments. As M. remarks, ambrosial, 
though we are apt to connect it only with the food of the gods, really has 

!64 NOTES. 

the general sense of immortal (a, not, and Pporoc, mortal), whence celes 
tial, or heavenly. For weeds, see on L? All. 120. 

20. High and nether Jove. That is, Jupiter and Pluto, or Z,n>cj Kara- 
xOoviog, as Homer (//. ix. 457) calls him. Dunster quotes Sylvester's 
Du Bartas : " Both upper Jove's and nether's diverse thrones." The 
allusion is to the division of the world among Jupiter, Neptune, and 
Pluto, after the overthrow of Saturn. 

23. Unadorned. That is, otherwise unadorned. 

25. Several. Separate. See on Nativ. 234. 

27. This isle, etc. Great Britain. Cf. Rich.' II. ii. i. 40 fol. : "This 
royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle," etc. 

29. Quarters to. Probably = divides among ; though K. notes the fact 
that the island was then under four separate governments ; " for beside 
those at London and Edinburgh, there were Lords - President of the 
North and of Wales." 

Blue-haired deities. We cannot think, with M., that these may be " a 
special section of the tributary gods." This latter expression is appar 
ently equivalent to the other, which is used merely for variety. 

30. This tract, etc. This western portion, or Wales. 

31. A noble peer. The Earl of Briclgewater. 

For inickle (= much), cf. Hen. V. ii. i. 70 : " An oath of mickle might," 
etc. It occurs nowhere else in Milton's verse. 

33. Old. As descendants of the aboriginal Britons ; and haughty from 
pride in their ancestry. 

34. Nnrs\i in princely lore. As M. says, this means no more than 
" highly educated," though some commentators have fancied deeper ref 
erence in it 

37. Perplexed. Entangled, intricate; accented on the first syllable. 
See on 4 above. 

41. Sovran. See on Nativ. 60. 

45. In hall or bower. A familiar combination in the old ballads, as in 
Spenser and other poets of the time. Cf. Aslrophel, 28 : " Merily mask 
ing both in bowre and hall ;" Lady of the Lake, ii. 112: " For of his clan, 
in hall and bower," etc. The hall was the main public room of the cas 
tle or mansion ; and the bower the lady's chamber, often used for the pri 
vate apartments in general. 

47. Tlie sweet poison of misused wine. A striking example of poetical 
condensation of phrase. 

48. After the Tuscan mariners transformed. A Latin construction, like 
" post conditam urbem." Cf. P. L. i. 573 : " never since created man," 
etc. The story of the seizure of Bacchus by Tyrrhenian pirates, and 
their transformation into dolphins, is told in the Homeric Hymn to Di- 
onysos, and also in Ovid, Met. iii. 630 fol. 

49. As the winds listed. Cf. John, iii. 8. 

50. Circe's island. See Virgil, &n. vii. 10 fol., or Odyssey, x. 

54. This nymph, etc. The parentage of Comus is Milton's own ; as 
are, indeed, the main traits of the character. The name (Greek Kw/ioc) 
means excess. 

60. The Celtic and Iberian fields. France and Spain. 

COM US. X 65 

6 1. Ominous. Portentous, hazardous. 

65. Orient. Bright ; as in P. L. i. 546 : " With orient colours wav 
ing," etc. 

66. Drouth. Milton's form for drought. 

67. Fond. Foolish. See on // Pens. 6. 

72. All other parts, etc. This was convenient for stage presentation, 
though inconsistent with the ancient myth. 

73. So perfect is their misery. So complete is their wretched degrada 

74. Not once perceive, etc. This is also a variation from the myth. 
The companions of Ulysses are sensible of their foul transformation. B. 
refers to F. Q. ii. 12. 87 : 

" Saide Guyon : ' See the mind of beastly man, 
That hath so soone forgot the excellence 
Of his creation, when he life began, 
That now he chooseth with vile difference 
To be a beast and lacke intelligence!'" 

79. Adventurous glade. Dangerous wood. Glade, properly an open 
ing in a wood, is here used for the wood itself. 

80. A glancing star. A shooting-star. B. quotes P. L. i. 745 : " Dropt 
from the zenith like a falling star." Cf. also Shakespeare, V. and A. 

" Look, how a bright star shooteth from the sky, 
So glides he in the night from Venus' eye." 

83. Spun out of Iris' woof. Cf. /'. L. xi. 244 : " Iris had dipt the woof;" 
that is, of the archangel's " vest of purple." 

84. A swain, etc. The description is a compliment to Lawes, who 
was to play the part. For weeds, cf. 16 above. 

87. Knows to still. Cf. Lye. 10. 

88. Nor of less faith. " Not less trustworthy than he is skilled in mu 
sic" (M.). 

92. Viewless. Cf. Passion, 50, and P. L. iii. 518. Shakespeare has the 
word once (M.for M. iii. I. 124: " viewless winds "), and M. thinks he 
may have coined it. 

93. 7 'he star, etc. K. quotes M.for M. iv. 2. 218 : " Look, the unfold 
ing star calls up the shepherd." See also Collins, Ode to Evening: 

" For when thy folding-star arising shows 
His paly circlet," etc. 

94. The top of heaven. The meridian. Cf. F. Q. iii. 4. 51 : 

" the golden Hesperus 
Was mounted high in top of heaven sheene." 

96. His glowing axle doth allay, etc. Todd quotes Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 
280 : " Audiet Hercules stridentem gurgite solem." 

97. Steep. " Deep " (B.), or to which the sun comes as down a steep 
descent (K.). 

98. Slope. Sloping, declining. Cf. Tennyson, Locksley Hall, 8 : " great 
Orion sloping slowly to the west." 

1 66 NOTES, 

IOI. His chamber. Cf. Psa, xix. 5. 

105. Rosy twine. Twined roses, or wreaths of roses. See on 1021 
below. Shakespeare is fond of this use of the adjective ; as in Sotin. 128. 
4 : " wiry concord " (concord of wires, or strings), etc. See many exam 
ples in Schmidt's Lexicon, Appendix, p. 1415 fol. 

108. Advice. Reflection, deliberation ; as in K. John, iii. 4. II : "So 
hot a speed with such advice dispos'd," etc. 

109. Sour. The one instance of the word in Milton's verse. Shake 
speare has it more than thirty times in a figurative sense (crabbed, mo 
rose, hateful, gloomy, etc.) ; as " sour offence " (All's Well, v. 3. 59, T. and 
C. iii. i. 80), " sour melancholy " (Rich. II. v. 6. 20), " sour woe " (R. and 
y. iii. 2. 116), "sour misfortune" (Id. v. 3. 82), etc. 

1 10. Saws. Sayings, maxims. Cf. Shakespeare, R. of L. 244 : " Who 
fears a sentence or an old man's saw ?" L. L. L. v. 2. 932 : " the parson's 
saw," etc. 

in. Of purer fire. That is, of fire with less admixture of the heavier 
elements, earth and water. Cf. the Dauphin's description of his horse 
in Hen. V. iii. 7. 22: " It is a beast for Perseus ; he is pure air and fire ; 
and the dull elements of earth and water never appear in him, but only 
in patient stillness while his rider mounts him." See also A. and C. v. 2. 
292, where the dying queen says : 

" I am fire and air ; my other elements 
I give to baser life/' 

112. The starry quire. An allusion to the music of the spheres. See 
on Nativ. 125, and cf. 1021 below. 

115. The sounds and seas. The shallow waters and the deep seas. 

116. Morrice. A Moorish dance, introduced into England from Spain. 
Cf. Airs Well, ii. 2. 25 : " as fit as a morris for May-day ;" Hen. V. ii. 4. 
25: "a Whitsun morris-dance," etc. 

118. Pert. Brisk, lively; as in Shakespeare, M. N. D. \. i. 13 : "The 
pert and nimble spirit of mirth." Cf. also the adverb in Tempest, iv. I. 
58 : " Appear, and pertly ;" that is, quickly, promptly. Dapper had much 
the same meaning, with the added sense of small, delicate ; and this lat 
ter came to be the dominant sense. Cf. Spenser, Shep. h'al. Oct. : 

" The dapper ditties, that I wont devise 
To feede youthes fancie, and the flocking fry, 
De lighten much ;" 

where the Glosse defines it as " pretye." Neither pert nor dapper is 
used elsewhere by Milton in verse. 

121. Wakes. Vigils ; originally, the festive celebration of the eve of a 
saint's day. Cf. Tennyson, Princess, v. 510 : " His visage all agrin as at 
a wake." The word is now used only of the watching of a dead body 
previous to burial, as in Ireland and Scotland. 

125. Rites. The early eds. have " rights " here, though " rites " in 535 
below (M.). 

127. Will ne'er report. Cf. Shakespeare, V. and A. 126 : 

" These blue-vein'd violets whereon we lean 
Never can blab, nor know not what we mean." 

COMUS. !6 7 

129. Cotytto. A Thracian goddess, whose rites were celebrated at 
night with notorious licentiousness. 

131. Dragon womb. Cf. // Pens. 59. 

132. Spets. An old form of spits, used by Shakespeare (in M. of F.), 
Spenser, Drayton, and other writers of the time. Milton has it only here, 
and spit (except the name of the kitchen utensil in P. R. ii. 343) nowhere 
in his verse. 

135. Hecaf. The spelling of Hecate in the early eds., " to indicate that 
it is to be pronounced as a dissyllable" (M.). It is always dissyllabic in 
Shakespeare (except in I Hen. VI. iii. 2. 64, which he did not write), as 
often in Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and their contemporaries. Cf. Macbeth, 
ii. i. 52: 

" witchcraft celebrates 
Pale Hecate's offerings," etc. 

Originally a moon-goddess, and sometimes confounded with Diana as 
such, she presided over all nocturnal horrors sorcery, ghostly appari 
tions, etc. 

138. The blabbing eastern scout, etc. Cf. 2 Hen. VI. iv. I. I : " The 
gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful day ;" and R. of L. 806 : " Make me not 
object to the tell-tale Day !" Some eds. misprint " babbling." 

139. Nice. Dainty, fastidious. Cf. T. G. of V. iii. i. 82 : " she is nice 
and coy," etc. 

141. Descry. Disclose. Cf. F. Q. vi. 7. 12 : 

" In lieu whereof he would to him descrie 
Great treason to him meant," etc. 

144. Light fantastic round. Cf. L'All. 34. 

147. Shrouds. Hiding-places. Shakespeare has it in the similar sense 
of shelter, protection, in A. and C. iii. 13. 71 : " And put yourself under 
his shroud," etc. Cf. the verb in 316 below. 

151. Trains. Allurements; as in Macbeth, iv. 3. 118: 

" Devilish Macbeth 

By many of those trains hath sought to win me 
Into his power." 

Cf. the verb in C. of E. iii. 2. 45 : " O, train me not, sweet mermaid, with 
thy note ;" and L. L. L. i. i. 71 : 

" These be the stops that hinder study quite, 
And train our intellects to vain delight." 

154. Dazzling spells. The first draft has " powder'd spells" (cf. 165 
below). Spongy absorbent, retentive. 

155. Blear. Deceiving the sight, as if it had been bleared, or dimmed. 
Cf. the verb in T. of. S. v. i. 120: " While counterfeit supposes blear'd 
thine eyne," etc. 

157. Quaint. See on Nativ. 194. 

161. Glozing. Deceiving, deluding. Cf. F. Q. iii. 8. 14: 

" For he could well his glozing speaches frame 
To such vain uses that him best became." 

,68 NOTES. 

163. Wind me. Insinuate myself. 

166. I shall appear, etc. The ist ed. (1645) reads thus: 

" I shall appear soni harmles Villager, 

Whom thrift keeps up about his Country gear, 
But here she comes, I fairly step aside 
And hearken, if I may, her business here." 

The 2d (1673) omits and transposes thus : 

" I shall appear some harmless Villager 
And hearken, if I may, her business here. 
But here she comes, I fairly step aside;" 

but the Errata of the ed. direct that the comma after may shall be omit 
ted and here changed to hear. There can be no doubt that these latter 
alterations should be made (B. retains " hearken, if I may, her business 
here"), and perhaps we should follow the 2d ed. in the omission and 
transposition also. The objection to doing so, as M. notes, is that it 
would disturb the standard line-numbers for the rest of the poem. 

167. Gear. Business. Cf. F. Q. vi. 3. 6 : "That to Sir Calidore was 
easie geare; " Romeo and Juliet, ii. 4. 107 : " Here's goodly gear !" 2 Hen. 
VI. \. iv. 17 : " To this gear the sooner the better," etc. 

168. Fairly. Gently, quietly; as often. So the adjective was often = 
gentle, soft, etc. 

175. Granges. Granaries, barns; the only instance of the word in 
Milton's verse. 

176. Pan. Cf. Nativ. 89. 

178. Swiird. Drunken. The use of the passive form (given to 
swilling) is exactly as in drunken ( = given to drinking), originally the 
participle of drink. 

179. Wassailers. Revellers; from wassail, in the sense of drinking- 
bout, carouse. Cf. Hamlet, i. 4. 9 : 

" The king doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse, 
Keeps wassail," etc. 

See also L. L. L. v. 2. 318: " At wakes and wassails," etc. For ivassail 
as applied to the beverage (spiced ale, etc.) of which our old English an 
cestors were so fond, cf. Macbeth, i. 7. 64 : 

"his two chamberlains 
Will I with wine and wassail so convince 
That memory, the warder of the brain, 
Shall be a fume," etc. 

We find the -wassail-bowl thus referred to in an old song : 

" Our Wassel we do fill 
With apples and with spice ;" 

and again in the same lyric, " A Wassel of good ale." See on UAIL 100. 

184. Spreading favour. Favouring spread. Cf. many similar examples 
in Shakespeare ; as " murderous shame " = shameful murder (Sonn. 9. 
14), "swift extremity " = extreme swiftness (Id. 51. 6), "shady stealth " = 
stealing shadow (Id. 77. 7), etc. 

188. Gray-hooded Even, etc. "Evening succeeding Day, as the figure 

COM US. ,69 

of a venerable gray-hooded mendicant might slowly follow the wheels of 
some rich man's chariot" (M.). But why "venerable" and a "mendi 
cant?" The sober Eve follows close behind the chariot of Phrebus, but 
not as an aged beggar. Cf. Wordsworth's fine sonnet : 

" It is a beauteous evening, calm and free ; 
The holy time is quiet as a nun, 
Breathless with adoration." 

In Lye. 187, " the still Morn " goes out " with sandals gray." 

A palmer was one who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and 
brought back a palm-branch from the gardens of Jericho (K.) ; though 
other explanations of the word are given. Cf. Scott, Marmion, i. 470 : 

" The faded palm-branch in his hand 
Showed pilgrim from the Holy Land." 

We find " in Palmers weed " (cf. 84 above) in F. Q. ii. I. 52. 

195. Stole. The reading of the early eds., though one of the MSS. 
has "stolne" and the other agrees with it, according to K., who con 
siders stole "a manifest printer's error." We find " had stole" in P. L. 
iv. 719 in the original ed., where "stolen " would be really better for the 
measure. Stolen occurs in P. L. x. 20, xi. 125, and Sonn. i. 2. See on 77 
Pens. 91 and Arcades, 4. 

203. Rife. Prevalent, abundant ; as in More, Utopia : "thieves never 
theless were in every place so rife and so rank." Nares (followed by the 
Imp. Diet.} explains it here as "clear, manifest," which is implied in the 
other and more common meaning. 

204. Single. Mere, unmixed. 

207. Calling shapes, etc. Warton and others think that Milton had in 
mind passages in Marco Polo's Travels and Heywood's HierarcJiy of 
Angels, in which ghostly voices and beckoning spectres are mentioned ; 
but, as B. remarks, Shakespeare's Tempest "may well have suggested the 
whole imagery." Cf. quotation in note on 432 below. 

212. Strong sitting. Strong and siding with one, or taking one's part. 
Cf. Conolanus, iv. 2. 2 : 

" The nobility are vex'd, whom we see have sided 
In his behalf." 

We find it used transitively in Id. i. I. 197: "They . . . side factions." 
These are the only instances of the verb in Shakespeare. Here most eds. 
print "strong-siding;" but B. and M. retain the early reading. 
Conscience is a trisyllable here. See on Nativ. 66. 

214. Girt. Equipped, furnished; rather than "surrounded," as M. 
explains it. m golden wings, cf. // Pens. 52. 

215. Chastity. " Instead of Charity, the usual companion of Faith and 
Hope " (K.). ' 

217. Supreme. Accented on the first syllable; as in K. John, iii. i. 
155 : " But as we, under heaven, are supreme head ;" and R. of L. 780 : 
" The life of purity, the supreme fair." See on 4 above. 

219. Glistering. Neither Milton nor Shakespeare has glisten. The 
former has glister eight times, and the latter nine (including T. A. ii. i. 7, 
which is probably not his). 



221. Was I deceived, etc. Not a rare rhetorical form ; but Milton ap 
parently had in mind Ovid, Fasti, v. 549;"Fallor? an anna sonant? 
Non fallimur; arma sonabant." 

231. Shell. The reading of the early eds. One of the MSS. has 
" cell " in the margin, but Milton probably decided to retain shell when 
the poem was printed. Airy shell the " hollow round" {Naliv. 102), 
or vault of the atmosphere. 

232. Meander. The Phrygian river whose windings have given us 
the English verb. Margent is used by Milton nowhere else in verse, 
margin not at all. Shakespeare has only margent (seven times). M. 
endorses the fanciful suggestion of K. that the banks of the Meander arc- 
chosen as the abode of Echo " because its course goes backwards and 
forwards, returning on itself like the repercussion of an echo." 

234. Love-lorn. Cf. " lass-lorn " in Tempest, iv. i. 68. K. thinks that 
lorn is dissyllabic here, as he does born in Nativ. 30. He has a theory 
of metre which drives him to this strange conclusion. 

235. Mourneth. Singeth mournfully. 

237. Narcissus. The comely youth for whose love Echo pined away 
until nothing but her voice was left, and who afterwards was changed 
into the flower that bears his name. 

238. Have. For the rhyme, see on Ep. Mar. Win. 48. 

241. Parley. Speech. For daughter of the sphere, see on Sol. Mns. 2. 

243. Give resounding grace, etc. That is, by echoing them. 

244. Can any mortal mixture, etc. Can any human being sing so di 
vinely ? As M. remarks, this was no doubt intended partly as a compli 
ment to the young Lady Alice's singing. 

251. Fall. Cadence ; to which it is etymologically parallel. Cf. 
Twelfth Night, i. i. 4: " That strain again ! ft had a dying fall," etc. 

253. Sirens. Not associated with Circe by Homer and the other an 
cient poets ; but, as we have seen, Milton, like his brethren of old, modi 
fies the myths to suit his purpose or his fancy. M. says that Browne, in 
his Inner Temple Masque (performed about 1615, but not published till 
1772), had already put Circe and the Sirens on the same island. 

254. Flowery -kirtled. Warton says, " because they were gathering 
flowers;" but K. "because their kirtles were flowered, like our flowered 
silks." Of the two interpretations we prefer the former (the latter is 
worthy of a mantua-maker) ; but the meaning may be trimmed or 
adorned with natural flowers. 

256. Prisoned. Captivated. 

257. Lap. See on L'All. 136. 

Scylla ivept. Milton follows Ovid in bringing Circe into the vicinity 
of Scylla and Charybdis (K.). 

258. Barking waves. A reminiscence of Virgil, sn. vii. 588 > " multis 
circum latrantibus undis." 

262. flome-felt. " Heartfelt " (B.) ; or " that does not take one out of 
himself, leaves him in possession of his senses, at home, as it were" 

267. Unless the goddess, etc. Unless thou be the goddess, etc. 

269. Forbidding, etc. Cf. Arcades, 48. 

COM US. 171 

271. /// is lost. " A Latinism, male perditnr " (K.). 
273. Extreme shift. The last resort. Cf. 617 below. For the accent 
of extreme, see on 4 and 217 above. 

277. What chance, etc. The following dialogue, as K. notes, is in imi 
tation of many in the Greek tragedies, carried on in single-line speeches. 
M. remarks that a convenient example, from Euripides, beautifully ren 
dered into English, will be found in Browning's Balaustion. 

278. Leavy. The reading of the early eds., generally changed to 
" leafy." 

290. Hebe. The goddess of youth, or " the youthful bloom of nature." 
Unrazored. Beardless. Cf. Tempest, ii. I. 250: 

" till new-born chins 
Be rough and razorable." 

291. What time. Cf. Lye. 28. It was a favourite idiom with the old 
poets, and was sometimes used in prose. Cf. Ps. Ivi. 3, Numb. xxvi. 10, 
Job, vi. 17. The full phrase at what time occurs in Dan. iv. 5. Nowa 
days it is limited to poetry. For laboured, cf. 178 above. We can now 
say (colloquially, at least) hard-worked as well as hard-working. 

On the passage, cf. Virgil, Eel. ii. 66 : 

" Aspice, aratra jugo referunt suspensa juvenci 
Et sol cresceutes decedens duplicat umbras ;" 

and Horace, Od. iii. 6. 41 : 

11 sol ubi montium 
Mutaret umbras, et juga demeret 
Bobus fatigatis," etc. 

293. SwinVd. Tired, fatigued. Cf. F. Q. ii. 7. 8 : " For which men 
svvinck and sweat incessantly." See also the noun in Shep. Kal. May : 
" How great sport they gaynen with little swinck," etc. 

295. Yon small hill. " He forgets that it is dark " (K.). 

297. Port. Bearing ; as in P. L. xi. 8, etc. In the ed. of 1637 " as they 
stood " is connected with what follows ; in the eds. of 1645 an ^ I ^73> with 
what precedes, as in the text. 

298. Vision. A trisyllable. See on 212 above, and cf. 457 below. 

299. The element. The air or sky ; as in P. L. ii. 490 : " the lowering 
element." Cf. 2 Hen. IV. iv. 3. 58: "o'ershine you as much as the full 
moon doth the cinders of the element " (that is, the stars) ; North's Plu 
tarch, Life of Pompey: " the dust in the element," etc. 

301. Plighted. Folded. Cf. Lear, i. I. 283 : "'lime shall unfold what 
plighted cunning hides ;" where the quartos have "pleated." See on II 
Pens. 57. For awe-strook, see on Nativ. 95. 

312. Dingle. Valley between steep hills. ZW/=da1e. 

313. Bosky. Woody; used by Milton only here. Shakespeare has it 
twice (Temp. iv. I. 81 and I Hen. IV. v. I. 2), and in both places the early 
eds. spell it "busky." 

Bourn may be either boundary o\- = bnrn, brook. Warton defines it 
as " a winding, deep, and narrow valley, with a rivulet running at the 



315. Attendance. Attendants. 

316. Shroud. See on 147 above. 

317. The low-roosted lark, etc. K. says that '' the ideas here belong 
rather to the hen-house than to the resting-place of the lark, which has 
no thatch over it, and in which, as it is on the ground, he does not roost" 
M. replies that Milton means simply " the lark in her low resting-place," 
and that " the very phrase calls attention to the fact that the lark does 
not roost on trees like other birds, but has a nest on the ground." Thatch, 
moreover, merely describes "the texture of the nest itself." 

318. Rouse. . Intransitive; though M. thinks that morrow may be the 
subject and lark the object of the verb. Cf. p. 32 above. 

322. Courtesy, etc. P'or the reference to the derivation of the word, 
cf. F. Q. vi. 1. 1 : 

" Of Court, it seemes, men Courtesie doe call, 
For that it there most useth to abound ; 
And well beseemeth that in Princes hall 
That vertue should be plentifully found, 
Which of all goodly manners is the ground, 
And roote of civill conversation." 

325. And courts, etc. Warton changed And to " In," and has been 
followed by some editors. 

327. Warranted. Trustworthy, guaranteed to be safe." 
329. Square. Adjust. Cf. Winter's Tale, v. I. 52 : 

" O that ever I 
Had squar'd me to thy counsel !" 

332. Benison. Benediction ; the only instance of the word in Milton. 
Cf. Macbeth, ii. 4. 40 : " God's benison go with you !" 

334. Disinherit. Dispossess; as in *$". A. 1012. Cf. the use of inherit 
in Borneo and Juliet, i. 2. 30 : 

" such delight 

Among fresh female buds shall you this night 
Inherit at my house," etc. 

336. Influence. See on Nutiv. 71. 

340. Rule. Line, ray. The description of the ray is most graphic. 

341. Star of Arcady. Referring to the Great Bear, as Tyrian Cynosure 
to the Lesser Bear, or the pole-star in it. Callisto, who was changed 
into the Great Bear, was daughter of Lycaon, King of Arcady, or Arcadia. 
The Tyrian or Phoenician mariners steered by the Cynosure, as Ovid 
tells us. See quotation in note on L'All. 80. 

344. The folded flocks, etc. Cf. P.L. iv. 185 : 

" Watching where shepherds pen their flocks at eve, 
In hurdled cotes amid the field secure." 

