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looks down from the painted panel on the shelves laden with old-world learning, and on the catalogue that hangs by them, dated the very year of Milton's continental journey. Charles Knight, visiting the library, noticed the decoration, and connected it with the last line of this sonnet. (Passages from a Working Life.)
1. 3. Plummet; here used for the pendulum.
1. 12. Individual, here in its strict sense, not to be divided, inseparable. Cp. Paradise Lost, iv. 486, v. 610.
1. 18. happy-making sight is a translation of beatific vision.' Cp. Paradise Lost, iii. 62.
1. 20. quit, i. e. all this earthly grossness being left.
1. 22. Triúmphing ; thus accented. The Christian, sings Ben Jonson (Elegy on the Marchioness of Winchester),
• Gets above Death and Sin,
And sure of Heaven, rides triumphing in.' Marvell, in the conclusion of his Dialogue between the resolved Soul and Pleasure, exclaims • Triúmph, triúmph victorious Soul!' Cp. Paradise Lost, iii. 338, xii. 452, Paradise Regained, iii. 36.
At a Solemn Music.
1. 4. Perhaps pierce was once pronounced perse, retaining its French form perçer, for Chaucer has persaunt, and Spenser persant. But Milton's rhymes are often irregular.
1. 6. content, so in ed. 1645. Most editions, following (says Todd) the Cambridge MS. have concent in the sense of harmony (Lat. concentus).
1. 7. Ezek. i. 26.
1. 19. Cp. Paradise Lost, xi. 55; Richard II, v. 5 (Richard's first speech).
1. 23. diapason, the concord of the octave. Bacon calls it the sweetest concord · inasmuch as it is in effect a unison.' 1. 27. consort, band. So Mercutio says (Romeo and Juliet, ii. 1), Consort! what, dost the
us minstrels ?' Cp. Nativity 132, note.
1. 1. Cp. Paradise Lost, vii. 435.
1. 3. Chaucer relates that among lovers the tradition ran that it was of better omen to hear the nightingale than the cuckoo, and complains of ill-luck similar to that here lamented by Milton. (Cuckoo and Nightingale).
1. 4. jolly has here not quite lost its primary meaning of handsome,' 'comely' (Fr. jolif). Spenser not only applies it to June and to Summer, but to the Red Cross Knight, who was 'too solemn sad.'
propitious; cp. May Morning 6. 1. 5. Cp. Comus 978, Il Penseroso 141, and Lycidas 26.
Many touches in this and the following poem occur in the lines perfixed to Burton's Anatomy, a dialogue between Pleasure and Pain.
1. 3. Styx, “the hateful,' was one of the four infernal rivers. The adjective Stygian is used here as it is by Euripides, for detested.' Cp. Paradise Lost, i. 239, ii. 577.
1. 9. ragged, fatal rock ’ is the epithet given by Margaret to Richard, Duke of Gloucester (3 Henry VI, v. 4). Cp. Isa. ii. 21.
1. 10. The Cimmerians (Odyssey, xi. 14) were a mythical people who lived in perpetual mist, and on whom the sun never shone. Cp. Ovid, Metamorphoses, xi. 592 et seqq.
1. 14. This parentage of the Graces occurs in Servius on Æneid i. 720 (Keightley). Aglaia (the bright) and Thalia (the blooming) are the remaining sisters. Euphrosyne (the kindly) presides over festivities. Spenser (Faery Queene, vi. 10. 22) makes them the daughters of Jove and Eurynome, (the daughter of Ocean)
The first of them hight mild Euphrosyne,
Next faire Aglaia, last Thalia merry.' 1. 22. Cp. 'Morning roses newly washed in dew.'
(Taming of the Shrew, ii. 1.) 1. 24. Cp. 'So buxom, blithe, and full of face'
(Prologue to Pericles),
(Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy). Buxom is used by Spenser for ‘yielding,' obedient,' Faery Queene (iii. 2. 23), but this true meaning had already passed away when Milton used the word as equivalent to 'lively.' (Trench.) Buxom is usually spelt thus in Milton, but here bucksom. It is the A.S. bocsam, obedient,' from
bugan, “to bow,' «submit'-(Wedgwood.) The som is connected, not with some, but with same, and is the Germ. sam. (Earle.) Debonair, in the sense of 'courteous,' 'gentle,' is used by Chaucer, and it is an epithet applied to knights and ladies in the Faery Queene. (See Glossary to Book ii. in this series.) The air in debonair probably signifies the atmosphere a person carries with him, and does not refer to the old medical theories about vapours and humours. • The odour of sanctity' and to be in bad odour' is the same metaphor (Wedgwood.)
1. 27. We have a practical illustration of quip in the Merry Wives of Windsor, i. 3. Crank implies the turns of wit. Hotspur, speaking of the winding Trent, exclaims • See how this river comes me cranking in'
(1 Henry IV, iii. 1). Of the planets, Mutability (Faery Queene, vii. 7. 52) says
So many turning cranks these have, so many crookes.' In Alexander and Campaspe, by Lyly, a quip is defined as a short saying of a sharp wit, with a bitter sense in a sweet word.' It is derived by Latham from quid pro quo, and Wedgwood says it is properly a cut or smart stroke. Welsh chwip, a quick turn or flirt.
• Each one tripping on his toe.'
(Ariel, of the Spirits, Tempest, iv. 2.) Cp. Comus 144.
1. 40. unreproved, that cannot be reproved. So Spenser has ‘unreproved truth,' Faery Queene, ii. 7. 16, and a similar usage of unblamed,
'Joying together in unblam'd delight' (vi. 2. 43). Cp. Paradise Lost, iii. 3, ix. 5, xii. 22, and note to Shakespear Epitaph 11.
