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COMUS.

The first Scene discovers a wild Wood.

THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters.
BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aerial spirits live insphered
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,
Which men call earth; and, with low-thoughted care
Confined and pestered in this pinfold here,
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives,
After this mortal change, to her true servants,

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3. Insphered.] Within their seem consistent with the characassigned sphere. The portions ter of the speaker. Milton had of space occupied by departed originally writtensouls were called spheres.

Strive to keep up a frail and feverish 7. Pestered in this pinfold.]

being

Beyond the written date of mortal change, The word pestered originally Urimindful of the crown that virtue gives,

After this mortal change, means crowded, obstructed. Ital.

but he blotted out the second line pesta, a crowd. Your coach whose rude postilion

without altering the reference to Must pester every narrow lane.

it in the fourth. Warton, comShirley's Lady of Pleasure, i. menting on another passage in So all unhoused souls do thither creer Nor are they pestered for want of room.

Milton, says, “When a poet corSandys' Ovid, iv. 441.

rects, he is apt to forget and A pinfold is a pen or pound for destroy his original train of cattle.

thought.' We must, perhaps, 10. After this mortal change.] allow the words, as they stand, The demonstrative meaning im- to mean-afterthis state of mortal plied in the word this does not change.

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Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that, by due steps, aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key
That opes the palace of eternity :
To such my errand is; and, but for such,
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould.

But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles,
That, like to rich and various gems, inlay
The unadorned bosom of the deep:
Which he, to grace his tributary gods,

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15. But for such.] The ad- Pluto was called Stygian Jove verbial phrase for such, and the 'sacra Jovi Stygio perficere,' adverb not, in the

following line, Virg. Æn. iv. 638); because he are connected by the conjunction was the chief divinity in the but, and both modify the verb lower world, as Jupiter was in soil. The construction is, I would the upper. not but for such soil these 22. Like to rich and various pure, &c.; and, in analysis, the gems.] This comparison of the whole phrase not but for such sea-girt isles to gems is probably may be treated as an adverbial derived from Shakspeare having adjunct to soil.

called England a . precious stone 16. Ambrosial weeds.] The set in the silver sea' (Rich. II., word weeds, which was used to ii. 1). The adjective like, which denote garments generally, is still here qualifies isles, is now seldom applied to the mourning attire of followed by the preposition to, the widow. Ambrosia signified when that word is necessary to the food of the gods, and also an complete the construction. Com. unguent said to be used by them, pare 1, 57. and to be of immortalizing virtue. 23. Unadorned.] Naked; not See lines 840-1.

adorned as the land. 17. Sin-worn mould.] Sin-cor 24. To grace, &c.] The infinirupted earth.

tive thus used makes an adverbial 20. Took in by lot.] On the clause=that he may grace, &c. dethronement of Saturn, his three In the next line but one an insons, Jupiter, Neptune and Pluto, finitive phrase is used adjectively shared the empire of the universe. describing the noun leave.

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By course commits to several government,
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns,
And wield their little tridents : But this isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,
He quarters to his blue-haired deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun
A noble peer of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide
An old and haughty nation, proud in arms:
Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore,
Are coming to attend their father's state,
And new-intrusted sceptre: but their way
Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood,
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger;
And here their tender age might suffer peril,
But that by quick command from sovereign Jove
I was despatched for their defence and guard :
And listen why; for I will tell you now

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25. By course.] In regular dis- May 1633. The Lady Alice tribution commits to divided Egerton was only about 13 years government; to each his own of age, and the elder of her distinct government.

brothers about 12, when they 29. He quarters, &c.] He ap- performed in the mask at Ludlow portions to such water-nymphs as Castle. the Nereides.

38. Horror.] Shagginess. See 30. All this tract, &c.] The Note on l. 429. tract fronting the falling sun, or 41. But that, &c.] We have west (sol occideus), is Wales, of here the noun clause that I was which the Earl of Bridgewater was despatched, 8c., forming an object appointed Lord President. His to the preposition but; and the family residence was Ashridge 41st and 42nd lines constitute an House, a few miles from Tring. adverbial clause to suffer.

