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115

Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Of other care they little reck’ning make,
Than how to scramble at the shearer's feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest;
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A sheep-hook, or have learn’d ought else the least 120
That to the faithful herdsman's art belongs!
What recks it them! What need they? They are sped;
And when they list, their lean and flashy songs

means

Even after the dissolution of the 15. Wickliffe's pamphlets are hierarchy, he held this opinion. full of this pastoral allusion. T. In his sixteenth Sonnet, written Warton. 1652, he supplicates Cromwell, 191. That to the faithful herd-To save free conscience from the man's art belongs !] Peck would paw

read shepherd, because a herdman of hireling wolves, whose Gospel is does not keep sheep. But herdman their miw.

(not herdsman) has a general During the usurpation, he pub- sense in our old writers; and lished a pamphlet entitled “The often occurs in Sydney's Ar“ Jikeliest

to remove cadia, a book well known to Hirelings out of the church," Milton. In our old Pastorals, against the revenues transferred heard-groome sometimes occurs from the old ecclesiastic esta- for shepherd. T. Warton. blishment to the presbyterian 122. See note on Comus, 404. ministers. See also his book of He might here use reck as a pasReformation in England, Prose toral word occurring in SpenWorks, vol. i. 28. T. Warton. ser's Kalendar, Decemb. “ What 119. Blind mouths ! that scarce recked l of wintry age's waste.

themselves know how to hold T. Warlon. A sheep-hook, &c.]

123. And when they list, their See instances of the like con

lean and flashy songs struction in Paradise Lost, v.711. Grate on their scrannel pipes of and the note there. I will here wretched straw;] add another from Horace, Sat. ii. No sound of words can be more

expressive of the sense: and how Porrectum magno magnum spectare finely has he imitated, or rather catino

improved, that passage in Virgil ! Vellem, ait Harpyiis gula digna ra. Eci, üi. 26.

pacibus. 120. A sheep-hook,) In the

-ton tu in triviis, indocte, solebas tract on the Reformation he

Suiderti miserum stipula disperdere says,

carmen ? “Let him advise how he can re“ject the pastorly rod and sheep. I remember not to have seen the " hook of Christ. Pr. W. vol. i. word scrannel in any other au

ii. 39.

125

Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed, ,
But swoll'n with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw

thor, nor can I find it in any They talk not widely as they were dictionary or glossary that I woont, have consulted, but I presume

For fear of raungers and the great

hoont : it answers to the stridenti of

But privily prolling to and fro, Virgil.

Enaunter they mought be inly know. 124. Scrannel is thin, meagre. And nothing said, this agrees very A scrannel pipe of straw” is contemptuously for Virgil's “te

well with the popular clamours “ nuis avena." T. Warton.

of that age against the supposed

connivance of the court at the Scrannel is vile, worthless. Johnson.

propagation of popery. In Mil128. Besides what the grim ted out, and it is corrected by

ton's Manuscript nothing is blotwolf &c.) We offered some explication of this difficult passage which is juster and better. But

his own hand and little said, in the Life of Milton, that the poet meant to accuse Archbishop is, the axe of reformation, is upon

that two-handed engine &c. that Laud of privily introducing po, the point of smiting once for all. pery, and therefore in his zeal It is an allusion to Matt

. iii. 10. threatened him with the loss of Luke iii. 9. And now also the are his head ; which notion was sug- is laid unto the root of the trees. gested to me by Dr. Pearce, the Lord Bishop of Bangor. We

An axe is properly a two-handed exbibit too Mr. Warburton's ex

engine. At the door, that is, this planation of this passage in the reformation is now ripe, and at note on v. 130. But if neither of Matt. xxiv. 33. Behold the judge

hand; near, even at the doors, these accounts seem satisfactory to the reader, we will lay before standeth before the door, James v. him another, in which we have 9. And it was to be a thorough

and effectual reformation, Stands the concurrence of Mr. Thyer and Mr. Richardson. Besides

ready to smite once, and smite no what the grim wolf &c. Besides more, in allusion to the language what the popish priests privately

of Scripture, 1 Sam. xxvi. 8. Let

me smite him, I pray thee, with pervert to their religion: and Spenser, in his ninth Eclogue, the spear, even to the earth at

once, and I will not smite him the describes them under the same image of wolves, and complains second time. This explication is much in the same manner.

agrees

so well with Milton's sentiments Yes but they gang in more secret

and expressions in other parts of wise, And with sheep's clothing doen hem his works. His head was full of disguise.

these thoughts, and he was in

Daily devours apace, and nothing said,
But that two-handed engine at the door
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.

130

expectation of some mighty al. serving, that Spenser puts these teration in religion, as appears words into the mouth of his from the earliest of his prose righteous shepherd, “not withworks, which were published not “ out some presage of these refour years after this poem. In forming times." Animadv. on the second book of his treatise of the Remonstr. Def. ubi supr. vol. Reformation in England, he em- i. p. 98. T. Warton. ploys the same metaphor of the 130. But that two-handed enare of God's reformalion, hewing gine at the door at the old and hollow trunk of pa. Stands ready to smite once, and pacy, and presages the time of

smite no more.] the bishops to be but short, and These are the last words of Peter compares them to a wen that is predicting God's vengeance on going to be cut off. Vol. i. p. his church by his ministry. The 17, 18. edit. 1738. And in his making him the minister is in Animadversions upon the Re- imitation of the Italian poets, monstrants' Defence, addressing who in their satiric pieces against himself to the Son of God, he the church, always make Peter says, —but thy kingdom is now at the minister of vengeance. The hand, and thou standing at the two-handed engine is the twodoor. Come forth out of thy handed Gothic sword with which royal chambers, O Prince of all the painters draw him. Compare the kings of the earth, for P. L. vi. 251, where the sword now the voice of thy bride calls of Michael is “ with huge twothee, and all creatures sigh to be handed sway brandished aloft.” renewed, p. 91. The reading of Stands ready at the door was then these treatises of Milton will suf- a common phrase to signify any ficiently make appear what his thing imminent. To smite once, meaning must be, and how much and smite no more, signifies a about this time he thought of final destruction, but alludes to lopping off prelatical episcopacy. Peter's single use of his sword