1. 42. Cp. `dull as night' (Merchant of Venice, v. 1), night's dull car' (Henry V, Chorus to act iv).
• The gentle day
Dapples the drowsy east with spots of gray.'
(Much Ado about Nothing, v. 3.) 1. 45. To come, following in sense after “admit me,' like the previous 'to live,' 'to hear, in the list of unreproved pleasures. Awakened by the lark, the poet, after listening to that early song, arises to give a blithe good-morrow at his window. Other matin sounds are heard, and he goes forth to enjoy the cheerful music of the chase, or the sight of the rising sun. From line 69, the vision is mental rather than bodily. The plurals ' mountains,' meadows,’ towers,' give a sense of generality that does not accord with the description of any actual scene : the delight given by the poem springs from touches of diverse yet harmonious associations.
1. 47. Eglantine and sweet-briar being the same plant, it is conjectured that by ' twisted eglantine,' Milton means the honeysuckle.
1. 57. Contrast with Il Penseroso 65. Some particulars of the following description of morning are taken from Browne's Britannia's Pastorals (Book IV, v. 75).
1. 62. liveries; from Fr. livrée (livrer) something given out at stated times, as clothes and provisions to servants (Wedgwood). Cp. • The shadowed livery of the burnish'd sun.'
(Merchant of Venice, ii. 1.) dight, decked, arranged ; (from A.S. dihtan, parare). See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. i.
1. 67. The tale here is not a tale of love, but the tale of sheep counted by the shepherd as he turns them forth to pasture. So the tale,' of the bricks (Exod. v. 8).
1. 70. landscape; spelt lantskip, ed. 1645; 'a delineation of the land, from A.S. sceapan, to shape or form.' (Wedgwood.)
1. 71. lawn. See Nativity 85 (note), gray =light-brown, as in Gray Friars. (Keightley.)
1. 75. Warton says that pied was so hackneyed an epithet for flowers, that from it Shakespeare formed the substantive piedness (Winter's Tale, iv. 3). When daisies pied' begins the spring song at the end of Love's Labour's Lost.
1. 79. lies, resides, e. g. When the court lay at Windsor' (Merry Wives of Windsor, ii. 2); When I lay at Clement's Inn' (2 Henry IV, iii. 2). Lo refue heute
1. .80. Cynosure is the constellation of the Little Bear, by which the Phænician mariners steered their course, as the Greeks did by the Great Bear. In Hacket's Life of Williams, the Countess of Buckingham is described as 'the Cynosura that all the Papists steered by. Cp. note on Comus 342.
1. 83. Milton's classic fancy plays round the sights and sounds of English rural life and gives to Berkshire peasants the names of Virgilian swains and shepherdesses. He saw nature “through the spectacles of books,' as Dryden says.
1. 91. secure here means, not safe, but ‘void of care' (Lat. sine curâ). Quarles, in his Enchiridion, observes, “The way to be safe is not to be secure.' Hamlet's father was murdered in his 'secure hour.' (Hamlet, i. 5,)
• Men may securely sin, but safely never.' 1. 93. Bells were abominations to the Puritans. In Ben Jonson's Alchemist (iii. 2), Ananias says, “Bells are profane; a tune may be religious.'
1. 94. The rebeck was a fiddle of four strings. The fiddler in Romeo and Juliet, iv. 5, is named Hugh Rebeck.
1. 98. Cp. Comus 959. The deposed. Richard II (iv. 1) wishes Bolingbroke ‘many years of sunshine days.'
1. 102. For Queen Mab, see the well-known passage in Romeo and Juliet, i. 4.
junkets, from Ital. giuncata, covered with, or placed on, rushes, as cream cheese is; and so used for other rural delicacies, and junketing for feasting, merrymaking generally. 1. 103. The punishment inflicted by fairies on tell-tales.
• It was a just and Christian deed,
(Corbet's Farewell to the Fairies.) Cp. Shakespeare's fairies in Midsummer Night's Dream, Merry Wives of Windsor (v. 5), and Dromio's speech in Comedy of Errors (ii. 2),
They'll suck our breath, and pinch us black and blue.' 1. 104. “The friar is the celebrated Friar Rush, who haunted houses, not fields, and was
never the same with Jack-o'-the-Lanthorn.' (Keightley)
1. 105. goblin is the Germ. kobold, the German domestic sprite. See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. ii. Milton gives a more elevated meaning to the word in Paradise Lost (ii. 688). The construction is rather difficult. I would suggest a colon at led and would read Tales for Tells in line 105, thus carrying on the sense from stones (line 101) to tales (line 105).
1. 120. Triumph, here = show, spectacle. One of Bacon's Essays is on Masques and Triumphs, the latter title being applied to “justs, tourneys, and barriers.' 'Justs and triumphs' are named together in York's speech Richard II, v. 2), and Aumerle was expected at their celebration, in gay apparel.' Achilles desires to see great Hector in his ' weeds of peace,' Troilus and Cressida, iii. 3. Cp. Samson Agonistes 1312, Pericles,
1. 121. store of was a familiar expression for 'plenty of,' 'many.' Spenser has it, Faery Queene, v. 3. 2,
• Of lords and ladies infinite great store.' Cp. Paradise Lost, ix. 1078.
1. 122. influence ; one of the words (disastrous,' “ill-starred,' cendancy') which still testify to the once prevalent belief in astrology. Marvell (in his First Anniversary) says of Cromwell that
• By his beams observant princes steer,