Page images
PDF
EPUB

NOTES.

Note l, page 3. Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives.

The stress is upon this fact; for, though it may not be a fault in itself to

"Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being," yet it certainly is to strive to keep it up "unmindful," kc—-Newton.

8 P. 3. To lay their just hands on that golden key. Of St. Peter. Cf. Lycidas, ver. 110.

3 P. 4. That, like to rich and various gems.

Cf. "Richard II." Act II. Sc. 1, where John of Gaunt speaks of England as—

"this little world, This precious stone set in the silver sea."

[ocr errors]

Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields.]i. e. France and Spain.

5 P. 8. These my sty robes spun out of Iris' voof. Cf. "Paradise Lost," xi. 244.

8 P. 10. Pacing toward the other goal.]—See Ps. xix. 5.

7 P. 12. Dark-veiled Cotytto I

The goddess of immodesty, formerly worshipped at Athens with nocturnal rites.

8 P. 18. Within thy airy shell. The margin of Milton's MS. gives "cell." See Newton.

» P. 20. Scylla wept.]—See "Paradise Lost," ii. 260, 1019.

[ocr errors]

l* P. 29. Thai wont*t.]—Art accustomed.

13 P. 38. *So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity.

Spenser, "Faerie Queene," iii. 8, 29 :—

"See how the Heavens, of voluntary grace,
And sovereign favour towards chastity,
Do succour send to her distressed case:
So much high God doth innocence embrace."—Thyer.

14 P. 38. The unpolluted temple of the mind.}—CI. John ii. 21.

15 P. 38. And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence. Milton here somewhat betrays his materialist tendency.

16 P. 39. How charming is dimne philosophy!

This alludes more particularly to the philosophy of Plato, who went by the surname of divine.

17 P. 42. Thyrsist whose artful strains hare oft delayed.

An elegant compliment to the musical abilities of Mr. Henry Lawes, a celebrated musician of the time, and who probably sustained the two parts of the Genius of the Wood and the Attendant Spirit. See Newton.

[ocr errors][merged small]

80 P. 45. Charactered in the face.

Both Spenser and Shakspeare use this word with the same accent as Milton has done here.

n P. 46. Of knot-grass dew-besprent.

Besprent, i.e. sprinkled. "Knot-grass" is mentioned in "Midsummer Night's Dream," III. 7.

25 P. 46. Gave respite to the drovsy-Jlighied steeds.

commentators have rightly restored, instead of "drowsy-
Milton had in new Shakspeare, "Henry VI." Part II. Act IV.

"And now loud howling wolves arouse the jades,
That drag the tragic melancholy night,
Who, with their drowsy, slow, and flagging wings,
Clip dead men's graves."

P. 46. At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound. See the beginning of "Twelfth Night."

M P. 47. Under the ribs of Death.

This grotesque comparison is taken from one of Alciat's emblems, where a soul in the figure of an infant is represented within the ribs of a skeleton, as in a prison.

25 P. 50. Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt.

Milton seems to allude to the famous answer of the philosopher to a tyrant, who threatened him with death, "Thou mayst kill me, but thou canst not hurt me."Thver.

2C P. 60. Self-fed, and self-consumed.

This image is taken from the conjectures of astronomers concerning the dark spots which, from time to time, appear on the surface of the sun's body, and, after a while, disappear again, which they suppose to be the scum of that fiery matter, which first breeds it, and then breaks through and consumes it.—Warburton.

[ocr errors]

27 P. 50. The pillared firmament is rottenness. Cf. "Paradise Regained," iv. 455.

28 P. 52. He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing.

This is perhaps a compliment to the author's friend and schoolfellow, Charles Deodati, who had been bred up a physician.

2y P. 52. Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil:
Unknown, and like esteemed.

Seward would omit "not," and substitute "light esteemed." But, as Newton observes, ";t>iknown and like esteemed" maybe taken as equivalent to tt^known and ttwesteemed.

;1" P. 52. Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon.

So in "Htmy VI." Part II. Act IV. Sc. 3. Cade says

"We will not leave one lord, one gentleman;
Spare not, but such as go in clouted shoon."

:il P. 5'Z. And yet more medicinal is it than tluit moly.

See Pope's Homer's Odyssey, x. 361 sq. Pliny, Nat. Hist. xxiv. 4, speaks of it highly; but its nature and properties are unknown. Thyer thinks it was the herb called spleenicort.

S2 P. 55. Tlmt Fancy can beget on youthful thoughts. An improvement on "Romeo and Juliet," Act I. Sc. 3.

113 P. 55. That flames and dances in his crystal bounds.

Prov. xxiii. 31: "Look not thou to the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it movcth itself aright."

« PreviousContinue »