Page images
PDF
EPUB

30

35

And with remorseless cruelty
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe before his birth
Had burial, yet not laid in earth,
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb,
So have I seen some tender slip,
Sav'd with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flow'r
New shot up from vernal show'r;
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Side-ways, as on a dying bed,
And those pearls of dew she wears,
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hast’ning funeral.
Gentle Lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travail sore
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,

40

45

50

41. But the fair blossom hangs Perhaps Milton recollected the head, &c.] Mr. Bowle com- Virgil's description of the death pares this and the five following of Euryalus, Æn. ix. 434. verses with what Antonio Bruni

-inque humeros cervix collapsa resays of the rose, Le Tre Gratie, cumbit : p. 221.

Purpureus veluti cum flos succisus

aratro Ma nata a pena, o filli,

Languescit moriens; lassove papavera

collo
Cade languisce e more:
Le tenere rugiade,

Demisere caput, pluvià cum forte
Ch' l' imperlano il seno,

gravantur.

E.
Son ne suoi funerali
Le lagrime dolenti,

49. After this thy travail sore] T. Warton. As she died in child-bed.

55

60

That to give the world increase,
Short'ned hast thy own life's lease.
Here, besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon,
And some flowers, and some bays
For thy hearse, to strow the ways,
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
Devoted to thy virtuous name;
Whilst thou, bright Saint, high sitt'st in glory,
Next her much like to thee in story,
That fair Syrian shepherdess,
Who after years of barrenness,
The highly favour'd Joseph bore
To him that serv'd for her before,
And at her next birth much like thee,
Through pangs fled to felicity,
Far within the bosom bright
Of blazing Majesty and Light:

65

70

moan, &c.

55. Here be tears of perfect wrote Comus. He might pro

bably therefore write this elegy Sent thee from the banks of in consequence of his acquaintCame.]

ance with the Egerton family. I have been told that there was Mr. Bowle remarks, that her a Cambridge collection of verses death was celebrated by Sir John on her death, among which Mil- Beaumont, and Sir William Daton's Elegiac Ode first appeared. venant. See Beaumont's Poems, But I rather think this was not 1629. p. 159. T. Warton. the case.

As our Marchioness 63. That fair Syrian shepwas the daughter of Lord Savage herdess, &c.] Rachel, the daughof Rock-Savage in Cheshire, it ter of Laban the Syrian, kept is natural to suppose that her her father's sheep, Gen. xxix. 9. family was well acquainted with and after her first son, Joseph, that of Lord Bridgewater, of the died in child-bed of her second same county, for whom Milton son, Benjamin, xxxv. 18.

There with thee, new welcome Saint,
Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
No Marchioness, but now a Queen*.

IX.

Song. On May Morning.
Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.

* There is a pleasing vein of in Niccols's Cuckow, 1607. and lyric sweetness and ease in Mil- in G. Fletcher's Christ's Victory, ton's use of this metre, which is c. i. 82. T. Warton. that of L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. 3. —who from her green lap He has used it with equal suc- throws &c.] This image seems cess in Comus's festive song, and to be borrowed from Shakespeare, the last speech of the Spirit, in Richard II. act v. sc. 4. Comus, 93, 922. From these

-who are the violets now specimens we may justly wish That strow the green lap of the newhe had used it more frequently. come spring ? Perhaps in Comus's song it has

3. So Niccols, in the descripa peculiar propriety: it has cer

tion just cited, of May, tainly a happy effect. T. Warton.

And from her fruitful lap eche day 1. Now the bright morning-star, she threw day's harbinger,] So Shakespeare, The choicest flowres. Mids. N. Dr. a. iii. s. ult.

We have the same image in R. And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger. Greene's description of Aurora,

T Warton.

as cited in England's Parnassus, 2. Comes dancing from the east, 1600. p. 415. And in Spenser, and leads with her

of Nature, F. Q. ii. vi. 15. and The flow'ry May, &c.] of May, F. Q. yii. vii. 34. T. So Spenser, in Astrophel, st. iv. Warton. As sommers lark that with her song 4. - the pale primrose.] In the doth greet

Winter's Tale, a. iv. s. 5. The dancing day, forth coming from the east.

Pale primroses

That die unmarried. The same expressions occur in the Faerie Queene, i. v. 2. and in And again in Cymbeline, a. iv. Peele's David and Bethsabe, 1599. T. Warton.

[ocr errors]

Hail bounteous May that dost inspire
Mirth and youth and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

10

5

X.

On Shakespeare. 1630*. WHAT needs

my Shakespeare 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 th’ shame of slow-endeavouring art Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book Those Delphic lines with deep impression took, Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving, Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;

10

* This copy of verses on Shake the daughters of memory. See speare being made in 1630, our Hesiod, Theog. ver. 53. poet was then in the twenty- 8. –a live-long monument.]. second year of his age: and it It is lasting in the folio Shakewas printed with the poems of speare, and the editions of these that author at London in 1640. poems, 1645, 1695, 1765. And

5. Dear son of memory,] He in Tickell and Fenton. Milton, honours his favourite Shake- I suppose, altered it to live-long, speare with the same relation as edit. 1673. T. Warton. the Muses themselves. For the 11. —unvalued] Inestimable; Muses are called by the old poets above price. Johnson.

15

And so sepulchred in such pomp dost lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die*.

XI.

On the University Carrier, who sickened in the time

of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London, by

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

15. And so sepulchred] We ance of any length that was have the word with the same printed; notwithstanding the sinaccent in Fairfax, cant. i. st. 25. gular approbation with which it As if his work should his sepilchre be. had been previously received in

a long and extensive course of Milton has pronounced it other

private circulation. Lycidas in wise, as in Samson, ver. 103.

the Cambridge collection is only Myself, my sépulchre, a moving grave. subscribed with his initial. Most

* This is but an ordinary poem of the other tributors have to come from Milton on such a

left their names at full length. subject. But he did not know The title of this piece in the his own strength, or was content second folio of Shakespeare was, to dissemble it, out of deference An Epitaph on the admirable drato the false taste of his time. maticke Poet W. Shakespeare. T. The conceit of Shakespeare's Warton. lying sepulchred in a tomb of his + We have the following acown making is in Waller's man- count of this extraordinary man ner, not his own. But he made in the Spectator, No. 509. “Mr. Shakespeare amends in his L'Al- “ Tobias Hobson was a carrier, legro, v. 133.' Hurd.

" and the first man in this island This poem firstappeared among “ who let out hackney horses. other recommendatory verses, “ He lived in Cambridge, and prefixed to the folio edition of " observing that the scholars rid Shakespeare's plays in 1632, but hard, his manner was to keep without Milton's name or initials. a large stable of horses, with This therefore is the first of Mil- boots, bridles, and whips, to ton's pieces that was published. “ furnish the gentlemen at once, It was with great difficulty and “ without going from college to. reluctance, that Milton first ap; college to borrow, as they peared as an author. He could “have done since the death of not be prevailed upon to put his “this worthy man: I say Mr. name to Cumus, his first perforin- " Hobson kept a stable of forty

[ocr errors]

66

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »