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how nearly Milton has sometimes “ are cardes, tables, - musicke, pursued his train of thought, and “ maskes, ulegames, catches, selection of objects, in various purposes, questions, merry passages of L'Allegro and Il “ tales of errant knights, kings, Penseroso. It is in the chapter queenes, lovers, lordes, ladies, entitled, Exercise rectified both of dwarfes, theeves, fayries, &c. Body and Minde. “But the most " --Dancing, singing, masking, “ pleasing of all outward pas- "mumming, stage-playes, how“ times is, Deambulatio per soever they bee heavily cen
amæna loca, to make a pretty “ sured by some severe Catos,
progresse, to see citties, cas- yet if opportunely and soberly “tles, townes: as Fracastorius, “ used, may justly be approved. “ Visere sæpe amnes nitidos, perame.
«-To read, walke, and see "! naque Tempe,
mappes and pictures, statues, “ Et placidas summis sectari in mon- “ old coynes of severall sortes, “ tibus auras.
“ in a fayre gallerie, artificiali “ To walke amongst orchards, “ workes, &c. Whosoever he is “gardens, bowres, and artificiali “ therefore, that is overrunne “ wildernesses, green thickets, o with solitarinesse, or carried “ arches, groves, rillets, foun- “away with a pleasing melancholy “ tains, and such like pleasant " and vaine conceits,–I can pre“places, like that Antiochian “ scribe him no better remedie “ Daphne, pooles, betwixt " than this of study." He winds “ wood and water, in a faire up his system of studious recre“ meadow by a river side, to ation with a recommendation of “ disport in some pleasant plaine, the sciences of morality, astro“ to run up a steepe hill, or sit nomy, botany, &c.“ To see a “ in a shadie seat, must needes “ well-cut herball, all hearbs, “ be a delectable recreation.- “trees, flowers, plants, expressed “ To see some pageant or sight “ in their proper colours to the
go by, as at coronations, wed- “ life, &c." P. ii. s. 2. p. 224–
dings, and such like solemni- 234. edit. 1624. “ ties; to see an ambassadour, In Beaumont and Fletcher's
or prince, met, received, en- Nice Valour, or Passionate Mad“ tertained with maskes, shewes, man, there is a beautiful song on “ &c.—The country has its re- Melancholy, some of the senti“ creations, may-games, feasts, ments of which, as Sympson “ wakes, and merry meetings. long since observed, appear to
All seasons, almost all have been dilated and height“ places, have their severall pas- ened in the Il Penseroso. See “ times, some in sommer, some act iii. s. I. vol. x. p. 336. Milton “ in winter, some abroad, some has more frequently and openly “ within. — The ordinary re- copied the plays of Beaumont “ creations which we have in and Fletcher, than of Shake“ winter, and in most solitary speare. One is therefore sur“ times busy our mindes with, prised, that in his panegyric on
Cross-purposes, Questions and conmands, such as Milton calls “ Quips, and “ Cranks, and wanton Wiles.". L'Allegro, v. 27,
the stage, he did not mention of philosophic meditation. It was the twin-bards, when he cele- impossible for the author of I brates the learned sock of Jon- Penseroso to be more cheerful, son, and the wood-notes wild of or to paint mirth with levity; Shakespeare.
that is, otherwise than in the L'Allegro and Il Penseroso may colours of the higher poetry. be called the two first descriptive Both poems are the
result of the poems in the English language. same feelings, and the same haIt is perhaps true, that the cha- bits of thought. See note on racters are not sufficiently kept L'All. v. 146. apart. But this circumstance has Doctor Johnson has remarked, been productive of greater ex- that in L'Allegro, “no part of cellencies. It has been remarked, “ the gaiety is made to arise from "No mirth indeed can be found “ the pleasures of the bottle.' “ in his melancholy, but I am The truth is, that Miltort means “afraid I always meet some me- to describe the cheerfulness of “ lancholy in his mirth.” Mil- the philosopher or the student, ton's is the dignity of mirth. the amusements of a contemplaHis cheerfulness is the cheerful. tive mind. And on this princiness of gravity. The objects he ple, he seems unwilling to allow, selects in his L'Allegro are so far that Mirth is the offspring of gay, as they do not naturally Bacchus and Venus, deities who excite sadness. Laughter and preside over sensual gratificajollity are named only as personi- tions; but rather adopts the fications, and never exemplified. fiction of those more serious and Quips and cranks, and wanton sapient fablers, who suppose, that wiles, are enumerated only in her proper parents are Zephyr general terms. There is speci- and Aurora: intimating, that his fically no mirth in contemplating cheerful enjoyments are those of a fine landscape. And even his the temperate and innocent kind, landscape, although it has flow- of early hours and rural pleasures. ery meads and flocks, wears a That critic does not appear to shade of pensiveness; and con, have entered into the spirit, or to tains russet lawns, fallows grey, have comprehended the meaning, and barren mountains, overhung of our author's Allegro. with labouring clouds. Its old No man was ever so disquali. turretted mansion peeping from fied to turn puritan as Milton. the trees, awakens only a train In both these poems, he professes of solemn and romantic, perhaps himself to be highly pleased with melancholy, reflection. Many a the choral church-music, with pensive man listens with delight Gothic cloisters, the painted to the milk-maid singing blithe, windows and vaulted isles of a to the mower whetting his scythe, venerable cathedral, with tilts and and to a distant peal of village- tournaments, and with masques bells. He chose such illustrations and pageantries.