128. It has been conjectured, in the case of the high priest's that Milton in this passage has servant. Warburton. copied the sentiments of Piers, In these lines our author ana protestant controversial shep- ticipates the execution of Archherd, in Spenser's Eclogue, May. bishop Laud by a two-handed of this there can be no doubt: engine, that is, the axe; insinufor our author, in another of his ating that his death would repuritanical tracts, written 1641, move all grievances in religion, illustrates bis arguments for and complete the reformation of purging the church of its rapa- the church. Doctor Warburton's cious hirelings and insidious supposition only embarrasses the wolves, by a quotation of almost passage. Michael's sword" with the whole of Piers's speech; ob- “ huge two-handed sway" is evi

Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; return Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
Their bells, and flowrets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,

135

ence.

dently the old Gothic sword of were at their height. Milton, chivalry. This is styled an en- under pretence of exposing the gine, and the expression is a peri- faults or abuses of the episcopal phrasis for an axe, which the clergy, attacks their establishpoet did not choose to name in ment, and strikes at their existplain terms. The sense therefore

T. Warton. of the context seems to be, “ But 132. Return Alpheus, &c.] As " there will soon be an end of he had before distinguished the " all these evils: the axe is at voice of Apollo, so here he far

hand, to take off the head of more exalts that dread one of St. “ him who has been the great Peter, that quite shrinks up the “ abettor of these corruptions of stream of Alpheus. Now this is “ the Gospel. This will be done past, return Sicilian Muse, Sice" by one stroke."

lides Musæ. Virg. Ecl. iv. 1. In the mean time, it coincides Now comes pastoral poetry again, just as well with the tenour of and calls the vales to cast their Milton's doctrine, to suppose, flowers on Lycidas's hearse, acthat he alludes in a more general cording to the custom of the acceptation to our Saviour's me- ancients. Richardson. taphorical axe in the Gospel, 136. —where the mild whispers which was to be laid to the root use] The word use is employed of the tree, and whose stroke was in the same sense by Spenser, to be quick and decisive. Faery Queen, b. vi. st. 2.

It is matter of surprise, that this violent invective against the

Guide ye my footing, and conduct me

well Church of England and the hie- In these strange ways, where never rarchy, couched indeed in terms

foot did use, a little mysterious yet sufficiently Ne none can find, but who was taught

them by the Muse, intelligible, and covered only by a transparent veil of allegory, 138. On whose fresh lap the should have been published un- swart star sparely looks,] The der the sanction and from the swart star is the dog-star, Sirius press of one of our Universities; ardens, burning and drying up or that it should afterwards have things, and making them look escaped the severest animad- black and swarthy. But he yersions, at a period when the sparely looks on these valleys, as proscriptions of the Star-cham- he approaches not Horace's founber, and the power of Laud, tain of Blandusia, Od. ii. xii. 9.

140

Throw hither all your quaint enamell’d eyes,
That on the green turf suck the honied showers,
And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,

love ;

Te flagrantis atrox hora caniculæ The rather lambs in February Nescit tangere.

are the earlier lambs. In the Manuscript it was first The rather lambs been starved with sparely, then altered to stintly,

cold. and then to sparely again ; and And we still use rather for sooner. in the next line Throw hither That forsaken dies, imitated from was at first Bring hither &c.

Shakespeare, Winter's Tale, act 138. Swart for swurthy is com- iv. s. 5. mon in Shakespeare. The dog

-pale primroses, star is so called by turning the

That die unmarried, &c. effect into the cause. Compare B. and Fletcher's Philaster, act Milton had at first written unv. s. 1.

wedded instead of

forsaken. The

whole was thus, whose still shades The worthier beasts have made their that unwedded dies layers, and slept

Colouring the pale check of unenjoy'd Free from the Siriun star.

T. Warton. which was a closer copy of his 139. The term eyes is tech- original in Shakespeare, nical in the botany of flowers.

-pale primroses T. Warton.

That die unmarried, e'er they can

behold 142. Bring the rathe primrose

Bright Phæbus in his strength, a &c.] The primrose, being an

malady early flower, is at first very ac- Most incident to maids. ceptable, and being a lasting And then followed these lines in Hower, it continues till it is put Milton's Manuscript, out of countenance by those which

are more beautiful, and And that sad flow'r that strove dies forsaken and neglected.

To write his own woes on the verJortin.

meil grain;

Next add Narcissus that still weeps The flowers here selected are

in vain, either peculiar to mourning, or The woodbine, and the pansy freakt early flowers, suited to the age with jet, of Lycidas. The rathe primrose The glowing violet, is the early primrose, as the word

The cowslip wan that hangs his pen.

sive head, is used in Spenser, Faery Queen, And every bud that sorrow's lirery b. iii. cant. 3. st. 28.

Let daffadillies fill their cups with Too rathe cut off by practice criminal:

tears, December Shepherd's Cal.

Bid amarantus all his beauty shed,

&c. Thus is my harvest hasten'd all too rathe,

But he altered them in the Ma.

wears,

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