345. Oaten stops. Cf. Lye. 33, and see on Id. 188. 
347. Dames. Cf. L'All. 52. 

349. Innnmerous. Innumerable ; as in P. L. vii. 455 : " Innumerous 
living creatures," etc. 

359. Over-exquisite. Too inquisitive. For the confusion of active and 



passive meanings in many adjectives, see Abbott's G> . 3. Cf. the use 
of certain participles, as in 178 and 291 above. 

360. To cast the fashion. To forecast or conjecture the form. 

361. Be so. That is, be indeed evils. 

362. What need. Why need. See on Ep. Shakes, i. 

365. Self-delusion. Five syllables. See on 298 above. 

366. So to seek. So at a loss, or without resource. Cf. P. L. viii. 197 : 
" Unpractis'd, unprepar'd, and still to seek;" Bacon, Essay 41: "but 
the merchant will be to seeke for money," etc. 

367. Unprincipled. Untaught, untrained ; like one that has not learned 
the principles or elements of a study. B. says that Milton uses the phrase 
" unprincipled in virtue " in his Tractate on Education. 

371. Stir. Disturb. 

372. Plight. See on // Pens. 57. 

373. Virtue could see, etc. Cf. F. Q. i. I. 12 : " Vertue gives her selfe 
light through darknesse for to wade." 

376. Seeks to. Resorts to, or simply = seeks. See Dent. xii. 5, I Kings, 
x. 24, Isa. ii. 10, etc. Cf. obey to ; as in Rom. vi. 16 and F. Q. iii. 11. 35 : 
" the hevens obey to me alone," etc. 

377. Contemplation. See on // Pens. 53. 

. 378. Plumes. Prunes, arranges. The word is not found elsewhere in 
his sense, and K. classes it among Milton's " mistakes." 

380. All to-ruffled. The eds. of 1645 ancl l6 73 nave " a11 to ruffl'd ; 
that of 1637 has "altoruffled " (New. Etig. Diet.). Tickell changed to to 
too, but more recent editors have read either " ail-to ruffled " or as in the 
text. Ail-to is regarded as = altogether, completely ; but though early 
examples of it can be cited, it is certainly to be classed with those incor 
rect forms (by no means rare in English) which are due to some misap 
prehension or confusion of older forms. To (like the German zer) = 
asunder, is found at an early period as a prefix to certain verbs (to-brcak, 
to-burst, to-tear, etc.) ; as in Chaucer, Knightes Tale, 2693 : "His brest 
to-broken with his sadil bowe." Cf. Judges, ix. 53 : " ancl aJl to-brake his 
skull " (as it should be printed). As the New Eng. Diet, (which may be 
considered as authoritatively settling the dispute concerning these forms) 
says, rt//came to be used to emphasize the particle to- combined with these 
verbs, ancl "as they were at length rarely used without all, the fact that 
the to- belonged to the verb was lost sight of, and it was written separate, 
or even joined to ^//." We have probably an example of these old de 
rivative verbs in the Merry Wives, iv. 4. 57 : "Ancl, fairy-like, to-pinch 
the unclean knight." Cf. Holland's Pliny : " shee againe to be quit with 
them, will all to-pinch and nip both the fox and her cubs." Schmidt and 
Abbott (Gr. 350), however, regard this as an example of one of the pe 
culiar uses of the infinitive to; and the latter (see G>. 436) would read 
" all too ruffled " in the present passage. K., B., and M. have all to-ruffled. 
382. The centre. That is, of the earth ; a common ellipsis in writers 
of the time. Cf. Hamlet, ii. 2. 159 : 

" If circumstances lead me, I will find 
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeel 
Within the centre." 


385. Himself is his own dungeon. Cf. S. A. 155 

" Thou art become O worst imprisonment ! 
The dungeon of thyself," etc. 

See also P. L. iv. 75 : " Which way I fly is hell ; myself am hell." 

388. Tlie cheerful haunt of men. 13. compares P. L. iii. 46 : " the cheer 
ful ways of men," etc. 

390. Weeds. See on VAIL 120. 

393. The fair Hesperian tree. That bore the golden apples in the gar 
dens of the Hesperides, watched day and night by the dragon which Her 
cules slew. See 981 below. On the passage, cf. As You Like It, i. 3. 
112: " Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold." 

395- Unenclianted. Not to be enchanted. See on L 1 All. 40. 

398. Unsunrfd. Hidden from the light of day. Cf. F. Q. ii. 7 (head- 

" Guyon finds Mamon in a delve 

Sunning his threasure hore ; 
Is by him tempted, and led downe 
To see his secrete store." 

Here Mammon has brought out a part of his hoard, and is turning it over 
in his lap, " to feede his eye." 

401. Wink on. Close his eyes to, fail to see ; the only instance of 
wink in Milton's verse. To shut the eyes is the most common meaning 
of the verb in Shakespeare. Cf. Tempest, ii. i. 216 : 

" Thou lett'st thy fortune sleep die rather ; wink'st 
Whiles thou art waking/' 

In the same scene (285) we have the noun = sleep : 

" Whom I, with this obedient steel, three inches of it, 
Can lay to bed forever ; whiles you, doing this, 
To the perpetual wink for aye might put 
This ancient morsel, this Sir Prudence," etc. 

404. It recks me not. I take no account, care not. See Lye. 122, and 
cf. the personal use in Shakespeare, V. and A. 283 : " What recketh he 
his rider's angry stir ?" T. and C. v. 6. 26 : "I reck not though I end my 
life to-day," etc. 

405. Dog. K. thinks the word " too familiar ;" but Shakespeare uses 
it repeatedly. Cf. I Hen. IV. iii. 2. 127 : " To dog his heels and curtsy 
at his frowns;" A. W. iii. 4. 15 : " Where death and danger dogs the 
heels of worth," etc. 

407. Unowned. Unprotected, like a creature strayed from its owner. 

408. Infer. Argue ; as in the only other instance of the word in the 
poems, P. L. vii. 1 16 : 

" To glorify the Maker, and infer 
Thee also happier." 

413. Squint suspicion. Cf. the picture of Suspicion in F. Q. iii. 12. 15 : 

" But he was fowle, ill favoured and grim, 
Under his eiebrowes looking still askaunce. 

His rolling eies did never rest in place, 

But walkte each where for feare of hid mischaunce," etc. 

Suspicion is a quadrisyllable. See on 298 above. 

COM US. I75 

421. Complete. Accented on the first syllable; as in Hamlet, i. 4. 52 : 
"That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel," etc. See also on 4 

422. Like a quivered nymph, etc. Cf. the description of Belphoebe in 
tf (?.ii.3.29: 

" And at her backe a bow and quiver gay, 
Stuft with steele-headed dartes, wherewith she queld 
The salvage beastes in her victorious play. 

Such as Diana by the sandy shore 

Of swift Kurotas, or on Cynthus greene, 

Where all the Nymphes have her unwares forlore, 

Wandreth alone with bow and arrowes keene." 

423. Trace. Track, traverse; as in Shakespeare, M. A r . D. ii. i. 25 : 
" to trace the forests wild," etc. Unharbonr d afTording no harbour, 
or shelter. 

424. Inf'jtnotis. Of evil fame. Cf. Horace, O<f. i. 3. 20 : " Infames 
scopulos, Acroceraunia." The word is here perhaps accented on the 
penult, as the editors make it, though this is not absolutely required by 
the measure. A line may begin with an accented syllable ; as in 394 
and 401 above. In a case like Character 'd in 530 below, we put the ac 
cent on the penult, not because it is necessary, but because we know that 
the word was often so pronounced in that day. 

B. says that perilous is here a dissyllable, and compares the familiar 
contraction parlous ; but the word may well enough have its ordinary 
pronunciation, like frivolous in 445 below, to take the first example on 
which our eye falls. Milton himself prints perilous here, though he has 
many needless contractions (like Aft*w*,/*wV,M',etC.), according to the 
bad fashion of the time. 

426. Bandile. Milton's spelling of the word, which, as M. suggests, 
was probably rather a new one then. 

Mountaineer appears to be used, as it sometimes was, in an opprobrious 
sense. Cf. Cymbcline, iv. 2. 120 : " Who call'd me traitor, mountaineer," 

428. Horrid shades. Cf. 38 above. 

430. UnblencK'd. Unabashed, undaunted. We use blench now only 
intransitively, but it was formerly sometimes transitive = disconcert, af 
fright. We even find the noun blencher (see Imp. Diet.} in the sense of 
one who frightens. 

432. Some say no evil thing, etc. Newton quotes Fletcher, Faithful 
Shepherdess, i. I : 

" Yet I have heard my mother told it me, 
And now I do believe it if I keep 
My virgin-flower uncropt, pure, chaste, and fair, 
No goblin, wood-god, fairy, elf, or fiend, 
Satyr, or other power that haunts the groves, 
Shall hurt my body, or by vain illusion 
Draw me to wander after idle fires ; 
Or voices calling me in dead of night 
To make me follow, and so tole me on 
Through mire and standing pools to find my rum. 

1 7 6 NOTES. 

434. Unlaid ghost. Cf. Cymbeline, iv. 2. 278 : " Ghost unlaid forbear 

435. That breaks his magic chains, etc. Cf. A r ativ. 232 fol., where the 
ghosts take flight with the dawn ; and see Temp. v. i. 40: 

" you whose pastime 

Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice 
To hear the solemn curfew ;" 

and Lear, Hi. 4. 121: "This is the foul Flibbertigibbet. He begins at 
curfew, and walks at first cock" (" till the first cock " in quartos). 

436. Swart. Black, dark. Cf. swart star in Lvc. 138. 

439. Antiquity. " The previous instances had been from mediaeval 
legend " (B). 

443. Brinded. Brindled, spotted ; as in Macbeth, iv. I. I : "the brind- 
ed cat." In P. L. iv. 446, the lion " shakes his brinded mane." 

449. Freezd. The only instance of the past tense in Milton's verse. 
The participle is frozen in the five passages in which it occurs. For the 
accent of congealed, see on 4 above. 

451. DasJi'd. Put out of countenance, confounded. 

453. So dear to Heaven, etc. " The language of mythological allu 
sion now ceases, and the speaker passes, in his own name, into a strain 
of Platonic philosophy tinged with Christianity." Cf. p. 32 above. 

455. Luckey her. Become her liveried servants or attendants. 

457. Vision. A trisyllable, as in 298 above. See also contagion in 
467 below. 

459. Converse. Accented on second syllable ; as in P. L. viii. 408 : 
" How have 1 then with whom to hold converse ;" also in Id. ix. 247, 
909, the only other examples of the noun in the poems. Shakespeare 
also regularly accents the noun in the same way. 

462. And turns. We should expect "turn ;" but the change may be 
intentional ; " as if certainty had so increased before the second clause 
that it could be stated as a fact " (M.). 

465. Lavish. Profligate. 

468. Imbodies and imbrntes. Becomes corporeal, or material, and brutish. 
Cf. P. L. ix. 163 : 

" O foul descent ! that I, who erst contended 
With gods to sit the highest, am now constrain'd 
Into a beast ; and, mixed with bestial slime, 
This essence to incarnate and imbrute 
That to the height of deity aspir'd !" 

469. Divine. Probably accented by Milton here on the first syllable. 
See on 4 above. 

470. Such are, etc. Cf. Plato's P/icedo (Jowett's trans.) : " She [the 
impure soul at death] is engrossed by the corporeal, which the continual 
association and constant care of the body have made natural to her. . . . 
And this, my friend, may be conceived to be that heavy, weighty, earthy 
element of sight by which such a soul is depressed and dragged down 
again into the visible world below prowling about tombs and sepul 
chres, in the neighbourhood of which, as they tell us, are seen certain 
ghostly apparitions of souls which have not departed pure, but are cloyed 

COM US. I77 

with sight and therefore visible." Warton perceived that Milton had 
this passage in mind here. 

474. Sensually. Milton's word, not "sensuality," as generally printed 
to the marring of the metre. 

476. How charming, etc. " A compliment to Plato, from whom Mil 
ton has just been quoting, and whom he especially admired " (M.). 

478. But musical, etc. Cf. Shakespeare, L. L. L. iv. 3. 342 : 

" as sweet and musical 
As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair." 

482. What should it be ? What could or might it be ? Cf. Hen. VIII. 
iii. 2. 160 : " What should this mean?" and see Abbott's G>: 325. 

483. Night-f (Hinder 1 d. Benighted. Cf. /'. L. i. 204 : " some small night- 
founcler'd skiff." 

490. What are you ? Who are you ? Cf. Heu, V. iv. 3. 18 " What's 
he that wishes so ? My cousin Westmoreland ?" See Abbott's Gr. 


491. Iron stakes. That is, their swords. 

494. Whose artful strains, etc. Cf. Horace, Od. \ 12. 8 : 

" Arte materna rapidos morantem 
Fluminum lapsus celeresque ventos." 

495. Huddling. Hurrying, so that its waters are, as it were, huddled 

Note the rhyme in the lines that follow ; perhaps introduced " to pro 
long the feeling of pastoralism by calling up the cadence of known 
English pastoral poems, such as those of Spenser and William Browne" 

499. forsook. See on // Pens. 91. 

501. His next joy. His younger son. 

502. Toy. Trifle ; as in // Pens. 4. 

508. How chance, etc. Cf. M. A 7 . D. \ I. 129 : " How chance the roses 
there do fade so fast?" and see Abbott's Gr. 37. 

509. Sadly. Seriously, truly; as very often. Cf. Romeo and Juliet, i. 
I. 207 : " But sadly ell me who." A few lines above we have the noun 
similarly used : " Tell me in sadness who is that you love." 

51 1. Ay me unhappy ! Not " Ah me," as sometimes printed in eds. of 
Milton and Shakespeare. Cf. Lye. 56. 

515. What the sage poets, etc. "Thus Homer sang of the Chimera in 
the adventures of Bellerophontes, and of the enchanted isles of Circe, Ca 
lypso, and others ; and Virgil describes the descent to hell of Orpheus 
through the rifted rock of Taenarus " (K.). Cf. L'All. 17 and // Pens. 

520. Navel. Centre. So Delphi was called by the Greeks the navel 
of the earth. 

526. Murmurs. Incantations. See on Arcades, 60. Todd quotes Sta- 
tius, Theb. ix. 733 ; 

" cantusque sacros et conscia miscet 


I7 8 NOTES. 

529. Unmonlding, etc. As if obliterating the impression or inscription 
on a coin. 

530. Charactered. Accented on the penult ; as by Shakespeare several 
times. Cf. K. of L. 807 : " The light will show, character'd in my brow ;" 
T. G.of V. ii. 7. 4: " Are visibly character'd and engrav'cl ;" and Hitn- 
let,\. 3.59: See thou character: give thy thoughts no tongue." Else 
where he gives the verb the modern accent, as the noun always. Milton 
has the verb nowhere else in his poems ; the noun he accents on the first 

531. The hilly crofts, etc. " The enclosed fields on the slopes that as 
cend from this wood in the hollow" (M.). 

534. Stabled wolves. Wolves that have got into the sheepfold. B. 
quotes Virgil, Eel. iii. 80: "Triste lupus stabulis;" which Milton may 
have had in mind. 

535. Hecate. See on 135 above. 

539. Unweeting. Unwitting, unsuspicious. Cf. /'. L. x. 335 : "Eve, 
though all unweeting," etc. 

540. By then. By the time that. 

542. Dew-besprent. Sprinkled with dew. Cf. Shep. KaL Nov. : ''with 
teares besprint ;" Id. Dec. : " My head besprent with hoary frost," etc. 

544. Interwove, Cf. wove in Arcades, 47. We find interwove again in 
P. L. i. 621, but interwoven in P. K. ii. 263. 

547. To meditate my rural minstrelsy. The ed. of 1673 misprints 
"meditate upon." Cf. Virgil, Eel. i. 2 : " Silvestrem tenui musam medi- 
taris avena ;" and see also Lye. 66. 

548. Close. Cadence, pause. See on Ntitiv. 100. 

551. Listened. For the transitive use, cf. Julius Ccesar, iv. i. 41 : 
" Listen great things," etc. 

553. Drowsy frighted steeds. " The drowsy steeds that had been fright 
ened " (M.). The early eds. all print " drowsie frighted ;" but the Cam 
bridge MS. has "drowsy flighted," which, with the hyphen, is favoured 
by K. and M. The latter puts it in his text, though with some doubt 
whether he ought not to follow the first printed eds. Some print " drowsy- 
frighted," which is nonsense. " Drowsy-flighted " is certainly the sim 
pler and more poetical reading, but we hesitate to adopt it when there is 
such a weight of authority against it. 

556. Like a steam, etc. Cf. the comparison of music to fragrance in 
the first lines of Twelfth Night, and see our ed. of the play, p. 118. The 
ed. of 1673 misprints "stream." 

557. That even Silence, etc. For that so that, see on LAll. 145 ; and 
for took, on Arcades, 4. On the passage, cf. P. L. iv. 604 : " Silence was 
pleas'd ;" that is, at the " amorous descant " of the nightingale. 

560. Still. Ever, always ; as often. Cf. Hamlet, ii. 2. 42 : "Thou still 
hast been the author of good tidings," etc. 

568. Lawns. See on IJAll. 71. 

585. Period. Sentence. 

586-599. Against tJie threats . . . stubble. "A peculiarly Miltonic pas 
sage ; one of those that ought to be got by heart both on its own account 
and in memory of Milton " (M.). 


598. Firmament. To Milton, believing in the Ptolemaic astronomy, this 
woicl suggested the firmness and solidity its etymology implies. 

603. Legions. A trisyllable. This lengthening of a word is rare in 
Milton or Shakespeare except at the end of a line. Abbott, in his Gr. 
(479), says he has been able to find only three instances in Shakespeare 
(A. Y. L. ii. 7. 41, Hamlet, ii. 2. 5, T. A i. i. 190), but we have met with at 
least a dozen more. Cf., for example, T. N. i. 5. 274: " With adorations, 
with fertile tears," etc. For grisly, see on Nativ. 209. 

604. Acheron. The infernal river (see P. L. ii. 578), here put for hell 
itself, as often by the classical poets. 

605. Harpies. We have another allusion to the unclean creatures in 
P. R. ii. 403 : 

" Both table and provision vanish'd quite 
With sound of Harpies' wings and talons heard." 

Cf. Tempest, iii. 3. 53, where, according to the stage-direction, Ariel en 
ters "like a Harpy, claps his wings upon the table, and with a quaint de 
vice the banquet vanishes ;" as in Virgil,^?;/, iii. 209 fol. 

606. Jnd. India was "the region of black enchantments " (M.). 

607. Purchase. Acquisition ; often used in a bad sense. Cf. F. Q. vi. 
Ii. 12 (where the thieves are quarrelling over their booty) : 

" To whom the Captaine in full angry wize 
Made answere, that the mayd of whom they spake 
Was his owne purchase and his onely prize ;" 

i Hen. IV. ii. I. 101 : "thou shall have a share in our purchase" (plun 
der), etc. See also P. L. x. 579. 

608. Curls. Associated with the idea of a voluptuary. Cf. Shake 
speare, R. of L. 981 : " Let him have time to tear his curled hair," etc. 

610. Emprise. Enterprise, daring ; a poetical word. Cf. P. L. xi. 
642 : " Giants of mighty bone and bold emprise," etc. 

6 1 1. Stead. Service ; now rarely used except in the phrase " stand one 
in stead." 

614. Can unthread thy joints. Relax their ligaments and render them 
powerless. Cf. Tempest, i. 2. 471 : " For I can here disarm thee with this 
stick " (his magic wand), etc. See also 659 below. 

617. Utmost shifts. Cf. 273 above. 

620. To see to. To look at. Cf. Ezek. xxiii. 15. 

621. Virtuous. Having medicinal virtue, or power. See on // Pens. 

623. He lov'dme well. It is not improbable, as some of the commen 
tators have urged, that in this description of the shepherd lad there is an 
affectionate reference to his friend Charles Diodati, who was a medical 
student and a botanist. Cf. the Epitaphium Damonis, 150 fol. 

626. Scrip. Pouch, bag. Cf. I Sam. xvii. 40, Mutt. x. 10, Luke, xxii. 
35, etc. 

627. Simples. Medicinal herbs. Cf. Romeo ami Juliet, v. i. 40: " Cull 
ing of simples," etc. 

634. Unknown. That is, to people in general. Like esteem' d=. unap 
preciated, as little esteemed as known. 

!8o NOTES. 

635. Clouted shoon. Patched shoes. Cf. Hamlet, iv. 5. 26 : " And his 
sandal shoon ;" 2 Hen. VI. iv. 2. 195 (Cade's speech) : " Spare none but 
such as go in clouted shoon," etc. See also Josh. ix. 5. 

636. MecTcinal. Milton's spelling. In S. A. 627 (" Or medicinal liq 
uor can assuage") the metre requires the full number of syllables and the 
modern accent. In Shakespeare likewise we find both medicinal and 
medicinal, if we adopt the latter (the reading of the 1st quarto) in Oth. v. 
2. 351 ; but see our ed. p. 210. 

Moly. The plant by which Ulysses was enabled to resist the charms 
and drugs of Circe. See Odyssey, x. 305. For Hermes (Mercury), cf. P. 
L. iv. 717, xi. 133. 

637. H&mony. The plant and its name (probably from Hcemoiria, or 
Thessaly, a land famed for its magic) are both of Milton's invention. 

639. Sovran. See on Nativ. 60. 

640. Mildew blast. Not " mildew, blast," as sometimes printed. Cf. 
Hamlet, iii. 4. 64 : 

" Here is your husband, like a mildew'd ear, 
Blasting his wholesome brother/' 

641. Apparition. Five syllables. See on Nativ. 66, etc. 

642. Little reckoning made. Cf. Lye. 116. 

646. Lime-ftvigs. Snares; like the twigs smeared with bird-lime for 
entrapping birds. This is a favourite metaphor with Shakespeare, who 
uses it at least twelve times. Cf. All's Well, iii. 5. 26: "they are limed 
with the twigs that threaten them ;" Hamlet, iii. 3. 68 : 

. " O limed soul that, struggling to be free, 
Art more eugag'd!" . 

3 Hen. VL iii. 3. 16 : " Like lime-twigs set to catch my winged soul," etc. 
655. Like tJie sons of Vulcan. The allusion seems to be to the giant 
Cacus (Virgil, ^En. viii. 252) in his struggle with Hercules : 

" Faucibus ingentem fumum, mirabile dictu, 

660. Alabaster. Spelt "alablaster" in the eds. of 1645 and 1673; 
as generally in the early eds. of Shakespeare. Cf. F. Q. iii. 2. 42 : " Her 
alablaster brest she soft did kis," etc. As. K. notes, it is strange that 
Milton, who must have been familiar with the Greek a\aj3(t<TTpoi>, should 
have followed this erroneous orthography here and in P. L. iv. 544. In 
P. R. iv. 545 the 1st ed. has alabaster. 

661. Daphne. Who, when pursued by Apollo, was turned into a laurel- 
tree. Cf. the humorous account of the transformation in the opening 
lines of Lowell's Fable for Critics. 

666. Why are you vext, etc. K. quotes, as an exact metrical parallel, 
Romeo and Juliet, iii. 2. 38 : " We are undone, lady, we are undone." 

672. Julep. Originally, rose-water ; thence applied to fragrant and cor 
dial liquids, as here. This is the only 'instance of the word' in Milton's 
verse ; and it is not used at all by Shakespeare. 

673. His. Its. See on Naliv. 106. 

675. Nepenthes. The drug which Homer (Odyssey, iv. 220 fol.) repre- 

COMUS, lgl 

sents Helen as giving to Menelaus. " It frees men from grief and anger, ' 
and causes oblivion of all ills : whoever should drink it would not shed a 
tear for a whole day, not even if both his mother and father should die, 
or if they should kill a brother or a beloved son before his eyes." The 
wife of Thone was " Polydamna, an Egyptian," the poet adds. 

680. Dainty limbs. A pet phrase with Spenser. Cf. F. Q. i. n. 32, 

682. Invert. Cf. Shakespeare, T. and C. v. 2. 122 : 

" That doth invert the attest of eyes and ears, 
As if those organs had deceptions functions." 

685. Unexempt. From which no one is exempt. Condition is a quad 

688. 7^hat have, etc. That refers to you in 682. 

693. The cottage, etc. See 320 above. 

694. Grim aspects. Cf. F. Q. v. 9. 48 : " with griesly grim aspect ;" and 
Shakespeare, A J . of L. 452 : " Whose grim aspect sets every joint a-shak- 
ing." The accent of aspect was then regularly on the second syllable, as 
it still is in respect. 

698. Visor\i. Masked, disguised. 

700. Liquorish. Dainty, pleasing to the palate; the only instance of 
the word in Milton's poems. Shakespeare also has it once, in T. of A. 
iv. 3. 194 : 

" Whereof ingrateful man, with liquorish draughts 
And morsels unctuous, greases his pure mind." 

