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14 P. 38.
The unpolluted temple of the mind.
Cf. John ii. 21.
15 P. 38. And turns it by degrees to the souls essence. Milton here somewhat betrays his materialist tendency.
16 P. 39. How charming is divine philosophy! This alludes more particularly to the philosophy of Plato, who went by the surname of divine.
17 P. 42. Thyrsis ? whose artful strains have 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.
compliment the time, and whatendant spi
18 P. 42.
To tell thee sadly.
19 P. 44. Within the navel.]-Depth, middle.
20 P. 45. Charáctered in the face. Both Spenser and Shakspeare use this word with the same accent as Milton has done here.
21 P. 46. Of knot-grass dew-besprent. Besprent, i.e. sprinkled. “Knot-grass” is mentioned in “Midsummer Night's Dream,” III. 7.
22 P. 46. Gave respite to the drowsy-flighted steeds. So the commentators have rightly restored, instead of " drowsyfrighted.” Milton had in view Shakspeare, “ Henry VI.” Part II. Act IV. Sc, 1:
“ And now loud howling wolves arouse the jades,
That drag the tragic melancholy night,
23 P. 46. At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound. See the beginning of “Twelfth Night.”
24 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.”- Thyer.
26 P. 50. 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.
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.
29 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, “unknown and like esteemed” may be taken as equivalent to unknown and unesteemed.
30 P. 52. Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon. So in “Henry 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.”
31 P. 52. And yet more medcinal is it than that 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 spleenwort.
32 P. 55. That Fancy can beget on youthful thoughts. An improvement on “Romeo and Juliet,” Act I. Sc. 3.
33 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 moveth itself aright.”
35 P. 58. The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked with plumes.
The image is taken from what the ancients said of the air of the northern islands, that it was clogged and darkened with feathers.
36 P. 60. It withers on the stalk with languished head. Spenser, “Faërie Queene,” ii. 12, 75:
“ Gather therefore the rose, whilst yet is prime,
For soon comes age, that will her pride deflower;
37 P. 60. It is for homely features to keep home. So in the “Two Gentlemen of Verona :"
“Home-keeping youths have ever homely wits.'
38 P. 60. I had not thought to have unlocked my lips. The six following lines are spoken aside.-Sympson
41 P. 62. She fables not: I feel that I do fear. Perhaps it is better to put a semicolon after that, meaning : “I feel that she does not fable,” &c.--Sympson. These six lines are also spoken aside.
42 P. 64. Whilome she was the daughter of Locrine. Locrine, king of the Britons, married Guendolen, the daughter of Corineus, Duke of Cornwall ; but in secret, for fear of Corineus, he loved Estrildis, a fair captive whom he had taken in a battle with Humber, king of the Huns, and had by her a daughter equally fair, whose name was Sabrina. But when once his fear was off, by the death of Corineus, not content with secret enjoyment, divorcing Guendolen, he made Estrildis now his queen. Guendolen, all in rage, departs into Cornwall, and, gathering an army of her father's friends and subjects, gives battle to her husband by the river Sture; wherein Locrine, shot with an arrow, ends his life. But not so ends the fury of Guendolen, for Estrildis and her daughter Sabrina she throws into a river; and, to leave a monument of revenge, proclaims that the stream be thenceforth called after the damsel's name, which by length of time is now called Sabrina or Severn. This is the account given by Milton himself in the first book of his History of England; but he here takes some liberties with the story, in order to heighten the character of Sabrina.-Newton.
43 P. 66. That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make. Puck, or Robin Goodfellow.
44 P. 68. And the Carpathian wizard's hook.]-i.e. Proteus.
45 P. 68. By dead Parthenope's dear tomb. 1-This tomb was at Naples.
46 P. 69. And fair Ligea's golden comb. One of the sirens, and also a sea-nymph.