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Palgrave's Golden Treasury 
of Songs and Lyrics 

Books I.-IV. 

Macmillan and Co., Limited 

New York : The Macmillan Company 


A U rights reserved 





\^. ov, 'xo i 



Abbott, &ff.= Abbott, Shakespearean Grammar, A. S.= Anglo-Saxon, A.V.=f 
AuthoriBod Version of Bible, adj. = adjective, cp.= compare, D.N.B. = Dic- 
tionary of National Biography, Fr. = French, 6er.= German, Lat.= Latin, 
l.=line, N.E.D.=New English Dictionary (Oxford), O.K. = Old Englisb, 
O. F. = Old French, 8. = Scottish, trans. = translated by. Notes borrowed from 
Mr. F. T. Palgrave are enclosed in inverted commas and followed by his 
initials (F.T.F.). Poems in Book I. are referred to by their number in this 
volume, thus— No. 26 ; poems in other books of the Golden Treasury arc 
referred to by their number in the complete edition of 1891 and subsequent 
reprints, preceded by the letters G.T. 

1. Sp'ing, the sweet Spring, is the year's pleasant king 

Thomas Nash is one of a group of Elizabethan dramatists — 
Greene, Peele, and Lodge are the others — who prided themselves 
on being gentlemen and scholars, and despised their greater con- 
.temporary Shakespeare for not being an University man, Nash 
was bom at Lowestoft in 1567, took his degree at Cambridge in 
15S5, travelled in Italy, and then came up to London and joined 
Greene in literary work. He was famous in his own day as a 
pamphleteer and satirist, rather than as a dramatist, but he is 
now chiefly remembered by this song, which is taken from his 
only surviving comedy. Will Summer's Testament. **This is a 
Court Comedy or Show, without a plot, depending for its now 
evaporated interest on learned quips and fashionable cranks 
served up with masquerade and satire for the Queen's amuse- 
ment. . . . The motive is a play of words maintained upon the 
name of Summer. Will Summer, the Court fool of Henry VIII., 
whose portrait by Holbein still exists at Kensington, speaks 
prologue and conducts the piece. . . . Yet something still sur- 
vives from this dry caput m,ortuum of an ephemeral medley. 
The first lyric printed in the Golden Treasury ^ that gift-book to 
all children of our time, and vade mecum of all lovers of old 
literature, is a spring song from Will Summer's Testament" 
(J. A. Symonds, Shakspere's Predecessors in the English Drama^ 
pp. 577-578). 

The perfect joyousness of this delightful ditty is characteristic 
of the age in which it was composed. Later poets have almost 
invariably failed to "recapture the first fine careless rapture" 
of Elizabethan song. On this theme of Spring we may contrast 
the reflective tone of Gray {O.T.y CLXXXii.), the wistfulness of 
Shelley's Dream of the Unknown {G.T.j cccxv.), the sadness 
of Wordsworth's Lines toritten in early Spring {G.T., cccxix.). 
All these poems are greater and deeper than Nash's, but they 
seem written out of an experience that has brought more sorrow 
than delight. 

Metre. — The lines are of five iambic feet, though the extra 

No. 1 63 

rhyme after the second foot really divides each line into two, 
and we might describe the stanza as consisting of six lines of 
two and three feet alternately, the six lines all rhyming together. 
Their author, however, would probably have described the 
lines as of five feet with a csesura after the second. The true 
use of the csesura was by no means universally understood by 
English poets in Nash's day, and Puttenham in his Art oj 
English Poeay, 1589, lays down the strange rule that the caesura 
in a verse of ten syllables mtLst come after the fourth, leaving six 
to follow. Nash's poem may have l)eeu written in conformity 
with this rule. 

4. jug-jug', the nightingale's note. Cp. a song in Lyly's play 
of Alexander and Campaspe : 

" What bird so sings, yet so does wail ? 
Oh, 'tis the ravished nightingale ! 
«/Mf7, jug^ jug, jug, tereu, she cries ; 
And still her woes at midnight rise. 
Brave prick-song ! Who is^ now we hear ? 
None but the lark, so shrill and clear ; 
How at heaven's gates she claps her wings. 
The morn not waking till she sings ! 
Hark, hark, with what a pretty throat 
Poor Robin red- breast tunes his note ! 
Hark how the jolly cuckoos sing 
Cuckoo, to welcome in the spring — 
Cuckoo, to welcome in the spring ! " 

pa- we, to-witta-woo ! On these notes Mr. W. Warde Fowler 
kindly writes to me as follows: — **I am not at all sure what 
pu-we and to-ioitta-iooo are. The first is very like the call-note of 
several kinds of warblers which come in the spring and make 
themselves very audible : chififchaff, willow- warbler, etc. On 
the other hand it might be something very different, the nc»te of 
the peewit in the breeding season, which has become jjeewee in 
America and attached to Another species. To-witta-iooo might be 
almost anything : I can't fix it down to a particular bird, out it 
too suggests a warbler of some kind." Mr. H. C. Playne, whom 
I also consulted, was inclined to think that warblers would 
hardly attract the attention of one not given to observation of 
birds, and that Nash rather intended to represent a chorus of 
louder-voiced birds, such as thrushes and blackbirds. 

5. Cp. Herrick's poem, Corinna^s Maying {O.T., cxviii. 
32-35) ;— 

* * Devotion gives each house a bough 
Or branch : Each porch, each door, ere this, 
An ark, a tabernacle is. 
Made up of white- thorn neatly interwove. " 


" In England ... it was customary during the Middle Ages for 
all, both high and low — even the Court itself — to go out on the 
first May morning at an early hour *to fetch the nowers fresh.' 
Hawthorn branches were also gathered ; these were brought 
home about sunrise, with accompaniments of horn and tabor and 
all possible signs of joy and merriment. The people then pro- 
ceeded to decorate the doors and windows of the houses with the 
spoil "—(Chambers' Book of Days). 

palm. A popular name for the great sallow or goat-willow 
{salix caprea) at the time when the catkins are out. Cp. Tenny- 
son, Merlin and Vivien : 

"In colour like the satin-shining palm 
On sallows in the windy gleams of March." 

— {Century Dictionary.) 

10. a-sunnfaig sit. Cp. Twelfth Night, ii. iv. 45, "The 
spinsters and the knitters in the sun.*^ Ruskin, in the splendid 
passage in Modem Painters, vol. iv., which describes the 
hard life of the Savoyard peasants, speaks of their only rest 
as "a little sitting in the sun under the church wall, as the bell 
tolls thin and far in the mountain air." A -sunning is properly 
*on sunning,' the uses of the preposition *on' being wider in 
early than in modern English. So *a-hunting' was originally 
'on hunting.' 

2. Where the bee sucks, there suck I 

The first song here given represents the fairy pastimes of the 
meadow and wood, the second those of the sea-shore. Both are 
sung in The Tempest by Ariel, the * airy ' and invisible spirit who 
is Prospero's attendant. He sings the first when Prosper© pro- 
mises him freedom (v. i. ). 

"It has been observed that there is a peculiar charm in the 
songs introduced in Shakespeare, which, without conveying any 
distinct images, seem to recall all the feelings connected with 
them, like snatches of half-forgotten music heard indistinctly 
and at intervals. There is this effect produced by Ariel's soncs, 
which (as we are told) seem' to sound in the air, and as if Sue 
person playing them were invisible." — (W. Hazlitt, Characters 
of Shakespeare's Plays. ) 

Metre. — Trochaic, changing to a rapid dactylic movement in 
the last two lines. 

3. Come unto these yellow sands 

_ « 

This is *he song that greets the ears of Ferdinand as he sits on 
the shores of the enchanted island, weeping for the loss of his 
father {Tempest, r. ii.). He cannot tell where the music is, " i' 

No8. 1—4 56 

the air or the earth " ; it creeps by him on the waters, and then 
draws him into the interior of the island. It is made by Ariel 
and his attendant Sprites, who take up the ' burthen * of the 
song, imitating the oaying of watch-dogs and the crowing of 
invisible cocks. 

Metre. — The exquisite musical quality of this song is largely 
produced by the alternation of iambic with trochaic Imes. The 
brisk movement of the trochaic lines (1, 3, 5-6) is answered, as it 
were, by the slower iambic movement of the others. Rhyming 
verses of four accents in Shakespeare are chiefly put into the 
mouths of supernatural beings— e.[/. the witches in Macbeth^ the 
fairies in Midsummer NigMa Dream and The Tempest, 

3, 4. These lines are often punctuated with a comma after 
" kiss'd," " The wild waves whist " being taken independently to 
mean *The wild waves being silent.' It is much better to take 
the two lines closely together, = * kissed the waves into still- 
ness,' i.e. 'kissed partners (immediate prelude to the dance), 
and thereby hushed the noisy waves into attention.' Professor 
Herford points out that this rendering is con6rmed by the 
punctuation of the folios, and by Ferdinand's statement that 
the music ** allayed the fury " of the waters ** with its sweet air." 

wbist, participle for * whisted,' from the verb * to whist ' = * to 
command silence ' (Abbott, S.G.^ § 342).' So in Milton's imita- 
tion, NaJtivity Ode (0. 7\, Lxxxv. 64) : 

* * The winds, with wonder whist, 
Smoothly the waters kist. " 

5. featly, neatly, gracefully : adverb formed from the 0. £. 
adjective, /ea^, used by Shakespeare, as in Cymheline, v. v. 88, 
"Never master had a page so^eo^." Cp. feateoudi/ in Spenser's 
ProthcUamion, No. 74. 27. The expression * foot it featly ' has 
been traced to Lodge's Olaucus and Scilla^ 1589 : ** Footing it 
f eatlie on the grassie ground. " Shakespeare uses * foot it ' for 
* dance ' in Romeo and Juliet, i. v. 28, '* A hall, a hall ! give room 
and foot it, girls." 

6. burthen. **The burden of a song, in the old acceptation 
of the word, was the base, foot, or under-song. It was sung 
throughout, and not merely at the end of a verse. . . . Many 
of these burdens were short proverbial expressions, such as — 
*'Tis merry in hall when beards wag all.' . . . Other burdens 
were mere nonsense words that went glibly off the tongue, giving 
the accent of the music, such as hey nonny, nonnif no [cp. Nos. 
11 and 20]" (Chappell, Popular Miisic of the Olden Time, pp. 

4. PJwehus, arise 

William Drummond is always known as *'of Hawthornden," 
from the beautiful manor-house on the banks of ' ' the murmuring 

66 NOTElS 

Esk," near Edinburgh, where he was born in 1585, and died in 
1649 {0,T,, CCLXXXI. 32). It was here that he wrote his 
poems, his History of Scotland under the Five Jameses, and his 
political pamphlets ; and here that he entertained Ben Jonson, 
making careful notes, which have been preserved and published, 
of the dramatist's conversation. He was a great student ; and, as 
in some other cases, it is difficult to say whether he injured 
the inspiration of his muse by reading — the imitations, especi- 
ally of Shakespeare, are almost too obvious in his work — or 
owed his success to patient study. But the extracts given in 
this volume, and one or two other sonnets, have a permanent 
place in English literature. The poets Drayton and W. 
Alexander were among his correspondents. 

If there are echoes of Shakespeare and other poets in this 
Summons to Love, there is also an anticipation of that majesty 
of diction and rhythm, that grandeur, richneiss, and fulness of 
sound, OS rotundum, which was presently to be revealed in 
Milton, the ** God-gifted organ- voice of England." 

Metre, — Iambic. The length of the lines and order of the 
rhymes is irregular, but the irregularity is so skilfully managed 
as to increase the charm of the melody. In Mr. Pal^rave's 
text, 1. 33 is left without a rhyme through the omission of a line 
after 1. 34. 

1. Phoebus, Apollo, the Sun-God of the Greeks. 

2. sable. A favourite word with Milton. Cp. Comus, 221, 
** Was I deceived or did a sa^le cloud . . . ? " 

4. Rouse Memnon'B mother. ** Awaken the Dawn from the 
dark Earth and the clouds where she is resting. This is one of 
that limited class of early mythes which may be reasonably 
interpreted as representations of natural phenomena. Aurora 
in the old mythology is mother of Memnon (the East), and wife 
of Tithonus (the appearances of Eartn and Sky during the last 
hours of Night). She leaves him every morning in renewed 
youth, to prepare the way for Phoebus (the Sun), whilst 
Tithonus remains in perpetual old age and greyness" (F.T.P.). 

5. career, course. Cp. Milton, II Penseroso {G.T,, cxlv. 121), 
** Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career" 

6. each- where, every- where. **The adjectives all, each, both, 
every, other, are sometimes interchanged and used as pronoims in 
a manner different from modern use" (Abbott, S.G., § 12). 
Every is really a strengthened form of • each,'=* ever-each.' 

7. make, imperative. 

11. decore, decorate. Examples of the form *to decore' are 
quoted in N,E.D, from writers of the fifteenth, sixteenth, and 
seventeenth century. The Lat. verb is decoro, decora^us being 

No. 4 57 

the participle. 'Decorate' in English was originally a parti- 
ciple. It was then used as a verb, and a fresh participle, 
* decorated/ was formed from it. 

14. tout, only. But is a contraction of * by-out * (cp. * with- 
out'), and its first meaning is 'except.' From 'except' the 
-meaning often passes to ' only,' where a negative can be easily 
supplied : * not except '= * only ' (Abbott, S,G., § 128). 

18. The influence of the stars is often referred to in Elizabethan 
poetry. Cp. No. 41. 5-8. 

20. wUte. Cp. TibuUus' birthday ode to MessalUi (i. vii. 63-4) : 

At tUt Natalia t mtUtos celehrande per annos 
Caiididior semper candidiorque vent, 

("Birthday, to be honoured for many years, come thou ever 
whitev and still more white"). But 1. 21 seems to show that the 
classical passage in Drummond's mind was Persius, ii. 1-2 : 

Hunc, Macrine, diem numera meliore lapillo, 
Qui tihi lahentes apponit candidus annos, 

("This day, Macrinus, mark with a stone of more auspicious 
hue, the white day, which adds to your account each year as 
it glides away " — Conington). Lucky days were marked by the 
Romans with white chalk or a white stone or jewel : see the 
references given by Bentley on Horace, Odes^ i. xxxvi. 10, or Ellis 
on Catullus, lxviii. 148. 

21. should. The relative 'that' is omitted in this and the 
preceding line. 

27. by Pen^us' streams. "Phoebus loved the nymph Daphne 
whom he met by the river Peneus in the vale of Tempe [in 
Thessaly]" (F.T.P.). Cp. Frederic Myers' description of Mr. 
G. F. Watts' picture : 

" Or she whose soft limbs swiftly sped 
The touch of very gods must shun. 
And, drowned in many a boscage, fled 
The imperious kisses of the sun. " 

28. Mr. F. T. Palgrave has here omitted two lines which he 
believed to be * * hopelessly misprinted " : 

" Nay, SUDS, -which shine as clear 
As thou when two thou did to Rome appear. " 

The poem loses little or nothing by their omission, but there 
does not seem to be any misprint. The phenomenon of a double 
sun is twice mentioned by Livy among the prodigies that occurred 
during the Second Punic War, xxviii. 11 (b.c. 206), xxxix. 14 
(b.o. 204). Mr. Quiller- Couch, in his note on these lines, also 
quotes Pliny, Natural History y ii. 31. 


31. Amphion^B lyt^, '* He was said to have built the walls of 
Thebes to the sound of his music" (F.T.P.). 

33. Zephyr, the personification of the west wind. Cp. Milton, 
Paradise Lost, v. 16, " With voice Mild as when Zephyrus on 
Fliyra breathes"; U Allegro {G.T. cxliv. 18-19), "The frolic 
Mind that breathes the spring, Zephyr, with Aurora playing." 

34. play. After this word the original text of Drummond 
gives only a comma, followed by a line which Mr. F. T. Palgrave 
omitted : 

" Kissing sometimes these purple ports of death." 

The line is obscure, but seems to mean ' Kissing her lips for the 
sake of which men are ready to die.' Mr. Quiller-Couch notes 
that Drummond elsewhere speaks of the lips as *Hhose coral ports 
of bliss" and "Lips, double port of love." Por^ = gate, Lat. 
porta: soused in Shakespeare, Coridanus, v. vi. 6, "The city 
ports by this hath entered," and Milton, Paradise Lost, iv. 778, 
"And from the ivory port the Cherubim Forth issuing." 

36. chair, chariot. Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost, ii. 930, "As 
in a cloudy chair ascending rides. " 

37. Ensaffironing, making saffi*on-coloured ; a fine expression 
for the yellow light of dawn. (Pronounced here, metn gratia, 
as a tri-sy liable. ) 

39, 40. An echo of Shakespeare, Romeo and Jvliet, ii. iii. 4 : 

" And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels 
From forth day's path and Titan's y^ery wheds." 

Cp. also Shakespeare, Sonnet, vii. , of the Sun : 

" But when from highmost pitch with weary car. 
Like feeble age, he reeleth from the day." 

42. orient, bright. A favourite word in this sense in the 
Elizabethan and seventeenth century poets. Cp. No. 19. 31, 
" orient pearl" ; No. 36. 10; also Herrick in G.T. , cxviii. 22, 
*• some orient pearls" (of the dew) ; Milton, Isalivity Ode, O.T., 
Lxxxv. 231, "an orient wave." Tennyson revived the word in 
its etymological sense of 'rising' (Lat. oriens) — "The life re- 
orient out of dust" {In Memoriam, cxvi.). Shakespeare uses 
Orient for *the East,' the quarter of the rising sun. Sonnet, vii. 

44. She. Cp. Crashaw in G.T,, cm.. Wishes for the Supposed 
Mistress : 

" Whoe'er she be, 
That not impossible she. 
That shall command my heart and me." 

For lines 42-44, the 1616 edition of Drummond's poems, the 

Nos. 4—5 59 

last printed in his lifetime, substitutes a more common-place 
ending : 

'* The clouds bespangle with bright gold their blue : 

Here is the pleasant place, 

And everything, save her, who all should grace." 

6. fFhen 1 have seen by Timers fell hand defaced 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, lxiv. See Appendix C to this volume. 

1. Time's fell hand. Cp. ''Devouring Time," Sonnet xix. i.— 
the Tempna edax rerum of Ovid, MetamarphoaeSt xv. 234 ; 
"Time's injurious hand," Sonnet LXiii. 2. 

2. cost, abstract for concrete, 'costly tombs.' Cp. the opening 
of Sonnet lv., "Not marble, nor the gilded monuments Of 
princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme." 

3. sometime, * at some time,' ' at one time ' ; ' towers once 


4. Inrass eternal recalls Horace's monumentum aere perenniwi 
("a monument more lasting than bronze"), OdeSf iii. xxx. 1. 

mortal rage, the destructive rage of war, rage that brings 
mortality. Cp. Sonnet lv. : 

'* When wasteful war shall statues overturn. 
And broils root out the work of masonry, 
Nor Mars his sword nor war's quick fire shall burn 
The living record of your memory." 

So < mortal thoughts' in Macbeth, i. v. 42 =' murderous thoughts. ' 

7. win, used absolutely. Cp. King John, ii. i. 669, ** He that 
vjina o/'all, Of kings, of beggars, old men, young men, maids." 

watery main. Cp. Merchant of Venice, v. i. 97, ** the main of 
waters." ' Main ' is properly an adj., and the full phrase is ' the 
main sea.' In King Lear, iii. i. 6, ' main ' = mainland, as in 
Bacon's " In 1589 we turned challengers and invaded the main of 
Spain." In No. 41. 5, "Nativity, once in the main of light " = 
in the main flood of light. 
With this quatrain cp. Tennyson, In Memoriam, cxxiii. : 

" There rolls the deep where grew the tree. 
O earth, what changes hast thou seen ! 
There where the long street roars, hath been 
The stillness of the central sea." 

state, the Lat. status, from stare * to stand,' properly denotes a 
fixed condition. * ' When I have seen . . . state itself confounded 
to decay " means, therefore, ' When I have seen that there is no 
such thing as fixity of condition.' The sentiment is that ex- 
pressed in the saying of the early Greek philosopher Heracleitus, 
Tdira pel, "Everything flows," 


13. wbich, i.e. * inasmuch as it.* The antecedent is * thought.' 
So in the next sonnet, I. 4, the antecedent to * Whose * is ob- 
viously * beauty,' not * plea.' 

6. Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, lxv. Cp. a sonnet of Spenser%, be- 
ginning, " One day I wrote her name upon the strand " (Amoretti, 
Lxxv. ; Golden Pomp, cxviii.). 

2. mortality, death, destruction. Cp. No. 12. 10, "Beyond 
time, place, and mortality " ; ** mortality's strong hand " in King 
John, IV. ii. ; ** mortal rage " in No. 5. 4. 

3. ra^e. Cp. a sonnet of Daniel's (Golden Pomp, oxvii.) 
"Time's consuming rage." 

hold a plea, make good a defence. Cp. Merchant of Venice, 
III. ii. : " In law what plea so tainted and corrupt ..." The 
number of legal metaphors and phrases in the Sonnets and Plays 
led Malone to draw the inference that Shakespeare must at one 
time have been an attorney. Cp. No. 23 (Sonnet xviii.) * lease,' 
*date'; No. 39 (Sonnet xxx.) * sessions,' 'summon'; No. 42 
(Sonnet Lxxxvir.) 'charter,' 'bonds,' 'determinate,' 'patent, 
'misprision,' 'judgment.' Such legal metaphors are not, how- 
ever, confined to Shakespeare : they are part of the stock-in- 
trade of Elizabethan sonneteers. Cp. Drayton's Idea, Sonnet ii. 
("My heart was slain, and none but you and I"); R. Barnes, 
ParthenophU and Parthenophe, 1593, Madrigal ii. ; Zepheria, 
Canzon xx. and xxxviii., 1594 (Arber's English Gamer, Vol. V., 

5. honey. Shakespeare uses both ' honey ' and ' honeyed ' as 
adjectives. Cp. Julius Caesar, ii. i., "the /iowey-heavy dew of 
slumber " ; Titus Andronicus, ii. v. , " Coming and going with thy 
honey breath"; Henry V., i. i. 50, "to steal his sweet and 
honeyed sentences." 

6. wreckfol. The early editions of the Sonnets give wrachjvl. 
Cp. Macbeth, v. v. 51, " Blow wind ! come M'rack ! At least we'll 
die with harness on our back " ; and Milton, Paradise Lost, vi, 
670, " And now all heaven Had gone to lorack, with ruin 
overspread. " 

It is hard to say which is finer in this line — the splendid vivid- 
ness of the imagery or the perfect echo which the sound gives to 
the sense : each metrical beat is like the heavy thud of a 

10. Time's chest. "In which he is figuratively supposed to 
lay up past treasures. So in Troilus and Cressida, iti. iii., 
'Time hath a wallet at his back,' etc. In the Arcadia, chest is 
used to signify tomb " (F.T.P.). The same image, but less finely 

Nos. 6—7 61 

Dsed, is found in Sonnet Lii. : " So is the time that keeps yon 

like my chest " [of jewels]. 

14. The conceit in this last line will seem to many modem 
readers hardly worthy of the rest of this magnificent sonnet. 
It is, however, thoroughly Elizabethan. Cp. Sir P. Sidney : 

" When Nature made her chief work — Stella's eyes. 
In colour black why wrapt she beams so bright ? " 

7. Come live with me and he my Love 

" A FINE example of the high- wrought and conventional Eliza- 
bethan Pastoralism, which it would be unreasonable to criticise 
on the ground of the nnshepherd-like or unreal character of 
some images suggested " (F.T.P. ). 

Four stanzas of this poem (the first three and the fifth), 
together with one stanza of '* Love's Answer," appeared in Tht 
PassumaU Pilgrim, 1599, a miscellany of poetical pieces raked 
together from various sources, and all ascribed on tne title-pace 
to Shakespeare, doubtless without his consent. In England's 
Helicon, 1600, a collection of lyrical and pastoral poems (re- 
printed by Mr. A. H. Bullen) the full poem, with the exception 
of stanza 6, is given, with the signature "Chr. Marlow." it is 
followed by The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd and Another oj 
the same nature made since, £i the 1600 edition, according to. 
Mr. Bullen, the Nymph*s Reply was originally subscribed 
•' S. W. R." (»,e. Sir Walter Raleigh), but over these initials 
in the extant copies is pasted a slip on which is printed Ignoto. 

The poem and the reply have gained additional fame and 
interest from Izaak Walton's inclusion of them in the Compleat 
Angler, 1653 : *' As I left this place and entered into the next 
field, a second pleasure entertained me. Twas a handsome 
milkmaid, that had not yet attained so much age and wisdom 
as to load her mind with any fears of many things that will 
never be, as too many men too often do : but she cast away all 
care, and sung like a nightingale : her voice was good, and the 
ditty fitted for it : it was that smooth song which was made by 
Kit Marlowe, now at least fifty years ago : and the milkmaid's 
mother sung an answer to it, which was made by Sir Walter 
Raleigh in his younger days. " 

The sixth stanza, with th6 corresponding verse in the reply, is 
first found in the second edition of the Compleat Angler, 
Walton may have written it himself, but more probably took 
it from some broad -sheet. Raleigh's Reply will be found in 
Trench's Household Book of English Poetry and in the Oolden 

7. For the association of the singing of birds with the sound of 
rippling water, cp. Milton's II Penseroso, G,T,, CXLV. 141-146, 


and S. Rogers* A Wish, G,T,, clxxxv., where the hum of bees is 
similarly associated. 

8. madrigals, from Italian madrigcUey properly a particular 
kind of unaccompanied part-song, the words being a short 
pastoral poem, e.g. No. 9 ; then used loosely for a glee or part- 
song (Stanford). 

11. kirtle, a gown or petticoat. The word is used by Chaucer, 
and by Keats in O. T., occxviii. 87. 

8. Fain would I change thai note 

"This beautiful lyric is one of several recovered from the very 
rare Elizabethan song-books for the publication of which our 
thanks are due to Mr. A. H. Bullen (1887, 1888) " (F.T.R). The 
lyric, which stands first in the 1897 edition of Mr. A. H. BuUen's 
Lyrics from Elizabethan Song-hooks, was found in Captain Tobias 
Hume's The First Part of Airs, French, Polish, and others 
together, 1605. 

Metre, — Iambic : three feet in each line, except the 7 th and 10th 
in each stanza, which have only two. An extra short syllable 
gives a trochaic ending to the second and fourth lines of each 
stanza, and also to 1. 17, 20. 

6. sum. Cp. Shakespeare in No. 17. 12, *'all thy sum of 

12. Cp. Tennyson, Elaine's song in Idylls of the King : 

"Love, art thou sweet? then bitter death must be. 
Love, thou art bitter ; sweet is death to me. 
Love, if death be sweeter, let me die." 

9. Crabbed Age and Youth 

From The Passionate Pilgrim (see introductory note to No. 7). 
There is no real evidence as to the authorship, but in the absence 
of other claimants it is generally attributed to Shakespeare. It 
is a charming example of light-hearted Elizabethan pastoral, as 
fresh to-day as when it was written, so that we think of the 
singer not as one who died three hundred years ago, but as a 
"happy melodist, unwearied, For ever piping songs for ever 

Metre, — Trochaic lines of irregular length. The first word, 
" Crabbed," is to be read as a dissyllable. The lines are mostly 
of three feet, the last foot often shortened to a single long 
syllable. Four lines have four accents instead of three. 

1. crabbed. For the origin of this epithet, cp. 'dogged ' 
"The primary reference was to the crooked or wayward gait oi 
the crustacean, and the contradictory, perverse, and fractious 

Nob. 7—10 63 

disposition which this expressed. . . . Literal senses of < cross- 
grained, crooked,' and ' knotted, gnarled, un-smooth,' applied to 
sticks, trees and the like, also appear ; these react upon the sense 
in which the word is applied to persons and their dispositions. 
In later use there is association with the fruit [the wild apple], 
giving the notion of ' soar-tempered, morose, peevish, harsh ' " 
{N.E.D.), The expression crdbbed age is quoted in N,E.D, from 
Lyly's Euphues (1579) and Weever's Mirror (1601). 

7. brave, finely dressed. See note on 'outbraves,' No. 43. 12. 

20. stay'st, delayest. 

10. Under the greeimood tree 

Fbom A8 You Like It, ii. v. Sung by Amiens and other 
courtiers of the banished Duke, the song breathes their delight 
in the open-air life of the forest of Arden. Jaques, who can 
'* suck melancholy out of a song as a weasel sucks eggs," responds 
with a stanza to the same tune : 

'' If it do come to pass 

That any man turn ass, 

Leaving his wealth and ease 

A stubborn will to please, 
Ducdame, ducdame, ducdame : 

Here shall he see 

Gross fools as he. 
An if he will come to me." 

No. 56, **Blow, blow, thou winter wind," is another of 
Amiens' songs in the same play. 

Metre, — The feet are iambic, except in the fifth line of the 
stanza, where we have a foot not often used in English verse, the 
amphihrachys, ^^ — w-. 

1-4. Cp. Pandora's speech in Lyly's The Woman in the Moone, 
in. ii. (quoted by Prof. Baker) : 

"Wilt thou for my sake go into yon grove. 
And we will sing unto the wild hirers note. " 

1. greenwood. This compound (cp. 'greensward') occurs as 
early as Chaucer. Sir W. Scott uses it as an archaism in his 
ballad of The Outlaw, "To keep the King's greenivood" 0,T,, 
ccxiii. 28. 

7-8. With the sentiment cp. No. 56, "Blow, blow, thou winter 

10. Cp. Matthew Arpold, Empedocies on Etna : 

" Is it so small a thing 
.»-w^ To have enjoyed the sun, 

To have lived light in the spring, 

To have loved, to have thought, to have done," 




11. It was a lover and his lass 

Shng by two Pages in As You Like It, v. iii. "This sonff 
seems to have become immediately popular. It was embodied 
within a few months, at latest, of the appearance of the play, in 
Thomas Morley's First Book of Ayres (1600). It is doubtless 
Shakespeare's own, being apparently suggested, however, by the 
song sung by Lodge's Corydon at the wedding feast — a less 
dainty but not unskilful handling of the same motive " (Prof. 
Herford). Lodge's song, " A blyth and bonny country lasse," 
will be found in A. H. Bullen's Lyrics from the Elizabethan 

We may contrast the tone of another corn-field lyric — 
Tennyson's "As thro' the land at eve we went, And pluck'd 
the ripen'd ears." Both are love-lyrics, but the one reflects 
the temper of Spring, the other the temper of Autumn — the 
tears that "gather to the eyes In looking on the happy Autumn- 
fields, And thinking of the days that are no more." The first, it 
may also be said, reflects the temper of the sixteenth, and the 
second the temper of the nineteenth century (see also the 
introductory note to No. 1). 

Metre. — Iambic. But the refrain (1. 2) is anapaestic, and in 
lines 4 and 14, with the rhyme in the middle of the line, the 
metre is quite lawless. 

2. bey nonlno. This and similar nonsensical refrains to 
accompany the music are very common in Elizabethan songs. 
Gp. Nos. 20 and 75. 

4. ring time. Cp. No. 1. 2, " then maids dance in a ring." 

11. Cp. the second stanza of No. 35; Herrick'^ ** Gather ye 
rosebuds while ye may" (G.T,, oviii.); and a song, **Love 
in thy youth, fair maid, be wise,'* given in Lyrics from Eliza- 
bethan Song-books and in The Golden Pomp, ** Take the present 
time " is a favourite motto with the Latin poets— Carpe diem. 


12. Absencey hear thou this p'otestation 

John Donne was bom in London, 1573 ; his mother is said to been a, descendant of Sir T. More. As a young man he 
travelled in Italy and Spain. He took orders in 1615, was made 
ia royal chaplain by James I., and in 1621 became Dean of St. 
Paul's. He was the most famous preacher of his day, and died 
in 1631, with a reputation for saintliness. His poems, which 
would hardly have helped that reputation, were not published 
till after his death. They were nearly all composed in hi^ 
youth His life was written b^ Iz^ia^ Walton, 

Nos. 11—13 65 

This slight lyric, the only composition of Donne's included in 
The Oolden Treasury, gives little idea of the really great though 
perversely directed genius of Donne. That must iS judged by 
such poems as *' Go and catch a falling star," The JReiique, The 
Blossomey or A Valediction forbidding nummivg. Yet into each 
of these poems enters an element best described by the Scotch 
word 'uncanny/ which unfits them for the companionship in 
which they would here find themselves. Their absence, there- 
fore, is not to be regretted. In default of them, Present in 
Ahaence illustrates some of Donne's characteristics — his love of 
abstractions, his fantastical subtleties, and his audacities of 

5. mettle, temper. "Absolutely the same word as metcUy 
though the difference in sense is now indicated by a difference in 
the spelling. The allusion is to the temper of the metal of a 
sword-blade " (Skeat). 

6. settle, make constant. 

10. mortality. See note on No. 6. 2. 

1 3. Eigh-wayy since you my chief Parnassus he 

Sir Philip Sidney, nephew on his mother's side of the famous 
Earl of Leicester, was born at Penshurst in 1554. He was 
educated at Shrewsbury School and Christ Church, Oxford, and 
then went abroad for three years (1572-1575), becoming at 
Frankfort the friend of Hubert Languet the reformer. In 1575 
he appeared at Elizabeth's court, and in this year he made the 
acquaintance of Penelope Devereux, a girl of fourteen, daughter 
of the Earl of Essex. There was some talk of a marriage, but in 
1581 Penelope was married instead to Lord Rich. In 1*583 
Sidney married Frances Walsingham, daughter of Elizabeth's 
Secretary of State. Sidney's Arcadia was written in 1580-1, 
and the Astrophel and Stella sonnets probably in 1581-2, though 
they were not printed until 1591. The Apologiefor Poetry was 
also written about 1581. In 1584, on the outbreak of war with 
Spain, Sidney was appointed Governor of Flushing, and in 1586 
he was mortally wounded at the battle of Zutpnen. He has 
always been one of the favourite heroes of the English people, 
who have loved to imagine him as a knight out of the Faerie 
Queene of his great contemporary and friend, the last surviving 
representative of mediaeval chivalry. 

** Sidney's poetry is singularly unequal; his short life, his 
frequent absorption in public employment, hindered doubtless 
the development of his genius. His great contemporary fame — 
second only, it appears, to Spenser's — has been hence obscured. 
At times he is heavy, and even prosaic ; his simplicity is rude 
and bare : his verse unmelodious. These, however, are the 



•defects of his merits.* In a certain depth and chivalry of 
feeling, in the rare and noble quality of disinterestedness (to put 
it in one word), he has no superior, hardly perhaps an equal, 
amongst our poets ; and after or beside Shakespeare's sonnets, 
his Astrophel and Stella^ in the editor's judgment, offers the 
most intense and powerful picture of the passion of love in 
the whole range of our poetry '*' (F.T.P.). 

How far are the Astrophd and Stella sonnets autobio- 
graphical ? The question has excited so much interest that it 
can hardly be ignored here, though it must be treated 
summarily: for fuller discussion the student may be referred 
to Courthope's History of English Poetry, Vol. ii. ch. 8 ; 
Saintsbury^s History of Elizabethan Literature ; Seccombe and 
Allen's Age of Shakespeare, Vol. i. (1) The highest poetry 
is seldom true to literal fact. The poet may write out of his 
personal experience, but he does not tie himself down to it. 
(2) Some of the sonnets are closely imitated from Petrarch 
and Desportes. This fact may be held to prove that they 
were not the spontaneous outcome of passion, out a deliberate 
exercise of the poetical art. (3) All that we know of Sidney's 
character makes it improbable that he was the victim of a 
passion for the wife of another. It is undoubtedly true that 
in Stella he celebrated Penelope, and this after she was 
married to Lord Rich. The fact of her marriage must have 
made him realise that he had let the chance of winning her 
pass irrevocably, and his regret found relief in poetry. To 
this extent, but not beyond, we may admit the presence of 
autobiography. (4) Lastly, as in the parallel case of Shake- 
speare's sonnets, it should be remembered that there may be 
truth to nature without literal autobiography ; and that it is 
truth to nature which makes the whole value of the sonnets 
as poetry. 

5. blessed you . . . blessed xne. Such verbal antitheses, 
whether by way of contrast or merely by way of emphasis, 
are a common characteristic of Elizabethan sonnets. Cp. for 
example, the whole of No. 34, by J. Sylvester ; or Shake- 
speare in No. 18. 14, or No. 78. 13. 

6. Cp. Sidney in No. 32. 1, '^My true-love hath my heart 
and I have his"; and Shakespeare in No. 17. 4, "My soul, 
which in thy breast doth lie. " 

14. Hundreds of years: ***The very rapture of love,' says 
Mr. Ruskin ; * a lover like this does not believe his mistress 
can grow old or die'" (F.T.P.). Cp. the sentiment of No. 
18. 1, ** To me, fair friend, you never can be old." 

With the delicate fancy of the road * kissing' Stella's feet 
we may compare Virgil's description of the exquisite lightness 

Nos. 13—16 67 

of Camilla's tread {Aeueid, vu. 808-811) aiid Tennyson's Maud: 
*'For her feet have touch'd the meadows And left the daisies 

In its last line this sonnet suggests another form of poetical 
composition, the epigram : it is the special characteristic of 
the epigram that it surprises the reader by an unexpected 
turn of thought at the end. Here the surprise is light and 
playful, as in the majority of epigrams ; in a lyric of Blake 
(G.T., CLXXXi.) we have an epigrammatic ending that com- 
pletely changes the tone of the poem. 

14. Being your slave, what should I do hut tend 

Shakespba&e's Sonnets, lvii. 

4. require (them). 

5. the world-without-end hour, the hour that seems as if it 
would never end : the phrase occurs also in Lovers Labour*!* 
Lost, V. ii. 799, ** A time, methinks, too short to make a 
VDorld-xoithout-end bargain in." 

10. suppoee, conjecture. 

13. will, intent : t.e. whatever you do he refuses to believe 
that you intend to do wrong. 

1 5. How like a winter Jiath my absence been 

Shakespearb's Sonnets, xcvii. Sonnets xcviii. and xcix. 
should be read with this. 

5. time removed, time of my removal or separation. For 
< removed' in the sense of * separated,' cp. **And erew a 
twenty years removed thing While one would wink," Tioelfth 
Night, V. i. 92. The epithet * removed* properly belongs to 
the poet, but is transferred to the time of absence. 

6. autumn. Though autumn is, in a sense, personified in 
these lines, a capital letter is unnecessary, not merely because 
* autumn' is in apposition with *summer*8 time,' but for a 
deeper reason. 'Xhe personified autumn is not something 
separate from the phenomena of the season, as is the case 
with the personifications in eighteenth-century poetry : see 
the present editor's introductory note to O.T., CLXXXVi., 
Collins' Ode to Evening, There is in this sonnet that complete 
fusion of the person with the phenomena which we do not get 
again in English poetry till we reach Keats' Ode to Autumn, 
O.T., ccciii. 


liig, pregnant : ' teeming ' has the same sense : cp. * the 
chUding autumn ' in Midsummer Night* a Dream, ii. i. 111. 


7. prime, spring ; or, more precisely, the climax of Nature's 
activity in the spring (Wyndham). 

K). hope of orphans, hope of leaving posthumous offspring 

12. thou away, *thou being away,* or *if thou art away.' 
The participle is sometimes implied • in the case of a simple 
word, such as * being.* Cp. Henry VII I., v. i. 106: 

** And be well contented 
To make your house our tower. You a brother of us, 
It fits we thus proceed" (Abbott, S,G,, §381). 

13. cheer did not always imply what we mean by 'cheer- 
fulness.' Originally meaning the face itself, it was used in 
Shakespeare's time for the expression of the face, good or 
bad. Cp. ** All fancy-sick she is and pale of cheer," Mid- 
mimmer NighVs Dream, iii. ii. 96. From expressions like 
** Be of good cheer," common both in Shakespeare and in 
A.V. of the Bible, * cheer* itself acquired the meaning of 
'good cheer.' 

16. When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes 
Shakesfeabe's Sonnets, xxix. 

2. heweep. The prefix he is used seemingly to give a transitive 
signification to verbs that, without this prefix, mostly require 
prepositions: cp. **Behowls the moon," Midsummer NighCs 
Dream, v. i. 379 ; " I have bewept a worthy husband's death," 
Richard II L, ii. 49 (Abbott, >Sf.G?., §438). 

3. bootless, profitless. From 'boot,' A.S. 6o^=* profit.' Cp. 
the expression 'to boot ' = * for gain,' ».e. 'in addition,' and 
* What boots it ? ' = ' Of what profit is it ? ' 

6. featured, gifted with features. For the participial form 
cp. ' unfather'd,' No. 15. 10. 

with fiends possest, possessing friends. The passive form 
is curious at first sight, but Shakespeare uses ' to possess ' 
actively =* to put in possession.' Cp.** Possess us, possess 
us" {Twelfth Nifjhty ii. iii. 149) = Put us in possession, inform 
us; and ** Deposing thee before thou wert possest [of the 
throne]" (Richard II., ii. i. 107-8) (Abbott, S,G., §295, 374). 

10. state, condition. See note on No. 5. 10. Note that 
state is subject to sings, 

12. heaven's gate. Cp. the song in Gymbeline, ii. iii., *' Hark, 
hark I the lark at heaven's gate sings." Shakespeare seems 
to have taken this very beautiful expression from Lyly's 
song, quoted in the note to No. 1. 4. Milton, in his turn, 
borrowed from Shakespeare: "Ye birds, That singing up to 
heaven-gate ascend," Paradise Lost, v. 198. 

No8. 15—18 69 

17. never say that I was false of heart 

Shakespeabe's Sonnets, cix. 

2. qualify, abate, weaken. Cp. Two Gentiemen of Verona, 
n. vii. 22, "But qualify the fire's extreme rage." 

4. Cp. No. 32, "My true-love hath my heart and I have 

5. ranged, roved. 

7. Just, * exact,' a common sense of the Lat. uistutt, Cp. 
*'a ju8t seven-night," Much Ado, ii. i. 373 (Abbott, S,G»., 
§ 14). 

ezcbanged, changed. 

10. blood, temperament. Cp. Much Ado, ii. iii,, **0, my 
lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we 
have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory." 

12. To leaTe = a8 to leave. As \a often omitted by Shake- 
speare after so (Abbott, 8,0, §2S1). The omission appears 
to be specially frequent at the beginning of a line. 

14. rose. The rose is a favourite image in Shakespeare's 
Sonnets. Cp. the openiug of Sonnet 1 : 

** From fairest creatures we desire increase, 
That thereby beauty's rose might never die.'* 

With the thought of the concluding couplet cp. the ending of one 
of Spenser's Amoretti : 

" All this world's glory seemeth vain to me, 
And all their shows but shadows, saving she. " 

18. To me, fair Friend, you never can be old 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, civ. 

1. For the thought cp. No. 13. 14, " Hundreds of years," and 
AiUony and Cleopatra, ii. ii. 240, **Age cannot wither her nor 
custom stale Her infinite variety." 

4. sbook. Shakespeare uses both sJiook and shaked for shaken, 
Cp. * the wind-shaked surge,' Othello, ii. i. 13. So took for taken, 
strove ioT striven (Abbott, S,0,, §343). 

6. In process, in the march or advance, Lat. processus. 

7. One of the most marvellous lines in English poetry. It 
does more than suggest — it seems to bring with it the throbbing 
heat and intoxicating perfumes of summer in the hour of her 
consummated triumph. By what verbal magic this is achieved 
— the words are simplicity itself — is the unsolved and insoluble 
mystery of poetry. We may observe, however, that the power 


of the line partly depends upon the rhythm : the last five words 
are monosyllables, and three of the five accents in the line fall on 
the last three : 

Three A'pril perfumes in three hot Jun'es bur'ned 

(See Appendix A on metre for an explanation of this. ) Hence 
the latter part of the line must be read very slowly, and we have 
time, as it were, to realize the action of the long summer suns 
steadily, relentlessly burning the perfumes of the spring. Again, 
the musical quality of the line depends partly on the collocation of 
vowels — the changes are rung on all the five vowels — partly on 
the r sound that goes rippling through it. 

Perhaps the lines in Englisn poetry which, next to these, most 
wonderfully reproduce the glory of summer are a passage in 
Matthew Arnold's Thyrsis, beginning ** Soon will the high mid- 
summer pomps come on." 

8. which. The antecedent is *you.' According to Abbott, 
_S.G,f §266, which is less definite than who. Who indicates an 
individual {qui) ; ichich a kind of person {qualis). 

10. hlB, its. " Its was not used originally in the A.V. of the 
Bible, and is said to have been rarely used in Shakespeare's time " 
(Abbott, /S'.G^.ji 228). 

and no pace percelTed, and that too without any pace being 
perceived. Cp. examples in Abbott, S.G.y § 95. 

13-14. thou, you. The change from thou to you would seem 
less awkward in Shakespeare's time than it does to us. We may 
explain it here, partly by euphony — the desire to avoid an 
unmelodious * thou wast' — partly by Abbott's rule that **thou is 
often used in statements and requests, while you is used in 
conditional and other sentences where there is no direct appeal 
to the person addressed " {S,0,, §234). 

19. Like to the clear in highest sphere 

Thomas Lodge, son of Sir T. Lodge, at one time Lord Mayor 
of Jjondon, was born about 1558, and educated at Merchant 
Taylors' School and Trinity College, Oxford. In 1588 he pub- 
lished a mythological poem, Olaucua and Scilla, in imitation of 
Ovid. In 1590 appeared Rosalynde, Euphues* Golden Legacy, a 
pastoral romance in the manner of Lyly's Euphuea. Three years 
afterwards he published a series of sonnets addressed to Phillis, 
In later life he seems to have abandoned literature for medicine. 
He died in 1625. 

The two * Rosalynde ' songs in the Golden Treasury (Nos. 19 
and 71) come from Eujohuea* Golden Legacy, which has a further 
title to fame as havmg suggested the plot of Shakespeare's As 
You Like It, and given her name to the heroine of that play. 

Nos. 18—19 71 

Lodge himself probably took the name from Spenser's ShephercPa 
Calendar, In the richness of his language aud imagery, and in 
his masterly handling of lyric rhythms, Ix>dge is one of the most 
distinguished Elizabethans. Four other songs of his, all of them 
charming, will be found in Mr. Quiller-Couch's Golden Pomp, 

" Readers who have visited Italy will be reminded of more 
than one picture by this gorgeous Vision of Beauty, ecjually sub- 
lime and pure in its Paradisaical naturalness. Lodge wrote it 
on a voyage to * the Islands of Terceras and the Canaries ' ; and 
he seems to have caught, in those southern seas, no small portion 
of the qualities which marked the almost contemporary Art of 
Venice, — the glory and the glow of Veronese, Titian, or Tin- 

The Blessed Damozel of the painter-poet D. G. Rossetti may be 
compared with this poem. 

Metre. — The stanzas may be regarded metricidly as consisting 
of 8 octosyllabic iambic lines, rhyming alternately. The fifth 
and tenth lines of each stanza aie of the nature of a musical 
accompaniment or 'burden.' (See note on No. 3. 6.) 

1. dear, brightness, clearness. This substantival use is com- 
mon in the Elizabethans. Cp. Chapman, Iliad, I. 458, "Twi- 
light hid the clear," 

liighest sphere, ''the crystalline or outermost heaven of the 
old cosmography " (F.T.P.). 

2. glory. Another reading is beauty, 

4. twines. Cp. Milton, Nativity Ode {O.T., Lxxxv. 226), 
" Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine " ; Cbmtw, I. 105, 
** Braid your locks with rosy tivine, " 

5. Rosaline. Lodge's spelling of Romlynde has been altered 
here by Mr. F. T. Palgrave for the sake of the rhyme. 

7. Besembllng. Another reading is Bejining, in the sense of 
' surpassing in refinement of beauty. ' 

8. w]iena8=when, as ' whereas' in Shakespeare is found in the 
sense of 'where. Abbott {S.G., § 116) suggests that the super- 
fluous ' as was added from a desire to give a relative meaning to 
words interrogative by nature. 

12. Aurora, the Dawn. Cp. No. 4. 4, "Memnon's mother." 

13. sliroud, covering. The word means (1) that which is cut 
up — cp. * shred,* with which it seems to be connected ; (2) as 
here, a garment, covering : cp. No. 62. 5, ** My ahrottd of white 
stuck all with yew" ; (3) shelter, protection : cp. Milton, Nativity 
Ode, Q,T,y LXXXV. 218, "Nought but profoundest Hell can be 
his shrotid.'* The silver crimson shroud here seems to be a 
crimson cloud with a silver lining, glorified by the noonday sun 

72 N0TE8 

18. The rhyme recalls another Elizabethan song, ^ven in 
rlier editions of the Golden Treasury ^ the Dicvphenxa of H. 

Constable : 

''Diaphenia like the spreading roses 
That in thy sweets all sweets encloses. " 

Cp. also Mena/phorCs Eclogtie, by Greene, which contains many 
parallels to this poem, e.g. : *'Uer cheeks like ripened lilies 
steeped in wine, . . . Or gorgeous clouds upon the sun's decline." 
"Her lips are roses over- washed with dew," **Her neck like to 
an ivory shining tower." Greene's J/enctp/ion was published in 
1589, Lodee's Rosadynde in 1590. 

* Roses and 'lilies,* in connection with the beauty of lip or 
cheek, are a favourite image with the Elizabethans. Cp. 
Spenser's lines on Belphoebe (Faerie Qneene, ii. iii.) : 

** In her cheeks the vermeille red did show 
Like rosea in a bed of lilies shed." 

See also the lovely song, Cherry- Rij>e {G.T., cxvii.), now gene- 
rally ascribed to Campion, ** There is a garden in her face Where 
roses and white lilies blow." 

21. tower. The image is suggested by The Song of Solomon, 
rv. 4, **Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an 
armoury," and vii. 4, ** Thy neck is as a tower of ivory." From 
the same song, v. 13, comes the comparison of the lips of the 
beloved to lilies. 

31. orient, bright, like the rising sun. Orient is a favourite 
epithet of pearl in the Elizabethan poets in this sense ; it may 
have further carried the connotation of * Eastern. * See note on 
No. 4. 4. 

39. Cp. another poem by Lodge, "Love guides the roses of 
thy lips " : 

" Love in thine eyes doth build his bower, 
And sleeps within their pretty shine. 
And if I look the boy will lower, 
And from their oros shoot shafts divine. " 

Shakespeare may have imitated Lodge in Sonnet CLiii., which 
tells how Cupid ** new-fired " his brand " at my mistress* eye.'* 

43. for a fair there's fairer none. "If you desire a Beauty, 
there is none more beautiful than Rosaline" (F.T.P.). Fair is 
also used substantivally in No, 23. 7, '* Every fair from fair some- 
time declines," Where it= " Every fair thing," and in 1. 10 of the 
same sonnet — " that fair thou owest " — where it means * beauty ' 
in the abstract. 

Nos. 19—22 73 

20. Beauty sat bathing by a spring 

This poem appeared in England* 8 Helicon,, 1600 (see introdactoiy 
note to No. 7) above the signature Shepherd Tonie. The author- 
ship is uncertain, but 'Shepherd Tonie' has been plausibly 
identified with Anthony Munday (1553-1633), a very prolific 
and versatile writer of plays, pageants, pamphlets, and trans- 
lations. The book which is supposed to have contained his best 
lyrical work, the Sioeet Sohbes and Amoroua ComptaiiUea o/* 
Sheppards aivd Nymphs in a Fancye (1583) has not survived. To 
Colin ClotU — such is the poem's full title —may have been taken 
from that volume by the editor of EnglancPs Helicon. 

The same theme of '* Beauty bathing" suggested to another 
Elizabethan poet. Lord Brooke, the famous lines : 

'* Was it for this that I mieht Myra see 
Washing the water with her beauties white ? " 

9. Hey nonny. Cp. No. 11. 2, and see note on that line. 

12. fond, foolish : the earlier use of the word, common in 
Shakespeare and Milton. Gray uses it in this sense {O.T., 
CLXXvn. 46). *'The fond complaint," and also in the later 
sense c^ 'affectionate' {G,T., glxxxvii. 89), *'0n some fond 
breast the parting soul relies." 

17. while, substantive, ' time ' ; the original use of the word. 

21. Sweet Love, if thou wilt gain a Tncnarch's glory 

A PiCTUBJ! that in its exquisite grace and finished perfection 
recalls the best epigrams of the Greek Anthology. The author 
is unknown ; it is found in John Wilbye's Madrigals, 1598. 

5. will (pierce) througlL 

8. thou art woe-hegone thee seems to be a confusion between 
two constructions, (1) the earlier *thee is woe-begone,' i.e. *to 
thee has woe closed round,' from the obsolete verb *bego*= 
'encompass,' and (2) the later * thou art woe-begone,' which was 
already beginning to be used in Chaucer's time. Cp. " My heart 
doth whisper I am woe-begone me," in a sonnet by T. Watson, 
the Elizabethan poet. 

22. Weep you no more, sad fountains 

*'ANOTHEft^ gracious lyric from an Elizabethan Song-book" 
(F.T.P.). Mr. F. T. Palgrave took it from W. J. Linton's 
Bare Poems, 1883, but it had been first reprinted by Mr. Arber 
in his English Gamer, Vol. iv., 1882. Mr. Arber found it in 
John Dowland's Third and La^st Booh of Songs or Airs, 1603, 


from which book he also gives what seems to be another version 
of the same poem, beginning "Flow not so fast, ye fountains ! 
What needetti all this haste ? " 

Metre. — Observe the musical eflfect of the repetitious at the 
end of each stanza, and compare the similar effect in three of the 
songs in Tennyson's Princess^ ** Sweet and low," "The splendour 
falls on castle walls," and ** Ask me no more." 

1. fountains (of tears), the Greek mfyaX doKptjtav, 

2. What = for what, why. Cp. ** What need we any spur but 
our own cause ? " Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, ii. i. 123 (Abbott, 

7. That. The antecedent is * my Sun.' 

23. Shall I compare thee to a summer^s day ? 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, xviii. Spenser had compared his love's 
smile to a summer's day, in a sonnet given in Mr. Quiller- 
Couch's Golden Pomp, cxxviii. : 

** Likest it seemeth to my simple wit 
Unto the fair sunshine in 8ummer*s day, 
That, when a dreadful storm away is flit, 
Through the broad world doth spread his goodly ray." 

4. lease. Cp. No. 78. 5, " Why so large cost, having so short 
a lease, Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend ? " See also 
note on No. 6. 3, for Shakespeare's employment of legal terms. 
The same metaphor is found in a sonnet of Daniel : 

** In Beauty's lease expired appears 
The date of Age, the calends of our death." 

6. eye of heaven. Cp. "the searching eye of heaven" ( = the 
sun), Richard II,, iii. ii. 37; "Hide me from day's garish 
eye," II Penaeroso {G.T,, cxlv. 141). 

8. untrimm'd, deprived of its adornment. Cp. King John, iii. 
i. 209, "In likeness of a new untrimmed bride," which Herford 
explains as 'disarrayed,' i.e, either 'divested of her wedding- 
roDe ' or * with her jfiair hanging loose.' Trim in Shakespeare 
means * dress,' 'adornment,' as also in Gray, G.T,, clix. 73 
and CLXXxii. 29. 

10. fair, beauty. Cp. the substantival use of rb KaMv in the 
same sense. 

owest, ownest. Cp. Tempest, i. ii. 407, "This is no mortal 
business, nor no sound that the earth owes," The older form of 
* to own ' was * to owen ' ; the n was often dropped in Shake- 
speare's time, but has since been restored. Abbott, S,G,, § 290. 

12. eternal lines. With this confident prediction of poetic 
immortality cp. Horace, Odes, m. xxx. ; Ovid, Tristia, iii. vii. 

Nos. 22—24 75 

51-52. It has been made by lesser poets, as by Shakespeare's 
contemporary, Daniel, in the sonnet quoted in the next note. 
For a similar boast, cp. Shakespeare's Sonnets, crvTi., " Not 
mine own fears nor the prophetic soul." 

24. Wlien in the chronicle of toasted time 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, cvi. A sonnet by Daniel is worth 
quoting in full for its likeness to this and the preceding one-: 

Let others sing of Knights and Paladines 

In aged accents and untimely words. 

Paint shadows in imaginary lines, 

Which well the reach of their high wit records : 

But I must sing of thee, and those fair eyes 

Authentic shall my verse in time to come. 

When yet th* unborn shall say, Lo, where she lies I 

Whose beauty made him speak, that else was dumb I 

These are the arcs, the trophies I erect, 

That fortify thy name against old age ; 

And these thy sacred virtues must protect 

Against the Dark, and Time's consuming rage. 

Though th' error of my youth in them appear. 

Suffice, they show I lived, and loved thee dear. 

It is tempting to find both in Shakespeare and Daniel an allusion 
to Spenser's Faerie Queene, the first three books of which were 
published in 1590, and the next three in 1596. Shakespeare's 
reference, if we are right in so describing it, is the more gracious. 

1. wasted, bygone. Cp. "March is toasted fourteen days," 
Juliiis Ccesarf ii. i. ; "Till now some nine moons loastedf** 
Othelloj I. iii. 

2. wights, persons : very common in old English. 

5. blazon., description. From O.F. blason, properly a shield ; 
then (2) a shield in heraldry, armorial bearings ; then (3) a 
description or record, especially a record of excellencies. The 
verb to blaze (old infinitive = 6/a«6n) = * to blow (a musical instru- 
ment),* so * to proclaim as with a trumpet,' probably had some 
influence in giving the subst. its third meaning. Cp. Much Ado, 
II. i. 264, * * I think your blazon to be true. " 

8. master, are master of. 

11. for, since, divining, prophetic. 

13. which in Shakespeare is less definite than xoho, ** Who 
indicates an individual, which a kind of person ; who is qui^ 
which is quaZis. . . . When the antecedent is personal and 
plural, which is generally preferred to who" (Abbott, S.G,^ 


25. Turn hack, you wanton flyer 

"From one of the three song-books of T. Campion, who appears 
to have been author of the words which he set to music. His 
merit as a lyrical poet (recognized in his own time, but since 
then forgotten) has oeen again brought to light by Mr. BuUen's 
taste and research (F.T.P.). It should be added that though 
the modern revival of interest in Campion is mainly due to Mr. 
BuUen, his poems were first reprinted by Prof. Arber in An 
English Gamer ^ 1882. 

Thomas Campion (died 1620), was a doctor of medicine, a 
scholar and a musician, as well as a poet. In 1602 he published 
a treatise in which he attacked the ** vain titillation of riming." 
In spite of his theory, his rhymed lyrics are amongst the finest 
of a period rich in this class of verse. His poems are chiefly 
contained in the song-books which he published— -4 Booke oj 
Ayres (1601), words by T. Campion, music by Campion and 
Rosseter ; Two Boohes of Ayres and TJie Third and Fourth Booke 
of Ayres^ published between 1613 and 1619. This book of the 
Golden TreoMiry contains eight specimens of Campion's work, 
and either two or three more are given in Book II. (ci., cxliii. ; 
ex VII., "There is a garden in her face," is probably also by him). 
Even this large selection by no means exhausts all Campion's 
lyrics that are undoubtedly of the first rank. Many good judges 
would probably place the poems beginning, ** Kind are her 
answers," **Now winter nights enlarge," ** Never weather- 
beaten sail," ** Follow your saint, follow with accents sweet!" 
above nearly all the verses here given. All of them are 
singularly rich in musical charm, the choice product of an age 
when Music and Poetry were united as they never have been in 
England since. 

Metre. — This becomes quite regular if we follow Mr. Quiller- 
Couch's admirable conjecture that the two concluding lines 
should be divided thus : 

" Then what we sow 
With our lips let us reap, love's gains dividing." 

In this way we get two corresponding stanzas : 

Lines 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 contain 3 iambic feet with a trochaic 
ending ; 

Lines 3, 6 contain 2 iambic feet with a trochaic ending ; 

Line 10 contains 2 iambic feet, and is unrhymed ; 

Lines 9 and 11 contain 4 feet with a trochaic ending : in line 
1 1 an anapaest is substituted for an iambus in the first two feet 
(With our lips | let us r^p). 

Xjtle. Basia^ a Greek word for ' kisses/ 

Nos. 25—27 77 

10. Hearts, governed by 'entertaining.' 

11. still, always, continually. 

12. liarvest. The same metaphor occurs in Campion's ** Come, 
you pretty false-eyed wanton " ; 

" Such a harvest never was 
So rich and full of pleasure. 
But 'tis spent as soon as reaped, 
So trustless is love's treasure." 

16. wliicli, i.e, of which. 

19. swerving is Mr. A. H. Bullen's conjecture, for the rhyme's 
sake, for chamjingf the word in the 1601 edition. The use of 
swerving is perhaps confirmed by Shakespeare's use of it in No. 
42. 8, '* And so my patent back again is swerving,^* 

26. Never love unless you can 

From Campion's Third Book of Airs (about 1617). 

Metre. — We may scan the first four lines of each stanza either 
as four iambic feet with the first foot reduced to one long 
syllable, or as three trochees with a concluding long syllable. 
The general eifect is trochaic, so that the second seems a better 
description. In lines 5 and 6 there is a change to an iambic 

5. discontent. For the participial force, cp. ** determinate " in 
No. 42. 4, ** My bonds in thee are all determinate." The later 
form * discontented ' implies a verb * to discontent,' formed from 
the participial adjective * discontent ' ; and this verb is used by 
Campion in No. 79. 8, ** Whom hopes cannot delude, Nor sorrow 

6. straight, straightway. 

14. themselves retire, retire themselves. Retire is properly an 
active verb, * to withdraw ' (Fr. retirer) ; the intransitive use 
arises from the omission of the reflexive pronoun. 

15. hawk, to hunt game with a hawk ; the favourite old 
English sport of falconry. 

27. On a day^ alack the day / 

Dumain's song to the "most divine Kate" in Lovers Labour* s 
Lost (rv. iii. ), one of Shakespeare's earliest plays ; it also appears 
in The Passionate Pilgrim, The metre may have been suggested 
to Shakespeare by Barnefield's song (No. 45), ** As it fell upon a 
(lay," or by a song of Nicholas Breton {Golden Pomp, xxxix.) : 

*' In the merry month of May, 
Jn ft morn b^ brea^ of da^^ 


Forth I walk'd by the wood-side 
Whenas May was in his pride : 
There I spyed all alone 
Phyllida and Corydon." 

Metre, — This trochaic metre of four accents — i.e, three trochees 
and a concluding long syllable — is the one that Touchstone 
ridicules in Aa You Like It, calling it **the very false gallop of 
verses," and offering to rhyme Rosalind thus, "eight years 
together, dinners and suppers and sleeping hours excepted." In 
a short poem, such as this or No. 45, the effect of the light 
rippling melody is charming. In a long poem it would grow 
monotonous : hence the need for the variations introduced by 
Milton in L* Allegro {O.T,^ cxliv.) or Keats in his Ode on the 
Poets {G. T.y ccix.). 

Observe the scansion of 1. 17 : " Th6u for | wh6m | J6ve 
would I sw^ar." "Monosyllables containing diphthongs and 
long vowels, since they naturally allow the voice to rest upon 
them, are often so emphasised as to dispense with an unaccented 
syllable" (Abbott, S.O,,^ 484). 

1. alack the day, "Shame or reproach to the day !" Cp. 
"Woe worth the day." The interjection alach is derived from 
the subst. lack in the sense of * failure,' ' disgrace * (Skeat). 

3. Spied, espied ; without the idea ol secrecy that now attaches 
to the word, passing, surpassing, exceeding. 

4. wanton air. Cp. Herrick's Dianeme {G.T,, cxni. ) : 

** Be you no proud ol that rich hair 
Which wantons with the lovesick air. " 

5. velvet leaves. Cp. " the summer's veZve< buds,"^e?iry V,, 
I. ii. 194. When Gray borrowed the epithet {G. T, CLXXVii. 27), 
"O'er Idalia's velvet green The rosy-crowned loves are seen," Dr. 
Johnson objected to it on the ground that * * An epithet or meta- 

Shor drawn from Nature ennobles Art ; an epithet or metaphor 
rawn from Art degrades Nature. " 

6. 'gan, did. *Gan would be more correctly printed without 
the apostrophe, for it is not a shortened form of * began,' but the 
past tense of the O.E. verb ginnan, to begin, used as an auxiliary. 
Another form used by the Elizabethans is can, which in this 
sense has no connection with the verb ca«=* to be able,' origin- 
ally * to know. * Gan or can is frequent in Spenser and in the 
ballad- writers. 

7. That, i.e. so that. 

9. Cp. Herrick, To the Western Wind {Golden Pomp, xxxviii.) : 

" Sweet western wind, whose luck it is, 
Made rival with the air, 

No8. 27—28 79 

To give Perenna's lips a kiss, 
And fan her wanton hair " ; 

and again. To Electra {Oolden Pomp^ xcv.) : 

** No, no, the utmost share 
Of my desire shall be 
Only to kiss the air 

That lately kissed thee." 

quotli, said, is properly the past tense of a verb now only 
found in the compound be-queath ; it always precedes its pronoun. 

12. thorn. For the metaphor cp. JUidaummer Nightie Dream, 
I. i. 77 : 

*' But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd, 
Than that which, withering on the virgin thorn, 
Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness." 

18. Ethiope, negress. Cp. Ttoo Gentlemen of Verona, ii. vi. 26 : 

" And Silvia — witness Heaven, that made her fair ! — 
Shows Julia but a swarthy Ethiope." 

19. deny himself for Jove, seems to combine the notions of (1) 
deny that he is Jove, (2) renounce the privilege of being Jove. 

28. Forget not yet the tried intent 

Sir Thomas Wtat is the earliest poet whose work appears in 
the Golden Treasury. He shares with his younger friend, the 
Earl of Surrey, the honour of founding English lyric poetry. He 
was bom in 1503, entered St. John's College, Cambridge, at the 
early age of twelve, and took his bachelor's degree in 1518. In 
1525 he was in attendance at Henry VIII. 's court, where " he soon 
became a conspicuous figure, famous for his wit, his learning, his 
poetical talents, his linguistic attainments, his skill in athletic 
exercises, his fascinatiug manners and his handsome person." 
In 1537 he was sent as ambassador to the court of Spain, and 
afterwards on another embassy. These were difficult times for 
courtiers, and Wyat, though generally a favourite with the king, 
was twice imprisoned in the Tower. He died at Sherborne in 
1542, whilst on a journey. His poems were first printed in 
TotteVa Miscellany, 1557. 

Though much of his poetry was closely modelled on the Italians 
of the fourteenth centurv, and though he and Surrey have been 
called '' inaugurators of the era of Italian influence," Wyat 
exhibits in such lyrics as this and No. 44, originality, concentrated 
strength and fire of passion. 

Metre. — The metrical charm of this, and of No. 44 by the same 
writer, is largely produced by the opening words being repeated 
as a refrain. Tne effect in both cases is to give a certain pleading 
persistence to the lover's appeal. The use of such refrains was 



doubtless suggested to Sir T. Wyat by the old French forms 
of verse, such as the rondel and the rondeau, though his stanzas 
do not conform exactly to any of the French types. Compare in 
this respect Sir P. Sidney's ditty, No. 32. 

1-2. W' may paraphrase : Forget not the proved constancy of 
such a devotion as 1 have purposed. 

3. travail, wearisome labour. * Travel * is the same word, 
though the difference of spelling has come to mark a difference of 

6. whan, when. Cp. than for then, Milton's Nativity Ode 
((?.r., Lxxxv. 88). 

7. suit. Cp. Spenser Faerie Queene^ vi. x. : 

" So well he wood her and so well he wrought her 
With humble service, and with daily suity 
That at the last unto his will he brought her." 

9. assays, efforts. The word * assay ' has been superseded by 
the later form * essay ' except in the special sense of the * assay 
of metals.* Coleridge uses it as an archaism in Christahel, ** Deep 
from within she seems half-way To lift some weight with sick 
assay. ^* 

17. thine own approved, one proved to be thine own. See 
note on No. 46. 11. 

18. The which, i.e. which (approved lover). *' The question 
may arise why the is attached to which and not to who. The 
answer is that ivho is considered definite already, and stands for 
a noun, while which is considered as an indefinite adjective ; 
just as in French we have leqiiel but not lequi*' (Abbott, S.G.j 
§ 270). 

29. if thou knevfsi how thou thyself dost harm 

William Alexand£b, (1580? — 1640) published in 1604 a volume 
of sonnets and songs, Aurora^ containing the first fajicies of the 
author's youth, supposed to have been written whilst he travelled 
as tutor to the Earl of Argyle. Whether * Aurora ' was a real 
lady is not known : it would be quite in accordance with the 
literary practice of the period that she should be imaginary. 
Alexander helped King James with his metrical translation of 
the Psalms. In 1621 this King granted Nova Scotia to him by 
charter, "with almost absolute authority in a country larger 
than all the king's dominions elsewhere." In the same year he 
was knighted, and in 1633 he was created Earl of Stirling (or 
Sterline). "Alexander filled a large and conspicuous space in 
his generation as scholar, courtier, statesman, coloniser, and 
poet ; he touched national events at many points, and won the 
not easily won friendship and lofty praise of such men as Drayton 

Nos. 28—31 81 

and Aytoun, Habington and Drummond, and Edward Alleyn ; 
and his entire Workes were long afterwards read by Milton. He 
stands above any contemporary Scot, alike in many-sidedness 
and strenuousness of character " {D.X,B.). 

2. prejudge tby bliss, form a prematnre decision without 
proper examination — a prejudice — to the detriment of thy bliss. 

7. in, into. With lines 7 and 8 cp. No. 17. 3-4, "As easy 
might I from myself depart As from my soul, which in thy breast 
doth lie," and the whole of No. 32, **My true-love hath my 
heart and I have his.'' 

10. if tliat is common in Shakespeare and the Elizabethans 
where in modem English we say simply if. But if that appears 
itself to be a shortened form of expression : Abbott, S.G,, § 287 
quotes from Chaucer, Pardomr*8 Tale, 375, the fuller form, **IJ 
80 were that I might." 

30. / saw my Lady weep 

This noble song is from John Dowland's Second Booh of Songn or 
Airs, 1600. Its authorship is unknown. It is as fine in poetical 
and musical quality as Campion's best work, and in its reserved 
strength ana lofty passion recalls the style of Shakespeare's 
sonnets or Drayton's ** Since there's no help" (No. 49). 

Metre. — Stanzas of six iambic lines with the rhymes arranged 
ahahcc, the first and fourth lines contain three feet, the others 
contain five. 

3. keep, keep themselves, dwell. ** Frequent in literary use 
from about 1580 to 1650 ; now only colloquial, especially at 
Cambridge University and in the United States" {N.MJ,D.). 

6. parts, qualities ; the Latin partes. 

11. BO sweet a sadness. Cp. Gray's Hymn to Adversity {G.T., 
cci. 32), "And Pity dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear." 

18. breeds. Cp. No. 33. 10, " No looks proceed From those 
fair eyes but to me wonder breed." 

31. Let me not to the m/irriage of true minds 

This, the 116th, is, on the intellectual side, the climax of the 
whole splendid series of Shakespeare's sonnets. It proves that 
genius can express even abstract philosophical truth in terms of 
perfect poetry ; whilst the intensity of conviction breathed 
throughout, and especially in the concluding couplet, convicts 
those critics of error who find nothing in the sonnets but an 
exercise in the fashionable accomplishment of the age. (See 
Appendix C). 


1. marriage. The expression is metaphorical : the perfect 
loyalty of devoted friendship is signified as well as the union of 
man and wife. Cp. Tennyson, In Memoriam, xcvii. Observe 
the subtly interwoven alliterations of this first stanza : r and t 
run throughout the quatrain, r occurring 9 times and t 14 times. 
In the first two lines m occurs 6 times and d 3 times. In lines 2 
and 3 I occurs 4 times, and the first line opens with L The d 
sound is taken up again in the emphatic * finds ' and ' bends ' of 
lines 3 and 4 ; the m sound in the emphatic ' remover * and 
* remove * of line 4. 

2. impediments. With allusion to the Prayer Book formula, 
**If any of you know cause or just impediment why these two 
persons should not be joined together in holy matrimony, ye are 
to declare it." 

4. remover, one who departs, remove (oneself), depart. Cp. 
Macbeth, v. iii., ** Till Birnam wood remove to Dunsinane.'' 

5. mark, sea-mark. Wyndham compares Coriolanua, v. iii. 
74, *'Like a great sea-mark, standing every flaw And saving 
those that eye thee." 

7. Cp. Spenser's sonnet to "My Helice, the lodestar of my 
life," begmning : 

"Like as a ship, that through the Ocean wide 
By conduct of some star doth make her way. " 

8. [the star] whose worth's unknown, etc. : "Apparently, 
Whose stellar influence is uncalculated, although his angular 
altitude from the plane of the astrolabe or artificial horizon used 
by astrologers has been determined" (F.T.P.). "A mystical 
assertion that, as the unknown worth and occult influence of a 
star is in excess of the practical service it afibrds to mariners, so 
has Love an eternal value immeasurably superior to the accidents 
of time. . . . Cp. Drayton, Idea (1619), Sonnet 43, which first 
appears in that edition : 

' So doth the ploughman gaze the wandering star. 
And only rest contented with the light ; 
That never learned what constellations are, 
Beyond the bent of his unknowing sight ' " 


9. Love's not Time's fool, i.e. is not at the mercy of time, but 
the image is characteristically Shakespearean. It is adopted 
twice by Tennyson in In Memoriami "Thou shalt not be the 
fool of loss" (IV. 16), "The fools of habit" (x. 12). Cp. 
"Death's fool," Measure /or Measurey in. i. 11; "fools of 
nature," Hamlet, I. iv. ; " the fools of time," Sonnet oxxiv. 
Sonnets cxxiii. and cxxiv. are both on this theme of the 
superiority of Love to Time, 

Nos. 31—32 g3 

12^ bean it out. "It is sometimes nsed indefinitely, as the 
object of a verb, without referring to anything previously 
mentioned, and seems to indicate a pre-existing object in the 
mind of the person spoken of" (Abbott, S.G., § 226). This is 
the use retained colloquially in such expressions as "to fight it 

edge of doom. Shakespeare^s theme is Love enduring till 
Death ; Tennyson's in In Memoriam is Love enduring after 
Death : 

" Which masters Time indeed, and is 
Eternal, separate from fears : 
The all-assuming months and years 
Can take no part away from this." (lxxxv.). 

13. upon. Abbott, S,G,, § 191. 

14. nor no. Such double negatives with an intensifying force 
are common in Shakespeare. Up. * * Vex not yourself, nor strive 
not with your breath, i?tcAard //., ii. i. 3. 

32. My true-love hath my heart, and I have his 

** This lovely song appears, as here given, in Puttenham's Arte of 
English Poeaie, 1589. A longer and inferior form was published 
in the Arcadia of 1590 ; but Puttenham's prefatory words 
clearly assign his version to Sidney's own authorship" (F.T.P.). 

Metre, — The metre appears to be a free imitation of the old 
French rondel, which also, in its early form, consisted of two 
stanzas of five lines each, with the first line repeated as a refrain 
in the 6th and 10th. Sir P. Sidney, however, departs from the 
rule of the rondel that forbids the introduction of fresh rhymes 
in the second stanza. 

1. The conceit of an exchange of hearts is a favourite with 
Elizabethan poets. Cp. Nos. 17 and 29 in this book ; Donne, 
The Message {Golden Pomp, coix.) ; Herrick, To (Enone {Golden 
Fomp, ccYii.) : 

' ** What conscience, say, is it in thee 
When I a heart had one, 
To take away that heart from me. 
And to retain thy own ? " 

tme-love. For the compound cp. No. 35. 2, " stay and 
hear ! your time-love's coming," and Ophelia's song {Hamlet^ 
IV. V.) : 

** How should I your true-love know From another one ?" 
It is said to be a corruption of troth-love. 


33. Though others may her brow adore 

From a song beginning, ** Let not Chloris think, because She 
hath envassel'd me," in J. Danyel's Songs for the Lutey Vid, and 
Voice, 1606. Tlie author is unknown. The song maybe read in 
Mr. A. H. BuUen's Lyrics from, ElizahetJian Song-Books, but the 
rest falls considerably below the portion extracted by Mr. F. T. 

Metre. — The song as a whole is irregular in its metre, but the 
extract here given falls into two regular stanzas of five iambic 
lines, the first two lines rhyming together, and the last three lines 
rhyming together. The stanza opens with a line of four feet, 
but the second, third and fifth lines are expanded to five feet and 
the fourth shortened to two feet. The effect of this simple 
variation is wonderfully musicaL 

7. margin. A beautiful metaphor from the annotations in the 
margin of a mediaeval manuscript. Cp. the whole of Drum- 
mond's fine sonnet, No. 80, especially the concluding lines : 

** Or if by chance we stay our minds on aught, 
It is some picture on the margin wrought.'' 

10. breed. Cp. No. 30. 18, " Which only breeds your beauty's 
* overthrow." 

34. Were I as base as is the lowly plain 

Joshua Sylvester (1563-1618) was chiefly famous in his OM^n 
day as the translator into English verse of the lengthy scriptural 
epics of Du Bartas, a Huguenot writer. Milton read him in 
boyhood, and so did Dryden ; but the latter afterwards stigma- 
tised his epics as * abominable fustian.' This charming sonnet, 
the only composition of Sylvester's which is now read, appeared 
in Davidson's Poetical Rhajpsody, 1602. 

3. swain originally meant * serving-man,' then * countryman, 
peasant.' The influence of the conventional pastoral is shown in 
the use of the word by Elizabethan poets in the sense of * lover.' 
Cp. Two Oentlemen of Verona, v. iv. 12, "Thou gentle nymph, 
cherish thy forlorn swain." In the 18th century, the word was 
again much used by the poets in the sense of 'peasant.' 

7. main. See note on No. 5. 7, ** the watery main." 

8. whereso'er, to be scanned here as a dissyllable. 

9-12. Cp. the lovely epigram attributed to Plato : 

daripas elcradpeis, dtrr^p ifi6s. aXdc yevolfiav 
oifpavos, ws TToWois 6fifia<rLv efs <T€ /SX^ttw. 

( "On the stars thou gazest, my Star ; would I were heaven, 
that I might look on thee with many eyes." — MackaiL) 

Kos. 33—36 85 

35. Mistress mine, where are you roaming f 

Sung by the Clown in Twelfth Night to Sir Toby Belch and Sir 
Andrew Aguecheek (ii. iii. 40). Critics have doubted whether 
the song is by Shakespeare on the ground that it appeared in 
Morley's Consort Lessons, 1599. Ttodfth Night was probably 
written somewhat later than thi : its first performance seems 
to have been at the Middle Temple, Feb. 2, 1602. 

Metre. — The general movement is trochaic. Each line has 
four accents, but in the third and sixth lines the final 
trochee is shortened to a single accented syllable. The first two 
lines, of the first stanza only, have an extra unaccented syllable 
at the beginning. 

The exquisite richness of sound in the two splendid opening 
lines is due partly to the alliteration, largely concealed, of r and 
m (seven r's and four m's), partly to the fact that each line rings 
the changes on all the five vowels. Such triumphs of sound are 
more characteristic of Shakespeare than of any other Elizabethan, 
and point to his handiwork here. 

2. true-love. See note on No. 32. 1. 

4. sweeting is used for a kind of apple in Eomeo and Juliet, 
II. iv. 83, " Thy wit is a very bitter sioeeting ; it is a most sharp 
sauce." Its use as a term of endearment may be derived from 
this, but more probably comes direct from the adjective * sweet.* 

11. Sweet-and-twenty, explained by the commentators as 
'twenty times sweet,' a strong superlative. It seems more 
natural to regard it as a generalised age, instead of * one-and- 
twenty,' * two-and-twenty.° Cp. Byron, in G.T,, ccxii. 3, **the 
myrtle and ivy of sweet tioo-and-twenty." 

12. a stuff (that) will not endure, a cloth that will not wear 
for ever. 

36. Fine knacks for ladies, cheap, choice, brave, and new 

From John Dowland*s Second Booh of Songs or Airs, 1600. The 
third stanza, omitted by Mr. F. T. Palgrave, and certainly 
inferior to the two first, is still interesting : 

" Within this pack pins, points, laces and gloves. 
And divers toys fitting a country fair, 
But my heart, wherein duty serves and loves. 

Turtles and twins, court's brood, a heavenly pair- 
Happy the heart that thinks of no removes ! 

Of no removes I " 

The title given by Mr. F. T. Palgrave to the poem — An Honest 
AtUdycus—ia in allusion to the famous pedlar in A Winter's 


Tale, one of whose songs, " Lawn as white as driven snow " (rv. 
iv. 220) may be compared with this. But Shakespeare's 
Autolycus, like the son of Mercury from whom he took his 
name, was * * a snapper-up of unconsider'd trifles " : tJiis Auto- 
lycus, if his professions are to be believed, is nothing if not 

1. brave, handsome. See note on No. 43. 12, ** outbraves." 

2. money cannot move me to sell unless I choose. Cp. '' Move 
not "in No. 40. 13. 

3. fair, market. 

10. orient'st, brightest. Cp. No. 19. 31, " orient pearl," and 
see note on No. 4. 42. 

37. WTien icicles hang hy the wall 

This winter song is from the last scene of Love^a Labour's Lost, 
where it forms the second half of the ** dialogue that the two 
learned men have compiled in praise of the owl and the cuckoo." 
It is unsurpassed as a realistic presentation of winter scenes from 
English country life, each described in a few vivid words. 

Metre, — The seventh and eighth lines of the stanza should be 
regarded as forming a single line. Each stanza then consists of 
eight lines, each of four iambic feet. 

2. blows Ills nail, like the poor man in ^sop's fable who dis- 
pleased his host by first blowing upon his fingers to warm them, 
and then blowing upon his soup to cool it. 

9. keel, cool by stirring. Cp. Marston, What you will, **Thy 
brain boils : heel it, keel it, or all the fat's i' the fire." 

11. saw, properly 'saying, maxim,' used here for * moral dis- 
course.' It is connected etymologically with the verb * to say' 
and the Icelandic ' saga.' 

14. crabs, crab-apples. So in Midsummer- Night*8 Dream, 
II. i. 48 : 

** In a gossip's bowl In very likeness of a roasted crab,^* 

38. That time of year thou may^st in me behold 

Shakesfeabe's Sonnets, lxxiii. The atmosphere of Spring, 
Summer, and early Autumn has been reproduced in Nos. 15 and 
18 (Sonnets, xcvii. and civ.) : this is the sonnet of winter. 

4. "This most beautiful image was nearer and more vivid 
when many great Abbeys, opened to the weather within the 
memory of men living, were beginning to be ruins ere they were 
forgotten as * chantries, where the sad and solemn priests sing.' " 
— Wyndham. 

Nos. 36—39 87 

8. Death's second self. Similarly Shelley makes Death the 
brother of Night {G. T,, ocxxxn.). More often Sleep and Death 
are represented as brothers, as in Homer, Iliad, xiv. 231 ; 
Tennyson, In Memoriam^ LXViii. ; S. Daniel's sonnet in this 
book, No. 46. 2. 

10. That used instead of as (cp. line 6) because another as 
follows. (Abbott, ^. (?. , § 279). 

his, its. See note on No. 18. 10. 

39. When to the sessions of sweet silent thought 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, xxx. 

1. sessions, the Court. Wyndham compeures Othello, in. 
ui. 140: 

*' Who has a breast so pure 
But some uncleanly apprehensions 
Keep leets and law-davs, and in session sit 
Witn meditations lawful?" 

Cp. also Milton, Nativity Ode {O.T., Lxxxv. 163), "the 
world's last session. '* 
See note on No. 6. 3. 

1-4. Shakespeare would hardly have subscribed to Tennyson's 
dislike of sibilants in English verse. This quatrain contains 
twelve s sounds ; yet he would be a strange critic who should 
deny that it is exquisitely musical. 

4. Cp. Euripides, Fragment 44 (Nauck), from the Alexander^ 
vaKaib. kouvois daKpOois oi) XP^ criveiv, *'It befits not to bewail old 
woes with new tears.'* 

5. drown. Cp. ** My heart is dt^vmed sffiih. grief," 2 Henry 
VI,, III. i. 

6. dateless, endless. Cp. Richard II,, i. iii. 150: 

*' The sly slow hours shall not determinate 
The dateless limit of thy dear exile ; 
The hopeless word of * never to return ' 
Breathe I against thee, upon pain of life." 

7. long-slnce-cancellM. Such compounds are frequent in 
Elizabethan sonnets. Cp. ** the world- without-end hour," No. 
14. 5; " long-with-love-acquainted eyes" (Sir P. Sidney), 
No. 58. 6. 

8. expense, loss. See note on 43. 6. 

Bight, i,e. sight of persons beloved. So Wyndham, who 
compares 2 Henry VI,, i. i. 32, **Her sight did ravish." 

9. foregone, past. Cp. Cowley, Pindaric Odes, i. iii., " With 
oblivion's stroke deface Oi foregone ills the very trace." 


10. tell, count. Cp. PscUm xxii. 17, **I may tell all my 

13. the while, (in) the (mean) time. While was originally a 
noun meaning ' time * (Abbott, S.G.,% 137). 

40. Come, Sleep: Sleep/ the certain knot of peace 

Perhaps the earliest of the many sonnets written by Elizabethan 
poets in praise of Sleep. Another of the finest of them is given 
in this book, No. 46, "Care-charmer Sleep," by S. DanieL 
Hardly inferior to this is a sonnet by Drummond of Hawthorn- 
den, "Sleep, silence child, sweet father of soft rest" {Golden 
Ponipf CLXXV.). Very beautiful, again, is the invocation in 
Beaumont and Fletcher's Valentiniaiif v. ii. : 

** Care-charming Sleep, thou easer of all woes. 
Brother to Death, sweetly thyself dispose 
On this aflflicted prince ; fall like a cloud 
In gentle showers ; give nothing that is loud 
Or painful to his slumbers ; easy, light, 
Ana as a purlins stream, thou son of Night, 
Pass by his troubled senses ; sing his pain 
Like hollow murmuring wind or silver rain ; 
In to this prince gently, O gently, slide. 
And kiss him into slumbers like a bride." 

Every reader will remember the speech of the King in Shake- 
speare's 2 Henry IV., iii. i., and the lines in Coleridge's 
Ancient Mariner, Part v., "Oh Sleep! it is a gentle thing." 
Cp. also Wordsworth's sonnet, " A flock of sheep that leisurely 
pass by" {O.T., cccxiii.). 

2. baiting-place. Properly meaning a place at which dogs 
are set on to worry wild animals kept in confinement, * baiting- 
place ' was early used for a place at which food is given to horses 
or refreshment taken on a journey. In this second sense Sidney 
applies it metaphorically here. It is a natural metaphor 
for a poet to whom the * highway' was his 'chief Parnassus' 
(No, 13. 1). 

3. poor man's wealth. Cp. Horace's somntis agrestium Lents 
virorum non humilea domos Fastidit ("gentle sleep spurns not 
the lowly homes of rustic folk "), Odes, iii. i. 21. 

4. Indifferent, impartial. Cp. Drummond in the sonnet men- 
tioned above, ** Indifferent host to shepherds and to kings." 

5. shield of proof, shield of 'proved' steel, i,e, of steel 
hardened till it can stand a certain trial. Cp. Shakespeare, 
Cymheline, v. v. 5, "targes of 'proof ^^ \ "armed in proof" 
Richard III., v. iii. 219. 

prease, press. 

Nos. 39—41 89 

9-10. With these indacements to sleep contrast what Livy 
(XXI. 4) says of Hannibal : Ea [quies\ neqtte moUi strata neque 
sUentio accersitja ; rmdli stiepe militari scUgvlo opertum humi iacentem 
inter custodiaa stcUionesque mUitiim conspexenmt ('* Repose was 
wooed neither by a soft couch nor by silence ; often he was seen 
wrapt in his military cloak, lying on the ground amongst the 
guards and pickets "). 

11. a rosy garland, garland of roses. Cp. Gray*s use of '* rosy 
crowned Loves" for ** Cupids crowned with roses" in The 
Progress of Poesy (O.T,, clxxvii. 28). The rosy garland is an 
emblem of feasting, in allusion to the Greek custom of wearing a 
wreath at banquets. 

13. heavy, slow to move, reluctant — a sense often borne by the 
Latin grams. 

4L Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore 

Shakesfease's Sonnets, LX. 

1-4. The slow persistence of the gradually advancing tide is 
wonderfully reproduced in the steady march of the rhythm. For 
a similar effect, cp. A. H. Clough's Say not the straggle nought 
availeth : 

" For while the tired waves, vainly breaking. 
Seem here no painful inch to gain. 
Far back, through creeks and inlets making, 
Comes silent, flooding in, the main." 

4. sequent, following. A favourite word with Shakespeare ; 
used also by Milton in Paradise Lost, xii. 165, " a sequent king." 

5. nativity, etc. " When a star has risen and entered on the 
full stream of light — another of the astrological phrases no longer 
familiar" (F.T.P.). Cp. No. 31. 7-8. But Mr. Palgrave's note 
leaves the term Nativity unexplained. It is rightly explained by 
Mr. Wyndham : " Nativity is a term of astrology denoting the 
moment of a child's birth in relation to the scheme or figure of 
the heavens, particularly of the Twelve Houses, at that moment, 
and it is employed by Shakespeare, almost invariably, with this 
connotation : 

* My nativity was under Ursa Major.* 

Lear, I. ii. 140. 
' Thou hast as chiding a nativity 
As fire, air, water, earth, and heaven can make. 
To herald thee from the womb.* 

Pericles, iii. i. 32. 

* At my nativity 
The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes.' 

1 Henry VL, in. i 13.'' 


xnain. See note on No. 5. 7. Mr. Wyndham thinks that, 
** though possibly with a secondary echo of the sea-image from 
the first quatrain, main of light means the hollow sphere of the 
universe filled with light as conceived in Shakespeare's day." 
He paraphrases the whole stanza : '* Life beginning at a point in 
time within the shining sphere of the heavens, whose aspect is 
charged with its fate, crawls to maturity only to be thwarted by 
their baleful powers, and time despoils the worth of his gift." 

6. hehig crowii'd. The participle agrees with Nativity, or 
rather with Life, understood from Nativity. 

7. crooked. Mr. F. T* Palgrave interprets literally, "As 
coming athwart the Sun's apparent course. But crooked may 
mean 'malignant': cp. **If crooked fortune had not thwarted 
me," Tivo Gentlemen of Verona, iv. i. 22 ; " Envy and crooked 
malice," Henry VIIL, v. iii. 44. 

eclipses. Cp. Sonnet cvii., "The mortal moon hath 6er 
eclipse enclured.' 

9. flourisli, bloom. Cp. a life of the Earl of Essex in the Har- 
leian MSS., 1665 : **The Earl of Essex was then in the flourish 
of his youth." But the expression set on youth used here implies 
that the flourish is something vain and superficial, so that there 
is at least a suggestion of another meaning which the word bears 
in Shakespeare, "Poor painted queen, vain flourish of my 
fortune 1 " {i.e. vain semblance), Richard III,, i. iii. 241. 

10. parallels, the lines or wrinkles. 

11. xarlties, rare excellencies. 

nature's truth, nature's true handiwork. Cp. Twelfth 
Night, I. V. 257 : 

"'Tis beauty truly blent whose red and white 
Nature's own sweet and cunning hand laid on." 

12. but, except. 

13. times in hope, future times. Cp. the concluding couplets 
of Nos. 6 and 23. 

42. Farewell I thou art too dear for my possessing 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, lxxxvti. Cp. Sonnet xlix., "Against 
that time, if ever that time come." " In the final revulsion the 
literary glories of poetry [cp. the end of No. 41] are forgotten : 
it is no more the eternal monument of passion, only its lyric 
cry. The anguish of the Farewell f thou art too dear for my 
possessing craves no marble record " (Prof. Herford). 

Metre. — All the lines except two have the double or feminine 
ending ; no other sonnet of Shakespeare uses it so freely. 

2. like enough, (it is) likely enough (that). 

Nos. 41—43 91 

4. determinate, expired. '* The term is used in legal convey- 
ancing " (Malone). Determinate here has its original participial 
force, -ate representing the -atvs of the Latin participle. Simi- 
larly devote and derogate were originally participial, but after- 
wards used as verbs and given a fresh participial ending in d. 
See note on No. 26. 5, * discontent.' 

6. ricbes, generally treated as a singular snbst. by Shake- 
speare. This is really correct, for the word is the French subst. 
richease, wealth, ana is so spelt when it first appears in 

8. patent, grant by letters patent. Letters patent = an 
official document, open (Lat. patens)^ but sealed at the foot, con- 
ferring a privilege. 

11. upon misprision growing. *' Either granted in error, or, 
on the growth of contempt" (F.T.P.), The first explanation 
agrees better with Shakespeare's use of misprision elsewhere. It 
is true that he once uses it for contempt: "That dost in vile 
misprision shackle up My love and her desert," AWs Well that 
End^s Well, ii. iii. 159 ; but misprision there implies mistaken 
contempt, a sense that would be out of place here. Elsewhere 
misprision means simply 'mistake ' : "Misprision in the highest 
degree," Twelfth Nighty i. v. 61; "some strange misprision," 
Mv4:h AdOf iv. i. 187. Similarly misprise is used in the two 
senses, * to mistake ' and * to undervalue wrongfully.' Cp. ** Your 
reputation shall not therefore be misprised," As You Like It^ t. 
ii. 192 : "You spend your passion on a mispris'd mood," Mid- 
summer- Night^s Dream, iii. ii. 74. On the other hand, growing 
suits the meaning of * contempt' better than the meaning of 

misprision is from O.F. mesprisey a mistake ; mesprendre, 
to mistake. 

12. on . . . making. On = upon, in consequence of, Abbott, 8, 0., 
§ 180 ; muking, Abbott, S.G., §372. 

43. They that have power to hurty and mil do none 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, xcrv. " With the tone of this sonnet 
compare Hamlet's " Give me that man that is not passion's 
slave," etc. [iii. ii.]. Shakespeare's writings show the deepest 
sensitiveness to passion — hence the attraction he felt in the con- 
trasting efi^ects of apathy " (F.T.P. ). Cp. Sonnet cxxix. : " Th' 
expense of Spirit in a waste of shame, " the most terribly power- 
ful of the whole series. 

2. Their outward beauty tempts others, but they are them- 
selves untempted. 


6. expense, loss. Op. No. 39. 8, ''And moan the expense of 
many a vanished sight." From the meaning of 'expenditure' 
comes the secondary meaning of 'vain expenditure,* 'waste/ 

12. outbrayes, excels in beauty or splendour So in Gerarde's 
JlerhcU (1597), "The lilies of the field outbraved him." Braveja. 
Elizabethan English (like the French brave) has the two senses of 
* finely-dressed ' and ' courageous.' The derivative oiUbrave 
follows both senses. For the other cp. Merchant of Venice, i. ii. 
28, " Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth." 

14. "The line occurs also in the play King Edwa/rd HI, 
(printed 1596), in a part of the play ascribed by some critics to 
Shakespeare. We cannot say for certain whether the play 
borrows from the sonnet or the sonnet from the play" (Dowden). 
Cp. the Latin proverb, Corruptio optimi pessima, "The corrup- 
tion of the best is worst." 

44, And wilt thou leave me thus? 

See introductory note to No. 28. " Renaissance influences long 
impeded the return of English poets to the charming realism of 
this and a few other poems by Wyat" (F.T.P.). It should be 
remembered, however, that Wyat himself contributed much to 
the spread of Renaissance influences in England ; and that even 
in this poem, simple and sincere as it is, they are distinctly 

Metre, — See note to No. 28. Courthope {History of English 
Poetry y ii. 57) remarks that Wyat was doubtless helped to his 
form by the circumstance that poetry was not yet divorced from 
music. " Music, as we see from Castiglione's Courtier , was a 
necessary accomplishment for a gentleman. Henry VIII. was 
passionately fond of it, and almost all Wyat's love lyrics were 
composed for the accompaniment of the lute." 

4. gnrame, grief. Common in O.E., but long obsolete, till re- 
vived by Swinburne and Rossetti. 

9. wealth, wellbeing; the sense that the word bears in the 

11. for to, "which is now never joined with the infinitive 
except by a vulgarism, was very common in early English and 
Anglo-Saxon, and is not uncommon in the Elizabethan writers. 
. . . From the earliest period for to, like to, is found used 
without any notion or purpose, simply as the sign of the infini- 
tive" (Abbott, S.G.,% 152). 

16. neither... nor. For the redundant negative cp. No. 31, 14, 
" iior no man ever loved." 

Nos. 43-45 93 

45. As it fell upon a day 

BiCHAKD Barnbfield or Barnfield (1574-1627) was bom in 
Staffordshire and educated at Brasenose College, Oxford. All 
his published verses were written before he was twenty-five. 
His later years seem to have been passed in retirement in the 
country. He was a skilful composer of verse, and has even 
been compared to Keats for the ' sweetness ' of his diction ; but 
the fact that he ceased to write so early is probably evidence 
that his vein of invention was soon exhausted. 

From their inclusion in The Passionate Pilgrim^ 1599 (see intro- 
ductory note to No. 7) these melodious lines — as well as a sonnet 
by Barnfield, " If music and sweet poetry agree " — have often been 
attributed to Shakespeare. The poem first appeared in Barn- 
field's Poems in Divers Humours, 1598, where, as in The Pas- 
sUmate Pilgrim, it nms to 58 lines. The portion printed in The 
Golden Treasury, comprising the first 28 lines of the poem, was 
reproduced in EnglaviVs Helicon, 1600, where it is ascribed to 

Metre. — The trochaic verse of four accents which we have 
already encountered in No. 27. It seems to have been first used 
by Sir Philip Sidney in the charming verses that begin : 

*' In a grove most rich of shade 
Where birds wanton music made, 
May, then young, his pied weeds flowing. 
New perfumed with flowers fresh growing." 

There is a strong family likeness between Sidney's poem. Barn- 
field's, Shakespeare's " On a day, alack the day^* (No. 27), and 
N. Breton's Phyllida and Corydon {Golden Pomp, xxxix.). 
Sidney's poem, as the earliest, may justly be credited with 
having inspired the remaining three ; but the chronological 
order and inter-relationship of these three is uncertain. 

1. fell, chanced. 

3. sitting, %,e. As I was sitting. The 'unrelated participle,' 
as it is called, is rightly condemned as a slipshod usage in 
modem English. But those who use it might plead the example 
of the Elizabethans, Cp. Midsummer-NighVs Dream, v. i. 21, 
**0r in the night imagining some fear, How easy is a bush sup- 
posed a bear." 

10. up-till, up-to, against. There are several traces in Shake- 
speare of the old prepositional use oitill=to. Cp. Lovers Labour's 
Lost, V. il 494, "We know whereuntil it doth amount "j 
Harnlety v. i. 81, ** intU the land." 


thorn, hawthorn. Cp. No. 47. 4, " a thorn her song- book 
making." Cp. also a song l)y T. Dekker, "O, the month of 
May" {Golden Pomp, viii.) : 

"Now the nightingale, the pretty nightingale, 
The sweetest singer in all the forest choir, 
Entreats thee, sweet Peggy, to hear thy true love's tale : 
Lo, yonder she sitteth, her breast against a ferter." 

12. Tliat, so that. 

14. teru, teru, an imitation of the nightingale's note, but with 
allusion to the classical legend of Philomela, whose persecutions 
by Tereus caused her transformation into a nightingale (Her- 
ford). Cp. Lyly*s song quoted in the note to No. 1. 4, **Jtig, 
j'^9i jf^i jf^> tereu, she cries, And still her woes at midnight 
rise " ; and No. 47. 8, " For Tereus^ force on her chaste will pre- 

17. lively was very commonly used as an adv. in the seven- 
teenth century = in a life-like manner. Cp. Evelyn's Diary, 
1659 : " A sheet of paper on which was very lively painted the 
thing in miniature." 

23. Pandion, the father of Philomela. 

24. lapp'd in lead, wrapt in lead, enclosed in a leaden coffin. 
Cp. Ma>cheth, i. ii. 64, " Bellona's bridegroom lapped in proof 
(t.e. cased in armour) Confronted him." 

46. Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night 


"Samuel Daniel, one of the golden writers of our golden 
Elizabethan age, now most causelessly neglected. Samuel 
Daniel, whose diction bears no mark of time, no distinction of 
age, which has been, and as long as our language shall last will 
be, so far the language of the to-day and for ever, as that it is 
more intelligible to us than the transitory fashions of our own 
particular age" (Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, ch. xxii.). 
Daniel (bom near Taunton, Somerset, 1562 ; died in the same 
county, 1619) has never been widely read. He did not choose 
his subjects or style of composition wisely. His most ambitious 
work was a long historical epic on the civil wars of York and 
Lancaster ; in his tragedies of Cleopatra and Philotas he was 
mainly influenced by Seneca, not the best of models. But his 
Sonnets to Delia and Hymen's Triumph, with passages scattered 
about his other poems, entirely deserve the praise of Coleridge ; 
and the lofty simplicity and purity of his thought and expression 
will always secure for him the affections of those who appreciate 
such qualities in poetry. 

On the subject of this sonnet, see introductory note to No. 40, 
Sir P. Sidney's sonnet on Sleep, Daniel— as also Fletcher, in 

Nos. 45—47 95 

the lines quoted from Valentinian— borrowed the expression 
* Care-charmer Sleep ' from the French, the ' Sommeil chasse- 
soin ' of De Brach and De Baif {Seccombe and Allen, i. 16). 

2. Brother to Death. See note on No. 38. 8. Cp. also&.T., 
cxxxYii. 3, ''sleep, death's image,'* and Virgil's Cowfanguineus 
Leti Sopor (''Sleep the brother of Death"), though his Death 
and Sleep are shapes of terror in the entrance to the lower 
world, and represent ' drugged sleep ' and ' violent death ' 
{Aeji, VI. 278). 

3. lan^niish, used as a subst., as in Borneo and Juliet, i. ii. 49, 
"One desperate grief cures with another's languUh,** Verbs 
were frequently converted into substantives by the Elizabethan 
poets without the addition of any termination (Abbott, 8,0,, 

restore the light. To the poet in his misery light has 
become as darkness ; he prays that the darkness may bring back 
the light by enabling him to forget his sorrow in sleep. 

6. There is an echo of this noble line in a sonnet by Drummond : 
"Look on the woeful shipwreck of my youth." 

ill-adventured, foolishly put in danger. Cp. A.V. of Judges, 
ix. 17, " For my father fought for you and adventured his life 

7. their soom, the scorn which they sufifer. 

8. night's untruth, t.e. dreams. 

11. approve, prove. Cp. No. 28. 17, "thine own approved," 
and Much Ado, iv. i. 45, "To knit my soul to an approved 
wanton." On the other hand, in No. 50. 20, 'proved' is used 
where we now use * approved.' 

13. In allusion to the classical myth of Ixion, who, beins 
invited by Zeus to the table of the gods, waxed insolent, ana 
sought the love of Hera. Zeus fashioned a phantom of cloud in 
the likeness of the goddess, and deceived Ixion. 

47. The nightingale, as soon as Ap'il bringeth 

" This song has a fascination in its calm intensity of passion ; 
that * sad earnestness and vivid exactness ' which Cardinal 
Newman ascribes to the master-pieces of ancient poetry" 
(F.T.P.). We may note the absence from these profoundly 
moving lines of M'hat Ruskin called 'the pathetic fallacy,* so 
common in later poetry : not even with the classical legeod of 
Philomela to help him does Sidney make Nature an accomplice 
in his grief. Similarly, the Earl of Surrey's well-known sonnet, 



'*The soote season," is entitled Description of Spring , ivherein 
each thing renews, save only the Lover, and ends with the couplet : 

** And thus 1 see among these pleasant things 
£ach care decays, and yet my sorrow springs." 

Very similar in tone are two Elizabethan Spring Songs given in 
The Qoldeti Pomp, **Now each creature joys the other," by S. 
Daniel (cj.), and "The earth late choked with showers," by T. 
Lodge (cvii. ). 

Metre, — The song is described as written to the tune of an 
Italian song, Non credo gia che piu infelice amante. There are 
two stanzas of eight lines, each followed by the same four-lined 
refrain. The lines are iambic with a double or trochaic ending. 

4. thorn, hawthorn. Cp. No. 45. 10, " Lean'd her breast up- 
till a thorn." 

80Xi£:-l>ook. Song-books, little books containing words and 
music printed togetlier, were a notable feature of the Elizabethan 
age. The most important were those that bear the names of 
William Byrd, John Dowland, Thomas Morley, and Thomas 

8. Tereus, a mythical prince of Thrace, husband of Procne, 
ravisher of Philomela, the two daughters of the Athenian king 
Pandion. According to the version of the story followed by 
most poets, Tereus was changed by the gods into a hawk, Procne 
into a swallow, and Philomela into a nightingale. Cp. No. 45. 

12. Thy thorn (is) without. 

14. wroken, wreaked : cp. * holpen,' the older form of 

15, 16. The construction is somewhat loose. * She suffering * 
appears to be the absolute use of the participle — cp. No. 41. 6, 
** wherewith being crown'd " — but in tne next line * she * is made 
subject of the verb * complains.' 

18. me, for 'myself,' as often in Elizabethan and earlier 

20. woe, adj., = * sad.' Cp. No. 60. 7, "He was glad, I was 
woe." The use survives in Scottish dialect : cp. G, T,, cxcvi. 27, 
"How fond to meet, how wae to part." 

23. With the antithesis of this refrain, cp. the beautiful 
lines of a seventeenth -century poet, William Browne of 
Tavistock : 

" May 1 Be thou never graced with birds that sing, 
Nor Flora's pride ! 
In thee all flowers and roses spring. 
Mine only died." 

Nos. 47—49 97 

48. TaJce, take those lips awaij 

Fboh Mectstire for Measure, iv. L The song is also found in 
Fletcher's play of The Bloody Brother, 1639, followed by 
another but distinctly inferior stanza. As Mecumre/or Measure 
was published in 1623, and probably written as early as 1603, we 
may assume, though we cannot prove, that the original and 
perfect stanza was Shakespeare's. It would hardly b« possible 
to find a stanza that conveys more of the indefinable magic and 
romance of poetry in simple words, whether we think of the 
exquisite imagery of the ourth line or the effect of the pathetic 
repetition in the concluding couplet. 

4. Morning, beholding the eyes of the beloved, mistakes them 
for the sun. The hyperbole has many parallels in Elizabethan 
poetry. Cp. No. 19. 6, ** Her eyes are sapphires set in snow, 
kesembling heaven by every wink " ; No. 22. 6, " My Sun's 
heavenly eyes"; No. 50, "Follow thy fair sun, unhappy 

7. Seals of love. Cp. a song, "My love bound me with a 
kiss," in A. H. Bullen's Lyrics from Elizahethan Song- Books : 

** Yes, she knows it but too well, 
For I heard when Venus* dove 
In her ear did softly tell 
That kisses were the seals of love." 

49. Since tlier^s no help, come let vs kiss and part 

Michael Drayton was born in Shakespeare's county of War- 
wickshire in 1563, and died in 1631. He published a collection 
of fifty-one sonnets, Idea's Mirror, in 1594. They seem to have 
been addressed to a real lady who lived in the same county, near 
the river Anker ; probably, as Prof. Courthope has shown, the 
Countess of Bedford. His most ambitious poetical works were 
The Baron's Wars, England's HeroiccU Epistles, and Poly-Olbion, 
the last-named being a poetical description of England in thirty 
books. But he is chiefly remembered now by his splendid 
Ballad of Agincourt ("Fair stood the wind for France"), his 
Nymphidia, and this magnificent sonnet, which was inserted in 
the Idea series in the 1619 edition. 

"That wonderful sob of supplication for which Drajrton is 
chiefly remembered " (G. Wyndham). Kossetti, himself a great 
sonnet-writer, thought this one of the five or six greatest sonnets 
in the language. It is worthy, in strength and passion and 
nobility of expression, to stand beside the best of Shakespeare's. 
With the epigrammatic 'surprise' of the conclusion we may 
compare the ending of No. 55 in this book, A Renunciation, and 
of Blake's Cradle Song {O.T., clxxxi. ). 


Metre, — Observe the double or feminine ending of the con- 
cluding couplet. It is used with very similar effect by Shake- 
speare in No. 42, and was imitated by Keats in his sonnet, The 
Human Seasons {0,T., cxx^xxxiii. ). 

4. cleanly. The sense of * completely * comes naturally from 
the idea of a vessel emptied of its contents so * cleanly' that 
not a trace of them remains. Cp. A, V. of Psalm Ixxvii, 8, "Is 
his mercy clean gone for ever ? " 

10-12. A wonderful group of statuary. * Love ' and * passion ' 
are here the same, and ' his ' in all three lines is ' love's.' 

50. Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow / 

With this song may be compared another of Campion's, not 
less exquisite in imagination and in melody : 

" Follow your saint, follow with accents sweet I 
Haste you, sad notes, fall at her flying feet ! " 

It will be found in Lyrics from Elizabethan Song-Books, in The 
Golden Pomp, and in the Oxford Book of Verse. 

The bold appropriation of .magery from the great things of 
Nature is characteristic of Elizabethan poetry : cp. No. 34. 9-12. 

Metre. — Iambic. The musical charm and freshness of the 
poem are due largely to three simple variations from ordinary 
metre : (1) the substitution of a single long syllable for the first 
foot of the first line of the stanza, (2) the shortening of the second 
and third lines to three feet, (3) the trochaic endings to the first 
and fourth lines. 

11. As = * That.' Abbott, S.G.,% 109. 

12, tumeth= 'turn,' plural, the subject being * beams.' The 
rhyme may partly be responsible for the singular inflection here, 
but the terminations *s' and *eth,' where a plural verb would 
be expected, are not uncommon in the folios of Shakespeare. 
They have generally been altered by modern editors, except 
where rhyme or metre has made alteration difficult (Abbott, 
S.G., §§333-4). 

20. proved, approved. See note on No. 46. 11, 'approve.' 
51. me/ what eyes hath Love put in my head 

(Shakespeare's Sonnets, cxLViii. ) 

4. censures, 'judges* (F.T.P.). Cp. Polonius' counsel in 
Hamlet, i. iii. 69, "Take each man's censure, but reserve thy 
judgment," and Pope, Essay on Criticism^ "Ten censv/r^ wrong 
for one who writes amiss," 

No8. 49—54 99 

8. The reading of some editors — '* Love's eye is not so true as 
all men's * No ' " — as if * eye ' were a pun on * Ay,* is a sinffularly 
infelicitous emendation of the reading in the original Quarto 
rightly retained by Mr. F. T. Palgrave. At the same time it 
must be admitted that such puns were more highly esteemed by 
the Elizabethans than by the modems. Compare, for example, 
the whole of Sonnet v. in Drayton's Ideat *' Nothing but No and 
I, and I and No." 

52. Sleep, angry heaviy, sleep ai\d fear not me 

From Campion's Third Book of Airs (about 1617). ** Exqui- 
site in its equally-balanced metrical flow " (F.T.P.). 

7. secure, in its etymological sense of 'free from care.' Lat. 

53. While that the sun vnth his beams hot 

''Judging by its style, this beautiful example of old simplicity 
and feeling may, perhaps, be referred to tne earlier years of 
Elizabeth'^ (F.T.P.). It is found in William Byrds Songs of 
Sundry Natures, 1589, from which it was reproduced in England's 
Helicon, 1600. 

At its best, pastoral poetry is still conventional. The shep- 
herds are not real — only pictured shepherds in a pictured Arcadia. 
But if we once yield ourselves to the convention, nothing could 
well be more charming than the sweet simplicity of this ditty. 
For another example of the pastoral, see No. 7. 

Metre, — Iambic, except in lines 7 and 8, where the substitution 
of an unusual foot, the amphibrachys ("one syllable long, with 
one short at each side," >— — ^), gives a delightful flute-like 

3. late, adv., lately. 

21. was leapt, had leapt. The use of the auxiliary he, where' 
we use have, with intransitive verbs, is common in Shakespeare. 
Cp. " the king himself »;? rode to view their battle," -ffgnry F., 
IV. iii. 1 (Abbott, S,G,y §295). 

28. passing glad. Cp. No. 27. 3, '' passing fair." 

54. The sea hath many thousand sands 

From Robert Jones' The Muses' Garden of DelightSt 1610. The 
tone of the poem will recall to the classical student an exquisite 
elegy of Propertius, in. iii., Quictimque tile fuitpuerum qui pinxit 

12. (That) he was a prophet (who) told thee so. 

100 NOTES 

13. Cassandra, in Greek mythology, was the fairest of the 
(laughters of Priam, king of Troy. For the promise of her love, 
Apollo conferred upon her the gift of prophecy ; she broke her 
word, and the god punished her by letting her retain the gift, 
but depriving her of the power of making her* hearers believe 
her. Her utterances were therefore laughed to scorn as the 
ravings of a mad woman (Seyffert). 

55. Thou, art not fair, for all thy red and white 

From Campion and Rosseter's Booh of Airs^ 1601. Two other 
versions, both of them with Thomas Campion's name attached, 
are given in the notes to Mr. Bullen's Lyrics from Elizabethan 
Soruj'Books, p. 219, from the Harleian MSS., circa 1596. ,A com- 
parison is instructive ; for though both of the alternative versions 
are fine poems, they are both disfigured by extravagances which 
are entirely absent from what we may regard as the finished 

I. red and white. See note on No. 19. 18. 

4. For the sentiment, cp. G. Wither, The Mavdy Heart {0,T., 
cxxxi. ). 

7. nor seek not. For the double negative, cp. Shakespeare, 
Hichard J I. ii. i. 3, **Vex not yourself, nor strive not with 
your breath" (Abbott, S,G.y §305). 

8. were it more divine, even if it were. 

II. right, adj., true, real. Cp. **I am a right maid for my 
•cowardice,'* Midsummer NigMs .Dream, in. ii. 302 (Abbott, 


12. in despite, in spite of all that I say. With the * surprise * 
of the ending, cp. the last couplet of No. 49, Lovers Farewell, 

56. Blow, blow, thou winter wind 

Sung by Amiens in As You Like It, ii. vii. Compare the more 
savage mood of King Lear's address to the storm {King Lear, in. 
ii. 1), **Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks ! rage ! blow !" 
We may contrast the thought which forms the conclusion of 
Wordsworth's Simon Lee {G. T., cclxiii.) : 

" I've heard of hearts unkind, kind deeds 
With coldness still returning ; 
Alas ! the gratitude of men 

Hath oftener left me mourning." 

Metr^,, — The first six lines are iambic. In the chorus the foot 
used is the amphibrachys: cp. the chorus of No. 53. Lines 7 
and 8 contain four feet, lines 9 and 10 contain two. The first 

Nos. 64—67 101 

amphibrachys of line 7 is shortened to a trochee by the omission 
of the first unaccented syllable, but the omitted syllable would 
doubtless be represented by a preliminary note of music. 

7. holly, as an evergreen with bright scarlet berries, is an apt 
emblem of jollity and hospitality in midwinter. 

13. forgot, forgotten. Abbott, S,0,, §.343. 

57. Come little babe, come silly soul 

"Printed in a little Anthology by Nicholas Breton, 1597. It 
is, however, a stronger and finer piece of work than any known 
to be his" (F.T.P.). Nicholas Breton (bom about 1545, 
died 1626) was a versatile and prolific writer of prose — essays, 
dialogues, and romances — and of many kinds of poetry. His l>est 
known song has been quoted in the notes to No. 27. *^ Come 
little babe, come silly soul," appeared in The Arboui" of Amorous 
Devices, by N.B., Gent. It bears a strong resemblance to 
another and probably earlier poem of uncertain authorship, 
'* Balow, my Dabe, lie still and sleep I " generally known as 
Lady Anne BothivelVs Lament {Oxford Book of Verse, 28). 
Compare also " Upon my lap my sovereign sits " {O, T,, cxxxrv.), 
now attributed to Richard Rowlands. 

1. silly, A.S. saelig, * happy': cp. German selig. From 
* happy ' the word came to mean ' innocent,' the sense it bears 
here : there is also, probably, the notion of * helpless ' — a common 
meaning in Elizabethan poetry, as in Spenser's ** my silli/ bark." 

3. doubt, conjecture, dole, sorrow. 

4. chief, adv., chiefly. 

6. Lullaby. The word is from ItiU, an imitative word from 
the repetition of lu, lu, a drowsier form of the more cheerful la, 
la, used in singing (Skeat). 

5. lap, wrap, Cp. No. 45. 24, " All thy friends are lapped in 

6. thinks, intends harm to none. 

9. want'st, lackest. Cp. Sophocles, Ajax, 553 : 
Kalroi <r€ Kal vvv tovt6 ye ^Xovy ^x^t 

iv ry (ppoveiv yap firjdh ijdKTTOS filos, 

C And yet even now in this, at least, I can esteem thee happy, 
that thou perceivest nought of these troubles ; for in the absence 
of feeling life is sweetest." Ajax, recovered from his madness 
and confronted by the results of it, is addressing his infant son. ) 

14. can, not quite in its original sense of * have knowledge ' or 
'have skill,' but still more emphatic than the mere auxiliary. 

102 NOTES 

Cp. King Lear, iv. iv. 8, **What can man's wisdom In the 
restoring his bereaved sense ? " (Abbott, S.G,, § 307). 

15, 16. " Obscure : Perhaps, if there be any who speak harshly 
of thee, thv pain may plead for pity from Fate" (F.T.P.). Or 
we may take the two lines as constituting the protasis, and the 
final couplet as the apodosis: **If there be any who speak 
harshly of thy pain, a pain that might extort pity from Fate, I 
was the unwilling cause of it. " 

18. the time, adverbially, like *the while.' 

19. The reader of Greek poetry will be reminded by this 
line and others of the lovely fragment of Simonides descriptive 
of Danae and the infant Perseus, beginning "Ore XdpvaKi iv 
dai8a\iq. (Bergk, 37). 

36. sugar'd words. Cp. Lctdy Anne BothwdVa Lament ^ re- 
ferred to above, * * When he began to court my love And with 
his sugred words me move," and the well-known passage in 
Meres' Palladia Tamia (1598) about Shakespeare's "sugred 
sonnets among his private friends." 

hath.. For the singular, see note on Ko. 50. 12. 

39. rascal, from O.F. rascaille, was originally a collective 
noun, meaning the rabble of an army or populace ; it then meant 
(sbs here) a man of low birth or station. The sense of ' rogue ' 
is derived from this. 

40. With the transference of the epithet * noble ' from * blood 
and bone ' to * youth ' — by the figure which grammarians call 
hypallage — compare the phrase, **holy and liumble men of 
heart," in the Benedicite. 

4t2, Right, adv., Hruly,' as in 1. 37, ** right glad." 
43. rock, intransitive. 

47. lullaby, etc., mayst thou have rest in consideration of thy 
father's nobility. 

58. With how sad steps, MooUf thou cUmb^st the skies 

WoBDSWORTH was SO much charmed by the first two lines that 
he adopted them as the opening of a sonnet composed in 1806 — 
a very oeautiful one, though in an absolutely different vein from 
Sidney's. Wordsworth's sonnet is concerned only with the 
moon and the phenomena of the heavens ; Sidney's thoughts 
are occupied with his love far more than with the moon. 

5. loxi£:-with-loye-acqualnted. For the compound, compare No, 
39. 7, **love'slong-since-canceird woe." 

4. That busy archer, Cupid. 

Nos. 57—59 103 

7. langnlsli'd. A modem writer would say 'languishing.' 
EUzabethan English permitted much licence in the formation of 
participles and participial adjectives. Cp. ** Revenge the jeering 
and disdained (= disdainful) contempt," 1 Henry /P., i. iiL 183. 
See Abbott, 8,0,, §§ 294, 374. 

8. descries, **u8ed actively— * points out*" (F.T.P.). Cp. 
Milton, ComiiSt 141, ** And to the tell-tale sun descry Our con- 
ceal'd solemnity." 

9. of feUowship, ».e. since we are in the like cctfe. 

14. ** The last line of this poem is a little obscured by trans- 
position. He means, *Do they call ungratefulness there a 
virtue ? ' " (Charles Lamb). 

59. Hlien thou mtist home to shades of underground 

From Campion and Rosseter's Book of Airs, The most splendid 
of all Campion's poems — hardly to be matched for romantic 
beauty, as Mr. BuUen says, outside the sonnets of Shakespeare. 
The mention of * white lope ' was suggested, as is noted by Mr. 
Bullen, by Propertius, ii. xxviii. : 

** Sunt apad infernos tot millia formosarum ; 
Pulcra sit in superis, si licet, una locis. 
Vobiscum est lope, vobiscum Candida Tyro, 
Vobiscum Europe, nee proba Pasiphae. " 

(** There are so many thousand beautiful women in the shades ; 
let there be one beautiful woman, if it may be so, in the upper 
world. lope is with you, and white Tyro, Europe and wanton 
Pasiphae "). But it is not only the mention of lope that recalls 
Propertius. There is something Propertian in the contrast 
between the untamed spirit of the song and the mould into which 
it is cast, in the intensity of passion expressed in language that 
has the restraint of monumental marble. 

"It is highly characteristic of Elizabethan lyric that this 
poem with its solemnly musical verse is a pure fantasia and the 
close of it patently false" (Seccombe and Allen, Age of Shake- 
speare, I. 62). That the writer has not been 'murdered' in 
literal fact, since he still lives to recount his woes, is hardly 
worth pointing out. Probably Messrs. Seccombe and Allen 
merely intend a warning against the practice, so much abused in 
the case of Shakespeare and Sidney, of inventing biographical 
facts out of poetry. But the expression * patently false may 
lead to some misunderstanding. A poem is no more insincere 
because it does not relate a personal experience of the poet than 
a picture expressive of passionate devotion would be insincere if 
the artist had not himself felt such devotion to a particular 

104 NOTES 

4. All the beauty of Tennyson's Dream of Fair Women 
seems to be concentrated into this one marvellous line. 

d. flniflh'd, ended. 

8. masques and revels. Similarly associated in Milton's 
L* Allegro {O.T., cxliv. 127-8), **pomp and feast and revelry, 
With mask and antique pageantry." Triumphs are likewise 
mentioned in L* Allegro, 120, ** Where throngs of knights and 
barons bold, In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold. Bevels 
are defined by Minshen as ''sports of dancing, masking, 
comedies, tragedies, and such like, used in the king's house, the 
houses of court, or of other great personages." Triumphs are 
described in Nares as "public shows or exhibitions, such as 
masques, pageants, processions." These entertainments were a 
great feature of Elizabethan life. See Bacon's Essays, xxxvii. , 
0/ Masques and Triumphs. 

