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How could'st thou find this dark sequester'd nook ? 500

SPIRIT.
O my lov'd master's heir, and his next joy,
I came not here on such a trivial toy
As a stray'd ewe, or to pursue the stealth
Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth
That doth enrich these downs, is worth a thought 505
To this my errand, and the care it brought.
But, O my virgin Lady, where is she?
How chance she is not in your company?

Elder BROTHER.
To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without blame,
Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.

Spirit.
Aye me unhappy! then my fears are true.

ELDER BROTHER.
What fears, good Thyrsis? Prythee briefly shew.

SPIRIT. I'll tell ye; 'tis not vain or fabulous (Though so esteem’d by shallow ignorance) What the sage poets, taught by th' heav'nly Muse, 515

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500.-sequester'd nook ?] Compare P. L. iv. 789. Search thro' this garden, leave un.

search'd no nook. Again, ix. 277.

As in a shady nook I stood behind. And sequestered occurs in the same application. P. L. iv. 706. In shadier bower, more sacred and . sequester'd.

T. Warton.

". 509. To tell thee sadly, Shep

herd,] Sadly, soberly, seriously, as the word is frequently used by our old authors, and in Paradise Lost, vi. 541. where see the note.

512. What fears, good Thyrsis ?] He had written at first good Shepherd, but this was altered to good Thyrsis for variety, as he had just before addressed him by the name of Shepherd.

513. I'll tell ye ;] In the Manuscript and edition of 1637 it is, I'll tell you.

Storied of old in high immortal verse,
Of dire chimeras and inchanted isles,
And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to hell;
For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
Within the navel of this hideous wood,

520
Immur'd in cypress shades a sorcerer dwells,
Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
Deep skill'd in all his mother's witcheries,
And here to every thirsty wanderer .
By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,

525 With many murmurs mix'd, whose pleasing poison The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, And the inglorious likeness of a beast Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage Character'd in the face; this I have learnt

530 Tending my flocks hard by i'th' hilly crofts,

516. -dire chimeras] P. L. ii. And writing strange characters in the 628.

ground. Gorgons, and hydras, and chimeras So Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen dire.

T. Warton.

of Verona, act ii. s. 10. 520. Within the navel] That is,

Who art the table wherein all my

thoughts in the midst, a phrase borrowed Are visibly character'd and ingravid. from the Greeks and Latins.

523. Deep skilld] He had writ. And 2 Henry VI. act iii. s. 4. ten at first Inur'd. 526. With many murmurs mix'd,]

Show me one scar charácter'd on thy

skin. That is, in preparing this inchanted cup, the charm of many 530. So in his Divorce, b. i. barbarous unintelligible words Pref. “A law not only written was intermixed, to quicken and " by Moses, but charactered in strengthen its operation. War- us by nature." Pr. W. i. 167. burton.

. See Observat. Spenser's F. Q. i. 530. Charácter'd in the face ;] 162. T. Warton. The word is often pronounced 531.-i th' hilly crofts,] He with this accent by our old had written at first ' th' pastur'd writers. So Spenser, Faery lawns, which agrees not so well Queen, b. iii. cant. 3. st. 14. with what follows.

That brow this bottom glade, whence night by night
He and his monstrous rout'are heard to howl
Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
Doing abhorred rites to Hecate

535
In their obscured haunts of inmost bowers.
Yet have they many baits, and guileful spells,
To’inveigle and invite th' unwary sense
Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
This evening late, by then the chewing flocks
Had ta’en their supper on the savoury herb
Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold,
I sat me down to watch upon a bank
With ivy canopied, and interwove

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532. --this bottom glade,] So As gentle shepherd in sweet eventide Shakespeare, Venus and Adonis,

When ruddy Phebus gins to welke in

west, ed. 1596.

High on a hill his flock to viewen Sweet bottom-grasse, and high de.

wide lightfull plaine.

Marks which do bite their hasty T. Warton.

supper best.

T. Warton. 534. Like stabled wolves, or ti. 542. Of knol-grass dew-begers at their prey,] This compari. sprent,] This species of grass is son in all probability was formed mentioned in Shakespeare's Midfrom what Virgil says of Circe's summer Night's Dream, act iii. island, Æn. vii. 15.

s. 7. And dew-besprent is sprinkled Hinc exaudiri gemitus, iræque leo. with dew. Spenser's Shepherd's

Calendar, December, ac formæ magnorum ululare lupo. My head besprent with boary frost I

rum: Quos hominum ex facie Dea sæva potentibus herbis

Fairfax, cant. 12. st. 101. Induerat Circe in vultus ac terga fe.

His silver locks with dust he foul berarum.

sprente 540. by then the chewing - 544. With ivy canopied, and flocks

interwove Had taen their supper on the With flaunting honey-suckle, ] savoury herb]

Perhaps from Shakespeare, Mids. The supper of the sheep is from N. Dr. act ii. s. 2. a beautiful comparison in Spen- Quite over canopied with luscious ser, F. Q. i. i. 23.

woodbine.

num

find.

