Page images
PDF
EPUB

60

Who ripe, and frolic of his full grown age,
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,
At last betakes him to this ominous wood,
And in thick shelter of black shades imbow'r'd

in one

“ Furies his kindred, who chant poetry, and he was now only "a hymn recording the original twenty-six years old, is generally “ “ crime of this fated family, &c." more classical and less scriptural,

than in pieces written after he Την γαρ στεγην, την δ' ουσoσ' εκλεισει

had been deeply tinctured with Kogos, Συμφθογγος ουκ ευφωνος.

the Bible. Και μην πεπωκως, γ' ως θρασυνεσθαιπλέον, It must not, in the mean time, Βροτειoν αιμα ΚΩΜΟΣ εν δομσις μενει, here be omitted, that Comus the Δυσπεμπτος εξω συγγονων Ερινννων. Υμνουσι δ' υμνον δωμασι προσημεναι

god of cheer," had been before

a dramatic Πρωταρχον ατην.-

personage

of Jonson's Masques before the Comus is here the god of riot and

Court, 1619. An immense cup intemperance, and he has as

is carried before him, and he is sumed new boldness from drink

crowned with roses and other ing human blood : that is, be

flowers, &c. vol. vi. 29. His cause Atreus served up

his mur

attendants carryjavelins wreathed dered children for a feast, and with ivy. He enters, riding in Agamemnon was killed at the triumph from a grove of ivy, to beginning of a banquet. There the wild music of Autes, tabors, is a long and laboured description and cymbals. At length the of the figure of Comus in the grove of ivy is destroyed, p. 35. Icones of Philostratus, o darwy ó ΚΩΜΟΣ εφεστηκεν εν θαλαμου θυραις

And the voluptuous Comus, god of

cheer, xiquouis, &c. Among other cir

Beat from his grove, and that defacd, cumstances, his crown of roses

&c. is mentioned. Also, “ Kgotand, See also Jonson's Forest, b. i. 3. και θρoος εναυλος, και βοη ατακτος,

Comus puts in for new delights, &c. λαμπαδες τε, &c.” ΕΙΚΟΝ Β. 1.

T. Warton. p. 733. seq. edit. Paris. 1608. fol. Compare Erycius Puteanus's 60. -the Celtic and Iberian Comus, a Vision, written 1608. fields,] France and Spain. Thyer. It is remarkable, that Comus 61. At last betakes him to this makes no figure in the Roman ominous wood.] Ominous is danliterature.

gerous, inauspicious, full of por· Peck supposes Milton's Comus tents, &c. B. and Fletcher use it to be Chemos,“ th' obscene dread in this sense, Sea Voyage, a. i. " of Moab's sons." P.L. i. 406. s. 1. vol. ix, p. 95. Afterwards But, with a sufficient propriety Comus's wood is called “ this of allegory, he is professedlyadvent'rous glade.". v. 79. T. made the son of Bacchus and of Warton. Homer's sorceress Circe. Be bom 62. And in thick shelter of black sides, our author in his early shades] In Milton's Manuscript

Excels his mother at her mighty art,
Offering to every weary traveller
His orient liquor in a crystal glass,

65 To quench the drought of Phæbus, which as they taste, (For most do taste through fond intemp’rate thirst) Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance, Th’express resemblance of the Gods, is chang'd Into some brutish form of wolf, or bear,

70 Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,

, All other parts remaining as they were ; it is shade : and covert was written calls the human face divine, iii. first, then shelter.

44. Thyer. 63. Excels his mother at her 72. All other parts remaining mighty art,] In the Trinity Ma- as they were ;] It was at first in nuscript he had first written the Manuscript, as before. There potent art, which are Shake- is a remarkable difference in the speare's words, and better. War- transformations wrought by Circe burton.

and those by her son Comus. In 65. His orient liquor] That is, Homer the persons are entirely of an extreme bright and vivid changed, their mind only remaincolour. Warburton.

ing as it was before, Odyss. X. See the note, P. L. i. 546. E. 239.