The spelling lickerish is more in accordance with the derivation. See 
Imp. Diet, or Wb. 

702. None, etc. As Newton remarks, this is from Euripides, Medea, 

KaKov fttp uv6p<J9 6up' ovr\<nv OUK e'xe*. 

707. Budge. The meaning of the word here has been much discussed. 
Budge was the name given to "lamb-skin with the wool dressed outward, 
formerly used as an ornamental border for scholastic habits ;" hence the 
adjective budge " trimmed or adorned with budge." The latter came to 
have the secondary meaning of " scholastic, pedantic, austere, surly, stiff, 
formal ;" which is probably the sense here. K. thinks it rather means 
" corpulent, portly," and M. is inclined to explain it as " burly, or stout." 
Examples of this meaning are to be found in old writers, but the other 
seems to us to suit the context better. 

The Stoics and the Cynics agreed in despising the pleasures of the 
senses. The tub is of course that of Diogenes. 

711. Univithdrawing. Lavish, liberal ; perhaps a word of Milton's own 
coinage, but used by him nowhere else. 

719. Hutch" d. Shut up as in a hutch, or chest. Shakespeare has bolting- 
hulch (box for bolted meal) in I Hen. IV. ii. 4. 495 ; and Milton, accord 
ing to Nares, uses the same compound in his prose : " to sift mass into 
no mass, and popish into no popish ; yet saving this passing fine sophis 
tical boulting-hutch," etc. Browne, in his Brit. Pastorals, ii. 2, describes 
this hutch thus: 

1 82 NOTES. 

" For as a miller in his boulting-hutch 
Drives out the pure meale nearly as he can, 
And in his sifter leaves the coarser bran, 
So," etc. 

721. Pulse. Beans, pease, etc. Cf. Dan. i. 12, 16, etc. 

722. Frieze. A coarse woollen cloth. 

729. Strangled. Suffocated ; as in Borneo and Juliet, iv. 3. 35 : 

" Shall I not then be stifled in the vault, 
To whose foul mouih no healthsome air breathes in, 
And there die strangled ere my Romeo conies?" 

732. O'er fraught. Over-freighted, over-loaded ; used by Milton in 
verse only here, as by Shakespeare only in Macbeth, iv. 3. 210 : " the o'er- 
fraught heart." 

K. remarks that " diamonds belong not to the sea, and, even if they did, 
its swelling could not bring them to the surface." 

739. Beauty is Nature's coin, etc. As M. remarks, the idea in the lines 
that follow is a favourite one with the old poets ; and Warton and Todcl 
cite parallel passages from Shakespeare, Spenser, Daniel, Fletcher, and 
Drayton. One of the most familiar is that from the M. A r . D. i. i. 74 : 

" But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd 
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn, 
Grows, lives, and dies in single blessedness." 

Cf. the figure in 743 below. 

748. It is for homely features, etc. Cf. Shakespeare, T. G. of V. i. i . 2 : 
" Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits." For the etymological 
reference, cf. 325 above, and On the Neiv Forcers, etc., 20 below. 

749. Complexions. A quadrisyllable here. 

750. Sorry grain. Poor colour. See on // Pens. 33. It may, of 
course, have the specific sense of" inferior red" B. quotes a sonnet of 
Drummond's : " Cheekes with Tyrian grain enroll'd." 

751. Sampler. Cf. M. A 7 . D. in. 2. 205 : 

" We, Hermia, like two artificial gods, 
Have with our needles created both one flower, 
Both on one sampler," etc. 

Tease is used in its original sense of carding wool. 

752. Vermeil-tinctured. Tinted with " the deep vermilion in the rose" 
(Shakespeare, 6V;/. 98. 10). Cf. F. Q. iii. i. 46: "As hee that hath es 
pied a vermeill Rose," etc. The word is used now only in poetry. 

756-761. I had not . . . her pride. These lines are probably spoken 
aside, as Sympson suggested. 

759. Prank 1 d. Decked out. Cf. Winter's Tale, iv. 4. 10 : " Most god 
dess-like prank'd up," etc. 

760. Bolt. Present in refined and alluring guise. Cf. Coriolanns, iii. 

" Consider this: he has been bred i' the wars 
Since he could draw a sword, and is ill school'd 
In bolted language ; meal and bran together 
He throws \vithoiit distinction." 



767. Spare Temperance. Cf. " Spare Fast " in // Pens. 46. 

768-774. If every just man . . . her store. Tocld compares the speech 
of Gloster in Lear, iv. I. 67-74: " Here, take this purse," etc. 

773. Proportion. A quadrisyllable, as K. marks it. The line is not a 
very smooth one, however we may scan it. 

779. Shall I go on ? Cf. 438 above. 

780. Enough. K. and M. print " enow," which is rarely found except 
as a plural. Here, according to M., the ed. of 1645 has " anough," and 
that of 1673 " anow." Shakespeare has enwv ten times, all plural ; as in 
M. of V. iii. 5- 24: " we were Christians enow before," etc. 

784. Thou hast not ear nor soul to apprehend, etc. " The sublime notion 
ami high mystery, as Milton calls it here, is spoken of in his Apology for 
Smectymnuus as 'an abstracted sublimity' which he had learned from 
Plato" (M.). See on 453 and 470 above. 

785. Sublime. Accented on the penult. See on 4 above. 

791. Fence. The figure is taken from the art of fencing, with its skil 
ful thrusts and parry ings. Shakespeare ridicules the elaborate niceties 
of the art as practised by the duellists of his day. See, for instance, 
Mercutio's description of Tybalt in R.aud'J. ii. 4. 19 fol. 

797. The brute Earth. A translation of Horace's " bruta tellus" (Gil. 
i. 34. 9). 

800-806. She fables not . . . strongly. Spoken aside. 

803. The wrath of Jove, etc. In the war against Saturn (Cronos) who 
called the Titans to his aid. Erebus = the infernal regions ; as in P. L. 

" Harsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shook 
Of Erebus," etc. 

809. ' Tis but the lees, etc. It was then supposed that exhalations used to 
rise from the stomach and other parts to the brain, and dim the intellect. 
Todd quotes Nash's Terrors of the Night: "The grossest part of our 
blood is the melancholy humour, which in the spleen congealed (whose 
office is to disperse it), with his thick-steaming, fenny vapours, casteth 
a mist over the spirit, and clean bemasketh the phantasy." 1 " 1 And again, 
of melancholy : " It sinketh down to the bottom like the lees of the wine, 
corrupting all the blood, and is the cause of lunacy." 

816. His rod reversed, etc. This is in accordance with the magic sci 
ence of the day, which, in many of its details, was taken from that of an 
cient times. Cf. Ovid, Met. xiv. 300 : 

" Percutimurque caput conversae verbere virgae, 
Verbaque dicuntur dictis contraria verbis." 

822. Melibceus. One of the regular names in the ancient pastoral po 
etry. See on L'AU. 83 above. The reference is probably to Spenser, 
who tells the story of Sabrina in F. Q. ii. 10 ; though, as Milton, in his 
History of England, copies the same legend direct from Geoffrey of Mon- 
inouth (who, so far as we know, was the first to give it), the latter may be 
the real Melibceus here. Drayton also includes the story in his Polyol- 
bion, vi., and Warner in Albion's England. 

823. Soothest. Most truthful. Sooth - truth, is found in for sooth, sooth 
sayer (teller of hidden truth), etc. Cf. Gower, Conf. Amoris, i. : 

184 NOTES. 

-' That for he wiste he saide soth 
A soth-suier he was for ever." 

825. The Severn stream. It was doubtless because this was not far 
from hence that is, from Ludlow Castle that Milton introduced the 
legend here. 

827. Whilome. Formerly ; an archaism used by Milton only here and 
in Death of Fair Infant, 34. 

828. Brute. Brutus of Troy, who, according to the mythical history, 
was the second founder of Britain. 

830. Cnendolen. Whom Locrine had divorced for the sake of his 
former love, Estrildis, who had borne him Sabrina. Guendolen then 
made war against her husband, who was slain in the first battle. She 
then commanded her rival Estrildis and her daughter to be thrown into 
the river which was afterwards called Sabren or Severn. It will be seen 
that Milton varies the latter part of the legend for poetic effect. In the 
Hist, of England, he follows the original version of Geoffrey of Mon- 

835. Aged Net-ens' hall. Classic mythology is here blended with the 
old British legend. Nerens was a Greek sea-god, father of the Nereids, 
to whose care he here commits Sabrina. 

836. Reared her lank head. Cf. " rear my hand " in Tempest, ii. I. 295 
(so also in Julius C<zsar, iii. 1.30) and " rear up his body " in 2 Hen. VI. 
iii. 2. 34. 

838. Asphodel. A plant which grew in the Elysian Fields. Cf. P. L. 
ix. 1040 : 

" flowers were the couch, 
Pansies, and violets, and asphodel, 
And hyacinth." 

Daffodil is a corruption of asphodel. 

845. Helping all urchin-blasts. Relieving or curing the injuries clone 
by urchins, or mischievous elves. These were probably so called be 
cause they sometimes took the forms of urchins, or hedgehogs. Cf. Cal 
iban's account of Prospero's spirits in Tempest, ii. 2. 4 fol. : 

" But they '11 nor pinch, 

Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i' the mire. 
Nor lead me, like a firebrand, in the dark 
Out of my way, unless he bid 'em ; but 
For every trifle are they set upon me : 
Sometimes like apes, that mow and chatter at me, 
And after bite me ; then like hedgehogs, \\ hich 
Lie tumbling in my barefoot way, and mount 
Their, pricks at my footfall," etc. 

852. The old s-ivain. That is, Melibceus. 

863. Amber-dropping. Milton was doubtless thinking of amber, not of 
ambergris, as some have suggested. Tocld quotes Nash, Terroi -s of the 
Night: "Their hair they ware loose, unrolled about their shoulders, 
whose dangling amber trammels, reaching down beneath their knees, seem 
to drop balm on their delicious bodies." 

867. Listen, and appear to us, etc. Milton, as Newton remarks, takes 
his epithets in this passage from classical writers. Thus they termed 


Oceanus great (niyaQ, Hesiod, Theog. 20) ; earth-shaking 
Ivooi-x&uv) is a constant epithet of Neptune ; Tethys is majestic (TTOTVIO, 
Theog. 368) ; Nereus is old\-yk.pwv) in both Homer and Hesiod. The 
abode of Proteus, who was a -wizard (vales), was in the Carpathian Sea 
(Virgil, Geor. iv. 387), and as he kept the herds of Neptune he of course 
was supposed to bear a crook. Triton was a trumpeter, and had a scaly 
body ; Glaucus was noted for his prophetic gifts ; Ino or Leucothea (cf. 
P. I,, xi. 135) had naturally lovely hands ; her son Palaemon was the god 
of ports, roads, and harbours. Homer terms Thetis silver-footed (apyvpo- 
a, but the allusion is to the whiteness of her skin, not the brightness 
of her slippers. 

879. Parthenope, like Ligea, was one of the Sirens. Her tomb was 
said to be at Naples. Cf. Milton's Latin poem to the singer Leonora : 

" Credula quid liquidam Sirena, Neapoli. jactas, 

Claraque Parthenopes fana Acheloiados, 
Littoreamque tua defunctam Naiada ripa 
Corpore Chalcidico sacra dedisse rogo?" 

In the description of Ligea, he seems to be thinking of the Northern 
mermaids. Cf. Tennyson, The Mermaid '. 

" With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair ; 
And still as I comb'd I would sing and say, 
' Who is it loves me? who loves not me?' 
I would comb rny hair till my ringlets would fall 
Low adown, low adown," etc. 

885. Heave thy rosy head. Cf. UAH. 145. 
888. Have. For the rhyme, see on 238 above. 

892. Sliding. See on Nativ. 47. 

893. Aznrn. Todd thinks this may be from the Italian azzurino ; 
but it may be a contraction of the earlier English azurine, used by Hak- 
luyt. For sheen, see on Nativ. 145. 

894. Turkis. The turquoise, the name of which was pronounced tur- 
/cis, as it often is now. 

895. Strays. K. says that, but for the rhyme, this would probably 
have been lies, " for inanimate things cannot stray.' 1 ' 1 They may, however, 
appear to do so when carried along at intervals by the current of a swift 

897. Printless feet. Cf. Tempest, v. I 34 t " And ye that on the sands 
with printless foot," etc. For the fancy that follows, see the poets from 
Virgil (/;/. vii. 808) down to Tennyson ( Talking Oak, 131). 

898. Velvet head. Cf. Fletcher, Faithful Shsp. ii. i : 

" See the dew-drops, how they kiss 
Every little flower that is, 
Hanging on their velvet heads." 

As Warton notes, this poem seems to have been in Milton's mind when 
he wrote this part of Comns. 

914. Thrice. A standard number in spells and magical formulas gen 
erally. Cf. Virgil, Eel. viii. 73 fol, ; Macbeth^ \. 3. 35, iv. I. i, etc. M. 
quotes here Browne, Inner Temple Masque (Circe's spell): 

1 86 NOTES. 

" Thrice I charge thee by my wand ; 
Thrice with moly from my hand 
Do I touch Ulysses' eyes," etc. 

921. Amphitrite" 1 s bower. In the chamber of Amphitrite, the wife of 
Neptune. For bower, see on 45 above. 

923. Anchises' line. Brute (828 above) was said to be descended from 
./Eneas, son of Anchises. 

927. The snowy hills. The Welsh mountains. Tumble was misprint 
ed " tumbled " in the ed. of 1673. 

929. Thy tresses fair. The foliage on thy banks. 

934. May thy lofty head, etc. The critics have been troubled by what 
they have regarded as the mixed metaphor here, and it has even been 
proposed to change With groves to "Be groves." It is not absolutely 
necessary, however, to connect With groves, etc., with the preceding With 
many a tower, etc., as directly dependent on crowned. We are inclined 
to regard it as an example of zeugma (a figure which Milton uses else 
where) and, with K., to make the latter clause = And [be thou adorned] 
with groves of myrrh and cinnamon upon thy banks. Gallon (quoted by 
Todd, and endorsed by M.) suggests that Milton had in mind the two 
Greek verbs TTEpiaTttyavow, to put a crown around, and kinoTt<pavott), to 
put a crown upon ; and that his meaning was, " May thy lofty head be 
crowned around with many a tower and terrace, and thy banks here and 
there be crowned tipon with groves," etc. This is ingenious, but, to our 
thinking, rather too much so. The other explanation seems to us to com 
bine a simpler construction with quite as satisfactory a sense. 

958. Back, shepherds, etc. The "after them " in the stage direction is 
not to be understood as=directly following them. The Spirit and his 
companions do not enter until the country dancers have been fur some 
time engaged in a dance, which is interrupted by this speech. 

959. Sunshine holiday. Cf. L? All. 98. 

960. Without duck or nod. A contemptuous reference to the rude 
movements of the rustic dancers, as contrasted with the more graceful 
trippings of their courtly superiors. 

964. Mincing. Moving with short and light steps ; but not with the 
affected gait which the word now implies. Cf. Drayton, Eclogues: 

" Now shepherds lay their winter weeds away, 
And in neat jackets minsen on the. plain." 

The Dryades are the wood-nymphs of // Pens. 137. Cf. P. L. ix. 387 : 

" Soft she withdrew, and. like a wood-nymph light, 
Oread or Dryad, or of Delia's train, 
Betook her to the groves." 

972. Assays. Trials ; as in P. L. iv. 932 : " From hard assays and ill 
successes past," etc. 

976. To the ocean, etc. As M. notes, the first four lines of this speech 
are in the veiy rhythm and rhyme of the first four in Ariel's song in the 
Tempest, v. I. S : 

COM US. 187 

" Where the bee sucks there suck I : 
In a cowslip's bell I lie ; 
There 1 couch when owls do cry. 
On the bat's back I do fly," etc. 

981. The gardens, etc. See on 393 above. 

984. Crisped* Curled or rippled by the breeze. Cf. Arcades, 46. See 
also P. L. iv. 237 : " the crisped brooks " (ruffled by the wind) ; and cf. 
Tempest, iv. I. 130 : " Leave your crisp channels," etc. 

985. Spruce. Well-attired. This word, like mincing (see on 964 above), 
now carries with it the idea of affectation, which it does not have here. 
Its original meaning (see Skeat) was Prussian. Cf. Hall, Hen. VIII. : 
" appareyled after the manner of Prussia or Spruce." So spruce fir was 
Prussian fir, and sprjice leatJier was Prussian leather. 

990. Cedarn. Of cedar. There is no need of connecting it with the 
Italian cedrino, as Todd does. Cf. the archaic silvern, leathern, etc. 

992. Iris. The goddess of. the rainbow, which is her purjled or em 
broidered scarf. Cf. F. Q_. i. 2. 13 : 

" A goodly Lady clad in scarlot red, 
Purfled with gold and pearle of rich assay,'' etc. 

997- If your ears be true. That is, sensitive to the mystic meaning of 
the legends. 

998. Beds of hyacinths, etc. Cf. F. Q. iii. 6. 46, where Adonis lies, 
" Lapped in flowres and pretious spycery." 

999. Adonis. See on Natiii. 204. The Assyrian queen is Astarte, 
whom he here identifies with Venus. 

1003. Sheen. See on Nativ. 145. 

1004. Advanced. Raised, lifted ; as often. Cf. P. L. i. 536 : " The im 
perial ensign, which, full high advanc'd," etc. See also Tempest* i. 2. 
408: " The fringed curtains of thine eye advance " (raise your eyelids) ; 
T. N. ii. 5. 36: " his advanced plumes," etc. 

For the legend of Cupid and Psyche, see F. Q. iii. 6.48 fol., where, as 
here, it follows that of Venus and Adonis. 

1009. Side. Womb; a sense not recognized in the dictionaries. Cf. 
Tennyson, Rizpah, 54: "O no! they are mine not theirs they had 
moved in my side." 

1010. Two blissful twins. Milton adds a child to the one that Spenser 
gives Psyche : 

" But now in stedfast love and happy state 

She with him lives, and hath him borne a chyld, 
Pleasure, that doth both gods and men aggrate, 
Pleasure, the daughter of Cupid and Psyche late. " 

In the Apology for Smectvninuus, written eight years later, in which Mil 
ton again refers to the story of Cupid and Psyche, he speaks of her as 
" producing those happy twins of her divine generation, Knowledge and 

1015. Bow^d welkin. Curved or domed sky. 

1017. Corners of the moon. Horns of the moon. Cf. Macbeth, iii. 5. 

1 88 NOTES. 

" Upon the corner of the moon 
There hangs a vaporous drop profound." 

1021. The sphery diime. The chiming spheres. See on Nativ. 125, 
and also on 105 above. 

1022. Or, if Virtue, etc. In 1639, when Milton passed through Gene 
va (see p. 13 above) on his return from Italy, he was asked to write his 
autograph in an album kept by one Camillo Cerdogni or Cardouin, a 
Neapolitan by birth and probably a Protestant. The poet complied, and 
wrote the following: 

" if Vertue feeble were 
Heaven it selfe would stoope to her. 
Coelum non aniinu muto du trans mare curro 

Joannes Miltonius 
"Jany 10. 1639." Anglus. 

As M. remarks," if we combine the English lines with the Latin addi 
tion, it is as if he said, ' The closing words of my own Conms are a per 
manent maxim with me.' " 

This album was sold in Geneva, in 1834, for a few shillings, and, after 
passing through several hands, came into the possession of Hon. Charles 
Sumner. It is now preserved in the Sumner Collection at Harvard Col 


The " learned friend " to whom Milton alludes in the prefatory note was 
Edward King, son of Sir John King, who was Secretary for Ireland un 
der Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I. Young King was admitted to 
Christ's College, Cambridge, at the age of fourteen, in 1626, Milton's 
third year at the University. He appears to have won the esteem of all 
his associates, though we know nothing of Milton's personal relations 
with him beyond what we may gather from this poem. On the loth of 
August, 1637, as King was crossing from Chester to Dublin, to visit his 
friends in Ireland, the ship struck on a rock off the Welsh coast, and all 
on board are said to have perished. According to one account, however, 
" some escaped in the boat," into which his companions vainly attempted 
to get King. 

A collection of memorial verses in honour of the young man was pub 
lished at Cambridge in the latter part of 1637, and Lycidas was Milton's 
contribution to the volume. It is there signed "J. M." with the date 
" Novemb. 1637." It was republished in the Poems in 1645, when the 
explanatory note was prefixed to it. 

According to Masson and others who have read the memorial volume 
just mentioned, Milton's poem was the only one of the thirty-six pieces 
(twenty-three being in Greek and Latin) in the collection which was 
worth preserving. 

Lycidas has been described as " an allegoric pastoral representing 
college life and friendship, and cast mainly in the form of Greek and Latin 

LYCIDAS. 1 8 9 

pastorals, though the scenery is transferred to the British Isles. No 
where is the student brought in as such ; nor is the pastoral disguise 
ever dropped, except in the digression upon Fame and in the isolated 
passage about the clergy, where another kind of shepherd appears upon 
the scene " (J.). 

Of the versification M. well says: "The art of the verse is a study in 
itself. The lines are mostly the common iambics of five feet, but every 
now and then there is an exquisitely managed variation of a short line of 
three iambi. Then the interlinking and intertwining of the rhvmes, 
sometimes in pairs, sometimes in threes, or even fives, and at all varieties 
of intervals, from that of the contiguous couplet to that of an unobserved 
chime or stanza of some length, are positive perfection. Occasionally 
too there is a line that does not rhyme ; and in every such case, though 
the rhyme is never missed by the reader's ear, in so much music is the 
line bedded, yet a delicate artistic reason may be detected or fancied for 
its formal absence. The first line of all is one instance : we shall leave 
the reader to find out the others." 

1. Yet once more, etc. Three years had elapsed since the composition 
of Comus, and Milton appears to have determined to write no more po 
etry until his powers had matured sufficiently to justify his undertaking 
the great work he had in mind, "though of highest hope and hardest at 
tempting;" but a " sad occasion dear" compels him once more to invoke 
the Muse. The laurel, myrtle, and ivy are plants associated with poets, 
and he comes to pluck their leaves and berries thus prematurely as a 
funereal tribute to his friend "dead ere his prime." 

2. Brown. Dark and sombre ; the " pulla myrtus " of Horace, Oil. \. 

Sere is used by Milton elsewhere only in P. L. x. 1071 and Psalm ii. 27. 
Shakespeare has the adjective only in MacbetJi, v. 3. 23, and C- of E. iv. 
2. 19. Spenser uses it in Shep. Kal. Jan. (" All so my lustful leafe is drye 
and sere "), where the Glosse explains it as " withered." It seems to have 
been regarded then as an archaic word. 

5. Shatter. Scatter ; of which word it is merely a softened form. 

6. Sad occasion dear. This arrangement of adjectives is a favourite 
one with Milton. Cf. 4 just above and 42 below. See also Arcades, 49, 
51, etc. 

7. Compels. This use of a singular verb with two singular nominatives 
is very common in Elizabethan English. Cf. Hamlet, iii. 2. 177: " For 
women's fear and love holds quantity;" Cymb. iii. 3.99: "heaven and 
my conscience knows," etc. See Abbott's Gr. 336. 

8. Lycidas. A name used by Virgil, as by Theocritus before him. See 
on VAIL 83. 

10. Who would not, etc. Peck quotes Virgil, Eel. x. 3 : "Neget quis 
carmina Galio ?" For he knew . . . to sing, cf. Counts, 87. 

11. Build the lofty rhyme. Todd compares Spenser, Ruines of Rome, 
25 : 

" To builde, with levell of my loftie style, 
That which no hands can evermore compyle." 

Sundry specimens of young King's lofty rhyme, all in Latin, have come 

I9 o NOTES. 

down to us ; but, as M. remarks, " they are not very poetical or elegant, 
and indeed are rather prosaic." It is certain, however, that he was re 
garded as a youth of much promise, having been promoted to a fellow 
ship in 1630 an honour which Milton, though his senior by five years 
(and by two years in college), did not attain. 

13. Welter. See on Nativ. 124. 

14. Melodious tear. Tearful melody. See on Comns, 1021. Cf. Spen 
ser's Teares of tlie Muses. B. cites Ep. Mar. Win. 55. 

15. Begin then, etc. Cf. the opening lines of the Teares of the Muses: 

" Rehearse to me, ye sacred Sisters nine, 
The golden brood of great Afolloes wit, 
Those piteous plaints and sorrowful sad tine, 
Which late ye powred forth as ye did sit 
Beside the silver Springs of Helicon, 
Making your musick of hart-breaking mone." 

The sacred well, etc. The Pierian Spring at the foot of Olympus in 
Thessaly, the Homeric seat of Jirve. "This was the original birthplace 
and abode of the Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne ; though 
afterwards their worship was transferred to Mount Helicon in Bceotia, 
with its fountains Aganippe and Hippocrene " (M.). K. strangely says 
that it is " a fount of the poet's own creation." 

