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I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,


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Yet once more, has an allusion dialect, by which in English we not merely to some of Milton's are to understand an antiquated former poems on similar occa- style. But of the three or four sions, but to his poetical con- words in Lycidas which even we positions in general, or rather to now call obsolete, almost all are his last poem, which was Comus. either used in Milton's other He would say, "I am again, in poems, or were familiar to read“ the midst of other studies, un- ers and writers of verse in the "expectedly and unwillingly year 1638. The word sere, or “called back to poetry, &c." dry, in the text, one of the most Neither are the plants here men- uncommon of these words, octioned, as some have suspected, curs in P. L. b. x. 1071. And appropriated to elegy. They are in our author's Psalms, ii. 27. T. symbolical of general poetry. Warton. Theocritus, in a Epigram cited 3. I come to pluck your berries in the next note, dedicates myr. harsh and crude,] 'This beautitles to Apollo. In the mean ful allusion to the unripe age of time, I would not exclude an- his friend, in which death shatother probable implication : bytered his leaves before the mellowplucking the berries and the ing year, is not antique, I think, leaves of laurel, myrtle, and ivy, but of those secret graces of he might intend to point out the Spenser. See his Eclogue of Japastoral or rural turn of his poem.nuary in the Shepherd's CalenT. Warlon.

dar. The poet there says of 2. Ye myriles brown.] Brown himself under the name of Colin and black are classical epithets Clout, for the myrtle. Theocritus, Epig.

my Justful leaf is dry and sere.

Richardson, Tαι δι ΜΕΛΑΜΦΥΛΛΑΙ ΔΑΦΝΑΙ τιν, 5. Shatter your leares before

the mellowing year.] So in P. L. Ovid, Art. Amator. lib. jii. 690.

b. x. 1066. Ros inaris, et lauri, nigraque myrtus

-shuttering the graceful locks

Of these fair spreading trees. olet,

T. Warlon. Horace contrasts the brown myr- 6. Bilter constraint, and sad tle with the green ivy, Od. i. occasion dear,] So in Spenser, XXXV. 17.


l'aery Queen, b. i. cant. i. st. 53. Læta quod pubes edera virenti

Love of yourself, she said, and dear Gaudeat, pulla magis atque myrto.

CO:straint, 2. —with ivy never sere.]

Let me not sleep, but waste the A

weary night notion has prevailed, that this In secret anguish, and unpitied plaint. pastoral is written in the Doric


i. 3.

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Compels me to disturb your season due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhime.
He must not float upon his wat’ry bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,


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10. Who would not sing for giacs, in the Genethliacum Acad. Lycidas ?] Virgil, Ecl. x. 3. Cantabrig. ibid. 1631. 4to. p. 39.

Of Latin iambics in Rex Redux, -neget quis carmina Gallo?

ibid. 1633. 4to. p. 14. See also He knew, in Milton's Manuscript ZINDAIA,

ΣΥΝΩΔΙΑ, from Cambridge, it is he well knew.

ibid. 1637. 4to. Signat. C. 3. I 10. He knero

will not say how far these perHimself to sing, &c.]

formances justify Milton's pane-
At Cambridge, Mr. King was gyric on his friend's poetry. T.
distinguished for his piety, and Warton.
proficiency in polite literature. 11. --and build the lofty rhime.)
He has no inelegant copy of A beautiful Latinism. Hor. Epist.
Latin iambics prefixed to a Latin i. iii. 24.
Comedy called Senile Odium,

seu condis amabile carmen.
acted at Queen's College Cam-
bridge, by the youth of that so-

De Arte poet. 436.
ciety, and written by P. Hausted, -si carmina condes.
Cantab. 1633. 12mo. From which 11. Euripides says still more
I select these lines, as containing boldly, because more specifically,
a judicious satire on the false « Αοιδας ΕΠΥΡΓΩΣΕ.” Suppl. ν.
taste, and the customary me-

997. Hurda chanical or unnatural expedients, The lofty rhyme is “ the lofty of the drama that then subsisted.


See P. L. b. i. 16. T. Non hic cothurni sanguine insonti

Warton. rubeat,

12. He must not float upon his Nec flagra Megæræ ferrea horrendum watry bier.). So Johnson, in intonant;

Cynthia's Revells, acted by the Noverca nulla sævior Erebo furit;

boys of Queen Elizabeth's Chapel,
Venena nulla, præter illa dulcia
Amoris; atque his vim abstulere 1600, a. i. s. ?.