67. -through fond] So altered Οι δε αυων μεν εχον κεφαλας, φωνην τε, in the Manuscript from through weak intemperate thirst.

Και τριχας: αυταρ νους ην εμπεδος, ως 68. their human count'nance,

TO wagos wego
Th' express resemblance of the but here only their head or coun-
Gods,]

tenance is changed, The same thought is again very

All other parts remaining as they'were ; finely expressed in the following and for a very good reason, be- . lines of this poem, where the at- cause they were to appear upon tendant Spirit is describing to the the stage, which they might do two brothers the effects of this in masks. In Homer too they charmed сир.

are sorry for the exchange, ver.

241.
-whose pleasing poison
The visage quite transforms of him Ως οι

MEY

segWATOthat drinks,

but here the allegory is finely And the inglorious likeness of a beast improved, and they have no noFixes instead, unmoulding reason's

tion of their disfigurement,
mintage
Character'd in the face.

But boast themselves more comely than

before, He gives us much the same idea

And all their friends and native home in his Paradise Lost, where he forget.

L

δεμας σε,

κλαίοντες

75

And they, so perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
But boast themselves more comely than before,
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual stye.
Therefore when any favour'd of high Jove
Chances to pass through this advent’rous glade,

a

This improvement upon Homer satire in a dialogue of Plutarch, might still be copied from Homer, Opp. tom. ii. Francof. fol. 1620. who ascribes much the same p. 985. where some of Ulysses's effect to the Lotos, Odyss. ix. 94. companions, disgusted with the Των δ όστις λωτοιο φαγοι μελιηδεα καρσον,

vices and vanities of human life, Ουκ εσ' απαγγείλαι παλιν ηθελεν, ουδε refuse to be restored by Circe vesolus.

into the shape of men. Dr. J. Αλλ' αυτου βουλoντo μεσ' ανδρασι Λωτο- Warton. φαγοισι

Or, perhaps, to J. Baptista Λωτον ερεπτομενοι μενεμεν, νοστουσε λα» Asclar.

Gelli's Italian Dialogues, called The trees around them all their food

Circe, formed on Plutarch's plan. produce,

T. Warton. Lotos the name, divine, nectareous 78. --when any favour'd of high juice!

Jove] Virgil, Æn. vi. 129. (Thence call'd Lotophagi) which whoso tastes,

-Pauci quos æquus amavit Insatiate riots in the sweet repasts,

Jupiter Nor other home, nor other care intends,

78. The Spirit in Comus is the But quits his house, his country, and Satyre in Fletcher's Faithful his friends.

Pope. Shepherdess. He is sent by Or as Mr. Thyer conceives, it Pan to guide shepherds passing might possibly be suggested to through a forest by moonlight, Milton by Spenser in his bower and to protect innocence in disof bliss, where relating how the tress. A. iii. s. 1. vol. iii. p. 145. Palmer restored to human shape

But to my charge. Here must I stay those whom Acrasia had changed To see what mortals lose their way, into beasts, he says, b. ii. cant.

And by a false fire, seeming bright, xii. st. 86.

Train them in, and set them right:

Then must I watch if any be
But one above the rest in special, Forcing of a chastity;
That had an hog been late (height If I find it, then in hast
Grill by name)

I give my wreathed horn a blast,
Repined greatly, and did him mis. And the Faeries all will run, &c.

call, That had from hoggish form him

See also above, v. 18. Where brought to natural.

our Spirit says, 75. But boast themselves] He But to my task. certainly alludes to that fine

T. Warton.

80

Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star
I shoot from heav'n, to give him safe convoy,
As now I do: but first I must put off
These my sky robes spun out of Iris' woof,