17. Somewhat loudly, etc. J. explains this as = "make no uncertain an 
swer to my appeal." It seems to us rather to suggest the dignified char 
acter of the poem he is about to w r rite no slight elegy, but a longer and 
loftier strain not unworthy of its subject. 

19. So may some gentle Muse, etc. K. prints 19-22 as a parenthesis, 
thus connecting 23 fol. closely with 18. In Milton's own eds. the second 
paragraph ends with 24 ; but we follow Todd and M. in regarding 22 as 
its logical termination. B. continues the paragraph to 36. 

Muse here= -poet ; as in Chapman's Odyssey, viii. 499 : 

" This sang the sacred muse, whose notes and words 
The dancers' feet kept, as his hands his cords. 7 ' 

20. With lucky words, etc. That is, honour my memory in verse when 
I am dead. M. italicizes my in his text, " to bring out fully the meaning ;" 
but this seems unnecessary. 

23. For we were nurs'd, etc. A reference, in pastoral language, to their 
companionship at Cambridge. 

25. Lawns. Cf. Nativ. 85 and UAH. 71. 

26. Under the opening eyelids, etc. Warton quotes Middleton, Game 
at C/iesse, 1625 : 

" like a pearl 

Dropt from the opening eyelids of the Morn 
Upon the bashful rose. ' 

" The eyelids of the morning " is found as a marginal reading in Job, iii. 
9, where the text has " dawning of the day." 

27. Drove a-field. That is, drove our flocks to the fields. A-field is 
like ashore, aground, asleep, etc. 

28. What time. See on Counts, 291. The r^r-^j' is a species of (Es- 



tnts, also known as the trumpet-fly, from its sultry horn, or loud humming 
in the heat of the clay. 

29. Battening. Feeding. Cf. the intransitive use in Hamlet, iii. 4. 67 

" Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed, 
And batten on this moor?" 

31. Sloped. Cf. Comns, 98. The first draft of the poem has "Oft till 
the even-star bright," but we see no reason for supposing that, as the 
passage now stands, Milton intended to refer to the evening star. If he 
did, the slip in making it rise at evening may be paralleled by that of 
Tennyson in the early version of Mariana in the South : 

" In the East large Hesper overshone 
The mourning gulf," etc. 

For westering (yxSxA by Milton only here), cf. Chaucer, T. ami C. ii. 906 : 

" The nyghtes foo al this I clepe the? sonne 
Gan westren faste, and dounward for to wrye," etc 

The word has been revived by Whittier and Matthew Arnold. 

33. Oaten flute. The pastoral pipe. Cf. 88 below, and see also Comus, 

34. Rough Satyrs danc\i, etc. It seems a little fanciful to assume, as 
some commentators have done, that we have here a satirical reference to 
Milton's fellow-students at Cambridge, and that old Damcetas may be 
some tutor or perhaps the master of the college. There may be nothing 
more than the conventional carrying-out of the classical pastoralism. M. 
says that, though we cannot now identify Damcetas, " a vision of some 
particular person at Cambridge did certainly pass across his mind." 
Even if we admit this, it does not follow that there must be a personal 
reference in the Satyrs and Fauns. J. remarks that we know from a let 
ter to Gill that " Milton had to complain of uncongenial companions at 
Cambridge ;" but would they find a hearty enjoyment in his poetry as 
the woodland deities are here represented as doing ? 

37. But O tJie heavy cJiange, etc. Scott, in his Critical Essays, com 
ments on the " peculiar languid melody in these lines, the proper lan 
guage of complaint." 

39. Thee, shepherd, etc. " The fifth non-rhyming line in the poem " 
(M.). Dunster compares Ovid, Met. xi. 43 : 

" Te maestae volucres. Orpheu, te turba ferarum, 
Te rigidi salices, tua carmina saepe secutae 
Fleverunt silvae, positis te frondibus arbos. '' 

See also F. Q. iv. 10. 44 : " Thee, gocldesse, thee the winds, the clouds doe 
feare," etc. 

40. Gadding. Straggling. It is not necessary to see any allusion to 
the vine's desertion of the marital elm, as Warburton suggests (cf. Hor 
ace, Od. iv. 5. 30 : " Et vitem viduas ducit ad arbores," etc.). 

45. Canker. The canker-worm ; as in Shakespeare, M. A r . D. ii. 2. 3 : 
" Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds," etc.). 

46. Taint-worm. Probably the small spider " called a tainct, " which 
Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors, says is " accounted a deadly 



poison unto cows and horses." According to K., the word is still in use 
in Berkshire. 

47. Wardrobe. " Spelt war drop in the 1st and 2d eds. and war dr ope 
in the Cambridge MS." (M.). The word in the first draft is " buttons " = 
buds (Fr. bontons) ; as in Hamlet, i. 3. 40 : 

" The canker galls the infants of the spring, 
Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd ;" 

that is, before their buds are opened. 

50. Where were ye, etc. A close imitation of Theocritus, Idyll. \. 66 
fol. Virgil had already imitated it in Eel. x. 9 : 

" Quae nemora aut qui vos saltus habuere, puellae 
Naides, indigno quum Callus amore periret ? 
Nam neque Parnassi vobis juga, nam neque Pindi 
Ulla moram fecere, neque Aonie Aganippe." 

But, as K. remark-s, Milton is more felicitous than Virgil in selecting 
places which are near the scene of the disaster. 

52. The steep, etc. The commentators have attempted to identify the 
particular Welsh mountain to which the poet alludes, some making it 
Penmaenmawr overhanging the sea opposite Anglesea, others think 
ing that he had in mind Camden's mention of the burial-places of the 
Druids at Kerig-y-Druidion among the heights of South Denbighshire. 
The reference to the Druids favours the latter view, if either be correct. 

54. The shaggy top of Mona high. " The high interior of Anglesea, the 
island fastness of the Druids, once thick with woods " (M.). 

55. Deva. The Dee, on which Chester is situated, the port from which 
King sailed. It is called a wizard stream on account of the many legends 
and superstitions connected with it. Dray ton (Polyolbion, x.) calls it 
" ominous " and " hallowed." It was the old boundary between England 
and Wales. 

56. Ay me ! Cf. 154 below, and see on Comns, 511. For fondly= fool 
ishly, see on // Pens. 6. 

58. The Muse, etc. Calliope, the mother of Orpheus. Cf. P. L. vii. 

" But drive far off the barbarous dissonance 
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race 
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard 
In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears 
To rapture, till the savage clamour drown' d 
Both harp and voice ; nor could the Muse defend 
Her son." 

Orpheus was torn in pieces by the Thracian women who were celebrating 
the orgies of Bacchus. His head, thrown into the Hebrus, was carried 
down to the sea and cast ashore on the island of Lesbos. P'or the ref 
erence to the swift current of the Hebrus (for it seems to be settled that 
it is swift, in spite of certain critics), cf. Virgil, &H. i. 317 : " volucremque 
fuga praevertitur Hebrum." 

64. Boots. Avails, profits. Cf. S. A. 560 : " What boots it at one gate 
to make defence," etc. For incessant the early eds. have " uncessant," 
which M. restores to the text. Elsewhere (as in /'. L. i. 698, vi. 138, xi. 


308, etc.) Milton has incessant, according to M.'s text. Cf. Abbott's G> . 


66. Meditate the thankless Muse. See on Comns, 547. 

67. Were il not better done, etc. Would it not be better to lead, as oth 
ers do, a life of ease and pleasure? Use, in the sense we have here, is 
now limited to the past tense. We can say "they used to do so," but 
not "they use," etc. Cf. Tempest, ii. i. 175 : "they always use to laugh 
at nothing ;" T. N. ii. 5. 104 : " with which she uses to seal," etc. 

68. Amaryllis and Neara are taken, like Lycidas, Damcetas, etc., from 
the Greek pastorals. See on 8 above. 

70. Clear. Noble (Latin clams). Cf. Shakespeare, M. of V. ii. 9. 42 : 
"clear honour," etc. 

71. That last infirmity, etc. Cf. Tacitus, Hist. iv. 6 :" etiam sapienti- 
bus cupido gloriae novissima exuitur." 

75. The blind Fury. That is, the Fate malignant as one of the Furies. 
The comments of some of the critics on this bold and striking use of 
Fury are amusingly prosaic. For Atropos, the Fate here referred to, see 
on Ep. Mar. Win. 28. 

77. And touched my trembling ears. The expression seems to be sug 
gested by Virgil, Eel. vi. 3 : 

" Cynthius aurem 
Vellit et admonuit ;" 

though M. thinks the allusion is to the "popular humour that the ting 
ling of a person's ears is a sign that somewhere people are talking of 
him and saying good or ill of him in his absence." Conington, in a note 
on the passage in Virgil, says that touching the ear was a symbolical act, 
the ear being the seat of memory. 

79. Glistering foil. Glittering tinsel ; as a metaphor for cheap and 
showy reputation. fm glistering, see on Counts, 219. 

80. Broad rumour. Wide notoriety. 

81. But lives and spreads aloft, etc. It depends on the final and infalli 
ble verdict of Heaven upon our deeds. 

85. O fountain Arethnse, etc. The poet resumes his pastoral strain 
after the digression in a higher mood. For Arethnse, see on Arcades, 30. 
The nymph is here introduced as the muse of Sicilian pastoral poetry 
especially that of Theocritus as the Mincins, near which Virgil was born, 
represents the Latin poetry of that type. 

* For smooth-sliding, see on Nativ. 47 ; and for crowifdivith vocal reeds, 
cf. the description of the river-god Camus in 104 below. See also Virgil, 
Eel. vii. 12: 

" Hie yiridis tenera praetexit arundine ripas 

and &n. x. 205 : 

1 ' velatus arundine glauca 

88. My oat. See on 33 above. 

89. The herald of the sea. Triton, who came in Neptune's behalf to 
hold a judicial inquiry concerning the death of Lycidas. 


194 NOTES. 

93. Rugged. Ragged. The words were used interchangeably. Cf. 
JJ'All. 9. For wings some eds. misprint " winds." 

96. Hippotades. ^Eolus, god of the winds, son of Hippotes. He 
brings the answer of the winds, because they have been questioned 
through him. 

99. ranope. One of the Nereids, the sisters referred to. 

100. // u<as that fatal and perfidious bark. The ship is said to have 
been unseaworthy. 

101. Built in the eclipse, etc. Built at an unlucky period, and cursed 
when it was rigged. Cf. Macbeth, \\. i. 28, where, among the ill-omened 
ingredients of the witches' " hell-broth" we have 

" slips of yew 
Sliver'd in the moon's eclipse." 

See also Hamlet, i. I. 120, Lear, i. 2. 112, 148, 154, Othello, v. 2. 99, etc. 
For the evil effect of the curses, cf. Hamlet, iii. 2. 269: "With Hecate's 
ban thrice blasted," etc. 

103. Cumns. The presiding deity of the river Cam. M. says that the 
characteristic garb given to Camus is explained in a Latin note appended 
to Mr. John Plumptre's Greek translation of Lycidas : " The mantle is as 
if made of the plant 'river-sponge,' which floats copiously in the Cam ; 
the bonnet of the river-sedge, distinguished by vague marks traced some 
how over the middle of the leaves, and serrated at the edge of the leaves, 
after the fashion of the a/, 01 of the hyacinth." This is the sanguine 
flower inscrilfd with woe, the Greeks fancying that they saw the i, at 
(alas ! alas !) on its petals, commemorating the fate of the Spartan youth 
from whose blood the flower had sprung. See Ovid, Met. x. 210 fol. 

107. Pledge. Child. Cf. Sol. Mns. I. 

109. The pilot of the Galilean lake. Saint Peter. Cf. Matt. iv. 1 8 fol. 
For the keys, see Matt. xvi. 17 fol. From the earliest times Peter was 
represented with two keys. Cf. P. Fletcher, Locusts (quoted by Todd) : 

" In liis hand two golden keys he beares. 
To open heaven and hell and shut againe." 

Making the keys of different metals is Milton's own idea. 

in. Amain. With main, or strength; firmly. \Ve retain this old 
noun main in the expression " with might and main." Cf. apace in 129 

ii2. His mitred locks. "As St. Peter here speaks with episcopal au 
thority, he is made to wear the distinctive dress of his order" (J.). For 
bespake, see on A'ativ. 76. 

113-131. How well, etc. "These nineteen lines of the poem are, in 
some respects, the most memorable passage in it. They are an out 
burst, in 1637, or when Milton was twenty-nine years of age, of that feel 
ing about the state of the English Church under Land's rule which, four 
years afterwards (1641-42), found more direct and as vehement expres 
sion in his prose pamphlets " (M.). 

1 14. Know. See on Co/mis, 780. 

115. Creep, etc. Cf. John, x. 8 fol. 

LYCWAS. 195 

119. Blind months. " A singularly violent figure, as if the men were 
months and nothing else" (M.). 

122. Kecks. See on Co//ites, 404. 

SftrJ. Provided for. Cf. Shakespeare, M. of V. ii. 9. 71 : " So begone ; 
you are sped ;" that is, your fate is settled. 

123. Flashy. Todd cites Milton's Colasterion, in which he calls his 
opponent's arguments " the flashiest, the fustiest, that ever corrupted 
such an unswilled hogshead." 

124. Scrannel. Screeching; a word of " raspy roughness " (M.), and 
probably of Milton's own coinage. 

126. Wind and the rank mist, etc. Empty and unwholesome doc 

128. The grim wolf. The Church of Rome, which was making many 
converts at that time. And nothing said implies that the clergy were 
doing nothing to preserve their flocks from this danger. 

130. That two-handed engine, etc. "Critics see here an actual proph 
ecy of the subsequent fate of Archbishop Laud ; but to this opinion we 
cannot assent. In 1637, the King and Laud were at the very acme of 
their power, and none but a real prophet could have foreseen what would 
come to pass. We rather see a general allusion to the axe of the Gos 
pel, or to the two-edged sword of the Apocalypse, which the poet, with 
his usual license, may have transformed to a two-handed one, for the great 
er efficacy. Possibly the d/itiio of the Greeks was in his mind (Eu 
ripides, Hip. 780) : 

It is also possible, as he, at least at a later period, was fond of making 
rather recondite allusions to Scripture, that the expression 'hands of the 
sword' C^ob, v. 20, Jer. xviii. 21) may have led him to the adoption of a 
similar phrase, which he regarded as equivalent to the diaro/uog of the 

Apocalypse" (K.). Cf. Rev. \. 6, ii. 12-16. M. thinks that Milton, in 
stead of taking his image from the Bible, may have invented it, and that 
the reference is, perhaps, to " the English Parliament with its two 

132. Return, Alpheus, etc. Again he resumes the pastoral strain. See 
on 85 above. AlpJiens is addressed, as associated with Arethusa. See 
on Arcades, 30. 

136. Use. Are accustomed to go ; haunt, inhabit. Cf. F. Q. vi. in trod. 
2: "In these strange waies where never foot did use." May translates 
the " tecto adsuetus coluber" of Virgil (Gear. iii. 418), "Snakes that use 
within the house for shade." 

138. The swart star. The black or malignant star ; that is, the Dog- 
star Sirius. Cf. the "sol niger " of Horace, Sat. i. 9. 73. M. thinks the 
star is called swart " from the effects of heat on the complexion." Spaie- 
/y.=sparing]y, rarely. 

'39- Quaint. Curious, exquisite. See on Nativ. 194. K. prints " quaint- 

141. Venial flowers. K. remarks that some of the flowers "belong to 
the summer, or even to the autumn." 

196 NOTES. 

142. Rathe. Early ; the adjective of which rather (earlier, sooner) is 
the comparative. Cf. Shep. Kal. Feb. : " the rather lambes." See also 
Tennyson, In Mem. 108: " The men of rathe and riper years." 

That forsaken dies. Milton at first wrote " that unwedded dies." Cf. 
Winter's Tale, iv. 4. 123 : 

" pale primroses 

That die unmarried, ere they can behold 
Bright Phoebus in his strength." 

See also the opening lines of Death of Fair Infant. 

143. Crow-toe. The crow-foot, a name applied to certain species of 

144. Freaked. Spotted, freckled. 

151. Laureate. Decked with laurel (J.). For the contraction Lycid, 
cf. Keats, Sonu. n : 

" Of fair-hair'd Milton's eloquent distress, 
And all his gentle love for Lycid drown'd." 

For hearse, see on Ep. Afar. Win. 58. 

152. For so, to interpose, etc. " For let us suppose his body to be lying 
here before us, though really it is far away" (J.). 

154. Ay me! See on 56 above. Shores here can only mean the wa 
ters near the shores, or shallow waters as opposed to the deep seas ; un 
less we regard it as a peculiar sort of zeugma the wash far away includ 
ing the idea of his being washed ashore as well as that of being carried 
along by the waves. J . says that " the obvious meaning is that the 
corpse visited different parts of the coast in its wanderings, and was not 
out at sea all the time." K. reckons it among Milton's "slips ;" but this 
is disproved by the fact that shores was deliberately substituted for the 
earlier "floods" in the MS. 

157. Whelming. The MS. and ed. of 1638 have " humming." Cf. 
Pericles, iii. I. 64: "And humming water must o'erwhelm thy corpse." 

158. Monstrous. Full of monsters ; though Milton does not elsewhere 
use the word in this sense. 

159. Moist vows. Prayers (vota) accompanied with tears; as Warton 
and others explain it. 

160. ThefubleofBellerns. The fabled abode of Bellerus. The name 
is coined from Bellerium, the Roman name of the Land's End. Cf. Cow- 
ley, PlantaniDi Liber, vi. : " Bellerii extremis a cornibus Orcadas usque ;" 
and Pope, Windsor Forest, 315 : "From old Belerium to the northern 
main." The original reading for Bellei us was " Corineus," whom Milton, 
in his Hist, of Britain, describes as a giant who came over with Brute 
(see Comns, 828) and from whom Cornwall got its name, being "assigned 
to him by lot." 

161. The great vision of the guarded mount. The archangel Michael, 
from whom St. Michael's Mount, a steep rock near Penzance, derives its 
name. On it are the remains of a fortress and a monastery, with a church 
dedicated to the saint. At the summit is a craggy seat called St. Mi 
chael's chair, in which his apparition was said to be occasionally seen. 
Cf. Shep. Kal. July : 


*' St. Micheis Mount who does not know, 
That wardes the Westerne coste ?" 

162. Namancos. This was a puzzle to the commentators until Todd 
(in 1809), looking into Mercator's Atlas of 1636, found the place laid 
down to the eastward of Cape Finisterre, with the Castle of Bayona on 
the south. These places would be in the direct line of vision across the 
sea from tint guarded mount. Cf. Dray ton, Polyolbion, xxiii. : 

"Then Cornwal creepeth out into the western maine, 
As lying in her eye she pointeth still at Spaine." 

163. Look homeward, Angel, etc. The address is doubtless to Michael, 
not, as some have supposed, to Lycidas himself. The archangel, who has 
been looking towards Spain from his lofty seat, is now bid to turn his 
gaze towards the coast of England, where the body of Lycidas may be 
weltering in the waves. 

Ruth. Compassion, pity ; as in Sonn. 4. 8, the only other instance of 
the word in Milton. Cf. F. Q.\. I. 50 : 

" to stirre up gentle ruth 
Both for her noble blood, and for her tender youth;" 

Scott, Lady of the Lake, v. 364 : " Now, truce, farewell ! and, ruth, be 
gone !" etc. We still have rtithless. 

164. Ye dolphins, etc. Alluding to old stories like that of Avion, borne 
ashore by dolphins when the sailors robbed him and threw him over 
board. Gellius (Noct. Att. vii. 8) tells of a dolphin that carried a boy on 
his back daily from Baiae to Puteoli, and pined away with grief when the 
boy died. Pliny (Nat. Hist. ix. 8) describes the dolphin as" maxime ho- 
mini amicum." 

168. The day-star. The sun, the " diurnal star " of P. L. x. 1069. J. 
is inclined to make it the morning-star. 

K. says that " this very simile occurs in a poem, signed W. Hall, in the 
collection in which Lycidas first appeared." 

169. Repairs. Revives, raises again. 

170. Tricks. See on // Pen s. \ 23. With new-spangled 0;r=with ve- 
newed "golden splendour " ( Shakespeare, R. of L. 25). 

173. Through the dear might of him that walked tlie waves. Cf. Matt. 
xv. 22 fol. "Note the appositeness to the whole subject of the poem in 
this reference to Christ's power over the waters" (M.). 

175. With nectar, etc. Cf. Counts, 838. 

176. Unexpressive. See on Nativ. 116. Cf. Rev. xix. 6, 7. 

177. In the blest kingdoms, etc. This line was omitted, probably by ac 
cident, in the ed. of 1638. It is inserted in Milton's handwriting in his 
own copy of that ed. preserved at Cambridge (J.). 

1 8 1. And wipe the tears, etc. See Rev. vii. 17, xxi. 4, and fsa. xxv. 8. 
183. Henceforth, thou art the Genius, etc. Cf. Virgil, Ed. v. 64 : 

" Deus, deus ille. Menalca ! 
Sis bonus, O felixque tuis !" 

B. quotes an eclogue of the Italian pastoral poet Sannazaro upon a 
drowned friend : 

198 NOTES. 

" Numen aquarum 
Semper eris, semper laetum piscantibus omen." 

184. In thy large recompense. That is, in the large recompense thou 
dost receive for ali thy sufferings. Cf. Tempest, iv. i. i : 

" If I have too austerely punish'd you, 
Your compensation makes amends." 

1 86. Uncouth. Perhaps used in its original sense of unknown, as B. 
and M. take it; perhaps=rude, uncultivated, as K. explains it. J. re 
marks that " the former would be a natural expression of a young poet 
just entering upon a career of fame, but Milton does not seem to have 
used the term elsewhere of persons with this meaning." Cf. P.L. ii. 407 
and vi. 362. 

187. The still Morn, etc. Cf. P. R. iv. 426 : 

" Thus passed the night so foul, till Morning fair 
Came forth with pilgrim steps in amice gray ;" 

that is, in the flowing cloak worn by pilgrims and palmers. See also on 
Comus, 1 88. 

1 88. The tender stops of various quills. The stops are the holes in the 
flute. Cf, Hamlet, iii. 2. 376: "govern these ventages with your fingers 
and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most 
excellent music. Look you, these are the stops." Quills are properly 
reed-pipes, but as K. remarks, these have no stops and are not touched. 
The word here is probably =notes, strains; referring to the changing 
moods of the poem. 

189. Doric. Pastoral. Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, the Greek pas 
toral poets, all wrote in the Doric dialect. 

192. At last he rose, etc. " A peculiarly picturesque ending, in which 
Milton announces that he is passing on to other occupations" (M.). J. 
regards it as a reference to his projected Italian tour. 

Twitch\l his mantle probably means " drew it about him," as K. ex 
plains it ; not " snatched it up from where it lay beside him," as J. 
makes it. 

193. To-morrow to fresh woods, etc. Cf. Fletcher, Purple Island, vi. : 

" Hence, then, my lambs ; the falling drops eschew : 
To-morrow shall ye feast in pastures new." 


THREE. The date of this sonnet is fixed by the fact it commemorates. 
The poet was twenty-three years old on the 9th of December, 16^1. He 
was then near the close of his studies at Cambridge. The draft of the 
sonnet in his own handwriting among the Cambridge MSS. shows that 
the poem was sent in a letter to a friend who had remonstrated with him 



on his aimless student life, and had urged him to devote his talents to 
the Church. Milton, in reply, explains that a "sacred reverence and 
religious advisement" had restrained him from haste in taking such a 
course a principle of " not taking thought of being late, so it gave ad 
vantage to be moreyiV." He adds: " That you may see that I am some 
thing suspicious of myself, and do take notice of a certain belatedness in 
me, I am the bolder to send you some of my nightvvard thoughts some 
little while ago, because they come in not altogether unfitly, made up in 
a Petrarchian stanza, which I told you of." 

K. calls this "the earliest English specimen of a sonnet formed on the 
Italian model." 

4. Shew'th. The rhyme with truth indicates the old pronunciation of 
the word. 

5. My semblance. My youthful appearance. 

7. And inward ripeness, etc. " And that inward ripeness, etc. He 
seems to mean that his youthful appearance might also conceal from peo 
ple the fact that the development of his mental powers was not so great 
as in those whose minds had ripened earlier" (K.). 

10. Stil'L Ever. See on Counts, 560. Even = equal, in proportion. 

13. All is, etc. " He had said, ' It shall be ;' now he corrects him 
self 'nay, all my life is so already, if I have grace to use it as in God's 
sight ' " (13.). 

SONNET II. To THE NIGHTINGALE. This sonnet was probably writ 
ten at about the same time as the preceding. Milton places it first in the 
edition of 1645. The heading is not found there, but has been supplied 
by the editors. 

i. Bloomy. Not found elsewhere in Milton's verse. It has been used 
since by Goldsmith, Campbell, Shelley, and others. Cf. P. Z. vii. 435 : 

" Till even ; nor then the solemn nightingale 
Ceas'd warbling, but all night tun'd her soft lays." 

