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But cull those richest robes, and gayest attire,
Which deepest spirits and choicest wits desire.
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And, weary of their place, do only stay,
Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array;
That so they may, without suspect or fears,
Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears:
Yet I had rather, if I were to chuse,
Thy service in some graver subject use,

Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound:
Such where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at heaven's door
Look in, and see each blissful deity,

How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings

To the touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire:

Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,
And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow, and lofts of piled thunder,
May tell at length how green-eyed Neptune' raves,
In Heaven's defiance mustering all his waves;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last of kings, and queens, and heroes old,
Such as the wise Demodocus once told
In solemn songs at king Alcinous' feast,
While sad Ulysses' soul, and all the rest,

e Yet I had rather, if I were to chuse,

Thy service in some graver subject use, &c.

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It appears, by this address of Milton to his native language, that even in these green years he had the ambition to think of writing an epic poem; and it is worth the curious reader's attention to observe how much the "Paradise Lost" corresponds in its circumstances to the prophetic wish he now formed.-THYER.

Here are strong indications of a young mind anticipating the subject of the "Paradise Lost," if we substitute Christian for Pagan ideas. He was now deep in the Greek poets.-T. WARTON.

a Unshorn Apollo.

An epithet, by which he is distinguished in the Greek and Latin poets.-NEWTON.

© Watchful fire.

See "Ode, Chr. Nativity," v. 21:-" And all the spangled host keep watch in order bright."-HURD.

We have "vigil flamma" in Ovid, "Trist." iii. v. 4: and "vigiles flammas," "Art. Am." iii. 463.-T. WARTON.

t Green-eyed Neptune.

Virgil "Georg." iv. 451. Of Proteus:

Ardentes oculos intorsit lumine glauco.-T. WARTON.

Such as the wise Demodocus once told.

He now little thought that Homer's beautiful couplet of the fate of Demodocus could, in a few years, with so much propriety be applied to himself. He was but too conscious of his resemblance to some other Greek bards of antiquity when he wrote the "Paradise Lost." See b. iii. 33 seq.-T. WARTON.

Are held, with his melodious harmony,

In willing chains and sweet captivity.

But fie, my wandering Muse, how thou dost stray!
Expectance calls thee now another way:

Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent

To keep in compass of thy predicament;

Then quick about thy purposed business come,

That to the next I may resign my room.

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Then ENs is represented as father of the Predicaments, his ten sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which Exs, thus speaking, explains:

Good luck befriend thee, son; for, at thy birth,

The faery ladies danced upon the hearth;i
Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spie
Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie;
And, sweetly singing round about thy bed,
Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head.

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She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
From eyes of mortals walk invisible:

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Yet there is something that doth force my fear;

For once it was my dismal hap to hear

A sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,

That far events full wisely could presage,

k

And in time's long and dark prospective glass
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass;
Your son, said she, nor can you it prevent,
Shall subject be to many an Accident:
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king,
Yet every one shall make him underling;
And those, that cannot live from him asunder,
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under:1
In worth and excellence he shall outgo them;
Yet, being above them, he shall be below them;

h Good luck befriend thee, son, &c.

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Here the metaphysical or logical Ens is introduced as a person, and addressing his eldest son Substance; afterwards the logical Quantity, Quality, and Relation, are personified, and speak. This affectation will appear more excusable in Milton, if we recollect that everything, in the masks of this age, appeared in a bodily shape. "Airy Nothing" had not only a "local habitation and a name," but a visible figure.-T. WARTON.

For, at thy birth,

The faery ladies danced upon the hearth.

This is the first and last time that the system of the fairies was ever introduced to illustrate the doctrine of Aristotle's ten categories. It may be remarked that they both were in fashion, and both exploded, at the same time.-T. Warton.

Shall subject be to many an Accident.

A pun on the logical Accidens.-T. WARTON.

* O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king.

The Predicaments are his brethren; of or to which he is the Subjectum, although first in excellence and order.-T. WARTON.

1 Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under. They cannot exist, but as inherent in Substance.-T. WARTON.

From others he shall stand in need of nothing,"
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing:"
To find a foe it shall not be his hap,"
And Peace shall lull him in her flowery lap;
Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door
Devouring War shall never cease to roar;
Yea, it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.P

What power, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot?

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The next, QUANTITY and QUALITY, spake in prose; then RELATION was called by

his name.

Rivers, arise; whether thou be the son

Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphy Dun,

Or Trent, who, like some Earth-born giant, spreads
His thirty arms along the indented meads; "

Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath;
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death; t
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,

Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee;"

m From others he shall stand in need of nothing.

He is still Substance, with or without Accident.-T. WARTON.

n Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.

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By whom he is clothed, superinduced, modified, &c.: but he is still the same.-T. WARTON.

"Substantia substantiæ novæ contrariatur," is a school maxim.-T. WARTON. P To harbour those that are at enmity.

