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Or if Virtue feeble were,
with the thought for the con- formed, it had been the most clusion of his Ode' on St. Cecilia's exquisite of all his poems. As day. Warburlon.
it is, there are some puerilities in 1021. Higher than the sphery it, and many inaccuracies of exchime.] Chime, Ital. Cima. Yet pression and versification. The he uses chime in the common two editions of his Poems are of sense, Ode Nativ. v. 128. He 1645 and 1673. In 1645, he may do so here, but then the was, as he would think, better expression is licentious, I suppose employed. In 1673, he would for the sake of the rhyme. Hurd. condemn himself for having
Sphery occurs in Mids. N. Dr. written such a thing as a Mask, a. ii. s. 7. “ Hermia's - sphery especially to a great lord, and a “ eyne."
sort of viceroy. Hurd. Špery chime is the music of We must not read Comus with the spheres. As in Machin's an eye to the stage, or with the Dumbe Knight, 1608. Reed's expectation of dramatic propriety. Old Pl. iv. 447.
Under this restriction, the ab
surdity of the Spirit speaking to It was of silver as the chime of spheres.
an audience in a solitary forest In the same sense, At a solemn at midnight, and the want of music, v. 9.
reciprocation in the dialogue, are Till disproportion'd sin overlooked. Comus is a suite Jarr'd against nature's chime. of Speeches, not interesting by And in the Ode on the Nativity,
discrimination of character; not st. xiii.
conveying a variety of incidents, And let your silver chime
nor gradually exciting curiosity: Move in melodious time.
but perpetually attracting atten
tion by sublime sentiment, by Compare P. L. xi. 559. P. R. ii. fanciful imagery of the richest 363. Milton is fond of the word vein, by an exuberance of picchime in this acceptation, and it turesque description, poetical alhas hence been adopted by Dry- lusion, and ornamental expresden. Jonson also has it in seve- sion. While it widely departs ral places. T. Warton,
from the grotesque anomalies of 1023. —would stoop to her.] the Mask now in fashion, it does Would bow to her was at first in not nearly approach to the nathe Manuscript, and we have tural constitution of a regular been at the trouble of transcrib- play. There is a chastity in the ing these variations and altera- application and conduct of the tions more for the satisfaction of machinery: and Sabrina is inthe curious, than for any enter troduced with much address, tainment that it afforded to our- after the Brothers had impruselves.
dently suffered the inchantment * If this Mask had been re- of Comus to take effect. This is vised by Milton, when his ear the first time the old English and judgment were perfectly Mask was in some degree reduced to the principles and form or neglect of the lady. The of rational composition ; yet still Brothers leave their sister under it could not but retain some of a spreading pine in the forest, its arbitrary peculiarities. The fainting for refreshment: they poet had here properly no more go to procure berries or some to do with the pathos of tragedy, other fruit for her immediate than the character of comedy: relief, and, with great probability, nor do I know that he was conlose their way in going or refined to the usual modes of the turning. To say nothing of the atrical interlocution. A great poet's art, in making this very critic observes, that the dispute natural and simple accident to be between the Lady and Comus is productive of the distress, which the most animated and affecting forms the future business and scene of the piece. Perhaps some complication of the fable. It is other scenes, either consisting certainly a fault, that the Broonly of a soliloquy, or of three thers, although with some indi. or four speeches only, have af- cations of anxiety, should enter forded more true pleasure. The with so much tranquillity, when same critic thinks, that in all the their sister is lost, and at leisure moral dialogue, although the lan, pronounce philosophical paneguage is poetical, and the senti gyrics on the mysteries of virments generous, something is ginity. But we must not too still wanting to 'allure attention, scrupulously attend to the exiBut surely, in such passages, gencies of situation, nor suffer sentiments so generous, and lan- ourselves to suppose that we are guage so poetical, are sufficient reading a play, which Milton to rouse all our feelings. For did not mean to write. These this reason I cannot admit his splendid insertions will please, position, that Comuś is a drama independently of the story, from tediously instructive. And if, as which however they result; and
cussions the auditor listens, as to overbalance their want of place. a lecture, without passion, with. In a Greek tragedy, such sentiout anxiety, yet he listens with mental harangues, arising from elevation and delight. The ac- the subject, would have been tion is said to be improbable: given to a chorus. because the Brothers, when their · On the whole, whether Comus sister sinks with fatigue in a be or be not deficient as a drama, pathless wilderness, wander both whether it is considered as an away together in search of berries, Epic drama, a series of lines, a too far to find their way back, Mask, or a poem, I am of opiand leave a helpless lady to all nion, that our author is here only the sadness and danger of soli- inferior to his own Paradise Lost. tude. But here is no desertion, T. Warton.
In this Monody the author bewails a learned friend, unfortu
nately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish seas, 1637; and by occasion foretels the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their height.