9. tourneys (O.F. toumay), a mock-fight, so called from the 
swift turning of the horses in the combat. Cp. Milton, II 
Penseroso, G.T,, cxlv. 118. 'Tournament' is a Latinised form 
of 'tourney.' 

12. For the hyperbole, cp. thfe second sonnet in Drayton's 
Idea : 

"My heart was slain, and none but you and I ; 
Who should I think the murder should commit ? 
Since but yourself there was no creature by, 
But only I, guiltless of murdering it." 

60. Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee 

Robert Greene, poet, dramatist, and novelist, was bom at 
Norwich, probably in 1560, and was educated at St. John's 
College, Cambridge. He belonged to the group of University- 
educated writers who poured contempt on Marlowe and Shake- 
speare. His two most famous novels were Arcadian romances 
after the manner of Lyly's Euphv^s, called Menaphon and 
Pandosto. He led a wild life, and died prematurely in 1592 
from the effects of a debauch. In A QroaJCs Worth of Wit 
bought with a Million of Hepentance and other pamphlets he 
expressed contrition for the dissolute career which he had not 
the moral strength to abandon. His writings, however, are 
blameless, and his songs are distinguished by a delicate fancy. 
Sephestia's Song is from Menaphon, published 1589. 

Metre, — The first two lines of each stanza are iambic, the rest 
trochaic. In the trochaic lines, monosyllabic feet are not infre- 
quent, e.g. Mother's | wdg, | pretty | b6y, Like | pedrl drops) 
ir6m a | flint. 

Nos. 59—62 105 

1. wanton, frolicsome creature ; a term of endearment* Ko 
bad sense necessarily attaches to the word. Cp. Shakespeare, 
Henry VIII., iii. ii< 359, ''Like little wanton boys that swim on 

2. Cp. the last stanza of Blake's Cradle Song {0,T., CLXXXI.}. 

3. wag, "any one ludicrously mischievous, a merry droll." 
So defined by Johnson, who quotes from Sidney the expression, 
"Cupid, the wag." 

7. woe, adj. , sad. Cp. Ko. 47. 20, and note. 
16. That = so that. 

61. Mt/ thoughts hold mortal strife 

1. hold mortal strife seems to mean 'are engaged in a struggle 
between life and death.' See note on No. 5. 4, ** mortal rage." 

5. monarcMze. This word, as indeed the whole passage, recalls 
Shakespeare, Richard II, iv ii. 160 : 

* * For within the hollow crown 
That rounds the mortal temples of a king 
Keeps Death his court, and there the antic sits. 
Scoffing his state and grinning at his ^mp, 
Allowing him a breath, a little scene, 
To monarchize ..." 

8. beanty's rose. The expression occurs in the opening of 
Shakespeare's first sonnet : 

** From fairest creatures we desire increase, 
That thereby heaviy^s rose might never die.'* 

For another echo of Shakespeare in Drummond see No. 4. 39-40 
and note. 

62. Come away, come army, Death 

Sung by the clown in Twelfth Night, ii. iv. Shakespeare has 
written his own introduction to it in the exquisite words which 
he assigns to the Duke ; 

*' O fellow, come, the song we had last night. 
Mark it, Cesario it is old and plain ; 
The spinsters and the knitters in the sun 
And the free maids that weave their thread with bones 
Do use to chant it : It is silly sooth. 
And dallies with the innocence of love. 
Like the old age. " 

Metre, — Doubtless written to a musical air, and without the 
guidance of definite metrical rules. It is, however, reducible to 

106 NOTES 

rule, with the exception of lines 6 and 8 in each stanza. The 
first four lines of each stanza are anapaestic : 

Come awdy, | come awdy | Bedth< 
And in sdd | cypres let | me be Idid. 

Lines 5 and 7 are iambic lines of four feet : in line 15 ("Sad true 
lover ") an anapaest is substituted for the first iambus. 

2. cypres * * or cyprtui, used by the old writers for crape : whether 
from the French crespt or from the island whence it was imported. 
Its accidental similarity in spelling to cypress has, here and in 
Milton's Penseroso [O.T., cxlv. 35, * sable stole of cypres 
lawn '], probably confused readers " (F. T.P. ). Autolycus mentions 
cypres among his wares, Winter^ « Tale, iv. iv, 220 : **Lawn as 
white as driven snow, Cypres black as e'er was crow." 

15/ true lover. The phrase is said to be a corruption of 
* troth-lover.' Cp. No. 32. 1, " My true-love." 

63. My luie, be as thou wert when thou didst grow 

3. Immelodious, a rare poetical variation for *unmelodious.' 

4. ramage, * confused noise' (F.T.P.). More strictly, *wood 
son^ ' or * wild song,' from the French le ramage d^oiseau, which 
in its turn is from Lat. ramus, a bough. liamage is used by 
Gower and Chaucer as an adj. = * wild.* 

6. wont, past tense of the verb to won (A.S. wunian), now 
used only as a past participle. Cp. Milton, Nativity Ode {0*T,, 
Lxxxv. 10), " Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table 
To sit." 

13. if that, where we say simply *if.' That makes the 
expression more general and indefinite. See Abbott, S.G.,% 287. 

14. turtle, turtle-dove, as in Shakespeare's poem. The Phoenix 
and the Turtle, and in Song of Solomon , ii. 12, ** The time of the 
singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in 
our land." The Rev. C. A. Johns> in British Birds and their 
Haunts f says : ** There is no melody in the song of the Turtle, as 
it consists of a single note, a soft, sweet, agitated murmur, 
continued without pause for a long time, called a * moan ' both by 
Latin and English poets, not from its being suggestive of pain, 
but because there is no other word which describes it so nearly. 

Nee gemere aeria cessabit Turtur ah idmo. 

Nor shall from lofty elm the Turtle cease to moan. 

— Virgil. 

. . . The Latin name . . . pronounced *turr-r tur-r-r' will 
instantly recall the note to anyone who has heard it. The 
French name also, * Tourterelle,' can belong to this bird alone." 

Still, always. 

Nos. 62—64 107 

64. Fear no more the lieat d the sun 

Feom Cynibeline, rv. ii. 258. One of the noblest and most 
moving dirges in the language. In its chastened sense, rather 
pathetic than satiric, of the vanity of human pomp in the 
presence of overmastering Fate, it recalls the temper of Virgil — 
of the lines about the youthful Marcellus {Aeneid, vi.) or Pallas 
{Aeneid, xl). 

With this poem may be contrasted the Song from Shakespeare*s 
Cymheline, sung hy Guiderius and Arviragiia over Fidele, aiipposed 
to he dead, written by W. Collins (**To fair Fidele's grass v 
tomb "). Collins' dirge is as characteristic of the eighteentn 
century as Shakespeare's is of the seventeenth. 

Metre. — Trochaic. In line 6 of the first stanza, and lines 5 
and 6 of the second and third, the addition of an unaccented 
syllable at the beginning changes the movement to iambic. 

4. ta'en thy wages. The imagery is biblical, but there is also 
a close parallel in a beautiful passage of Sophocles, AntigoTie, 
820, where the chorus dwell on her strange death, o&re <f>0ivd(nv 
vXrjyeiaa v6<roii \ ovre ^i<f>i<av ^Tlx^tpa \axov<ra ("Neither smitten 
by wasting diseases, nor having ta'en the wages of the sword " — 
i,e, the Soulier's reward, a violent death). 

5. Golden, 'glancing like gold,' 'brilliant.' Cp. the first line 
of an ode by Gray, * Now the golden morn aloft waves her dew- 
bespangled wing" {G,T,, cm.). Readers of Horace will recall 
the application of the epithet aurea to Pyrrha in Odes, i. v. 9, in 
the lines paraphrased by Sir Stephen de Vere : 

*' Basks in thy sun, nor doubts that he alone 
Shall ever call thy golden grace his own. 
Heedless of treacherous gales, and love not tried." 

With 'golden lads and girls,' cp. the French Jeunesse dor4e. 
Golden is often used by the poets in the more general sense of 
'precious,' 'delightful,' as by Keats in G.T., ccix. 21, "Tales 
and golden histories Of heaven and its mysteries." 

6. Cp. Genesis, iii. 19, " Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt 
thou return." Hamlet's imagination — considering the matter 
'too curiously,' as Horatio says — traces "the noble dust of 
Alexander till he finds it stopping a bunc-hole." See Hamlet, v. 
L 223-240. HV 8 8 

11, 12. Cp. the first stanza of Shirley's poem, "The glories of 
our blood and state" {G,T,, xcii.). 

14. thunder-stone, thunder-bolt. Meteoric stones are popu- 
larly identified with thunder-bolts. 

108 NOTES 

18. Consigii, in the etymological sense of 'seal/ Lat. con- 

Consigii to thee = seal the same contract with thee, add 
their names to thine upon the register of death (Steevens). 

65. Full fathom Jive thy father lies 

Sung by Ariel in T?te Tempest, i. ii. It follows "Come unto 
these yellow sands " (No. 3 in this book). " The musical setting 
of this song by R. Johnson, probably that used in the original 
performance, is still extant in Wilson's Cheerful Ayresor Bauads, 
1660. Johnson composed in 1610 the music for Middleton's The 
Witch" {Berford). 
Metre. — See introductory note to No. 3. 

66. Call for the roUrv-redbreast and the wren 

John Webster (dates of birth and death uncertain: D.N.B. 
gives conjecturally 1580-1625) was a dramatist whom some critics 
nave regarded as second only to Shakespeare in tragic power. 
His chief tragedies are The White Devil (published 1612) and The 
Duchesa of MoUfi (first performed about 1616). The plot of The 
White Devil — from which this funeral dirge is taken — was drawn 
from an Italian romance. 

" I never saw anything like this funeral dirge, except the 
ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his drowned father in The 
Tempest, As that is of the water, watery; so this is of the 
earth, earthy. Both have that intenseness of feeling which 
seems to resolve itself into the element which it contemplates " 
(Charles Lamb, Specimens of English Dramatic Poets). 

1. For other references to the .popular belief about the good 
offices of the robin to the dead, familiar to all through the 
nursery story of the Babes in the Wood, see Collins' Song from 
Shakespeare's Cymhelinei 

'* The redbreast oft at evening hours 
Shal kindly lend his little aid, 
With hoary moss and gathered flowers, 
To deck the ground where thou art laid." 

In the 1751 edition of Gray's Elegy appeared the stanza, omitted 
from subsequent editions : 

** There scattered oft, the earliest of the year, 

By hands unseen, are showers of violets found ; 
The redbreast loves to build, and warble there. 
And little footst-eps lightly print the ground." 

5. dole, lament. 

10. them^ i.e. men. 

Nos. 64—68 109 

67. If thyUi survive my weU-contented day 
(Shakespeare's Sonnets, xxxii.) 

1. my well-contented day, the limit of life with which I am 
well content. 

4. lover, friend. The word is more widely used in Elizabethan 
than in modem English. 

5. bettering, improvement. So Prospero in The TempeJit, i. 
ii. 90, speaks of ** the bettering of my mind." 

7. Reserve, keep carefully. Wyndham quotes OthellOy ui. 
iii. 295 : 

*' But she so loves the token. 
For he conjured her she should ever keep it, 
That she reserves it evermore about her 
To kiss and talk to." 

8. lieiglit of, height attained by, highest achievement of. 

11. birth, offspring. So Bacon {Essay XXIV.) speaks of 
"Innovations^ which are the births of Time." 

12. equipage, equipment. This sense of the word survives in 
the military phrases * field equipage,' * siege equipage.' Cp. 
Milton's Sonnet to Sir Henry Vane : 

** Then to advise how war may, best upheld. 
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, 
In all her equipage." 

68. No longer mourn for me when I am dead 

(Shakespeare's Sonnets, Lxxi.) 

Of. Christina Kossetti's beautiful song : 

'' When I am dead, my dearest. 
Sing no sad songs for me." 

2. Sullen bell. Cp. 2 Jlenry IV., i. i. 102, "a suUen hell, 
Remember'd tolling a departed friend." 

8. woe, adj., sad. Cp. No. 47. 20, "Since wanting is more 
woe than too much having," and No. 60. 117, "He was glad, I 
was woe. " 

10. componnded...clay. Cp. "the brain of this foolish 
compounded clay, man," 2 Henry IV., i. ii. 8 ; and " Imperious 
Caesar, dead and turned to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the 
wind away," Hamlet, v. i. 236. 

11. rehearse, repeat. The word has become * specialized ' in 
modern usage, and almost entirely confined to the prelimin£|.ry 
practising of a musical or dramatic perfprmaiic^. 

110 NOTES 

69. Tell me tvhere is Fancy bred 

From The Merchant of Venice, iii. ii. Sung whilst Bassanio is 
choosing between the caskets. Compare a poem attributed to 
Sir W. Kaleigh, A Poesy to prove Affection is not Love (Trench, 
Household Booh of English Poetry, p. 4), beginning 

" Conceit, begotten by the eyes, 
Is quickly bom and quickly dies." 

Metre, — See introductory note to No. 3. 

1. Fancy, ».e. 'Young Love,' as Mr. F. T. Palgrave rightly 
interprets it in the title which he has given to the song. Cp. for 
this sense, **In maiden meditation, fancy-free," Midsummer 
Night's Dream, ii. i. 164. 

5. Cp. Sophocles, Antigone, 795, pik^ 5* ivapjTjs pk€4>dp(av X/xepos 
€C>\iKTpov yiJ/A^as ("Victorious is the clear love-light in the eyes 
of the fair promised bride ") and the quotations from Greek poets 
given in Jeob's note on that passage. Cp. also No. 71. 5, 23, 34. 

70. Lady, when I behold the roses sprouting 

From John Wilbye's Madrigals, 1598. "Gracefully para- 
phrased from an Italian madrigal of Celiano : 

Quand' io miro le rose 

Ch' in voi natura pose ; 

E quelle che v' ha 1' arte 

Nel vago seno sparte ; 

Non so conoscer poi 

Se voi le rose, o sian le rose in voi. 

There is another version of this madrigal in Lodge's William 
Longbeard, 1593" (Mr. A. H. Bullen's note). The Italian 
original may be literally rendered thus: ** Wherf I behold the 
roses I That in you Nature places ; | And those that Art Has 
shed in your beautiful breast ; ] Then know I not how to tell | If 
you [are] the roses, or if the roses are in you." 

Metre. — Iambic. The last line is scanned as follows : 

Whether | the rd \ ses b^ | your lips | or your lips | the r6 | ses. 

71. Love in my bosom, like a bee 

LiEB No. 19, this is from Euphues* Golden Legacy, **Rosa- 
lynde's own madrieal, describing * how many a fathom deep she 
is in love,' has all the graceful, though effeminate, fancy charac- 
teristic of the epigrammatists of Alexandria " ( W. J. Courthope, 
History of English Poetry, ii, 325), 

Nos. 69—72 111 

1. like a liee. The simile recurs in the first stanza of another 
poem by Lodge (Ward's Engltkh Poets, i. 430) : 

** Love euides {vJ,, guards) the roses of thy lips, 
And flies about them like a bee ; 
If I approach he forward skips, 
And if I kiss he stingeth me." 

14. Strike I my lute, If I strike my lute. Cp. Macbeth, 
UL i. 26, ''Go not my horse the better, I must become a 
borrower of the night." 

15. will ye 7 Another reading is still yet 

24. fast it. This use of it with verbs, now only colloquial in 
such expressions as "fight it ou^" was common in Elizabethan 
English. Cp. " Foot tMeatly," No. 3. 5 ; ** bears it out," No. 31. 
12. See Abbott, S.O,,% 226. 

30. annoy. For the substantival use, see note on No. 46. 3, 
" Relieve my languish." 

33. bower. A favourite word with the poets for * dwelling,' 

34. like of. Cp. Much Ado ahout Nothing, v. iv. 59, "lam 
your husband, if you like of W6." " The of after to like is per- 
naps a result of the old impersonal use of the verb ' me liketh,' 
*him liketh,' which might seem to disqualify the verb from 
taking a direct object. Similarly ' it repents me of ' becomes * I 
repent of '" (Abbott, S,G,, § 177). 

35. so, provided that (Abbott, 8,0,,% 133). 

72. Cupd and my Canvpaspi plaifd 

John Lyly (1554?-1606), educated at Magdalen College, Oxfovd, 
is famous as the author of the novel called Euphues, published 
in 1579-1580. The work is tedious to modern readers, but 
historically interesting in that it set the literary fashion of 
* Euphuism,' a continual straining after epigram and antithesis, 
ridiculed by Shakespeare in Love s Labours Lost. Lyly also 
wrote light plays to be performed at Court by the children's 
acting companies of the Chapel Royal and St. Paul's. One of 
these was Alexander and Campaspe, produced 1584. The lyric 
of Cupid and Campaspe, founded on a song by the French poet 
Desportes, is sung in the play by the painter Apelles. Like 
Lyly's other songs, it does not appear in the original editions of 
the dramas, but is first found in the collected edition of 1632. 

Metre, — The easy freedom with which this is handled is very 
remarkable, when we remember the probable date of the song. 
Observe (1) the variety of pauses— especially the absence of any 
break in sense at the end of several lines, with the extra 

112 NOTES 

emphasis thereby secured for *play*d,' * throws,' *rose'; (2) 
the difference between verse-accent and sense-accent, as in the 
first word, * Cupid. ' 

I. Caxnpaspe, in classical tradition, was a beautiful captive of 
Alexander the Great. The king gave her to Apelles, who had 
fallen in love with her as he painted her portrait. 

4. team of sparrows. Sparrows, doves, swans, and swallows 
were all sacred to Venus, and were often represented as drawing 
her chariot. Cp. No. 74. 63. So also Praed in The Belle of t1^ 
Ball-Room : 

" Her every look, her every smile, 

Shot right and left a score of arrows ; 
I thought 'twas Venus from her isle. 

And wondered where she'd left her sparrows." 

7. On's, on his. 

8. crystal, * fairness* (F.T.P.). But this explanation must 
not lead us to forget that the metaphor in * crystal ' is as distinct 
as in * coral* and *rose.* Cp. in another song by Lyly, "girls 
With faces smug and round as pearls." 

II. set, staked, t.e. put down as a deposit to be forfeited in 
the event of defeat. 

73. Pack^ clovds, away, and welcome day 

This bright and breezy song, full of the freshness of morning 
and the open-air, is well known from Sir Henry Bishop's musical 
setting. It comes from The Rape of Lucrece^ 1608, a play by 
Thomas Heywood. Little is known of the life of this dramatist, 
who died about 1649. Lamb admired his work, and gives copious 
extracts in his Specimens of the English Dramatic Poets, 

1. Pack ... away, an elliptical expression, ** Pack up your goods 
and be off. " 

4. Cp. Milton, U Allegro {0,T., cxliv. 41-46) : 

" To hear th^ lark begin his flight, . . . 
Then to come in spite of sorrow, 
And at my window bid good-morrow,^' 

7. prune, t.e. pick out superfluous or damaged feathers, as 
trees are 'pruned' by cutting away superfluous shoots. Cp. 
Faerie Qweene, ii. iii., **She gins her feathers foul disfigured 
Proudly to prune and set on every side" ; Cpmheline, v. iv. 118, 
**His royal bird Prunes the immortal wing." The verb preen, 
used of a bird dressing its feathers, appears to be another form 
of prune, 

16. Stare, starling. 

Nos. 72—74 113 

74. Calm was the day^ arid through the trembling air 

Written in London in 1596, this is the last complete poem by 
Edmund Spenses that we possess. It is a ' spousal verse ' in 
honour of 'Hhe two honourable aud virtuous ladies, the Lady 
Elizabeth and the Lady Catherine Somerset," and '*the two 
worthie gentlemen, Mr. Henry Gilford and Mr. William Peter, 
Esquyers.*' Spenser seems to have invented the word Pro- 
thcUamion, which he cave as title to his poem, to signify ** a 
song preceding nuptials." It is a variation from the Greek 
^ETTiOdXdfuos tfipos, Latin Eptthalamium, the strain sung in 
ancient times at the door of the bridal-chamber. Spenser had 
already written a joyous Epithalamium to commemorate his 
own marriage in 1594. This was in itself a reason for finding a 
fresh title, as well as the fact that the new poem was written in 
honour of marriages that had not yet taken place. 

Metre. — The ProthaJamion, like Milton's Nativity Ode {O.T,, 
Lxxxv.), is divided into regular stanzas of uniform structure. 
The verse reproduces the smooth melodious flow of 'softly 
running' water. The rapidity of the movement is helped by 
the deft interweaving of the rhymes, and of long ana short 
lines, and by the frequent absence of pause from the end of the 
line. The rhymes may be represented thus: ahba, acdcdd, 
eefeffgg. In stanzas i, 3, and 7, ^ and c are the same. 

"Nowhere has Spenser more emphatically [than in the Pro- 
thalamion'] displayed himself as the very poet of beauty : The 
Renaissance impulse in England is here seen at its highest and 
purest. The genius of Spenser, like Chaucer's, does itself justice 
only in poems of some length. Hence it is impossible to repre- 
sent it in this volume by other pieces of equal merit, but of 
impracticable dimensions (F.T. P.). Even the Prothalamion i% 
hardly on a sufficient scale to give us an idea of Spenser's genius. 
But it affords us a glimpse into the world of his imagining — a 
world of beautiful knights and ladies and lovely landscape — and 
a pathetic contrast (11. 5-10, 140) of the real hard world tnat was 
to prove still more cruel to the gentle poet in the few years of 
life that remained to him. 

2. Zephyras. See note on No. 4. 33, "Let Zephyr only 

3. spirit. Spenser doubtless had in mind the etymological 
meaning, Lat. spiritua, * breath. ' 

delay = retard, impede ; and so, virtually, ward oflF (Hales). 

4. Titan, a name for the sun-god in Virgil and Ovid. Often 
used by Shakespeare, as in Borneo and Juliet, ii, lii. 4, "And 


flecked darkness like a drunkard reels From forth day's path 
and Titan's fiery wheels," 

gllBter. Now almost entirely superseded by the form 
'glitter.* Cp. Merchant of Venice^ ii. vii. d5, "All that glisters 
is not gold." 

5. whom, governed by ' afflict ' in 1. 9 ; but the distance 
between the ol)ject and the verb makes it natural for Spenser to 
supply another and more closely defined object, in accordance 
with an idiom often found in Greek poetry. Cp. {e.g.) Homer's 
Tpwai d^ Tp6fios alvbs inr-^XvOe yula (literally, "Over the Trojans 
there came a dread trembling, over their limbs "). 

6. Cp. the impressive picture of the life of a Suitor at court in 
Spenser's Mother Huhberd's Tale^ 1. 893 : 

" Full little knowest thou that hast not tried 
What hell it is in suing long to bide ; 
To loose good dayes, that might be better spent ; 
To wast long nights in pensive discontent ; 
To speed to-day, to be put back to-morrow ; 
To feed on hope, to pine with feare and sorrow ; 
To have thy Prince's grace, yet want her Peeres ; 
To have thy asking, yet waite manie yeeres ; 
To fret thy soule with crosses and with cares ; 
To eat thy heart through comfortless dispaires ; 
To fawne, to crowche, to waite, to ride, to ronne, 
To spend, to give, to want, to be undonne. 
Unhappie wight, bom to disastrous end, 
That doth his life in so long tendance spend ! 
Who ever leaves sweete home, where meane estate 
In safe assurance, without strife or hate, 
Findes all things needf uU for contentment meeke. 
And will to Court for shadows vaine to seek, 
Or hope to gaine, himself will a daw trie ; 
That curse God send unto mine enemie ! " 

11. Thames. Canto xi. of Book IV. of the Faerie Queene is 
devoted to a description of the marriage of the Thames and the 
Med way. 

12. rutty = rooty, and so fruitful, flower-producing (Hales). 
The word seems only to occur in Spenser. Might it not mean 
* seamed with the tracks of streams ' ? Chapman has " From 
hills rain waters headlong fall, That always eat huge ruts,^' 

the which. See note on No. 28. 18. 

13. painted, in the sense of the Lat. pictus, variegated, diver- 
sified. Cp. Ovid, FOfStif iv. 430, Pictaque dissimili flore nitebat 
humw " (" The painted ground shone with diverse flowers"). 

No. 74 115 

▼ariable, various. Hales compares the force of the ter- 
mination -Me in * changeable,' * delectable/ * peaceable.' So 
in Latin penetrdbUe /rt^ti«= penetrating cold. In modern usage, 
as in Shakespeare, va/riable has another meanings-changing, 

15. bowers. The word first means * dwelling' (O.E.) ; (2) *a 
vague poetic word for an idealized abode, not realized in any 
actual dwelling ' : cp. No. 71. 33, ** And let thy bower my bosom 
be " ; (3) an inner apartment, especially a lady's private apart- 
ment or boudoir ; (4) a place closed in with trees, an arbour. 
Here it is used in sense (3). Cp. L 93. 

16. pazamours, lovers. Cp. Spenser's Shepheards Calendar^ rv. 
136-9, where flowers associated with weddings are enumerated : 

'* Bring hether the Pincke and purple CuUambine, 
With Gelliflowres ; 
Bring Coronations, and Sops-in-wine, 
Wome of Paramourea" 

17. against = in opposition to, and hence so as to face, to meet, 
to provide for the bridal day (Hales). Cp. Hamlet ^ i. i. 158, 
" Some say that ever, 'yainst that season comes " (Abbott, SM., 

21. thereby, close at hand. 

22. greenislL locks, as Ovid attributes cttendei crineSf * sea- 
green locks,' to the Sicilian nymph Cyane, MetamorphoaeSy 
V. 432. 

loose untied. Hales quotes Webster's tragedy. The 
White DevUi 

" Come, come, my lord, untie your folded thoughts, 
And let them dangle loose as a bride's hair." 

23. As, as if. The *if' is implied in the subjunctive 'had 
been. ' See Abbott, S,G,,% 107. 

25. entrailed, twisted, from O.F. entreiUier, Also used in 
Shepheards Calendar. **And over them spred a goodly wilde 
vine Entrailed with a wanton ivy twine." 

26. flasket. A diminutive from flask, from the same root as 
flagon. The word is still in use in Cornwall amongst the 
fishermen for the vessel with which the fish are transferred from 
the * seine ' to the ' tuck-net ' (Hales). 

27. feateously, elegantly: adverb formed from the O.E. adj. 
featouSf in its origin the same word as * factitious,' from the late 
Lat. facticius^ m£ule by art, artificial. The word was apparently 
taken to be a derivative of the adj./eai, and approximated to it 
in sense. (Dp. (Dhaucer, Prologue, 157, "FuU/e^we (= elegant, 
becoming) was hire cloke." See note on No. 3. 5, *' featly.'' 

116 NOTES 

29. Cp. the catalogue of flowers in the passage quoted above 
(1. 16) from the Shepheards Calendar; also Milton's Lycidas 
{O.T,, Lxxxix. 134-151); Shakespeare, Winter^s Tale, iv. iv. 

^ 33. vermeil, the French form of the word, superseded in 
modern English by vermilion, a form also found in Spenser. 

34. poBles, bouquets of flowers. Post/ is a contraction of 
'poesy,' and was first used of the short verses or mottoes en- 
graved on rings : cp. Merchant of Venice v. i. 148, " a ring 
. . . whose posy was . . . like cutler's poetry Upon a knife, 
Love me and leave me not." The use of the word for a nosegay 
seems due to the fact that gifts of flowers had a symbolic meaning. 

37. Swans were a very familiar sight on the Thames in 
Spenser's time, as indeed they are still. *' Paulus Jovius, who 
died in 1552, describing the Thames, says : This river abounds 
in swans, swimming in flocks, the sight of whom and their noise 
are vastly agreeable to the fleets that meet them in their course" 
(Knight's Cyclopaedia of London, quoted by Hales). 

38. Lee, the river that rises near Farnborough in Kent and 
flows into the Thames at Greenwich. 

40. Pindus, a lofty mountain in Thessaly, on the borders of 
Epirus and Macedonia, fabled in ancient times to be the seat of 
the Muses. 

41. show, appear. Cp. Shakespeare, Richard II. , ii. ii. 15 : 

** Each substance of a grief hath twenty shadows 
Which shows like grief itself." 

43. Leda, mother of Castor and Pollux, and of Helen and 
Clytemnestra, in classical mythology. 

45. nor nothing near. For the double negative cp. No. 31. 14, 
** I never writ, nor no man ever loved." 

55. EftBOons, soon after. Cp. Coleridge, Ancient Mariner, 1, 
12, **Eftsoo7is his hand dropt he." .^=*aft,' still used as a 
nautical term, properly * behind ' ; it is the positive adverb of 
which * after* is the comparative. The s in eftsoons, as in 

* unawares,' 'needs,' is properly the sign of the genitive. 

their fill, adverbial ; in Lat. grammar it would be called 

* accusative of extent.' 

56. all, adv. , altogether in haste, in great haste. 

60. Them seem'd, impersonal use of the verb with pronoun in 
the dative, as in 'methinks.' 

No. 74 117 

63. Venus' silver team. Cp. Ben Jonson, Underwoods : 

'* See the chariot at hand here of Love, 
Wherein my lady rideth ! 
Each that draws is a swan or a dove, 
And well the car Love guideth." 

See note on No. 72. 4. 

74. store, abundance. Cp. Milton, V Allegro {G,T., cxliv. 
121), " With store of ladies." 

78. Peneus, a river of Thessaly, which rises in Mount Pindus, 
flows through the vale of Tempo, and falls into the gulf of 
Therma. It is properly trisyllabic, PenetLs {UrjpciSs). 

79. Tempe's shore, the shore consisting of Tempo, i.e. the 
river-bank which is the vale of Tempo. Hales compares "Siloa's 
brook," Paradise Lost, i. 11. 

85. trim. With the adjectival use cp. U Allegro {O, T,, cxlfv. 
75), "Meadows trim." See note on *untrimm'd,* No. 23. 8. 

95. Of, from. 

couplement, union. Couple in the sense of ' join in marri* 
age* occurs frequently in the Elizabethan and other writers; e.g. 
King John, ni. L 228, ** Married in league, coupled^ and linked 
together." Armado in Lovers Labour's Lost (v. ii. 535) addresses 
the King and Princess as " a most royal couplement " (Hales). 

99. love's dislike, dislike of love : ' love * is objective genitive. 

100. assoil, dispel. A Spenserian use of the word. Cp. Faerie 
Queene, iv. v. 30, "In seeking him that should her pain assoiV* 
The first meaning is * absolve from sin. * It is indeed the same 
word as 'absolve*: O.F. Dieu assoUle—Deus absolvaiy "May 
God pardon." 

101. accord, bring into accordance. This active sense is now 

102. wait upon, attend. Cp. Psalmy cxxiii. 2, "So our eyes 
wait upon the Lord our Go<i"; Isaiah^ xl. 31, "But they that 
wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength." 

board, table. Cp. As You Like It, v. iv. 148 : 

" Wedding is great Juno's crown : 
blessed bond of hoard and bed ! " 

Cp. also 2 Henry VL, iv. i. 57, " How often hast thou waited at 
my cup. Fed from my trencher, kneel'd down at the board.*' 

110. To her, in tune with her. As in Paradise Lost, i. 650 : 

" Anon they move 
In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mood 
Of flutes and soft recorders." 

undersong, burden. See note on No. 3. 6. 

118 KOTES 

112. neighbour, neighbouring. Cp. i?omeo and Jvltet, ii. vi. 
27, ** Sweeten with thy breath This neighbour air." 

120. 'Gan. See note on No. 27. 6. 

121. Bliend, from A.S. scendan (cp. Ger. schdnden), properly 
means * to destroy.' So Chaucer in Man of Lawea Prologtte, 

"For losse of catel may recovered be 
But losse of time shendeth us, quoth he." 

Spenser uses it here for * overcome ' in the sense of * excel.* 

122. enrang^d, placed in order. The form seems to occur only 
in Spenser. Cp. Faerie Queene, iii. xii. 6, "After whom marcht 
a jolly company, In manner of a maske, enranged orderly.'* 

128. Spenser was bom in London in 1552. He claims to have 
belonged to the same family as the Spencers of Althorpe in 
Northamptonshire {Colin CloiWa Come Home Again, 536). 

132. whereas, where. Abbott {8.0., § 135) thinks that 'as' 
was added to givo a relative meaning to the originally interro- 
gative adverb where.' 

** When the order of the Knights Templar was suppressed in 
Edward the Second's reign, their London estate on the bank of 
the Thames was given over to the Knights of St. Johi/; by these 
it was leased to uie students of the Common Law, who not find- 
ing a home at Cambridge or Oxford were at that time in want of 
a habitation. At the dissolution of the Religious Orders this 
arrangement was continued by the Crown, at least for some two- 
thirds of the estate ; the third — what should have been the Outer 
Temple — was bestowed on a favourite. At a later time, in the 
reign of James I, the property was given to the lawyers" (Hales). 

135. whilome, formerly, -ow or -omc is a dative plural in- 
flexion used adverbially, "at a (former) time." While is properly 
a substantive : cp. No. 39. 13, " But if the while I think on thee, 
dear Friend." 

wont. See note on No. 63. 6, "Which wont in such har 
mouious strains to flow." 

137. "The mansion here spoken of stood in the gardens of 
what should have been the Outer Temple. It covered the ground 
where Essex Street now is. The two pillars which still stand at 
the bottom of Essex Street — those between which you pass in 
order to reach the river at the Temple Piei* — belonged to some 
part or appurtenance of it. In this ' stately place ' the Earl of 
Leicester was living in 1580 ; one of Spenser's letters to his 
friend Harvey in that year is dated from it. Leicester is the 
' great lord ' mentioned in 1. 140. He died in the autumn of 

No. 74 119 

1588. After hiin the Earl of Essex oc(mpied the house. It was 
from and in it that, in 1601, he attempxed that rash insurrection 
against the Queen's advisers which involved him in ruin" (Hales). 

139. which, masc. See note on No. 18. 8, ** Since first I saw 
you fresh, which yet are green." 

140. case is subject, want object. For the inversion cp. No. 
58. 14, ** Do they call virtue there ungratefulness? " 

147. The Earl of Essex' capture of Cadiz in 1596 is called b^ 
Macaulay {Essay on Bacon) ** the most brilliant military exploit 
that was achieved on the Continent by English arms during the 
long interval which elapsed between the battle of Aginoonrt and 
that of Blenheim. " 

148. Hercules' two plUars, the rocks of Calpe and Abyla facing 
each other on the European and African sides of the Fretum 
Gaditanum, the Straits of Gibraltar. The rocks were supposed 
to mark the western limits of the wanderings of Hercules. 

154. '' Does he mean that Devereux (the famibr name of the 
Earl of Essex) * promises ' he shall be heureux ? " (Hales). 

157. Elisa, Queen Elizabeth. 

158. thy wide alarms, alarms excited by thee. 

159. Muse, poet, as in Milton's Lycidas {0,T,y Lxxxix. 19), 
" So may some gentle mvse," 

164. Hesper, Hesperus, the evening-star. 

165. Cp. Milton's description of the ' day-star' {i.e. the sun) in 
Lycidas {O. T., lxxxix. 168-171) : 

*' 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." 

167. ensuing, following. 

173. twins of Jove, Castor and Pollux, the 'Great Twin 
Brethren, sons of Jupiter and Leda. In reward for their 
brotherly love Jupiter set them in the sky as the constellation 
of the Twins {Oemini). 

174. baldric, belt: from Lat. balteuSf O.F. haudre; "a belt, 
girdle or sash, of various kinds : sometimes a sword-belt " 
(Halliwell). The * baldric of the Heavens ' is the Zodiac. 

177. which, whom. Cp. I. 139, and see note on No. 18. 8. 

tide, time. Cp. Yule-^irf6= Christmas-time. 

120 NOTES 

75. Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers ? 

The 'golden' hymn of Contentment — the most musical and 
delightful of the many verses on the theme by poets of this 
period. Perhaps the closest parallel is a song by R. Greene : 

" Sweet are the thoughts that savour of content ; 

The quiet mind is richer than a crown ; 
Sweet are the nights in careless slumber spent ; 

The poor estate scorns fortune's angry frown : 
Such sweet content, such minds, such sleep, such bliss, 
Beggars enjoy, when princes oft do miss." 

We may also compare Sir E. Dyer's well-known poem, **My 
mind to me a kingdom is " ; and the little song in Shakespeare^s 
Winter's Tale, iv. iii., ** A merry heart goes all the day, Your 
sad tires in a mile-a ! " 

Thomas Bekkeb (the dates of his birth and death are uncer- 
tain ; they are given conjecturally in D,N,B. as 1570 and 1641), 
dramatist and pamphleteer, wrote plays in collaboration with 
Jonson, Drayton and many others. He helped Massinger with 
The Virgin Martyr^ and Ford and Rowley with The Witch of 
Edmonton, He is distinguished among his contemporaries for a 
certain tenderness and lyrical grace. Charles Lamb said of him 
that he had 'poetry enough for anything.' 

Metre, — Iambic. In lines 1, 3, 5 the first foot is monosyllabic. 

I. golden. See note on No. 64. 5, '* Golden lads and girls." 
Bliunbers. Compare Horace, Odesy iii. i. 17-24. 

6. g^olden numbers, golden counters, i.e, golden coins. 

10. hey nonny noxmy. For the burden cp. Nos. 11 and 20. 

II. crisped spring. Compare Horace's purae riws aquae. 
Odes, m. xvi. 29 : 

" Enough for me my little wood, my spring 
Where Zephyr's cooling wing 
Fans the crisp stream ; my garden plot 
Whose promised crop deceiveth not : 
The Af ric despot knows no happier lot. " 

(Trans, by Sir S. de Vere.) 

16. king. The old paradox of the Stoic philosophers, that 
* the wise man alone is free, and not only free, but even a king ' : 
Bee Cicero, Pro Murena, xxix. 61. Cp. G,T,, clv., The Blind 
Boy, last stanza; and 0,T., ccLXX. 19-23, Shelley's Stanzas 
written in Dejection, 

Nos. 74—78 121 

76. ComBy eheerfvH day^ part of my life to me 

From Campion's Two Boohs of Airs (about 1613). The thought 
that sleep cheats us of part of our life finds expression in the 
ancient fable of Mycerinus, the Egyptian king, beautifully 
retold (from Herodotus) by Matthew Arnold. 

Metre. — ^We have already made acquaintance with this stately 
six-lined stanza in two of Campion^s poems, Nos. 52 and 55. 
The heavy spondaic ending (*last night*) of the fourth line is 
peculiarly impressive in its solemn contrast with the swift move- 
ment by which the flight of time is typified. 

9. dispoBsest, put out of possession, dislodged. Cp. Milton, 
Paradise Lost, vii. 142, "The seat of Deity supreme, us dis- 
po88€8t, He trusted to have seized. " 

10. feigned death. Cp. No. 38. 8, "Death's second self"; 
No. 46. 2, "Brother to Death." Drummond's sonnet to Sleep 
{Golden Pomp, ciiXXV.) ends, "I long to kiss the image of my 

77. This Life which seems so fair 

We may compare the lines attributed to Bacon, "The World's 
a bubble ; and the life of Man Less than a span " {Golden Pomp, 
ccxcix.), paraphrased from a Greek epigram by Posidippus ; 
the last stanza of Herrick's Corinna^a Maying {0,T., cxvni.); 
and the lines by Henry King, "Like to the falling of a star" 
{Golden Pomp, cjcxcvin.). 

7. flz'd there. The heavy spondaic ending assists the notion 
of stability. 

12. The deliberate harshness of the rhythm and of the re- 
peated * nought ' is admirably adapted to the sense — " Vanity of 
Vanities, saith the Preacher, all is Vanity." Drummond is, a 
master of such metrical effects. 

78. Poor Soul, the centre of my sinful earth 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, cxlvi. With the tone of this noble 
sonnet, cp. one of Matthew Arnold's finest poems, Palladium. 

1. earth, the body. CJp. Julius Caesar, in. i. — Antony ad- 
dressing the body of Caesar — "thou bleedinc piece of earth,^* 
and the phrase, " earth to earth," in the Burial Service. 

2. The reading of the Quartos is obviously corrupt : 

" My sinful! earth these rebell powres that thee array." 

Where no emendation can be certain, the choice lies between (1) 
supposing, with Mr. F. T. Palgrave, that "My sinful earth" 

122 NOTES 

is wrongly repeated from the previous line and has ousted some 
such phrase as "Foird by," and (2) following Mr. Massey in 
excising ''that thee," and understanding the line as a paren- 
thesis. (1) gives a satisfactory sense, but it is obvious tnat, if 
words have dropped out, we can never be sure that we are 
restoring what Shakespeare wrote. In favour of (2) it may be 
urged that it inserts nothing : the parenthesis is somewhat harsh 
and difficult, but this very difficulty may have caused the cor- 
ruption of the text : and the repetition at the beginning of the 
line of the words that ended the previous line has its parallels 
elsewhere — e,g. Sonnet xc. : 

" Then hate me when thou wilt ; if ever, now ; 
NoWy while the world is bent my deeds to cross." 

array, adorn. But Dowden and other editors agree that 
the word is probably here used in a double sense, (1) adorn, (2) 
beleaguer, afflict. This second meaning is found in Elizabethan 
writers, and Shakespeare uses rayed — though not arrayed, unless 
here — in that sense {Taming of the Shrew, iii. ii. 64 and iv. i. 3). 
Mr. Wyndham remarks that an association of the ideas of a 
'siege' and of 'outward embellishment' seems suggested, and 
adds that ** Painting thy outward walls so costly gay " recalls the 
" Hang out our banners on the outward walls " of Macbeth, v. v. 

5. cost, expense. The word is taken up from ' costly ' in the 
preceding line. 

lease. Cp. No. 23. 4, " Summer's lease hath all too short 
a date." The comparison of human life to a lease recalls a 
famous line of Lucretius, iii. 971 : VitOjque mancipio nvlli 
datur, omnibus usu [''Life is granted to none in fee-simple, 
to all in usufruct" (Munro)]. 

7. tbis excess, ».e. your superfluous expenditure. 

10. agg^rayate, 'add weight to,' the original sense of the 
Latin aggravare, and so * increase.' 

11. terms divine, divine periods longer as well as richer than 
'hours of dross.' Term is properly 'limit,' then *a. limited 
space or period. ' 

14. Cp. St. Paul, 1 Corinthians, xv. 26, "The last enemy that 
shall be destroyed is death." 

79. The man of life upright 

"This lyric may with very high probability be assigned to 
Campion, in whose first Book of Airs it appeared (1601). The 
evidence sometimes quoted ascribing it to Lord Bacon appears to 
be valueless "(F.T.P.). 

Nos. 78-81 123 

Compare the Earl of Surrey's paraphrase from Martial, The 
Means to attain Hojppy lAfe (Ward's English Poets, i. 259); 
and Sir H. Wotton*s GIvaracter of a Happy Life {0,T,, xcv.). 
The reader of Horace will recaU more than one famous Ode, 
especially Integer vitae {Odes, i. xxii.) and lustum et tena^em 
propositi virum (Odes, iii. iii.). 

8. discontent. The use of this verb, now almost confined to 
the past participle, was common in the sixteenth and seventeenth 

19. l>ook. Cp. the whole of No. 80. 

23. Compare the noble sentences in Cicero's De Senectute : 
Ex vita ita discedo tamquam ex hospitio, non tamquam e domo ; 
commorandi enim natura divorsorium nobis, non hahitandi dedit 
("I part from life as from an inn, not from my home ; for 
Nature has given it to us as a hostelry wherein to sojourn, not as 
a place to dwell in "). 

24. Cp. Epistle to the Hebrews, xiii. 14, "Here we have no 
continuing city, but we seek one to come." 

80. Of this fair volume which we World do name 

A NOBLE expression of a thought made familiar to English 
readers in later times by the lines of Keble {Christian Year, 
Septuagesima Sunday), " There is a Book who runs may read." 
It was a favourite thought with Lord Bacon, who was fond of 
quoting from Ecclesia>stes, iii. 11, "God has set the world in 
their heart [».e. in the heart of men], so that no man can find 
out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end." 

4. clear, adv., clearly. 

8. period, limit. 

14. margin. Cp. No. 33. 7. 

81. Doth then the world go thus, doth all thus move J 

There is real depth of feeling in this expression of the perplexity 
and despondency that all go(^ men in all ages have sometimes 
felt in contemplatii^ the apparent injustice of Fate, the con- 
tinued prosperity of the wicked, the sufferings of the innocent. 
It is the problem raised in more than one of the Hebrew Psalms 
(e.g. X., Ixxiii.) and in the Book of Job, Drunmiond only states 
the problem in this sonnet : he attempts no solution. 

8. Ply, in its etymological sense of * bend' — Vr.plier, from Lat. 
plico. Used of a Doat plying between two ports, it properly con- 
veys the notion of making way against the wind by bending or 

9. tibis all, the sum of things, the Universe. 

124 NOTES 

82. Tired with all these, for restful death I cry 

Shakespeare's Sonnets, lxvi. With this protest against " The 
World's Way" we may compare Ben Jonson's "False world, 
good night 1 " {Oxford Book of Verse, 190) and Sir W. Raleigh's 
"Go, Soul, the body's guest" (Ward's English Poets, I. 490). 
The sonnet recalls still more forcibly several famous passages in 
the plays : Hamlet's ** For who would bear the whips and scorns 
of time " (ill. i. 70) ; the attack of the melancholy Jaques upon 
" the foul body of the infected world " {As You Like It, ii. vii.) ; 
the speeches oi the Prince of Arragon and Bassanio in the Mer- 
chant of Venice, ii. ix. and iii. ii. Cp. also the picture of the 
life of a suitor at Court, quoted from Spenser's Mother Hvhherd^a 
Tale in the note to No. 74. 6. 

2. as is used by Shakespeare (without sv>ch) to signify * namely ': 
cp. Macbeth, v. iii. 25, ** And that which should accompany old 
age, As honour, love, obedience, troops of friends" (Abbott, S.O,, 

3. trimm'd, dressed, arrayed. See note on No. 23. 8, "By 
chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm^d, " 

Jollity, festivity. Cp. Milton's Comus, 100-102 : 

" Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast, 
Midnight shout and revelry, 
Tipsy dance &nd jotlity" 

4. forsworn, renounced. 

5. honour, office, a common meaning of the Lat. honor, 

6. Btrumpeted, outraged. 

8. limping, i.e. decrepit. Cp. No. 9. 11, "Youth is nimble, 
Age is lame." There may be a further notion of the malevolence 
that is supposed to be associated with deformity. 

disabled, undervalued. To ' disable,' properly meaning * to 
make incapable,' came to bear the meaning of 'represent as 
incapable, disparage, undervalue.' Cp. As You Like It, rv. i. 34, 
"Farewell, Monsieur Traveller ! . . . disable sM the benefits of 
your own country." Apparently we are to pronounce 'disabled' 
as a quadrisyllable, disahle-ed. Several emendations have been 
proposed, but no emendation is necessary. 

9. Some have seen in this line — unnecessarily — a reference to 
the edict of June, 1600, inhibiting plays and playgoers; and 
have used their interpretation as an argument in fixing the date 
of the composition of the Sonnets. 

11. Through this 'miscalling,' words like €^^r|s in Greek, 
'simple* and 'silly' in English, and 'innocent* in Scottish, 
degenerated sadly in meaning. 

Nos. 82—84 126 

83. Happy wtre he coM finish forth his fate 

Robert Beyereux, the famous Earl of Essex (1566-1601), baa 
already been mentioned (note on No. 74. 147) as having captured 
Cadiz in 1596. In 1599 he was made Governor-general of 
Ireland. Two years later he was condemned for treason and 
executed. At the trial at Westminster Hall his former friend, 
Bacon, spoke for the prosecution. 

Another version of this poem has so many interesting varia- 
tions from the one adopted in the text that it- is worth giving in 

" Happy were he could finish forth his fate 

In some unhaunted desert most obscure 
From all societies, from love and hate 

Of worldly folk ; there might he sleep secure. 
Then wake again, and ever give God praise, 

Content with hips, and haws, and bramble-berry ; 
In contemplation spending all his days. 

And change of holy thoughts to make him merry : 
Where, when he dies, his tomb may be a bush. 
Where harmless robin dwells with gentle thrush." 

Cp. the first stanza of a chanson by Philippe Desportes (15 16- 

*' O bien heureux qui pent passer sa vie 
Entre les siens, franc de haine et d*envie, 
Parmy les champs, les forests et les bois, 
Loin du tumulte et du bruit populaire ; 
Et qui ne vend sa liberty pour plaire 
Aux passions des princes et des rois ! " 

Cp. also Pope's youthful poem in praise of Solitude {0,T., CLiv.). 

1. Happy were he could ... , Happy would he be that could .... 

2. Tmhaimted, unfrequented. 

4. secore, free from care. Cp. No. 52. 7, ** secure she sleeps." 

5. Then (should he) wake again. 

7. still, always. 

8. Cp. St. JameSf v. 13, ** Is any among you afflicted ? let him 
pray. Is any merry ? let him sing psalms. 

10. robin. CJp. No. 66, ** Call for the robin-redbreast and the 

84. The last and greatest Herald of Heaven's King 

It is by no mere accident — as those who have observed the careful 
ordering of poems in The Golden Treasury will believe — that the 

126 NOTES 

First Booh, which began with so light-hearted a strain, ends 
upon a deeply solemn note. The life of court and camp and 
bower, rich in music and colour — to what has it led ? It is not 
only the philosopher (No. 81) that is dissatisfied with **the 
World's Way": player (No. 82) and courtier (No. 83) are weary 
of it too. But these are times when it is hardly possible to spend 
"silent days" in "harmless joys" (No. 79) or in the study of 
the book of Nature (No. 80). We have come to the epoch of the 
fierce struggle between Puritan and Cavalier. Only distant 
echoes of that conflict reach us in tho charmed precincts of The 
Golden Treasury, Here, as it were, the best of both sides meet 
and understand each other. We close the First Book upon 
Drummond, the Cavalier with the heart of a Puritan. We open 
the Second Book upon Milton, the Puritan with the soul of a 
Cavalier, in whose Nativity Hymn and Lycidas the two worlds 
of Paganism and Christianity, of romance and moral earnestness, 
are strangely blended and reconciled. 




W. BELL, M.A. 




No. I. 


This Ode was conceived very early in the morning of Christmas 
Day, 1629, when Milton had kitely passed his twenty -first year, 
and was in his sixth academic year at Cambridge. In his sixth 
elegy, addressed to his friend Charles Diodati, the poet thus 
alludes to the composition of the Ode : 

** Wouldst thou (perhaps 'tis hardly worth thine ear), 
Wouldst thou be told my occupation here ? 
The promised king of peace employs my pen, 
The eternal covenant made for guuty men, 
The new-bom deity with infant cries 
Filling the sordid novel where he lies ; 
The hymning angels, and the herald star, 
That lead the wise, who sousht him from afar, 
And idols on their own unluulowed shore. 
Dashed, at his birth, to be revered no more, 
This theme, on re§ds of Albion I rehearse, 
The dawn of that blest day inspired the verse ; " etc. 

{Cowper^a Trandation), 

In the previous year he had addressed his native language in a 
Vacation Exercise and expressed his wish to find a subject suited 
to his muse and to the capabilities of the language — ^the " reeds 
of Albion:" 

" Yet had I rather, if I were to choose. 
Thy service in some graver subject use, 
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 a^ Heaven* s door 
Look in. " 

Christ's nativity was that * graver subject,' which suited the 
character of his muse so well that the result was what Hallam con- 
sidered to be perhaps the finest ode in the English language. ** A 
grandeur, a simplicity, a breadth of manner, an imagination at 
once elevated and restrained by the subject, reign throughout it. 
If Pindar is a model of lyric poetry, it would be hard to name 
any other ode so truly Pindaric ; but more has naturally been 
derived from the Scriptures." This mixture of classical and 
Biblical influences is illustrated in the accompanying notes ; the 
key-note of the poem is struck when Nature, with all the religions 
of antiquity, is treated as guilty — as representing a fallen world 
which is to be redeemed by ** the mighty Pan." 


I. IfUroduction, 

1. Occasion of the poem : 

(a) Time and Furpose of the Nativity, - lines 1-7 

(b) The manner of it, 8-14 

2. Poet's address to his Mnse : 

The Wise Men of the East come to worship 
Christ, angels praise him, and hast thoa 
no offering ? 15-28 

II. The Hymn. 

1. Guilty Nature fears his coming, • • - 29-44 

2. But Peace is his harbinger, - - - . • 45-52 

(a) Wars have ceased, .... 53-60 

(b) The winds and waters are at rest, • 61-68 

(c) The stars are fixed "with deep amaze," 69-76 
id) The sun withholds "his wonted speed," 77-84 
(«) The shepherds sit " simply chatting," - 86-92 

3. Heavenly Music announces him. 

(a) The music described, .... 93-100 

(&) Its effects on Nature, .... 101-108 

(c) Its accompaniments, - - - 109-116 

(d) Such music never before [heard, except 

at the Creation of the Universe, - - 117-124 
(There is here a skilful transition from the heavenly 
music to the thought of "the music of the 

4. What would follow if "the Music of the 

Spheres " could be heard now, - - 125-148 

(a) The Age of Gold would return. 

(b) Vanity would die. 

(e) Sin would melt away. 

{d) Hell itself would pass away. 

5^ Why this is at present impossible : 

(a) Christ must die on the Cross, • - 149-154 
(6) The trump of doom must sound, • - 155-162 

(c) The Last Judgment must be held, when 

our bliss will be perfect, - - • 163-166 

6. What has actually occurred : 

(a) The old Dragon is bound, - - - 167-172 
{b) The heathen Oracles are dumb, and the 
gods routed, like ghosts at sunrise : — 

i. Those of Greece and Borne, - 173-196 
ii. Those of Syria, .... 197-210 
iii. Those of Egypt, - - - 211-236 
(c) The Heavenly Babe sleeps attended by 

angels, ,,,,,. 237-244 


In 1630 Milton wrote a fragment on TTie Passion^ in the open- 
ing stanza of which he thus alludes to the Nativity Ode : 

** 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." 

From this poem and from the lines Upon the Oireumcmon it has 
been thought that the poet intended to write a series of Odes on 
the great festivals of the Christian 'Church. The reason he 
fives for having failed to complete that on 7%e Passion is as 
follows : " This subject the author finding to be above the years 
he had when ,he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was 
begun, left it unfinished." 

The Vebse. 

The Introduction consists of four stanzas of seven lines — ^the 
first six decasyllabic (5 a; a), the seventh an Alexandrine {6xa), 
The same stajiza had already been used by Milton in his poem 
On the Death of a Fair Infant (1626), and it is similar to that in 
which Spenser wrote his Four Hymns, Ruins of Time, etc. , and 
Shakespeare his Lucrece. But Spenser's form is decasyllabic 
throughout, the break between the stanzas being therefore less 
distinctly marked than in MUton's poem. The rhyme formula, 
however, is the same in both, viz. ahabbcc. The earlier form 
was used by Chaucer (see dlerk*s Tale, Troilus and Cresseide, 
etc.), and was the favourite measure of the English poets down 
to the time of Queen Elizabeth ; but it cannot be positively 
asserted that Chaucer invented it, as it is said to have been used 
prior to his time by the French poet Machault. In his essay on 
the language and versification of Chaucer, Tyrwhitt states that 
" in the time of Gascoigne it had acquired the name of rhythme 
royall [or * Rhyme Royal '] ; * and surely,' says he, ' it is a royall 
kinde of verse, serving best for grave discourses. ' " It will be 
noted that by the arrangement of the rhymes the stanza is made 
to turn, as on a pivot, on the fourth line, which has three lines 
on each side of it: this line is ** the last of a quatrain of alternate 
rhymes and first of a quatrain of couplets ; thus — 

ababh ec 

This stanza is evidently adapted from an eight-lined decasyllabic 
stave; it is, in fact, a modification of the ottava ritna of the 
Italians (in which Boccaccio, Tasso and Ariosto wrote), the 
rhyme formula of which was abababcc. By the excision of 
the fifth line we get the eight-line stanza of Chaucer and early 


French poetry, and if the last line be changed into an Alex- 
andrine we get the introductory stanza of Milton's Ode. It is 
interesting to compare this with the stanza — usually known as 
" the Spenserian stanza " — of the Faerie Qtieenef which has nine 
lines, the last being an Alexandrine. This was evolved out of 
another eight-line stanza (used by Chaucer in his Monica Tale), 
very different in structure from that referred to above, the 
rhyme formula beins ababbebe. Spenser added an Alexandrine, 
the rhymes being ababbcbcc. It will be seen, therefore, that, 
looking only to metrical structure, Milton's introductory stanzas 
correspond to the stanza of the Faerie Queene with the sixth and 
seventh lines omitted, or to that of the Four Hymns with the 
last line changed into an Alexandrine. 

The remainder of the poem, i,e, the Ode proper, is in eight- 
lined stanzas, the structure of which may be thus indicated : 

No. of line (1). (2). (3). (4). (5). (6). (7). (8). 
No. of feet 3. 3. 5. 3. 3. 5. 4. 6. 
Rhymes a. a. 6. c c 6. d. d. 

Wherever in lines (3) and (6) the final syllable is -ing, that 
syllable is supernumerary;' see the third stanza of the Ode 
proper for an example. And "as an Alexandrine itself 
IB susceptible of internal trisyllabic variation as well as 
disvllabic, and as it may also have a supernumerary final 
Bvllable ... we may have Alexandrines of thirteen syllables": 
this remark of Professor JMasson's is illustrated by lines 140 and 

1. the montb. See above, on the date of the composition of 
the Ode. 

2. Wherein, on which. Modem prose usage requires in with 
reference to space of time ('the month in which ') and on with 
reference to a point of time (*the morning on which'). In the 
latter case in was once common, but the change to the use of on 
took place as early as the sixteenth century : comp. Wickliffe, 
Actsy xiii. 14, *'In the day of Sabbath," and see Abbott's SJiake- 
spearian Qrammar, § 161. 

Heaven's Eternal King. Comp. Par. Reg. L 236: **Thy 
Father is the Eternal King who rules All Heaven and 

3. virgin mother : comp. Andrewes' 9th Sermon on the 
Nativity, 'And where thev {i.e. faith and reason) meet, they 
make no less a miracle tnan Mater and Virgo^ or Deua and 
Homo.* Crashaw calls the Virgin Mary 'maiden wife and 
maiden mother too.' 

4. redemption, ransom, buying back. Ransom is the same 


word through the French, disguised by the difference of vowel- 
sound and of the final letter (Fr. ran^on : in An^ren Riwle spelt 
raunsun), Comp. P, L. xii. 422 : " Ere the third dawning light 
Return, the stars of mom shall see him rise, The ransom paid, 
which man from death redeitma, His death for man " : also Gai, 
iv. 4. 

5. holy sages ... sing : comp. UAUeg, 17 and note. The sages 
referred to are the Old Testament writers. 

6. deadly forfeit, the penalty of death. ' Forfeit,' that which 
is imposed as a punishment, and hence the punishment itself : 
comp. Sams, Agon. 508, "And let another hand, not thine, 
exact Thy penal forfeit from thyself." The word is radically a 
participle (comp. * perfect,* etc.), and is from Low Latin /orw- 
factumf a trespass, something done amiss or beyond rnnits 
{foris, out of doors, seen in the word foreign ; and facert, to 

release, remit, secure the remission of. Compare M. for 
M, V. 1. 525, " Thy slanders I forgive, and therewithal Remit thy 
other forfeits^ 'Release* (and its doublet reUix) were once 
frequent in this somewhat technical sense : comp. *' The king 
made a great feast, ... and he made a release to the pro^Hnces, 
Esther, ii. 18; ''The -statute of mortmain was at several times 
relaased by the legislature ** (Swift) ; the word has still this legal 
sense : " Releases are a discharge or conveyance of a man's right 
in lands," etc. (Blackstone's Commentaries). 

7. with. As the Father demands the penalty, the Son has to 
covenant with Him : see Par. Lost, iii. 144, 227. So that * with * 
here denotes not 'along with,* but is used as in the phrase, "I 
will use my interest with him " : comp. Lat. apvd or inter, 

work us, i.e. bring about on our behalf. Comp. Par. Lost, i. 
642, " wrought our fall '* j ib. iv. 48, " Yet all his good proved ill 
in me. And toi'ought but malice." 

peace. Comp. IsaiaJi, ix. 6, "the Prince of Peace**; also 
Luke, ii. 14, and Andrewes' 13th Sermon, "Ipse est Pax nostra" 
{Eph. ii 14). 

8. unsufferable. We now say 'insufferable': see notes on 
'uncessant,' Lydda^, 64; and 'unexpressive,' Lye. 176. 

9. far-beaming blaze. Comp. Par. Lost, iii. 1-6 : 

" Hail, holy Light I offspring of Heaven first-bom \ 
Or of the Eternal co-eternal beam 
May I express thee unblamed ? since (jrod is light. 
And never but in unapproached light 
Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee. 
Bright effluence of bright essence increate." 

Beam is here intransitive, but in South's Sermons, i 8, we find 


"Qod beams this light into man's understanding." The phrase 
' blaze of majesty ' occurs again in ArccuUs, 2. 

10. wont, used, was accustomed. See notes, Lye. 67 and 11, 
Pens. 37. 

11. sit the midst : comp. Par. Lost, iii. 62. ' The midst ' may 
here be used attributively = midmost (comp. Par. Last, v. 166, 
"Him first, Him least, Him midst"); but more probably = in 
the midst, as the omission of the preposition in adverbial phrases 
was common in Eliz. English: see Abbott, § 202. 'Midst' 
occurs twelve times in Shakespeare as a substantive = the middle, 
'in the midst' being a corruption of 'in middest,* found in 
Spenser (F. Q. vi. 3. 25), which again is from M. E. in middes, 
derived from A.S. a midde or on-midden. See further in note 
on UAUeg. 4. On the origin of such peculiar phrases as ' in our 
midst,' ' in tT^eir midst,' see Marsh's Lect. on Eng. Lang, xviii. 

Trlnal Unity. Comp. Andrewes' 13th Sermon : " Being Od€ 
natalitta, if we consider it as a nativity, they that calculate or 
cast nativities in their calculations stand much upon triplicities 
and trigons and trine aspects " ; also Spenser's Hymn of Seavenly 
Love, 64, **trinal triplicities." 

12. to be, in order to be. 

14. darksome house. Comp. II. Pens. 92 and note, "Her 
mansion in this fleshly nook " : also the Platonic doctrine that 
the body is the soul's prison {Phaedo, vi.), and Virgil's JS^n. vi 
734, Clansae tenebris et carcere caeco, '* (Souls) shut up in dark- 
ness and a blind prison." Many adjectives ending in -some are 
now obsolete ; on this point see Trench's English rast and Pre- 
sent, V. ; -soTne is the A.S. and early English sum, German sam : 
and reappears as an independent word in same. Trench gives a 
list : wansum, lovesum, healthsome, heedsome, etc. 

mortal clay. On Milton's uses of 'mortal' see Lye. 78, 
note. Locke c&lls the body "the clay cottage," and Byron has 
"the day-cold bonds which round our being cling," Childe H. P, 
iii. 73. 

15. vein, strain, mood. The figurative uses of this word are 
remarkable. Comp. Rich. III. iv. 2, * the giving vein ' ; satirical 
vein; vein of metal ; improve my vein (t.e. natural disposition). 

16. Afford a present, bestow or yield a gift. There is no refer- 
ence here to the power or resources of his muse ; ' to afford ' in 
the 17th century was frequent in the sense of ' to give of what 
one has,' a sense surviving in such phrases as " the food which 
the country affords": comp. Sams. Agon. 910, ** Afford me 
place " ; Wint. TaU, iv. 4. 16 ; Hen. VIIL i. 4. 17 ; etc. 

17. strain : see note, II. Pens. 174. In the edition of 1645 it 
IS spelt strein (Fr. estreindre, to stretch or press). 


19. while the heaven, etc. For allusions to the horses of the 
Sun comp. Shakespeare, 1 Hen. iv. "heavenly-harnessed team," 
and Bich, III, v. .3. : in the Faithful Shepherdess Fletcher speaks 
of night's "lazy team." "The horses and chariot with which 
Helios traverses the heavens are not mentioned in the Iliad and 
Odyssey, but first occur in the Homeric hymn on Helios, and 
both are described minutely by later poets " (Smith's GlcLSsiccU 
Diet.), untrod: comp. UAUeg. 131. 

20. took : a form of the past tense used a*s a past participle. 
Shakespeare has took for 'taken,* shaked and shook for 'shaken,' 
arose for 'arisen,' etc. Comp. //. Pens. 91, 'forsook'; Lines on 
Shak. 12, * hath took ' ; Arcades, 4, * to be mistook ' ; Comus, 
558, ' was took,' etc. print : comp. Arc. 85, ' print of step ' ; 
Comus, 897, 'printless feet.' 

21. spangled host keep watch. On the watchfulness of the 
stars comp. ComuSj 112, "the starry quire Who, in their nightly 
UKUchfvl spheres," etc. : comp. also Comus, 1003, "far above in 
spangled sheen," and Addison's well-known lines, 

*' The spacious firmament on high, 
With all the blue ethereal sky, 
And spangled heavens, a shining fi'ame. 
Their great Original proclaim.' 

See note on Lyddas, 170, "new-spangled, sheen." 

23. star-led wizards. Comp. St. Matt. ii. 2, and marginal 
reference: also Par. Reg. i. 249, "A star ... Guided the wise 
men thither from the East." ' Wizards * = wise men : there is no 
reference to maeical powers. Comp. F. Q. iv. 12. 2, where the 
ancient philosopners are called "antique wizards"; also Lye, 
55, "Deva's wizard stream," and note ; also Comus, 571, 872. 

24. prevent, anticipate, forestall. See the Bible Concordance 
and Trench's Select Olossary, where this, the radical sense of the 
word (Lat. pre-venio, to come before) is illustrated. Comp. 
Oomus, 285, "Perhaps forestalling night prevented them," where 
the word seems to have something of both earlier and later 
meanings ; Par. Lost, vi. 129, " At this prevention more in- 
censed'^; ib. ii. 467, iii. 231. 

ode : see introductory note on the following poem. 

25. lowly: used adverbially. Comp. Par. Lost, viii. 173, 
" Be lowly wise " ; All's Well, ii. 2, "I will show myself highly 
fed and lowly taught." 

27. the angel quire. See note, II. Pens. 162, and comp. Par. 
Beg. i. 242, "At thy nativity a glorious choir of angels ... sung." 

28. Beoret altar, etc. An allusion, as Newton points out, to 
Isaiah, vi. 6. 7, '* Then flew one of the seraphim unto me, having 
a live coal . . . from off the altar ; and he touched my mouth with 


it, and said, Lo, ... thine iniquity is taken away." Comp. also 
a passage m Milton's Reason of Church OovemmerU (1641), ** that 
eternal spirit who can enrich with all utteiunce and knowledge, 
and sends out "FTis seraphim with the hallowed fire of His altar, 
to touch and purify the lips of whom He pleases." * Secret': 
for this use of * secret * in the sense of * set apart * comp. Par, 
Lost, i. 6, "Secret top of Oreb"; Milton has * separate* in the 
same sense in Sams, Agon. 31. 

30. WUle. See Abbott, § 137. '< While now means only 
'during the time when/ but in Eliz. English both while and 
tohUes meant * up to the time when.' " In line 19 whUe denotes 
a space of time, and here a point of time. This line is metrically 
irregular: it may be scanned, 'While | the heav|en bo|m Child'; 
comp. line 104. 

31. AIL See note, II, Pens, 33. 

32. in awe to him, i.e. standing in awe o/him. This use of to 
instead of q^is explained by the grammatical development of the 
phrase. At first of usually preceded the object, and to the sub- 
ject of the feeling : ' Awe of me stood to man.' This was varied 
by ' Awe to (or with) me stood men,' men being a dative. When 
this dative was mistaken for a nominative, the phrase became 
'Men stood awe of me,' and finally 'Men stood m awe of me. 
Comp. Layamon, 11,694, " Him ne stod aeie to nathing" (1205), 
which in the edition of 1250 becomes, " Him ne stod eye of no 

33. dofTd, put off. Doff is a cqntraction of 'do off,' as don of 
'do on,' and dup (to undo a door) of 'do up': comp. Nares* 
Glossary on dout = do out. 

gaudy trim, holiday attire. This is not the 'gaudy' of 
n Penseroso, 6 ( = showy), but of * gaudy-day ' . ( = festival) in 
Tennyson's Enid: comp. Ant. and Cleop. iii. 13. 182, "Let's 
have another ^atM^^-night " (Lat. gaudiumy gladness). 

34. so, thereby. 

35. no season, unseasonable, out of place. 

lusty paramour : see note. Lye. .123. 'Paramour,' lover, is 
the French par amour, by love, an adverbial phrase. Comp. the 
origin of 'debonair,' L^AUeg. 24, and 'demure,' II Pens. 32. 

41. Pollute: formed directly from Lat. participle poUutus = 
polluted. Such verbs as 'to pollute,' 'to instruct, 'to accept, 
'to exhaust,' 'to devote,' etc., are all formed from Latin par- 
ticiples, and this fact frequently led to the employment of these 
verbs as if they were participles : hence in Milton we find ' pol- 
lute ' = polluted, ' instruct ' = instructed, * elevate ' = elevated, etc. 
When the participial force of these words was entirely forgotten 
a second participial sign was added, and hence the current forms 


'polluted,* etc. See Trench, Eng. Past and Present^ vi. ; also 
I^of. Masson's Essay on Milton's English, and Abbott, § 342. 
Compare ' whist,' line 64, and note. 

41. Blnftil blame. 'Blame' = crime, fault (comp. Macb, iv. 3. 
124) ; as * blameful ' = guilty, and * blameless * = innocent. All 
Nature is here regarded as guilty : comp. Spenser's Hymn of 
Heavenly Love, 218, "Then rouse thyself, O Earth, out of thy 
soil ... Unmindful of that dearest Lord of thine." 

42. saintly veil. Comp. Par, Lost, ix. 1054, "Innocence that, 
as a veil, Had shadowed them from knowing ill, was gone," etc. 

maiden wblte, unsullied purity. See Latham's Dictionary 
for examples of ' maiden ' applied to (a) flowers and weapons, 
e,g. * maiden sword,' 1 Hen. IV, v. 4. 134; (h) a fortress that has 
never been taken ; (c) an oration (* maiden speech ') ; {d) assizes 
where no one is condemned : etc. 

44. 80 near, so closely. This is a more natural interpretation 
than to regard the phrase as = he being so near. 

45. cease, put an end to, cause to cease. See note on Lye, 133: 
and compare Gymb, v. 6, "would cease The present power of 
life"; Timon of Ath, ii, 1, "Be not ceased with slight deniaL" 
Compare the force of the word in such imperatives as ** Cease 
then this impious rage," Par. Lost, v. 845. 

46. meek-eyed. Comp. Comus, 213, "pure-eyed Faith, white- 
handed Hope." 

47. olive green. Comp. 3 Hen, VI, iv. 6: "An olive branch 
and laurel crown, As likely to be blest in peace and war." 

48. tbe turning sphere. What Spenser {H. of Heavenly Love, 
25) calls "that mighty bound which doth embrace the rolling 
spheres," the allusion being to the old cosmology which regarded 
the universe as a frame-work of sphere within sphere, the Earth 
being at the centre. See note, line 125. 

49. harbinger. Here used in its radical sense = one preparing 
a lodging or 'harbour' for another: its current meaning is 'fore- 
runner,' in which the essence of the original signification is lost. 
The M.E. is herbergeour (A.S. here, an army, and beorgan, to 
shelter) = one who prepares lodgings for an army: comp. Bacon's 
Apophthegms, 54, "There was a harbinger who had lodged a 

gentleman in a very ill. room." The origin of the word is 
isguised by the intrusion of the letter n, as in 'messenger' from 
message, 'porringer' from porridge, etc. See Trench's Select 
Glossary and comp. Milton's Song on May Morning, 1 ; Macb, L 
4. 46; Haml, i. 1. 122; Morris, Outlines', etc. 

50. turtle wing. The name 'turtle' belongs originally to a 
species of dove : comp. M, W. of W. iii. 3, "We'll teach him to 
know turtles from jays"; Chaucer, Cant, Tales, 10013, "The 


turtles voice is heard, mine owen sweet"; and No. XLvn., line 14 
The name is from Lat. tur-tur, a word which imitates the coo ol 
the dove. ' Turtle ' applied to the sea-tortoise is the same word : 
"the English sailors having a difficulty with the Portuguese tar- 
taruga, a tortoise or a turue, and the Span, tortuga, a tortoise, 
overcame that difficulty by substituting the Eng. ttirtle with a 
grand disregard of the difference between the two creatures." 
(Skeat). The turtle-dove is a type of true love. 

51. myrtle. According to Dr. Johnson, the 'emblem of 
supreme command.' At this time there was peace throughout 
the Roman dominions ; hence the plant may here be the symbol 
of peace. 

52. strUces, produces suddenly and as if by enchantment. 
Comp. the procedure of the enchanter Comus (line 659), *'I/I 
but toave this wand. Your nerves are all chained up," etc. Latham 
quotes Dryden's lines: "Take my caduceus! ... And strike a 
terror through the Stygian strand." Dunster sees in Milton's 
use of 'strike' a recollection of the Lat. phrase /oe^^i» ^mre, to 
strike a bargain, but there is no thought of a compact here : the 
idea is the suddenfiess of the result, as in the phrases 'struck 
dumb,' 'awe-struck,' eta 

53. No war. Of lines 5«3-84 Landor says that they form " the 
noblest piece of lyric poetry in any modem language that I am 
conversant with." 

55. idle spear... hung. Here Milton, as he often does, 
introduces a custom of chivalry into classical times ; comp. Sams. 
Agon, 1736, where Samson's father resolves to build his son a 
monument "with all his trophies hung" — ^the hanging up of 
trophies over the tomb of a hero being a practice of Gothic 
chivalry. See also Bich. III. i. 1, "Our bruised arms hung up 
for monuments." For a similar mixture of elements which, in 
other hands than those of Milton, might be incongruous, compare 
the blending of classical mythology and Christianity in Lycidas, 

56. hooked chariot; the covinus or falcata^ quadrigae (Livy, i. 
.37, 41) of the Romans, who seem to have adopted it from the 
Kelts, the name covinus being Keltic. The wheels or axle-trees 
were armed with cutting instruments or hooks : comp. F. Q. v. 
8. 28, "With iron wheek and hooks armed dreadfully." 

59. awftil, awe-struck. Here used subjectively : comp. Bich. II. 
iiL 3. 76, "To pay their awful duty to our presence." Contrast 
with the objective sense = awe-inspiring : 2 Hen. VI. v. 1. 98, 
" An awful princely sceptre " ; also No. LXV., line 19. Similarly 
awesome and aweless occur in both senses. 

60. sovran : Milton's spelling of the word * sovereign,* m 
which the g is due to a mistaken notion that the last syllable is 
cognate with reign. It is from Lat. superanum=Q\i\et (Ital. sov- 
rano, O.F. souverain). Comp. Comus , 41, 639. Milton only once 


has «BOv*raign (Par, Reg. I 84) while 'Bovraii* occurs nineteen 

64. whist, hushed: see note, II Pens. 56. In Tempest, i. 2. 37 J; 
"the wild waves whist'*; Sandys, Trans, of Ovid*s Mela, "In 
dead of night, when all was whisht and still. " * Whist, ' originally 
an interjection, was used as a verb, *to whist* = to command 
silence, the participle 'whist' (for * whisted,' Abbott, § 342) being 
equivalent to * silenced.' 

65. Idst. Comp. M. of Ven, v. 1, "When the sweet wind did 
gently kiss the trees." The spelling Ust is due to the final sharp 
consonant: when this is doubled, as \sipass, kiss, smelly etc., one 
of the letters is dropped before t ; hence pasty hist, smelt. 

66. Ooedn: read as 0-ce-an. Comp. M, of Ven, v. 1. 1, 
"tossing on the ocedn " ; 2\ A. iv, 2. 101. 

67. Who. Here used of an irrational thing, which, by pathetic 
faUacy, is endowed with forgetfulness : comp. Rape of Luc. 1805, 
"The dispersed air who answered"; Abbott, § 264. 

forgot, forgotten. This use of the past tense for the past 
participle was common in Elizabethan English: comp. Abbott, 
§ 343. It is due to the fact that the A.S. past participle was 
formed by prefixing ^e- to all verbs (see note, line 155), and 
afiixing en or ed. When the prefix ge was Weakened to t- or y- 
or dropped altogether, and the suffix reduced to -e silent, the 
past participle sometimes corresponded with the past tense, and 
the form of the past tense came to be used for the participle. 

68. MrdB of calm, halcyons ; the fable being that the sea was 
always calm while these birds were breeding— -during the seven 
days preceding and the seven succeeding the shortest day of the 
year. In classical mythology Alcyttne or Halc^5ne was the 
daughter of Aeolus and wife of Ceyx : husband and wife having 
callSd themselves Zeus and Hera, they were for their presumption 
metamorphosed into birds. Another version is that the husband 
perished at sea, and the grief- stricken wife having drowned 
herself the two were changed into birds : see Ovid's Meta. xi. 745, 
"Perque dies placidos hibemo tempore septem Incubat Halcyone 
pendentibus aequore nidis"; 1 Men, Vt. L 2. 131, "Halcyon 
days " (called in Greek dXKvovldei ^fjiApax and in Latin alcyonei dies 
or Alcedonia). In the phrases * halcyon beaks * {King Lear, iL 2. 
84), * halcyon bill * (Marlowe, Jew of Malta), * halcyon with her 
turning breast * (Stover, Life and DecUh of Wolsey), the allusion is 
not to tranquillity but to the old belief that a halcyon, when 
suspended, shows which way the wind blows. In scientific 
nomenclature the unaspirated forms are employed to denote 
certain zoophytes: alcyonium, alcyonic, alcyonite, alcyonoid, 

brooding:. Comp. Pair. Lost, yii. 243, "On the watery 


calm His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread''; also 
UAUtg. 6, and note there. There is no doubt that in the 
present case ' brooding ' is to be taken literally. 

69. amaze. The use of 'amaze* as a substantive is almost 
obsolete, its place being taken by 'amazement': comp. Addison's 
CtUo^ iv. 3. 58, ** With pleasure and amaae I stand transported." 
See further, No. Lvm., 1. 

70. Every word in this line intensifies the notion of 'fixedness.' 
On 'steadfast,' see notes II Pens, 32, and line 111, below. 

71. predous influence. Compare UAUeg, 122, "Whose bright 
eyes Rain influence" and note there : also note on H Pens. 24. 
Shakespeare has 'the skiey influences,' M,for M, iii. 1 ; 'planetary 
influence,' K. Lear, i. 2. 135 ; and for some of his numerous 
allusions to astrology see his Sonnets, 14, 15, 25, 26 ; Rom. and 
Jul. i. 4, V. 3 ; Kiiig Lear, i. 2, 136; ii. 2; iv. 3; Tiodfih Night, 
L 3, i. 4 ; ii. 1, ii. 5 ; Much Ado, L 3 ; ii. 1 ; v. 2. See also 
Trench's Study of Words on the astrological element in the English 
vocabulary. ' Precious * : Milton wrote pretious (Lat. pretium, 
value), the c being due to old French precios. 

73. For alL These two words in combination are equivalent to 
'notwithstanding': comp. Milton's second sonnet. On the Detrac- 
tion, etc., 14, *' For aU this waste of wealth and loss of blood," 
where all does not qualify waMe. It is sometimes said that, 
when the phrase is expanded, aZl is found to be the subject of an 
unexpressed verb, the meaning of 'notwithstanding' being ex- 
pressed hy for alone : this would explain the above examples, but 
not such as the following : Tindale, Acts, xvi. 39, " They have 
beaten us openly ...for oa that we are Romans" ; John, xxi. 11, 
" F<yr aU there were so many" ; Cynib. v. 4. 209, ^* For ott he be 
a Roman " ; or line 74 of this poem. See Abbott, § 154. 

74. Lucifer, i.e. the planet Venus, as the morning-star or licht- 
brinser {lux, li^ht ; fero, to bear) : Milton's conceit is that day- 
break is a wammg for the stars to disappear. See further in the 
notes on No. xviu. Grammatically ' for all * governs * Lucifer.' 

75. orbs. Either denoting the stars themselves as in M. of Ven, 
V. 1, "There's not the smallest orb," etc., or their orbits, as in 
Par. Lost, v. 860, " When fatal course had circled his full orb." 
Milton also has 'orb' in the sense of 'wheel' {Par. Lost, vi. 828), 
and 'eye' {Par. Lost, iii. 25). Comp. M. N. D. iii. 2. 61, "Vtnus 
in her glimmering sphere." 

76. bespake. Not merely 'spake,' but 'spake with authority.' 
Milton sometimes uses the compound form as a mere equivalent 
for the simple verb: see note. Lye. 112. The verb is used in 
Par. Lost, ii. 849 ; iv. 1005 ; and Par. Reg. i. 43. 

bid, bade (the strong form being the more common). The 
form bodt is obsolete. Bid has arisen out of the past participle 


hidden: see note on 'forgot,* line 67. This is one of those verbs 
after ivhich the simple infinitive (without to) is used. Such 
omission of to now occurs with so few verbs that to is often 
called the sign of the infinitive ; but in Early English the only 
sign of the infinitive was the termination -en {e.g. speken, to 
speak ; he can speken). The infinitive, being used as a noun, 
had a dative form called the gerund which was preceeded by to ; 
and confusion between the gerundial infinitive and the simple 
infinitive led to the general use of to. Gomp. Arcades, 13, 
"Envy hid conceal the rest"; in Lye. 22, hid is a different verb 
(see note there). 

78. Had g^iven, eto.; had given place to day. *Her' may 
refer either to 'gloom* or *day,* but comp. Milton's Vacation 
Exercise, 68, **To the next I may resign my room,** on the analogy 
of which *her * would refer to * gloom.* 

79. Compare what is said of the moon in // Pens. 59, and see 
also P. L. iv. .35. On wonted, see note, 1. 10. 

80. hid hla head, etc. Warton quotes from Spenser*s Shep- 
herds'^ Calendar ; April, 75-83, 

" I sawe Phoebus thrust out his golden hedde. 
Upon her to gaze ; 

But, when he sawe how broade her beames did spredde. 
It did him amaze* 

He blusht to see another Sunne below, 
Ne durst againe his fyrye face out showe : 
Let him, if he dare. 
His brightnesse compare 
With hers, to have the overthrowe.'* 

81. As, as if, as though. This use of 'as* to introduce a 
supposition is archaic: comp. Havelock the Dane, 508, "Starinde 
als he were wod**; 2 Hen. VI. i. 1. 103, ''Undoing all, as all had 
never been*' ; Par. Reg. iv. 447, "I heard the wrack. As earth 
and sky would mingle** ; Tennyson's Enid, 210, "As to abolish 
him." See Abbott, §§ 101, 107. 

82. new-enllghten'd : adj. compounded of a participle and a 
simple adverb. Comp. "new-intrusted,** Cormis, 36; " new- 
enlivened,** t6id. 228; "new-spangled,** jLyc. 170; "new-created,** 
Par. Lost, iii. 89; "smooth-dittied,'* Comus, 86. 

8l. burning azletree. Comp. Comus, 95, "the gilded car of 
day His glowing aacle doth allay": Aen. vi. 482, "Atlas axem 
umero torquet**; Sandys, Ovid*s Meta. i. 7, "And bum heaven*s 
axletree**; Troilus and Gressida, i. 3. 65, "Strong as the axle- 
tree Li which the Heavens ride.'* 'Axletree* = axis, M.E. axle- 
tre, was in earlier use than the simple word a>xle, and included 
all the senses of that word as well as of aan«. The only 
surviving sense of the word is that of 'the fixed bar on tl)e 


rounded ends of which the wheels of a carriage revolve/ being 
replaced in its other significations by 'axle' or 'axis.' Aade does 
not occur in Old Engliiw at all, but has been taken from the 13th 
cent, compound axle-tree sax-tree (O.E. eaXj axle; ^eoiff = beam, 
as in roof-^ree, saddle-^ree, door-^ree, boot-^re<, etc.)* 

85. Bheplierds: see Luke, iL 8. lawn: see note, L'AUeg. 71) 
and comp. Par, Lost, iv. 262, "lavms or level downs." 

86. Or ere. * Or ' = ere = before : about this there is do dispute, 
the use of or for ere (A.S. aer) being common enough; comp. 
Psalm xc. 2; Hamlet, i 2. 183; Temp. L 2. 11, etc. But it is dis- 
puted whether 'ere' in the combination 'or ere' is (1) a 
corruption of e'er = ever, so that 'or ere ' = before ever; or (2) 
the preposition ' ere ' = before, so that ' or ere ' = ere ere = before 
before (a reduplication due to the meaning of or having nearly or 
altogether died out). The latter is the view favoured bv Skeat, 
who regards such a phrase as ' or ever ' as due to a confusion of 
ere with e'er. The former is adopted by Prof. Hales on the 
ground that ere, on the analogy otsuch phrases as 'ere twice* 
{M. for M. iv. 3. 92), 'ere yet* {Par, Lost, x. 684), is clearly 
adverbial and modifies a clause : in the text ' or ere the point of 
dawn ' is, therefore, equivalent to 'Before ever the point of dawn 
(had come).' To this explanation there are few objections except 
that in Early English we have ' before er,' 'before or,' where tne 
second word can hardly be a corruption of ever, and that it is 
more likely that ever should replace ere than vice versa. See 
Abbott, § 131. 

point of dawn. This is the French poirtt de jour : comp. 
Genesis, xxv. 32, "at the point to die"; Davies* Immor, of Soul, 
" when time's first point began." 

88. than, then. Tlian and tJien are radically the same word : 
usage has differentiated them. 

89. mighty Fan. Pan being the god of flocks and shepherds 
among the Greeks, and Christ being spoken of in Scripture as 
'the Good Shepherd' {John, x. 11, Heb. xiii. 20), Milton here 
follows Spenser in speaking of Christ as the true Pan — the true 
Grod of shepherds. Bee Spenser's Shepherd^s Calendar, May, 64 : 
"When great Pan account of shepherds shall ask," with the 
Gloss: "Great Pan is Christ, the very God of all shepheards 
which calleth himselfe the create, and good shepheard. The 
name is most rightly (methinkes) applyed to Him ; for Pan signi- 
fieth all, or omnipotent, which is onely the Lord Jesus. And by 
that name (as I remember) he is called of Eusebius, in his fifte book 
De Preparai, Evang., who thereof telleth a proper storye to that 
purpose. Which story is first recorded of Plutarch, in his booke of 
the ceasing of Oracles ; and of Lavetere translated, in his booke of 
walking sprisht'CS ; who sayth, that about the same time that our 
Lord suffered His most bitter passion, for the redemption of m<EM)» 


certain passengers sayling from Italy to Cyprus, and passing by 
certaine lies caUed Paxae, heard a voyce calling alowde Thamus, 
Thamus ! (now Thamus was the name of an Egyptian, which 
was Pilote of the ship) who, giving care to the cr^ was bidden, 
when he came to Palodes, to tel that the great Fan was dead : 
which he doubting to doe, yet for that when he came to Palodes, 
there sodeinly was such a calme of winde, that the shippe stoode 
■till in the sea unmoved, he was forced to cry alowd that Pan was 
dead ; wherewithall there was heard suche piteous outcryes and 
dreadfull shriking, as hath not bene the like. By whych Pan, 
though of some be understoode the great Satanas, whose kingdome 
at that time was by Christ conquered, the gates of hell broken up, 
and death by death delivered U> eternal death (for at that time, 
as he sayth, all Oracles surceased, and enchaunted spirits, that 
were wont to delude the people, thenceforth held theyr peace :) 
and also at the demaund of the Emperoure Tiberius, who that 
Pan should be, answere was made him by the wisest and best 
learned, that it was the sonne of Mercuric and Penelope ; yet I 
thinke it more properly meant of the death of Christ, the onely 
and very Pan then suffering for his flock." Mrs. Browning has 
a poem entitled *' The Dead Pan," which is founded on the same 
tradition. Comp. (Dowley's lines : 

" And though Pan'a death long since all oracles brokej 
Yet still in rhyme the flend Apollo spoke." 

90. Wits ... oome : see note, Lyddaa, 97. With some intransi- 
tive yerbs of motion (e.g. to go, come, arrive, enter), either of the 
auxiliaries he and have is used ; in Elizabethan writers both forms 
are common : thus * I am arrived ' expresses my present state, 
while * I have arrived ' expresses the activity which preceded the 
present state. This distinction of meaning is not now strictly 
observed, and the auxiliary have is in general use. 

92. Was. The verb is singular because * their loves ' and ' their 
sheep ' each form a single subject or topic of conversation. 

silly thoughts, simple thoughts. This is evidently sug- 
gested by Spenser's H, of Heavenly Love : 

** When Him the silly Shepherds came to see. 
Whom greatest Princes sought on lowest knee." 

On the chanffes of meaning undergone by many words which first 
signified goodness, and finally foolishness, see Trench's Stvdy of 
WordSy and SeJlect Glossary : '* *■ silly * (the same as German selig) 
has successively meant (1) blissful (so the Prompt, Parv,), (2) 
innocent, (3) harmless, (4) weakly foolish. * sdy woman, full 
of innocence,' Chaucor, Legend of Fair Women, 1252." The 
M.E. form was sely; A.S. scelig or gesoelig, happy. Comp. No. 
XLvn., 1. 9. 

93. Buch ... as : see note, UAlleg, 29. 

NATivrry ode. 107 

95. strook, prodaced. MDtou user tfhree forms of the 'parih 
ciple—strook {Com. 301, Par. Lost, iL 165, vi. 863, x. 413, xi. 264, 
Par. Beg, iv. 576), struck {Sams, Agon. 1686), strucken {Par. Lost, 
ix. 1064), his choice being determined by the demands of rhyme 
and rhythm. There is also a form stricken. ' To strike music * is, 
of course, applicable to stringed instruments : comp. AlexandtrU 
Feast, 99 ; Collins' Ode on The Passums, 23. 

96. Divinely- warbled voice. As in * warbled string ' \{Arecuies, 
87) 'warbled' may be taken in an active sense = warbling, or 
passively = made to warble or trill. The perfect participle fre- 
quently occurs in Elizabethan English in this sense : oomp. Sams. 
Agon. 119, 'languished' = languishme ; ib. 186, ' festered ' s fester- 
ing; Par. Lost, iv. 699, 'flourished = flourishing. 

97. stringed noise, i.e. the music of the heavenly harps (see 
No. LXin., 1. 13). Oq this sense of ' noise,' see note, II Pens. 61, 
and comp. ** Grod is gone up with a merry noise," Book of Common 
Prayer, Psalms, xlvii. 5 ; "one noise {i.e. company) of fiddlers," 
Ben Jonson's Epicoene ; "that melodious noise. No. LXiu., 1. 18 ; 
also F. Q. i. 12. 39. 

98. As: 'such as' or 'as (which).' in Uissfiil rapture took. 
On this use of ' take '= charm, captivate, compare note on 'taketh,' 
No. xxxYi., 1.6: and see Com/as, 558 : " Silence was took ere she 
was ware." On * rapture,' see note, // Pens, 46. 

99. loth, reluctant. The same as 'loath' (M.E. loth: A.S. 
Idth, hateful). That which we are loath to do is loaihsome or 
loathly {Temp. iv. 1 ; 2 Hen. IV. iv. 4). 

100. thousand : see Abbott, § 87. 

close. Here used in its technical sense = the final cadence 
of a piece of music : Bich. II. ii. 1. 12, and Com. 548 ; also 
Dryden's Fables, "At every dose she made, the attending throng 
Reply'd." Curiously enough Dryden also has dose in the sense 
of beginning : " In the dose of night Philomel beeins her heavenly 
lay," the close of day being the beginning of nignt. 

101. Nature : nom. to 'was ' (line 104). 

102. hallow .. seat. Either implying that the Moon is a 
hollow shell or that the sound fills the vault of heaven in which 
fche Moon is placed. 

103. C3riithia'B: see notes. No. xviii. ; and R Pens. 59. aery 
region: comp. Com. 231, "thy airy shell "= the atmosphere, 
thrilling: attributive to 'sound,' 1. 101 = warbling, or perhaps 
with some reference to its radical sense of piercing (comp. nostru). 

104. won, persuaded. In this sense followed by an infinitive : 
comp. Par. Lost, xii. 502, "They win great numbers to receive 
With joy the tidings." 



106. Its. Oneof the three instances of the occurrence of the word 
its in Milton's poetry (the other two being in Par. Lost, L 254, 
ir. 813) : see notes, II Pens. 128, and line 139 of this poem. 

107. alone, by itself. Nature was therefore no longer required. 
The meaning is not *and no other,' for Nature had hitherto 
done so. 

108. In liappier union. The sense is compressed : ' She knew 
that such harmony as was now heard could by itself hold all 
heaven and earth in union '; and further, * She knew that this 
union would be happier than that produced by Nature,* viz. the 
harmony of the spheres. Comp. Arcades, 71. 

109. surrounds, encompasses. Milton is said to be the first 
author of note who used the word in this current sense, which it 
has acquired through a supposed connection with round. Shake- 
speare does not use it. Its original sense is ' to overflow ' (Lat. 

their sight = them seeing : see note, Lye. 184 ; and comp. 
Ham. V. 1. 286. 

110. globe of circular light. Put, by hypallage, for * a circular 
globe (or body) of light.* For this use of globe comp. Par. Lost, 
ii. 512, '*a globe of fiery seraphim*' ; so that the phrase 'circular 
globe * is not necessarily redundant. Milton's language regarding 
figures, e.g. circle, wheel, globe, orb, cube, sphere, etc., is 
somewhat confusing: see Sams. Agon. 172 (* sphere's circle) ; 
Par. Lost, v. 593 (* orb * = circle); t6. vi. 652 (* cube ' = square) ; 
etc. Comp. Marsh's Lect. on Eng. Lang. xxvL 

111. with long beams ... array'd: clothed the modest night 
with its long rays. Comp. Comus, 340, "long-levelled rule of 
streaming light": Sams. Agon. 549, "Heaven's fiery rod." 
shamefaced : corrupted from shame-fast ; comp. F. Q. iv. 10. 50, 
"shamefastness.** The termination /cw^ = firm : see notes, // 
Pens. 32, and line 70, above. 

112. helmed, helmeted (A.S. helm, that which protects: helmet 
is a dimin. ). Cherubim . . . Seraphim : Hebrew plurals ; the English 
Bible has the irregular double plural cherabims {Qen. iii. 24; 
Exod. XXV. 18). Shakespeare has cherubim as a singular {Othello, 
iv. 2. 63) and Dryden chervbin» " When the word chervib is applied 
to a beautiful cmld, the plural now current is cherubs : cherubim 
or cherubims being used of celestial spirits only. For other 
words with their original plural and an English plural both in 
use, see Morris, Eng. Accidence § 84; beau, focus, appendix, 
formula, etc. Comp. At a Solemn Music, 10, 12. 

114. display'd. Comp. J7 Pens. 149. 

116. nnezpressiye : see notes, Lycidas, 176, 64; and comp. As 
You Like It, iii 2. 28, "The fair, the chaste and un.expressivt 


117. Such music. Warton refers to Par. Losty vii. 558 et 9tq, 

119. The allusions to the 'sons of the morning* and the 
creation of earth, sea, and sky are explained by Job xxxviii. 4-11, 
"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? 
declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the 
measures thereof, if thou knowest ? or who hath stretched the 
line upon it ? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened ? 
or who laid the comer stone thereof ; When the morning stars 
sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy ? Or who 
shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had 
issued out of the womb ? When I made the cloud the garment 
thereof, and thick darkness a swaddling-band for it. And brake 
up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors. And said, 
Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further : and here shall thy 
proud waves be stayed." See also Isaiah xiv. 12. 

snxig, sang. See note on ' sunk,' Lye, 102. 

122. well-balanced world: comp. Par, Lost, iv. 1000, <*The 
pendulous round Earth with balanced air In counterpoise," 
lilnges : comp. Par. Peg. iv. 413, ''From the four hinges of the 
world.*' A hinge is strictly that upon which anything hangs. 

123. cast, laid (Lat. jacere) : comp. 2 Kings, xix. 32, and p.L. 
vi. 869. 

124. weltering : see note, Lye. 13. 

oozy : see note. Lye. 175 ; and comp. Par. Lost, vii. 303, 
Vac. Ex., 92, Tempest, i. 2. 262. 

125. Bing out, ye crsrstal spheres. Milton's references to the 
music of the spheres are numerous : comp. Arcades, 62 : 

" Then listen I 
To the celestial Siren's harmony. 
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres," etc. 

Also Comus, 112, "the starry quire " ; ib. 243, " give resounding 
grace to all Heavens harmonies" ; ih. 1021, "Higher than the 
aphery chims " ; Par. Lost, v. 620, 

** Mystical dance, which yonder starry sphere 
Of planets and of fixed in all her wheeLs 
Besembles nearest, mazes intricate, 
Eccentric, intervolved, yet regular, 
Then most, when most irregular they seem ; 
And in their motions harmony divine 
So smooths her charming tones, that God's own ear 
Listens delighted." 

Also No. LXiii., 1. 2, *' Sphere-bom harmonious Sisters, Voice and 
Verse." In the present case, as in the lines quoted from Areades 
Milton refers (1) to the Pythagorean doctrine of the music of the 


spheres; and (2) to that system of astronomy developed by 
Eudoxus, Plato, Aristotle, Hipparchus, Ptolemy, and others, 
which is usually called the Ptolemaic system. 

(1) Pythagoras (b.c. 580), having remarked that the pitch of 
notes depends on the rate of vibration, and also that the planets 
move with different velocities, was led to extend the same re- 
lation to the planets and to suppose that they emit sounds pro- 
portional to their respective distances from the Earth, thus 
forming a celestial concert too melodious to affect the gross ears 
of mankind. This is what is meant by the music or harmony of 
the spheres. Plato supposes this harmony to be produced by 

(2) According to the Ptolemaic system of astronomy the Earth 
was the centre of our universe, and the apparent motions of the 
other heavenly bodies were due to the fact that they were fixed 
in transparent or crystal spheres enclosing the central Earth at 
different distances. Plato recognized only eight of such spheres, 
the outermost being that of the Fixed Stars. Later, two more 
spheres were added— the crystalline sphere outside of that of the 
fi^ed stars, and, beyond all, the Tenth Sphere, called^the Primmn 
MobUe or * first moved,* which contained all the others. In the 
above passage from Arcades Milton speaks of the music of the 
spheres as being produced by the nine Muses that sit upon the 
nine inner spheres. 

Shakespeare alludes to the music of the spheres in a beautiful 
passage {M. of V. v. 1. 61) : 

"There's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st 
But in his motion like an angel sings. 
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubina," etc, 

Gomp. also Pericles^ v. 1. 230; AnL and Cleop. v. 2. 83; etc. 
For a detailed account see Plato's Republic (Bk. x.), where a 
theory is given of the relation of the Fates to the Pythagorean 
system. Fate or Necessity has on her knees a spindle of adamant, 
and the turning of this spindle directs the motions of the heavenly 
bodies. '*The spindle turns on the knees of Necessity; and on 
the upper surface of each circle is a siren who goes round with it, 
hymning a single sound and note. The eight together form one 
harmony, and round about at equal intervals there is another 
band, three in number, each sitting upon her throne : these are 
the Fates, daughters of Necessity, who are clothed in white rai- 
ment and have crowns of wool upon their heads, Lachesis and 
Clotho and Atropos, who accompany with their voices the har- 
mony of the sirens." 

126. human ears. The heavenly harmony is inaudible to men's 
impure ears: comp. Arc. 72, "the heavenly tune which none can 
hear Of human mould with gross unpurg^d ear"; also Com, 
458, 997. 


127. touch our senses. Comp. B Pens, 13, "too bright To 
hit the sense of human sight" ; M. of V. v, I. 76, Cor. v. 2. 11. 

1 28. silver cbime. Comp. Com. 1021 , * * sphery chime. " * Chime ' 
is strictly ' harmony ' : the word is cognate with cymbal (1. 208). 

130. bass ...organ. Comp. note, No. ii., 1. 44. On this line 
Warton says : " Milton was not yet a Puritan. Afterwards, he 
and his friends, the fanatics, would not have allowed of so papist- 
ical an establishment as an organ and a choir, even in Heaven. " 

132. consort, accompaniment. The word is sometimes mis- 
takenly written concert: see note, H Pens, 146, and No. LXiii., 
1. 27. Mr. Palgrave thinks it imcertain whether the word is 
here used in the sense of accompanying or simply of concert, to : 
see notes, Zjyc. 13, 33, 44. 

134. Enwrap: see note, L* Alley, 136. 

135. the age of gold ; the reign of Saturn, a time of peace and 
happiness : see note, II Pens, 24. Comp. Ovid's Meta, i, 89 et 
seq. : Aurea 'prima saia est aetas, etc. ; and As Voti Like It^ i. 1, 
" fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world," 

1.S6. specUed Vanity. Why should Vanity be so described ? 
Either (as Warton thinks) because Milton had in mind the 
mactdosum nefas (foul crime) of Horace, Odes, iv. 5. 22, * speckled* 
being equivalent to * corrupt ' ; or because * speckled * = spotted, 
variegated, and therefore * showy. ' It woula almost seem that 
Milton had in view Spenser's description of the vain serpent, 
(Virgil's Onal, 250) : "An huge great Serpent, all toith speckles 
pied ... And with proud vaunt his head aloft doth hold; His crest 
above, spotted with purple dye." Comp. Par. Lost, ix. 429, 
''specked with gold" ; M. N. D, i. 1. 110, Rich. II, iii. 2. 134. 

138. leprous ... moiQd. The leprosy of sin is a common meta- 
phor. The * earthly mould ' is the Earth itself (see Mayhew and 
Skeat's M, E, Diet. ; on molde = in the earth, in the world). 
Comp. Horn, vi. 6, and The Princess, iv. 203. 

139. Hell itself ... her. Here ?ier and itself are both used of 
Hell, an instance of the unsettled usage of the pronouns in 
Milton's time: see notes on its, I, 106, and his, Jl Pens. 128. 
Milton's use of her in this case may be due either to his fondness 
for the feminine persouificaiion or to the fact that A.S. hel is 
feminine : so in 1. 148, A.S. Heofonheing feminine. Comp. Com, 
222, where her is used of a cloud, the I^t. nuhes being fem. See, 
further, notes on II Pens, 92, 143. 

140. Warton quotes jEn. viii. 245, Regna redudat pallida, 
etc., ** (As if Earth) should expose the realms of ghastly gloom 
which the gods hate, and from above the vast abyss were to 
be seen, and the spectres dazzled by the influx of day." 
peering day. *To peer' is to pry or peep (active) or to come 


just into sight (neuter) ; the latter is the meaning here. Comp. 
Tarn. Shrew, iv. 3, "Honour peereth through the meanest habit." 
But Dunster probably exaggerates the significance of the word 
when he says : ** The peering day here is the first dawn of the 
Gospel, by the birth of the Redeemer." 

142. return to men. An allusion to Astrea, the goddess of 
Justice, who during the golden age lived among men ; but 
when that age passed away, withdrew with her sister Pudicitia 
(Purity). In the lines on the Death of a Fair In/ant^ 60, Milton 
calls her " that just Maid who once before Forsook the hated 
earth." Comp. Jonson's Golden Age Restored. 

143. Orb'd ... between. This is the reading of the second 
edition (1673) ; the first edition (1645) had : 

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

*Orb*d in* = encircled by, either partially or totally (in which case 
we may suppose a double rainbow, as suggested by Dunster). 
like glories,, t.e. similar to the glorious tints of the rainbow. 

145. sheen, brightness. Comp. Gom. 893, * azum sheen ' ; ib, 
1003, * spangled sheen ' Epit. on M, of W. 73, * clad in radiant 
sheen* ; F. Q. ii. 1. 10, * So fair and sheen* (adj.) ; On Death oj 
Fair InfarU, 48, * sheeny ' (adj.). Sheen is cognate with show, 

146. tiesued: either 'variegated* or 'interwoven.* Comp. 
Com, 301, "plighted clouds *' ; also No. xix., 1. 20, note. 

steering. Contrast the intrans. use of the verb ' steer * 
(=move) in Sams. Agon, iii, "The tread of many feet steering this 

150. yet : see note, II Pens. 30. 

152. bitter cross. Comp. 1 Hen. IV. i. 1. 25, "those blessed 
feet ... were nailed For our advantage on the hitter cross" : also 
AT. for M. ii. 2. 74, Bich. III. i. 2. 194. 

153. loss : what we have lost. Comp. Par. Lost, iiL 280-302. 

154. both Himself, etc. Comp. Par. Lost, iii. 296, 

" Dying rise ; and rising, with him raise 
His brethren ransomed with his own dear life." 

155. ychain'd. See note on * yclept,* i/'^Z/egr. 12. Spenser has 
yclad, ybent, ygo, ypent, yrapt, ytost, ywrake, etc. In M.E. 
the prefix ge- was weakened to «- or y- and disappeared altogether 
in the northern dialect. 

156. wakeful. Here used objectively : comp. 'dreadful,* line 
164, and * awful * (see note, 1. 59). 

tramp of doom : comp. No. ii.. Song for St. GecUia*8 Day, 
lines 59-62. 

l^AtlVITY ODE, ii3 

158. The references are to the giving of the Mosaic Law : see 
Exodus, xix. 

160. aged EartH. Comp. Horn, and Jul. ii. 3, <*The earth, 
that's nature's mother " (a classical notion) ; 1 Hen, IV, iii. 1. 
32, "the old beldam Earth." 

aghast: Milton wrote 'agast,' for which 'aghast' has 
been erroneously substituted and is still employed. It is the 
participle of an old verb agaaten {a- intensive ; O.E. ga&ttan^ 
to terrify); comp. Chaucer, Legend of O. W, 1171, "What 
may it be That me agasteth in myn slep " ; Spenser, F. Q, 
i. 9. 21, "Or other griesly thing that nim aghast." The 
fuller form of the past participle = ' agasted,' and the present 
participle = * agasting,' are both obsolete ; comp. Stanyhurst's 
^neid, ii. 29, " Shivering mothers . . do wander agasted. " (Comp. 
the two participles roast and roasted). The unetymologicaJ spell- 
ing with gh appears first in Scotch about 1425, and became general 
about 1700: it is probably due to a supposed connection with 
gJiost, ghaisty ghost. Still another false derivation is seen in the 
forms agazed, abased; comp. 1 Hen. VI. i. 1. 126, "The whole 
army stood a^aaed on him. This spelling is due to supposed 
connection with gaze, an error rendered possible by the fact that 
the vowel is long in O.E. gojestani hence a^/dsed. (Comp. iXt^ 
lighted ; p&st, paced, etc. ). 

161. terrour : Fr. terreur. The spelling points to the fact 
that the word came into English from the Lat. terror, in- 
directly through French ; but (see note on horrour, 1. 172) 
the spelling alone is not conclusive evidence of this. Comp. 
Airs Well, ii. 3. 4. 

162. Comp. Par. Lost, vi. 217 : 

" All Heaven resounded, and had Earth been then, 
All Earth had to her centre shook.** 

centre. So in Com. 382, 'centre ' s centre of the Earth, 
and in Par. Lost, i. 686, "Men also ... Ransacked the centre.** 
Sometimes the word was used of the Earth itself, as the fixed 
centre of the whole universe according to the Ptolemaic astronomy 
{Par. Reg. iv. 534). Comp. Hamlet ii. 2. 169. 

163. last session, the Last Judgment. ' Session ' and ' assize ' 
(a cognate word through the French ; Lat. sedere, to sit) are both 
commonly applied in our literature, with such adjs. as grea4, 
last, etc. to the Bay of Judgment : comp. Harapole's Prick ojf 
Conscience, 5514: "The aythen men at that great assys" ; Syl- 
vester's Vu Bartas, i. 2 : " When God his Sizes holds." Session, 
assessment, assize, excise (a corruption of assize), size, etc. are 
cognate. Comp. Par. Lost, ii. 514. 

164. spread, displayed : comp. Par. Lost, ii. 960. 


167. But now : and only now. 

168. old Dragon : see Rev, xx. 2, " (An angel) laid hold on the 
dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound 
him for a thousand years." So in Sams. Agon. 1692, and in Par. 
Lost, X. 529, dragon = serpent. Comp. Com. 393, * dragon watch,* 
and Tennyson's Dream of F. W. 265, * dragon eyes,' where 
the reference is to the dragon's keenness of vision, an idea con- 
tained in the name (Gr. d^pKofiai, to see). Comp. further, II Pens. 
59, and M. N. D. iii. 2. 379 where the allusion is to its swiftness. 

169. straiter. 'Strait' is a doublet of strict. Comp. F. Q. 
L 11. 23, "in straighter bandes," where ' strait ' is confused with 

171. wroth. Milton first wrote toraXhy the older form (A.S. 
wrdthf angry). Wraith is not found as a subst. in A.S. 

172. Swinges . . . taU. Comp. Hev. xii. 4, and the account of the 
Great Dragon m F. Q. I 11. 113 : 

'* His huge long tayle, wound up in hundred foldes. 
Does overspred his lone bras-scaly back ... 
It sweepeth all the land behind him f arre " : 

also ib. 23. 

** His hideous tayle then hurled he about." 

Browne refers also to a passage of Marvell's First Anniversary 
which seems to have been suggested by Milton's lines: "And 
stars still fall, and still the dragon's tail Swinges the volume of 
its horrid flail.** So Waller, with reference to the whale, speaks 
of its *' tail's impetuous sioiTige.** ' Swinges '= brandishes, oeats 
about : this is the only case in which Milton uses the word, which 
is really the causal form of svnng. Comp. drink and drench, me- 
thinks and think, sit and set, fall sjidfell, etc. The intrusive d in 
the form swindges (used in the original editions) is due to the 
soft g. horrour : see note on * terrour,' 1. 161 ; this word comes 
directly from Latin, the spelling being due to force of analogy. 
Comp. Com. 38, "the nodding horror of whose shady brows," 
where the word has its radical sense of shagginess (Lat. hon'ere, 
to bristle), as it may have here. Or 'horror' may = object of 
horror: see note on 'sorrow,' Lye. 166, and Comp. Dryden's 
Trans, of Ovid's Meta. : " Shook the shady honours of her head." 
folded : see description of Spenser's dragon, quoted above. 

173. oracles are dumb. *' The idea, from tliis point to line 236, 
is that of the sudden paralysis of the gods and enchantments of 
the Pagan religions at the birth of Christ " (Masson). So Rabelais 
in Pantagrud, iii. 24, says : " You must know that the oracles are 
all of them become as dumb as so many fishes since the advent of 
that Saviour King, whose coming into the world has made all 
oracles and prophecies to cease." See also Qloss on Shepherd's 


GcUendarf May, quoted in the not^ on 1. 89. The period at 
which oracles ceased to give forth their deliverances has been the 
subject of controversy. Eusebins and many Christian writers held 
the view here adopted by Milton, that they became silent at the 
birth of Christ, and doubtless the superstition, which had long 
lost its hold on the public mind, gradually disappeared before the 
light of Christianity. Nevertheless, there is abundant evidence 
that the oracles were consulted during several centunes of the 
Christian era, and edicts against them were issued by various 
emperors. Many of the Christian fathers regarded them, somewhat 
inconsistently, as due to the inspiration of the devil ; and this 
might be the view held by Milton (see lines 167-170 and Par. Beg. 
455, where Christ is made to say to Satan ; ** No more shalt thou 
by oracling abuse The Grentiles ; henceforth oracles are ceased. ") 
See further in notes, 11. 176, 177, 178. 'Oracle* (Lat. oractUuniy 
a double diminutive from orarej to speak) is a term applied to the 
utterances or responses of si. deity, to the deity responding, or to 
the place where the response is uttered. 

174. hldeouB hum. Comp. Virgil's account of the cave of the 
Cumaean Sibyl when Aeneas went to consult her before descending 
into the lower world {jEn. vi. 42-100) ; when inspired by the 
god Apollo she "from her cell shrills forth awful mysteries and 
booms again from the cavern, robing her truth in darkness." 

175. deceiving, deceitful, or (at least) ambiguous. 

176. Apollo ... shrine. The most famous oracles of antiquity 
were those of Apollo : he was consulted at over twenty of these, 
e.g. Delphi, Abdera, Delos, Lesbos, etc. A 'shrine' is a place 
sacred to a divinity : see note on *cell,* 1. 180. Comp. Virgil's 
^n. ii. 351 : Excessere omnes, adytis arisque relictis. 

177. divine, i.e. utter presages or cause them to be uttered. In 
his essay on the Pagan Oracles De Quincey says : ** The fathers 
regarded it as a duty of Christianity to destroy Oracles ; and 
heading that baseless creed, some of them went on to affirm, in 
mere defiance of history, that Christianity had destroyed Oracles. 
But why did the fathers fancy it so special a duty of the Christian 
faith to destroy Oracles? Simply for these two reasons viz., that 
(1) Most falsely they B\ip]posed prophecy to be the main function 
of an Oracle ; whereas it did not enter into the main business of 
an^Oracle by so much as once in a thousand responses. (2) Not 
less erroneously they assumed this to be the inevitable parent of 
a collision with Christianity, for all prophecy, and the spirit of 
prophecy, they supposed to be a regular prerogativeof Christianity, 
sacred, in fact, to the true faith by some inalienable right. But 
no such claim is anywhere advanced in Scripture." 

178. steep of Delphos. *Delplios* is the mediaeval form of 
' Delphi/ the name of a small town in Phocis, situated on the S.W. 


extremity of Mt. Pamassus^in Greece. Here was the most cele* 
brated oracle of Apollo, the oracular divinations being uttered by 
a priestess called Pythea or the Pythoness in the temple of that 
god. From a chasm in the centre of the building rose a mephitic 
vapour, and the priestess sat on a tripod over the chasm, so that 
she might be readily intoxicated by the exhalations. The words 
she uttered while in this frenzied state were believed to be the 
revelations of Apollo. The Delphic oracle was finally suppressed 
by Theodosius, The name Delphos (applied to Delphi) is used by 
Milton, Par, Reg. i. 458, and by Shakespeare, Wint, TcUsy ii. 1. 
Comp. Lines on Shakespeare, "Delphic lines "= oracular lines: 
Gray's Prog, of Poesy ^ 66, "Woods, that wave o*e Delphi's 

179. nightly. Comp. II Pens. 84, Arc. 48. 'Nightly' heres 
nocturnal, pertaining to night. It is an adj. , though its force is 
that of an adverb. Comp. Wordsworth, "The nightly hunter 
lifting up his eyes " = The himter lifting uif his eyes ai night. 
trance: state of ecstasy; see note, II Pens. 165. Sometimes 
the paroxysms of the priestess were so dreadful that the priests 
and suppliants fled in terror: comp. Virgil's J^n. vi. 100. 
breathed spell; spell due to the exhalations from beneath the 
tripod: on * spell see note, H Pens, 170; the word was first 
used in a good sense, but occurs in the bad sense of ' magic ' as 
early as Gower's Corifessio Amantis (1393). 

180. pale-eyed. Afterwards used in Pope's Moisa, 21, 
** Shrines where their vigils pale-eyed virgins keep." Comp. 
Hen. V. iv. 2. 47, "pale-dead eyes"; Shakespeare has also *pale- 
visaged,* 'pale-faced,* * pale-hearted,' *pale hope,' etc. cell, ».«. 
the adytum or innermost shrine, accessible only to the priests 
and the initiated (Lat. cella), 

181. o'er: attributive to 'mountains.* 

183. voice of weeping. Comp. the language of Isaiah, Ixv. 19, 
and Mait. ii. 18. The allusion is explained by the Gloss quoted 
in the notes on line 89. 

184. haunted spring. Comp. L*Alleg. 130, II Pens. 137 and 
154, "unseen Genius of the wood"; Com. 267; Lye 183, "the 
Genius of the shore '*; Par. Lost, i. 783, iii. 27. 

185. poplar pale. The silver-poplar (in Horace, alba pSpfUua), 

186. parting, departing. Comp. Par. Lost, viii. 630, "the 
parting sun '*; ib. xii. 689, " The hour precise exacts our parting 
hence. '* See Nares* Glossary for other illustrative passages {e.g. 
* timely-parted * = lately dead), and index to Globe Spenser 
(part = depart ; parture = departure), 

188. Comp. II Pens. 133, 137, 154. 

189. consecrated: see note on * sacred,' Lye. 102. 


191. Lars and Lemnres. Line 189 refers to the latter, and line 
190 to the former. See Leigh Hunt's Essay on the Household 
Gods of the Ancients : ** The Lares or Lars were the lesser and 
most familiar household gods; and though their offices were 
afterwards extended a good deal, in the same way as those of the 
Penates (gods of the house and family), with whom they are 
often wrongly confounded, their principal sphere was the 
fireplace. This was in the middle of the room, and the statues 
of the Lares generally stood about it in little niches. They are 
said to have l^en in the shape of monkeys ; more likelv manuLkins, 
or rude little human imaces.... Some writers make them the 
ofiispring of the goddess Mania, who presided over the spirits of 
the dead; and suppose that originally they were the same as 
those spirits; which is a very probable as well as agreeable 
superstition, the old nations of Italy having been accustomed to 
bury their dead in their houses. Upon this supposition, the 
good or benevolent spirits were called Familiar lares and the 
evil or malignant ones, Larvae and Lemures.'' Milton seems 
here to refer to Lemures in the same sense as Ovid, viz., shades, 
ghosts of the dead, Lat. manes. 

192. round: prep, governing 'altars.' 

194. Flamens: Roman priests devoted to the service of a 
particular deity, quaint, precise. In modern English it means 
odd or curious, and in Milton's poetry it usually conveys the idea 
of strangeness as well as of exactness or nicety. The word is 
from Lat. cognituSy known or remarkable, and Chaucer has it in 
the sense of * famous ' ; hence * skilful ' and * cunning ' (in a good 
sense) ; hence * cunning ' (in a bad sense), as in The Plovrman^a 
Crede (1394), *' the devell is full queynte." In French it became 
coiiUy which was treated as If from Lat. comptuSy neat, ingenious, 
and hence acquired the sense of * pretty ' or ' neat,' as in Temp, 
i. 2. 317, "My qvmnt Ariel." Comp. * uncouth,' UAUeg, 6, 
note ; No. vii., line 14 ; and Lye. 139. 

195. chill marble ... sweat. Dunster refers to Georgica i. 480, 
for the prodigies at the death of Caesar : " the ivory in the fanes 
sheds teiftrs for sorrow, and the brass sweats." 

196. foregoes, etc. Comp. No. xix., 39, note. In this line 
' peculiar ' = special. * Foregoes ' = gives up, a corruption of 
* forgoes,* due to confusion with * foregone ' ( = gone before). The 
prefikybr- (seen in forbear, forbid, forget, forgive, forlorn, forsake, 
forswear) has the sense olfrom or is an intensive (cf. Ger. ver). 

197. Compare the catalogue of fallen angels in Par, Lost, i. 
376-521. Peor ; i.e. Baal-Peor, or the Baal of Peor {Num, xxiii. 28 ; 
XXV. 3, 18 ; Josh. xxii. 17). Milton follows Jerome, who identifies 
Chemos (see Par, Lost, i. 405) with Baal-Peor and the Greek 
Priapus. Baalim : see Judges, viii. 33, 1 Sam. vii. 4 ; 2 Chron. 
xxviiL 2, etc. ; also Par, Lost^ i 422, " Baalim and Ashtaroth, 


those male, these feminine." The Baal of the Phoenicians here 
referred to is the Sungod, the Baal (Heb. ba*al, lord ; plor. 
baalim) or lord of the heavens : the Baals of different tribes or 
sanctuaries were not necessarily regarded as identical, so that in 
the Bible we find frequent mention of *'the Baalim." As the 
principle of life he was worshipped as Baal-Peor, and other 
aspects are marked by such names as Baal-zebub, Ish-bosheth 
(i^ere bosheth = ' shameful thing/ substituted for * Baal *), etc. 

199. twice-batter'd god. See Par, Lost, i. 462, "Bagon his 
name, sea monster, upward man And downward fish;" Sams, 
Agon. 437, 468 ; 1 Sams. v. 3, where allusion is made to Dagon's 
twice falling before the ark of God. Palestine : Dagon was a 
national god of the Philistines, who have given their name to 
Palestine (comp. the transfer of the name * Asia ' from a small 
district of Lydia to a whole continent). 

200. moondd Ashtaroth, etc. Ashtoreth, Ashtaroth or As- 
tarte, goddess of the Sidonians and Philistines, whose worship 
was introduced among the Israelites during the period of the 
Judges {Judg. ii. 13, 1 Sam. vii. 4). The name is properly a 
plural, and in the Old Testament is sometimes associated with 
the plural Baalim. On this account some (including Milton, Par. 
Lost, i. 422) would identify Baal with the male principle of life 
and Ashtaroth with Ashera, the female principle among the 
Syrians and others. But Ashera was an impure deity, while 
Ashtaroth is not so represented. *'The key to this difficulty is 
probably to be sought in the Assyrian mythology, where we find 
that the planet Venus was worshipped as the chaste goddess Istar, 
when she appeared as a morning star, and as the impure Bilit or 
Beltis, Myhtta of Herod, (i. 199), when she was an evening star. 
These two goddesses, associated yet contrasted, seem to correspond 
respectively to the chaste Ashtoreth and the foul Ashera, though 
the distinction between the rising and setting planet was not 
kept up among the Western Semites, and the nobler deity came 
at length to be viewed as the goddess of the moon" {Ency. Britt. 
iii.). Milton here regards her as goddess of the moon (see Par. 
Lost, vi. 978), though the Greek goddess Astarte was identified 
with Aphrodite or Venus (see Com. 1002, " Assyrian Queen "). 

201 Heaven's queen, etc. She is so called in Jerem. xliv. 25, 
" to bum incense to the qv£tn of heaven." Newton says, *She 
was called regina coeli and ma^er Deum ' (Selden*s De Diis Syriis). 

