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other of the astrological phrases no longer familiar.
But he is not likely to regret the labour. 24 xxxi upon misprision growing: either, granted in error,
or, on the growth of contempt. XXXI With the tone of this Sonnet compare Hamlet's 'Give
me that man That is not passion's slave' &c. Shakespeare's writings show the deepest sensitiveness to passion :- hence the attraction he felt in the con
trasting effects of apathy. 25 XXXIII grame : sorrow. It was long before English Poetry
returned to the charming simplicity of this and a few
other poems by Wyat. 26 XXXIV Pandion in the ancient fable was father to Philomela. 28 xxxvIII ramage : confused noise. 29 XXXIX censures : judges.
By its style this beautiful example of old simplicity and feeling may be referred to the early years of
Elizabeth. Late forgot : lately. 31 XLI haggards: the least tamable hawks. 33 XLIV cypres or cyprus, – used by the old writers for crape;
whether from the French crespe or from the Island whence it was imported. Its accidental similarity in spelling to cypress has, here and in Milton's Penseroso,
probably confused readers. 34 XLVI, XLVII ‘I never saw anything like this funeral dirge,'
says Charles Lamb, “except the ditty which reminds Ferdinand of his drowned father in the Tempest. As that is of the water, watery; so this is of the earth, earthy. Both have that intenseness of feeling, which seems to resolve itself into the element which it contemplates.'
Page No. 37 LI crystal : fairness. 38 LIII This ‘Spousal Verse' was written in honour of the
Ladies Elizabeth and Katherine Somerset. Although beautiful, it is inferior to the 'Epithalamion’on Spenser's own marriage, - omitted with great reluctance
as not in harmony with modern manners. 39
1. 13 feateously: elegantly. 42
1. 11 shend: put out. 43
l. I a noble peer: Robert Devereux, second Lord Essex, then at the height of his brief triumph after taking Cadiz: hence the allusion following to the Pillars of Hercules, placed near Gades by ancient legend. L. 13 Eliza: Elizabeth. L. 29 twins of Jove: the stars Castor and Pollux : baldric, belt;
the zodiac. 46 LVII A fine example of a peculiar class of Poetry ; — that
written by thoughtful men who practised this Art but little. Wotton's, LXXII, is another. Jeremy Taylor, Bishop Berkeley, Dr. Johnson, Lord Macaulay, have left similar specimens.
Summary of Book Second This division, embracing the latter eighty years of the sevententh century, contains the close of our Early poetical style and the commencement of the Modern. In Dryden we see the first master of the new : in Milton, whose genius dominates here as Shakespeare's in the former book, the crown and consummation of the early period. Their splendid Odes are far in advance of any prior attempts, Spenser's excepted : they exhibit the wider and grander range which years and experience and the struggles of the time conferred on Poetry. Our Muses now give expression to political feeling, to religious thought, to a high philosophic statesmanship in writers such as Marvell, Herbert, and Wotton : whilst in Marvell and Milton, again, we find the first noble attempts at pure description of nature, destined in our own ages to be continued and equalled. Meanwhile the poetry of simple passion, although before 1660 often deformed by verbal fancies and conceits of thought, and afterward by levity and an artificial tone, - produced in Herrick and Waller some charming pieces of more finished art than the Elizabethan : until in the courtly compliments of Sedley it seems to exhaust itself, and lie almost
dormant for the hundred years between the days of Wither and Suckling and the days of Burns and Cowper. – That the change from our early style to the modern brought with it at first a loss of nature and simplicity is undeniable : yet the far bolder and wider scope which Poetry took between 1620 and 1700, and the successful efforts then made to gain greater clearness in expression, in their results have been no slight compensation.
Pan: used here for the Lord of all. 56
1. 19 Lars and Lemures: household gods and spirits of relations dead. Flamens (1. 22) Roman priests.
That twice-batter'd god (1. 27) Dagon. 57 1. 9 Osiris, the Egyptian god of Agriculture (here,
perhaps by confusion with Apis, figured as a Bull), was torn to pieces by Typho and embalmed after death in a sacred chest. This mythe, reproduced in Syria and Greece in the legends of Thammuz, Adonis, and perhaps Absyrtus, represents the annual death of the Sun or the Year under the influences of the winter darkness. Horus, the son of Osiris, as the New Year, in his turn overcomes Typho. It suited the genius of Milton's time to regard this primeval poetry and philosophy of the seasons, which has a further reference to the contest of Good and Evil in Creation, as a malignant idolatry. Shelley's Chorus in Hellas, ‘Worlds on worlds,'treats the subject in a larger and sweeter spirit. L. II unshower'd grass : as watered
by the Nile only. 60 LXIV The Late Massacre : the Vaudois persecution, carried
on in 1655 by the Duke of Savoy. This collect in
as it has been justly named, is the most mighty Sonnet in any language known to the Editor. Readers should observe that, unlike our sonnets of the sixteenth century, it is constructed on the original Italian or Provençal model, — unquestionably far superior to the imperfect form employed by Shakespeare and
Cromwell returned from Ireland in 1650. Hence the prophecies not strictly fulfilled of his deference to the Parliament, in stanzas 21 - 24.
This Ode, beyond doubt one of the finest in our language, and more in Milton's style than has been reached by any other poet, is occasionally obscure from imitation of the condensed Latin syntax. The. meaning of st. 5 is ‘rivalry or hostility are the same to a lofty spirit, and limitation more hateful than opposition.' The allusion in st. 11 is to the old physical doctrines of the nonexistence of a vacuum and the impenetrability of matter : - in st. 17, to the omen traditionally connected with the foundation of the Capitol at Rome. The ancient belief that certain years in life complete natural periods and are hence peculiarly exposed to death, is introduced in st. 26 by
the word climacteric. 65 LXVI Lycidas. The person lamented is Milton's college
friend Edward King, drowned in 1637 whilst crossing
partly derived from Italian models. 66 1. 6 Sisters of the sacred well: the Muses said to
frequent the fountain Helicon on Mount Parnassus. 67
1. 14 Mona : Anglesea, called by the Welsh Inis Dowil or the Dark Island, from its dense forests. Deva (l. 15) the Dee : a river which probably derived its magical character from Celtic traditions : it was long the boundary of Briton and Saxon. - These places are introduced, as being near the scene of the shipwreck. Orpheus (1. 18) was torn to pieces by Thracian women. Amaryllis and Neaera (l. 28, 29) names used here for the love-idols of poets : as
Damoetas previously for a shepherd. 68
3 the blind Fury: Atropos, fabled to cut the thread of life. Arethuse (l. 13) and Mincius : Sicilian and Italian waters here alluded to as synonymous with
the pastoral poetry of Theocritus and Virgil. L. 16
24 the wolf: Popery. Alpheus (l. 28) a stream in
The great Vision : — the story was that the Archangel Michael had appeared on the rock by Marazion in Mount's Bay which bears his name. Milton calls on him to turn his eyes from the south homeward, and to pity Lycidas, if his body has drifted into the troubled waters off the Land's End. Finisterre being the land due south of Marazion, two places in that district (then by our trade with Corunna probably less unfamiliar to English ears) are named,
Namancos now Mujio in Galicia, Bayona north of the Minho, or perhaps a fortified rock (one of the Cies Islands) not unlike Saint Michael's Mount, at the entrance of Vigo Bay. L. 33 ore : rays of golden light. 1. 19 Doric lay: Sicilian, pastoral. The assault was an attack on London expected in