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how nearly Milton has sometimes" are cardes, tables, - musicke, pursued his train of thought, and "maskes, ulegames, catches, selection of objects, in various "purposes, questions*, merry passages of L'Allegro and Il "tales of errant knights, kings, Penseroso. It is in the chapter entitled, Exercise rectified both of Body and Minde. "But the most "pleasing of all outward pas"times is, Deambulatio per 66 amœna loca, to make a pretty progresse, to see citties, cas"tles, townes: as Fracastorius,

queenes, lovers, lordes, ladies, " dwarfes, theeves, fayries, &c.

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"Visere sæpe amnes nitidos, peramæ66 naque Tempe,

"Et placidas summis sectari in mon"tibus auras.

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"To walke amongst orchards, "gardens, bowres, and artificiall "wildernesses, green thickets, " arches, groves, rillets, foun"tains, and such like pleasant "places, like that Antiochian "Daphne, pooles, betwixt "wood and water, in a faire "meadow by a river side, to disport in some pleasant plaine, "to run up a steepe hill, or sit "in a shadie seat, must needes "be a delectable recreation."To see some pageant or sight go by, as at coronations, weddings, and such like solemni"ties; to see an ambassadour, "or prince, met, received, en"tertained with maskes, shewes, " &c.-The country has its re"creations, may-games, feasts, "wakes, and merry meetings. All seasons, almost all places, have their severall pas"times, some in sommer, some "in winter, some abroad, some " within. The ordinary re"creations which we have in "winter, and in most solitary "times busy our mindes with,

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-Dancing, singing, masking, "mumming, stage-playes, howsoever they bee heavily cen"sured by some severe Catos,

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yet if opportunely and soberly "used, may justly be approved. "-To read, walke, and see

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mappes and pictures, statues, "old coynes of severall sortes, "in a fayre gallerie, artificiall "workes, &c. Whosoever he is "therefore, that is overrunne "with solitarinesse, or carried "away with a pleasing melancholy "and vaine conceits,-I can pre"scribe him no better remedie " than this of study." He winds up his system of studious recreation with a recommendation of the sciences of morality, astronomy, botany, &c. "To see a "well-cut herball, all hearbs, "trees, flowers, plants, expressed "in their proper colours to the life, &c." P. ii. s. 2. p. 224– 234. edit. 1624.

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In Beaumont and Fletcher's Nice Valour, or Passionate Madman, there is a beautiful song on Melancholy, some of the sentiments of which, as Sympson long since observed, appear to have been dilated and heightened in the Il Penseroso. See act iii. s. 1. vol. x. p. 336. Milton has more frequently and openly copied the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, than of Shakespeare. One is therefore surprised, that in his panegyric on

Cross-purposes, Questions and commands, such as Milton calls "Quips, and "Cranks, and wanton Wiles." L'Allegro, v. 27,

the stage, he did not mention the twin-bards, when he celebrates the learned sock of Jonson, and the wood-notes wild of Shakespeare.

of philosophic meditation. It was impossible for the author of Il Penseroso to be more cheerful, or to paint mirth with levity; that is, otherwise than in the colours of the higher poetry. Both poems are the result of the same feelings, and the same habits of thought. See note on L'All. v. 146.

L'Allegro and Il Penseroso may be called the two first descriptive poems in the English language. It is perhaps true, that the characters are not sufficiently kept apart. But this circumstance has been productive of greater excellencies. It has been remarked, "No mirth indeed can be found "in his melancholy, but I am "afraid I always meet some me"lancholy in his mirth." Milton's is the dignity of mirth. His cheerfulness is the cheerfulness of gravity. The objects he selects in his L'Allegro are so far gay, as they do not naturally excite sadness. Laughter and jollity are named only as personifications, and never exemplified. Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles, are enumerated only in general terms. There is specifically no mirth in contemplating a fine landscape. And even his landscape, although it has flowery meads and flocks, wears a shade of pensiveness; and con tains russet lawns, fallows grey, and barren mountains, overhung with labouring clouds. Its old turretted mansion peeping from the trees, awakens only a train of solemn and romantic, perhaps melancholy, reflection. Many a pensive man listens with delight to the milk-maid singing blithe, to the mower whetting his scythe, and to a distant peal of villagebells. He chose such illustrations as minister matter for true poetry, and genuine description. Even his most brilliant imagery is méllowed with the sober hues

Doctor Johnson has remarked, that in L'Allegro, "no part of "the gaiety is made to arise from "the pleasures of the bottle." The truth is, that Milton means to describe the cheerfulness of the philosopher or the student, the amusements of a contemplative mind. And on this principle, he seems unwilling to allow, that Mirth is the offspring of Bacchus and Venus, deities who preside over sensual gratifications; but rather adopts the fiction of those more serious and sapient fablers, who suppose, that her proper parents are Zephyr and Aurora: intimating, that his cheerful enjoyments are those of the temperate and innocent kind, of early hours and rural pleasures. That critic does not appear to have entered into the spirit, or to have comprehended the meaning, of our author's Allegro.