With flaunting honey-suckle, and began,

545

545 Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy, To meditate iny rural minstrelsy, Till fancy had her fill, but ere a close The wonted roar was up amidst the woods, And filld the air with barbarous dissonance; 550 At which I ceas’d, and listen’d them a while, Till an unusual stop of sudden silence Gave respite to the drowsy flighted steeds,

Canopied, in the same applica- sical close on his pipe. See the tion, occurs also in Drayton, note on the Ode on the Nativity, Phineas Fletcher, Carew, and 100. T. Warton, Browne. See the note on inter- 553.--the drowsy flighted steeds, wove, P. L. i. 621. T. Warton. That draw the litter of close 545. With flaunting honey

curlain'd sleep;] suckle,] It was at first spreading So I read drowsy-flighted acor blowing.

cording to Milton's Manuscript ; 545. Milton therefore changed and this genuine reading Dr. Dalthe epithets, which were simply ton has also preserved in Comus. descriptive, for one which ascrib- Drowsy-frighted is nonsense, and ed to the plant an attribute of an manifestly an error of the press animated, or even of a sentient, in all the editions. There can being. See note on P. R. i. 500. be no doubt that in this passage Mr. Warton refers to Lycidas Milton had his eye upon the fol146, “ well-attir'd woodbine," lowing description of night in and 40,“ the gadding vine.” And Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI. act the same remark applies to these iv. s. 1. epithets, and to several others And now loud howling wolves arouse near them, “ cowslips wan," the jades, joyous leaves," &c. E.

That drag the tragic melancholy night, 547. To meditate my rural min

Who with their drowsy, slow, and strelsy,1 We have the expression

flagging wings

Clip dead men's graves “rural minstrelsy" in Browne's Pastorals, b. i. s. i. p. 2. and in

The idea and the expression of the Eclogues of Brooke and

drowsy-flighted in the one are Davies, Lond. 1614; but the

plainly copied from their drowsy, whole context is Virgil's “ Syl

slow, and flagging wings in the “ vestrem tenui musam meditaris

other: and Fletcher in the “ arena," Bucol. i. 2. As in

Faithful Shepherdess has much Lycidas, 66.

the same image, act iv.

Night, do not steal away: I woo - meditate the thankless musc.

thee yet

To hold a hard hand o'er the rusty bit Close, in the next line, is a mu- That guides thy lazy team.

That draw the litter of close-curtain'd sleep;
At last a soft and solemn breathing sound

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And as Mr. Thyer farther ob- Sleep. And so has Claudian, serves, the epithet also of close. Bell. Gild. 213. curtain'd sleep was perhaps bor

Humentes jam Noctis equos ; Letherowed from Shakespeare, Mac

aque somnus beth, act ii. s. 2.

Frena regens, tacito volrebat sydera and wicked dreams abuse

cursu. The curtain'd sleep.

And Statius, Theb. ii. 59. 553. But he makes the horses

-Sopor obvius illi. of Night headlong in their course, Noctis agebat equos. In Quint. Novembr. v. 70.

T. Warton. Præcipitesque impellit equos. — 555. At last a soft and solemn It must be allowed, that drowsy

breathing sound &c.] No doubt but flighted is a very harsh combin that our poet in these charming nation. Notwithstanding the

lines imitated his favourite ShakeCambridge manuscript exhibits speare, Twelfth Night at the drousie-flighted, yet drousie fright- beginning ed without a composition, is a That strain again, it had a dying fall; more rational and easy reading, O, it came o'er my ear, like the sweet and invariably occurs in the edi

south, tions 1637, 1645, and 1673.

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour. That is, “ The drowsy steeds of

Thyer. “ Night, who were affrighted on " this occasion, at the barbarous

555. The idea is strongly im« dissonance of Comus's nocturnal plied in these lines of Jonson's “ revelry." Milton made the Vision of Delight, a Masque emendation after he had forgot presented at Court in the Christhis first idea. Compare Browne. mas of 1617, vol. vi. 21. Brit. Past. b. ii. s. i. p. 21.

Yet let it like an odour rise All-drowsie Night, who in a carre of To all the senses here;

And fall like sleep upon their eyes, By steedes of iron-gray drawne Or musicke in their eare. through the sky.

But the thought appeared before, And Silvester, of Sleep, Du Bart. where it is exquisitely expressed, p. 316. edit. fol. ut supr.

in Bacon's Essays. “ And because And in a noysless coach, all darkly

" the breath of flowers is farre dight,

“ sweeter in the aire, where it Takes with him silence, drousinesse, « comes and goes like the warbling and night.

“ of musicke.Of Gardens, Ess. Mr. Bowle conjectures drowsie. xlvi. Milton means the gradual freighted, that is, charged or increase and diffusion of odour loaded with drowsiness.

in the process of distilling perWe are to recollect, that Mil- fumes; for he had at first written ton has here transferred the “ slow-distill’d," horses and chariot of Night to In the edition of 1673, we

VOL. IV.

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