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She is disinchanted and restored to her senses, having been spoken to thrice. She then rejoins her Two Brothers, with whom she returns home; and the Boy-spirit vanishes under the earth. The magician is here called "inchanter vile," as in Comus, v. 906.

The names of some of the characters, as Sacrapant, Chorebus, and others, are taken from the Orlando Furioso. The history of Meroe a witch, may be seen in "The xi Bookes of the Golden "Asse, containing the Metamorphosie of Lucius Apuleius inter"laced with sundrie pleasant and delectable Tales, &c. Translated "out of Latin into English by William Adlington, Lond. 1566." See chap. iii. "How Socrates in his returne from Macedony to "Larissa was spoyled and robbed, and how he fell acquainted with "one Meroe a witch." And chap. iv. "How Meroe the witch "turned divers persons into miserable beasts." Of this book there were other editions, in 1571, 1596, 1600, and 1639. All in quarto and the black letter. The translator was of University College. See also Apuleius in the original. That Milton had his eye on this ancient drama, which might have been the favourite of his early youth, perhaps it may be at least affirmed with as much credibility, as that he conceived the Paradise Lost, from seeing a Mystery at Florence, written by Andreini a Florentine in 1617, entitled Adamo.

In the mean time it must be confessed. that Milton's magician Comus, with his cup and wand, is ultimately founded on the fable of Circe. The effects of both characters are much the same. They are both to be opposed at first with force and violence. Circe is subdued by the virtues of the herb Moly which Mercury gives to Ulysses, and Comus by the plant Hæmony which the Spirit gives to the two Brothers. About the year 1615, a Masque called the Inner Temple Masque, written by William Browne author of Britannia's Pastorals, which I have frequently cited, was presented by the students of the Inner Temple. See note on Com. v. 232. 636. 659. It has been lately printed from a manuscript in the Library of Emanuel College; but I have been informed, that a few copies were printed soon after the presentation. It is formed on the story of Circe, and perhaps might have suggested some few hints to Milton. I will give some proofs of parallelism as we go along.

The genius of the best poets is often determined, if not directed, by circumstance and accident. It is natural, that even so original a writer as Milton should have been biassed by the reigning poetry of the day, by the composition most in fashion, and by subjects recently brought forward, but soon giving way to others, and almost as soon totally neglected and forgotten. T. Warton.

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The Attendant Spirit descends or enters.

BEFORE the starry threshold of Jove's court
My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
Of bright aereal spirits live inspher'd

Milton has here more professedly imitated the manner of Shakespeare in his fairy scenes than in any other of his works: and his poem is much the better for it, not only for the beauty, variety, and novelty of his images, but for a brighter vein of poetry, and an ease and delicacy of expression very superior to his natural manner. Warburton.

1. Before the starry threshold &c.] This character of the attendant Spirit is formed upon that of Ariel in the Tempest, but very much heightened and improved by Milton, who was well acquainted with the Platonic notions of spirits or demons; and in Milton's manuscript this personage is entitled a Guardian Spirit or Demon.

1. Demon is used for spirit, and also for angel, in Antony and Cleopatra, act ii. s. 3.

Thy demon, that's thy spirit, which keeps thee, is

Noble, courageous, high, unmatch-

Where Cæsar's is not; but near him
thy angel
Becomes a fear.-

The expressions, however, are
literally from North's Plutarch.
See also Spenser's Ruins of Rome,

st. 27.

The Spirit's prologue, which opens the business of the drama, is introduced after the manner of the Greek tragedy. He might, however, have avoided any application to an audience, as at v. 43. See, among others, the prologues to the Hecuba, Hippolytus, and Iphigenia in Tauris, of Euripides. T. Warton.

3. Of bright aereal spirits live inspher'd] In Il Penseroso, the spirit of Plato was to be unsphered, v. 88. That is, to be called down from the sphere to which it had been allotted, where it had been insphered: the word occurs exactly in the same sense in Dray

In regions mild of calm and serene air,

Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,

Which men call Earth, and with low thoughted care Confin'd, and pester'd in this pinfold here,

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4. In regions mild of calm and serene air,] Alluding probably to Homer's happy seats of the gods, Odyss. vi. 42.

-όθι φασι θεων έδος ασφαλές αιτι Εμμεναι ουτ' ανέμοισι τινάσσεται, ούτε ποτ' ομβρω

Δευεται, ούτε χιων επιπιλναται αλλα μαλ' αιθρη


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And half the slow unfathom'd Stygian pool.

But soft, I was not sent to court your wonder

With distant worlds and strange removed climes.

Yet thence I come, and oft from thence behold

The smoke and stir of this dim narrow spot, &c.

Πεπταται αννέφελος, λευκη δ' επιδέδρομεν These lines, I think, may serve


Which verses Lucretius has excellently copied, iii. 18.

Apparet Divûm numen, sedesque
quietæ ;

Quas neque concutiunt venti, neque
nubila nimbis
Adspergunt; neque nix acri concreta

Cana cadens violat; semperque innu-
bilus æther

Integit, et large diffuso lumine ridet. See Lucan too at the beginning of book the ninth, concerning the departed soul of Pompey. After this line Milton had inserted these which follow, and scratched them out again in his manuscript.

Amidst th' Hesperian gardens, on whose banks

Bedew'd with nectar and celestial songs

Eternal roses grow, and hyacinth, And fruits of golden rind, on whose fair tree

The scaly-harness'd dragon ever keeps

as a specimen of the truth of what Waller says,

Poets lose half the praise they should have got,

Could it be known what they dis-
creetly blot.

5. -this dim spot,
Which men call Earth,]
As Adam speaks to the angel,
Par. L. viii. 17.

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Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives
After this mortal change to her true servants
Amongst the enthron'd Gods on sainted seats.
Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
To lay their just hands on that golden key,

fax's Tasso, c. xiii. 20. Shakespeare, K. Lear, act ii. s. 2. Two Gent. Verona, act i. s. 1. It is a pound in Hudibras. A pinner is a shepherd in some parts of England, one who pins the fold. In old deeds, among manorial rights, the privilege of a pinfold for pound is claimed. T. Warton.

8. Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,] This endeavour is in itself no fault; it becomes so only as it is circumstanced: and the Trinity manuscript gives this circumstance, which was therefore necessary to the justness of the thought,

Beyond the written date of mortal change.

By the written date is meant Scripture, in which is recorded the abridged date of mortal life. Warburton.

I am still inclined to think that this line is better omitted. For though it may not be a fault in itself to

Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,

yet it certainly is so to strive to keep it up

Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives:

and he could not have added

-the crown that virtue gives After this mortal change——

if he had said just before


Beyond the written date of mortal change:

and therefore I cannot but think that he blotted out this line not without reason.

8. Besides, an allusion to the written date of Scripture would be improper in the person of the attendant spirit. For the same

reason there seems to be an im

propriety in supposing an allusion to St. Peter's golden key in v. 13, where see the note. E.

11. Amongst the enthron'd Gods on sainted seats.] So this verse stands in Milton's manuscript as well as in all his editions: and yet I cannot but prefer the reading of Mr. Fenton's editions, Amongst the enthroned Gods sainted seats.


11. Shakespeare, Anton. Cleop. act i. s. 3.

Though you in swearing shake the throned Gods.

See note on Par. L. v. 535. T. Warton.

13. that golden key, &c.] This seems to be said in allusion to Peter's golden key, mentioned likewise in Lycidas, 110.

Two massy keys he bore of metals twain,

(The golden opes, the iron shuts amain,)

And this verse, which was first

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