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3. “occiduá Dewae Cestrensis ab orá.” See Introduction, II. 326, 327 ; and compare Zycidas, 55 and note there.
4. “ Vergivium . . . salum ”: the Irish sea. Camden's Britannia, Warton says, had familiarized the name in Milton's time. Drayton, in his Posyo/bion, several times uses Vergivian as the name of the sea.
8. “Debet, at unde brevi reddere fussa ze/it.” A recollection, as Richardson noted, of Horace, Od. I. iii. 5–8.
11–20. “Şam mec arundiferum,” &c. These ten lines are supposed to convey the story of Milton's temporary rustication from Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1626 (see Introd., II. 327, 328); and it seems impossible to evade that interpretation. The phrases most significant are “dudum vetiti /aris,” “duri minas Magistri,” “Caetera ingenio non subcunda meo,” “exilium,” “profugi nomen,” and “exilii conditione.” It has indeed been proposed to construe the first of these phrases in a way different from that which has been usual with those who have read it with the story of the rustication in their minds. They (e.g. Cowper in his translation of the Elegy, and Warton, Todd, and Mr. Keightley) have taken “lar” to mean “college,” or “college-chamber,” and so have read the whole line thus: “Nor does any love of [longing for my lately forbidden college-room vex me.” But why, it has been asked, not take “Jar” in its more direct sense of “home,” “fireside,” and so read the line thus: “Nor does longing for my lately forbidden home in London now vex me, as it used to do at Cambridge”—i.e. “Nor, now that I am back in London, have I any longer the feeling of home-sickness”? Plausible as this is, and more consistent than the other reading with the ordinary usage of lar, I am still not sure but the other reading is the right one. It seems to fit in better with the context; and that “/ar” might have been used by Milton in the sense of college-room seems the likelier from his subsequent use of “patrios penates’’ for his father's house in London. Either way, the interpretation of this particular line leaves the other phrases untouched, and they contain sufficient allusion to some incident in Milton's collegelife equivalent to rustication. “Si sit hoc exilium,” &c., can hardly be understood otherwise.—In Buchanan's curious Elegy, entitled Quam misera sit conditio docențium Wiferas humaniores Zutetiae, there is a distich not unlike lines 15, 16:—
29–36. “Seu casus,” &c. On these eight lines Warton remarks that the comedies hinted at are rather the Terentian than those of the contemporary English stage. “It is the view of a scholar, and he does not recollect that he set out with describing a London theatre.”
35, 36. “Safe nozos,” &c. Richardson compared two lines in Claudian's De AVuptiis Honorii et Maria, 3, 4:—
45, 46. “Seu maeret Pelopeia,” &c. He reverts now to Greek Tragedy.
49, 50. “Mos quoque lucus habet,” &c. The allusion does not seem to be, as Warton fancied, to any country-house of Milton's father, nearer town than the house at Horton he afterwards occupied ; for, as Mr. Keightley asks, what could have brought there the Virgincos choros of line 52 P Some suburban place of public resort, such as Gray's Inn Garden, or one of the Parks, seems to be intended. Kensington Gardens would be about the present equivalent.
54. “possit.” So in Second edition, changed from “Aosset” in First.
58. “via.” The more natural construction would have been “viam ”; but there are classic precedents for Milton's form.
65. “Achaemenia turrità fronte puel/ae.” According to Warton, Sandys in his Travels, first published in 1615, described the high headdresses of the women of the part of Persia anciently called Achaemenia.
66. “Memnoniamque Winon.” Mr. Keightley observes that it was Susa, and not Ninos or Nineveh, that was called “the Memnonian city” by Herodotus.
69, 70. “Asoc Pompeianas Zarpeia Musa,” &c. The “Tarpéia Musa’’ is here used for the Roman poets generally, or more expressly for Ovid, whose house was near the Tarpeian Rock, and who, in his Art. Amat. Mið. I., recommended Roman gentlemen in pursuit of beauty to walk slowly up and down in the shade of Pompey's Portico, if they did not object to the sera et sa/ientior a fas of the ladies they were likely to see there, but above all never to miss the theatres.
73. “Tuque urbs /)ardaniis, Zondinum,” &c. London, in the British legends, was founded by the Trojan settlers who came in with Brutus, and was first called Trinovantum or New Troy.
84. “ef roseam fosshabitura Coron.” The phrase is from the AEmeid, I. 15:— “Quam Juno fertur terris magis omnibus unam Posthabità coluisse Samo.”
87, 88. “Circes atria . . . Molyos,” &c. See notes, Comus, 46—50, 636, 637.
89, 9o. “Stat quogue,” &c. See note ante, lines 11–20. Whatever was the nature of Milton's absence from Cambridge for a while in the second year of his undergraduateship, it is certain that it did not involve the loss of even one term in his undergraduate course. The “stat,” therefore, may imply “It has been satisfactorily arranged that I return,” &c.
92. “alternos . . . modos,” i.e. the alternate Hexameters and Pentameters of the Elegy.