This poem was made upon the sorores (fæminas lectissimas) An. unfortunate and untimely death nam, Dom. G. Caulfeild, Baronis of Mr. Edward King, son of Sir de Charlemont; Margaretam, D. John King, Secretary for Ireland, G. Loder, summi Hiberniæ Jua fellow-collegian and intimate stitiarii, uxorem; venerandum friend of our author, who as he Præsulem, Edovardum King, was going to visit his relations Episcopum Elphinensem (a quo in Ireland, was drowned on the sacro fonte susceptus) reveren10th of August, 1637, and in dissimum et doctissimum virum the twenty-fifth year of his age. Gulielmum Chappel, Decanum The year following, 1638, a small ecclesiæ Casseliensis, et collegii volume of poems Greek, Latin, Sanctæ Trinitatis apud Dubliniand English, was printed at enses præpositum (cujus in AcaCambridge in honour of his me demia auditor et alumnus fuerat) mory, and before them was pre- invisens; haud procul a littore fixed the following account of Britannico, navi in scopulum the deceased. P. M. S. Edovar allisa, et rimis et ictu fatiscente, dus King, f. Joannis (equitis au- dum alij vectores vitæ mortalis rati, qui SSSRR R Elisabethæ, frustra satagerent, immortalitaJacobo, Carolo, pro regno Hi. tem anhelans, in genua provoluberniæ a secretis) col. Christi in tus oransque, una cum navigio Academia Cant. socius, pietatis ab aquis absorptus, animam Deo atque eruditionis conscientia et reddidit IIII, Eid. Sextileis, anfama felix, in quo nihil imma- no salutis M,DC,XXXVII. ætatis turum præter ætatem ; dum Hi- XXV. The last poem in the berniam cogitat, tractus desiderio collection was this of Milton, suorum, patriam, agnatos et amin which by his own Manuscript cos, præ cæteris fratrem, Domi- appears to have been written in num Robertum King (equitem November, 1637, when he was auratum, virum ornatissimum) almost twenty-nine years old :
YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more
and these words in the printed poetry is the least of his many titles of this poem, and by occasion excellencies. foretels the ruin of our corrupted ]. Yet once more] The poem clergy, then in their height, are begins somewhat like Virgil's not in the Manuscript. This Gallus, poem is with great judgment
Extremum hunc, Arethusa, mihi conmade of the pastoral kind, as
cede laborem: both Mr. King and Milton had been designed for holy orders And this yet once more is said in and the pastoral care, which gives allusion to his former poems a peculiar propriety to several upon the like occasions, On the passages in it: and in composing death of a fair infant dying of a it the poet bad an eye particularly cough, Epitaph on the Marchioto Virgil's tenth Eclogue lament- ness of Winchester, &c. ing the unhappy loves of Gallus, 1. -0 ye laurels, and once and to Spenser's pastoral poems more upon the death of the Muses’ fa Ye myrtles brown, with ivy vourite, Sir Philip Sidney. The never sere,] reader cannot but observe, that The laurel, as he was a poet, for there are more antiquated and that was sacred to Apollo; the obsolete words in this than in myrlle, as he was of a proper age. any other of Milton's poems; for love, for that was the plant which I conceive to be owing of Venus; the ivy, as a reward partly to his judgment, for he of his learning. Hor. Od. i. i. 29. might think them more rustic,
- Joctarum ederæ præmia frontium, and better adapted to the nature of pastoral poetry; and partly Ivy never sere, that is, never dry, to his imitating of Spenser, for never withered, being one of the as Spenser's style is most anti- evergreens. We have the word quated, where he imitates Chau. in Paradise Lost, x. 1071. where cer most, in his Shepherd's Calen- it was explained and justified by dar, so Milton's imitations of parallel instances from Spenser. Spenser might have the same 1. The best poets imperceptieffect upon the language of this bly adopt phrases and formularies poem. It is called a monody, from the writings of their confrom a Greek word signifying a temporaries or immediate premournful or funeral song sung decessors. An Elegy on the by a single person: and we have death of the celebrated Countess lately had two admirable poems of Pembroke, Sir Philip Sydney's published under this title, one sister, begins thus. occasioned by the death of Mr.
Yet once againe, my Musc. Pope by a very ingenious poet of Cambridge, and the other to See Songes and Sonnettes of Unthe memory of his deceased lady certain Auctours, added to Surby a gentleman, whose excellent rey's and Wyat's Poems.
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
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 com. 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 leuves 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. Warton.
dar. The poet there says of 2. Ye myrlles brown.] Brown himself under the name of Colin and black are classical epithets Clout, for the myrtle. Theocritus, Epig. Also my lustful leaf is dry and sere.
Richardson. Tas do MEAAMOTAAL AAONAI TI, 5. Shatter your leaves before II en Ilesar.
the mellowing year.] So in P. L. Ovid, Art. Amator. lib. iii. 690. b. x. 1066. Ros maris, et lauri, nigraque myrtus
-shuttering the graceful locks iris, el lauri, nigraque myrtus of these fair spreading trees. olet.
T. Warlon. Horace contrasts the brown myr 6. Bilter constraint, and sad tle with the green ivy, Od. l. occasion dear,1 So in Spenser, xxxy. 17.
Faery Queen, b. i. cant. i. st. 53. Læta quod pubes edera virenti
Love of yourself, she said, and dear Gaudeat, pulla magis atque myrto.
constraint, 2. --with ivy never sere.]
Let me not sleep, but waste the
A notion has prevailed, that this
In secret anguish, and unpitied plaint. pastoral is written in the Doric