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Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives
After this mortal change to her true servants
Amongst the enthron'd Gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key,

fax's Tasso, c. xiii. 20. Shake. if he had said just before
speare, K. Lear, act ii. s. 2. Two

Beyond the written date of mortal
Gent. Verona, act i. s. 1. It is a change :
pound in Hudibras. A pinner is and therefore I cannot but think
a shepherd in some parts of Eng. that he blotted out this line not
land, one who pins the fold. without reason.
In old deeds, among manorial

8. Besides, an allusion to the rights, the privilege of a pinfold written date of Scripture would for pound is claimed. T. Warton. 8. Strive to keep up a frail and attendant spirit.

be improper in the

person of the

For the same feverish being,] This endeavour

reason there seems to be an im. is in itself no fault; it becomes so only as it is circumstanced:

propriety in supposing an allu

sion to St. Peter's golden key in and the Trinity manuscript gives

v. 13, where see the note. E. this circumstance, which was therefore necessary to the just- on sainted seats.] So this verse

11. Amongst the enthron'd Gods ness of the thought,

stands in Milton's manuscript as Beyond the written date of mortal well as in all his editions : and change.

yet I cannot but prefer the readBy the written date is meant

ing of Mr. Fenton's editions, Scripture, in which is recorded Amongst the enthroned Gods

sainted seats.
the abridged date of mortal life.

11. Shakespeare, Anton. Cleop.
I am still inclined to think act i. s. 3.
that this line is better omitted.

Though you in swearing shake the For though it may not be a fault throned Gods. in itself to

See note on Par. L. v. 595. T.

Strive to keep up a frail and feverish

13. —thut golden key, &c.]

This seems to be said in allusion yet it certainly is so to strive to keep it up

to Peter's golden key, mentioned

likewise in Lycidas, 110.
Unmindful of the crown that virtue
gives :

Two massy keys he bore of metals

twain, and he could not have added

(The golden opes, the iron shuts

-the crown that virtue gives
After this mortal change

And this verse, which was first



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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


gems inlay

written That shows &c. after- 22. That like to rich and various wards altered, That opes the palace of eternity,

The unadorned bosom of the Mr. Pope has transferred with a

deep,] little alteration into one of his The first hint of this beautiful pasSatires, speaking of Virtue,

sage seems to have been taken

from Shakespeare's Rich. II. act Her priestess Muse forbids the good ii. sc. 1. where John of Gaunt

to die, And opes the temple of eternity.

calls this island by the same sort 13. Jonson, Hymen, v. p. 296.

of metaphor, of Truth.

this little world, Her left (holds] a curious bunch of

This precious stone set in the silver sea. golden keys,

22. But Milton has heightened With which heaven's gate she locketh and displays.

the comparison, omitting ShakeWhere displays is opens.


speares petty conceit of the silver

sea, the conception of a jeweller, Warton.

and substituting another and a 18. But to my task &c.] These

more striking piece of imagery. four lines were thus in the ma

This rich inlay, to use an expresnuscript before they were al

sion in the Paradise Lost, gives tered.

beauty to the bosom of the deep, But to my business now. Neptune, else unadorned. It has its effect Of every salt food, and each ebbing bare earth, before the creation,

on a simple ground. Thus the stream, Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether

“ desert and bare, unsightly, Jove

unadorned." P. L. vii. 314. The rule and title of each sea-girt isle.

Eve's ses are unadorned, And they were altered with great reason, no verb following the Ibid. iv. 305. T. Warton. nominative case, Neptune.

whose sway



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-hair'd deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old, and haughty nation proud in arms:
Where his fair offspring nurs’d in princely lore
Are coming to attend their father's state,
And new-intrusted sceptre; but their way



28.the best of all the main,] at Ludlow castle with great soSo altered in the manuscript from lemnity.

On this occasion he —the best of all his empire. was attended by a large con

29. He quarters] That is, Nep- course of the neighbouring notune: with which name he ho- bility and gentry. Among the nours the king, as sovereign of rest came his children; in parthe four seas;

for from the ticular, Lord Brackley, Mr. ThoBritish Neptune alone this noble mas Egerton, and Lady Alice, Peer derives his authority. War- To attend their father's state, burton.