What very as minister matter for true po- repugnant and unpoetical prinetry, and genuine description. ciples did he afterwards adopt ! Even his most brilliant imagery He helped to subvert monarchy, is méllowed with the sober hues to destroy subordination, and to level all distinctions of rank. outward solemnity, all that had But this scheme was totally in- ever any connection with poconsistent with the splendours of pery, tended to overthrow the society, with throngs of knights studious cloisters pale, and the and barons bold, with store of high embowed roof; to remove the ladies, and high triumphs, which storied windows richly dight, and belonged to a court. Pomp, and to silence the pealing organ and feast, and revelry, the show of the full-voiced quire. The deHymen, with mask and antique lights arising from these objects pageantry, were among the state were to be sacrificed to the cold and trappings of nobility, which and pbilosophical spirit of Calhe detested as an advocate for vinism, which furnished no plearepublicanism. His system of sures to the imagination. worship, which renounced all
Part of an Entertainment presented to the Countess
Dowager of Derby at Harefieldt, by some noble persons of her family, who appear on the scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state,
with this song
* This poem is only part of an Dowager of Derby being married Entertainment, or Mask, as it is to John Earl of Bridgwater, bealso entitled in Milton's Manu- fore whom was presented the script, the rest probably being of Mask at Ludlow, we may cona different nature, or composed ceive in some measure how Milby a different hand. The Count- ton was induced to compose the ess Dowager of Derby, to whom one after the other. The alliance it was presented, must have been between the families naturally Alice, daughter of Sir John and easily accounts for it: and Spenser of Althorp in Northamp- in all probability the Genius of tonshire, Knight, and the widow the wood in this poem, as well of Ferdinando Stanley, the fifth as the attendant Spirit in the Earl of Derby: and Harefield is Mask, was Mr. Henry Lawes, in Middlesex, and according to who was the great master of Camden lieth a little to the north music at that time, and taught of Uxbridge, so that I think we most of the young nobility. may certainly conclude, that Mil
+ Part of an entertainment preton made this poem while he re- sented to the Countess of Derby at sided in that neighbourhood with Harefield, &c.] We are told by his father at Horton near Cole- Norden, an accurate topographer brooke. It should seem too, who wrote about the year 1590, that it was made before the Mask in his Speculum Britanniæ, under at Ludlow, as it is a more im- Harefield in Middlesex, “ There perfect essay: and Frances the “ Sir Edmond Anderson, Knight, second daughter of this Countess" Lord Chief Justice of the
This, this is she
Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Less than half we find exprest,
« Common Pleas, hath a faire taynment at Altrope, 1603. Works, “ house standing on the edge of 1ổ16. p. 874. « the hill. The river Colne pass
This is shee, “ ing neare the same, through
This is shee, “ the pleasantmeadows and sweet
In whose world of grace, &c. "pastures, yielding both delight We shall find other petty imita“ and profit.”. Spec. Brit. p. i. tions from Jonson. Milton says, page 21. I viewed this house a few years ago, when it was for
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress the most part remaining in its original state. It has since been Yet Syrinx well might wait on her. pulled down: the porter's lodges So Jonson, ibid. p. 871. Of the on each side the gateway are queen and young prince, converted into a commodious That is Cyparissus' face, dwelling-house. T. Warton.
And the dame has Syrinx' grace : 1. Look nymphs, and shep
O, that Pan were now in place, &c. herds look, &c.] See the ninth Again, Milton says, v. 46. division of Spenser's Epithala
-And curl the grove mion. And Spenser's Aprill, in
In ringlets quaint.praise of Queen Elizabeth. So Jonson, in a Masque at WelSee, where she sits upon the grassie
beck, 1633. v. 15. greene, &c.
When was old Sherwood's head more See also Fletcher's Faithful Shep. But see below, at v. 46. And
quaintly curld? herdess, a. i. 8. 1. vol. iii. p. 150. T. Warton.
Observat. on Spenser's F. Q. vol.
ii. 256. T. Warton. 5. This, this is she.] Milton had here been looking back to
10. We may justly now accuse Jonson, the most eminent mask- &c.]. These lines were thus at writer that had yet
appeared, first in the Manuscript. and had fallen upon some of his
Now seems guilty of abuse formularies and modes of address.
And detraction from her praise
Less than half she hath exprest, For thus Jonson, in an Enter- Envy bid her hide the rest.