35. Their father's state.] The 43. Why.] That is, why I was ceremony of his being instated despatched, &c., a noun clause at Ludlow Castle, his official objective. The direct object of residence. This is retrospective; the verb tell is the whole of the as he was appointed to the Presi- two succeeding lines. dency of Wales by Charles I., in

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What never yet was heard in tale or song,
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
Crushed the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transformed,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
On Circe's island fell : (Who knows not Circe,
The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup
Whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine?)
This nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks
With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,

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hall.

45. In hall or bower.] In ban 49. The Tyrrhene shore.] The quet room or private apartment. Tuscan shore, or shore of Etruria. So, in Spenser's Faërie Queene, See what Ovid says of Glaucus, VÍ. ix, 32, “And this your cabin "Tyrrhena per æquora lapsus,' [shall be] both my bower and &c. (Met. xiv. 8). hall. And in Chaucer's Nun 50. Circe's island.] The small Priesť's Tale,

island Ææa, afterwards, by union Full sooty was her bower and eke her with the mainland, forming the

promontory of Circeii. Circe was 46. From out.] That is, out the daughter of Apollo, her from; out being an adverb. mother being one of the Ocean. Comp. 'from off the waters,' l. ides, named Perse. 896.

Proxima Circææ raduntur litora terræ, Let them from forth a saw-pit rush at

Shakspeare's Merry Wives, iv. 4. 48. After the Tuscan mariners

Who knows not Circe, &C. Comtransformed.] That is, being pare Horace, Epist. I. ii. 23. transformed. The poet here imi Sirenum voces et Circæ pocula nosti, tates a Latin construction; comp.

Qua si cum sociis stultus cupidusquo Horace, Od. I. iii. 29, ‘Post ignem Sub doming meretrice fuisset turpis et subductum ;' so in Par. Lost, i.

Vixisset canis immundns, vel amica luto 573, Never since created man met such embodied force.' The 52. Whoever tasted whose god Bacchus punished the Tuscan charmed cup, is a noun sentence pirates by transforming them into nominative to lost, and also part sea-monsters. The story is told of an adjective sentence describin Ovid, Met. iii. 660.

ing Circe.

Dives inaccessos ubi Solis filia lucos
Assidue resonat cantu . . .

once.

bibisset.

excors,

sus.

Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named :
Who, ripe and frolic of his full-grown age,
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,

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At last betakes him to this ominous wood;
And, in thick shelter of black shades imbowered,
Excels his mother at her mighty art,
Offering to every weary traveller
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,

65 To quench the drouth of Phæbus; which as they taste, (For most do taste, through fond intemperate thirst),

Soon as the potion works, their human countenance, * The express resemblance of the gods, is changed Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,

70 Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat, All other parts remaining as they were ; And they, so perfect is their misery, Not once perceive their foul disfigurement, But boast themselves more comely than before,

75 And all their friends and native home forget, To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty. Therefore, when any favoured of high Jove Chances to pass through this adventurous glade, Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star

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59. Frolic of his full-grown 77. To roll, &c.] Adverbial use age.] Buoyant, full of the spirit of the infinitive. Note on l. 24. of opening manhood, which 79. Adventurous.] Hazardous, prompted him to rove the Celtic perilous. and Iberian fields, i.e. through 80. Glancing star.] Shooting France and Spain. See Note to l. star. So in Par. Lost, iv. 555, 1023.

Uriel is said to glide through the 65. Orient.] Bright. This even swift as a shooting star in word, derived from the Latin autumn thwarts the night. To oriens, rising, has allusion to sol glance is to dart obliquely. Comp. oriens, the rising sun, or the east. Spenser, F. Q. VI., vii. 7. 74. Not once perceive, &c.] It'

One did miss his mark, was otherwise with Circe's vic And being carried with his force forth

right, tims, who, according to Homer, Glanced swiftly by : like to that heavenly Odyss. x. 241, knew and deplored spark their degradation.

Which, gliding through the air, lights all

the heaven's dark.

bir alone all thuips doch gods stamp deface. Boltinha

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