202. tapers' holy shine, i.e. on her altars. On * taper,' see note 
L*Alleg. 125. * Shine ' = lustre, as in sun-a/ttne, moonshine : the 
use of ' shine ' as a subst. is found in Spenser, Shakespeare, 
Jonson, Dry den, and others ; comp. F. Q. i. x. 67, " passing 
brightness ... and too exceeding s%/?g " ; Ven. and Adon. "her 
silver shine"; Jonson's GyntJi. Rev. **a heart with shine about it." 
See Narea* Glossary under shiite and sheen. 


203. Ubyc Hanunon, i.e. the Libyan or Aethiopian god Ammon, 
called by the Greeks Zeas Ammon and by the Romans Jupiter 
Ammon. See Par. Lost^ iv. 276, "Old Cham (=Ham, son of 
Noah) whom Crentiles Ammon call and Libyan Jove." The 
reference to his horn shows that Milton is thinking of that type 
of Ammon with which the later Greek and Roman writers were 
most familiar, which connected him with the ram-headed god 
Khnum or Chnomnis, the spirit of the waters ; and perhaps the 
poet does not clearly distinguish him from Apis, the buU-ffod, 
whose name, like that of Ammon, means * the hidden god.' The 
classical writers regarded the horns of Ammon as significant of 
his office as protector of the flocks, the Aethiopians being a 
nomadic people. It is probable that the worship of Amnion was 
introduced from Egypt into Aethiopia; he was worshipped at 
Meroe in Aethiopia, Thebes, and Ammonium. On his conquest of 
Egypt, Alexander the Great called himself the son of Ammon, and 
his portraits show him wearing the ram*s horn. 

shrinks ; used transitively : see Lye. 133, note. 

204. Thammuz. Comp. Par. Lost, i. 446, " Thammm came 
next behind. Whose annual wound in Lebanon allured the Syrian 
damsels to lament his fate"; and Com. 999, ** Where young 
Adonis oft reposes, " etc. These two passages shew that Thammuz 
was identified with Adonis, and Astarte with Venus. Keightley, 
in his Mythology, says: "The tale of Adonis is evidently an 
eastern myth ... He appears to be the same with the Thammuz 
mentioned by the prophet Ezekiel (viii. 14), and to be a Phoenician 
personification of the sun, who during part of the year is absent, 
or, as the legend expresses it, with the goddess of the underworld : 
during the remainder with Astarte, the regent of heaven." The 
mourning of the Tyrian maids is an allusion to the anniversary 
ceremonies held in Syria and round the Mediterranean to per- 
petuate the memory of Venus's grief for Adonis, who died of a 
wound received from a wild boar. On the myths of Adonis 
and Ammon see Frazer's Golden Bough, L 3. 4 ; ii. 3. 1 2. 

205. sullen Molodi : comp. Par. Lost, i. 392, *' Moloch, horrid 
king, besmear'd with blood Of human sacrifice and parent's tears," 
etc. Moloch or Molech or Milchdm, the national god of the 
Ammonites, to whom children were offered up in sacrifice (see 
Psalm, cvi. 38, Jer. viL 31, Ekxk. xvi. 20, 2 Kings, iii. 27, Lev. 
XX. 1-5). In the Old Testament there seems to be some confusion 
between Moloch and Baal : see especially Jer. xxxii. 35, and ib. 
xix. 5, where the names are used as if interchangeable, and human 
sacrifices are ascribed to both. Classical writers have identified 
Moloch with Saturn. Warton quotes from Sandys* Travels, a 
book popular in Milton's time : " Wherein [the valley of Tophet] 
the' Hebrews sacrified their children to Moloch : an idol of brass, 
havinff the head of a calf, the rest of a kingly figure with arms 
extended to receive the miserable sacrifice, scared to death with 


his buiTiing embracements. For the idol was hollow within, and 
filled with fire. And lest their lamentable shrieks should sad the 
hearts of their parents, the priests of Moloch did deaf their ears 
with the continual clangs of trumpets and timbrels/' Milton 
here pictures Moloch fleeing from his own altar at the moment of 
Christ's birth and while his worshippers were in the act of sacri- 
ficing to him. The priests danced round the fire, and endeavoured 
to recall their god. 

207. aU: see note, VAUtg, 33. 

208. cymbal's ring : the clash of the cymbals in which the 
cries of the victims were drowned ; see note, 1. 128. 

209. grisly. Radically the same as grwA-somt = horrible, causing 
terror (comp. Grer. grausig, causing horror ; gratis, horror). In 
Par. Lost, iv. 821, Satan is called ** the grisly king"; comp. Com, 
603, "all the grisly legions," and see index, Globe Spenser; 
* grieslie,' * grisely.* 

210. dance : comp. Ma>cbeth, Act iv. 

211. brutislL In direct allusion to their form. " The distin- 
guishing peculiarity of the ancient Egyptian religion, with respect 
to worship, is the adoration of sacred animals as emblems of the 
gods ... The most celebrated of these were the bulls Apis at Mem- 
phis and Mnevis at Heliopolis, both sacred to Osiris, tnough some 
say the latter was sacred to the sim." The crocodile was sacred 
to Sebak, the jackal and probably more than one allied species 
to Anubis ; the cat to Pasht, and so with innumerable animals. 
The gods of Egypt are referred to in Juvenal's 15th Satire, in 
Herod, ii, and in Lucian's De Sacr, Comp Pa/r. Lost, i. 477 : 
" A crew who under names of old renown, Osiris, Isis, Orus, and 
their train, With monstrous shapes, and sorceries abused Fanatic 
Egypt and her priests, to seek Their wandering gods disguised 
in brutish forms Rather than human." 

212. Isis, the consort of Osiris and mother of Horus. At first 
the goddess of the earth, and afterwards of the moon : then 
identified by the Greeks with Demeter and the Argive lo. Her 
worship prevailed extensively in Greece, and was introduced into 
Rome in the time of Sulla. In the public processions those ini- 
tiated in her mysteries wore masks representing dogs' heads : see 
Smith's Class. Diet, and Ency. Britt., article * Egypt.* Spenser, 
F. Q. V. 7, says : "They wore rich mitres shaped like the moon 
To show that Iris doth the moon portend, Like as Osiris signifies 
the sun." See Frazer's Golden Bough, vol. L chap. 3, § 6, on 
Osiris and Isis. 

Cms . . . Anubis. The children of Osiris and Isis were Orus 
( = Horus or Har) and Anubis or Anup. The former was repre- 
sented as 'hawk-headed,' the latter as 'jackal-headed.' Horus 
assisted his father Osiris in judging the dead, while Anubis had 


the duty of weighing the souls of the departed and of presiding 
over funeral rites. He is also sometimes called the sun-god : 
comp. Virgil's JEn. viii. 698. 

213. Osiris. Milton here identifies Osiris, long regarded as the 
sun-god and the Nile-god and the most celebrated deity in the 
Egyptian Pantheon, with Apis the bull-god, respectfully following 
the classical writers {e.g, Juvenal, SoiireSy viii. 29). This 
identification was due to the fact that the boll, worshipped at that 
time as a divinity, came to be regarded as a symboL In IL 216-7 
Milton alludes to the legend that Osiris, originally king of Ecypt, 
had been, on his return from travels in foreign huidB, murdered 
by his brother Typhon, who cut his body into pieces and threw 
them into the Nile. Aiter long search Isis discovered them, and 
defeated Typhon with the aid of her son Horns. Mr. Palgrave's 
notfe iB as follows: — Osiris, the Egyptian god of Agriculture (here 
perhaps by confusion with Apis, figured as a BuU), was torn to 
pieces by Typho and embalmed alter death in a sacred chest. 
This mythe, reproduced in Syria and Greece in the legends of 
Thammuz, Adonis, and perhaps Absyrtus, may have originally 
signified the annual death of the Sun or the Year under the 
influences of the winter darkness. Horus, the son of Osiris, as the 
New Year, in his turn overcomes Typhon. 

214. Memphlan grove. After the fall of Thebes, Memphis 
became the capital of Egypt : it contained the splendid temple of 
the bull-god Apis. 

215. nnshower'd : in allusion to the small rain-fall of Eg3rpt, 
a country which is watered by the Nile's overflow, witb : comp. 
Lye, 29, note. 

217. chest, ark (as in line 220). Comp. Henryson's Moral 
Fables, 8: "The cheese in Arhe and meill in KisV* Chaucer has 
chest in the sense of coffin (comp. Gr. /cd^ii^os, a chest): *'He is 
now ded and nailed in his chest ,** ProL to Clerk* s Tale, On 
' SEbcred ' ( = ' worshipt ' in 1. 220), comp. note, Lye. 102. 

218. sliroud: see note. Lye. 22, "my sable shroud," 

219. tlmbrell'd anthems, anthems sung to the accompaniment 
of the timbreL * Timbrel,' a dimin. from M.E. timbre, cognate 
with Lat. tympanum, a drum. Comp. Exod. xv. 20; and Pope*s 
line, " Let weeping Nilus hear the timbrel sound," Trans, of 1st 
Thehaid of Statins. On | anthem,' see II Pens, 163, note. 

220. sable-stoldd. On * stole,' see note, 11 Pens. 35, and comp. 
* sable- vested' (Gk. KvavfxrroKos;) in Par. Lost, ii 962. worshipt: 
see note on *kist,' line 65. Milton also has * worshiped.' 

221. Comp. Isaiah, xix, 1, "Behold, the Lord rideth upon a 
swift cloud, and cometh unto Egypt ; and the idols of Egjrpt 
shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall 
melt in the midst of it." 


223. eyn. There were a large number of plurals in en in Old 
English, only one of which (oxen) is now in common use as a 
plural, though others are now used as singulars (welkin, chicken, 
etc.). Chaucer has the form ye, plur. yeUy commonly written eye, 
eyeni Spenser frequently uses eyew = O.E. eagan, Prov. Eng. een; 
and/ocn = O.E. /aw, /on, foea (see Morris, § 80). Shakespeare 
{Aivt. and Chop, ii. 7. 121) has cyn€ = eyes, and «^oon = shoes 
(Ham. iv. 5). Comp. doughteren, sistren, assen, heen^ etc., all 
found in old writers: kine, children, and brethren are double 

224. beside, besides, other : see note, II Pens. 116. 

226. Typhon: the Egyptian god. Set, called by the Greeks 
Typhon, was a brother of Osiris : he is represented sometimes 
with the head of a fabulous monster, sometimes as a crocodile, 
etc. For the use of * twine,' comp. Com. 105. 

227. Our Babe, etc. The allusion is explained by the story of 
the infant Hercules strangling, in his cradle, the two serpents 
sent by Hera to destroy him. 

228. crew : see note, L*AUeg. 38. 

229. So : in the same way. Comp. Cowley's Hymn to Light, 
41, "When, Goddess, thou lift'st up thy wakened head, Out of 
the Morning's purple bed," etc. 

231. Flllows ... wave. Comp. Shelley's Lines tvritten in the 
Eugantan Hills: 

*' Lo ! the sun upsprings behind, 
Broad, red, radiant, half -reclined 
On the level quivering line 
Of the waters crystalline." 

Also Par. Beg. iv. 426; 11 Pens. 121. 

orient, bright. The Lat. orten^ = rising ; hence (from 
being applied to the sim) = eastern {Com. L 30); and hence 
generally 'bright* or 'shining*: comp. Com. 65, Par. Lost, i. 546L 

232. floddng shadows, etc. Comp. M. N, D. iii. 2, 

"Yonder shines Aurora's harbinger, 
At whose approach ghosts, wandering here and there. 
Troop home to churchyards," etc 

See further, UAlleg, 49, note; Hamlet, i. 6. 89-91. 

234. his several grave, %.e, his separate or particular grave. 
Radically * several ' is from the verb * sever ' (Lat. separo) and in 
this sense could be used with singular nouns: comp. Much Ado, 
V. 3. 29, Shak. Sonnet, 137, Comus, 25. It was also used as a 
subst. = an individual, an enclosed place, etc. ; and the adverb 
had the sense of * separately ' or ' privately ': oomp. Jut, Caesar, 


iii. 2. 10, "severally we hear them/' In the modem sense of 

* various,' * divers,' * sundry,' the adj. is used only with plural 
nouns, and cannot stand as a subst. See Abbott, § 61 ; Morris, 
§ 249 ; and Narea^ Glossary, On * his ' = its, see notes, IL 106, 130. 

235. fays, fairies. Strictly 'fay* (^-Z^) an elf) is the personal 
name, while the derivative ' fairy ' is an abstract noun = enchant- 
ment : the latter, though at first wrongly used, has now nearly 
displaced the former. See Keightley 's Fairy Mythology. * Yellow- 
skirted ' : yellow is a colour widely associated with enchantment. 

236. night-steeds. Comp. Com. 553, '*The drowsy frighted 
steeds that draw the litter of close-curtained sleep : " also Par. 
Lost, ii. 662. Shakespeare alludes frequently to the dragons that 
draw Night's chariot (Jf. N. D. iii. 2. 379, Cym. ii 2, Tro. and 
Cress. V. 9) and to night as the time for fairies and ghosts (Ham. 
iii 2; M, N, D. v. 2; t5. ii 1). See also II Pens. 59, note. 

moon-loved maze ; intricacies of their moon-light dance. 
Comp. M. N. D. ii. 1. 141, "If you will patiently dance in our 
round, And see our moon-light revels, go with us"; and Par. 
Lost, i. 781, ** fairy elves Whose midnight revels ... Some belated 
peasant sees, ... While overhead the moon Sits arbitress.** 

238. Hath : see note, UAUeg. lOa 

239. Time is, etc., = ' It is time that,' etc. 

240. youngest-teemddslast bom or 'latest bom': comp. 'later 
bom,' Sonnet to Lady Mar. Ley. The allusion is to the Star in 
the East (see lines 19 and 23, notes) 

241. fixed ... car : the star remained fixed over the spot where 
Christ lay at Bethlehem. ' Polished ' = bright : comp. Com. 05, 
" the gilded car of day." 

242. liand-maid lamp. Dunster thinks the allusion is to the 
parable of the Ten Virgins, Ma;tt, xxv : comp. Milton's Soiin. to a 

Virtuous Young Lady, " Thy care is fixed and zealously attends 
To fill thy odorous lamp wiui deeds of light." 

243. courtly stable. The stable where the kings from the East 
did homage to the Prince of Peace. 

244. Bright hamess'd, clad in shining armour. In old books 

* harness ' almost always means body-armour for soldiers : comp. 1 
Kings, xx. 11; Chaucer's (7an<. Tales, 1615, **Aarrae«jrifi[ht enough 
for thee" (said to a knight) ; MoAiheth, v. 5. 52, "At least well 
die with harness on our oack ;" Pa/r. Lost, vii. 202, ** harnessed 
at hand " (applied to an equipage). 

serylceable, ready to serve. Comp. King Lear, iv. 6L 
257 ; and Son. on his Blindness, "They also serve who only stand 
and wait.** 



No. IL 


This ode was composed for the festival of St. Cecilia, November 
22, 1687, very shortly after the publication of The Hind and the 
ParUher, It would appear from a note in his copy of Spenser's 
Faerie Queene that Diyden had previously had an idea of a song 
for St. Cecilia's Day, suggested by a stanza of Spenser's poem 
(Bk. vu. 7. 12) : 

"Was never eo great joyance since the day 
That all the g<^ whylome*assembled were 
On Haemus hill in their divine array. 
To celebrate the solemn bridall cheare 
Twixt Peleus and Dame Thetis pointed there ; 
Where Phoebus selfe, the god of Poets hight. 
They say, did sing the spousall hymne'full cleere. 
That all the gods were ravisht with delight 
Of his celestial song, and Musick's wondrous might." 

St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, has been honoured as a 
martyr ever since the fifth century, and in England the festival 
held on the day sacred to her was revived in 1683. In 1687 and 
1697 Dryden wrote the ode for the occasion : Pope wrote it — ^a 
very formal production — ^in 1708. The story regarding St. 
Cecilia, as delivered by the Notaries of the Roman Catholic 
church, and thence transcribed into the Golden Legend {Legenda 
Aurea) and similar books, tells that she was a noble Roman lady, 
bom about 295; that, though a convert to Christianity, her 
X)arents married her to a pagan nobleman named Valerianus, 
whom she informed that she was nightly visited by an angel. 
Valerianus was permitted to see the angel on condition that he 
would embrace Christianity. This he did, and was informed by 
the angel that he would be crowned with martyrdom in a short 
time. Both he and Cecilia died as martyrs about 320. The 
legend says little about her musical genius, but there is a 
tradition that she excelled in music and invented the organ. 
Hence the perversion of the legend to the effect that her music, 
and not her purity, drew the angel from heaven. See Longfellow's 
Golden Legend, and Chaucer's Seconde Nonnes Tale : the latter is 
almost literally a translation from the life of St. Cecilia in the 
Legenda Aurea of Jacobus Januensis. The following are extracts 
from Chaucer's poem : 

''This maiden bright Cecile, as her life saith. 
Was come of Romans and of noble kind, 
And from her cradle foster'd in the faith 
Of Christ, and bare his Gospel in her mind ; 


She never ceased, as I written find. 
Of her prayer, and Ood to love and dread ... 
And while that th* orsans maden melody, 
To God alone thus in ner heart sung she; 
Lord, my soul and eke my body gie 
TJnwemm^, lest that I confonnded be." 

The fact that Milton's Hymn on the Nativity and the poem 
now under consideration are both described as odes raises the 

Suestion of the nature of an Ode. The one is in regular stanzas, 
lie other is more irregular ; the one has a chorus, the other has 
not. It would seem, therefore, that irregularity of metre and 
stanza and the presence of a choric strain are not essential to the 
Ode, and many of the finest odes in the English language are of 
perfectly regular structure. The Greek ^1} meant a song or 
lyrical composition, and many English odes are framed on the 
model of the Pindaric odes. Hence the use of irregular metres 
and arbitrary divisions into stanzas (without regard to the 
demands of music) supposed to be in the style of Pindar — a 
practice largely due to the influence and example of the poet 
Cowley (1618-1667). Diyden's S<mg for St. Cecilia't Day is, 
in fact, an imitation of Cowley*s Ode on the Resurrection^ and 
Cowley's Odes have been **the forerunners of a whole current of 
loud-mouthed lyric invocation not yet silent after two centuries." 
An ode is a species of lyric, but when not intended to be sung or 
chanted, the classical models are no loneer suitable and the 
broken lines and other irrep^nlarities which, after Cowley, were 
supposed to be specially fitted for the Ode, have little real 
meaning and tend to artificiality. To find a definition of an ode 
that wiU &ppl^ to all the best modem specimens is difficult; Mr. 
€U)8se would include "any strain of enthusiastic and exalted 
lyrical verse, directed to a fixed purpose, and dealing progres- 
sively with one dignified theme." In Great Odes a recent writer 
discusses this question and finally says: "There can be little 
doubt that the term would be almost meaningless if it were 
allowed to comprise every lyrical form. If the ode be at once 
'a high remote chant' and an impassioned apostrophe it must 
cease to be distinctive, must become as liberal a term as * lyric ' 
itself. Are we to call the *Hymn on Christ's Nativity,' ana the 
*Ode to the West Wind,' or *To the" Skylark,' by one common 
name? Yet< each has been accepted as an ode. It may be 
suggested that any poem finely wrought, and fuU of nigh 
thinking, which is of the nature of an apostrophe, or of 
sustained intellectual meditation on a single theme of general 
purport, should be classed as an ode. This, it seems to me, may 
fairly be accepted if, further, the distinction between the 
personal and impersonal Ijrric be observed, and if it be understood 
that the form must neither be narrative nor dramatic, nor, again, 
be of an obtrusively choric nature/' 



1. heavenly liarmony, etc. The idea expressed in the opening 
lines is that of Pythagoras (b.c. 530), who is said to have been 
the first to speak of the universe as a cosmosy from its orderliness 
or arrangement (Lat. mundus). "The new and startling feature 
in the Pythagorean philosophy, as opposed to the Ionic systems, 
was that it K)und its &pxhi i^s key oi the universe, not in any 
known sabstance, but in number and proportion. This might 
naturally have occurred to one who had listened to the teaching 
of Thales and Anaximander. After all it makes no difference, he 
might say, what we take as our original matter ; it is the law of 
development, the measure of condensation, which determines the 
nature of each thing. Number rules the harmonies of music, the 
proportions of sculpture and>architecture, the movements of the 
heavenly bodies. It is Number which makes the universe into a 
Kdfffioi, and is the secret of a virtuous and orderly life '* ( TJudes to 
CicerOf Mayor). According to the Pythagoreans the soul was 
itself a harmony, dwelling in the body as in a prison (comp. 
Plato's PhaedOf vi. 62b). On the music of the spheres, see note. 
Hymn Nat, 125. 

2. universal firame, the fabric of the universe, frame which is 
the universe. This makes the phrase more significant than if we 
regard 'universal' as merely = total. Comp. Spenser's Hymn of 
H, Love, 22: 

"Before this toorld's great frame, in which all things 
Are now contained, found any being-place, 
Ere flittering Time could wag his eyas wings 
About that mighty bound which doth embrace 
The rolling spheres, and parts their hours by space, 
That High Eternal Power which now doth move 
In all these things, moved in itself by love." 

The phrase occurs also in Milton, Par, Lost, v. 153, "Almighty, 
thine this universal frame." The word 'frame* conveys the 
notion of something whose parts are fitted together: comp. 
* vocal /ra?7ie,* Alex. Feast, 133. 

began, took its rise : comp. Alex, Fea>st, 25. 

3. Nature ...Jarring atoms. Comp. Par, Lost, if. 894: 

"Eldest Night 
And Chaas, ancestors of Nature, hold 
Eternal anarchy. Amidst the noise 
Of endless wars, and by confusion stand. 
For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Di*y, four champions fierce^ 
Strive here for mastery, and to battle brin^ 
Tf^if emhryon atomSp" 


Comp. also Ovid's Meia. L 5, Rudia indiyesttique moUa, etc. 
* Jarring '= discordant, not yet harmonized: what Ovid calls 
diacordia aemina rerum ; comp. also No. Lxni. * Atoms ' (Gk. 
oTOfjMs, indivisible) : comp. Holland's Plutarch's Mor. 807, "Epi- 
curus saith, That the principles of all things be certain Atomes'" ; 
see also Munro's Lucretius, index. 

5. heave her head. 'Heave's raise, is frequent in Milton: 
comp. Comus, 885, * heave thy rosy head'; UAUeg, 145; Sam, 
Agon. 197. The phrase is Miltonic; before Milton's time 'heave' 
had a less restricted sense, comp. Spenser, F, Q. i. 2. 39, " His 
raging blade he heft (heaved)," Chaucer's Prol, 550, ^^Htvt a 
dore of harre (off its hinge)"; Rich. III. iv. 4, "Painted queen ; 
one heaved on high " {i.e. exalted, now obsolete). It was Dryden's 
use of MUtonic phrases, among other things, that led to such 
fulsome eulogies as that of Lee : 

" To the dead bard your fame a little owes, 
For MUton did the wealthy mine disclose 
And rudely cast what you could well dispose ... 
Till through the heap your mighty genius shined. 
He was the golden ore which you refined ! " 

6. The: used specifically. Voice, t.e. words; namely, "Arise, 
ye more than dead. " 

7. ye more than dead. In such phrases of address ye continued 
to be conmionly used, even after ye and you had come to be used 
with little discrimination. This confusion between ye and you 
did not exist in old English : ye was always used as a nominative, 
and you as a dative or accusative. In the English Bible the dis- 
tinction is very carefully observed, but in the dramatists of the 
Elizabethan period there is a vezy loose use of the two forms " 
(Morris) : it is the same in Milton. ' More than dead ': as 
' more ' is here adverbial, and no adjective is expressed after it, 
we may interpret the phrase a8= ' worse than ii ye were dead '; 
for a body, though dead, is nevertheless organized, but these 
atoms were discordant. 

8. cold and hot, etc. See ' the four champions ' alluded to in 
Pao'. Lost, ii. 898 (quoted above). Comp. Ovid's Meta. i. 19 : 

** Friffida pugnabant ealidis, humentia siccis, 
Mollia cum duris, sine pondere habentia pondus." 

The early sages of Greece distinguished four elements, — earth, 
water, air, and fire ; and with these were associated corresponding 
qualities — hot and cold, dry and moist. 

9. In order ... leap : instantaneously form the Cosmos. 

14. compass, range. Comp. " You would sound nie from my 
Icwest note to the top of my compass," Ham. iii. 2. The word 
is here used in its special application to music (see next note) : 


in M.E. it meant a circle (*' As the point in a compos" Gower's 
Conf, Amant. iii. 92) ; but it has also the more general sense of 
extent or grasp: comp. *^ compass of my wits," Rovn, and JtU. 
iv. 1. 

15. diapason:.. Man, Man being the full and completed 
harmony. The best illustration of the meaning will be found in 
No. 63, At a Solemn Music, 17-28. ' Diapason '; in music a 
name ffiven by the Greeks to the interval oi the octave, and so 
called oecause it embraces all the sounds of the perfect system or 
scale : it is also used in the sense of the compass of any voice or 
instrument. The word (Gk. diavaaQv) is a contraction of the 
phrase did iraawv x^P^^^ ffvfiipwvLa, a symphony extending through 
all the notes; so that c^topo^on » " fchrongh-all. Comp. 
Holy day's Distich i 

" All things are wonder since the world began ; 
The world's a riddle, and the meaning's man." 

closing: see note, Hymn Nat. 100, and Comus, 548, ''ere 
a close." ftill : see note on ' shrill,' L'Alleg. 56. 

16. passion, feeling or emotion : see note, II Pens. 41. On 
the power of music comp. Alex. Feast ; Collins' Ode on the Pas- 
sions (No. 178 in Gold. TVecw.); Congreve's Mourning Bride \ 
M. N. i>. ii. 1. 150, ** Music hath charms to soothe the savage 
breast " ; and Herrick's poems on Music (pages 160, 161, Mr. 
Palgrave's edition), e.g. 

" Music, thou queen of heaven, care-charming spell. 
That strik'st a stillness into hell ; 
Thou that tam'st timers and fierce storms that rise, 
With thy soul-meltmg lullabies." 

raise and qu^, excite and soothe. Quell is M.E. quellen, 
to kill : qtbdl and kiU are probably not cognate. 

17. Jubal: comp. Oen. iv. 21, ''He was the father of all such 
as handle the harp and pipe;" and George Eliot's Legend oj 
Jubal. Marvell, in Musics Mnpire, says : 

" Jubal first made the wilder notes agree. 
And Jubal tuned Music's Jubilee ; 
He called the echoes from their sullen cell. 
And built the organ's city, where they dwelL" 

chorded shell. The first lyre is said to have been made 
by stretching strings over the shell of a tortoise. So in 
Lat. testudo and in Gk. x^^^^t both meaning a tortoise, were 
applied to the lyre; comp. Horace's ode to his lyre, i. 32, 
**Dapibus supremi Grata testudo Jovis";also v. 14, "cava 
testuaine." '(Jhorded* (Gk. xop^'J* string of a musical instrument): 
chord and cord are radically the same : comp. Par. Lost, xi 561, 
and Collins' Ode^ 3. 


20. etiestlal sound; comp. Collin's Ode, "Music, sphere- 
descended maid." 

21. Less: objecfc of 'dwell,' andsa less being. Comp. the 
stories of the behaviour of savage tribes under similar circum- 
stances, the unfamiliar being object-s of worship. 

25. trumpet's loud clangor. 'Clangor' (3 Hen. VI . iL 3. 18, 
and ' clang ' ( Tarn. Shrew, L 2. 207) are both applied to the 
sound of the trumpet (Lat. dangere, to resound), tm the effect 
of the trumpet comp. Sidney's Apohgie for Poetry; also 
^n. ix. 501. 

27. shrill: comp. Othello — 

** Farewell the neighing steed, and the ahriU trump, 
The spirit-stirring dram, th' ear-piercing fife." 

In Collin's Ode it is "the war-denouncing trumpet." 

28. mortal alarms, i.e. calls to deadly combat. In this case, 
as in ' mortcU ' wound, ' mortal ' retaios its active sense : 2 Hen, 
VL iii. 2, "The mortal worm"; Ant, and Gleop. v. 2, "thou 
mortal wretch." * Alarms ' : originally an exclamation meaning 
' To arms ! ' (Old Fr. a^rme), as in Piers Plow, zxiiL 92, 
" Alarme ! Alarms I quath that Lorde " ; then used as a ffsneral 
name for a call to arms (as in Hall's Citron, 680, " When the 
alarme came to Calice, every man made to horse and harness ") ; 
then a warning sound of any kind ; then any warning of danger; 
then anything that excited apprehension. In the seventeenth 
century, owing to ignorance of its derivation, it was sometimes 
taken for ' all arm' and so written : comp. C. Butler's Fem, Mon, 
130, " As if the drum did sound an all-arm,** The form alarum, 
still in use as the name of an apparatus which sounds a warning, 
is due to the rolling of the r. 

29. double double, etc. The line imitates the rapid beat of the 
drum during an alarm : throughout the poem the endeavour to 
express the character of the various instruments is evident. 
Comp. Collins' Ode, "The doubling drum with furious beat. 

33. flute. Associated with love-songs, " music being the food 
of love": see Twelfth Night, i, 1. 1-4, and Cant. Tales, 79-91, 
where the young Squire, a lover, " singing he was ovfloyting all 
the day." 

34. discovers, makes known. This negative use of the prefix 
diS' is common in Milton {Par. Lost, iii. 546), and Shakespeare 
{M. of V,\\. l.\.) Comp. (2»9-burden (where the Romance pre- 
fix is used with an English word), disallow, disarray, (Spenser's 
Epith,), disedge (Tennyson's Enid), etc 

36. dirge, lament. A word of curious origin, being a contrac- 
tion of Lat. dirige, * direct thou,' imperative of dirigere, Dirige 
was the initial word of an anthem sung in the funeral service or 


office for the dead, translated from Pscdm v. 8, Dirige, Domine, 
in conspeetu ttto vUam meam, etc. The word has now become a 
j^eral name for a funeral hymn or lament ; comp. Piers Plow, 
IV. 467, *' placebo and dirige" and Fuller's Church History f 
where the form dirige is used (see Trench, English Past and 
Present, viii.). For a sunilar use of mitial words as general 
names, compare * paternoster,' 'ave maria,' and (sometimes) 'Te 
Deumy ; as in 3 Hen. VI. ii. 1. 162, ** Numbering our Ave-Maries 
with our beads"; Burton's Anat, of Mel. ii. 2. 4, **To say so 
many paternosters^ avemaries, creeds." waxisling lute. On 
* warblmg,' see note, Hymn Nat. 97. The lute is associated 
with love-melancholy : 1 Hen. IV. i. 2, "melancholy as a lover's 
lute"; Hen. VIII. iii. 1. 1, "Take thy lute, wench; my soul 
grows sad with troubles," etc. (the rest of the passage illustrating 
line 48 of this poem) ; **lute or vioU still more apt for mxmmfvl 
things," Milton, The Passion, 27. * Lute ' is from Arabic o/ ud, 
ai being def. art. (as in algebra) reduced toi. 

37. Sbarp yiolins. On expressiveness of the viol, comp. that 
by Shelley To a Lady, with guitar, 43, et seq. : ** The artist who 
this viol wrought To echo all harmonious thought," etc. Comp. 
OoUins' Ode, "the brisk awakening viol." There are four 
varieties of the violin generally used, viz. : the violin, the viola, 
the violoncello, and the double bass. The names are from Ital. 
violo (a word perhaps cognate with fiddle), of which the diminu- 
tive is violino, the violin. The form violoncello is from the Ital. 
violone, augmentative form of violo. Spenser alludes to the violin 
{Shep. Gal. ) and Shakespeare to the viol {Bicli. II. L 3. 162), and 
viol-de-gamboys {Twelfth Night, i. 3), a violoncello with six 
strings. On Dryden's application of the word * sharp' to the 
violin, Todd says, "It is a judicious remark of Mr. Mason that 
Dryden with propriety gives this epithet to the instrument; 
because, in the poet's time, they could not have arrived at 
that delicacy of tone, even in the best masters, which they 
now have in those of an inferior kind. See Essays on English 
Church Musich, by the Rev. W. Mason, M.A., Precentor of 
York, 1795." 

39, 40. The trochaic effect of these lines admirably marks the 
contrast with the preceding stanza. 

41. flifldalnfiil, haughty. Disdain, negative of deign (to think 
worthy). In the negative form the g, which is radical, is lost ; 
see note, II. Pens. 56. 

44. organ's. Comp. Pope's Ode on St. Cecilia* s Day : 

" While in more lengthen'd notes, and slow. 
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow " : 

also Par. Lost, i. 708, vii. 596"; //. Pens. 161 and note ; Shake- 
speare's Temp. iii. 3. 98, " the thunder ... that deep and dread' 


ful organ-pipe." Milton^s fondness for the organ is well knowlk t 
Leigh Hunt, in his essay on The Pianoforte^ says, '* Chaucer, 
Spenser, Shakespeare and Milton all mention the orean ... Milton 
was an organ player, and Gay a flute player, (now like the 
differences of their genius ! ). " The early history of the instru- 
ment is obscure : the name is a translation of the Lat. crganum 
which seems to jhave been used as a general name for musical 
instruments : crgana dicurUur omnia instrumenta musicomm (St. 
Augustin). Later the word was applied only to wind instruments 
and finally to the complex instrument now so called. '*In old 
books, the instrument of music is commonly called the organs or 
a pair of organs ; the plur. orgone or orgoon (answering to Lat. 
organa) occurs in Piers Plow. cxxi. 7, Chaucer's Cant. Tales, 
14857 ; Chaucer also has the plur. organs. Cant. Tales, 15603. 
The use of the plural is due to the fact that the instrument is a 
combination of pipes. 

46. wing ... ways. 'Ways is here a cognate accusative: 
comp. "your tvinged thoughts," Hen. F.v. prol. 8; ** winged his 
upward night " (Dryden). 

47. To mend the choirs above ; to add to the beauty of the 
music in heaven ! 0>mp. H Pens. 161-166. The line is not in 
good taste. 

48. Orpheus : see notes, Jl Pens. 105, and VAlleg. 145. 

49. unrooted. This is Dryden's word : most editions read up- 
rooted (first suggested by Broughton). 

50. Sequacious of, following (Lat. sequax), a classicism (Ovid's 
Afeta. xi. 2). The word is now almost obsolete, as well as the 
substantives sequaciousness and sequadty. 

51. raised ... higher : outdid Orpheus. 

52. vocal, endowed with a voice: comp. Par. Lost, ix. 530, 
" impulse of voccU air,** ib. v. 204, ** made vocal by my song," Lye. 
86, Alex. Feast, 133. 

53. straight: comp. UAlleg. 69, and last two lines of Alex. Feast. 

55. Comp. lines 1-6, and Hym. Nat. 125, notes. 

57. sung: see note, Hym. Nat. 119. Creator's praise. Comp. 
Habington's Nox Nocti, "the bright firmament ... eloquent In 
speaking the Creator's name "; also Addison's well-known hymn, 

" The spacious firmament on high ... 
Their great Original proclaim." 

"59. So, answering to cu in line 55 : lines 55-58 form an adv. 
clause and 59-63 the principal clause. * As] by the power of 
Music the Universe arose, sooy Music it will be dissolved.' 

60. pageant: comp. note, L Alleg. 128. Here, as often, 'page- 


antry * indicates want of stability; comp. Pope, *'the gaze of fools, 
and pageant of a day," 

61. tmmpet : comp. 1 Cor, xv, 52, and Hymn Nat, 156. 

62. the living die. Comp. 1 Thesa, iv. 16, ** Then we that 
are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up," 

63. untune the sky. The verbal contradiction between 
' Music ' and * untune * is verv striking : the meaning is that the 
sound of the last trumpet will put an end to that harmony which 
has hitherto upheld the Universe. Comp. Arc, 70. 

" Keep unsteady nature to her law, 
And the low world in measured motion draw, 
After the heavenly tune," 

For a figurative use of * untune * comp. King Lear, iv. 7, " Th* 
untuned and jarring senses''; and Wordsworth's Sonnet (No. 
326 in Gold, Treas,), "For this, for everything, we are out of 
tune," Chi the force of un- in 'untune* see note II Pens, 88. 
Dr. Johnson's criticism on the conclusion of the ode is that it is 
*' striking, but it includes an ima^e so awful in itself, that it can 
owe little to poetry ; and I could wish the antithesis of music 
untuning had found some other place." See further in the notes 

to No. LXVII. 

No. IIL 

Milton's sonnets are of interest not merely from the circum- 
stances of their composition and from the suojects of which they 
treat, but also from the fact that they are, in metrical structure, 
closer to the Italian type than those of any other English poet. 
The sonnet came to us originally from Italy, and hence Milton 
speaks of it as the Petrarchian stanza. It is a poem of fourteen 
decasyllabic lines, the first eight forming the octave, and the 
remaining six the sestet. The octave consists of two quatrains, 
and has its rhymes arranged thus — a bha, abba. In the strict 
Italian type, a pause or oreak in the thought occurs at the end 
of the octave, but this rule is often disregarded by Milton. The 
rhymes of the sestet are less strictly governed by rule, and the 
forms, usually employed by Milton are all common in the sonnets 
of Petrarch, Dante, Tasso, and Vittoria Colonna. In the Italian 
sonnet a final rhyming couplet was not allowed, and Milton uses 
it only once {Son, xvi. ) : in Spenser and Shakespeare, on the other 
hand, this rhyming couplet is always present. The sonnet must be 


absolutely complete in itself and must be dignified and full of 
strength. It must be the direct expression of some reai emotion, 
of some incident that has stirred the poet's souL Judged by 
these requirements Milton's sonnets are seen to be worthy of the 
form in which they are cast ; they are not fanciful expressions 
of some simulated feeling, but are straightforward, majestic and 
impassioned. Wordsworth might well say of the Sonnet that, in 
Milton's hands, " the thing became a trumpet, whence he blew 
soul-animating strains, — ahus ! too few!" 

This sonnet, written in 1655, refers to a massacre in ^pril 
of that year of the inhabitants of certain Piedmontese valleys 
in North Italy. These people (Yaudois or Waldenses) had, 
in their poverty and seclusion, preserved a simplicity of 
worship resembling that of the early days of Christianity ; but 
in January, 1655, they were ordered hj the Turin government 
to conform to the Catholic religion. Those who refused were to 
leave the country within three days under pain of death. 
Remonstrances were vain, a massacre was ordered, and for many 
days the Waldenses were exposed to the most frightful atrocities. 
When the news reached England the indignation reached a white 
heat, and Cromwell sent letters (written in Latin by Milton) and 
an ambassador to the offending Duke of Savoy demanding the 
withdrawal of the cruel edict ; a Fast Day was appointed ; and 
the sum of £40,000 was subscribed for the relief oi the sufferers. 
The result was that they were allowed to return in peace to their 
valleys and to worship in their own way. 

3. Even them who kept thy trath : see note above. 'Kept so 
pure ' = preserved so free from the ritual that had crept into the 
Roman Catholic Church. ' Them ' is the object of * forget not.' 

4. worshiped stodcs. Milton considered Roman Catholicism 
to be idolatrous. 'Worshiped,* also spelt worshipt. Now that 
the participles of such words are almost exclusively formed hj 
-ed the final consonant is doubled, thus, worshipped ; this indi- 
cates the nature of the vowel sound ; compare the sound of 
'hoped' and 'hopped,' 'striped' and 'stripped.' 

5. in thy book, etc. Here again we have biblical phraseology: 
comp. Psalm xvi. 8, " My tears, are they not in thy book ? " 

their groans Who, t.e. the groans of them who: see note, 
L'AUeg, 124. 

7. Slain, who were slain, rolled Mother with infiEuit, etc. 
Such an incident actually took place. "A mother was hurled 
down a mighty rock with a little infant in her arms; and three 
days after was found dead with the child alive, but fast clasped 
between the arms of the mother, which were cold and stiff, 
insomuch that those that found them had much ado to get the 
child out." 


9. ** The valleys redoubled ( = re-echoed) their cries to the hills, 
and the hills in turn redoubled them to heaven." 

10. martyred blood and ashes sow, an allusion to Tertullian^s 
spying, **The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church." 
Milton prays that this massacre may be the means of spreading 
Protestantism wherever Roman Catholicism prevails. 

11. doth sway, governs, holds sway. Comp. Par. Lost, x. 376, 
** let him still victor sway." 

12. The triple Tjnrant, the Pope, in allusion to the triple 
crown {tricoroni/er) or tiara worn by him as head of the Roman 
Catholic Church. Comp. Fletcher's words in Locusts — 

^* Three mitred crovms the proud impostor wears, 
For he in earth, in hell, in heaven will reign." 

that from these, etc., in order that from the blood and 
ashes of the Waldenses the number of Protestants may increase 
a hundredfold. * Hundredfold' is here treated as a plural ante- 
cedent of 'who.* 

13. thy way, God's way, the true religion. 

14. fly, flee from, avoid. For this use of *fly' comp. Samt, 
Agon. 1541. 

the Babylonian woe. Papacy: see Bev. xvii. and xviii. 
The Puritans considered the Church of Rome to be the Babylon 
there mentioned. 

No. IV. 



There are five poems by Andrew Marvell, the friend of Milton, 
in the Golden Treasuri/y — Nos. 4, 21, 57, 58, and 62 of this book. 
Apart from its personal and historical interest, which can be 
realized only after careful study of the period to which it 
refers and of Marvell's political opinions, the first of these 
poems compels admiration by the felicity with which the author 
has employed classical form and expression. On this point 
Trench says, '*In its whole treatment it reminds us of the 
highest to which the greatest Latin artist in lyrical poetry did, 
when at his best, attain. To one unacquainted with Horace, this 
ode, not perhaps so perfect as are the odes of Horace in form, 
and with occasional obscurities of expression which Horace would 
not have sufiered to remain, will give a truer notion of the kind 
of greatness which he achieved than, so far as I know, could from 


any other poem in the language be obtained. ** Horace imitated 
the less elaborate form of the ode favoured by Anacreon and the 
lesser i^k>lian poets: "this slighter form of ode is what we 
generally call the Horatian, because the Greek originals, which 
are known to us only in fragments, were familiar to Horace, and 
by him affectionately studied and revived " (Gosse). The student 
should read the ode along with Marvell's First Anniversary and 
Poem upon the Death of the Protector, Dryden*8 Heroic Stanzas 
on Cromwell, Milton's political and controversial SonnetSy and the 
latter's praise of Cromwell at the close of his second Defensio 
Populi Anglicani: also Waller's Panegyric on CromwelL See 
further on Marvell in the notes to Nos. 21, 67, 68, and 62 ; and 
Palgrave's note : — "Cromwell returned from Ireland in 1650, and 
Marvell probably wrote his lines soon after, whilst living at 
Nunappleton in the Fairfax household. It is hence not surprising 
that (st. 21 — 24) he should have been deceived by Cromwell's 
professed submissiveness to the Parliament which, when it de- 
clined to register his decrees, he expelled by armed violence: 
one despotism, by natural law, replacing another. The poet's 
insight has, however, truly prophesied that result in his last two 
lines. This ode, beyond doubt one of the finest in our language, 
and more in Milton's style than has been reached by any other 
poet, is occasionally obscure from imitation of the condensed 
Latin syntax." 

1. forward,, ardent, eager : comp. Two Gent. ii. 1, " Yonll 
still be too forward." appear. For this use of the word see 
Coriolanus, iv. 3. 35, '* Your noble Tullus Aufidius will appear 
well in these wars " : * appear ' = be distinguished. 

3. Nor = and not. There is here no alternative, and the use of 
nor is probably due to confusion arising from the negative force 
of the verb * forsake. * Comp. Abbott, § 408. 

4. sing ...numbers languishing, compose love songs. On 
'sing' comp. notes UAlleg. 7 and 17: and for this use of 
'numbers' comp. Milton's Lines on Shakespeare y 10, **Thy easy 
numbers flow." 'Numbers,' like the synonymous word rime 
[LycidaSy 11 and note), is here used for verse, as in Pope's lines on 
himself : 

" As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame, 
I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came." 

5. 'Tis time, etc. Contrast the spirit of Horace's I'eproach to 
Iccius {OdeSy i. 29) who is about to exchange his books for Iberian 
armour; "Cum tu coemtos undique nobiles Libros Panaeti, 
Socraticam et domum Mutare loricis Iberis, Pollicitus meliora, 

6. armour's rust = rusty armour (by the figure of speech called 


Double Enallage or interchange of parts of speech) : comp. 
Sams. Agon. 924, *' nursing diligence " = diligent nursing. With 
' unused armour ' comp. ' the idle spear and shield * of Hymn 
Nat, 55. 

8. corslet, a piece of body armour : also spelt corselet (lit. * a 
little body ' : comp. corset). Shakespeare has ' corslet ', Cor, v. 
4. 21, " He is able to pierce a corslet with his eye." 

9. cease, linger : here applied to a person, like Lat. cesso, to 
be inactive, to loiter. Comp. * cease,' Hymn Nat. 45, and note. 

10. inglorious. Comp. Gray's Elegy y 15th stanza, " Some mute 
inglorious Milton here may rest." Cromwell had reached the 
mature age of 43 (comp. line 30) when in 1642 he left his quiet 
home and farm to fij^ht in the Civil War. Marvell, in the First 
Anniversary, says of Cromwell : 

" For all delight of life thou then didst lose, 
When to command thou didst thyself depose. 
Resigning up thy privacy so dear, 
To turn the headstrong people's charioteer." 

12. bis active star. ' Star ' here signifies genius or natural 
powers (as shown by the next stanza). The limguage is that of 
astrology : see notes on UAUeg. 122, II Pens. 24, and comp. AWs 
Well, i. 1. 204, " bom imder a charitable star " ; Much Ado, v. 

2, **under a rhyming planet"; Bich. II. iv, 1, "dishonour my 
fair stars." * Active ' may be taken as part of the predicate. 

13. like the three-fork'd lightning. Comp. Horace's praise of 
Drusus, 0(2e«, iv. 4 : 

" Qualem ministrum fulminis alitem ... 
Olim juventas, et patrius vi^or 
Nido laborum propulit inscium." 

The meaning is that Cromwell's natural powers could not lie 
hidden : as Shakespeare says in Cym. iii. 3. 79, " How hard it is 
to hide the sparks of nature," * Fork'd *: comp. Dryden's ^n. 
vi. 791, "the glittering blaze Of pointed lightnings and their 

14. clouds. Comp. Milton's tribute to Cromwell in his 16th 
sonnet; '* Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud," 

15. thorough, through. The word is really a later form of the 
preposition through (spelt thoru in Haveloch, 631, and thuruh in 
the Ancren Riwle. The later form is due to the metathesis of 
the letter r. Comp. M. N. D. n. 1. 2,- The Fairy's Song: 

** Over hill, over dale 

Thorough bush, thorough brier. 
Over park, over pale. 
Thorough flood, thorough fire." 


16. His, its. See notes U Penn. 128 and Hymn Nat, 106. 

17. 'tis all one, etc. The meaning, as given by Mr. Palgrave, 
is : *' Rivalry and hostility are the same to a lofty spirit, and 
limitation more hateful than opposition." 'All one ' = one and 
the same, quite the same : comp. Layamonj 29080, " Tha weoren 
has al an " ; Wyclif s Wicket, 5, **ltiB...aU one to deny Ghristes 
wordes for heresye and Christe for an heretyke." 

19. sach, t,e. such as possess high courage, enclose : Lat. 
mdudo, to obstruct or hinder. 

21. bamlBg. Cromwell is here identified with his star. The 
allusion is to his success in. quelling opposition in Scotland and 
Ireland: see line 85. In May, 1650, Cromwell returned from 
Ireland, having in the short period of nine months reduced that 
country to comparative obedience after a series of sieges. 

23. '* And at last, through his military successes, secured the 
downfall of the monarchy." 'Caesar's head' may be taken 
abstractly as equivalent to * Caesarism or monarchy that does not 
respect popular liberties,' and concretely in allusion to Charles's 
execution. Comp. Milton's Sonnet to CrormoeU, 5 : '*0n the tiiecl 
of erovm4d Fortune proud Hast reared God's trophies and his 
work pursued." * Laurels ' : frequent in the sense of * successes,' 
especially military victories. Cromwell had not yet, however, 
won the 'laureate wreath' of Dunbar (Sept. 1650), or of Worcester 
(Sept. 1654), if , as is probable, this oae was composed in the 
summer of 1650. 

26. face ... flame. The allusion is explained by line 12, where 
Oomwell's star is said to burst forth like lightning from the 
clouds. The line is equivalent to " the flaming face of angry 
heaven " : comp. note, line 6. 

29. trojSL Ms private gardens. Comp. Horace, Odea L 12, 

To Augustus : 

** Hunc, et incomtis Curium capillis, 
UtUem bello tulit, et Cam ilium 
Saeva paupertas, et avitus apto 
Cum lare nmdus." 

Comp. also Marvell's poem Upon the Death of Cromwell : 

" He (whom nature all for peace had made, 
But angry Heaven unto war had swayed, 
And so less useful where he most desired, 
For what he least affected was admired) " : 

also Lucan. 9, 199 : " Praetulit arma togae, sed pacem armatus 
amavit," etc.; and Wordsworth's Happy Warrior. 

31. highest plot, first care, chief anxiety. The omission of the 
substantive verb, especially where it would be in the subjunctive, 
is not uncommon : comp. Abbott, §§ 107, 387, 403. 



32. bergamot, a kind of pear-tree : Fr. bergamotte, Ital. ber- 
gamottaf from Bergamo, a town in Lombardy. 

33. by industrious valour. This phrase possibly = by valour 
and by industry ; see note on II Pens. 98. 

34. To ruin ... time. A striking image : Time is here regarded 
not as a destroyer (Ovid's Edaxrerum, Meta. xv.), but as builder, 
political constitutions being a gradual growth, the course of which 
IS interrupted or changed by revolutions. Comp. Marvell on Th€ 
First Anniversary of CromwelPs Protectorship : 

** 'Tis he the force of scattered time contracts. 
And in one year the work qf ages acts." 

35. cast ... another mould. Comp. Dry den's Heroic Stanzas 
on Cromwell : "He fought, secure of fortune as of fame, Till by 
new maps the Islands may be shown Of conquests," etc. The 
reference may be to Cromwell's desire to amend the constitution. 
The syntax of lines 28-36 should be carefully observed. 

39. plead, offer as a plea. The meaning of the stanza is not 
simply that Might is Right, but that the Heaven-sent man of 
action, who embodies Fate, has no regard for ancient Rights 
merely as such : see the next stanza. Comp. Cicero's saying, 
Silent enim leges inter arma, Mil. 4. 10. Lines 39 and 40 are 

41. hateth emptiness. An allusion to the Aristotelian tenet 
of the impossibility of the existence of a vacuum, expressed in the 
maxim, * ' Nature abhors a vacuum. " The doctrine was received 
by the Schoolmen, who spoke of nature's fuga vacui. For this 
use of * emptiness,' comp. Dryden's To my Lord Chancellor, 41 : 

"Nor could another in your room^ave been, 
Unless an emptiness had come between." 

42. penetration. The doctrine of the impenetrability of 
matter is here alluded to. "Nature, which abhors a vacuum, 
still less allows new matter to penetrate where there is already 
matter." Cromwell made room for himself by destroying other 

46. In many of the engagements during the Civil War, Crom- 
well was in the thick of the fight, e.g. at Winceby, in 1643, his 
horse was killed in the first charge, and fell upon him ; as he 
rose, he was again struck down, but recovered himself. 

46. were : see Abbott, § 301. 

47. Hampton. When King Charles was a prisoner at Hampton 
Court, he was in hopes that in the struggle between the Inde- 
pendents and Presbyterians he might be chosen mediator ; but 
at the same time he lived in alarm for his personal safety, and at 
last resolved to seek safety in flight. 


49. twining subtle fears witb liope. Comp. F, Q. It. 6. 37, 

" It's best to hope the best, though of the worst aflfiniy'd ** ; and 
(7om. 410, " Where an equal poise of hope and fear Does arbi- 
trate the event." * Twining * = weaving, and 'subtle* belongs 
to the predicate, = weaving cunninely. 'Subtle' has therefore 
something of its original sense = miely woven (Lat. svbtUia) : 
Shakespeare and Jonson both have the word in the sense of 
* smooth ' : see Nares* Glossary. 

50. scope, reach. Comp. M, for M. \. 1, "Your seopt is 
as mine own": Spenser, M, Hubbard^ a TcUe, "To aim their 
counsels to the fairest scope," 

5L ' That might drive Charles into Carisbrook Castle.' 
Charles left Hampton Court privately on llth November, 1647, 
and went to Titchfield, where he could not lonff remain con- 
cealed. He therefore made overtures to Hammond, governor of 
the Isle of Wight (which was not far ofif), but was imprisoned by 
that officer in Carisbrook Castle, case = prison. 

53. the Royal actor. ' Actor ' may be. here employed in its 
legal sense, i.e. the principal or complainant: Selden, Z/aws of 
England, i. 20, "The King may not ... determine causes in 
which himself is oc^or." On lines 53-64, Trench says: "Lines 
which in the noble justice they do to a fallen enemy, and to the 
courage with which he met the worst extremities of fortune, are 
worthy to stand side by side with that immortal passage in which 
Horace celebrates the heroic fashion with which Cleopatra 
accepted the same," viz. Odea i. 37. 21-32: Qtme generosiue 
perire qtuzerena ... Non humilia mvlier triumpho, 

55. round: attrib. to 'armed 4)ands.' The allusion is to the 
Indignities Charles suffered at his execution, and to his dignified 
bearing in the midst of them. 

59. keener eye, i.e. keener than the edge of the axe itself; or 
it may be used absolutely. The King did not flinch. 

62. liis lielpless right, t.e. the right of him helpless. 

65. assured the forced power : securely established that power 
acquired by force of arms. Comp. Dry den's (Edipus, " As weak 
states each other's power assure," Palgrave takes 'forced' in 
the sense of 'fated.' 

68. The Capitol's first line, etc. See Livy^ i. 55, for the allusion. 
The Capitol or Temple of Jupiter at Rome is said to have been 
so called because in digging its foundations a human head was 
found in a fresh condition. This was at once accepted as an omen 
that Rome should be the head of the world (Lat. caputy head). 
Marvell turns this legend to excellent account in lines 67-72. 

begun : see note on ' sung,' Hymn Na4.. 119. 


70. to nm . t.e. ' so that they ran,' or ' into running.' 

73. See note, line 21. Comp. Dryden's Stanzas, 17; "Her 
■afety rescued Ireland to him owes." 

78. confest : on the spelling of this word, see note, Hymn 
Nat. 65. Many of Cromwell's bitterest enemies admitted that 
his conquest of Ireland led to a degree of peace and prosperity 
without example in that country. 

82. still In the Republic's hand ; still at the service of the 
country. It was after his return from Ireland that he was nomi- 
nated captain-general of all the forces of the Commonwealth, for 
the purpose of acting against the Scotch. Comp. Marvell's 
First Anniversary : 

" Abroad a king he seems, and something more, 
At home a subject on the equal floor." 

83. How fit ... obey. Comp. Dry den's Stanzas^ 20 : 

'*When, past all offerings to Feretrian Jove, 
He Mars deposed and arms to gowns made yield, 
Successful counsels did him soon approve 
As fit for close intrigues as open field. " 

Contrast the words of York in 2 Hen. VI. v. 1. 6, " Let them 
obey that know not how to rule." 

85. presents a kingdom. The allusion is to Ireland. 

87. what he may :' as far as he can,' (Lat. quod possit). 
forbears : declines. Comp. * Forbear his presence,' King Lear^ 1. 
2; "Angry bulls the combat &o forbear" (Waller); "All this 
thing I must as now /or5ear," Cant. Tales, 887. As a transi- 
tive verb 'forbear' usually governs an infin. or participial 

., , , , ^ „ by the sword * (Lat. spolium, 

spoil, booty). Comp. 1 Hen. VI. u. 1, "I have loadm me with 
many spoils Using no other weapon but his name." Dryden 
alludes (see note on line 83 above) to Cromwell's conquests as 
•* offerings to Feretrian Jove," i.e. spolia opima. 

90. to lay them at the Public's skirt. It was in 1653 that 
Cromwell expelled the Parliament and assumed the reins of 
power: Marvell's language is applicable only to the circum- 
stances of the year 1660, and the poet is justified in comparing 
him to the hawk that, having killed its quarry, returns quietly 
to the lure of the falconer, ready to be flown again when occa- 
sion offers : he was unlike the ill-trained hawk that * carries ' or 
flies off with the quarry and refuses to be lured back. 


9L Falconry or hawking has a technical lansuage of its own 
which Marvell follows closely. * High ' = high-flying or soaring ; 
* falls heavy * =? stoops or descends to strike the prey ; * kill ' and 
'search/ also used technically ; ' perch,' applied to the resting- 

Slace of the bird when off the fsdconer's wrist ; ' when he first 
oes lure ' = at the first lure, the lure being a figure or resemblance 
of a fowl made of leather and feathers to which, when necessary, 
a real bird was attached to induce the hawk to return to hand. 
*Lnre,' like most terms of the chase, is of French origin, (old 
French, loerre) : comp. Chaucer's Cant. Tales, 6997 : '* With 
empty hand men may no hawkes lure," 

97. preBune, expect, venture. 

98. Ids orest does plume, t.e. adorns his crest, sits like a plume 
upon his crest. Comp. Par. Lost, iv. 988, *'His stature reached 
the sky, and on his crest Sat horror plumed, ' Plume ' is strictly 
a feather worn as an ornament, and is sometimes used generally 
of the crest or ornament of the helmet, even though it may not 
consist of feathers : comp. Chapman's Iliad iii., ** caught him 
by the horse-hair plume that dangled on his crest"; 1 Sen, IV, 
V. 5, " His valour shown upon our crests to-day " ; Sams, Agon, 
141, "Soiled their crested helmets in the dust." Comp. the 
figurative use of the words ' crest-fallen ' and ' crestless.' 

100. crowns, dignifies, renders illustrious : comp. Hen, VIIL 
V. 4, •* no day without a deed to crown it." 

101. 'Ere long he will be to France a second Caesar and to 
Italy a second Hannibal,' t.e. a conqueror : an allusion to Caesar's 
victories in Gaul (b.o. 57-50) and to the Second Punic War. 
Marvell probably mentions France and Italy because he looked 
upon Cromwell as the defender of the Protestant faith, and in 
fact it was afterwards the grand object of Milton's foreign policy 
to unite the Protestant States, with Britain at their head, in 
a defensive league asainst Popery ; compare Milton's sonnet, 
"Avenge, Lord, thy slaughtered saints." Difficulties with 
France were, however, avoided by an alliance : as Dryden in his 
Stanzas says : " Fam&of the asserted sea, through Europe blown. 
Made France and Spain ambitious of his love." Comp. The First 
Anniversary, passim, 

103. all states not free, i,e. where the subjects did not enjoy 
ci^'il and religious liberty. Comp. Marvell, In Effigiem Oliveri 
Cromwell : 

" Haec est quae toties inimicos umbra fugavit, 
At sub qu^ cives otia lenta terunt." 

104. shall dimacterlc be, i.e, shall threaten them with over- 
throw. The allusion is to the ancient belief that certain years in 
life complete natural periods, and are hence peculiarly exposed 
to disease and death. According to some these periods were 


every seventh year : others admitted only those a^es obtained by 
multiplying 7 by the odd numbers, 3, 5, 7» and 9 ; the grand 
climacteric being the 63rd year (and, some held, the 81st also). 
The word ' climacteric/ often used as a noun, is an adjective 
from * climacter * = a critical time of life (Gk. KXifw.KT'^pf the step 
of a ladder ; kXifia^, a ladder). Comp. Sir T. Browne's Vvlgar 
Erroura, "sixty-three, commonly esteemed the great climacterical 
of our lives. " So Cromwell's day of power was to prove a critical 
time for oppressive states. 

105. Plot: here put for the people of Scotland. The later 
Roman authors allude frequently to the ScoU and the Picti, 
though it would appear that 'Picti' or Picts was the generic 
term, and * Scoti ' or ' Scots ' a specific term. Eumenius, who 
first mentions the Picts, alludes to the Caledones aliique Picti, 
The derivation of the word has been disputed — that from pictw, 
painted, is absurd ; some give the Gael pictich, plunderers, A.S. 
pihtaa or peohtaSy the Picts. Spenser, in ^. Q., speaks of " spoil- 
ful Picts and swarming Easterlings." 

106. partl-coloured, changeable, treacherous. So Milton, 
Sonnet on Fair/ax, "the false North displays Her broken 
league"; and Dryden's Stanzas^ 17, *' Treacherous Scotland, to 
no interest true," etc., on which passage the Globe Dry den com- 
ments thus : ** Scotland is called treacherous on account of the 
rising of 1648 under the Duke of Hamilton for Charles I., and 
the war afterwards carried on by the Scots for Charles 11., which 
ended, after the defeat of Charles at Worcester, in the complete 
subjugation of Scotland. Only eighteen months later, Dryden 
trans&rred all his enthusiasm to Charles, and Scotch ' treachery ' 
was then virtue." The truth seems to be that the Scots neither 
acted insincerely towards the English Parliament nor agreed to 
surrender the King in return for a payment of money. They 
afterwards found that in the conduct of the war and the policy 
pursued towards the King they had themselves been misled. 
Uomp. also Waller's Panegyric on Cromwell : " The seat of 
empire, where the Irish come, And the unwilling Scots, to fetch 
their doom." 

107. this valonr, i.«. the valour of Cromwell, sad : this word 
belongs to the predicate ; comp. note on * shrill,' L*AUeg, 56. 

108. plaid. The pronunciation required here is nearly that of 
the original Celtic word : it is said to be akin to Lat. pellis, 
a skin. In older writers the word is frequently spelt plod. 

109. tufted brake, broken ground covered with an irregular and 
tangled growth of bushes : comp. * tufted trees,* L'Alleg. 78. 
The English conqueror might * mistake ' or fail to find his Scotch 
enemies in such a hiding-place, as hounds might fail to find the 


114. indefEitlgably. Comp. The First Anniversary: "While 
indefatigable Cromwell tries, And cuts his way still nearer to the 
skies " ; also P, L. ii 408. 

116. erect, ready to strike. In this stanza the verbs are in the 

117. '* The sword must be kept ready to strike, not only 
because the dark spirits of conspiracy and rebellion must be 
checked, but also because the power that is gained by the sword 
must be maintained by the sword." There is an anacoluthon, or 
confusion of grammatical constructions, in lines 117-120. The 
stanza begins as if 'the sword' were to be the grammatical 
subject as well as the subject of thought : ' The sword, besides 
the power it has to fight, etc., alone has the power to keep what 
it has won.* But in line 119 the idea expressed by the * sword ' 
is given in the words ' the same arts.' 

No. V. 

This poem was written in November, 1637, and appeared in a 
volume of memorial verses published at Cambridge in 1638 as a 
tribute to Mr. Edward ELing. King, a son of Sir John King, 
Secretary for Ireland, had been admitted to Christ's College, 
Cambridge, in 1626, so that he was a fellow-student of Milton's. 
He was made a Fellow in 1630, and seems to have become 
extremely popular. He was a young man of * hopeful parts,' 
and had^hown some skill in poetical composition. In 1633 he 
took his degree of M.A., and remained at Cambridge to study 
for the Church. In the vacation of 1637 he sailed from 
Chester on a visit to his friends in Ireland : the ship was 
wrecked oflf the Welsh coast, and King went down with it. 
His death was much lamented by his college friends and they 
got together a collection of tributary verses to which Milton 
contributed Lycidas, 

Lycidaa is a pastoral elegy, t.e. the poet speaks as a shepherd 
bewailing the loss of a fellow-shepherd. The subjoined analysis 



will guide the student in reading it. We do not look in the poem 
for the keen sense of personal loss that we find in Tennyson's In 
Memoriam or in Milton's own Epitaphium Damonisy nor for the 
sustained scorn that animates Shelley's Adonais; but in its tender 
regret for a dead friend, in its sweet "touches of idealised 
rural life," in its glimpses of a suppressed passion that was soon 
to break forth, and in its mingling of a truly religious spirit with 
all its classical imagery, it reveals to us the greatness of the 
poetical genius of Milton. It '* marks the point of transition 
from the early Milton, the Milton of mask, pastoral, and idyll, 
to the quite other Milton, who, after twenty years of hot party 
struggle, returned to poetry in another vein, never to the * woods 
and pastures' of which he took a final leave in Lycidaa,*' (Patti- 


L The pastoral proper (the poet sings as shepherd) : 

1. Occasion of the poem, 1-14 

2. Invocation of the Muses, .... 15-22 

S. Poet's personal relations with Lycidas, - - 23-36 

4. Strain of sorrow and indignation ; the loss 
great and inexplicable : — 

(1) Poet's own sense of loss, . - - - 37-49 

(2) The guardian Nymphs could not prevent it, 50-67 

(3) The Muse herself could not prevent it, 

though he was her true son, ... 58-63 

[First rise to a higher mood : the true poet and the 

nature of his reward,] - - - - - 64-84 

(4) Neptune was not to blame for the loss, - 85-102 

(5) Camus, representing Cambridge, bewails 

his loss, 103-107 

(6) St. Peter, the guardian of the Church, 

sorely misses Lycidas as a true son, - - 108-112 

[Second rise to a higher mood : The false sons of the 

Church and their coming ruin,] .... 1] 3-131 


(7) All nature may well mourn his loss, - - 132-161 

(8) Sorrow loses itself in *' false surmise," and 

Hope arises, 162-164 

6. Strain of joy and hope : Lycidas is not dead, 165-185 

Q. The Epilogue (the poet reviews the shepherd's song), 186-193 


Monody: an ode in which a single mourner bewails (Greek 
monos, single : ode, a song or ode). Lycidas is a typical example 
of the Elegy, with much of the intense feeling peculiar to the 
less sustained Ode proper ; but its form is that of the Pastoral^ 
and its varied metrical structure is totally unlike that of the 
modem elegiac stanza. 

helgbt : so spelt in both the editions published in Milton's life- 
time, though ms usual spelling is ' highth.' 

1. Tet once more. These words have reference to the fact that 
Milton had written no English verse for throe years, and that he 
did not yet consider himself sufficiently matured for the poet's 
task. The words do not imply that he is once more to write an 
elegiac poem, as if he were referring back to his poems, On the 
death of a Fair Infant and Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winches- 
ter : he is thinking of Comtts (written in 1634). 

laurels, etc. Laurels, myrtles and ivy are here addressed 
because they are, in classical poetry, associated with the Muses, 
and not because the poet thinks them to be specially suggestive 
of moumine. The laurel has been associated with poetry since 
the time of the Greeks, who believed that it communicated the 
poetic spirit : the Bomans regarded it as sacred to Apollo. Comp. 
Son, xvi, 9. 

2. myrtles brown. 'Brown' is a classical epithet of the 
myrtle ; in one of his Odes Horace contrasts the Drown myrtle 
with the evergreen ivy. It was sacred to Venus, and at Greek 
banquets each singer held a myrtle bough. 

Ivy never sere, evergreen ivy : it was sacred to Bacchus, and 
in Virgl we read of the laurel of victory being twined with the 
ivy. Horace also speaks of ivy as being used to deck the brows 
of the learned : in Christian art it is the symbol of everlasting 


* Sere '=dry, withered ; the same word aa sear (A.S. sedrianf 
to dry up), and cognate with the verb ' to sear,' i.e. to bum up. 

3. I come, etc. '* I come to make a poet's garland for myself," 
t.e. to write a poem. 

harsh and crude, bitter and unripe, because plucked before 
their due time ! this refers to the poet's own unripeness, not to 
that of Lycidas. Milton's * mellowmg year ' had not yet come ; 
his opinion was that poetry was a " work not to be raised from 
the heat of youth . . but by devout prayer to that eternal 
Spirit who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge." 
• Crude ' is literally * raw ' ; hence * unprepared,' as * crude 
salt * ; and hence * undeveloped,' e,g. — 

'* Deep versed in books, and shallow in himself, 
Crude, or intoxicate, collecting toys." 

Par, Beg. iv. 

' Cruel ' (Lat. crudelis) is from the same root. 

4. forced flngere rude. On the order of the words compare 
note on UAUeg, 40. ' Forced ' = unwilling, not because the poet 
was unwilling to mourn his friend's loss, but unwilling yet to 
turn again to poetry. ' Rude ' : comp. II Pens, 136. 

5. Shatter your leaves. ' Shatter ' is a doublet of scaMer, and 
here (as in Par. Lost, x. 1063) the former is used where we should 
now use the latter. 'Shatter' suggests the employment of 
force, and therefore agrees with the sense of the preceding line. 

mellowing year : time of maturitv. * Mellow ' has here an 
active sense, i,e. 'making mellow.' The word originally means 
*■ soft ' like ripe fruit, and hence its present use : it is cognate 
with meU and mild. Warton objects to the phrase here used as 
inaccurate, because the leaves of the laurel, myrtle, and ivy are 
not affected by the mellowing year: the poet, however, is in- 
fluenced by the personal application of the words, and is thinking 
of the poetical fruit he was himself to produce. 

6. sad occasion dear : see note on 1. 4. The original sense of 
'dear* is 'precious' (A.S. deore), and hence its present meanings 
in English, viz. 'costly' and 'beloved.' But it is used by 
Spenser, Shakespeare, and Milton in an entirely different sense : 
comp. 'my dearest foe,' 'hated his father dearly,* 'rfear peril,' 
etc. Some would say that * dear ' is here a corruption of dire, 
but this is a mere assumption, though the sense is similar. Craik 
suggests "that the notion properly involved in it of love, having 
first become generalised into that of a strong affection of any 
kind, had thence passed on to that of such an emotion the very 
reverse of love. " The fact seems to be that ' dear ' as ' precious *" 
came to denote close relation, and hence was applied generally to 
whatever intimately concerned a person. 


7. Compels : the verb is singular, though there are two nomina- 
tives, for both together convey the one idea that, but for the 
occasion of Lycidais' death, the poet would not have been con- 
strained to write. 

to disturb your season due : to pluck you before vour proper 
season. On ' due ' see II Pens* 155. ' Season ' is often used to 
denote ' the usual or proper time* ; e.^. we speak of fruit as beine 
'in season,' when it is fit for use, and the adjective ' seasonable 
= occurring in good time : comp. Son, ii. 7. 

8. ere Us prime: see note on UAUeg, 107. 'Prime' here 
denotes ' the best part of life ' : contrast its meaning in Son, ix. 1. 

9. peer, equal (Lat. par) : see J re. 75. 

10. Wlio would not 8bi£r, etc. : a rhetorical question, equivalent 
to ' No one could refuse to sing,' etc. : comp. ' Neget qtUa carmina 
Galio?' Virgil, Ed, x. 3. The name Lyctdaa occurs in the pas- 
torals of Theocritus and in Virgil's ninth Edogut. 

knew Himself to slug, was himself able to sing, ie. was a 
poet. Comp. Horace's phrase, "Beddere qui voce^ jam scii puer. " 

11. build the lofty rhyme: comp. the Lat. phrase "condere 
carmen," to build up a song (Hor. Epia, i. 3). ' JBuild ' has refer- 
ence to the regular structure of the verse : it may also allude to 
the fact that King had written several short poetical pieces in 
Latin. ' Rhyme ' is here used for ' verse ' ; the original spelling 
was 'rime,' and 'rhyme' does not occur in English before 1550 : 
there is now a tendency to revert to the older and more correct 
spelling. The A.S. nm meant 'number,' and rimcraft, arith- 
metic ; then the word was applied in a secondary sense to verse 
having regularity in the number of its syllables and accents, and 
finally to verse having final syllables of like sound. The change 
of i to y, and the insertion of h is due to confusion with the Greek 
word rhythmo8, measured motion. Shakespeare has ' rime ' ; and 
Milton in his prefatory remarks on the verse of Par. Lost uses 
the spelling 'nme,' and speaks of it as the "jingling sound of 
like endings." 

13. welter, roll about: in Par, Lost, i. 78, Milton speaks of 
Satan as weltering in Hell, in which case the use of the word more 
nearly accords with modern usage. 

to, here seems to have the sense of ' in accordance with ' : 
comp. lines 33, 44. The use of the prepositions in Elizabethan 
writers is extremely varied. 

It will be noticed that there is no rhyme to this line ; so with 
lines 1, 15, 22, 39, 51, 82, 91, 92, 161. But though these lines 
have no rhymes adjacent to them, they do not detract from the 
music of the verse : there are only about sixty different endings 
in the whole poem, and if assonantal rhymes be admitted the 
number is still further reduced. Besides, though line 1 has no 


adjacent rhyme, similar final sounds occur in lines 61, 63, 166, 
167, 182, 183, just as lines 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 14 rhyme together. 
This partly explains the resonance and beauty of the verse. 

14. meed, recompense : comp. ** A rosy garland is the victor's 
meed." Tit, Andron, L 2. 

melodious tear, tearful melody, an elegiac poem. Comp. 
the title of Spenser's Tears of the Muses; ali^ Epitaph on M. of 
ff. 65. 

15. Sisters of the sacred well, the nine Muses, daughters of 
Jove : they are often mentioned in Greek poetry as the nymphs of 
Helicon, because Mount Helicon in Boeotia was one of their 
favourite haunts ; on this mountain were two fountains sacred to 
the Muses ; hence Milton's allusion to ' the sacred welL' Hesiod, 
in his Theogony^ speaks of the Muses of Helicon dancing round 
'*the altar of the mighty son of Kronos," i.e. Jupiter: this 
explains the allusion to *' the seat of Jove " (Hales). A simpler 
explanation is that the sacred well is the Pierian fountain at the 
foot of Mount Ol^nnpus, where the Muses were born, and that 
the ' seat of Jove ' is Mount Olympus. 

17. Bomewhat loudly, not too softly. 

sweep the string, strike the lyre. Elsewhere Milton calls 
music " stringed noise." 

18. Hence : see note VAlleg, 1. 

coy ezcuse. * Coy ' = hesitating : the word is generally 
applied only to persons in the sense of ' shy ' ; it is the same word as 
* quiet,' both being from Lat. quietus, the former through French. 
Shakespeare uses it as an intrans. verb, and it also occurs in 
Elizabethan English in the sense of 'to allure.' 

19. Muse, poet inspired by the Muse : hence the pronoun < he ' 
in 1. 21 : see Son. i. 13, note. Lines 19 to 22 form a parenthesis : 
L 23 resumes the main theme. 

20. ludky words, words of good luck, words expressing a good 
wish : see note, Epitaph on, M, of W. 31. 

my destined um. The sense is : "As 7 now write a poem 
to the memory of Lycidas, so may some one, when / am dead, 
write kindly words about me" or * so ' may be the precative «ic, 
as in Hor. Odes, i. 3. 'Destined urn ' = the death that I am 
destined to die: *urn' is the vessel in which the Romans de- 
posited the ashes of their dead, sometimes inscribed with the name 
and history of the dead : comp. * storied urn,' Gray's Elegy, 41. 

21. as he passes, in passing : comp. Gray's Elegy, 20, ' passing 
tribute of a sigh. ' 

* Turn,' ».e. may turn, co-ordinate with *may favour' and (may) 
'bid,' optative mood. 


22. bid fair peace, etc. : ' pray that sweet peace may rest upon 
me In death.' 'Bid,' in the senBe of 'pray/ has probably no 
radical connection with ' bid ' = to command, and is nearly obso- 
lete : 'to bid beads' was originally 'to pray prayers' (A.S, bed, 
a prayer). The word bead was then applied to the little balls used 
for counting the prayers, and is now used of any small ball. ' Be ' 
is infinitive : see note. Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, 70> 

sable shroud : * the darkness in which I am shrouded,' 
previously referred to figuratively as ' my destined urn.' Some 
interpret the words liter^y = ' m^ black coffin. ' Etymologically 
' shroud ' is something cut off, and is allied to ' shred ' ; hence used 
of a garment. In PcS*. Lost, x. 1068, Milton uses it in this sense, 
and in Comus, 147, in the general sense of a covering or shelter. Its 

S resent uses as a noun are chiefly restricted to ' a dress for the 
ead ' and (in the plural) to part of the rigging of a vesseL 

23. nursed, etc. : a pastoral way of saying that they had been 
members of the same college at Cambridge, viz. Christ's. 

24. Fed the same flodi, employed ourselves in the same pur- 

25. tbe high lawns : comp. L'AUeg. 71. 

26. Under the opening eyelids, eta, i.e, at dawn. Mom Is 
here personified: comp. Job, iiL 9, "Neither let it behold the 
eyelids of the morning " ; Shakespeare's Borneo ami Juliet, ii. 3, 
"the grey-eyed mom ; see also Son. i. 5. The poet represents 
himself and Lycidas as spending the whole day together, from 
dawn to sultry noon, and from noon to dewy eve. As Warton 
points out, Milton was a very early riser, both in winter and 
summer, and the sunrise had great charm for him. In this poem, 
however, he may refer to the fixed hours of college duty. 

27. We drove a-fleUL The prefix a is a corruption of on, the 
noun and preposition being fused together in one adverb : see 
UAUeg, 20. *We' is in agreement with 'both,' 1.27; and the 
verb * drove ' may be regarded as transitive, its object ' the same 
flock ' being understood. 

heard What time, etc. There are two possible renderings 
of this passage: (1) 'heard at what time the grey-fly,' etc., the 
object of ' heard ' being the whole of line 28 ; or (2) ' heard the 
grey -fly at what time (she) winds,* etc. The latter, though it 
makes, the object of the principal verb also the subject of the 
dependent verb, is preferable, for in Latin it frequently happens 
that words belonging to the principal clause are drawn into the 
relative clause. 

28. grey-fly, the trumpet-fly, so called from the sharp humming 
sound produced by it, generally in the heat of the day ; hence 
the allusion to its "sultry horn." 


29. Battening:, ac, 'and afterwards.' Battening = feeding, 
making fat : here used transitively, though generally intran- 
sitive = to grow fat. The same root is seen in better. In this 
line toith = along with, at the time of. 

30. Oft till the star, etc. . 'Oft' modifies < battening.' The 
star here referred to is Hesperus, an appellation of the planet 
Venus : see note, Hymn to Diana, 5. In Comvs, 93, it is *'the 
star that bids the shepherds fold." 

31. sloped his westering wheel: similarly in ComtiSf 98, the 
setting sun is called ' the slope sun,' and we read of ' his glowing 
axle ' just as here we read of the star's ' wheel ' or course in the 
heavens. * Westering ' = passing towards the west : now obsolete. 

32. rural ditties : pastoral language for the early poetic efibrts 
of Milton and King. * Ditty ' (Lat. dicta^um, something dictated) 
originally meant the words of a song as distinct from the musical 
accompaniment ; now applied to any little poem intended to be 
sung: comp. ''am'rous ditties," Par, Lost, L 447. 

33. Tempered, attuned, timed (Lat. temperare, to regulate) ; the 
word qualifies ditties, and hence the semi-colon at end of 1. 33. 
Masson has a semi-colon at end of 1. 32 ; ' tempered ' would then 
be absolute construction, or it would qualify 'Satyrs.' 

to the oaten flute. ' To ' ; see note 1. 13. The oaten flute 
is the flute or pipe made of reeds, and the favourite instrument 
in pastoral poetry : in Latin it is auena ( = oats, a straw, and 
hence a shepherd's pipe) : comp. lines 86, 88. ' Oaten ' ; the ter- 
mination * en ' denotes ' made of ' : modem English has a tendency 
to use the noun as an adjective in such cases, e.g, a gold ring. 
Most of the adjectives in * en ' that still survive do not now denote 
the material, but simply resemblance, e.g. * golden hair ' = hair of 
the colour of gold. Such adjectives as birchen, beechen, firen, 
glassen, homen, treen, thornen, ete., are now obsolete. 

34. Satyrs ... Fftuns ; pastoral language for the men attending 
Cambridge at the same time as Milton and King. The Satyrs of 
Greek mythology were the representatives of the luxuriance of 
nature, and were always described as engaged in light pleasures, 
such as dancing, playing on the lute, or syrinx (see Arc. 106), 
etc. The Romans confounded them with their Fauni, repre- 
sented as half men, half goats (Lat. semicaper), with cloven leet 
and horns ; the chief was Faunus, whom the Romans identified 
with Pan (see Arc. 106). 

36. old Damoetas : this pastoral name occurs in Virgil, Theo- 
critus, and Sidney : it here probably refers to Dr. W. Uhappell, 
the tutor of Christ's College in Milton's time. Masson thinks it 
may be ** Joseph Meade or some other well-remembered Fellow 
of Christ's," 

LYCTDAa 151 

38. How thou, etc., t.e. now that thou art gone = seeing that 
thou art gone : comp. Son, xx. 2, and Wordsworth's Simon jLee, 26. 

most return : ' must ' here expresses certainty with regard 
to the future = thou wilt certainly never return. In ordinary 
use it implies either compulsion, e.g, * He must obey me,' or per* 
mission, e.g. ' You must not come in ' : the latter is the origmal 
sense of the A.S. verb nwtan (past tense mo8te). 

39. Thee : object of 'mourn,' L 41. Ovid {Met, xi) similarly 
represents birds, beasts, and trees as lamenting the death of 

40. gadding, straggling. To gad is to wander about idly : 
Bacon calls Envy a gadding passion, and in the Bible we find — 
"Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way," Jer. ii. 
Cicero uses the word enuticus (wandering) in connection with 
the vine. 

41. their echoes, t.e. of the caves: comp. Song to Boho in 
Comua. In Shelley's Adonais the same idea occurs — 

" Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains, 
And feeds Tier grief vnth his remembered lay.*' 

42. hasel copses green. See note VAlleg. 40. 

'Copse,' a wood of small growth, is a corruption of ooppict 
(Fr. coifper, to cut). 

44. Fanning : moving their leaves in unison with the music : 
with ' to ' in this line, comp. 'to ' in lines 13 and 33. 

45. Lines 45 to 48 are in apposition to 'such,' line 49: thus 

• Thy loss to shepherd's ear was such * = ' Thy^ loss to shepherd's 
ear was as killing as,' etc. The word ' such ' is redundant, beine 
rendered necessary by the separation of the words ' as killing 
from the rest of the principal clause. 

Idlling, deadly, terrible. 

canker: see Arc, 53; the more definite form 'canker- 
worm,', is often used, just as ' taint-worm ' is used in the next 
line. Warton notes that Shakespeare is fond of this simile. 

46. taint- worm, also called the 'taint.' "There is found in 
summer a spider called a taint, of a red colour, and so little that 
ten of the largest will hardly outweigh a grain." Browne, 
Vulgar Errowra. ' Taint ' is cognate with tint, tmge, and tincture. 

weanling herds, young animals that have just been weaned 
from the mother's nulk. lAng is the diminutive suffix, as in 
ycAvling, daxling, {oimdling, ' To wean ' (A.S. loenian) is strictly 

* to accustom to,' but is now used only in the sense of 'to dis- 
accustom to.' The connection between the two meanines is 
obvious. ' Weanling ' also occurs as ' yeanling ' or ' eanling? 

47* gay wardrobe, bright and varied colours. By metonymy 


* wardrobe,* in which clothes are kept, is applied to its contents : 
the flowers are here said to clothe themselves in gay colours. 

* Wardrobe ' = guard-robe (Fr. garde-robe) : the usual law in 
such compounds is that the first word denotes the purpose for 
which the thing denoted *by the second is used, e.g, inkstand, 
teaspoon, writing-desk. 

48. wMte-tbom, hawthorn : the flower is sometimes called 
" May blossom.** 

49. to shepherd's ear, ac, 'when heard by him.' The use of 

* killing ' is here an instance of syllepsis : as applied to the herds, 
etc, it means literally 'deadly*; as used in this line it means 

* dreadful.* 

50. Where were ye, etc. This is imitated from the first Idyll 
of Theocritus, and the tenth Eclogue of Virgil, **but with the 
substitution of West British haunts of the Muses for their Greek 
haunts in those classic passages.** 

remorseless deep, unpitying or cruel sea; an instance of 
the pathetic fallacy which attributes human feelings to inanimate, 

52. neither. This answers to 'nor' in line 55, so that the 
sense is "You were playing neitJier on the steep ... nor on the 
shaggy top.** 

the steep, 'the mountain where the Druidic bards are 
buried.* Milton probably refers to a mountain in Carnarvon, 
callcvl Penmaenmawr, or to Kerig-i-Druidion in Denbigh, where 
there was a burying-place of the Druids. The Druids were the 
minstrels, priests, and teachers among the ancient Celts of 
Britain: in his History of England Milton calls them "our 
philosophers, the Dmids.** The word 'your' implies that the 
Dards were followers of the Muses. 

54. shaggy top of Mona high : the high interior of the island 
of Anglesey (known by the Romans as Mona), once the chief 
haunt of the Welsh Druids. The island was once thickly wooded : 
Selden says, " The British Druids took this isle of Anglesey, then 
well-stored with thick wood and religious groves; in so much 
that it was called Inis Doivil, 'The Dark Isle,* for their chief 
residence.** This explains the allusion in the words 'shaggy 

55. Deva ... wizard stream, the river Dee, on which stands 
Chester, the port from which King sailed on his ill-fated voyage. 
In his poem At a Vacation Exercise Milton calls it "ancient 
hallowed Dee.'* Spenser also speaks of it as haunted by 
magicians, and Drayton tells how, being the ancient boundary 
between England and Wales, it foreboded evil fortune to that 
country towards which it changed its course and good to the 
other. The word ' wizard * is therefore very appropriately used 


here. In fact these lines (52-55) are interesting for two reasons : 
(1) their appropriateness to the subject, seeing that King was 
drowned on the Welsh coast ; (2) their evidence that Milton had 
already been engaged in careful readine of British legendary 
history with a view to the composition of an epic poem on some 
British subject — ^the first hints of which are conveyed in the 
Latin poems Mansus (1638) and EpUaphium Damonis (1639). In 
the former of these we find reference to the Druids, and in the 
latter to King Arthur. 

* Wizard * is one of the few sur^'ivals in English of words with 
the termination ard or arty e.g. sluggard, braggart: the suffix 
had an intensive, and also a somewhat contemptuous force, 
though here * wizard ' merely denotes ' magical.' 

56. Ay me ! this exclamatory phrase = ah me ! Its form is 
due to the French aymi = ' ah, for me I ' and has no connection 
with * ay ' or * aye ' = yes. Comp. Lat. me miaerum, 

fondly, foolishly : comp. 11 Pens. 6 and Son. xix. 8. 

57. There is an anacolouthon or break in the construction in 
the middle of this line. The poet, in addressing the nymphs, is 
about to say, 'Had you been there, you might have saved 
Lycidas* ; but, recollecting that their presence could have done no 
good, he adds, ' for what could that have done ? ' 

58. the Muse herself : Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry, and 
mother of Orpheus, who is here called ' her enchanting son ' (see 
VAlleg. 145, note). His grief for the loss of Eurydice led him 
to treat the Thracian women with contempt, and in revenge they 
tore him in pieces in the excitement of their Bacchanalian 
festivals (here called ' the hideous roar '). His head was thrown 
into the river Hebrus, and, being carried to the sea, was washed 
across to Lesbos, an island in the u^gean Sea. His lyre was also 
swept ashore there. Both traditions simply express the fact that 
Lesbos was the first great seat of the music of the lyre. 

60. nnlTersal nature, all nature, animate and inanimate : see 
note on line 39» 

61. rout, a disorderly crowd (as explained above). The word 
is also used in the sense of ' a defeat ' ; and is cognate with r(mtet 
rote, and rut. The explanation is that all come from the Lat. 
ruplysy broken : a ' rout ' is the breaking up of an army, or a 
crowd broken up ; a ' route ' is a way broken through a forest ; 
a ' rote * is a beaten route or track, hence we say " to learn by 
rote " ; and a ' rut ' is a track left by a wheeL 

62. Ylsage ; see note on II Pens, 13. 

63. swift Hebrus : a translation of Virgil's volucrem Hehrum 
{JSn. i. 321), supposed to be a corrupt reading, as the river is 
not swift. 


64. what boots it, etc. : * Of what profit is it to be a poet in 
these days when true poetry is slighted ? Would it not be 
better, as many do, to give one*s self up to trifling.* The ^s- 
sage is of interest, because (1) it illustrates Milton*s hish aspira- 
tions, and (2) it directs our attention to the historical fact that 
the literary outburst which began in 1580 was over. The poets 
who were alive in 1637 were such as Wither^ Herrick, Shirley, 
May, Davenant, Suckling, Crashaw, etc. : they could not be 
compared with Spenser, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Ben Jonson, 
Beaumont, Fletcher, and others. 

The word * boot' (A.S. 6(Ji= profit) is now chiefly preserved in 
the adjective bootless = profitless, and in the phrase to boot = in 
addition (where 'boot' is a noun governed by the preposition 
'to,' not the infinitive) : from this noun comes the A.S. verb 
bStan, to amend, to make better. 

nncessant, incessant. The tendency of modem English is 
to use a prefix belonging to the same language as the body of the 
word, so that 'cessant,' >vhich is of Latin origin, takes the Lat. 
negative prefix in. This rule was not recognised in older Eng- 
lish ; hence in Milton we find such forms as ' unactive,' ' unces- 
sant,' and in other writers, 'unpossible,' * uuglorious,' *un- 
patient,' 'unhonest,' etc. On tne other hand, there are 
anomalies in our present English that did not exist in the 
Elizabethan literature, e.g. 'uncertain' (formerly and more 
regularly ' incertain '), ' uriortunate,' etc. : comp. L 176. 

65. tend : the trans, verb (as here) is a short form of 'attend.' 
'Tend,' to move in a certain direction, is intransitive. 

bomely, sUglitexl, etc. These adjectives qualify 'trade, 
not 'shepherd.' 'Trade' here denotes the practice of poetry. 
In lines 113-120 the shepherd's trade is not poetry, but the 
work of the Church. The former application of the words is 
found in all pastoral poetry, the latter in the Scriptures. 

In Com. 748, Milton gives the derivation of ' homely ' ; * It is 
for homely features to keep home ' ; comp. Son, xii a. 20, note. 
Spenser, in his Shepherd's Calendar, speaks of the 'homely 
snepherd's quilL' 

66. strictly, rigorously, devotedly. 

meditate the thankless Muse : apply one's self to the 
thankless task of writing poetry. 

'Meditate' is here used transitively like the Lat. meditor, 
which does not mean merely to ponder or think upon, but to 
apply one's self with close attention to a subject. The phrase 
occurs in Virgil {Ed, i. 2 ; vL 8). As a transitive verb, 'medi- 
tate ' has now the meaning of ' purpose ' ; e,g. he meditated 


* Thankless/ as applied to the Muse/ is ' nngratefal ' : comp. 
Virgil, JSn, >-«. 425. 

67. Were it not, etc. : subjunctive mood. 

use, are accustomed (to do). The present tense of the 
yerb ' to use ' is obsolete in this sense : we can say * he used to 
do this/ but not 'he uses to do this.' The present tense is 
found in the following passage : '* They use to place him that 
shall be their captain upon a stone always reserved for that 
purpose." — Spenser, Ompare such words as ottght, must, durst, 
wot, wont, etc., all originally past tenses : see note, IL Pens, 211 , 

68. Amax3rl]is...Ne8Bra'B lialr. These are the names of ima- 
ginary shepherdesses from the Greek and Latin pastorals. (See 
Virgil's firscb three Eclogues,) Milton expresses, in one of his 
prose works, great fondness for the < smooth elegiac poets,' but 
m the last of his Latin Elegies he announces his intention of 
turning his mind to other subjects — 

. . . *' Lesunins taught me, in his shady bower. 

To quit Love's servile yoke, and spurn his power." 

Cowper*a Trandation, 

Warton thinks that the allusion to Amaryllis and NesBra is 
made with special reference to certain poems by Buchanan in 
which he addresses females by these names. 

69. tangles, locks or curls; comp. Peele's David and BethsaJbe^ 

" Now comes my lover trippins like the roe. 
And brings my longings tangled in her hair." 

70. Fame is the spur that incites the noble mind to high 
efforts : comp. Par. Jieg, iii 26 — 

" Glory, the reward 
That sole excites to high attempts the flame 
Of most erected spirits, most tempered pure 
Ethereal, who all pleasures else despise, 
AH treasures and all gain esteem as dross. 
And dignities and powers, all but the highest." 

Also Spenser : '* Due praise, that is the spur of doing well." 

clear, in the sense of Lat. darus, noble, pure. ' Spirit ' is 
the object of ' doth raise.' 

71. This bracketed line is in apposition to ' Fame,' thouch in 
resJity it is not fame that is meant but the love of fame, which, 
as Massinger says, is ' the last weakness wise men put o&' The 
idea is found in Tacitus : " Etiam sapientibus cupido f;loriae 
novissima exuitur " ; and by the use of the word that in Ime 71, 
Milton seems to signify that he regarded the expression as a well- 
known one. 

72. This line states the high efforts to which the love of fame 


will incite men, viz., '*to scorn delights and live laborious 

73. guerdon, reward: grammatically, object of 'find.' The 
formation of this word is peculiar ; the second part is from Lat. 
donurrif gift ; and the first part from an old High German word 
meaning 'back,' and corresponding to the I^t. prefix re in 
reward, etc. 

74. Uaaee : comp. Arc 74 and Par, Beg, iii. 47 : **For what is 
glory but the blaze of fame ? " The whole of the passage in Par. 
Beg,, like this part of Lycidas, has a certain biographical 
interest, for we see here Milton's estimate of the worth of 
popular applause. 

75. blind Fury ; nomin. to verb ' comes.' 

The three goddesses of vengeance were called Furies by the 
Romans, but Milton's reference to 'the abhorred shears' shows 
that he is thinking of one of the Fates (see Arc. 65, note), viz. 
Atropos. She is here said to be blind because she is no respecter 
of persons. Milton probably used the word Fury in a general 
sense as signifying the cruelty of Fate, or he may mean to denote 
Destiny : comp. Shak. King John, iv, 2, " Think you I have the 
shears of Destmy." 

76. thin-spun life, i.e. the thin-spun or fragile thread of life, 
in allusion to the uncertainty of human life as shown in the case 
of Edward King. For the form of the adjective comp. 11 Pens, 

** But not the praise." Phoebus {i.e. Apollo), as the god of 
song, here checks the poet, reminding him that though Fate may 
deprive the poet of life it cannot deprive him of his due meed of 
true praise. The construction is, " Fate slits the thin-spun life, 
but does not slit the praise " : there is therefore a zeugma in 
' slits ' ; it is applied to life in its literal sense ' to cut,' and to 
praise in the sense of ' to intercept.' 

77. touched my trembling ears, i.e, touched the ears of me 
trembling : comp. note on UAlleg, 124. Masson's acute note on 
this is: "A fine poetical appropriation of the popular super- 
stition that the tingling of a person's ears is a sign that people 
are talking of him. What Milton had been saying about poetic 
fame might be understood, he saw, as applicable to himself." 
Comp. Virgil's Edog, vi. 3. The rhymes of lines 70-77 are 

78. ' Fame is not found in this life, and dwells neither in the 
glittering leaf displayed in the world, nor in the wide-spread 

mortal soil, this earth. The epithet mortal is transferred 
from life to the scene of life. ' Mortal ' here denotes ' associated 


with death ' ; MOton also uaes it in the senses of ' causing death ' 
= fatal, and 'human/ 

79. Nor ... nor, neither ... nor : common in poetiy. 

gUflterlner; from the same base as glisten^ glitter, ffiint^ 
gkam, glow. 

foil, applied to a leaf or thin plate of shining metal placed 
under a gem to increase its lustre (lAt. folium, a leaf) : so Fame 
is not a gem that requires to be set off by the use of some foil ; it 
shines by its own light. ' Set off' qualifies ' Fame/ not ' foiL' 

80. lies, dwells ; as o^ten in Old English. Comp. UAUeg. 79. 

81. by, by means of, t.e. because it is perceived .by. Comp. 
" God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity." 

82. perfect witness, searching and infallible discrimination. 
The old spelling of this word (wmch is found in Milton) is perfet, 
the French form being parfaU (Lat. perfecttu, done thoroughly). 

83. pronounces lastly, decides finally : see Son, zzi 3, note. 

84. meed : see line 14, note. This ends the sublime strain of 
Phoebus, which (as Milton says in line 87) "was of a higher 
mood " than the ordinary pastoral. He now returns again to his 
' oaten pipe ' (see Analysis). 

85. Aretliuse : see Arc. 30. The poet invokes the fountain 
of Arethusa in the island of Ortygia, off Sicily, because Theocritus 
was a Sicilian; hence the wor(u "Sicilian Muse," 1. 133. He 
also invokes the Mincius, which falls into the river Po, below 
Mantua in North Italy, because Virgil was a native of Mantua. 
Hence the significance of the words ' honoured flood ' and * vocal 

88. my oat, my pastoral muse. The construction is peculiar, 
'oat' being apparently nominative to 'proceeds' and 'listens.' 
We may either take tne nominative / out of the possessive my, 
or suppose that the Muse listens ; but see note on L'AUeg. 122, 
" judge the prize." 

89. the Herald of the Sea : Triton, represented by the Romans 
as bearing a ' wreathed horn ' or shell, which he blew at the com- 
mand of Neptune in order to still the waves of the sea. He is 
here supposed by Milton to appear 'in Neptune's plea,' %.e. to 
defend him from the suspicion of having caused Lycidas' death 
by a storm, and to discover the real cause of the shipwreck. 
* Hea ' and ' plead ' are cognate words. 

91. felon, here used attributively. The origin of the word is 
doubtful ; its radical sense is probably ' treacherous ' (as in this 
passage). In the MS. the poet wrote felUm, but this is not, as 
some think, a different word, though it may be cognate with 
/etf =s fierce. 


92. The mark of interrogation at the end of this line and 
the use of the present perfect tense ' hath doomed,' show that 
it gives the actual words of Triton's question ; otherwise the 
dependent yerb (by sequence of tenses) would have been *had 

93. of rugged wings, 'rugged- winged,' having rugged wings, 
t.e. tempestuous. 

94. eadi beaJc^d promontory, each pointed cape. Observe the 
proximity of the words every and eachy where we might have 
expected every ... every ^ or ecLch ... each: Qomp. C<nn. 19 and 311. 
* Every * is radically — ever each (Old English everoelc) : it de- 
notes each without exception, and can now only be used with 
reference to more than two objects ; ' each ' may refer to two or 

95. They {i,e, the waves and winds) knew nothing of the fate 
of Lycidas. Observe the double or feminine rhymes, — promon- 
tory, story, 

96. sage Hlppotad^s ; the wise ruler of the winds, iEk>lus, son 
of Hippot^s : he brings the answer of the winds to the effect 
'* that not a blast was from its dungeon strayed." ' Hippotad^s ' 
is a Greek patronymic, formed oy the suffix -des, seen in 
Boreades, son of Boreas; Priamides, son of Priam, etc. Comp. 
Homer's Odyssey ^ x. 2. 

97. was ... strayed *. in modem English we say 'had strayed ' ; 
the auxiliary 'have' being now more common than 'be.' See 
note, Son. u, 6, and comp. 'was dropt,' L 191. 

bis dungeon: the winds are probably here personified, 
hence the pronoun 'his' (but see note, II Pens. 128). Milton's 
language here is evidently suggested by Virgil's picture of the 
winds {^n. i. 50), where they are represented as confined within 
a vast cave : Vir^ there speaks of ^k>lia as the * fatherland ' of 
the winds, thus poeticallv endowing them with personality. 
' Dungeon,' prison, literally ' the chief tower ' : it is another 
form of the old French word donjon, from Lat. dominionemf and 
therefore cognate with 'dominion,' 'domain,' etc. 

98. level brine, the placid sea. 'Brine' denotes salt water, 
and by a figure of speech is applied to the ocean whose waters 
are salt. 

99. Panop^ and ber sister, the daughters of Nereus, hence 
called Nereids: in classical mythology they were the nymphs 
who dwelt in the Mediterranean Sea, distinct from the fresh- 
water nymphs, and the nymphs of the great Ocean. Their names 
and duties are given in the Faery Queene, iv. 11. 49; see also 
Virga, Oeorg. I 437. 


100. fiital and perfldions bark, the ill-fated and treacherons 
ship in which Kine sailed: it went down in perfectly calm 
weather, and hence the force of Triton's plea on Neptune's behi^. 
' Bark,' also spelt ' barque,' is etymolo^callv the same as ' barge' ; 
but the latter is now only used of a kind of boat ' Fatal ' = ap- 
pointed by fate ; ' perfidious ' = faithless (Lat. per^ away ; and 
fideSi faith). 

101. Built in the e<dip8e : this circumstance is imagined hv the 
poet in order to account for the wreck of the ship, eclipses being 
popularly supposed to bring misfortune upon &L undertakings 
begmi or earned on while uiey lasted. Tne moon's eclipse was 
specially unlucky, but in Shakespeare's Hamlet we roMl also of 
"disasters in tiie sun," and similarly in Par. Lost, L 697. An 
eclipse was supposed to be a fiivourite occasion for the machina- 
tions of witches : in Macbeth, iv. 1 we read that *' slips of yew 
slivered in the moon's eclipse " formed one of the ingrodients in 
the witches' cauldron. 

rigged with curses dark. To rig a ship is to fit it with 
the necessary sails, ropes, etc. ; and by a bold figure the poet 
says that Kins's vessel was fitted out with curses ; at least this 
is the sense if 'with ' be taken to mean 'by means of.' Some 
prefer to interpret 'with' as 'in the midst of,' the sense being 
that the ship was cursed by the witches while it was being riggecL 

102. Tbat sunk: 'that,' relative pronoun, antecedent 'bark.' 
' Sunk ' = sank ; for the explanation compare Morris's English 
Accidence — " The verbs ewimy begin, run, drink, shrink, sink, ring, 
sing, spring, have for their proper past tenses swam, began, ran, 
etc., preserving the original a; but in older writers (sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries) and in colloquial Elnglish we find 
forms with u, which have come from the passive participles." 

that sacred head of thine. This is a pleonastic expression : 
it will be noticed that when the noun denotes the possession of 
one object only, this form is inadmissible unless preceded by a 
demonstrative (as here), e.g. we can say 'that body of yours,' 
because a person has only one body, but we cannot say ' a body 
of yours,' as this word would imply that one of a number was 
referred to. 

' Sacred ' : etymologically signifies the same as ' consecrated,' 
'set apart,' and hence 'devoted' : it may be used here of Lycidsis 
as devoted to death : comp. Par, Lost, iii. 208—" To destruction 
sacred and devote." 

103. Camus : " the genius of the Cam River and of Cambridge 
University was naturally one of the mourners for Lycidas." 
' Reverend sire ' is an allusion to the antiquity of the University. 
Sire, sir, senio7\ seignior, and signor all owe their origin to the 
nomin. or accus. form of the Lat. senior, elder. 


103. went footing slow, passed slowly along, wended his way 
slowly. As Camns comes forward to bewail Lycidas we should 
naturally read ' came ' in this line instead of ' went/ because in 
modem English the meanings of ' go ' and ' come * are opposed. 
But it is not so here : went is radically the past tense of wend 
(A.S. wendarif to turn), but is now used in place of the obsolete 
past of go ; so that it has become necessary to make a new form 
for the past tense of * wend,' viz. wended, l^or 'go ' cf. Shake- 
speare, 2 Hm, IV. ii. 1. 191 ; M. N. D, L 1. 116. Wemd is the 
causal form of wind, and is therefore peculiarly appropriate to 
the winding Cam. It is now nearly obsolete except in the phrase 
* to wend one's way.' 

' Foot ' as a verb is generally followed by the cognate accusative 
'it,' but it then denotes sprightly movement, and is therefore 
unsuitable here (see VAueg. 33). * Slow-footing ' occurs in 
Spenser as a compound adjective. 

104. His mantle hairy, etc. Here 'mantle' and * bonnet' are 
in the absolute case. The ' hairy mantle ' is the hairy river-weed 
that is found floating on the Cam, and the * bonnet ' is the sedge 
that grows in the nver and along its edge. In his first Elegy 
Milton alludes to the reedy or sedgy Cam [arundiferum Camam, 
juncosas Cami poUudes). * Bonnet,' now generally applied to a 
head-dress worn by women, here denotes (as it stm does in Scot- 
land) a man's cap. 

105. mwTonglit with flgnires dim, having indistinct markings 
worked into it. ' Inwrought ' is a participifu adjective (as if from 
a verb inioorkf which is not in use), qualifying 'bonnet ' : to toork 
in figures into cloth, etc., is to embroider or adorn. Milton 
refers to the peculiar natural markings seen on the leaves of 
sedge, especially when they begin to wither. 

^e ease of the 'sedge bonnet' of the Cam is said to be 
like the edffe of the hyacinth because it is marked : the hyacinth 
was fabled oy the ancients to have sprung from the blood of the 
Spartan youth Hyacinthus, and the markings on the petals were 
said to resemble the words dl dl (alas 1 alas !) or the letter T, the 
Greek initial of Hyacinthus : hence the significance of the words 
' sanguine ' and ' inscribed with woe. ' The poet Drummond calls 
the hyacinth " that sweet flower that bears in sanguine spots the 
tenor of our woes." Similarly Milton fancies that the markings 
on the sedge may signify the grief of Cambridge for the death of 

106. Like to that sanguine flower. Here the preposition 'to 
is expressed after ' like ' : see note on H Pens, 69. ' Sanguine,' 
blooay, an illustration of Milton's fondness for the primary sense 
of words (Lat. sanguis, blood) : its present meaning is ' hopeful,' 
and the connecting lic^ between the two meanings is found in 
the old theory of uie four humours of the body, an excess of the 


bloody humour making persons of a hopeful diBposition. In the 
primary sense we now use ' sanguinary. 

107. reft: comp. * bereft,' S<m, xxii. 3. 

quoth he, he said : this verb always precedes its nomina- 
tiye, and is used only in the first and third persons : it is really 
a past tense (though occasionally used as a present), and the 
original present is seen only in the compound he-gueath. 

pledge, child: comp. Lat. pignus, a pledge or security, 
also applied (generally in the plural) to chdldren or relations. 

108. Last came ... did go : see note on H Pens, 46. 

109. The Pilot of the Galilean Lake : St. Peter, here introduced 
as Head of the Church, because King had been intended for the 
Church. St. Peter was at first a fisherman on the Sea of Galilee 
{Matt. iv. 18) and became one of the disciples of Christ. It was 
of him. that Christ said: ''Upon this rock will I build my 
church ; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 1 
will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. " ( Matt, xvi 
18. S. V. ) It was he also whom Christ constituted the Shepherd 
of the Christian flock by his parting charge : '* Feed my lambs." 
(John xxi. 15. ) In both of his capacities, as Head and Shepherd 
of the Christian Church, he mourns the death of one who 
promised to be a true discijde, unlike the false shepherds 
who crept into the Church *'for their bellies' sake." 

110. Two massy keys : the keys that St. Peter carried as the 
symbol of his power are usually spoken of as two in number 
(though there is no such statement in the Scriptures), because he 
had power both in heaven and hell, the golden one opening the 
gates of heaven, and the iron one forcibly closing them : comp. 
Com, 13: 

" that golden key 
That opes the palace of eternity." 

'Massy,' massive : see note II Pens. 158. 

of metals twain, made of two different metals : ticain 
(cognate with two) is, in older English, used (1) predicatively, (2) 
when it follows the noun (as here), and (3) as a noun. 

111. amain, with force : a is here the usual adverbial prefix 
(see note 1. 27) ; main = strength or force, as in the phrase ' with 
might and main.' The adjective main, = principal, is only in- 
directly connected with it, being from Iiat. m>agnus, great. 
' Ope ' for * open ' is found in poetry, both as verb and adjective. 

112. mitred locks, locks crowned with a bishop's head-dress, 
St. Peter being regarded as the first bishop of the Church. 

stem bespake, said with indignation. Milton sometimes 
used the verb hespeaJe as a transitive verb = to address (a person); 


in modem Enelish both these senses are obsolete and it now de- 
notes ' to spe^foTf* * to engage beforehand.' 

113. Here for the second time the poem rises far above the 
ordinary pastoral strain and Milton puts into the mouth of St. 
Peter his first explicit declaration ot his sympath]^ with the 
Puritans in their opposition to the attempt of Archbishop Laud 
to introduce changes in the ritual of the English and Scottish 
Churches, an attempt which hastened the downfall of Charles I. 
and Laud himself : see notes on Son. xii a., zv., xvi As early as 
1584, Spenser had also written in vehement strain against the 
corruptions of the Church, and there is a faint echo of Spenser's 
Iskuguage here and there throughout Milton's indignant lines. 
(See AncUyaia), 

spared for thee, etc, t.e. given up, in return for you, 
an ample number of the corrupt clergy. 

114 Bnow : here used as in Early English to denote a number ; 
it is also spelt anow, and in Chaucer ynowe, and is the plural of 
enougK It still occurs as a provincialism in England. 

Budh as : see VAUeg, 29. 

for their IseUies' sake: comp. Son, xvi. 14, where the 
reference is to the Presbyterian clergy ; here he means the Epis- 
copalian ministers. 

115. The Church is a sheepfold into which the "hireling 
wolves" (see Son, xvi. 14), i,e, the corrupt clergy, intrude them- 
selves ; their only care being to share the endowments of the 
Church. One of Milton's pamphlets was entitled The likeliest 
Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church Comp. Par. Lost, 
iv. 192, and John, x, 12. 

116. '*They make little reckoning of any care -other than," 

117. scramble: this word, and 'shove' in the next line, ex- 
press the eager and rude striving for those church endowments 
that are here called 'the shearers' feast.' The 'worthy bidden 
guest ' denotes the conscientious and faithful clergy. 

119. Blind mouths ! a figure of speech into which Milton con- 
denses the greatest contempt. ' Mouths ' is put by synecdoche 
for ' gluttons,^ and * blind is therefore quite applicable. They 
are bund guides "whose Gospel is their maw^* {Son, xvi. 14). 
iBy saying that they scarcely know how to hold a sheep-hook or 
crook (which is the symbol of the shepherd's task) the poet signi- 
fies their imfitness for 'the faithful herdman's art, ' i,e, for pa8tx>ral 

120. the least, may be regarded as an adverbial phrase modi- 
fying * belongs, '= in the least ; or it may be attributive to * aught.* 


121. berdman : this spelling, which occurs in the Bible, is not 
now in use. nor is it that of Muton's manuscript ; he wrote ' herds- 
man,' which is current in the restricted sense of * one who herds 
catUe.' Milton applies it to a shepherd, the word being then 
used generally. 

122. Wliat recks It them T= what does it reck them ?=what do 
they care T Here we have an old impersonal use of the verb ' to 
reck/ which still survives in the adjective reckless. 

They are sped, they have sped = they have cained their 
object. For the use of the auxiliary ' are ' instead of * have/ see 
note on 1. 97. One of the early meanings of speed is ' success,' and 
to speed is to be successful (as in this Une) : comp. Par, Lost, z. 
39. It occurs in older English both of good and ill success, and 
also in the sense of ' to assist ' (Shakespeare has ' God speea the 
Parliament '), ' to send away quickly,' ' to destroy,' etc. 

123. when they list, when it pleases them. The verb list is, in 
older English, generally used mipersonally, and in Chaucer we 
find ' if tnee lust ' or ' if thee list '= if it please thee. It is derived 
from A.S. lw<t, pleasure, and survives in the adjective listless, of 
which the older form was lustless. The noun lust has lost the 
meaning it had in A.S. and still has in German, and now signifies 
* longing desire.' 

lean and flashy songs: pastoral language for 'their 
teaching, which is without substance or nourishment to their 
hearers.' * Flashy '= showy but worthless: comp. Dryden, 
**fiashy wit"; and Bacon, " distilled books are ...flashy thmgs." 

124. Grate, etc. : ' sound harshly on their weak and wretched 
oaten pipes ' — a description in pastoral language of the preaching 
of the careless clergy. ' Grate and * scrannel ' are here skilfully 
chosen to express contempt. * Grate ' : the nominative of this 
verb is * songs,' the sense being intermediate between the active 
form ' they grate their songs,' and the passive, ' their songs are 
grated.' Hence some would regard this as a middle voice. In 
Latin and Greek the passive voice arose from the middle or 
reflective verb. (Domp. //. Pens, 161. 

scrannel, not found in English dictionaries, being a pro- 
vincialism»'lean' : the harsh sound of the word also suits the 
passage. Gomp. Virgil's Ed. iii. 26. 

125. The hungry sheep, the neglected congregations. Compare 
Milton's Epitaph Darnon. — 

" Nor please me more my flocks ; they, slighted, turn 
Their unavailing looks on me, and mourn." 

Cowper^s Translation, 

126. swoln with wind, etc., with minds filled with unsound and 
onwholesome teaching. 


ranks coarse, foul : ' draw *= inhale, e.g. to draw breath : 
comp. Par. Lost, viiL 284, " From where I first drew air." The 
Lat. Jiawio has the same sense. 

127. Bot inwardly, etc., have their hearts corrupted, and dis- 
seminate false doctrines. 

128. Besides. The meaning is : " While all this injury to the 
Church is taking place, there is another source of loss to which 
the English clergy seem to be indififerent, viz. the desertions to 
the Church of Rome that are so frequent." 

the grim wolf, the Church of Rome : comp. MaU. vii. 16, 
"Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep's 
clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves." Also Acts, xx. 29, 
''Grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the 
flock." ' Privy ' = secret. ' Apace * = rapidly, at a great pace : 
comp. notes on amain, a-Jidd. 

129. and nothing: said. Milton may here refer to Archbishop 
Laud's leaning towards Popery. Grammatically, there would 
seem to be a confusion here between two constructions : (1) * and 
nothing (is) said,' and (2) 'nothing (being) said.' The latter 
would be the absolute construction, and in Shakespeare it some- 
times happens that a noun intended to be used absolutely is 
diverted, by a change of thought, into a subject ; the opposite 
process may have taken place here. 

130. two-handed engine. The sense is, "But the instrument of 
retribution is ready and punishment will swiftly fall upon the 
cor^pt Church." ' Engine ' = instrument, its literal sense being 
' something skilful ' (Lat. ingenium, skill) :' it is therefore cognate 
with iTigenious, ingenuity, and has been corrupted into gin = a 
snare. Comp. Par. Lost, 1. 749, " Kor did he 'scape by all his 
engines^ {i.e, schemes). 

'Two-handed ' is applied to swords, axes, etc., that require to 
be wielded with both hands. The nature of the instrument that 
is here called a * two-handed engine ' has been much discussed ; 
the various interpretations are : — 

(1) That it denotes the axe by which Laud was afterwards to 
be beheaded in 1645, Milton's words being thus prophetic. This 
view may be set aside : it certainly did not occur to any one at 
the time of the publication of Lycidas, when the power of Laud 
was at its height. 

(2) That the axe is that alluded to metaphorically in the Scrip- 
tures as the instrument of reformation: see St. Matt. iii. 10, 
" And now the axe is laid to the root of the tree ; therefbre every 
tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down." In 
Milton's treatise Of Reformation in England he speaks of "the 
axe of Grod's reformation hewing at the old and hollow trunk of 
Papacy." This view is both the most obvious and the most prob- 


(3) That there is an allusion to the ** two-edged sword " which 
proceedeth out of the mouth of the Living One (see Bev, L 16). 

(4) That the poet* refers to the powers of the pure Gk)8pel as 
contained in the Old and New Testaments. 

(5) That the English Parliament with its two Houses is 
meant, "the agency by which, three or four years afterwards, 
the doors of the Church of England were dashed in." 

(6) That it denotes civil and ecdesiastioal power. See note on 
Son. zvii. 12. 

132. The poet again descends to the level of the ordinary 
pastoral, though it should be observed that in lines 113-131 he 
has skilfully adapted pastoral language to an unusual theme. 
The ** dread voice" is the voice of St. Peter, and it is to this 
passage that Milton refers in the sub-title to the poem prefixed 
on its republication in 1645. ^* In 1638 it had been bold enough 
to let the passage stand in the poem, as published in the Gam- 
bridge memorial volume, without calling attention to it in the 
title^' (Masson). 

Alpheus : see Arc, 30, note. 

133. Tbat shrank thy streams, i.e. which silenced my pastoral 
muse. The figure is a Scriptural one : *' The waters stood above 
the mountains; at thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy 
thunder they hasted away," PsoUm, civ. 7. 'Shrunk* is here 
used in an active or causal sense = made to shrink, as in the 
phrase ' to shrink cloth.' 

SiciliazL Muse, the muse of pastoral poetry : see note on 
L 85. 

134. hither cast, i.e. come hither and cast. Compare the Lat. 
idiom, 86 in eilvas a^diderunt, "they hid themselves into the 
woods," i.e. "they went into the woods and hid there," Ovid. 
See also 1. 139. 

135. hells, bell-shaped blossoms. Plants with bell-shaped 
flowers are technically called 'campanulate' (Ital. campana, a 

flowerets : * floweret ' is diminutive of * flower.* 

136. use, dwell, frequent. The verb is quite obsolete in this 
sense : comp. note, L 67. In Spenser we find, '* In these strange 
ways, where never foot did rise. 

137. The construction is, " Where the mild whispers of shades, 
and wanton winds, and gushing brooks, dwelL*' 

138. lap ; by a common figure we speak of * the lap of earth,' 
*the earth's bosom,' etc. : comp. Gray's Megy, **Here rests his 
head upon the lap of earth" ; also Bich. II. v. 2, *' the green lap 
of the new-come spring.** The word has no connection witli 
* lap ' = wrap [L'Alleg. 136). 


tlia Ewart Btu Hparely looki, i.e. " where the influence of 
tba bnmiiig dog-star ie acarcely felt," tbe flowero being therefore 
fresh uul bright. The ewart star is SiriuB or Caniculo, a star 
jost ia tbe moath of the constellation Canis, hence called the 
dog-atar (Lat. eami, a dog]. Hence also the term "dog days." 
To tbe Greehe and Romans this stax appeared at the hottest ti" - 

e year, and was by them regarded aa the cause of the great 
heat. It is therefore here called 'swart,' i.e. swort-makiiig, 
because by exposure to heat the face becomes avjarthy or brown. 
Milton frequently transfers an epithet from the object of an 
action to the agent ; cotnn. " obliTious pool " ~ pool that make« 
one oblivions (Par. Lot, i. 266), "forgstful late," etc There 
ore four forms of the adjective : tbe earliest is «trart, thenmorty, 
aiDarth, and finally awarihy : all four forms occur in Shakespeare. 
For the technical seme of ' looks,' comp. Arc. 62. It may be 
noted that in Sipit. Damon. Milton speaks of the evil influence of 
the planet Saturn upon the fortunes of shepherds. 

139. qnalnt en&malled syM, i.e. blossoms neat and bright. 
The centre of a blossom is sometimes called an ' eye ' ; the name is 
also given to a tender bud or even to a flower (as here]. Milton's 
use (U the word ' enamelled ' is illnstrated in Arc. 84, and his use 
of 'qnaint' in Arc. 47; see notes. Comp. Feele's David and 
Jtelhsabe : " May that sweet plain ... be still eaamellfd with dis- 
colonred (i. e. variegated) flowers. " 

140. honey«d ihowen, sweet and refreshins rain. ' Honeyed ' 
ia here nsed fignrativelyi comp. "boneyed words "^flattery. 
It is sometimes, but less correctly, spelt ' honiad ' : comp. II 
Pan. 142. 

141. purple, here nsed as a verb. The meaning is that the 
spring flowers are so abundant that they give the green turf a 
ptu^ tint: comp. Par. Lot, vii 2S, " Wken mom parplea the 
east." In Latin purpareua is common in the sense of * dazzling.' 

ing to Spring (Lat. tier). 
orm (as Masson says) " the most ezqnisite 
age in all Milton's poetry. His mannacript 
it it to perfection by additions and after 
usical sweetness and dainty richness of 
perhaps anything else in all Milton. It is 
ra of the landscape, and the banks of all 
to yield up their choicest flowers, and 
herds that they may be streiTD over the 
a." A aiinilar fancy is found in Shake- 
it flowers ... 1 11 sweeten thy sad grave." 


Milton would here bring together flowers that are never found m 
bloom at the same time of die year. But the season of the year 
does not enter into Milton's thoughts except in so hr as it 
enables him to characterize some of the flowers. His only con- 
cern is to honour the grave of his fellow-shepherd by heaping 
upon it a rich offering of nature's fairest and sweetest flowers — 
flowers that, by their purity or their ** sad embroidery," are well 
fitted to " strew the laureate hearse where Lycid lies." 

In connection with this passage Mr. Ruskin writes: — "In 
Milton it happens, I think, generally, and in the case before us 
most certainly, that the imagination is mixed and broken with 
fancy, and so the strength of the imagery is part of iron and part 
of day." Lines 142, 145, and 147 he considers 'imaginative'; 
lines 144 and 146 'fanciful'; line 143 'nugatory'; and line 148 

rathe, early : the root of this word survives in the com- 
parative rather: cbmp* ''The rather lambs be starved with 
cold" {Spenser), where rcUher is an adjective. Tennyson has: 
" the men of rathe and riper years " {In Mem, ex.). Bather is 
now used only as an adverb, except perhaps in the phrase ' I had 
rather ' ; in ' I would rather ' it is certainly an adverb. The 
Old English ro^A nearly (adj.) ; ralhe=aoon. (adv.). 

tbat forsaken dies, t.e. 'that dies because it is forsaken 
by the sun-light,' a reference to the fact that it is often found in 
shady places. Milton at first wrote ' unwedded,' showing that 
he had in mind Shakespeare's words, " Pale primroses that die 
unmarried, ere they can behold Bright Phoebus {i.e, the sun) in 
his strength " : WtjUer^a Tale iv. 4. 

143. tufted crow-toe. This plant is more conmionly called 
"crow-foot," both names having reference to the shape of the 
flower : comp. ' bird^s/oot trefoil,' belonging to the same order of 
plants. Another sinular plant is the tufied vetch, and this 
epithet correctly describes the appearance of all these plants 
when in flower. 

pale Jessamine. ' Jessamine ' or jasmine, a plant which 
belongs originally to the East; hence the name, from Persian 

144. pink, a flower which has given name to a particular 
colour ; similarly the colour called ' violet ' receives its name 
from the flower, and 'mauve' is the colour of the 'mallow.' 
The reverse process is seen in 'carnation,' this flower having 
received its name from its fleshy colour (Lat. caro, flesh). Some 
varieties of the pink are white. 

pansy freaked with jet, a sjpecies of violet having gene- 
rally dark spots in the centre of its blossoms. ' Freaked '=: 
spotted or marked ; this word is now little used except in the 


diminutive /r«cKe«= small dark spots (as those on some faces). 
Shakespeare speaks of the 'freckled cowslip.' 