3. Thou with fresh hope. To hear the nightingale before the cuckoo 
was thought to portend success in love. Cf. Chaucer, The Cuckoo and the 

4. Jolly. Joyous ; with perhaps something of its original sense of 
fair, comely (Fr. joli). Cf. F. Q. i. I. i : "Full jolly knight he seemd, 
and faire did sitt ;" though in the next stanza we are told that he " did 
seeme too solemne sad." 

Propitious May. B. compares May Morning, 6. 
9. Bird of hate. That is, the cuckoo. 

Written in November, 1642, when the King's forces had advanced to 
Brentford, and it was expected that he would make an attack on the city, 
with a fair prospect of taking it. Milton was then residing in his "gar 
den-house" in Aldersgate Street (see p. 14 above). The heading of the 
sonnet in a copy by an amanuensis among the Cambridge MSS. is : "On 
his dore when y e citty expected an assault," as if it had been intended to 

200 NOTES. 

be put on the outside of the door for the invaders to read. This title 
was afterwards struck out by Milton himself and the other substituted ; 
but in the eds. of 1645 and 1673 it is printed without a title. 

I. Colonel. A trisyllable. '1 he word was formerly coronel. Cf. Spen 
ser, State cf Ireland: "their coronell, named Don Sebastian," etc. B. 
says that the modern pronunciation is nevertheless at least as old as 

3. Jf deed of honour, etc. This is the reading of the MS. and of the 
ed. of 1673 ; that of the ed. of 1645 is " If ever deed of honour did thee 

5. Charms. Magic verses (Latin carmina}. 

10. The great Emathian conqueror. Alexander the Great. Emathia, 
a province of Macedonia, was " the original seat of the Macedonian mon 
archy " (15.). Pliny tells us that when Alexander took and sacked the city 
of Thebes in Boeotia, he ordered the house of the poet Pindar (who had 
died more than a hundred years before) to be left unharmed. 

12. And the repealed air, etc. According to Plutarch, when the Spar 
tan Lysander was on the point of destroying Athens after its capture, a 
Phocian minstrel chanced to sing at a banquet of the conquerors some 
verses from a chorus in the Electra of Euripides, which affected them so 
deeply that they resolved to spare the city with the exception of the for 

SONNET IV. To A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY. Of this sonnet also 
there is a draft among the Cambridge MSS. It was probably written in 
1644, but the lady to whom it was addressed is unknown. 

i. Lady, etc. K. remarks that "in the first quatrain the poet has 
united the ' broad way that leadeth to destruction ' (Matt. vii. 13) of 
Scripture with the Hill of Virtue of Hesiod." 

5. With Mary and ivith Rntli. See Luke, x. 42 and /'/////, i. 14 fol. 

Note the rhyme of Ruth and ruth. In Italian poetry, as in Spanish 
and Portuguese, words identical in spelling may be rhymed if they differ 
in sense. Chaucer and Spenser indulge in the same license, as do some 
of our modern poets Tennyson and Lowell, for example. For ruth, see 
on Lye. 163. Pity and ruih are often combined, especially by Chaucer. 

7. Growing. The first reading of the MS. was " blooming." 

1 1. Hope that reaps not shame. Cf. Romans, v. 5. 

12. When the Bridegroom, etc. See Matt. xxv. I fol. For feastfiil, cf. 
S. A. 1741 : " on feastful days." 

13. Passes to bliss, etc. The first MS. reading was, " Opens the door of 
bliss that hour of night." 

14. Virgin wise and pure. Cf. the ending of the next sonnet. 

SONNET V. To THE LADY MARGARET LEY. This sonnet, written in 
1644 or 1645, was addressed to one of the daughters of James Ley, first 
Earl of Marlborough. She had married a Captain Hobson, and Milton 
became acquainted with them in London, where they resided. Phillips 
says that the poet, after his first wife deserted him (see p. 16 above)/' made 
it his chief diversion now and then of an evening to visit the Lady Mar- 


garet Ley," who, as he adds, was " a woman of great wit and ingenu 
ity" and "had a particular honour for him," as her husband also did. 
This is the latest of the sonnets printed in 1645. ^ ne heading, omitted 
in that ed., is supplied from a MS. draft at Cambridge. 

3. Unstained with gold or fee. That is, free from any reproach of pec 
ulation or bribery. 

4. More in himself content. " That is, having more content and hap 
piness in retirement and freedom from care " (K.) ; or, having resources 
in himself that made him indifferent to the honours of public office. 

5. Till the sad breaking, etc. The Parliament was dissolved on the 
loth of March, 1628-9, and the Earl died four days after, but it is not 
certain that the event was the means of hastening his death. 

6. As that dishonest victory, etc. The Athenian orator Isocrates is said 
to have died from the shock given him by the tidings of the defeat of the 
Athenians and Thebans at Chaeronea. 

10. Wherein your father flourished. Referring, as M. notes, to the 
earlier portion of his career, as Milton was full twenty years old when the 
Earl died. 

14. Margaret. K. remarks that Tasso, in like manner, ends his sonnet 
Per la Signora Margherita with her name, but with a play upon it (tnar- 
gherita meaning a pearl) not possible in English : " Preziosa e mirabil 

WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES. This and the following sonnet were 
written late in 1645 or ear ty m 1646. The treatises referred to were those 
upon Divorce written during his separation from his first wife (see p. 16 
above). There are drafts of both these sonnets in Milton's hand, with 
copies in another hand, among the Cambridge MSS. They were first 
printed in the ed. of 1673. 

I. Tetrachordon. The third of Milton's four treatises on divorce. 

The MS. has " I writ a book," etc. In the next line it has " wove it " 
for woven ; in 3, " It went off well about the town awhile ;" in 4 " good 
wits, but now is seldom,'' etc. ; and in 10 " rough-hewn" for " barbar 
ous," finally changed to rugged. 

4. Numbering. That is, among its readers. 

5. Stall-readers. Those who took- up the tract at the book-stalls. 

7. Mile- End Green is in Whitechapel, about a mile, as the name im 
plies, from the centre of Old London. 

8. Why is it harder, etc. K. says : " He selects these names from his 
dislike of the Scots and their Presbytery ; but surely they are not hard 
either to spell or to pronounce. Colkitto is Sir Alexander M'Donnel, 
whom his kinsman the Earl of Antrim sent from Ireland with aid to 
Montrose in the Highlands, by whom he was knighted. He was called 
by the Irish and the Highlanders, Colla Ciotach,'that is, Colla the Left- 
Handed, whence Colkitto; while the Irish form of Alexander is Alas- 
drom. There is a pipe-tune in Ireland called Mairseail Alasdroim, or 
Alexander's March, to which his men are said to have marched to the 
place in the county of Cork where he was killed in battle by Lord Inchi- 

202 NOTES. 

quin in 1647. Galasp is G. Gillespie, a Scottish member of the Assem 
bly of Divines." M. makes it pretty clear, however, that " Galasp was a 
very different being from his namesake of the Westminster Assembly ; 
and that reverend divine would have been glad to see him hanged." In 
point of fact, he is none other than Colkitto or Macdonnel, his full name, 
as translated from the Celtic, being " Alexander Macdonald, son of Col- 
kittoch, son of Gillespie, son of Alexander, son of John Cathanach." He 
was commonly called " for short " only " Alexander Macdonald the 
younger," or " young Colkitto," but his additional designation of " Mac- 
gillespie " was also in occasional use. M. adds : " What a name to reach 
London ! It had struck Milton ; and so when he wanted a set of words 
as hard as Tctrarchordon, there they were ready tor him in the name of 
one Highland barbarian, well enough known to the Londoners, who was 
Colkitto or Macdonnel or Galasp all in his own single person." 

K. and some other editors print " Why, it is harder," etc., for which 
there is no authority whatever. 

11. Qnintilian. The famous Latin rhetorician. 

12. Thy age, etc. M. paraphrases the passage thus : " Thy age, O soul 
of Sir John Cheke, did not, like ours, hate learning worse than toad or 
asp, when thou first taughtest Greek to Cambridge and to King Edward." 
For like ours, we should now write " unlike ours." Cf. some of Shake 
speare's peculiar " confusions of construction " in negative sentences, 
discussed in Schmidt's Lexicon, p. 1420 fol. 

Sir John Cheek, or Cheke, was the first Professor of Greek in the Uni 
versity of Cambridge, and was one of the tutors of Edward VI. In his 
efforts to extend the knowledge of Greek, he met with great opposition 
from Bishop Gardiner, the Chancellor of the University, and the other 
patrons of ignorance (K.). 

SONNET VII. ON THE SAME. The preceding sonnet treats the sub 
ject jocosely, this one indignantly. 

4. Cuckoos. Milton at first wrote "buzzards." 

5. Those hinds, etc. The Lycian rustics who, when Latona, with her 
twin children Apollo and Diana in her arms, was fleeing from the wrath 
of Juno, refused to let her drink of a certain lake and railed at her; 
whereupon, at her prayer, they were turned into frogs. See Ovid, Met. 
vi. 337 fol. Cf. F. Q.\\. 12. 13 : 

" Till that Latona travelling that way, 

Flying from Junoes \vrath and hard assay, 
Of her fayre twins was there delivered, 

ler tayre twins was there delivered, 

ch afterwards did rule the night and day." 


7. In fee. In fee simple, or full ownership. 

8. Casting pearl to hogs. Cf. Matt. vii. 6. 

10. Truth would set them free. Cf. John, viii. 32. The first MS. read 
ing was, " And hate the truth whereby they should be free." 

11. License they mean, etc. Cf. Milton's Eikonoklastes, 1649: "None 
can love Freedom heartily but good men : the rest love not Freedom, but 



13. Rove. Shoot astray. To rove at a mark was to aim at it, not point- 
blank, but with allowance for the wind. Cf. /''. Q. i. introcl. 2 : 

" Fair Venus sonne, that with thy cruell dart 
At that good knight so cunningly didst rove ;" 

and LL v. 5. 35 : " Even at the marke-white of his hart she roved ;" that 
is, at the centre of the target. 

14. For. Notwithstanding. Cf. Nativ. 73. 

SONNET VIII. To MR. H. LAWES, ON ins AIRS. One of the two 
copies of this sonnet in Milton's hand (there is a third by another hand) 
at Cambridge is headed, " To my Friend, Mr. Henry Lawes : Feb. 9, 
1645," which fixes the date of its composition. It was printed in 1648 
as one of a few poetical tributes to Lawes in a volume entitled Choice 
Paalmes, put into Mustek for three Voices: composed by Henry and Will 
iam Laities, Brothers, and Servants to his Majestic. Of Lawes and his 
friendly relations to Milton something has already been said in the intro 
duction to Coinns above. The musician died in 1662, or eleven years 
before the republication of the Sonnet in the ed. of 1673. 

3. Words, etc. Milton first wrote " Words with just notes, which till 
then used to scan," which he changed to " Words with just notes when 
most were wont to scan." In 4, committing was changed to "misjoin- 
ing," but afterwards restored. Lines 6-8 originally stood thus : 

"And gives thee praise above the pipe of Pan: 
In after age thou shall be writ a man 
That didst reform thy art, the chief among." 

The first reading of 12, 13 was : 

" Fame, by the Tuscan's leave, shall set thee higher 
Than old Casell, whom Dante wooed to sing." 

4. Midas' 1 ears. The asinine ears which Apollo gave Midas for his 
"want of ear" in deciding in favour of Pan in the musical contest with 
that god. See Ovid. Met. xi. 174. 

Committing. Confounding, or setting at variance ; a Latinism. 

5. Exempts. For the singular verb, see on Lye. 7. 

11. Or story. Milton himself explains the allusion by a marginal 
note in the Choice Psalmes : "The story of Ariadne set by him to mu- 

12. Dante, etc. In the Purgatorio (ii. 76 fol.) Dante meets his old 
friend, Casella the musician, who sings to him a song the poet had writ 

14. Milder. That is, than those of hell. 

THOMSON, MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND. To this heading, which does not 
appear in the ed. of 1643 but is found in a MS. draft at Cambridge, Mil 
ton adds "deceased 16 Decemb. 1646;" and the sonnet was probably 
written soon after that date. Of Mrs. Thomson we know nothing fur- 

204 NOTES. 

ther. It is possible that she belonged to a family of that name with 
whom Milton lodged for a time at Charing Cross. 

3. Earthy. K. has " earthly, 1 ' a corruption which is found in some 
other eels. B. compares Rom. vii. 24. Load was originally " clod." 

4. Of death, etc. The first reading was, "Of flesh and sin, which man 
from heaven doth sever." 

5. Thy ^vorks, etc. Cf. Rev. xiv. 13 and Acts, x. 4. 

6-IO. Stuy\l not, etc. These lines were originally as follows : 

" Straight follow'd thee the path that saints have trod : 
Still as they journey' d from this dark abode 
Up to the realms of peace and joy for ever, 
Faith show'd the way, and she, who saw them best 
Thy handmaids," etc. 

An intermediate form of 9 was, " P'aith, who led on the way, and knew 
them best." 

14. And drink thy fill, etc. Cf. Ps. xxxvi. 8. 

SONNET X. To MR. LAWRENCE. This sonnet, printed in 1673, was 
probably written, as M. has shown, after 1655, when Milton had become 
totally blind. " During the time of his widowhood, and more after his 
marriage with his second wife in Nov. 1656, his house was enlivened by 
the little hospitalities that had to be shown to the numerous visitors that 
came to see him." Among these were some of his former pupils and oth 
er young men who admired and honoured him. Phillips mentions among 
the " particular friends" of the poet at this time "young Lawrence (the 
son of him that was President of Oliver's Council), to whom there is a 
sonnet among the rest in his printed Poems." This was probably Henry 
Lawrence, second son of the President, and then about twenty-one years 
of age. " Sometimes, as we are to fancy, he accompanied Milton in his 
walks, yielding him the tendance which a blind man required; and this 
sonnet is to be taken as a kindly message to the youth, in some season 
of bad weather, not to stop his visits on that account, but to let him have 
his company within doors " (M.). 

i. Of virtuous father, etc. Cf. Horace, Od. i. 16. I : "O matre pulchra 
filia pulchrior." 

4. Help waste. Help to get through with ; " killing time," as we say. 

6. Favonins. Zephyrus, the west wind. Cf. Horace, Od. i. 4. i : " gra 
ta vice veris et P'avoni." 

7. The frozen earth. K. says that "this does not well accord with 2," 
but excuses the " little inconsistency" in a poet. There is really no in 
consistency. It was a thawy day in winter, when the " ways are mire " 
though the earth is frozen except on the surface. 

8. 77iat neither sow^d nor spun. Cf. Matt. vi. 26. 

10. Of Attic taste. This emphasizes the neat and light and choice of the 
preceding line. The repast must be such as would suit the exquisite 
delicacy of Athenian taste. This is thoroughly Miltonic, like the intro 
duction of music as a sequel to the feast. 

13. And spare, etc. The expression is, on the face of it, ambiguous; 
but no one who knows Milton as a man ought to misinterpret it, as K. 



and certain others have done. He does not mean spare time for inter 
posing such pleasures oft, but the opposite refrain from interposing 
them oft. It is moderation in such festive indulgence that he com 
mends, not the seeking of opportunities for it. For this use of spare, cf. 
Coriolanus, i. I. 260 : " Being mov'd, he will not spare to gird the gods," etc. 

SONNET XI. To CYRIAC SKINNER. As this sonnet, in the ed. of 1673, 
follows the one to Mr. Lawrence, it was probably written about the same 
time. As M. remarks, " it looks like an invitation in the same strain." 
Cyriac Skinner is mentioned by Phillips as one of the poet's most inti 
mate friends ; and Wood describes him as " a merchant's son of London, 
an ingenious young gentleman and scholar to Jo : Milton/' He was not, 
however, the son of a merchant, but of a Lincolnshire squire, who had mar 
ried a daughter of the eminent jurist, Sir Edward Coke. This explains 
the reference to M\s grandsirt in the first line. 

There is a copy of the last ten lines of the sonnet, in the hand of an 
amanuensis, among the Cambridge MSS. 

2. Themis. The goddess of law. Cf. P. L. xi. 14. 

6. That after no repenting draws. Cf. the admonition to temperance 
in the last lines of the preceding sonnet. 

7. Euclid, etc. Skinner was devoted to mathematical and physical 

8. What the Swede intent, etc. If the date of the sonnet is what we 
have supposed, the reference cannot be to "any period between 1635 and 
1648" in the Thirty Years' War, as B. and others suppose. It is prob 
ably, as M. suggests, to the wars of Charles XII. of Sweden against Po 
land, Russia, and Denmark in 1654-1660 ; and to the contemporary wars 
of Louis XIV. against Spain in the Netherlands. The Swede is appar 
ently plural here ( = the Swedish), as the ed. of 1673 has intend. B. and 
M. retain this reading, but K. and others give " intends." 

11. Heaven a time ordains. Cf. Eccles. iii. I. 

12. And disapproves, etc. See Malt. vi. 34; and cf. Horace, 0</. i. 9. 13. 

in Milton's own draft of the sonnet at Cambridge is " On the Lord Gen 
eral Fairfax at the Siege of Colchester." The siege lasted from June 
I5th to August 28th, 1648, and was directed by Fairfax in person, Crom 
well being engaged in carrying on the war in the north. 

The poem was not included hi the ed. of 1673 perhaps, as M. is in 
clined to think, because it " savoured too much of pre- Restoration politics 
to be then allowable " but was first printed by Phillips, in his Life of 
Milton, in 1694. It was not included in any ed. of the poet's works until 

2. Filling. Phillips has " And fills," and " which" for that in 4. 

5. Virtue. Phillips has " valour," which explains virtue (Latin virtus). 
In 6 he has " while " for though, and in 8 " her " for their. 

7. The false north. The English Parliament regarded the entrance of 
the Scotch army into England in support of the Royalists as a breach of 
the League and Covenant between the two nations. 

2o6 NOTES. 

8. Imp. In the language of falconry, to imp a hawk's wing was to piece 
out its broken feathers. Cf. Itich. II. ii. i. 291 : " Imn out our drooping 
country's broken wing ;" Dry den, Ann. ftlirab. st. 143 : His navy's moult 
ed wings he imps once more," etc. Turbervile, in his Booke of Faulcon- 
rie, has a whole chapter on " The Way and Manner howe to ympe a 
Hawkes Feather, how-soever it be broken or broosed." 

10. Endless war. Phillips gives "acts of war ;" in II, " injured truth " 
for truth and right ; in 12, "And public faith be rescued from the brand ;" 
and in 14, "shares" for share. Whether these variations are from an 
earlier draft of the sonnet than the one at Cambridge, or are due to er 
rors in copying and other causes, it is impossible to say ; l;ut the modern 
editors are clearly right in following Milton's MS. instead of Phillips's 
version, which was adopted by their predecessors down to 1752. 

also was first printed by Phillips in 1594. There is a copy of it in the 
hand of an amanuensis among the Cambridge MSS. The heading of it 
there (erased, but legible) is as follows: "To the Lord General Crom 
well, May, 1652 : On the Proposals of certain Ministers at the Committee 
for the Propagation of the Gospel." As M. remarks, " it is a call to 
Cromwell to save England from a mercenary ministry of any denomina 
tion, or a new ecclesiastical tyranny of any form." 

The sonnet was badly printed by Phillips. The 5th line was omitted, 
and the 2d has " distractions " for detractions. The 6th reads, "And 
fought God's battles, and his work pursued." 

i. A cloud, etc. A reminiscence of Virgil, <dZn. x. 809 : " ntibem belli." 

5. Crovuned Fortune. "The Royalist Cause, with particular allusion 
perhaps to the battle of Worcester" (K.). 

7. Darwen. A small river in Lancashire, flowing into the Kibble. The 
three-clays' battle of Preston, Aug. 17-19, 1648, was fought in that vicin 
ity. The Darwen has been confounded with the Derwent in Derbyshire 
by most of the editors; and some of them have thought that Milton 
meant the Kibble. 

8. Dnnbar field. The battle of Dunbar, fought Sept. 3, 1650. Resounds 
agrees with the subjects separately. 

9. And Worcester's laureate wreath. " Cromwell's crowning victory " 
of Sept. 3, 1651. 

Milton's MS. reads " And twenty battles more: yet much remains," 
etc. Here Phillips gives us what is undoubtedly the revised reading. 

12. With secular chains. " The Presbyterian divines were extremely 
anxious to have the aid of the secular arm in enforcing conformity " (K.). 

14. Of hireling wolves, etc. Here he charges the Presbyterian clergy 
with the same self-seeking of which he had accused their' Episcopalian 
predecessors in Lycidas. For wolves, cf. Afatt. vii. 15 and Acts, xx. 29. 

about the same time as the preceding sonnet, and, like that, first printed 
by Phillips in 1594. A dictated copy is preserved among the Cambridge 


Mr. Alclen Sampson, in his Milton's Sonnets (New York, 1886) says : 
" It seems strange to speak of one of Milton's sonnets as addressed to an 
American, yet we are not overstepping the truth in saying that Vane had 
been an American it" he was not at this time. He came here with the 
younger Winthrop on his second visit in 1635, and it was alone owing 
to an unfortunate disagreement on a doctrinal point of religion that he 
did not remain . . . Vane entangled himself in the controversy then ac 
tive on salvation by faith or works, and championed the cause of the 
famous Mrs. Ann Hutchinson. He contrived to stir up a very heated 
opposition on this account, and left the colony in disgust after his failure 
to be re-elected [governor of Massachusetts] and after he had been here 
less than two years." 

1. Counsel. Phillips has " councels." 

3. When gowns, not anus, etc. When it was the wisdom of its states 
men, rather than the skill of its generals, that saved Rome from Pyrrhus 
and Hannibal. 

6. Hollow states. Warburton and others see an allusion to the States 
of Holland, whose relations to the English Commonwealth were some 
what dubious. 

7. Then to advise, etc. Phillips reads: 

" Then to advise how war may best be upheld, 
Maun d by her two main nerves, iron and gold, 
In all her equipage ; besides to know 
Both spiritual and civil, what each means, 
What serves each, thou hast learn'd, what few have done. 
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe ; 
Therefore on ihy right hand Religion leans, 
A nd reckons thee in chief her eldest son " 

In the Cambridge MS. " And to advise " was first dictated in 7, and 
"Move on " in 8. 

10. Both spiritual power, etc. The first form in the MS. was: 

" What power the Church and what the Civil means 
Thou teachest best, which few have ever done;" 

which was altered to : 

" Both spiritual power and civil, what each means 
Thou hast learned well, a praise which few have won." 

13. Firm hand. The MS., like Phillips's version, at first had " right 

SONNET XV. ON HIS BLINDNESS. This was first printed in the ed. 
of 1673, and no MS. copy has comedown to us. It may have been writ 
ten in 1652, as some suppose ; but in the ed. of 1673 ' l follows the sonnet 
on the Piedmontese Massacre, written in 1655, and may belong to the 
same period with that. 

2. Ere half my days. K. remarks: "As Milton was past forty-three 
when he lost his sight, it seems strange that he should say he had not 
lived half his days ;" but he uses half\\\ a poetical rather than in a math 
ematical sense. 


2 o8 NOTES. 

3. That one talent, etc. See Matt. xxv. 14 fol. 

8. Fondly. Foolishly. See on Lye. 56. 

12. Thousands, etc. Cf. Spenser, Hymne of Heavenly Love: 

" There they in their trinall triplicities 
About him wait and on his will depend, 
Either with nimble wings to cut the skies, 
When he them on his messages doth send, 
Or on his owne dear presence to attend, 
Where they behold the glorie of his light, 
And carol! Hymnes of love both day and night." 

first printed in 1673, au d nas not '' een preserved in MS. It refers to the 
persecutions of the Walclenses in the early part of 1655, and was evident 
ly written soon after their occurrence. " Milton's Sonnet is his private 
and more tremendous expression in verse of the feeling he expressed pub 
licly, in Cromwell's name, in his Latin State Letters. Every line labours 
with wrath "(M.). 

5. /;/ thy booh, etc. Cf. Ps. Ivi. 8. 

7. Tliat rolled, etc. Moreland, /'// his History of the Valleys of rieinont, 
1658, relates an instance like this, and illustrates it with a plate. 

10. Their martyr d blood, etc. Alluding to Tertullian's " Sanguis mar- 
tyruin semen est Ecclesiae." 

12. The triple tyrant. The pope, with his triple crown. Milton calls 
him " Tricoronifer " in one of his Latin poems. 

14. The Babylonian ivoe. The woe denounced against the mystic 
Babylon (interpreted by the Puritans as the Church of Rome) in Rev. 

in 1655 or 1656, and first printed by Phillips in 1694. There is a copy, 
in the hand of an amanuensis, among the Cambridge MSS. "The tenour 
of the closing lines prevented its publication in 1673 " (M.). 

