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That opes the palace of eternity:
To such my errand is; and but for such,
I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould.

But to my task. Neptune besides the sway
Of every salt flood, and each ebbing stream,
Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove
Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles
That like to rich and various geins inlay
The unadorned bosom of the deep,
Which he to grace his tributary Gods


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written That shows &c. after- 22. That like to rich and various wards altered,

gems inlay Thut opes the palace of eternity,

The unadorned bosom of the Mr. Pope has transferred with a

deep,] little alteration into one of his The first hint of this beautiful

pasSatires, speaking of Virtue,

sage seems to have been taken

from Shakespeare's Rich. II. act Her priestess Muse forbids the good ii. sc. 1. where John of Gaunt

to die, And opes the temple of eternity.

calls this island by the same sort 13. Jonson, Hymen, v. p. 296.

of metaphor, of Truth.

this little world, Her left (holds] a curious bunch of

This precious stone sct in the silver sea. golden keys,

22. But Milton has heightened With which heaven's gate she locketh and displays.

the comparison, omitting ShakeWhere displays is opens.

T. speares petty conceit of the silver Warton.

sea, the conception of a jeweller, 18. But to my task &c.] These

and substituting another and a four lines were thus in the ma.

more striking piece of imagery.

This rich inlay, to use an expresnuscript before they were al

sion in the Paradise Lost, gives tered.

beauty to the bosom of the deep, But to my business now. Neptune, else unadorned. It has its effect of every salt food, and each ebbing bare earth, before the creation,

on a simple ground. Thus the stream, Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether

was “ desert and bare, unsightly, Jove

unadorned.P. L. vii. 314. The rule and title of each sea-girt isle. And they were altered with great

Eve's tresses are unadorned, reason, no verb following the Ibid. iv. 305. T. Warton. nominative case, Neptune.

whose sway



By course commits to several government,
And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns,
And wield their little tridents : but this isle,
The greatest and the best of all the main,
He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities;
And all this tract that fronts the falling sun
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power
Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide
An old, and haughty nation proud in arms:
Where his fair offspring nurs’d in princely lore
Are coming to attend their father's state,
And new-intrusted sceptre; but their way


28. -the best of all the main,] at Ludlow castle with great soSo altered in the manuscript from lemnity. On this occasion he -the best of all his empire. was attended by a large con

29. He quarters] That is, Nep- course of the neighbouring notune: with which name he bo- bility and gentry. Among the nours the king, as sovereign of rest came his children; in parthe four seas; for from the ticular, Lord Brackley, Mr. T'hoBritish Neptune alone this noble mas Egerton, and Lady Alice, Peer derives his authority. War- -To attend their father's state, burton.

And new-intrusted sceptre.32. —With temper'd awe to They had been on a visit at a guide

house of their relations the EgerAn old and haughty nation, ton family in Herefordshire; and proud in arms.)

in passing through Haywood That is, the Cambro-Britons, who forest were benighted, and the were to be governed by respect Lady Alice was even lost for a mixed with awe. The Earl of short time. This accident, which Bridgewater, “ A noble Peer of in the end was attended with no “ mickle trust and power," was bad consequences, furnished the now governor of the Welch as subject of a Mask for a Michaellord-president of the principality. mas festivity, and produced Co“ Proud in arms," is Virgil's mus. Lord Bridgewater was ap" belloque superbi.” Æn. i. 21. pointed Lord President, May 12, T. Wartox.

1633. When the perilous ad34. Where his fair offspring, venture in Haywood forest hapnurs’d in princely lore, &c.] I have pened, if true, cannot now be been informed from a manuscript told. It must have been soon of Oldys, that Lord Bridgewater after. The Mask was acted at entered upon his official residence Michaelmas, 1634. T. Warlon.

Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood,
The nodding horror of whose shady brows
Threats the forlorn and wand'ring passenger;
And here their tender age might suffer peril,

But that by quick command from sovereign Jove
I was dispatch'd for their defence and guard;
And listen why, for I will tell you now
What never yet was heard in tale or song,
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.

Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, After the Tuscan mariners transform’d,



43. And listen why, for I will The two words are often thus tell you now

joined in the old metrical roWhat never yet was heard fic.]

And thus in Spenser's Horace, od. ii. i. 2.

Astrophel. Favete linguis: carmina non prius Merrily masking both in bowre and Audita

hall, Virginibus puerisque canto.


And his Colin Clouts come home

again. Milton might justly enough say this, since Comus is a deity of

And purchase highest roome in bowre

or hall. his own making: but the same allegory has been introduced by Where room is place, as in St. most of the principal epic poets Luke xiv. 8, 9, 10. Shakespeare under other personages. Such has bower for chamber, Coriolan. are Homer's Circe, Ariosto's Al- act iii. s. 2. So Chaucer, Mill, T. cina, Tasso's Armida, and Spen- 259.... And Spenser, Prothalam. ser's Acrasia.

st. viii. T. Warton. From old or modern bard, in hall or

46. Bacchus, that first &c.] bozer.

Though he builds his fable on Alluding to the ancient custom

classic mythology, yet his mateof poets repeating their own

rials of magic have more the air

of inchantments in the Gothic verses at public entertainments.

romances. Thyer.

