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By course commits to several government,
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns,
And wield their little tridents : But this isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,
He quarters to his blue-haired deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun
A noble


of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide
An old and haughty nation, proud in arms:
Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore,
Are coming to attend their father's state,
And new-intrusted sceptre: but their way
Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood,
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger ;
And here their tender age might suffer peril,
But that by quick command from sovereign Jove
I was despatched for their defence and guard :
And listen why; for I will tell you now



25. By course.] In regular dis- May 1633. The Lady Alice tribution commits to divided Egerton was only about 13 years government; to each his own of age, and the elder of her distinct government.

brothers about 12, when they 29. He quarters, &c.] He ap- performed in the mask at Ludlow portions to such water-nymphs as Castle. the Nereides.

38. Horror.] Shagginess. Sce 30. All this tract, &c.] The Note on l. 429. tract fronting the falling sun, or 41. But that, &c.] We have west (sol occideus), is Wales, of here the noun clause that I was which the Earl of Bridgewater was despatched, 8c., forming an object appointed Lord President. His to the preposition but; and the family residence was Ashridge 41st and 42nd lines constitute an House, a few miles from Tring. adverbial clause to suffer.

35. Their father's state.] The 43. Why.] That is, why I was ceremony of his being instated despatched, &c., a noun clause at Ludlow Castle, his official objective. The direct object of residence. This is retrospective; the verb tell is the whole of the as he was appointed to the Presi- two succeeding lines. dency of Wales by Charles I., in

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A antiod



What never yet was heard in tale or song,
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transformed,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
On Circe's island fell : (Who knows not Circe,
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine ?)
This nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks
With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,


45. In hall or bower.] In ban- 49. The Tyrrhene shore.] The quet room or private apartment. Tuscan shore, or shore of Etruria. So, in Spenser's Faërie Queene, See what Ovid says of Glaucus, VI. ix, 32, ‘And this your cabin •Tyrrhena per æquora lapsus, [shall be] both my bower and &c. (Met. xiv. 8). ħall.' And in Chaucer's Nun 50. Circe's island.] The small Priesťs Tale,

island Ææa, afterwards, by union Full sooty was her bower and eke her with the mainland, forming the hall.

promontory of Circeii. Circe was 46. From out.] That is, out the daughter of Apollo, her from; out being an adverb. mother being one of the OceanComp. from off the waters,' I. ides, named Perse. 896.

Proxima Circææ raduntur litora terræ, Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at

Shakspeare's Merry Wives, iv. 4. 48. After the Tuscan mariners

Who knows not Circe, &c. Com. transformed.] That is, being pare Horace, Epist. I. ii. 23. transformed. The poet here imi

Sirenum voces et Circæ pocula nosti, tates a Latin construction; comp.

Quæ si cum sociis stultus cupidusquo Horace, Od. I. iii. 29, ‘Post ignem

Dives inaccessos ubi Solis filia lucos
Assidue resonat cantu.


Sub domina meretrice fuisset turpis et subductum ;' so in Par. Lost, i. Vixisset canis immundas, vel amica luto 573, “Never since created man met such embodied force.' The 52. Whoever tasted whose god Bacchus punished the Tuscan charmed cup, is a noun sentence. pirates by transforming them into nominative to lost, and also part sea-monsters. The story is told of an adjective sentence describin Ovid, Met. iii. 660.

ing Circe.




Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named :
Who, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age,
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,

At last betakes him to this ominous wood;
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbowered,
Excels his mother at her mighty art,
Offering to every weary traveller
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,

To quench the drouth of Phæbus; which as they taste,
(For most do taste, through fond intemperate thirst),

Soon as the potion works, their human countenance,
X The express resemblance of the gods, is changed

Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,
Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
All other parts remaining as they were ;
And they, so perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely than before,
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
Therefore, when any favoured of high Jove
Chances to pass through this adventurous glade,
Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star




59. Frolic of his full-grown 77. To roll, &c.] Adverbial use age.] Buoyant, full of the spirit of the infinitive. See Note on 1. 24. of opening manhood, which 79. Adventurous.] Hazardous, prompted him to rove the Celtic perilous. and Iberian fields, i.e. through 80. Glancing star.] Shooting France and Spain. See Note to l. star. So in Par. Lost, iv. 555, 1023.

Uriel is said to glide through the 65. Orient.] Bright. This even 'swift as a shooting star in word, derived from the Latin autumn thwarts the night.' To oriens, rising, has allusion to sol glance is to dart obliquely. Comp. oriens, the rising sun, or the east. Spenser, F. Q. VI., vii. 7.

74. Not once perceive, &c.] It was otherwise with Circe's vic- And being carried with his force forth

right, tims, who, according to Homer, Glanced swiftly by : like to that heavenly Odyss. x. 241, knew and deplored spark

Which, gliding through the air, lights all their degradation.

the heaven's dark.

One did miss his mark,

* wir alone all things doch gods stamp deface. Piltintut


I shoot from heaven to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: But first I must put off
These my sky-robes, spun out of Iris' woof,
And take the weeds and likeness of a swain
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song,
Well knows to still the wild winds 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 now,


Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his 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 glistering; they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands.

Comus. 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 Atlantic stream;
And the slope sun his upward beam

83. Spun out of Iris' woof.] 93. The star that bids, &c.] Spun from material which Iris, The evening star. So Shakspeare the goddess of the rainbow, had (Meas. for Meas. iv. 3) says of the dyed. So in Par. Lost, xi. 244, morning star-'Look, the un'Iris had dipt the woof.

folding star calls up the shep86. Smooth-dittied.] Smoothly herd.' worded or adapted to words. 97. The steep Atlantic stream.] Ital. detti, words.

The word stream here simply 88. Nor of less faith, &c.] And means flood. So, Par. Lost, i. who is no less faithful; and from 202, the ocean stream ;' and his business being to keep watch Shakspeare, Merch. of Venice, i. over the flocks upon the hills, may 1, speaks of the wreck of a ship be supposed most likely to be out scattering all her spices on the at this time, and nearest for the stream.' immediate aid required.



Shoots against the dusky pole,
Pacing toward the other goal
Of his chamber in the east.
Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast,
Midnight shout and revelry
Tipsy dance and jollity.

locks with rosy twine,
Dropping odours, dropping wine.
Rigour now is gone to bed,
And Advice with scrupulous head,
Strict Age, and sour Severity,
With their grave saws, in slumber lie.
We, that are of purer fire,
Imitate the starry quire,
Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
Lead in swift round the months and years.
The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove,
Now to the moon in wavering morrice move;
And on the tawny sands and shelves
Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves.
By dimpled brook and fountain-brim,
The wood-nymphs, decked with daisies trim,





101. His chamber in the east.] dancing. 'Splendet tremulo sub Psalm xix. 5, The sun à lumine pontus.' Virg. Æn. vii. bridegroom cometh out of his 9. The morris dance, i. e. the chamber.'

Morisco or Moorish dance, said 112. The starry quire.] So to have been introduced into Engcalled because of the supposed land, in the reign of Edward III., 'music of the spheres.' In line by John of Gaunt on his return 1021 we have higher than the from Spain, is probably of later sphery chime.

introduction. The hobby-horse, so 113. Nightly watchful.] Sleep- often referred to by the old draless during night. See the Note matists, was long one of the chief on l. 84 of n Penseroso.

characters in this festive dance. 116. In wavering morrice move.] 119. Fountain brim.] Fountain Quiver in the moonlight as if edge cr border.

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