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She was pinch'd, and pulld she said,
to be of "sprites and goblins." Traynes forth midwives in their A. ii. s. 1. T. Warton.
And then leades them from their 103. She was pinch'd and puld
burrowes, she said, &c.] He and she are
Home through ponds and water.fur. persons of the company assembled to spend the evening, after As Milton here copied Jonson, a country wake, at a rural junket. so Jonson copied Shakespeare, All this is a part of the pastoral Mids. N. Dr. a. ii. s. i. imagery which now prevailed in
Are you not he our poetry. Compare Drayton's That frights the maidens of the vil. Nymphidia, vol. ii. p. 453.
It is remarkable, that the DeThese make our girles their sluttery rue,
mon who was said to haunt By pinching them both black and women in child-bed, and steal blue, &c.
their infants, is mentioned so And Shakespeare, Com. Err. a. ii. early as by Michael Psellus, a s, ii. Of the fairies.
Byzantine philosopher of the
eleventh century, on the OperaThey'll suck our breath, and pinch tions of Demons. Edit. Gaulmin. us black and blue.
Paris. 1615. 12mo. p. 78. T. And the Merry Wives, where Warton. Falstaffe is pinched by fairies.
104. And he by friars' lanters A. v. 8. 5. And Browne, Brit. led, &c.] Thus the edition of Past. b. i. s. ii. p. 31. And Hey- 1645. But in the edition 1673, wood's Hierarchie of Angels, b.ix. the context stands thus, p. 574, edit. 1635. fol. Who also,
She was pinch'd and pulld, she said, among the domestic demons,
And by the friars' lantern led gives what he calls “ a strange Tells bow, &c.
story of the Spirit of the But I know not if under the poet's tery." Ibid. p. 577. But almost immediate direction. And in all that Milton here mentions of Tonson's, 1705. This reading at these house-fairies appears to be least removes a slight confusion taken from Jonson's Entertayn- arising from his, v. 106. Nor ment at Altrope, 1603. Works, is the general sense much altered. fol. p. 872. edit. 1616.
Friars' lantern, is the Jack and When about the cream-bowles sweete, lantern, which led people in the You and all your elves do meet. night into marshes and waters, This is Mab, the mistris fairy, Milton gives the philosophy of That doth nightly rob the dairy, And can help or hurt the churning,
this superstition, Parad. Losi, ix. As shee please, without discerning.
634. She that pinches country wenches,
-A wandering fire If they rub not cleane their benches; Compact of unctuous vapour, which And with sharper nayles remembers
the night, &c. When they rake not up their embers. Which oft, they say, some evil spirit This is she that empties cradles, &c. attends, &c.
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat,
In the midst of a solemn and and called the lubber-fiend, seems learned enarration, his strong to be confounded with the sleepy imagination could not resist a giant mentioned in Beaumont romantic tradition, consecrated and Fletcher's Knight of the by popular credulity. Shake- Burning Pestle, act iii. s. 1. vol. speare has finely transferred the vi. p. 411. edit. 1751.
« There general idea of this superstition“ is a pretty tale of a witch that to his Ghost in Hamlet, a. i. s. 3. “ had the devil's mark about her, Hor. What if it kempt you to the
“ God bless us, that had a gyflood, my Lord ?
“ aunt to her son that was called But then, from the ground-work
“Lob-lye-by-the-fire." Jonson of a vulgar belief, so beautifully introduces Robin Goodfellow as accommodated and improved, a person of the drama, in Love how does he rise in the progres- Restored, a masque at Court, sion of his imagination to the where more of his services, and supposition of a more alarming a great variety of his gambols, and horrible danger!
are recited. Works, edit. 1616. Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff p. 990. Burton, speaking of That beetles o'er his base into the sea,
these fairies, says, that "a bigger And there assume some other horrible “ kind there is of them, called form,
“ with us Hob-goblins and Robin Which might deprive your sove- “ Goodfellowes, that would in reignty of reason,
“those superstitious times grinde And draw you into madness ?
corne for a messe of milke, cut
“ wood, or do any manner of 106. To earn his cream-bowl
“ drudgery worke." Melanch. duly set, &c.] Reginald Scot gives a brief account of this ima- wards, of the demons that mis
p. i. s. 2. p. 42. edit. 1632. Afterginary spirit much in the same lead men in the night, he says, manner with this of our author. “Your grand-dames, maids, were Ibid. p. 43.
“We commonly call them pucks." “wont to set a bowl of milk for
In Grim the Collier of Croy“him, for his pains in grinding don, perhaps printed before 1600, “ of malt or mustard, and sweep- Robin Goodfellow says, “ing the house at midnight“ his white bread and milk was his I love a messe of cream as well as
standing fee.” Discovery of they, Witchcraft, Lond. (1588 and]
Ho, ho, my masters, no good fellow
ship? 1651. 4to. p. 66. Peck.
Is Robin Goodfellow a bugbear See note on v. 103. And the commentators on Shakespeare's Mids. N. Dream, vol. iii. p. 27. Act v. s. I. See Reed's Old Pl. edit
. 1778. Robin Goodfellow, xi. 254. Again, ibid. p. 238. who is here made a gigantic spi- For I shall fleet their cream-bowls rit, fond of lying before the fire, night by night.
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
115 By whisp'ring winds soon lulld asleep. In the old Moralities, it was cus- Mr. Bowle suggests an illustratomary to introduce the devil tion of the text from Warner's with the cry, ho, ho, ho! Gam. Albion's England, ch. 91. Robin Gurt. N. ibid. ii. 34. See note Goodfellow is the speaker. on v. 113. infr. T. Warton.
