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65

Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore ?

Alas! what boots it with incessant care
To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade,
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it not better done as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
Fame is the spur that the clear spi'rit doth raise
(That last infirmity of noble mind)

70

63. Down the swift Hebrus to otium ingrato labori prætulerat. the Lesbian shore.] In calling Virg. Æn. vii. 425. Hebrus swift, Milton, who is avaricious of classical authority,

I nunc, ingratis offer te, irrise, peri

clis. appears to have followed a verse in the Æneid, i. 321.

68. To sport with Amaryllis in -Volucremque fuga prevertitur He.

the shade, brum.

Or with the tangles of Neæra's

hair ?] But Milton was misled by a

. wrong, although a very ancient, Amaryllis, a country lass in Thewrong, although a very ancient, ocritus and Virgil. Neara, Æreading. Even Servius blames his author for attributing this gon's mistress in Virgil's third epithet to Hebrus, “ Nam quietis

Eclogue. Peck.

But Mr. Warton shews, that in « simus est, etiam cum per hye- all probability Milton is here

mem crescit.” [See Burinan's Virgil, vol. i. p. 95. col. i. edit. plancing at Buchanan, whose ad1746. 4to.] Besides, what was

dresses to Amaryllis and Neæra the merit of the amazon huntress

were well known at the time.

See note at the end of the Elegies. Harpalyce to outstrip a river,

E. even if uncommonly rapid? The genuine reading might have been so corrected in the Manuscript

69. Or with the tangles &c.] Eurum, as Rutgersius proposed.

from Hid in the tangles &c. -Volucremque fuga prævertitur Eu.

70. Fame is the spur &c.] The T. Warton.

reader may see the same senti

ment inlarged upon in the Para66. And strictly meditate the dise Regained, iii. 25. and conthankless Muse?] Meditate the firmed in the notes by numerous Muse, Virg. Ecl. i. 2. Musam quotations from the heathen phimeditaris. The thankless Muse, losophers. that earn's no thanks, is not 71. That last infirmity of noble thanked by the ungrateful world: mind.] Abate Grillo, in his Letas ingratus in Latin is used in a tere, has called “ passive as well as active signifi- “ fama et gloria, ordinaria infircation. Sallust, Cat. “Xxxviii. “ mita degli animi generosi.

run.

а.

questa sete di

To scorn delights, and live laborious days ;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with th' abhorred shears,
And slits the thin spun life. But not the praise,
Phæbus replied, and touch'd my trembling ears ;

75

Lib. ii. p. 210. ed. Ven. 1604. Milton here has made the Fates Bowle.

the same with the Furies; which Την κενοδοξιαν, ώς τελευταιον χιτωνα, is not quite destitute of authoý truxn *QUXEY TOTIBerbai, says rity, for so Orpheus in his hymns, Plato. And Tacitus, Hist. iv. 5. two of which are addressed to “ etiam sapientibus cupido gloriæ these Goddesses, styles them, - novissima exuitur." See the

Αλλα θεαι μοιραι οφιοπλοκαμοι πολυμορ: note on P. R. iii. 47. Jortin.

φοι. 73. Bul the fair guerdon] Prize,

Sympson. reward, recompense. A word from the French, often used by

In Shakespeare are the shears our old writers, and particularly of Destiny, with more propriety.

K. John, a. iv. s. 2. Spenser. Faery Queen, b. i. cant. vii. st. 15.

Think you I bear the shears of destiny? To gain so goodly guerdon.

Milton, however, does not here Cant. X. st. 59.

confound the Fates and the That glory does to them for guerdon Furies. He only calls Destiny grant.

a Fury. In Spenser, we have 74. And think to burst out into blind Fury. Ruins of Rome, st. sudden blaze,] He is speaking xxiv. of fame. So in P. R. iii. 47.

If the blinde Furie which warres For what is glory but the blaze of

breedeth oft.
fame, &c.
T. Warton.

And in Sackville's Gordobucke,

a, V. S. 3. 75. Comes the blind Fury &c.] Of the three fatal sisters, the

O Jove, how are these people's hearts

abus’d, first prepared the flax upon the

And what blind Fury headlong carries distaff, the stamen of human life;

them? the second spun it; and the third cut it off with her shears, See Observations on Spenser's when the destined hour was Faery Queen, vol. ii. p. 255. come. These were distinct from edit. 2. T Warton. the Furies, but Milton calls the 77. Phoebus replied, and touch'd last a blind Fury in his indigna- my trembling ears;] Virgil, Ecl. tion for her cutting his friend's vi. 3. thread of life untimely and un

-Cynthius auren. deserved. Richardson.

Vellit et admonuit.

80

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glist'ring foil
Set off to th' world, nor in broad rumour lies,
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
Of so much fame in heav'n expect thy meed.

O fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd flood,
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocal reeds,
That strain I heard was of a higher mood :
But now my oat proceeds,
And listens to the herald of the sea

85

79. Nor in the glist'ring foil] tain, Milton closely and learnedly Spenser, Faery Queen, b. iv. attends to the ancient Greek cant. y. st. 15.

writers. See more particularly

the scholiast on Theocritus, As guileful goldsmith that by secret skill

Idyll. i. 117. And Servius on With golden foil doth finely over. Virgil, Æn. iii. 694. Ecl. x. 4. spread

Homer says, Odyss. xiii. 408. Some baser metal, &c.

