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Fall in the fresh lap of the crimson rose;'
will find that they are both descriptive of the fame weather and its consequences.
Churchyard is not enumerating, on this occasion, fi&itious but real misfortunes. He wrote the present Poem to excite Charity on his own behalf; and among his other sufferings very naturally dwelt on the coldness of the season, which his poverty had rendered the less supportable.
L'Allegro, and il Penseroso, will naturally impute one incident to different causes. Shakspeare, in prime of life and success, fancifully ascribes this distemperature of seasons to a quarrel between the playful rulers of the fairy world; while Churchyard, broken down by age and misfortunes, is seriously disposed to represent the fame inclemency of weather, as a judgement from the Almighty or the offences of mankind. Steevens.
Therefore the moon, the governess of floods, &c.] This line has no immediate connection with that preceding it (as Dr. Johnson seems to have thought). It does not refer to the omission of hymns or carols, but of the fairy rites, which were disturbed in consequence of Oberon's quarrel with Titania. The moon is with peculiar propriety represented as incensed at the cessation--not of the carols, (as Dr. Warburton thinks,) nor of the heathen rites of adoration, (as Dr. Johnson supposes,) but of those sports, which have been always reputed to be celebrated by her light.
As the whole passage has been much misunderstood, it may be proper to observe that Titania begins with saying,
“ And never, fince the middle fummer's spring,
“ But with thy brawls thou hast disturbid our sport." She then particularly enumerates the several consequences that have flowed from their contention. The whole is divided into four clauses:
1." Therefore the winds, &c.
“ That they have overborne their continents :
“ The ploughman lost his sweat ;
“ No night is now with hymn or carol bleft;
That rheumatick diseases do abound :
- and the mazed world,
From our debate, from our diffention;
Obe. Do you amend it then; it lies in
7 henchman.] Page of honour. This office was abolished by queen Elizabeth. Grey.
The office might be abolished at court, but probably remained in the city. Glapthorne, in his comedy called Wir in a Constable, 1640, has this passage :
I will teach his bencb-boys,
“ The city all that charges."
humble “ As her trim hench-boys. Again, in Ben Jonson’s Christmas Masque :
he said grace as well as any of the sheriff's hench-boys.'
Skinner derives the word from Hine A. S. quasi domesticus famulus. Spelman from Hengstman, equi curator, intoxop.
STEEVENS. In a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury dated 11th of December 1565, it is said, “ Her Highness (i. e. Queen Elizabeth) hathe of late, wherat some doo moche marvell, disolved the auncient office of Henchemen." (Lodge's Nluftrations, Vol. I. p. 358.) On this passage Mr. Lodge observes that Henchmen were a certain number of youths, the sons of gentlemen, who stood or walked near the person of the monarch on all publick occasions. They are mentioned in the sumptuary itatutes of the 4th of Edward the Fourth, and 24th of Henry VIII. and a patent is preserved in the Federa, Vol. XV. 242, whereby Edward VI. gives to William Bukley, M. A. propter gravitatem morum et doctrma abundantiam, officium docendi, erudiendi, atque inftituendi adolefientulos 7:0cates HENCHMEN; with a salary of 40l. per annum. Henchman, or Heinsman, is a German word, as Blount informs us in his Gl. graphia, fignifying a domestic, whence our ancient term Hind, a servant in the house of a farmer. Dr. Percy, in a note on the Earl of Northumberland's household-book, with lefs probability, derives the appellation from their custom of standing by the side, or Haunch of their Lord.”
Upon the establishment of the houshold of Edward IV. were “ benxmen six enfants, or more, as it pleyferh the king, eatinge in the
Set your heart at rest, The fairy land buys not the child of me. His mother was a vot’ress of
order : And, in the spiced Indian air, by night, Full often hath she gossip'd by my side; And sat with me on Neptune's yellow sands, Marking the embarked traders on the flood; When we have laugh'd to see the fails conceive, And grow big-bellied, with the wanton wind : Which she, with pretty and with swimming gait, (Following her womb, then rich with my young
MS. Harl. 293•
halle, &c. There was also a maister of the henxmen, to shewe them the schoole of nurture, and learne them to ride, to wear their harnesse; to have all curtefie to teach them all languages, and other virtues, as harping, pipynge, finging, dauncing, with honest behavioure of temperaunce and patyence.