I. This I liree years' 1 day. That is, for just three years [these eyes have 
forgot their seeing]. K. prints "three-year-day." 

3. Light. Phillips prints " sight," and "day " for sight in 4; also"Of" 
for Or in 5 " Iie jot " (which B. retains) for a jot in 7, " this world's " 
in 13, and " other " for better in 14. 

7. Heave iCs hand. Milton at first dictated "God's hand ;" in 8, "at 
tend to" for bear up and ; and in 9, " Uphill ward " for Right onward. 

IO. Conscience. Consciousness ; as often in that day. 

To have lost them, etc. See p. 19 above, and cf. p. 34. 

12. Rings. The reading in Phillips, and perhaps substituted by him 
for the " talks " of the MS. It has been adopted by all the editors since 

13. The world's vain mask. Cf. Ps. xxxix. 6. 

SONNET XVIII. ON HIS DECEASED WIFE. Milton's second wife, 
to whom this sonnet refers, died in February, 1657-8 (see p. 19 above), 
and this tribute to her memory was probably written in that year. It 


was included in the ed. of 1673, and a dictated copy is preserved at Cam 

2. Like Alcestis. The allusion is to the Alcestis of Euripides, where 
Hercules brings back the heroine from the lower world and restores her 
to Admetus her husband. See Browning's Balanstion for an admirable 
English rendering of the legend. 

6. Purification, etc. See Lev. xii. 2 fol. 

10. Her face was veil\i. He had probably never seen her living fnce, 
as he married her several years after he became blind ; hence the veiled 
form in which she appears to him here. 


This poem is generally included among the Sonnets, and M. calls it a 
" tailed sonnet " the Italian sonetlo coilato. The first fourteen lines make 
a sonnet ; but when Milton had reached the last line he " had not packed 
in all he meant to say; and so he adds six lines more of jagged verse, 
converting the piece into a kind of sonnet with a scorpion's tail to it." 
It was probably written soon after the sonnets on divorce (vi. and vii. 
above), which Milton intended to have it follow, as we learn from a di 
rection in his own hand in the MS. copy at Cambridge ; but in the ed. of 
1673, where it was first printed, it is separated from the Sonnets. The 
MS. title is "On the Forcers of Conscience," which is expanded in the 
printed volume to the fuller form in our text. 

I. Because you have thrown off, etc. Episcopacy was not formally abol 
ished by the Long Parliament until September, 1646, but it had been 
virtually thrown tf^some years earlier; the Liturgy had been prohibited 
in 1644'. 

3. To seize, etc. To imitate your Episcopal predecessors in holding a 
plurality of livings or ecclesiastical offices. The MS. has " vacant" for 
widow* d. 

5. For this. For the sake of these plural emoluments. 

6. Our consciences. The MS. has " the " for our. 

8. A. S. Adam Steuart, a Scotch divine and defender of strict Pres- 
byterianism, who generally put only his initials to his tracts and pam 
phlets. Rutherford (Samuel) was another of the four Scotch divines in 
the Westminster Assembly. 

12. Sliallow Edwards. Thomas Edwards, a London preacher, who 
wrote several popular treatises in opposition to the Independents. For 
shallow Milton at lirst wrote " haire-brain'd." 

Scotch What-d'ye-call, according to M., refers to Rev. Robert Baillie, 
professor of divinity in the University of Glasgow. The affected forget- 
fulness of his name is merely contemptuous. 

14. Trent. The celebrated council at that city in 1545-1563. 

1 6. Preventive. Anticipating. See on A r ctt/v. 24. 

17. Clip, etc. He first wrote, "Crop ye as close as marginal P 's 

2io NOTES. 

eares," alluding to the well-known Prynne, whose ears had been cut off 
at the instigation of Laud, and who was noted for filling the margins of 
his books with quotations and references. In his Means to I\emove Hire 
lings, Milton says of him : " A late hot querist for tithes, whom you may 
know, by his ivitx lying ever beside him in the margins, to be ever beside 
his wits in the text." P/iylacfeHes were slips of parchment with passages 
of the Law written on them, worn on their forehends by the Jewish Phar 
isees, with whom Milton identifies the Presbyterian divines. Balk to 
stop at, omit. For the allusion, see Malt, xxiii. 5. 

19. Your charge. The directory compiled by them. 

20. Presbyter is but old priest. This is literally true, the word priest 
being an earlier and more contracted form of the Greek 7r/r;(7/3i;repoc, 
from which presbyter is also derived. 


The paraphrases on Psalms cxiv. and cxxxvi., as Milton himself tells 
us, were done " at fifteen years old," or in 1624. They are the only 
specimens of his verse before he went to Cambridge that have come down 
to us. They show that even at that early age he was familiar with Spen 
ser and Sylvester's translation of the Divine Works and Weekes of Du 
Bartas, which was then a very popular book. 

I. TeraJi's faithfnl son. Abraham. See Gen. xi. 27. 

3. Pharian. Egyptian ; probably from Pharos, the island in the Bay of 
Alexandria, rather than from Pharaoh or from Pharan or Par an (Gen. 
xxi. 21). M. quotes Buchanan's translation of the Psalm : " Barbaraque 
invisae linqueret arva Phari ;" and adds that in Buchanan Pharins is 
a common word for Egyptian. 


5. Blaze. Blazon, proclaim. Cf. Arcades, 74. 

10. Who. The ed. of 1645 has " That ;" as also in 13, 17, 21, and 25. 
46. The ruddy waves, etc. The Erylhraan main is the Red Sea ; hence 
the ruddy, which is also used by Sylvester in his Dit Bartas : 

" along the sandy shore 
Where th' Erythrean ruddy billows roar." 

Elsewhere he refers to " the scarlet washes " of the same sea. 

49. Walls of glass. Sylvester uses the same expression in describing 
the crossing of the Red Sea. 

65. Seon, etc. "Sihon, King of the Amodtes," as the Bible calls him. 
See also Numb. xxi. 21 foK Cf. Buchanan's version: " Stravit Amor- 
rhaeum valida virtute Seonem ; and in the preceding Psalm (cxxxv.) : 
" Quique Amorrhaeis Seon regnavit in oris." 

69. Og. See Numb. xxi. 33 fol. and Datt. iii. I fol. 


89. Warble forth. Cf. Sylvester : " O Father, grant I sweetly warble 
forth," etc. 


This poem was written, according to Milton's own memorandum, 

"anno aetatis 17;" but this means when he was seventeen, not "in his 
seventeenth year," as we should now understand it. The "fair infant " 
was a daughter of his sister Anne, who was several years older than him 
self, and had married Mr. Edward Phillips in 1624. The child died in 
the winter of 1625, and the poem was probably written during a visit that 
Milton made to London between Dec. 16, 1625, and Jan. 13, 1625-6. It 
was first printed in 1673. 

I. O fairest flower, etc. Cf. Shakespeare, P. P. x. : 

" Sweet rose, fair flower, untimely pluck'd. soon vaded ; 
Pluck'd in the bud, and vaded in the spring ! 
Bright orient pearl, alack, too timely shaded ! 
Fair creature, kill'd too soon by death's sharp sting !" 

5. Amnrous on. Cf. Much Ado, ii. i. 161 : " amorous on Hero." In A. 
nnd C. ii. 2. 202, we find "amorous of." For 0//=of, see Abbott's Gr. 
182. On the passage, cf. Romeo anil Juliet, v. 3. 103 : "That unsub 
stantial Death is amorous," etc. 

6. Envermeil. Redden, as with vermilion. See on Comus, 752. 
Thought to kiss, etc. Cf. Shakespeare, V. and A. mo : " He thought 

to kiss him and hath kill'd him so." The same conceit is found in the 
3Oth Idyl of Theocritus and in a Latin poem by Antonius Sebastianus 
Minturnus entitled De Adoni ab Apro Inter'empto. 

8. Aqnilo. The Latin name of Boreas, the god of the north wind, who 
carried off Orithyia, daughter of Erectheus, from Athens to Thrace. See 
Ovid, Met. vi. 677 fol. 

12. Infamous. Accented on the penult; as in /'. Q. iii. 6. 13 : " with 
fowle infamous blot," etc. Cf. Com/is, 424. 

13. Eld. Old age; used by Milton only here. Cf. Shakespeare, M. 
for M. iii. I. 36 : " palsied eld," etc. 

15. Icy-pearled. Warton wanted to read " ice-ypearled ;" but the com 
pound is akin \.oj?owery-kirtlect(Coimis, 254), fiery^vheeled (II Pens. 53), 

20. Unwires. Elsewhere (as in P. L. ii. 932, v. 731, etc.) we find un 
awares. Cf. the quotation in note on 422, p. 175 above. 

23. Unweeting. Cf. Comus, 539 ; and for Whilome see Id. 827. 

25. Young Hyacinth, etc. See on Lye. 106. The Eurotas was a river 
in Laconia. 

31. Wormy bed. Cf. Shakespeare, M. N. D. iii. 2. 384 : " their wormy 

36. Resolve me. Inform me, solve or settle the question for me. Cf. 
Rich. III. iv. 2. 120 : " Why, then, resolve me whether you will or no." 

39. That high first-moving spheie. The prinium mobile. See on Na~ 
tiv. 125. 

212 NOTES. 

44. Shak\L Shakespeare has this form of the past participle several 
times, and also unshaked,ivind-shaked, love-shaked, etc. Milton uses it 
only here, and shaken only in P. L. ix. 287. See on //. Pens. 91. 

47. Earth's sons. The Titans ; here confounded with the Giants, who 
attacked Olympus in the hope of dethroning Zeus. 

49. A T edar\l head. Cf. Lye. 175. 

50. Thatjnst maul, etc. Astraea. See on Nativ. 141. 

51. Sooth. See on Comns, 823. 

53. Or tuert thon, etc. In the ed. of 1673 the line reads, " Or wert thou 
that sweet-smiling Youth." A word has evidently been omitted, and 
the editors generally have adopted the conjecture of a Mr. John Heskin, 
first made in 1750, that Mercy is the word. Cf. the grouping of Truth, 
Justice, and Mercy in Nativ. 141 fol. 

55. That heavenly brood. " The personified Virtues " (K.). 

57. The golden-winged host. The angels. Cf. Comns, 214. 

58. Weed. Apparel. See on L 1 All. 120. 

59. Prefixed. Pre-appointed. 

68. The slaughtering pestilence. The plague was then raging in Lon 
don and other parts of England. 


This exercise, Milton tells us, was written "anno aetatis 19," but (see 
on the preceding poem) this means when he was nineteen, or in 1628, 
during his fourth year at Cambridge. It was first printed in 1673. For 
a long disquisition upon its history, see M. (vol. ii. pp. 190-195). This 
throws much light on the obscurities of the poem, but is too long for 
reprinting here. 

12. Thither. That is, in the Latin part of the exercise. 

14. Daintiest. B. has "daintest" in both text and notes, and we infer 
that this is the form in the ed. of 1673. Cf. F. Q. ii. 12. 42 : " Or that may 
dayntest fantasy aggrate." For the positive daint, see Id. i. 10. 2 : " to 
cherish him with diets daint," etc. 

19. New-fangled. Used by Milton in verse only here. Shakespeare 
has the word three times : Sonu. 91. 3, L. L. L. i. I. 106, and A. Y. L. iv. 
I. 152, besides fancied (^given to finery) in Cyinb. v. 4. 134. 

20. Fantastic*. Fanciful folk; possibly referring to the Euphuists. 
We find the noun elsewhere, and also fantasticoes ; as in Romeo and 
Juliet, ii. 4. 30 (reading of 1st quarto) : " The pox of such antic, lisping, 
affecting fantasticoes, these new tuners of accents !" 

31. Coffers. Chests in which apparel was kept. 

33-44. Such where, etc. " Here breaks out the true poet. I hardly 
know a passage in Milton's earlier poetry in which the difference between 
poetic imagination and ordinary thinking may be more clearly seen " 

34. Wheeling poles. Revolving spheres. 


36. Thunderous throne. That of the Thunderer Jove. Some would 
read " Thunderer's j" but there is no reason to s^uspect any corruption of 
the text. 

37. Unshorn Apollo. Cf. Horace, Od. i. 21. 2 : " Intonsum, pueri, di- 
cite Cynthium." 

38. 'Hebe. Cf. Comns, 290. 

40. Watt h ful fire. Ovid's " vigil flamma " (M.). 

42. Piled thunder. "Referring to the thunderbolts" (B.) ; or to the 
appearance of the thunder-clouds. 

43. Green-eyed. Cf. Virgil's description of Proteus (Geor. iv. 451): 
" Ardentes oculos intorsit lumine glauco ;" and the Greek yXavKunri^. 

46. Beldam Nature. Ancient Nature. Cf. I Hen. IV. iii. i. 32 : " the 
old beldam Earth," etc. K. remarks : " It is curious how the belle dame 
of the romances came to have this signification, and to have become at 
last a term of reproach." The ironical use of a word sometimes dis 
places its original sense. Cf. wiseacre. 

48. Demodocns. The blind bard of Alcinous, King of the Phaeacians 
(Odyssey, viii. 521). 

52. In zvilling chains, etc. Cf. Sylvester's Du Bartas: "The willing 
chains of my captivity." 

56. To keep in compass, etc. To keep within the limits of the part as 
signed thee ; with a play on the logical term predicament. 

Then Ens is represented, etc. "In the Aristotelian Logic, Ens or 
Being is regarded as containing everything that is, while of everything 
one or more of what were termed predicaments might be asserted, and 
nothing else. They are ten in number, viz. Substance, Quantity, Quality, 
Relation, Place, Time, Situation, Possession, Action, Passion. These 
were all represented in various forms and habits on the occasion for 
which Milton wrote these verses. The following address of Ens is, as 
Warton observes, 'a very ingenious enigma on Substance' " (K.). 

66. Invisible. Because a mere abstraction. 

71. Prospective-glass. Magic mirror; like those described in the me 
dieval romances. See also F. Q. iii. 2. 18 fol. 

74. Shall subject, etc. " For Substance (sub stans} is the support of 
Accidents (things that fall to it, ad cado), and is as it were covered and 
hidden by them. Thus in gold, for example, colour, weight, hardness, 
malleability, etc., are accidents supported and kept together by the unseen 
substance which is subject to (under) them. What follows is hence easy 
to understand" (Kr.). 

83. To find, etc. " Because Substance stands alone, there is no dispute 
about him whose existence and nature are acknowledged by all. But his 
Accidents are frequently at enmily with each other " (K.). 

91. Rivers. This was a puzzle to the commentators until Mr.W. G.Clark 
discovered that Rivers was the name of the student who took the part of 
Relation. Two youths of this name, sons of Sir John Rivers, were ad 
mitted to Christ's College in May, 1628. Milton's little joke had to wait 
till 1859 for an expositor. The enumeration of the rivers is based upon 
the F. Q. (iv. 11. 20 fol.) and Drayton's Polyolbion. 

92. Utmost Tweed. Because it is the northern boundary of England. 



The Ouse and Dun are in Yorkshire. Drayton speaks of the " thirty sev 
eral streams " of the Trent. 

95. Mole that runneth underneath, Cf. F. Q. iv. 1 1. 32 : 

" And Mole, that like a nousling Mole doth make 
His way still under ground, till Thamis he overtake." 

This subterranean passage is at Mickleham, Surrey. 

96. Severn, etc. See Comns, 827 ful. 

97. Rocky Avon. Of several rivers of this name in England, the one 
flowing by Bath and Bristol is probably meant, on account of the cliffs 
which rise above it (K.). The Lea flows into the Thames a little below 
London. The coaly Tyne is the river on which the Newcastle whither 
coals are not sent is situated. For the Dee, see on Lye. 55. The Hum- 
her is said to have got its name from a Scythian king who landed there, 
but was conquered and driven into the river by Locrine (Comns, 827). 
The Methvay is a tranquil affluent of the Thames, here called the royal- 
towered Tliame because it flows past Windsor Castle, the Tower of Lon 
don, etc. 


This seems to have been intended as a sequel to the Ode on the Na 
tivity, to which the opening lines allude. It may have been written on 
the Feast of the Circumcision following the Christmas of 1629, or Jan. 
i, 1629-30. It was included in the eels, of 1645 and 1673, and there is a 
draft in Milton's hand among the Cambridge MSS. 

1. Ye flaming powers, etc. The flaming powers are- the Seraphim, as 
the name (from a Hebrew verb = burn) implies ; and the winged warriors 
are probably the Cherubim. Cf. Ezck. i. 6 fol. See also Nativ. 112. 

2. Erst. That is, at the Nativity. 

6. If sad share, etc. " If it is impossible for your angelic constitutions, 
formed as they are of fire, to yield tears, yet, by burning as you sigh, you 
may borrow the water of our tears, turned into vapour" (M.). 

10. Whilere. Erewhile, not long ago ; the only instance of the word 
in Milton. Shakespeare also has it once: in Temp. iii. 2. 127: "You 
taught me but whilere." 

21. Still. Ever, continually. See on Comus, 560. 

24. Excess. Transgression ; as in P. L. xi. in : " Bewailing their ex 
cess," etc. 


This fragment was probably written at Easter, 1630. It appears in the 
eds. of 1645 and 1673, but no MS. has been preserved. 
I. Erewhile, etc. Alluding to the Nutiv. 
4. Divide to sing. Share the song. K. makes divide =" unite with in 


musical divisions." Cf. Romeo and Juliet, iii. 5. 29 : " Some say the lark 
makes sweet division ;" and F. Q. iii. i. 40 : 

" And all the while sweet Musicke did divide 
Her looser notes with Lydian harmony." 

6. In wintry solstice, etc. That is, like the shortened days at the time 
of the winter solstice. 

13. Most perfect Hero. Cf. Heb. ir. 10. 
16. That dropt, etc. Cf. Ps. cxxxiii. 2. 
19. Mask. " In the sense of masque or drama "(M.). 

21. Lies. Improperly used for lays. Cf.L'AH. no. 

22. These latest scenes. In the drama just referred to. 

23. My Phoebus. My song. 

25. Otherwhere. In other poems ; alluding especially, as the context 
shows, to the Ckristiad of Marco Girolamo Vida, of Cremona (1490-1566). 

28. Still. See on // Pens. 127. 

34. The leaves should all be black, etc. As the title-pages (and some 
times other parts also) of certain books of elegiac verse were actually 
made at that time. 

36. See, see the chariot, etc. Cf. Ezek. i. I fol. 

40. In guiltless blood. Because of the crucifixion of Jesus. 

43. Sad sepulchral rock. Cf. Luke, xxiii. 53. 

47. Plaining. Mourning, lamenting ; as in P. L. iv. 504, etc. 

50. Viewless. Cf. Conins, 92. 

51. Take tip a weeping, etc. Cf. Jer. ix. 10. 

56. Got. Begotten. The conceit may have been suggested by the 
myth of Ixion. " So feeble and disagreeable an ending of the poem 
makes one agree the more willingly with the author's judgment of the 
whole, immediately appended" (M.). 


AsM. remarks, " the two pieces on this subject are chiefly curious as 
specimens of Milton's muse in that facetious style in vyhich, according to 
his own statement, he was hardly at home." 

Old Thomas Hobson, the University carrier, had for more than sixty 
years made his weekly trips between Cambridge and the Bull Inn, Bish- 
opsgate Street, London, carrying letters and parcels, and sometimes pas 
sengers. But in April or May, 1630, when the plague visited Cambridge, 
the colleges were closed, and Hobson was forbidden to continue his 
regular traffic with the metropolis. He escaped the pestilence, but the 
enforced idleness was too much for him ; and on the 1st of January, 1630 
31, he died at the age of eighty-six. His memory is perpetuated in Cam 
bridge by a handsome conduit in the centre of the town, for the construc 
tion and maintenance of which he left a part of the wealth he had ac 
cumulated.* The poems were doubtless written soon after Hobson's 

* Hobscn's name is also likely to be remembered as long as the English language 


A r OTES. 

departure on his last long journey. They appear in the eds. of 1645 and 
1673. According to Todd, the second was printed in A Banquet ofje>ts, 
a little book published in London in 1640; the first words being changed 
to " Here Hobson lies, who," etc. 

5. 'Twns. He was; used with good-natured familiarity. Cf. Macbeth, 
i. 4. 58 : " It is a peerless kinsman," etc. 

8. Dodg'd with him. Gone to and fro with him ; with a play on the 
more familiar sense of the word "tried to dodge him," as we say. 

14. Chamberlin. " The chamberlin at the inns of those times, like he 
Italian cameriere of the present day, united in himself the offices of waiter, 
chambermaid, and Boots " (K.). Cf. I Hen. IV. ii. i. 


5. Sphere-metal. " Like that of which the celestial spheres are com 
posed, which are in perpetual motion " (K.). 

10. His principles. His motive power. 

12. Breathing. Breathing-time, relaxation. 

14. Term. Termination, end ; with a play on the college sense. 

20. Six bearers. That is, of his coffin. 

22. Heaviness. That is, of heart ; grief. Cf. the play in CymbeUne^\. 
4. 168 : "the brain the heavier for being too light, the purse too light, 
being drawn of heaviness ;" that is, emptied of its weight of coins. 

26. As he were pressed 1o death, etc. As if he were being subjected to 
the peine forte ct dure, or the torture of being crushed under heavy weights, 
the victims of which sometimes begged to have their sufferings ended at 
once by more wtigkt. 

29. Obedient to the moon, etc. He made his journeys as regularly as 
the changes of the moon, or four times in the lunar month. 

32. Wain. Wagon ; with a play on wane. /;/r;r^=gain, profit ; like 
wise with a pun. 

34. Superscription. Inscription, epitaph. The word is metrically five 
syllables. See on Nativ. 66. 

shall endure. He used to keep horses on hire, and is the hero of the well-known story 
on which the proverbial expression of" Hobson's choice" is based. 




A few of the various readings in these poems have been commented 
upon in the Notes.* The full list (with insignificant exceptions) is as 
follows : 


10. Now seems guiltie of abuse 

And detraction from her praise, 

Lesse than halfe she hath expressed ; 

Envie bid her hide the rest. 
18. Seated like a goddess bright. 
23. Ceres dares not give her odds. 

Who would have thought, etc. 
41. Those virtues which dull fame, etc. 
44. For know by lot from Jove I have the power. 
47. In ringlets quaint. 

49. Of noisome winds or blasting vapour chill. 

50. And from the leaves. 

52. And what the crosse, etc. 

59. And number all my rancks and every sprout. 

62. Hath chain'd mortalitie. 

81. And so attend you, etc. 

91. I will bring ye, etc. 

STAGE DIRECTION. A guardian spirit or damon. 

After 4. Amidst th' Hesperian gardens, on whose banks, 
Bedewed with nectar and celestiall songs, 
Eternall roses grow [yeeld, bloome] and hyacinth, 
And fruits of golden rind, on whose faire tree 
The scalie-harnist Dragon ever keeps 
His uninchanted eye ; around the verge 
And sacred limits of this blissful isle, 
The jealous ocean, that old river, windes 
His farre extended armes, till with steepe fall 
Halfe his wast flood the wild Atlantique fills, 
And halfe the slow unfadorri'd Stygian poole. 

*A II the various readings of any importance in the other poems are mentioned in the 


2I 8 NOTES. 

[I doubt me, gentle mortalls, these may seeme 
Strange distances to heare and unknowne climes.]* 
But soft, I was not sent to court your wonder 
With distant worlds, and strange removed climes. 
Yet thence I come, and oft from thence behold 
5. The smoke and stir of this dim narrow spot. 
After 7. Beyond the written date of mortal! change. 
18. But to my buisnesse now. Neptune whose sway. 
21. The rule and title of each sea-girt isle. 
28. The greatest and the best of all his empire. 
45. By old or modern bard, etc. 

58. Which therefore she brought up and named him Comus. 
62. And in thick covert of black shade imbowered 

Excells his mother at her potent art. 

67. For most doe taste through weake intemperate thirst. 
72. All other parts remaining as before. 
90. Neerest and likeliest to give praesent aide. 
92. Of virgin steps. I must be viewlesse now. 

STAGE DIRECTION. Goes out. Counts enters "with a charming- 
rod and glasse of liquor, ivitk his rout all headed like some wild 
beasts ; thire garments some like melt's, and some like women's. 
They come on in a wild and antick fashion. Intrant Kw/id^ovrcf. 
97. In the steepe Tartarian streame. 
99. Shoots against the northern pole. 
108. And quick Law with her scrupulous head. 
114. Lead with swift round, etc. 
117. And on the yellow sands and shelves. 

133. And makes a blot of nature. 
And throws a blot ore all the aire. 

134. Stay thy polisht ebon chaire 
Wherein thou rid'st with Hecate, 
And favour our close jocondrie. 

Till all thy dues bee done and nought left out. 