1, 2. “bacuso fulgente . . ciere gregem.” See Introduction to the Elegy, II. 328, 329.
and of the subsequent description of the result of the process, when AEson, the old father of Jason, had the magical decoction poured into his veins by Medea, and was straightway made young again. See also Com. 638, and note there ; and compare Mansus, 75.
9, 10. “Zigmus quem . . . Coronises.” Another Ovidian reference; more especially, as Mr. Keightley has noted, to Fass. vi. 745 et se/. AEsculapius, the god of medicine, son of Apollo, but here, after Ovid, called Coronides because his mother was Coronis, restored to life Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, whose death had greatly vexed Diana. “A/us/um indignante Diana,” Ovid's phrase for the goddess's anger at the death, suggests to Milton the “safe rogante ded " in the matter of the resuscitation.
12. “Phaebo": the Vice-Chancellor of the University?
13–16. “Zalis in Z/iacá,” &c. In the allusions in these lines Warton discerns proofs of Milton's early familiarity with Homer. The Eurybates of lines 15, 16, is one of the heralds of Agamemnon in the //iad sent to the court of Achilles to demand Briseis (i. 320 et seq.); but Mr. Keightley questions the accuracy of the Homeric reference in the two preceding lines to the god Hermes (called Cy//enius from his temple in mount Cyllene in Arcadia). “We are unable,” he says, “to find any instance of Hermes being sent to the palace of Priam ; for in the only two instances (//. II. 786; xxiv. 16o) it is Iris that is sent.” In this second instance, however, after Iris had delivered Jove's message to the afflicted Priam in his palace, and encouraged him to go forth for the recovery of the dead body of Hector, slain by Achilles, it is Hermes that is specially despatched to complete the mercy by guiding Priam to the tent of Achilles (/Z. xxiv. 334 et seq.). When Hermes encounters the old king he is certainly no longer in his palace, but in the plain outside Ilium, driving through the darkness in his chariot towards the Greek entrenchment and ships. In the phrase “in //iacá stabat Cy//enius au/ā,” therefore, Milton does take a liberty with the Homeric text.
19. “Aondus inutile terrac.” A literal translation of Homer's phrase &rdquov ax00c dpoipmc (// XVIII. Ioa).
21. “Academia.” Here, as well as in the only other instance of the use of the word in Milton's Latin poems (Epilogue to Eleg. VII.), the penult is made short, against the usual practice
3–8. “Profinus en subiit,” &c. The reference in these six lines is to the ravages of the Plague in England in 1625 and 1626, mentioned also in the poem On the Death of a Fair Infant (see line 68 of that poem, and Introd. to it, II. 189). Among the thousands who had died of the Plague (35,417 in London and its neighbourhood alone, according to Whitlocke) there were not a few persons of rank. The mortality by this cause had fallen greatly by the beginning of 1626; but in September or October in that year, when this Elegy was written, the horror was still of recent memory.
9–12. “Tunc memini,” &c. The other recent calamities, which Milton here represents himself as remembering in September or October 1626, were the deaths of some of the conspicuous champions of Protestantism on the Continent in that early stage of the great Thirty Years' War the object of which was the recovery of the Palatinate for its hereditary Prince-Elector, nominally “King of Bohemia,” husband of the English Elizabeth, daughter of James I. The “clarus dux" and his “fraser werendus” of lines 9, Io, may be, as Sir David Dalrymple suggested to Warton, the young Duke Christian of Brunswick and Count Mansfeldt, chivalrous supporters of the Palatinate cause (called “brothers,” as having been “brothers-in-arms”), both of whom died in 1626, the former by poison; the “heroes rapti" and “amissi duces" of lines 11, 12, lamented by all Belgia, may, on the same suggestion, include Henry Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford, who died at the siege of Breda in 1625. He was a relative of the more celebrated Sir Horace Vere, on whom, and his English troops, much of the hard work in the Palatinate had rested from 162o to 1624, but who had returned to England in this latter year (to be created Baron of Tilbury in 1625), and may therefore count also among the “amissi duces" of the Low Countries at that epoch.
13. “dignissime Præsul.” See Introduction, II, 329, 330.
21. “fluvio confermina quercus.” Conferminus, as Warton pointed out, is a favourite word with Ovid ; and in one passage (Mey. VIII. 620) he has the phrase “filiae contermina quercus.”
22. “Araefereuntis a/ua.” The exact phrase occurs, as Todd noted, in the second of Buchanan's Latin Elegies.
30. “Semideamque animam,” &c. Compare On the Death of a Fair Infant, line 21.
32. “A’oscidus occiduis Hesserus exit aquis.” Ovid has “Hesperus roscidus ” in Fasti, 11. 314; and “Eois Lucifer exit aquis,” in Epist. ex: Aonto, II. v. 50. The observation is Warton's. Mr. Keightley adds that the second passage may have led Milton into an astronomical error here. As Lucifer rises in Ovid out of the Eastern waters, why should not Hesperus rise out of the Western ? “This,” says Mr. Keightley, “is an impossibility, for the Evening Star is always to the east of the Sun.”