80. Swift as the sparkle of a quential circumstances heighten glancing star] Minerva in her and illustrate the shooting star, descent in the fourth Iliad ap- and therefore contribute to conpeared to the Grecian host like vey a stronger image of the one of those glancing stars which descent of Uriel. But the poet Homer hath distinguished by its there speaks: and in this address emitting sparkles in its flight, ver. of the Spirit, any adjunctive di75.

gressions of that kind, would Οιον δ' αστερα ήκε Κρονου παις αγκυλο- have been improper and without

8
ANTEN,

effect. I know not, that the idea Η ναυσησι τερας, ης στρατω ευριϊ λαων, of the rapid and duzzling descent Λαμπρον του δε σε πολλοι απο σπινθηρες of a celestial being is intended isyear

to be impressed in Homer's comΤο εικυι ηξεν επι χθονα Παλλας Αθηνη.

parison of the descent of MiThese lights were accounted in

nerva, applied by the commenthe Pagan theology the nimbus

tators to this passage of Comus. or glory of some deity descend- See II. iv. 14. The star to ing. Servius on Virgil, Æn. v.

which Minerva is compared, emits 693.

sparkles, but is stationary ; it et de cælo lapsa per umbras does not fall from its place. It Stella facem ducens multa cum luce is a bright portentous meteor, cucurrit.

alarming the world. And its Nunc theologicam rationem se- sparkles, which are only accomquitur, [Poeta scil.] quæ adserit paniments, are not so introduced fiammarum quos cernimus tra- as to form the ground of a similictus, nimbum esse descendentis tude. Shakespeare has the same numinis. Calton.

thought, but with a more comThere are few finer compari. plicated allusion, in Venus and sons that lie in so small a com- Adonis, edit. 1596. Signat. C. iiij. pass. The angel Michael thus It is where Adonis suddenly descends in Tasso, Stella cader, starts from Venus in the night. &c. ix. 62. Milton has repeated the thought in P. L. iv. 555.

Looke how a bright star shooteth from

the skie, Thither came Uriel, gliding through So glides he in the night from Venus' the even

eye. On a sun-beam, swift, as a shooting

T. Warton. star In autumn thwarts the night, when

83. —spun out of Iris' woof, ] vapours fir'd

See Paradise Lost, xi. 244.
Impress the air, &c.
Where the additional or conse- Iris had dipp'd the woof.

a

85

And take the weeds and likeness of a swain,
That to the service of this house belongs,
Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song,
Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,
And hush the waving woods, nor of less faith,
And in this office of his mountain watch,
Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid
Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
Of hateful steps, I must be viewless now.

90

Comus enters with a charming rod in one hand, his glass in

the other; with him a rout of monsters, headed like sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and women, their apparel glistering; they come in making a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their bands.

Comus.
The star that bids the shepherd fold,
Now the top of heav'n doth hold,

86. Who with his soft pipe, &c.] mentioned Lawes's verses preThese three lines were designed fixed to Cartwright's Poems. And as a compliment to Mr. H. Lawes, he wrote a poem also in praise who acted the attendant Spirit of Dr. Wilson, King Charles's himself. Warburton.

favourite lutenist, prefixed to See the Preliminary Notes. Wilson's Psalterium Carolinum, Lawes himself, no bad poet, in &c. fol. 1657. T. Warton. A pastorall Elegie to the me- 90. Likeliest, and nearest to “ morie of his brother William," the present aid] In Milton's Maapplies the same compliment to nuscript it stands Nearest and his brother's musical skill.

likeliest to &c. It was at first, to —He could allay the murmures of give present aid; and virgin steps, the wind;

which was altered to hateful steps. He could appease.

Then follows in the Manuscript The sullen seas,

Goes out. And the title of the And calme the fury of the winds.

following scene runs thus. CoSee Choice Psalms put into mus enters with a charming rod musick, &c. By H. and W. and glass of liquor, with his rout Lawes, &c. Lond. 1648.” To all headed like some wild beasts, this book is prefixed Milton's their garments some like men's and Sonnet to H. Lawes. I have some like women's; they come on

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »