페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

1. 89. Cp. • Not perceable with power of any starre.'

(Faery Queene, i. 1. 7.) 1. 93. deity, as a title, like 'her Majesty.' So in Gloucester's speech, (Richard III, i. I) about Lord Hastings' petition to Jane Shore, 'complaining to her deity.'

1. 97. Ladon, a river in Arcadia.

1. 98. Lycæus, a mountain in Arcadia whereon Pan was born and worshipped.

Cyllene, the highest mountain in Peloponnesus, on the borders of Arcadia, the birthplace of Hermes, whose temple was at the top.

1. 100. Erymanthus and Menalus are Arcadian mountains, the latter the favourite resort of Pan.

1. 106. Syrinx, a nymph pursued by Pan. She fled into the Ladon, and was changed into a reed, (Gr. gøpıye) of which Pan made his flute.

[ocr errors]

Comus. Professor Masson has the following remarks on the origin of Comus. They give, in a condensed form, the history of the subject :- Critics have pointed out, that in writing Comus, Milton must have had before him analogous compositions by some previous writers, more especially the Old Wives Tale of the dramatist Peele (1595); Fletcher's pastoral of The Faithful Shepherdess, which had been revived as a royal play for Twelfth-night, and also at the theatres in 1633-4; Ben Jonson's masque of Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1619), in which masque Comus is one of the characters; and, most especially of all, a Latin Poem entitled "Comus’ by Erycius Puteanus (Henri du Puy, Professor of Eloquence at Louvain), 1608, and republished at Oxford in 1634. Coincidences as regards the plan, the characters, and the imagery, are undoubtedly discernible between Comus and these compositions. Infinitely too much, however, has been made of such coincidences. After all of them, even the most ideal and poetical, the feeling in reading Comus is that all here is different, all peculiar. The peculiarity consists no less in the power and purity of the doctrine, than in the exquisite literary finish ; and, doctrine and poetry together, this one composition ought to have been sufficient, to use the words of Mr. Hallam, “to convince any one of taste and feeling that a great poet had arisen in England, and one partly formed in a different school from his contemporaries.”

A wild wood. The Inferno begins in a wood, the Pilgrim's Progress in the wilderness of this world.' Cp. Faery Queene, i. 1. 7.

l. 1. Milton, in his Latin lines to Manso, speaks of the “aether of the heaven-housed gods, whither labour, and the pure mind, and the fire of virtue, carry us.'

1. 2. mansion, abiding-place, as in John xiv. 2. Milton uses the word for a resting-place, whether temporary (Il Penseroso 93) or permanent (Paraphrase of Psalm cxxxvi. 49).

those, those well-known, certainly existent. Cp. Paradise Lost, iii. 483, for a similar expression, that first mov'd.'

1. 3. Cp. Il Penseroso 88.
1. 5. dim, i. e. as seen from the regions mild.'

1. 7. pester'd. Derived by Diez from Med. Lat. pastorium, Ital. pastoja, the foot-shackle of a horse, whence Fr. empêtrer for empêturer. The real derivation is the figure of clogging or entangling in something pasty or sticky. The same metaphor is seen in Spanish pantano, bog, morass, and thence obstacle, difficulty. Hotspur (1 Henry IV, i. 3) when so pestered by a popinjay' has the feeling of something sticking about him of which he would fain be rid. The sense of over-crowding (as here) is merely a special application of the original figure of clogging. (Wedgwood.)

pin-fold, sheep-fold, but also a 'pound,' for strayed cattle (Two Gentlemen of Verona, i. 1).

1. 10. change here has its old meaning of a figure in a dance, as in Love's Labour's Lost, v. 2,

*Then in our measure do but vouchsafe one change,' and in the revels in Ford's Broken Heart, v. 2. Milton elsewhere speaks of the world's vain mask' (Sonnet xvii). The conclusion of Jeremy Taylor's sermon on the House of Feasting connects the leading thought of the Comus, the praise of temperance, with the further advance in the same direction, the scorn of delight, indicated in Lycidas :—'I end with the saying of a wise man (Epictetus). He is fit to sit at the table of the Lord and to feast with saints, who moderately uses the creatures which God hath given him ; but he that despiseth even lawful pleasures, shall not only sit and feast with God, but reign together with Him, and partake of His glorious kingdom.' Cp. Rev. iv. 4, whence the faithful are denominated by ecclesiastical writers the oúv@povo. of Christ. Note the alliteration in this passage, 11. 5, 11.