Sing some mourning straine
Casti lepores, innocua festivitas,

Over his watrie hcarse.
Nativa suavitas, proba clegantia, &c.

T. Warion.
He also appears with credit in 13. Unwept, and welter, &c.]
the Cambridge Public Verses of Thus in our author's Epitaphium
his time. He has a copy of Damonis, v. 28.
Latin iambics, in the Anthologia

Indeplorato non comminuere sepulon the King's Recovery, Cantab. chro. 1632. 4to. p. 43. Of Latin ele

T. Warton.


Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin then, sisters of the sacred well,
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring,
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse,

So may some gentle Muse
With lucky words favour my destin'd urn,
And as he passes turn,



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14. Without the meed] With- Jupiter, as Hesiod says in the out the reward. Spenser, Faery invocation for his poem on the Queen, b. ii. cant. iii. st. 10. generation of the Gods. -but honour, virtue's meed,

Μουσαων Ελικωνιαδων αρχώμεθ αειδειν, Doth bear the fairest flow'r in ho- Αισ Ελικωνος εχουσιν ορος μεγα το ζαnourable seed.

θεοντε, -melodious tear.] For

Και σε περι κρηνης ιοειδεα ποσο' απαλοιsong, or plaintive elegiac strain,

Ορχουνται, και βωμον ερισθενεος Κρανιω the cause of tears. Euripides in like manner, Suppl. v. 1128.

Begin we from the Muses still to sing, • Πα δακρυα φερεις φιλα-ολωλοτων. That haunt high Helicon, and the “Where do you bear the tears of

pure spring, “ the dead, i. e. the remains or

And altar of great Jove, with print.

less feet ashes of the dead, which occa“sion our tears ?" Or perhaps

Dancing surround.

Richardson. the

passage is corrupt. See note on the place, edit. Markland. 18. Hence with denial vain, and The same use of tears, however, coy excuse,] The epithet coy is occurs, ibid. v. 454.

Δακρυα do at present restrained to Person. “ ετοιμαζουσι." Hurd.

Anciently, it was more generally The passage is undoubtedly combined. Thus Drayton, corrupt; Ilų is superfluous, and

Shepherd, these things are all too coy mars the context. The late Oxford editor seems to have given Whose youth is spent in jollity and the genuine reading, “Nes danguo

mirth, Pigus Pine," [v. 1133.] T. War- That is, “This knowledge is too ton.

hard for ine, &c.” Eclogues, vii. 15. Begin then, sisters of the Milton has the same use of

coy sacred well,

in the Apology for Smectymnuus. That from beneath the seat of “ Thus lie at the mercy of a Jove doth spring,]

coy flurting style, &c.”? Pr. W. He means Hippocrené, a foun- i. 105. ed. 1738. T. Warton. tain consecrated to the Muses on 21. And as he passes turn,] He mount Helicon, on the side of for the muse seems extraordinary. which was an altar of Heliconian See Mr. Jortin's note on ver. 973,

for me,

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurst upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shạde, and rill..

Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
We drove a field, and both together heard



of Samson Agonistes, where this present place is from Job, the change of the gender is consi.' most poetical of all books. Job. dered.

curses the day in which he was 21. It is probably a corrupt born. Let the stars of the twilightreading. The muse is feminine thereof be durk, lei it look for further on at ver. 58 and 59. light but have none, neither let it And the mistake may have been see the dawning of the day. The caused by the concluding letter Hebrew (that Milton always folof the preceding word as being lows) hath neither let it see the the same as the first of the word eyelids of the morning, iii. 9. she. E.