His Accidents.-T. WARTON.

a Rivers, arise, &c.

Milton is supposed, in the invocation and assemblage of these rivers, to have had an eye on Spenser's episode of the nuptials of Thames and Medway, "Faerie Queene," iv. xi. I rather think he consulted Drayton's "Polyolbion." It is hard to say, in what sense, or in what manner, this introduction of the rivers was to be applied to the subject.-T. WARTON.

Or Trent, who, like some Earth-born giant, spreads

His thirty arms along the indented meads.

It is said that there were thirty sorts of fish in this river, and thirty religious houses on its banks. These traditions, on which Milton has raised a noble image, are a rebus on the name Trent.-T. WARTON.

Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath.

At Mickleham, near Dorking in Surrey, the river Mole, during the summer, except in heavy rains, sinks through its sandy bed into a subterraneous and invisible channel. In winter it constantly keeps its current.-T. WARTON.

t Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death.

The maiden is Sabrina. See "Comus," v. 827.-T. WARTON.

u Ancient hallow'd Dee.

Dee's divinity was Druidical. From the same superstition, some rivers in Wales are still held to have the gift or virtue of prophecy. See note on "Lycidas," ver. 55.-T WARTON.

Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name;"
Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower'd Thame."

[The rest was prose.]

AN EPITAPH ON THE ADMIRABLE DRAMATIC POET WILLIAM
SHAKSPEARE.x

WHAT needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in piled stones?

Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid

Under a star-ypointing pyramid?

Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,

What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name ?
Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a live-long monument,

For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book,"
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took:
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die.

ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER,

Who sickened in the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London by reason of the plague.

HERE lies old Hobson; Death hath broke his girt.
And here, alas! hath laid him in the dirt;

▾ Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name.

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Humber, a Scythian king, landed in Britain three hundred years before the Roman invasion, and was drowned in this river by Locrine, after conquering king Albanact.— T. WARTON.

Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower'd Thame.

The smoothness of the Medway is characterized in the "Mourning Muse of Thestylis." The royal towers of Thames imply Windsor castle, familiar to Milton's view, and to which I have already remarked his allusions.-T. WARTON.

x This is but an ordinary poem to come from Milton, on such a subject: but he did not yet know his own strength, or was content to dissemble it, out of deference to the false taste of his time. The conceit of Shakspeare's "lying sepulchred in a tomb of his own making," is in Waller's manner, not his own. But he made Shakspeare amends in his "L'Allegro," v. 133.-HURD.

Birch, and from him Dr. Newton, asserts, that this copy of verses was written in the twenty-second year of Milton's age, and printed with the Poems of Shakspeare at London in 1640. This therefore is the first of Milton's pieces that was published. We have here restored the title from the second folio of Shakspeare, printed 1632.-T. WARTON.

This epitaph is dated 1630, in Milton's own edition of his poems in 1673.-TODD. y Dear son of Memory.

He honours his favourite Shakspeare with the same relation as the Muses themselves: for the Muses are called, by the old poets, "the daughters of Memory." See Hesiod, "Theog." v. 53.-NEWTON.

z The leaves of thy unvalued book.

"Thy invaluable book." So in Shakspeare, "Rich. III." a. i. s. 4 :

Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels.-TODD.

Or else, the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that, if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down:
For he had, any time this ten years full,

Dodged with him betwixt Cambridge and the Bull:
And surely Death could never have prevail'd,

Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd;

But lately finding him so long at home,

And thinking how his journey's end was come,

And that he had ta'en up his latest inn;

In the kind office of a chamberlin &

Show'd him his room where he must lodge that night,
Pull'd off his boots, and took away the light:

If any ask for him, it shall be sed,

Hobson has supp'd, and 's newly gone to bed.

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ANOTHER ON THE SAME.b

HERE lieth one, who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny, never to rot

While he might still jog on and keep his trot,
Made of sphere-metal, never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.

Time numbers motion; yet, without a crime
'Gainst old truth, motion number'd out his time;
And, like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm,
Too long vocation hasten'd on his term.
Merely to drive the time away, he sicken'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quicken'd;
Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch'd,
If I mayn't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetch'd;
But vow, though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
For one carrier put down to make six bearers.
Ease was his chief disease; and, to judge right,
He died for heaviness that his cart went light:
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That e'en to his last breath, there be that say't,
As he were press'd to death, he cried, More weight!

a In the kind office of a chamberlin, &c.

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I believe the chamberlain is an officer not yet discontinued in some of the old inns in the city.-T. WARTON.

b Hobson's inn at London was the Bull in Bishopsgate-street, where his figure in fresco, with an inscription, was lately to be seen. Peck, at the end of his "Memoirs of Cromwell," has printed Hobson's will, which is dated at the close of the year 1630. He died Jan. 1, 1630, while the plague was in London. This piece was written that year.-T. WARTON.

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