1. 13. Cp. Lycidas 111.

1. 16. Ambrosia was the food of the Gods, as nectar was their drink. Ambrosial is used here, as in Greek, in the general sense of heavenly.

1. 20. bigb. Jove ruled in the upper air; nether Jove in Hades (Paradise Lost, i. 516). Ovid calls Pluto, Jupiter Stygius. Cp. Iliad, xv. 190-3.

1. 21. sea-girt iles; see below on l. 50. Cp. Gaunt's speech on England (Richard II, ii. 1),

• This precious stone set in the silver sea.' 1. 29. The sea-nymphs in Spenser (Faery Queene, iv. II. 48) are • deckt with long green hair.'

1. 31. mickle, great. See Glossary to Spenser's Faery Queene, Book i. 1. 33. Cp. Æneid, i. 21. 1. 37. perplex't, entangled ; (from Lat. plecto, to twist.) 1. 43. Cp. Horace, Odes, iii. 1. 2, and Paradise Lost, i. 16.

'1. 45. The ball of the chieftain, and the bower of the lady are often thus joined by Spenser, and by Scott, who was imbued with the spirit of old romance and ballad.

1. 48. after the Tuscan mariners (had been) transform’d; a similar construction occurs in Paradise Lost, i. 573. The story of the mariners who carried off Bacchus, and were transformed into dolphins, is told in the Homeric Hymn to Dionysus, and in Ovid, (Metamorphoses, iii. 660, &c.)

1. 49. listed, willed. A. S. lystan, to have pleasure in. Cp. John iii. 8.

1. 50. fell on is the Latin phrase "incidere in.' For Circe, see Odyssey, x.

iland. A. S. ea-land. The s was inserted in this word and in ‘isle' from a mistaken notion that both came, through the French, from 'insula.' Who knows not Circe? is imitated from • Poor Colin Clout (who knows not Colin Clout ?)'

(Faery Queene, vi. 10. 16.) 1. 54. Cp. Paradise Lost, iv. 303, Samson Agonistes 568.

1. 58. Comus, whom Æschylus makes akin to the Furies, had figured in Jonson’s masques as the god of good cheer.

1. 60. Celtic and Iberian fields, France and Spain.

1. 61. ominous, portentous, hazardous. Originally indifferent in its meaning, ominous' acquired a bad sense. Thus 'if anything should happen' means anything unfortunate, and usually the thing feared by all (Paradise Lost, ii. 123, Paradise Regained, iv. 481).

1. 76. This effect of forgetfulness is not Homeric. The companions of Ulysses are sensible of their degradation. Warton quotes Plutarch's dialogue of Gryllus, wherein some of the victims of Circe, disgusted with the vices and vanities of human life, refused to be re-transformed. Cp. Faery Queene, ii. 12. 86, and note thereon in this series.

1. 79. adventrous, full of adventures, like the forests in the Faery Queene. Cp. Il Penseroso 119.

glade ; synonymous with lawn. Its fundamental meaning is a passage for the light, either through trees or through clouds. (Wedgwood.) Here it means an opening in the forest and (by synecdoche) the whole wood. (Keightley.)

1. 80. Cp. Paradise Lost, i. 745.

1. 80. glancing. Cp. Paradise Lost, xi. 442, Samson Agonistes 1284. 1. 83. Cp. Paradise Lost, xi. 244. 1. 92. viewless. Cp. Paradise Lost, iii. 518, Passion 50, and note there.

1. 93. The morning star is called the “unfolding star ' in Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, iv. 2.

1. 96. Alluding to the hissing of the sea as the sun's chariot plunged into it, • Audiet Herculeo stridentem gurgite solem.'

(Juvenal, xiy. 280.) Cp. Faery Queene, i. 1. 32.

1. 97. steep, deep; like 'altus' and our 'high' sea, sea at a great distance from the shore.

1. 105. rosy twine, wreaths of roses. See note on line 151.

1. 108. Advice, consideration, deliberation. Cp. note on Paradise Lost, ii. 376.