146. well-attired woodbiae, i.e. the honey-suckle with its 
clusters of flowers. * Well-attired * does not here mean well- 
clothed or covered with leaves, but 'having a beautiful head* 
dress of flowers. * * Tire ' (the prefix beins dipped) occurs in the 
same sense. The word is now extended to the whole dress : 
comp. On Time, 21. 

147. hang the pensive head ; ' pensive ' is here used prolepti- 
cally, i.e. it denotes the result oi the action expressed by the 
verb *hang* : comp. Arc. 87. 

148. sad embroidery ; or, as Milton originally wrote, " sor- 
row's livery," i.e, colours suited to mourning. *To embroider ' 
is strictly to adorn with needlework, hence used in the sense of 
' to ornament,' and finally ' to divers^ by different colours.' 

149. amaranthus, a plant so called because its flowers last 
long without withering. In Par. Lost it occurs as ' amarant,' 
the adjective being * amarantine,' which comes directly from the 
Greek amarantos, unfading. The word is cognate with * am- 
brosia,' the food of the gods, both having their counterpart in 
the Sanskrit amWto, immortal. 

his beauty shed : ' his ' here stands for ' its ' : see note on 
n Pens. 128. * Shed ' is the infinitive after ' bid' ; so is * fill' in 
the next line. 

150. daffiEidillies, more commonly written 'daffodils.' There 
is also a more colloquial form, daffadovm-dilly, which occurs in 
Spenser. Comp. Par. Lost, ix. 1040, "Pansies and violets and 
a,sphodeV* ' Daffodil ' and ' asphodel ' are the same, both name 
and thin^ : the initial d is no part of the word, and in earlier 
English it was written affodille, which is from an old Frendi 
word CLsphodile, which again is from the Greek asphodelos, a 
flower of the lily tribe. The dew-drops resting in the hollow of 
the lilies are here spoken of as tears shed for Lycidas. 

151. laureate hearse, the poet's tomb. The word 'laureate' 
here signifies that Lycidas was a poet and was lamented by 
poets. Another interpretation is that it refers to the fact that 
King had obtained an academical degree : see note on Son. xvL 
9. 'Hearse' now denotes the carriage in which the dead are 
carried to the grave, and even the meaning which Milton here 
gives it is not the primary one. The changes of meaning which 
this word has shown are: (1) a harrow, i.e. a frame of wood 
fitted with spikes, and used for breaking up the soil ; (2) a frame 
of similar shape in which lighted candles were stuck during 
church service ; (3) a frame for lights at a funeral ; (4) a funeral 
9eremon^, a monument, etc. ; (5) a frame on which a dead body 

LYdDASL 169 

18 laid ; (6) a carri^e for a dead bo<^ ; comp. Epitaph on 
M, of W. 58. *Lycid'=Lycidas, the samx being dropped. 

152. The sense is : * Let us thus, in order to comfort our- 
selves for a little, please our weak fancies by imagining that we 
actually have the corpse of Lycidas to strew with flowers, even 
while, alas ! his bones are being drifted about by the waves.' 

Some editions read a comma after ' for,' and connect ' so ' with 
* to interpose ' : it seems better to read * so ' with * for,' thus 
making * to interpose,' etc., a clause of purpose. 

154. There is a zeugma in voctsh as applied to ' shores ' and 
'seas.' Comp. Virgil's JEn, vL 362: "my body is sometimes 
tossed by the waves, and sometimes throvm on the shore." The 
pathetic allusions in Lycidas to King's death at sea may be com- 
pared throughout with Virgil's language on the death of ^e 
pilot Palinurus, especially in the closing lines of Book v. : 

" O nimium caelo et pelago confise sereno, 
. Nudus in ignota, Palinure, jacebis harena." 

156. Hebrides, or Western Isles, a range of about 200 islands, 
scattered along the western coast of Scotland. King having 
been wrecked in the Irish Sea, his body may (according to 
Milton) have been carried far noiih to the Hebrides or far south 
to the coast of Cornwall, these two parts being the extremities of 
Great Britain. 

157. whelming ; the compound 'overwhelming' is more com- 
monly used. 

. 158. the bottom of the monatroas world, i.e. the bottom of the 
sea, "there being more room for the marvellous among the 
creatures of the deep than among the better known inhabitants 
of the land." ' Monstrous ' is therefore here used literally = full 
of monsters. Comp. Par. Lost, ii 624, " Nature breeds. Perverse, 
all monstrova, all prodigious things"; also Virgil's Aen. 729, 
*'Quae marmores fert monstra sub aequora pontus." 

159. Or whether. This would naturally answer to ' whether ' 
in line 156, but there is another anacolouthon, or change of con- 
struction; the first 'whether' introduces an adverbial phrase, 
while the second introduces a complete sentence. 

to our moist vows denied, i.e. your bod^ being denied to 
our tearful prayers. ' Moist ' is properly apphcable to the eyes 
of those praying for the recovery of Lycidas body. There may 
be an allusion in ' vows ' to those promises of thanksgiving and 
offerings made to Neptune that he might restore the bodies of 

those who had been drowned. Comp. Arc. 6. 


160. fable of Bellenui old, i.e. the fabled abode of the old 
Cornish giant Bellerus. Bellerinm was the Latin name for 
Land's End in Cornwall, and Milton ' fables ' this name to hav^ 


been derived from Bellerus, though no such name occurs in the 
catalogue of the old Cornish giants. There was, however, a giant 
named Corineus, said to have come into Britain with Brute, and 
in his first draft of the poem Milton wrote 'Corineus,* not 
* Bellerus * (pron. BeU4ru8), 

161. great VlBion of the guarded mount. The 'guarded 
moxmt' is St. Michael's Mount, near Land's End, on which 
there is a crag called St. Michael's Chair. The tradition is that 
the 'vision' (or apparition) of the Archangel had been seen 
seated on this crag. Milton, therefore, speaks of the Moimt as 
' guarded ' by the Archangel. 

162. Looks toward Namancos, etc. Namancos is in the pro- 
vince of Gallicia, near Cape Finisterre, in Spain (the name 
being found in old maps). Bayona is also in Gallicia. *' It was 
a boast of the Cornish people that there was a direct line of sea- 
view from Land's End passing France altogether and hitting no 
European land till it reached Spain " (see map of Europe). 

hold = stronghold, castle. 

163. Angel, t.e. St. Michael, who is here asked to cease looking 
towards Spain and to turn his gaze to the seas aroxmd him, where 
the shipwrecked Lycidas lies. Some would take 'Angel' as 
addressed to Lycidas, who would then be regarded as a glorified 
spirit looking down upon his weeping friends : that this is not 
the meaning is evident from the language of 1. 164. 

ruth, pity : comp. Son, ix. S. 

164. dolphins, sea-animals ; here alluded to because Arion, an 
ancient Greek bard, when thrown overboard by sailors on a 
voyage to Corinth, was supported on the backs of dolphins whom 
he had charmed by his music. 

waft, a word generally applied to winds, sometimes also to 
water, is here used en the dolph&s to signify their swift passage 
through the sea. 

165. The poem here becomes a strain ot joy (see A7icUy»is\ 
which may Be compared with that which closes Milton's other 
famous elegy on the death of Charles Diodati two years after 
Lycidas was composed. The following extract from the latter 
(Cowper's translation) will partly enable the student to compare 
the two pieces — 

" Cease then my tears to flow / 
Away with grief, on Damon ill bestowed 1 
Who, pure himself, has found a pure abode. 
Has passed the showery arch, henceforth resides 
With saints and heroes, and from flowing tides 
Qaaffa co^ioTia immortality and joy, . . . 
Thy brows encircled with a radiant band, 
And the green palm-branch waving in thy hand. 


Thou in immortal nuptials shalt rejoice. 
And join with serapfia thy according voiee^ 
Where rapture reigna, and the ecstatic lyre 
Guides the blest orgies of the blazing quire." 

woftil, also spelt ' woeful. * 

166. your sorrow, object of your sorrow ; by synecdoche the 
name of a passion or emotion is often put for tne object that 
iiispires it, e.g. joy, pride, delight, care, nope, etc. 

Is not dead. I.e. he liyes in Paradise. 

167. watery floor, the surface of the sea : comp. '* leyel brine,' 
L 98, and the Lat. aequor (a level surface) applied to the sea. 
Shakespeare calls the sky the **Jloor of heaven." 

168. day-star, the sun, which, to one looking seaward, seems 
to sink, at setting, into the ocean. Comp. Com. 95— 

** And the ^ded car of day 
His glowing axle doth allay 
In the steep Atlantic stream." 

169. anon, after a short time, i.e. at sunrise. Comp. UAUeg, 

repairs Ills drooping head, renews his brightness. 

170. tridcs ; here used transitively in the sense of * to display': 
see n Pens. 123, note. 

new-spangled ore, bright colden rays. * Ore ' = metal, 
the newly-risen sun being like a baU or disc of gold. * Spangled ' 
= sparklmg : a spangle is strictly a small plate of shining metal 
useii as an ornament, and hence in poetry it is common to speak 
of the stars as spangles, and of the sky as ' spangled with stars.' 
Comp. Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, iv. 5. : see also Par, 
Lost, xi 128. 

172. So. The meaning is, * As the sun sinks into the sea in 
the evening but rises again in the morning with renewed beauty, 
so Lycidas sank low into the sea, but rose again through the 
saving power of Christ, to take his place in Paradise. 

' Sunk * = sank : see L 102, note. 

173. the dear might of Him, etc. = the power of that dear 
Saviour over whom the waves of the sea had no power. Milton 
thus appropriately illustrates Christ's ^wer by a reference to 
that one oi his miracles which shows his rule over the waters. 
See Matt, xiv. 22. 

' Walked ' : here used transitively ; comp. B Pens. 156. 

174. Where, i.e, 'mounted high (to that place) where,* etc. 
along, a preposition governing 'groves' and 'streams.' 

175. His locks that were wet with the sea ooze he washes with 
the pure nectar of heaven. 


'Oozy,' slimy ; 'ooze' is the soft mud found at the bottom of 
the sea. * To ooze ' is to flow gently, as ooze would do. 

* Nectar,* the drink of the gods : in DeeUh of a Fair Infant, 
Milton speaks of the *' nectared head " of a goddess, and in Par. 
Lost, he tells us that there is a *' nectarous humour " in the veins 
of the angels. 

176. unexpresBlve nuptial Bong, i,e, inexpressible marriage 
sonff : see Bev, zix. 9, where all true believers are spoken of as 
bidden to the marriage feast of the Lamb of God. Li the two 
preceding lines the language of Lycidaa is that of classical 
mythology ; in this line and the six following, the imagery is 
Christian; and then the poet reverts to mythology. '*We 
might say that these things are ill-fitted to each other. So they 
would be, were not the art so fine and the poetry so overmaster- 
ing ; were they not fused together by genius into a whole so that 
the unfitness itself becomes fascination. " ( Brooke. ) 

* Unexpressive ' : both Shakespeare and Milton use adjectives 
with the termination -ive where we now use -ible or -able. Comp. 
incomprehensive, plausive, insuppressive, etc., occurring m 
Shakespeare. For the prefix -un see note on 1. 64 above. The 
word * unexpressive ' has therefore, in modem English, become 
in-expre88-iMe. * Nuptial ' is from Lat. nubere, to marry ; oomp. 
< connubial.' 

177. For the order of the words comp. L'AUeg. 40. 
kingdoms meek, abodes of the meek. 

178. * There all the saints above entertain him.' 

179. sweet societies. What Milton here calls * sweet societies' 
of angels, he calls (in Pa/r. Lost, xi. 80) 'fellowships of joy.' 
Milton believed in a complete angelic system, with a most 
elaborate division into orders and degrees of rank — a system 
widely recognised in medisBval Christian tradition. In Par, Lost 
he makes large use of this belief; in this poem it is merely 
hinted at. 

181. The language of this line is taken from the Scriptures : 
see Isaiah f xxv. 8, and Bev. vii. 7» '* God shall wipe away all . 
tears from their eyes." 

for ever, once and for all. 

182. This line is to be compared with line 165. 

183. the Genius of the shore : see Arc. 25 j 26; II Pens. 154, 
It is common in Latin poetry to represent a drowned person as 
becoming the genius or g^iardian spirit of the locality where he 
met his fate, his office being to prevent future voyagers from a 
like disaster ; hence Milton says, " (thou) shalt be good {i.e. pro- 
pitious) to all that wander," ezc. The Latin bonus occurs in the 
sense of 'propitious,' Virgil's ^L v. 64. 


184. In tliy large reoompenBe, i.e. as a great recompense to 
thee. " The use of the possessive pronouns and of the inflected 
possessive case of nouns and pronouns was, until a comparatively 
recent period, very much more extensive than at present, and 
they were employed in many cases where the preposition with 
the objective now takes its place " {Marsh), 

185. wander in tliat peiUous flood, ue. sail over that dangerous 

186. The epilogue begins here (see analysis) : its separateness 
from the rest of the poem is indicated by the fact that in it 
Milton lays aside his ** oaten flute " and resumes his own person- 
ality, ana by the metrical and rhyming structure of the eight 
lines of which it consists. It is, in fact, a stanza in Ottava Rima^ 
the arrangement of rhymes being ahahahcc, 

nnconth : see note, UAUeg, 5. 

187. with sandals grey, i.e, at the grey dawn. Comp. "grey- 
hooded even," Com, 188. The shepherd had begun to sing at 
daybreak, but in his eagerness he had continued till evening. 

188. He touched the tender stops of variouB quills, t.e. through- 
out his song he had parsed through various moods and had sung 
in various metres. * Quill ' is here used in its primary sense, =a 
reed, which Milton has already called ' oaten pipe ' : the applica- 
tion of this word to the feather of a bird is secondary. The 
< stops' of a reed or flute are the small holes over which the 
fingers of the player are placed, also called vent-holes or (as in 
Shakespeare) ' ventages ' : comp. Com, 345, " pastoral reed with 
oaten stops." Tlie epithet * tender ' is here transferred from the 
music itself to the stops, from the effect to the cause. 

189. thought, care : comp. Moot, vi. 25, " Take no thought for 
your life," etc. 

Doric lay, pastoral song, so called because Theocritus, 
Bion, and Moschus wrote their pastorals in the Doric dialect of 
the Greek tongue : see note on L*Alleg. 136. 

190. * The sun, beinglow, had lengthened the shadows of the 
hills.* Comp. Virgil, Eel L 83. 

191. was dropt, had dropt : see note, 1. 97» and Son, ii 6. 

192. twitched, plucked tightly around him. 

hlB mantle blue. The colour is that of a shepherd's 
dress, hence the allusion. It is very improbable that any alle- 
gorical sense is intended. 

193. To-morrow, etc. : comp. the Purple Islwndf by Fletcher— 

" Home, then, mv lambs : the falling drops eschew : 
To-morrow shall ye feast in pastures new." 


On this poem Mr. Palgrave has the following note : — Strict 
Pastoral Poetry was first written or perfected by the Dorian 
Greeks settled in Sicily ; but the conventional use of it, exhibited 
more magnificently in Lycidas than in any other pastoral, is 
apparently of Roman origin. Milton, employing the noble free- 
dom of a great artist, has here united ancient mythology — or 
what may oe called the modem mythology of Camus and Saint 
Peter — to direct Christian images. Yet the poem, if it gains in 
metrical interest, suffers in poetry by the harsh intrusion of the 
writer's narrow and violent theological politics. The metrical 
structure of this glorious elegy is partly derived from Italian 

No. VL 


This poem and the two that follow it should be made to illustrate 
one another. Perhaps the best commentary on all three is found 
in Addison's reflections in Westminster Abbey: "When I am 
in a serious humour I very often walk by myself in Westminster 
Abbey, where the gloominess of the place, and the use to which 
it is applied, with the solemnity of the building and the condition 
of the people who lie in it, are apt to fill the mind with a kind of 
melancholy, or rather thoughtfulness, that is not disagreeable 
...Upon my going into the church, I entertained myself with 
the digging of a grave ; and saw in every shovelful of it that 
was thrown up, the fragment of a bone or skull, intermixed 
with a kind of fresh mouldering earth, that some time or other 
had a place in the composition of a human body. Upon this I 
began to consider with myself what innumerable multitudes of 
people lay confused together under the pavement of that ancient 
cathedral ; how men and women, friends and enemies, priests and 
soldiers, monks and prebendaries, were crumbled amongst one 
another, and blended together in the same common mass ; how 
beauty, strength and youth, with old age, weakness and 
deformity, lay undistinguished in the same promiscuous heap of 
matter." We may compare also Herbert's beautiful poem 
entitled Church Monumental No. xli. in Palgrave's ** Treasury of 
Sacred Song." The simple majesty of Beaumont's lines is the 
more remarkable in that the piece consists of ordinary rhyming 
couplets of four accents; the initial trochaic effect should be 

1. Mortall'ty: abstract for concrete. Addison calls West- 
minster Abbey a ** magazine of mortality" : comp. also Byron's 
Ode to Napoleon, *' Thy scales, Mortality, are just.*' 


3. royal bones: comp. King John, v. 7. 68, and Richard's 
famous soliloquy on the uncertainty of the kingly state, Rich. 11, 
iii. 2. 

5. bad realms. Here the relative is omitted, and in the 
next line * who ' may be taken as= * and they.' The omission of 
the relative shows the attributive force of the clause, and this 
use of * who ' is common : see Abbott, §§ 244, 263. 

9. acre. So Longfellow says of the burial-ground, 

" This is the field and Acre of our God, 
This is the place where human harvests grow." 

Comp. the term '(Jod's acre,' applied to a burial-ground (Ger. 

10. royallest seed. For example, the chapel of Henry VII. in 
Westminster Abbey contains the tombs of that king and of his 
queen and mother, of Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary, James I. 
and his queen, Charles II., William and Mary, Queen Anne, etc. 

12. for, because of : see Abbott, § 150. 

13. bones of birth ; bones of the great. ' Birth,' = high birth ; 
comp. certain uses of 'family,' 'descent,' etc., and K, John II. 
i. 430, " a match of birth." 

15. sands. An incorrect reading is ' wands.' 

17. world of pomp, etc. Comp. 3 Hen. VI. v. 2, "Why, what 
is pomp, rule, reign, but earth and dust ? And, live we how we 
can, yet die we must." 

18. once dead, dead once for all : see Abbott, § 57. Comp. L 3 
of No. vin. 

No. vn. 


This poem on the might of death is from Cupid and Death, a 
masque which appeared in a small volume published in 1653. 
Nothing is more remarkable in the literature of the early part of 
the seventeenth century than the delightful sones scattered 
throughout the plays of that period ; take, for example, Nos. vii. , 
vin., xvin., etc. in this book. Of Shirley's sonss, Mr. Saintsbury 
says : "Every one knows ' The glories of our blood and state,' but 
this is by no means his only good song ; it worthily closes the list of 
the kind — a kind which, when brought together and perused 
separately, exhibits, perhaps, as well as anything else of equal 
compass, the extraordinary abundance of poetical spirit in the 
age. For son^s like these are not to be hammered out by the 
most diligent msenuity, not to be spun by the light of the most 
assiduouiuy fed lamp. The wind of such inspiration blows where, 


and only where, it listeth." It has been said of Shirley (1596- 
1666) that he brought sweet echoes of the grand Elizabethan 
music into the playhouse of the time of Charles I. 

3. blnd-ln, enclose : comp. Rich. II, ii. 1, *' bound in with the 
triumphant sea " j also 2 Hen. VI. iii. 2. 

5. As night or day. Comp. No. lxv., 1. 18, ''half of the globe 
is thine." 

7. forgotten ashes : comp. Rich. II. i. 2, ** Pale ashes of the 
house of Lancaster " ; also den. xviii. 27. 

8. ye : here used as object. In the Elizabethan dramatists 
there is a very loose use of the two forms, ye and you; see 
Abbott, § 236, and note. No. ii., L 7. 

common men. Comp. Hen. V. iv. 7, "Sort our nobles 
from our common men." In the year 1411 we find a comun man 
distinguished from a high official : see also the New English 
Dictionary for illustrations. 

12. Nor ... confined: 'nor is he confined to these alone'; for 
death comes to men in many other ways. Comp. B. and F. 's 
Custom of Courts, ii. 2, ' ' Death hath so many doors to let out 

14. More quaint, more fine or delicate. See notes, Hymn Nat. 
194 ; Lycidas, 139 ; UAU. 5. 

15. will use ... Shall have. WUl here denotes choice or purpose 
(Abbott, § 316) : shall denotes inevitable result (Abbott, §§ 315, 
317). With the whole poem compare the dirge in Ford's Broken 
Heart : 

" Crowns may flourish and decay, 
Beauties shine, but fade away ; 
Youth may revel, yet it must 
Lie down in a bed of dust. 
Earthly honours flow and waste. 
Time alone doth change and last," etc. 



This piece forms the song of Calchas in Shirley's Contention of 
Ajax and Ulysses^ iii. (printed, 1659), *sung before the body of 
Ajax as going to the Temple.' See Homer^ Odyssey, xi. This 
song is said to have been a favourite with Charles II. 

1. blood, lineage. A common reading is 'birth.' Comp. Tr, 
and Cress, iii 3, " a prince of Hood, a son of Priam." 


4. icy hand on kings. Comp. Ovid, Am. iii. 9. 19 : 

** Scilicet omne sacrum Mors importuna profanat, 
Omnibus obscuras injicit ilia manus " ; 

also Horace, Odes, i. 4. 12, pallida morSt etc. 

8. Bcsrtlie and spade. Emblems of humble life, as in Swift's 

** Here nature never difference made, 
Between the sceptre and the spade.*' 

9. reap : comp. Bev. xiv. 15 ; Par, Lost, ii. 339. 

11. strong nerves. Comp. Ma/:b. iii. 4, '* My firm nerves shall 
never tremble " ; also our use of to nerve = to strengthen, Tterve- 
less=wea,ls., etc. The Greek neuron = a, sinew ; comp. * sinews of 
war ' (called by Milton in his Sonnet, xvii., ** nerves of war.**) 

12. They tame, etc., 'after all they merely overcome one 
another * : they cannot conquer death. 

13. Early or late, sooner or later. 

17. In this stanza the poet passes with striking effect to the 
form of direct address. 

garlands, the victor's wreath. But see Trench's Select 
Glossary on the use of garland in the technical sense of ' royal 
crown or diadem,* as in 2 Hen. VI. iv. 4. 

19. purple altar. The colour is here associated with regal or 
military state (as in Par. Lost, xi. 240); or it may denote 'blood- 
stained,* as in Dryden's " Tiber rolling with a purple flood** : 
see Marsh*s Lect. on Eng. Lang. iii. 

20. Tictor-Tictim. The two parts of this beautiful compound 
word are not cognate. Milton has ' victor * in this attributive 
sense; comp. Par. Lost, vi. 525, 590. Compare "the vanquished 
victor'* of No. Lxvn., 1. 97. 

24. Smell sweet, etc. Comp. Habington*s To Castara, 

" Fame will build columns on our tomb. 
And add a perfume to our dust '* ; 

also, from the same poet, "The bad man*s death is horror, but 
the just keeps something of his glory in his dust.*' 

No. IX. 


The title is Milton's own. This sonnet is inspired by his high 
conception of the poet's task, and of the power that lies in the 
name of a great poet to avert disaster and to requite those who 



honour the Muses. It was written in November, 1642. The 
battle of Edgehill was foucht in October of that year, and the 
royal army then marched to attack London. This was the 
'assault' expected, and Milton, having been an active pam- 
phleteer on the side of the Parliament, might naturally nave 
feared that his house would not escape the Royalists if they 
succeeded in entering the city. The * assault * never took place, 
for the royal army retreated when the parliaanentary army, 
under the Earl of Essex, moved out to meet it. 

1. Colonel is here a trisyllable, though usually a dissyllable. 
It is from the Ital. Colonelh, the leader of the little column (i.e. 
at the head of a regiment). It has no connection with Lat. 
eoronaf a crown. {Skeat. ) 

EDlght in Arms, a title conferred on persons of high rank as 
a recognition of military prowess. See Shak. Rich. IL i. 3. 

2. Whose chance. This is a peculiar construction, which may 
be resolved into * whose lot it may be to seize.' It implies doubt, 
not that the house will be seized, but as to the partic\ilar officer 
that mi^ seize it. 

these defenceless doors. The word ' these ' is used because 
the sonnet was written as if to be affixed to the door of Milton's 
house ; it, would thus be a mute appeal to the besiegers. 

3. ever, at any time, on any occasion. 

4. him witbin, etc., 'protect from injury him that is within.' 

5. He can requite thee, i.e. the poet can reward you by 
rendering you famous "in his immortal verse." Comp. Shake- 
speare's Son, 81 — 

** Your monument shall be my gentle verse." 
* Requite ' is literally the same as 'repay,* from re and quit = freed 
or discharged. 

charms, magic verses : comp. II Pens. 83 and note. 

6. call, * bring down or bestow fame on such honourable acts 
as these,' viz., guarding the poet's house and protecting him. 

8. Whatever clime. These words are in apposition to * lands 
and seas.' 'Clime' (comp. Com. 977) is radically the same as 
'climate,* and here used in its original sense = a region of the 
earth. ' Climate ' has now the secondary sense of ' atmospheric 

The meaning of the line is, ' Wherever the sun shines.' 

9. the Moses' bower, poetical language for ' the poet's house ' ; 
comp. Lye. 19. 

10. Emathian conqueror, Alexander the Great (the Sikander of 
Indian history), king of Macedonia, of which Emathia was a 


bid spare : see note. Are, 13. 

11. honse of Pindanu. Pindar (b.o. 622-442), the greatest 
lyric poet of Greece, was said to have been bom at Thebes ; this 
city had been subdued by Philip of Macedonia, the father of 
Alexander the Great, on whose accession the Thebans attempted 
to recover their liberty (b.o. 336). Alexander, to punish them, 
destroyed the whole city with the exception of the temples and 
Pindar's house. 

temple and tower. Some legends affirm that the temples 
were not destroyed. 

12. repeated air, t.e. the air or chorus having been recited. 
The adjective here is not a mere attribute, but has the force of 
an adverbial clause giving the circumstances under which the 
event took place ; ' the air had the power to save Athens, hecattae 
it was repeated.' Comp. the Latin use of participles and of 
clauses with qui and quippe qui in such cases. 

13. sad Electra's poet, Euripides (b.c. 480-406), here called 
''sad Electra's poet" because in one of his tragedies he deals 
with the history and character of Electra, the daughter of 
Agamemnon, and because it was a chorus from this tragedy that 
moved the Spartans to spare Athens. Euripides (like Homer 
and Ovid) was one of Milton's favourite classical authors. 

The adjective 'sad' is sometimes taken as qualifying 'poet,' 
Euripides having been of a serious and austere disposition : such 
an arrangement of the words would not be allowable in modern 
English, though there would be no ambiguity in Latin. The 
more obvious reading is to refer ' sad ' to Electra, who, owing to 
the murder of her father by her mother, often bewails her sad lot. 

14. To save, etc. The Spartans took Athens, B.C. 404, and 
deliberated as to how the city should be dealt with. It was pro- 
posed by some to destroy it utterly, but a Phocian singer having 
recited part of a chorus from the Electra of Euripides while the 
decision was still in suspense, the hearers were so moved that 
they agreed it would be dishonourable to destroy a city that had 
given birth to such great poets. Comp. Browning's Balaustion'a 

No. X. 


This sonnet, pfobably written in 1655, is one of Milton's first 
references in poetry to that blindness which had gradually crept 
upon him since 1644, and had in 1652 blotted out his sight for 
ever. He continued, in spite of his affliction, to act as Secretary 



for Foreign Tongues to the Council of State daring Cromweira 
protectorate : the references in this sonnet to his enforced 
'waiting' are to the poetical work for which he considered 
himself set apart. 

1. spent, exhausted. 

2. Ere half my days, ac, 'are spent.' His blindness was total 
when he was 44 years old : he died in 1674. 

dark world and wide. These are touching words in the 
mouth of a blind man. 

3. that one talent. The full construction is, ^and (when I 
consider how) that one talent, which (it) is death to hide, (is) 
lodged with me useless.' Talent (Lat. taXentunij a balance) = 
something weighed in a balance ; hence applied to ' money ' and 
metaphorically (as in the Scripture parable of the talents) to 
' God s ffift ' : the word has thus acquired the sense of ' a natural 
gift or sui>ility/ and there is even an adjective from it — 'talented' 
= clever, possessing natural ability. Milton modestly compares 
himself to the servant who had received only one talent (see 
Matt, XXV.). 

which is death to hide, ».e. to hide which is death. To 
leave one's powers unemployed is equivalent to mental and 
spiritual deafch. 

4. more bent, 8C. ' is ' : ' bent,' determined. 

6. lest He returning chide, t.e. lest He, on His return, reprove 
me for sloth. This use of the present participle, instead of an 
adverbial clause, is a Latinism : see note, Son, xiii. 14. In the 
parable mentioned above, we read : " After a long time the lord 
of these servants cometh and maketh a reckoning with them." 

7. Doth Qod exact day-labour. The allusion is to St, John, 
ix. 4 : ** We must work the works of him that sent me, while it 
is day ; the night cometh, when no man can work." 

light denied : absolute construction, equivalent (as often in 
Latin) to a conditional clause, = if light is denied. 

8. I fondly ask. ' Fondly ' = foolishly : see II Peru, 6, note. 
This is the principal clause on which the preceding seven lines, 
depend : the whole passage well illustrates the involved nature 
of Milton's syntax. It may be analyzed thus — 

A. Principal clause : I fondly ask, etc. 

Under ( 1. Doth God . . denied (subet. clause), 
iu (2. When I consider . . chide (adv. olaxise). 

Under /(I) How my light is tf^>6nt (subst. clause). 

2. I (2) (How) that one talent . . useless (subst. clause^ 
Under (1) a. Ere half . . wide (adv. clause). 
IT ri/»r f9\ i *• Which is death to hide (adj. clause), 
unaer ^z; -^ ^ Though my soul . . account (adv. clause). 
Under e. (a) Lest . . chide (adv. clause). 

10. his own gifts, t.e. the talents entrusted by Him to man. 


10. Wbo : for constmotion, see Abbott, § 251. 

12. thousands, t.e. thousands of angels. 'Angel' is literally 
'messenger.' See Par, Lost, iv. 677. 

13. post, hasten. Primarily po«^ s something fixed; then a 
fixed place or stage on a line of road ; then a person who travels 
from stage to stage ; and finally any quick traveller. 

14. stand and wait, i.e. ' those who, unable to do more, calmly 
submit to God's purposes, also render Him genuine service.' 

No. XL 


Therb are two pieces by Sir Henry Wotton in this book (Nos. xi. 
and XXVI.) ; the latter is '* a fine specimen of gallant and courtly 
compliment," and the former shows that the author, though a 
courtier and a diplomatist, was master of his own conscience 
and desire : as Mr. Hales puts it, he was one '* who, living on the 
world and a master of its ways and courtesies, was yet never of 
it — ^was never a worldling. " His advice to the young poet Milton, 
when the latter was starting for the continent after having sent 
Sir Henry a copy of his ComuSf is well known : " * Thoughts 
close, countenance open' will go safely over the whole world." 
The verses on A Happy Life are characterized by Palgrave as "a 
fine specimen of a peculiar class of poetry — that written by 
thoughtful men who practised this art but little. Jeremy Taylor, 
Bishop Berkeley, Dr. Johnson, Lord Macaulay, have left similar 
specimens. " This piece was probably written about 1 614 ; it was 
quoted from memory to Drunmiona of Hawthomden by Ben 
Jonson in 1618 or 1619. There is great variety in the readings 
of the poems, e.g. 'not tied,' * untied,' in stanza 2; 'Or vice,' 
'nor vice,' in stanza 3; 'accusers,' 'oppressors,' in stanza 4; 
'well-chosen,' 'religious,' in stanza 5, etc. 

3 armour : comp. 1. 3, No. viu. ; also Par. Lost, xil. 491, 
" spiritual armour, able to resist Satan's assaults." 

4. simifle tmth, the plain truth (Latin simplex, single, without 
duplicity) , see Trench, Study of Words, iii 

6. still, always : this sense is frequent in poetry. 

10. Nor. The construction is ' that chance or vice doth raise.' 
Nor is due to the influence of the preceding none. 

Wlio never understood, etc. ; who are totally unversed in 
that flattery which is intended to injure, and who, though 
ignorant of statecraft, are well acquainted with the laws of a 
good life. 



15. neither ... Nor. The alternatives are 'state ' (prosperity or 
splendour) and ' ruin.' 

17. * Who late and «arly doth pray God to lend more of His 
grace than of His gifts.' 

19. entertains, whiles away, beguiles. This use is common in 
Shakespeare, and is found in Milton's Far, Lost, ii. 526, '* enter- 
tain the irksome hours. " But we do not now speak of entertaining 
the time ; we entertain owreelvea or others, Comp. No. xvi. for a 
similar idea. 

23. Lord ; 8c. he is. 

No. XII. 


These lines, which Trench entitles "True Growth," are from 
"A Pindaric Ode to the immortal memory and friendship of that 
noble pair. Sir Lucius Gary and Sir H. Morison," the ode being 
comprised in the collection called Undertvoods. The ode consists 
of four strophes or turns, with antistrophes and epodes, and the 
extract here given forms the third strophe. In the first strophe 
occur the lines: "For what is life, if measured by the space, Not 
by the act?" 

2. doth make, etc. : (that) doth make Man (to) be better. 

3. standing, etc. The opposed terms used throughout this 
piece should be noted ; * bulk ' and ' small proportions,' ' three 
hundred year' and * short measures,' 'standing' and 'fall,' 'oak' 
and 'log.' Man's growth is not to be estimated in terms of space 
or time, but, like the flower's, by the extent to which he fulfils 
the end of his being: comp. Par. Lost, viii. 90, "Great or bright 
infers not excellence." 

year. In nouns expressing a specific quantity or number, 
the singular form is often used: comp. a twelvemon^/i, a fortn^A^, 

4. dry, bald, and sere. Oomp. As You Like It, iv. 3, "Under an 
oak whose bouehs were mossed with skge. And high top haM with 
dry antiquity.'* For 'sere,* comp. Lye, 2, note. 

8. It was, etc. : sc, ' for ' or ' because.' 



This poem, called by Herbert The Pulley (as indicating that 
which draws man to God), is from his collection of sacred lyrics 


entitled 7%e Church, or (a name given after Herbert's death), The 
Temple or Sacred Poems aiid Private Ejaculations, published in 
1631. The collection has a certain amount of coherence due to 
the fact that it reveals the spiritual experience and conflict of 
Herbert's own life ; it forms " the enigmatical history of a diffi- 
cult resignation" to a life of disappointment. As Mr. Gosse says: 
" Herbert, and with him most of the sacred poets of the age, are 
autobiographical ; they analyze their emotions, they take them- 
selves to task, they record their struggles, their defeats, their 
consolation." The connection of thought in Herbert's poems is 
indicated to some extent by the titles of the pieces : The Church 
Porch ('a rule of life for himself and other pious courtiers'), 
Superliminare (On the Threshold), TJie Altar, The Saerifioe, Church 
Music, Church Loch and Key, The Church Floor, etc. They are 
full of the conceits and quaint turns of expression common in the 
' metaphysical ' writers of the first half of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, but the ingenuity is (in Herbert's case) justified by the 
skill with which he marries sound to sense, by the music of his 
verse, and by his felicity of expression. The present poem has 
been described as "the story of the world written with the point 
of a diamond"; Strength, Beauty, Wisdom, Honour, and Plea- 
sure, are gifts of God to man, which do not, after all, satisfy his 
being. **Man never is, but always to be blest," yet the denial of 
the one remaining gift, Rest, leads man through sheer weariness 
and despair to seek peace in God. 

2. glass : compare the box in the mythological story of Pan- 
dora, and contrast the Christian and the Pagan points of view. 

5. Contract, etc : be brought together. 

8. made a stay, stayed his hand. 

No. XIV. 


Thebb are three pieces by Vaughan in this collection, Nos. xiv., 
Liv., and LXVi. On the first of these Mr. Palgrave says : " These 
beautiful verses should be compared with Wordsworth's great 
Ode on ImmxyrtaXity ; and a copy of Vaughan's very rare Uttle 
volume appears in the list of Wordsworth's library. In imagina- 
tive intensity Vaughan stands beside his contemporary Maxwell. " 
The poem occurs in SUex ScintiUans, Le. The Flint (of the heart) 
yielding sparks (of spiritual fire), a collection of poems of which 
the &rst edition of the first part appeared in 1650 ; the second 
edition appeared in 1847. Cm points of similarity to Words- 
worth's great ode see Trench's Household Book of English Poetry, 


notes ; and the close comparison made by Mr. George Macdonald. 
The whole subject is discussed at length in Shairp*s Sketches in 
History and Poetry; he says, "Wordsworth, we may be sure, had 
read ' The Retreate/ and, if he read it, could not have failed to 
be arrested by it. No doubt, the whole, conception is expanded by 
Wordsworth into a fulness of thought and a splendour of imagery 
which Vaughan has nowhere eqmdled. But the points of re- 
semblance between the two poets are numerous and remarkable. 
The Platonic idea of i.vA.fufqai's is at the root of both — the belief 
that this is not our first state of existence, that we are haunted 
by broken memories of an ante-natal life. Indeed,, this belief 
was held by Vaughan, and expressed in several of his other 
poems much more explicitly than it is by Wordsworth." In 
contrast to the marked resemblances, marked dlfiferences in the 
two poems have been pointed out : " The fading of the early 
vision Wordsworth attributes to custom, lying upon the soul 
' with a weight heavy as frost ' ; Vaughan, on the other hand, 
traces it to a moral cause, to wit, his ' teaching his tongue to 
wound his conscience with a sinful sound'; and Wordsworth 
has not brought home the sense of immortality present in the 
vivid feelings of childhood so penetratingly as Vaughan has 
done in these two consummate lines — * And felt through all this 
fleshly dresse Bright shootes of everlastingnesse.' " 

Vaughan looked up to Herbert as his master in poetry, and, 
though the latter has written nothing equal to The Retreat, 
Herbert's usual level of poetic excellence is higher than his 
disciple's. Besides carefully reading Wordsworth's ode along- 
side of The Retreat^ the student may refer to the passage of 
Wordsworth's Prelude^ L, beginning **Need I dread from thee 
Harsh judgments " ; also Keat's Ode on the Poets {O, T. iv. 
ccix.) ; Wordsworth's The Inner Vision {G, T, iv. cccxvii.) ; and 
Byron's Yonth and Age {O, T. cclxvi.). 

2. Shined, shone. In B!arly English shine is a strong verb, 
shinen being past part. , and sJione past tense. But as early as 
the fourteenth century shined occurs as a past tense : comp. 
Milton's Son, xxiii. 11, *'Love, sweetness, goodness in her 
person shined so clear." Comp. note. Hymn Nat. 202. 

4. my second race, my second existence. Comp. the Platonic 
doctrine of Reminiscence, and Wordsworth's note in connection 
with his own Ode ; also ** Blank misgivings of a creature Moving 
about in worlds not realized." 

6. wblte, celestial tbought. Comp. the opening stanza of 
Wordsworth's ode : 

"There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, 
The earth, and every common sight 

To me did seem 
Apparelled in celestial ligJU," 


7. abOTe A mile, more than a mile. In Wordsworth's ode 
life is a daily journey *' farther from the E^t," from the original 
celestial life ; here the child is said to have made but a diort 
jonmey, and is still able to catch glimpses of the glories he has 
left behind. 

14. sbadowB, etc. : comp. Wordsworth's ''shadowy recollec- 
tions," and Tennyson's In Mem, xliv. 

17. bladk art, knowledge of evil. Contrast with 'white' in 
line 6. 

18. several, separate, distinct. Radically aevercU is connected 
with separate. It is now used only with plural nouns. Gomp. 
Par, Logt, iL 524, " each his several way." The idea of the 
poet is that every human power involves a capacity for its 
misuse, for some form of evil. Comp. Comus, 839, "through the 
porch and inlet of each sense." See note, Hymn Nai, 234. 

19. fleshly dress: comp. II Pens, 92, "her mansion in this 
JksKly nook," and note there given ; also No. xuv., 1. 24. 

24. train, course. 

26. City of palm trees: comp. "palms of Paradise" {In 

27. too much stay. It is impossible, after the experiences of 
life, to return to the pure innocence and the insight of infancy. 
Years bring, as Wordsworth says, ** the inevitable yoke." 

"Fall soon thy soul shall have her earthly freight, 
And custom lie upon thee with a weight 
Heavy as frost, and deep almost as life." 

Comp. Sams, Agon, 1670, ** drunk with idolatry"; and Words- 
worth's Nature of the Poet {0, T, cccxxiii.) : 

" So once it would have been, — 'tis so no more ; 

I have submitted to a new control : 
A power is gone, which nothing can restore ; 

A deep distress hath humanized my soul. 
Not for a moment could I now behold 

A smiling sea, and be what I have been : 
The feeling of my loss will ne'er be old ; 

This, which I Know, I speak with mind serene." 

31. urn: comp. Lye, 20. 

32. that state, %.e, angel-infancy: when I die I would fain 
return to my former innocence. Shairp notes that " there is one 
thought about childhood in Vaughan which Wordsworth has 
not. It is this — that hereafter in the perfected Christian man- 
hood the child's heart will reappear. His poem of The Retreat 
closes with the wish that 

" When this dust falls to the urn. 
In that state I came return." 


Again, in another poem, he calls childhood 

" An age of mysteries which he 
Must live twice ^ho would God's face see, 
Which angels guard, and with it play, 
Angels ! whom foul men drive away." 

No. XV. 


This sonnet, written in 1655 or 1656, proves that even in his 
blindness Milton could be L' Allegro as well as II Penseroso. It 
is addressed to a son of that Henry Lawrence who was President 
of Cromwell's Council (1654) and a member of his House of Lords 
(1657). We do not know which of his sons is meant, but it was 
probably Henry, then about twenty-two years of age. He was 
one of a number of yoimg men who, admiring Milton's senius, 
delighted to visit him, to talk with him, read to him, wafl: with 
him, or write for him. 

1. of virtnous father virtuous son : comp. Horace — 

** matre pulchra, filia pulchrior." 

2. Now that the fields, etc. : now, when the fields, etc. The 
use of * that '* for ' when ' was once extremely common, but its 
use is now rare except after the adverb ' now.' (Abbott, § 284.) 

ways are mire. The use of the noun ' mire ' instead of the 
adjective * miry ' is significant of the state of the London streets 
in rainy weather. 

3. Where shall we sometimda meet 7 a question which implies 
that, as they can neither walk into the country nor in the streets, 
they must meet indoors. 

4. Help waste, i.e, help each other to spend : see note, Arc. 13. 
Compare Horace, '* morantem saepe diem mero fregi," Odes, 
ii. 7 ; also Milton's Epitctphium Damonia, 45. 

what may be won, etc. : ' thus gaining from the inclement 
season whatever good may be got by meeting together ' ; the 
pleasures indoors will compensate for the loss of our walks out- 

6. Favonins : a frequent name in Latin poetry for Zephyr, the 
West Wind (see UAlleg. 19) ; it was this wind that introduced 
the spring, * melting stem winter,' as Horace says. In one of 
his masques Jonson calls Favonius *' father of the spring." 

relnsplre : here used literally, ' to breathe new life into.' 


8. neither sowed nor spun: an allusion to Matt, vi. 28, 
'* Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, 
neither do they spin, yet I say unto you that even Solomon in 
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. " ' Spun ' is here 
a past tense ; see note. Lye, 102. 

9. neat. This is from Lat. nUidua, bright, attractive, 
light and choice, temperate and well-chosen. 

10. Of AtUc taste, ' such as would please the simple and refined 
Athenian taste. ' There may also be a kind of allusion to the fact 
that their food would be seasoned with ' Attic salt,' a common 
term for sparkling wit — for what are called in L* Allegro "quips 
and cranks." 

11. artful, showing art or skill. This is its radical sense; it 
is now used in a less dignified sense, viz., wily or cunning. A 
similar change of meaning is seen in artless, cunning, etc. See 
note, UAUeg, 141. 

12. WarUe : infinitive after ' hear.' 
Immortal notes : comp. UAUeg. 137. 

Tascan, Italian ; Tuscany being a compartment of Italy. 

13. spare To Interpose, etc., i,e. 'use them sparingly.' The 
Lat. parcere with an infinitive = 'to refrain from ' ; and the Latin 
verb tenvperare may mean either ' to refrain from ' or ' to spare.' 
There is therefore no doubt of Milton's meaning. 

14. not tinwlse, very wise. By a figure of speech the two 
negatives strengthen the affirmative sense : comp. ' no mean 
applause ' in the next sonnet, and note. No. xix. , 1. 2. 

No. XVI. 


This sonnet was written about the same time as the preceding 
one, and in a similar mood of cheerfulness. Milton wishes, in 
Cyriack Skinner's company, to throw ofif for a time the cares and 
worries of his Secretaryship, and calls upon his friend to lay 
aside his study of politics and of mathematical and physical 
science. Cyriack Skinner was grandson of Sir Edward Coke, the 
famous lawyer and judge (1549-1634), and author of numerous 
legal works of great value. 

1. bench Of British Themis. Coke was Solicitor-General in 
1592, and afterwards Attorney-General. ' Bench,' a long seat, 
hence a judge's seat, and so used metaphorically for Law and 
Justice. Themis, ''the personification of the order of things 
established by law, custom, and equity." 



2. no mean applause : see note, No. xv., 1. 14, above. 

3. Pronounced. Pronuntiatio is a Latin term for the decision 
of a judge, and we speak of a judge pronounciiig sentence. Gomp. 
Lye. 83. 

in bis TOlumes, e.g, the Institutes of the Laws of JSngland, 
Beporta, in 13 vols., and Commentaries on LytUeton, 

4. at their bar, i.e. in administering the law: 'bar' is used 
metaphorically for 'a legal tribunal.' 

wrench, pervert, twist. Wrench and wrong are both allied 
toimn^; so that wrong means strictly 'twisted,' just as right 
means 'straight.' 

5. ' To-day resolve with me to drench deep thoughts in such 
mirth as will not afterwards bring regret.' 'To drench deep 
thoughts' may be compared with such phrases as 'to drown 

6. after, afterwards. 

7. Let Budid rest, etc. : lay aside the study of mathematics 
physical science, and political questions. Skinner was a diligent 
student of all these subjects. Euclid, the celebrated mathe- 
matician, is here by metonymy put for his works : the name has 
almost become synonymous with Geometry. 

Archimedes (b.c. 287-212), a mathematician and physicist of 
the highest order, lived at Syracuse : when that city was taken, 
he was killed while intent upon a mathematical problem. He 
wrote on conic sections, hydrostatics, etc- 

8. what the Swede intend, sc. ' let rest.' The verb being plural 
'Swede' must here be plural, just as we say 'the Swiss, the 
French,' 'the Dutch,' etc., to denote a whole nation. 'Swede,' 
however, is not now so used,' the adjective being ' Swedish ' and 
the noun (singular only) ' Swede ' ; hence some editions read 
resounds. When this sonnet was written, Charles X. of Sweden 
was at war with Poland and Russia, and Louis XIV. of France 
with Spain. 

9. To measure life, etc., i.e. learn in good time how short life 
is, so that you may make the most of it. As Milton says in Par. 
Lost, " What thou liv'st Live well ; how long or short permit to 
Heaven." * Betimes ' (by-time) = in good time : the final s is the 
adverbial suffix. 

11. For other things, etc., i.e. Heaven has tenderly ordained 
that there shall be a time for mirth as well as anxious thought, 
and disapproves of the conduct of those who make a display of 
their anxiety and refuse to rejoice even when they may well do so. 
Comp. " Learn to jest in good time : there's a time for all things " 
{C(ym. o/ Errors^ ii. 2); also "Be not t^heref ore anxious for th^ 


morrow : for the morrow will be anxious for itself : sufficient 
unto the day is the evil thereof '' {Matt. zi. 34). 

No. XVII. 


This hymn is printed in Davison's Poetical Rhapsody with the 
heading, '-This hymn was sung by Amphitrite, Thamesis, and 
other Sea-Nymphs, in Gray's Inn Masque, at the Court, 1594." 

On Campion's lines Basia (No. xxv. O. T.^ Bk. i.) Mr. Palgrave's 
note is : **From one of the three Song-books of T. Campion, who 
appears to have been author of the words which he set to music 
His merit as a lyrical poet (recognized by his own time, but since 
then foreotten) has been again brought to light by Mr. BuUen's 
taste and research." See also Rhys^ edition of Campion (Lyric 
Poets Series). Campion was a physician by profession, and was 
famous in his own day as a poet and a musician. He appealed 
first to the public as a poet in 1595 in Poematat a collection of 
Latin elegiacs and epigrams. In 1602 he published Observations 
on the Art of English Poesie, in which he disparaged *' rimine " ; 
in 1602 he was the 'inventor' of a masque presented before 
King James I. at Whitehall, and from time to time he brought 
out other masques, in which he found scope for the display of his 
musical and poetical genius. Amongst English masque-writers 
the praise of Neptune is a favourite subject, affording abundant 
opportunity for delioate flattery of the rulers of our island- 
kingdom : comp. especially Milton's Comus, IL 18-29. On Cam- 
pion see further in the notes on Nos. xxxin. and lix. 

1. Neptune's empire. Com. Ham. i. 1. 118, "the moist star 
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands." The student 
should refer also to Milton^s GomuSy 11. 867-889, with the allusion 
to "earth-shaking Neptune's mace," "scaly Triton's winding 
shell," "the songs of Siren's sweet," "the Nymphs that nightly 
dance/' etc.; also to Jonson's masque, Neptune^ s Triumph, 

" The mighty Neptune, mighty in his styles. 
And large command of waters and of isles." 

2. wliose, of whom. The antecedent is the genitive ' Neptune's 
= of Neptune: see Abbott, § 218. Comp. Par, Lost, ii. 69, "the 
prison of His tyranny whOy** etc. 

5. scaly nation, the fishes and other inhabitants of the sea. 
The sea-gods, the Tritons, were represented in mythology as 
half-man, half-fish. Comp. Comus, 18-27. Milton applies the 
epithet scaly to Triton, to Sin, and to the crocodile : comp. Pope's 
Windsor Forest, 139. 


11. Mtons. 'Triton,' as a singular term, applies to the son 
of Poseidon (Neptune) and Amphitrite : he was the trumpeter of 
Neptune, the thunder of the ocean being the blowing of his 
conch or shell ( * wreathed horn ' in Wordsworth). As a plural 
the name applies to Neptune's attendants. 

16. Ssrrens, sirens (Gr. ^eiprjves), sea-nymphs who by their 
songs lured mariners to destruction. In the Odyssey they are 
two in number, but more generally three are named (see Comus, 
253, 878). 

18. reply, re-echo : the object of the verb is praisCy 1. 20. 

19. noise. On the wider sense of noise, see note, // Pens, 61. 

20. empery, kingdom or sovereign authority ; from Old Fr. 
emperie (Lat. imperium), Comp. Cymh. i. 7, and Hen. V, i. 2, 
"ample empery O'er France." The word is now only poetical or 
rhetorical ; it occurs in Scott, Keats, and Ck)leridge. 

No. xvin. 


This is a song sung by Hesperus in Ben Jonson's GyntlMs 
Revels, or the Fountain of Self -Love, " a comical satire," acted in 
1600 by the children of the Queen's Chapel. The play was 
designed to ridicule the quaint absurdities of the courtiers, 
and hence excited the indignation of the members of ** the special 
fountain of manners, the Court." The Hymn to Diana opens the 
third scene of Act v. , and is sung by Hesperus to the accompani- 
ment of music. Cynthia is a surname of Diana, the goddess 
unmoved by love. When Apollo was regarded as identical with 
the Sun or Helios, nothing was more natural than that his sister 
should be regarded as Selene or the Moon, and accordingly 
the Greek Artemis is, at least in later times, the goddess of 
the moon. At Rome Diana, identified with Artemis, was the 
coddess of light ; she was also regarded as the goddess of the 
nocks and the chase and the huntress among the immortals. In 
works of art she is represented sometimes as the goddess of the 
moon, having her head veiled and a crescent moon above her 
forehead ; and sometimes as a huntress with bow and arrow " : 
see note, U Pens. 59. The metrical structure and rhyming 
arrangement of this hymn are noteworthy. In the dedication to 
Cynthia's Revels, Queen Elizabeth and King James I. are alluded 
to as Cynthia and Phoebus. 

1. chaste and fair. Comp. Collins* 0(2e to the Passions, "the 
oak-crowned sisters and their chaste-eyed Queen " ; A.8 You Like It, 


ftYMN TO DIANA. 191 

iii. 2, "and thou, thrice crowned queen of nieht" ; ComuSf 441 ; 
Pericles, ii. 5, "shell wear Diana's livery"; M. of V, i. 2; 
M, N. D. ii. 2 ; 1 Hen. IV. i. 2 ; etc 

2. Now, now that. 

3. sUver diair. Silver (also pearl, crystal, etc.) is associated 
with the moon as gold is with the sun; and all the attributes of 
Diana as goddess of the moon are white and clear like silver. 
Comp. Per, iv. 5. 2, '* celestial Diana, goddess argentine** ; Per. 
v. 2. 249, "by my silver bow"; Shelley's Skylark, "the arrows of 
that silver sphere " ; Scott's Kenilworthy introd. , ' ' The moon, 
sweet regent of the sky, silvered the walls of Cumnor Hall " ; 
L. L. L. iv. 3, " Now shines the silver moon," etc. 

4. State in wonted manner. Comp. //. Pens. 37, "keep thy 
wonted state," note. In Arcades, 14 and 81, there is a reference to 
the older and more restricted use of the word — a seat of honour 
or a canopy : the whole passage is worth quoting here : 

" Mark what radiant state she spreads 
In circle round her shinine throne, 
Shooting her benms like suver threads : 
This, this is she alone 
Sitting like a goddess bright 
In the centre of her light." 

On * wonted,' see notes II. Pens. 37, and Hymn Na>t. 10. 

5. Hespems: see note, LycidaSf 30. In the present case 
Hesperus is the singer of the hymn. The planet Venus, as the 
morning star, was called Phosphorus or Lucifer, and, as the 
evening star, Hesperus. See Tennyson's /n Jf em. 121, "Sweet 
Hesper-Phosphor, double name." 

6. excellently, surpassingly. The use of this adverb to modify 
an adjective was once very common. 

7. enTions. In Bom. and Jul. ii. 2. 46, this epithet is applied 
to the moon herself. 

11. wished, wished for. Comp. Comus, 574, "his wished 
prey " ; and 960, * ' his vnshed presence " 

13. bow of pearl : comp. " the moon, like to a silver how New- 
bent in heaven" {M. N. D. i. 10). 

14. crystal-shining. Such compound epithets denoting like- 
ness (* shining like crystal ') are more common in the form ending 
ind OT ed, e.g. honey -mouthed, chicken-hearted, etc. 

16. how 4)iort soever, howsoever short. Comp. Par. Lost, ii. 260, 
"In wha^ place soever *^ ; S. A. 1015, ** which way soever men 
refer it." 


No. XIX. 


Crashaw's poems, partly secular, partly sacred, were published 
in 1646 under the title Steps to the Temple ; Sacred Poems, with 
other Delights of the Muses, The Wishes was probably written 
about 1 630-4 ; it consists of forty-two stanzas, but Mr. Palgrave 
has here reduced it to twenty-one. It is, next to Music^s Duel, 
the best-known of Crashaw^ poems. Simcox says: "Crashaw 
is full of diffuseness and repetition ; in the Wishes he puts in 
every fantastic way possible the hope that his Supposed Mistress 
will not paint ; often the variations are so insignificant that he 
can hardly have read the poem before sending it to press. " In the 
name he gave to his collected poems, Crashaw shows the influence 
of Herbert (see notes on No. xiii.), whom he resembles in his 
cast of thought, being " not inferior to him in richness of fancy, 
though his conceits are more strained, and less under the control 
of taste. His devotional strains exhibit great copiousness and 
beauty of language.'' Gosse points out that Crashaw's works 
present the omy important contribution to English literature 
made by a pronounced Catholic, embodying Catholic doctrine, 
during the whole of the seventeenth century. 

2. not ImposBlUe : an instance of the figure of speech called 
Litotes or Meiosis^ in which two negatives are used as a feeble 
equivalent of an affirmative : comp. Sams, Agon, 180, ** not un- 

She : comp. As You Like It, iii. 2. 10, "The unexpressive SJie ' ; 
also Abbott, irUrod, pp. 5, 14, and § 224, on He and She used for 
' man ' and ' woman. ' 

6. leaves of destiny, book of fate. 

8. studied, ordained. 

9. teach ... tread : see Abbott, § 349. 

11. take a shrine, etc., embody itself in. A shrine is a deposi- 
tory of sacred things; A.S. serin, an ark: comp. Gomus, 461, 
" the unpolluted temple of the mind " ; II Pens, 92, note ; and 
M, of V, ii. 7. 40, "this shrine, this mortal-breathing saint." 

14. Bespeak her to, engage her for : see Lye, 112, note ; Par, 
Lost, ii. 849 ; Hymn Nat, 76, note. 

18. tire: see note on 'well -attired,' Lye, 146; and compare 
Ttoo Gent. iv. 4. 190, A. and G, ii. 5. 22. 

glistizliiff : see note, Lye, 79. 


20. Taflkta. ''Taffeta, taffety, a thin glossy silk stufif, with 
wavy lustre {Fr., — ItcU., — Pera.): Persian tdftah, woven (Skeat). 
Comp. Chaucer's Prologue, 441 : 

** In sanguine and in perse he clad was, all 
Lined with taffata and with sendall." 

Comp. also ^* Taffata phrases, silken terms precise, Three-piled 
hyperboles " (L. L. L, v. 2), and see Brewer^s DicU cf Phrase 
ana Fable. 

tissue, cloth interwoven with eold or silver : comp. Hymn 
Nai, 146, *' the ^M«ti€d clouds." The word is cognate with ^«a;- 
ture {Fr, tissu, woven ; Lat, texere, to weave). 

can ; a finite verb : comp. Abbott, § 307. 

21. rampant. Ramp, " to rove, frish or jump about, to play 
gambols or wanton tricks " (Phillips, 1706). 

24. alone, by itself, without the help of art. 

26. shop. Comp. Ben Jonson's 7^ Forest, iv. : 

** I know thou whole art but a shop 
Of toys and trifles, traps and snares 
To take the weak, or make them stop." 

27. ope, open ; an adjective. Comp. Nares* Gloss., ''ope-tide," 
the early spring, the time of opening ; Comus, 626 ; Par, Lost, 
xi. 423 ; 8.A. 452 ; King John ii. 1. 449 ; Abbott, § 343. 

28. Sydnaean showdrs. Some verses are here omitted, referring 
to her cheek, lips, eyes, tresses, etc. In line 28 the allusion is 
either to the conversations in Sidney's Arcadia, or to Sidney 
himself as a model of ' gentleness ' in spirit and demeanour (Pal- 

frave). Queen Elizabeth called Sidney "the jewel of her 
ominions. " Compare Mr. Palgrave's note : * * Sidney's poetry 
is singularly unequal ; his short Ufe, his frequent absorption in 
public employment, hindered doubtless the development of his 
genius. His great contemporary fame, second only, it appears, 
to Spenser's, has been hence obscured. At times he is heavy and 
even prosaic ; his simplicity is rude and bare ; his verse un- 
melodious. These, however, are the 'defects of his merits.' In 
a certain depth and chivalry of feeling, — in the rare and noble 
quality of disinterestedness (to put it in one word), — he has no 
superior, hardly perhaps an equal, amongst our poets ; and after 
or beside Shakespeare's Sonnets, his Astrophel and Stella, in the 
editor's judgment, offers the most intense and powerful picture 
of the passion of love in the whole range of our poetry." 

32, day's forehead. Comp. Lycidas, 171, "Flames in the fore- 
head of the morning sky " ; Cor. ii. 1. 57, ** the forehead of the 
morning"; Comus, 733, "Imblaze the forehead of the deep," etc. 


33. down ... wlng^ of nlghti t.e. give soothing sleep. Compare 
n Pens, 146, and note, "dewy-feathered Sleep"; also Mach. ii. 
3. 81, '* Shake, ofif this doiony sleep, death's counterfeit." 

34. silken hours. Comp. Hen, V. ii., chorus, *' SUken dalli- 
ance in the wardrobe lies " ; also note on * tafifata,' line 20 above. 

37. Days, etc. The poet wishes that her days may be dbso- 
lutdy pleasant, not merely pleasant by contrast with sorrowful 

39. fore-spent, forspent, wasted: comp. F, Q. iv. 5. 34. 
"Rawbone checks /ore^pen^." The intensive prefix /or is fre- 
quently confused with /ore ; comp. forevHMted^ forego ^ etc. 

42. a dear mind. Comp. Milton's Comvs, 381-5, "He that 
has light within his own clear breast May sit i' the centre, and 
enjoy bright day. *' 

43. Life, etc. ; ' life that, in the courage of innocence, dares 
challenge Death to come at any moment' : comp. No. xi., 1. 6, 
" Whose soul is still prepared for death." *Say,' infinitive co- 
ordinate with * send,* and governed by * dares.' 

46. store. ' I wish her such store of good qualities that she 
may have little left to wish for.' On 'store,' comp. L'Alkg. 121, 

50. Her, here used substantively; "the not impossible She" 
of line 2. 

51. Weave tbem, i.e. weave (for) themselves. 

56. nnclothe, etc. : ' If such a person exist, I now reveal and 
clearly express what my wishes may have left vague.' 

62. ye ; see note. No. vii., 1. 8. 

63. fictions ; * though these are merely my fancies, yet may 
they be realized in her — be her history.* 

No. XX. 


This is given in Percy's Reliquea^ under the title Love will find 
out the way, and with the remark, " This ancient song is given 
from a modem copy." The great adventurer is Love, and the 
imagery throughout the piece is suggested by the classical Cupid, 
the god of love. He is represented as a wanton boy, playful and 
mi8(Uiievous, with bow, arrows, sometimes a torch, quiver, and 
wings ; the eyes are often covered, so that he shoots blindly. His 
darts could pierce the fish at the bottom of the sea, the birds in 


the air, and even the gods themselves. The immensity of space 
was his home. 

12. receipt, admission. Comp. the Biblical use of receive in 
Acts, i. 9 ; Mark, xvi. 19. 

14. fiut; A.S. fM8t, firm, tight. 

18. for, as regards ; in allusion to Cupid's being a mere boy. 
See Abbott, § 149. 

20. ftom, on account of. 

flight, the power of flying ; in allusion to his wings. 

23. Set, even if you should set. 

25. lose, get rid of, be freed from; comp. * to lose a fever.' 

34. stoop to your flat. To stoop is a term of falconry ; the 
hawk is said to stoop when descending with closed wings upon the 
quarry : see the terms used by Marvell in his fforatian Ode (No. 
IV., 1. 91, note). It would be an impossible task to teach an eagle 
to stoop to {i.e. in accordance with, at a signal from) the hand. 
For this use of to, comp. Lye, 33, 44, notes. 

35. inveigle. Radically to inveigle is ' to blind ' ; hence ' to 

With this account of Cupid compare the Proclamation of the 
Graces in Johnson's masque, produced at the marriage of Ramsay, 
Lord Haddington, to Lady Elizabeth Ratcliff : 

" Beauties, have you seen this toy. 
Called Love, a little boy, 
Almost naked, wanton, blind ; 
Cruel now, and then as kind ? 
If he be amongst ye, say : 
He is Venus' runaway." 

No. XXL 


Delicate humour, delightfully united to thought, at once simple 
and subtle. It is full of conceit and paradox, but these are 
imaginative, not as with most of our seventeenth century poets, 
intellectual only (Palgrave). See further in the notes on Nos. 
IV., LVii., LViii., and LXii. 

14. broke, broken: see Abbott, § 343, on the tendency in 
Elizabethan English to use the curtailed forms of the past 


14. wiaignB, banners, badges : Marvell has, 

** Then flowers their drowsy eyelids raise, 
Their silken ensigns each displays." 

16. virtaouB, powerful : see note, // Pens, 113. 

17. compound: conip. 2 ^ew. VI. ii. 1, comjooun^ this strife ; 
K. John ii. 1. 281, ** compound whose right is worthiest." 

18. parley, confer, seek to come to terms. In Comua, 241, 
Milton calls Echo ** sweet Queen of Parley." 'Parley* is con- 
versation (Fr. parler, to speak), and is cognate with parlour, 
parole, palaver, parliament, parlance, etc. 

22. And them, etc., 'and only despise the more those who 

25. Mean time, meantime, in the meantime : in Shakespeare 
the preposition is frequently omitted. 

26. does ... charm, is charmed or enchanted. 

28. tolipg. Tulip is a doublet of turban, from Turkish ttUba^id, 
Persian dulband. 

36. Flora : see note, UAlleg. 20. 

38. make the example yours, treat you as you treated the 
budding flowers. 

No. XXII. 


This is Victoria's song in The Mvlherry Garden, Sedley's most 
famous comedy, published in 1668. A version of it (here followed 
by Mr. Palgrave) was published without the author's name in 
Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany in 1724. An additional 
stanza was as follows : 

" Though now I slowly bend to love, 
Uncertain of mv fate, 
If your fair self my chains approve 
I shall my freedom hate. 
Lovers, like dying men, may weU 
At first disordered be. 
Since none alive can truly tell 
What fortune they must see." 

There are two pieces by Sedley in the Oolden Treasury (Nos. xxii. 
and XLii. ). He was one of the brightest satellites of the Court of 
Charles II. , and became so great a favourite for his taste and ac- 
complishments that Charles is said to have asked him if he had 
not obtained from Nature a patent to be Apollo's viceroy. He 
is the Lisideius of Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesy. 


7. rlsizifi^ fire, ».e. the sunrise of her beauty. Another reading 
is "growing fire." 

14. prest, pressed forward. 

15. as nnpercelved, equally unconsciously. Another version of 
line 16 is, ** And in my oosom rest." 

21. Each, i.e. Cupid and his mother Venus. 

their : this syntax is common in Elizabethan writers ; see 
Abbott, § 12. In this instance their may be used as referring to 
two subjects, one masculine and one feminine. 

In the original version there are the following readings : — 1.1, 
*' that I now could sit" ; L 8, must take; L II, took ; 1. 15, Fond 
love ; I. IS, And Cupid. 

No. xxin. 


Thesb verses are by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, on whose 
poems the judgment of Horace Walpole, in his Roycd and Noble 
Authors, was that they " have much more obscenity than wit, 
more wit than poetry, more poetry than politeness." 

3. swain : a word of common use in pastoral poetry, as were 
such names as Phyllis, etc. (see UAUeg, 83, note). This song is 
sung by Amintas to Phyllis. 

No. XXIV. 


This appeal To the Virgins to make much of time is from Herrick's 
ffesperides, ** an ill-arranged group of lyrical poems addressed to 
friends and eminent contemporaries, amatory poems, epithalamia, 
epigrams, fairy poems, and short occasional odes and poems on 
all kinds of subjects." " The ffesperides is one of the sunniest 
books in English literature, consummate in finish, exquisite in 
fancy, fresh and natural throughout, and rich in sweet and de- 
lightful pictures of the homely English country and the quaint, 
kindly, old-world customs of her folk. His love poems are stamped 
with a real abandon that is not Horatian and not Anacreontic, 
but all his own, and ever throughout his joyousness the ear 
detects an undertone of melancholy. In unforced sweetness of 
melody and perfect harmony of sound and sense, Herrick rises 
above all his brethren among the Caroline lyrists, and, indeed. 


follows closely in the steps of Shakespeare. Like the master he 
is thoroughly natural, unaffected, and English." For the spirit 
of this Counsel to OxHa compare Horace's OdeSt i, 11 ; iii. 8 and 
29; also the Coflrpe Diem of Shakespeare (No. xxxv. ^.7^.)) 
**0 Mistress mine, where are you waning?"... Youth's a stuff 
will not endure"; also Burton's curious comment in his Anatomy 
of Melancholy y iii. 2. 5. 5, " Let's all love dum vires annique 
sinunt, while we are in the flower of years and while time serves," 
etc. Mr. Palgrave's note is as follows : With this popular lyric 
compare one of the many lovely songs of modem Greece, the 
Smymiote Garden^ as translated, in Mr. H. F. Tozer's interest- 
ing Highlands of Turkey (1869). The lover hears a bird singing : 

*' For ever, while it warbled, 
I seemed to hear it sayinff 
'Yotmg man, avoid dela^g, 
Full soon your joys are o'er. 
And you, fair maids, go marry. 
Be wise, no longer tarry ; 
For time is ever flying 
And will return no more.' " 

But it is difficult here not to suspect that the accomplished 
translator wiis conscious of Herrick. 

2. still: comp. No. LViii., 1. 28 ; Com. 560; and Abbott, § 69. 

a-flylng : see note, UAlleg. 20. 

5. Lamp of Heaven. Comp. Spenser's Epithalamium, 19 : 
" Before the world's light-giving lamp His golden beam upon the 
hills doth spread." Some of the expressions in this poem suggest 
the influence of Spenser. Ck)mp. also Gay's Trivia, iii. 5, with 
reference to the moon, ** may thy silver lamp,** etc. ; also 
Comus, 198, with reference to the stars, " filled their lamps with 
everlasting oil " ; the Greek lampds, a torch, used of the sun ; 
Shelley's To a Skylark, the moon's " intense lamp " ; etc. 

6. a-gettlng : see note, 1. 2 above. 

7. bis race. Comp. Psalm, xix. 5, and Comus, 100. 

10. youth and blood. Comp. Comus, 670, ** When the fresh 
blood grows lively and returns brisk as the April buds in 
primrose season"; also No. lviii., line 25, "When we have run 
our passion's heat " ; also Kingsley's well-known lines, 
" When all the world is young, lad, 
And all the trees are green ; 

Young blood must have its course, lad, 
And every dog his day." 

11. being spent, i.e. 'that age being spent'; absolute 


IS. coy, hesitating : see note, Lye, 18. 

15. Imt onoe. *But' belongs not to 'once/ but to 'having 
lost " : see Abbott, § 129, on the way in which, in Elizabethan 
English, hut varies its position. 

No. XXV. 


There are three lyrics by Richard Lovelace in this collection 
(Nos. XXV. , XLiii. , and xliy. ). Of these the first is the best, being in 
fact his finest poem, containing ** no line or pa.rt of a line that could 
by any possibility be improved." He published his Lucasta in 
1649: the name is formea from Lux casta, his epithet for his 
betrothed, Lucy Sacheverell, who married another on the stray 
report that Lovelace had died of his wounds received at Dunkirk. 
"In some of the lyrics of Lovelace we see the courtly spirit 
deepened by the troubles of the Civil War." The spirit of this 
piece should be contrasted with that of Byron's All for Love 
{G. T, iv. ccxii.), " talk not to me of a name great in story," etc. 

1. Sweet. For this word as a substantive, comp. //am. iiL 2, 
200 ; Johnson's Catiline, i., ** Wherefore frowns my sweet,** 

2. that, because, in that : see Abbott, § 284. 

nunnery. Mr. Gosse notes that this beautiful figure is to be 
found in Habington's poem To Roses in the bosom of Uastara : 

" Ye blushing virgins happy 
In the chaste nunnery of her breasts." 

Compare, however, Herrick's poem (No. xciv. in G, T. edition), 

" And snueging there they seemed to be 
As in a flowery nunnery" 

8. A sword, etc. Compare the Cavalier war-sons which, 
according to Motherwell, was found "written in an old hand in 
a copy of Lovelace's Lucasta, 1679 " : 

" A steed, a steed, of matchless speed I 
A sword of metal keen ! 
All else to noble hearts is dross, 
All else on earth is mean," etc. 



See notes on No. xi. This piece is in praise of Elizabeth, 
daughter to James I., and ancestor of Sophia of Hanover: it is 


characterized by Palgrave as a fine specimen of gallant and courtly 

I. meaner beauties : comp. Spenser's F, Q. vL, 

** So far as doth the daughter of the day 
All other lesser lights in light excel ; 
So far doth she in beautiful array 
Above all other lasses bear the bell " ; 

also F» Q. vi. 9, *' That all the rest^like lesser lamps do dim." 

5. Moon shall rise : comp. Keats' Ode to a NightingcUe, ** and 
haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Clustered around by all 
her starry Fays." Also Hor. Odes, iii. 15, "Nox erat, et coelo 
f ulgebat luna sereno Inter minora sidera " ; Carmen Sec, 99, 
" Siderum regina bicomis audi, Luna, puella.'' 

7. dame Nature. ' Dame ' in the sense of ' mother * : comp. 
Par, Lost, ix. 612, "universal Dame" 

8. understood, interpreted, fully expressed. 
10. Philomel : see note, II Pens, 5Q. 

II. violets, etc. : comp. Herrick's To Violets, 

"Welcome, maids of honour, 

You do bring 

In the spring, 
And wait upon her. 
She has virgins many. 

Fresh and fair ; 

Yet you are 
More sweet than they." 



This was written in 1644 or 1645 ; it is the latest of the 
sonnets printed in the edition of 1645. Phillips, the nephew 
and biographer of Milton, relates that during the time the poet 
was deserted by his first wife he "made it his chief diversion 
now and then of an evening to visit the Lady Margaret Ley. 
This lady, being a woman of great wit and ingenuity, had a 
particular honour for him, and took mucli delight in his company, 
as likewise Captain Hobson, her husband, a very accomplished 
gentleman." Both she and her father are in this sonnet compli- 
mented on their political views. 

1. that good Earl : James Ley, born 1552, was made Lord 
High Treasurer of England in 1624, and Lord President of the 


Council in 1627. Both these offices are alluded to in the sonnet. 
*^ He had been removed from the High Treasurership to the less 
laborious office of President of the Ck)uncil, ostensibly on account 
of his old age, but really, it was thought, because he was not 
sufficiently compliant with the policy of Charles and Buckingham. 
He died in March, 1628-9, immediately after the dissolution of 
Charles's third Parliament ; and, as the sonnet hints, his death 
was believed to have been hastened by political anxiety at that 
crisis " (Masson). 

The construction 'Daughter to that good Earl' should be 
noticed ; the proposition o/ib commonly used. 

once President. 'Once* is here an adverbial adjunct to 
'President,' for when a noun stands in attributive relation to 
another noun, it may be modified by adverbs. It is not neces- 
sary, therefore, to explain * once ' as an adverb modifying ' was ' 

2. her, i.e. England's. 

3. In both unstained, t.e. not having, in either of these offices, 
suUied his reputation by taking bribes. ' Fee ' is from the A. 8. 
feohf cattle, property, now us^ of the price paid for services : 
see note. Son. xii. 7. 

4. more in himself content. This does not mean that he 
resigned of his own accord but that, "when dismissed, he went 
willingly": the construction is, "(being) more content in him- 
self (than in the enjoyment of office)." 

5. sad brealdng. There is here a play upon the word ' break ' 
applied in 1. 5 to the dissolving of Parliament, and in 1. 6 to the 
effects of this upon the old Earl. In the former sense we speak 
of the breaking up of an assembly, and in the latter of a person's 
spirits or health being broken. Milton calls the dissolution of 
Charles's third Parliament a sad one, because it showed that the 
King had entered upon that line of conduct which led to the Civil 
War. The demonstrative that implies that the Parliament re- 
ferred to is too well known to need further mention : comp. 1. 8. 

6. as that dishonest victory, etc., i.e. in the same way as the 
victory at Chaeronea broke the heart of Isocrates. The word 
'dishonest' is here used in the sense of Lat. inhonestus = dis- 
honourable : in the same way our word * honesty ' has not the 
high sense of the Lat. honeataa = all that is honourable. Milton 
calls the victory dishonest because it was * fatal to liberty * : in it 
Philip of Macedon defeated the combined Athenian and Theban 
forces, B.o. 338, Greece thus losing her independence. Chaeronea 
was a city of Boeotia. See No. lxvii. , 1. 43, note. 

8. with report. ' With ' = by means of. The use of the instru- 
inental xoith is not now so common as in earlier English, a^d is 


never used to denote the agent. In Chaucer we find ''slain with 
( = by) cursed Jews. " 

that old man eloquent : Isocrates, one of the most famous 
of Greek orators, who, at the age of ninety-nine, died four days 
after hearing the report of the disaster at the Gheieronea. So the 

food Earl of the sonnet died four days after the dissolution of 

9. Though later bom, etc., ''though I was bom too late to 
have known your father at hia best, yet, methinks, I am able 
from seeing you to judge what he was like.'' Milton does not 
mean that ne was born after the Earl's death, for the Earl died 
twenty years after Milton's birth. 

Tluin in this line is a conjunction introducing an elliptical 
clause depending on later. It is difficult to give a satisfactory 
syntactical explanation of such clauses : we may expand it into, 
'Though I was born later than (I should have been in order) to 
have known ' : see note on than, Son, xvii. 2. 

10. by you, through or by means of you. 

11. methinks, it seems to me. Here me is the dative, and 
thinks is an impersonal verb (A.8. thincan, to appear), quite dis- 
tinct from the verb ' I think,' which is from the A.S. thencanf to 
cause to appear. For a similar relation compare drink with 
drench ( = to cause to drink). 

yet. In this line ye^=up to the present time; in the 
previous line yet = nevertheless. 

13. That all both Judge you. That here introduces a clause of 
consequence in adverbial relation to well, and co-ordinate with 
80 : comp. " He spoke so fast tlutt 1 could not understand." 

Both in this line is strangely placed : the ordinary form would 
be : ' All judge you both to relate them (t.e. your father's virtues) 
truly, and to possess them.' The co-ordinate words are rela^ 
and possess ; the one is preceded by bothf the other by and. 

No. xxvin. 


This piece, also called Disdain Returned, is the only specimen 
here given of Garew's lyrics. He is the author of the beautiful 
lines, " Give me more love, or more disdain," and of the fine song, 
" Ask me no more where Jove bestows." Thomas Garew (1589- 
1639) was "the precursor and representative of what may be 
called the courtier and conventional school of poetry, whose chief 
characteristic was scholarly ease and elegance." Percy gives 
this poem ifx his Eeiiques, \n, \\\. 


2. coral : in allusion, of course, to the bright colour of the red 
coral of commerce, found in the Mediterranean. Dryden con- 
trasts * the common coral ' with the * alabaster white.' 

4. FaeL Comp. Campion's lyric, ''Fire that must flame is 
with apt fuel fed '' {Lyrics from Elizabethan Song-Books), 

10. Kindle. Comp. Habington's well-known line, ''Virtuous 
loye is one sweet endless flame'' ; and Shakespeare's Sonnet' (No. 
mi. O, T.) 

" Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bendin]g sickle's compass come." 

See further on 'kindle,' No. xxxv., 1. 2, note. 

No. XXIX. 

2. starlike sparkle. Spenser has " In her eyes the fire of love 
doth «/?arifc " : comp. Fletcher's PisccUory Edog, vi. 19, "Her 
eyes do spark as stars " ; and Par, Lost, ii. 387. 

3. you. Ye was more common in this construction : see note, 
No. vn., 1. 8, and Abbott, § 236. 

tbat : see Abbott, § 284. 

4. yet, as yet. In this sense we now use (u yet : see Abbott, 

5. rich hair : comp. Horace, Odes^ iv. 10. 3, " Those locks that 
now play loosely on your shoulders shall fall off," etc. 

6. wantons, revels: comp. Par, Lost^ v. 294, "Nature here 
wanU/Md as in her prime." 

lovesick air. Such 'pathetic fallacies' are common in poetry 
in reference to the air : comp. Hen, V.i. 1, " The atr, a chartered 
libertine"; Childe Harold, iv. 12, "The eloquent air"; etc. 
Love-sick, sick for love : comp. thotigfU-sick {Ham. iii. 4. 61), 
lion-sick (TV. and Cress, ii. 3. 13), fancy-free {M. N. D. ii. 1. 
164), etc. 

7. whenas, since, seeing that. This compound is still found in 
modem poetry as an archaism : comp. Marmion, i. 28, " Whenas 
the Palmer came in hall." As and tha^ were originally affixed to 
when and wJiere in order to give a relative meaning to the 
interrojgatives ; and when these interrogatives were recognized 
as conjunctive adverbs the force of as was to make the meaning 
more definite. In whereas the sense of place has now disappea^red, 
but whenas has not lost all reference to time (see No. xxxvi., 1. 1), 
though it more frequently denotes logical connection (as in this 


8. Sunk, hung. 

tip: comp. Shenstone's Economy, iii. 85, ''Sweetly-fashioned 
tip of Silvia's ear." 

10. world, etc., your collective charms: comp. L. L. L, iv., 
"My cojUinerU of beauty." With this poem comp. Herrick's 
The Changes, addressed to Corinna : 

** Be not proud, but now incline 
Your soft ear to discipline ; ... 
You are young, but must be old. 
And, to these, ye must be told, 
Time, ere long, will come and plow 
Loathed furrows in your brow : 
And the dimness of your eye 
Will no other thing imply, 

But you must die 

As well as I." 

No. XXX. 

On these lines Mr. BuUen says : "I give this song from Beloe's 
Anecdotes^ where it is said to be taken from Walter Porter's 
Madrigals and Airs, 1632. I have searched far and wide for the 
song-book, but have not yet been able to discover a copy." 

10. borrow : comp. Othello i. 3. 215. The word generally im- 

Slies only a temporary transfer, but this restriction is now 
isregarded, e.g. to borrow words or customs. 



On this poem Archbishop Trench notes that Waller appears to 
have had in his eye the graceful epigram of Rufinus beginning 
r^fira <rot, 'Po56/cX€to, roSe (tt^^os. Edmund Waller (1605-1687) 
was counted a great poet in his own day, but his poetry, though 
easy, flowing, and felicitous, "lacks sincerity and strength. 
Pope has eulogized his sweetneaSf which word we may allow if 
we limit its meaning to elegance, ease, and grace, without 
passion, energy, or creative force. His importance in English 
poetry is that he revived the heroic couplet. 

2. wastes, etc. : here a kind of zeugma. 


4. resemlde, liken, compare : here used in an obsolete active 
sense ; like the Lat. stmulare, to make like ; so in i^. Q. iii 10. 
21, ''And th' other ...He did resemble to his lady bright"; 
Raleigh, Hist, of World, *' Most safely may we resemUe ourselves 
to God." 

7. shims, declines. For this use of ' shun ' with an infinitive 
comp. Acts, Tx. 27, "I have not shunned to declare unto you all 
the counsel of God " ; and in another of Waller's poems, " The 
lark still shuns on lofty boughs to build.'* * 

graces, charms : this is the usual sense in the plural ; in 
one passage of Milton, however, it means * favour * {Sams. Agon, 
360), '' given with solenm hand as grtices,'* 

spied, espied : Spenser has ' spy ' in the senses of ' a keen 
glance ' and ' an eye. ' 

9. In deserts: comp. Gray's lines, "Full many a flower is 
bom to blush unseen," etc. 

11. Small is the worth, etc. Comp. Gomus, 745, '* Beauty is 
Nature's brag, and must be shown In courts, at feasts," etc. ; also 
Shakeroeare's Sonnet, iv., " Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou 
spend Upon thyself thy beauty's legacy?" 

13. Bid : governing the three imperatives 'come,' 'suffer,' and 

16. Then, %.e, after having delivered your message. 

17. rare : the original and usual sense of ' scarce ' passes into 
that of 'incomparable': comp. Wint, Tale, i. 2. 

20. wondrous. The adverbial use of this word, condemned by 
Johnson as barbarous, was very commmon in the seventeenth 
and eighteenth centuries : comp. Pope's Rape of the Lock, iii., 
"women, voondrous fond of place" ; Par, Lost, v. 116. 

No. xxxn. 


This song is versified from passages in the love-letters of 
Philostratus the Sophist. It is comprised in Ben Jonson's 
The Forest, a collection of short lyrics first published in 1616, 
and including some of the finest of Jonson's lines. 

3. leave ...but: hyperbaton for 'leave but a kiss,' or 'only 
leave a kiss' ; see note. No. xxiv., 1. 15. 

8. change, i.e. exchange it. 

9. late, lately. 

10. Not 80 much: see note, No. xlii., 1. 1. 


11. there, with thee. 

13. di<lhit...8ent'8t; see note, II Pens. 46. For a similar 
idea comp. Herrick's poem, No. 94, in Palffrave's edition of that 
poet. Jonson has another song addressed to Celia, in Volpone, 
or the Fox : 

** Come my Celia, let us prove, 
While we may, the sports of love," etc 

No. xxxin. 


This lyric is set to music in An Hov/re^s Recreation in Mitsike, 
published in 1606, and in Robert Jones's Ultimum Vale (1608). 
The piece is now attributed to Campion (see notes. No. xvn.), of 
whom Mr. Bullen says : '* It is time that Campion should again 
take his rightful place amone the lyric poets of England. He 
was, like Shelley, occasionaSy careless in regard to the ob- 
servance of metrical exactness, and it must be owned that he had 
not learned the art of blotting. But his best work is singularly 
precious. Whoever cannot feel the witchery of such poems as 
* Hark, all you ladies that do sleep I ' or ' Thrice toss these oaken 
ashes in the air,' is past praying for. In his own day his fame 
stood high ... Camden did not hesitate to couple his name with 
the names of Spenser and Sidney, but he has been persistently 
neglected by modem critics " (Preface to I/yricsfrom Elizabethan 
Song-Boohs), It may be compared with the Gherry-Bipe of 
Herrick : 

** Cherry-ripe, ripe, ripe, I cry. 

Full and fair ones ; come and buy ; 

If so be you ask me where 

They do grow ? I answer, there 

Whose my Julia's lips do smile ; — 

There's the land, or cherry -isle ; 

Whose plantations fully show 

All the year where cherries grow." 

2. roses, etc. Comp. Spenser's description of Belphoebe {F, Q. 
u. 3): 

" In her cheeks the vermeill red did shew 
Like roses in a bed of lilies shed." 

3. paradise : see No. Lvni. , 1. 63, note. 

6. Cherry-Bipe : this being the cry of the fruit-sellers ; see 
Nares' Glossary , 

themselves : here the subject of ' do cry,' being used with- 
out the simple pronoun; "(they) themselves do cry 'Cherry- 


Ripe/*' or (less probably) **they do cry themselves (to be) 
cherry-ripe." The use of himself, tnemsdvesj etc., as nominatiyes 
is common enough in Eliz. English (see Abbott, § 20), as it was 
in Early English, Piers Plow, 12,689, "if himself wolde." 
Them is a dative : at first 8elf{i,e. the same) was added in order 
to define the subject, the pronoun being repeated in the dative 
before selfi hence * he him-self,' * they them-selves.' The dative 
with self then came to be used alone, and even as a nominative. 
Finally, when self came to be regarded as a substantive it was 
added to possessives, e,g, my-self, your-self, Beauty's self, etc. 

8. orient pearl ; see Hymn NcU., L 231, note. 

9. when ... mow : comp. F, Q, ii. 3 : 

** And when she spake, 
Sweete words, like dropping honey, she did shed : 
And t^^t the pearls and rubins softly brake 
A silver sound that heavenly music seemed to make." 

10. They : grammatically redundant ; comp. Abbott, §§ 248, 9, 
and the reUc of an Anglo-Saxon idiom in such passages as 
Chaucer's Prd. 43-5, "A knight there was... TJuU from the 
time that he first began to riden out, he loved chivalry." 

11. no ... nor : comp. Abbott, § 396. 

13. angels, guardian spirits. ' Angel ' is common in this 
sense; comp. 'her good aneel,' and (since the face is here com- 
pared to a garden or paradise) refer to Oenesisy ii. 22-4. 

still, always : see note, No. xxiy., 1. 2. 

14. bended bows : comp. Ecdes. xliii. 12, *' llie hand of the 
Most High hath bended it," said of the rainbow. Except in a 
few phrases with a special sense {e.g. ' on bended knees '), bended 
is replaced by bent in accordance with the general law that verbs 
ending in Idy nd, rd, change the d into t for the past tense and 

16. approach... to come nigh. The phrase seems redundant, 
but * approach ' had an older sense = to resolve or set about ; e.g. 
"Shunne evil, and approch to do wel" (Hellowes* Quenara^s 
Epist. 15). 



A LTBio more faultless and sweet than this cannot be found in 
any literature. Keeping with profound instinctive art within 
the limits of the key chosen, Herrick has reached a perfection 
very rare at any period of literature in the tones of playfulness, 
natural description, passion, and seriousness which introduce 


and follow each other, like the motives in a sonata by Weber or 
Beethoven, throughout this little masterpiece of * music without 
notes ' (Palgrave's note). 

On the observances connected with the first of May see 
Chambers's Book of Days, i. 669 ; they are a survival of the 
Floralia of the Romans, who, in their turn, derived their festival 
from the East, where Sun-worship was associated with similar 
ceremonies. In England the festival has been shorn of much of 
Its glory, but in Itoly the anniversary is still kept up, young 

Seople going out at daybreak to collect boughs with which to 
ecorate the doors of their relatives and friends. " In England, 
as we learn from Chaucer and Shakespeare and other writers, it 
was customary during the Middle Ages for all, both high and 
low — even the court itself — to go out on the first May morning 
at an early hour 'to fetch the flowers fresh.' Hawthorn branches 
were also gathered : these were brought home about sunrise, with 
accompaniments of horn and tabor and all possible signs of joy 
and merriment. The people then proceeded to decorate the 
doors and windows of their houses with the spoil. By a natural 
transition of ideas they gave the hawthorn bloom the name of 
the * May * ; they called the ceremony * the bringing home the 
May ' ; tney spoke of the expedition as * going a-Aiaying.' " 

2. the fired unshom, i.e. Apollo, the sun-god : comp. Milton's 
Vac, Ex, 37, "listening to what unshom Apollo sings" (Lat. 
Apollo iniberbis), 

3. Aurora : see the notes on L'Alleg,, 11. 19, 20. 

4. flresli-qullted : com^. *' the tissued clouds " {Hymn NcU. 146), 
and **the plighted (t.e. interwoven) clouds" {Comus, 301), with 
the notes there. 

5. Slug-a-bed : comp. * lie-abed. ' '' The buttercup is no slug- 
cbbed,** N. and Q. (Aug. 11, 1894). The obsolete verb slug is 
cognate with slouch and slack, Shaikespeare has ** Thou drone, 
thou snail, thou slugy thou sot," Com. of Err. ii. 2. 196 : " Why, 
lady, fie, you slug-a-bed," Bom. and Jxd. iv. 6. 2. 

7. bow'd, as if saluting the rising sun. 

10. matins: see note, UAUeg, 114. 

13. Whenas : see note. No. xxix., 1. 7. 

17. Flora : see note, VAUeg. 20. 

22. Against you come, against your coming, in expectation of 
your coming. Against is essentially a preposition, but becoming 
by ellipsis a conjunction or conj. adverb; thus, * against (the 
time) at which or that I come ' = against I come. Comp. HawZet 
i. 1. 158, '^'gainst that season comes," and see Wordsworth's 
Shakespeare and the Bible on the occurrence of this idiom in 
Qen. xliii. 25 ; Exod. vii. 15 ; Hamlet ii. 2, iii. 4 ; Bom. and Jul. 


tv. 1 ; etc. This use of against with reference to time is fonnd 
in Spenser (Prothal. 17)» Hooker, and Dryden. 

orient pearls nnwept : comp. Hymn Nat, 231, note ; 
8, A. 728; and M. N, D, iy. 1. 59, "That same dew which 
sometimes on the buds Was wont to swell like round and orietU 

25. Titan, the sun, so called by Ovid and Virgil : comp. Bam, 
and JuL ii. 3, '* Titan's fiery wheels" ; Cymb, iii. 4. 166. 

26. Betires : here used reflectively. 

28. beads, prayers : see note, Lye, 22. 

30. turns, turns into, becomes ; so many young people are out 
in the fields that they are as busy as streets. 

34. tabemade : in allusion to the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, 
Levit. xxiiL 40-43, ** And ye shall take you on the first day the 
bouehs of goodly trees and willows of the brook; ... ye shall 
dwell in booths seven days," etc. 

35. interwove: see note. No. xxi., L 14. 

39. well abroad : the verb of motion omitted, as frequently in 
Shakespeare. Comp. Ham. ii 2. 170, ii. 2. 265, iii 1. 171, 
iii. 3. 4, iu. 4. 198. 

48. left to dream, left ofi^ dreaming. 

49. pligbted troth : see notes. No. xliv., 1. 14 ; No« xlix., 1. 8. 

50. their priest, t.e. with a view to marriage. 

51. green-gown, a romp in the new-mown hay or on the grass. 
54. firmament: comp. No. xxix., U. 1, 2. 

No. XXXV. 


With the sentiments of these lines compare The Sweet Neglect, a 
song in Ben Jonson's play, ** The Silent Woman," imitated from 
a Latin poem printed at the end of Petronius (see Percy's 
Jieliques, iii. ii. ) ; and Herrick's own Art above Na/ture (No. 86, 
Palgrave's edition) : 

" I must confess mine eye and heart 
Dotes less on nature than on art." 

2. Kindles, produces. The verb kindle in the sense of 'to 
produce ' is radically distinct from kindle in the sense of * to 
inflame,' being perhaps connected with kind (A.S. cynd), nature. 
But Herrick may have the latter meaning in view. Comp. As 
You Like It, iii. 2. 358, ** The cony that you see dwell where she 


inhmdUd'*; Wyclif, Luke, iii.7, "Kyndlyngia of eddri8"= genera- 
tion of vipers.*' See No. xxviii., L 10, note. 

8. lawn, see II Pens, 35, note. 

4. fine distraction, pleasing confusion : pron. dis-trac-ti-on. 
See Abbott, § 479. 

6. miDg, stray. 

7. neglectful, neglected, worn carelessly. Here the word is 
used passively, as in awful (full of awe), thankful, etc. ; not 
actively as in awful (exciting awe, see No. lxvii. 3), thankful 
(thankworthy, P. of H, v. 1. 285) : see Abbott, § 3. 

tbereby, beside it (by-there) : here used strictly as an adverb 
of place. 

8. Ribbands : a corruption of ribbon due to a wrongly-supposed 
connection with hand ; the M.E. form is riban {Piers Plow. ii. 16, 
'*ribanes of gold ''= golden threads). Oomp. other corruptions 
due to the same endeavour to find some etymological connection 
for a word, e.^. hoveJioundj cr&yjish, causeu^ay, pent^ou«e, etc. 

12. wild civility, careless grace : an instance of oxymoron or 
joining together of apparent contrarieties. Comp. Hor. Odes, i. 

5. 5, '* simplex munditiis"; and on 'civil' see II Pens. 122, note. 

13. Do : plural in agreement with lawn, lace, cuff, etc., taken 
collectively. Comp. the sentiment of Goldsmith's Deserted VU- 
lage, 253 : 

** To me more dear, congenial to my heart. 
One native charm, than all the gloss of art." 

The last stanza of Jonson's Sweet Neglect runs thus : 

" Give me a look, give me a face, 
That makes simplicity a grace ; 
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free : 
Such sweet neglect more taketh me. 
Than all th' adulteries of art. 
That strike mine eyes, but not my heart." 


1. Whenas : see note, No. xxix., 1. 7j also No. xxxiv., 1. 13. 

2. flows ... liquefaction, in allusion to the graceful flowing 
appearance of her silk dress. Comp. Spenser, F, Q. i. 1, '* tinsel 
trappings woven like a wave,** 

5. brave vibration, the fine shimmering of the glossy silk. 
•Brave,* fine, showy; so 'bravery *= finery (comp. S. A, 717): 
Fr. brave, gay, fine, and Scotch brow ; see Nares' Glossary. 



6. taketb me, captivates my heart; oomp. Prov. vi 25, 
Neither let her take thee with her eyelids"; Par. Lost, ii. 554, 

** Took with ravishment the thronging audience" ; also. Hymn 

Nai, L 98, note. 

No. xxxvn. 

1. attire ; see Lye, 146, and No. xix., L 18, notes. 

wit, intelligence, good taste ; the radical sense of the word 
still appears in such words as half-wit , ununtting (A.S. witaUy to 
know). See VAUeg, 123, note. 

5. miss, lack. 

7. Beauty's self : see note on Orpheus' self, UAlleg. 145. 

No. xxxvin. 


With this piece we may compare Herrick's Upon Juliana Htbhoft^ 
On Waller, see notes. No. xxxi. 

5. extremest, outermost : an emphatic superlative common 
enough in Shakespeare {As You Luce It, ii. 1), Bacon, Dryden, 
Addison, and others ; such usages as * most extreme,' * the 
greatest extremes,' are not uncommon. 

6. pale, enclosure ; see note, H Pens, 156. 

8. Did ... move. Johnson notes as a defect of Waller's versifi- 
cation his frequent use of the expletive do, saying that " though 
he lived to see it almost universally ejected, he was not more 
careful to avoid it in his last compositions than in his first." 

9. compass: comp. Tr, and Cress, i. 3. 276, '* Than ever Greek 
did compos in his arms." 



With better taste and less difiiiseness, Quarles might (one would 
think) have retained more of that high place which he held in 

S^pular estimate among his contemporaries (Palgrave's note), 
e wrote abundantly in prose and verse, and his books were 
extremely popular in his own day. His chief poetical work is 


the collection known as Divine Emblems (1630), often dull, but 
often felicitous ; his prose essays and meditations form what he 
called the Enchiridion (1640), containing occasional fine passages. 

8. became entire : according to the Platonic view of love, the 
one being the complement of the other ; they ' ' did more than 
twine** (1. 11), for they became one, 

10. flax : comp. 2 Hen. VI, v. 2, ** To my flaming wrath be oil 

16. Iwouldnotcliange, 6tc., i.«. exchange: comp. No. xxxviii., 
11. 11, 12. 

17. ' Their wefalth in propoi^ion to mine is but as a counter 
(an imitation coin) to a real coin.' 

To, in comparison with : comp. Spenser, Prothcd. 48, 
*' even the gentle stream seemed fouHothem"; Ham, i. 2. 140, 
"Hyperion to a satyr"; and the use of the Greek"ir/>6s. 

No. XL. 

1. Bid me to live : Comp. Hor. OdeSy iii. 9. In current use 
the infinitive without to follows the verb hid, but compare lines 
3, 9, etc. ; to is probably inserted to meet the demands of rhythm. 
On this inconsistency in the use of to see Abbott, § 349. 

2. Protestant, champion, witness, confessor. 

12. And 't: see note on bended. No. xxxiii., 1. 14. 
22. very eyes : see note, No. xui., 1. 5. 

No. XLL 

These lines are from John Wilbye*s Second Set of Madrigals, 1609. 
6. So, so that. 

9. So, in this way, on this condition. 

10. doat upon. The usual spelling is dote, Comp. II Pens. 6, 
on changes of meaning in such words as ' fond,' ' dote,' etc. The 
word is nere used in its later sense, not in the sense of M.E. doten, 
to be foolish ; in Shakespeare we find both meanings : ** Unless 
the fear of death doth make me dote** {Com, of Err, v. 1); **A11 
their prayers and love Were set on Hereford whom they doted 
on (2 Hen, IV, ii. 1). An intermediate stage of meaning is found 
in ** Should ravish doters (t.e. foolish lovers) with a false aspect" 
(/>. L. L, iv. 3. 260). 



On Sir Charles Sedley see notes to No. xxiL 

I. Not, Celia, tbat. The construction with not thcU is elliptical, 
and that has the force of because (see Abbott's ShaJs» Oram. ), =■ (I 
remain true to you) not because I juster am, etc. 

5. very thee, thy very self : the use of very as an emphatic 
adjective is common enough, though not with a pronoun, very 
bein^ from Lat. verus, true or real, in which sense we find it 
in Hhoo Oent, in, 2, ''very friend"; Wint, TcUe, i. 2, ** verier 
wag"; Comua, 428, " very desolation." 

7, 8. only, i.e. the face of thee alone, the heart of thee alone ; 
Abbott, § 420. 

II. can Imt afford, can supply no more than. This use oi afford 
is rare with reference to individuals : comp. Greene's Pandosto, 
36, *' He wondered how a country maid could afoordmxah. courtly 

13. store: see note, UAlleg. 121. 

15. change. The spirit of the last two lines is finely expressed 
in Suckling's poem on Cmstancy. 



See notes on No. xxv. Lovelace was twice imprisoned, in April, 
1642, and again in 1648 : on the former occasion he wrote this 
song. Althea cannot be identified, but she is said to have become 
the poet's wife. 

1. nnconflndd. Perhaps here in the wider sense of *unconfin- 
able ' : see note, UAUeg. 40. Shakespeare has the word * uncon- 
finable ' in if . FT. 0/ fF. u. 2. 

3. brings : the subject is 'Love,' object 'Althea.' 

4. grates, grated windows of the prison : Shakespeare has "to 
look through the grate" {M. W. of W. ii. 2), in the sense of * to be 
in prison.' 

5. tangled, etc. Comp. Lycidas, 69, and Herrick's lines (No. 
xov. 0. T. edit.): 

" It chanced a ringlet of her hair 
Caught my poor soul as in a snare ; 
Which ever since has been in thralU'* 


7. Ctods. Palgrave notes : " Thus in the original ; Loyelace 
in his fanciful way making here a mythological allusion. Birds, 
commonly substituted, is without authority.*' 

wanton, revel : comp. Par» Lost, v. 294, "Nature here wan- 
toned as in her prime." 

10. With no allaylns: Tbames, i,e. undiluted with water. For 

this special use of cMay (really a doublet of aUeviate) compare 
Elyot, Oovemour, 36, " Galen will not permit that pure wine 
without cUaye of water should be given to children. " Ben Jonson, 
Mctgnetic Lady, iii. 1. 496, has, ** He only takes it in French wine, 
With an cUlay of water." There was a M.E. verb aUggen, to put 
down or mitigate, and this was confused in form and sense with 
the old French cUeger, to alleviate. ** Amidst the overlapping of 
meanings that thus arose, there was developed a perplezmg net- 
work of uses of aUay and allege, that belong entirely to no one of 
the original verbs, but combine the senses of two or more of 
them " (see New Eng, Diet. ). 

11. careless, undisturbed, free from care ; as in Pope's line, 
** wisely careless, innocently gay," and in the older use of the 
unrelated word secure (comp. L*AUeg, 91, and Abbott, §3). 

with roses. There is a zeugma in 'crowned' as applied both 
to * heads ' and ' hearts' : comp. Alex, Feast, 7. These two lines 
are in the absolute construction. 

13. thirsty grief. As Burton {Anat, of Mel, ii., § 5. 1) says, 
" For which cause the ancients called Bacchus Lfiber pater a liber- 
ando. ...Therefore Solomon, Prov, zxxi. 6, bids wine be given to 
him that is ready to perish and to him that hath grief of heart " : 
comp. Hor, ii. 11. 17, "Dissipat Evius Curas edaces"; i. 7. 31, 
** Nunc vino pellite cufas." 

14. healths : comp. Ma^. iii. 4, "Come, love and health to all, 
I drink to the general joy of the whole table." 

16. tipple, drink freely. This less restricted use of the word 
was never common, nor is it the original sense. Tipple is fre- 
quentative of tip, i.e, to tilt the wine-glass. 

17. like committed linnets, like ca^ed linnets : comp. 2 N^en, 
IV. i. 2, "the nobleman that commt^^^ the prince." Another 
reading is "linnet-like confined," probably suggested by the 
thought that the plural 'linnets' does not accord with the singu- 
lar pronoun *I.' 

18. sing: comp. E Pens, 117. 

23. Enlarged, at large, unconfined: comp. Hen. V, ii. 2, 
" Enlarge the man committed yesterday." 

30. In my soul am firee. Comp. Far, Lost, i. 254, "The mind 
is its own place " ; Comus, 383, " He that hides a dark soul and 


foul thoughts ... nimself is his own dungeon " ; also the old song 
of Loyalty Confined ; here are two stan^ : 

*' That which the world miscalls a jail, 
A private closet is to me ; 
Whilst a good conscience is my bail. 
And innocence my liberty : 
Locks, bars, and solitude together met 
Make me no prisoner, but an anchoret. 

• a a • 

My soul is free as ambient air, 
Although my baser part's immew'd, 
Whilst loyal thoughts do still repair 
T' accompany my solitude : 
Although rebellion do my body bind, 
My king alone can captivate my mind." 

See also Byron's "Eternal Spirit of the Chainless Mind" ((7. T. 

No. XLIV. 


Sbe notes on INos. xxv. and XLni. by the same author. 
3. that : «c. if it were. 

9. 'snage: comp. No. xix., L 36, 'bove = above ; also Abbot, 

10. blue-god's, i.e. Neptune's. Ovid speaks of Neptune as 
caendeaa deiis : comp. Comua, 29, in allusion to the blue-haired 
deities of the sea. 

13. seas and land, «e. be. 

14. flEilth and troth ... controls. The verb is singular as faith 
and troth may be taken as = plighted faith or trothplight (see 
Wint, TcUst i. 2. 278). Troth is a variant of truth, as we see 
in M, JV. D, ii. 2. 36, ** And to speak troth, I have forgot our 
way " : see further Nares* Glossary, 

15. separated souls : perhaps in allusion to the Platonic theory 
of love. 

19. anticipate, realize beforehand. 

22. eyes Can speak: comp. ChUde H. P. iii. 21, "Eyes looked 
love to eyes which spake again." 

24. earthy : comp. 11 Pens, 92. Earthy bodies may be here 
contrasted with spiritual bodies, the body being turned to the 
soul's essence (see Comus 459-63, for this Platonic idea). 


No. XLV. 


This is Orsame's Song in Aglaura^ a tragi-comedy which has 
been described as '*a monster of tedious pedantry," and was 
produced in gorgeous style in the year 1637-8, when Suckling was 
about thirty years of age. " The temper expressed in * Why so 
pale and wan * was in sympathy with the age, and gave a delisht 
which seems to us extravagant ; Suckling's admiration for Shake- 
speare not preventing him from being one of the chief heralds of 
the poetry of the Reformation.** 

1. fond : see note, H Pens, 6. 

2. Frytliee ; also written prithee and pr'ythee, familiar fusions 
of * I pray thee.* 

3. * If looking well cannot move ner, will looking ill succeed 
in doing so.* 

11. Quit, leave off. The u transitive use of the verb arose 
from the suppression of the object; hence the transition from 
abandon to cease, 

12. take : see note, No. xxxvi., 1. 6, and Hymn Nat, 08» 

13. of herself, of her own accord: comp. Longfellow's En^ 
dymion, 4 : 

" Like Dian*s kiss, unasked, unsought, 
Love gives itself.** 

No. XLVI. 


This piece is from the DavideiSf an epic on the subject of the life 
of King David. This epic is one of Cowley*s more ambitious 
works, the others being the Pindaric Odes and the Mistress, a 
series of love poems. Cowley was in his own day considered the 
greatest of English poets, but to modem readers he is best known 
as a prose essayist. The best commentary on this piece will be 
found in Nos. ii. and lxvii., where the power of music is the 
theme. See further on No. liii. 

11. numerous, harmonious: comp. Par, Lost v. 150, '* prose 
or numerous verse ** ; also the use of ' numbers * in the sense of 
verse, as in No. iv., 1. 4, and Milton's Lines on STuikespeare, 

15. yirtae : see note, II Pens, 113. 

21. nourishment, etc. : comp. Ttoelfth Night, 1. 1, "If music 
be the food of love, play on'*; A, and 0. ii 5. 1, "music, moody 
food Of us that trade in love.*' 




In 1613 George Wither had written Abuses Stript and Whipt, a 
series of satires in which he attacked the clergy ; in 1615, while 
in prison on account of these satires, he wrote a croup of pas- 
toral elegies called The Shepherd's Hunting, in which as Fhilarete 
(i.e. lover of virtue), aided by his dogs (viz. the satires referred 
to above), he again attacked various abuses ; and in The Mistress 
ofPhilarete, he sings the praises of Faire Virtue, a perfect woman. 
In 1618 he had written a poem called Wither' s Motto, the motto 
being Nee habeo, nee careo, nee euro (I have not, I want not, I 
care not), and in the poem before us he carries this spirit into 
the affairs of love. This song. The Manly Heart, also known as 
The Shepherd's Resolution, first appeared in Fidelia, 1615. Wither's 
fame owes much to the insight of Charles Lamb (see Swinburne's 
Miscellanies) ; he had been depreciated by Pope and his contem- 
poraries, and even Percy, though including this poem in his 
Beliques, speaks of the author as 'not altogether devoid of 
genius.' ''As a religious poet Wither, in the words of Charles 
Lamb, reached a starry height far above Quacles, and his sweet 
fancy and exquisite tenderness irresistibly provoke his reader's 
love." He was a voluminous writer and his work is throughout 
characterized by manliness, frankness, and independence. 

4. 'CaoBe, here used to suit the trochaic effect of the verse. 
Comp. Macb. in. 6. 21, " But, peace ! for from broad words and 
'cause he failed." Even in- prose we have ''I will never despair, 
cause 1 have a God ; I will never presume, cause I am but a man '' 
(FeUtham, Resolves, i. 60). See Abbott, § 460. 

6. meads. 'Mead' is that which is mowed, the M.E. mede 
being akin to math in ' aftermath ' = an afte;r-mowins. Mead is 
from the nominative and meadow from the dative moed-we : comp. 
tiie double forms shade and shadow (see Skeat's Princ, ofE. Etym. , 
§ 212). 

7. If she be, eto. Comp. Sheridan's Duenna, i. 2: 

" I ne'er could any lustre see 
In eyes that would not look on me ; 
I ne er saw nectar on a lip 
But when my own might nectar sip." 

Comparison is sometimes made with Shelley's 'Love's Philosophy' 
{O, T. ccxxviii.), "What are all these kissings worth. If thou kiss 
not me," but there the idea is essentially distinct. 

9. silly : see Hymn Na.t., 1. 92, note. 

pined, tormented, made to pine. 'Pine' is obsolete in this 
active sense, which was common enough in the seventeenth cen- 


tnry ; in fact the M.E. verb pinen is almost always transitive « 
to torment ; the subst. pine, meaning pain or torment (Lat. poena). 
Comp. Chaucer, O, T. 1326, ** Well I wot that in this world 
great pine is " ; and see Nares' Glossary, 

14. Tortle-dove : see note, Hymn Nat, 50. 

pelican : here regarded as an instance of extreme affection, 
in allusion to the notion that young pelicans were fed on their 
mothers' blood ; see Jiich, 11, ii. I; K, Lear, iii. 4, *' pelican 
daughters," etc. 

19. well deservlngB known, t.e. the knowledge of her merits 
(a Latinism): comp. P. L. ii. 21, ** this loss recovered ** = the re- 
covery of this loss ; Sams, Agon. 1253, ** offered fight " = offer of 
fight; No. Lxvii., L 1, etc. 

26. play the fotil : comp. 2 Sam, x. 12, "let us play the man " ; 
2 Hen, IV. ii. 2, "Thus we p?ay tAe/oo^ with time"; Hen. VIII, 
ii. 2, ** To play the woman." 

33. Great, etc. This line recapitulates in inverse order the 
qualities specified in the four preceding stanzas, viz., beauty, 
tenderness, goodness, and rank. 

34. the more. ' The ' (0. E. thS) before comparatives is an 
adverb, the instrumental case of the definite article the i^ the 
more, O.E. M mare = Lat. eo magist in that degree more. Comp. 
M.E. never tJie bet = none the better (Chaucer, O. T, 7533), where 
never is used as in this poem. See Morris, Eng, Accid, § 312. 

No. XLVm. 


This poem is now generally believed to be the work of Fletcher, 
the friend and fellow-worker of Beaumont. It is a song in the 
play called The Nice Valour^ printed in 1647, and but for the 
fact that Milton's poem was published two y^ears previously " it 
would," Trench thinks, '* be difficult not to think that we had here 
the undeveloped germ of II Penseroso of Milton." It is certainly 
very difficult not to think so, — so difficult that we are compelled 
to suppose that Fletcher's poem, though not printed, had been 
well known some years before The Nice Valour appeared. In 
Jlie English Poets Bradley speaks of them as "the wonderful 
verses which suggested U Penseroso and are hardly surpsuBsed by 
it." There is a third famous poem on Melancholy, published in 
1621, which certainly suggested some of the imagery of // 
Penseroso and must have l>een known to Fletcher. This is 
"The Author's Abstract of Melancholy, AtaXo7wj," prefixed by 
Burton to hia famous Anatomy of Melancholy. In The Nict 


Valour the poem under notice appears as ** The Passionate Lord's 

L Hence : see note, L'Alleg. 1. 

vain delights : see notes, 11 Pens. 1, 2, 

7. sweetest, etc.: see notes, UAUeg, and // P«m., pcLSsim, 

8. foAA eyes : see notes, II Pens, 4 and 39. 

9. mortifles, chastens and subdues. Corop. the phrase 'to 
mortify the flesh'; also M. of V, i. 1, "Let my liver rather heat 
with wine Than my heart cool with mortifying groans." 

10. look, etc. : comp. Jl Pens, 43, note. 

11. tongue, etc. : comp. 11 Pens. 45, 55. 

12. Fountain heads, etc. : briefly, retired spots. 

13. pale passion: comp. H Pens. 41, **held in holy passion 
still," and note ; also Collins' TTie Passions : 

*' With eyes upraised as one inspired, 
Pale Melancholy sat retired. 

14. Moonlight, etc. : comp. II Pens. 59, note. 

15. save hats, etc. This seems to include bats and owls among 
fowls, and in M. E. *fowl' is applied to birds in general: comp. 
Scott's Ancient Gaelic Melody (see Legend of Montrose): 

** Birds of omen, dark and foul. 
Night-crow, raven, ba^ and owV* 

It must be remembered however that savey hut and except, are 
used with more license in poetry than in prose: comp. Par. Lost, 
ii. 333, 336, and 678. Even in Milton's prose we find, '* No 
place in Heaven or earth, except Hell, where Charity may not 

16. parting, i.e. of the dying. 

19. dainty sweet, delicately sweet. 'Dainty' was first a 
substantive ; the attributive use is a secondary one. 

No. XLIX. 


This is one of the most touching and beautiful of the older 
Scottish songs. It is given by Percy with the following note : 
* * This is a very ancient song, but we could only give it froni a 
modem copy. Some editors, instead of the four last lines in th^ 



seoond stanza, have these, which have too much merit to be 
wholly suppressed : 

* When cockle shells turn siller bells, 
And mussels grow on every tree. 
When frost and snaw sail warm us a', 
Then sail my love prove true to me.'" 

The ballad is usually entitled WcUy, WcUy, and was first published 
in Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table MisceUany in 1724, and marked 
' Z ' as an Old Song. Some have dated it about the middle of 
the sizteentii century. Part of it (by Mr. Chambers all of it) has 
been pieced into a later ballad on the Marchioness of Douglas, 
married 1670, and deserted by her husband (see Allinglmm's 
BaUad Booh) ; but there is not sufficient evidence to connect it 
with any historical person or event. See further in Shairp's 
ShUchea in History and Poetry, where he says : " Let no English- 
man read it, * Waily, Waily,* as they sometimes do, but as 
broadly as they can get their lips to utter it — *0 Wawly, 

1. waly, waly: an exclamation of sorrow, the root and the 
pronunciation of which are preserved in the word cate^njoavl. 
It is the A.S. woda : comp. the exclamation wellaway, M.E. toeU- 
awey,= A.S, tod, Id, wd, lit. woe/ lol woe! This expression, 
being misunderstood, was turned into " weal (is) away," " well- 
a-day," etc. 

2 et seq, brae, hillside ; bum, brook ; yon, see note, II Pens. 
62 ; wont, see note, H Pens, 37 ; erae, go ; aik, oak ; syne, then, 
afterwards (comp. the phrase ' Auld langsyne '). In old Scottish 
poetry we find *syn ellis'= since else : O.E. sins is from A.S. 
siththan= after that. 

6. ailL The word acorn has no connection with aik or oak, the 
suffix having been changed from a notion that A.S. aecem meant 
an oak-corn. Hence, as Skeat points out, Chaucer's expression 
" acomes of oaks " is correct, not tautological. 

8. tme. There is no contradiction here ; true = troth = plighted : 
see note, No. xuv. , 1. 14. 

lichtly, lightly, make light of, slight, despise. LicTUly is 
found also as an adj.= contemptuous, and as a noun : there are 
also the noun lichtlyness, and the verb licJUlieJle = to slight. 

9. bnt; another version is ^tn, ''a Scottish idiom to express 
great admiration," see the ballad of Edom o' Gordon, 

13. bosk, adorn, dress ; this word is etymologically connected 
with hound in the sense of * ready,' * prepared,' and in the ballad 
oi Edom o' Gordon there is the phrase '* husk and houn," 


15. forsook : see H Pens, 91, ** the immortal mind that hath 
forsook" and note there on the use of the form of the past tense 
as a past participle ; comp. L IS. 

17. Arthnr-seat, Arthur's Seat, a hill near Edinburgh, on the 
slope of which is the well referred to in L 19. 

25. fell, fiercely : comp. note, Lye. 91. 

32. cramasie, crimson. The word is from the Arabic Icermtsc^ 
qirmizy the k6rmes insect, which yields the dye : ca/rtMne is 
a doublet of this word : comp. II Pens, 33, note. The French is 
cramoisi, also used in the wide sense of any dark, reddish, 
ingrained colour. 

33. wist, known : pres. tense, / wot ; past, wist^ in all persons ; 
ppr. witting (A.S. vjitan, to know). 

35. gowd, gold ; siller, silver. The old ballads delight in such 
epithets : see article on " Ballad " {Ency, Brit. ) ; " a curious note 
of primitive poetry is the lavish and reckless use of gold and 

No. L. 

This beautiful example of early sim^icity is found in a Song- 
book of 1620 (Palgrave), viz. Martin Feerson's PrivcUe Music, of 
which only one perfect copy, preserved in the Bodleian Library, 
is extant. 

5. lullaby ; the word is from Ivll, an imitative word from the 
repetition of lu lu, a drowsier form of the more cheerful la la 
used in singing : comp. M, N. D, ii. 2. 14, "LuUa, lulla, lullaby." 

21. for, in return for. 

No. LL 


The ballad of Eden ofKircormell appears in Scott's Minstrelsy of 
the Scottish Border, the first two volumes of which were published 
in 1802, the third in 1803, containing no fewer than forty ballads 
not before published; among these are Helen of Ktrconnell, 
The Twa Corbies, etc. Scott gives a worthless * First Part * of 
this ballad, conprising six verses (''My captive spirit's at thy 
feet," etc. ). Other versions are given by Herd, Ritson, Jamieson, 
and others. Wordsworth has a ballad {Mien Irwin) of little 
merit, on the same story. Adam Fleming, says tradition, loved 
Selen Irving or Bell (for this sigrname is uncertain as well as th^ 



date of the occurrence), daughter of the Laird of Kirconnell, in 
Dumfriesshire. The lovers being together one day by the river 
Kirtle, a rival suitor suddenly appeared on the opposite bank and 
pointed his gun : Helen threw herself before her sweetheart, 
received the bullet, and died in his arms. Then Adam Fleming 
fought with his guilty rival and slew him (Allingham*s BcUlad 
Book, G. T. Series). 

7. Inird (bird), damsel, young lady. 

11. meikle, great, much. Much is shortened from old Saxon 
mochel, A.S. myed, much, great, many. 

21. compare, comparison : used as a substantive in such phrases 
as "beyond compare" {Par. Lost, i, 588), "above compare" 
{Par, Lost, vi. 705, S. A, 556). 

No. LIL 


On this ballad see the notes on No. li. It is given b^ Scott " as 
written down, from tradition, by a lady." It is a singular cir- 
cumstance, says Sir Walter, "that it should coincide so very 
nearly with the ancient dirge called The Three Ravens, published 
by Mr. Ritson in his ' Ancient Songs * ; and that, at the same 
time, there should exist such a difference as to make the one 
appear rather a counterpart than a copy of the other." But it is 
not strange that the same ballad should appear in an old Scottish 
as well as an old English form ; there are many ballads of which 
this is true, e,g, Ltttle Musgrave, Edom o* Gordon, Hugh of 
Lincoln, etc. There are, in fact, three versions of The Twa 
Oorlnes, one English and two Scottish : (1) The Three Ravens 
given by Ritson, who says that it is much older, not only than 
the date of the book from which he took it (Ravenscroft's 
Melismata, 1611), but than most of the other pieces contained in 
it. (2) The version given in Scott*s Minstrelsy, (3) A different 
version which appears in Motherwell's Minstrelsy, 

Mr. Palgrave has included such ballads as this, and Nos. xlix. 
and M. , in the Second Book of the Ociden Treasury on the ground 
that, if not in their origin, at any rate in their present form, they 
appear to be due to the seventeenth century. 

1. all : see note, VAUeg. 33, and comp. Hymn Nat. *2ffJ, 

alane, alone. ^^7te = all-one, M. E. al one; comp. only =.on&- 
ly; af(me= at-one. Lone is therefore a shortened form. See 
Mardi's Led, <m Eng, Lang, xiv., where my lane, her lone, etc., 
are explained as due to hasty pronunciation of me o^ OTie, her o^ 
pjWy etc. 


2. eorUM, ravens, carrion crows: Fr. corheau, Lat. eorvua, 
Etymologically the English word crow can claim no relationship 
with eorvtu : see MflUers Lectures, i. 412. 

mane, moan. 

3. tane... t'other, or (in another version), t'ane... t'ither, the 
one ... the other : a familiar Scottish fusion of the words. These 
words were used not only as substantives, but often in old Acts 
of Parliament as adjectives, e.g. ''the tane half of the lands" ; 
there is also the form ton6Aa^/= one-half . Comp. <'Thei 
broughten tJie tother forth " ; see trving's Scot, Poetry, p. 88. 

5. fall, turf, sod. 

6. wot: see note, No. xlix., L 33. 

13. haose-bane, neck-bone, from hcUa or hawae, the neck or 
throat, O.E. Judce; comp. Piera Plow, "hongen bi the hals.*' 
There is a verb to halae, x.e, to embrace or hug. 