Επι τε ΚΡΗΝΗ Αρεθουση. Compare 85. O fountain Arethuse, &c.] Hesychius, and his annotators, v. Now Phæbus, whose strain was ΚΟΡΑΚΟΣ, ΑΛΦΕΙΟΣ ΑΡΕΘΟΥ. of a higher mood, has done EA. And Stephanus Byzant. speaking, he invokes the foun- Berkel. p. 162. T. Warton. tain Arethuse of Sicily the country

85. - and thou honour'd flood, of Theocritus, and Mincius, the Smooth-sliding Mincius, river of Mantua, Virgil's country, It was at first, which river he calls honoured

and thou smooth flood, flood to shew his respect to that Soft-sliding Mincius ; poet, and describes much in the and then smooth was altered to same manner as Virgil himself famed, and then to honoured in has done, Georg. iii. 14.

the Manuscript; as soft-sliding -tardis ingens ubi flexibus errat was to smooth-sliding. Mincius, ct tenera prætexit arundine 89. —the herald of the sea &c.] ripas.

Triton. Hippotades, Æolus the It was the more necessary for son of Hippotas, called sage him to call to mind these two from foreknowing the weather. famous pastoral poets, as now Panope, a sea-nymph: the word his own oaten pipe proceeds. itself signifies that pure calm

85. In giving Arethusa the and tranquillity that gives an distinctive appellation of Foun- unbounded prospect over the

90

95

That came in Neptune's plea ;
He ask'd the waves, and ask'd the felon winds,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain ?
And question'd every gust of rugged wings
That blows from off each beaked promontory;
They knew not of his story,
And sage Hippotades their answer brings,
That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd,
The air was calm, and on the level brine
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd.
It was that fatal and perfidious bark
Built in th' eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,

100

smooth and level brine; there- enchantments in Macbeth, a. iv. fore sleek Panope. Richardson.

s. 1. 94.-euch beaked promontory ;]

-Slips of yew
Drayton has “ The utmost end Silver'd in the moon's eclipse.
of Cornwall's furrowing beak.
Polyolb. s. i. vol ii

. p. 657. Again, in the same incantation, T. Warton.

Root of hemlock digg'd i' th' dark. 101. Built in th' eclipse, &c.] The shipwreck was occasioned

& Horace speaks much in the same spirit concerning the tree by not by a storm, but the bad conwhose fall he was in danger of dition of the ship, unfit for so being killed. Od. ii. xiii. 1.

dangerous a navigation. T. War

ton. Ille et nefasto te posuit die &c.

101. Mr. Warton adds, that And so of a ship, Epod. x. 1. “ the ship, a very crazy vessel,

“struck on a rock, and suddenly Mala soluta navis exit alite.

« sunk to the bottom with all And the misfortune is ascribed “ that were on board, not one to the ship according to the Latin “ escaping." A

correct inscription at the beginning of account of this disaster, given the poem, -navi in scopulum by Hogg, who in 1694

published allisa, et rimis et ictu fatiscente. a Latin translation of Lycidas,

101. Although Horace has two informs us, that several escaped passages similar to this, yet how in the boat from the sinking much more poetical and striking vessel; but that Mr. King and is the imagery of Milton, that some others, fatally unmoved the ship was built in the eclipse, by the importunities of their and rigged with curses. Dr. J. associates, continued on board Warton.

and perished. Dr. Symmons, Evidently with a view to the Life of Milton, p. 108.

t

more

That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.

Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge,
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge
Like to that sanguine flow'r inscrib'd with woe.
Ah! Who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge?

105

103. Next Camus, reverend 105. Inwrought with figures sire, &c.] The river Cam is fitly dim,] In the Manuscript it was introduced upon this occasion, first written Scrawld o'er : Inand is called reverend sire, as wrought is the marginal reading both Mr. King and Milton were there. educated at Cambridge, and is 105.-figures dim, ] Alluding described according to the nature to the fabulous traditions of the of that river. Went footing slow, high antiquity of Cambridge. as it is a gentle winding stream, But how Cam was distinguished according to Camden, who says by a hairy mantle from other the British word Cam signifies rivers, I know not.

Warburton. crooked. It abounds too with

It is very probable, that the reeds and sedge, for which hairy mantle, being joined with reason his mantle is hairy, and the sedge-bonnet, may mean his his bonnet sedge, which as a tes- rushy or reedy banks. See Notes timony of his grief and mourning on Él. i. 89. It would be diffiwas inwrought with figures dim, cult to ascertain the meaning of and on the edge like to a hyacinth, figures dim. Perhaps the poet that sanguine flower, as it sprung himself had no very

clear or according to the poets from the determinate idea: but, in obblood of the boy Hyacinthus or scure and mysterious expresof Ajax, inscribed with woe as the sions, leaves something to be leaves were imagined to be supplied or explained by the marked with the mournful let- reader's imagination. T. Warters A. Ab. For these particulars. ton. you may consult the poets, and 107. Ah! Who hath reft, quoth especially Ovid, Met. X. 210. he, my dearest pledge ?] Mr. Bowle Ecce cruor, qui fusus humi signave- the Rime spirituali of Angelo

compares

this line with one in rat herbam, Desinit esse cruor ; Tyrioque niten- Grillo, fol. 7. a. It is a part of

the Virgin's lamentation on the Flos oritur, formamque capit, quam Passion of Christ.

lilia, si non Purpureus color huic, argenteus esset Deh, disse, ove ne vai mio caro

pegno ? Non satis hoc Phæbo est; is enim fuit auctor honoris ;

Alas, quoth she, where goest Ipse suos gemitus foliis inscribit; et

"thou, my dear pledge?" And he Flos habet inscriptum; funestaque cites also Spenser's Daphnaida, littera ducta est,

where the subject is the same.

tior ostro

in illis.

Ai Ai

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