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Not once perceive their foul disfigure
But boast themselves a more comely
And all their friends and native hom
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty
Therefore, when any, favour'd of hig
Chances to pass through this adventu
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing sta
I shoot from heaven, to give hinn saf
As now I do: but first I must put o
These my sky-robes spun out of Iris

< And they, so perfect is the

Not once perceive their for
Compare Spenser, “ Faer. Qu." 11. i. 54. of Sir J
Guyon his wretched captivity in the bower of Bliss,
"charmed cup,'' st. 55, finally destroys him; and by w

In chaines of lust and lewde des
And so transformed from his for
That me he knew not, neither h

d But boast themselo He certainly alludes to that fine satire, in a dialogue companions, disgusted with the vices and vanities of Circe into the shape of men.-Jos. WARTON.

Or, perhaps, to J. Baptista Gelli's Italian Dialog tarch's plan.-T. WARTON.

Dr. Newton observes, that there is a remarkal wrought by Circe, and those by her son Comus : changed, their mind alone remaining as it was befo their head or countenance is changed, and for a ver appear upon the stage, which they might do in mas the exchange, v. 241; but here, the allegory is fine of their distigurement. This improvement upon Hon who ascribes much the same effect to the herb Lo tasted, “forgot his friends and native home." At Plato, where he alludes to the intoxicating power of t of the Lotophagi, in that striking description of proflig: not only refuse to hear the advice of friends, before." De Repub. lib. viii.-Topp,

e To roll with pleasure in a Milton applies the same fable, in the same language

-Expel this monster fror

Now made a stye.--T. WAR Thercfore, when any, favour'de

Chances to pass through this adı The Spirit in “Comus" is the Satyr in Fletcher's by Pan to guide shepherds passing through a forest by in distress, a. iii. s. 1.-T. WARTON.

& Swift as the sparkle of a gl There are few finer comparisons that lie in so sin the thought in “ Par. Lost," b. iv. 555.

Thither came Uriel, gliding thro
On a sunbeam, swift as a shootin
In autumn thwarts the night, w

Impress the air, &c.
Compare “ Par. Reg." b. iv. 619.--T. Warton.

h Spun out of Iris'' So our author of the archangel's military robe, “ Pa

* bu


And take the weeds and likeness of a swaini
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song,
Well knows to still the wild wiuds when they roar,
And hush the waving woods'; nor of less faith,
And in this office of his mountain watch
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Of hateful steps; I must be viewless nowk.




[Comus enters with a charming rod in one hand, bis glass in the other ; with him a

rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men
and women, their apparel glistening : they come in making a riotous and unruly
noise, with torches in their hands. ]

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

Pacing toward the other goal the woof.” Milton has frequent allusions to the colours of the rainbow. Truth and Justice are not only orbed in a rainbow, but are appareled in its colours, “ Ode on Nativ." st. xv.-T. Warton.

And take the weeds and likeness of a swain, &c. Henry Lawes, the musician, who acted the part of the Spirit. — Todd.

1 Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,

And hush the waving woods.
Lawes himself, no bad poet, in “ A Pastorall Elegie to the memorie of his brother
William,” applies the same compliment to his brother's musical skill:-

Weep, shepherd swaines !
For him that was the glorie of your plaines.
He could allay the murmurs of the wind;

He could appease

The sullen seas,
And calme the fury of the mind.

k I must be viewless now.
The epithet “ viewless" occurs in the “ Ode on the Passion,” st. viii., and in “ Par.
Lost," b. iii. 518. Shakspeare has “the viewless winds.” Mr. Bowle observes, that the
Spirit's conduct here much resembles that of Oberon in the “ Midsum. Night's Dream :”-

But who comes here? I am invisible,
And I will overhear their conference.-T. WARTON.

1 The star that bids the shepherd fold. Collins, in his beautiful “ Ode to Evening,” introduces this pastoral notation of time, accompanied with the most romantic and delightful imagery :

-When thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
The fragrant Hours and Elves,
Who slept in buds the day;
And many a nymph, who wreathes her brows with sedge,
And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet,
Prepare thy shadowy car.–TODD.

Of his chamber in the East".
Meanwhile welcome joy, and feast,
Midnight shout, and revelry,
Tipsy dance, and jollity.
Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odours, dropping wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed",
And Advice with scrupulous head o:
Strict age and sour severity,
With their grave saws 9, in slumber 1
We, that are of purer fire,
Imitate the starry quire,
Who, in their nightly watchful sphe
Lead in swift round the months and
The sounds and seas, with all their fi
Now to the moon in wavering morrio
And, on the tawny sands and shelves,
Trip the pert faeries and the dapper

m Pacing toward the other g

Of his chamber in the East În allusion to the same metaphors employed by the as a bridegroom cometh out of his chamber, and rejoit -Newton.

n Rigour now is gone to Much in the strain of Sidney, “ England's Helicon,

Night hath closed all in her cloake;
Twinkling stars loue-thoughts prout
Daunger hence good care doth keep
lealousie itself doth sleepe.-T. WA

o And Advice with scrupul The manuscript reading, “ And quick Law," is the bute of advice to be scrupulous; but it is of quic! WARBURTON.

It was, however, in character for Comus to call business to depreciate, or ridicule, advice, at the T. WARTON.

P Severity. There is an earlier use of this word in the same s Rosam.” st. 39, edit. 1601, fol.