No man was ever so disqualified to turn puritan as Milton. In both these poems, he professes himself to be highly pleased with the choral church-music, with Gothic cloisters, the painted windows and vaulted isles of a venerable cathedral, with tilts and tournaments, and with masques and pageantries. What very repugnant and unpoetical principles did he afterwards adopt! He helped to subvert monarchy, to destroy subordination, and to

POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. POEM

440

level all distinctions of rank. But this scheme was totally inconsistent with the splendours of society, with throngs of knights and barons bold, with store of ladies, and high triumphs, which belonged to a court. Pomp, and feast, and revelry, the show of Hymen, with mask and antique pageantry, were among the state and trappings of nobility, which he detested as an advocate for republicanism. His system of worship, which renounced all

outward solemnity, all that had ever any connection with popery, tended to overthrow the studious cloisters pale, and the high embowed roof; to remove the storied windows richly dight, and to silence the pealing organ and the full-voiced quire. The delights arising from these objects were to be sacrificed to the cold and philosophical spirit of Calvinism, which furnished no pleasures to the imagination.

XV.
ARCADES*.

Part of an Entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby at Harefield, by some noble persons of her family, who appear on the scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat of state, with this song.

SONG I.

LOOK nymphs, and shepherds look,
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry,
Too divine to be mistook;

* This poem is only part of an Entertainment, or Mask, as it is also entitled in Milton's Manuscript, the rest probably being of a different nature, or composed by a different hand. The Countess Dowager of Derby, to whom it was presented, must have been Alice, daughter of Sir John Spenser of Althorp in Northamptonshire, Knight, and the widow of Ferdinando Stanley, the fifth Earl of Derby: and Harefield is in Middlesex, and according to Camden lieth a little to the north of Uxbridge, so that I think we may certainly conclude, that Milton made this poem while he resided in that neighbourhood with his father at Horton near Colebrooke. It should seem too, that it was made before the Mask at Ludlow, as it is a more imperfect essay and Frances the second daughter of this Countess

Dowager of Derby being married to John Earl of Bridgwater, before whom was presented the Mask at Ludlow, we may conceive in some measure how Milton was induced to compose the one after the other. The alliance between the families naturally and easily accounts for it: and in all probability the Genius of the wood in this poem, as well as the attendant Spirit in the Mask, was Mr. Henry Lawes, who was the great master of music at that time, and taught most of the young nobility.

+ Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess of Derby at Harefield, &c.] We are told by Norden, an accurate topographer who wrote about the year 1590, in his Speculum Britanniæ, under Harefield in Middlesex, "There "Sir Edmond Anderson, Knight, "Lord Chief Justice of the

This, this is she

To whom our vows and wishes bend;
Here our solemn search hath end.

Fame, that her high worth to raise,
Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse
Of detraction from her praise;
Less than half we find exprest,
Envy bid conceal the rest.

"Common Pleas, hath a faire "house standing on the edge of "the hill. The river Colne pass"ing neare the same, through "the pleasantmeadows and sweet 66 pastures, yielding both delight "and profit." Spec. Brit. p. i. page 21. I viewed this house a few years ago, when it was for the most part remaining in its original state. It has since been pulled down: the porter's lodges on each side the gateway are converted into a commodious dwelling-house. T. Warton.

1. Look nymphs, and shepherds look, &c.] See the ninth division of Spenser's Epithalamion. And Spenser's Aprill, in praise of Queen Elizabeth.

See, where she sits upon the grassie greene, &c.

See also Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, a. i. s. 1. vol. iii. p. 150. T. Warton.

5. This, this is she.] Milton had here been looking back to Jonson, the most eminent maskwriter that had yet appeared, and had fallen upon some of his formularies and modes of address. For thus Jonson, in an Enter

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This is shee,

This is shee,

In whose world of grace, &c. We shall find other petty imitations from Jonson. Milton says,

v. 106.

Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress

were,

Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.

So Jonson, ibid. p. 871. Of the queen and young prince,

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