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Crooked eclipses : as coming athwart the Sun's apparent course. Wordsworth, thinking probably of the 'Venus' and the 'Lucrecé,' said finely of Shakespeare: 'Shakespeare could not have written an Epic; he would have died of plethora of thought.' This prodigality of nature is exemplified equally in his Sonnets. The copious selection here given (which from the wealth of the material, required greater consideration than any other portion of the Editor's task),-contains many that will not be fully felt and understood without some earnestness of thought on the reader's part.
But he is not likely to regret the labour. 26 42 upon misprision growing : either, granted in error,
or, on the growth of contempt.
contrasting effects of a pathy. 20 44 grame : sorrow. Renaissance influences long im
peded the return of English poets to the charming
realism of this and a few other poems by Wyat. 29 45 Pandion in the ancient fable was father to
master-pieces of ancient poetry. 31 50 proved : approved.
51 censures : judges.
52 Exquisite in its equably-balanced metrical flow. 32 53 Judging by its style, this beautiful example of old
simplicity and feeling may, perhaps, be referred to
the earlier years of Elizabeth. Late forgot: lately. 35 57 Printed in a little Anthology by Nicholas Breton,
1597. It is, however, a stronger and finer piece of
variations of a long popular theme. 36 58 That busy archer : Cupid. Descries : used actively;
points out. The last line of this poem is a little obscured by transposition. He means, Do they call
ungratefulness there a virtue ? '(C. Lamb). 37 59 White Iope : suggested, Mr. Bullen notes, by a
passage in Propertius (iii, 20) describing Spirits in the lower world :
Vobiscum est Iope, vobiscum candida Tyro.
PAGE NO. 38 62 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. 39 63 ramage : confused noise. 41 66 '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.' 43 50 Paraphrased from an Italian madrigal
... Non so conoscer poi
Se voi le rose, o sian le rose in voi. 44 72 crystal : fairness. 45 73 stare : starling. 74 This 'Spousal Verse' was written in honour of the
Ladies Elizabeth and Katherine Somerset. Nowhere
shend : shame. 49 - a noble peer : Robert Devereux, second Lord Essex,
then at the height of his brief triumph after taking
Summary of Book Second. This division, embracing generally the latter eighty years of the Seventeenth 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 splen
did Odes are far in advance of any prior attempts, Spenser's excepted: they exhibit that 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 noble attempts, hitherto rare in our literature, at pure description of nature, destined in our own age to be continued and equalled. Meanwhile the poetry of simple passion, although before 1660 often deformed by verbal fancies and conceits of thought, and afterwards 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 froin our early style to the modern brought with it at first a loss of nature and simplicity is undeniable: yet the 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.
PAGE NO. 58 85 1. 8 whist : hushed. --- --. 32 than: obsolete for then : Pan : used here for the
Lord of all. 59 - 1. 38 consort : Milton's spelling of this word, here
and elsewhere, has been followed, as it is uncertain whether he used it in the sense of accompanying, or
simply for concert. 61 - 1. 21 Lars and Lemures : household gods and spirits
of relations dead. Flamens (1. 24) Roman priests.
language such as curs, not affluent in rhyme, presents great difficulties; the rhymes are apt to be forced, or the substance commonplace. But, when successfully handled, it has a unity and a beauty of effect which place the strict Sonnet above the less compact and less lyrical systems allopteil by Shakespeare, Sidney,
Spenser, and other Elizabethan poets. 65 88 Cromwell returned from Ireland in 1650, and Marve!!
probably wrote his lines soon after, whilst living at
duced in st. 26 by the word climacteric. 68 89 Lycidas : The person here lamenteil is Milton's col
lege contemporary, Edward King, drowned in 1637
derived from Italian models. 69 - 1. 11 Sisters of the sacred well: the Muses, said to
frequent the Pierian Spring at the foot of Mount
Olympus. 70 - 1. 10 Mona : Anglesea, called by the Welsh poets, the
Dark Island, from its dense forests. Deva (1. 11) ile
character from Celtic traditions: it was long the boundary of Briton and English.--These places are introduced, as being near the scene of the shipwreck. Orpheus (1. 14) was torn to pieces by Thracian women. Amaryllis and Neaera (1. 24, 25) names used here for the love-idols of poets: as Damoetas previously for a shepherd. L. 31 the blind Fury: Atropos, fabled to
cut the thread of life. 71 89 Arethuse (1. l) and Mincius : Sicilian and Italian
waters here alluded to as representing the pastoral poetry of Theocritus and Vergil. L. 4 oat: pipe, used here like Collins' oaten stop l. 1, No. 186, for Song. L. 12 Hippotades : Aeolus, god of the Winds. Panope (1. 15) a Nereid. Certain names of local deities in the Hellenic mythology render some feature in the natural landscape, which the Greeks studied and analysed with their usual unequalled insight and feeling. Panope seems to express the boundlessness of the ocean-horizon when seen from a height, as compared with the limited sky-line of the land in hilly countries such as Greece or Asia Minor. Camus (1. 19) the Cam : put for King's University. The sanguiné flower (1. 22) the Hyacinth of the ancients : probably our Iris. The Pilot (1. 25) Saint Peter, figuratively introduced as the head of the Church on earth, to foretell 'the ruin of our corrupted clergy,' as Milton regarded them, then in their heighth'
under Laud's primacy. 72 - 1. 1 scrannel : screeching; apparently Milton's coin
age (Masson). L. 5 the wolf: the Puritans of the time were excited to alarm and persecution by a few conversions to Roman Catholicism which had recently occurred. Alpheus (1. 9) a stream in Southern Greece, supposed to flow underseas to join the Arethuse. Swart star (1. 15) the Dog-star, called swarthy because its heliacal rising in ancient times occurred soon after midsummer : 1. 19 rathe : early. L. 36 moist vows : either tearful prayers, or prayers for one at sea. Bellerus (1. 37) a giant, apparently created here by Milton to personify Belérium, the ancient title of the Land's End. 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 through 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.