14 een, old plural eyen, eyes : see note, Hymn Nat. 223. 

16. the^ thatch : ra4ically allied to deck, -pTOtect, integument, 

Motherweirs version of the fourth stanza runs thus : 

" Ye shall sit on his white hause-bane, 
I will pick out his bonnie blue een ; 
Ye'U take a tress of his yellow hair, 
To theek your nest when it grows bare ; 
The gowden down on his young chin 
Will do to rowe my young ones in." 

No. LIII. 


Abraham Cowlet (1618-1667) nowhere shows to greater advan- 
tage than in his elegiac verses on his friends Hervey and Crashaw. 
Mr. William Hervey (or Harvey) was his fellow-student at Cam- 
bridge, and the poem here given, which appeared in Cowley's 
collected poems in 1656, therefore suggests comparison with 
Matthew Arnold's Thyrsis, Milton's Lycmas, and Tennyson's In 
Memoriam, It is evidently the sincere expression of a personal 
loss. Mr. Palgrave points out that "the poetical and the prosaic, 
after Cowley's fashion, blend curiously in this deeply-felt elegy," 
but some of the stanzas are very beautiful. 

2. nnwlllixig light : comp. " the morning's war, When dying 
clouds contend with growing light," 3 Hen. VI. ii. 5. 1. 

3. sleep, death's image : comp. " death-counterfeiting sleep," 
M. N. D. ui. 2. 364 ; " Still sleep mocked death," W, T, v. 3. 20. 


14. around, here an adverb =* on all sides/ intensifying the 
significance of 'besieged.' 

17. fidldfl of CamlNridge, etc. : comp. Lye, 23-31. 

26. inform, to give form to, to animate. 

30. oblefest ; see note, U Pens, 51. 

41. spirits, essence. 

55. in water : in allusion to the classical belief that the sun set 
in the ocean ; in Comu8 95, Milton refers to the opinion of the 
ancients that the waves of the Atlantic hissed as the fiery wheels 
of the sun's chariot touched them. 

No. LIV. 


This poem, otherwise entitled Commumon with the Holy Dead, or 
(more briefly) The Departed, is one of the best known, as it is one 
of the finest, of Yaughan^s poems. Yaughan's spiritual experi- 
ences led him to dwell in his poetry upon such themes as the 
littleness of time and the greatness of eternity (see No. lxvi., 
notes), the sinfulness of sin, the death and saving grace of Christ, 
and the life beyond the grave. And as The MetrecU suggests a 
comparison with Wordsworth's Ode on Immortality, so this poem 
refers to several of the fundamental questions raised in Tennyson's 
In Memoriam, Comp. also Donne's Sonnet to Death, 

4. (dear : " the memory of dead friends doth brighten my sad 
thoughts." Comp. In Mem. xciv. 

8. remove, removal, going down. For this use of the verb as 
a substantive, comp. Ham. iv. 5. 63, ** author of his own remove"; 
M, for M, L 1. 44 ; and for substantives of similar formation see 
Ham. I 1. 57, Rich, II, I 2. 2, and Abbott, § 451. 

10. trample on, overpower, throw into the shade. 

13. This stanza refers to Christ, who humbled Himself for man's 
sake. Comp. In Mem, zxxvL 

15. your wiJks, Christ's abode, Paradise. 

17. beauteons Death: comp. In Mem. Ixxiv., Ixxxii. 

19. mysterleB : comp. In Mem. xxxi., and No. lxiv., L 7 ; also 
n Pens. 89-92. 

28. strange thoughts: comp. In Mem, xliv., cxxiv., cxxx., 
exxxi. ; also No. xiv., notes passim. 


No. LV. 

1. pledges, ofiispring : comp. Lye, 107, note. 

3. date, allotted period. The use of *so' here shows that 
' date ' denotes not a point of time but a length of time : comp. 
Shakespeare {O. T, xxiii), "Summer's lease hath all too short 
a dcUe. The application of dale (Lat. datum, given) to time 
is due to the fact that in classical Latin datum was employed 
on documents to mark the time and place of writinfl;, e.g. dalum 
Romae, given (».e. written) at Rome ; comp. the kgal phrase, 
'* Given under my hand and seal this day." 

not so past, But, etc. After negatives this adversative use 
of hut is still found colloquially : more commonly hut is replaced by 
that with a negative in the dependent clause, e.^. "Your date is 
not so past ThoU you may w>t stay," etc. : see Abbott, § 121, and 
comp. No. LXiv., 15. 

7. Wliat, inter jeotional : but compare the use of what = why, as 
in Par. Lost, ii. 94 : see Abbott, §§ 253, 297. 

S. hour or half s ; doubly elliptical. The possessive suffix is 
added only to the latter alternative. English is remarkable for 
the manner in which complex phrases are treated as if they were 
one word capable of inflexion. 

10. Twaa pity: in such short phrases the article was often 

15. brave, fine : see note. No. xxxvi., 1. 5. 

16. pride, glory : comp. Par, Last, vii. 477, ** Summer's pWcfo." 

The complex, metrical, and rhymins structure of this piece and 
the next should be noted. In the Srat the rhyme formula is 
abhcch, and the initial lines of the three stanzas rhyme to- 
gether the whole piece bein^ thus compactly bound together. 
In the second the formula is ahchddceatf an arrangement 
which marks the equal ebb and flow of the verse while nuus- 
taining the unity of the stanza as a whole. 

No. LVI. 


Bee not«s on Nos. xxiv. and lv. 
1. Daffodils : see note, Lye. 150. 
4. Ids noon: see note, // Pens. 68. 




This description forms about a third part of MarvelPs poem of 
The Nymph complaining for the DecUh of her Fawn, In the 
opening the nymph recounts the manner of the fawn's death, 
her receiving it as a gift from a faithless lover who " left his 
fawn, but took his heart/' her joy in the society of her pet, and 
her conviction that its love was *' far more better than the love 
of false and cruel man." Then follows the description here 
given, on which Palgrave says : " Perhaps no poem in this 
collection is more delicately fancied, more exquisitely finished. 
By placing his description of the fawn in a youns girl's mouth, 
Marvell has, as it were, legitimated that abundance of imag- 
inative hyperbole to which lie is always partial; he makes us 
feel it natural that a maiden's favourite should be whiter than 
milk, sweeter than su^ar — 'lilies without, roses within.' The 
poet's imagination is justified in its seeming extravagance by 
the intensity and unity with which it invests his picture." In 
the concluding portion of the poem the nymph declares her 
determination to preserve in a vial the aying tears of her 
favourite, to fill up the vial with her own tears, to die and to 
have over her grave a weeping statue of herself cut in marble : 

*' Then at my feet shalt thou be laid, 
Of purest alabaster made ; 
For I would have thine image be 
White as I can, though not as thee." 



Marvell here throws himself into the very soul of the Garden 
with the imaginative intensity of Shelley in his West Wind, 
This poem appears also as a translation in Marvell's works. 
The most striking verses in it, here quoted as the book is rare, 
answer more or less to stanzas 2 and 6 : 

" Alma Quies, teneo te I et te, germana Quietis, 
Simplicitas 1 vos ergo diu per templa, per urbes 
Quaesivi, regum perque alta palatia, frustra : 
Sed vos hortorum per opaca silentia, lonee 
Celarunt plantae virides, et concolor umbra." 

(Palgrave's note.) 


" The element of enjoyment of nature," says Stopford Brooke, 
"seen already in Walton's GompUat Angler ^ is most strong in 
Andrew Marvell, Milton's friend. In imaginative intensity, in 
the fusing together of personal feeling and thought with the 
delight received from nature, his verses on the Emtgranta in the 
BermudtMj and the Thoughts in a Garden^ and the little poem 
TJie Girl describes her Fawn, are like the work of Wordsworth 
on one side, like good Elizabethan work on the other. They are 
like Milton's songs, the last and the truest echo of the lyrics of 
the time of Elizabeth, but they reach beyond them in the love 
of nature. " 

1. amaze, bewilder, perplex. The word is obsolete in this 
reflexive sense : comp. Milton's Golast. 357, " I amaze me " ; 
Walton's Angler, " I might easily amaze myself." See further 
Hymn Nat, 67, note. 

2. the palm, the oak, or bays; used in a general way for 
military, civil, and academic honours. The bav is the laurel 
wreath awarded to poets and scholars : comp. Drayton's Poly, 
15, ** Whether they Her beauty should extol or she admire their 
hay " ; Brown's Pastorals^ i. 1 : 

**I played to please myself on rustic reed. 
Nor sought for hay, the learned shepherd's meed." 

The palm is the token of victory. The Romans gave a crown of 
oak -leaves to him who saved the life of a citizen : comp. Coriol. 
i 3, and see notes on Lycida^, 11. 1, 2. 

3. Tincessant : see note on ' unexpressive,' Lye. 176, and comp. 
Abbott, § 442. 

5. narrow-verg^, of small compass. 

6. upbraid, reproach. The smallness of the honour when 
compared with the extent of their labour is so disproportionate 
as to be a kind of reproach. 

7. alL The contrast here is between * some single ' in line 4, 
and * all ' in line 7. 

12. busy Comp. UAUeg. 118, "the husy hum of 
men"; Rom. and Jvl. iii. 1, "the public haunt of men"; and 
Homer's 6fMbbv r* AvOfKbruv {II. x. 13). 

13. if here below ; elliptical for * if they grow here below {i.e, 
on this earth) at all.' 

15. all but rude, little better than barbarous. 

16. To, in comparison with. Comp. Ham. iv. 5. 125, "Treason 
can but peep to what it would." 


18. amorons: probably here used passively in the obsolete 
sense of * lovely ' or * lovable.* 

19. Fond ; see H Pens, 6. 

22. hers. The original is Tier, there bring an elliptical com- 
parison = ' How far these beauties exceed (the beauties of) her ' : 
comp. E Pens. 20, note). 

25. nm, etc. : when the passion of Love has run its course. 

28. Still, always : see Abbott, § 69. 

29. Daphne, an Arcadian goddess who was pursued by Apollo, 
and having prayed for aid was changed into a laurel tree (6k. 
8d4>vri) : comp. Gomiis, 661, *' As Daphne was, Root-bound, that 
Bed Apollo.'^ 

31. Fan... Ssnrinz. Syriux was an Arcadian nymph who, 
being pursued by Pan, fled into the river Ladon, and at her own 
request was changed into a reed, of which Pan then made his 
flute (called a syrinx). Comp. Arcades, 106, *' Though Syrinx 
your Pan's mistress were," etc. In Spenser's Shepherd's Cal- 
ender {Ed, iv.) Pan represents Henry VIII., and Syrinx Anne 
Boleyn, and in Jonson's Satyr Queen Anne is compared to the 
same nymph. Pan was the god of flocks and shepherds among 
the Greeks ; from the fact that he was accustomed to startle 
travellers came the phrase rb Ilai' iKbv (det/Mi), Panic fear ; hence 
the word panic. 

37. nectarine : originally an adjective, as in ''nectarine fruits " 
[Par, Lost, iv. 332) ; now applied to a variety of the peach. 

curious, exquisite, satisfying the curious or fastidious taste 
{Comvs, 714, ** the curious taste "). 

39. melons, etc. With the whole of this passage compare 
No. LXii., n. 21-24. 

41. This whole stanza suggests reference to such poems as 
Keats* The Poet^s Dream : 

** From these create he can 
Forms more real than living man " {O. T, cccxxiv.) ; 

Wordsworth's Nature and the Poet {O, T, cccxxxiii.) : 

'* The light that never was on sea or land. 
The consecration, and the Poet's dream " ; 

the same poet's Inner Vision ((r. T. cccxvii.) and Ode on Immor- 
tality \ and Shelley's Invitation {0, T, cccvii.) and Ode to the 
West Wind (cccxxii.). 

43. kind, nature (A.S. cynde^ natural): comp. ''her ovm 
natural kind " (Ode on Immortality), 


46. Far othQf, i.e. very different: comp. Comua, 612, '*far 
other arms." Aa other has here its radical sense of different, it 
may be modified by an adverb. 

47. ATmlhilatlng, etc. In an ecstasy of imaginative delight 
the poet almost becomes one with the scene he contemplates. 

61. body's vest. Comp. II. P&na. 91, and Merch. of Venice, 
"this muddy vesture of decay." In * body's vest ' the genitive 
is explanatory : see No. lxii., 1. 30, note. 

54. whetB, trims, prunes. 

56. the various light. This line beautifully describes the 
iridescence or play of colour on the plumage of a bird. ' Various,' 
changing, varied : comp. Par, Lost, vii. 317. 

57. Garden-state, i.e. in the Garden of Eden {Oen. ii. 8). 

69. After : here denotes both temporal and logical sequence. 

61. beyond ... share, greater happiness than is permitted to 

63. paradises ... Paradise. The first is a general term denot- 
ing a state of the highest felicity ; the second is the * Garden- 
state ' of line 58 (Gk. irapddeuros, a park or pleasure ground : the 
word is of Eastern origin ; comp. Pers. Jlrdaiis, a garden, paradise). 
Contrast Byron's Don J van, ii. 172, " All who joy would win 
Must share it, — Happiness was bom a twin." 

66. dial. The new dial of flowers and herbs refers to the fact 
that the passage of time is marked by the opening and closing 
of the flowers. Hence the idea of 'a floral clock,' here called * a 
fragrant zodiac,' 1. 68. For a similar idea see Vaughan's song on 
Man in Treaa. of Sacred Song. For the use of ' dial ' in the sense 
of a clock, comp. ** Then he drew a dial from his poke "{As You 
Like It), ii.7 ; also, Othello, iii. 3. 171. The word is from Low Lat. 
dialis, relating to a day ; comp. the radical and current senses of 
journal, rmnwal, etc. 

66. The sun in its course moves across the flowery face of the 
garden as the shadow moves along the sun-dial. 

67. milder: used absolutely, as often in Latin ; comp. II Pens, 
IL 15 and 140. 

68. zodiac : here used in the general sense of ' course.' The 
zodiac is that belt of the sky marked out by the ancients because 
the apparent places of the sun, moon, and planets known to them 
were always within it. Each of its twelve parts, called signs, 
had a constellation named after an animal, e.g. the Bam, the 
Bull, etc. : hence its name, from Gk. zddion, dim. of zoon, an 


No. LIX. • 


This piece is by Campion, on whom see the notes to Nos. xvii. 
and xxxin. : it appears in his Two Books of Airs (1613?), being 
one of the ' Divine and Moral Poems ' contained in the first book. 
" A sweeter example of an old pastoral lyric could nowhere be 
found, not even in the pages of Nicolas Breton " (BuUen). It is 
in praise of a contented countryman and his wife, and the title 
under which it appears in the Oolden Treasury is suggested by 
Virj^Fs Georg. ii. 458, " fortunatos nimium, sua si bona norint, 
agricolas. ** 

5. trip it : see note, UAUeg, 33. 

7. lash ont, spend lavishly or recklessly. Lash still occurs as 
a provincial word in the sense of 'lavish' or 'extravagant.' 
Jamieson connects it with Fr. lasche = relaxed. 

9. nappy, strong, tasty : Burns has, 

" And whiles twa pennyworth o' nappy 
Can make the bodies unco happy." 

Nap occurs as a cant term for strong beer. 

12. crabs: crab-apples, often roasted and plunged into the 
wassail-bowl: comp. JtfarmtoTi, " the hissing crabs." 

13. Tib, a familiar name for agi^l* The names Tib and Tom 
often go together : comp. AlVs iveU, ii. 2, 24, ** As Tib's rush for 
Tom's forefinger" ; in the game of gleek Tib is the ace of trumps 
and Tom the knave of trumps. 

19. tattlOB, nosegays (a provincial term). 

31. for, in spite of : see Abbott, § 154. 

32. Bocarer : see note, UAUeg, 91. 

Billy : see note, Hymn Nat, L 92, and No. xlvii., 1. 9. 

Nos. LX. AND LXI. 


These titles are Italian and may be translated 'the cheerful 
man' and 'the thoughtful man.' Milton probably chose the 
words not so much because they exactly expressed the charac- 
teristics of the two men represented as because they wereless 
likely to lead to misconception of his meaning than the words 
'Mirth' and 'Melancholy.' AUegro comes m>m Lat. ala^ier, 
from which we have the word 'alacrity,' and there is an air 
of briskness pervading the whole poem so called ; th& move- 


ment never flags. We have, "Haste thee, nymph," etc., 1. 25; 
"Come, and trip it," 1. 33; "In haste her bower she leaves," 
1. 87; "Out of doors he Jlings" 1. 113; and in many other 
ways animation and buoyancy are indicated. The whole piece, 
too, is full of sound, from the morning song of the lark to the 
whispering winds of evening, and from the merry bells of 
the upland hamlets to the busy hum of men in towered cities. 
So far,' at any rate, the title L' Allegro is not at variance with 
the poet's meaning. 

Penserow, from the same root as2>en.9ti;e, avoids the association 
of ill-humour which belonged to the word 'Melancholy,* though 
the Italian word pensiero means 'anxious' or 'full of care.' II 
Penseroso, however, is not full of care; his mind is tranquil 
and contemplative, and, like the ancient Greek philosopher, he 
has learned to be able to endure his own company. Solitude is 
to him the nurse of Contemplation. There is therefore less 
rapidity and continuity of movement, and fewer sounds in the 
Penseroso than in the Allegro; everything in it moves more 
slowly and quietly. 

The two poems are companion pieces, and the student must 
study them together in order to observe how far the one is the 
complement, rather than the contrast, of the other. The sub- 
joined analysis may serve to some extent as a euide ; it cannot, 
however, obviate the necessity for careful study of the means 
by which the poet effects his purpose in each piece. The two 
pieces may be viewed as pictures of two moods of Milton's own 
mind — the mind of a young and high-souled student open to all 
the impressions of nature. They are described by Wordsworth 
{Preface, 1815) as idylls in which the appearances of external 
nature are given in conjunction vnth the character and sentiments 
of the observer. They are not mere descriptions of any scene or 
scenes that actually came under Milton's eye, though there is no 
doubt that the scenery round Horton has left its traces upon the 

Pictures. Each records the events of an ideal day of twenty-four 
ours — beginning in L* Allegro with the song of the lark and in 
II Penseroso with that of the nightingale. It is impossible to 
say with certainty which was written nrst ; but there can be no 
hesitation in saying that II Penseroso is a man much more after 
Milton's own heart than L' Allegro, i.e. he represents a much 
more characteristic mood of Milton's mind, and the many ways 
in which this preference reveals itself should not fail to attract 
the student's notice. 

Mr. Palgrave's note on these poems is as follows: It is a 
striking proof of Milton's astonishing power, that these, the 
earliest great Lyrics of the Landscape in our language, should 
still remain supreme in their style for range, variety, and 
melodious beauty. The Bright and the Thoughtful aspects 
pf Nature and of Life are their subjects : but each is preceded 



by a mythological introdnction in a mixed Classical and Italian 
manner. — With that of U Allegro may be compared a similar 
mythe in the first Section of the first Book of S. Marmion's 
graceful Cupid and Psyche, 1637. 



1. * Loathed Melancholy ' banished 
from L' Allegro's presence : 
(a) Her parentage stated. 
(6) Her fit abode described. 1-10 

8. Welcome to 'heart-easing Mirth': 
(a) Her description. 
(6) Her parentage. .. 11-24 

8. Mirth's companions. 

4. Pleasures of the Morning ; 

^a) The lark's song. 

(6) Other sights and sounds of the 
glorious sunrise (AUegn^ be- 
mg not unseen and otU-of- 
doori}. 41-68 

6. Pleasures of the bright Noon-day 
and Afternoon : 

(a) The landscape. 

(b) Country employments and 

enjoyments 69-99 

0. Social pleasures of the Evening — 
tales told by the fireside. 


7. Pleasures of the Midnight-hour, 
tohile others slem : 
(a) The reading of old Bomances. 
hS The reading of Comedy. 


8. Music lulls him to sleep : 

(a) The music suited to his mood; 

(6) Melting music associated with 

sweet thoughts. 1S5-150 

II Penseroso. 

1. *Vain deluding joys' banished 
from II Penseroso's presence : 
(a) Their parentage stated. 
(6) Their fit abode described. 1-10 

2. Welcome to 'divinest Melancholy*: 
(a) Her description. 
(6) Her parentage. •• 11-30 

26-40 8. Melancholy's companiona. 81-65 

4. Pleasures of the Evening : 

(a) The nightlngtde's song. 

(&) Other sights and sounds of the 

moonlit evening (Penseroso 

being unseen and L out-qf- 

doorSf then ii. in-doors. 56-84 

5. Pleasures of the ' Midnight-hour': 
((C) The study of Philosophy. 
(6) The studv of Tragedy and 
other serious literature. 


6. Lonely pleasures of the stormy 
Morning. .. .. 121-130 

7. Pleasures of the * flaring ' Noon- 
day (but only in the shade), 
urvtU sleep comes. 181-160 

8. Music wakes him from sleep : 
(aS The music suited to his mood. 
(&) The ' pealing organ ' associated 
with the 'studious cloister.' 


[9. L' Allegro does not look beyond 9. n Penseroso's aspirations. 167-174 
these delights.] 

10. AoQeptanoe of Mirthf }51-162 10. Acceptance of Melancholy. 176-176 



1. Hence: adverbs, when thus nsed to convey a command, 
have the meaning of a whole sentence, e.g. hence = go hence ; 
compare the imperative use of away I up ! down I etc. ' Hence' 
represents an A.S. word heon»an, where the suffix denotes 
'from'; see note on Arcades, 3. 

loat]iM= loathsome, hateful ; the adjectival use of the past 
participle is frequent in Milton, and in Elizabethan English it 
conveyed meanings now generally expressed by adjectives with 
sudi terminations as 'Mty -some, 'ful, etc.; see note on 1. 40. 
Contrast the epithet here applied to Melancholy with that used 
in n Pmseroso, 12. 

2. Having personified Melancholy, Milton turns to ancient 
mythology to find a parentage for her. He makes her the 
daughter of Night, for * melancholy' means literally 'black bile,' 
that humour of the body which was formerly supposed to be the 
cause of low spirits ; in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy we 
read : '*The night and darkness makes men sad, the like do all 
subterranean vaults, dark houses in caves and rocks, desert 
places cause melancholy in an instant." Melancholy being thus 
associated with darkness, it was natural that Milton snould 
make her the offspring of ' blackest Midnight.' But in classical 
mythology (Nyx) Night is the wife of Erebus or Darkness, and 
their children are. iEther (Sky) and Hemera (Day). Milton dis- 
regards this relationship, and rightly feels that he may alter the 
ancient tales to suit his own purpose ; what can be more natural, 
therefore, than to justify the epithet ' loathed ' by making Melan- 
choly the offspring of the loathsome monster Cerberus? To have 
derived her from Night and Darkness would merely have intensi- 
fied the notion of bleakness, and would not have implied anything 
necessarily abhorrent. 

Ceit>era8 was the dog that guarded the gates of Hell, usually 
described as a monster with three heads, with the tail of a 
serpent, and with serpents round his neck. 

3. Stygian cave : the den of Cerberus was on the further bank 
of the river Styx, at the spot where the spirits of the dead were 
landed by Charon. Virgil in ^en. vi. makes Charon say : 

' * This is the place for the shadows, for Sleep and slumberous Night, 
The bodies of the living may not be ferried in my Stygian bark." 

The Styx, literally *the abhorred,' was the chief river of the 
lower world, around which it flowed seven times. To swear by 
Styx was regarded as the most solemn of oaths. 

tqi^lotUf desolate : now used only as an adjective. This is the 


past participle of the old verb forltostn^ to lose utterly ; the 
prefix /or has an intensive force, as \\i forswear. 

4. 'Mon^Bt, common in poetry for 'amongst/ as * 'midst' for 
' amidst. ' * A ' is a prefix = in, and ' amongst ' is literally ' in a 
crowd/ as 'amidst' is 'in the middle.' The adverbs in «t^ as 
amcnygst^ amidst, whtlsty are derived from obsolete forms in «, as 
amonges, amiddes, whUeSf which again come from the original 
adveros amongj amid, while, 

hoxrid Bhapes, etc. Burton, in AtuU. of Mel., associates 
' terrors and affrights ' with melancholy. ' Shape ' may be used 
here in the sense of Lat. umbra, a mere shape or shadow, a 
departed spirit. Comp. II Pens. 6. ' Unholy * = impure. 

5. some uncouth cell, t.e. some unknown and horrible abode. 
Radically, ' uncouth ' means ' unknown ' : A.S. wn, not ; and 
cuth, the past participle of cunnan, to know. Its secondary 
meaning is 'ungraceful' or 'ugly,' and in all the cases in which 
Milton uses tms word it seems probable that he heus taken 
advantage both of its primary and its later senses : see Lye, 186, 
Par, Lost, ii. 827, v. 98, vi. 362. In early English 'couth' 
occurs as a present, a past, and a participle, and it still survives 
in the word ' could ' and in the Scotch ' unco ' = strange. Similar 
changes of meanine have occurred to the words ' quaint,' ' bar- 
barous,' 'outlandish,' etc., because that which is unfamiliar is 
apt to be regarded unfavourably. 

The word ' cell ' is used in a similar connection in H Pens. 169. 

6. " Where Darkness covers the whole place as with its wings." 
Darkness is here personified, so that 'his' does not stand for 
' its ' ; on the other hand, if the word ' brooding ' is to be taken 
literally, we should have expected ' her ' to be used instead of 
' his.' The explanation probably is that Milton makes Darkness 
of the male sex, like the Lat. Erebus, and that ' brooding ' is not 
used literally, but = covering. In the following passage the 
word seems to partake of both meanings : — 

" On the watery calm 
His brooding win^ the Spirit of God outfirpread, 
And vital virtue mfused. ' — Par, Lost, vii. 243. 

In Tennyson's Two Voices we have ** brooding twilight." The 
primary sense of 'brood' is 'to sit upon in order to breed'; 
hence a person is said to brood over his injuries when his desire 
is to obtain vengeance. 

Jealous wings : ' darkness is very properly associated with 
jealousy or suspicion,' and there may be also an allusion to the 
watchful care of the brooding fowl. ' Jealous ' and ' zealous ' are 
radically the same. 

7. night-raven : in L* Allegro night is associated with the 
raven, in II Pens, with the nightingsSe. The raven was formerly 


regarded as a bird of evil omen and of prophetic powers: Shelley, 
in AdonaiSf speaks of the ** obscene raven." In Marlowe's Jeive 
of Malta we read — 

** Like the sad-presaging raven that tolls 
The sick man s passport in her hollow beak " ; 

and in Macbeth, i. 4 — 

" The raven himself is hoarse 
That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan 
Under my battlements." 

sings, radically = rings or resounds, applied by Milton to 
the strong notes of the raven, as by Shakespeare to the noise of 
a tempest : <* We hear this fearful tempest stng," Rich. II, IL L 
Comp. ' rings/ 1. 114. 

S. There, t.e. in the "uncouth cell " ; an adverb depending on 
dtoeU, line 10. 

ebon shades, shades as black as ebony, i.e. total darkness. 

* Ebon ' is the adjectival form, spelt ' heben ' in Spenser. Ebony 
is a kind of wood so called on account of its hardness (Heb. eben, 
a stone), and as it is usually black, the name heus come to be 
used as a synonym both for hardness and blackness. 

low-browed, overhanging or threatening : comp. H Pens. 58. 
A person with prominent brow is called * beetle-browed/ i.e. 

* with biting brows,* brows which project like an upper jaw. 

9. ragged: Milton represents Melancholy with her hair di- 
shevelled, and her fit abode amongst rugged and disordered rocks. 
In the English Bible ' ragged * occurs in the sense of ' rugged * : 
Isaiah, ii. 21. 

10. In dark Cimmerian desert, t.e. in some desert shrouded 
in Cimmerian darkness. " In the Odyssey the Cinunerians are a 
people dwelling beyond the ocean-stream in a land of perpetual 
darkness; afterwards the name was given to a people in the 
region of the Black Sea (whence Cnmea),** (Masson.) The 
phrase "Cimmerian darkness" is common in English poetry, and 
Milton can hardly be accused of tautology in speaking of a 
" dark Cimmerian desert"; he intensifies the notion of darkness. 

The student should note by what means, in the first ten lines 
of the poem, Milton creates so repugnant a picture of Melancholy 
that the reader turns with relief and delight to the representa- 
tion of Mirth which follows : these means are : — 

1. Accumulation of words conveying associations of horror, 

e.g, blackest Midnight, cave forlorn, shrieks, etc. 

2. Imagery that intensifies the horror of the picture, e,g. 

Stygian cave, brooding Darkness, etc. 

3. Irregular metre, the rest of the poem being in octosyllabic 

couplets whose tripping sweetness pleases the ear after 


the rougher cadence of lines 1-10. The separateness'of 
these lines is farther marked (both in UAUegro and II 
Penaeraao) by the peculiar arrangement of the rhymes : 
the formida iBahoacddeec 

11. fair and tree : both adjectives are frequently found together 
in English poetry to denote beauty and gracefulness in woman. 
We find in Chaucer's Knightea TaU : " Of fayre young Venus, 
fresh and free** ; and the words occur in the same sense even 
before Chaucer's time. Tennyson applies them to a man : comp. 
<< Lord of Burleigh, fair and free." 

12. 7<dept, named : past participle of the verb ' to clepe,' from 
A.S. dipian^ to call. In English the past participle of all verbs 
of the strone conjugation was originally formed by the suffix en 
and the prefix ge. The suffix en has now disappeared in many 
cases and the prefix ge in alL The y in 'yclept' is a corrup* 
tion of ge, as in yfaUen, yfounde, ygo, ylent, yshape, ywritten, 
all of which are found in Chaucer. The y also took the form i in 
Early English, as imaked. ispoken, iknowen, etc Shakespeare 
has yclept, yclad, etc. Milton in one case prefixes y to a present 
participle. See note on On Shakespeare, 4. 

EapliroB3me (the light-hearted one), one of the three Graces 
of classical m3rthology, the others being Aglaia (the bright one) 
and Thalia (the blooming one). They were represented as 
daughters of Zeus, and as the goddesses who purified and 
enhanced all the innocent pleasures of life. Milton desires to 
signify their service to man more clearly by giving them another 
genealogy ; he suggests two alternatives, and himself prefers the 
latter : — (1) That they are the offimring of Venus (love) and 
Bacchus (ffood cheer), or (2) of Zephyr (the ' frolic wind ') and 
Aurora (the goddess of the morning). From these parents 
Euphrosyne is besotten in the montii of May, i.e, " it is the 
early freshness of the summer morning that best produces Cheer- 
fulness " (Masson). 

13. heart-easing Mirth: Burton, in AncU. of Mel,, prescribes 
** Mirth and merry company " to ease the heart of the melancholy. 
With ' heart-easing ' (compounded of a participle preceded by its 
object) compare such adjectives as heart-rending, tale-bearing, 
soul-stirring, etc. 

14. at a Mrth, at one birth : the words ' a,' ' an,' and ' one ' are 
all derived from the same Anglo-Saxon word : comp. the phrase 
'one at a time.' 

16. Ivy-crownM : the ivy was sacred to Bacchus, the god of 

17. There is a change in the construction here, there being no 
preceding * whether' answering to 'whether' in this line: the 


meaning is, • WhetJ^er lovely Venus bore thee, or whether the 
frolic wind,* etc. 

some sager sing, i,e. some poets have more wisely written. 
Poets are often called 'singers, but it is not known to what 
poets Milton can be referring: probably he merely chose this 
way of modestly recommending his own view. 

18. firolic wind, t.«. frolicsome wind. The word 'frolic' is 
now used only as a noun and a verb, never as an adjective. 
Tet its original use in English is adjectival, and its form is that 
of an adjective : it is radically the same as the Qermaafrdhlichf 
so that he infrolie corresponds exactly to the suffix ly in deanly, 
ghastly, etc. By the end of the seventeenth century it came to be 
used as a noun, and its attributive sense being forgotten, a new 
adjective was formed — ^frolicsome, from which again came a new 
noun — ^frolicsomeness. In Comus 59 it is used as an adjective : 
"ripe and frolic." 

breathes the spring : this transitive use of the verb is fre- 
quent in Milton, with such objects as * odours,* 'flowers,' 'smell, 'etc. 

19. Zephyr, the personification of the pleasant West wind : in 
Par. Lost, v. 16, he is represented as wooing Flora — 

" With voice 
Mild as when Zephyrvs on Flora breathee." 

20. 'As' here introduces a clause of time. 'Once' does not 
here denote 'on a single occasion* as opposed to the adverb 
'often,* but 'at a former time,' as in the phreuse 'once upon a 
time ' (Lat. olim). 

a-Maylng, enjoying the sports suitable to May. Comp. 
the song of Aurora, Zeph3rr and Flora in The Penaiee of Jonson — 

" See, see, see who here is come a-maying ! " etc. 

To which May answers : 

" All this and more than I have gift of saying 
May vows, so you will bft come here a-maying." 

Also see Song on May Momingf 5. 

Even in ancient times there were May sports, when the 
Roman youth engaged in dancing and singing in honour of Flora, 
the goddess of fruito and flowers. Formerly throughout England 
the sports and custoins connected with May-day were obsen^ed 
with the greatest zest. 

' A-Maying' = on Maying : in O.E. writers after the Norman 
Conquest the verbal noun with the preposition 'on* was used 
after verbs of motion, e.g, ' he wente on himting ' ; afterwards on 
was corrupted into a. ' Maying ' is, therefore, not a participle 
used as a noun, but the verbal noun or gerund. The participle 
originally ended in ende or inde and the noun in wng ; but both 
now end in ing, and hence they are often confused. 


21. There, t.e. where Zephyr met Aurora: an adverb modi* 
fying *fiUed.' The nom. to * fiUed* is 'wind,* line 18. 

22. fresh-blown is compounded of a participle and a simple 
adverb, * fresh ' being equal to * freshly ' : the common adverbial 
suffix in Anglo-Saxon was e, the omission of which has reduced 
many adverbs to the same form as the adjectives from which 
they were derived. See note, II Pens, 66. 

roses washed In dew: a similar phrase occurs in Shake- 
speare — 

*' I '11 say she looks as clear 
As morning roses newly washed in dew." 

Taming of the Shrew, ii I. 173. 
Comp. also— • 

** Her lips like roses overwasht with dew." — Greene, Arcadia, 

24. hnxom, lively. The spelling of this word disguises its 
origin ; it is buck-some, which arose out of the A.S. oocsum or 
buSsum :=* easily bowed,* 'flexible* (A.S. bttgan, to bow, and 
the suffix sum, * like,* as in ' darksome,* etc. ). So that the word 
first meant * pliable,* then 'obedient,* then ' good-humoured * or 
■' lively,* and finally ' handsome.* It is now us^ ordinarily of the 
handsomeness of stout persons. In its primary sense it was 
applied to unresisting substances, e,g, "the buxom air** {Par. 
Losty n. 842), and the transition to the sense of ' obedient * is 
a natural one : comp. Spenser*s F, Q, uL 4 — 

" For great compassion of their sorrow, bid 
His mighty waters to them buxome be.** 

In Shakespeare*8 Per. i. 1 we find — 

"A female heir 
So buosom, blithe, and full of face *' ; 

and Milton seems to have recollected this passage. 

debonair, elegant, courteous : this word, when broken up, 
is seen to be a French phrase — de bon aire, literally * of a good 
mien or manner * \ de = of, bon is from Lat. bonus, good, and 
aire = manner. Comp. the use of 'air* in the phrase 'to give 
one*s self airs,* t.e. to be vain. ' Debonair * has thus been formed 
out of three words by mere juxtaposition. See note, H Pens. 32. 

25. Haste thee. In such phrases the pronoun may be said to 
be used reflectively: comp. 'sit thee down,* 'fare thee well.* 
In Early EngHsh, however, the pronoun was in the daiive, 
marking that the agent was aflected by the action, but not that 
he was the direct object of it : such a dative is called the ethic 
dative. Jji Elizabethan writers the use of thee after verbs in the 
imperative is so common that in many cases its original sense 
seems to have been lost sight of, and the pronoun consequently 
seems to be a mere corruption of the nominative thou. 


25. Nsrmpli, maiden: the word denotes literally 'a bride.' In 
Greek mythology the goddesses hannting mountains, woods, and 
streams were called nymphs ; see line 36. 

bring' here governs the following words : — Jest, Jollity, 
qtiips, cranks, wiles, nods, becks, smiles. Sport, and Laughter, all 
of which are the names of Mirth's companions. They are per- 
sonifications of the attributes of happy youth. 

26. Jollity, from the adjective ' jolly,' light-hearted : its 
original sense is 'festivity.' It is not etymologically connected 
witii * joviality * (from Jove, the joyful planet), though its mean- 
ing is similar. See note, Son. L 3. 

27. Quips, sharp sayings, witW jests. Compare *' This was a 
good qtup that he gave unto the tfewes " {Latimer). The word is 
radically connected with whip^ * that which is moved smartly,' 
and a diminutive from it is quibble. 

cranks, i.e. turns of wit. ' Crank ' is literally a crook or 
bend ; hence the word is applied to an iron rod bent into a right 
angle as in machinery, and to a form of speech in which words 
are twisted away from their ordinary meaning. Shakespeare 
uses 'crank' in the sense of a winding passage, (Tor. i. 1. 141, and 
(as a verb) = to wind about, i. Jlen. IV. i. 98 j and Milton has, 
" To show us the ways of the Lord, straight and faithful as they 
are, not full of tranks and contradictions. Whenever language 
is distorted or used equivocally we have a crank in the sense of 
the above passage. 

wanton wiles, playful tricks. ' Wile ' is really the same 
word as 'guile,' which in Earlier English was written '^e.' 
Compare ward and guard, wise and guise, warden and guardian ; 
the forms in ' gu ' were introduced into English by the Normans. 

28. Nods and becks, signs made with the head and the finger. 
The word ' beck ' is generally applied to signs made in either of 
these ways, though Milton here distinguis^s them ; it is a mere 
contraction of ' beckon,' to make a sign to, cognate with ' beacon.' 

wreathed smiles, so called because, in the act of smiling or 
laughing, the features are wreathed or puckered. A wreath is 
literally that which is * writhed ' or twisted. Compare * wrinkled 
care,' 1. 31. 

29. This line and the next are attributive to ' smiles.' ' Such ' 
qualifies ' smiles,' and the clause introduced by ' as ' is relative. 
As after stuih is generally regarded as a relative pronoun. Milton 
is fond of this construction ; see lines 129, 138, 148. 

Hebe's cheek : Heb^, in classical mythology, was the 
goddess of youth, who waited upon the gods and filled their cups 
with nectar. Later traditions represent her as a divinity who 
had power to restore youth to the aged. Compare Comus 290 : 
" As smooth as Hebe's their unrazored lips." 


30. ' And are wont to be found in sleek dimples.' ' Dimple * is 
literaUy a little ' dip * or depression : compare dingle, dapple, 
etc. For ' sleek '=soft or smooth, see Lye, 99. 

3L« We speak of Sport deriding or laughing away dull care : 
com^#are Proverbs, xvii. 22, ''A merry heart is a good medicine, 
but a broken spirit drieth up the bones." See Burton's Anat. of 
Mel., where Care is said to be 'lean, withered, hollow-eyed, 
wrinkled,' etc. 

32. Laughter, here said to be holding his sides, just as, in 
popular lan^age, excessive laughter is said to be * side-splitting.' 
• Sport * and * Laughter * are objects of the verb ' bring, L 25. 

33. trip It : * to trip ' is to move with short, light steps as in 
dancing ; ' it ' is a cognate accusative, as if we said ' to trip a 
tripping,' and adds nothing to the meaning of the verb. This 
use of ' it ' is extremely common in Elizabethan writers ; Shake- 
speare heus to fight it, speak it, revel it, dance it, etc., where (as 
Abbott suggests) the pronoim seems to indicate some pre-existing 
object in me mind of the person spoken of. In other cases, such 
as queen it, foot it, saint it, sinner it, etc., the pronoun seems to 
be added to show that the words have the force of verbs. 

34. light fantastio toe: the toe (or foot) is called 'fan- 
tastic' because in dancing its movements are unrestrained or 
'full of fancy.' 'Fantastic' is now used only in the sense of 
' grotesque * or ' capricious,' but in the time of Shakespeare and 
Milton fancy and fantasy (which are radically the same word) 
had not been desynonymised . this explains why an event that 
had merely been miagined or ' fancied ' is described by Shake- 
speare as 'fantastic. 'To trip the light fantastic toe' is a 
phrase now ordinarily used a8='to dance.' Compare Comus, 
144, 962 : " light fantastic round." 

36. Liberty is here naturally associated with Mirth ; in Bur- 
ton's Anat, of Mel. ihere is a chapter on "Loss of liberty as a 
cause of Melancholy." She is here called a mountnin-nympht 
because mountain fastnesses have always given to their possessors 
a certain amount of security against invasion and oppression, 
and because nowhere is the love of liberty more keen. Comp. 
Cowper's lines — 

" 'Tis liberty alone that gives the flower 
Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume ;'* 

And Wordsworth — 

" Two voices are there — one is of the sea, 
One of the mountains — each a mighty voice ; 
In both from age to age thou didst rejoice, 
They were thy chosen music, Liberty," etc. 

37* due : see note on II Pens. 155. . 


38. crew, formerly spelt crue, is common as a sea-term (being 
applied to the company of sailors on a ship) ; and, like many other 
sea-terms in English, is of Scandinavian oriein. Its original 
sense is ' a company ' and it is used here by Milton in this unre- 
stricted sense. The word is common in his poems, but in every 
other case he uses it in a bad sense, applying it to evil spirits or 
hateful things. ' To admit of ' is * to make a member of. 

39. ber, i.e. Liberty. 

40. imreproved pleasures f^e. free and innocent pleasures. 
This is a favourite arrangement of words in Milton — a noun 
between two adjectives : it generally implies that the final 
adjective qualifies the idea conveyed by the first adjective and 
noun together ; comp. ''hazel copses green,** Lye, 42; also " native 
wood-notes wild," L 134. Unreproved=imreprovable ; comp. 
' unvalued ' for * invaluable * in Milton's Lines On Shakespeare, 
Jl. In Shakespeare we find 'unavoided* for 'unavoidable,' 
'imagined* for 'imaginable,* * unnumbered * for * innumerable,* 
etc. (see Abbott's SJuDs. Grammar^ § 376). The passive participle 
is often used to signify, not that which wa^ and is, out that 
which was and therefore can be hereafter.) In much the same 
way we still speak of *an untamed steed,' 'an unconquered 
army,* ' a dreaded sound.' See also note. Lye 176. 

41. To bear, like ' to live * in 1. 38, is an infinitive of purpose 
dependent upon the verb ' admit.' 

42. startle is an infin. dependent, along with ' begin,' xrpon ' to 
hear.' Warton notes that there is a peculmr propriety in ' startle;' 
the lark's is a sudden shrill burst of son^, which is oft^n heard 
just before sunrise and may therefore oe said to scare away 
the darkness. Comp. Far, Beg, ii. 279. 

43. watch-tower : the lark sings high u^ in the air, so high 
that, though it may be filling one's ears with its melody, it is 
often impossible to see the songster. Hence Shakespeare speaks 
of it eus singing " at heaven's gate," and Shelley likens it to a 
" high-bom maiden in a palace tower,** 

44. dappled, %.e, having the sky covered with small grey 
clouds : literally, it means ' marked with small dips * or hollows ; 
it has no connection with dab. See note on 1. 30. ' Till ' here 
introduces a clause in the indicative ; in line 99 the verb is in the 
subjunctive mood : see note on II Pens, 44. 

45. Then to come, etc.: dependent, like 'startle,' upon the 
verb 'to hear* in 1. 41. It refers to the lark which is, at day- 
break, to appear at L* Allegro's window to bid him good morning. 
This is a fancy freq^uent in poetry — that the morning song of birds 
is a friendly greetmg to those who hear them. The only diffi- 
culties connected with this interpretation are (1) that in making 
the lark alight at the window of a human dwelling Milton seema 


to be forgetful of a lark's habits ; the ordinary poetical conceit 
does not apply to this bird, which does not seek man's company, 
and is a "bird of the wilderness " : (2) that the verb * hear ' is 
usually followed by an infinitive without * to,* whereas in this 
case *to come* is used. These difficulties disappear if we re- 
member that Milton*s references to nature are not always strictly 
accurate (see notes passim) ; and that ' to come * follows at some 
distance from 'hear,' thus rendering the introduction of *to* 
necessary as a sign of the infinitive. 

Prof. Masson, however, rejects this view as nonsense : he says : 
** The words * Then to come * in line 45 refer back to, and depend 
upon, the previous words 'Mirths admit me* of line 38.'* On 
this view, it is not the lark, but UAUegro himself, that comes to 
his own window and bids his friends good morning. This avoids 
the two difficulties above noticed, but raises others. The ques- 
tion is referred to here merely because, in order to appreciate the 
arguments, the student must thoroughly master the syntax 
of lines 37-48. 

45. In spite of sorrow, t.e. in order to spite or defy sorrow. 
'Spite* is a contracted form of 'despite,* and is cognate with 
'despise.* This is a peculiar use of the phrase * in spite of; 
ordinarily, when a person is said to do something in spite of 
sorrow, it is impliea that he did it although he %oas sorrowful. 
This is obviously not the meaning in this passage, for there is no 
sorrow in the heart of the lark (or of L*Allegro himself). 

46. Ud : see note on Lye, 22. 

47. sweet-briar (also spelt brier), a prickly and fragrant shi-ub, 
the wild-rose or eglantine. 

48. twisted eglantine. Etymologically 'eglantine* denotes 
something prickly (Fr. aiguille^ a needle), but since Milton has 
just named the sweet-briar, which is commonly identified with 
the eglantine, and calls the eglantine ' twisted * (which it is not), 
it is probable that he meant the honeysuckle. * Twisted * may 
properly be applied to creeping or climbing plants. 

49. cock. The crowing of the cock is universally associated 
with the dawn ; hence Milton speaks of this bird as scattering 
the last remnants of darkness by his crowing. So in Shakespeare 
we have a reference to the superstition that spirits vanished at 
cock-crow. In cla^ssical times the cock was sacred to Apollo, 
the god of the sun, because it announced sunrise. Comp. the 
Eastern proverb, used to a person to intimate that the speaker 
can dispense with his services — ** Do you think there will be no 
dawn if there is no cock ? " 

The adjective * thin * may be taken as qualifying * rear ' : so we 
speak of the thin or straggling rear of an army as distinct from 
its close and serried van. 


52. Stoutly BtmtB bis dames l)efore, walks with conscious pride 
in front of the hens. In Latin we find the cock described as the 
gaUtt8 riosostta, pugnacious fowl. Cowper speaks of the * wonted 
strut ' of the cock. ' Bef9re,' in this Ime, ia a preposition govem- 
ingj dames ': ' dame ' is from Lat. dominctf a lady. 

The bold step of the cock is well expressed by the rhythm of 
this line in contrast with that of the preceding one. 

53. listening : this word refers to L* Allegro himself : it intro- 
duces another of his 'unreproved pleasureis' of the morning. 
The word ' oft ' shows that the poet is not recounting the plea- 
sures of one particular morning, but morning pleasures in general. 

54. 'The sounds made by the barking hounds and the hunts- 
man's horn joyfully awaken the morning.' Similarly in Gray's 
Megy the cock-crow and the ** echoing horn " are both referred 
to as morning sounds. Gray was (as Lowell notes) greatly in- 
fluenced by a study of Milton's poetry. 

dieerly, cheerily or cheerfully : in the phrase ' be of good 
cheer,' we see the primary sense of the word * cheer/ which is 
from a French word meaning 'the face.' A bright face is the 
index of a cheerful spirit. 

55. hoar. This may imply that the hill appears gray through 
the haze of distance, or, more literally, that it is white with frost 
or rime, the hunters being astir before the rising sun has melted 
the frozen dew {hoar-frost), Li Arc, 98 Milton applies ' hoar ' to 
a mountain in the more usual sense of ' old ' : comp. ' hoary- 

66. high wood, because on the side of a hill. ' Echoing ' here 
qualifies 'hounds and horn.' 

shrill. Li modem English the use of adjectival forms as 
adverbs is common ; in many cases they represent the old adverb 
ending in -e (see note on 1. 22). It must not be supposed, how- 
ever, that wherever an adjective is used with a verb its force is 
that of an adverb : e.g, ** through the high wood echoing shrill" 
or " Hope springs eternal in the human breast." Here it is not 
correct to say. that * shrill ' merely means * shrilly,' and * eternal ' 
means ' eternally ' ; the adjectives have a distinct use in pointing 
to a quality of the agent rather than of the act. 

57. Sometime, i.e, 'for some time,' or 'at one time or other.' 
The genitive form ' sometimes ' has a different meaning = occa- 

not nnseen : see Analysis and note II jPens, 65 ; " Happy 
men love witnesses of their joy; the splenetic love solitude." 
Burton, in Ana£, of Mel. , says of the melancholy : " They delight 
in floods and waters, desert places, to walk alone in orchards, 
gardens, private walks," etc. 


58. elms. Warton notes that the ehn seems to have been 
Milton's favourite tree, judging from its frequent mention both 
in his Latin and English poems. The scenery in the neighbour- 
hood of Horton may account for this, though it must not be 
supposed that Milton is in this poem describing any actual scene. 
Masson says : '* A visit to Horton any summer's day ... to stroll 
among the meadows and pollards by the banks of the sluggish 
Colne, where Milton must nave so often walked and mused, may 
be recommended to lovers of Literature and of English History. 

59. This line is dependent on ' walking ' : ' right ' is an adverb 
modifying the preposition 'against.' Comp. 'He cut right 
through the enemy,* * I have got JmI/ through my work,* etc. 
' Against * implies that L* Allegro is walking with hu face turned 
directly to the rising sun. 

the eastern gate, a favourite image in poetry for that part 
of the sky from which the sun seems to issue. In classical 
mythology the god of the sun was represented as riding in a 
chariot through the heavens from East to West, and in one of 
his Latin poems {Eleg. iii.) Milton represents the sun as the 

* light-brinsing * king, whose home is on the shores of the Ganges 
(f.c in the far East). Comp. ** Hark, hark ! the lark at Heaven's 
gcUe sings,'* Cymbeline 11. iii. 

60. begins his state, begins his stately march towards his 

* other goal ' in the west. Comp. Arc» 81, note. 

61. amber light, amber-coloured light : noun used as adjective. 

62. 'The clouds (being) arrayed in numerous colours.* Gram- 
matically, ' clouds * is here used absolutely. In Latin a noun or 
pronoun in the ablative along with a participle was often used as 
a substitute for a subordinate clause, and Milton is fond of this 
construction. Here, line 62 is an adverbial clause modifying 
'begins.* In English, the noun is generally said to be the 
nominative absolute, but in the case of pronouns, the form shows 
whether the nom. or obj. is used. Milton uses both ; comp. 
" Him destroyed, for whom all this was made,** and " Adam shall 
live with her, /extinct.** Modem writers prefer the nom. case 
both for nouns and pronouns. In Anglo-Saxon the dative was 

Uverles here refers to dress, as when we speak of a servant's 
livery. Its primary sense was more general — anything delivered 
or served out, whether clothes, food, or money : a peer was even 
said to have livery of his feudal holdings from the King. As the 
livery of a servant is generally of some distinctive colour, 
Milton applies the word to the many-hued clouds. It may also 
imply that the clouds, as servants, attend their master, the Sun, 
in his stately march. 


62. dlgbt, a nearly obsolete word = arrayed : oomp. R Pens. 159. 
It is a short form of dighted, from the verb * to dight' (A.S. 
dihtan, to set in order), which, as Masson remarks, still sur- 
vives in the Scottish word dicht, to wipe or clean. 

65. Uithe : see note on 1. 56. 

67 tells his tale = counts his sheep, in order to find if any 
have gone amissii^ during the night. ' Tale * is thus used in 
the sense of ' that which is told or counted,* which was one of its 
meanings in Early Eng.: A.S. talu^ a number. In the Bible 
* tell ' and ' tale * are frequently used in this sense, Qen, xv. 5, 
PscUma xxiL 17, Exod. v. 18 ; and in the works of writers nearly 
contemporary with Milton the words are used of the counting at 

* To tell a tale * may also mean ' to relate a story,' and the 
shepherds may be supposed to sit and amuse themselves with 
simple narratives. But, as Milton in the previous lines refers to 
such rural occupations as are suited to the early morning, and 
represents each person as engaged in some ordinary duty, it 
seems likely that in this line also some piece of business is 
meant, and not a pastime. The morning hours are not usually 
those devoted to stoiy-telling. 

69. Straight, straightway, immediately. "There is, in my 
opinion, great beauty in this abrupt and rapturous start of the 
poet's imagination, as it is extremely well adapted to the sub- 
ject, and carries a very pretty allusion to those sudden gleams of 
vernal delight which break in upon the mind at the sight of a 
fine prospect " (Thyer), See note, Univ, Carrier^ ii. 10. 

70. Whilst it (t.e. the eye) measures the landscape roimd ; 
sweeps over the surrounding scen^. Landscape, spelt oy Milton 
landskip^ which resembles the A.S. form, lanascipe =i * land- 
shape,' the aspect or general appearance of the country The 
word is borrowed from the Dutch painters, who applied it to 
what we now call the background of a picture. ' Scape ' is 
radically the same as the suffix -ship, seen in ladyship, worship, 
friendship, etc. , where it serves to form abstract noims. ' Round ' 
is an adverb modifying * measures, *=aroimd. 

71. Basset lawns, and fallows grey : * lawn ' is always used by 
Milton to denote an open stretch of grassy ground, whereas in 
modern usage it is applied to a smooth piece of grass-grown 
land^ in front of a house. The origin of the word is disputed, 
but it seems radically to denote * a clear space ; it is said to be 
cognate with Uan used as a prefix in the names of certain Welsh 
towns, e.g, Llandaflf, Llangollen. Comp. Lye, 25. 'Fallow* 
literally denotes * pale-coloured,* e.g, tawny or yellow: hence 
applied to land ploughed but not bearing a crop, as it is gene- 
rally of a tawny colour ; and finally to cSl land that has oeen 


long left unsown and is therefore grass-grown. It is in this last 
sense that Milton uses it, and as the word has lost all signifi- 
cance of colour (when applied to land) he adds the adjective 
'grey* to distinguish it from those fields that are * russet' or 
reddish-brown : the former are more distant, the latter nearer 
at hand. See note L 55. 

72. stray : comp. Lat. cmare, to wander. 

73. Mountains, alon^ with 'lawns/ 'fallows,' < meadows/ 
* brooks/ and * rivers,* is in apposition to * new pleasures,' 1. 69. 

74. labouring donds, so called because they bring forth rain 
and storms. The image of clouds resting on the mountain-top is 
well expressed by Shi^Uey : — 

'* I sift the snow on the mountains below, 
And their g^re&t pines groan aghast ; 
And all the night tis my pillow white, 
While I deep in the arms of the blast." 


75. trim: comp. 'trim gardens,' 11 Pens, 50, 'daisies trim,' 
Com. 120. The student should note the prevailing position of 
the adjectives in lines 71, 75, 76, 126, etc. Where contrast is 
intended, eus in line 76, the two nouns are placed together and 
the adjectives apart ; so in Latin frequently. 

pied, variegated. The word literally means 'variegated 
like a mag^'e ' ; it is a common epithet in poetry and is applied 
by Shakespeare to daisies {L, jj, L. v. ii.). It is therefore 
probable that in this passage also ' pied ' qualifies ' daisies ' ; 
otherwise it might be taken as an attribute of 'meadows.' 
Comp. piebald, applied to animals. 

77. Towers and battlements it [i.e. the eye) sees. This thought 
may have been suggested to Milton by the fact that his eye, in 
taking in the landscape around Horton, would often light on the 
towers of Windsor Castle in the distance : comp. Com, 935. 

78. Bosomed, embosomed. 

79. Where perhaps some beautiful lady dwells, a centre of 
attraction. Lines 79 and 80 form an attributive adjunct to 
' towers and battlements.' 

beauty : see note on Lye. 166. 

lies = dwells; comp. Lye. 53, and Shakespeare, * When 
the court lay at Windsor ' {M. W. of W. ii. 2). 

80. cynosure, now applied generally to an object of great 
interest : so called because the Cynosura, the stars composing 
the tail of the constellation of the Lesser Bear, was the mark by 
which the Phoenician sailors steered their course at sea. * Cyno- 
sure ' is from the Greek kynos oura, a dog's tail : comp. Com. 
342 : " Tyrian Cynosure." A star by which sailors steer is also 


called a ' lode-star,' a word which is used metaphorically in the 
same way as 'cynosure'; comp. " Your eyes are lode-atara" M, 
N. D. i. 1. 

neighbonrlxigr : 'neighbour' is radically 'near-dweller' 
(A.S. necJi-Mr). 

81. Hard by, near at hand: 'by '= alongside, an adverb 
modifying * smokes ' ; ' hard ' ia an adverb of degree modifying 
' by.' Comp. the sense of * by * in the phrases close by, fast by, 
to put a thing by {i.e. aside). 

82. From: a preposition may, as here, govern an adverbial 

83. Where, in which cottage. Corydon, Thyrsis, Thestylis 
occur frequently in pastoral poetry as the names of shepherds, 
and Phyllis as the name of a female. See Yirgil's nucolics, 
Theocritus, Spenser, etc. 

met : ' having met together, they are seated at their 
savoury dinner of herbs and other country dishes.' 

85. messes, dishes of food. 'Mess' originally meant some- 
thing placed on a table (Lat. miasum): the word here has no 
connection with ' mess,' a disordered mixture, which ia a variant 

86. neat-handed: 'neat' \b a kind of transferred epithet, 
referring not to the woman's hands but to the appearance of the 
food prepared by her. So a skilful carpenter may be called 
' neat-handed,' a good needlewoman ' neat-fingered,' etc. 

97. bower, here refers to the cottage. A * bower * ia strictly 
something built, a dwelling-place : it came to be applied to the 
inner chamber occupied by a lady. 

With Tbestylis: 'with' here means 'in company with,' a 
woman being generally employed at harvest-time to assist in 
binding the com into sheaves. 

89. Or. The construction is : ' Either she leaves her bower to 
bind the sheaves, or (she goes) to the tanned haycock.' This ia 
evidently the meaning ; ' she goes ' being implied in the previous 
verb ' leaves.' This construction, by which two nouns or phrases 
are connected with one verb which really suits only one of them, 
Ib common in Milton, and ia called zeugma. 

earlier season, because the hay-harvest is earlier than the 

90. tanned haycodk, a pile of dried hay. The word ' cock ' (by 
itself) means a ' small pile of hay ' : it is radically distinct from 
the word ' cock ' in any other sense. 

mead, meadow. The form in -ow (comp. arrow, sparrow, 
marrow, sorrow) is due to an A. S. suffix -we* 


91. secnre, free from care, not fearing harm. This is the 
primary sense of the word [Lat. ae (for sine) = free from, cura = 
cire]: it therefore corresponds exactly to the English word 
'care-less.' It is used in this sense in the Bible and in such 
passages as — 

"Man may securely sin, but safely never." 

In Latin securus is sometimes applied to that which frees from 
care. In modem English 'secure' means *safe,' actvaUy free 
from danger. 

92. " Milton again notes a paragraph in the poem, changing 
the scene. It is now past mid-day and into the afternoon ; and 
we are invited to a rustic holiday among the * upland hamlets ' 
or little villages among the slopes " (Masson). 

upland liamlets: as the poet here introduces us to the 
primitive amusements and superstitions of village life we may 
take 'upland' to mean 'far removed from large cities.' The 
word ' uplandish ' was formerly used in the sense of ' rude ' or 
'unrefined,' because, in the uplands, the refinements of town-life 
were unknown. Comp. note on L 5. ' Hamlet ' = ham-let, a 
little home (A.S. ham) : comp. the affix in the names of certain 
towns — ^Nottingham, Birmingham, etc. 

invite : the object of this verb is not expressed. 

94. Jocund, merry : from the Lat. jucunduSy pleasant. (It has 
no radical connection with the words joke, joctUarf as is some- 
times stated.) 

rebetiks. The rebeck was a three-stringed fiddle, played 
with a bow. The name is the same as the Persian rabdb, applied 
to a two-stringed instrument said to have been introduced into 
Europe by the Moors. The modem violin has four strings. 

95. many a youth. * Youth ' = young-th, the state of being 
young ; it is now used both in its abstract and concrete senses : 
m the latter it applies properly, as here, to a young man. 

' Many a ' is a peculiar idiom, which has been explained 
variously. One theory is that 'many' is a corruption of the 
French mesnie, a train or company, and * a ' a corruption of the 
preposition * of,' the singular noun being then substituted for the 
plural through confusion of the preposition with the article. A 
more correct view seems to be that 'many' is the A.S. manigy 
which was in old English used with a singular noun and without the 
article, e.g. manig mann = many men. In the thirteenth century 
the inde&iite article began to be inserted, thus mony tnne thing 
= * many a thing,' just as we say * what a thing,' ' such a thing.' 
This would imply that ' a ' is not a corruption of ' of,' and that 
there is no connection with the French word mesnie. 


96. chequered Bhade. The meaning may be illustrated by a 
passage from Shakespeare — 

** The green leaves quiver with the cooling wind, 
And make a chequered shadow on the ground." 

l^itus Andron. ii. 4. 

Comp. "a shadow -chequered lawn," Tennyson's HecoU, of 
Arabian Nights, 

The radical meaning of ' chequered ' or ' checkered * is ' marked 
with squares * (like a chess-board) ; hence it is here applied to the 
ground marked in dark and light. The game of draughts which 
is played on a chess-board is sometimes called * checkers.' The 
word * check ' is derived, through the French, from the Persian 
shdh^ a king, the name given to the principal piece on the chess- 
board: * chess ' is merely a corruption of the plural * checks.' 

97. *And (to) young and old (who have) come forth to play.* 
' Gome ' is the past participle agreeing with ' young and old.' 

to play : infinitive of purpose after a verb of motion ; in 
early English the gerund was used, preceded by the preposition 

98. sunshine holiday : comp. Com, 959. ' Sunshine ' is a noun 
used as an adjective. Milton wrote * holyday,' which shows the 
origin of the word. The accent in such compounds (comp. blue- 
bell, blackbird, etc. ) falls on the adjective ; it is only in this way 
that the ear can tell whether the compounds {e.g. h61iday) or the 
separate words [e.g, h61y ddy) are being used. 

99. livelong, longlasting : see On Shakespeare, 8, note. For 
'fail,' the subjunctive after *till,' compare L 44. 

100. We have here to supply a verb of motion before * to,* e.g. 
'they proceed' : comp. lines 90 and 131. 

spicy nut-hrown ale, a drink composed of hot ale, nutmeg, 
sugar, toast, and roasted crabs or apples. It was called LamVa 
toool from its frothy appearance, and Sh^espeare refers to it as 
"gossip's bowl," while another Elizabethan writer calls it "the 
spiced wassel bowL' 

101. feat, exploit, wonderful deed. *Feat,* like *fact,' is 
radically 'something done' (Lat. fotcium). For *many a,' see 
I 95. 

102. Eaery Mah. Mab was the fairy who sent dreams, and 
hence a person subject to dreams is said to be 'favoured with 
the visits of queen Mab.' See an account of her powers in this 
respect in Borneo and Jvliety 1. iv. Ben Jonson alludes to the 
likmg of the fairies for cream :— 


*' When abont the cream-bowU sweet 
You and all your elves do meet. 
This is Mub, the mistress-fairy. 
That doth nightly rob the dairy. 
She that pinches coiintry wenches. 
If they scrub not clean their benches. ' 

Milton's spelling ' faery ' comes nearer to the early English word 
* faerie/ which meant 'enchantment.' 

Junkets, also spelt juncates. The original sense is *a 
kind of cream-cheese served up on rushes ' (ItaL gifmco, a rush) : 
it was then applied to various Kinds of delicacies made of cream, 
then to any delicacv, and finally to a 'merrymaking.* Hence 
the verb 'to junket, t.e. to reveL Milton here means 'dainties.' 

eat : here past tense = ate. 

103. She ... be, etc. One of the girls tells how she was pinched 
in her sleep by the ^kiries (the popular superstition being that 
only lazy servants were treated in this way), and then a young man 
tells his experience : at one time he was led astray by the ignis 
fcUuus, and at another time he had suffered from the tricks of 
Robin Groodfellow. 

104. The construction ia awkward : we may read either 

(1) ' And he (was) led by Friar's lantern ; (he) tells how ' etc., or 

(2) ' And he, (having been) led by Friar's lantern, tells how ' etc. 
The former reading is preferable as it separates the two stories 
regarding the ' Friar's lantern ' and the ' drudging goblin,' but it 
leaves the verb ' tells ' without a subject. This, however, occa- 
sionally happens in Milton. The other reading is grammatically 
easy, but confuses the two stories. A third sugeestion is to read 
Tales for TeUs in line 105, putting a colon at l&i. 

Friar's lantern. This refers to the flickering light often 
seen above marshy ground and liable to be mistaken by the 
belated traveller for the lieht of a lamP; It is popularly called 
Jack o' lantern or Will o' tne Wisp. This explams Milton's use 
of the word ' lantern,' but it does not explain why he should call 
it * Friar's ' lantern. He majr refer to a spirit popularly called 
Friar Rush, who, however, neither hauntea fields nor carried a 
lantern, but played pranks in houses during the night ; he is 
therefore distmct from Jack o' lantern. ' Friar ' is a member of 
a religious order (Lat. frcUer, Fr. fr^re, a brother). 

105. drudging goblin : sometimes called Robin Goodfellow or 
Hobgoblin (or Puck as in Shakespeare). Comp. AncU of Md. I. 
ii. : ' A bigger kind there is of them {i.e. terrestrial demons) called 
with us hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows, that would in those 
superstitious times grind com /or a mess of milky cut wood, or do 
any manner of drvdgery work, ... to draw water, dress meat, 


or any such thing.* It is to be noted that the individuality of 
these familiar spirits is often not very clear. Milton confuses 
Jack o' lajitem and Friar Bush, while keeping Robin Goodf ellow 
distinct; Shakespeare does not distinguish Robin Goodfellow, 
Jack o* lantern, and Puck (see Midsummer Night* a Dreamy ii. 1); 
while Burton makes Bobin Goodf ellow a house spirit and i^peaks 
of men being '* led round about a heath with a Puck in the night." 
Scott makes the same mistake as Milton, and Ben Jonson in The 
Sad SJiepherd introduces * Fuck-hairy * or ' Bobin Goodf ellow,' a 
hind. See note on II Pens. 93. ' 

* To drudge * is to perform hard and humble work. ' Gob- 
lin,' a supernatural being, generally represented as of small size 
but great strength ; sometimes mischievous, sometimes kindly 
disposed. In the form hob-goblin * hob ' is a corruption of Bobin ; 
hence Bobin Goodf ellow and Hobgoblin are the same. 

105. sweat ; here past tense of a strong verb (O.E. stocU 
or sivot) ; it is now treated as a weak verb, and the past tense is 
sweated. Comp. such weak verbs as creep, leap, quake, swell, 
wash, weep, of which the old preterites were crop, leep, quoke, 
swal, wesh, wep. 

106. To earn : infin. of purpose. 

duly set, t.e. placed as the gobUn's diie : ' set ' qualifies 
* cream-bowl.* 

107. ere : comp. 1. 114 and Lye. 25. ' Ere *= before, now used 
only as a conjunction or preposition : in A.S. aer was an adverb 
as well, and not a comparative but a positive form = soon. 

108. Bbadowy flail ; being wielded by a spirit, the flail is here 
called ' shadowy *= invisible. 'Mail* is from Lat. flageUum, a 

liatli : Milton always used this older inflexion, and never 
the form Jias. 

109. end. The goblin performed in one night a task that ten 
labourers working a whole day could not have completed ; end= 
complete. Notice that *end* and 'fiend* (pron. fend) here 
rhyme together. 

110. Then the lubber fiend lies (him) down. Comp. 'haste 
thee,' 1. 25 and note ; * him ' is here reflective. 

lubber fiend : ' lubber * is generally applied to a big clumsy 
fellow, whereas Bobin Goodfellow was a small and active fairy, 
who could scarcely be " stretched out all the chimney's length." 
Milton may have referred to ' ^&-lie-by-the-fire, the giant son 
of a witch mentioned in Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, 
Shakespeare calls Puck a ' lob of spirits. ' 

111. chimney's lengtli, t.e. the width of the fireplace or hearth. 
'Chimney* in the sense of fireplace is obsolete except in 


compoimcU, e.g. chimney-piece, chimney-comer. It now means 

* flue * or passage for smoke ; as such passages did not exist in 
Roman houses, the Lat. caminua (from which chimney is derived) 
meant a furnace, brazier, or fireplace. 

112. Basks ... strength. 'To bask' is to 'lie exposed to a 
pleasant warmth.' The word is here used transitively, its object 
being ' strength,' and its meaning ' to expose to warmth.' 

hairy: an epithet transferred from the person to an 
attendant circumstance; comp^ 'dimpled mirth,' 'wrinkled 
care,' 'pale fear,' 'gaunt hunger.' Ben Jonson speaks of Puck 
as being hairy, and strength is often associated with abundant 
growth of hair : see Sampson AgonisteSy passim. 

113. crop-fall, with well-filled stomach. The 'crop' is the 
first stomach of fowls. 

flings, t.e. flings himself, darts. This verb is one of a 
number that may be used reflectively without having the reflec- 
tive pronoun expressed : comp. ' he poshed into the room,' ' he 
has changed very much,' etc. 

114. first cock ; because one cock sets the others a-crowing. 

matin, morning call (Fr. ma^tn, morning) ; comp. Par. 
Lost, v. 7, " The shrill matin-song of birds on every bougn." In 
Par. Lost, vi. 526, it occurs as an adjective, and in Hamlet 
Shakespeare uses it as a noun = morning: "The glow-worm 
shows the ma^in to be near." The word matins ia now used for 
morning prayers. 

115. Thns done the tales. Absolute construction (as inl. 62) 
=The tales (being) thus done, they (i.e. the villagers) creep to 

116. lulled=being lulled, attributive to 'they.' 

117. Towered cities ... then. 'Then' does not here denote 

* afterwards ' as it does in line 100 ; it marks a transition from 
mirth in the country to mirth in the city, and the poet now 
recounts the entertainments of city life, as L' Allegro might read 
of them in romances and tales of chivalry. This explains the 
allusions to 'thrones of knights,' contests of 'wit or arms,' 
' antique pageantry, etc. These are not the events of one day 
except in the sense that L' Allegro might, on his return from the 
village rejoicings, retire to his own room to read about them. 

'Towered,* having towers (Lat. turritay an epithet which Milton 
himself applied to London in one of his Latin Elegies). Comp. 
Arc. 21. There is no doubt that the poet, during his stay at 
Horton, paid occasional visits to London, and Warton imers 
from expressions in the first Elegy that he had in his ^outh 
enjoyed the theatre 


118. hum, nominative, along with 'cities/ to 'please.' 

119. knights and barons : it is interesting to note the original 
meaning of these and other words that are now titles of rank. 

* Knight *= A.S. cnihtf a youth ; * baron * meant at first no more 
than * man ' or * husband * ; * duke ' = Lat. duxy a * leader * ; 
' count ' is really Lat. cornea, a companion ; and ' earl ' is Old 
Saxon erlj a man. 

120. weeds, garments. Comp. the use of the word by Shake- 
speare — 

" I have a woman's longing 
To see great Hector in his toeeds of peace,** 

Tr. and Ores, iii. 3. 

'Weeds of peace' denotes the ordinary dress as opposed to 
'weeds of war,' i.e. armour, etc. The use of the word is now 
generally confined to the phrase * a widow's weeds,' %,e. a widow's 
mourning dress. Comp. Comua, 16, 189, 390. 

high triumphs, grand public entertainments, such as 
masques, pageants, processions, tournaments, etc. Comp. ^ama. 
Agon, 1312 and Bacon's Essay Of Masques and Triumphs, Such 
exhibitions were extremely popular from the time of Henry VIII. 
to Charles I. See Arca/ieSf introductory note. 

121 . store of ladies, many ladies. The word ' store ' is found 
in this sense in Sidney, Spenser, and others. It is now applied 
only to inanimate objects to denote abundance. 

122. Rain, pour forth. * To rain ' in the sense of ' to pour 
forth in abundance ' is a common expression : comp. ' to stream,' 

* to shower,' * to overflow.' 

influence. This word is now chiefly used in the sense of 
' power ' or * authority,' but a trace of its original meaning still re- 
mains in such phrases as ' magnetic influence,' ' the influence (t.6. 
inspiration) of the Spirit. ' Its literal meaning is a flowing in (Lat. 
in, and/tiere, to flow), and in this sense it was used in astrology 
to denote " a flowing in, an influent course of the planets, their 
virtue being infused into, or their course working on, inferior 
creatures."" This was originally the only meaning of the word, 
and in this sense Milton and Shakespeare employ it : in this 
passage it implies that the bright eyes of the ladies were like the 
stars in ' working on ''those upon whom their glances fell. 

Burton, in Anat, of Mel.y says: 'Primary causes are the 
heavens, planets, stars, etc. , by their influefnce (as our astrologers 
hold) producing this and such like effects.' It is well to re- 
member how strong a hold the belief in astrology had (and still 
has) on the human mind ; up to the end of the eighteenth 
century the almanacs in common use in England were full of 
astrological rules and theories^ and even an astronomer li)^e 


Kepler was not entirely free from belief in such matters. It is 
not surprising, therefore, that the science of astrology has left 
its traces on the language in such words as ' influence,* ' disas- 
trous/ * ill-starred,* 'ascendency,* etc. Gomp. notes on Are. 52, 
n Pern. 24. 

judge the prize, adjudge or award the prize. We may 
take 'eyes' as nominative to both of the verbs 'rain' ana 
'judge,' the ladies showing by their eyes whom they regard as 
the victor. But Milton occasionally connects two verbs rather 
loosely with one noun, just as he, on the other hand, makes one 
verb refer by zeugma to two nouns in different senses. We may 
therefore read, * who judge,' the relative being implied in 
'whose,' 1. 121. Gomp. H Pens, 155, Lye. 89. 

123. Of wit or axms: comp. 'gowns, not arms,' Son. xvii. 
The contests of wU in which ladies were the judges may be those 
' Gourts of Love ' which were so popular in France until the end 
of the fourteenth century and had so great an influence on the 
poetical literature both of France and England. The contests of 
arms may refer to those tournaments in which mounted knights 
fought to show their skill in arms, the victor generally receiving 
his prize at the hands of some fair lady. Gomp. // Pens. 118. 

124. her grace whom, %.e. the grace of her whom. The rela- 
tive pronoim here relates, not to the noun preceding it, but to 
the substantive implied in the possessive pronoun. His, her, ete. 
being genitives = of him, of her, ete., they have here their full 
force as pronouns, and are not pronominal adjectives (as they 
are sometimes called). The same idiom is found in Latin, e,g. 
mea aeripta timeniis, ' my writings who (I) fear '= the writings of 
me who am in fear. Gomp. Are. 75, Son, xviii. 6. Grace = 

125. H3rmen...iii saffron robe. Hymen, being the god of mar- 
riage, Milton here refers to elaborate marriage festivities which 
often included masques and other spectacles : comp. Ben 
Jonson's Hymenaei, where Hymen enters upon the stage * in a 
saffron-eoloured robe, his under vestures white, his socks yelloWf 
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.* Gomp. 
Milton's fifth Elegy, 106 : 

Exulting youths the Hymeneal sing. 
With Hymen's name, roofs, rocks, and valleys ring ; 
He, new attired, and by the season drest 
Proceeds, all fragrant, in his saffron vest. 

{Coioper*8 translation). 

IxL works of art. Hymen is represented as a youth bearing a 
tprch* Milton uses 'taper,' uqw restricted to a smaU waci^- 


candle ; from this use we get the adjectives * taper ' = taper-like, 
long and slender, and ' tapering.' The radical sense of 'taper' is 
' that which glows or shines.' 

125. appear : after the verb let the simple infinitive without 
to ia used : let Hymen (to) appear.' 

127. pomp and feast and revelry : these words depend upon 
the verb^' let.' Milton here used the word * pomp ' in its classi- 
cal sense (Greek pomp4)=zaxi imposing procession. Gomp. Scums, 
Agon, 1312, and note on L 120. 

128. mask : see introduction to Comua in this series. 

antique pag^eantry, representations or emblematic spec- 
tacles in which mythological cnaracters were largely introduced. 
' Pageantry ' is an interesting word. The suffix -ry has a collec- 
tive or comprehensive force (which has gained in some cases an 
abstract sense) as in cavalry, infantry, poetry, etc. Pageant 
meant (1) a moveable platform ; then (2) a platform on which 
plays were exhibited; hence (3) the play itself; and (as the plays 
nrst exhibited in this way made large use of spectacular effect) 
(4) a spectacle or show. 

* Antique,' belonging to earlier times (Lat. antiquus, also spelt 
anticus). This word has gone through changes of meaning 
similar to those of the word ' uncouth' (see 1. 5), viz. (1) old, (2) 
old-fashioned or out of date, and hence (3) fantastic : there is, 
however, this difference — that while * uncouth ' has had all three 
senses, ' antique ' has had only the two first, the third being 
taken by the lorm 'antic' 

129. Such sights, etc. These words stand in apposition to 
'pomp,' 'fea&t,' etc. Some suppose that Milton here refers to 
the early works of Ben Jonson, who was a prolific writer of 
masques. But surely they have a deeper significance; they 
imply that the imagery of the poem is not that of mere recol- 
lection, but the product of a youthful nature, full of joyous 
emotion, and affected by circumstances of time and place. A 
youthful poet, a haunted stream, and a summer evening form a 
combination that does not lead to mere description. 

131. Then to the well-trod stage, sc, ' let me go ' : this means 
that L' Allegro turns from the stories of chivalry to the comedies 
of Shakespeare and Jonson : comp. note 1. 1 17. By calling the 
stage ' well-trod ' Milton may hint at the abundance of dramatic 

anon, soon after (A.S. on dn, in one moment) : an adverb 
modifying the verb of motion understood. 

132. Jonson's learned sock. Ben Jonson (1574-1637) was alive 
when Milton paid him this compliment. There is no doubt that 
Milton must have admired Jonson for his classical learning and 
for his lofty sense of the poet's task. He calls him ' learned ' on 


account of the profuse display of classical knowledge and dramatic 
art in his comedies and masques. On this point he is often con- 
trasted with Shakespeare. Hazlitt says: ** Shakespeare gives 
fair play to nature and his own genius, while the other trusts 
almost entirely to imitation and custom. Shakespeare takes his 
groundwork in individual character and the manners of his age, 
and raises from them a fantastical and delightful superstructure 
of his own ; the other takes the same groundwork in matter-of- 
fact, but hardly ever rises above it." Fuller compares Jonson 
to a Spanish galleon and Shakespeare to an English maji-of-war : 
** Master Jonson, like the former, was built far higher in learn- 
ing ; solid but slow in his performances. Shakespeare, like the 
latter, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could turn with all 
tides, and take advantage of all winds, by the quickness of his 
wit and invention. '* 

sock : here used as emblematic of comedy in general, as 
* buskin ' is used of tragedy (comp. II Pens. 102). The sock (Lat. 
80CCU8) was a kind of low slipper worn by actors in the comedies 
of ancient Rome. * Sock ' here cleverly refers to Jonson 's liking 
for the classical drama : it was, less fittingly, used by Jonson 
himself of Shakespeare. 

133. Or (if) sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, etc. Milton 
speaks of Shakespeare with reference only to his comedies 
and to that aspect of them that would appeal most readily to 
the cheerful man. A comedy like Measure for Measure could 
hardly be adequately characterised as * native wood-notes wild,' 
but such a comedy would no more accord with the mood of 
L' Allegro than the tragedy of Hamlet. Milton's language here is 
sufficiently accounted for by the fact that he is contrasting 
Shakespeare as master of the romantic drama with Jonson as 
master of the classical drama, that he is paying a tribute to his 
striking natural genius {* native wood-notes '), and that he regards 
him as indeed a poet, being 'of imagination all compact' 
(* Fancy's child'). L' Allegro cannot be expected to use the 
language of the lines On Shakespeare : he represents a special 
mood of the human spirit, a mood with which Milton is not so 
fully in sympathy as that of II Peviseroso. * Fancy ' (Phantasy) 
is here used in a less restricted sense than now : we would now 
use * Imagination. ' The student should note the pleasing rhythm 
and alliteration of lines 133, 134. 

135. ag^nst eating cares, to ward off gnawing anxiety. It is 
a common figure to speak of care or sorrow eating into the heart 
as rust corrodes iron. Comp. Lat. euros edaces^ Horace, OdeSy 
ii. 11 ; mordaces soUicUudines, Odes^ i. 18. The preposition 
'against, from the notion of counteraction implied in it, has a 
variety of uses : comp. ' he fought against (in opposition to) the 
enemy ' ; ' he toiled against (in pro\4sion for) my return.' 


136. Milton now refers to the delights of music, and it is well 
to notice how he * marries ' the sound to the sense by the recur- 
rence of the liquid or smooth-flowing consonants (1, m, n, r) in 
lines 136-144. 

Lap me, le} me be wrapped or folded : ' lap ' is a mere 
corruption of *wrap.' Comp. ComuSy 257 : "lap it m Elysium." 

Lydlan airs, soft and sweet music. "Of the three chief 
musical modes or measures among the ancients, the Dorian, 
Phrygian, and Lydian, the first was majestic {Par. Lost, i. 550), 
the second sprightly, the third amorous or tender." Comp. 
Lye. 189. 

137. Married to, associated with. Comp. Wordsworth — 
"Wisdom married to immortal verse." — Excura. viii. 

Shakespeare (SonnH cxvi.) speaks of * the marriojge of true minds.' 
By a similar metaphor we say that a person is wedded to a habit 
or a theory. 

" Immortal verse " is poetry which, like that of Milton himself, 
"the world should not willingly let die " ; see Comua, 516. 

138. ' Such as may penetrate the soul that meets it or sympa- 
thises with it. * Comp. Cowper — 

" There is in souls a sympathy with sounds, 
And as the mind is pitched, the ear is pleased 
With melting airs or martial, brisk or grave." 
In this line * pierce * rhymes with * verse. * 

1 39. bout, a turn or bend, referring here to the melody. ' Bout ' 
is another form of * bight,* and is cognate with * bow.' 

140. long drawn out: the scansion of this line will show its 
appropriateness to the sense. 'Long,' an adverb modifying 
*arawn out.* 

141. wanton heed and giddy cunning : the music, in order to 
be expressive, must be free or unrestrained, yet correctly and 
skilfully rendered. 'Wanton heed' and 'giddy cunning' are 
examples of oxymoron. * Cunning * = skill (A.S. cunnan, to 
know, be able), now used in the restricted sense of 'wiliness.' 
Comp. the similar degradation of meaning in crafts originally 
'strength'; artful; designing ; etc. 

142. voice, here absolute case along with the participle 
' running ' : comp. 1. 62, note. For the sense of ' melting ' comp. 
II Pens. 165. 

mazes, the intricate or difficult parts of the music. 

143. Untwisting all, etc. : comp. note on Arc. 72. The har- 
mony that is in the human soul is generally deadened or im- 
prisoned, and it is only by sweet music or some other stimulus 
that touches a chord within us that the hidden harmony of the 
soul reveals itself. See Shakespeare, Mer, of Venice, y. 1. 61. 


145. Tbat, so that : the use of * that ' instead of ' so that * to 
introduce a clause of consequence, is common in Elizabethan 
writers and in Milton himself. 

Orpheus' self: 'Orpheus himself* we should now say. 
' Self ' was originally an adjective = ' same/ in which sense it is 
still used with pronouns of the third person (as himself , Jierself). 
Then it came to be regarded as a substantive, and was preceded 
by the possessive pronouns or bv a noun in the possessive case (as 
myself, ourselves, Orpheus^ sdfY In the latter sense it is not 
used with pronouns of the third person : we cannot say his-seif, 
but him-setf 

Orpheus, ** in the Greek mythology, was the unparalleled 
singer and musician, the power of whose harp or lyre drew 
wild beasts, and even rocks and trees, to follow him. His wife 
Eurydice having died, he descended into Hades to recover her if 
possible. His music, charming even the damned, prevailed with 
Pluto (the god of the lower world), who granted his prayer on 
condition that he should not look on Eurydice till he hcul led her 
completely out of Hades and into the upper world. Unfor- 
tunately, on their way upwards, he turned to see if she was 
following him ; and she was caught back " (Masson). Comp. 11 
Pens. 105, Lye. 68. 

heave, raise, lift up : comp. Comus, 885 : ''heave thy rosy 

146. golden slumber. ' Golden ' may here mean simply ' happy,' 
or it may be used because Orpheus is amongst the gods. Homer 
often applies ' golden ' to that which belongs to the gods. Comp. 
awea quies, in Milton's Eleg. iii. 

147. Elysian flowers : Elysium was the abode of the spirits of 
the blessed, where they wandered amidst flowers and beauties of 
every kind. Comp. Com. 257, 996. 

148. ' Such music as would have moved Pluto to set Eurydice 
completely free.* In QuirU. Nov. 23, Milton calls Pluto surr^ 
manus, chief of the dead. 

149. to have quite set free : ' to have set ' is here infinitive of 
result, and the perfect tense denotes something that had not 
been accomplished and is no longer possible : comp. the meanings 
of ' he hoped to he present ' and ' he hoped to have been present. * 
Quite = unconditionally or completely. 

150. Eurydice : see note on 1. 145 above ; also E Pens. 105. 

151. These delights, etc. : the last two lines of the poem recall 
the closing lines of Marlowe's Passiovuie Shepherd — 

" If these delights thy mind may move. 
Then live with me and be my love.*' 
Milton here accepts the mood of Mirth, but only on the condition 
that its pleasures are such as he has enumerated. 



1. Hence : comp. note on U Allegro 1. The opening lines recall 
oertain lines by Sylvester — 

'* Hence, hence, false pleasures, momentary joyes, 
Mocke us no more with your illuding toyes ! " 

vain deluding Joys : ' vain * is the Lat. vanusy empty, which 
is always opposed to vera, true. In U Allegro the poet has 
described true mirth ; and now ' to commendation of the true, he 
joins condemnation of the false.' 'Deluding' is deceitful, not 
what it appears to be. 

2. These 'Joys' are said to be the brood (t.e. breed or off- 
spring) of Folly by no father, in order to imply that they are the 
product of pure or absolute foolishness ; they are by nature 
essentially and altogether foolish. So the goddess Night, one of 
the first of created beings, is said by Greek poets to have given 
birth without a husband to Death, l)ream8, Sleep, etc. 

Notice the use of the cognate words * brood ' and * bred ' in the 
same line. 

3. How little you l)e8ted ; of how little avail you are. ' Bested' 
is the present indicative, but the past participle is the only part 
of the verb now in common use, as in the phrase 'to be hard 
bestead,' i.e. to be in sore need of help. 'To stead' occurs fre- 
quently in Shakespeare in a transitive sense = to profit, to assist, 
but the word ' stead ' now occurs only in phrases, e.g. 'to stand 
in good stead,' and in compounds, e.^. steadiet&tf steady, home- 
stead, hedsteadf insteadf etc.: comp. names of places, e.g, 
Hampstead, Ejx>nstadt, etc. Its root is the verb ' sttuid,' and its 
literid sense is 'place.' 

4. fill the fiz^d mind : satisfy the thoughtful or sober mind ; 
comp. Spenser's F, Q, iv. 7. 

t03r8, trifles. In the AncU. of Mel, we read of persons who 
" complain of toys, and fear without a cause." 

5. idle brain, foolish mind. The Old Eng. idel means ' empty 
or vain'; in this sense we speak of 'an idle dream.' 'Brain' 
may be used here for mind, but it may be noted that, just as 
melancholy was supposed to be due to a certain humour of the 
body, so ' a cold and moist brain ' was believed to be an insepar- 
able companion of folly. 

6. fancies fond, foolish imaginations. 'Fond' has here its 
primary sense of ' foolish, '^mccf being the past participle of an 
old verb /onnen, to be foolish. It is now used to express great 
liking or affection, the idea of folly having been almost lost, 
except in certain uses of the word in the north of England and 
in Scotland. Chaucer uses fonne = a fool, and fondling is still 


used either as a term of endearment or to denote a fool. It may 
be noted that in a similar way the word dote originally meant 

* to "be silly * and now * to love excessively.' Comp. Lye. 56, Son, 
xix. 8, Sams. Agon. 1686. 

6. possess, occupy, fill : ' occupy the imaginations of the foolish 
with gaudy shapes or appearances.' In the English Bible we 
read of '*a man possessed of a devil/' t.e. occupied by an evil 

For 'shapes,' comp. UAUeg. 4. 

7. tliidk, abundant, close together, here qualifying ' shapes ' : 
comp. "thick-coming fancies, Macbeth, v. 3. The difi&rent 
senses of the word are seen in 'thick as hail,' 'thick fluid,' 

* thickly populated,' 'thick-head,' thick-skinned,' *a thick fog,' 
'a thick stick,' etc. 

8. motes, particles of dust : here called ' gay ' because dancing 
in the sunbeam. See Ma>tt. vii. 3. 

. people the 8im-l)eamB. The specks of dust are said to 
people or occupy the sunbeams because it is chiefly in the direct 
rays of the sun that they become visible. By using the verb ' to 
people ' Milton strengthens the comparison between them and 
the shapes or images that occupy the idle imagination. 

9. likest, adj. superlative degree, qualifying 'shapes.' 'Like' 
is now an exception to the rule for the formation of the compara- 
tive and superlative forms of monosyllabic adjectives : we say 
'more like, 'most like.' But, in Milton's time, there was 
greater grammatical freedom, and in Gormis, 57 he uses "more 
Hke. " He also has such forms as resolutest, exquisitest, elegantest, 
moralest, etc. , which according to present usage are inadmissible. 
In such phrases as ' like his father,' ' like ' has come to have the 
force of a preposition, but in the phrase ' likest hovering dreams,' 
the noun is ffovemed by ' to ' understood, as in Latin it would 
be in the dative case. 

10. fickle pensioners ...train, inconstant attendants of sleep. 
Morpheus, the son of Sleep and the god of Dreams: the name 
means literally 'the shaper,' he who creates those shapes or 
images seen in dreams. Morpheus was generally represented 
with a cup in one hand and in the other a bunch of poppies, from 
which opium is prepared : hence the word 'morohia.' 

'Pensioners,' followers. Queen Elizabeth had a bodyguard of 
handsome young men of noble birth, whom she styled her 
Pensioners. A 'pensioner' is strictly one who receives a pen- 
sion, and hence a dependent. 'Train,' something draton along 
(Lat. trahOf to draw) ; hence train of a dress (line 34), of carriages, 
of followers. 

See note on U Allegro y 10, regarding the imagery and metre of 
the first ten lines of this poem. 


11. bail ! an old form of salutation, meaning 'may you be in 
health * : the word is cognate with hale, heal, etc. 

12. diyinest. The superlative degree of adjectives is often 
used in Latin to mark a high degree of a quality, when the thing 
spoken of is not compared with the rest of a class. This is the 
absolute use of the superlative, as here. 

13. visage, face, mien (Lati visum, ' that which is seen '). The 
word is now mostly used to express contempt. 

14. To Mt the sense, etc. : to be distinguishable by human 
eyes. It is a fact that light may be of such intensity that the 
sense of sight loses all discriminative power. So we speak of a 
* blinding * flash of light. For the use of the verb * hit ' compare 
Arcades f 77 ; in Antony and Cleop. ii. 2 Shakespeare speaks of a 
perfume hitting the sense of smell. The expression is obsolete. 

15. weaker view, feeble power of vision. * Weaker* is used 
absolutely: comp. ' divinest,' 1. 12, and 'profaner,* L 140. This 
is also a Latin usage. 

16. O'erlaid, overlaid, covered, in order to reduce the intensity 
of the brightness of Melancholy's face. Milton thus skilfully 
converts the association of blackness and melancholy, which in 
L^ Allegro makes her repulsive, into an expression of praise, and 
at the same time connects Melancholy with Wisdom — one of 
the purposes of the poem. In the Anat, of Afel. there is a 
reference to the disputed question whether *all learned men, 
famous philosophers, and lawgivers have been melancholy.' 

Comp. ExoduSy xxxiv. 29, where Moses is said, after having 
been in God's presence, to have covered his face with a veil in 
order that the children of Israel might be able to look upon him. 

staid, steady, sober, grave : the root is * stay. * 

17. Black, but etc. There is an ellipsis here, the construction 
being : (It is true that she is) black, but (it is) such black as 
might become a beautiful princess like Prince Memnon's sister. 

such as : see note on VAUerj, 29 : comp. lines 106, 145. 

in esteem, in our estimation. * Esteem ' as a verb is now 
used onlv to express high regard for a person; but the noun, 
though chiefly used in the same sense, may be used along with 
adjectives which convey a contrary meaning, e.g. poor esteem, 
low esteem, etc. 'Esteem,* *aim, and 'estimate' are cognate 
(Lat. a^eatimo). 

18. Prince Henmon'B sister : Memnon, the son of Tithonus and 
Eos (Aurora), was king of the Ethiopians, and fought in aid of 
Priam in the Trojan war ; he was killed by Achilles. Though 
dark-skinned, he was famous for his beauty, and his sister 
(Ilemera) would presumably be even more beautiful The 


morning dew-drops were said by the ancient Greeks to be the 
tears of Aurora for her dead son, Memnon. 

18. 1)6806111, suit, become. This is the original sense of the 
simple verb seem; compare the adjective seemly ^becoming, 
decent. ' Beseem ' here governs ' sister ' and * queen.' 

19. starred Ethlop queen : Gassiopea, wife of Gepheus, king of 
Ethiopia. According to one version of her story, she boasted 
that the beauty of her daughter Andromeda exceeded that of the 
Nereids; according to another version (adopted by Milton) it 
was her own beauty of which she boasted. £x)r her presumption 
Ethiopia was ravaged by a sea-monster, from whose jaws Andro- 
meda was saved by her lover Perseus. After death both mother 
and daughter were starred, t.e. changed into stars or constella- 
tions. This is probably why Milton calls the former * starred': it 
miffht, however, mean 'placed amongst the stars/ or even 
' adorned with stars,' as she was so represented in old charts of 
the heavens. 

20. 1. abOY6 the Sea-N3rmplis : this is an instance of elliptical 
comparison {compaautio compendiaria), the full construction 
being, 'to set her beauty's praise above (that gf) the Sea- 

21. *And (by so doing) offended their powers.' * Powers '= 
divinities (Lat. numina), 

22. bigher far descended, far more highly descended. ' Higher' 
is an adverb modifying * descended.' * To be of high descent '= 
* to be of noble birth.' 

23. Th66 is the object and Vesta the nom. of *bore.' 

Iirlglit-haired : with this compound adjective compare 
neat-handed, smooth-shaven, civil-suited, dewy-feathered, wide- 
watered, fresh-blown, high-embowed, etc., all of which occur in 
these poems. They consist of an adjective and a participle, the 
adjective representing an adverb. 

Vesta. As in the case of Mirth, Milton gives Melancholy 
that genealogy which he thinks best suited to his purpose. 
Vesta, among the Romans, was the goddess of the domestic 
hearth; every dwelling was, therefore, in a sense a temple of 
Vesta. Her symbol was a fire kept burning on her altar by the 
Vestals, her virgin priestesses ; and by maKing her the mother 
of Melancholy, Milton signifies that the melancholy of II Pen- 
seroso is not the gloominess of the misanthrope nor the unhappi- 
ness of the man <3 impure heart, but the contemplative disposi- 
tion of a pure and sympathetic soul. 

long of yore, long years a^o. * Of yore * is an adverbial 
phrase like *of old' and is modified by *long.' The original 
sense of * yore ' is * of years,' i,e, in years past. 


124. solitary Saturn. The Romans attributed the introduction of 
the habits of civilized life to Saturn, the son of Uranus and 
Terra, and it seems to be for this reason that Milton makes 
Vesta, the pure goddess of the hearth, his daughter. He is 
called ' solitary ' either because he devoured his own ofiEi3i>rinc or 
because he was dethroned by his sons ; in either case it is clear 
that Milton signifies that Melancholy comes from Solitude or 
Retirement. In astrology the planet Saturn was supposed, by 
its influence, to cause melancholy^ and persons of a gloomy 
temperament are said to be ScUumine; in the old science of 
palmistry also, there was a line on the palm of the hand called 
the Saturnine line, which was believed to indicate melancholy. 

25. BiB daughter she ; she was his daughter. Some editors 
read 'she (being) his daughter,' making the construction abso- 
lute. But it must be remembered that in Latin the noun or 
pronoun in the absolute clause cannot be the subject or object of 
the principal clause, as it would be here; and, further, the 
punctuation favours the view that ' his daughter she ' is to be 
taken as an independent clause. 

26. was not held a stain, was not considered to be a reproach. 
Mythological genealogies are apparently governed by no law. 
* Held ' is here a verb of incomplete predication. 

27. Oft, original form of * often,* which was at first used only 
before vowels or the letter h : comp. L* Allegro, 53. 

gUmmerlng... glades. 'Glimmer' is a frequentative of 
' gleam,' t.e. gleaming at intervals. ' Glade ' is an open space in 
a wood. . 

29. woody Ida. This probably refers to Mt. Ida in the island 
of Crete ; Zeus or Jupiter was said to have been brought up in a 
cave in l^t mountain, though some traditions connect his name 
with Mt. Ida in Asia Minor. Here Saturn met Vesta before 
Jove (i. e. Jupiter) was bom. Saturn's reign was called the 
Golden Age of Italy. 

30. yet, ^ as yet, up to that time. In modem English we 
cannot omit * as ' before * yet ' when * yet ' precedes the verb ; if 
we do, the meaning of *yet' would be changed to 'nevertheless.' 
In Shakespeare this omission of ' as ' before ' yet ' is oonmion in 
negative clauses. 

fear of Jove. Saturn was dethroned by his sons, and his 
realm distributed by lot between Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. 
See Comus 20, and Keats' Hyperion. 

31. pensiYe, thoughtful: comp. Lye. 147. It is from Lat. 
pendo, to weigh : so we speak of a x)erson toeighing his words. 

|Tun^ ^ wo0ian who devotes herself to-^celibacy and seclu- 


sion ; hence the word is well applied to the daughter of pure 
Vesta and solitary Saturn : comp. 1. 103. 

31. devout ; radically the same word as * devoted * ; the former 
is used in the general sense of * pious/ applied to those given up 
or vowed to religious exercises ; while the latter is used of strong 
attachment of any kind, — ^to GU)d, to any sacred purpose, to 
friends, etc 

32. steadfast, constant, resolute : comp. ' staid,' line 16 ; and 

* bested,' line 3. The suffix -fast means * firm,' as in the phrases 
*fast bound,* *fast asleep,* *fast colour,* and in the words 
' fasten * and ' fastness. * 

demure, modest. Trench points out that this is the 
primary meaning of the word, though it now implies that the 
modesty is assumed. It is from the French de (bona) meurs, t.e. 
of good manners. The Latin word mores (manners) was used in 
the sense of * character* ; hence our word morcU. For the form of 
the word, comp. 'debonair,' VAlleg, 2A. 

33. All : this may be taken as an adverb modifying the phrase 

* in a robe of darkest grain.* Comp. * all in white * (§o». xxiii.) ; 
all = from head to foot. 

gjaln, purple colour. It is interesting to trace the various 
uses of this word to its primary sense * a small seed. ' It came to 
be applied to any small seed-like object, then to any minute 
particle {e.g. grains of sand) ; it was thus used of the small 
cochineal insects, whose bodies yield a variety of red dyes, and 
finally to the dyes so obtained. Hence * grain,* as used here, 
denotes a dark purple, sometimes called Tyrian purple. But, as 
these dyes were very durable, * to dye in grain * came 4jo mean 
' to dye deeply ' or * to dye in fast colours ' ; and, more generally 
still, we speak of a habit or a vice being * ingrained * in a person's 
character. Comp. Com, 750, Par, Lost, v. 286, xi. 242, and 
Chaucer's Squires TaXe — 

" So deep in grain he dyed his colours.** 

(The word 'grain,* from its sense of 'particle,* is applied also to 
the arrangement of particles or the texture of wood or stone, 
and even of cloth.) 

35. And (in) sable stole of cypress lawn, in a black scarf of fine 
linen crape. 

* Sable,* here used in the sense of 'black,' this being the colour 
of the best sable fur. The stole (Lat. stola) worn by Roman 
ladies was a long flounced robe, reaching to the feet, short- 
sleeved, and girded round the waist. Muton, however, means 
a hood or veil, which was first passed round the neck and then 
over the face : such a stole was worn to denote mourning. The 
word is now used only of a long narrow scarf, fringed at both 
ends, and worn by ecclesiastics. 


'Cypress' (often spelt ct/prus) by itself denotes * crape,* a word 
which is probably from the same root (Lat. crispuSy curled) ; 
when combined with * lawn/ it denotes crape of the finest kind. 
The spelling gave rise to the theory that * cypress ' was so called 
because first made in the island of Cyprus (which has given a 
name to copper), but this is doubtful. 

' Lawn ' is really a sort of fine linen : a bishop's surplice is 
made of it. Comp. Pope's line — 

** A saint in crape is twice a saint in lawn.** 

36. decent shoulders. The Latin decena meant either ' graceful ' 
or 'becoming.' Milton uses the word in the former sense else- 
where, and may also do so here. If it is used in the latter sense 
it is proleptic, the stole being drawn over the shoulders so as to 
be becoming. 

37. wonted state, usual stately manner. Here * state ' refers 
to the dignified approach of the goddess : in ^ re. 81 it has its 
older and more restricted sense = seat of honour. ' To keep 
state ' was to occupy the seat of honour. 

* Wonted ' = accustomed. This is apparently the past par- 
ticiple of a verb to wont (see Com. 332) ; but the old verb wonen, 
to dwell or to be accustomed, had ivoned or wont for its participle. 
The fact that * wont ' was a participle was forgotten, and a new 
form was introduced — * wonted ' ( = won-ed-ed^ The two forms 
have now distinct uses : ' wont ' is used as a noun = custom, or 
as a participial adjective with the verb * to be ' (see line 123) ; 
* wonted ''is used only as an adjective, never predicatively. 

38. musing gait, contemplative manner of walking. * Gait ' is 
cognate with * gate ' = a way, perhaps the same word : it is a 
mistake to connect either of these words radically with the 
verb *go.' 

39. And (with) looks commercing, etc. Milton may mean 
not only that the looks of the goddess were turned to heaven, 
but also that she was communing with heaven : this would give 
additional significance to 1. 40. The use of the word ' commerce' 
has been restricted in two ways — (1) by being applied only to 
trade, whereas Shakespeare, Milton, and others use it of any 
kind of intercourse, and (2) by beingused only as a noun, whereas 
Milton used it as verb and noun. He also accents it here on the 
second syllable. The Latin commercium was of general applica- 
tion : comp. Ovid's Tristia, v. 10, " Exercent illi social commercia 
linguae. " 

40. rapt, enraptured : to be rapt in thought is to be so occupied 
with one's thoughts as to become oblivious to what is around, as 
if the mind or soul had been carried away (Lat. raptvSy seized) : 
comp. * ecstasies,' 1. 165 and note, and Com. 794. Milton also 
used the word of the actual snatching away of a person : * What 


accident hath rapt him from us/ Par, Lost, ii 40. (The student 
should note that there is a participle *rapt' from the English 
verb * rap,* to seize quickly ; from this root comes * rape,* while 
* rapine,^ rapid,' 'rapacious,' etc., are from the Latin root.) 

40. soul, nominative absolute. On the expressiveness of the 
eye, comp. Tennyson's line — 

" Her eyes are homes of silent prayer." 

41. There, in that position. 

held in holy passion still, held motionless through holy 
emotion. 'Passion' (Lat. jHitior) is here used in its primary 
sense of ' feeling or emotion ' : it is used in this sense in l£e Bible 
(Acta, ziv. 15, Ja^. v. 17). It was then applied to pain or suffer- 
ing, as in the phrase 'Passion week.' Tne wora is now used 
chiefly of anger or ea^er desire. There are two cognate adjec- 
tives, pcUient and passtt^e. 

Forget thyself to marble, become as insensible as a marble 
statue to all around. Comp. On ShaJcespeare, 14. The same idea 
occurs in the phrase ' to be petrified with astonishment.' 

43. With a sad leaden, etc : with the eyes cast down towards 
the earth as if in sadness or deep thought. "Leaden-coloured 
eye-sockets betoken melancholy, or excess of thoughtfulness " 
(Masson). The poet Gray has the same idea : " With leaden eye 
that loves the ground." 

44. ilz, subjunctive after ' till,' because refen:ing to the futufe. 
The subjunctive mood after ' till ' and * when ' is now generally 
6uperseded by the indicative : comp. lines 44, 122, 173. 

as fast, as steadfastly (as they were before fixed on the 
skies) : see note on 1. 38. 

46. Spare Fast. Frugality of life is here personified and repre- 
sented as lean. Milton, in his writings, frequently associates 
plain livinff with high thinking, and in his own habits he was 
extremely frugal and abstemious. In his sixth Elegy he declares 
that, though the elegiac poets may be inspired by good cheer, 
the poet who wishes to sine of noble and elevated themes (to 
' diet with the gods ') must fellow the frugal precepts of Pytha- 
goras : ' the poet is sacred ; he is the priest of heaven, and hid 
bosom conceives, and his mouth utters, the hidden god.' This 
is the idea conveyed in lines 47, 48. See Comu8 764 for the 
praises of temperance, and also Son, xx. 

doth diet And hears. There is here a change of gram- 
matical construction due to change of thought : we should say 
either ' doth diet and (doth) hear ' or ' diets and hears.' 

47. Muses: the goddesses who presided over the different 
kinds of poetry and the arts and sciences were daughters of 
Jupiter, and lived on Mount Olympus. 


48. Aye, ever, always. 'Sing,* 'infinitive after 'hears.* 

50. trim, well-ke^t, and pleasing to the eye : comp. L*AUeg. 
75. Jn Milton's time the s^le of gardening was extremely 
artificial. Shakespeare and Milton both have the word ' trim ' 
in the sense of ' adornment.* 

bis, is not here used for its. Leisure being personified. 

51. first and chiefest, above all. According to modem usage 
the form * chiefest * would be a double superlative, but, as Milton 
avoids double comparatives and superlatives, it is probable that 
' chief * is not to be taken in its strict sense, but merely as de- 
noting a high degree of importance ; it would therefore admit 
of comparison. Shakespeare, on the contrary, often used a 
double comparative or superlative merely for emphasis. 

52. yon, yonder, an adverb; in Milton it is generally an 
adjective : comp. Arc. 36. It is now used only as an adjective, 
and ' yonder * as an adjective or adverb. 

soars on golden wing, etc. ''A daring use of the great 
vision, in Ezehiel, chap, x., of the sapphire throne, the wheels of 
which were four cherubs, each wheel or cherub full of eyes all 
over, while in the midst of them, and underneath the throne, was 
a burning fire. Milton, whether on any hint from previous 
Biblical commentators I know not, ventures to name one of these 
cherubs who guide the fiery wheelings of the visionary throne. 
He is the Cherub Contemplation. It was by the serene faculty 
named Contemplation that one attained the clearest notion of 
divine things, — mounted, as it were, into the very blaze of the 
Eternal ** (Masson). In Com, 307 Milton makes Contemplation 
the nurse of Wisdom. 

'Cherub' and 'Contemplation* are in apposition to 'him,' 
1. 52. ' Contemplation * is to be pronounced here as a word of 
five syllables. 

55. bist along : imperative of the verb ' to hist ' = to bring 
silently along, or to call to in a whisper. The word is here very 
expressive ; Silence is summoned by the word which is used to 
command silence. There is no doubt that 'hist,' 'hush,' and 
'whist' are imitative sounds all used originally as interjections ; 
they were afterwards used as verbs, their past participles being 
histf huahedf and whiat Hence Skeat thinks that ' hist ' in the 
above line is a past participle = hushed, t.e. " bring along with 
thee the mute, hushed Silence.** This is an improbable render- 
ing. 'Hist' is now used only as an interjection, and 'whist* 
omy as an interjection and the name of a game at cards. 

It may be noted that as Silence is here personified, there is no 
tautology in describing her as ' mute.* 

66. *Less, unless. 'Un' in the word 'unless* is not tho 
negative prefix, but the preposition 'on.* 



56. Fbllomel, the nightingale (Greek Philomela = \oYeT of 
melody). According to legend, she was a daughter of Pandion, 
King of Attica, and was changed at her own prayer into a night- 
ingale to escape the vengeance of her brother-in-law Tereus. See 
Son, i. and notes. 

dtign a B9ag, be pleased to sing (Lat. dignor - to think 

57. plight, strain. There are two words '.'plight* of diverse 
origin and use, and editors of Milton differ as to which is used 
here. (1) ' Plight * = something plaited or interwoven, and so 
applicable to a strain of sounds interwoven, as in the nightingale's 
song: Milton, in this sense, speaks of the 'plighted clouds,* 
Com, 301. (2) ' Plight^* =' something promised, a duty or condition, 
now chiefly used to signify an unfortunate condition (A.S. pliht, 
danger). The former is probably the meaning here. 

58. Smootbing the rugged brow of Night, i.e, softening the 
stem aspect of night. See the same idea of the power of music 
repeated in Com, 251 — 

" Smoothing the raven down 
Of darkness till it smiled." 

'Smoothing 'qualifies 'Philomel.* 

59. Willie Cynthia, etc. : the nightingale's song being so sweet 
that the moon in rapture checks herself in her course in order to 

Cynthia, a surname of the Greek Artemis, the goddess of the 
moon, as Cynthius was of her brother Apollo, the god of ^he sun ; 
both were bom on Mount Cynthus in the isle of Delos. The 
Romans identified their goddess Diana with Artemis, and in this 
character she rode in a chariot drawn by four sta^s. Milton, 
however, here and elsewhere, speaks of dragons bemg yoked iX} 
her chariot : this applies rather to Geres, the goddess of plenty. 
Shakespeare refers frequently to the " dragons of the Night.** 

On ' check,* see note on L'AUeg, 96. 

60^ the accustomed oak, the oak where the nightingale was 
accustomed to sing, and where the poet perhaps had often listened 
to it. He may r^er (as Masson suggests) to some particular oak 
over which he had himself often watched the moon, thus giving a 
personal touch to his bold fancy. The use of the definite article 
* the * favours this view. 

61. Bhuim*8t the noise of folly, avoidest the revels of the foolish. 
'Noise,' in Elizabethan writers, has often the sense of 'music,' 
and it is used by Ben Jonson and Shakespeare to denote ' a com- 
pany of musicians.' The 'noise of folly' might thus mean 'a 
company of foolish singers or revellers.' 


62. Host mnsical, most meiandioly ! As in 1. 57 the poet 
adssociated sweetness and sadness, so also in this line, almost as if 
music and melancholy were causally related. Comp. Shelley, To 
a ShyHa/rh — 

** Our sincerest laughter 
With some pain is fraught ; 
Our sweetest songs are those that teU oi saddest thought.** 

63. I often woo thee, chauntress, among the woods in order to 
hear thy even-song. * Chauntress,' the feminine of * chaunter,' 
one who chants or dings. ' To enchant ' is to charm by song. 

65. mliwlng thee, if I miss thee, t.e. if I do not hear thy song. 

unseen : see note on ' not unseen,' VAlleg. 57. It has been 
argued from these words that 11 Penseroso must have been written 
before L* Allegro, 

66. smooth-shayen green, where the grass has been newly cut. 
' Green ' eb a noun applies to * a flat stretch of grass-grown land.' 
For the form of the compound adjective see note on UAUeg, 22, 
and comp. 'wide-watered,* * civil-suited,' * high-embowM,* etc. 

67. wandering moon. The epithet 'wandering' is frequently 
applied to the moon in Latin and Italian poetry : " vaga luna, 
Horace, SaU i. 8 ; ** errantem lunam," Virgil, JSn, L 742. 

68. noon : here used in its general sense = highest position ; 
comp. the general use of the word ' zenith.' Ben Jonson speaks 
of the "noon of night,*' and Milton in Sams. Agon, applies it to 
men — " amidst their highth of Twon, " The word is in prose usually 
restricted to the sense of ' mid-day ' ; it is derived from the Lat. 
nonus, ninth, and the church services held at the ninth hour of 
the day (3 p.m.) were called nones. When these were chansed to 
midday, the word * noon ' was used to denote that hour, and nence 
its present use. 

Some interpret ' highest noon ' as implying that the moon is 
nearly full. 

69. JAke one : see note on 1. 9. ' Like ' is an adjective ; ' one * 
is governed by * to ' imderstood. 

72. Stooping : Keightley's note on this is : "He alludes here 
to that curious optics^ illusion by which, as the clouds pass over 
the moon, it seems to be she, not they, that is in motion. This 

73. plat of rising ground, 'level top of some hillock.' 'Plat 
is a plot or small piece of level groimd : plot is the A.S. form of 
the word. Its relation etymologically -with Jlat jolate, etc., is 
doubtful, thougb commonly taken for granted. 


74. curfew sound. * Curfew* (Fr. cot4we-/eu = fire-cover), 
the bell that was rung at eight or nine o'clock in the evening as 
a signal that all fires and lights were to be extinguished. As this 
custom was still in force in Milton's time the sound would be 
familiar to him, though he is not here closely detailing his own 
experiences. It must be remembered also that 'cimew' or 
' curfew beU ' was sometimes used in the more general sense of 
' a bell that sounded the hours. ' ' Sound,' infinitive after ' hear^; 
* to ' (the so-called sign of the infinitive) being omitted after such 
verbs as make, see, hear, feel, bid, etc. 

75. some wide-watered shore, the shore of some wide 'water.' 
rhese words do not show whether the poet refers to a lake, a 
river {e,g. the Thames), or even the sea-shore, for the word 
water may be used of any of these, and sTiore may be em- 
ployed in its primary sense of 'botmdary' or 'edge.' It is 
pointed out by Masson that in every other case in which Milton 
uses the word * shore ' he refers to the sea or to some vast expanse 
of water. 'Some' shows that the poet is describing an ideal 
scene, not an actual one. 

76. Swinging: slow : this would be an apt description of the 
sound of the distant . sea, but it more probably refers to the 
curfew. Shakespeare has * sullen bell ' {King nenry IV.'Pt.IL 
i. 1). Notice the effect of the rhythm and alliteration of this 
line in bringing out the meaning. 

77. air, weather, state of the atmosphere. 

78. Some still removed place, some quiet and retired spot 
(comp. 1. 81). The Latin participle remotus (=moved back) 
meant either * retired ' or * distant ' : Milton here uses * removed * 
in the former sense, and Shakespeare has the same usage, em- 
ploying also the noun ' removedness'= solitude. In modem 
English, when 'remote' is used without any qualification, it 
almost always denotes distance, either in time or place. 

will fit, will be suited to my mood. In lines 77, 78, we 
find a future tense both in the principal and conditional clauses. 
This sequence of tenses is allowable in English, but the tense of 
the conditional clause may be varied, e,g, : 

(1) Fut. Indie. ** If the air will not permit" etc. 

(2) Pres. Indie. " If the air does not permit^" etc. 

(3) Pres. Subjunc. ** If the air do not permit,** etc. 

The first form is the least common, though many Indian students 
use it invariably : it is a good rule to avoid it. 

79. through the room; adverbial phrase modifying ' to counter- 

80. Teach light, etc. : the red-hot ashes merely serve to make 
the darkness visible. It will be observed that the poet has now 


shifted the scene from the country to the town, or at least from 
out-of-doors to indoors. 

81. This line qualifies ' place,' line 78. 

82. 8aye=except. The meaning is that the room would be 
perfectly quiet except for the chirping of the cricket on the 
hearth or the cry oi the night-watchman. The cricket is^ an 
insect somewhat resembling a grasshopper, which makes a chirp- 
ing noise. 

83. bellman's drowsy cliarm. The watchman who, before the 
introduction of the modem police system, patrolled the streets at 
night, calling the hours, looking out for fires, thieves, and other 
nocturnal evils. He was accustomed to drawl forth scraps of 
pious poetry to * charm ' away danger. The word * drowsy may 
imply that these ^ardians of the night were of little use, being 
often half or whoUy asleep. 

84. nightly liann : comp. note on ArcadeSy 48. 

85. let my lamp. *' Evidently we are now back in the country, 
in the turret of some solitary mansion, where there are books, 
and perhaps astronomical instruments. How fine, however, not 
to give us the inside view of the turret-room first, but to imagine 
some one far ofif outside observing the ray of light slanting from 
its window ! ** (Masson). The construction is, ' Let (you) my 
lamp (to) be seen : ' ' let ' is imperative, with an infinitive com- 

87. outwatcli the Bear. ' Out ' as a prefix here means beyond 
or over, as in outweigh, outvote, outwit, outrun, ete. ; and 
*wateh'=wake. **To outwateh the Bear** is therefore te re- 
main awake till daybreak, for the constellation of the Great Bear 
does not set below the horizon in northern latitudes, and only 
vanishes on account of the daylight. Watch and wake are cog- 
nate with wait: hence Chaucer's allusion in the Squire's Tale, 
where the maker of the wonderful brass horse is said te '* have 
waited many a constellation Ere he had done this operation." 

88. With thrice great Hermes, t.e. reading the books attributed 
to Hermes Trismegistus (t.e. * thrice-great '). He was an ancient 
Egyptian philosoimer named Thot or Theut, whom the Greeks 
identified with their god Hermes (the Latin Mercury) ; the new 
Platonists regarded him as the source of all knowledge, even 
P3rbhagoras and Plato having (it was pretended) derived their 
philosophy from him. A large number of works, really composed 
in the fourth century a.d., were ascribed to him, the most impor- 
tant beine the Poevnander, a dialogue treating of nature, the 
creation <3 the world, the deity, the human soul, ete. 

or unsphere The spirit of Plato, " or may bring back the 
spirit of Plato from heaven," t.e. may search out the doctrines of 


Plato by a careful stady of his writingB. ' Unsphere ' is a hybrid 
(English and Greek) ; the verbal prefix denotes the reversal of 
an action as in unlock, unload, etc., and is distinct from the 
negative prefix in untrue, uncouth, etc. ' Unsphered ' is obsolete, 
so IS * insphered * {Com, 3-6) : we still speak, nowever, of a jwr- 
son's sphere or raxik, but without the literal reference which the 
word edwayd has in Milton's writings. 

89. to nnfold What worlds : Infinitive of purpose = to unfold 
those worlds which, etc. The allusion is to one of Plato's 
dialogues, the Pha^do, in which he discusses the state of the soul 
after the death of the body. Comp. Comus 463-475. 

91. forsook, forsaken. 'Forsook,' a form of the past tense, 
here used as a past participle. It must not be supposed that the 
word ' forsaken ' did not exist. Milton, like Shakespeare {OtJiello 
iv. 2), deliberately uses a form of the past tense : comp. Arc, 4. 

92. Her mansion in tills fleshly nook, her temporary abode in 
the body. Trench points out that * mansion ' in our early litera- 
ture is frequently used to denote a 'place of tarrying,' which 
might be for a longer or a shorter time : this is evidentlv the 
sense here : comp. Comua 2. The ' fleshly nook ' is the body, so 
called in order to contrast it with the * immortal mind.' Locke 
calls the body the * clay cottage ' of the mind, and in the Bible it 
is sometimes compared to a temple or tabernacle (2 Cor, v. 1, 
2 Pet. L 13) ! comp. 'earthy,' Son, xiv. 3. 

The use of the possessive ' her ' in this line may be explained 
by the fact that the Lat. mens (the mind) is feminine : it must be 
remembered also that its was not yot in general use and that 
Milton is fond of the feminine personification : comp. 1. 143. 

93. And of those demons. This, like ' Worlds,' depends gram- 
matically ux)on 'unfold,' but as 'to unfold of ' is an awkward 
construction we may here supply some verb like 'tell.' This is 
an instance of zeugma. 

In Plato's Timaev^t Phaedo, CritiaSy etc., we find references 
to the Greek (2aimo7ia= spirits, who were not necessarily bad ; in 
fact it was a subject of discussion with some of the Platonists 
whether there were bad, as well as good, spirits. During the 
Middle Ages the different orders and powers of demons or spirits 
were very variously stated : one writer (quoted in Anat, of Mel.) 
gives six kinds of sublunary spirits — " nery, aerial, terrestrial, 
watery, and subterranean, besides fairies, satyrs, nymphs, etc." 
Milton here refers to four of these classes, each being conversant 
with one of the four elements — fire, air, water, earth. This 
division of the elements or elemental forms of matter dates from 
the time of the Greek philosopher Empedocles (b.c. 470). 

95. consent; the demons are in sympathetic relation with 
certain planets and elements ; e,g, one writer made " seven kinds 


of aethereal spirits or angels, according to the nnmber of the 
seven planets, and in Par, Reg, ii. Milton represent the fallen 
angels as presiding, under Satan, as powers over earth, air, fire, 
and water, and causing storms and disasters. 

' Consent ' is here used in its radical sense (L. con^ with, and 
sentire, to feel), an exact rendering of the Greek sym-pathy. 
Comp. 1 Henry VL i. 1. 

97. Sometime, on some occasion : comp. UAUeg, 57. II Pen- 
seroso here passes to the study of the greatest and most solemn 
tragic writers. 

98. sceptred pall, kingly robe. Both the pall and the sceptre 
were insignia of royalty, and in ancient Greek tragedies the 
kings and queens wore a sleeved tunic {chiton) falling to the feet, 
and over this a shawl-like garment called by the Romans palla. 
Prof. Hales suggests that * m sceptred pall * may here mean * with 
pall and with sceptre,* t.e. two things are expressed by one : 
comp. 11. 75 and 146. 

99. Presenting Thebes, etc. 'Present' is here used in its 
technical sense, ' to represent ' ; we now speak of a theatrical 
'representation.' Comp. ArcadeSt sub-title, 

Aeschylus has a drama called Seven against Thebes ; this city 
is also referred to in the Antigone and (Edipus of Sophocles, and 
the Bacchae of Euripides. Pelops (from whom the Peloponnesus 
is said to have derived its name) was the father of Atreus and 
great-grandfather of Agamemnon ; his name was so celebrated 
that it was constantly used by the poets in connection with his 
descendants and the cities they inhabited. And the *tale of 
Troy divine* {i,e, the story of the Trojan war) is dealt with in 
various plays by Sophocles and Euripides. Troy is here called 
' divine because, during its long siege, the gods took the keenest 
interest in the contest. 

