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O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king *,
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?
The next, QUANTITY and QUALITY, spake in prose; then RELATION was called by
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 ;
k O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king.
The Predicaments are his brethren; of or to which he is the Subjectum, although firs: in excellence and order.-T. WARTON.
1 Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under. They cannot exist, but as inherent in Substance.-T. WARTON. 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.
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.
9 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.
8 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.
The maiden is Sabrina.
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death.
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,
Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee";
Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name
[The rest was prose.]
AN EPITAPH ON THE ADMIRABLE DRAMATIC POET WILLIAM SHAKSPEAREX.
WHAT needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd bones,
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
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.
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 characterised 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.
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.
2 The leaves of thy unvalued book.
"Thy invaluable book." So in Shakspeare, “Rich. III." a. i. s. 4 :
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels.-TODD.
From its ut 5 rea; Deai huch broke his girt,
eR TE WE's beng foul, zwarty to one,
Camicare and the Ball:
Ali siray Danh emit never have prevazi'd,
Fur mer fmäng im s lng a home,
And Tuning now his journey's ead was come,
BIM THAT IN DR ta en 13 his latest inn;
teknd office of a chamberlin *
Show ( NM IS You where he most lodge that night,
Fury ask for Lm, zsha be sed,
Susm bus sing à, and s newly gone to bed.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME
Ema lech one, who did most truly prove
St Lang his destiny, never to rot
While he might sjog on and keep his trot,
Time numbers motion; yet, without a crime
And, like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
Too long vacation hasten'd on his term.
Merely to drive the time away, he sicken'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quicken'd;
* In the kind office of a chamberlin, &c.
I believe the chamberlain is an officer not yet discontinued in some of the old inns in the city.-T. WARTON.
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.
Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch'd,
But vow, though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
He had been an immortal carrier.
Yet, strange to think, his wain was his increase:
Only remains this superscription.
ON THE NEW FORCERS OF CONSCIENCE UNDER THE LONG PARLIAMENT.
BECAUSE you have thrown off your prelate lord,
From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorr'd;
Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword
To force our consciences that Christ set free,
Because ye have thrown off your prelate lord, &c. In railing at establishments, Milton condemned not episcopacy only: he thought even the simple institutions of the new reformation too rigid and arbitrary for the natural freedom of conscience; he contended for that sort of individual or personal religion, by which every man is to be his own priest. When these verses were written, which form an irregular sonnet, presbyterianism was triumphant: and the independents and the churchmen joined in one common complaint against a want of toleration. The church of Calvin had now its heretics. Milton's haughty temper brooked no human control: even the parliamentary hierarchy was too coercive for one who acknowledged only King Jesus. His froward and refining philosophy was contented with no species of carnal policy: conformity of all sorts was slavery. He was persuaded that the modern presbyter was as much calculated for persecution and oppression as the ancient bishop.-T. WARTON.
d And with stiff vows renounced his liturgy.
The Directory was enforced under severe penalties in 1644. The legislature prohibited the use of the Book of Common Prayer, not only in places of public worship, but in private families.-T. WARTON.
e And ride us with a classic hierarchy.
In the presbyterian church now established by law, there were, among others, classical assemblies the kingdom of England, instead of so many dioceses, was now divided into a certain number of provinces, made up of representatives from the several classes within their respective boundaries: every parish had a congregational or parochial presbytery for the affairs of its own circle; these parochial presbyteries were combined into classes, which chose representatives for the provincial assembly, as did the provincial for the national. Thus, the city of London being distributed into twelve classes, each class chose two
Gentle lady, may thy grave
That thy noble house doth bring,
And some flowers, and some bays,
Sent thee from the banks of Came ',
Whilst thou, bright saint, high sitt'st in glory,
That fair Syrian shepherdess,
Who, after years of barrenness,
The highly-favour'd Joseph bore
And at her next birth, much like thee,
Sent thee from the banks of Came.
I have been told that there was a Cambridge collection of verses on her death, among which Milton's elegiac ode first appeared: but I have never seen it, and I rather think this was not the case at least, we are sure that Milton was now a student at Cambridge. Our marchioness was the daughter of Thomas Lord Viscount Savage, of Rocksavage in Cheshire; and it is natural to suppose, that her family was well acquainted with the family of Lord Bridgewater, belonging to the same county, for whom Milton wrote the Mask of "Comus." It is therefore not improbable that Milton wrote this elegy, another poetical favour, in consequence of his acquaintance with the Egerton family. The accomplished lady, here celebrated, died in child-bed of a second son in her twenty-third year, and was the mother of Charles, the first Duke of Bolton.-T. WARTON.
s That fair Syrian shepherdess.
Rachel. See Gen. xxix. 9. xxxv. 18.-T. WARTON.
t Through pangs fled to felicity.
We cannot too much admire the beauty of this line: I wish it had closed the poem; which it would have done with singular effect. What follows serves only to weaken it; and the last verse is an eminent instance of the bathos, where the "saint clad in radiant sheen' sinks into a marchioness and a queen: but Milton seldom closes his little poems well.DUNSTER.
There is a pleasing vein of lyric sweetness and case in Milton's use of this metre, which is that of "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso:" he has used it with equal success in Comus's festive song, and the last speech of the Spirit, in "Comus," 93. 922. From these specimens we may justly wish that he had used it more frequently. Perhaps in Comus' song it has a peculiar propriety: it has certainly a happy effect.-T. WARTON.