And new-intrusted sceptre. 32. -With temper'd awe to They had been on a visit at a guide

house of their relations the EgerAn old and haughty nation, ton family in Herefordshire; and proud in arms.]

in passing through Haywood That is, the Cambro-Britons, who forest were benighted, and the were to be governed by respect Lady Alice was even lost for a mixed with awe. The Earl of short time. This accident, which Bridgewater, A noble Peer of in the end was attended with no “ mickle trust and power," was bad consequences, furnished the now governor of the Welch as subject of a Mask for a Michaellord-president of the principality. mas festivity, and produced CoProud in arms,” is Virgil's mus. Lord Bridgewater was ap“ belloque superbi." Æn. i. 21. pointed Lord President, May 12, T. Warton.

1633. When the perilous ad34. Where his fair offspring, venture in Haywood forest hapnurs'd in princely lore, &c.] I have pened, if true, cannot now. be been informed from a manuscript told. It inust have been soon. of Oldys, that Lord Bridgewater after. The Mask was acted at entered upon his official residence Michaelmas, 1634. T. Warton.




Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood,
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wand'ring passenger ;
And here their tender age might suffer peril,
But that by quick command from sovereign Jove
I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard;
And listen why, for I will tell you now
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
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine,
After the Tuscan mariners transform’d,


or hall.

43. And listen why, for I will The two words are often thus tell you now

joined in the old metrical roWhat never yet was heard fc.] mances. And thus in Spenser's Horace, od. iïi. i. 2.

Astrophel. Favete linguis: carmina non prius Merrily masking both in bowrę and Audita

hall. Virginibus puerisque canto.


And his Colin Clouts come home

again. Milton might justly enough say this, since Comus is a deity of

And purchase highest roome in bowre his own making: but the same allegory has been introduced by Where room is place, as in St. most of the principal epic poets Luke xiv. 8, 9, 10. Shakespeare under other personages. Such has bower for chamber, Coriolan. are Homer's Circe, Ariosto's Al- act iii. s. 2. So Chaucer, Mill. T. cina, Tasso's Armida, and Spen- 259.... And Spenser, Frothalam. ser's Acrasia.

st. viii. T. Warton. From old or modern bard, in hall or

46. Bacchus, that first &c.] bower.

Though he builds his fable on Alluding to the ancient custom rials of magic have more the air

classic mythology, yet his mateof poets repeating their own

of inchantments in the Gothic verses at public entertainments.

romances. Warburton. Thyer. 45. From old or modern bard,] transform'd,] They were changed

48. After the Tuscan mariners It was at first in the manuscript, by Bacchus into ships and dolBy old or modern bard

phins, the story of which meta45. -in hall or bower.] That morphosis the reader may see in is, literally, in hall or chamber. Ovid. Met. iii. Fab. 8.


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 gaz'd upon his clust'ring locks,
With ivy berries wreath’d, and his blithe yoạth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus nam’d,



48. This story is alluded to in Homer's Circe, represents all Homer's fine hymn to Bacchus; sensual pleasures; and Bacchus, the punishments he inflicted on in the heathen mythology, only the Tyrrhene pirates are the sub- presides over that of drinking. jects of the beautiful frieze on Thyer. the Lantern of Demosthenes, de- 58. Whom therefore she brought. scribed by Mr. Stuart, in his up, and Comus nam'd,] This Antiq. of Athens, p. 33. Dr. J. line was at first in the ManuWarton.

script, Lilius Gyraldus relates, that this history was most beautifully

Which therefore she brought up, and

nam'd him Comus. represented in Mosaic work, in the church of St. Agna at Rome, 58. -and Comus nam'd.] Docoriginally a temple of Bacchus. tor Newton observes, that Čomus And it is one of the pictures in is a deity of Milton's own making. Philostratus. T. Warton.

But if not a natural and easy 50. —who knows not Circe, &c.] personification, by our author, of See Boethius, 1. iv. m. iii. and the Greek KAMOE, Comessatio, Virgil, Æn. vii. 11. 17. Alcina it should be remembered, that has an enchanted cup in Ariosto, Comus is distinctly and most C. X. 45. T. Warton.

sublimely personified in the Aga54. -clust'ring] See the notes, memnon of Æschylus, edit. Stanl. Par. L. iv. 303. E.

p. 376. v. 1195. Where says 55. With ivy-berries wreath'd,] Cassandra, " That horrid band, Nonnus calls Bacchus xogujßo- “ who sing of evil things, will pogos, b. xiv. See also Ovid, Fast. never forsake this house. Bei. 393. and our author, El. vi. 15. hold, Comus, the drinker of T. Warton.

« human blood, and fired with 57. Much like his father, but

still remains within his mother more.] This is said, “ the house, being sent forward because Milton's Comus, like “ in an unlucky hour by the

new rage,

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