101, 102. These lines certainly refer to Shakespeare's great 
tragedies, and the words ' though rare' probably express Milton's 
sense both of Shakespeare's superiority over his contemporaries, 
and of the comparative barrenness of the English tragic drama 
until Shakespeare arose. (Comp. the preface to Sams, Agon.) 
We thus see clearly that the language applied to Shakespeare in 
L* Allegro, 133, referred to one aspect of the poet ; here we have 
the other. 

bnskined stage, the tragic drama. < Buskin ' (Lat. 
cothurnus) was a high-heeled boot worn by Greek tragic actors 
in order to add to their stature, and so to their dignity : comp. 
UAlleg, 132. The words * buskin' and 'sock' came to denote 
the kinds of drama to which they belonged ; and even to express 
certain styles of composition : thus Quintilian says, " Comedy 
does not strut in tragic buskins, nor does tragedy step along in 


the slipper of comedy." Grammatically, 'what' is nom. to 
'hath ennobled/ its suppressed antecedent being obj. of ^pre- 

103. sad Virgin, i.e. Melancholy : comp. 1. 31. 

that thy power, etc. : * would that thy power,* or * 1 
would that thy ^wer.* This construction (which has all the 
force of an interjection) is often used to express a wish that 
cannot be realized. ' Raise ' (L 104), < bid ' (1. 105), and < call * 
(L 109) are all co-ordinate verbs. 

104. MoBSBns, like Orpheus, a semi-mythological personage, 
represented as one of the earliest Greek poete. Milton here 
expresses a wish that his sacred hymns could be recovered. For 
* bower,* oomp. Son, viii. 9. 

105. For the story of Orpheus, see note on L* Allegro, 145. 

106. wait)led to the string, sung to the accompaniment of a 
stringed instrument : see note on Arc, 87. 

107. Drew iron tears. This expresses the inflexible nature of 
Pluto, the god of the lower world. In the same way we speak 
of an * iron will,* * iron rule,' etc. 

109. him that, etc.: Chaucer, who left his Squire's Tale un- 
finished. In this tale (one of the richest of th^ Canterbury 
Tales) we read of the Tartar king, Cambua Ehdn. Chaucer, like 
Milton, writes the name as one word, but, unlike Milton, and 
more correctly, he does not accent the penult. The following 
extracts (from Tyrwhitt*s edition of Chaucer) explain the allu- 
sions — 

This noble king, this Tartar Cambuscan, 

Had two sounds by Elfeta his wife, 

Of which the eldest son hight Algarsife, 

That other was ycleped C^ballo, 

A daughter had this worthy king also, , 

That youngest was, and hight^ Canace .... 

In at the hall6 door all suddenly 

There came a knight upon a steed of brass, 

And in his hand a broad mirr6r of glass ; 

Upon his thumb he had of gold a ring 

And by his side a naked sword hanging. 

The king of ' Araby and Ind * had sent the horse as a present to 
Cambuscan, and the mirror and ring to Canac6. Milton may 
have Included Chaucer amongst the ' great bards * in whom J\ 
Penseroso delighted, because the thought of the earliest Greek 

goets suggested Chaucer, ** the well of English undefiled,** or (as 
lasson thinks) because the reference to the lost poems of Greece 
suggested the unfinished poem of Chaucer. Milton was well 
acquainted with the Squires TcUe and with subsequent continua- 
tions of it {e.g. by Spenser). 


ll^ who had Canao^ to wife : (of him) who was Ganac^'s hus- 
band. Chaucer does not mention his name (except where he 
mistakenly calls him Gamballo) : Spenser makes her the wife of 
Triamond. *To wife*; in such phrases 'to* seems to denote 
the end or purpose. 

113. That, reL pronoun, antecedent CSanac^. 

▼IrtnoiiB, full of power or efficacy. The Lat. virtu8=^ 
manly excellence. In the English Bible ' virtue * is used in the 
sense of strength or power (comp. Com. 165), and we still say 
* by virtue of *=by the power of. But the adjective * virtuous * 
now denotes only moral excellence. 

The ring referred to above, when worn on the thumb or 
carried in the purse, enabled the wearer to understand the 
language of biros and the healing properties of all herbs. The 
glass or mirror enabled its owner to look into the future and into 
men's hearts. 

114. of the wondrous horse, sc. the story. Readers of the 
Arahian Nights Entertainment will remember the stoiy of the 
enchanted horse, regarding which Warton says : '* The imagina- 
tion of this stoiy consists m Arabian fiction, engrafted on Gothic 
chivalry. Nor is this Arabian fiction purely the sport of arbitrary 
fancy ; it is, in a great measure, founded on Arabian learning. 
The idea of a horse of brass took its rise from the meclumica] 
knowledge of the Arabians, and their experiments in metals." 

116. If aught else, whatever else. This is a Latinism : many 
clauses in Latin introduced by H quid, si qiuindo, etc. are best 
introduced in English by such words as 'whatever,' 'when- 
ever,' etc. 

great bards beside, other great bards. The poets referred 
to are such as Ariosto, Tasso, and Spenser, in whose romances 
Milton was well read. In one of his prose works he says : "I 
may tell you whither my younger feet wandered. I betook me 
among those lofty fables and romances which recount in solemn 
cantos the deeds of knighthood." 'Beside' as an adverb is 
now almost displaced by the later form 'besides.' 

117. sage and solemn tunes, wise and dignified verse, as that 
of the Spenserian stanza. For ' solemn ' see Arc, 7, note. 

118. tnmesrs. *Tumey,'aform of 'tourney* (Fr. Ummay), a 
mock-fight, so called from the swift turning of the horses in the 
combat. ' Tournament ' is merely a Latinised form of the word ; 
comp. UAlleg, 123. 

trophies hung. These were arms or banners taken from a 
defeated enemy and hwng up as memorials. The word is from 
the Greek trop^^ a turning, t.e. causing the enemy to turn, 

119. enchantments, use of magic arts. Radically, 'enchant- 


ment' = magio verses snng when it was desired to place a person 
under some spell (Lat. incarUare, to repeat a chant) : comp. lines 
63, 83, and Lye, 59. 

120. Where more Is meant, eta : in which poetry there is a 
deeper meaning than is apparent on the surface. The poets 
referred to in 1. 116 had generally a high moral purpose in their 
writings ; e,g, Spenser's Faerie Qtieene is a noble spiritual allegorv, 
the particular references in it beins " secondary senses lying only 
on tne surface of the main design." The same is true of Tasso's 
Enchanted Forest, 

121. Thus, Night, etc. : ' thus let me be often seen by thee, O 
Night, in thy pale course.' 

pale career. Contrast ' pale * with the epithets applied by 
poets to the da>wn, e.g. * ruddy, *^ 'rosy-fingered,* etc. 

122. olTll-snited Mom. In U Allegro the Sun appears in royal 
robes and surrounded by his liveried servants ; m II Penseroso 
Mominff comes clad in the garb of a simple citizen and attended 
by wind and rain. 

* Civil,' from Lat. eimsy a citizen, is here used in its primary 
sense. It is opposed to military or ecclesiastical, as in 'civil 
engineer,' 'civil service.* It has also the meaning of 'polite * or 
'well-mannered,' as contrasted with boorish or rustic manners; 
but it has lost (as Trench points out) all its deeper significance : 
"a civU man once was one who fulfilled all the duties and obliga- 
tions flowing from his position as a civis,*' 

123. tricked and frotmoed : literally, * adorned with fine clothes 
and having the hair frizzled or curled.' In LyddaSf 170, the sun 
is said to trick his beams: the verb is cognate with the noun 
* trick,* something neatly contrived. 

' Frounced ' : the word originally meant * to wrinkle the brow,* 
and there is an old French phrase, fronser le front, with this 
meaning. The present form of the word is * flouncow' 

as, in the manner in which. For 'wont* see note on 
line 37. 

124. Attic boy ; the Athenian youth Cephalus, beloved by Eos 
(Aurora), the goddess of the dawn. It was while he was stas- 
hunting on Mount Hymettus in Attica that she fell in love wiui 

125. kerchieft, having the head covered. ' Kerchief* is exactly 
similar in form to ' cur-few ' {q,v, line 74) ; it is from Fr. eouvre- 
chef, head-cover. The original meaniag beine ^overlooked we 
have now such compounds as 'hand-kerchief, 'neckerchief,' 
' pocket-handkerchief.' 

comely, becoming : comp. Merry Wives of Windsor, iii 
3. 26. 


126. piping, whistling: ' loud/ used adverbially. 

1S!7. ushered, introduced (Lat. ostium , an entrance). The word 
here qusJifies ' Mom. ' ' Still ' is an adjective qualifying ' shower ' : 
notice Milton's fondness for this word. 

128. batb blown his fill, has exhausted itself, has ceased. As 
there is no personification here, his = its : in none of the poems 
in this volume does the word its occur. In fact, it is ahnost 
entirely ignored by Milton, being used only three times in the 
whole of his poetry ; this arose from the fact that its was then a 
new word, and also because he did not seem to feel the need for 
it, its place being taken in his involved syntax by the relative 
pronoun and other connectives, or by his, her, thereof, etc. The 
word its does not occur in the language till the end of the six- 
teenth century, the possessive case of the neuter pronoun it and 
of the masculine he being his. This gave rise to confusion when 
the old gender system decayed, and the form its gradually came 
into use until, by the end of the seventeenth century, it was 
generally adopted. 

Grammatically ' his fill ' denotes the extent to which ' the gust 
hath blown,' and is therefore an adverbial adjunct. Some, how- 
ever, would explain it as a cognate objective. 

129. Ending . . . Wltli minute-drops ; the end of the shower being 
marked by drops falling at intervals. * Minute * (accent on first 
syllable) is applied as an adjective to something occurring at 
short intervals, once a minute or so, e.g. ' minute-gims,' 'minute- 
bells,* etc. Miniite (accent on second syllable) = very smalL 

130. eaves, projecting edge of the roof. This word is singular, 
though often regarded as plural : the final ' s ' is part of the root, 
and the plural properly should be eaveses (which is not used). 
An * eaves-dropper ^ is strictly one who stands under the drops 
that fall from the eaves, hence a * secret listener.' 

132. flaring, glittering or flashine ; generally applied to a light 
whose brightness is offensive to uie eye, and is so used here to 
suit the mood of U Fenseroso. ' Flare ' is cognate with * flash.' 

me. Goddess, etc. ; i.e. Melancholy, bring me, etc 

133. twilight groves and shadows brown, groves with such half- 
light as there is in the twilight, when the shadows cast on the 
ground are not deep black, but (as Milton says) * brown.' Comp. 
I^ar, Lost, iv. 254—- 

" Where the unpierced shade 
Imbrowned the noon-tide bowers." 

Also Par, Lost, ix. 1086— 

" Where highest woods, impenetrable 
To star or sxmlight, spread their umbrage broad. 
And brown as evening 1 " 


The Italians express the approach of evening by a word meaning 
'to embrown.* 

134. Sylvan : Sylvanns, the god of fields and forests. ' Sylvan * 
is a misspelling of ' silvan ' (Cat. sUva, a wood) ; the spelling in 
y was made in order to assimilate silva to the Greek hyl4, a wood, 
but the radical connection is doubtfuL 

135. monnmental oalE. The obvious meaning of 'monumental' 
is, as Masson suggests, 'memorial,' 'old,' 'telling of bygone 
years. An aged oak is a memorial of the flight of time; it 
suggests also massiveness. 

136. rude axe witb heaved stroke. This is an example of 
chiasnuus, the epithet ' rude ' belonging to ' stroke,' and 'heavM' 
to ' axe. ' * Heaved ' = uplifted. 

137. nymphs, f.e. wood nymphs: comp. line 164. 

daunt, to frighten (from Lat. domUare, to subdue ; hence 
' indomitable *=not able to be daunted). 

138. liallowed liaunt, abode sacred to them. 

139. oovert, sheltered spot, thicket : a ' covert ' is strictly a 
* covered -pi&ce.* 

140. no profluLer eye, no uns3rmpathetic eye. 'Profaner'= 
somewhat profane ; on this Latin use of the comparative see 1. 
15, note. ' Profane' (Lat. pro, before, ajidfanum, a temple) was 
applied to those who, not being initiated into the sacred rites, 
were compelled to wait outside the temple during the sacrifices ; 
hence it came to mean (1) ' not sacred,' as in the phrase * profane 
history,' and (2) ' impure,' as in profane language.' II Penseroso 
applies it to those not in sympathy with his mood. 

141. day's garlsli eye. Milton frequently speaks of the 'eye 
of day' (comp. Son. i. 5, Com. 978, Lye. 26). ' Garish '= staring 
or glaring, generally used, as here, to express dislike, though 
some Elizabethan writers use it in a good sense. There is an 
old English verb ^are= to stare, formed, by the change of « to r, 
from A.S. gasen. 

142. honeyed thigh. If this means that the bee collects honey 
on its thigh, it is a mistake ; it is the pollen or flower-dust that 
is thus collected, while the honey is sucked into the animal's 
body. Virgil, however, who probably knew more about bees 
than Milton did, uses a similar expression {Eel. i. 56). 

143. her : see notes on lines 92 and 128. 

sing, hum : the verb sing is very variously used by Eliza- 
bethan writers. 

145. consort, other sounds of nature that accompany the hum- 
ming of the bee, etc. ' Consort ' is here used concretely, and in 
its original sense (Lat. consors, a partner). Old writers fre- 



quently confused it with ' concert ' = harmony, but the words 
are quite distinct, and in modem English they are never con- 

146. Entice : the nominatives of this verb are ' bee ' and 
' waters.' Its meaning is ' to induce to come ' ; by a common 
metaphor sleep is represented as shy, as easUy friehted, as 
requiring to be wooed or enticed. Gomp. 2nd Henry Iv. iii. 1. 

dewy-featbered Sleep. We have here one of those com- 
pound epithets (so frequent in Milton) which have been described 
as poems in miniature. In most of these the first word qualifies 
the second, so that ' dewy-feathered sleep ' may mean * Sleep 
with dewy feathers.' The god of Sleep (1. 10) was represented 
as winged, and he may be supposed to shake dew from his wings 
as the Archangel in Par, Lost v. 286 dififased fragrance by shaking 
his plumes. 

It is common, however, for poets to speak of the dew of sleep 
(comp. Richard IIL iv. 1, Jtiliua Caesar ii. 1) without any 
reference to its being winged : we might therefore take * dewy- 
feathered ' to have the force of two co-ordinate adjectives * dewy* 
and ' feathered ' : see note on 1. 98. 

147-150. This passage is a difficult one : Prof. Masson reads it 
thus, ' Let some strange mysterious dream wave {i.e. move to 
and fro) at his {i.e. Sleep's) win^ in airy stream,' etc. It is 
customary for poets to speak of JDreams as the messengers of 
Sleep (see L 10) ; here a dream is borne on the wings of Sleep 
and hovers over the x>oet in an airy stream of vivid images 
portrayed upon his mental eye. 

Some, however, take * his wings ' to denote the Bream's wings, 
in which case a^ is difficult of explanation : one editor therefore 
suggests liiat it be struck out, and that ' wave ' be regarded as a 
transitive verb ! The previous view is preferable. (It is pos- 
sible also to hold that the Dream's wings are displayed (t.e. 
reflected) in the airy stream, and that he waves at this reflection, 
as we say a dog barks a>t its shadow reflected in a pool of water. ) 

149. lively has its radical sense of ' life-like * ; so we speak of 
a * life-like portrait,' a vivid picture (Lat. vivtis, living). 

151. breathe: a verb in the imperative addressed to the 
goddess Melancholy, as 'bring,' * hide,' and * let ' in the preced- 
mg lines. (Some would take it as an infinitive depending on 

153. to mortals good, good to mortals. ' Good '= propitious; 
comp. Lye, 184. In this line * Spirit ' is to be pronounced as a 

154. Oexiias, guardian spirit : see Arcades and Comtu regard- 
ing the duties of such spirits. 

155. due feet, my feet that are due at the places of worship 


and learning. Dut, duty, and debt are all from the Lat. dehitus, 
owed ; the last directly, the others through French. 

156. To walk is here a transitive Yerb=to frequent, to tra- 

stndlouB cloister's pale ; the precincts or enclosure of 
some building devoted to learning and (as the next line shows) 
to religious services. * Cloister' is a covered arcade forming 
part of a church or college : Milton may have been thinking of 
nis life at Cambridge, though the detiuls of the description do 
not apply to any particular ouilding. The radical sense of the 
word is a dosed-in place (Lat. dausua, shut). 

'Pale' is a noun = enclosure ; etymologically, a place shut in 
by pales or wooden stakes ; hence our words paling, impaU, and 
fHjdtaade. We still speak of the pale of the Church, the English 
pale in Ireland, the pale of a subject, etc 

157. love the high-embow&d rool The poet here passes from 
the doister to the inside of some church : (it may be the college- 
chapel that is in Milton's thoughts, or even St. Paul's Cathedral 
or Westminster Abbey). *High-embow6d,* i.e. arched or 
vaulted, as in the Gothic style of architecture, which Milton, 
with all his Puritanism, never ceased to love. " Observe that 
only at this point of the poem is Penseroso in contact with his 
fellow-creatures. Throughout the rest he is solitary " {Masson), 

The grammatical construction is peculiar: we cannot say, 
' let my due feet never fail to love ' ; it is better therefore to 
read, Met (me) love,' etc., me being implied in 'my feet.' See 
note on L'Alleg, 122. 

158. antique : see UAUeg, 128, note. 

massy proof : proof a^inst the great weight of the stone 
roof, because they are massive. Shakespeare and Milton use 
'proof in the sense of ' strong,' and ' massy ' is an older form of 
the adjective than ' massive, occurring in Spenser and Shake- 
speare as well as here. Similar examples are 'adamantean 
proof ' applied to a coat of mail, not because it is proof against 
adamant, out because, being made of adamant, it is proof against 
assailants {Sams. Agon, 134); also virtue-proof = strong against 
temptation, because virtuous {Par, Lost, v. 384). The mtroduc- 
tion of a hyphen ('massy-proof'), which does not occur in the 
first and second editions, has caused some editors to interpret 
the words as ' proof against the mass they bear ' : in those cases, 
however, in which that against which the object is proof is men- 
tioned, the first part of tne compound is a noun, e.g. star-proof, 
shame-proof, sunbeam-proof {Arc. 88). The first interpretation 
is therefore more probably correct. 

159. storied windows, windows of stained glass with stories 
from Scripture history represented on them. 'Story' is an 


abbreviated form of 'history,' the latter being directly from 
Lat. historia, the other through the French. It has no connec- 
tion with 'story' (=part of a house), which means something 
built (oomp. store), 

159. dJght: see L'AUeg. 62, note. 

160. reUgiouB light, such a light as is suited to a place of 
worship, and tending to prevent one's thoughts from bemg dis- 
tracted. ' Religious,' like ' studious ' (line 166), is a transierred 


161. pealing organ, loud-sounding organ. Milton has several 
references to the or^an (comp. Par. Lost, i. 708, zi 660) — an 
instrument upon which he could himself play. ' Blow,' used in 
a semi-passive sense, and applied to wind-instruments (such as 
the organ). Line 163 depends on 'blow,' giving the circum- 
stances of the action. 

162. quire, band of singers or choristers. ' Quire ' is another 
spelling of ' choir ' (Lat. chorus^ a band of singers, Greek choros, 
a band of sinsers and dancers). A * choir ' is now a body of trained 
singers who lead the voices of a congregation : the name is also 
applied to the part of the church in which they are seated. The 
'quire below nere means 'the choir below the organ-gallery.' 
' Quire,' denoting a collection of sheets of paper, is an entirely 
difTerent word, beine cognate with the French cahier, a small 
book (or, more probably, with the Lat. qtiatuor, four). See note, 
EpUaph on M, of W, 17. 

163. anthems, sacred music. 'Anthem' is a contraction of 
the A.S. aiUefiiy which is corrupted from the Lat. antiphona 
(Greek anti^ in return, and ph6ne^ the voice) ; it is therefore 
radically the same as the English word antvphon, which denotes 
music sung by choristers alternately, one half of the choir re- 
sponding to the other. 

(dear, may mean 'clearly sung,' or (as in Lye. 70) 'pure' 
or 'noble.* 

164. As, relative pronoun, the antecedent ' such ' being omitted, 
as is usual in Chaucer and other old writers. 

165. 166. Dissolve me into ecstasies. The meaning of these 
beautiful lines cannot be adequately expressed in prose. The 
poet desires to hear music that will so melt his soul, so carry 
iiim out of himself, that he may almost learn the secrets of divine 
things. With 'dissolve' comp. 'melting voice' {L*AUeg. 142), 
and with ' ecstasies ' comp. ' rapt soul ' (Ime 40, note). 

' Ecstasy ' is the Greek ekstcLsis, standing or being taken out of 
one's self, as in a trance. It came afterwards to denote madness, 
as we say of madmen that they are ' beside themselves '; but its 
present meaning is enthusiasm or very strong feeling. 


168. peaoeftQ hermitage. This is a fitting conclusion to the 
life of 11 Penseroso, thus alluded to by Scott {Marmion, ii.) — 

" Here have I thought 'twere sweet to dwell, 
And rear again the chaplain's cell, 
Like that same peacefm JiermUage, 
Where Milton long'd to spend lus age." 

In old romances there is constant mention of hermits, men who 
had retired from society and were supposed to devote their lives 
to philosophic thought or religious contemplation. Burton, in^ 
AncU, of Mel,, says: '* Voluntary solitariness is that which is 
familiar with melancholy." 'Hermitage': in this word the 
sufi&z 'CLge denotes place, as in ' parsonage ' ; ' her-mit,' formerly 
written ' eremite,' is derived, tmrough French and Latin, from 
Greek erimos, solitary, desert. 

In line 167 we have an example of the jussive subjunctive, $.«. 
the subjunctive expressing a wish or desire, 'And may ... find,' 
etc.: this corresponds to a Latin subjunctive introduced by quod 
or quod utinam. 

169. hairy gown, earment of coarse shaggy cloth. In the 
English Bible we read of raiment of camel's hair worn by Elijah 
and John the Baptist. ' Gown ' and ' cell ' are objects of the verb 

170. speU, read slowly and thoughtfully. We talk of ' spelling 
out' the meaning of a difficult passage, as a child names the 
letters of a word, giving each its proper power. In the same 
way the poet would learn the nature and powers of the stars and 
herbs (comp. Son. xvii. 6): A.S. spel, a story, as in ffospel. 
Milton refers to this knowledge of the virtues of herbs in Com. 
620-640, and £^t. Damon, 160-154. 

171. Of, concerning. In this line * shew * rhymes with * dew * : 
this points to the fact that, though the pronunciation show was 
familiar, it was not universal ; the word is to be pronounced here 
like shoe: comp. Son, ii., where 'sheweth ' rhymes with 'youth.' 

173. There may be a reference here to the old astrologers who 
claimed the power of predicting events from the study of the 
stars, but such a power was not the ambition of Mifton : ' he 
rather means that wise experience of the aged, which enables 
them, throu^ their knowledge of the past, to judge the probable 
results of dinerent lines of action. 

do Attain : subjunctive after 'till' : comp. L 44. 

174. strain, utterance : we speak of a cheerful or a sad strain 
of speech or music, probably with a metaphorical allusion to the 
notes of a stringed instrument: 'strain' is literally something 


175. These pleasures, etc. ; comp. note on L'Alhg. 151. It 
will be noticed that the conditional nature of Milton's acceptance 
of Melancholy is not so distinctly expressed as that^f Mirth. 



Bermudas or Somers' Islands, British possessions in Mid-Atlan- 
tie, were so named respectively from Jaan Bermudez, a Spaniard 
who first sighted them in 1515, and from Sir Georse Somers, an 
Englishman whose shipwreck here in 1609 was tne immediate 
occasion of their being colonized from Virginia in 1611. Another 
accession of inhabitants was gained during the Civil Wars in the 
reign of Charles I., many having sought here a refuge from the 
troubles of that time ; it is to this that Marvell alludes. Some 
have endeavoured to identify the islands with the scene of 
Shakespeare's Tempest ; Berkeley also chose them in 1726 
as the seat of a projected missionary establishment. The 

e>et's description of the scenerv and products of the islands is 
rgely basea on fact (obtained from Oxenbridee), but his chief 
concern is merely to give their beauty and ^rtility unstinted 
praise. In Chambers's Encyclopaedia we read: '*The soil is 
poor in quality, and not more than a fourth is cultivable at all ; 
but there being no winter frosts, crops can be prepared for March, 
April, May, or June, and the large quantities of early potatoes, 
onions, tomatoes, and other garden vegetables, which in these 
months fetch high prices at the New York markets, enable the 
Bermudians to live comfortably on the income of their compara- 
tively small portions of ground." 

In the Tria&ary of Sacred Song Palgrave says regarding the 
poem under notice : ** These emigrants are apparent^ supposed 
to be flying westward beyond the reach of Laud's ecclesiastical 
administration. But Marvell, at least in youth, held so equable 
an attitude between the contentions of his day, remaining, indeed, 
a lover of the monarchy at heart, that the motiye of the poem 
was probably only chosen to gratify his intense feeling for natural 
scenery and ima^ative hyperbole by this lovely picture. ** We 
may note how this feeling a^ain reveals itself in tne political poem 
celebrating the victory obtamed by Blake over the Spaniaras at 
Teneriffe in 1657 ; this is his picture of the island : 

"For lest some gloominess mieht stain her sky, 
Trees there the duty of the clouds supply : 
noble trust which heaven in this isle pours, 
Fertile to be, yet never need the showers ! 
A happy people, which at once do gain 
The benefits, without the ills, of rain I 



Both health and profit fate cannot deny, 

Where still the earth is moist, the air still dry } 

The jarring elements no discord know, 

Fuel and rain together kindly grow ; 

And coolness there with heat does never fight, 

This only rules by day and that by night. 

Marvell was a firm friend of Protestant freedom and enlightened 
toleration. He was the true friend of Milton, with wnom he 
was associated in the Latin Secretaryship, and his fine lines, 
beginning "When I beheld the poet blind and old," are well 
known. And to great learning, brilliant wit, and high personal 
charm he "joined the rarest quality of that evil time, a robust 
and intrepid rectitude.*' 

2. ocean's bosom : comp. Gomus, 21, "Sea-girt isles That, like 
to rich and various gems, inlay the unadorned bosom of the deep.** 

nnespied, unseen and unwatched : the islands are not only 
remote, but also beyond the ken of the spies ("espial," 1 Hen. VL 
4. 3) of the religious oppressor. Spenser has " rocks and caves 
long unespied"; see also Dryden's Aeneid, ix. 783. 

3. row'd, used intransitively. The transition to this use of 
the verb is through the reflective form : comp. Par, Lost, viii. 
438, " The swan ... rows her state with oary feet." 

4. listening : comp. Par, Lost, viii. 563, and Hymn Nat. 64, 
" the winds with wonder whist." 

5. His praise That, i. e. the praise of Him that : see note, L*A lleg, 

7. sea monsters: see Job. xli ; Lye. 158, "the bottom of the 
monstrous world " ; Par. Lost, i. 462, etc. 

wracks. * Wrack ' (A. S. iorecan), to drive, cast forth ; 
hence to destroy or ruin. Wrack, wreck, and ra^h (*To go to 
rocib and ruin ') are radically the same. Comp. Par. Lost, xi. 
821, "universal wrack"; Drayton's Poly., Song 11, *^ wrackful 
tempests " ; also Tempest, i. 2. 26. 

12. prelate's rage : see introductory note above. 

14. enamels, beautifies : probably used here in the strict sense 
in which Milton uses it, 'to enamel' being literally *to make 
bright.' Enamel is *a molten or glass-like coating* (Fr. amel) : 
the sense of variegation or diversity is a secondary one : see Lye, 
139, note. 

15. sends ... In care : comp. Exodus, xvi. 11. 

17. hangs ... does close. The different forms of the verb are 
due to the requirements of the verse : contrast this with II Pens, 
46, No. XXXII., 1. 13, and notes there. 

18. golden lamps, etc. This admirably expresses the appear- 
ance of the ripe fruit glowing against its background of dar^ 


green foliage. It must be remembered that Marvell had made 
* the grand tour * of his day, visiting France, Italy, Spain, etc. 

19. pomegranates : the allusion is to the hard translucent seeds 
of the pomegranate (Lat. pomum grancUum, the apple filled with 

20. Ormos: comp. Par, Lost, ii. 2, **the wealth of Ormua 
and of Ind." Ormus is properly Hurmuz, a famous maritime 
city and minor kingdom near the mouth of the Persian Gulf. 
There are pearl fisheries near it, and the town was also a mart 
for diamonds. This passage has a bearing on the discussion 
whether, by the wealth of Ormus, Milton means pearls or dia- 

23. apifles, pine-apples : a fine example (says Palgrave) of 
Marvell's imaginative hyperbole. The pine-apple plant bears 
only a single fruit. The word apple has from the earliest period 
been used with great latitude in naming fruits, e.g, Aelfric, 
Numb, xi. 6, "cucumbers thaet sind eorth-aeppla" ; * Apple Punic,* 
obsolete name of the pomegranate ; ' oak-apple,' etc. 

25. cedars. The principal kind of tree in the islands is the so- 
called "Bermudas cedar," really a kind of juniper, which Marvell 
here erroneously identifies with the cedar of Lebanon. 

28. Proclaim the ambergris, i.e. reveal, throw up on the shore. 
Ambergris is the name of a valuable odoriferous substance, of 
ashy colour, found floating in tropical sesus. Originally called 
omocr, the extended name ambergris (Fr. amhre-gris, gray amber) 
was applied to it in order to distinguish it from the fossil resin 
now called amber. In Par. Beg. ii. .S44, Milton calls it "Gris 
amber" ; comp. Drayton, Poly. xx. 337, "Their lips they sweet- 
ened had with costly amber-grease " : this corruption and others 
{e.g. amber-greece, greece of amber, amber de grece) are due to 
an attempt to explain the adjective gris, whose meaning had been 

29. rather, sooner : we would sooner boast of the Gospel pearl 
than of the costly ambergris. On raihe = soon, early, see Lye. 
142, note ; and comp. In Mem, ex. 

30. Gospel's pearl: comp. "the pearl of great price" {Matt. 
xiii. 46). Notice this use of the explanatory genitive; 'the 
pearl ' and * Gospel ' are in apposition : comp. * * body's vest," 
No. Lvni., 1. 51. 

31. rocks ...A temple. Eongsley in his Essays says: "The 
original idea of a Christian Church was that of a grot — a cave." 
This is a historic fact. 

34. Heaven's vault, the " bowed welkin " of Comus, 1015 ; the 
"vaulted arch" of Cymb. i. 6, and the coeli convexa of Virgil. 
A 'vault' is strictly an arched roof, hence a chamber with an 
arched roof. 


35. Wfelefe, wod it (i-e. oor rmai). 

3ft. ItaHqM titj, the GoU of iSaoBO, 8-W. of tbe B 

.. ttBMb The nannUatiee in i i|«iMii«i and od- 



Thu odewM prob&bl; written l^ MiltoD before be teftOuabridga. 

I. Hnttt: see note. No. zrn., L 16. The ■peDiiig qpm it 

incorrect ; nmilu' miMpeUings &re aeeii Id ijiImih tram LAt. tiZra, 

pladgie : see note, Lge. 107, nod oomp. No lt., 
2. I^iera-bora : aee note. Hymn KaL L 125, ■ 
Artada, 61 : 

*' In deep of night, when drowdneae 
Hath locked ap mortal leiue, then liiten I 
To the celestial Sirens' harmony. 
That lit npou the nine infolded Epheres, 

*~' ~ o those that hold the vital aheara." 

Inston is to the Pythagorean notion of the moaic or 
J of the spheres, CaUed by Tennyaon, in Panuuiut, "the 
giBat ■phere-miuic of stars and constellations "; comp. M. q/" V. 
r. 60-66 ; Ttetifth Night, m. 1. 121 ; Connu, 977 ; Lye. 180. 

VolM and TsTM : comp. Par. Lott, n. 556, " For eloqaenca 
the sonl, song oharms the sense." 

H. Wad, etc.: comp. L'Alltg. 137 and note, "soft Lydian airs 
Harried to unmortal verse." On the power of mosic comp. 
I/Alitg. I3S-IS0, n Pent. 161-166. 

6. Ugli-ralMd phantuj. Here 'phaulas; ' is osed in thewide 
sense of iToagmation, and the effect of the music upon the ezaltod 
troagination is to "bring all Heaven before our eyes." 

6. ooneent, harmony, I^t. coneeatMt. This is to be dia- 
tinguUhed from anumt, >.«. agreement, used in II Pent. 95 ; see 
note there. 
7- ■appbln-ooloni'd : oomp, the a 

Heaven "in Pttr. LoM, u. 1049, "W 

adorned Of living tapphire " ; also Par. Lost, \ 


10. SerapUm. The word is from Hebrew seraph^ to bum ; 
hence the epithets *briffht,' 'burning,* and * fiery' {Far. Last, ii. 
512). Milton is fond of these explanatory epithets : comp. Par, 
Lost, II. 677-583, and Hymn Nat. 113, note. 

12. Cherubic: see note, Hymn Nat, 112. Milton used this 
epithet six times in his poems, and habitually distinguishes 
eheruba from seraphs : see Par, Lost, i. 324 ; vn. 198. 

(luires : see note, II Pens. 162. 

18. noise : see notes, II Pens. 61 , Hymn Nat. 97. In our 
sinful state we cannot * answer ' to the heavenly music, '* which 
none can hear Of human mould with gross unpurg^d ear." 

19. disproportion'd, ugly, deformed : see the description of 
Sin in the allegory of Sin and Death, Poor. Lost, IL 

20. chime, harmony : compare Hymn Nat. 128, note, and 
Comus, 1021. Chime is from LAt. cyinbdlwm. 

22. motion : comp. Are. 71, '* And the low world in measured 
motion draw After the heavenly time. " 

23. diapason: see note, No. n., 1. 15, "the diapaaon closing 

27. consort, harmony : see note, Hymn Nat. 132. 

No. LXIV. 


For the title see Psalm, xix. : ** The heavens declare the glory 
of God ; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto 
day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.** 

Habington (1605-1654) has himself, in his preface to Gastara, 
supplied an estimate of his poetical abilities: '*If not too 
indulgent to what is my own, I think even these verses will 
have that proportion in the world's opinion that heaven hath 
already allotted me in fortune: not too high as to be wondered 
at, nor so low as to be contemned." His Uastara is a collection 
of lyrical pieces in praise of his wife, Lucy Herbert. He dwells 
constantly upon the purity of his Castara, and of his muse. 

4. Btbiop bride. For the allusion, comp. H Pens. 19, ''that 
starred Ethiop queen," and note. 

7. Almighty's mystezieB : comp. II Pens. 87-92. 

9. firmament, ete. Comp. Addison's well-known Ode : 

" The spacious firmament on high. 
With all the blue ethereal sky. 
And spangled heavens, a shining frame. 
Their great Original proclaim. 


The unwearied sun, from day to day, 
Does his Creator's power display : 
And publishes to every land 
The work of an Almighty Juind.** 

11. silent ... eloquent. Again, comp. Addison's Odei 

*' What though, in solemn silence, all 
Move round the dark terrestial ball ? 
What though no real voice, nor sound. 
Amidst their radiant orbs be found ? 
In Reason's ear they aU rejoice. 
And utter forth a glorious voice ; 
For ever singing as they shine, 
* The hand that made us is divine.* " 

15. 80 small ... But, etc. : 'no star is so insignificant tJiat we 
shall not discern,' etc. See note, No. ly. 3, and Abbott, § 121. 

Character, mark : the metaphor is maintained, the skies 
being a' book and even the smallest star a significant mark or 
letter of that book (Gk. x^'-f^'^P* ^^ engraved or stamped 
mark) : comp. the phrase, * printed characters,' and Comus, 530, 
** reason's mmtage chara>ctered in the face." 

21. tbe Con(|ueror: comp. Nos. vi., vii., yni. in this collection, 
and ccxciii., Bk. iv. 

26. some nation, etc., i.e. 'some nation, as yet undiscovered, 
may issue forth. ' 

28. sway, hold sway, bear rule. 

35. as, etc. ; like yourselves, as you do. 

38. seeming mute : comp. note, 1. 11. 

39. liEtllacy, vanity: comp. "fallacious hope," Par, Lost, n. 
568. * To confute (».c. to prove fallacious) the fallacy of our 
desires ' seems tautological, but the phrase ' fallacy of our 
desires ' = vain desires. 

41. watch'd: comp. Hymn Nai, 21, "And all the spangled 
host keep waAch in squadrons bright " ; also 11. 117-124. 

44. nothing permanent. In this poem the permanence of the 
stars teaches man his own transitoriness ; in Taylor's Teaching 
from the Stars the opposite lesson is put into the mouth of the 

" When some thousand years at most. 

All their little time have spent. 

One by one our sparkling host, 

Shall forsake the firmament. 

We shall from our glory fall ; 

You must live beyond us all." 


No. LXV. 


This is characterized by Mr. Palgrave as a " lyric of a strange, 
fanciful, yet solemn beauty — Cowley's style intensified by the 
mysticism of Henry More." Like Cowley, Norris adopted the 
Pindaric form of ode in somewhat extreme form, and it is 
significant that it is in Cowley's Hymn to Light that his poetical 
genius reaches its zenith. To that hymn Thomas Yalden (1671- 
1736) wrote a counterpart, entitled Hymn to Darkness, which' 
may be read alongside of Norris's hymn on the same subject. 
Norris (1657-1711) was a theologian and a student of Flatonism, 
a man of amiable, pure, and affectionate character. His works 
are voluminous, the most important being an " Essay towards 
the Theory of an Ideal and Intelligible World" ; his Miscellanies, 
published 1687, includes poems characteristic of his religious 
views ; in one of them occurs the phrase, '* angel's visits, short 
and bright," which may have suggested similar expressions in 
Blair's Orave and Campbell's Pleasures of Hope. He became 
rector of Bemerton, near Salisbury, in 1692. 
. The thought in this poem, that light arises out of darkness, 
should be contrasted with that in Blanco White's splendid 
sonnet To Night : '* Who could have thought such darkness lay 
concealed Within thy beams, O Sun I " 

1. venerable : see notes, 11. 4, 6. 

2. Muse ...sing: Comp. Par. Losty iii. 17, "With other notes 
than to the Orphean lyre I sing of Chaos and Eternal Night." 
On the transitive use of * sing ' (= celebrate) see UAUeg, 17, note. 

3. unlyersal womb: comp. Par. Lost, ii. 911, ''This wild 
Abyss, the womb of Nature" ; Comtts, 130, '*The dragon womb 
Of Stygian darkness spots her thickest eloom " ; Par. Lost, v. 
180, '*Ye elements, the eldest Birth of Nature's womb"; Par. 
Lost, ii. 160, ** the wide womb of uncreated Night." 

4. All things... did come. Comp. Par. Lost, ii. 894, "eldest 
Night and Chaos"; id. 962, " sable- vested Night, eldest of 
things." In the ancient cosmogonies Chaos was the first principle 
of all things, and the poets represent Night and Chaos as exercis- 
ing dominion from the beginning. Thus Orpheus, in the begin- 
ning of his hymn to Night, addresses her as the mother of the 
gods and men and the origin of all things. Hesiod says that out 
of Chaos came Erebus and Night, and of these a^ain were bom 
the Sky and the Day (Light). In Par. Lost, iii. 1, Light is 
the "offspring of Heaven's first-born,!' and in Par. Lost, vii. 
244, "first of things"; so, in Du Barton, light is "God's 
eldest daughter " : comp. Genesis, L 


7. essence : in Par, Lost, vii. 243, Light is " quinteasenee 
pure. '* 

8. like tbe light of Ood, etc. This is plainly an echo of Milton 
in his apostrophe to Light, Par, Lost, Hi, 1-18, ** since God is 
Light, and never but in unapproachM light Dwelt from eternity ": 
oomp. ibid. 375, 

'*thee, Author of all being, 
Fountain of light, thyself invisible 
Amidst the glorious brightness where thou sittest 
Throned inaccessible." 

9. great Love : comp. Spenser's Hymn of Heavenly Love, 22, 
and Ode on St, Geeiliaa Day, 11. 1-15, notes. 

10. theatre: comp. Spenser's Sonnet, liv., *'0f this world's 
t?ieatre in which we stay.^' 

11. folding drdes ... toned : comp. In Mem. xvii., " circles of 
the bounding sky " ; and Ode on St. CecUia^e Day, Grand Chorus, 
and IL 1-15, notes. 

13. morning Stars : the allusion is to Job, xxxviii. 4-11 ; comp. 
Hymn Nat. 119. 

14. council : see HymnNaJt. 10 : also Par. Lost, vii. 516, where 
God declares His pleasure to create another world and a new 
race, and the Son marks out in Chaos the boundaries of this 

16. unqneBtlon'd : see note. No. xlui., 1. 1, on the form and 
sense of such epithets. 

monarch... empty space. Comp. Comtis, 250, ** empty- 
vaulted Night" ; 957, "Night sits monarch yet in the mid-sky." 
In Par, Lost, ii. , Chaos is represented as the monarch, or rather 
the Anarch (1. 988) of empty space, and Night is "the consort of 
his reign." 

17. native, original : comp. Par. Lost, i. 634, "repossess their 
na^tveseat"; ii., "we ascend up to our native seat"; iii. 604, 
"native form"; UAlleg. 134, ** native wood-notes wild" (Lat. 
nativus). ^ . 

19. awftil; used objectively = awe-inspiring: see note, Hymn 
Nat. 59. 

23. fear and sorrow flee : comp. Shelley's To Night, " touching 
all things with thine opiate wand." The thought here should 
be contrasted with that in Cowley's Hymn to Light. Refer also 
to Ovid's Meta. viii. 81, Gwrarum maximal nutrix, Nox. 

24. find rest. The poetical references to the blessedness of 
nightlv rest are endless : comp. in the Golden Treasury, Nos. 
xl., xlvi., clxxxi., ccxxxii., cccxiv. The fourth stanza of the 
poem has not been given here : it begins "Though light and 
glory be the Almighty's throne. Darkness is his pavilion." 

A VISION. 291 

No. LXVI. 


Vaughan's Platonic mysticism is well exemplified in this stanza, 
which opens his poem called The World, '*The mystic element 
is finely interfused through the thoughts of Vaughan ; indeed, it 
is the element in which his mind naturally expands itself and 
seems most at home. This is the solemn background against 
which Vaughan sees all the transitory ongoings of man. The 
mystery of the imiverse by which he is encompassed haunts 
him ; he longs to penetrate to the heart of it." 

2. a great ring. Comp. Shelley's well-known lines, 

*' Life, like a dome of many- coloured glass, 
Stsiihs the white radiance of eternity." 

5. driven by, etc. : t.e. Time is due to, and measured by, the 
revolutions of the spheres. For the Platonic notion, see Hymn 
Nat, 126, note. Comp. Herrick*s Eternity : 

'* years ! and age ! farewell : 

Behold I go, 

Where I do know 
Infinity to dwell. 
And these mine eyes shall see 

All times, how they 

Are lost i' the sea 
Of vast eternity : — 
Where never moon shall sway 

The stars ; but she, 

And night, shall be 
Drowned in one endless day." 

No. Lxvn. 


On the occasion of this poem, usually entitled "A Song in 
Honour of St. Cecilia's Day, 1697," see the notes on No. n. in 
this book, which was the corresponding ode for the year 1687. 

1. 'Twas, etc. : * it was at the royal feast given by Alexander 
in celebration of his conquest of Persia that,' etc. 

for Persia won, for the winning of Persia ; participial 
construction, common in Latin : comp. note. No. ZLVii., 1. 19. 

2. PMLlp's warlike son. Alexander the Great, son of Philip II. 
of Macedon, was bom b.o. 356. In 334 he set out on his great 


expedition against Persia, and in 333 defeated Darius in Asia 
Mmor. He then subdued Phoenicia, Tyre, and Egypt, after 
which he again met and overthrew Darius in the great oattle of 
Arbela (Erbil), October, 331. From Arbela he marched to 
Babylon, Snsa, and Persepolis, all of which surrendered to him. 

3. awftal, awe-inspiring : used objectively ; see notes Hymn 
NcU, 57, and Ko. lx v. , L 19. 

state : the use of ' state ' here points back to its older 
sense of 'seat of honour': comp. Par. Lost, ii. 1, "High on a 
throne of royal state'*; Jonson's Hymenaei, "And see where 
Juno ... Displays her glittering state and chair*' ; see also 
Trench, Select Glossary. 

4. sate : the O. E. past was sa^. 

6. peers : comp. Par. Lost, i 39 ; ii. 445, etc. 

. 7. myrtles : see note, Lye. 2, and comp. Horace, Od. i. 38. 

9. Thais (pron. Th&-ls)i an Athenian woman of great wit and 
beauty, who accompanied Alexander on his expedition into Asia 
(see Classical Diet.). 

11. flower, prime: comp. Rom. and Jul. iL 5, ** flower of 
courtesy " ; ** flower of the nation." 

13. None ... deserves. 'None' is here used as a singular, 
though in such sentences the plural verb would more generally 
be used. None is radically singular, being = not one, and used in 
Old English before vowels or aspirates. We find none as a plural 
as early as Chaucer, " noon holy men " {Prol. 178). 

16. Timotheus: a distinguished flute-player of Thebes, flourished 
under Alexander the Great, on whom his music made so powerful 
an impression that once in the midst of a performance by 
Timotheus of an Orthian Nome to Athena, Alexander started 
from his seat and seized his arms (Smith's Class. Diet. ). He is 
not to be confounded with that Timotheus (b.c. 446-357) who 
introduced the eleven-stringed lyre and in many other ways 
developed the artificial forms of musical expression. Pope 
compares Dryden himself to Timotheus. 

17. tnneftil quire : see No. ii. 1. 6, and note, II Pens. 162. 

21. began from Jove ; the song opened with allusion to the 
parentage of Alexander, fabled in order to flatter him. It was 
pretended that his father was Jupiter Ammon or the Libyan Jove 
(see Par. Lost, iv. 277), who appeared to Olympias, the wife of 
Philip and mother of Alexander, in the form of a serpent. A 
similar descent was fabled for Scipio Africanus, who was said to 
have owed Ms birth to Jupiter Capitolinus. Milton alludes to 
these fables in Par. Lost, ix. 494-510, with reference to Satan's 
appearance to Eve in the form of a serpent. 


22. blissful seats : comp. the language of Comus, 1-4. ' Seats ' 
is plural either because honorific or in the sense in which the 
Lat. plur. sedea is sometimes used. 

23. power. Comp. Jonson's Sue and Cry after Cupid, in 
allusion to the power of love : 

"At his sight the sun hath turned, 
Neptune in the waters burned, 
Hell hath felt a greater heat ; 
Jove himself forsook his seat^ 

24. belled : common in Dryden in the sense of ^to counterfeit.' 
To belie is * to tell lies about,* hence * to calumniate ' {Hen. I V, i. 
1. 3) ; there is then a transition to the meanings ' to contradict' 
{Bich, II. ii. 2. 77) and *to counterfeit.' 

25. Sublime, aloft (Lat. svblimis) : comp. Tennyson's Dream of 
Fair WomeUf 141 : 

** With whom I rode svhlime, 
On Fortune's neck : we sat as God by God : 
The Nilus would have risen before his time, 
And flooded at our nod." 

See also Par. LosU ii. 328. 

radiant spires, glittering coils (Lat. spira^ applied by Virgil 
to the coils of a serpent ; hence spiral). The poe^s meaning will 
be better understood from Milton's account of the position of the 
serpent when approaching Eve {Par. Lost, ix. 496); the erected 
he£td seemed to ride upon the coiled body. 

26. Olympia: see note, 1. 21. Olympias, Alexander's mother, 
was married to Philip b.o. 359, and died b.c. 316. 

29. stamp'd, etc. : comp. Cymb. ii. 5. 5. Perhaps there is a play 
upon the word, as applicable to a coin and a king. ' Sovereign ' : 
Dryden wrote sov'raign ; so it is in Hamlet, ii. 2. 27 (1st Fol.) ; up 
to about 1570 the intensive g is not found, M.E. being soverain 
(Lat. superanum). 

31. present deity : comp. Horace, Od. iiL 5. 2, p^^a^sens Divus 
habebitur Augikstus ('Augustus will be considered a present 
deity '). 

32. rebound^ made to rebound, i.e. re-echo the words. This 
causal use of the verb is found in Dryden's trans, of Virgil's 
Edoguea, vi. 19, '*the vales his voice rebound And carry to the 
skies the sacred sound. " 

33. ravisli'd : comp. Comus, 144, " such divine enchanting 
ravishment," and 11. Pens. 40, note ; see also Song of Sol. iv. 9. 

35. Assiimes the god, affects a divine character. Comp. Hen. V., 
Prol.' 6, "Then should the warlike "H&tty ... assume the port of 


36. Affects to nod. Gomp. Dryden's Translation of Homer's lU 
L 617 et. seq : 

" On the faith of Jove rely, 
When, nodding to thy suit, he bows the sky " ; 

also Virg. Aen. x. 115, and the note given on line 25, above. 
The Latin numen = & nod, hence a command, hence the divine 
will, and finally (by metonymy) a divinity. 

38. sung, celebrated : see note, Lye%da», 102. 

39. BacchuB : comp. Horace, Ode to Bacchus^ iii. 25, and Ant, 
and Oleo, iL 7. 

40. Jolly, festive. In Chaucer, Spenser, and others, * jolly ' is 
used in the sense of the French johf pleasing, pretty ; in modem 
English it means merry, and implies boisterous mirth. Dryden 
here uses it in its radical sense, the word originally referring to 
such festivities as those of Christmas and Yvle. In Horace 
Bacchus iBJocoma and inverecundtu. 

42. purple : see note, Lye, 41. 

43. honest, handsome, goodly. The Latin honeatus is thus 
applied to men and things in respect of their appearance, as well 
as m the more general sense of ' nonourable,* see note on xxvii., 
I. 6. See Jamieson's Scottish Diet, on the use of this word both 
in Scottish and in classical senses. 

44. hautboys. The hautboy or oboe is a ^t^^-toned instrument 
(hence the name). 

46. did first ordain. Comp. ComiLs, 46, 

** Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape, 
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine.' 

The epithet * drinking' applies to * joys.' 

54. Blew the slain : a cognate object. There is no prolepsis 
here asm 8. A. 439, *' Who slew'st them many a slain.' Comp. 
Hor. Od. iii. 3. 65. 

55. The master, i.e. Timotheus. 

56. His, i.e. Alexander's: in 1. 57, ' he ' = Alexander ; in 58, 
* his hand ' is the musician's and * his pride ' Alexander's. 

ardent, lit. burning, gleaming with martial fire : comp. 
Pope's Iliad, iii. 525, ** From rank to rank she darts her ardent 
eyes " ; this literal sense is now almost obsolete except in the 
phrase 'ardent spirits.' 

58. Changed his hand. Comp. Her rick's To Music {O, T, 
edition, p. 161): 

" Begin to charm, and as thou strok'st mine ears 
With thine enchantment, melt me into tears. 
Then let thy active hand scud o'er thy lyre. 
And make my spirits frantic with the fire ; 


That done, sink down into a silvery strain, 
And make me smooth as balm and oil again." 

59. Muse, subject that inspires the Muse: comp. Lye. 19, 

61. Darius: Darius III., the last king of Persia, b.o. 336-331, 
murdered in the deserts of Parthia by Bessus, satrap of Bactria, 
and his associates, in 330. 

65. watering : oomp. Lye, 13, and Hymn Nat. 124, note ; also 
Shelley's poem Written in the Euganean HUls. 

67. those : relative omitted. 

68. exposed, left to chance : comp. ' to expose a child ' (Lat. 

69. not a fMend : a stronger negative than ' no friend ' : ' a ' is 
here the numeral one (see note to L*Alleg. 14). 

71. Beyolvlng, considering. The Lat. revolvo is used transi- 
tively in the sense of * to brood over,' * to reflect upon ' : comp. 
Oymb. iii. 3, ** You m&y revolve what tales I told you." 

73. stole. Comp. the phrase 'to steal a glance.' 

76. lore was in the next degree. Comp. Twelfth Night, iii. 1, 
" * I pity you.' * That's a degree to love.* This thought is fre- 
quent in the poets: comp. B. and F.'s/Sp. Curate^ v. 1, "Pity, 
some say, is the parent of future love " ; but see also Cotton, 
Love* 8 Triumph, 5, "And some say pity is the child of love," and 
Two Oent. iv. 4. 101, ** Because I love him, I must pity him." 

79. Lydian : see note, UAlleg. 136. 

82. an empty babble. Comp. As You Like It, ii. 5, " Seeking 
the bubble reputation in the cannon's mouth " ; 1 Hen. IV. v. 1, 
** What is honour? a word," etc. ; and Hor. Od. v. 5, **inan(ie 
purpwrae decus." With ** toU and trouble," comp. Mcuib. iv. 1. 20. 

85. worth thy winning, worthy of bein^ won b^ thee. This 
use of ' worth ' apparently resembles that of Lat. dtgnus with the 
ablative, the substantive denoting the extent or manner of the 
worth or value, e.g. * worth ten pounds,' 'worth nothing,' 
'worth preserving'; "worth ambition" {Par. Lost, i. 262), 
"worth the shame" {King Lear, it 4), "worthy thy sight" 
{Par. Lost, v. 308). When the derived form * worthy * is used, 
it is generally followed by ' of,' but in Shakespeare we find 
"worthy love" {King John, ii. 2), "worthy death " {Gor. iii. 1, 
299), and in Dryden's Aurungezbe, "Be worthy me, as I am 
worthy you." On the frequent omission of the preposition after 
verbs and adjectives that imply value, worth, etc., see Abbott, 
§ 198a. In A.S. the word governed by 'worth' was inflected, 
and the disuse of the inflection has obscured the relation of 
' worth ' to the following substantive. 


88. good. Compare the Scriptural nse of the word, 1 Chron, 
xxix. 3. With the sentiment of the line comp. Gomiis, 720-724, 
and Horace, Od, iii. 8. 

thee : see Abbott, § 220. 

89. The many. Spenser has '* the rascal mani/ " {F. Q. L 12. 9, 
T. 11. 59) ; and see Shakespeare, 2 Hen, IV. i. 3, etc. ; also comp. 
the 6k. cl iroXKoL 

92. the fair . . . care : comp. No. xlvii. , 11. 1 -4. This nse of * fair ' 
in reference to one individual = fair one, is less common than 
that in reference to a class, as in 1. 15. Comp. A8 You Like It, 
iii. 2, " the /air of Rosalind." 

95. sigh'd : comp. Horace, Od. v. 11. 

96. at once, simultaneously. 

97. ▼anqulBh'd victor : comp. " the victor- victim " of No. vin., 

98. again. The poet now illustrates a new mood or mode. 

strain : see note II Pens. 174, and contrast the modes of 
music described in UAUeg. and II Pens. 

100. bands of sleep. Comp. Pope's Odyssey, xx. 68, "the 
downy bands of sleep": also such figures as "bands of sin" 
(Hampole's Pr. of Cons. 3207), "fetters of prejudice," "ties of 
routine," etc. 

104. As, as if : comp. Tennyson's Enid, 210, " Cauffht at the 
hilt, as to abolish him." This use is common in abbreviated 
subordinate clauses. 

105. amazed, bewildered: comp. No. Lvni., 1. 1. 

107. Furies, the avenging deities, called by the Greeks 
Eumenides or Erinyes ; in Aeschylus they are ancient divinities 
dwelling in Tartarus, having serpents twined in their hair and 
blood dripping from their eyes. 

110. sparkles: comp. ComuSy 80. 

111. Another scene is here called up. 

112. Each a torch, etc. The omission of the preposition {e.g. 
with) in adverbial clauses of circumstance is well illustrated in 
Abbott, § 202. 

114. nnboried. Among the ancients an unburned or unburied 
body was held to be disgraced, and the spirit was unhappy until 
a kindly stranger at least threw a few handfuls of earth on the 

117. crew : see note UAlleg. 38, and for another instance of a 
favourable use of the word comp. Lyly's Euphues, " a crew of 
gentlemen." Milton uses the word contemptuously in nearly 
ever^ ca^e^ but Shakespeare has it both in good and bad senses : 


flee M, N. D. iii. 2. 9, Rich. IIL iv. 6. 12, " valiant creti>,»' the 
very phrase here used by Dryden. 

120. hostile : perhaps merely in the sense which the Latin 
word sometimes has = ' belonging to the enemy.' 

122. flamDeau : post-^Bestoration English for 'torch.' 

125; anotber HelexL In allusion to the fact that the abduction 
of Helen led to the siege of Troy, and that Alexander is said to 
have set fire to Persepolis at the instigation of Thais : comp. 
Hor. Od. iii. 3. 

128. organs : see note, No. n., 1. 44. 

129. to : see Lye, 13. 

131. Could : Dryden wrote cou'd ; the I in this word is due to 
the influence of should and would. 

132. Cedlla : see notes on No. n. 

134. enthusiast : a word of Crashaw's in Muaicl^s Dud : 

" Her little soul is ravished and so poured 
Into loose ecstasies, that she is placed 
Above herself, Musick's enthusiast,*^ 

135. narrow bounds, i.e. of musical expression. She ''added 
length to solemn sounds," for the organ, having a wind-reservoir, 
can give a sustained note of which a stringed instrument is 
incapable. Pope has evidently adopted this notion in his Ode 
for St, Cecilia's Day i 

"While in more lengtJiened noteSf and slow. 
The deep majestic solemn organs blow." 

137. mother-wit ... arts: similarly opposed to each other by 
Spenser in Mother Hubbard* s Tale, 1. 1136, 

'* For whatsoever mother- wit or arte 
Could worke, he put in proofe. " . 

The word * Nature's ' seems to be tautological. 

139. both ; Timotheus and St. Cecilia. 

140. raised a mortal : see 1. 31. 

141. angel : see notes on No. ii. 









A.S.B Anglo-Saxon, A.y.s: Authorised Version of Bible, adj. ^adjective, 
cp. es compare, Fr.s French, Qer. = Qerman, Latin, Lsline, N.E.D. s 
New English Dictionary (Oxford), O.K. = Old English, O.F.r=old French, 
8. = Scottish, trans. = translated by. Notes borrowed from Mr. F. T. Palgrave 
are enclosed in inverted commas and followed by his initials'^(F. T. P.). 
Gray's notes to his own poems are given within inverted commas and 
followed by his Initial (G.). Poems in Book III. are referred to by their 
number in this volume, thus— No. 26 ; i)oemB in other Books of the Qolden 
Treasury are referred to by their number in the complete edition of 1891 and 
subsequent reprints, preceded by the letters Q. T. 

1. Now the golden mom aloft 

An unfinished Ode, published after Gray's death by his friend 
Mason, to whom the title is probably due. It seems to have 
been written in 1754. Besides the complete stanzas given 
here Gray left the first quatrain of two other stanzas, and a few 
other lines or fragments of lines. The additional stanzas given 
in some printed versions of the poem are these fragments of 
Gray's work presumptuously completed by Mason. 

To appreciate fully this ode we must bear in mind the aim of 
eighteenth century poetry — perfection of form. ** A poem was 
no longer to be a story told with picturesque imagery, but was 
to be a composition in symmetry and keeping. A thought or a 
feeling was not to be blurted out in the first words that came, 
but was to be matured by reflection, and reduced to its simplest 
expression. Condensation, terseness, neatness, finish, had to be 
studied ** (Pattison on Pope). It is Gray's merit that while he 
seeks and attains perfection of form, he seldom sacrifices truth 
and naturalness. And, though he is full of reminiscences of 
otner poets, he does not take his ideas of external Nature from 
books. He has a keen and unaffected delight in open-air sights 
and sounds ; and these sights and sounds are all the dearer to 
him because other poets have written of them before. Books 
perform their right function for him : instead of interposing a 
barrier between him and Nature, they help him to see Nature 
and rejoice in her beauty. 

Metre, — A simple and beautiful variation of the octosyllabic 
iambic couplet. The last four lines of each stanza consist of two 
regular couplets. But in the first four lines of each stanza the 
rhymes alternate — a hah. Further, in the first two lines a 
single long syllable is substituted for the first foot : the effect is 
to give a trochaic rhythm instead of an iambic to these lines. 
The third line is of full length — four iambic feet — but the 


No. 1 68 

fourth line is shortened to three feet : the effect of this is to 
check the somewhat rapid movement of the verse, and give 
a momentary pause for reflection. 

1. STOlden, 'glancing like gold/ 'brilliant.' This is probably 
the meaning in Shakespeare's Gymbeline, iv. ii. 262, ** Oclden 
lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust." 
Tlie word is often used by the poets in the sense of * precious,* 
' delightful ' : cp. Keats (O, T,, coix. ), ''Tales and golden histories 
Of heaven and its mysteries." 

2. dew-bespangled. Milton has ' dew-besprent/ Comtu, 542. 

3. yermeil, vermilion, bright red. Vermeil is a French word 
used by Spenser and Milton. It is derived ultimately from 
Lat. vermist a worm, the cochineal insect from which scarlet dye 
was obtained. Cp. Milton, Gomua, 752, " What needs a vermeil - 
tinctured lip for that ? " 

8. Gray writes to Wharton, August 26, 1766, describing the 
road to Canterbury, ' ' It was indeed owiug to the bad weather 
that the whole scene was dress'd in the tender emerald-green 
which one usually sees only for a fortnight in the opening of 
spring " (Tovey). 

10. Cp. LtLcretitL8, i. 260, Nova proles Artttbua injlrmis 
teneras lasciva per herbas Ludit, "A new brood with feeble 
limbs frisks and gambols over the tender grass." 

13-16. Cp. the beautiful poems of Wordsworth and Shelley, 
O.T., CCLXXXVT. ("Ethereal minstrel") and colxxxvii. ("Hail 
to thee, blithe Spirit "). 

16. liquid light. Milton had used this phrase. Paradise Lost, 
VII. 362 ; Lucretius has liquidi/ons luminisi v. 28. 

17. sullen year, gloomy season. 

23. Shelley, in his Skylark Ode draws a similar contrast 
between man and the lower animals {O.T., CXJLXXXVII.): 

" We look before and after, 
* And pine for what is not." 

Cp. also Shakespeare, Hamlet , iv. 4, 37, "He that made us of 
such large discourse, Looking before and after." 

25. This stanza illustrates a defect that has often been 
censured by Gray's critics — his tendency to half-personify 
abstractions. Whether we are to think of ' Misfortune,' ' Re- 
flection,' and the rest as personages or qualities seems to depend 
almost entirely on the use or omission of capital letters. In 
the Middle Ages abstract qualities were frequently thought of 
as living characters, being so represented, for example, in 
Morality Plays. In Spenser's Faery Queen the personification 
is still real. The ' ghostly Shapes ' whom Wordsworth imagines 


to meet under the Borrowdale yew-trees — " Fear and trembling 
Hope, Silence and Foresight, I>eath the Skeleton and Time the 
Shadow " — are also real creatures, like the group of figures in the 
entrance to Yirgil's Inferno {Aeneidt vi. 273-281). But in Gray 
the personification is only an unreal survival of an old poetic 

30. lour, frown. Op. * lowering,' A. V. of Matthew, xvi. 3. 

32. GildB. ' Hope ' is the subject, ' shades ' the object of this 

33. Stm, always. 

38. CliastiBed, t.e. because they are chastised (or, in modem 
English, chastened). Sabler, darker — a favourite word with 
Milton in this sense : cp. // Penseroao, 1. 35 ; Nativity Ode, 1. 
220 ; Paradise Lost, ii. 902. 

39. blended, %.e. when they are blended. Witb artfUl strife, 
skilfully vying with each other. 

41. Mason writes, ** I have heard Mr. Gray *say that M. 
Gresset's EpUre d ma Sceur gave him the first idea of this Ode." 
Gresset's poem was on his recovery from sickness {Sur ma 
convalescence), and the resemblance is chiefly in this stanza. 
Compare with Gray's lines 

" Les plus simples objets, le chant d'une fauvette, 
Le matin d'un beau jour, la verdure des bois, 
I^a fralcheur d'une violebte, 
Mille spectacles, qu'autrefois 
On voyait avec nonchalance, 
Transportent aujourd'hui . . .** 

45. This line inevitably recalls to us Wordsworth's 

'' To me the meanest flower that blows can give 
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears " 

[Q.T., occxxxviii. ad fin,). 

But though Wordsworth's phrase may unconsciously have been 
suggested by Gray's, the thought is not the same. Gray is 
speaking of the new delight in Nature and the open air that 
any man may feel after a long illness ; Wordsworth writes of 
that intimate sympathy with Nature which is the privilege of a 
few choice spirits. Gray doubtless enjoyed this communion to 
some extent, but not with the same intensity, or the same con- 
sciousness, as Wordsworth. 

2. Thou, by Natwe taught 

William Collins was bom at Chichester, 1721, and educated at 
Winchester and Queen's College, Oxford. He afterwards lived 

Xos. 1—2 66 

in great poverty in London, where he found a good friend in Dr. 
Johnson, who subsequently included a short life of Collins in his 
Lives of the Poets. From London Collins retired to Richmond, 
and then to Chichester. His later years were clouded by brain 
disease, and he died in 1759. Like Gray, he produced very 
little. All the best work of both poets is contained in this book 
of the Oolden Treasury — unless the first strophe of Collins* Ode 
to Liberty, so warmly admired by Mr. Swinburne, should be 

'*We have no poet more marked by rapture, by the ecstasy 
which Plato held the note of genuine inspiration, than Collins. 
Yet but twice or thrice do his lyrics reach that simplicity, that 
sinceram sermonis Attici grcUiam to which this ode testifies his 
enthusiastic devotion. His style, as his friend Dr. Johnson truly 
remarks, was obscure ; his diction often harsh and unskilfully 
laboured ; he struggled nobly against the narrow, artificial 
manner of his age, but his too scanty years did not allow him to 
reach perfect mastery " (F. T. P. ). 

This Ode to Simplicity is addressed to Simplicity only in 
relation to Poetry. By Simplicity Collins does not mean sim- 
plicity of diction. His practice in this ode and elsewhere is 
sufficient proof that he would not have assented to Wordsworth's 
doctrine, that ** there neither is nor can be any essential differ- 
ence between the language of prose and metrical composition." 
Collins means what we should perhaps rather call sincerity'. 
"the voice of Nature and genuine emotion expressed in verse." 
Milton used the word * simple ' in this sense when he said that 
poetry ought to be 'simple, sensuous, passionate.' The poem 
should be compared with Gray's Ode on the Progress of Poesy 
(No. 26). Botn poets describe the flight of genuine poetry from 
Greece to Rome, and afterwards from Rome, with the fall of 
freedom ; both end with their personal aspirations in poetry. 
Collins' thesis that true poetry flies from despotism, and is only 
compatible with free institutions, is not entirely borne out by 
history. But we may say of the doctrine what I>r. Johnson said 
of the similar doctrine in Gray : "That Poetry and Virtue go 
always together is an opinion so pleasing that I can forgive him 
who resolves to think it true." 

Metre. — It is interesting to compare this with the stanza used 
by Milton in his Hymn on the Nativity (G.T., Lxxxv.). In 
Milton's stanza there are two additional lines, of four and six 
feet respectively, rhyming with each other. 

3. numbers, applied to the counting of the succession of feet 
in a verse, and so often used for * poetry.' 

warmly pure, passionate and yet pure. 

66 K0TE8 

9. g&ndB, omaments; a poetical word. Cp. Shakespeare, 
Midsummer-Night's Dream, I. i. 32, 

" And stolen the impression of her fantasy 
With bracelets of thy hair, rings, gauds, conceits, 
Knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats." 

pageant weeds, garments such as are worn at a magnificent 
spectacle. Gp. Milton, UAUegro, 119-20, 

'* Where throngs of knights and barons bold 
In weeds of Peace high triumphs hold.'' 

The use of the word 'weeds' for dress is now confined to the 
phrase *a widow's weeds.' 

pall (Lat. palla), a long robe worn by tragic actors in 
antiquity. Op. Milton, 11 Penseroso, 97-8, 

" Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy 
In scepter'd i^l come sweeping by." 

10. ^^9oent, becoming (Latin deceits). 

11. Attlo, Athenian. The s^evere self-restraint of the best 
Athenian art in sculpture, poetry, and rhetoric is proverbial. 
Thus Asiatic oratory was distinguished by the ancients them- 
selves from the Attic by '*its. greater profusion of verbal 
ornament, its more liberal use of tropes, antithesis, figures, and 
generally by its inanity of thought " (Cruttwell, Hist, of Roman 

13. By, etc. The poet calls to witness the favourite haunts of 
poetry in antiquity. 

honey'd store, store of honey in the flowers. See note on 
No. 31. 26. 

Hybla, a mountain in Sicily famous for thyme, bees, and 
honey. Cp. Virgil, Eclogue i. 65, Hyhlaeis apibus, Sicily was 
famous as the home of pastoral poetry. So Milton in Lycidas 
addresses the * Sicilian Muse.' 

16. her, " the nightingale, for which Sophocles seems to have 
entertained a peculiar fondness" {Collins* Note), Philomela 
and Procne in the Greek legend were two sisters, who were 
changed, the one into a nightingale, the other into a swallow. 
For the nightingale's * * love-lorn woe " cp. Sir P. Sidney's poem, 
** The nightingale as soon as April bringeth, " O, T, xlvii., and 
M. Arnold's unrhymed lyric, **Hark, ah I the nightingale." 

18, sad Electra's poet. The phrase is borrowed from Milton, 
who had used it of Euripides in his sonnet '' Captain or Colonel 
or Knight in Arms" {Q,T,, xom.). Collins applies the title to 
Sophodes, who also wrote a tragedy with Electra for heroine. 

No. 2 67 

The reference is to the famous choras in Oedipus Colonetis, 668- 


** Frequent down this greenwood dale 
Mourns the warbling nightingale, 
Nestling mid the thickest screen 
Of the ivy's darksome green " {trans, by Anstice), 

19. CephlsuB, ** the stream encircling Athens on the north and 
•west, passing Colonus " {F. T, P, ). C^. Sophocles in the chorus 
already quoted : 

** Here the golden crocus gleams, 
Murmur here unfailing streams, 
Sleep the bubbling fountains never, 
Feeding pure Cephisus river, 
Whose prolific waters daily 
Bid the pastures blossom gaily, 
With the showers of spring-tide blending 
On the lap of earth descending." 

21. warbled. The passive form is Mil tonic : cp. Nativily Ode 
[O, T., Lxxxv. 96), " divinely- warbled voice." It may be taken 
as a real passive = '* made to warble," or as active = ** warbling." 
< Laoguished ' and * festered ' are used by Milton where we 
should say * languishing/ * festering.' 

22. enamelled, i.e. made bright with flowers. A Mil tonic use 
of the word : cp. Lycidas {G.T., Lxxxix. 139), "Throw hither 
all your quaint enamelled eyes." There is a similar use in 
Andrew Mar veil : "He gave us this eternal Spring Which here 
enamels everything " {O.T., OXLVI. 13, 14). 

24. tby future feet, t.e. allured thy feet to roam in the future. 

30. range, to place in rank, order'd, proleptic use of the 
adjective, * so as to be in order.' 

31. none, no theme. 

33. laureat, crowned with the laurel, or rather the bay-leaf, 
of Apollo, whose ministers the poets were supposed to be. Cp. 
Milton, Lycidas {O.T. lxxxix. 151), "To strew the laureat 
hearse where Lycid lies." 

34. Btay'd to sing alone, only stayed to sing to one Emperor, 
Augustus, and then fled. The reign of Augustus was the 
Golden Age of Latin poetry : Virgil, Horace, Propertius, and 
Ovid were all contemporaries of Augustus, and all sang his 
praises. Even if we follow some critics in magnifying 
Lucretius and Catullus as stronger in genuine inspiration than 
the Augustan poets, we must admit that they belonged to the 
decadence of the Roman Republic, not to the good old times of 
"Virtue's patriot theme." Rome in her best days seems to 
have been quite without great poets. Poetry was an exotic at 


Bone« oohr pndmeed andcr the direct hifliimrr of Greek Ubacm- 
tare, Cowns' theory, thereiore, haidly deriTes ■ nn>wi from the 
biftorj of Bone. Bat it it true that poetry n^iidly dedined 
after the Angnttmn age« aad that under Augustus it vas in^iired 
bw the beat UaX/artm of liia mooardiy — his efforts to restore the 
lioniaa morality wnd rdigkn, to revive Italian country life, and 
to eive peace and rest after the eihanstioB of cirfl war. [Mr. F. T. 
PaigrsTe's note, " *^^ ^>^*' ''"H? vhen Imperial tyranny waa 
established at Bome« implies a somewhat difierent intecpreiai- 
tion of Collins' words. I prefer my own interpretation, whidi 
is certainly more in accordance with historic fact, and is 
sup po r ted by the ' Observations ' on this poem of Lsnghome, 
himself a poet and a contemporary of GollinsL] 

97. ** Stanza 7 refers to the Italian amourist poetry of the 
Besaissance, In Collins' day, Dante was almost unknown in 
Kng^aod" {F. T. P.). Coleridge writes of the Italian poets of 
the i5th and 16th centuries {Biographia LUeraria, di. 16): 
''The imagery is almost always general; sun, moon, flowers, 
breezes, murmuring streams, warbling songsters, delicious 
shades^ lovelv damsels cruel as fair, njrm^is, naiads, and god- 
desses, are the materials which are common to all, and which 
each shaped and arranged according to his judgment or fancy, 
little solicitous to add or to particularise." 

bower. The word first means < dwelling ' (O. E, ) ; (2) * a vague 
poetic word for an idealized abode, not realized in any actual 
dwelling :' cp. Milton, ' The bower of earthly bliss ' ; (3) an 
inner apartment, especially a lady's private apartment or 
boudoir ; (4) a place closed in with trees, a leafy court, arbour. 
Here it is used in sense (3). 

48. mMtlng Mnl, "which moves sympathetically towards 
Simplicity as she comes to inspire the poet" {F, T. P.). The 
phrase is from Milton, L* Allegro {O.T. cxliy. 138). 

49. Ortbeie, Taste and Genius. 

51 '4. There may be here a reminiscence of Virgil, Edogut x., 
especially of lines 31-6 and 42-3. 

3. Happy the rrum^ whose wish and care 

*<Thi8 was a verv early production of our author, written at about 
twelve years old ** {Pope^a Note), It is curious that the first of 
his preserved juvenile pieces should be the only poem by Alex- 
ANDIR Pope that has found a place in The Oolaen Treasury : but 
though Pope was a ereat poet, he is not distinenished in lyric 
poetry. We must also remember what Dr. A. W. Ward calls 
'Hhe extraordinary and perhaps unparalleled fact" that "there 
is little vital difference, so far as form is concerned, between some 

Xos. 2-4 69 

of the earliest and some of the latest of Pope's productions. His 
early pieces lack the vigour of wit and the brilliancy of antithesis 
of his later works, but they have the same felicity of expression 
and the same easy flow of versification." Some of the couplets in 
an epic poem that he began soon after his twelfth birthday were 
afterwards inserted by him, without alteration, in the Essay on 
Criticism and in the Dundad. 

An English reader, unfamiliar with Latin, could hardly gain a 
better idea of Horace's quieter lyrics than he will receive from 
this little Ode. The sentiment is Horatian ; sincere but not too 
deeply felt ; the praise of the country by a youthful poet whose 
strongest inclinations were to draw him, as they had drawn 
Horace, to the town and fashionable life. The style is Horatian ; 
the diction simple, but, even at this early age, with the epigram- 
matic simplicity of conscious art, not the diffuse simplicity of 
nature. Finally, the rhythm is Horatian also ; not an attempt at 
an English poem in Latin metre, such as Canning produced in his 
humorous Sapphics on * The Needy Bjiife-grinder,' or Tennyson 
in his Alcaics on Milton, but a happy reproduction in a thoroughly 
English metre of the most characteristic effect of the Sapphic 
stanza — the brief fourth line that brings to a sudden check the 
short "swallow-flight of song*' which is all that the stanza 

Pope had doubtless read Horace's description of his farm in 
SoUires, ii. vi., or EpiaUes^ i. xvi. 1-16, or the praise of a farmer's 
life in Odes, iii. xvi. 29-32. Probably he had also read Claudian's 
Felix qtiipcUriis aevum transegit inagris and Virgil's OfortuncUos 
nimium. With the *' sound sleep" of 1. 13 we may compare 
Horace, Odes, iii. i. 21, somnus agrestium lenis virorum, and with 
the '* unseen, unknown" of 1. 17) Ovid's Bene qui latuit, bene 
vixit ( Tristia, iii. iv. 25) and Horace's Nee vixit male, qui naitis 
moriensque fe/ellU {Epistles, i. xvii. 10). But there is no end to 
the parallels ; and Dr. Johnson would remind us that ''Criticism 
disdains to chase a school-boy " — even such a school-ljoy as Pope 
— **to his common-places." 

4. say what is tliat thing calVd Light 

CGLLEY GIBBER (1671-1757) was an actor, a dramatist of some 
skill, and a great critic of acting. He was unfortunate enough to 
quarrel with Pope, who revenged himself by makins Cibber the 
hero of his Dundad, In its simple pathos, " The Blind Boy " is 
almost worthy of Blake or Wordsworth. 

19. Compare Sir E. Dyer's well-known poem, " My mind to me 
a kingdom is," especially the second stanza : 

" Content I live, this is my stay ; 
I seek no more than may suffice : 

70 Nt)TES 

I press to bear no haughty sway ; 

Look, what I lack my mind supplies. 
Lo ! thus I triumph like a long. 
Content with what my mind doth bring." 

5. ^Ttoas on a lofty vase's side 

The cat belonged to Gray's friend, Horace Walpole. Gray sent 
the Ode in a letter to Walpole, March 1, 1747 : *'As one ought to 
be particularly careful to avoid blunders in a compliment of con- 
dolence, it would be a sensible satisfaction to me (before I testify 
my sorrow, and the sincere part I take in your misfortune) to 
know for certain, who it is I lament. I knew Zara and Selima 
(Selima, was it? or Eatima), or rather I knew them both together ; 
for I cannot justly say which was which. Then as to your hand- 
some cat, the name you distinguish her by, I am no less at a loss, 
as well knowing one's handsome cat is always the cat one likes 
best ; or if one be alive and the other dead, it is usually the latter 
that is the handsomest. Besides, if the point were never so clear, 
I hope you do not think me so ill-bred or so imprudent as to forfeit 
all my interest in the survivor : oh no I I would rather seeip to 
mistake, and imagine to be sure it must be the tabby one that 
had met with this sad accident. Till this affair is a little better 
determined, you will excuse me if I do not begin to cry. Temptu 
inane petOy requiem, apcUiumqut doloris." 

In 1. 4 the cat is described as ** demurest of the tabby-kind" ; 
in 1. 10 we hear of her "coat that with the tortoise vies." We 
must remember that Gray did not know which cat had died, and 
was also determined to ingratiate himself with the survivor. If 
the two cats were respectively tabby and tortoise-shell, we may 
suppose that the survivor (a) if tortoise-shell, would take * tabby- 
kind ' as a general name for cats and would understand L 10 in 
its more obvious sense, (6) if a tabby, would appropriate 1. 4 and 
understand 1. 10 to mean ** beautiful as any tortoise shell cat." 
This is the interpretation of Gray's letter and poem advocated by 
Mr. Tovey, and it seems the best, as it is certainly the most 

" The mishap occurred at Walpole's house in Arlington Street, 
not Ions before Walpole purchased the little house at Twicken- 
ham which he converted into the famous Strawberry Hill. To 
Strawberry Hill the vase was ultimately transferred ; Walpole 
wrote to Mason, July 29, 1773, * I have a pedestal making for the 
tub in which my cat was drowned ; the first stanza of the Ode is 
to be written on it, beginning thus : 'Twas on this lofty vase's 
side, etc.* The tub was sold at the Strawberry Hill sale in 1842 
for £42, and is now at Knowsley, the seat of the Earl of Berby." 

Johnson's criticism of the poem {Life of Gray) is as follows : 

Noa 4—6 71 

" The poem ' On the Cat ' was doubtless by its author considered 
as a trifle ; but it is not a happy trifle. In the first stanza, * the 
azure flowers that blow ' show resolutely a rhyme is sometimes 
made when it cannot easily be found. Selima, the cat, is called 
a nymph, with some violence both to language and sense ; but 
there is no good use made of it when it is done ; for of the two lines 

What female heart can ^old despise, 
What cat*s averse to fish ? 

the first relates merely to the nymph, and the second only to the cat. 
The sixth stanza contains a melancholy truth, that * a favourite 
has no friend * ; but the last ends in a pointed sentence of no 
relation to the purpose ; if w?uU glistered had been gcld^ the cat 
would not have gone into the water ; and, if she had, would 
not less have been drowned. " 

Modem criticism has not confirmed Dr. Johnson's verdict on 
this * trifle.' It is a question whether ' that blow ' is redundant, 
whether it does not rather help us to see the painted flowers * in 
blow ' ; but even if it is redundant, such redundancy is in keep- 
ing with the mock-heroic style. To that style belongs the 
description of the cat as^' nymph,' and of the water as Make' 
and * tide.' The sudden bathos of ' What cat's averse to fish ? ', 
far from being a blemish, is a literary triumph. It is essential 
to the success of a mock-heroic poem that the reader should 
realise that the poet is laughing, not seriously giving to the 
catastrophe a dignity it does not deserve. Yet even mock-heroics 
cannot be good unless they half-deceive us into accepting them 
for real. Gray is just on the point of so deceiving us, and 
merrily enlightens us by what the Greeks called a irapd irpwr- 
SoKlay, an unexpected turn of phrase. Dr. Johnson's censure of 
the last stanza is conceived in a spirit that would be fatal to 
most poetry. In the poetic, if not in the literal sense, the cat 
had found that " All that glisters is not gold." 

3. azure, i.e. the vase was a China one with the flowers 
painted in blue. Cp. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Town 
Eclogues : 

** Where the tall jar erects its stately pride 
With antic shapes in China* s azure dyed." 

4. tabby kind, of the tabby species of cats. " A tabby cat is 
one whose coat is brindled, black and grey, like the waves of 
watered silk. Tabby is from Fr. to&M,i watered silk, from 
Arabic attabi, a part of Bagdad, where it was made " (Bradshaw). 

5. reclined, participle. 

7. conscious tail, i.e. the tail shows by its movements that it 
shares the feelings of the cat. 


10. tortoise. " A cat whose coat is of a dark ground striped 
with yellow is called a tortoise-shell cat" (Bradshaw). 

14. angel, of angelic beauty. 

16. Genii, guardian deities, Latin plural of Genius. ''The 
Italian peoples regarded the Qenius as a higher power which 
creates ana maintains life, assists at the begetting and birth of 
every individual man, determines his character, tries to influence 
his destiny for good, accompanies him through life as his 
tutelary spirit, and lives on after his death " (Seyffert, Diet, of 
Okuaieai AnHqyUita), Places had their Grenius as well as 
persons. Cp. Milton, Lycidaa {O.T,, lxxxix. 183), ''Hence- 
forth thou art the Genius of the shore.'' 

16. Ionian, so-called because the best purple known to the 
ancients was prepared at Tyre from the secretions of the murex, 
a shellfish. 

18. betrayed, showed underneath. Gp. Virgil, Qeorgics, iv. 

Aureus ipse, sed in/oliis quae plurima circum 
FundurUur violae sublucet purpura nigrae, 

"Golden is the flower, but on the petals that cluster thick 
round it purple gleaina under dark violet.'' 

31. Eight times. " A cat has nine lives, as everybody knows " 

34. Dolphin. A dolphin in the classical legend had saved 
Arion from drowning. Nereid^ sea-nymph, daughter of Nereus, 
the old man of the sea. 

35. The commentators have not ascertained whether Walpole 
actually had two servants called ' Tom ' and ' Susan ' or whether 
Gray merely used the two names as typical. 

39. with caution bold. Cp. the Latin proverb, Festina lerUe, 

42. Cp. Chaucer, Yeman*8 Tale, "But all which shinethas the 
gold Ne is no gold, as I have been told " ; Shakespeare, MercharU 
of Venice^ n. vii. 66, " All that glisters is not gold." 

6. Timely blossom, Infant fair 

Ambrose Philips (1671-1749) wrote several poems to children, 
some Pastorals, and an Epistle to the Earl of Dorset which Gold- 
smith declared to be 'incomparably fine.' Like Gibber, he had 
a quarrel with Pope, and was satirised by that irascible poet. 
Charlotte Pulteney, the subject of this ode, was one of the 
daughters of Daniel Pulteney, a politician of some distinction in 
the first quarter of the eighteenth century. She and her sister 
Margaret, to whom also Philips addressed an ode, died in child- 
hood. Philips was ridiculed By his contemporaries for apostro- 

Nos. 5—7 73 

phising children ; Henry Carey (see introductory note to No. 16) 
nicknamed him * Namby-Pamby " ; bat the charming simplicity 
of these poems has kept alive his memory, whilst his more pre- 
tentious work has been forgotten. 

Metre. — A simple trochaic line of four accents, often used by 
Shakespeare and Milton. In a long poem it becomes monotonous : 
hence Milton in L' Allegro and II Feiiseroso varies it continually. 
So, too, Keats and Shelley varied it in such poems as the Ode on 
the Poets {O.T.^ ccix.) and To a Lady^ with a Guitar {0,T., coo.). 
In Philips' poem the only variation is in the last couplet, where 
the slower iambic movement is appropriate to the reflective tone 
of the conclusion. 

1. Timely, seasonable, early. The force of the epithet is not 
very clear. Does it mean that the parents are in the prime of 

4. BOlidtouB, involving anxious care (as precious and fragile). 

5. stUl, always. 

7. gossip, in its modem sense of 'tattler.* Gossip was 
originally god-sib^ a kinsman with respect to God, a sponsor at 
baptism, godfather or godmother. 

13. Tet, as yet. *' In our present English, when yeJt^ in the 
sense it has here, is placed before the verb of its sentence, we 
qualify it by prefixing as. We could say either ' While there was 
not yet any fear of oove ' or * While as yet there was no fear of 
Jove * " {HcUeSf note on II PenserosOj 1. 30). 

18. Modollng, a variation for ' modulating ' — %.e, forming sound 
to a certain key or to certain notes. 

22. Uoomy, full of blooms or blossoms, flowery. Used by 
Milton, Sonnet i., '*0 Nightingale, that on yon bloomy spray 
Warblest at eve." 

7. When Britain first at Heaven^s command 

James Thomson (1700-1748) is best known as the author of 7%e 
Seasons^ a blank verse poem of very considerable merit, full of 
ffenuine feeling for Nature, though the language is the artificial 
diction of the eighteenth century. Btde Britannia probably 
owes its inclusion in the Golden Treasury to its fame and popu- 
larity as a national song rather than to its possession of any of 
the higher qualities of lyric poetry. 

2. main. The full phrase is 'the main sea.' In Shakespeare, 
King Lear, in. i. 6, Ynatn= main-land. 

3. diarter, "a writing bestowing privileges or rights" (Dr, 


11. Compare the language about Rome put into the mouth of 
Hannibal by Horace, Odes, iv. iv. 

•* Duris ut ilex tonsa bipennibus 
Nigrae feraci frondis in AlgidOy 

Per damna, per caedes, cub ipso 

Dttcit opes animumque ferro . . • 
Merses profundo : pulcrior evenit : 
Luctere : multa proruet integrum 

Cum laude victorem geretque 

Proelia coniugibvs loquenda." 

{'* So the broad oak that spreads its dusky shade 
On Algidus, shorn by the woodman's knife, 
Wounded and lopped, bourgeons again to life, 
And draws, refresht, new vigour from the blade. . . • 
Plunge them 'neath Ocean's lowest depths, — they rise 

More bright, more glorious : fell them to the earth, — 
They start to life : the vanquished victor dies ; 
And Roman dames for aye blazon their husbands' worth." 

— Sir Stephen de Vere. ) 

17. generous flame, fire of high-spirited indignation. Generous 
is properly * of noble race* (Lat. generosus), then applied to the 
qualities that are supposed to accompany noble birth. Cp. Pope : 

*^ Such was Roscommon, not more leam'd than good, 
With manners generous as his noble blood." 

19. the rural reign. It is not easy to fix the sense in which 
Thomson uses this phrase. * Reign ' in the eighteenth century 
often meant 'realm — cp. No. 36. 12, No. 48. 36 — so that the 
words need only mean, "To thee belongs the country." But 
probably more than this is implied : ** Thine are the triumphs of 
agriculture. " Cp. Virgil's praise of Italy : Scdve, magna parens 
frugumy Satumia tellus {Georgics, ii. 173). 

23. still, always. 

8. Ruin seize thee, ruthless King ! 

The Bard was first printed in 1767 with the Progress of Poesy 
(No. 26) at Horace Walpole's private press, Strawberry Hill. 
Gray had written it at various times during the two previous 
years. *' In 1757, when this splendid ode was completed, so 
very little had been printed, whether in Wales or in England, in 
regard to Welsh poetry, that it is hard to discover whence 
Gray drew his Cymric allusions. The fabled massacre of the 
Bards (shown to be wholly groundless in Stephens' Literature of 
the Kymry) appears first in the family history of Sir John Wynn 
of Gwydir (cir. 1600), not published till 1773; but the story 

No8. 7—8 75 

seems to have passed in MS. to Carte's History, whence it may 
have been taken by Gray. The references to high-bom Hod and 
soft Llewelli/rif to Cadwallo and Urien, may similarly have been 
derived from the * Specimens* of early Welsh poetry by the 
Rev. E. Evans : as, although not published till 1764, the MS., 
we learn from a letter to Dr. Wharton, was in Gray's hands by 
July, 1760, and may have reached him by 1767. It is, however, 
doubtful whether Gray (of whose acquaintance with Welsh we 
have no evidence) must not have been also aided by some Welsh 
scholar. He is one of the poets least likely to scatter epithets at 
random : * soft' or gentle is the epithet emphatically and specially 
ffiven to Llewellyn in contemporary Welsh poetry, and is hence 
here used with particular propriety. Yet, without such assist- 
ance as we have suggested. Gray could hardly have selected the 
epithet, although applied to the King (pp. 141-3), among a crowd 
of others, in Llygad Gwr's Ode, printed by Evans" (F. T. P.). 

To be appreciated and enjoyed, this Ode, like the Odes of the 
Greek poet whom Gray so much admired, must be read more 
than once. Among its excellencies we may note: (1) the 
grandeur of the language, which is at once stately and impas- 
sioned. Gray understood, as few have done, what Tennyson 
once called "the glory of words" — the resonant music, the 
splendour of colour, of which our English language is capable in 
the hands of a master. He contrasts elsewhere the poetical 
poverty of his own age with "the pomp and prodigality of 
Heaven," which he finds in Milton and Shakespeare. There is 
much of Milton's " pomp," and even something of Shakespeare'^ 
"prodigality " of fine effects in this Ode. Gray is a successor of 
Milton in "the grand style." (2) The wealth of literary asso- 
ciations, some of which will be recalled in the notes that follow, 
deepens the charm for the instructed reader. Almost every line 
is reminiscent for him of some favourite passage in an older 
author. This was the charm sought by Virgil also. Neither 
the one nor the other is a plagiarist, for Doth knew the secret of 
adorning what they toucn, and deepening our love for the 
original by adapting it to some new and worthy use. (3) The 
wonderful succession of historical pictures, each painted in a few 
terse lines. (4) The rapid movement of the verse, so aptly 
expressive of the bard's impassioned fury. It is obtained by 
alliteration, by occasional trochaic effects, and by the mid-line 
rhymes in the epode or third stanza of each group. 

The Bard and The Progress of Poesy were severely criticised 
at the time of their first appearance on account of their alleged 
obscurity. In the edition of 1768 Gray added notes, which are 
given below, and distinguished from the rest by being placed in 
inverted commas, and followed by the initial (G.). 

Metre. — Gray called this Ode and The Progress of Poesy 

76 N0TB8 

** Pindaric," because they were constracted, like Qreek Odes, not 
in uniform stanzas, but in uniform groups of stanzas. Each Ode 
contains three groups of three stanzas ; the first two stanzas of 
all the groups are on the same plan ; the third stanzas of the 
three groups correspond to each other, but differ from the first 
and second. ''The technical Qreek names for the three parts 
[of each group of stanzas] were <rrpo0i}, &irn<rrpwpiif and iirtpdSs — 
the Turn, the Counter-turn, and the After-song — ^names derived 
from the theatre, the Turn denoting the moyement of the chorus 
from the one side of the 6pxv<^P^ or Dance-stage to the other, 
the Count«r-tum the reverse movement, the After-song some- 
thing sung after two such movements. Odes thus constructed 
were called by the Oreeks Epodic. Congreve is said to have 
been the first who so constructed English Odes. This system 
cannot be said to have prospered with us. Perhaps no fmglish 
ear would instinctively recognise that correspondence between 
distant parts which is the secret of it. Certainly very many 
readers of the Progress of Poesy are wholly unconscious of any 
such harmony. Does anyone really enjoy it in itself, apart 
from the pleasure he may receive from his admiration of Gray's 
skill in construction and imitation ? Does his ear hear it, or only 
his eye perceive it ? In other words, was not Gray's labour, as 
far as pure metrical pleasure is concerned, wasted?" (Prof. 
Hales). It is probable that a larger number of readers derive 
pleasure from irregularly constructed En^ish Odes, such as 
Wordsworth's Ode on IntimcUions qf Immortality {0,T., 
oooxxxviii.), or Tennyson's Ode on the Death of the Duke of 
Wellington, in which the metre varies with the thought, now 
slow and solemn, now light and happy. Of such irregular Odes 
the most successful is a fragment — C<neridge's Kubla Khan {O. T. , 
Gocxvi.). In a third class of English Odes— Spenser's Pro- 
tJicUamion {0,T,, Lxxrv.), Milton's Nativity Hymn {O^T,^ 
Lxxxv.) — the stanzas all correspond with each other. 

1. "The following Ode is founded on a tradition current in 
Wales that E^dward the First, when he completed the conquest 
of that country, ordered all the bards that tell into his hands to 
be put to death" (G.). The number of Welsh bards living at 
the Deginning of the fourteenth century disproves the tradition. 

3. Conquest's crimson wing. Victory is here personified, as 
often by the ancients, and represented as fanning the royal 
banners with her wings, which are crimson with blood. 

4. '' Mocking the air with colours idly spread, Shakespeare's 
King John, v. 1 " (G.). 

6. (Neither) helm nor hauberk's.... "The hauberk was a 
texture of steel ringlets, or rinss interwoven, forming a coat of 
mail, that sat close to the body, and adapted itseU to every 

No. 8 77 

motion" (G.). Properly hauberk means neck-covering armour: 
A.S. heals, the neck, and beorgan, to protect. Habergeon is 
etymologically a diminutive from hauberk. 

7. secret, inmost, nightly, nocturnal, as in Milton, Nativity 
Ode {G,T,, Lxxxv. 179), " No nightly trance, or breathed spelL" 

8. Cambria, Wales, the land of the Cimbri or Kymry. 

9. crested pride. "The crested adder's pride, Dryden's 
Indian Queen [in. 1]'* (O.). Gray transfers the expression 
from the crest of a snake, the swollen part of its head, to the 
crest or plume of a warrioi^s helmet. 

11. Snowdon ** was a name given by the Saxons to that moun- 
tainous tract which the Welsh themselves call Craigian-eryri ; it 
included all the highlands of Caernarvonshire and Merioneth- 
shire, as far east as the river Conway. R. Hygden, speaking of 
the Castle of Conway, built by King Edward the First, says, 
' Ad ortum amnis Conway ad clivum montis Erery ' ; and 
Matthew of Westminster (ad ann. 1283), ' Apud Aberconway ad 
pedes montis Snowdoniae fecit erigi castrum forte '"(G.). "It 
waft in the spring of 1283 that English troops at last forced their 
way among the defiles of Snowdon. Llewellyn had preserved 
those passes and heights intact till his death in the preceding 
Decemoer. The surrender of Dolbadem in the April following 
that dispiriting event opened a way for the invader, and 
William de Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, at once advanced by 
it " (Hales). 

13. 14. QlOBter, " Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of 
QUmcesier and Hertford, son-in-law of King Edward. Edmond 
de Mortimer t Lord of Wigmore. They both were Lords- 
Marchers, whose lands lay on the borders of Wales, and pro- 
bably accompanied the King in this expedition " (G. ). 

14. oouch'd. "To fix the spear in the rest, in the posture of 
attack" (Johnson). 

15. a rook. Probably Gray meant Pen-maen-mawr, the height 
referred to in Milton's Lycidas {G. T,, lxxxix. 62) : 

"For neither were ye playing on the steep 
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie." 

The epithet shaggy in 1. 11 may have been a reminiscence of 
Milton's next line — " Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high." 

16. old, a favourite epithet of rivers. Cp. Paradise Lost, i. 420, 

" From the bordering flood of old Euphrates." 

Cp. also No. 48. 9, " the Jioary Thames," and Judges v. 21, " that 
ancient river, the river Kishon." 

19. "The image was taken from a well-known picture of 
Raphael, representing the Supreme Being in the vision of Ezekiel. 



There are two of these paintings (both believed original), one at 
Florence, the other at Paris." (G.). ** Moses breaking the tables 
of the law, by Parmegiano, was a figure which Mr. Gray used to 
say came still nearer to his meaning than the picture of Raphael " 
(Mason). Mr. Tovey aptly compares Keble s lines on Balaam, 
Christian Year, 2nd Sunday after Easter : 

'*0 for a sculptor's hand 

That thou might'st take thy stand. 
Thy wild hair floating in the eastern breeze, 

Thy trano'd yet open gaze 

Fixed on the desert haze. 
As one who deep in heaven some airy pageant sees." 

20. ''Shone like a meteor, streaming to the wind — Milton, 
Paradise Lost, i. 537 " (G.). 

23. 8tra6k from his lyre notes expressive of deep sorrows. 

23. desert-eaye. Another echo of Lycidae {O.T,, lxxxix. 39). 

26. hoarser, either (1) than their wont or (2) growing continu- 
ally hoarser. 

28. hlgh-lwm Hoel, soft Uewellyn. "The Diasertatio de Bardis 
of Evans names the first as son to the king Owain Gwynedd ; 
Uewellyn, last king of North Wales, was murdered 1282. Gad- 
VDoUo: Cadwallon (died 631) and Urien Rheged (early kings of 
Gwynedd and Cumbria respectively) are mentioned by Evans 
(p. 78) as bards none of whose poetry is extant. Modrea : Evans 
supplies no c^oto for this name, which Gray (it has been supposed) 
uses for Merlin (Myrddin Wyllt), held prophet as well as poet. 
Whether intentionally or through ignorance of the real dates, 
Gray here seems to represent the Bar^ as speaking of these poets, 
all of earlier days, Llewellyn excepted, as his own contemporaries 
at the close of the thirteenth century. 

*' Gray, whose penetrating and powerful genius rendered him 
in many ways an initiator in advance of his age, is probably the 
first of our poets who made some acquaintance with the rich and 
admirable poetry in which Wales from the sixth century has been 
fertile, — before and since his time so barbarously neglected, not 
in England only. Hence it has been thought worth while here 
to enter into a little detail upon his Cymric allusions " (F. T. P. ). 

Prof. Hales is probably right in saying that Gray does not mean 
to refer to the old bards but merely appropriates their names for 
the companions of his own bard. 

34. FUnlSmmon, a mountain on the borders of Cardigan and 
Glamorgan, doud-topt: cp. * clovd-capt towers,' Tempest, rv. i. 172. 

35. Arvon. "The shores of Caernarvonshire opposite to the 
isle of Anglesey " (G. ). Caernarvon = Caer in Arvon, the camp 
in Arvon, 

No. 8 79 

38. ** Camden and others observe, that eagles used annually to 
build their eyrie among the rocks of Snowden, which from thence 
(as some think) were named by the Welsh Craigianeryrif or the 
crags of the eagles. At this day (I am told) the highest point of 
Snowden is called the eagle's iiest. That bird is certainly no 
stranger to this island, as the Scots, and the people of Camberland, 
Westmoreland, etc. , can testify ; it even has built its nest in the 
Peak of Derbyshire. (See Willoughby's Omithol.f published by 

40. Cp. Virgil, Aeneid, iv. 31, Annar^ert : luce magis dilecta 
sorori (Anna answers, * dearer than the light to thy sister *). 

41. " As dear to me as are the ruddy drops That visit my sad 
heart, Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, ii. i. 289-290" (G.). 

44. grlesly, ^isly, hideous, terrible. A favourite word with 
Spenser and Milton. 

48. "See the Norwegian Ode that follows" (G.). Gray refers 
to his poem of * The Fatal Sisters ' which was a translation of a 
Norse Ode» but made from a Latin version by Bartholin. It 
begins thus : 

" Now the storm begins to lower 

(Haste, the loom of Hell prepare,) 
Iron-sleet of arrowy shower 

Hurtles in the darkened air. 
Glittering lances are the loom. 

Where the dusky warp we strain, 
Weaving many a soldier s doom, 

Orkney's woe and Bandver's bane." 

The notion of a web of destiny was a favourite one with the 
Greeks and Komans. 

49*100. In the italicized lines the * lost companions ' of the bard 
' join in harmony ' with him. 

49. Weave the warp. **They are called upon *to weave the 
warp, and weave the woof,' perhaps with no great propriety : for 
it is by crossing the woof with the warp that men weave the vfeh 
or piece" (Dr. Johnson). The great critic's own expression is not 
very clear ; we should rather speak of * crossing the warp with 
the woof,' for the warp is the fixed part of the fabric, the threads 
stretched out parallel in the loom, ready to be crossed by the 
wooft the interwoven or inserted thread. But Gray's instinct was 
right. Not merely is "weave the warp, and weave the woof" a 
legitimate poetical expression for " weave them together, inter- 
weave them " : the repetition adds greatly to the solenmity of the 
phrase. Compare the repeated sound in such incantations as 
" Double, double, toil and trouble, "and Ducite ab urhe domum, mea 
pcf^rmina, ducite Daphniin, T!k^ effect of the alliteration is also to 


be observed : it is not confined to the initial letter ' w/ but is 
equftlly felt in the *r* of *warp,* 'Edward,* *race/ 'room/ 'verge,* 
' characters,* ' trace. ' The * r * sound becomes still more prominent 
in the lines that follow. 

50. winding sheet. For a very striking use of this image in a 
prophecy of doom, see Rossetti*B King^a Tragedy. 

61. Cp. " I have a soul that like an ample shield 

Can take in all, and verge enough for more." 

Dryden, Don Sebastian, i. i. 

62. characters, 'figures,* 'impressions,* the literal sense of the 
Or. x<i/>a'^^P* o/heU, i,e, of 'death,* 'doom,* 'destruction.' 

64. "Edward the Second, cruelly butchered (a.d. 1327) in 
Berkley Castle '* (G.). Berkley Castle, Gloucestershire. 

roof, Mr. F. T. Palgrave*s reading, taken apparently from 
Mitford : roo/a has better authority. 
Cp. with this line Drayton, Barona* Wara, v. Ixvii. : 

" Berkley, whose fair seat hath been famous long, 
Let thy sad echoes ahriek a ghaatly aound 
To the vast air.** 

66. agonising, intransitive, ' suffering agony.' 

Hume probably had Gray's lines in his mind when he wrote in 
his Hiatory (vol. ii. , p. 369) : ' The acreama with which the 
agonizing king filled the castle.* This volume was published, as 
Mr. Tovey points out, after the completion of the Bard, 

67. "Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous 
Queen*' (G.). Cp. Henry VI., Pt. IH. i. iv. Ill : 

" She- wolf of France, but worse than wolves of France, 
Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth.** 

the Iwwels. In allusion to the manner of the king's death. 

69. "Triumphs of Edward the Third in France" (G.). It is 
a question whether hanga is transitive or intransitive. If it is 
the latter, we might have expected a comma after 'hangs,' but 
there is none in the edition of 1757. Cp. Attila's title, * the 
Scourge of God.* 

61. " Amazement and Flight are the Ae?/ios ^$^ ^poi of Homer 
niad, IV. 440, present at the clash of the Greek and Trojan hosts; 
Homer puts them, as does Gray, in sequence, for Aeeyuos is Panic, 
and *6j8os the ensuing rout" (Tovey). 

For amazement in the sense of * extreme fear,' ' horror,' cp. 
Shakespeare, Hamlet, in. iv. 112^ " But look ! i^mazeoient on 
thy mother sits," 

No. 8 81 

62. solitude, desolation. Cp. the reproach against the 
Romans, Solitudinem faciurU^ pacem appellant, **They make a 
desolation and call it peace." 

63. *' Death of that king [Edward III.], abandoned by his 
children, and even robbed in his last moments by his courtiers 
and his mistress " (G. ). 

67. sable warrior. '* Edward the Black Prince, dead some 
time before his father " (G. ). 

69. Observe the interrogation : the sense is, *' Where are 
the swarm . . . ?" 

70. Cp. Pompey's warning to Snlla, when the older man 
refused the younger a triumph, " More worship the rising than 
the setting sun " (Plutarch's L{fe of Pompey). 

71. ''Magnificence of Richard the Second's reign. See 
Froissard and other contemporary writers " (G. ). 

71-76. Gray had originally written (Wharton's MS.) : 

" Mirrors of Saxon truth and loyalty. 
Your helpless old expiring master view. 
They hear not. Scarce religion dares supply 
Her muttered requiems, and her holy dew. 
Yet thou, proud boy, from Pomfret's walls shalt send 
A sigh, and envy oft thy happy grandsire's end." 

In these superseded lines the courtiers of Edward III. are 
ironically addressed as * mirrors of courtesy.' The * proud boy ' 
is Richard II., and his horrible death in 'Pomfret'or Ponte- 
fract Castle, Yorkshire, makes the death of his grandsire, 
Edward III., happy in comparison. In his later version Gray 
sacrifices the apostrophe to the courtiers that he may make the 
transition to Richard II. less abrupt. 

Coleridge in a youthful esscay, to which he refers with approval 
in his Biographia Literaria^ ch. 1, traced Gray's amended lines 
(**Fair laughs the morn," etc.) to Shakespeare's Merchant of 
Venice^ ii. vi. 14 : 

"How like a younker, or a prodigal, 
The scarf M bark puts from her native bay, 
Hugg'd and embraced by the strumpet wind I 
How like a prodigal doth she return, 
With over-weather'd ribs and ragged sails, 
Lean, rent and beggar'd by the strumpet wind I *' 

Coleridge proceeds : ** I preferred the original on the ground 
that, in the imitation, it depended wholly on the compositor's 
putting, or not putting, a small capital both in this and m many 
other passages of the same poet, whether the words should be 
personifications or mere abstracts." The censure is deserved by 


Gray elsewhere {e.g. No. 1. 25), but seems unjast in this particular 
passage. The fact that "Youth at the prow and Pleasure at 
the helm " have inspired a widely-known allegorical painting 
may be taken to indicate that they are real personifications, and 
probably no intelligent student reads these lines without forming 
a picture in his mind. 

75. Coleridge criticises aioay in this line and recUm in 72 as 
'rhymes dearly purchased.' Sicay was almost certainly a 
reminiscence of Dryden, translation of the Georgics, i. 483, ** And 
rolling onwards with a sweepy nray," said of the River Po. 

77. " Richard the Second (as we are told by Archbishop 
Scroop and the confederate lords in their manifesto, Thomas of 
Walsingham, and all the older writers) was starved to death. 
The story of his assassination by Sir Piers of Exon is of much 
later date " (G. ). In Shakespeare's tragedy Richard II. is 
murdered by Exton : Shakespeare's authority for the story was 
Holinshed's Chronicle^ published in 1577. 

80. With this picture of Richard starved in presence of the 
banquet, cp. Virgil, Aeneidf vi. 603 : 

** Lucent genicUibus altia 
Aurea/vlcra torts, epulaeqtie ante ora paratae 
Regifico luxu : Furiarum mtixima iuxta 
Accubat, et manibvs prohibet eontingere menscut,*' 

"The high banqueting couches gleam golden-pillared, and the 
feast is spread in royal luxury before their faces : couched hard 
by, the eldest of the Furies wards the tables from their touch " 

83. ** Ruinous civil wars of York and Lancaster" (G.). 

bray. Gp. Milton, Paradise Lost, vi. 209, "Arms on 
armour clashing brayed Horrible discord." "The din brays as 
'the noise of battle hurtles* in Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, ii. 
ii. ; both bray and hurtle being distinctive words : bray being 
coffnated with ' break ' (vid. Skeat) and implying suddenness as 
well as loudness " (Tov^). 

86. kindred Bqoadroiui. So Lucan calls the Roman armies in 
the civil war cognatas acUs. 

87. "Henry the Sixth, George Duke of Clarence, Edward the 
Fifth, Richard Duke of York, etc., believed to be murdered 
secretly in the Tower of London. The oldest part of that 
structure is vulgarly attributed to Julius Caesar' (G.). 

89. consort. "Margaret of Anjou, a woman of heroic spirit, 
who struggled hard to save lier husband and her crown" (G.). 

father. " Henry the Fifth " (G.). 

No. 8 83 

90. meek usurper. "Henry the Sixth very near being canon- 
ized. The line of Lancaster had no right of inheritance to the 
crown" (G.). Cp. EUm Ode (No. 48. 4), "Her Henry's holy 

91. "The white and red roses, devices of York and Lan- 
caster" (G.). 

Above, below, Le, on the loom. 

92. Twined. " If there is here a reference to marriage (as I 
incline to think) rather than the grapple of foes, it is probablv 
to the marriage of Edward IV. with the Lancastrian Elizabeth 
Woodville, Lady Grey, of which union the murdered princes 
were the issue " (Tovey). 

93. "The silver boar was the badge of Richard the Third; 
whence he was usually known in his own time by the name of 
the Boar" (G.). 

infant gore, the murder of the two young princes in the 
Tower, 1483. 

99. Half of thy heart. Cp. Horace's anirruie dimidium meae. 
Odea, I. iii. 8. " Eleanor of Castile died a few years after the 
conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection 
for her lord is well known. The monuments of his regret and 
sorrow for the loss of her are still to be seen at Northampton, 
Geddington, Waltham, and other places" (G.). Tennyson com- 
memorates Eleanor's devotion in his Dream of Fair Women : 

" Or her who knew that Love can vanquish Death, 
Who kneeling, with one arm about her king, 
Drew forth the poison with her balmy breath, 
Sweet as new ouds in spring." 

101. The ghosts vanish, and the Bard speaks alone, forlorn 
agrees with me, 

106. skirts. A shirt is properly 'the edge of a garment.' It 
is a favourite word with Milton : " Dark with excessive bright 
thy 8kirt8 appear" (Paradise Lost, iii. 380). ** Gladly behold 
though but his utmost skirts Of glory " (ib. xi. 332). 

109. "It was the common belief of the Welsh nation that 
King Arthur was still alive in Fairy-Land, and should return 
again to reign over Britain " (G.). 

110. "Accession of the* line of Tudor. Both Merlin and 
Taliessin had prophesied that the Welsh should regain their 
sovereignty over this island ; which seemed to be accomplished 
in the House of Tudor" (G.). Henry VII. 's paternal grand- 
father was Sir Owen Tudor, a descendant of the ancient princes 
of Wales. 

genuine, native. 


111. The Tador kings before Elizabeth. 

112. Bnblime, in the literal sense, * lifted up/ 'aloft.' Cp. Na 
26. 96, '* that rode sublime." 

113. Elizabeth*s Court. 

110. Htr eye. "Micheli, the Venetian, described Elizabeth 
in 1657 (the year before her accession) as having fine eyes; a 
testimony more trustworthy than the praise of her courtiers. 
This eye Gray makes characteristic of the Tudors : cp. Instal- 
lation Ode, 1. 70, ' Pleased in thy lineaments we trace A Tudor's 
fire.' And his Bard refers it to their Celtic origin " (Tovey). 

117. Her lion-port. ''Speed, relating an audience given by 
Queen Elizabeth to Paul Dzialinski, Ambassador of Poland, says, 
* And then she, lion-like rising, daunted the malapert Orator, no 
less with her stately port and majestical deporture, than with 
the tartnesse of her pnncelie checkes ' " (G. ). 

118. Attemper'd to. Cp. No. 26. 26, " Tempered to thy warbled 

119. sympbonious, sounding in concert. Cp. Paradise Lost, 
VII. 669, " the sound Sympbonious of ten thousand harps that 
tuned Angelic harmonies." 

119-20. The burst of lyric poetry in the reign of Elizabeth is 
meant. " It is, fittingly, the sound of lyric poetry, the music of 
the harp, that the Bard's ear first catches, to tell him that his 
art, spite of the tyrant's barbarity, will not be lost. This 
is faintly indicated in * strings sympbonious,' and it is certainly 
not till after ' The verse adorn again ' that allusion is made to 
the greater poems of Spenser and Shakespeare " (Tovey). 

121. "Taliessin, Chief of the Bards, fiourished in the sixth 
century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in 
high veneration amons his countrymen " (G. ). But the pro- 
phecies attributed to Taliessin have since been shown not to be 
earlier than the twelfth century. 

123. Cp. Shelley's Ode to the Skylark {G,T,, cclxxxvii. 10): 
"And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest." 

124. many-colour'd, to express the variety of Elizabethan 

125-127. war, love, and truth are the subjects of adorn. 

125-144. On the unfavourable criticisms passed by Walpole, 
Johnson, and others upon the last stanza of The Bard, see 
Mr. Tovey's edition of Gray. 

126. " Fierce wars and faithful loves shall moralise my song. 
Spenser, Proeme to the Fairy Qtieen" (G.). 

Nos. 8-9 85 

127. An admirable description of Spenser's design in the 
Fcterie Qiteen. Mr. Tovey quotes Milton, Areopagitica, § 23, 
"Our sage and serious poet Spenser, whom I dare be known to 
think a better teacher tnan Scotus or Aquinas " ; and notes that 
Una, whose fortunes are told in Book i. of the Fturie Queen, 
is in Spenser another name for Truth. 

128. boskin'd measures, the verse of tragedy. Cp. Milton, 
// Peruteroso {G.T., oxlv. 101, 102), "Or what (though rare) of 
later age Ennobled hath the buskin^d stace." The buskin ia the 
cothurnus (xdOoptfos) or high boot worn by Greek and Roman 
actors in tragedy to increase their stature and dignity. It 
therefore became emblematic of tragedy, as the soccus, or low 
shoe, of comedy. 

128-130, "Shakespear." 131-132, "Milton." 133-134, "The 
succession of poets after Milton's time " (G.). 

129. pleasing pain. Spenser applies this expression to Love, 
Faerie Queen^ ix. z. 3. But Gray more probably had in his 
mind Aristotle's attribution to tragedy of the pleasure that 
arises from pity and fear, rV <i^^ ^X^ov /cat <t>6pov ifioviiVj Poetics, 


133. warbllngB. The verb, to tuarble, is a favourite with 

135. sangniine (Lat. sanguineus), red, as if with bloodshed. 
Addressing the King, the Bard points to a dark red cloud that 
has passed in front of the sun, and takes it to symbolise the cloud 
with which the massacre of the bards has covered the country. 

137. A reminiscence of Milton, Lycidaji {O.T., lxxxix. 168- 

" 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.'^ 

repairs, 'recovers' or 'renews,' the primary meaning of 
the Latin reparare. 

9. How sleep the brave, who sink to rest 

This exquisite Ode was written, as its autlior tells us, "in the 
beginning of the year 1746." Collins had already commemorated, 
in nis " Ode on the Death of Col. Charles Ross," the loss of one 

fallant Englishman in the disastrous battle of Fontenoy in 
'landers. Here, on the 81st of May, 1745, the Duke of Cumber- 
land " found the French covered by a line of fortified villages and 
redoubts with but a single narrow gap. Into this gap, however, 
the English troops, formed in a dense column, doggedly thrust 


themfielves in spite of a terrible fire ; but at the moment when 
the day seemed won the French guns, rapidly concentrated in their 
front, tore the column in pieces and drove it back in a slow and 
orderly retreat " (J. R. Green). Defeat abroad was followed by 
defeat in Scotland, where the Young Pretender won the battle 
of Falkirk in January, 1746. It may have been the news of this 
fresh reverse that occasioned this Ode. In any case we may 
assume it to have been written before the victory of Gulloden on 
April 16 of this year relieved the anxiety of England. 

6. Than Ftocy's feet, etc., than any ground that men have 
even pictured to themselves in imagination. 

7. Cp. the Sea Dirge in Shakespeare's Tempest (O.T,, lxv.). 
So Campbell, but not very happily, introduced * the mermaid's 
song' into his Battle of the Bcdtxc {O.T., ccli.). 

9. Honour. Collins' personifications are more real than some 
of Gray's. Fancy, perhaps, is scarcely distinct, but each of the 
other three — Spring, Honour, Freedom — though so lightly 
touched on, is a hgure for a sculptor. The epithet 'gray,' given 
to Honour, though it may be only a conventional epithet, 
appropriate to a pilgrim's dress, seems to recall Virgil's cana 
Fides (Aeneid, i. 292) the * hoary Honour ' of the Roman people, 
worshipped by them from remote antiquity. Cp. also Horace, 
Carmen Saecrdare 61 y Fides el Pax ei Honos Pvdorqrie Prisctis. 

10. The lovely lass o* Inverness 

According to Cromek, Burns took the idea from * the first half 
verse, which is all that remains ' of an old song ; but nothing is 
known of this half verse. At CuUoden * Prince Charlie,* the 
Young Pretender, was defeated by the Duke of Cumberland. 
" On the 16th of April [1746] the two armies faced one another on 
Culloden Moor, a few miles eastward of Inverness. The Hi^rh- 
landers still numbered six thousand men, but they were starving 
and dispirited. Cumberland's force was nearly double that of 
the Prince. Torn by the Duke's guns, the clansmen flung them- 
selves in their old fashion on the English front ; but they were 
received with a terrible fire of musketry, and the few that 
broke through the first line found themselves fronted by a second. 
In a few moments all was over, and the Highlanders a mass 
of hunted fugitives. Charles himself after strange adventures 
escaped to France " (J. R. Green). 

4. And ever the salt tear blinds her eye. 

5. Drumossle, the Highland name for Culloden. Observe the 
pathetic effect of the repetition. 

13. tbou, the Duke of Cumberland. 

Nob. 9—11 87 

11. Fve heard them lilting at our ewe-milking 

Jane Elliott, 1727-1805, third daughter of Sir Gilbert Elliott, 
second baronet of Minto. Her father and her brother, like 
herself, had literary tastes. It was her brother who suggested 
to her the subject of this ballad, the only poem she is known to 
have written. **The story goes that, as they were driving 
home in the family coach one evening in 1766, they talked of 
Flodden, and Gilbert wagered a pair of gloves or a set of ribbons 
against his sister's chances as a writer of a successful ballad on 
the subject. After this there was silence, and by the time 
the journey was ended the rough draft of the song was ready. 
When presently it was published anonymously, and with the 
most sacred silence on the part of the writer herself and of her 
friends as to authorship, it won instant success. . . . Readers 
were at first inclined to believe that Miss Elliott's Flowers of the 
Forest was a genuine relic of the past suddenly and in some 
miraculous way restored in its perfection. Nor is this to be 
wondered at, for no ballad in this language is more remarkable 
for its dramatic propriety and its exhaustive delineation of its 
theme. . . . Burns was one of the first to insist that this 
ballad was a modern composition, and when Sir Walter Scott 
wrote his Border Minstrelsy he inserted it (in 1803) as ' by a lady 
of family in Roxburghshire * " (T. Bayne in Dictionary of 
National Biography), 

At Floddeu Field in Northumberland James IV., King of 
Scotland, was defeated by the Earl of Surrey, Sept. 9, 1513. An 
unhewn pillar of granite marks the spot where the King fell. 

The refrain — ** The Flowers of the Forest are a* wede away " 
—appears to be ancient, perhaps even contemporary with the 
battle of Flodden ; but nothing more survives of the old lament. 

Metre. — Dactylic. Three dactyls and a trochee in the first 
line of the couplet, three dactyls and an accented syllable in the 
second line, variations are allowed, as is usual, with English 
dactylic metres : an extra unaccented syllable often begins the liue 
— in 1. 17 there are even two extra syllables — and a dactyl is 
occasionally shortened to a trochee. There is a rhyme or 
assonance in the middle of the first line of the couplet, so that in 
this line there is always a caesura after the second syllable of the 
second dactyl. It is quite possible that this poem, especially if 
it is the only one its authoress wrote, was composed without any 
knowledge of metre. Such a possibility does not interfere witn 
the correctness of this analysis. 

3. loaning, S., an opening between fields of corn, for driving 
the cattle homewards or milking cows. It is connected with 
the English word laiie. 


4. Forest, Ettrick Forest, wede, S., weeded out. This line and 
the Scottish air associated with it are ancient. 

5. bnglit, S., sheepfold, especially a pen for confining the ewes 
at milking time. 

6. dowle, S., dreary. The word occurs in the title of a well- 
known Scottish ballad, The Dotoie Dens of Yarrow. It is connected 
with 'duirand * dully.* 

wae, adjective as well as substantive in Scottish, ' wof ul,' 

7. daf&n\ S., joking. B. L. Stevenson in Kidnapped uses ' to 
daflf* for *to play the fool.' Cp. Bums, Ttoa Dogsy ** Until wi' 
daffifC weary grown, Upon a knowe they sat them down." 

gabbln', jestins. ' To gab * is common in 0. E. in two senses, 
'to scoff' and 'to tell lies.' It is uncertain whether the word is 
Teutonic or adopted from O.F. 

10. lyart, S., grizzled, having grey hairs mixed with others. 

11. preaching. For many generations the preaching or sermon 
has been the most conspicuous feature of a Scotch religious 
service, and such services have been the occasion of large gather- 
ings in the country districts. This was doubtless the case before 
the Reformation as well as since. 

fleeching, S., coaxing. Cp. Burns, Duncan Oray (xiii. 9), 
** Duncan ^eecA'ci^ and Duncan pray'd." 

