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In willing chains and sweet captivity.
But fie, my wand'ring Muse, how thou dost stray!
Expectance calls thee now another way,
Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent
To keep in compass of thy predicament:
Then quick about thy purpos'd business come,
That to the next I may resign my room.

Then Ens is represented as father of the Predicaments his ten sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which Ens, thus speaking, explains.

GOOD luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
The fairy ladies danc'd upon the hearth;

52. In willing chains and sweet captivity.] Tasso, Gier. Lib. c. vi.

84.

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Giogo di servitu dolce e leggiero. Bowle. 56. of thy predicament:] What the Greeks called a category, Boëthius first named a predicament: and if the reader is acquainted with Aristotle's Categories, or Burgersdicius, or any of the old logicians, he will not want what follows to be explained to him; and it cannot well be explained to him, if he is unacquainted with that kind of logic.

59. Good luck befriend thee, Son, &c.] Here the metaphysical or logical Ens is introduced as a person, and addressing his eldest son Substance. Afterwards the logical Quantity, Quality, and Relation, are personified, and speak. This affectation will appear more excusable in Milton,

VOL. III.

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if we recollect, that every thing, in the masks of this age, appeared in a bodily shape. Airy nothing had not only a local habitation and a name, but a visible figure. It is extraordinary that the pedantry of King James I. should not have been gratified with the system of logic represented in a mask, at some of his academic receptions. He was once entertained at Oxford, in 1618, with a play called the Marriage of the Arts. As to the fairy ladies dancing, &c. it is the first and last time that the system of the fairies was ever introduced to illustrate the doctrine of Aristotle's ten categories. Yet so barren, unpoetical, and abstracted a subject could not have been adorned with finer touches of fancy, than we meet with, v. 62. come tripping to the room, &c. v. 69. a sibyl old, &c. And in this illustration there is

A a

Thy drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy
Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie,
And sweetly singing round about thy bed
Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head.

She heard them give thee this, that thou should'st still 65
From eyes of mortals walk invisible:

Yet there is something that doth force my fear,
For once it was my dismal hap to hear
A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wisely could presage,
And in time's long and dark prospective glass
Foresaw what future days should bring to pass;
Your son, said she, (nor can you it prevent,)
Shall subject be to many an Accident.
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king,
Yet every one shall make him underling,
And those that cannot live from him asunder
Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under,
In worth and excellence he shall out-go them,
Yet being above them, he shall be below them;
From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.

great elegance, v. 83. to find a foe, &c. The address of Ens is a very ingenious enigma on Substance. T. Warton.

74. Shall subject be to many an Accident.] A pun on the logical accidens. O'er all his brethren he shull reign as king; the Predicaments are his brethren; of or to which he is the subjectum, although first in excellence and order. Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under; they cannot

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exist, but as inherent in Substance. From others he shall stand in need of nothing; he is still substance, with, or without, accident. Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing; by whom he is clothed, superinduced, modified, &c. But he is still the same. To find a foe, &c.; Substantia substantia nova contrariatur, is a school maxim. To harbour those that are at enmity; his accidents. T. Warton.

To find a foe it shall not be his hap,
And peace shall lull him in her flow'ry lap;
Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door
Devouring war shall never cease to roar :
Yea it shall be his natural property
To harbour those that are at enmity.

What pow'r, what force, what mighty spell, if not
Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot?

The next Quantity and Quality spake in
Relation was called by his name.
RIVERS arise; whether thou be the son
Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulphy Dun,

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254.

91. Rivers arise; &c.] In invoking these rivers Milton had his eye particularly upon that admirable episode in Spenser of the marriage of the Thames and the Medway, where the several ri

vers are introduced in honour of the ceremony. Faery Queen, b. iv. cant. 11. Of utmost Tweed; so Spenser, st. 36.

Or Oose, either that in Yorkshire, or that in Cambridgeshire, both mentioned by Spenser. Or

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prose, then

gulphy Dun, I find not in Spenser, but suppose the Don is meant, from whence Doncaster has its name; and Camden's account of this river shows the propriety of the epithet gulphy.

Danus, commonly Don and "Dune, seems to be so called, "because it is carried in a low

deep channel, for that is the "signification of the British "word Dan." See Camden's Yorkshire. Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant &c. This description is much nobler than Spenser's, st. 35.

And bounteous Trent, that in himself enseains

Both thirty sorts of fish, and thirty sundry streams.

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gris land And Albany.

And Tweede the limit betwixt Lo- The name is of Saxon original, but (as Camden observes in his Staffordshire) some ignorant "and idle pretenders imagine "the name to be derived from "the French word Trente, and

Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreads His thirty arms along th' indented meads,

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Or sullen mole that runneth underneath,
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death,
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,

Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,
Or Medway smooth, or royal tow'red Thame.
[The rest was prose.]

III.

On the Morning of Christ's Nativity.
*Composed 1629.

I.

THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of heav'n's eternal King,

"To make the word Gift, like "the river Mole in Surrey, to "run under the bottom of a long "line, and so to start up and to

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govern the word presbytery, "&c." Animadv. Rem. Def. Pr. W.i. 92. guilty of maiden's death; Sabrina, see Comus, 827. -Ancient hallowed Dee. We have igov idag &c. in Apollonius Rhodius and Theocritus; but Milton is not classical here. Dee's divinity was Druidical, and is first mentioned by Gyraldus Cambrensis, from the popular traditions, in 1188.-or Humber loud &c.; the Scythian king, Humber, landed in Britain 300 years before the Roman invasion, and was drowned in this river by Locrine, after conquering King Albanact. So Drayton, Polyolb. s. viii. vol. ii. p. 796. Drayton has made a most beautiful use of this tradition in his Elegy Upon "three Sons of the Lord Sheffield

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The Medwaies silver streames

That wont so still to glide,
Were troubled now and wroth.

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"drowned in Humber." Elegies, vol. iv. p. 1244. Or Medway smooth; the smoothness of the Medway is characterised in Spenser's Mourning Muse of Thestylis.

The royal towers of Thames imply Windsor Castle, familiar to Milton's view, and to which he frequently makes allusions. T Warton.

*To the title of this Ode we have added the date, which is prefixed in the edition of 1645, Composed 1629, so that Milton was then twenty-one years old. He speaks of this poem in the conclusion of his sixth Elegy to Charles Deodati: and it was probably made as an exercise at Cambridge; and there is not only great learning shown in it, but likewise a fine vein of poetry.

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