144. With a light and frolick round. 

STAGE DIRECTION. The Measure, in a wild, rude, and wanton 

145. Break off, break off, I hear the different pace 
Of some chaste footing neere about this ground ; 
Some virgin, sure, benighted in these woods, 
Run to your shrouds within these braks and trees, 
Our number may affright. 

STAGE DIRECTION. They all scatter. 
151. Now to my trains 

And to my mother's charmes. 
154. My powdrid spells into the spungie air, 

Of power to cheat the eye with sleight [blind] illusion, 

And give it false presentments, else- the place. 

* These two lines were struck out. 


2I 9 

164. And hugge him into nets. 

175. When, for their teeming flocks and garners full, 

In wanton dance they ;idore the bounteous Pan. 
181. In the blind alleys of this arched wood. 
190. of Phoebus' chaire. 
193. They had engaged thire youthly steps too farre 

To the soone-parting light, and envious darkness 

Had stolne them from me. 
199. to give thire light. 

208. And ayrie toungs that lure night-wanderers. 
214. Thou flittering angel, girt with golden wings, 

And thou unspotted forme of chastity, 

I see ye visibly, and while I see yee 

This darkye hollow is a paradise, 

And heaven gates ore my head : now I beleeve. 
219. Would send a glistering cherub, if need were. 
229. not far hence. 
231. Within thy ayrie cell. 
243. And hold a counterpart to all heaven's harmonies. 

STAGE DIRECTION. Comns looks in and speaks. 
252. Of darkness till she smiled. 
254. Culling their powerful! herbs. 
257. Scylla would weep. 

Chicling [and chide], etc. 
268. Liv'st here with Pan, etc. 
273. To touch the prospering growth. 

279. from thire ushering hands. 

280. They left me wearied on a grassie turf. 
304. To help you find them out. 

310. Without sure steerage, etc. 

312. Dingle or bushie dell of this wide wood. 

316. Within these shroudie limits, etc. 

321. Till further quest be made. 

323. And smoakie rafters. 

326. And is pretended yet. 

327. Less warranted than this I cannot be. 
329. square this trial. 

STAGE DIRECTION. Exeunt. The Two Brothers cater. 
340. With a long levell'd rule. 
349. In this sad [lone] dungeon, etc. 

352. From the chill dew, in this dead solitude? [surrounding wild.] 
355. She leans her thoughtful! head, musing at our unkindnesse. 

Or, lost in wild amazement and affright, 

So fares as did forsaken Proserpine 

When the big rowling flakes of pitchie clouds, 

And darkness wound her in. 

i Br. Peace, brother, peace. I do not think my sister. 

361. Which grant they be so, etc. 

362. the date of grief. * 

220 2\ r OTES. 

365. this self-delusion. 

371. Could stirre the stable mood, etc. 

376. Oft seeks to solitarie sweet retire. 

384. Walks in black vapours, though the noon-tide brand 

Blaze in the summer-solstice. 
388. of men or heards. 
390. For who would rob a hermit of his beads, 

His books, or his haire-gowne, or maple-dish? 
400. bid me think. 

403. this vast and hideous wild [wide surrounding wast. 
409. Secure without all doubt or question: no, [darke, to trie 

I could be willing [Beshrew me but I would], though now i' th' 

A tough encounter [passado] with the shaggiest ruffian 

That lurks by hedge or lane of this dead circuit, 

To have her by my side, though I were sure 

She might be free from perill where she is, 

But where an equall poise, etc. 
415. As you imagine, brother. 
422. And may, on every needfull accident, 

Be it not done in pride or wilfull tempting, 

Walk through huge forrest, etc. 
425. awe of chastitie. 

427. Shall dare to soile, etc. 

428. Yea even where very desolation dwells, 

By grots and caverns shagg'd with horrid shades, 

And yawning dens where glaring monsters house, 

She may pass on, etc. 
432. Nay more, no evil thing that walks by night, 

In fog, or fire, by lake, or moorie fen, 

Blue wrinkled hag, etc. 

448. That wise Minerva wore, eternal [unvanquish'd] virgin. 
452. With suddaine adoration of her purenesse [bright rayesj. 
454. That when it finds a soul, etc. 
465. And most by the lascivious act of sin. 
471. Oft scene in charnel vaults and monuments, 

Hovering, and sitting by a newe-made grave. 
480. List, list, methought I heard. 
485. Some curl'd man of the sword [hedger], etc. 
489. Had best looke to his forehead: here be brambles. 

STAGE DIRECTION. He hallows: the guardian dcemon hallows 

again, and enters in the habit of a shepherd. 
491. Come not too neere, you fall on pointed stakes else. 
496. And sweeten'd every musk-rose of the valley. 
498. Leapt ore the penne. 
512. What feares, good shepherd ? 

523. Deep learnt [enured] in all his mother's witcheries. 
531. Tending my flocks hard by i' th' pastur'd lawns. 
545. With spreading [blowing] honeysuckle. 
553. drowsy-flighted steeds. 


555. At last a softe [still, sweet] and solemn breathing sound 

Rose like the softe steam of destill'd perfume. 
563. Too well I might, etc. 
574. The helpless innocent lady. 
606. Harpyes and Hydras, or all the monstrous buggs 

'Twixt Africa and Incle, I'le find him out, 

And force him to release his new-got prey, 

Or drag him by the curies, and cleave his scalpe 

Down to the hips. 

611. But here thy steele can do thee small availe. 
614. He with his bare wand can unquilt thy joynts, 

And crumble every sinew. 

627. And shew me simples of a thousand hues. 
636. And yet more med'cinal than that ancient Moly 

Which Mercury to wise Ulysses gave. 
648. As I will give you as we go [on the way], you may 

Boldly assault the necromantick hall ; 

Where if he be, with sudclaine violence 

And brandisht blade, rush on him, break his glasse, 

And powre the lushious potion on the ground, 

And seize his wand. 
657. I follow thee, 

And good heaven caste his best regard upon us. 

661. And you a statue fixt, as Daphne was, 
Root-bound, that fled Apollo. Why do you frown? 

662. Fool, thou art over-proud, do not boast. 
669. That youth and fancie can beget [invent], 

When the briske blood growes [returnes] lively. 
678. To life so friendly and so coole to thirst. 

Poor ladie thou hast need of some refreshing. 

Why should you, etc. 
687. Thou hast been tir'cl all day. 
689. Heere, fair virgin. 

696. Hence with thy hel-[foule-]brew'd opiate. 
698. With visor'd falshood and base forgeries. 
707. To those budge doctors of the Stoick gowne. 
712. Covering the earth with odours and with fruites, 

Cramming the seas with spawne innumerable, 

The fields with cattell and the aire with fowle. 
727. Living as Nature's bastards. 
732. The sea orefraught would heave her waters up 

Above the stars, and th' unsought diamonds 

Would so bestudcle the center with thire starre-light, 

And so imblaze the forehead of the deep, 

Were they not taken thence, that they below 

Would grow enured to day, and come at last. 
737. List, lady, be not coy nor be not cozen'd. 
744. It withers on the stalke and fades away. 
749. They had thire name thence, coarse beetle brows. 

222 NOTES. 

751. The sample. 

755. Think what, and look upon this cordeal julep. 

763. As if she meant her children, etc. . 

806. Come y' are too morall. 

807. This is mere moral] stuff, the very lees 
And settlings of a melancholy blood. 

STAGE DIRECTION. The Brothers rush in, strike his glasse doivn : 
the shapes \inonslers\ make as though they would resist, but are 
all driven in. Damon enters with them. 
814. What have you let the false enchanter pass? 
8 16. without his art rev erst. 

8 1 8. We cannot free the Lady that remains [here sits]. 
821. There is another way that may be used. 
826. Sabrina is her name,' a goddess chaste. 
834. Held up thire white wrists and receav'd her in, 

And bore her, etc. 
846. That the shrewd meddling elfe delights to leave, 

And often takes our cattel with strange pinches, 

Which she, etc. 

849. Carrol her goodness loud in lively [lovely] lays. 
851. Of pansies and of bonnie daffodils. 
853. Each clasping charme and secret holding spell. 

857. In honour'd virtue's cause [In hard distressed need]. 

858. And adde the power of some strong verse. 

860. Listen, Virgin, where thou sit'st. . ' 

895. That my rich wheeles inlayes. 

910. Vertuous I.adie, look on me. 

921. To wait on Amphitrite in her bowre. 

924. May thy crystal waves for this. 

927. That tumble downe from snovvie hills. 

948. Where this night are come in state. 

951. All the swains that near abide. 

956. Come let us haste ; the stars are high, 

But night reignes monarch yet in the mid-skie. . 

STAGE D I RKCTION. Exeunt. The Scene changes, and then is pre 
sented Lndlow town and the President's castle ; then enter coun 
try dances and suck like gambols, etc. At these sports the Dcenion, 
with the two Brothers and the Lady, enters. The Dcemon sings. 
962. Of nimbler toes and courtly [such neat] guise, 

Such as Hermes did devise. 
973. To a crown of deathless bays. 
975. STAGE DIRECTION. The Damon sings or says. 
979. Up in the plaine fields. 

982. Of Atlas [Hesperus] and his daughters [neeces] three. 

983. [Where grows the high-born gold upon his native tree].* 
988. That there eternal Summer dwells, 

990. About the myrtle alleys flings 

Balm and cassia's fragrant smells. 

* This verse was struck out. 


992. Iris there with garnisht [garisht] bow. 
995. Than her watchet scarfe can shew. 

In 2cl copy, 

Than her pujrfled scarfe can shew, 
Yellow, watchet, greene, and blew, 
And drenches oft with manna [Sabasan] clew, 
Where many a cherub soft reposes. 
1012. Now my message [buisnesse] well is done. 
1014. Farre beyond the earth's end, 

Where the welkin low [cleere] doth bend. 
1023. Heaven itself would bow to her. 


10. Who would not sing for Lycidas; he well knew. 

22. To bid faire peace, etc. 

26. Under the glimmering eyelids. 

30. Oft till the ev'n star re bright, 

Toward heaven's descent had sloapt his burnisht wheel. 
47. Or frost to flowers that their gay buttons weare [beare]. 
58. What could the golden-hayrd Calliope 

For her inchaunting son, 

When shee beheld (the gods farre sighted bee) 

His goarie scalpe rowle downe the Thracian lee. 
In the margin, for two last lines, 

Whome universal nature might lament, 

And heaven and hel deplore, 

When his divine head downe the streame was sent 
69. Hid in the tangles, etc. 
85. Oh fountain Arethuse, and thou smooth [fam'd] flood, 

Soft-sliding Mincius. 
105. Scraul'd ore with figures dim. 
129. Daily devours apace and little sed. 

138. On whose fresh lap the swart star stintly* looks. 

139. Bring hither, etc. 

142. Bring the rathe primrose that unwedded dies, 
Colouring the pale cheeke of uninjoyd love ; 
And that sad flowre that strove 
To write his own woes on the vermeil graine ; 
Next adde Narcissus that still weeps in vaine ; 
The woodbine and the pancie freakt with jet,t 
The glowing violet, 

The cowslip wan that hangs his pensive head, 
And every bud that sorrows liverie wears, J 
Let daffodillies, etc. [this line being originally before 149]. 

* There is some doubt about this word. Mr.W. A.Wright believes it to be " faintly." 
t In 146, the revision was at first "the garish columbine" before "the well-attir'd 
woodbine " was adopted, 
t First changed to " sad escutcheon beares." 



153. Let our sad thoughts, etc. 

154. Ay me, whilst thee the floods and sounding seas. 
157. Where thou perhaps under the humming tide. 
160. Sleep'st by the fable of Corineus old. 

176. Listening the unexpressive nuptial song. 


A S-, 209. awful (=fuli of awe), 134. 

budge (doctors), 181. 

accidents (logical). 213. 

ay me ! 177, 192, 196. 

build the rhyme, 189. 

accustomed oak, 155. 
Acheron, 179. 
adamantine spindle, 159. 

azurn, 185. 
Baalim, 138. 

built in the eclipse, 194. 
buskin (of tragedy), 151. 
buskined stage, 156. 

Adonis, 187. 
advanced (Braised), 187. 

Babylonian woe. 208 
balk ( = stop at), 210. 

buttons (=buds), 192. 
buxom, 146. 

adventurous glade, 165. 

bandite, 175- 

by then, 178. 

advice (= reflection), 166. 

barking waves, 170. 

a-field, 190. 

battening, 191. 

calling shapes, 169. 

airv shell, 170. 

Bayona, 197. 

Calliope, 192. 

alablaster, 180. ! be ( = are), 142. 

Came (=Camus). 142. 

Alcestis, 2o> ' Mear, outwatch the, 155. 

Camus, 194. 

ail-to, 173. beldam Nature, 213 

canker (worm), 191. 

alone (=of itself), 136. Bellerus, 196. 

Carpathian wizard, 185. 

Alpheus, 158, 195. bellman's drowsy charm, 

Casella, 203 

amain, 194. j 155 

cast the fashion, 173. 

Amaryllis, 193 benison, 171. 

casting pearl to hogs. 202. 

amber-dropping, 184. bespake, 135, 194. 

cease (causative), 134. 

ambrosial weeds, 163. i bestead, 152. 

cedarn, 187. 

amorous on, 211. i bid (=bade), 135. 

celestial Sirens, 159. 

Amphitrite, 186. | bird of hate, 199. 

Celtic and Iberian fields, 

Anchises' line, 186. j birds of calm, 135. 


angel quire, 134. bitter cross, 183. 

centre (of earth), 173. 

antique (accent), 157. blabbing eastern scout, 167 

Cephalus. 157. 

Anubis, 139. blaze ( = blazon), 160, 210. 

Cerberus, 146. 

Apis, 139. ', blear, 167. 

chamberlin, 216. 

Apollo, unshorn, 213. blench, 175. 

charactered (accent 1 , 175, 

apparition (metre), 180. < blind Fury, 193. 


Aquilo, 211. I blind mouths, 195. 

chariot, hooked, 134. 

A ready, star of, 172. 
Arethuse, 158, 193. 

bloomy, 199. 
blue-haired deities, 164. 

charms (carmina), 200. 
Cheek, Sir John, 202. 

as (=as if), 135, 216. bolt (arguments), 182. 
Ashtaroth, 138, 187 boots ( avails), 192. 

Cimmerian, 146. 
Circe's island, 164. 

aspect (accent), 181. 

bosky, 171. 

civil- suited, 156. 

asphodel, 184. 

bourn. 171 

clear (=noble), 193- 

assays (= trials), 186 

bout (=turn), 151. 

cloister's pale, 157. 

Assyrian queen, 187 

bowed welkin, 187. 

close (-cadence), 136, 178. 

Astrasa, 137, 212. 

bower (=chamber), 164, 186. 

clouted shoon, 180. 

Atropos, 141. 
attendance (= attendants), 


breathing( relaxation), 216 
bright-haired Vesta, 153. 
bright-harnessed, 140. 

coffers, 212. 
Colkitto, 202- 
colonel (trisyllable), 200. 

Attic boy, 15?- 

brinded, 176. 

commercing, 154- 

Attic taste, of, 204. 

broad rumour, 193. 

committing (^confounding), 

attired with stars, 143- 

brown ( dark), 189. 


Avon, 2t4- 

Brute (=Brutus), 184. 

complete (accent"), 175. 

a\ve-strook, 171 

brute earth, 183. 1 complexions (metre), 182. 


Comus (derivation,', 164. 

diapason, 144. 

first-moving sphere, 211. 

concent, 144. 

dight, 147, 157. 

flamuns, 13*. 

congealed (accent), 176. 

dingle, 171 . 

flaming ] ov\ers, 214. 

conscience (^conscious 

disinherit, 172. 

flashy, 195. 

ness), 208. 

divide to sing, 214. 

flower-inwoven tresses, 138. 

conscience (trisyllable), 169. 
consent, 156. 

divine (accent', 176. 
dodged with him. 216. 

flowery-kirtled, 170. 
fond (=foolish), 152, 165. 

consort, 137, 144, 157. 

dog (verb), 174. . 

fondly (^foolishly), 192, 

contagion (metre, 1 , 176. 

dolphins (wafting youth), 


Contemplation, 154, 173. 


for (^notwithstanding), 135, 

converse (accent), 176. 

Doric, 198. 


Corineus, 196. 

down steering, 138. 

forsook (=forsaken), 156, 

corners of the moon, 187- 

Dragon, Old, 138. 


Corydon, 148. 

dragon womb, 107. 

freaked, 196. 

Cotytto, 1 68. 
courtesy (derivation), 172. 

drouth, 165. 
drowsy frighted steeds, 178. 

free (generous), 159. 
freezed, 176. 

cranks, 146. 

drudging goblin, 150. 

Friar's lantern, 149. 

Cremona, 215. 

Dryades, 186. 

frieze (cloth), 182. 

crisped (shades), 187. 

duck or nod, 186. 

frounced, 156. 

cross dire -looking planet, 

due (feet), 157. 

Fury (Fate), 193. 

j r^Y 

Dun (river), 214. 

crowned Fortune, 206. 

D unbar field, 206. 

gadding vine, 191. 

crow- toe, 196. 

Galasp, 202. 

crystal spheres, 136. 

Earth's sons, 212. 

garish, 157. 

curfew. 155. 

earth-shaking Neptune, 185 

gear, 168. 

curl the grove, 159- 

eastern gate, 147. 

Genius, 157. 

curls, 179. 

eating cares. 151. 

gentle, 158. 

curses, rigged with, 194 

eclipse (built in). 194. 

girt (^equipped), 169. 

Cybele, 158. 

Edwards, shallow, 209. 

glade, 165. 

Cyllene, 160. 

eglantine, 147. 

glancing star, 165. 

Cynic tub, 181. 

eld, 211. 

Glaucus, 185. 

Cynosure, 148, 172. 

element (=air). 171 

pfisterine, 169. 

Cynthia, 155. 

Emalhian conqueror, 200. glistering foil, 193. 

cypress-bud, 141. 

embowed, 157. glozing, 167. 

cypress lawn, 154. 

emprise, 170. 

golden key (of heaven), 163- 

engine, two-handed, 195. 

golden slumber, ici. 

Dagon, 138. 

enow, 183, 194. golden-winged host, 212- 

daintiest, 212. 

Ens. 213. got ( = begotten), 215. 

dainty limbs, 181. 

enthroned (accent), 163. gowns, not arms, 207. 

daisies pied, 148. 

En vermeil, 211. 

grain (-dye), 153, 182. 

Damostas, 191. 

Erebus, 183. 

granges, 168. 

Dante (and Casella), 203. 

Erymanthus, 160. 

gray-fly, iqo. 

Daphne, 180. 

Erythraean main, 210. 

gray- hooded Even, 168. 

dapper. 166. 

Enphrosvne. 146. 

green-eyed, 213, 

dappled dawn, 147. j even (r=equai.i. 199 grim aspects, 181. 

dares not give her odds, 158. excess (r transgression), 2 14. j grim wolf ( = Rome), 195. 

Darwen, 206. extreme (accent), 171, grisly, 139, 179. 

dashed, 176. extreme shift, 171. guarded mount, the, 196. 

daughters of Necessity, 159. 

eyelids (of Morn), 190. J Guendolen, 184. 

day-star ( = snn). 197 

eyne, 139. 

deadly forfeit, our, 133. 

hajmony, 180. 

debonair, 146. 

fair and free, 146. 

hall or bower, 164. 

decent, 154. 

fairly ( = gently), 168. 

Hammon, 139. 

Dee, the, 214. 

Fairy Mab, 149. 

happy-making sight, 143. 

dell, 171. 

fall (=rcadence), 170. 

Harpies, 179. 

Delphic, 140. 

false north, 205. 

have (rhyme), 142, 170, 185- 

Demodocus, 213. 

fantastics, 212 

hearse, 142, 196. 

demons (Plato's), 156. 

Fauns, 191. 

heave (of head), 151, 185. 

demure, 153. 

Favomus, 204. 

heavenly brood, 2 i 2. 

descry (=disclose), 167. 

feastfui, 200. 

heaviness (play upon). 216- 

Deva. 192. 

fence (figurative), 183. heavy plummet's pace. 143 

dew-besprent, 178. 

fiery-wheeled throne, 154. Hebe, 171,213. 

dewy-feathered Sleep, 157. firmament. 179. Hccat', 167. 



Hecate, 178. ] kerchiefed, 157. | Mole (river), 214. 

Helicon, 142. 

knows to still, 165. Moloch, 139. 

help waste (time), 204. 

moly, 1 80. 

herald of the sea, 193. 

laboured, 172. 

Mona, 192. 

Hermes, 180. 

lackey (verb), 176. 

monstrous, 196. 

Hermes, thrice-great, 155. 

Ladon, 160. 

monumental oak, 157. 

Hesperian tree, 174. 

L Allegro, US- 

more weight, 216. 

high and nether Jove, 164. 

languished, 141. 

morrice, 166. 

hilly crofts, 178. 

lap (=wrap), 151, 170. ; mortal change, 163. 

Hippotades, 194- 

large recompense, 198. ' mountaineer, 175. 

hifeling wolves, 206. 

Lars, 138. mourneth, 170. 

his (its), 1 80. 

Latona, 158. murmurs (= charms), 159, 

hist along, 154. 
hit (_^meet), 152. 

laureate, 196. 177. 
lavish ( profligate), 176. Musasus, 156. 

hollow states, 207. 

lawn, 135, 148, 178. 190. j muse (== poet), 190. 

holy sages (prophets), 133. 

Lea, the, 214. 

home-felt, 170. 

leayy, 171. 

Namancos. 197. 

homely (derivation), 182. 

legions (trisyllable). 179. 

Narcissus, 170. 

honeyed thigh (of bee), 157. 

Lemures, 138. 

navel ( centre', 177. 

hooked chariot, 134. 

Leucothea. 185. 

Neasra, 193. 

hope that reaps not shame, 

license they mean, etc, 202. 

Necessity, daughters of, 159. 


lies (- lays), 150, 215- 

nectared head, 2 1 2. 

horn, tasselled, 159. 

lies (= lodges), 148. 

nepenthes, 180. 

how chance? 177. 

Ligea. 185. 

Nereus, 184, 185. 

huddling (brook), 177. 

liquorish, 181. 

new-fangled, 212. 

Humber, the, 214. 

ime-twigs, 180. 

new-spangled ore, 197. 

hutched, i&i. 

listen (transitive), 178. 

next joy, his, 177. 

Hyacinth, 194, 211. 

little reckoning made, 180. 

night-foundered. 177. 

Hymen, 151. 

Locrine, 184. 

night-raven, 146. 

love-lorn, 170. 

night-steeds, 140. 

Iberian fields, 164. 

low-roosted lark, 172. 

ninefold harmony, 137. 

icy-pearled, 211. 

lubber fiend, 150. 

nine infolded spheres, 139. 

ill is lost, 171- 

Lucina, 141. 

noise (music), 136, 144. 

// Penseroso, 145. 

Lycaeus, 160. 

not (=not even), 139. 

imbodies, 176. 

Lycidas, 189. 

nursed in princely lore, 164. 

imbrutes, 176. 

Lydian airs, 151. 

nut-brown ale, 149. 

imp (verb), 206. 

increase (play upon), 216. 

Mab, 149. 

oat (r^flute), 193. 

Ind, 179. 

Macdonnel, 201. 

oaten flute, 191. 

individual, 143. 

Masnalus, 160. 

oaten stops, 172. 

infamous, 175, 211. 

margent, 170. obedient to the moon, 216. 

in fee, 202. 

mask (masque), 215. ocean (trisyllable), 135. 

infer (=argue). 174. 

massv-proof, 157. Oceanus, 185. 

influence, 135, 151, 172- 

Meander, 170. o'erfraught, 182. 

innumerous, 172. 

med'cinal, 180. 

Og, 210. 

insphered, 163. 

meditate (minstrelsy), 178. 

ominous, 165. 

in spite of sorrow, 147. 
interwove ( = interwoven), 

meditate (the Muse), 193. 
Medway (river), 214. 

on (=of), 211. 
oracles are dumb, the, 138. 

. 178. 

Melibceus, 183. 

or ere, 135. 

invert, 181. 

melodious tear, 190. 

orient (^bright), 165. 

invisible, 213. 

Memnon's sister, 152. 

orient ( eastern), 139. 

iron stakes (=swords), 177. 

Memphian grove, 139. 

Orpheus, 156, 192. 

iron tears, 156. 

mickle, 164. 

Orus, 139. 

Iris, 187. 

Midas' ears, 203. 

Osiris, 139. 

Isis, 139. 

milder, 203. 

otherwhere, 215. 

it recks me not, 174. 

mildew blast, 180. 

Ouse, the, 214. 

its, 136. 

Mile-End Green, 201. 

outwatch the Bear, 155. 

mincing, 186. 

over-exquisite, 172. 

ElUS, 146. 

Mincius, 193. 

(=joyous), 199. 
on's learned sock, 151. 
julep, 180. 

minute-drops, 1 57. 
mistook (^mistaken), 158. 
mitred locks (of Peter), 194. 

pale (enclosure), 157. 
pall (=robe), 156. 
palmer, 169. 

junkets, 149. 

moist vows, 196. 