1. 110. saws, things said, proverbs. The justice in Shakespeare (As You Like It, ii. 7) is · full of wise saws.' 1. 111. The stress is on fire. Cp. Cleopatra,

• I am fire, and air ; my other elements

I give to baser life.' (Antony and Cleopatra, v. 2.) 1. 112. Allusion to the music of the spheres, line 1021. Ср. . Arcades 69, 73 (notes).

1. 116. morrice, i. e. Moorish, a dance brought by the Moors into Spain, and thence said to have been introduced into England by John of Gaunt.

1. 118. pert. The word (verb and adj.) perk comes from Welsh percu, to trim, perc, trim, neat. In the same sense, with a change of the final k to t, to pert is used in Beaumont and Fletcher (Knight of Burning Pestle, i. 2) of a child – it perts up the head.' Hence peart, brisk; Welsh pert, smart, dapper, fine. The transposition of the liquid and vowel in prick and perk would lead us to deduce pretty from pert. There is no ground to suppose that pert (= saucy) is a corruption of malapert (Wedgwood). Cp. • The pert and nimble spirit of mirth'

(Midsummer Night's Dream, i. 1), where activity is indicated, as liere. Dapper is explained as “ pretty'in the Glossary to Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar (October). Milton (History of England) has · little dapper men.'

1. 121. wake was the vigil before a holyday, and was applied to the festivities which celebrated the anniversary of the consecration of a church. In 1633, Laud maintained the wakes against the remonstrances of the judges, who represented them to be the occasion of much immorality. These and other festivals, obnoxious to the graver sort, were favoured by the Court lest the people should go to tippling houses, and there talk of matters of Church and State, or into conventicles.' .In some parts of England the wake is called the village revel' (Wedgwood).

1. 129. Cotytto; goddess of the Edoni of Thrace. Her festival was held by night, and resembled that of the Thracian Cybele. Her worship, notorious for the licence of its rites, became naturalised in Greece, especially at Corinth.

1. 131. See note on Il Penseroso 59.

1. 132. spets is used by Sylvester for spits.' The same form of the word occurs in Spenser and in Drayton.

1. 139. nice (from French niais, foolish), fastidious. In Shakespeare it usually bears the meaning of foolish ’: e. g. • Every idle, nice, and wanton reason.'

(2 Henry IV, iv. 1.) Indian. Cp. Tennyson's In Memoriam xxvi,

· Ere yet the morn Breaks hither over Indian seas.' 1. 141. tell tale. The Sun disclosed to Hephæstus (Vulcan) the infidelity of Aphrodite (Venus). (Odyssey, viii. 270.)

1. 144. Cp. L'Allegro 34. Round =a dance : e. g. Sellenger's or St. Leger's round. (Macbeth, iv. I ; Midsummer Night's Dream, ii. 2.) 1. 147. shrouds; hiding-places; as in a masque of Jonson's,

• But here must be no shelter, nor no shroud

For such.' 1. 151. wily trains; trains of wiles. Train is used by Spenser for

See Glossary to Faery Queene, Bk. i. The word is only once thus used in Shakespeare (Macbeth, iv. 3).

1. 154. spungy air means the air which retains the dazzling spells' hurled into it by Comus.

1. 155. To blear the eye; to deceive, throw dust in the eyes. The expression is as old as Chaucer's time, and occurs in Taming of the Shrew, v. 1. The word is totally different from blear in blear-eyed, which is derived from Low Germ. blarren, to blare or roar, i.e. having inflamed eyes like one that has been long weeping. Here blear = blur, and resembles the Bavarian plerren, a blotch; plerr, geplerr, a mist before the eyes. The same metaphor is found in Polish, tuman, a cloud ; tumanić, to cast a mist before the eyes, to humbug. (Wedgwood.)

1. 157. quaint. See note on Nativity 194.

1. 161. glozing, deceitful, flattering (A.S. glesing, O.E. glosynge); gloss was originally the word (ywooa) which needed explanation, was then used for the explanation itself, and finally, by a too natural transition, acquired the meaning of a false explanation, an explaining away. The text, says the friar in the Sompnour's Tale, is hard, and therefore wol

snare.

« 이전계속 »