13. gloaming, evening twilight. This substantive — like the 
verb *to gloam,' to grow dark — is chiefly found in Scotch writers, 
but is apparently of English origin and connected with ' glow ' 
and 'gloom.' The word gloaming is still used in the Yorkshire 

younkers, young men. The word is used by Shakespeare, 
as in the passage quoted in note to No. 8. 71-76. 

14. bogle, ghost, goblin, common in Scottish literature since 
1600. * Bogey* and * boggard* are kindred words. Tennyson, 
Northern Farmer y uses * boggle ' as the Lincolnshire form. 

17. Dool or dole, ' mourning ' ; an old word revived in modern 
literary English. It came through the French from the Latin 
root of doleOy to grieve ; the modern French deuil is the same word. 
For the omission of the relative in this line cp. Sir W. Scott's 
Outlaw {G,T.f ccxiii. 3, 4), ** And you may gather garlands there 
Would grace a summer queen." 

Border, between Scotland and England. 

19. Forest, foremost. In this line, as in 1. 1 and 21, we have an 
assonance instead of a rhyme. 

Nos. 11—12 89 

12. Thy braes were honny^ Yarrow stream 

John Logan (1748-1788) was a Scottish minister and man of 
letters. He was probably the author of the Ode to the Cuckoo 
often attributed to his friend Michael Bruce. 

In this poem, as in the two that immediately precede it in this 
collection, we may see the romantic movement that marks the 
closing years of the eighteenth century already beginning. There 
is the sense of a sweet, strange pathos in ** Old, unhappy, far-off 
things " ; and there is that ** subtle aroma of place-names " which 
Sir Walter Scott was to reveal to so many. "Yarrow," says 
Principal Shairp in his Aspects of Poetry (Lecture on TJie Three 
Yarrowe) is 'Hhe inner sanctuary of the whole Scottish border." 
** Ballad after ballad comes down loaded with a dirge like wail for 
some sad event, made still sadder for that it befell in Yarrow." 
One of the most familiar traditions was of some comely youth 
either drowned by accident in Yarrow or murdered by a jealous 
rival and flung into the stream. This latter legend was 
commemorated in another eighteenth century ballad "in the 
ancient Scots manner," the "Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny, bonny 
bride" of William Hamilton of Bangour. The other legend, of 
accidental death, 'was followed by Logan and the unknown author 
of the poem that follows (No. 13). Wordsworth had read both 
Hamilton and Logan: he quotes Hamilton in "Fair hangS the 
apple f rae the rock *{0.T,^ (XX3v. ) and Logan in "The water- wraith 
ascended thrice, And gave his doleful warning " {0. 7\, ocovi. ). 

Metre. — Observe the trochaic or feminine ending of the second 
line of each couplet. The Yarrow ballads generally have this 
rhythm, and obtain a powerfully pathetic as well as musical effect 
by the use of the name " Yarrow" as a rhyme word. 

1. bonny, handsome, fair, blithe. A corruption of the ^French 
honne, fem. of &on, 'good.* 

8. The real ' Flower of Yarrow ' was Mary Scott of Dryhope, 
wife of Wat of Harden. Logan has borrowed the title for his 
unfortunate lover, and Wordsworth follows him {O, T., ocovi. 26-6) 
— "Where was it that the famous Flower Of Yarrow Vale lay 
bleeding ? " 

12. squire, attend as a squire or knight. The verb is used by 
Chaucer. Squire, or Esquire comes through the French from the 
Latin sctUiger, shield-bearer. 

15. The metaphor in this line is a favourite one with the great 
tragedians. Cp. Sophocles, Antigone, 804 vay KoiTqv ddXafiop " the 
bridal bed where all must sleep," and 816 'Ax^potn-i, vvfi^^ff^if "J 
phall be the bride of Peath," 


23. water- wxmtttL A wraith ( ScanduiAvian word) was an appari- 
tion in the likeness of a person supposed to be seeu just before or 
just after his death. See the wonderful description of the wraith 
of King James L of Scotland in Roesefeti's Kintfs Trtngedy, Ck>m- 
pare aUo Scott in RoaaJbelU (O.T., cclxxxi. 11, 12), Campbell in 
Lord UUin's Daughter {O.T., ocxxT. 26), Wordsworth in Yarrow 
VisUed (O.T., cocvi. 31, 32). 

30. thofongb, the old form ol the preposition, now retained 
only for the adjective. 

42. mazTOw, old and provincial English and Scottish, possibly 
a corruption of French mart, from lat. maritun, a husband ; 
generally 'a husband,' but sometimes in the wider sense of 
'companion' which Wordsworth adopts in Yarrow UnvusiUd 
(O. r., oooT. 6). 

13. Doum in yon garden sweet and gay 

** The Editor has found no authoritative text of this poem, to his 
mind superior to any other of its class in melody and pathos. 
Part is probably not later than the seventeenth century : in other 
stansas a more modem hand, much resembling Scott s, is trace- 
able. Logan's poem [No. 12] exhibits a knowledge rather of the 
old legend than of the old verses " (F. T. P.). 

Metre, — See note to preceding poem. Observe the irregular 
scansion of 1. 5 : the first toot is monosyllabic instead of dissyllabic : 
in other woi-ds, there is a pathetic lingering on the first syllable of 
the line. The rhyme in the middle of lines 5 and 25 is another 
pathetic touch, the recurrins sound having the same plaintive 
effect as the repetition of the lover's name. 

7. hecht, S., promised. It also means 'called,' as in Douglas' 

Virgil, "There was an ancient ciet^ hecht Cartage." It is the 

same word as the old English hight, which likewise has these two 

meanings. Cp. Chaucer, Wife of Bath's Tale, "He had held his 

way as he had hight." 

17. lay 'rock, S., lark. Cp. Bums, Lament of Mary Qtieen of 
Scots, "Now lai/roeks wake the merry morn Aloft on dewy wing." 

20. leader haughs, the valley meadows by the side of the 
river Leader. Cp. Wordsworth in Yarrow Unvisited {0.1\, 
cxxjv. 17). 

32. twined o', 8., parted from. Cp. the old ballad, Fine 
flowers in the vaUey: 

" She's ta'en out her little penknife, 
(Fine flowers in the valley) : 
And tvnn'd the sweet babe o' its life, 
(And the green leaves they grow rarely)," 

Nos. 12—14 91 

38. braid and narrow. Such antithetical expressions are a 
common feature of ballad poetry, and their meaning must not 
be pressed. But this phrase seems to have a special propriety 
here : broadly, far and wide ; narrotoly, carefully. 

14. ToU for the brave 

''This little poem might be called one of our trial-pieces, in 
regard to taste. The reader who feels the vigour of description 
and the force of pathos underlying Cowper's bare and truly 
Greek simplicity of phrase, may assure himself se vcUde profecxase 
in poetry'^ (F. T. P.). 

"Given an ordinary newspaper paragraph about wreck or 
battle, turn it into the simplest possible language, do not intro- 
duce a single metaphor or figure of speech, indulge in none but 
the most m)vious of all reflections, — as, for example, that when a 
man is drowned he won't win any more battles — and produce as 
the result a copy of verses which nobody can ever read without 
instantly knowing them by heart. How Cowper managed to 
perform such a feat, and why not one poet even in a hundred 
can perform it, are questions which might lead to some curious 
critical speculation." — Leslie Stephen, Hours in a Library, 
Vol. II. 

That Cowper did not achieve his success by accident may be 
inferred from his reply to Johnson's criticism of Prior's verse : 
''T.o make verse speak the language of prose without being 
prosaic, to marshal the words of it in such an order as they 
might naturally take in falling from the lips of an extemporary 
speaker, yet without meanness, harmoniously, elegantly, and 
without seeming to displace a syllable for the sake of the rhyme, 
is 0716 of the most arduous tasks a poet can undertaJce" (Southey's 
Life of Cowper, ch. 12.) 

Mr. Storr quotes from Lord Stanhope's History of England, 
chap. Lxvi., as follows : 

*'Lord Howe had no sooner come back from this successful 
cruise, than with equal spirit he pressed the re-equipment of his 
fleet for another expedition in aid of Gibraltar. But the return 
of our ships to Portsmouth, joyful as at first \t seemed, was 
dashed by a grievous disaster, which, though occurring in a 
peaceful harbour, equalled the worst calamities of war. The 
Jioyal George, of 108 guns, commanded by the gallant Admiral 
Kempenfeldt, was deemed the first ship in the British navy. It 
had borne a conspicuous part in the celebrated action oi Lord 
Hawke on the coasts of Brittany, and since that time had been 
repeatedly the flagship of nearly all our great commanders. Li 
order to stop a slight leak previous to a new expedition, it 
became necessary to lay this vessel slightly on her side. But so 
little risk was anticipated from the operation, that the Admiral 


with his officers and men remained on board. Nay more, as is 
usually the case on coming into port, the ship was crowded with 
people from the shore, especially women and children ; and the 
number of women only has been computed at three hundred. 
Such was the state of things at ten o'clock on the morning of the 
29th of August, the Admiral writing in his cabin, and most of 
the people between decks ; and it ia supposed that the carpenters 
in their eagerness may have inclined the ship a little more than 
they were ordered, or than the commanders knew, when a 
sudden squall of wind arising, threw the ship fatally upon her 
side, and her gun-ports being open, she almost instantly filled 
with water and went down. A victualler which lay alongside 
was swallowed up in the whirlpool which the plunge of so vast a 
body caused, and several small craft, though at some distance, 
were in the most imminent danger. About three hundred — 
chiefly sailors — were able to save themselves by swimming and 
the boats ; but the persons that perished — men, women, and 
children — though they could not be accurately reckoned, 
amounted, it is thought, to almost a thousand. Of these no one 
was more deeply and more deservedly lamented than Admiral 
Kempenfeldt himself. He was held, both abroad and at home, to 
be one of the best naval officers of his time ; the son of a Swedish 
gentleman, who, coming early into the English service, gener- 
ously followed the ruined fortunes of his master, James the 
Second, but who, after the death of that monarch, was recalled 
by Queen Anne, and who has been portrayed by Addison in his 
excellent sketch of Captain Sentry." 

Metre, — Iambic ; three accents in each line. The first line is 
to be read very slowly, the first two monosyllables each taking 
the place of a dissyllable : T<511 f6r the brdve. So 1. 25 : Weigh 
the v^sel lip. Cp. Shakespeare's ** Stdy, the King hath thrown 
his wdrder a6wn. 

Cowper himself speaks of the poem as written in Alexandrines, 
ue, lines of six iambic feet. It was probably an afterthought, 
therefore, to divide the long lines into two. The choice of 
metre was determined by the air for which Cowper composed 
these words as a song. 

4. Fast toy, close beside, very near. Cp. Milton, Paradise 
Lost, II. 725, ** Fast by Hell Gate." This use is now obsolete 
except in poetry, but was once fairly common in prose. It 
comes naturally from the original sense of the adverb, *■ firmly,' 

25. weigh, raise, as in the expression * to weigh anchor.' From 
A.S. wegariy * to carry.' 

''In 1782 and the following year attempts were made to lift 
the ship by means of cables passed under her keel. These 
failing, it was blown up by help of divers in 1839 " (F. Storr). 

Nos. 14—16 93 

27-8. There may be a reminiscence of these lines in Campbell's 
BatUe oftJie Baltic (G. T., ooli. 55-63). 

31. Cp. Campbell again in Ye Mariners of England (G.T,, 
CCL. 25, 26), ** With thunders from her native oak She quells the 
floods below." 

15. All in the Dovms the fleet was moated 

John Gay was bom at Barnstaple in 1688. He was apprenticed 
to a London silk-mercer, but soon abandoned this trade for 
literature. He dedicated his first poem to Pope, who became his 
friend. His most famous achievement is his Beggar^a Operas 
1728, which was said to have made "Gay rich and Rich (the 
manager) gay.'' But little of his work is now read except the 
two l^llads of BUuik-Eyed Susan and ' Twa^ when the Seas were 
Boanng, and perhaps his Faitles. He was a great favourite in 
society, and the Duke and Duchess of Queensberry took him to 
live with them in his last years. Dying in 1732, he was buried 
in Westminster Abbey. Pope wrote his epitaph, beginning 
" Of manners gentle, of affections mild; In wit a man, simplicity 
a child." 

1. Dowxu, "The part of the sea within the Goodwin Sands, 
off the east coast of Kent, a famous rendezvous for ships. It lies 
opposite to the eastern termination of the North Downs" 
(N. E. D.). 

2. streamers, flags. Cp. Shakespeare, Henry V., in., Pro- 
logue, 6, "His brave fleet With silken streamers the young 
Phoebus fanning." 

15. chance is probably a verb for ' it chance,' but practically 
takes the place of an adverb 'by chance.' Cp. Shakespeare, //. 
Henry IV,, ii. i. 12, ** It may chance cost some of us our lives " ; 
Merry Wives, v. v. 230, " How chance you went not with Master 
Slender?" Also cp. No. 36. 95. 

16. Of all the girls that are so smart 

" A LITTLE masterpiece in a very difficult style : Catullus himself 
could hardly have bettered it. In grace, tenderness, simplicity, 
and humour, it is worthy of the Ancients : and even more so, 
from the completeness and unity of the picture presented" 
(F. T. P.). 

Hbnbt Caret (died 1743) was a musician and a writer of 
operas and burlesques, the most famous of which is Ghronon- 
hotonthologos, " the most tragical tragedy ever yet tragedized by 
any company of tragedians." The authorship of GcS Save the 
King is sometimes attributed to him, and was claimed for him 

94 H0TB8 

bj bis son, bat ap|MU«ntly without leuan. SaBy m omr AUof^ 
Ibvt pabitthed aboat 1715, won praise, aooordiog to Ouney 
himwlf, from * the diviiie Addison.' Carey also said that the 
poem owed iU origin to his having 'dodged' a *prentioe treating 
his mistresi to yanoos London amosementa. 

35. InvdL "The irfinse ' to leave in the lurch' was derived 
from its nse in an old gune ; to Iwrdi is still used in playing 
cribbage,... The game is mentioned in Cotgrave : F. lamrche, ' the 
game called Lorche, or a Lorch in game ; il dememra iomrche, he 
was left in the larch.' He also gives: Ourcktj 'the game at 
table called larch ' " (Skeat). ' To leave in the lurch ' has come 
to mean ' leave in a forlorn condition.' 

17. Go fetch to me a pini d wine 

BuRVS stated that the first four lines were old. Messrs. 
Uenl^ and Henderson {Poetry of Bums, VoL m.), sav: "A 
ballad, O Errol, Ws a borniy place, in Sharpens Ballad Boot (1823) 
begins thos : 

" Oo fetch to me a pint of wine, 
Go fill it to the brim ; 
That I may drink my gude Lord's health, 
Tho' Errol be his name." 

And Bums may have bad little more than some such suggestion 
for hit brilliant and romantic first quatrain." 

2, taaaie, S., goblet French, Uuse. 

4. MiTloe, t.e. in token of my duty to her. 

6. Ltitll, the Port of Edinburgh. 

0. fitrry, across the Firth of Forth. 

7* rldea, floats at anchor. 

tlie Berwick-law, North Berwick Law, in Haddingtonshire, 
overlooking the Firth of Forth. Law is a Scottish and North- 
umbrian term for a hill, especially one more or less round oi 

12. thick. Another reading is deep. 

18. If dotighty deeds my lady please 

Robert Graham, of Gartmore, on the borders .of Perth and 
Stirling, was in early life a planter in Jamaica. He was chosen 
rector of Glasgow University in 1785, in opposition to Burke ; 
and represented the county of Stirling in parliament from 1794 
to 1796. Scott inserted this song in the first edition of his 
Mirutrelay of the Scottish Border, under the impression that it 

Nos. 16—20 96 

was of the age of Charles I. It had, he wrote after the real 
authorship had heen discovered, '* much of the romantic expres- 
sion of passion, common to the poets of that period, whose lays 
still reflected the setting beams of chivalry." 

1. doughty, valiant, applied both to persons and things. It 
is an old English word con'esponding to the German tuchtig, 
capable. It is still in use, but always with an archaic, and 
generally with a humorous flavour. 

12. trow, believe. Cp. Luke (a. v.) xvii. 9, **I trow not." 

14 dight, equip, dress. The verb was derived from the Latin 
dictare, and originally meant 'to dictate,' then 'to appoint, 
ordain.* The meaning *put in order, array, dress/ is, however, 
an early one ; and this is the use that has survived in literature 
chiefly in the past participle. 

16. squire. See No. 12. 12 and note. 

23. No maiden blames roe for her ruin. Skaith, S., hurt, 
damage : used as a verb in No. 38. 13. Cp. English scathe, and 
Germ, sckaden, ** Ha, how grete harme and skaith for evermare 
that child has caucht, throw lesing of his moder," Douglas, 

25. ride the ring. Cp. Scott in RoaaheUe {O.T., cglxxxi. 21), 
" *Tis not because the ring they ride." ** A ring was suspended, 
not tightly fastened, but so that it could easily be detached from 
a horizontal beam resting on two upright posts. The players rode 
at full speed through the archway thus made, and as they went 
under passed their lance-points, or aimed at passing them, 
through the ring, and so bore it ofif. See Ellis's Brandos Popular 
Antiquities, re-edited by Hazlitt " (Prof. Hales). 

19. Sweet stream, that mnds through yonder glade 

Thb limpid purity of the stream and the smoothness of its 
surface nnd their counterparts in the exquisite purity and 
simplicity of the language and the unbroken melody of the verse. 

4. Cp. Gray in his Elegy (No. 36. 73), *' Far from the madding 
crowd's ignoble strife. " We may contrast the surroundings of 
the heroine of Matthew Arnold's Requiescat : ** Her life was 
turning, turning, In mazes of heat and sound." 

9. watery glass, the smooth and transparent surface of the 

20. ' Sleep on^ and dream of Heaven awhile 

By his dates (1763-1855) Samtjbl Rogebs, the contemporary of 
Wordsworth and Byron, belongs to the period covered by the 
Fourth Book of the Golden Treasury, But though the influence 
of Wordsworth and the new romantic movement is manifest in 


his Itaift written 1819-1834, the merits of Sogers' best work are 
rmther those of the eighteenth century than those of the newer 
Terse. In this poem and in No. 34 we have— as in so mnch of 
Cowper — ^the ''tenderness, thonghtfnhiess and grace " that were 
destined, as Sir Henry Taylor said, to be " trampled in the dust " 
al<Hig with the "didactic dnlness*' of which the nineteenth 
century accused the eighteenth. 

Some of the diffiBrenoes between the poetry of the two 
centuries will be suggested by a comparison of this poem with 
Tennyson's Sleeping^eauty, one of the sections of The Day- 
Dream. Much nearer to the tone of Rogers is Hood's poem, The 
Dtatk Bed {O.T.^ cclxxix.). 

21. For evet\ Fortune^ wilt thou prove 

" Perhaps no writer who has given such strong pi*oof8 of the 
poetic nature has left less satisfactory poetry uian Thomson. 
Yet this song, with Rtde Britannia and a few others, must make 
us regret that he did not more seriously apply liimself to lyrical 
writing" (F. T. P.). 

3. mutual, reciprocating our feeling, loving us as we love it. 

7. genial, full of cheerfulness and vitality. In the old Roman 
religion the GeniiL8 was the tutelary spirit that watched over 
each individual life : this Genius was ** the source of the good gifts 
and hours which brighten the life of the individual man, and also 
the source of his physical and mental health — in a word, his good 
spirit" (Preller). See note on No. 5. 15, " Genii." 

10. loveless, Joyless vow, the French mariage de convenance, 

14. absolve thee from caring for me in the future. 

16. Make bat, t.e. If only thou wilt make. With this substi- 
tution of an imperative for a conditional clause, compare the 
similar construction in Virgil, Eclogue x. 4-6, Sic tWi. . . • 
Doris amara suam rion intermiscecU undam : Indpe, 

22. The merchanty to secure his treasure 

Matthew Prior, poet and diplomatist, was bom in Dorsetshire 
in 1664. He was educated at Westminster under Dr. Busby, 
and at St. John's College, Cambridge. His City Mouse and 
Country Mouse written, in conjunction with Montague, to 
ridicule Dryden's ffind and Panther, procured him an appoint- 
ment as secretary to the embassy at the Hague. He served in 
other embassies, and in 1713-4 was ambassador at Paris. With 
the fall of the Tories in 1714 his prosperity came to an end. He 
died in 1721. See Johnson's Lives of the Poets and Thackeray's 
English Humourists. For Cowper's high opinion of Prior's verse 
see the quotation in the introductory note to No. 14. 

Nos. 20—23 97 

"Prior's seem to me amongst the easiest, the richest, the 
most charmingly humourous of English lyrical poems. Horace 
is always in his mind ; and his sone, and his philosophy, his good 
sense, his happy easy turns and melody, his loves and his 
Epicureanism bear a great resemblance to that most delightful 
and accomplished master." — Thackeray, English Humourists, 

" His is the * nameless charm ' of Piron's epigram, — that fugi- 
tive ^e ne sais qnoi of gaiety, of wit, of grace, of audacity, it is 
impossible to say what, which eludes analysis as the principle of 
life escapes the anatomist. In the present case it lifts its pos- 
sessor above any other writer of familiar verse ; but it is some- 
thing to which we cannot give a name, unless, indeed, we take 
refuge in paradox, and say that it is .. . Matthew Pbiob." — Austin 
Dobson in Ward's English Poets, 

2. Conveys, etc., i.e. Professes his cargo to be something less 
valuable than it really is. On this passage Prof. Rowley writes 
to me as follows: *'It is far, I imagine, from being the only 
passage in the poets in which the parallelism between the thing 
that illustrates and the thing illustrated is not consistently main- 
tained throughout, either breaking down before it reaches the 
end or being intermittent only. Here the poet, making love to 
Euphelia while he means love to Cloe, seems to be struck by the 
resemblance of his conduct to that of a merchant who consigns a 
specially precious commodity under a lying label, thinking it 
will thereby be conveyed to its destination in greater safety ; and 
so, in his good ship, * Verse,' consigns Love to Cloe labelled Love 
to Euphelia^ without concerning himself about the delivery of his 
commodity — how Cloe is to get that which is really hers. * Con- 
veys ' doubtless stands for * gets it conveyed.' ** 

7. noted, made known. 

23. Never seek to tell thy love 

William Blake (1757-1827), poet, painter, designer and mystic, 
is one of the most remarkable figures in English literature and 
English art. He lived apart from his contemporaries, by whom 
he was not appreciated or understood ; and drawing inspiration 
from the Elizabethan poets, but still more from Nature herself, 
he anticipated in some ways the romantic movement in English 
poetry which is often dated from the publication of Lyrical 
Ba lads by Coleridge and Wordsworth in 1798. 

'*With what insight and tenderness, yet in how few words, 
has this painter-poet here himself told Lovers Secret ! " (F.T.P.) 

Metre. — Irregular. Blake did not write his verses by the 
book. Rules of verse are meant to help, not to trammel, the 
artist ; and the poet must in each case decide for himself how far 
he will abide by them. He may make or mar his poem by a 


bold departure from rule. The effect of the irregularity in this 
poem, for instance, is to aid the sense of a mysterious and gentle 
wind blowinc where it listeth, 'silently, invisibly/ There are 
no metrical discords ; but the element of unexpectedness in the 
rhythm gives it a certain uupremeditated charm. *' Where he is 
successful," Mr. Comyns Carr says of Blake, *'his work has the 
fresh perfume and perfect grace of a flower, and at all times 
there is the air of careless growth that belongs to the shapes of 
outward nature. 

10. A traveller. Blake's poetry is full of symbols, and one can 
hardly interpret the symbols without narrowing their meaning 
unduly and destroying the poetry. But it may help some 
readers to be told that the ' traveller * is the conviction that she 
is loved entering the heart of the beloved one. 

24. When lovely woman stoops to folly 

From The Vicar of Wakefield j ch. xxiv. These eight lines are the 
only verses by Oliver Goldsmith in The Oolden TreoMiry. 
The whole bulk of Goldsmith's poetry is not large, but his 
Deserted ViUage must find a place in every anthology of longer 
English poems. 

25. Ye hanks and braes o* bonnie Doon 

Burns wrote three versions of this song— all of them, probably, 
in 1791. The first began, "8weet are the banks, the banks o' 
Doon." The second, and by far the most perfect, begins, ** Ye 
flowery banks o* bonie Doon." This is the version which, except 
in the first line, Mr. F. T. Palgrave has adopted. The third and 
best known version runs as follows : 

'* Ye banks and braes o* bonie Doon, 

How cai\, ye bloom sae fresh and fair ? 
How can ye chant, ye little birds. 

And I sae weary fu' o' care ! 
Thou'U break my heart, thou warbling bird, 

That wantons thro* the flowering thorn 1 
Thou minds me o' departed joys. 

Departed never to return. 

Aft hae I rov'd by bonie Doon 

To see the rose and woodbine twine, 
And ilka bird sang o' its luve. 

And fondly sae did I o* mine. 
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, 

Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree ! 
And my fause luver staw my rose — 

But ah ! he left the thorn wi' me." 

l^OB. 23—28 99 

A comparison of the above with the version in th& text will 
furnish a good lesson in literary criticism. (1) The additional 
epithets weaken the simplicity and brevity to which the poem 
owes so much of its pathetic power. (2) The later version loses 
a repetition that is full of meaning — the passionate recurrence of 
** Thou*ll break my heart, thou bonnie bird" — and inserts in lines 
7 and 8 a repetition of * departed ' that is only a weakness. (3) 
Indeed the introduction of the word * departed,' not to be found 
in either of the earlier versions, in itself strikes a false note : the 
rest of the poem is pure Scottish : this word recalls the atmos- 
phere of conventional English poetry. (4) In the Istst line "But 
left the thorn wi' me" is more powerful than **But ah! he left 
the thorn wi' me," because the first version lets us feel the 
pathos for ourselveS) the second insists on calling our attention 
to it. 

'*Are you not forgetting," said I, "that Bums was not then 
singing of himself, but of some forsaken damsel, as appears by 
the second stanza ? which few, by the way, care to remember. 
As unremember'd it may have been," I continued, after a pause, 
* by the only living — and like to live — Poet I had known, when, 
so many years after, he found himself beside that ' bonnie Doon,' 
and whether it were from recollection of poor Burns, or of * the 
days that are no more ' which haunt us all, I know not — but, he 
somehow * broke ' as he told me, * broke into a passion of tears.' " 
— ^Fitzgerald's Euphranor {Literary Bemaina, Vol. ii., p. 63). 
The * living poet ' referred to was Tennyson. 

26. Avxike, Aeolian lyre, awake 

The writing of this Ode seems to have been spread over several 
years. It was completed before Dec. 26, 1754, when Gray sent it 
to Wharton, calling it an **Ode in the Greek manner," and 
adding, "If this be as tedious to you, as it is grown to me, I shall 
be sorry that I sent ityou." It was printed in 1757 along with 
7%c Bard (No. 8) at Bforace Walpole's private press. Strawberry 
Hill, the two Odes being entitled simply *Ode I.' and *Ode II.' 
A motto from Pindar, Olymp. ii., was prefixed — <p(apavTa avveroiai, 
"vocal to (or, having meaning for) the intelligent." A friendly 
reviewer suggested that Gray might with propriety have com- 
pleted the quotation — is di t6 irav ipfiripicap xo-Tit^h "but for the 
generality they need interpreters." Gray acted upon the hint in 
the edition of 1768, gave the quotation in full, and added notes, 
together with the following * advertisement.' " When the Author 
first published this and the following Ode, he was advised, even 
by his Friends, to subjoin some explanatory Notes, but had too 
much respect for the understanding of his Readers to take that 
Though Gray's Megy (No. 36) is justly esteemed the most 

loo KOTES 

precious part of his poetical legacy, this Ode in some respects 
represents the high-water mark of his achievement. Nowhere 
else is the flight of his imagination so lofty, or the pomp of his 
language so splendid, as in the stanzas to Shakespeare and 
Milton, whilst the lyric melody and the sympathy with Nature 
of his lines about Greece (66-76) are worthy of Milton's Nativity 
Ode {O. T,, Lxxxv.) or Shelley's Hellds. 

For other poetic reviews of "the progress of poetry," see 
Collins' Ode to Simplicity (No. 2), Cowper's Table Talk, Keats' 
early poem Sleep and Poetry , Mr. William Watson's Wordsworth's 
Orave. Matthew Arnold borrowed Gray's title for his little 
poetical apologue, " Youth rambles on life s arid mount." 

Metre, — See note to The Bard (No. 8). 

Analysis of the Ode (from Oray*s Notes), — ** 1, The subject 
and simile, as usual with Piodar, are united. The various services 
of poetry, which gives life and lustre to all it touches, are here 
described ; its quiet majestic progress enriching every subject 
(otherwise dry and barren) with a pomp of diction and luxuriant 
harmony of numbers ; and its more rapid and irresistible course, 
when swoln and hurried away by the conflict of tumultuous 
passions. 13-24, Power of harmony to calm the turbulent sallies 
of the soul. 25-41, Power of harmony to produce all the graces 
of motion in the body. 42-53, To compensate the real and 
imaginary ills of life, the Muse was given to mankind by the same 
Providence that sends the Day, by its cheerful presence, to dispel 
the gloom and terrors of the Night. 54-65, Extensive influence 
of poetic Genius over the remotest and most uncivilised nations ; 
its connection with liberty, and the virtues that naturally attend 
on it. 66-82, Progress of Poetry from Greece to Italy, and from 
Italy to England. 83-94, Shakespeare. 95-102, Milton. 105, 
Meant to express the stately march and sounding energy of 
Dryden's rhimes." 

1. Awake. ''Awake, my glory ; awake, lute and harp. — David's 
iP«o^ww [Ivii. 9]"(G.). 

Aeolian lyre. " Pindar styles his own poetry, with its 
musical accompaniments, AloXrils fioXir^, AloXldes x^P^^^* Al6\id<av 
rrvoal aiiXQy, Aeolian song, Aeolian strings, the breath of the 
Aeolian flute" (G.). This note was added in correction of the 
mistake made by one of Gray's reviewers who confused the 
"Aeolian lyre" with the instrument known as "the Aeolian 
harp." Lyric poetry was called by the Greeks Aeolian because 
Sappho and Alcaeus, two of the greatest lyric poets, were natives 
of the island of Lesbos in the region known as Aeolia or Aeolis, 
and wrote in the Aeolic dialect. 

2. rapture, inspiration. Cp. 1. 96, *Extasy.' 

3. Helicon, a mountain range in Bceotia, Northern Greece. In 

No. 26 101 

it were the two fountains, Aganippe and Hippocrene, sacred to 
the Muses. 

4. mazy. Cp. Coleridge in Kuhla Khan {O.T., oooxvi. 25), 
"Five mUes meandering with a mazy motion." 

5. laughing. Cp. Virgil, Ed. iv. 20, Mixtaque ridenti colo- 
casiafundet acantho ; Wordsworth, Ode to Duty {O.T., CCLII. 45), 
" Flowers laugh before thee on their beds " ; Shelley, Admuiis, 
L 441, "A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread." 

9. Ceres, the goddess of com. reign, realm : Cp. No. 48. 36, 
** The limits of their little reign." 

10. Cp. Horace's descrmtion of Pindar in OdeSy iv. ii., Monte 
decurrena velut amnis, "Like a stream rushing down from the 

amain, with main force, mightily ; used by Shakespeare and 

13. " The thoughts are borrowed from the first Pythian of Pin- 
dar" (G.). Gray adds on 1. 20, "This is a weak imitation of 
some incomparable lines in the same Ode." Mr. E. Myers trans- 
lates the passage as follows: "0 golden Lyre, thou common 
treasure of Apollo and the Muses violet-tressed, thou whom the 
dancer's step, prelude of festal mirth, obeyeth, and the singers 
heed thy bidding, what time with quivering strings thou utterest 
preamble of choir-leading overture — ^lo, even the sworded light- 
ning of immortal fire thou quenchest, and on the sceptre of Zeus 
his eagle sleepeth, slackening his swift wings either side, the 
kinff of birds, for a dark mist thou hast distilled on his arched 
head, a gentle seal upon his eyes, and he in slumber heaveth his 
supple Imck, spell-bound beneath thy throbs. Yea, also violent 
Ares, leaving far off the fierce point of his spears, letteth his 
heart have joy in rest, for thy shafts soothe hearts divine by the 
cunning of Leto's son and the deep-bosomed Muses." 

14. solemn-breatliing. Cp. Milton, Comus, 555, " A soft and 
solemn-breathing sound Rose like a stream of rich distilled 

15. shell, used in English poetry — as x^Xvs in Greek, and 
teatudo in Latin— for *lyre.' In Greek mythology the lyre was 
said to have been invented by Hermes out of a tortoise-shell. 
Cp. Collins in No. 27. 3, " The Passions oft, to hear her shell." 

17. the Lord of War. Ares, the God of War, identified by the 
Romans with Mars, was specially worshipped in Thrace. Cp. 
Chaucer's description, in his Knightea Tale, of 'the grete 
temple of Mars in Thrace.* 

19. Orpheus, in classical legend, lived in Thrace, and attempted 
to civilise his fellow-countrymen. 


9Ql Fi iChL i f a^TMS witli Hii^. tmXbanA ^Sag^ an expression 
also applied to the eagle in the Pkoeaix amd TWtie, lines 
attributed to Shakeqieare. 

26. T MHi a i a* to, regnlated by, attuned to. Cp. Milton, 
LycidoM ((?. r., utxxix. 33) '* Tampered io the oaten flate." 

27. Uilia, in Cyprus, where Aphrodite (Venos) was wor- 

¥«lf«4 SXMB. Dr. Jofanaoii objected to the epithet, laving 
down the principle that " An epithet or nietaph<^ drawn from 
Natare ennobles Art ; an epithet or metaphor drawn from Art 
degrades Natare.** Some readers at least have felt the same 
objectioD to Tennyaon^s descriptian el a waterfall as *' dropping 
▼eUs el finest lawn." But Gny was fcJlowing Shakespeare: 
"the sommer'ii tv/iW bods," Hemrg F., i. ii. 194. 

2& naiy uiiw— d Lnea, Cupids crowned with roses. 

29. PfUMVML Aphrodite (Venus) was fabled to have risen 
from the foam of the sea, and to have appeared first at Cythera, 
an island off Laconia, in the south of Greece. 

30l antie. the same word as * antique.' So Milton seems to have 
written ** With amticJt pillars mossy proof" in II Fenatroao, 158. 
Gray means * quaint but not ungraceful ': ep. Shakespeare, 
Maebeih, TV, i. 130, 'TU charm the air to give a sound. While 
you perform vourcM/ic round." "Its modem sense (^* grotesque' 
18 probably derived from the ranains of ancient sculpture rudely 
imitated and caricatured by mediaeval artists, and from the 
figures in Masques and Antimasques dressed in ancient costume, 
particularly satyrs and the like " (Dr. Aldis Wright). 

31. frolic, adjective, the German ^firdklick, joyfnl, merry. Cp. 
Milton, VAUtgro {G.T., cxuv. 18), "The JroUc wind that 
breathes the spring'*; Tennyson, Utysaes, "That ever with a 
fixdie welcome took The thunder and the sunshine." 

35. '*'M.apfiapvy^i ^rre irod^p' $aj6/ia^€ 9^ 9vft/$," Homer, 
0dy99eyy vin. 265" (G.) "He gazed on the nashing (^ the feet 
and marvelled in his mind.** 

mmy-twliikiing. Johnson condemned the compound as 
incorrectly formed : " We may say * many spotted,' but scarcely 
'many spotting.'" The word had been used by Thomson in 
1728, Spring, L 158, "the manytwiMnig leaves Of aspin talL" 
It was afterwards used by Reble, who translates the djHipiOfi» 
yAotf/ia of Aeschylus by " The many-twinkling smile of ocean " 
{(JhrisUan Year, 2nd Sunday after Trinity). 

38. sulilime, in the literal sense of 'uplifted.' Lat. sMimis, 
Cp. L 95. 

39. wins. Cp. Paradiat LosL^ d. 1016, "On all sides round 
Environed wins his way." 

No. 28 103 

41. ** Adfwret 8* iwl rropipvp^ffi trapeljiffi <pQs ipioroi, Phrynichus 
apud Athenaeum [xiv. 604a]" (G.). " And on his roseate cheeks 
gleams the light of love." Phrynichus was an early Greek 
tragic poet, a contemporary of Aeschylus. Cp. also Virgil, 
Aeneidy i. 590, lumenque iuventae Purpureum, et laetoa octUis 
afflarat JionoreSf ** Venus had shed on her son the purple light of 
youth and the glad lustre in his eyes." 

46. fond, 'foolish,' the sense which the word bears in Milton, 
Shakespeare, and the Authorised Version of the Bible. 

47. justify the laws. Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 26, 
"Justify the ways of God to men." 

50. boding, t.e. boding evil, ominous. 

51. gives, 'allows,' a sense which the Lat. dat sometimes 

52. "Or seen the Morning's well-appointed Star 

Come marching up the eastern hills afar. — Cowley " (G. ). 

53. H]rperion, the sun. Homer's name for the sun-god is 
*Tir€pL(av 'HAtos. Gray followed Shakespeare {Hamlet ^ i. ii. 140), 
as Keats did afterwards, in making the penultimate syllable 
short : the word should strictly be Hyperion. 

spy, " without the idea of secrecy now always attaching 

guttering sliafts of war, the rays of the morning compared 
to the shining spears of an advancing host ; a fine application of 
the lucida tela diet, * glittering shafts of day,' in LucretiuSf 1. 147. 

54-65. "See the Erse, Norwegian, and Welsh fragments, the 
Lapland and American songs " (G.). ' Erse fragments ' refers to 
Macpherson's Fragments of Ancient Poetry collected in the High- 
lands of Scotland and translated from the Gaelic or Erse language, 
Edinburgh, 1760. The note is evidence that Gray believed in 
the genuineness of Macpherson's discoveries as late as 1768. 
Gray was much interested in fragments of ancient Norse and 
Welsh poetry, and several translations from these sources will be 
found among his poems. 

54. ** Extra anni solisque vias, Virgil [Aen,, vi. 797]. Ttitta 
lontana dal camin del sole, Petrarch [Canzone, i. § 3] " (G. ). 

54-58. Mr. Tovey points out that the description is 'epito- 
mized ' from Virgil, Oeorgics, ni. 352-383. 

59. laid may agree with ' Youth,' but it is better to take it 
with 'Muse.' 

60. savage, perhaps in its original sense of ' woodland.' In 
this sense Spenser used it, spelling it 'salvage' (Lat. sUyaiicus). 

repeat, colebrate in verse. 

104 NOTES 

62. feather-dnctiired. Gp. Milton, Paradise Lost, ix, 1115-8: 

"Such of late 
Columbus found the American, so girt 
With feathered cincture^ naked else and wild • 
Among the trees on isles and woody shores." 

dUBky. The epithet is an improvement on Pope's **woo 
their aaJble loves " in Windsor Forest^ 410. 

64. pursue. The subjects to the verb are Glory, Shame, 
Mind, and Flame, generous shame, the feeling of sensitive 
honour, the Greek a^dd^s, the Latin pxidor^ natural to noble 
minds, unconquerable mind recalls Milton's 'unconquerable 
will,' Paradise Lost, i. 106. 

Dugald Stewart writes on these lines : *' I cannot help remark- 
ing the effect of the solemn and uniform flow of verse in this 
exquisite stanza, in retarding the pronunciation of the reader, so 
as to arrest his attention to every successive picture, till it has 
time to produce its proper impression." 

66-82. ** Chaucer was not unacquainted with the writings of 
Dante or of Petrarch. The Earl of Surrey and Sir Thomas 
Wyatt had travelled in Italy, and formed their taste there. 
Spenser imitated the Italian writers ; Milton improved on them ; 
but this school expired soon after the Restoration, and a new one 
arose on the French model, which has subsisted ever since " (G.). 
But though Gray's note thus acknowledges the great obligations 
of English poets to Italy, his poem, like Collins' Ode to Simplicity ^ 
conveys the impression that Latinism lost her ancient spirit very 
speedily. Neither Ode recognises the fact that mediaeval Italy, 
in its poetry and painting, was extraordinarily rich in those 
imaginative gifts which the old Roman nation lacked. The con- 
trast between ancient and mediaeval Italy in this respect is 
admirably emphasised in the lecture by the late Dean Church on 
Christianity and the Latin Races {Oi/ts of Civilisation^ p. 186). 

** The classic names in this stanza are not inserted at random. 
The oracle of Apollo at Delphi is mentioned first, as the shrine 
of the God of Poesy. It was also in a sense the focus of a poetry 
of the severest and most religious type : that of Hesiod, for 
example, and Pindar. Thence we pass to the islands of the 
^gean, to Delos, the mythic birthplace of Apollo where hymns 
were yearly sung in his honour, to Lesbos (Sappho and Alcaeus), 
Ceos (Simonides), etc. ; the Ilissos, again, represents for us 
Athens as the scene in which dramatic poetry reached its 
perfection (Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides) ; the remainder 
recalls the poetry of Asia Minor, from the Ionian coast of 
which the Iliad and Odyssey^ according to the general belief 
both of ancient and modern times, first came to Greece proper ' 


No. 26 105 

66. Delpbi's steep. Gp. Milton, Nativity Ode {O.T., lxxxy. 

178), ** With hollow shriek the Steep o/Delphos leaving." 

67. Cp. Byron's lines in Don Juan on ** The Isles of Greece." 

68. nisBUB. The name will recall to lovers of Greek literature 
the scene of Plato's Phaedrus — in which dialogue Socrates and 
his friend stroll up the dry river-channel and choose a shady spot 
for a seat— and to lovers of English poetry the famous * purple 
patch ' in Milton's Paradise Regained^ the description of Athens 
in Book IV. 

69. amlMr. Gray seems to use this epithet to describe the 
colour of the Maeander, which is a muddy river : cp. the epithet 
flaws f 'yellow,' * tawny,* given by Roman poets to the Tiber. 
But Milton has twice used the expression '' amber stream," once 
of "the River of Bliss" {Paradise Lost, iii. 359), once of 
Choaspes, ** the drink of none but kings " (Paroe^i^ei^e^atnec^, in. 
288), in both cases evidently denoting the purity of the water. 
Cp. Virgil, Oeorgic ill. 520, Purior dectro cawpwm petit amnis 
("a stream purer than amber makes its way to the plain "). See 
the interesting note in which Mr. Tovey discusses Gray's 

70. lingering. Cp. Ovid, Heroides, lx. 55, Maeavdros, toties 
qui terris errai in isdem^ Qui lassos in se saepe retorquet aquas 
("Maeander, that wanders so often amid the same lands, and 
often turns back his weary waters upon their course"), and 
Milton, Comus, 230, "By slow Maeander's margent green." 

73. poetic mountain. Though the Greeks constantly associated 
mountains with poetry the feeling expressed in this line was a 
new thing in English literature. The reality of Gray's love for 
mountains is attested by an often-quoted passage in his letters : 
*'In our little journey up to the Grande Chartreuse I do not 
remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation that 
there was no restraining : not a precipice, not a torrent, not a 
cliif, but is fragrant with religion and poetry " (Nov. 16, 1739). 
The moderns have, however, carried the love of mountains much 
further than Gray, who confessed that he thought Mont Cents 
** carried the permission mountains have of being frightful rather 
too far, and its horrors were accompanied with too much danger 
to give ine time to reflect upon their beauties." 

75 hallowed fountain. In the Greek religion every fountain 
had its own spirit. 

77. the sad Nine, the Muses, sad because of the decay of 

78. Latian plains, the plains of Latium, in which Rome is 
situated. Gray was doubtless thinking of Horace {Epistles, ii. i. 
156 ): Qraecia capta ferum victorem cepit, et artes JnttUit agresti 

106 NOTES 

Latio, "Captive Greece led captive her fierce conqueror and 
brought the arts to savage Latium." 

79. tyrant Power, Imperial Rome. coward Vice, the de- 
generacy of the Greeks that moved the Roman satirist to scorn — 
Oraecvlvs esuriens in caelum iuaseris t6t^— Juvenal's line, known to 
English readers in Johnson's brilliant adaptation : *' All sciences 
a fasting Monsieur knows, And bid him go to hell, to hell he 

83. the sun, the sunny South, Greece and Italy. 

84. green lap. Cp. Milton, Song on May Morning : 

" The flowery May, who from her green lap throws 
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose." 

Nature's Darling. Shakespeare is so called as having been 
taught by Nature, not by the schools. Thus Milton contrasts 
him with Jonson, L* Allegro {O.T., cxliv. 131-4) : 

^* 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. " 

87. dauntless child. Cp. Horace's description of his own 
childhood, Odes, iii. 4. 20, Non sine dia animosus in/ans. 

88. smiled. Cp. Virgil, Eclogue iv., IncipCy parve puer, risu 
cogno8cere matrem ('* Begin, little child, to recognise thy mother 
with a smile") addressed to the child whose birth was to 
inaugurate a new Golden Age. 

89. pencil, Lat. penicillus, here used in its original sense, 

* the painter's brush.' 

90. year, season. Cp. * sullen year' in No. 1. 17. 

93. of horror that. That (key can unlock the gates) of 

94. Cp. miyiLs daKpi^wv^ * founts of tears,' Sophocles, Antigone^ 

95-102. In allusion to Milton's lines about himself, Paradise 
Losty VII. 12-14 : 

** Up led by thee 
Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed. 
An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air." 

96. Cp. " He on the wings of cherub rode sublime," Par. Lost, 
VI. 771. 

96. Eztasy, inspiration. Cp. ' rapture in 1. 2. 

98. *'Flammantia moenia mundi, Lucretius^ i. 74" (G.). 

99. ** For the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels 

• • • And above the firmament, that was over their heads, was 

No. 26 107 

the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire-stone. 
. . . This was the appearance of the glory of the Lord — Ezekidf 
I. 20, 26, 28" (G.). Cp. also Par. Lost, vi. 758. 

"Whereon a sapphire throne^ inlaid with pure 
Amber, and colours of the showery arch." 

101. Cp. Par. Lost, in. 380, ** Dark with excessive bright thy 
skirts appear." 

102. *^'O«p0a\fuay fih Afiepae' 8ldou d* ijdeiav doid^p, Homer, 
Odyssey, vni. 64" (G.). **The Muse robbed (the minstrel 
Bemodocus) of his eyes, but she ^ave him sweet song." Milton 
himself compares his own case with that of 

''Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides, 
And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old." 

{Pa7\ Lost, III. 35.) 

He attributed his blindness to his political labours : see the 
second of his two sonnets To Oyriac Skimier : 

" 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.** 

Gray's line is almost a translation of Virgil, Aeneid, x. 746, In 
aetemam dattduntur lumina noctem. 

105. " The Heroic couplet was first introducod from Italy into 
England by Chaucer. Between Chaucer and Dryden it was 
adopted by many poets as their metrical form. The general 
French adoption of it gave it a new popularity in this country in 
the latter part of the seventeenth century. In Dryden's hands 
it assumed a new character ; it acquired an amazing power and 
vigour, and a certain novel rapidity of movement " (Hales). 

106. "Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Joh xxxix. 
19 " (G. ). The previous line may be a reminiscence of Virgil's 
currum geminosque iugales Semine ab aethaHo, spirantes narihus 
ignem, Aeneid, vn. 280. 

108. We are meant to think of Fancy as an allegorical figure 
hovering in the air and scattering gifts— ».€. poetic images — ^from 
an urn appropriately covered with pictures. 

110. "Words that weep, and tears that speak, Cowley" (G.). 
According to Mr. Gosse the line in Cowley is really "Tears 
which shall understand and weep." 

Dugald Stewart {Philosophy of Human Mind) says : "I have 
sometimes thought Gray h{vd in view the two diiferent effects of 
words already described; the effect of some in awakening the 
powers of conception and imagination ; and that of others in 
exciting associated emotions." 


108 NOTES 

111. '* We have had in our language no other odes of the sab- 
lime kind, than that of Dryden on St. Cecilia's Day ; for Ck>wley 
(who had his merit) yet wanted judgment, style, aud harmony, 
for such a task. That of Pope is not worthy of so great a man. 
Mr. Mason indeed of late days has touched the true chords, and 
with a masterly hand, in some of his choruses, — above all in the 
last of Cara>ctaeu8 : Hark ! heard ye not yon footstep dread ? 
etc." (G.). The ode of Dryden to which Gray refers is Alexan- 
der's Feast {O.T., cu.). It is curious that he does not mention 
Milton's Nativity Ode^ but that may be because he has already 
spoken of Milton. The Mr. Mason whose work is extolled here 
is now only remembered as Gray's friend. 

112. daring, presumptuous — Gray is speaking of himself. 

115. Theban eagle, i.e. Pindar. *'A(^ irp6s tpvix""- ^^"^^ \^^^ 
divine bird of Zeus], Olymp., n. 159. Pindar compares himself 
to that bird, and his enemies to ravens that croak and clamour 
in vain below, while it pursues its flight, regardless of their 
noise" (G.). 

117. azure deep of air. Op. Shelley, Skylark Ode {O.T., 
OCLXXXVII. 9), "The blue deep thou wingest.'' 

120. orient, bright, as of the rising sun, but yet ** unborrowed 
of the sun " : 

'* The light that never was on sea or land, 
The consecration, and the Poet's dream." 

(Wordsworth, 0,T.t cccxxiii. 16.) 

Op. also Shelley's exquisite lines *'0n a Poet's lips I slept" 
(6.T., occxxiv.). 

122. YUlfi^ar, common, the fate of the crowd : without the 
idea of 'bad taste' that attaches to the word at the present 

27. fVTien Music^ heavenly maid, vms youiig 

By its subject this ode recalls three other odes famous in English 
poetry — Dry den's Saiig for St, Cecilia^ s Day and his Alexar^er^s 
Feast, or, The Power of Musics and Pope's Ode for Music oti St. 
Cecilia's Dcty. Collins has nothing to fear from a comparison : in 
greatness of imagination and in richness and variety of melody 
his Ode unquestionably surpasses its predecessors. 

After the manner of its age the poem abounds in personified 
abstractions. But it is the distinction of Collins that he gives to 
such abstractions a genuine life : 

'* But from these create he can 
Forms more real than living Man, 
Nurslings of Immortality ! " (Shelley, O. T., cccxxrv.). 

Whether the abstractions should be personified or not does not. 

Nos. 26—27 109 

as has been objected in the case of Gray, depend upon the 
presence or absence of a capital letter. Such an epithet as 
** Brown Exercise" shows how real the figure waa to Collins, 
and to the sympathetic reader his creations have all the reality 
of a group of statuary or a painting by a great master. At the 
same time, Collins' personifications are not like those of the later 
romantic poets ; see introductory note to No. 35. 

The Pa8sion8 was the first of Collins' poems to become popular. 
It was early found to be suitable for recitation. This very fact 
is sufficient to show that, fine as it is, it falls below his odes To 
Simplicity (No. 2) and To Evening (No. 35), masterpieces of quiet 
beauty, with nothing declamatory about them. 

Metre, — This is irregular after the fashion set by Cowley, 
whereas the Pindaric model followed by Gray is perfectly regular, 
as was explained in the note to No. 8. Observe the effect of the 
quiet, regular octosyllabics of the prologue (11. 1-16) and epilogue 
(IK 95-118) in chastening the unrestrained freedom of the inter- 
mediate stanzas. The licence of the Passions is aptly typified by 
licence of metre, but we begin and end with the moderating 
influence of the Muse. 

Probably few readers notice that 1. 45 has no rhyme to it. 
How many readers of Lycidas know that there are ten unrhvmed 
lines in it, including the firet^. That can hardly be called a 
blemish which is so cunningly disguised. 

3. shelL See note to No. 26. 15. 

6. PoBsest. The verb possess^ like the noun posaeasum, is used 
specially of the power of a spirit ' entering into a man.' 

8. Disturb'd. Cp. " My faltering voice and pausing harp Dis- 
turbed her soul with pity," Coleridge {0,T,, coxi. 68). 

11. myrtles. A bough of myrtle was held by each guest at a 
Greek banquet as his turn for singing came. Cp. the famous 
Athenian drinking-song, *'I'll wreathe my sword in myrtle now" 
('Ev fAijpTou xXaSi t6 ^l<f>os 0o/)i}(ra;). So Milton in Lyddaa associates 
the myrtle as well as the laurel with song. 

14. forceftil, the opposite of forceleaa in No. 2. 39, **her force- 
less numbers." 

16. ezpresslve power, power of expression. 

17. Fear, in Collins' conception, is *'not cowardice but imagi- 
native and sublime apprehension of the terrible" (Bronson), 
Collins wrote an ode to Fear and another to Pity. 

Cp. with this stanza Sir P. Sidney's lines : 

" A satyre once did runne away for dread 
With sound of home, which he himselfe did blow | 
Fearing and fear'd, thus from himself he fled, 
Peeming strange evill in th»t he did no^ know/' 

110 NOTES 

2S. See the deKnaUtm ci DeafMur and his care m Speoaer's 
Faerie Queeme, i. ix. 33^6u 

32. Op. the best-remembered line in Campbell's Pteaamrei of 
Hope^ ** Tb HistsiMf lends enchantment to the view." 

35, 8othe]adjinCiniMM"eaI]sonEcho''inheraoag,"Sweet 
Echo, sweetest njm]db, that livest nnseen.** 

43« 'W9X'4tmemadmgt threatening and prochuming war: I^t. 
denuntiare. Co. Milton, ParadMe Loet, xl 815, "He at their 
wicked, ways Snail them admonish ... demaanemg wrath to come 
On their impemtenee.*' 

45. propbette, in allusion, peihapa, to the seven trumpets of 
the Seren Angds in the Book of Beveiaiiom, viiL-x. 

47' dotfUfag, doubling its sound, echoing. Cp. Pope, "the 
doubling thunder/' 

55. TMring, turning in different directions, Fr. virer. Through- 
out its history the word has been used mostly oi wind and of the 
eonrse of ships. 

58. nuHaaOuOf. Cp. MQton's It Perueroso {O.T.^ czlv.), 
especiaUy bis love of *' close coverts" and "waters murmuring." 
Tne expression "haunted stream" is, however, taken from 
V Allegro {fJ.T., cxuv. 130). "With eyes upraised, as one 
inspired *^ recalls 

" And looks commercing with the skies. 
Thy rapt soul sitting m thine eyes " (iZ PeMtroso^ 30-40). 

08* nuuMlf , runlets, streamlets. 

64. Observe the alliterations in this line — ^not merely of initial 
g and m, but of I. 

09. altor'd, different. 

71. Collins was doubtless thinking of Venus disgnised as a 
huntress. Virgil, Aeneid, i. 318, Namque umeris de more habUem 
mufpendercU wrcvm VeruUriXf " She had slung the ready bow from 
her shoulders after the fashion of a huntress," and 336-7 : 

Virgimbus Tyriis moa est gestare phareXram 
Purpweoque cUte swras vincire cMumo, 

** Tis the wont of Tyrian maidens to wear the quiver and tie the 

purple buskin high above the ankle." 

72. buskini. See note on No. 8. 128, "buskin'd measures." 

73. that, so that, as in the passage quoted on 1. 94. 

74. Fauns were Italian country divinities, attendants of the 
God Faunus, *' imagined as merry, capricious beings, and in 
particular as mischievous goblins who caused nightmares" 
(Seyffert). As Faunus was identified by the Romans with the 
Greek Pan, his attendants were identified with the Greek Satyrs, 
Dryads (Gk. dpOf, an oak) were forest-nymphs. 

No. 27 111 

76. oak-crowned SlBters, '*the virginal sisterhood, garlanded 
with forest leaves, that formed Diana s train " (Hales). 

diaste-eyed Queen, Diana, the Greek Artemis. Cp. Ben 
Jonson's Hymn to Diana {0,T., cii.), ** Queen and huntress, 
chaste and fair.'' 

80. Joy's ecstatic trial, the trial of what joy could accomplish 
under the influence of inspiration. 

83. yiol, a stringed instrument which went out of use in 
England in Charles II. 's time, — the parent of our modem instru- 
ments of the violin kind. It is often mentioned by Shakespeare, 
and by Milton in Sonnet xv. : **Me softer airs befit, and softer 
strings Of lute or violl still more apt for mournful things." 
** The viol is the typical representative of a very large, varied 
and widely distributed class of instruments of which in modem 
music the violin is the chief member. The viol was made in 
several sizes. The smallest {treble or descant viol) passed over 
later into the modem violin ; the next larger {tenor) into the 
viola da hraccio and viola d^ amove and the modem viola (tenor or 
alto violin) ; the next {hasa) into the viola da gamba and the 
modern violoncello ; and the largest {dovhle-hasa) into the violone 
and the modem double-bass viol {Century Dictionary). 

awakening, rousing the listeners and impelling them to 

86. Tempe, a vale in Thessaly, celebrated in ancient poetry. 
Cp. Virgil, Oeorgic ii. 469 ; Keats in 0, 7'., cxxjxxviii. 7. 

90. fantastic, * unrestrained,' * full of fancy '—not 'grotesque' 
or * capricious' as the modern use of the word implies. Cp. 
Milton in L* Allegro {0,T., cxliv. 34), ** Come, and trip it, as you 
go. On the light fantastic toe." 

91. zone, girdle. Cp. Horace, Odea, i. xxx. 5, Fervidus tecum 
puer et solutis Oraliae zonis. 

Collins "makes Mirth feminine. Cp. Spenser's Phaedria, 
Faerie Queene^ ii. vi. Horace's corresponding deity is Jocus 
{Odes, I. ii. 34) " (Hales). 

92. froUc. See note on No. 26. 31. 

94. Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost, v. 285-7. 

" Like Maia's son he stood. 
And shook his plumes, that heavenly fragrance filled 
The circuit wide. " 

dewy, as shedding fragrance. So Milton speaks of the ** dewy- 
feathered sleep " {0,T., CXLV. 146). 

101. mimic, imitative. Art, according to Aristotle in the 
Poetics, originates in the love of imitation which is natural to 

112 NOTES 

104. "Devote often occnrs in a participial sense, being in fact 
but an EnglLahed form of the Latin participle devotvs. At a later 
time the word was used as a verb, and then there was formed a 
fresh participle in the common English way, viz. devoted. So 
with nominate, situate, dei'ogate, etc." (Hales). 

106. warm, passionate. Cp. No. 2. 3. 

energic, full of energy, powerful to act. 

106. Bister, Clio, the Muse of History. 

110. reed, the shepherd's pipe. Gp. Virgil's use of amnio. 
Eclogue, vi. 8 ; ccUamus agrestis, Eclogue, i. 10. 

111. rage, inspiration. Cp. No. 36. 51, "Chill penury re- 
pressed their noble rage." 

112. "Handel's Messiah, which came out in 1741, was not 
received at first with any great favour. He died in 1759" 

113-4. The organ, the great combination of all musical instru- 
ments, called by Marvel! Hhe organ's city.' For an interesting 
note on the history of the orean, and the tradition that it was 
invented by dJecilia, see Prof. Hales, Lovufer English Poems, 
introductory note to Dryden's Song for St. CecUid'a Day. 

116. Collins' love of Hellenism, shown also in No. 2, was 
beyond the reach of most of his contemporaries, but it was 
shared by Gray (No. 26. 66-76). 

28. He sang of God^ the mighty source 

" Fbom that wild rhapsody of mingled grandeur, tenderness, 
and obscurity, that * medley between inspiration and possession ' 
which poor Smart is believed to have written whilst in confine- 
ment for madness" (F. T. P.). 

Christopher Smart (1722-1770) was bom at Shipbourne in 
Kent, educated at Durham School and at Pembroke Hall, Cam- 
bridge, and afterwards lived in London. He composed Latin 
verses, epigrams, epistles, and ballads, and translated Horace 
into English prose and verse. His one inspired poem is the Son{f 
to David, written in a lucid interval during his confinement in a 
madhouse, " when he was denied the use of pen, ink, and paper, 
and was obliged to indent his lines with the end of a key upon 
the wainscot." This magnificent production, printed separately 
in 1763, was excluded from the posthumous edition of Smart's 
poems ; and when the editor of Select British Poets, 1813, wished 
to include it he could not find a copy. It was republished by the 
Rev. R. Harvey in 1819. Forty-six stanzas of it will be found in 
T. H. Ward's English Poets, Vol. in., preceded by this high, yet 
perfectly just, eulogium ; 

No8. 27—29 113 

" It is only in onr own day that attention has been recalled to 
the single poem by which he deserves to be not only remembered, 
but remembered as a poet who for one short moment reached a 
height to which the prosaic muse of his epoch was wholly 
unaccustomed. There is nothing like the Song to David in the 
eighteenth century ; there is nothing out of which it might seem 
to have been developed. It is true that with great appearance 
of symmetry it is ill-arranged and out of proportion ; its hundred 
stanzas weary the reader with their repetitions and with their 
epithets piled up on a too obvious system. But in spite of this 
touch of pedantry, it is the work of a poet ; of a man so possessed 
with the beauty and fervour of the Fsalms and with the hieh 
romance of the psalmist's life, that in the days of his madness tne 
character of David has become *a fixed idea' with him, to be 
embodied in words and dressed in the magic robe of verse when 
the dark hour has gone by. There are few episodes in our 
literary history more interesting than this of the wretched book- 
seller's hack, with his mind thrown off its balance by drink and 
poverty, rising at the instant of its deepest distress to a pitch of 
poetic performance unimagined by himself at all other times, un- 
imagined by all but one or two of his contemporaries, and so little 
appreciated by the public that when an edition of his writings was 
called for it was sent into the world with his masterpiece 

It would be interesting to know whether Browning had read 
this poem when he wrote his Savl : compare especially stanza 
xvii. in Browning's lyric. 

10-12. Smart probably had in mind some of the great passages 
in Job, Cp. t/o6, xv. 8, ** Hast thou heard the secret of God ? and 
dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself ? " ; xxviii. 20-28, ** Whence 
then Cometh wisdom ? . . . Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all 
living, and kept close from the fowls of the air . . . God under- 
standeth the way thereof, and he knowetli the place thereof. ..." 
The 'multitudinous abyss' may have been suggested by the 
description in Johf xxviii. 1-12. 

29. I have no name 

A MOST musical little poem, though probably written with no 
regard to metrical rules. The two verses, however, exactly 
correspond, if we count accents and not syllables. (See note on 
metre of No. 23. ) 

A critic of some distinction, and an admirer of much of Blake's 
work, has expressed surprise at Mr. F. T. Palgrave's selection of 
Nos. 29 and 30. He objects that they only contain what any 
parent would or might say. But to express the universal or 
common emotion perfectly is one of the great functions of 
poetry. Any parent may have these feelings ; only a very 

114 NOTES 

exceptional parent could express them in a form so melodious 
and beautiful that oiir sympathies are quickened, instead of 
being dulled, by the recital of familiar thoughts. 

30. Sleep, sleep, beauty bright 

16. dreadful light, ** of life and experience " (F. T. P. ). Compare 
the familiar ending of Gray's Eton Ode (No. 48), and the words 
in which Ajax in Sophocles' tragedy of that name, 1. 553, con- 
gratulates his infant son on his blissful ignorance of the calamities 
that have overtaken his father : iu rtfi tf>poveiv ykp fiTjdhf Hdiaros 
/Sios, translated by Jebb, '*In the slumber of the feelings is life 

In the sudden transition of thought in the last stanza this 
lyric reveals an affinity to another form of composition, the 
epigram : it is the special characteristic of the epigram that it 
surprises the reader by an unexpected turn of thought at the 

31. Lo / Where the rosy-bosom^ d Hours 

This ode, the earliest of Gray's original poems, has a very 

Eathetic history. Gray's transcript of it in his commonplace 
ooks has the note, ''At Stoke, the beginning of June 1742, 
sent to Favonius, not knowing he was then dead." ' Favonius' 
(the western wind) was Gray s affectionate name for bis friend 
West. The poem was inspired by some verses on ' May ' that 
West had written and sent to Gray in the month of that name. 
Gray's letter to West enclosing the ode was returned to him 
unopened : West had died on June 1st. 

Metre. — The same ten -line stanza is used by Gray in his Eton 
Ode (No. 48). 

1. rosy-bOBom'd Hours. The expression is taken from Milton's 
Comus, 1. 98 : 

* * 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." 

To Milton the epithet was probably suggested by Homer's 
epithet for Dawn, fiodoSdKTvXoSf * rosy-fingered ' ; or he may have 
come across the actual word ftoSdKoXiroSj * rosy-bosom'd,' which 
occurs, as Mr. Tovey points out, in a Greek lyric fragment. 

It is natural to compare Gray's own epithet, * rosy-crowned,' 
in a similar context (No. 26. 28), but that must mean * crowned 
with roses ' — this * with rosy bosoms,' rather than * with bosoms 
full of roses.' 

Hours, Gk. ^'Hpai, Lat. Horae, goddesses of the seasons. They 
are often mentioned as in attendance upon Venus. 

Nos. 29—31 115 

2. Ventis is specially associated with Spring and the new birth 
of Nature, as in Lucretius' famous invocation — tibi guavis daedcUa 
ttUua Summittit flores, etc.— at the beginning of the De Berum 

4. purple year, bright season. For this use of ' year,' cp. No. 
1. 17, *the sullen year.* Purpureua in the Latin poets often 
means ' bright ' : it is an epithet of lumen (light) in Virgil, and of 
olorea (swans) in Horace, and Columella has purpureum ver 
(bright Spring). Pope had used the phrase * purple year ' in his 
PctatoralSy and Milton in Lycidas (O.T.j lxxxix. 141) had said, 
* And purple all the ground with vernal flowers. * 

6. Attic warUer, the nightingale. Cp. Milton, Paradiae 
Regained, rv. 245 : 

'* See there the olive-grove of Academe, 
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird 
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long,'* 

and Pope, Eeeay on Man, ni. 33 : 

** Is it for thee the linnet pours his throat ? " 

Keats addresses the nightingale as ** pouring forth thy soul 
abroad" {O.T., ocxo. 57), and Shelley the skylark as a spirit 
**That from heaven or near it pourest thy full heart" {0,T,, 
ocLXXxyn. 4). Both these expressions seem more natural than 
that which Gray took from Pope. * Pours her throat '= 'pours 
song from her throat.' Gray, like Keats, Matthew Arnold, and 
other poets, follows the Greek legend in making the nightingale 
feminine, though the female bird is songless. 

14. O'er-canopies. '* A bank O'er-canopied with luscious wood- 
bine, Shakespeare, Midsummer Nighfs Dream [n. i. 251] " (G. ). 
Modem editions of Shakespeare give ** a bank Quite over-canopied 
with . . . ." 

18. ardour. Cp. Horace, Od-ea, ni. iii. 2, civivm ardor. 

19-20. Originally these lines ran : 

"How low, how indigent the proud. 
How little are the great." 

23. peopled, full of living things. Cp. Milton, II Penaeroao 
{G.T.y OXLV. 8), **the gay motes that people the sun-beams," 
and Pope, Essay on Man, i. 210, ** From the green myriads in 
the peopled grass." 

24. glows. Virgil's /en;e< opus, Oeorgics, rv. 169. 

26. the honied spring, * the flowers which the Spring fills with 
honey' (Bra.dshaw). Johnson's criticism of the phrase is well 
known : *' There has of late arisen a practice of giving to adjec- 
tives, derived from substantives, the termination of participles, 
snch as the' cultured plain, the daisied bank ; but I was sorry to 

116 NOTES 

see, in the lines of a scholar like Gray, tbe honied Spring." Honied 
is, however, used both by Shakespeare and Milton — "To steal 
his sweet and honeyed sentences," Henry F. i. i. 50 ; ** That on 
the green tarf suck the honied showers,*' Lyddas (0,T.t lxxxix. 
140); "the bee with honied thigh," II Penseroao {G.T., CXLV. 
143). Moreover, the practice of Arming such adjectives, instead 
of having "of late arisen," is as old as the English language. 

27. *'Nare per OAStaiem liquidam, Virgil, OeorgicSj rv. 59" (G. )• 

liquid noon, clear noon-tide air. Cp. No. 1. 16, "liquid light." 

29. trim, dress : Shakespeare's use of the word. Cp. Antony 
and Gleopaira^ rv. iv. 23, "A thousand, sir, Early though't be, 
have on their riveted trim," Cp. also Gray in No. 8. 73. 

30. " Sporting with quick glance Show to the sun their waved 
coats dropt with gold, Milton, Paradise Lost, vn. 406" (G.). 

31-40. *• While insects from the threshold preach, etc. Mr. 
Green, in The Orotto. Dodsley's MiscellanteSy v. 161" (G.). 
"In a letter to Walpole of 1748, Gray says that the thought on 
which his Ode on Spring turns is * manifestly stolen ' from the 
Orotto ; 'not,' he adds, *that I knew it at the time, but having 
seen this many years before, to be sure it imprinted itself on my 
memory, and forgetting the author, I took it for my own'" 
(Tovey). Green's verses are given in Mr. Tovey's and Dr. 
Bradshaw's notes. Few poets have been so scrupulous as Gray 
in acknowledging obligations. He had certainly borrowed the 
idea of this stanza from Green, but the verbal parallelism is not 
close : Green's verses are pleasant but diffuse, and their memory 
would hardly have survived but for Gray's use of them . 

42. sportlTe kind, the frolicsome race of insects. Kind used 
as in *mankindt* in Milton's * the total kind of birds,' and Gray's 
* demurest of the tabby kind ' (No. 5. 4). 

44. solitary, because Gray was a bachelor. 

47. painted, * coloured,' used by Milton in this sense in imita- 
tion of picttis in the Latin poets. 

32. The poplars arefelVd; farewell to the shade 

CowPER wrote a version of this charming poem in Latin hexa- 
meters. The two last lines, which are the best, may be quoted : 

Sit licet ipse brevis, volncrique simillimus umbrae, 
Est homini brevier citiusque obitura volnptas. 

Metre, — Anapaestic : the same as that used by Wordsworth in 
The Reverie of Pow Susan (O.T,^ ocxoix.). Observe the effect of 
the occasional substitution of an iambus for an anapaest in check- 
ing the rapidity of the metre. Tennyson is said to have observed 
of this poem : "People nowadays, I believe, hold this style and 

No8. 31—33 117 

metre light ; I wish there were any who oould put words together 
with such exquisite flow and evenness" {Tennyson's Memoirs, 
n. 601). 

4. Oiue, the river always associated with Cowper's memory. 
Two of the homes of his later life, at Huntingdon and at Olnev, 
were near it. He describes the poplar field m a letter to Lady 
Hesketh, May 1, 1786 : ** There was some time since, in a neigh-, 
bouring parish called Lavendon [near Olney], a field, one side of 
which formed a terrace, and the other was planted with poplars, 
at whose foot ran the Ouse, that I used to account a little 
paradise. But the poplars have been felled, and the scene has 
suffered so much by the loss that though still in point of prospect 
beautiful, it has not charms sufficient to attract me now. 

33. WeSy shekit, cotifrin\ timWous beastie 

Few poems have done so much as this to quicken men's sym- 
pathies with the weaker and more helpless among created 

4. Mckering, hurrying. 'To bicker' originally meant *to 
skirmish.' It is used m English poetry of glancing, dartinff 
light : e.g. Paradise Lost, vr. 766, ** bickering flame," and 
Tennyson, Oeraint, ** turning round she saw Dust, and the point 
of lances hieher in it." 

15. daimen ICker. '* From A.S. tiecer, an ear of com, and per- 
haps diemefnt, counted, from A.S. dem-an, to reckon; as undee- 
ment, what cannot be counted " (Jamieson). 

tlirave, formerly used in England as well as Scotland to denote 
two dozeu. It occurs in Johnson's Dictionary. Apparently it 
was a special term for twenty-four sheaves of grain set up in a 
field, forming two * shocks ' of twelve sheaves each. Thence it 
was used for * two dozen ' generally, and then for an indefinite 

17. laye, the English leave, that which is lejt, the remainder. 

20. silly, A.S. sa^ig, 'happy': cp. (rerman selig. From 
' happy ' the word came to mean * innocent ' ; then came the two 
senses of * weak ' and ' foolish. ' For the meaning of * weak ' — 
the sense in this passage — cp. Spenser, " After long storms. . . • 
With which my silly bark was tossed sore." 

29. coulter, "the sharp iron of the plough which cuts the 
earth, perpendicular to the share " (Johnson). Op. 1 Samuel, xiii. 
20, "But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to 
sharpen every man his share, and his coxdter, and his ax and his 

34. But, without. "A.S. btUan, huton, are used precisely as 

1 1 8 NOTES 

S.** brU, withoat. ' One of them shall not fall on the ground, 
butan towrun faeder, without your father,' Matt. x. 29" 

44. Cp. with the thought of this stanza No. 1. 21-24, and see 
the note on that passage. 

34. Miiie he a cot beside the hill 

A OHABtfiNa English pastoral landscape. The love of Nature 
in the poem is that of the townsman, not too deeply felt, yet 
sincere. We may doubt whether the poet would really have 
liked to end his days in a cottage ; but we know that he would 
have enjoyed it, as Horace enjoyed his Sabine farm, as a relief 
from the noise and excitement of the city. 

2-4. The hum of bees and the sound of water are often 
associated in English poetry. Gp. the description of the house 
of Morpheus in Spenser's Faerie Queene, i. i. 41 : 7Z PenserosOf 
11. 141-146 {O.T., CXLV.); Wordsworth's sonnet, To Sleep {O.T., 

16. Cp. a line of Coleridge's incorporated by Wordsworth 
(with acknowledgment) in the Excursion — *' And spires whose 
silent finger points to heaven." The spire of the village church, 
as a beautiful and most characteristic feature of English land- 
scape, has received its due honour more often from painters than 
from poets. But to these lines we must add Collins' fine tribute 
in the next poem, 1. 37. 

35. If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song 

The glamour of romance, absent from English poetry since 
Milton, returns to it again in this exquisite poem. The move- 
ment that we associate with the names of Coleridge, Scott, 
Wordsworth, Keats, and Shelley was in some ways anticipated 
by Collins. This explains why his contemporaries failed to 
appreciate his genius. From Johnson his poetry can only 
** sometimes extort praise when it eives little pleasure " {Lives o/ 
the Poets), Wordsworth {Remenwrance of Collins) and Scott 
{Bridal of Triermain, Introduction) felt towards him differ- 
ently. But whilst in the true and tender sympathy with Nature, 
and in the love of mystery, whether it is the mystery of ghostly 
twilight or of dim antiquity, we see an anticipation of the early 
nineteenth centuiy, we recognise in Collins the child of his own 
century as well. The personification of evening is after the 
eighteenth century type. Mr. Bronson, Collins' American editor, 
has well said that **the person and the phenomena are never 
completely fused, as might have happened had Collins been 
wholly absorbed in picturing the scenes of the real world at 

Nos. 33—36 119 

evening time. Keats, in his Ode to Autumn [O. T., cccin.], was 
thus absorbed in catching up into words the subtle spirit of the 
** season of mists and mellow fruitfulness," and he has identified 
Autumn the person with autumn the season. Autumn in his 
poem is no sturdy matron with sickle and sheaf. She is the 
haunting spirit of the * granary floor,* the * half -reaped furrow,* 
and the oozing cider-press. She has no fixed body, but many 
flitting incarnations, in which 'whosoever seeks abroad* may 
catch glimpses of her very essence. In the Ode to Evening there 
is no such inner unity. Throughout the ode, Evening and even- 
ing are distinct, and Collins* attention is divided between the 
two." Again, there is no detailed observation of Nature such as 
we get in nineteenth-century poets : Collins does not set himself 
to describe "with his eye on the object** : he is only engaged in 
pensively dreaming. Finally, eighteenth-century abstractions 
and eighteenth-century didacticism have complete possession of 
the last stanza. 

The comparison of this ode to a fine steel-enfflraving may help 
some readers to an appreciation of its beauty. Colour is absent — 
or only present in the * brown* hamlets — but neither is it 
desired; its place is taken by gradations of light and shade 
given by lines at once firm and soft. 

Metre, — One of the few entirely successful unrhymed lyrics 
in the English language. Mr. Bronson*s masterly analysis of 
the causes for its metrical success is as follows : 

**The fundamental cause is the high poetic quality of the 
thought and feeling, which does not so much divert attention 
from the mere rhythm and sound as reduce the demands upon 
them, just as in the contrary case, in poems where the mind and 
eye are not gratified, the ear is the more importunate. This 
may be tested in the last stanza, whose comparative poverty in 
metrical effect is due chiefly to poverty of thought. 

*^ Again, blank verse is peculiarly adapted to this poem, for 
the reason that the absence of rhyme-emphasis at the ends of the 
lines favours the fusing of line into line, an effect which subtly 
harmonises with the attenipt to describe the dissolving appear- 
ances of twilight. This effect is most definite in stanza 10, but 
it is present throughout the poem as a part of the atmosphere. 
The shortening of the last two lines in each stanza, by producing 
a * dying fall,* contributes to a somewhat similar effect, as do 
also the occasional run-on lines and the several instances where 
stanza melts into stanza with only a comma between. As 
Hazlitt has said, * The sounds steal slowly over the ear, like the 
gradual coming on of evening itself.* 

" Aside from imitative e&cts, the ode is richer than at first 
appears in elements of melody, rhythm, and stanzaic structure, 
which go some way toward satisfying the sense for form without 

120 NOTES 

the aid of rhyme. . . . The most liquid of English sounds, /, 
occurs 79 times in the 52 lines ; in stanza 8 there is an average of 
nearly three Ts to the line, and an average of two ^s to the line 
in stanzas 5 and 12. Great variety in the placing of caesuras 
combines with the run-on lines and run-on stanzas to produce 
unusual fluidity of motion. Certain elements of stanza-structure 
appear in many places, and help to preserve the poem from the 
formlessness which is the great danger in unrhymed measures. 
The shortening of the lines in the second half of each stanza is a 
constant and powerful factor in producing a sense of stanza-form. 
The recurrence of ' now ' in stanzas 2, 3, and 4, * when * and 
'then' in stanzas 6 and 8, and the rather rhetorical use of 
'while' and 'so long' in stanzas 11, 12, and 13, although they 
are logical and not metrical in their primary effect, yet indirectly 
reinforce the metrical structure. Alliteration does still more in 
strengthening rhythmic and stanzaic effects. Through several 
stanzas runs a sustained alliteration; and although some of 
these alliterative effects are individually slight, the resulting 
total is considerable. Stanza I is thus threaded into a certain 
unity by 8 ; stanza 2 by to and h ; stanza 3 by w, 6, and « ; 
stanza 10 by d." 

1. oaten stop. Cp. Milton, Lycidtis(0,T.f lxxxix. 33), " oaten 

oaten is from the Latin avenaj which, first meaning 'oats,' 
was used in poetry for a shepherd's pipe. 

2. The reading in the text is that of the first edition. Collins 
altered the line to " May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest 
ear." Mr. Swinburne calls this "exquisite recast of the 
originally exquisite second line" a notable instance of Collins' 
" refined excess in conscience." Collins doubtless changed ' pen- 
sive ' because he had used it in 1. 27. 

3. solemn, a great improvement on ' brawling,' the epithet in 
the original version. For the soothing sound of water at even- 
ing, cp. No. 55. 19-20, " And at night may repose steal upon me 
more sweetly By the soimd of a murmuring rill." The editor 
may be forgiven for adding that one of the deepest charms of 
the Alps, to some who love them, is to be found in the constant 
sound of running water — whether from runlet in the grass, of 
wayside fountain, or rushing torrent. The sound is seldom 
absent ; but at night, when other sounds are hushed, its presence 
is more especially felt. 

5. bright-haired. This epithet is applied by Milton to Vesta, 
// Penseroso {0,T., cxlv. 23). 

7. tarede, a variant of ' braid,' used archaically by modem 
poets. Cp. Keats {O/f., cccxxviii. 41). 

Nos. 86—38 121 

8. wayy bed i.e. bed in ocean. 

10. leathern wing. Cp. Spenser, Faerie Queene, ii. xii. 36, 
" The leather- winged bat, day*s enemy." 

11-12. Cp. Milton, Lycidas {O.T., lxxxix. 28), ** What time 
the gray-tiy winds her sultry horn." Alsocp. Shakespeare, Mac- 
beth, III. ii. 40-43 : 

" Ere the ba^ hath flown 
His cloister'd flight, ere to black Hecate's summons 
The shard-borne beetle with hLrdrowsy hums 
Hath sung night's yawning peal." 

20. genial loved. The double epithet is used with great effect 
in this ode. Observe that the two adjectives are never synonyms : 
each has a distinct and emphatic force. 

21. folding-star. Cp. Campbell {O.T., cccx.), "Star that 
bringest home the bee," ana a famous fragment of Sappho, 
" Evening, thou that bringest all that bright morning scattered ; 
thou bringest the sheep, the goat, the child bcusk to her 
mother. " 

23. Hours. See note on No. 31. 1. 

26. Cp. No. 27. 94^ *' Shook thousand odours from his dewy 

32. Cp. n Penseroso (O.T. cxlv. 160), "Casting a dim reli- 
gious light." 

37. spires. See note on No. 34. 16. 

41. wont. The verb to won (A.S. ivunian) is now used only in 
the past participle wonted or wont. The use in Collins is an 
archaism, imitated from Milton. Cp. Nativity Ode (O.T,, 
Lxxxv. 10), ** Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table 
To sit." 

49-52. Altered but not improved in the later version : 

*' So long, sure-found beneath the sylvan shed. 
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, rose-lipp'd Health, 
^ Thy gentlest influence own, 
And hymn thy fav'rite name." 

50. Fancy, Imagination. Cp. No. 2. 5, and Keats, The Realm 
of Fancy (G.T,, cccxvni.). Science, Knowledge. Cp. No. 48. 3. 

36. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day 

The Elegy written in a Country Churchyard was first published 
in 1751, in pamphlet form and anonymously. It has generally 
been supposed, on Mason's authority, to have been begun as early 
as 1742, the year in which Gray lost his great friend, Richard 
West (see note to No. 31) f but Mr. Tove^ ^ives re^o^s fojr 

122 NOTES 

believing it to have been written mainly between 1746 and 1750. 
The poem was from the first received with enthusiasm ; and even 
Dr. Johnson for once refrains from qualifying his praise of Gray : 

'* In the character of his Elegy I rejoice to concur with the 
common reader; for by the common sense of readers, uncor- 
rupted with literary prejudices, after all the refinements of 
suDtUty and the dogmatism of learning, must be finally decided 
all claim to poetical honours. The * Churchyard * abounds with 
images which find a mirror in every mind, and with sentiments 
to which every bosom returns an echo. The four stanzas, begin- 
ning * Yet even these bone»' are to me original : I have never seen 
the notion in any other place; yet he that reads them here 
persuades himself that he has always felt them. Had Gray 
written often thus, it had been vain to blame, and useless to 
praise him.'' 

It may well seem strange that a student and recluse, who 
elaborated his verses more slowly and carefully than any other 
English poet has ever done, and who deliberately wove into his 
work threads from his reading, should have written a poem 
which has ''come home to men's business and bosoms" more 
effectually than any other in the language ; but so it is. 
Intellectual "grandeur" will sometimes hear the poem ''with a 
disdainful smile," and we may freely admit that its popularity 
implies certain limitations; the thought is not too subtle or 
profound, nor the imagination too lofty. We must not look here 
for the wonderful imagery, the bold fiights of speculation, or 
the rich variety of melody to be found, for example, in poems of 
Shelley that deal with the problems of life and death. In the 
Elegy are only such thoughts as come within the reach of all. 
But the theme is the most solemn of all human experiences, 
which, common, nay, universal as it is, has a supreme individual 
importance for each. And the thoughts that force themselves 
upon us as we turn to contemplate the theme — thoughts of the 
greatness and littleness of human life, the greatness of the 
peasant because he is man, the littleness of the monarch because 
he is no more than man, the sweetness of human ties, the pathos 
of mortality — such thoughts as these, instead of being weakened 
for us as by the handling of an inferior writer, are deepened and 
exalted by finding once for all their perfect rhythmic expression : 
they "seem to come to us" — to apply some words used by 
F. W. Myers of Virgil — "on the wings of melodies prepared 
for them from the foundation of the world." 

The similarity of atmospheric tone to that of the preceding 
Ode by Collins, published in 1746, is very remarkable ; and not 
less striking is the likeness of both poems to Joseph Warton's 
Evening (1746) and to some lines by Thomas Warton (1747). 
"The spirit of gentle melancholy," as Mr. Tovey says, " was in 
the air." 

No. 36 123 

Stoke Pogis, near Slough, has often been called the churchyard 
of the Elegy. Gray^s mother and aunt had lived here after his 
father's death, and the place was often in his thoughts. But to 
expect a photographic reproduction of the details of a particular 
churchyard is to misunderstand the workings of a poet's mind. 
The business of poetry is, in philosophical language, with the 
'universal,' not with the 'particular,' and if one churchyard 
more than another is in the poet's memory it is but taken as a 

Metre, — No more impressive metre could have been chosen 
than this simple but stately iambic quatrain. The most famous 
poem in which it had been used before Gray was Dry den's Annua 

1. cnrfew, Fr. couvre-feUf from couvrir, to cover, ajid feu, fire. 
The ringing of a bell in the evening, as a signal that household 
fires must De covered or put out ^r the night, was a common 
practice in feudal times. The precaution was a most desirable ' 
one in the timber-built towns of the Middle Ages, though its 
introduction into England has often been represented as an 
instance of Norman oppression. The custom of ringing the 
curfew survived, after the prohibition of fires ceased to be 
enforced, and is indeed still continued in some Elnglish towns. 
For other mentions of the curfew in English poetry cp. Milton, 
II Penseroso (O.T., OXLV. 74); Shakespeare, Tempest, v. i. 40; 
King Lear, in. iv. 120. 

parting, departing, as in Milton, Nativity Ode {0,T., lxxxv. 
186), "The parting genius," and often in earlier poetry. Gray 
quotes in a foot-note to this line : 

. . . squilla di lontano 
Che paia'l giorno piangei', che si muore 

Dante, Purgatorio, viii. 

[''the vesper-bell from far that seems to mourn for the expiring 
day » (Gary)]. 

2. For this sign of evening cp. Milton, Comua, 291-2, *' What 
time the labour'd ox In his loose traces from the furrow came '' ; 
Homer, Odyssey, ix. 68 ; Horace, Odes, iii. vi. 42. 

6. BtillnesB is subject, air object to the verb. For the inversion 
cp. 1. 35. 

7. beetle. Cp. Collins in No. 35, 11-14, and note on that 
passage, droning, " dully hamming, like a drone" (Hales). 

11. bower. See note on No. 2. 37. "Gray no doubt used the 
word in its root-sense [a dwelling], but surely with some con- 
notation of 'arbour' ; which again is really 'harbour' and has 
nothing to do with arbor, tree, although the sense 'a bower 
made of branches of trees' points to that as the accepted 

124 NOTES 

deriratloD of the word. %Di]ariy the e^rmologiBt Jmuns tlioiigfat 
'bower' was lo-eaUed from being maide of boog^; a &iicy 
which has no doubt afifected the acnae of the wwd " (ToTey). 

12L rBigii= realm, as in No. 26. 9, "Ceres' golden ragm" and 
No. 48. 36, "The limits of their little reigm.'^ 

16. mde, sinmie, unlettered. In Gray's time the rich were 
still buried insiiie the chnich, only Uie poc»- people in the church- 

17. iacenia-lgwitlriiig. A reminiscence of Milton, Paradiae 
Logt, DL 192, 

" Now whenaa sacred light began to dawn 
In Eden, on the humid flowers, that breathed 
Their morning incense." 

19. Cp. Milton, L'AOeffro {O.T., cxltv. 49-54), 

*' While the cock with lively din 
Scatters the rear of darkness thin . . • 
Oft listening how the hounds and horn 
Cheerly rouse the slumbering mom." 

20. lowly bed. "This probably refers to the humble couch on 
which they have spent the night ; bilt it is meant to suggest the 
grave as well" (Phelps). 

21. Cp. Lncretin^ m. 894-896, 

lam iamn turn domua (iceipiet te laeta, neque uxor 
Optima^ nee dvlees oeeurrent oscula nati 
Pmeripere el tcLcUa pectus dtdcedine tangent. 

['* Now no more shall thy house admit thee with glad welcome, 
nor a most virtuous wife and sweet children run to be the first 
to snatch kisses and touch thy heart with a silent joy " (Munro)]. 
Cp. also Horace, Epodt n. 39. 

22. ply, practise diligently the work which is her care in the 
evening, rrof. Hales contrasts the directness and definiteness of 
Wordsworth's expression, ** And she I cherished turned her wheel 
Beside an English fire " {O. T., ccxxi. 11-12). . 

24. Cp. Vireil, Oeorgic ii. 523, Interea dvlees pendent circum 
osctda nati, " Meanwhile sweet children cling around his kisses." 

26. glebe in its primary sense, *' the ground," ** the sod." Cp. 
Virgil, Oeorgic i. 94, L'astris glebas qui frangit inertea, " Who 
breaks with the harrow the stubborn sods." 

27. afield, to the field. Cp. Lycidaa {O.T,, lxxxix. 27), 
** We drove afield." 

32. This line has given its title to a well-known book, Annala 
of the Poor, by the "Rev. Legh Richmond, author of The Dairy- 
rno/ffs Dauffhter, Similarly, from 1. 73 has been taken the title 

No. 36 125 

of a famous modern novel, Far from the Madding Crowds by 
Thomas Hardy. 

33. heraldry, with 'Hhe claims of long descent" that it 

35. Awaits. Often misprinted await : hcnir is the subject, not 
the object. Cp. Horace, Odea, i. xxviii. 15, Omnes una manet 
noXf '*Oue night awaits us all." With the whole stanza cp. 
Cowley's lines, ' ' Beauty and strength an9 wit and wealth and 
power Have their short flourishing hour," and West's Monody 
on the death of Queen Gardiner which was doubtless in Gray's 

** Ah me ! what boots us all our boasted power, 
Our golden treasure, and our purpled state ? 
They cannot ward tK inevitable hour 
Nor stay the fearful violence of Fate." 

36. The death of General Wolfe, killed in the hour of his 
victory at Quebec, 1769, will always be remembered in connec- 
tion with this line. ''He had had a presentiment of his 
fate. ... It was perhaps this feeling that prompted him to 
murmur the lines of Gray's Elegy as the boats dropped down the 
St. Lawrence, and to say, ' I would rather be the author of that 
piece than take Quebec ' " {Dictionary of National Biography). 
Mr. E. E. Morris, in Eng. Hist. Review, xv. 125-129, gives reaisous 
for supposing that the incident occurred on the day before the 
battle, not on the same day, as in the common account. 

39. aisle. The epithet ' long-drawn ' seems to show that Gray 
used * aisle 'not in its true architectural sense of 'wing' (Lat. 
o/a), but for the long passage down the sides or centre of the 
church — a sense in which the word is still sometimes used in 
country churches. 

fretted. Cp. Hamlet, ii. ii. 313, ''this majestical roof 
fretted with golden fire." Architecturally, 'fretted' means 
'ornamented with frets — narrow bands intersecting each other 
at right angles.' "It is Gothic architecture that Gray has in 
his mind's eye ; the lines that go to make the fan-shaped roof of 
King's College Chapel or of St. George's, Windsor, for example" 

There are more reminiscences of II Penseroso {G.T., cxhv.) 
here — " the high embossed roof And storied windows richly 
dight,** " the pealing organ " and " anthem clear." 

41. storied urn, monument with the ' story ' of the departed 
inscribed upon it. Urn, properly a receptacle for the ashes of 
the dead, but used by Shakespeare and Milton in the sense of 
'grave': "Or lay these bones in an unworthy urn, Tombless, 
with no remembrance over them," Henry, v. i. 2, 228 ; "So may 
some gentle Muse With lucky words favour my destined urn," 

1 26 NOTES 

ZjycicUu {0,T,, lxxxix. 20). Gray, however, probably did not 
mean the actual tomb, bat a monumental tablet in the shape of 
an urn or with a representation of an urn engraved upon it. 

animated bust, life-like statue. Cp. Virgil's expression for 
statuary, Aeneid, vi. 847, spirantia aera, 'breathing bronze.' 

42. mansion, home, abiding-place, as in St. John, xiv. 2, '*In 
my Father's house are many mansions." 

43. liononr, renowjf won by martial deeds. Cp. Collins in 
No. 9. 9. proTOke, in its etymological sense, ' call forth ' ; Lat. 

44. dull cold. The two epithets are associated in Shake- 

" And, when I am forgotten, as I shall be, 
And sleep in dtdl ccid marble." 

Henry VIII, ni. ii. 433. 

46. fire, inspiration: cp. 1. 72, 'Hhe Muse's flame." Cowper 
borrowed this line for his Boadicea : 

" Such the bard's prophetic words. 
Pregnant with celestial fire. 
Bending as he swept the chords 
Of his sweet but awful lyre." 

47. Cp. Ovid, Heroides, y. 86 (CEnone Paridi) Sunt mi?U qna$ 
posaint aceptra decere mantUf **I have hands that a sceptre 
might become." 

48. extasy. Cp. No. 26, lines 2 and 96. 

49-64. Mr. Tovey finds the germ of Gray's thought in Waller : 

** Great Julius on the mountains bred, 

A flock perhaps or herd had led. 

He that the world subdued had been 

But the best wrestler on the green. 

'Tis art and knowledge which draw forth 
. The hidden seeds of native worth ; 

They blow those sparks and make them rise 

Into such flames as touch the skies." 

He adds that Gray possessed and studied Waller, and reminds 
us that Gray's Cromwell was originally Caesar, Waller's * great 

50. onroU. The Lat. volumenf from which 'volume' comes, 
is derived from volvere, 'to roll,' and properly means a scroll 
that was unrolled in order to be read. 

61. ra^. See note on No. 27» 111, "diviner rage." But 
Mr. Tovey may be right in saying that Gray uses it here for 
the ambition of warriors and statesmen as well as for poetic 

No. 36 127 

52. genial. See note on No. 21. 7, *' genial years." 

63. Cp. Bishop Hall's ContemplcUiona, vi. 872, ** There is many 
a rich stone laia up in the bowels of the earth, many a fair 
pearl in the bosom of the sea, that never was seen nor never 
shall be. " 

55. Of the many parallels that have been quoted for the 
thought in this line, the two most interesting are : 

** Tell her that's young 
And shuns to have her graces spied 
That, hadst thou sprung 
In deserts where no men abide 
Thou must have uncommended died." 

(Waller's Oo, lovely Bose, 0,T,, oxv.) 

" There kept my charms concealed from mortal eye. 
Like roses that in deserts bloom and die." 

(Pope, Ba^ of the Lock, iv. 157-8.) 

56. desert air. Cp. Macbeth^ rv. 3, 194, ** I have words That 
would be howl'd out into the desert air,** Gray's line soon 
became proverbial : it is quoted in a poem by Churchill, 1764. 

57. For Hampden, Milton and Oomwell, Gray had at first 
written Cato, TuUy \%.e. Cicero] and Caesar. The change to 
well-known characters of our own country has, as Dr. Bradshaw 
says, ** added to the vividness as well as nxed the nationality of 
a poem that has been translated into so many languages." 

** By a happy coincidence the English examples which Gray 
substituted for the Roman had all some connection with the 
neighbourhood of Gray's churchyard. It was at Horton, which 
is at no great distance from Stoke Pogis, that Milton in his 
younger days composed UAUegro^ II PenaerosOf Arcades, Comus, 
Lycidas ; it was to Chalfont, St. Giles, within a few miles of 
the churchyard, that in his old age he retired from the Great 
Plague of London with the finished MS. of Paradise Lost, 
Hampden was a Buckinghamshire squire, his family seat was 
Great Hampden, in the hundred of Aylesbury, he represented 
tirst Wendover, and then the county in Parliament. Cromwell 
was his cousin, and often visited both Hampden and his sister, 
Mrs. Waller (the mother of the poet), who lived at Beacons- 
field " (Tovey). 

Mitford records a pencilled line of Gray's — "The rude 
Columbus of an infant world" — apparently intended for a 
following stanza which weis never written. 

60. Cromwell was almost universally condemned by eightleenth 
century opinion : cp. Pope, Essay on Man, rv. 284, " See Crom- 
well damned to everlasting fame." It is mainly due to Carlyle 
that the popular verdict has since been reversed. 

128 NOTES 

64. "To see in the contented looks of a whole nation the 
record of their acts " (Bradshaw). 

65. droumscrlbed, oonflned, forbad, finite verbs : their lot is 
the subject. 

68. Cp. Shakespeare, Henry V. iii. iii. 10, "The gates of 
mercy shall be all shut up. " 

69-72. "Their lot forbade them to be eminent persecutors 
(1. 69), unscrupulous place-hunters, or ministers to vice in high 
places (L 70), or courtly and venal poets (11. 71, 72) " (Tovey). 
but does not L 69 mean rather, To disguise the pangs of truth 
of which they are conscious and which is trying to assert itself 
in their own minds f ingenuous shame, Horace's ingenm pudoris, 
natural modesty — their own. 

72. Muse's flame, poetic inspiration. Cp. the references to the 
degradation of Roman poetry in Collins' Ode to 8impliciti/f 
No. 2, 31-42, and Gray^s Progress of Poesy, No. 26. 77-82 
Here, in Gray's first MS., followed these stanzas : 

" The thoughtless world to majesty may bow, 

Exalt the brave and idolize success, 
But more to innocence their Siifety owe 

Than power and genius e'er conspired to bless. 
And thou, who, mindful of the unhonour'd dead, 

Dost in these notes the artless tale relate. 
By night and lonely contemplation led 

To linger in the gloomy walks of fate, 
Hark how the sacred calm that broods around 

Bids ev'ry fierce tumultuous passion cease, 
In still small accents whisp'ring from the ground 

A grateful earnest of eternal peace. 
No more with reason and thyself at strife 

Give anxious cares and endless wishes room, 
But thro' the cool sequester'd vale of life 

Pursue the silent tenour of thy doom. " 

According to Mason, the Elegy was orijg^inally intended to end 
with these stanzas, but his statement lacks proof. 

73. madding, neuter participle from * to mad ' = * to be mad,' 
*to rage.' Cp. Milton, Paradise Lost, vi. 210, "the madding 
wheels Of brazen chariots raged " ; and Drummond {Poemst 
ed. 1856, p. 38), "Far from the madding worldlings' hoarse 

73-4. The construction is ambiguous : Gray means, " Since 
they were f&r , . . their wishes never learnt to stray." 

75. sequester'd, secluded : from late Lat. sequestra, ' to 

76. tenour, continuous course : Lat. tenor, from tener^ to hold. 

No. 36 129 

81. "Gray had probably in mind that under the yew-tree 
[in Stoke charchyard] there is a tombstone with several words 
wrongly spelt and some letters ill-formed, and that even in the 
inscription which he composed for his aunt's tomb the word 
' resurrection ' is spelt incorrectly by the unlettered stone- 
cutter" (Bradshaw). 

84. that teach, 'many a holy text' being treated, somewhat 
loosely, as a plural, the rustic moralist, the countryman who 
draws a moral from the tombstones, to die, how to die. Gray 
probably had in mind Bishop Ken's lines : 

** Teach me to live, that I may dread 
The crave as little as my bed ; 
Teach me to die, that so I may 
Rise glorious at the awful day." 

85-86. ''Who ever resigned this pleasing anxious being so as 
to become a prey to dumb f orgetf ulness . . . ? " Prey may be in 
apposition with who or with being. The proleptic use is some- 
what obscure in English, (^ray was probably influenced by his 
classical reading, and Mr. Tovey reminds us that Horace uses 
victima nil miaerantis Orcit '*the victim of pitiless Orcus," in 
precisely the same anticipatory sense in Odes, u. iii. 

Cp. with this stanza Milton, Paradise Lost, ii. 146 : 

" For who would lose. 
Though full of pain, this intellectual being. 
Those thoughts that wander through eternity, 
To perish rather, swallowed up and lost 
In the wide womb of uncreated Night, 
Devoid of sense and motion ? " 

But it is not likely that Gray was thinking of annihilation : by 
the phrase 'dumb f orgetf ulness ' he only meant that the dead 
cannot speak to the living and are in danger of being forgotten 
by them. 

86. pleasing anzious. Cp. No. 56. 5-6, " Life ! we've been 
long together. Through pleasant and through cloudy weather." 

87. predncta, boundaries. Cp. "Not far off Heaven in the 
precincts of light," Paradise Lost, ni. 88. 

cheerful day. Cp. Virgil's wonderful picture of the dying 
Dido, Aeneid, rv. 691, octUisque errantibvs alto Quaesivit ca^lo 
lucem ingemuilque reperta, " and with wandering gaze she 
sought the light in high heaven, and groaned as she found it." 

89-92. "It has. been suggested that the first line of Gray's 
stanza seems to regard the near approach of death ; the second 
its actual advent ; the third, the time immediately succeeding 
its advent ; the fourth, a time still later " (Hales). 

130 NOTES 

89. fbnd, affectionate. Contrast the use in No. 26. 46, *' The 
fond complaint." 

90 piocu drops, tears of dutiful affection. Pious is here used 
in the sense of the Lat. pius, 

92. '' Oh'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco, 

Fredda una lingua, e due begli occhi chiusi 
Rimaner dopo noi pien di faville. — Petrarch, Sonnet 
169" (G.). 

•• For in my thought I see — sweet fire of mine ! — 
A tongue, though chilled, and two fair eyes, though 

Fraught with immortal sparks, survive us still." 

93. tb' iui]ionour*d dead. Cp. a very beautiful modem poem, 
''To the Forgotten Dead," in Lyrka and Ballads, by Margaret 
L. Woods. 

95. ohaxLoe. See note on No. 15. 15. 

97-100. This stanza contains several reminiscences of Milton : 

(1) '* Ere the blabbing Eastern scout, 

The nice Morn, on the Indian steep 

From her cabined loophole peep." — Gofnus, 138-140. 

(2) *' . . . though from off the boughs each morn 

We brush mellifluous dews." — Par. Lost, v. 428-9. 

(3) '* Together both, ere the high lawns appeared 

Under the opening eyelids of the morn. 
We drove afield."— iyctdow, 25-27. 

100. Here followed in the first draft of the poem : 

"Him have we seen the greenwood side along, 

While o'er the heath we hied, our labours done, 
Oft as the woodlark piped her farewell song, 
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun." 

" I rather wonder that he rejected this stanza, as it not only has 
the same sort of Doric delicacy, which charms us peculiarly in 
this part of the poem, but also completes the account of his 
whole day : whereas, this Evening scene being omitted, we have 
only his Morning walk and his Noon-tide repose " (Mason). 
Other editors have remarked that the *hill,' the * heath,' and 
'favourite tree* of 11. 109-110— as also the *rill,' 'lawn,' and 
'wood' of 11. 111-112 — involve a reference to the three scenes 
which he had haunted in youth. 

101. beech. Gp. Gray's description of Bumham Beeches in his 
letter to Walpole, Sept. 1737. It ends, "At the foot of one of 
these squats me I (il penseroso) and there grow to a trunk the 
whole morning." See also the Ode on the Spring, No. 31. 13-15, 
where again we have a picture of a beech beside a stream. Gray 

No. 36 131 

probably had in mind, moreover, Shakespeare's description of 
the melancholy Jaques in As You Like It, ii. i. 30-32, 

" He lay along 
Under an oak, whose antique root peeped out 
Upon the brook that brawls along this wood." 

105. Hard by yon wood. The first draft gave ' With gestures 
quaint.' Gray probably made the alteration when he had 
aecided to cut out the stanza given in the note on L 100. Hard 
by, Cp. note on No. 14. 4, **Fa8t by." 

107. woeftQ-wan, t.e. woeful and wan. 

114. charch-way path. The phrase occurs in Shakespeare, 
Midfmmmer Night'a Dream, v. i. 389 : 

•* Now is the time of night 

That, the graves all gaping wide. 
Every one lets forth his sprite 
In the church-toay paths to glide." 

In Shakespeare, therefore, the paths are paths in the churchyard 
leading to the church ; but the * church- way paths' of Stoke !Pogis 
are paths leading from the high road to the churchyard (Bradshaw). 

115. (for thou canst read) perhaps implies, as Prof. Hales says, 
that the * hoary-headed swain ' himself could not read, reading 
being a far from universal accomplishment in Gray's time. 

lay, properly a * song ' — the German lied : here very loosely 
used for * verses. * 

116. thorn, hawthorn tree. The Pembroke MS. here contains 
this stanza, which was actually printed in the third edition of the 
Elegy, 1751, but omitted again in the 1753 edition : 

** There scattered oft, the earliest of the year, 

By hands unseen, are showers of violets found ; 
The red-breast loves to build, and warble there, 
And little footsteps lightly print the ground." 

Mason says it was omitted because Gray thought it too long a 
parenthesis in this place. Dr. Bradshaw adds that Gray may 
have rejected it as too fanciful, or because of its close resemblance 
to some lines in Collins* Dirge in Cymbeline : 

** To fair Fidele's grassy tomb 

Soft maids and village hinds shall bring 
Each opening sweet of earliest bloom, 

And rifle all the breathing spring . . , 
The redbreast oft, at evening hours, 

Shall kindly lend his little aid. 
With hoary moss and gathered flowers 

To deck the ground where thou art laid." 

132 NOTES 

119. Bdexice, kDowledge, as in No. 35. 50 and No. 48. 3, and 
in 1 Timothy i vL 20 (A.V.), " oppositions of science falsely so 

flrown'd not on, looked favourably upon. Cp. Horace, Odes 
IV. iii. Quern tu Melpomene semel Nascentem placido lumine 
videria, " Whom thou, Melpomene, hast once looked upon with 
kindly eye at his birth. " 

120. melancholy. Gray is undoubtedly thinking of himself in 
these lines. He often refers to his melancholy in his letters, and 
defines it in a letter to West, May 27, 1742 : ** Mine, you are to 
know, is a white Melancholy, or rather Leucooholy for the most 
part, which though it seldom laughs or dances, nor ever amounts 
to what one calls Joy or Pleasure, yet is a good easy sort of 
state." It is, in other words, the studious Melancholy of 
Milton's II Peiiseroso. 

123-4. The tear is the bounty of 1. 121, and the friend the 
recompense of 1. 122. In writing *a friend' Gray is surely 
thinking of his dead friend West, though Dr. Bradshaw under- 
stands him to mean God Himself. The first interpretation is con- 
firmed if we thmk with Mitford that the stanza was suggested 
by the noble lines in Cowley's poem on the death of Mr. William 
Hervey {O.T.^ oxxxvii.) : 

" Large was his soul ; as large a soul as e'er 

Submitted to inform a body here ; 
High as the place 'twas shortly in heaven to have, 

But low and humble as his grave ; 
So high that all the virtues there did come 

As to the chiefest seat 

Conspicuous, and great ; 
So low that for me too it made a room." 

127. trembling hope. "... paventosa speme, Petrarch, 
Sonnet 114" (G.). 

37. Mary at thy vnndow he 

Nos. 37-40 form a group of love lyrics, charmingly simple and 
exquisitely musical, by Robert Burns. Mary At orison was 
described by Burns as **one of my juvenile works " ; but it bears 
no signs of immaturity. 

Metre. — The arrangement of rhymes in each eight-line stanza 
is a 6, a 6, 6 c, 6 c. This * octave on three rhymes' is shown in 
Henley and Henderson's note on The Lament {BurnSy ed. 1901, 
I. 371) to have been a very favourite metre in Scotland. It had 
been used by Henryson (1430-1506?), who got it from Chaucer, 
by Gavin Douglas, Dunbar, and others ; and Allan Ramsay had 
printed some twenty examples of it in his ballad book, The Ever- 
green, with which Burns was familiar. 

Nos. 36—38 133 

2. trysted, 'appointed,' participial adj. formed from the sub- 
stantive trystt 'an appointment to meet.' The word tryst is a 
variant of trust. 

5. stoure. The oldest meaning seems to be a storm of dust 
(Douglas' Virgil) ; then, metaphorically, trouble, vexation. 
Sometimes it is used in O. E. as well as Scottish, for a fight. It 
may be connected with the English stir. 

9. Yestreen. See note on No. 13. 29. 

13. braw, smart. The same word as the English and French 
brave and the German brav. 

14. toast. The use of this word to signify a person whose 
health is drunk is said to be derived from ^he old custom of 
putting toasted bread in liquor : cp. Falstaff in Merry Wives oj 

Windsor f in. v. 3, " Go fetch me a quart of sack ; put a toast 
in't." See the story told in the Tatler, No. 24, June 4, 1709. 

38. saw ye honnie Lesley 

Wbitten in 1792, in honour of Miss Lesley Baillie, of Mayfield, 
Ayrshire. **Mr. B., with his two daughters, accompanied with 
Mr. H. of G., passing through Dumfries a few days ago on their 
way to England, did me the honour of calling on me ; on which 
I took my horse — though God knows I could ill spare the time — 
and accompanied them fourteen or fifteen miles, and dined and 
spent the day with them. 'Twas about nine I think that I left 
them, and riding home I composed the following ballad, of which 
you will probably think you have a dear bargain, as it will cost 
you another groat of postage. You must know that there is an 
old ballad beginning with : 

My Bonnie Lizzie Baillie, I'll rowe thee in my plaiddie. 

So I parodied it as follows, which is literally the first copy 
'unanointed, unannealed,* as Hamlet says" (Ijetter to Mrs. 
Dunlop, Aug. 22, 1792). 

Metre. — Iambic, with three accents in each line, and an extra 
syllable, which gives a trochaic or * feminine ' ending. The third 
line in several stanzas is lengthened by another syllable, and 
becomes an iambic line of four feet. 

2. ye. Another reading is she. 
border. See note on No. 11. 17. 

6. but, only. 

8. Another reading is ** And never made anither." 

13. suaith. See note on No. 18. 23, "Nae maiden lays her 
skaith to me." 

17. tent, protect. A Scottish variant of the English teiid. 

134 NOTES 

18. steer, meddle with. The same word as the English stir. 
22. Caledonle. Caledonia, the Latin name for Scotland. 

39. my Luve^s like a redj red rose 

The research of commentators — notably of Messrs. Henley and 
Henderson (Poetry of BumSy 1901 edition, ni. 402) — has shown 
that each stianza of this exquisite lyric is derived from an earlier 
original. The first stanza is traced back to a blackletter ballad, 
The Wanton Wife of Castle Gate : 

" Her cheeks are like the roses 
That blossom fresh in June. 
O, she's like a new-strung instrument 
That's newly put in tune." 

Another blackletter ballad, The Unkind Parents, or the Lan- 
guiahing Lamentation of Two Loyal Lovers, contains these verses: 

" Now fare thee well, my Dearest Dear, 
And fare thee well awhile ; 
Altho' I go, I'll come again 
If I go ten thousand mile, 

Dear Love, 
If I go ten thousand mile . . . 

Mountains and rocks on wings shall fly, 

And roaring billows bum, 
Ere I will act disloyally : 

Then wait for my return." 

Other songs contain such stanzas as this : 

** The Day shall turn to Night, dear Love, 
And the Rocks melt with the Sun, 
Before that I prove false to thee, 
Before my Life be gone, dear Love, 
Before my Life be gone." 
Or this : 

** The seas they shall run dry. 
And rocks melt into sands ; 
Then I'll love you still, my dear, 
When all those things are done." 

The superiority of Burns' poem to these rude originals is obvious. 
We may give to him the praise that was given to Virgil, who 
borrowed freely from the old Italian poets : " he has touched 
nothing that he has not adorned." And if any reader, finds in 
the fame of this lyric an injustice to Bums' nameless predecessors, 
he should reflect that the tiny seeds of poetry that lay hidden in 
their work would long ago have perished from memory if the 
touch of Burns' genius had not quickened them into lovely 

Nob. 38—41 135 

40. Ye haitks and braes avid streams around 

HigMand Mary was Mary Campbell, in whose honoar Bums 
also wrote the song, My Highland Lassie, It is worth remarking 
that there are no exact rhymes in this poem, their place being 
supplied, as so often in popular songs and ballads, by mere 

2. Montgomery, in Ayrshire, on the river Faile. 

41. When the sheep are in thefauldy and the kye ci! hame 

*' Thbre can hardly exist a poem more truly tragic in the highest 
sense than this : nor, perhaps, Sappho excepted, has any Poetess 
equalled it" (F.T.P.). Sir Alfred Lyall {Tennyson, p. 118) 
remarks that its resemblance to a genuine ballad ** comes from 
that absence of colouring adjectives (there is but one in all the 
eight stanzas) which is the note of all primitive and popular 
verse — a woodnote wild that is very seldom caught and domesti- 
cated by elaborate culture " : he contrasts with its simplicity the 
picturesque detail of Tennyson's May Qiteen. 

The story of a woman who allows herself to be persuaded into 
marriage in the long-continued absence of a lover or husband 
whom she believes to be dead is a favourite theme in literature. 
**It is the Odyssey of humble mariners, and many traces of 
it may be found in the folklore and in the superstitions of Asia 
as well as of Europe, where the forgotten husband is liable to be 
treated on his reappearance as a ghostly revenant, or even as a 
demon who has assumed a dead man's body in order to gain 
entrance into the house" (Sir A. Lyall's Tennyson^ p. 115). It 
is the theme of old sea-ballads, both English and Breton ; of Mrs. 
Gaskell's romance, Sylvia^ s Lovers ; of Tennyson's Enoch Arden, 
Crabbe's Parting Hour, and Adelaide Procter's Homeward 

Lady Anne Lindsay (after her marriage, Barnard) wrote this 
ballad, the only poem by which she is remembered, in her 
twenty-first year. She told the story of its composition long 
afterwards in a letter to Sir Walter Scott, July 8, 1823 : " Robin 
Gray, so called from its being the name of the old herd at 
Balcarres, was bom soon after the close of the year 1771. My 
sister Margaret had married, and accompanied her husband to 
London. I was melancholy, and endeavoured to amuse myself 
by attempting a few poetical trifles. There was an English- 
Scotch melody of which I was passionately fond. Sophy John- 
stone, who lived before your day, used to sing it to us at 
Balcarres. She did not object to its having improper words, 
though I did. I longed to sing old Sophy's air to different 
words, and give its plamtive tones some little history of virtuous 

136 NOTES 

distress in humble life, such as might suit it. While attemptiog 
to effect this in my closet, I called to my little sister, now Lady 
Hardwicke, who was the only person near me, * I have been 
writing a ballad, my dear ; I am oppressing my heroine with 
many misfortunes. I have already sent her Jamie to sea, and 
broken her father's arm, and made her mother fall sick, and given 
her auld Robin Gray for a lover ; but I wish to load her with a 
fifth sorrow within the four lines, poor thing ! Help me to one !' 
* Steal the cow, sister Anne,' said the little Elizabeth. The cow 
was immediately lijted by me, and the song completed. At our 
fireside and amongst our neighbours ^u/iif Bobin Oray was always 
called for. I was pleased in secret with the approbation it met 
witl\; but such was my dread of being suspected of writing any- 
thing, perceiving the shyness it created in those who could write 
nothing, that I carefully kept my own secret." Lady Lindsay 
was born in 1760 and died in 1825. 

4. ffudeman. * Goodman ' is common in older Enfflish in the 
sense of (1) master of the house, (2) husband. Up. A.V. of 
Matthew, xxiv. 43, *' If the goodman of the house had known in 
what watch the thief would come." 

9. na.-.a week but only twa, not more than two weeks. 
The idiom often occurs in the old ballads, as in Sir Patrick 
Spena : 

" They hudna sail'd upon the sea 
A day but barely three, 
Till loud and boisterous grew the wind 
And gurly grew the sea. " 

27. wraith. See note on No. 12. 23. 

29. greet, ' weep,' now only used in Scottish and northern 
dialects, but often found in old English. It occurs in English 
literature as late as Spenser, Shepherd* 8 Calendar , April, '*Tell 
me, good HobbinoU, what garres thee greete?" (*'wnat makes 
thee weep?"). 

42. Duncan Gray cam Iiere to ivoo 

Written by Burns for a Scottish tune — ** a lighthorse gallop of 
an air," as he called it, *^ that precludes sentiment." The refrain 
that forms lines 2, 4, 8 of the first stanza should be understood as 
repeated similarly with the following stanzas. 

3. Tula, Christmas, Old English as well as Scottish. Skeat 
follows Fick in explaining the word to mean ' noise,' especially 
the loud sound of revelry and rejoicing. Jolly (Fr. joli) is a de- 
rivative of Yvle. 

fou, full (of food and drink), merry with drink. 

Nos. 41-43 137 

6. Bkeigli, properly ' skittish,' used of a horse or other animal. 
Applied to women it seems to combine the notions of coyness and 
disdain. The word is akin to the German acheiicht scheue, shy, 
and the English shy and shittish. 

9. fleech'd. Op. No. 11. 11, **nae wooing, nae fleeching." 

10. Ailsa Craig*, a rocky islet in the Firth of Clyde. It is 

* deaf ' because it is undisturbed by the screaming of the sea-fowl 
that frequent it. 

12. Grat. See note on No. 41. 29. 

14. Time . . . tide. Perhaps with an allusion to Shakespeare's 
** There is a tide in the affairs of men" {Jvliua Gcuesar^ rv. iii. 218). 

* Tide ' properly means * time ' (which word is from the same 
root) ; the use of it for the flux and reflux of the sea is derived 
from this. Cp. ** Alike to him was time or tide," in Scott, Lay 
of the Last Mtnstrd, i. xxi. 

15. sair to bide, difficult to endure. 

16. Cp. G. Wither's Mardy Heart (G. T, cxxxi.) : 

*' Shall I, wasting in despair, 
Die because a woman's fair?" 

18. France, substituted euphemistically for a less desirable 

43. And are ye sure the news is true 

** Burns justly nam^ this * one of the most beautiful songs in 
the Scots or any other language.' One stanza, interpolated by 
Beattie, is here omitted : it contains two good lines, but is out 
of harmony with the original poem" (F.T.P.). 

The authorship of this poem is uncertain. Mr. F. T. Palgrave 
attributed it to W. J. Mickle (1735-1788), translator of Camoens 
into English verse, and author of the ballad Cumnor Hall which 
Scott quotes in the introduction to KenUworth. But the only 
evidence is the fact that a copy was found among his papers in 
his own handwriting : he never included it among the poems 
published during his lifetime. The doubt cannot be set at rest. 
The song has often been ascribed to Jean Adam, or Jane Adams 
(1710-1765). The claim is rejected by the Dictionary of National 
Biography on the double ground that ** it is unlikely that such a 
strain of home and married love could have been written by this 
wayward and unwedded woman," and that "her verses, although 
correct in phrase and sentiment, are inflated and childish." But 
Nos. 11 and 41 in this book are instances of poetic heights 
attained once in a lifetime by women-writers. 

13. bigonets, little cap, diminutive of biggin, O.F. h^guin, 
child's cap ; or it may have come straight from the O.F. diminu- 
tive, higuin^. 

138 NOTES 

15. baillle. Another form of the word bailiff with which it 
was formerly interchangeable ; now obsolete in England, but 
retained in Scotland to signify a municipal magistrate corre- 
sponding to the English alderman (N.E.D.). 

20. leal, the same word as loycU, Leal is used in Norman 
French, and lei in Middle English. 

34. Oar, make. Cp. No. 42. 7f " Qart poor Duncan stand 
abeigh." The word occurs in Spenser : see the quotation given 
in note to No. 41. 29. 

38. caller, fresh. It is an epithet of ' air ' in Douglas* trans- 
lation of the Aeneid, 1513, and the North-country fishwives still 
make use of the cry, ** Caller Herrin' I ** 

41. will, Scottish for shaU. 

43. downriglit, quite, thoroughly. Cp. Shakespeare, Lave*s 
Labour* 8 Lost, rv. i. 389, ''They'll mock us now dotonright." 

45. ffln, S. for ' if,' is said to be for 'given,' as ' gif ' — another 
Scottish form of *if ' — is said to be for the imperative * give.' 

48. tbe lave, the rest. Cp. No. 33. 17, " I'll get a blessin' wi' 
the lave." 

44. When I think on the happy days 

"Burns himself, despite two attempts, failed to improve this 
little absolute masterpiece of music, tenderness and simplicity : 
this 'Romance of a life' in eight lines" (F.T.P.). The "two 
attempts " to which Mr. Palgrave here refers are doubtless the 
two songs, How long and dreary is the nighty and Simmer'a a 
pleasant time. In sending the first of these to Thomson, Bums 
wrote : "I met with some such words in a collection of songs 
somewhere, which I altered and enlarged." Messrs. Henley and 
Henderson have, however, shown that Bums' memory was at 
fault when he used the word 'enlarged.' The original of one 
song is a poem of nine stanzas found in the Herd MS. (the first 
four are siven by Henley and Henderson, in. 325), and the 
original of the other is probably a fragment of eight lines in the 
Herd MS. (Henley and Henderson, in. 338). In other words, 
the two stanzas in the Golden IVeasury are the two best stanzas 
of How long and dreary is the nighty and they owe their precise 
form to Burns himself, though they are— especially in their 
rhymes — an echo of older songs. 

3. Another version, "And now what seas between us roar." 

4. eerie, full of fear, apprehensive. So De Quincey speaks of 
"feeling the sensation of eeriness as twilight comes on." Some- 
times the word means ' inspiring fear ' ; cp. " the eerie side of an 
auld thorn," Bums. 

Nos. 43—46 139 

6. Another version, " The joyless day how dreary ! " 

7. glinted, moved quickly. "Rare in the 15th century, sub- 
sequently first in Scottish writers of the 18th century ; it has 
been adopted into English literary use in the 19th. Probably 
an altered form of the earlier glent, which the rime shows to have 
been the original reading in two of the 15th century passages " 
(N.E.D.). Connected with glance and the Germ, gtdnzen, to 

45. Of a* the airts the mnd can blaw 

**Thb last two stanzas are not by Bums" (F.T.P.). The two 
first were composed by Bums in his wife's honour, during their 
honeymoon. The two last, the work of John Hamilton, an 
Edinburgh music-seller, are spoken of contemptuously by Messrs. 
Henley and Henderson ; but 11. 17-20 are surely equal to any 
others in the poem, nor need we admit that 1. 22, though homely, 
is * bathetic' 

1. airts, quarters, points of the compass. "Found only in 
Scottish writers from 15th to 18th centuries, but also used 
in some north of England dialects, and recently by some English 
writers" (N.E.D.). 

