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Where Milton copies Jonson, in a MASKE at Wela beck, 1633

When was old Sherwood's head more QUEINTLY


The same poet has likewise drawn one or two more strokes in the Arcades, from a Masque of Jonfon. In fong 1. he thus breaks forth,

This, this is she,
To whom our vows, and wishes, &c.

So Jonson, in An Entertainment at Althrope, 1603.

This is shee,
This is thee.

Milton in Song 3. pays this compliment to the countefs of Derby,

Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.

Thus Jonson in the same Entertainment,

And the dame has Syrinx' grace.

These little traits of likeness just lead us to conclude, that Milton, before he began to write his Arcades, had recourse to Jonson, who was the most

* Ver. 15




eminent masque-writer then extant, for the manner proper to this species of composition ; or that in the course of writing it, he imperceptibly fell upon fome of Jonson’s expressions.

It was happily reserved for the taste and genius of Milton, to temper the fantastic extravagance of the MASQUE, which chicfly consisted in external decoration, with the rational graces of poetry, and to give it the form and substance of a legitimate drama.

B. vi. c. ix. f. xxix.

In vaine, said then oid Melibee, doe men
The heavens of their fortunes fault accuse,
Sith they know best, what is the best for them;
For they to each such fortune doe diffuse,
As they do know each can most aptly use.
For not that which men covet most is best,
Nor that thing worst which men do most refuse:

But fittest is, that all contended rest
With that they hold: each has his fortune in his breaft.


It is the mind that maketh good or ill.

In these lines he plainly seems to have had his eye on those exalted Socratic sentiments, which Juvenal has given us in the close of his tenth satire. The laft-cited lines, in particular, point out to us the fense in which Spenser understood the two final controverted verses of that satire.


Nullum numen [abesl] habes, fi fit prudentia ; sed te
Nos FACIMUS FORTUNA DEAM, cæloque locamus,

B. iv. c. viii. s. xxxvii.

With easy steps so soft as foot could striDE. Probably we should read slide for STRIDE; though STRIDE occurs in the old quarto.

B. v. c. i. s. viii.

When so he list in wrath uplift his steely brand.

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Concerning the word BRAND, frequently used by Spenser, for sword, take the following explication of Hickes. " In the second part of the Edda Islandica, “ among other appellations, a sword is denominated

BRAND; and glad, or glod, that is, titio, torris,

pruna ignita ; and the hall of the Odin is said to be “ illuminated by drawn swords only. A writer of no « less learning than penetration, N. Salanus West“ mannus, in his Differtation, entitled, GLADIUS

, “ Scythicus, pag. 6, 7, observes, that the anti“ ents formed their swords in imitation of a flaming “ fire; and thus, from BRAND a sword, came our

LI 2

“ english

english phrase, to brandish a sword, gladium ftri&tum « vibrando corufcare facere *.

B. i. c. ii. f. iv.

The penance here mentioned, I suppose, our author drew from tradition, or romance. From one of these sources, Milton seems to have derived, and applied his annual penance of the devils.

Thus were they plagu'd,
And worn with famin, long and ceaseless hiss,
Till their loft shape, permitted, they resumid;
Yearly injoyn'd, they say, to undergo
This ANNUAL HUMBLING certain number'd days t.

Before I close this Supplement, I will hope for the reader's pardon once more, while I lengthen out this digression, in order to illustrate another passage in Milton.


Him haply slumbring on the Norway foam
Phe pilot of some small night-founder'd skiff,
Deeming fome iland, oft, as sea-men tell,
With fixed anchor in his scaly rind
Moors in his fide, under the lee, &c *.

Ling. Vet. Sept. Thesaur, cap. 23. pag. 193. of Par. Lost, 10. 572

| Ibid. 1. 201.


On the words, as sea-men tell, says Hume*, “ Words “ well added to obviate the incredibility of casting 66 anchor in this manner.”

It is likely that Milton never heard this improbable circumstance, of mistaking the whale for an island, from the sea-men; but that he drew it from that passage in his favorite Ariosto, where Aftolpho, Dudon, and Renaldo are said to have seen fo large a whale in the sea, near Alcyna's castle, that they took it for an island +.

B. iv. c. vi. s. xiv.

Like as the lightning brond from riven skie,
Thrown out by angry Jove in his vengeance,
With dreadfull force falles on some steeple hie,
Which battring, downe it on the church doth glaunce,
And teareth all with terrible mischaunce.

Not many years before the FAIRY QUEEN was written, viz. 1561, the steeple of St. Paul's church was ftruck with lightening, by which means not only the steeple itself, but the entire roof of the church was consumed I. The description in this fimile was probably suggested to our author's imagination by this remarkable accident.

* Note in loc. + C. 6. 1. 37 Stow's Survey of London, p. 357. edit. 1633.


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