Titles that cold seueritie hath four

9 Saws. “Saws,” sayings, maxims. Shakspeare, “ As you

Full of wise saw5.--NEWT

r Watchful spheres So, in the “ Ode Nativ." v. 21. “And all the ! bright." See also“ Vac. Exercise," v. 40. “The : Baruch, iii. 34. “ The stars shined in their watches.

In wavering morrice The morrice, or Moorish dance, was first brought in III.'s time, when John of Gaunt returned from Spe father-in-law, Peter king of Castile, against Henry the

And, on the tawny sands and sh

Trip the pert faeries and the daj Fairies and elves are common to our national poetry among the pastoral inhabitants of the lonesome hills:




By dimpled brook" and fountain-brim",
The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim,
Their merry wakes and pastimes keep :
What hath night to do with sleep?
Night hath better sweets to prove ;
Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Come, let us our rites begin ;
'Tis only day-light that makes sin ",
Which these dun shades will ne'er report. -
Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
Dark-veil'd Cotytto*! to whom the secret flame
Of midnight torches burns ; mysterious dame,

That ne'er art call'd but when the dragon woom Y strong. How they were imported, and from what land, has been and perhaps will continue a matter of conjecture : no one has had the boldness to believe that they are of British growth, though there are people still living who imagine they have seen them, and heard the sound of their elfin minstrelsy. The fairies

, according to popular testimony, are an elegant and accomplished race : they dwell in palaces under secluded bills ; they frequent, when the summer moon up, the lonely stream banks ; they spread tables sometimes in desert places, and astonish and refresh the benighted and hungry traveller with spiced cakes and perfumed wine ; nor do they hesitate to mount their steeds—an elfin race; and, accompanied by music from invisible instruments, ride through the lonely villages at midnight, less to the alarm than the delight of the inhabitants. The last time they were seen in the south of Scotland was some five-and-forty years ago :-“When I was a boy of fifteen,'' said my informant, “ I saw on a summer eve, just after sunset, what seemed a long line of little children running down the summit of a decayed turf fence, which bound as with a vertical belt a hill about half a mile distant : they were very little; they seemed clothed, but bare-headed ; and, what was odd, they seemed to sink into the hill when they reached a gap in the ridge down which they were running. There were hundreds of them, but one was twice as tall as the rest : we saw him thrice disappear on our side of the hill and thrice appear at the top again, as if he had passed through below the solid hill. I said we, because though I saw the 'pert fairies and the dapper elves' first, all the inhabitants of the village, some fifteen or so, saw them also." This is the latest account on record of the fairy.folk.-C.

u By dimpled brook.
Shenstone has adopted this picturesque expression, “ Ode on Rural Elegance :"-

Forego a court's alluring pale
For dimpled brook and leafy grove.-TODD.

This was the pastoral language of Milton's age. So Drayton, “ Bar. W." vi. 36 :-

Sporting with Hebe by a fountaine brim. Topd.

W 'Tis only day light that makes sin. Mr. Bowle supposes that Milton had his eye on these gallant lyrics of a song in Jonson's “Fox," a. ii. s. 7:

'Tis no sinne love's fruit to steale,
But the sweet thefts to reveale:
To be taken, to be seene,
These have crimes accounted beene.-T. WARTON.

» Dark-veil'd Cotytto. The goddess of wantonness.—Topd.

The dragon woom. Popular belief in some districts bestows on British witches the power of turning light into darkuess, given by Milton and others to “ dark-veil'd Cotytto.” In one of the vales of the north dwelt in other days three witches: the first could milk the cows at the same moment for ten miles around her; the second could turn her slipper into a sea-worthy


Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest g
And makes one blot of all the air ;
Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
Wherein thou ridest with Hecate, and b
Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end
Of all thy dues be done, and none left o
Ere the blabbing eastern scout?,
The nice a morn, on the Indian steep
From her cabin'd loop-hole peep,
And to the tell-tale sun descry
Our conceald solemnity.-
Come, knit hands, and beat the ground,
In a light fantastic round'.


Break off, break off, I feel the different
Of some chaste footing near about this

Run to your shroudsd, within these bral ship, and make a voyage to Lapland ; while the third ha only when she twirled it round, against the course of natu

Made one blot of all the air; but whatever she wished for when the cloud descended, si it pasked away and light returned. A dame so gifted ci comfort ; and yet, if tradition is not in error, her life wa her house was mean ; her dress was sordid ; her meals moved abroad, she was pursued by the hue and cry of an and her transformations-how she could turn a fox int hill and dale,-how she could become a hare, and set pat at defiance, together with many matters more marvellous that large and unfinished volume of traditionary belief peasantry ?-C.

· Ere the blabbing eastern sco Shakspeare, “K. Hen. Vi." P. ii. a. iv. s. 1 :The gaudy, blabbing, and remorseful di

& Nice. A finely-chosen epithet, expressing at once curious ani

b Come, knit hands, and beat the gi

In a light fantastick round.
Compare Fletcher's “ Faith. Shep." a. i, s. 1 :-

Arm in arm
Tread we softly in a round:
While the hollow neighbouring ground,

c Break off. A dance is here begun, called the measure : which the off, on perceiving the approach of “ some chaste footing,' his character.-T. WARTON.

A measure is said to have been a court dance of a stately pressed dances in general. A round is thus defined " When men daunce and sing, taking hands round." BU description of the measure and the round, is given in a se ** Britannia's Pastorals,” b. i. s. 3.-Todd.

d Shrouds. To your recesses, harbours, hiding-places, &c. So i Naught but profoundest hell can be his shroud.” An

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