At the funeral of Henry VIII. nine henchmen attended with fir Francis Bryan, master of the benchmen.
Strype's Eccl. Mem. V. 2. App. n. 1. Tyrwhitt.
Henchman. Quasi haunch-man. One that goes behind another. Pedifequus. BLACKSTONE.
The learned commentator might have given his etymology fome support from the following passage in King Henry IV. P. II. Act IV. sc. iv:
“ O Westmoreland, thou art a summer bird,
“ The lifting up of day.” Steevens.
Following (her womb, then rich with my young 'quire,)
Would imitate - ] Perhaps the parenthelis 1hould begin sooner ; as I think Mr. Kenrick observes :
(Following her womb, then rich with my young squire,)" So, in Trulla's combat with Hudibras :
She press'd so home, “ That he retired, and follow'd's bum." And Dryden says of his Spanish Friar, " his great belly walks in state before him, and his gouty legs come limping after it.”
FARMER. I have followed this regulation, (which is likewise adopted by Mr. Steevens,) though I do not think that of the old copy at all liable to the objection made to it by Dr. Warburton. She did
Would imitate; and sail upon the land,
Obe. How long within this wood intend you stay?
TITA. Perchance, till after Theseus' wedding-day.
Obe. Give me that boy, and I will go with thee.
Tira. Not for thy kingdom.-Fairies, away: 8 We shall chide down-right, if I longer stay.
[Exeunt Titania, and ber train. Obe. Well, go thy way: thou shalt not from this
not, (he says) follow the ship whose motion the imitated; for that failed on the water, she on land.” But might she not on land move in the same direction with the ship at fea, which certainly would outstrip her? and what is this but following ?
Which, according to the present regulation, must mean—which motion of the ship with swelling fails, &c: according to the old regulation it must refer to “ embarked traders." MALONE.
8 Not for thy kingdom.-- Fairies, away:] The ancient copies read
“ Not for thy fairy kingdom.--Fairies, away." By the advice of Dr. Farmer I have omitted the useless adjective fairy, as it spoils the metre; Fairies, the following fubftantive, being apparently used, in an earlier inftance, as a triffyllable.
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres, To hear the sea-maid's musick.'
9 Thou remember't
Since once I sat upon a promontory,
To hear the sea-maid's musick.] The first thing observable on these words is, that this action of the mermaid is laid in the same time and place with Cupid's attack upon the veftal. By the vestal every one knows is meant queen Elizabeth. It is very natural and reasonable then to think that the mermaid stands for some eminent personage of her time. And if so, the allegorical covering, in which there is a mixture of satire and panegyric, will lead us to conclude that this person was one of whom it had been inconvenient for the author to speak openly, either in praise or dispraise. All this agrees with Mary queen of Scots, and with no other. Q. Elizabeth could not bear to hear her commended; and her success for would not forgive her satirist. But the poet has so well marked out every diftinguished circumstance of her life and character in this beautiful allegory, as will leave no room to doubt about his secret meaning. She is called a mermaid, 1. to denote her reign over a kingdom fituate in the sea, and 2. her beauty, and intemperate luft:
Ut turpiter atrum
Elizabeth for her chastity is called a veftal, this unfortunate lady on a contrary account is called a mermaid. 3. An ancient story may be supposed to be here alluded to. The emperor Julian tells us, Epistle 41. that the Sirens (which, with all the modern poets, are mermaids) contended for precedency with the Muses, who overcoming them, took away their wings. The quarrels between Mary and Elizabeth had the same cause, and the same issue.
on a dolphin's back,] This evidently marks out that diftinguishing circumstance of Mary's fortune, her marriage with the dauphin of France, son of Henry II.
Urtering such dulcet and harmonious breath,] This alludes to her great abilities of genius and learning, which rendered her the most accomplished princess of her age. The French writers tell us, that, while the was in that court, the pronounced a Latin oration in the great hall of the Louvre, with so much grace and eloquence, as filled the whole court with admiration.