Warburion. 45. From old or modern bard,] transformid,] They were changed

48. After the Tuscan mariners It was at first in the manuscript,

by Bacchus into ships and dolBy old or modern bard

phins, the story of which meta45. —in hall or bower.] That morphosis the reader may see in is, literally, in hall or chamber. Ovid. Met. iii. Fab. 8.


Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
On Circe's island fell: (Who knows not Circe
The daughter of the sun? whose charmed cup
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,
And downward fell into a grovelling swine)
This Nymph that gaz'd upon his clust'ring locks,
With ivy berries wreath'd, and his blithe youth,
Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
Much like his father, but his mother more,
Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus nam’d,


48. This story is alluded to in Homer's Circe, represents all Homer's fine hymn to Bacchus; sensual pleasures; and Bacchus, the punishments he inflicted on in the heathen mythology, only the Tyrrhene pirates are the sub- presides over that of drinking. jects of the beautiful frieze on Thyer. the Lantern of Demosthenes, de- 58. Whom therefore she brought scribed by Mr. Stuart, in his up, and Comus nam'd,] This Antiq. of Athens, p. 33. Dr. J. line was at first in the ManuWarton.

script, Lilius Gyraldus relates, that this history was most beautifully

Which therefore she brought up, and

nam'd him Cumus. represented in Mosaic work, in the church of St. Agna at Rome, 58. —and Comus nam'd.] Docoriginally a temple of Bacchus. tor Newton observes, that Comus And it is one of the pictures in is a deity of Milton's own making. Philostratus. T. Warton.

But if not a natural and easy 50. —who knows not Circe, &c.] personification, by our author, of See Boethius, l. iv. m. iii. and the Greek KOMOE, Comessatio, Virgil, Æn. vii. 11. 17. Alcina it should be remembered, that has an enchanted cup in Ariosto, Comus is distinctly and most C. X. 45. T. Warlon.

sublimely personified in the Aga54. -clust'ring] See the notes, memnon of Æschylus, edit. Stanl. Par. L. iv. 303. E.

p. 376. v. 1195. Where says 55. With ivy-berries wreath'd,] Cassandra, “ That horrid band, Nonnus calls Bacchus κορυμβο- “ who sing of evil things, will Pogos, b. xiv. See also Ovid, Fast. never forsake this house. Bei. 393. and our author, El. vi. 15. “ hold, Comus, the drinker of T. Warton.

human blood, and fired with 57. Much like his father, but new rage, still remains within his mother more.] This is said, “ the house, being sent forward because Milton's Comus, like “ in an unlucky hour by the


Who ripe, and frolic of his full grown age,
Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,
At last betakes him to this ominous wood,
And in thick shelter of black shades imbow'rd

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“ Furies his kindred, who chant poetry, and he was now only

a bymn recording the original twenty-six years old, is generally “ crime of this fated family, &c." more classical and less scriptural,

than in pieces written after he Την γαρ στιγην, την δ ουτοσ' εκλιπιι Kopos,

had been deeply tinctured with

the Bible. Συμφθογγος ουκ ευφωνος.

μην σισωκως, γ' ως θρασυνεσθαιπλέον, It must not, in the mean time,
Βροτειoν αιμα ΚΩΜΟΣ εν δομους μενει, , here be omitted, that Comus the
Δυστηματος εξω συγγονων Εριννυων. .
Υμνουσι δ' υμνον δωμασι προσημεναι

god of cheer," had been before
dramatic personage

in one Πρωταρχου ασης.

of Jonson's Masques before the Comus is here the god of riot and Court, 1619. An immense cup intemperance, and he has as

is carried before him, and he is sumed new boldness from drink- crowned with roses and other ing human blood : that is, be- flowers, &c. vol. vi. 29. His cause Atreus served up his mur- attendants carryjavelins wreathed dered children for a feast, and with ivy. He enters, riding in Agamemnon was killed at the triumph from a grove of ivy, to beginning of a banquet. There the wild music of Autes, tabors, is a long and laboured description and cymbals. At length the of the figure of Comus in the grove of ivy is destroyed, p. 35. Icones of Philostratus, o dawn o ΚΩΜΟΣ εφεστηκεν εν Θαλαμου θυραις

And the voluptuous Comus, god of

cheer, Xgurais, &c. Among other cir

Beat from his grove, and that defac'd, cumstances, his crown of roses &c. is mentioned. Also, “ Kgotænd, See also Jonson's Forest, b. i. 3. « και θρoος εναυλος, και βοη ατακτος,

Comus puts in for new delights, &c. λαμπαδες τι, &c.” ΕΙΚΟΝ Β. 1.

T. Warton. p. 733. seq. edit. Paris. 1608. fol. Compare Erycius Puteanus's 60. -the Cellic and Iberian Comus, & Vision, written 1608. fields,) France and Spain. Thyer. It is remarkable, that Comus 61. At last betakes him to this makes no figure in the Roman ominous wood.] Ominous is dan. literature.

gerous, inauspicious, full of por: Peck supposes Milton's Comus tents, &c. B. and Fletcher use it to be Chemos, “ th' obscene dread in this sense, Sea Voyage, a. i. “ of Moab's sons." P.L. i. 406. s. 1. vol. ix. p. 95. Afterwards But, with a sufficient propriety Comus's wood is called “this of allegory, he is professedly "advent'rous glade.” v. 79. T. made the son of Bacchus and of Warton. Hoiner's sorceress Circe. Be. 62. And in thick shelter of black sides, our author in his early shades] In Milton's Manuscript

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