Richardson. 22. And bid] So altered in the The opening eyelids was alManuscript from To bid &c. tered in the Manuscript from the.

23. For we were nurst &c.] glimmering eyelids. This is assigned as a reason for 26. Perhaps from Thomas Midwhat he had said before,

dleton's Game at Chesse, an old, Hence with denial vain, and coy ex- forgotten play, published about

the end of the reign of James the

First, 1625. 25. Together both, &c.] Here a new paragraph begins in the

Like a pearl, edition of 1645, and in all that

Dropp'd from the opening eyelids of followed. But in the edition of

Upon the bashful rose. 1638, the whole context is thus pointed and arranged.

Shakespeare has the morning's For we were nurst upon the self

eye,” Rom. and Jul. act iii. s. 5. same hill,

Again, act ii. s. 3. Fed the same flock, by fountain,

The grey-eyed morn smiles on the shade, and rill;

frowning night. Together both, ere the high lawns

T. Warton. appear'd, &c. T. Warton.

27. “We continued together 25. Probably the new para- still noon, and from thence, &c." graph should begin at ver. 23. The gray-fly is called by the na" For we &c." E.

turalists, the gray-fly or trumpet26.--the opening eyelids of ihe fly. Here we have Milton's horn, morn,] This personizing every and sultry horn is the sharp hum thing that is the subject of ima- of this insect at noon, or the hotgination is a great part of the test part of the day. But by some merit of ancient poetry. The this has been thought the chaffer,

the morn


What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn,
Batt’ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the star that rose, at evening, bright,

30 which begins its flight in the commonly known by the name evening. T. Warton.

of the cock-chaffer or dor-fly. 27. We drove afield,] That is, These in the hot summer months “ we drove our flocks afield.” Ilie quiet all the day feeding upon mention this, that Gray's echo the leaves of the oaks and wil. of the passage in the Church- lows, but about sunset fly about yard Elegy, yet with another with just such a sort of noise as meaning, may not mislead many answers the poet's description. careless readers.

The author could not possibly

have chosen a circumstance more How joyous did they drive the team afield.

proper and natural for a shep-,

herd to describe a summer's evenSee the note, P. R. ii. 365. on

ing by, nor have expressed it in Milton's delight in painting the beauties of the morning. In the

a more poetical manner. Thyer.

Shakespeare has an image of Apology for Smectymnuus he de. the same kind in his Macbeth, clares, Those morning haunts but he has expressed it with

are where they should be, at greater horror suitable to the “ home: not sleeping or con- occasion, act iii. s. 3. “cocting the surfeits of an irre“gular feast, but up and stirring,

ere to black Hecate's summons in winter often before the

The shard-born beetle with his drowsy “ sound of any bell awakens

Halb rung night's yawning peal, &c. men to labour or devotion; in

summer, as oft as the bird that 29. Battning our flocks with “ first rouses, or not much tar. the fresh dews of night,] To batten dier, to read good authors, is both neutral and active, to “ &c." Prose Works, i. 109. In grow or to make fat. The neutral L'Allegro, one of the first de- is most common. Shakespeare, lights of his cheerful man, is to

Haml. act iii. 8. 4. hear the “ lark begin her flight." Could you on this fair mountain His lovely landscape of Eden al- leave to feed, ways wears its most attractive And batten on this moor? charms at sun-rising. In the And Drayton, Ecl. ix. vol. iv, ut present instance, he more par, supr. p. 1431. ticularly alludes to the stated early hours of a collegiate life,

Their battening flocks on grassie leas which he shared, on the self-same

to hold. hill, with his friend Lycidas at Milton had this line in his eye. Cambridge. T. Warton. Batfull, that is plentiful, is a

28. What time the gray-fly frequent epithet in Drayton, winds her sultry horn,] By the especially in his Polyolbion. gray-fly in this place is meant no T. Warton. doubt a brownish kind of beetle 30. Oft till the star &c.] These powdered with a little white, two lines were thus in the Manu


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