Hoho, hoho, needs must I laugh, 108. His shadowy flail, &c.] such fooleries to name, We have the flail, an implement And at my crummed messe of milk, here given to Robin Goodfellow,
each night from maid or dame
To do their chares, as they suppos'd, in the exhibition of that favourite
when in their deadest sleepe character in Grim the Collier of
I pulld them out their beds, and Croydon, see act iv. s. 1. Reed's made themselves their houses Old Pl. xi. 238." Enter Robin
sweepe. “Goodfellow in a suit of leather
How clatter'd I amongst their pots
and pans, &c. “ close to his body, his face and “ hands coloured russet colour, Much the same is said in Scot's “ with a flail." In which scene Discoverie of Witchcraft, Lond. he says, p. 241.
1588. 4to. p. 66. See also, To What, miller, are you up agin?
the readers. T. Warton. Nay, then my flail shall never lin. 114. Ere the first cock his matin Robin Goodfellow, clothed in rings.) Mr. Bowle supposes that green, was a common figure in the poet here thought of a pas. the old city pageants.
See sage in the Faerie Queene, v, vi. Mayne's City Match, act ii. s. 6. 27. edit. 1639. T. Warlon.
- The native bellman of the night, 113. And crop-full out of doors The bird that warned Peter of his he flings,
fall, Ere the first cock his matin
First rings his silver bell t' each sleepy
wight. rings.] Milton remembered the old song It is certainly the same allusion of Puck or Robin Goodfellow, and metaphor in P. L. v. 7. rescued from oblivion by Peck. -The shrill matin-song When larks gin sing
Of birds on every bough. Away we fling
Tow'red cities please us then,
119 Where throngs of knights“ Pris ne doit ne peult estre and barons bold &c.] It may “ donne, sans les dumes : perhaps be objected that this is a “pour elles sont toutes les prolittle unnatural, since tilts and nesses faietes, et par elles en tourneaments were disused when “ doit estre le pris donne." See Milton wrote this poem: but also c. cxxvii. and the articles of when one considers how short a the Justes at Westminster, 1509. time they had been laid aside, Hardyng's Chron. c, xlv. Robert and what a considerable figure of Gloucester, vol. i. 190. and these make in Milton's favourite Geoff. Monm. b. ix. C. xiv. T. authors, his introducing them Warton. here is easily accounted for, and 125. There let Hymen oft apI think as easily to be excused. pear Thyer.
In saffron robe, with taper 120. —triumphs] Triumphs clear, &c.] are shews, such as masks, revels, For, according to Shakespeare, &c. See note on Sams. Agon. Love's Lab. Lost, act iv. s. 3. 1312. Pomp also had a technical
For revels, dances, masks, and merry sense in masques, train, retinue, hours procession. See notes on P. L. Fore-run fair love, strewing her way viii. 60. and Sams. Agon. 449 and with flowers. 1312. T. Warton.
In these pageantries, exhibited 121. With store of ladies,] An with great splendour, and a waste expression probably taken from of allegoric invention, at the nupSydney's Astrophel and Stella, tials of noble personages, the st. 106.
classical Hymen was of course But here I doe store of faire ladies introduced as an actor, with his
proper habit and symbols. Thus T. Warton.
in Jonson's “ Hymenæi, or the 122. Rain influence, and judge “ solemnities of Masque and Barthe prize) Here Mr. Bowle cites "riers at a Marriage," is this Perce-furest, v. 1. c. xii. fol. 109. stage-direction: “ On the other
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
135 Lap me in soft Lydian airs, “ hand entered Hymen, in a saf. Shakespeare's Comedies, rather "fron-coloured robe, his under- than his Tragedies. For models “ vestures white, his sockes yel. of the latter, he refers us rightly, “ low, a yellow veile of silke on in his Penseroso, to the Grecian “ his left arm, his head crowned scene, v. 97. Hurd. “ with roses and marjoram, in There is good reason to sup“ his right hand a torch.” Works, pose that Milton threw many ed. 1616. Masques, p. 912. see additions and corrections into also ibid. p. 939. See also the Theatrum Poetarum, a book Spenser's Epithalamion, st. ï. published by his nephew, Edand the Poeticall Miscellanies of ward Philips, in 1675. It conPh. Fletcher. Cambr. 1613. 4to. tains criticisms far above the T. Warlon.
taste of that period : among these 132. If Jonson's &c.] We see is the following judgment on by this, that Milton's favourite Shakespeare, which not dramatic entertainments were then, I believe, the general opiJonson's Comedies, and Shake- nion, and which perfectly coinspeare's Plays: and in a few cides both with the sentiment words he touches the distin- and words of the text. “ In guishing characteristics of these “tragedy, never any expressed two famous poets, the art of Jon- "a more lofty and tragic height, , son and nature of Shakespeare, never any represented nature the learning of the one and the more purely to the life : and genius of the other: and there is “ where the polishments of art this farther propriety in his prais. " are most wanting, as probably ing of Shakespeare, that while “ his learning was not extraorhe commends, he imitates him. dinary, he pleases with a cerLove's Labour's Lost, act i. sc. 1. “ tain wild and native elegance, This child of fancy, that Armado “ &c.” Mod. Poets, p. 194. T. hight.
Warlon. 134. Warble his native wood- 135. And ever against eating notes wild.] Milton shews his
cares, judgment here, in celebrating Lap me in soft Lydian airs, &c.]