14. Shaw, a small wood in a hollow. Properly a sTiady place. 
Used by Chaucer — " Whider ridest thou under this grene shawV 

17. westlin, a corruption of ' westland,' western. 

22. Cp. in Bums' boyish verses, Handsome Nell : 

"She dresses ay sae dean and neat, 
Both decent and genteel ; 
And then there's something in her gait 
Gars ony dress look weel." 

27. fond, loving, as in Gray's Elegy y No. 36. 89, " On some fond 
breast the parting soul relies." Contrast the use in No. 26. 46, 
** The fond complaint." 

wae, sorrowful, adj., as in No. 11. 22, ** Women and bairns 
are heartless and wae." 

46. John Anderson, my jo, John 

The title-line is old, but the rest of this exquisitely simple 
song is by Burns. 

4. brent. A frequent epithet of * brow ' in Scottish literature. 
Jamieson says that *Mt is undoubtedly misapplied by Burns, 
when he contrasts it with bald," It seems to mean 'high, 
straight,, upright.' 

7. pow, * head ' ; the same word as the English polL 

140 NOTES 

8. Jo, sweetheart. ** It seems to be merely Fr. jot/e, joxe^ used 
in the same manner as mtyii joie, as a term of endearment, 
equivalent to darling, my love, etc." (Jamieson). 

11. canty. Cp. No. 42. 28, '*crouse and canty." 

47. Fm wearing awa\ Jean 

Caroline Oliphant, afterwards Lady Nairn (1766-1845), won 
fame as a writer of humorous ballads, Jacobite songs, and songs 
of sentiment and domestic pathos. ''In her Land o* the Leal^ 
Laird o* Cockpen^ and Caller Hemn\ she is hardly, if at all, 
second to Burns himself. . . . Lady Nairn ranks with Hogg in 
her Jacobite songs, but in several she stands first and alone. 
Nothing in the language surpasses the exuberant buoyancy of 
Charlie is my darling , the swift triunii)hant movement of The 
Hundred Pipers and the wail of forlorn desolation in }Vill ye no* 
come ba^k again ? " (T. Bayne in Dictionary of Nat. Biography), 
The LaTid o' the Leal was sent in 1798 by Lady Nairn to 
her friend Mrs. Campbell Colquhoun, the sister of Scott's 
* Willie Erskine,* who had lost her first-born child. 

Metre. — The song was probably written *by ear' to go with 
the tune for which it was composed, and it is hardly reducible to 
metrical rules. The prevailing foot is an anapaest, for which, as 
is customary in English anapaestic verse, an iambus is sometimes 
substituted. But several lines— e.^. ** Now fare ye weel my ain 
Jean " — either contain an extra foot or break the rule generally 
laid down that three unaccented syllables must never come 
together in English verse. 

48. Ve distant spires, ye antique towers 

Gray's Eton Ode owes its undying popularity partly to its 
pleasant description of boy-life and partly to its epigrammatic 
conclusion. Its profound melancholy has often escaped notice. 
It was written at Stoke, August 1742, two mouths after the 
death of West, and whilst the poet was still estranged from 
Walpole. "Of the four members of the Quadruple Alliance, as 
they were called at Eton — Gray, Walpole, Ashtou, and West — 
West was the one friend who was left to Gray in '42,— and when 
he died Gray must have felt very isolated " (Tovey). 

Metre. — The same ten-line stanza is used by Gray in his Ode on 
ihe Spring (No. 31). 

.3. Science, knowledge, as in No. .35. 50, and No. 36. 119, 
"Fair science frown'd not on his humble birth." 

4. " King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College " (G. ). Cp. 
The Bard (No. 8. 90), ** the meek usurper's holy head." 

Nos. 46— 48 141 

12. in vain. Here ** Gray permits himself to refer to the con- 
stant pressure of regret for his lost friends ; the fields are beloved 
in vain, and in Wordsworth's exquisite phrase he turns to share 
the rapture — ah, with whom ? " (E. Gosse). For this association 
of * * fields beloved " with the memory of a dead friend we may 
compare Cowley's poem On the death of Mr. William Hervey 
{O.T.y cxxxvii. ) — the stanza beginning "Ye fields of Cambridge, 
our dear Cambridge, say," — and Matthew Arnold's poem of 

13. careless, free from care. 

19. ***And bees their honey redolent of Spring,* Dryden's 
Fable on the Pythagorean System " (G. ). 

21. **His supplication to father Thames, to tell him who 
drives the hoop or tosses the ball, is useless and puerile. Father 
Thames has no better means of knowing than himself" (Dr. 
Johnson). Two sentences may be quoted from Mr. Tovey's 
admirable answer to the great critic : ** The invocation itself and 
the question are mere conventions ; and the poetic truth in Gray 
seems to be, but is not, subordinate." 

23. margent g^reen. The phrase occurs in Milton, ComuSt 232, 
** By slow Meander's margent green." 

29. In the Pembroke MS. -the line runs, ** To chase the hoop's 
elusive speed " — a reading which Mr. Tovey prefers : he thinks 
that Gray departed from it only because he wanted to use the 
phrase, ** elusive speed," in his tragedy of Agrippina. 

30. the flsring ball. It is disputed whether the reference is to 
cricketer *trap-bat-and-ball.' 

32. murmuring labours ply, i.e, say over their lessons to them- 

33. 'grainst, as a preparation for hours in class. 

36. reign, realm, as in the Megy (No. 36. 12), " her ancient 
solitary reign." The adventurers are going * out of bounds.' 

38. still, always. 

42. pleasing and possest agree grammatically with hope, but in 
thought with the object of hope. 

43. the tear, etc. Cp. T. Moore in The Light of Other Days 
{O.T., ccLXix.): 

**The smiles, the tears. 
Of boyhood's years. " 

45. buxom. For a full note on the history of this word see 
Hales, Longer English Poems, note on L* Allegro, 1. 24. It is 
the A.S. hocmim, i.e, bow-some, flexible, pliant. In Chaucer 
and Spenser it means * yielding,' * obedien^..' Later came the 



^Icur , _. -^OMF .i»=' 

F«<« T«K 'U^ vji. : :f rnahft fmr^¥^ iinae. iB^re BBE^issibf^ tke 
Mfr.-aK«t» ^ iMsksUL T<ex izie loix. ssxii lae iraane ■■» JvU to 

^ ipHML ** JMs^^ ii ^-v&Tx askKxiz:* ^ iht Firr'i'fc poets. 
Crrnr mkhy hxre hkd %aLvia. m^/rt is *is tt^jI a^ HciaL, the 

Rfl^iftlt fttiat^n, Mr, G. F. Wfttto* fag alwayi iLftJLatcj d Berth 

IfV, '' hmt wbile ioida^iBg Porertj among piiracal erfls. Gray 
«Mif><4 IffTzH tba( die k ai» aa erfl to ihit mmd. Cjp. Begif 

* dtiti peonrj rrpnand th&r noble rage, 

Ajm froze tbe genid current of the soul ' ** (Tovey). 

M. Cp. Blake's CroiZe &>a^ (Xa 3a 15-16), " Whea thy litde 
hmtt 4fflh wafce^ Tbeo the dreadfol light shall break," and the 
mioUtl/jPO fntm Hopboelea given in the note to that passage. Mr. 
T(f¥tty qmjUm from Montaigne : " A qnoy £aire la cognoisBanoe 
dm ^mmt %\ oona en derenona pins laaches ? si nous en perdons 
1« fnotm H la tranqnillit^ oii nous aeriona sans cela?" ('* Why 
iMjqairc ktiofi'ledtfe of thines if we become thereby more sorrow- 
ftift if wt thereby lose tne repose and tranqnUlity which wp 
irbottld sn jo^ without it ? ") 

Nos. 48—50 143 

49. happy shades! to me tmblest 

•* Written in 1773, towards the beginning of Cowper's second 
attack of melancholy madness — a time when he altogether gave 
up prayer, saying, * For him to implore mercy would only anger 
God the more.' Yet had he given it up when sane, it would 
have been maior insania [greater madness] " (F.T.P.). 

'* Bounded on one side by the Ho-brook, a diminutive stream 
that crosses the road about midway between Olney aud Weston, 
is a long narrow plantation, called locally the First Spinnie, but 
better known to readers of Cowper as the Shrubbery. It is 
threaded by a winding path, and in its midst stood the rustic 
hut or * moss-house,' a favourite haunt of Cowper, which had on 
one side of it a weeping willow, and in front a beautiful circular 
sheet of water " — WrighVa Life of Goivper, p. 357. 

19. secret, far- withdrawn, secluded, the original sense of the 
word. With the thought of this stanza cp. Wordsworth's 
beautiful sonnet on the Trosachs, *' There's not a nook within 
this solemn Pass " {0. 71, cccxxxvi.). 

50. Daughter of Jove, relentless power 

Wbitten at Stoke, August 1742, in the same month as the 
Eton Ode (No. 48) and in the same sad mood. It is the one 
poem of Gray, with the exception of the Elegy, to which 
Johnson gives unqualified praise : — " Of the Ode on Adversity 
the hint was at nrst taken from Diva, grcUum quae regis 
Antium [Horace, Odes, i. xxv,] ; but Gray has excelled his 
original by the veracity of his sentiments and by their moral 
application. Of this piece, at once poetical and rational, I will 
not, by slight objections, violate the dignity." To the encomium 
of Johnson we may add the tribute which Wordsworth, 
consciously or unconsciously, paid to this poem when he wrote 
his own Ode to Duty (O.T., OCLII.). That Ode, which is some- 
times regarded as the high-water mark of Wordsworth's genius, 
shows the influence of Gray in its first and last stanzas. 

Metre. — Observe the effect of the concluding Alexandrine, i.e. 
line of six feet, in adding weight and solemnity to the stanza. 

1. Daugnter of Jove. Explained by the motto which Gray 
prefixed to the Ode : 

Zijva . . . 

aavra, ry TrdOei fiaddv 

divra Kvpitas ^clv. (Aeschylus, AgaTnemnorij 176.) 

(** Zeus, who prepared for men 
The path of wisdom, binding fast 
Learning to suffering. " Letoia CampheU.) 

144 NOTES 

3. Cp. "when the scourge Inexorably, and the^orturing hour 
Calls us to penance," Milton, Paradise Lo8t, n. 90. Two other 
phrases in this stanza recall Paradise Lost : 

" In adamantine chains and penal fire." — P,L., i. 48. 
" Strange horror seize thee, and pangs unfilt before,^ 

—P,L,, n. 703. 

7. pnrpld tyrants. Horace's Purpurei metuunt tyranni 
(Tyrants clad in purple fear thee), Odes, i. xxxv. 12. 

10. deslgn'd, purposed. 

11. Urth, abstract for concrete, 'child.' 

13. lore, instruction. 

16. Cp. Dido's fine saying in Virgil, Aeneid, I. 630, Non 
ignara mali miseris succurrere disco (Not ignorant of sorrow my- 
self I learn to assist the sorrowful). Also cp. Pope, Elegy to the 
Afemoiy of an Ur^fortunate Lady, 45-46, 

*' So perish all whose breasts ne'er learned to glow 
For others' good, or melt a>t others' woe" 

With the whole of this second stanza cp. Bacon's remarks 
in Essay v. on the connection between Adversity and Virtue. 

18. Cp. Milton, n Penseroso {0,T,, OXLV. 1-2), 

** Hence, vain deluding Joys, 
The brood of Folly without father bred f 

21. light, predicative adj. in place of adv., lightly. 

22. summer fiiend. The expression is found in George 
Herbert's Answer, ** like summer friends. Flies of estates and 
sunshine." Mr. Tovey thinks that this is coincidence, and that 
Gray's original is rather Shakespeare, Troilus and Gressida, 
m. iii. 79, "For men, like butterflies. Shew not their mealy 
wings but to the summer." Cp. Gray's own lines in The Bard 
(No. 8. 69-70), 

" The swarm that in thy noon-tide beam were bom? 
— Gone to salute the rising mom." 

25. Cp. n Penseroso {G,T., cxlv. 16), " O'erlaid with black, 
staid Wisdom's hue." 

28. Cp. n Penseroso [G.T., oxlv. 43), of the eyes of 
Melancholy — "till With a sad leaden downward cast Thou fix 
them on the earth as fast." " The form of Gray's phrase is after 
Dryden's Gymon and Iphigenia, 57, * And stupid eyes that ever 
loved the ground.' Both in Dryden and Gray there is a remini- 
scence of the use of amare for to cling to, to be constantly 
fastened to, as in Horace's AnuUque Janwa limen " (Tovey). 

Nos. 50—51 145 

30. Cliarity. The conception of Charity here is less exalted 
than in 1 Corinthians^ xui., but it has hardly suffered the 
complete degeneration of meaning that has too often overtaken 
it in modem speech. 

32. Opposite this line in the Pembroke MS. Gray wrote d 
yXvKijdaKpus (sweet in her tears). The word is an epithet of 
Bpws, Love, in the Greek poet, Meleager. 

35. Gtorgon terrors. Cp. Paradise Lost, n. 611, '* Medusa 
with Oorgonian terror guards the ford." The Gorgon s, in Greek 
mythology, were three sisters of frightful aspect, whose heads 
were covered with snakes instead of hair. Medusa, the most 
famous of the three, was supposed to turn to stone any mortal 
who looked upon her face. 

36. vengeful band. The Eumenides or Furies of Greek mytho- 
logy. They were not limited in number by Aeschylus or 
Earipides, though later poets made them three and named them. 
Gray here gives them names to suit his love of personifications. 
With this * vengeful band ' cp. the * baleful train ' and * griesly 
troop ' of the Eton Ode, No. 48. 55-90. 

43. phllosopMc train, in contrast with the Wengeful band.* 
If Gray had particularized, we should have had such figures as 
Milton set in attendance upon Melancholy {II Penseroso, O.T., 
CXLV. 45-55), * Peace' and 'Quiet, 'spare Fast,' *the cherub 
Contemplation ' and * the mute Silence. ' 

45, 46. In allusion to his estrangement from Walpole. 

51. I am monarch of all I survey 

Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor, was left on the un- 
inhabited island of Juan Fernandez in 1704 in consequence of a 
quarrel with the captain of his ship. He remained there till 
1709, when he attracted the attention of an English ship, the 
Duke, commanded by Captain Woodes Rogers, and was taken on 
board. His adventures were described in Captain Rogers' 
Cruising Voyage round the World, 1712, in another book of 
travels published the same year, and in a pamphlet called 
Providence Displayed, or a surprising Account of one Alexander 
Selkirk. Defoe's Bohinson Crusoe was doubtless suggested by 
the published narratives, though in detail it owes little to them. 

It is interesting to compare with the simplicity of Cowper's 
verses the ornate passage in which Tennyson pictures the solitude 
of Enoch Arden. Each poem is excellent in its own very 
different style. 

Metre. — Anapaestic lines of three accents. The first anapaest 
is sometimes shortened to an iambus. 

146 NOTES 

6. M^8. Cp. A. MarvelFs Thoughts in a Garden {O.T., ckui) ; 
and Cowley's lines : 

'* solitude, first state of humankind 
Which blest remained till man did find 
Even his own helper's company^ : 
As soon as two alas ! together joined 
The serpent made up three." 

Bat one of the greatest of sages, Aristotle, has said that society 
is essential to man ; to be independent of it one must be fj Srjpiov 
fl Oe^f, 'either brute or God,' either less than man or more than 
man {Political i. ii. 14). 

7. Cp. the words of Achilles when Odysseus met him in Hades: 
*' Rather would I live on ground as the hireling of another, with 
a landless man who had no great livelihood, than bear sway 
among all the dead that be departed " (Homer, Odyssey, xi. 491, 
trans. Butcher and Liang). 

17. Cp. Aristotle, Ethics^ viii. i. 3 (trans. Peters): **Love 
seems to be implanted by nature in the parent towards the 
offspring, and in the offspring towards the parent, not only 
among men, but also among birds and in most animals ; and in 
those of the same race towards one another, amons men especially 
— for which reason we commend those who love wieir fellowmen. 
And when one travels one may see how man is always akin to 
and dear to man." 

19. Cp. PsalmSy lv. 6, " that I had wings like a dove." 

24. sallies, properly ' leapings ' — French saiUir from Lat. salire, 
'to leap'; specially used of 'outbursts of animal spirits.' So 
Swift wrote: "Some sallies of levity ought to be imputed, to 

After this line Mr. F. T. Palgrave excised a stanza which 
developes more fully the thought of 1. 22. 

33. fleet. Cp. Virgil's animum celerem {Aeneid, iv. 285) finely 
rendered by Tennyson in the Passing of Arthur, "This way and 
that dividing the swift mind." 

62. Mary / I vxmt a lyre with other strings 

** The Editor would venture to class in the very first rank this 
Sonnet, which, with cciv., records Cowper's gratitude to the 
Lady whose affectionate care for many years gave what sweetness 
he could enjoy to a life radically wretched. Petrarch's sonnets 
have a more ethereal grace and a more perfect finish ; Shake- 
speare's, more passion ; Milton's stand supreme in stateliness ; 
Wordsworth's in depth and delicacy. But Cowper's unites with 
an exquisiteness in tne turn of thought which the Ancients would 
have called Irony, an intensity of pathetic tenderness peculiar to 

Nos. 51—63 U7 

his loving and ingenuous nature. There is much mannerism, much 
that is unimportant or of now exhausted interest in his poems ; 
but where he is great, it is with that elementary greatness which 
rests on the most universal human feelings. Gowper is our 
highest master in simple pathos" (F.T.P.). 

Cowper said that his poem On the receipt of my Mother' 8 Picture 
out of Norfolk had given him morepleasure in the writing than 
any other, with one exception. '*That one was addressed to a 
lady who has supplied to me the place of my own mother, — my 
own invaluable mother, — these six and twenty years." This 
Sonnet to Mrs. Unwin is the poem to which he thus refers. He 
had become an inmate of her house at Huntingdon in 1765, and 
he was never separated from her till her death in 1796. 

Metre, — See the appendix on the sonnet in the present editor's 
edition of Golden Treasury ^ Book I V, Cowper's Sonnet follows 
the Petrarchan model, used by Milton. 

2. feign'd. In allusion to poetic invocations of the Muse. 

5. Bhed my wings. In contrast with Horace, who playfully 
represents his attainment of poetic immortality under the figure 
of turning into a swan (OdeSy ii. xx.), Gowper speaks more 
modestly of his poetic wings as if they were only his as long as he 
continued to write. 

9. a Book. ** And I saw the dead, small and great, stand 
before God ; and the books were opened : and another book was 
opened, which is the book of life : and'the dead were judged out 
of those things which were written in the books, according to 
their works " {Revelation^ xx. 12). Very beautiful reference to 
the same 'Book' is made in another English sonnet— Leigh 
Hunt's on Abou Ben Adhem. 

53. The twentieth year is well-nigh past 

" Gettb tendre et incomparable plainte, ^crite avec des larmes " 
(This tender and incomparable lament, written with tears) — 
Sainte-Beuve, Gauseries au Lundi, 

** Presently we reached the same poet's stanzas to Mary Unwin. 
He read them, yet could barely read them, so deeply was he 
touched by their tender, their almost agonizing pathos." — Per- 
smiod RecoUectiona of Tennyson^ by F. T. Palgrave, in TennysorCs 
Lifej II. 501. 

Written in 1793. *' Still he exerted himself as much as it was 
possible for any person to do in such a state of mind ; indeed no 
other case has been recorded of such a continued struggle against 
insanity. He sought relief in employment, in exercise, in im- 
proving his garden and orchard, in the society of those whom he 
loved, whenever it could be obtained, and sometimes, it appears, 

148 NOTES 

whenever his malady did not preclude him from that resource, in 
prayer. These persevering efforts might perhaps have again 
availed for a whue, as they had formerly done, had it not been 
for the melancholy spectacle, which was now continually before 
him, of his dear companion's increasing infirmities of body and of 
mind. About this time it was that he addressed to her one of the 
most touching, and certainly the most widely known of all his 
poems, for it nas been read by thousands and tens of thousands 
who have never perused the Tanky nor perhaps seen, or heard of, 
any other of his works. Hayley believed it to be the last original 
piece which he produced at Weston, and says, he questioned 
whether any language on earth can exhibit a specimen of verse 
more exquisitely tender." — Sou they. Life ofCowpevy ch. 17. 

1. twentieth year. Cowper had suffered from a severe attack 
of his malady in 1773. It was really the second attack, but it 
was the first after he had gone to live with the Unwins. 

10. iMTOtofore, up to this point of time, as adhuc in Latin and 
' hitherto ' in English are used of time as well as of place. 

18. magic art. In ancient incantations threads were often 
bound round the image of the person whose love it was sought to 
bind : cp. Virgil, Eclogue viii. 73. 

25. aabum bright, practically a compound adj. like Collins' 
• dim-discovered " (No. 36. 37). The double epithet, in which 
the two adjectives do not modify each other's meaning, is 
different : e.g. * genial loved * and ' gradual dusk ' in No. 35. 

54. Ohscfwrest night involved the shy 

''Cowpeb's last original poem, founded upon a story told in 
Anson's Voyages. It was written, March 1799 ; he died in next 
year's April" (F.T.P.). The story of Cowper's life at the time 
the Castaway was composed may best be read in Southey's 
moving narrative {Life of Cowper ^ ch. 18). 

"If we try to discover what it is that gives the poem its 
intense pathos, we shall find that this is chieny produced by the 
studied simplicity of the language, the absence of rhetoric or 
metaphor, the calnmess of the narrator — a calmness of despair. 
The whole poem, except the last stanza, is a description of the 
agonies of the drowning man ; but the key-note is struck in 
the third line, and we are conscious all along it is himself that 
Cowper is describing ; he is the * destined wretch,' the hopeless, 
helpless, friendless castaway."— F. Storr. 

The passage in Anson's Voyage Round the World (ch. 8) runs 
as follows : ** But in less than twenty -four hours we were attacked 
by another storm still more furious than the former ; for it proved 

Nos. 63—56 149 

a perfect hurricane, and reduced us to the necessity of lying 
to under our bare poles. As our ship kept the wind better than 
any of the rest, we were obliged in the afternoon to wear ship, 
in order to join the squadron to the leeward, which otherwise 
we should have been in danger of losing in the night. And as 
we dared not venture any sail abroad, we were obliged to make 
use of an expedient, which answered our purpose ; this was 
putting the helm a weather, and manning the fore shrouds. 
But though this method proved successful for the end intended, 
yet in the execution of it, one of our ablest seamen was canted 
overboard ; and notwithstanding the prodigious agitation of the 
waves, we perceived that he swam very strong, and it was with 
the utmost concern that we found ourselves incapable of assist- 
ing him ; and we the more grieved at his unhappy fate, since we 
lost sight of him struggling with the waves, and conceived from 
the manner in which he swam, that he might continue sensible 
for a considerable time longer, of the horror attending his irre- 
trievable situation." 

3. destined, * doomed, ' a rare use of the word. 

7. Albion, an old name for England, found in Pliny's NcUurcU 
History, rv. xxx., and often used by the English poets. It is 
said to be derived from the white cliffs of Kent and Sussex. 

19. had, i.e. would have. 

52. Anson, George, Lord Anson, 1697-1762 ; sailed round the 
world, 18th Sept., 1740 — 15th June, 1744; defeated the French 
fleet off Finisterre, 3rd May, 1747. 

56. Descanting, making observations, commenting. Cp. Shake- 
speare, Richard III., i. i. 27, **to spy my shadow in the sun 
And descant on mine own deformity.'' It is properly a musical 
term, ' to play or sing an air in harmony with a fixed theme.' 

61. Cp. Matthew, vin. 26. 

55. In the doumhill of life^ when I find I'm declining 

** Very little except his name appears recoverable with regard 
to the author of this truly noble poem, which appeared in the 
Scripscrapologia, or Collins' Doggerel Dish of All Sorts, with 
three or four other pieces of merit, Birmingham, 1804" (F.T.P.). 
Of all the other poems in this book we may say that their repu- 
tation rests securely on the judgment of the world of letters, 
although in many or all cases the Golden Treasury has widely 
extended the circle of their admirers. It seems only fair to 
the student to point out that this poem, rescued from oblivion 
by the judgment of one critic, stands on a somewhat different 
level. Some account of John Collins' life — he >vas an actor and 

150 NOTES 

reciter — will be found in the Dictionary of Nat, Biography, He 
died in 1806. 

With the feelinff shown in this poem compare Herrick's 
Thankagioing to Ocd/or His House, beginning " Ix)rd, thou hast 
given me a cell Wherein to dwell." 

Metre. — Anapaestic. Four accents in the first, three in the 
second, line of each couplet. An iambus is sometimes substi- 
tuted for the first anapaest. Some of the lines have an un- 
accented syllable which gives them a trochaic or 'feminine* 

5. pad-pony, an easy paced pony. Pad is connected with 
paih, and a pad-pony is properly a pony for riding on roads. 
Cp. the expression ' roadster,' used of a horse or bicycle. 

16. Nabob. This name was given by the English in the 
eighteenth century to those of their countrymen who had 
acquired large fortunes in India and returned to England to 
spend them. These men became very unpopular from their 
ostentatious display of wealth. See the account of them in 
Macau lay's Essay on Clive, 

19. Cp. W. Collins' Ode to Evening, No. 35. 3, and S. Rogers 
in No. 36. 3-4. 

28. thread. Cp. Milton's Lyddas {O. T., lxxxix. 76), **Comes 
the blind Fury with the abhorred sheskrs And slits the thin-spun 

32. BverlaBtlng. *<Used with side-allusion to a cloth so 
named at the time when Collins wrote" (F.T.P.). 

56. Life I I know not what thou art 

Anna Labtitia Aikin (Mrs. Barbauld), 1743-1825, was a notable 
fisure in English life at the close of the eighteenth and beginning 
of the nineteenth century. Her Female Speaker, a collection of 
* elegant extracts ' for young ladies, was a real educational force 
for many years ; and her brother's Evenings ojt Home, to which 
she contributed, has not yet exhausted its usefulness. Her high- 
water mark in original poetry is reached in the beautiful lines 
which Mr. F. T. Palgrave excerpted from her Ode to Life — lines 
which are said to have attracted the admiration of Wordsworth. 
We have seen the gentle melancholy of Gray and Collins deepen 
into the settled gloom of Cowper's last utterances. It is well 
that in its last two poems the Third Book of the Golden Treasury 
should end upon a happier note 





A.H.sAngla43axon, adj. = adjective, cp.^ compare, Fr. » FVench, Ger.a 
German, Lat.=Latin, I.sline, N.E.D.«New English Dictionary (Oxford), 
O.F.aOld French, subets substantive. Notes borrowed from Mr. F. T. 
Palgrave are enclosed in inverted commas and followed hy hia initials 
(F. T. P.). Poems in Book lY. are referred to simply by their number in 
this volume : poems in other Books of the Golden Treamry are referred to 
by their number in the complete edition, preceded by the letters G. T. 

No. I. JFhether on Ida's shady hrow 

It is remarkable that these lines — a complaint that there is no 
more poetry left in the world — should have been written so 
shortly before the greatest outburst of poetry that England has 
known since the days of Elizabeth. The poem appeared in 
Blake's Poetical Sketchesy 1783, so that it preceded by 15 years 
the famous joint volume of Wordsworth and Coleridge, LyHcal 
BalladSy 1798. Its author, William Blake, poet, painter, 
designer, and mystic, lived apart from his contemporaries, who 
altogether failed to understand him. He read the Elizabethan 
poets, and was influenced by them, but, not less than Words- 
worth, he went direct to Nature for inspiration. Since 
Wordsworth taught English readers of poetry to appreciate 
truth and simplicity in verse, Blake, too, has had his admirers. 

Very similar in thought is Matthew Arnold's poem. The 
Progress of Poesy f especially the line, " The mount is mute, the 
channel dry." Compare also his lines beginning ''Though the 
Muse be gone away. 


1 ^ 

142 NOTES 

I. Ida. There were two monntains of this name celebrated in 
ancient poetry, (1) the mountain in the Troad on which the three 
goddesses appear^ to Paris, and whence the gods often watched 
the Trojan war, (2) the monntain in Crete on which Jnpiter was 
fabled to have been brought up. 

No. IL Bards of Possum and of Mirik 

Wksttzs by Keats on the blank page before Beaumont and 
Fletcher^s tragi-ooroedy, The Fair maid of the Inn. 

The poets enjoy a double immortality — on earth and in 
Elysium. With the sentiment may be compared the loftier and 
more earnest strain in which Shelley afterwards claimed immor 
tality for the writer of these lines : 

" Peace, peace ! he is not dead, he doth not sleep !" 

{Adanaia, stanzas 39 et seq. ) 

Metre, — The charm of the poem depends largely on the free, 
apparently careless, in reality consummately skmul, variation of 
the simple metre. There are four accents in each line, and the 
general effect is trochaic. But three lines (10, 22, 90) have an 
extra syllable at the beginning, and several others an extra 
unaccented syllable at the end. Without such variation we 
should have the monotonous metre that Touchstone ridicules in 
As You Like It, calline it " the very false gallop of verses," and 
offering to rhyme Rosalind thus, " eight years together, dinners 
and suppers and sleeping hours excepted." 

4. doable-lived, 'having two lives,' used by Keats for * having 
a second life.' For the form cp. * long-lived.' 

8. paxle (Fr. parler), same word as parley, which Shakespeare 
uses both as noun and verb. C^erally * conference with an 
enemy ' ; here used, in accordance with its etymology, simply for 
' speech.' Milton uses the form * parle.' 

II. ELysian. Compare the noble description (partly imitated 
from Virgil, Aeneid, vi. 639) in Wordsworth's Laodamia : 

" He spake of love, such love as Spirits feel 
In worlds whose course is equable and pure ; 
No fears to beat away — no strife to hesA — 
The past unsi^h'd for, and the future sure ; 
Spake of heroic hearts in graver mood 
Revived, with finer harmony pursued ; 

Of all that is most beauteous — imaged there 

In happier beauty ; more pellucid streams, 

An ampler ether, a diviner air. 

And fields invested with purpureal gleams : 

Climes which the sun, who sheds the brightest day 

Earth knows, is all unworthy to survey.' 

L— in. 143 

12. Dian, Diana, a Roman goddess, identified by tbe Romans 
themselves with Artemis, the Greek virgin goddess, whose 
favourite occupation was hunting : the fawn was specially con- 
nected with her, and she is sometimes represented in a chariot 
drawn by two fawns. 

13. tented, dwelling under tents. It generally means 
'covered with tents' as in 'the tented field' {OtheUo, i. iii.), 
'tented shores' (xcvn. 54). 

14. rose-scented, an instance of Keats' skill in the formation 
of compounds. How far is this a merit ? A language dies if it 
becomes incapable of 'growing' new words. But nothing 
requires greater caution than such coinage on the part of a poet. 
We may say that (1) he must not coin words or compounds with- 
out a good reason, (2) they must be pleasing to the ear, (3) they 
must not suggest any incongruous associations. Within these 
limits a poet may study freshness' of diction. 

18. tranced. A 'trance' is a 'transit' or 'passage,' then 'an 
absence of sensation or power to feel.' So Keats apparently 
means ' without sense or feeling.' 

20. numbers (Lat. numera/rty through the French), applied to 
the counting of the succession of feet in a verse, and so used for 

21. golden, a favourite epithet of the poets for 'delightful,' 
'precious.' So Homer speaks of ' golden Aphrodite.' We speak 
of 'The Golden Legend,' 'golden deeds,' 'The Golden Treasury,' 

28. Blumber'd, for 'slumbering.' The licence which Keats 
allows himself in the invention of participial forms is not always 

closring. The intransitive use for ' to be cloyed, satiated, 
is very rare, but an example is given in N.E.D, under date 1721. 

30. little week, the short space of mortal life. With this 
description of the subjects of poetry we may compare Terence's 
famous profession, Homo sum ; nihil humani a me alienum puto^ 
and Virgil's equally famous line, so often quoted (apart from its 
context) as the noblest expression of the function of poetry, Sunt 
lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt. 

No. III. Mv4:h have I travelVd in the realms of gold 

Onb of the finest tributes ever paid by one poet to another (in 
this case to two others). Keats wrote it in 1815, in his twentieth 
year. It is the first poem in which his genius stands fully re- 
vealed. Like Shakespeare, he had " little Latin and less Greek" ; 
or rather he had no Greek at all, though he had picked up a good 
deal of classical mythology in his school-days. No one contri- 

144 NOTES 

buted more than Keats to the revival of the love of the br^ht 
HelleDic spirit at the beginning of the nineteenth century : but 
his wonderful insight into that spirit was the gift of nature, not 
the fruit of learning. 

Metre, — See Appendix on Sonnet. 

I. realms of gold. The world of books is imagined as divided 
into kingdoms. ' Realms of gold * are regions where the explorer 
may hope to find gold ; but the phrase had also a reference to 
the metaphor/ golden * as applied to books (cp. n. 21). ' Western 
islands * seems to suggest the Hesperides and the Atlantis of the 
ancients : the earthly paradise was generally imagined to lie 
westwards beyond the Straits of Gibraltar and the Atlantic 
Ocean. Westwards, too, beyond * the Spanish Main ' went the 
modem seekers after new 'realms of gold.' But perhaps Keats 
only meant the English and Latin poets as distinguished from 
the Greek. The poets are further represented as holding their 
kingdoms under Apollo, the god of music and poetry. 

4. fealty, *'true service," from lAtin Jidelitaa, through O.F. 
feautej fealte. 

6. deep-brow'd : see note on * drear-nighted, xxviii. 1. 

demesne, pronounced **di-men." It is properly the sub- 
stantive of an O.F. adjective meaning 'belonging to a lord.' 
The Anglo-French spelling is due to the old law-books. Posses- 
sion ; an estate possessed ; the land subject to a king or prince. 

7. Serene, Lat. aerenust 'bright,' 'clear,' of weather. Here 
the adj. is used as subst. 

8. Cliapman (circa 1557-1634) translated the Iliad and Odyssey 
into Enelish rhyming verse, the first into long lines of seven 
iambic &et, the second into the ordinary ten- syllable heroic 
couplet. He speaks out " loud and bold," retaining much of the 
Homeric fire and swiftness of movement, and — when read in 
sufficient quantities for the impression of his crudities to wear 
off — may still be enjoyed. Yet, as Mr. Palgrave notes, " to find 
in Chapman's Homer the ' pure serene ' of the original, the reader 
must bring with him the imagination of the youthful poet ; — he 
must be ' a Greek himself,' as Shelley finely said of Keats." 

II. Cortez, a mistake of Keats. It was not Cortez, the con- 
queror of Mexico (1485-1554), who discovered the Pacific, but 
Vasco Balboa, the Spanish navigator. The date of the discovery 
is given as September 25, 1513. 

No. IV. All thoughts^ allpassionSf all delights 

This poem is taken from the second (1800) edition of the Lyrical 
Ballads. An earlier form of it, entitled The Dark Ladie, had 
appeared in The Morning Post, December 21, 1799. A still 

m.— IV. 145 

earlier version has been printed in an interesting little volnme, 
Coleridge*8 Poems : a Facsimile Reproduction of the Proofs and 
M88, of some of the Poems, edited by J. D. Campbell (West- 
minster, 1899). 

The qualities that give The Ancient Mariner its high place in 
English literatnre are largely present here also. There is the 
same revival of the simplicity of the ancient ballad. There is 
the same subtlety of psychological analysis, so foreign to the 
ancient ballad, which stamps the poem as the work of a reflective 
philosopher. There is the same power of representing a scene 
vividly by a few strokes of the pen. There is the same fascina- 
tion of melody, increasing the power of the poem upon us each 
time we re-read it. 

1. We may compare the song in ihieMerchant qf Venice, ni. iL i 

" Tell me where is fancy bred ? 
Or in the heart or in the head T 
How begot, how nourished ? 

Reply, reply. 
It is engender d in the eyes. 
With gazins fed ; and fancv dies 
In the cradle where it lies. ' 

(Fancy = love). Coleridge's answer is different. 

17. It has often been remarked that happy youth finds a 
special pleasure in sad poetry or music. Cp. Wordsworth's Ode 
to Lycoris, stanza 2, ''In youth we love the darksome lawn." 

25. flitting, quickly coming amd going. 

30. brand (same root as German brennen, to bum), properly a 
burning stick or torch. Applied to a sword in quite early 
English, apparently from its terrible gleam when in motion. 

42. crazed. To 'craze' is (1) literally, to 'break'; (2) meta- 
phorically, to break down in health, impair ('Till lensth of 
years amd sedentary numbness craze my limbs,' Milton, Samson 
Agonistes) ; (3) to impair in intellect, drive mad. 

lovely, now applied only to women or children, was less 
restricted in its use in older English. 

45. savage den, lair of wild beasts. 

53. unknowing, not knowing, seems formed by false analogy. 
There are two prefixes un^ one prefixed to substantives, adjectives 
and adverbs, meaning 'not,' much commoner in Old English 
than now {e.g. un-famous, un-riffbt, as well as un-even, un-fair, 
etc.), the other prefixed to verbs to express the reversal of an 
action {e.g. to un-lock).. Both prefixes are used with the past 
participle, which is therefore ambiguous in meaning in some 
cases; i.e. 'unlocked' might mean 'opened after dosing' or 
simply 'not dosed.' But the first prefix ought not to be used 


146 NOTES 

with a present participle when it is a real participle, not a mere 

63. yellow. This seems a simple epithet enough for 'forest- 
leaves.' Yet in nothing more than in such simple but vivid and 
truthful epithets does the poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge 
differ from most poetry of tne earlier eighteenth oentury. The 
town poets used purely conventional epi&ets for natural objects ; 
Wordsworth and Coleridge expressed the impressions they had 
received directly from nature. To some readers this epithet 
' yellow ' will at once recall the landscapes of the pre-Raphaelite 
brotherhood of painters, who also tried to rescue art from the 
conventions into which it had fallen and to reproduce nature as 
they found it. (Coleridge was ridiculed by Byron for speaking 
of the ' yellow-green ' in the western sky after sunset : see his 
ode, D^eclion.) 

66. ditty, from the Latin dictcUunif past participle of dietare, 
a ' lesson,' ' exercise,' was not at first limited to verse. In the 
BomaurU of the Rose Cicero's treatise De Amieitia is called a 
ditty. Afterwards it was used chiefly of songs (in OkukiStpeare 
and other poets, often of the songs of birds), especially ballads 
or simple poems. 

69. These 'impulses of soul and sense,' particularised in lines 
71-76, are the thoughts, passions and delights of the first stanza. 

73. kindle, produce. The verb ' kindle ' in the sense of ' pro- 
duce ' is said to have a different origin from the same verb in the 
sense of 'inflame.' 

76. inbdned. Observe here and throughout the poem how 
skilfully Coleridee uses the repetition of words and phrases. He 
is never afraid of tautology. Cp. in the Ancient Mariner i 

" The western wave was all aflame, 
The day was well-nigh done ! 
Almost upon the western wave 
Rested the broad bright Sun ; 
When that strange shape drove suddenly 
Betwixt us and the Sun, 
And straight the Sun was flecked with bars, 
(Heaven's Mother send us grace !) 
As if through a dungeon grate he peered 
With &roaa and burning face." 

77. The earlier version inserted a stanza here, which is worth 
quoting : 

" While Fancy, like the midnight torch 
That bends and rises in the wind, 
Lit up with wild and broken lights 
The tumult of her mind." 
90. bashful, ' shy.' Cp. to ' abash ' s to ' confuse with shame,' 
Tempestf HI. i. 81, 

IV.— VI 147 

No. V. talk not tome of a name great in skry 

''Thb most tender and true of Byron's smaller poems" (F.T.P.). 
Written by him on the road between Florence and Pisa. 

Metre I There are four accents in each line. The prevailing 
foot is an anapaest (^^ ^^ — ) for which an iambus is sometimes 
substituted ; and there is an extra unaccented syllable at the 
end of each line. 

I. story, history. 

8. myrtle and ivy. Milton associated these with the laurel in 
the opening lines of Lycidas : 

*' Yet once more, ye laurels, amd once more 
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere." 

There all three are combined to form the poet's garland, which 
Milton describes himself as about to assume prematurely (*'I 
come to pluck your berries harsh and crude "). Here the mjrrtle 
and ivy are contragted with the laurel. At Greek banquets a 
bough of myrtle was held by each guest in turn as he sang. 
(Cp. Aristophanes, Clovda^ 1364, and the well-known Athenian 
drmking-song, ' 1*11 wreathe my sword in myrtle now.*) The ivy 
was sacred to Bacchus. These two, as emblems of youthful 
jollity, are contrasted with the laurel, the crown of the victor. 

■weet two-and- twenty. Cp. the song, * mistress mine,' in 
Shakespeare's Twelfth Night : 

" Gome and kiss me, sweet-and -twenty, 
Youth's a stuff will not endure." 

4. plenty, subst. inaccurately used for adj. * plenteous.' De- 
rived (through French) from lAtin plenuSy 'full. 

6. Hay-dew. The dew in May was supposed to have miraculous 
properties ; to bathe the face in it was to secure perpetual 

II. discover, reveal. 

No. VI. BrignM hamks are wild amdfair 

This and No. xxxi. are songs from Sir W. Scott's poem of 

1. Brignall, near Barnard Gastle in the North Riding of York- 
shire ; the Oreta is a tributary of the Tees. ' Dotheboys Hall ' 
{Nicholas NicHeby, chap, iv.) was 'near Greta Bridge, in York- 
shire.' For Scott's use of place-names see note on lvi. 1. 

4. Notice the omission of the relative ' that ' at the beginning 
of this line. Generally speaking, poetry tends to omit relatives 
and conjunctions when they can be spared without injury to the 

148 K0TE8 

25. read, sappose, conjecture. The radical meaninff of the 
vrord (6er. reckn) is * to put or place before.' From this come 
various meaninffs, e,g. to place before the mind, t.e. conjecture, 
imagine, consider, consult, advise; to place before others, t.e. 
declare, tell ; to place writing before others, t.e. to speak it aloud. 

26. palfirey, a saddle-horse. The word is in early use in Eng- 
lii^ derived through the French from the low Latin paraveredvs, 
a hybrid formation from the Greek rapd, * beside ' (so ' extra '), 
Bna veredua, late Latin, 'a post-horse.* The modem French 
form is pcUefroi, 

27. ranger, one who ranges a forest, the officer in charge of it. 
To ' range ' meant ' to set in a rank,' so * to scour a country with 
an array of armed men ' (Skeat) ; then, to ' traverse ' or * rove over. ' 

28. greenwood. This compound (cp. ' greensward ') occurs as 
early as Chaucer. 

29. winds, ' blows,' the same word as the subst. ' wind.' Op. 
Milton, Lyddou, "What time the gray-fly winds her sultry 

37. lirand. See note on iv. 30. 

muaketoon, from It. moechettone, a short musket carried by 
cavalry in 17th and 18th centuries (Stanford). 

39. Dragoon, orig. a kind of musket, so-called from its * breath- 
ing fire ' like a dragon ; then, a cavalry soldier armed with this 

40. list, * listen,' 'give heed to,' an extension of an A.S. word 
meaning ' to desire ' (cp. * listless '). 

tuck, properly tuckett, a flourish on a trumpet. The word 
is said to be of Teutonic origin and connected with ' touch,' but 
it is certainly the same as the Italian word toccata^ a prelude to 
a piece of music (Skeat). 

47. mi6kle, a longer form of 'much.' Both forms occur in 
early English. 

48. would reign, the relative ' who ' is omitted. 

51. fiend, A.S. an enemy, especially used of evil spirits. The 
ignU fatuua, or Will o' the Wisp, is meant by ' the fiend whose 
lantern lights the mead.' See the description of him in Milton's 
UAUegro (where he is called 'the drudging goblin' and 'the 
lubber fiend ') ; C7omtM, 1. 432 ; Paradise Lost, ix. 634-42. 

No. VII. There be none of Beauty's daughters 

Wbittbn in 1816. 

Metre : There are three accents in each of the eight lines of 
the stanza, except the second and fourth, which have only two. 
The rhythm is iambic, varied by anapaests {>^ ^ — ). 

VI.-IX. 149 

10. Her bright 6bain. The picture is of the moonbeam lying 
across the waters, but the thought is suggested of the mysterious 
influence of the moon on the tides. Op. Walt Whitman : 

'* Silently as the water follows the moon, 
With fluid steps anywhere around the globe. ** 

No. VIII. / arise from dreams of thee 

A Note on the manuscripts of this poem, and on its composition, 
will be found in Mr. Buxton Forman's large edition of Shelley. 
Whether Shelley wrote the verses to a special Indian air is not 
known ; they were written for his friend, Mrs. Jane Williams, 
who used to sing them. 

Metre : Three accents in each line, the feet iambic with an 
anapaest sometimes substituted in the first place. Observe the 
efiect of this initial anapaest la giving swiftness to the line. 
Lin^s where the sense requires slow movement — '* I die, I faint, 
I fail " — are purely iambic. 

11. champak, an Indian tree of the Magnolia genus, which has 
fine fragrant yellow blossoms (Stanford). 

fail. This word is left without its proper rhyme in line 15. 
Shelley might easily have written * pine,* out the correspondence 
with fine 18 — "I die, I faint, I fail!" — would then have been 
left incomplete. 

12. like sweet thoughts. The faint sweet odours, vanishing 
even as we become conscious of them, are compared to the fugitive, 
scarcely apprehended, thoughts of a dreamer. To Shelley the 
world of imagination is so much more real than the material 
world that he is always explaining things in the real world by 
reference to the other. The ' dead leaves * in Autumn suggest to 
him *' ghosts from an enchanter fleeing " (OXY. 3). The voice of 
the hushed city at noon is ''soft like Solitude's" (lxiii. 9). Most 
poets, conversely, explain things in the imaginary world by 
images drawn from the material world. 

13. complaint. The song of the nightingale is often so called 
in Elifflibethan poetry, as it is called quereUa in Latin. 

No. IX. She walks in beauty, like the night 

Written in 1814 in honour of a cousin, *' the beautiful Mrs. 

8. Had, would have. 

9. raven, black like the raven's. 

14. eloquent, explained by the lines that follow. 

150 NOTES 

No. X. She was a phantom of delight 

CoMPOSXD in 1804. In 1802, Wordsworth had married Mary 
Hutchison, who in childhood had been his fellow-pupil in 
a dame's school at Peurith. It was she undoubtedly who inspired 
the poem, of which Wordsworth tells us that " it was written 
from my heart as is sufficiently obvious. " An interesting account 
of the poet's wife and also of his sister, Dorothy Wordsworth, 
will be found in De Quinoev's Lake Beminiscencea (VoL II., 
pp. 236, 282, of the 1896 edition of the Collected Writings). 
I>B Quinoey says that Mrs. Wordsworth '* furnished a remark- 
able proof how possible it is for a woman neither handsome nor 
even comely according to the rigour of criticism — nay, generally 
pronounced very plain — to exercise all the practical fascination 
of beauty, through the mere compensatory charms of sweetness 
all but angelic, of simplicity the most entire, womanly self- 
respect and purity of heart speaking through all her looks, acts, 
ana movements." 

We may compare the exquisite lines that Tennyson wrote at 
the close of his life in dedicating his last book to his wife 
(*' There on the top of the down"), and Browning's beautiful 
tributes to his wife. By the Fireside, One Word More^ and the 
invocation ("0 lyric love") in The Ring and the Booh, 

No. XL She is not fair to aidward view 

Hartley Colb ridge, son of S. T. Coleridge, was bom in 
1796 and died in 1849. He was buried at Grasmere, where his 

grave is near Wordsworth's. He was the child in whose honour 
'oleridge wrote the fine poem, Frost at Midnight : 

*'I was reared 
In the great city, pent 'mid cloisters dim, 
And saw nought lovely but the sky and stars. 
But thou, mv babe i shalt wander like a breeze 
By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags 
Of ancient mountains, and beneath the clouds 
Which image in their bulk both lakes and shores 
And mountain crags : so shalt thou see and hear 
The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible 
Of that eternal language, which thy God 
Utters, who from eternity doth teach 
Himself in all, and all things in Himself. . . • 
Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee. ..." 

Wordsworth also celebrated his beautiful childhood in exquisite 
verse, the lines To H. C., Six Years Old, in which he foretold 
that Nature would preserve for him "by individual right, A 

X.— xnt 161 

young lamb's heart among the full-grown flocks." (See also 
cxxxi. 85-128.) 

There is something inexpressibly sad about the futility of a 
life begun under such splendid auspices. Hartley Coleridge's 
life was almost entirely one of failure, though he wrote some 
charming poems, of which one has attained the honour of a place 
in this collection. 

No. XIII. She dtvelt among the untrodden tvays. 

On the four poems that follow (xiii.-xvi.) Mr. Aubrey de Vere 
writes {Essays chiefly on Poetry, Vol. I., p. 162): 

*' That these poems are love-poems is certain : whether they 
were founded on reality, the poet has left unrecorded. 

*'No one was less disposed than Wordsworth to minister to 
that vulgar curiosity which in these days respects no sanctuary. 
The egotism with which his poetry has been charged was com- 
monly of a wholly different sort : the ** Mind of Man " he speaks 
of as 

' My haunt, and the main region of my song :' 

in studying human nature, his own breast was the nearest 
mirror of humanity into which he could look ; and it is a human, 
not an individual interest in himself that is so frankly revealed 
in his philosophical verse. He was confidential on subjects 
respecting which others have nothing to confide ; but confidences 
sucn as those in which some poets have been profuse would have 
been against his instincts." 

If these poems bad never been written, we might perhaps have 
felt that there was something lacking in Wordsworth — that 
infinite tenderness which is perhaps the most deeply poetic thing 
in poetry. This depth of emotion is not inconsistent with — 
rather it is essentially connected with — the severest self-restraint 
in expression. How little these lines say as compared with the 
much that they imply ! 

The " Lucy " series contains one other poem, a very striking 
one, not included in The Golden Treastiry, It begins ** Strange 
fits of passion have I known. " See also the little poem beginning, 
*' Among all lovely things my love had been.** 

2. DoYB. The 'place where ' is not Important, and there is 
nothing to be gained by trying to identify it. There is a beauti- 
ful river Dove in Derbyshire, a tributary of the Trent, and there 
is a Dove Crag on the small lake of Brother's Water in West- 
moreland. But 

''Be Yarrow stream unseen, unknown I 
It must, or we shall rue it ; 
We have a vision of our own, 
Ah, why should we undo it?" 

152 NOTES 

No. XIV. / travelVd among wnhnown men 

11. Wheel, the spinning wheel, worked by the hand, once to be 
found in every well-ordered EngUsh household, now entirely 
obsolete owing to the introduction of machinery. '*I could 
write a treatise of lamentation upon the changes brought about 
among the cottages of Westmoreland by the silence of the spin- 
ning wheel. During long winter nights and wet days, the wheel 
upon which wool was spun gave employment to a great part of a 
family. The old man, however infirm, was able to card the 
wool, as he sat in the comer by the fireside ; and often, when a 
bov, have I admired the cylinders of carded wool which were 
softly laid upon each other oy his side. Two wheels were often 
at work on tne same floor ; and others of the family, chiefly little 
children, were occupied in teasing and cleaning the wool to fit it 
for the hand of the carder." (Wordsworth.) 

13. thy nights concealed. A superfluous addition if we look at 
the bare prosaic fact, and yet just the most exquisite touch in the 

14. bowers. The word first means 'dwelling' (O.E.); (2) *a 
vague poetic word for an idealized abode, not realized in amy 
actual dwelling ' : cp. Milton, ' The bower of earthly bliss ' ; 
(3) an inner apartment, especially a lady's private apartment 
or boudoir; (4) a place closed in with trees, a leafy covert, 
arbour. It is a favourite word with Wordsworth (cp. XV. 10), 
and with Scott (xxxiii. 5.) The latter uses it in sense (3); 
Wordsworth in a sense which here at least vaguely combines 
(2), (3) and (4). 

No. XV. Three years she gi'ew in sim and shower 

Wobdsworth's poetry is full of * the education of Nature.' For 
that education as experienced in his own life, see especially The 
Frdvde and Lines composed a few miles above TirUem Abbey, 
Again, we may compare the influence of life-long contact with 
Nature upon the shepherd Michael in Wordsworth's story of that 
name, and contrast the fatal influence of tropical Nature upon a 
sensuous temperament as conceived by him in the poem Ruth 
(oxiii. in this volume). 

Of the sixth stanza of this poem and of x. 16-16, Ruskin says 
{Sesame and Lilies^ Lecture II., of Queens' Gardens) : " There 
are two passages of that poet who is distinguished, it seems to 
me, from all others — not by power, but by exquisite rightness — 
which point you to the source, and describe to you, in a few 
syllables, the completion of womanly beauty." 

12. kindle or restrain. Observe the correspoudence to.4aw 
and impulse ' in line 8. 

XIV.— XVI. 153 

16. breatblng balm. ' Breathing ' is used here as a participial 
adjective intransitive. Clompare for the thought, 

*' And balmy drops in summer dark 
Slide ^m the bosom of the stars." 

— Tennyson, 

We may contrast the voluptuous influence of tropical Nature 
described in Rvth (oxiu. 133-138). 

17. silence. Op. 

''The silence that is in the starry sky, 
The sleep that is among the lonely hills." 

19. the floating olonds. Op. xoiv., **1 wander'd lonely as a 
cloud That floats on high o*er vales and hills. " 

state, prop, 'condition,' especially the condition of high 
rank; here ' stateliness,* 'magnificence.' 

27. secret, Latin »teretu8f 'far-withdrawn.' So Miltbn 'On 
the secret top Of Oreb or of Sinai,' which Bentley strangely 
emended to 'On the sacred top.' 

29. Observe how beautifully the 'murmuring sound' of rivulets 
and waterfalls is remroduced in this line. Cp. a wonderful 
passage in a letter of T. E. Brown's which describes the rivulets 
on a Swiss Alp: "The grass seems to be all flowers, and the 
flowers to be all grass : the closest-grained math I ever beheld ; 
and through it everywhere, led by careful hands, go singing, 
hissing rather, like sharp silver scythes, the litue blessed 
streams." (Letters of T, E, Broum, Vol. I., p. 77.) Here the 
kind of rill and kind of sound, are dififerent, and the onomatopoeic 
effect in the language is correspondingly different. 

31. vitaL The epithet recalls us to line 13. "There are 
deadly feelings of delight; but the natural ones are vital, 
necessary to very life." Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies. 

35. She and I. Observe that Nature is still the speaker. 

42. never more. From Sophocles, with his rav^rarw 6^ 
KoihroT* adOis Hffrcpov — "For the last, last time and never again 
hereafter" — in the dying speech of Ajax, the pathos of this 
inexorable ' never more ' recurs often in poetry. 

No. XVI. A slwmber did my spirit seal 

Thekr is no denial here of the immortality so nobly proclaimed 
by Wordsworth himself in his Ode (cxxxi.); only the contrast 
inevitably forcing itself upon the mourner between the loved 
human form as it was and as it is. Similarly, after Hallam's 
death, Tennyson's mind is pre-occupied with the thought of the 

154 NOTES 

ship bringing home the mortal remains {In Memoriam, Cantos 
ix.-xix.)i especially such lines as : 

" And hands so often clasped in mine 
Should toss with tangle and with shells," 

or " And dead calm in that noble breast 

Which heaves but with the heaving deep. " 

With this perfect elegy of eight lines may be compared W. S. 
Landor's lines in memory of Bcwe Aylmer : 

*' Ah, what avails the sceptred race ! 

Ah, what the form divine I 
What every virtue, every grace I 

Rose Aylmer, all were thine. 
Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes 

May weep, but never see, 
A night of memories and sighs 

1 consecrate to thee." 

The two poems are alike in their self-restraint, so characteristic 
of the best classical poetry. Wordsworth's elegy Mr. Aubrey 
de Yere describes as *'a dirge which those who confound the 
passionate with the exclamatory will do well to pass by, but 
which to others will represent, in its stem brevity, the tragic 
rising to the terrible." 

7. dinmaL Cp. Wordsworth's description of skating s 

*' Still the solitary clifis 
Wheeled by me — even as if the earth had rolled 
With visible motion her diurnal round." 

Observe the added weight and dignity given by the use of 
* diurnal ' instead of the commonplace * daily.' 

No. XVII. / meet thy pensive^ moonlight face 

Henbt Francis Ltte (1793-1847), the author of this poem and 
Lxxiii., was an English clergyman, curate of Lymington, Hamp- 
shire, and Charlton, Devonshire, and afterwards vicar of Lower 
Brixham. He is chiefly remembered as the author of several 
well-known hymns, '* Abide with me, fast falls the eventide," 
** Pleasant are Thy courts above," '* Jesus, I my cross have 

1. moonliglit. A face full of brightness and happiness is often 
said to be *full of sunshine.' So a face of calm, thoughtful 
beauty is here compared to moonlight. With this lover's vision 
of his dead love — dreamt of, however, as living, — compare the 
vision of a living love in Tennyson's Maud : 

** Cold and clear-cut face, why come you so cruelly meek, 
Breaking a slumber in which all spleenful folly was drown'd, 

xvi.-xvin. 155 

Pale with the golden beam of an eyelash d^ad on the cheek, 
Passionless, pale, cold ieucOy star-sweet on a gloom profound ; 
Woman-like, taking revenge too deep for a transient wrong 
Done but in thought to your beauty, and ever as pale as berore, 
Growing and fading and growine upon me without a sound, 
Luminous, gem-like, ghost-like, death-like, half the night long. 
Growing and fading and growing, till I could bear it no more." 

14. more sad and fair. The combination of epithets is obscure. 
Perhaps the meaning is, *In days which, even when fuller of 
pain, were dearer to me than the present.' 

No. XVIII. A chieftain to the highlands hound 

T. Campbell (1777-1844) won his chief fame as a poet by The 
Pleasures of Hope, a didactic poem in heroic couplets, which he 

Sublished at the age of twenty-one. It was admired beyond its 
eserts — though it contains good poetic stuff — by a generation 
not yet ready to appreciate the far greater poetry of Wordsworth 
and Cloleridge. Campbell himself learnt much from them and 
from Scott, and wrote not a few short poems and two fairly long 
ones, O* Connotes Child and Oertrude of Wyoming, that are not 
imworthy to be read along with theirs. In the reaction which 
has followed his popularity he has suffered unduly. 

Lord UUin*s Daughter has all the four qualities which Matthew 
Arnold found to be the main characteristics of Homer, rapidity, 
plainness of thought, plainness of diction, and within its compass 
nobility. There can scarcely be higher praise for a ballad. 
Shelley's poem. The Fugitives (*The waters are flashing') very 
closely resembles this one in subject : the difference in treatment 
makes a comparison of the two poems a very instructive lesson. 

Metre : The trochaic rhyme-ending {e.g, shrieking, speaking) 
is adqiittedly difficult to manage with dignity in English. The 
treatment of it here is very successful. It helps the rapidity of 
the narrative, which is further assisted by the occasional double 
rhyme (lines 31, 45, 55). The same metre is used by Words- 
worth in the Yarrow poems (xoviiL and xoix. ), and with equal 
skill, though for a very different subject. 

5. Locligyle, generally known as Loch-na-Keal, on the west 
coast of Mull. The island of Ulva is opposite the mouth of the 
loch. . Loch is a Gaelic word, used both for a narrow arm of the 
sea (like the Norwegian fiords) and an inland lake. 

15. bonny, handsome, fair, blythe. A corruption of the 
French bonne, fem. of hon, 'good.' 

20. winsome, from the A.S., pleasant, lovely. 

26. water- wraltb. A wraith (Scandinavian word) was an 
apparition in thef likeness of a person supposed to be seen just 

156 NOTES 

before or just after hiB death. See the wonderfal description of 
the wraith of King James L of Scotland in Bossetti's K%ng*a 
Traatdy. Clompare also xoix. 31-2 (Wordsworth, quoting the 
old ballad), ''The water- wraith ascended thrice, And gave.^is 
doleful warning"; and lxxiv. 11-12, "The fishers have he^d 
the water-sprite, Whose screams forebode that wreck is nigh." 

No. XIX. Oft I hod hea/rd of Lucy Qray 

If there are any persons who still maintain the eighteenth 
century doctrine so strenuously combated by Wordsworth, that 
the chief difiference between poetry and prose lies in the diction — 
not in the thought, but in the drapery of the thought — they will 
probably see nothing whatever to admire in Lucy Qray, Some 
too, whose love of poetry is less shallow than this, and who care 
for poetry because, and in proportion as, it seems to them more 
elevated than prose, and who, therefore, without confusing the 
inner spirit and the external trappings, demand that the two 
shall correspond in dignity and nobility, may cavil at the un- 
adorned simplicity of this poem. Wordsworth has abandoned 
in it all the external helps of dignified and unfamiliar language, 
or pathetic and lofty association, which a poet may justifiably 
use to enhance the impressiveness of his theme. He has chosen 
to relv on the absolute and sufficient pathos of the story — the 
tragedy of a young and beautiful life lost within such close 
proximity to those who could have saved it amd would so cheer- 
fully have given their own lives to save it. He sets down the 
plain facts with that simplicity which seems so easy but is really 
the perfection of art ; so that we see the whole sequence of events 
in a series of pictures unsurpassed in literature for vividness. If 
that is not enough for us, if the unutterable pathos does not 
move us, he will do no more for us — add no more to disguise 
from us our own callousness to the appeal. Yes, just one thing 
more he will do — spiritualize the incident by showing us that 
even Lucy's peasant neighbours cannot associate the thought of 
death with a being so full of life amd unselfish joy. If one of the 
great functions of poetry is to ' awake the mind from the lethargy 
of custom' to the infinite depth below the surface of conmion 
every-day things, Wordsworth has abundantly fulfilled it here. 

The poem was written in 1799 ; the incident on which it was 
founded occurred near Halifax in Yorkshire. 

Metre : Observe how the very simple metre is saved from 
monotony by an occasional line where the natural emphasis does 
not fall on the verse accent or even within the same foot ; e.g. 
' She dw^lt on a wide m6or ' where the emphasis is on the three 
marked syllables. 

19. minster, the same word as 'monastery,' from the late 
Liatin momisterium^ but used as the name •f several English 

XVin— XXII. 157 

cathedral churches. Here as in lyi. Wordsworth is indifferent 
to ' local colour' : there is no ' minster ' near Halifax. 

21. hook, a curved iron instrument for cutting or lopping. 

26. wanton, playful, sportive, unrestrained: '*the true sense 
is unrestrained, uneducated, not taken in hand by a master." 

No. XX. JVhy weep ye by the tide, ladie 

The first stanza of this ballad is ancient. The others were 
written, like XLi., for Campbell's Albyn's Anthology in 1816. 
Scotch words : sail = shall, sae = so, loot = let, fa' = fall, wilfu' = wil- 
ful, ha' = hall, a'=all, kirk = church, baith=both, awa'=away, 

12. Laogley-dale, in county of Durham, five miles north of Bar- 
nard Castle. 

19. mettled, spirited, " Absolutely the same word lys metcUf 
though the difference in sense is now indicated by a difference in 
the spelling. The allusion is to the temper of the metcU of a 
swora-blade." (Skeat.) 

managed, trained. To * manage ' is to * handle ' (op. Ital. 
mano, hand), and was first used of the control of horses. 

20. palfirey. See note on yi. 26. 

25. moming-tlde. ' Tide ' properly means ' time ' (which word 
is from the same root) ; the use of it for the flux and reflux of the 
sea is derived from this. Cp. *' Alike to him was time or tide," 
in Lay of the Last Minetrd, i. xxi. 

30. bower. See note on xrv. 14. 

No. XXI. The faw/Uains mingle with the river 

The source of Shelley's poem has been found in a French song 
of eight lines, " Les vents baisent les nuages." 

Metre : The poem is written in trochaic lines of four accents, 
except that every fourth line has only three accents. Further, 
an extra syllable is allowed at the beginning of the line, as in 
the first and third lines (The foiintains mingle with the river) ; 
and the final trochee may be reduced to a single long syllable, as 
in lines 6 and 8 (Why not 1 with thine ?). 

No. XXII. How sweet the answer Echo makes 

A VERY simple but singularly musical poem — one of the most 
perfect of Moore's * Melodies, as they are appropriately named. 
There is an onomatopoeic effect in it, which is difficult to 

158 NOTES 

analyse — as if the smootli swift ripple of the long lines gave us 
the very sound *of horn or lute or soft guitar, and the short 
lines the answering echoes. 

This is the first of a group of poems connect-ed with evening 
or night (xxii.-xxv.). Another such group begins at on. 

No. XXIII. Ah I Oounty Guy, the horn is nigh 

This song is from Quentin Durward, Chapter IV. 

I. Connty. Count, Earl. '' Apparently an adoption of Anglo- 
French CounU, or O.F. and Ital. Conte, with unusual retention of 
final vowel, confused la form with county" [the domain of a 
Count] (N.KD.), 

3. bower. See note on xiv. 14. 

7. ooQfess, either ' acknowledge/ or ' attest/ as in Pope's ** The 
voice divine confessed the warlike maid." 

No, XXIV. Gem of the crimsanrcolour^d Even 

CoMPABE oni., also by Campbell. 

5. pensile, hanging. Shenstone speaks of ' pensile woods.' 

6. tear of twilight, a somewhat euphuistio expression for the 
dew. But cp. Coleridge in oxxii. 40, and Moore in xxxviii. 1. 

7. Bo dne, etc., ».e. so faithfully do you return at the appointed 
hour to the sunset sky. 

II. lure, t.e. 'it is sure that,' *it must be that.' 
23. wanton. Cp. xix. 26. 

30. embalms, makes balmy. 

33. wlnnow'd, fanned. Grenerally it is used of grain separated 
from chaff by fanning, and this modem sense lb also the commonest 
in early English. Uampbell's use may have been suggested by 
Milton, Paradise Lost, Bk. V. : 

" Then with quick fan 
Winnows the buxom air, till within soar 
Of tow'ring eagles, to all the fowls he seems 
A phoenix." " 

No. XXV. Swiftly walk over the western wave 

Pbbsonifioations of Day, Night, Sleep, and Death are common 
enough in the English poets in imitation of classical poetry, but 
they are apt to be frigid. The remarkable thing about Shelley's 
personifications is that they are more real to him than their 
ancient counterparts were to the great majority of the classical 
poets themselves. Perhaps the best help to the appreciation of 

XXII,— XXV. 159 

such a poem as this — the very stuff of dreams woven into tissue 
of the most delicate hues — would be the study of some of the 
alleeoricaljpaintings of Burne Jones. 

MtiTt : To call the metre irregular might be misleading, for 
there is no more perfect piece of melody in the book. But it is 
difficult to reduce it to rule, beyond saying that the first, third, 
fourth, fifth, and sixth lines of each stanza contain four accents, 
while the second and seventh contain two. The rhythm is 
sometimes dactylic (swiftly walk), sometimes trochaic (western), 
whilst in some lines the effect is iambic (Where dll the 16ng and 
16ne daylight), though perhaps we should in such cases regard 
the line as trochaic, not counting the first syllable, and taking 
the last syllable by itself : in the dactylic lines the last syllable 
certainly ^es by itself. A monosyllabic foot seems even to be 
admitted mto the middle of a line (Thy brother | D^ath [ dime 
and I cried). 

2. Spirit of NlfiThl Night is personified in Euripides' play of 
Orestes (Electra's prayer, lines 174-177). Compare Tennyson's 
' young Night divine ' in Tht Palace of Art^ and Longfellow's 
Hymn to the, Night, 

. eastern oave. CSp. a 44^. 

*< When the night is left behind 
In the deep east, dim and blind." 

9. Star Inwrouglit. The dark sky is the mantle of Night with 
stars woven into its texture. 

13. opiate, bringing forgetfulness. 

17. rode, more picturesque than 'rose' or 'mounted.' Light 
is imagined as a horsemam or a charioteer, as Phoebus and Aurora 
drive their steeds in the ancient poets. 

19. Ills. Day is masc. in this line, fem. in 1. 11. 

22. Thy brother Death. Sleep is personified as the brother of 
Death in Iliad xiv. 231, §v0'''TinKp (ri^fi^iTro Kcunyvi/iT(p Qaudroio, 
Yir^l too makes Death the brother of Sleep— (7onsan^»neiM 
Lett Sopor — but his Death and Sleep are shapes of terror in the 
entrance to the lower world and represent * drugged sleep ' and 
'violent death,' Aen. yi. 278. Tennyson, In Memoriam, Canto 
68, follows Homer : 

" When in the down I sink my head, 
Sleep, Death's twin brother, times my breath." 

Similarly Shelley himself in the opening lines of Queen Mah : . 

" How wonderful is Death, 
Death and his brother Sleep." 

24. filmy-eyed. A whole picture in an epithet. Such coinage 
of a picturesque compound is more characteristic of Keats than 
of Shelley. 

160 NOTES 

No. XXVI. W%y art thou silerU f Is thy lave a plant 

In xxyi. -XXXIV. we have a group of poems devoted to 'The 
pains of love' — especially the sadness of love that meets with 

Wordsworth wrote this poem in 1835. '*In the month of 
January, when Dora and I were walking from Town End, Gras- 
mere, across the vale, snow being on the ground, she espied, in 
the thick though leafless hedge, a bird's nest half-filled with 
snow. Out of this comfortless appearance arose this sonnet, 
which was, in fact, written without the least reference to cuiy 
individual object" (Wordsworth's note). It recalls his earlier 
poem, " There is a change and I am poor " (1806). 

7. Even my least generous wishes have only sought for what 
you could give without lessening your own happiness. 

13. egtanttne, sweet brier. Gp. the deeicription of an arbour 
in Spenser, Faerie Queene 

ler. up. 
, n. V. 29 : 

" Through which the fragrant eglantine did spread, 
His prickling arms, entrayled.with roses red. 
Which daintie odours round about them threw." 

Milton in L*Attegro, 48, and Shelley in oviii. 16, seem to use 
'eglantine' for 'honeysuckle.' 

No. XXVII. fThen we twa parted 

First published in 1816. 

Metre I Dactylic. The first line of each couplet consists of 
two dactyls, the second of which is often shortened into a trochee 
(Wh^n we two pdrted). In two lines of the last stanza it is 
shortened still further, but the following line in each case begins 
with an extra syllable which takes the place of the dropped one. 
The second line of each couplet consists of a dactyl followed by 
a single long syllable. All the lines, as is usual in lyric metres, 
admit of an extra unaccented syllable — or even two syllables — at 
the beginning (In silence and te^s). 

7-8. The first draft of these lines wa>s 

** Never may I behold 
Moment like this." 

The superiority of the later version is self-evident ; and a com- 
parison of the two should help to convince those who think that 
revision and the takins of pains are inconsistent with poetic 
inspiration. It- would have been well if Byron, whom Sir W. 
Scott oddly described as wielding his pen with the negligent 
ease of a person of quality, had revised more often and more 

XXVI.— XX vm. 161 

14. light, lightly spoken of or lightly esteemed, the opposite of 
Lat. gravis, so often applied to character. 

18. a knell, i.e. * and the sound is as a knell to mine ear.' The 
construction is what would be called in Greek grammar * accusa- 
tive in apposition to the sentence,' like 'EX^yijy icrdyuiAey Mev^eifi 
\67niP viKpduf, 

No. XXVIII. In a drear-nighted December 

1. drear-nighted. This epithet combines two practices which 
are specially characteristic of Keats amongst the English poets, 
(1) the invention of compounds, (2) the formation of an adjective 
from a substantive by means of a participial termination. Mr. 
W. T. Arnold, in the introduction to his edition of Keats, points 
out that both practices may be defended by many examples, 
though perhaps nopoet uses them so freely as Keats. In coining 
* drear-nighted ' Keats mav be said to be only following the 
analogy of 'good-natured. Shakespeare has 'sceptred sway,' 
Milton ha>s ' tower'd cities,' * squadron'd angels,' and many more, 
Gray has 'storied urn,' even Wordsworth (following Milton) has 
'pillar'd shade.' 

On Keats' use of ' drear,' Mr. W. T. Arnold remarks that the 
word is, or was, frequent in the work of only one other poet, 
Ghatterton. "The word is also used three times by Coleridge, 
once in the famous line, ' A grief without a pang, dark, void and 
drear ' ; once at least by both Shelley and Tennyson ; and of late 
years has become comparatively common." 

4. green felicity, the happy time of their greenness. The bold . 
use of this epithet recalls the equally audacious and equally 
successful employment of the same word in Marvell's Thoughts in 
a Garden (G. T. cxui.) : 

*' Annihilating all that's made 
To a green thought in a green shade." 

There is an interesting verbal parallel in Euripides, BoAchae, 
866, ve^pbs x^oepf^^ ifiral^ovaa \eLfiaKos &5oyaU, 

5. undo, the opposite of ' to do,' especially in £2arly English to 
open that which has been fastened, a sense in which the word is 
still common; then, generally, to 'annul,' 'destroy.' 

6. sleety. Adjectives in y are "so numerous as to be a 
distinct feature in Keats' style " ( W. T. Arnold). 

12. Apollo. See note on cxiv. 75. 

14. firetting, the ruffling of their crystal surface. So ' fretted ' 
means 'ruffled' in cxxxi. 88, "Fretted by sallies of his mother's 
kisses." 'To fret' properly means 'to eat' (cp. the German, 


162 NOTES 

fre89en)f then 'to corrode,* and metaphorically 'to vex.* The 
word ' fret ' used in architecture and music is of different origin. 

15. petting. There is a substantive *pet* and an adjective 
'pettish,' but the verb seems to be of Keats* own coining. A 
' pet * in the sense of ' a fit of peevishness * is probably derived 
from *pet,* a * darling/ because darlings naturally become 

20. writhed, t.e. 'who writhed.* For the omission of the relative 
cp. VL 4. The harshness of the juxtaposition of ' writhed * with 
the unaccented ending and ' passed ' with the accented ending is 
the solitary blemish in this lovely poem. 

21. Cp. Tennyson, LocksUy Holly ''This is truth the poet 
sings. That a sorrow's crown of sorrow is remembering happier 
things." Tennyson was thinking of Dante, Inferno^ v. 121-3 : 

" Nessun maggior dolore 
Che ricordarsi del tempo felice 
Nella miseria." 

Mr. Churton Collins {lUuatrcUions of Tennyson, p. 63) quotes 
parallel passages from Thucydides, Pindar, Boethius, and others. 

No. XXIX. JFhere shall the lover rest 

The sons occurs in Marmion, Canto iii., where 'the air' is 
described as 'wild and sad,' like "the lament of men Who 
languish'd for their native glen." To Marmion, who had 
betrayed Constance Beverley, the words are specially ominous, 
and they are recalled by him at the hour of death (Canto vi. , 
stanza xxxii. ). 

Metre, — Dactylic. The first line of each couplet contains two 
dactyls, the second a dactyl followed by a trochee. An extra 
unaccented syllable is allowed at the beginning of the line, e.g, 
" (Her) wing shall the | e^le flap." But the metrical triumph of 
the song is the magnificent rendering of the rush of flight and 
pursuit in the third stanza. The sense of irresistible speed is 
conveyed by the way in which the metre ignores the ordinary 
breaks between the lines : " I'n the lost | bdttle. Borne | d6wn by 
the I fly'ing) Where mingles war's | rdttle with | gr6ans of the | 
dying. Scott may not consciously have manipulated his metre 
with this object. More probably he was simply guided by 
instinct. If so, it was the instinct of a poet. 

9. Eleu lore, apparently a Gaelic laqient, like the Greek iroToi. 

12. laving, more properly a transitive verb meaning 'to wash' 
or 'cleanse.' So Milton, "But as I rose out of the laving 
stream. " 

27* rattle, th.e confused noise of wart 

XXVIII.— XXX. 163 

No. XXX. what can ail thee, hnight-at-arms 

"Awakening up, he took her hollow lute,— 
Tumultuous, — and, in chords that tenderest be, 
He play'd an ancient ditty, long since mute, 
In Provence call'd, * La belle dame sans merci.'" 

Keats, Eve of St, Agnes, st xzziii. 

In a note on the above {Longer English Poems, p. 412), Mr. 
J. W. Hales says: *'It would seem to have been rather the name 
of the old poem, than the old poem itself, that inspired Keats' 
piece. The old poem, written originally by Alain Ghartier in 
the early 15th century, translated mto English by Sir Richard 
Kos, consists mainly of a somewhat prolix conversation between 
an obdurate lady and her lover, at the close of which she ffoes 
away indifferent to dance and play, he desperate to tear his hair 
and die. A copy of the English version may be seen in Chalmers* 
British Poets, vol. i. 518, and also in Political, Beligious, and 
Love Poems, ed. by Mr. Fumivall for the Early English Text 
Society. For some account of Alain Ghartier, see Besant's Early 
French Poetry, chap, i." 

Mr. F. T. Palgrave thought Keats ** not quite himself in this 
imitative ballad, which, alone among his poems, is admirable 
rather for the picturesqueness of the whole than for the equal 
wealth of the details also." But detailed ornament would 
scarcely have been in keeping with the ballad style. For Keats' 
possible debt to Goleridge, see note on Kubla Khan, oix. 16. 

2. palely. The adverb should more properly have been an 
adjective, an epithet of the knight. It is substituted, not so 
much for metrical reasons as from a fondness, characteristic of 
Keats, for unusual modes of expression. 

4. And no birds sing. Four very simple monosyllables ; but 
in this place they are an instance of the stupendous effect which 
a great poet can produce from the simplest materials. Some of 
the finest lines in English poetry {e.g, the last two of Words- 
« worth's great ode, cxxxi., and much of Shakespeare's sonnet, 
'*That time of year thou mayst in me behold," xxxviii. in 
Book I.) are almost or entirely monosyllabic. Pope's dislike 
for monosyllables, ''Ten low words oft creep in one dull line," 
has not been shared by our greatest poets. 

6. woe-1)6gone. The original phrase was * him was woe-begone,' 
i,e, 'to him had woe closed round,' from the obsolete verb 
*bego'=' encompass,' but the later construction occurs in 
Chaucer {N. E. D.). 

18. zone, girdle. 

19. as, as if. Cp. lxxii. 7 and oxiv. 74. An archaism : the 
' if ' was not needed when the force of the subjunctive was livelier. 

164 NOTES 

21 . pacing, moving with measured steps. ' Pace ' is the same 
word as * pass ' ; lAt. passiDs, 

26. manna-dew, Hebrew. See Exodus, xvi. 15. **It is im- 
possible to name any natural product that will answer to the 
requirements of the Scriptural narrative in regard to this heaven- 
sent food " [Cambridge Companion to the Bible). 

29. Alfln is the adjective of * elf,' a little sprite, though it is 
often itself used as a substantive. 

35. latest, not simpW ' last * but with an allusion to the fact — 
doubtless familiar to Keats as a medical student — that vitality is 
lowest in the hours just before dawn. Cp. ** The dead dark hour 
before the dawn When sick men die," Lewis Morris, ICpic of 

41. gloam. There is a substantive * ffloaming, ' evening twilieht, 
and also a verb * to gloam,' to grow dark, both chiefly found in 
Scotch writers, but apparently of English origin and connected 
with ' glow ' and ' gloom.' The word * sloaming ' is still used in 
the Yorkshire dialect. The form 'gloam* as substantive is 
Keats' own invention. 

42. ffap4d, i.e. *I saw (that) their lips saped,' the verb not 
the participle, unless we are to suppose that the participle is 
inaccurately formed, like ' slumber'a in ii. 28. 

No. XXXI. A weary lot is thine, fair maid 

Like vi., this song is from Rokehy. It was suggested to Scott 
by an old Scotch ballad, from which he borrowed a verse : 

** He turu'd him round and right about. 
All on the Irish shore. 
He gave his bridle-reins a shake, 
With Adieu for evermore. 

My dear I 
Adieu for evermore ! " 

The whole ballad is given by Scott in the notes to Rohehy. 
These are the " charming lines of Scott's " — only, as we have seen, 
they are not Scott's — from which Clive Newcome made a sketch 
to relieve his feelings after a memorable disappointment. 
Thackeray, The Newcomes, chap. liii. 

3. braid, to bind the hair with a ' braid ' or ribbon. 

4. rue, Greek, fnrHiy a plant of bitter taste, sometimes called 
* herb of grace ' because it symbolised repentance. Cp. Hamlet^ 
IV. V. 182, " We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays.'' 

7. Lincoln g^reex^ *' Lincoln at one time dyed the best green 

XXX.— XXXIil. 165 

of all England, and Coventry the best blue " (Dr. Brewer). Cp. 
the ballad of The Outlaw Murray : 

*' Thereat he spyed five hundred men 
Shooting with bows on Newark lea ; 
They were a' in ae livery clad 
O' the Lincoln green sae gay to see." 

12. fieUn, adverb, 'joyfully.* 

No. XXXII. Whm the lamp is shattered 

It would be difficult to find, either in earlier or later English 
poetry, a dirge so full of music as this, where the sound not 
merely helps the sense, but seems even fuller of meaning than the 
actual words. 

Metre, — ^Anapaestic. The first line of each couplet contains 
two feet with an extra unaccented syllable at the end, the second 
contains three feet. An iambus is often substituted for an 
anapaest. When the Idmp | is shdt | tered | The li'ght | in the 
dtist I Ues ddad. 

19. The weaker of the two lovers is left single, left alone. 
This is better than taking ' singled ' to mean ' selected.' 

20. A very obscure line. If the text is really what Shelley 
wrote, it seems to mean * To endure (the loss of, or disappoint- 
ment in) what it once possesst * — a strange ellipse. Mr. F. H. 
Dale suggests to me a brilliant emendation, * To endure that it 
once possest* — i,e, *To endure (the thought) that...,' also an 
elliptical expression, but a far more natural one. In this case 
the thought is the one expressed by Keats in xxviii. 

23. The frailest, t.e. the human heart. Cp. Wordsworth, 

** Mightier far 
Than strength of nerve and sinew, or the sway 
Of magic, potent over sun and star. 
Is love — though oft to agony distrest. 
And though his favourite seat be feeble woman's breast." 

30. eagle, adjective, perched in a lofty and dangerous position, 
such as an eagle misht choose. Cp. Tennyson, Demeter, *1 
stared from every eagle peak.' 

No. XXXIIL lover^s eyes are sharp to see 

This and the following poem are founded dn the same legend, 
which is best given in the words of Scott's note : ** There is a 
tradition in Tweeddale, that when Neidpath Castle, near Peebles, 
was inhabited by the Earls of March, a mutual passion subsisted 
between a daughter of that noble family, and a son of the Laird 

166 NOTES 

of Tushielaw, in Ettrick Forest. As the alliance was thought 
unsuitable by her parents, the young man went abroad. During 
his absence, the lady fell into a consumption ; and at length, as 
the only means of savinff her life, her father consented that her 
lover should be recalled. On the day when he was expected to 
pass through Peebles, on the road to Tushielaw, the young lady, 
though much exhausted, caused herself to be carried to the 
balcony of a house in Peebles, belonging to the family, that she 
might see him as he rode past. Her anxiety and eagerness gave 
sucn force to her organs, that she is said to have distinguished 
his horse's footsteps at an incredible distance. But Tushielaw, 
unprepared for the change in her appearance, and not expecting 
to see her in that place, rode on without recognizing her, or even 
slackening his pace. The lady was unable to support the shock ; 
and, after a short struggle, died in the arms of her attendant." 

For Neidpath, see also ucxxvii. It now belongs to the Earl of 

6. bower. See note on xiv. 14. 

13. sttltry, hot, feverish. 

hectio. iicTiKds, 'habitual,' from i^s, a * habit' of body, 
was applied to fevers by Galen ; hence * hectic ' means feverish, 

21. kenn'd, recognised. 

26. glancing, transitive, ».e. 'casting quickly or obliquely.' 
Generally intransitive. 

27. spoke, for 'spoken,' past participle. 

No. XXXIV. Earl March looh^d on his dying child 

12. Ellen. Campbell's poems are too often marred by inexact 
rhymes. There are several in Lord UUirCa Daughter (xvni. ). • 

No. XXXV. Bright Star ! would I were stedfast 

as thou art 

"This beautiful sonnet was the last word of a youth, in whom, 
if the fulfilment may ever safely be prophesied from the promise, 
England lost one of the most rarely gifted in the long roll of her 
poets. Shakespeare and Milton, had their lives been closed at 
twenty-five, would (so far as we know) have left poems of less 
excellence and hope than the youth who, from the petty school 
and London surgery, passed at once to a place with them of 
* high collateral glory ' " (F.T.P.). 

It was written after landing on the Dorset coast at the begin- 
ning of his voyage to Italy, Autumn, 1820, when "the bright 

XXXIII. -xxxy I. 167 

beaaty of the day and the sceDe revived for a moment the poet's 
drooping heart/' 

4. Eremite, the same word as * hermit/ from Ok. ipvfJ^t '^ 
desert.* Originally the two forms were used indiscriminately, 
but from about the middle of the 17th century they have been 
differentiated in use, 'hermit' being the ordinary and popular 
word, while eremite (always spelt without the unetymological 
h) is used either poetically or rhetorically or with special refer- 
ence to its primitive use in Greek {N, E, D,), NcUure*8 Eremite 
is the moon. 

6. In a poet who knew no Greek the resemblance to Euripides 
is the more striking : QdXaffcra kXd^ei vdPTa rdyOpdnrwy Kaxd^ Iph. 
Taur. 1193, ** The sea cleanses all the ills of men." With * hung 
aloft* in 1. 2 we may compare AlcestiSf 450, deipofjuivas iravp^xov 
uXdvas, ** When all night long the moon is lifted high." 

13. tender-taken, gently drawn, a happily formed compound. 
No. XXX VI. WTim I have fears that I may cease to be 

Written not later than January, 1818, soon after the comple- 
tion of Endymion, l^e most Shakespearean of the sonnets of the 
poet who has sometimes been said to have had more of Shake- 
speare's spirit than any other modern writer. The likeness to 
Shakespeare is a thing to be felt rather than analysed, but one 
or two striking resemblances may be noted : (1) the beginning — 
compare the openings of several of Shakespeare's finest sonnets, 
" Wnen I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced," " When in 
disgrace with fortune and men's eyes," *' When in the chronicle 
of wsusted time," ''When to the sessions of sweet silent thought" 
(all in Golden Treasury, Book I. ) ; (2) the scheme of rhymes is 
Shakespearean, not Italian ; (3) the couplet ending is especially 
Shakespearean ; (4) the rhythm — a peculiarly stately iambic ; 
(5) the rich imagery ; (6) the richness of the language. Matthew 
Arnold, in applying the epithet Shakespearean to Keats' work, 
expressly says that he means " ntft imitative of Shakespeare," 
but having " that rounded perfection and felicity of loveliness of 
which Shakespeare is the great master " ; but in this sonnet the 
resemblance is closer than usual. 

The greatness of the thought in this sonnet should be borne in 
mind by those who are tempted to judge Keats unfavourably 
because of some lapses in his poetry and in his letters to Fanny 

3. charaot'ry, written symbols. Gp. Shakespeare, Jvl, Gaea. 
II. i. 308, 'All the charactery of my sad brows,' i.e. 'all the 
signs of care graven in my sad brow.' 


No. XXXVU Smrpristd hf J4f^--im^aiitmi ms Oe 

WoEDSVomrs daog^ter, Cathanne, died m 181S aft Uie age ol 
threcL Die Q aiingj , vka was derotod to the ddld, kaa left aome 

vaa writtaB maar yean after her death, a^ ia a proof q€ the 
atrength of Wordsarorth^ 

L MEiiiaid, suddenly 

Na XXXVllL At&iemidlimriif mgki, wfiem jfars an 

" It Ib impooBiUe not to regret that Moore haa w ritt e n ao little 
in this sweet and gemunely national stjle^" (F.T.P.) 

Jtfefre. — ^Fonr aeeenta in ea^ line. The feet are indiffneatly 

1. ■aiiiiaf, The stars were sainiu a ed to dirtO dew. Cp. 
Te nn yson, /n Jf esMw iui^ xriL: 

" And faahny dnnfs in snmmer dark 
Slidefroai the hoaom Qftheataia." • 

So Shelley, ^donois, L 91, "stany dew." See also xxiT. 6 and 
Gzzn. 40. 

8. orfflSB, prayer, from Lat^ orore, *to pny," throng^ O.F. 

9. Soggested by a paaskge in Montaigne : " There are oonntries 
where they believe that t]& aonls of the blest live in all manner 
of liberty in ddightfol fields; and that what we call Echo is 
those soids r^eating the words we utter " (Moore's note). 

No. XXXIX. And Am art dead^ as ifoung and fair 

"A KASIKKLT example of Byron's command of strong thought 
snd dose reaaiming in verse: — as the next is equally charao- 
teristic dl Shelley's wayward intensity.'' (F.T.P.) 

XXXVL— XLI. 169 

The absolate simplicity of the Ismguage and the large propor- 
tion of monosyllables are remarkable, as is also the solemn 
elegiac cadence of the verse, suited to the expression of a grief 
that does not rebel, but sadly accepts the ruling of destiny. 

18. That what 1 loved is now nothingness. 

30. lours, frowns. Cp. * lowering,' a. v. of Matthew xvi. 3. 

60. a fidnt embrace. Cp. Soph, Ant. 1236, H d* ^p6y dyxw* 
%T* ffjuppwf Tap0^(fi trpoairr^aaertUf " and still breathing clasps the 
maiden in a faint embrace." 

71. endears, properly transitive, * makes dear to me,' and so it 
may be here, governing * more * : but it may possibly be intran- 
sitive, ' is more dear to me.' 

No. XL. One word is too often profaned 

Written to Jane Williams, to whom also were dedicated two 
other poems in this collection, xcui. ( With a guitar) and ci. {The 

Metre, — There are three accents in the first line of each 
couplet, two in the second. The feet are anapaests and iambi 
subtly mingled. 

1. One word, love. One feeling, worship. One hope, the 
desire of the moth for the star (1. 13). 

8. tbat must mean *^ love." Shelley's wish to keep this word 
. back till the second stanza has led him into some obscurity of 

No. XLI. Pibroch of Donuil Dhu 

"This is a very ancient pibroch belonging to Clan Macdonald, 
and supposed to refer to the expedition of JDonald Balloch, who, 
in 1431, launched from the Isles with a considerable force, 
invaded Lochaber, and at Inverlochy defeated and put to flight 
the Earls of Mar and Caithness, though at the head of an army 
superior to his own. The words of the set theme or melody, to 
which the pipe variations are applied, run thus in Gaelic : — 

^' Piobaireachd Dhonwl Dhuidh, piohaireachd DhonuU (ter) ; 
Piob Cbgu8 hraUich airfaiche Inverlochi," 

" The pipe-summons of Donald the Black, the pipe summons 
of JDonald ; 
The war-pipe and the pennon are on the gathering-place at 
Inverlochy " (Scott's note). 

There is a magnificent description of such a summons and of 
the gathering of the clans in The Lady of the Lake, Canto iiL 

170 NOTES 

Metre. — First line two dactyls; second line dactyl and 
trochee. In the second stanza the metre disregards the division 
between the lines, as in the third stanza of xxix. : the effect is 
the same — an irresistible swiftness, in the first and third lines 
of the third stanza anapaests are substituted for dactyls: the 
change produces a slower movement appropriate to tne stem 
solemnity of the lines. 

I. Pibroch, from Gaelic pwbaireachd, * pipe-music/ a wild piece 
of martial music for performance on the oa^ipes. 

8. Oentles, men of * gentle ' or noble birth. 

II. War-pipe, the bag-pipe, the national Scotch instrument for 
martial music. 

pennon, same word as ' pennant ' (see note on Lvin. 3), a 
pointed flag formerly borne at the end of a spear or lance ; or, in 
wider sense, used simply for ' flag.* 

12. Inverlochy, near Fort William, Inverness. Montrose de- 
feated Argyll here in 1645. 

13. plaid (Gaelic word), a rectangular piece of woollen cloth 
worn as a garment by the Scotch Highlanders. The plaid was 
woven with the ' Tartan * or arrangement of colours indicating 
the clan. 

24. targes, shields, from Lat. terguin, through French. ' Target' 
is the same word. 

40. knell, sound as a bell, toll. The verb is older than the 

No. XLII. j4 wet sheet and a flowing sea 

Allan Cunningham (1784-1842) began life as a stonemasons 
apprentice, and afterwards became clerk of the works to Chantrey , 
the sculptor. His writings in prose and verse are not, as a rule, 
of a very high order ; but this sea-song holds a permanent place 
in English literature. 

1. sheet, a rope by which a' sail is handled. The original sense 
is * projection ' or that which shoots out, then a corner, especially 
of a garment or of a cloth ; after which it was extended to mean 
a whole cloth or sheet. The nautical senses are found in the 
cognate Scandinavian words {Skeat). Flomngt advancing, rising. 
This sense is chiefly common in the phrase ' ebb and flow.* 

2. follows. A following wind is obviously a favourable one. 
Compare the Latin secundtiSf * favourable,* derived from seqiwrt 
'to follow.* Virgil combines the original and derivative senses 
in Aeneid i. 166 : Flectit equos curruque volans dot lora seeundo, 

8. lee, on the sheltered side, away from the wind ; Scandinavian 

XLI.— XLIV. 171 

11. BXiorlnff. So the breeze is sometimes said to 'mutter' or 

14. tight, water-tight; but it also expresses trimness, com- 

17. horned, crescent-shaped. 

No. XLIII. Ye Mariners of Englamd 

This stirring sea-song was written by Campbell to the tune of an 
older song, *Ye Gentlemen of England,' composed by Martin 
Parker, 1630. 

Metre, — Observe the rapidity given by the double rhyme in 
the seventh line of each stanza. Compare the similar effect in 
lines 31, 45, 55, of Lord UllirCs Daughter (xviii.). 

15. Blake, Robert^ (1599-1657). The great English Admiral 
who won several victories over the Dutch and afterwards over 
the Spaniards in the time of the Commonwealth. 

Nelson, Horatio. Lord Nelson, the greatest of all English 
Admirals, born 1758, killed at the battle of Trafalgar Bay, in 
which he defeated the French and Spanish fleets, October 21, 

21. bulwarkB, ori^ally the bole or trunk of a tree, then a 
rampart or fortification made of the trunks of trees. The Paris 
hovlevards are broad streets occupying the site of ancient ram- 
parts. The word is specially used (as in xliy. U) of the 
railboards or defences of a ship. 

22. steep, adj. for subst., the cliffs. Cp. Milton, Hymn on 
Nativity y ** The steep of Delphos " — a phrase afterwards used by 

25. native oak, the * wooden walls of old England,' the wooden 
ships, superseded by ironclads, which in turn have been replaced 
by vessels built of steel. 

31. meteor, metaphor for simile : ' the flag of England shall 
still strike terror into her enemies like a terrible meteor, a sign 
of evil omen, burning in the midnight sky.' 

No. XLIV. Of Nelscm and the North 

One of the noblest patriotic songs in the language, full of martial 
ardour, vet inspired with a magnanimity that is conspicuously 
absent from many popular war-poems. The metre is mag- 
nificently handled, and the solitary blemish in the poem is the 
introduction of the mermaid. 

The battle of the Baltic was fought off Copenhagen on April 
2nd, 1801. "It resulted in the breaking up of the northern 
coalition against England, which had been one of Napoleon's 

1 72 NOTES 

most cherished schemes. After safely passing Gronenberg Castle, 
Nelson persuaded Parker to commence the attack without delay. 
Two days were spent by Nelson in sounding the King's Channel, 
which lies between Copenhagen and a large shoal, and is only 
three-quarters of a mile broad. Along the land side of this 
channel the Danes had ranged nineteen ships and floating 
batteries. Everything being in readiness, Nelson made the 
signal for action early in the morning of the 2nd. The action 
began at ten o'clock. Riou, with the frigates, at once attacked 
the Crown Batteries, and maintained the unequal contest for 
three hours, until he was killed. The battle raged for three 
hours without any apparent advantage beine gained, and Sir 
Hyde Parker made the signal for recall. Nelson, affecting not 
to see it, continued the action, and about two o'clock the greater 
part of the Danish fire ceased. It was impossible, however, to 
take possession of the ships that struck, because they were pro- 
tected by the batteries on shore. Nelson, wishing to save 
further bloodshed, sent ashore a flas of truce, savins that he 
must be allowed to take possession of the prizes, if only for the 
sake of the wounded men on board of them ; and during the 
next day, Good Friday, the work still went on. The following 
days were spent by Nelson in maturing the negotiations, and on 
the 9th he succeeded in concluding an armistice for fourteen 
weeks, his object being to gain time to attack the Russians. 
The opportune death of the Czar Paul rendered any active 
hostility with that country unnecessary, and the armistice 
resulted in a treaty between P!)ngland and the Northern Powers." 
— Dictionary of English History, Low and Pulling. 

Metre. — The feet are iambi varied with anapaests. The fifth 
line of the stanza presents some difficulty. Probably it is meant 
to consist of four feet, the last being an anapaest. But though 
there are alwavs four emphatic syllables in each line, they do not 
always coincide with the verse accent, or respect the division 
into feet ; e.g, the emphasis in lines 5, 32 requires us to read 

And hSr ar'ms I &long | thS deS'p I pfo'udly shon'e. 
Their shO'ts | ftloiig | thS dee'p | slCwlJ boo'm. 

The fine metrical effect obtained is ample iustification for the 
irregularity : the poet's instinct in a case like this is absolutely 
sound, more to be trusted than rules. For a similar irregularity 
compare Wordsworth in xix. 6. 

8. Frince. The Crown Prince of Denmark. 

10. leylatbans, identified in most translations of the Bible 
with the whale, and so by Milton, Paradise Lost, i. 201, "That 
sea-beast Leviathan, which God of all his works Created hueest 
that swim the ocean-stream." The Hebrew word was used of 
any huge monster. 

11. bulwarks : see note on xliii. 21. 





XLIV. 173 

14. Mr. Aubrey de Vere first pointed out to me in a letter the 
effect of the touch of exactness in this line, *' giving the hour as 
it was doubtless given by Nelson himself in Ms despatch." It 
increases the impressiveness of the narrative by making it seem 
more real to us. 

21. tbe fleeter, so much the more quickly. 

24. adamaTitlTie, iron. The rarer word, from the Greek, 
properly meaning ' not to be subdued or broken,' conveys an idea 
of implacable, resistless fate, that would not have been given by 
the smnpler epithet. 

26. hurricane eclipse, like the sudden blotting out of the sun 
by a wild storm of wind. Prof. Herford has remarked the 
presence of Hebraic imagination in this and other lines of 

29. bavoc, destruction, perhaps originally a hunting term. 

30. a feeble cheer, governed by ' sent back. ' 

37. Nelson wrote a letter addressed "To the brothers of 
Englishmen, the Danes," and sent it under a flag of truce to the 
Crown Prince. **Lord Nelson has directions to spare Denmark 
when no longer resisting ; but if the firing is continued on the 
part of Denmark, Lord Nelson will be obliged to set on fire all 
the floating batteries he has taken, without having the power of 
saving the brave Danes who have defended them." See account 
of battle in Mahan's InfitLerice of Sea-Power upon the FrencJi 
Revolution and Empire^ vol. ii., ch. xiii. 

53. ftineral, here an adjective, not quite the same a>s 'funereal,' 
which means simply * deathlike,' * mournful ' : * fires of funeral 
light' means * fires that lit up death.' Cp. * fires of death,' 
LTI. 7. 

67. blaie, %,e, of illuminations. 

58. in light, in brilliantly lighted banqueting-halls. 

63. ElBinore, a sea-port on the sound of Denmark (Danish 
name, Helsinsor) opposite the Swedish town of Helsingborg. It 
is the scene of Hamlet, Campbell shows a poet's instinct in his 
choice of the lofty-sounding name. 

66. Cp. Thucydides ii. 42, funeral speech of Pericles, 5/ Aa- 
XiffTOv Kaipov t6xv^ &M-0. dxfiy ttjs Sd^s fmXKov i) tov 84ovs din^XKd' 
yriaavy ** In an instant, at the height of their fortune, they passed 
away from the scene, not of their terror, but of their glory." 

67. Biou, commander of the Amazon frigate in the battle. 
'* During the night of April 1 Kiou was in almost constant 
attendance on Nelson ; and in the last instructions prior to the 
battle of Copenhagen the frigates and small craft were placed 
under his orders * to perform such service as he is directed by 

174 NOTES 

Lord Nelson"* {Diet, of Nat. Biog,). He was killed by a cannon- 
shot in the battle, and Nelson in his despatch wrote that the 
country had sustained an irreparable loss. 

70. The mermaid brings a note of artificiality and unreality 
into a poem that is otherwise full of reality. Campbell might 
have defended himself by pleading the example of Milton, who 
introduced a dolphin into Lycidas {O. T, lxxxix. 164), but the 
dolphin, though its appropriateness is open to dispute, has a 
justification that is lacking to the mermaid here : the mermaid 
is a solitary figure, the dolphin in Lycidas has a good deal of 
mythological company. For a similar reason the sea-nymphs of 
ifhe Tempest {O. T. lxv.) do not make a valid precedent. 

No. XL V. Stem Daughter of the Voice of Ood 

Those who appreciate the greatness of this poem will be in a 
position to give the right answer to the old question * whether 
didactic poetry is a mistake.' Moral teaching does not become 
poetry by being cut up into lengths and furnished with rhymes, 
but it may be made poetry if it is infused with passion and 
imagination. The Ode to Duty is' a great poem, not primarily 
because of the soundness of its philosophy, but because the poet 
has given to the abstract conception of I)uty * the consecration 
and the poet's dream,' and out of an abstrsiction has created * a 
form more real than living man, Nursling of immortality.' But 
a poem artistically great might still — like some of Shelley's — be 
morally unsound: it is the soundness of its philosophy that 
makes the value of the Ode to Duty for mankind. 

The following extracts are from Mr. Aubrey de Vere's comments 
on the poem (Essays chiefly on Poetry ^ vol. i. pp. 179-183) : **It 
affirms that between the lower and higher sections of man'iQ 
nature there commonly exists an antagonism, and that the con- 
dition of man's life is a militant condition. A few happier spirits 
may stand outside the battle, and, led on by an inner law of 
unconscious goodness, may, at least for an indefinite period, 
advance along a flower-strewn path of virtue : but even these are 
insecure ; the path of virtue is, for the most part, a rough and 
thorny path, and the children of men can only find peace while 
they tread it in obedience to a Law challenging them from above. 
To find true freedom they must subject themselves to a noble 
bondage. ... 

** The chief excellence of this poem, in its moral bearings, con- 
sists in the absolute spontaneousness of its 'good confession' 
that Duty is the one thing that gives dignity to life. The poet 
does not speak of the excesses into which human nature falls 
when apart from such a guide, but of *■ omissiong ' : 

* I deferred 
The task imposed, from day to day/ 

XLIV.— XLV. 175 

It is in the 'quietness of Thought' that he repudiates the 
'unchartered freedom' which tires, and demands instead the 
liberating yoke of that subjection which is at once ' victory and 
law.' He looks around him, and from every side the same lesson 
is borne in upon him. It is because they obey law that the 
flowers return in their seasons and the stars revolve in their 
courses ; the law of Nature is to inanimate things what Duty is 
to man. The peasant who had only half learned his lesson in 
science might imagine that the law of gravitation was but a 
burden that binds man to earth. The philosopher knows that 
amid the boundless fields of the creation it is that which gives 
to everything its proper place, its motion, and its rest." 

With this ode should be compared a later poem of Words- 
worth's, the Happy Warrior, In its account of the man 

" Who, doomed to go in company with Pain, * 

And Fear, and Bloodshed, miserable train ! 
Turns his necessity to glorious gain " 

it "illustrates by an example the principle which the earlier 
poem affirms." 

There are several variations of reading in different editions of 
the Ode. The most important variants are : 

15, 16. " May joy be theirs while life shall last ! 

And Thou, if they should totter, teach them 
to stand fast." 

24. " Yet find that other strength according to their need." 

31. " The task imposed from day to day." 

1. Daughter of the Voice. This is a Hebrew expression, 
'Bath-col,' according to De Quincey, Autobiography, vol. i., 
p. 123, 1896 edition. " The daughter oi a voice meant an echo, 
the original sound being viewed as the mother, and the reverbera- 
tion, or secondary sound, as the daughter " (De Quincey's note). 

37. uncharter'd, I am weary of a freedom that is not, like the 
freedom of a true citizen, regulated by a Charter which defines 
his rights and privileges. 

39. change their name, be fixed on different objects. 

45. flowers laugh. Cp. the famous attribution of laughter, 
dvfipidfioy yiXacTfia, to the sea by Aeschylus ; also xciv. 14, ** Out- 
did the sparkling waves in glee " ; and Isaiah, ly. 12, '* The 
trees of the field shall clap their hands." Shelley imitated 
Wordsworth's expression in Adonais, 1. 441, "A light of laughing 
flowers along the grass is spread." 

48. Cp. the description in Soph. 0. T, 863 seq., of the vdfiai 
{f^l/LTodcs, odpaviav dt,* aldipa reKPudivres, Cov 'OXv/uiros var^p ftdvos, 
'*law8 established on high, whose birth-place is the heaven 
)9.bove, whose sire is Olympus alone." 

176 NOTES 

63. lowly wise. The phrase comes from Milton, Paradise 
Lost, VIII. 173, ** Be lowly wise." Lowly is an adverb as in AWs 
Well that Ends Well, ii. ii, "I will show myself highly fed and 
lowly taught." 

66. oonfldenoe of reason, confidence that rests on reason and 
has therefore a sound basis. 

66. light of truth, as opposed to superstitious fear. 
No. XLVI. Eternal Spirit of the chairUess Mind 

"BoKNiVABD, a Gknevese, was imprisoned by the Duke of 
Savoy in Ghillon on the lake of Geneva for his courageous 
defence of his country against the tyranny with which Piedmont 
threat^ed it during the first half of the seventeenth century. 
This nobie sonnet is worthy to stand near Milton's on the Vaudois 
massacre. " (F. T. P. ) Wordsworth's Sonnet to Toussaint I'Ou ver- 
ture, with its magnificent ending 

'* Thou hast great allies ; 
Thy friends are exaltations, agonies, 
And love, and man's unconquerable mind," 

should also be remembered in this connection. 

Byron's well-known poem, the Prisoner of GhiUon, was written 
before he heard the story of Bonnivard. It Was suggested by his 
first sight of the prison, and the story is his own invention. 

1. The line is suggested by Pope's ''Eternal sunshine of the 
spotless mind," Eloisa to Abelard, 1. 209. 

No. XLVII. Ttuo voices are there ; one is of the sea 

Switzerland was usurped by the French under Napoleon in 1800. 
The next five poems (xlvii. — u.) are perhaps the finest of 
Wordsworth's splendid series of political sonnets — patriotic in 
the best sense ; the work of one whose very love of his country 
makes him deeply sensitive to her fame and afraid lest his own 
generation should do anything to diminish the glory of their 
noble heritage. 

No. XLVIII. Once did she hold the gorgeous East in fee 

The republic of Venice, so powerful in the Middle Ages, had 
long become " the shade of that which once was great," when it 
was finally crushed by Napoleon in 1797, and handed over by 
him the same year after the treaty of Campo Formic to Austria. 

1. in fee (A.S. feoh ; connected with ' fief ' and ' feudal '), as a 
fee or fief, an estate held from a superior under certain condi- 
tions, especially on condition of military service. 

XLV.-L. 177 

7. Compare oxiv. 76-86. " The going out of the Doge from 
the Lido to wed the sea," afterwards called the Sposalizio del 
Mare, was a festival instituted to commemorate the victory of 
the Doge Orseolo over the Dalmatians in 998. Under the 
dukedom of Ziani and the patronage of Pope Alexander III., in 
1178, the ceremonial became more elaborate. It was performed 
annually on the Feast of the Ascension, and not only encouraged 
the Venetians to hope for success in every maritime enterprise, 
but, under the Pope's sanction, it had the effect of proclaiming 
to Europe the supremacy of Venice over the Adriatic. For an 
account of the ceremony, see any history of Venice. 

No. XLIX. friend / I know not which way I must look 

*' Whilb leading men to pierce below the artificial and conven- 
tional to the natural man and natural life, as Rousseau did, 
Wordsworth still cherished the symbols, the traditions, and the 
great institutes of social order. Simplification of life and 
thought and feeling was to be accomplished without summoning 
up the dangerous spirit of destruction and revolt. Wordsworth 
Hved with nature, yet waged no angry railing war against 
society. . . , Communion with nature is, in Wordsworth's 
doctrine, the school of duty."— Mr. John Morley in his Intro- 
duction to Wordsworth's PoeticcU Works, 

10. This is idolatry, i.e» to be guilty of these is to be guilty of 
worshipping the idol of wealth. Expense, lavish expenditure. 

12. the good old cause, devotion to country combined with 
simplicity in the home. The thought is like Horace's Frivatus 
Ulia census erat brevisy commune magnum. 

13. fearftil, afraid to do wrong. 

No. L. Milton I thou shovM^st be living at this hour 

** It is interesting to know that it was with Milton before him 
as a model that Wordsworth first experimented in sonnet- 
writing ; for undoubtedly there passed from the elder poet to 
the younger something more than the mere rhythm and cadence 
of his lines ; there passed also the heroic style, and what under- 
lies heroic style — dignity of thought, passion of conviction, 
self-restraint. *~OMar^«r/y Beview,' Oct,, 1900. 

3. altar, sword, and pen. A definite reference to classes — the 
clergy, the soldier, the student. 

4. fireside, domestic life (cp. 'household laws' in the last 
sonnet). liaJl and l)Ower, knights and ladies. 


178 NOTES 

8. maimen, character, Lati mores, as in William of Wyke- 
ham's motto, * Manners makyth man.' 

11. naJced, i.e. cloudless. So 'bare' in liXXX. 28, 'When night 
is bare/ and in cxxxi. 13, ' When the heavens are bare.' 

14. lowliest duties. So in Ode to Duti/f xly. 63, 'lowly wise.' 

No. LII. On Linden, when the sun teas low 

The first of a group of four poems dealing with war. Hohen- 
linden and After Blenheim show the terrible side of battle, the 
waste of life, the wanton misery of wscrfare. The two poems 
that come after these reveal another aspect : Dvlce tt decorum 
est pro patria mori. 

JloJierdinden, though it is said to have been originally rejected 
by a Scotch newspaper as ' not up to the editor's standard,' has 
enjoyed a thoroughly deserved popularity from the time of its 
first publication. Sir W. Scott was fond of quoting it. He 
declaimed it to L^den (Lockhart's Life of Scott, vol. vi. p. 326) 
who remarked, " Dash it, man, tell the fellow that I hate him, 
bat, dash him, he has written the finest verses that have been 
published these fifty years." Campbell's reply, when Scott 
reported this, was, '* Tell Leyden that I detest him, but I know 
the value of his critical approbation." 

1. Linden, Hohen Linden, 'High Lime-trees,' a village in 
Upper Saxony. Here Napoleon's general, Moreau, defeated the 
Austrians under Archduke John on December 3rd, 1800. 
Moreau's army was posted on the plateau between the Iser and 
the Inn, the Austrian army on the right bank of the Inn. The 
Austrians advanced amidst drifting snow, and attacked with 
great fury ; but the French received considerable reinforcements 
under Ney, and the Austrians were totally routed. The latter 
lost 8000 killed and wounded, and 11,000 prisoners ; the French 
loss was 5000 killed and wounded. 

7. fires of death. Cp. xliv. 53, 'fires of funeral light.' 

13. riven, split, cloven (Danish word). 

22. war-clouds, clouds of smoke, dun, dusky, gloomy. 

23. Frank, the French. France received its name from the 
Franks, one of the tribes of a Germanic confederation formed in 
the third century a.d. Hun, here used to describe the Austrians, 
inhabitants of Austro-Hungary. 

24. canopy, covering (from the Greek, through mediaeval 
Latin and fYench). 

27. Munich, capital of Bavaria. 

L.— LV. 179 

No. LIII. It was a summer evening 

Robert Southet (1774-1843), the friend of Coleridge and 
Wordsworth, had a distinguished literary career, and attained 
the Poet Laureateship. His lives of Nelson and John Wesley 
rank as classics. It is not likely that his longer poems will find 
many admirers again, but this poem, together with T?ie Scholar 
(liXiv.) and The HoUy Tree, holds a secure place. 

Blenheim is a village in Austria, on the northern bank of the 
Danube. The great battle was fought on Au^st 13, 1704, 
during the third campaign of the War of the Spanish Succession. 
Marshals Tallard ana Marsin were in command of the forces of 
Louis XIV. The Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene 
commanded the allies. Their victory frustrated the plans of 
Louis, who had hoped to strike at the heart of the Austrian 
power by menacing Vienna. 

28. wonder-waiting, expecting to hear some marvel, a happily- 
invented compound. 

38. yon little stream, the Nebel, a small tributary of the 

44. childing, a woman with child. The verb 'to child' is 
found in old English, and Shakespeare speaks of Hhe childing 
Autumn ' for ' the fruitful Autumn.' 

55. " Marlborough, seeing the weakness of (the French centre, 
threw his cavalry across the Nebel, and after a terrific struggle 
cut the French line in two. Meanwhile, on the right, Eugene 
only saved the battle by the steadiness of his Prussian infantry... . 
The allies are computed to have lost 11,000 men out of an army 
of 52,000 ; the French altogether 40,000 out of 60,000, including 
14,000 prisoners" {Dictionary of Eng. History), 

No. LIV. When he who adores thee has left but the name 

The lines commemorate the fate of Robert Emmett, one of the 
most disinterested leaders in the sad Irish insurrection of 1803. 

Metre. — ^Four accents in the first, three in the second line of 
each couplet. The feet are indifferently anapaests and iambL 

1. thee, addressed to Ireland. 

10. of my reason, of mature years, when man is supposed to 
be guided by reason. 

No LV. Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note 

Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), an Irish clergyman, who died of con- 
sumption in his thirty-first year. His famous poem first appeared 
in an Irish newspaper, and various pretenders laid claim to the 
distinction of its authorship. 

180 NOTES 

The battle of Corunna (January 16, 1809), between the English 
and French, was foaght during the Peninsular War at the close 
of Sir John Moore's retreat from Madrid pursued by Soult. 
Moore defeated the French, and carried out the embarkation of 
his troops with but little loss, but was himself killed in the 
battle. The story should be read in Napier's Peninsular War, 
The poem is one that goes straight to the heart, even of those who 
care little for poetry in general. It expresses with perfect sin- 
cerity and directness a pathos that all can feel. Without any 
seeking after picturesque phrases, or strainine after rhetorical 
effect, it sets the scene before us with wonderful vividness — the 
hurried march, the hasty digging of the grave, the dim light of 
moon and lantern, the simple nobility of the dead, the anguish 
of the last farewell. Like Wordsworth's elegy (xvi.) it is a 
model of grief ennobled by manly reticence. 

Metre. — As in the preceding poem, except for the extra short 
syllable which gives a trochaic ending to the second line of each 
couplet. Occasionally a single long syllable is substituted for the 
first foot : this gives a dactylic enect, e.g, it would be possible to 
scan 1. 21, Lightly they'll | tdlk of the | spirit that's | gdne, but 
the metrical structure of the rest of the poem shows that the 
true scansion is, Light | ly they '11 tdlk | of the spir | it that's 

10. wound. Cp. Lii. 30. 

30. field of his fame. See note on xliv. 66. Cp. xuii. 13. 

No. LVI. In the sweet shire of Cardigan 

A SERIES of poems now follow (lvi.-lxii) dealing with the pathos 
of old age, the contrast with youth and strength, the sweetness 
and sadness of memory. 

This poem, composed in 1798, was written in strict adherence 
to Wordsworth's theory that there ought to be no difference 
between the diction of poetry and of prose, that the language 
used in a poem of humble life ought to be just such language as 
the persons represented would naturally use, and that the 
nobility of a poem ought to be due entirely to the thought 
without aid from the words. As we shall see (lxxviii. ) Words- 
worth's greatest poetical triumphs are won when the true 
instinct of a poet leads him to abandon his theory. That theory, 
if it needs any refutation, is amply refuted in the Biographia 
Literaria of Coleridge, who shows exactly where the truth lies 
between the opposite doctrines of Wordsworth ajid the eighteenth 
century poets. Simon Lee has undoubtedly suffered from the 
theory. The defence we made of Lucy dray (xix. ) will not 
hold here : that poem, though simplicity itself, was never 
commonplace, Simon Lee is open to this charge, and to the 

LV.— Lvn. 181 

charge of diffuseness and of a carelessness that even suffers such 
a rhyme as * woman' and 'common.' In palliation of these 
faults we may say that the poem is modelled on the old ballads^ 
which freely admit such blemishes. That it has fine qualities 
which far outweigh its faults scarcely needs to be said. Much 
will be forgiven for the sake of the description of the hunt, 
the pathetic picture of the strong man brought low, and the 
exquisite beauty of the last four lines. Whatever diffuseness 
there may have been before, there is none at the close, which 
offers a splendid example of Wordsworth's self-restraint and con- 
centrated thought— the quality so conspicuous in xiii. 

In a note prefixed to tne poem many years afterwards, Words- 
worth tells us that the incident was a fact, and that the expres- 
sion about the hounds, *'I dearly love their voice," was word for 
word from the old man's own lips. 

1. Cardigan, one of the western counties of Wales. But from 
Wordsworth's note, above referred to, we learn that the hunts- 
man really lived in Somerset, on the Quantocks (cxiii. 246), *a 
little way from the entrance to Alfoxden Park.' Alfoxden was 
Wordsworth's home in 1797-8, Coleridge being at that time 
settled at Nether Stowey; a few miles away. 

Prof. Herford {Age of Wordsworth^ p. 188) happily contrasts 
the indifference to precise locality which Wordsworth shows here 
and in Lv^y Oray (xix.) with Scott's use of " the subtle aroma of 
place-names." ** To Scott the actual scenery of a story was part 
of its life-blood ; it died if transplanted." 

20. stone-blind, blind as a stone, completely blind through 
exhaustion. Spenser uses the expression 'stone-dead.' 'Sand- 
blind * is used for * half-blind ' in Merchant of Venice, Act ii. Sc. ii. 

23. chiming, sounding in harmony, properly used of the 
musical harmony produced from a set of bells tuned to a 
musical scale and struck by hammers. 

No. LVII. / have had playmates^ I have had companions 

Charles Lamb (1775-1835), the friend of Coleridge from boy- 
hood, the author of Essays of Mia, and the joint author with his 
sister of Tales from Shakespeare^ the best loved of English 
humourists and letter- writers, composed little poetry ; but the 
three poems inserted in this collection (Lvn., LXix., Lxxy.) are all 
of remarkable beauty. 

The Old Familiar Faces seems to be a genuine bit of auto- 
biography. It was written in 1798. The * friend of my bosom * 
was Coleridge ; the friend whom Lamb had left ' like an ingrate,' 
Charles Lloyd. See J. D. Campbell's Biographical Introduction 
to Coleridge's Poetical Works, p. xliii. 

182 NOTES 

Metre. — So perfect is the music of this exquisite poem that 
few readers, in all probability, observe any metrical irregularity 
in it. Yet it woula be difficult or impossible to reduce it to any 
rule. Like most of the verse of a later poet, Walt Whitman, it 
seems obedient only to an inner law, the sound everywhere 
responding to the feeling with no aid or constraint from metrical 
rules. It is so far more regular than Walt Whitman's poems 
that the lines are of fairly equal length, that there is a caesura 
or * break ' in each line, and that the movement is on the whole 

5. cronies, intimate companions ; derived from ' crone,' an old 
woman, especially a witch who chante or * croons * incantations. 

11. ingrate, adj. and subst., ungrateful, from Lat. ingrcUua 
through Fr. ingrcU, 

No. LVIII. As slow owr ship her foamy track 

This is one of Moore's Irish Melodies : lxii. , on the same theme, 
is from his collection of National Airs. 

3. pennant. Here a long narrow flag pointed at the end, and 
hung at the mast-head or yard-arm-ends in ships of war. See 
note on xli. 11. 

No. LIX. There* s not a joy the world can give like that 

it takes away 

Metre, — Each iambic line of seven feet is practically divided 
into two lines by the caesura at the end of the fourth foot. The 
iambi are varied by anapaests. The poem is full of simple and 
obvious, but very gracefully managed, metaphors. In spite of 
their rapid succession, no sense of incongruity is aroused. 

No. LX. There is a Flower, the lesser Celandine 

Written in 1804. Wordsworth had already, in 1802, dedicated 
two longer but less perfect poems to the same flower. In the 
note prefixed to the earlier verses, he writes : *^ It is remarkable 
that this flower, coming out so early in the spriug as it does, and 
so bright and beautiful, and in such profusion, should not have 
been noticed earlier in English verse. What adds much to the 
interest that attends it is its habit of shutting itself up and 
opening out according to the degree of light and temperature of 
the air." 

LVIL— LXII/ 183 

2. Cp. in the second of the two earlier poems : 

"Blithe of heart, from week to week 
Thou dost play at hide-and-seek ; 
While the patient primrose sits 
Like a beggar in the cold, 
Thoa, a flower of wiser wits, 
Slipp'st into thy sheltering hold ; 
Liveliest of the vernal tram 
When ye all are out again." 

20. spleen, ill-humoar, vexation, from a Greek word denoting 
that part of the stomach which was supposed to be the seat of 
anger : cp. the use of *bile,' 'melancholy.' 

21-4. The last stanza is somewhat obscure. The young man 
is the favourite of the prodigal, Youth ; the old man is the pen- 
sioner of the miser. Age. We waste the many gifts of Youth, 
and have afterwards to be content with scanty gifts from Old 
Age. Li the case of the flower Youth and Age are again prodigal 
and pensioner. Li the first 1802 poem the celandine is described 
as ** Spreading out thy glossy breast Like a careless Prodigal; 
Telling tales about the sun When we've little warmth, or none." 

No. LXI. / remember, I remember 

Thomas Hood (1798-1845), journalist and writer of humorous 
sketches in prose and verse, wrote also several poems that have 
earned, by their truth and pathos, a place beside the work of far 
greater poets. His best-remembered pieces are this and The 
Bridge of Sighs (lxvii.). The Song of the Shirt and Evgene Aram. 

Metre. — A beautiful variation of a very simple metre— the 
couplet of four iambic feet followed by three. In the first line 
of each stanza four trochees are substituted. The effect i