Pan, 135, 168. 


Panope, 194. 

reck (impersonal). 174, 195. ' 

parley (=speech\ 170. 

removed (retired), 155. ; 

Parthenope, 185. 

resolve (=inform), 211. 

Pelops' line, 156. 

rife (^prevalent), 169. 

pensioners, 152. 
Peor, 138. 

rites (spelling), 166. 
Rivers, 213. 

period (^sentence), 178. 
perplexed (accent), 164. 

rod reversed (magic), 183. 
room (=place), 135. 

pert ( brisk), 166. 

rosy twine, 166. 

pestered, 163. 

rouse (intransitive), 172. 

Pharian, 210. 

rove (in archery), 203. 

Phoebus (song), 215. 

royal-towered Thame, 214. 

phylacteries, 210. 

ruddy waves, 210. 

pied, 148. 
pierce (rhyme), 144, 151. 

rugged (Dragged), 194. 
rule (=:ray), 172. 

piled thunder, 213. 
pilot of the Galilean lake, 

ruth (=pity), 197, 200. 
Ruth (rhyme), 200. 


Rutherford, 209. 

pinfold, 163. 

plaining, 215. 

sable-stoled, 139, 154. 

pledge (child), 194. 

Sabrina, 184. 

plight ( condition ), 154, 

sacred well (of Muses), 190. 


sad occasion dear, 189. 

plighted (^folded), 171. 

sadly (=seriously), 177. 

plumes (verb), 173. 
pollute (^polluted), 134. 

sampler, 182. 
sanguine flower, inscribed 

pomp (= procession), 151. 
poplar pale, 138. 

with woe, 194. 
sapphire - coloured throne, 

port (^bearing), 171. 


pranked, 182. 

Satyrs, 191. 

predicament, 213. 

saws (maxims), 166. 

prefixed, 212. 
presbyter (derivation), 210. 

sceptred pall, 156. 
Scotch What-d'ye-call, 2-9. 

presenting (personating), 

scrannel, 195. 


scrip, 179. 

pressed to death, 216. 

Scylla, 170. 

prevent (^anticipate), 134. 

seat of Jove, 190. 

preventive, 209- 
priest (derivation), 210. 

secular chains, 206. 
secure (free from care), 

principles, 216. 


printless feet, 185. 

seeks to, 173. 

prisoned, 170. 
profaner (Latinism. 1 , 157. 
proportion (metre), 183. 

seize (legal), 142. 
self-delusion (metre*, 173. 
sensualty, 177. 

prospective-glass, 213 

Seon, 210. 

Proteus, 185. 

sepulchred (accent), 140. 

puissant (dissyllable), 159. i sere, 189. 

pulse (beans, etc.), 182. serene (accent*, 163. 

purchase ( acquisition ), 

session (trisyllable), 138. 


several (separate), 139, 

purer fire, 166. 


purfled, 187. 

Severn, the, 184, 214. 

shakecl, 214. 

quaint, 138, 167, 195. 

shatter ( scatter), 189. 

quills, 198. 

sheen, 137, 142, 185, 187. 

Quintilian, 202. 

shell (of air), 170. 

quips, 146. 

shew'th (rhyme), 199. 

shoon, 1 80. 

radiant state, 158 

shores ( = shallows), 196. 

ragged (Drugged). 14^. 

should (could 1 , 177. 

rathe, 196. 

shroud (verb), 172. 

rear (of head), 184. 

shrouds (noun), 167. 

rebecks, 149. 

side (=womb), 187. 

' siding, 169. 
, Silvan, 157. 
' simples, 179. 

single (=mere), 169. 

Sirens (Muses), 159. 

Sirens (with Circe), 170. 

siaughtering pestilence, 212. 

sliding (^gliding), 134, 185. 

slip (=plant), 141. 

slope (adjective), 165. 

sloped, 191. 

smooth-sliding, 193. 

so to seek, 173 

sock (of comedy), 151. 

sooth, 212. 

soothest, 183. 

sorry grain, 182. 

sounds and seas, 166. 

sour (figurative), 166. 

sovran, 135, 164, 180. 

spare (=refrain), 204. 

spare Temperance, 183. 

speckled (Vanity), 137. 

sped, 195. 

spell (=study), 158. 

spets, 167. 

sphere (air), 143. 

sphere-born, 143. 

sphere-metal, 216. 

spheres ( Ptolemaic ), 
i3 6 ) 37. '59- 

sphery chime, 188. 

spongy (air), 167. 

spreading favour, 168. 

spruce, 187. 

spun out of Iris' woof, 165. 

square (^adjust), 172. 

squint suspicion, 174. 

stabled wolves, 178. 

stall-readers, 201. 

star of Arcady, 172. 

star-proof, 160. 

starred Ethiop queen, 152. 

starry quire, 166. 

star-ypointing, 140. 

state (=stately bearing), 154. 

state (= stately progress), 

state (=throne), 160. 

stead, 179. 

steep (=deep), 165. 

still ( ever), 178, 199, 214. 

still (=gentle), 157, 215. 

stir (^disturb), 173. 

Stoics, 181. 

stole (=scarf), 153. 

stole (=stolen), 169. 

stops (of flute), 198. 

store (of ladies), 150. 

stoned. 157. 

strangled. 182. 

strong siding, 169. 

strook, 136. 



Stygian, 146. 
sublime (accent), 183. 
substance (logical), 213- 
such (omitted), 157. 
sun in bed (rising), 139. 
sunshine holiday, 149, 186. 
superscription, 216. 
supreme (accent), 169. 
suspicion (metre), 174. 
swart, 176. 
swart star, 195. 
Swede (plural), 205. 
sweet-briar, 147. 
sweet poison of misused 

wine, 164. 

sweetest Shakespeare, 151. 
swilled, 168. 
swinges, 138. 
swinked, 171. 

Syrian shepherdess, the, 142. 
Syrinx, 160. 

taint-worm, 191. 

tasselled horn, 159. . 

tells his tale, 142 

term (termination), 216. 

Tethys, 185. 

Tetrachordon, 201. 

Thaine (=Tliames), 214. 

Thammuz, 139. 

than (=then), 135. 

that (=so that), 151, 178. 

Thebes, 156. 

Themis, 205. 

three years' day, 208. 

thrice-great Hermes, 155. 

thrice (in magic), 185. 

thunderous throne, 213. 

thwarting thunder, 159. 

Thyrsis, 148. 

tinsel-slippered, 185. 

tissued. 138. 

to see to, 179. 

took (=taken), 136, 178. 

top of heaven, 165. 

to-ruffled, 173. 

touched my trembling ears, 


toy (= trifle), 177. 
trace (=track), 175. 
trains (allurements), 167. 
Trent (city), 209. 
Trent (river), 214. 

tresses (=foliage), 186. 

utmost shifts, 179. 

tricked (=adorned), 156, 197. 

utmost Tweed, 213. 

triple tyrant, 208. 
Triton. 185. 

velvet head, 185. 

triumphs (shows), 150. 

vermeil-tinctured, 182. 

Troy divine, tl 

IB tale of, 1 56. 

viewless, 165, 215. 

truth would s 

et them free, 

virgin quire, 141. 


virtue (^valour), 205. 

turkis, 185. 

virtuous (powerful), 156, 

turning sphere 

, 134- 


turtle (=dove), 134- 
Tuscan mariners trans 

vision (trisyllable), 171, 176- 
vision of the guarded mount. 

formed, 164 


'twas (=he W3 

S), 2 1 6. 

Vulcan, sons of, 180. 

Tweed (river), 


twice-battered god, 138. 
twilight groves, 157- 
twitched his mantle, 198. 

wain (play upon), 216. 
wakes ( vigils), 166. 
walls of glass, 210. 

two-handed engine, 195. 

wanton heed, 151. 

Tyne (river), 2 


warbled string, 160. 

Typhon, 139. 

warbled to the string, 156. 

Tyrian Cynosure, 17^. 

wardrobe (spelling), 192. 

warranted, 172. 

unadorned. 16 


wassailers, 168. 

unblenched, 171;. 

watchful fire, 213. 

uncessant, 192 

weeds ( = garments), 1 50, 164, 

uncouth, 198. 

174, 212. 



weltering, 136, 190. 

unexempt, 181 

westering, 191. 


136, 197 

what (=who), 177. 


what (=why), 140, 173. 

union (trisyllable), 136. 

wh?t time, 171, 190. 

unknown, 179. 

whenas, 143. 

unlaid ghost, 


wheeling poles, 212. 

unmoulding, i 


whilere, 2t4- 

unowned, 174. 

whilome, 184. 



whist ( hushed), 135. 

! unrazored, 171 

willing chains, 213. 

unreproved. r^ 


wind me, 168. 

unshorn Apollo, 213. 

winged warriors, 214. 

unshowered, i 


wink on, 174. 

unsphere, 155. 

wizards ( wise men), 134. 

unstained with gold or fee, 

womb (belly), 143. 


wont (past tense). 133. 

i unsteady Nature, 159- 

Worcester's laureate wreath, 

unsunned, 174 


unthread thy joints, 179. 

wormy bed, 211. 

un wares, 211. 

wove (= woven), 159. 

unweeting, 17? 

3, 211. 

wreathed (smiles), 146. 

unwithdrawing, 181.. 
urchin-blasts, 184. 

ychained, 138. 

use (=be accu 

stomed', 193. 

yclept, 146. 

use (=haunt), 


youngest-teemed, 140. 



The Merchant of Venice. 

The Tempest. 

Julius Caesar. 


As You Like It. 

Henry the Fifth. 


Henry the Eighth. 

A Midsummer-Night's Dream. 

Richard the Second. 

Richard the Third. 

Much Ado About Nothing. 

Antony and Cleopatra. 

Romeo and Juliet. 


Twelfth Night. 

The Winter's Tale. 

King John. 

Henry IV. Part I. 

Henry IV. Part II. 

King Lear. 

The Taming of the Shrew. 

All's Well That Ends Well. 


Comedy of Errors. 


Merry Wives of Windsor. 

Measure for Measure. 

Two Gentlemen of Verona. 

Love's Labor 's Lost. 

Timon of Athens. 

Henry VI. Part I. 

Henry VI. Part II. 

Henry VI. Part III. 

Troilus and Cressida. 

Pericles, Prince of Tyre. 

The Two Noble Kinsmen. 



Titus Andronicus. 

Illustrated. i6mo, Cloth, 56 cents per vol. ; Paper, 40 cents per vol. 

FRIENDLY EDITION, complete in 20 vols., i6mo, Cloth, $30 oo ; 

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In the preparation of this edition of the English Classics it has been 
the aim to adapt them for school and home reading, in essentially the 
same way as Greek and Latin Classics are edited for educational pur 
poses. The chief requisites are a pure text (expurgated, if necessary), 
and the notes needed for its thorough explanation and illustration. 

Each of Shakespeare's plays is complete in one volume, and is pre 
ceded by an Introduction containing the " History of the Play," the 
"Sources of the Plot," and " Critical Comments on the Play." 

From HORACE HOWARD FURNESS, Ph.D., LL.D., Editor of the "New 
Variorum Shakespeare." 

No one can examine these volumes and fail to be impressed with the 
conscientious accuracy and scholarly completeness with which they are 
edited. The educational purposes for which the notes are written Mr. 
Rolfe never loses sight of, but like "a well-experienced archer hits the 
mark his eye doth level at." 

Rolfe s Shakespeare. 

From F. J. FURNIVALL, Director of the New Shakspere Society, London. 

The merit I see in Mr. Rolfe's school editions of Shakspere's Plays 
over those most widely used in England is that Mr. Rolfe edits the plays 
as works of a poet, and not only as productions in Tudor English. Some 
editors think that all they have to do with a play is to state its source 
and explain its hard words and allusions ; they treat it as they would a 
charter or a catalogue of household furniture, and then rest satisfied. 
But Mr. Rolfe, while clearing up all verbal difficulties as carefully as any 
Dryasdust, always adds the choicest extracts he can find, on the spirit 
and special " note " of each play, and on the leading characteristics of its 
chief personages. He does not leave the student without help in getting 
at Shakspere's chief attributes, his characterization and poetic power. 
And every practical teacher knows that while every boy can look out 
hard words in a lexicon for himself, not one in a score can, unhelped, 
catch points of and realize character, and feel and express the distinctive 
individuality of each play as a poetic creation. 

From Prof. EDWARD DOWDEN, LL.D., of the University of Dublin, 
A nthor of ' ' Shakspere : His Mind and Art" 

I incline to think that no edition is likely to be so useful for school 
and home reading as yours. Your notes contain so much accurate in 
struction, with so little that is superfluous ; you do not neglect the aes 
thetic study or the plays ; and in externals, paper, type, binding, etc. , you 
make a book " pleasant to the eye " (as well as "to be desired to make 
one wise ") no small matter, I think, with young readers and with old. 

From EDWIN A. ABBOTT, M.A., Author of ' " Shakespearian Grammar" 

I have not seen any edition that compresses so much necessary infor 
mation into so small a space, nor any that so completely avoids the 
common faults of commentaries on Shakespeare needless repetition, 
superfluous explanation, and unscholar-like ignoring of difficulties. 

From HIRAM CORSON, M.A., Professor of Anglo-Saxon and English 
Literature, Cornell University, Ithaca, IV. Y. 

In the way of annotated editions of separate plays of Shakespeare for 
educational purposes, I know of none quite up to Rolfe's. 

Rolfe's Shakespeare. 

From Prof. F. J. CHILD, of Harvard University. 

I read your " Merchant of Venice" with my class, and found it in 
every respect an excellent edition. I do not agree with my friend White 
in the opinion that Shakespeare requires but few notes that is, if he is 
to be thoroughly understood. Doubtless he may be enjoyed, and many 
a hard place slid over. Your notes give all the help a young student 
requires, aid yet the reader for pleasure will easily get at just what he 
wants. You have indeed been conscientiously concise. 

Under date of July 25, 1879, Pr f- CHILD adds ; Mr. Rolfe's editions 
of plays of Shakespeare are very valuable and convenient books, whether 
for a college class or for private study. I have used them with my 
students, and I welcome every addition that is made to the series. They 
show care, research, and good judgment, and are fully up to the time in 
scholarship. I fully agree with the opinion that experienced teachers 
have expressed of the excellence of these books. 

From Rev. A. P. PEABODY, D.D. , Professor in Harvard University. 

I regard your own work as of the highest merit, while you have turned 
the labors of others to the best possible account. I want to have the 
higher classes of our schools introduced to Shakespeare chief of all, and 
then to other standard English authors ; but this cannot be done to 
advantage unless under a teacher of equally rare gifts and abundant 
leisure, or through editions specially prepared for such use. I trust that 
you will have the requisite encouragement to proceed with a work so 
happily begun. 

From the Examiner and Chronicle, N. Y. 

We repeat what we have often said, that there is no edition of Shake 
speare which seems to us preferable to Mr. Rolfe's. As mere specimens 
of the printer's and binder's art they are unexcelled, and their other 
merits are equally high. Mr Rolfe, having learned by the practical 
experience of the class-room what aid the average student really needs 
in order to read Shakespeare intelligently, has put just that amount of 
aid into his notes, and no more. Having said what needs to be said, he 
stops there. It is a rare virtue in the editor of a classic, and we are 
proportionately grateful for it. 

Rolfe's Shakespeare. 

From the N. Y. Times. 

This work has been done so well that it could hardly have been done 
better. It shows throughout knowledge, taste, discriminating judgment, 
and, what is rarer and of yet higher value, a sympathetic appreciation 
of the poet's moods and purposes. 

From the Pacific School Journal, San Francisco. 

This edition of Shakespeare's plays bids fair to be the most valuable 
aid to the study of English literature yet published. For educational 
purposes it is beyond praise. Each of the plays is printed in large clear 
type and on excellent paper. Every difficulty of the text is clearly ex 
plained by copious notes. It is remarkable how many new beauties one 
may discern in Shakespeare with the aid of the glossaries attached to 
these books. . . . Teachers can do no higher, better work than to incul 
cate a love for the best literature, and such books as these will best aid 
them in cultivating a pure and refined taste. 

From the Christian, Union, A T . Y. 

Mr. W. J. Rolfe's capital edition of Shakespeare ... by far the best 
edition for school and parlor use. We speak after some practical use of 
it in a village Shakespeare Club. The notes are brief but useful ; and 
the necessary expurgations are managed with discriminating skill, 

From tJie Academy, London. 

Mr. Rolfe's excellent series of school editions of the Plays of Shake 
speare. . . . They differ from some of the English ones in looking on the 
plays as something more than word -puzzles. They give the student 
helps and hints on the characters and meanings of the plays, while the 
word-notes are also full and posted up to the latest date. . . . Mr. Rolfe 
also adds to each of his books a most useful "Index of Words and 
Phrases Explained." 


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Mr. Rolfe has done his work in a manner that comes as near to per 
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competent to instruct all in it ; and readers will find an immense amount 
of knowledge in his elegant volume, all set forth in the most admirable 
order, and breathing the most liberal and enlightened spirit, he being a 
warm appreciator of the divinity of genius. Boston Traveller. 

The great merit of these books lies in their carefully edited text, and in 
the fulness of their explanatory notes. Mr. Rolfe is not satisfied with 
simply expounding, but he explores the entire field cf English literature, 
and therefrom gathers a multitude of illustrations that are interesting in 
themselves and valuable as a commentary on the text. He not only in 
structs, but stimulates his readers to fresh exertion ; and it is this stimu 
lation that makes his labor so productive in the school-room. Saturday 
Evening Gazette^ Boston. 

Mr. William J. Rolfe, to whom English literature is largely indebted 
for annotated and richly illustrated editions of several of Shakespeare's 
Plays, has treated the " Select Poems of Thomas Gray " in the same way 
just as he had previously dealt with the best of Goldsmith's poems.-- 
Philadelphia Press. 

Mr. Rolfe's edition of Thomas Gray's select poems is marked by the 
same discriminating taste as his other classics. Springfield Republican. 

Mr. Rolfe's rare abilities as a teacher and his fine scholarly tastes ena 
ble him to prepare a classic like this in the best manner for school use. 
There could be no better exercise for the advanced classes in our schools 
than the critical study of our best authors, and the volumes that Mr. Rolfe 
has prepared will hasten the time when the study of mere form will give 
place to the study of the spirit of our literature. Louisville Courier- 

An elegant and scholarly little volume. Christian Intelligencer^ N. V 


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Probably no critic yet has gone to the heart of Browning's true signifi 
cance as does Miss Hersey. There is something in the fineness of her 
insight and her subtle, spiritual sympathy that truly interprets him, while 
others write in a more or less scholarly manner about him. Miss Mer 
sey's work indicates the blending of two exceptional qualities the po 
etic sympathy and the critical judgments. She feels intuitively all the 
poet's subtle meanings , she is responsible to them by virtue of temper 
ament ; yet added to this is the critical faculty, keen, logical, and con 
structive. r Boston Traveller. 

To say that the selections have been made by Mr. Rolfe is to say that 
they have not only been made by a careful and accurate scholar, but by 
a man of pure and beautiful taste. . . . The Notes, which fill some 
thirty pages, are admirable in their scope and brevity. N. Y. Mail and 

We can conscientiously say that both the arrangement of the selec 
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work is well fitted to charm the poet's established admirers, and to 
awaken in others who have not been among these a new sense of 
Browning's strength and beauty as a writer. Hartford Times. 

The " Select Poems of Robert Browning " is a marvel of industrious 
editing, wise, choice, and excellent judgment in comment. . . . An intro 
duction, a brief account of Browning's life and works, a chronological 
table of his works, and a series of extiacted critical comments on the 
poet, precede the series of selections. Besides these there are at the end 
of the book very extensive, valuable, and minutely illustrative notes, to 
gether with addenda supplied by Browning himself on points which the 
editors were unable fully to clear up. N. Y. Star. 


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MAS. By ROBERT BROWNING. Edited, with notes, by 
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Prepared in the same thorough manner as the previous volume upon 
the Select Poems of the same author and the numerous manuals of Mr. 
Rolfe. No poet needs, for the average reader, such an interpretation 
as is here given more than Browning. Read carefully, with reference to 
the notes of the editors, the richness of the great poet's thoughts and 
fancies will he the better apprehended. Zion's Herald, Boston. 

Out of the eight dramas which the poet wrote between 1837 and 1845 
the three most characteristic ones have been selected, and a full idea of 
his dramatic power may be gained from them. A synopsis of critical 
opinions of Mr. Browning's works is included in the volume. The same 
careful scholarship that marked Professor Rolfe's editions of Shakespeare 
is shown in this edition of Browning. The lovers of the poet will be 
pleased to have old favorites in this attractive form, while many new 
readers will be attracted to the author by it. Robert Browning will fill 
a larger space in the world's eye in the future than he has done already. 
Brooklyn Union. 

The introduction and notes are all that could be desired. N. Y. Sun. 

The book itself is not only a compact compilation of the three plays, 
but it is valuable for the commentatory notes. The editing work has 
been done in an able manner by Professor Rolfe and Miss Hersey, who 
has gained a high place among the modern Browning students. Phila 
delphia Bulletin. 

This dainty volume, with flexible covers and red edges, contains not 
merely Browning's dramas, with the author's latest emendations and cor 
rections, but notes and estimates, critical and explanatory, in such vol 
ume, and from sources so exalted, that we have not the temerity to add 
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trated. i6mo, Paper, 40 cents ; Cloth, 56 cents. (Uni 
form with Rolfe's Shakespeare^} 

The carefully arranged editions of " The Merchant of Venice " and 
other of Shakespeare's plays prepared by Mr. William J. Rolfe for the 
use of students will be remembered with pleasure by many readers, and 
they will welcome another volume of a similar character from the same 
source, in the form of the " Select Poems of Oliver Goldsmith," edited 
with notes fuller than those of any other known edition, many of them 
original with the editor. Boston Transcript. 

Mr. Rolfe is doing very useful work in the preparation of compact 
hand-books for study in English literature. His own personal culture 
and his long experience as a teacher give him good knowledge of what 
is wanted in this way. The Coitgregationalist, Boston. 

Mr. Kolfe has prefixed to the Poems selections illustrative of Gold 
smith's character as a man, and grade as a poet, from sketches by Ma- 
caulay, Thackeray, George Colman, Thomas Campbell, John Forster, 
and Washington Irving. He has also appended at the end of the 
volume a body of scholarly notes explaining and illustrating the poems, 
and dealing with the times in which they were written, as well as the 
incidents and circumstances attending their composition. Christian 
Intelligencer, N. Y. 

The notes are just and discriminating in tone, and supply all that is 
necessary either for understanding the thought of the severr.1 poems, or 
for a critical study of the language. The use of such books in the school 
room cannot but contribute largely towards putting the study of English 
literature upon a sound basis ; and many an adult reader would find in 
the present volume an excellent opportunity for becoming critically ac 
quainted with one of the greatest of last century's poets. Applelorf* 
Journal, N. Y. 


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This pleasing work is made up of citations from the poets, accom 
panied with easy and familiar discussions of their merits and peculiari 
ties. Seven afternoons are thus agreeably occupied, and take the shape 
of as many interesting chapters. The participants are the " Professor' 
and his pupil, who are represented as on terms of the utmost intimacy, 
and express their sentiments to each other with perfect freedom. * * * 
Mr. Deshler has happily selected the sonnet, and confined his view of 
the poets to their productions in this single species of verse. * * * The 
author's extensive research has been accompanied by minute scrutiny, 
faithful comparison, and judicious discrimination. His critical observa 
tions are frank, honest, good-natured, yet just, discreet, comprehensive, 
and full of instruction. It would be difficult to find a volume that in so 
small a compass offers equal aid for the cultivation of literary taste, and 
for reaching an easy acquaintance with all the great poets of the Eng 
lish tongue. The style is pure and transparent, and though colloquial 
in form, it is exceedingly correct and elegant, embodying every chaste 
adornment of which language is capable. Boston Transcript. 

A very unconventional and pleasant book. N. Y. Herald. 

The substance of the book is decidedly meritorious, far bettor than 
most of the criticism published in these days. It shows careful study, 
extensive reading, a nice taste and discrimination, and also a genuine 
appreciation and insight which are rare. N. Y. Evening Express. 

A volume of much literary interest, and is very pleasantly written.* * * 
Mr. Deshler's discussions of literature are extremely interesting. * * * It 
will be a source of enjoyment to all who have a taste for poetry, and can 
appreciate the highest triumphs of poetic art as displayed in the sonnet. 
Hartford Post. 

We have to thank Mr. Deshler for a collection of some of the most 
exquisite sonnets in the English language, with an animated, apprecia 
tive, and suggestive comment which shows a fine poetical taste and is an 
interesting and instructive guide in a charming field. N. Y. Mail. 


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cf trice. 

Milton, John 

3552 The minor poems of John 

R6 Milton