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Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse :
may some gentle Muse With lucky words favour my
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd 25 Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
have all loudly. He was perhaps thinking of a line in Dryden, an author whom he seems to have known better than Milton.
A louder yet and yet a louder (train.
18. Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse.] The epithet cor is at present restrained to Person. Antiently, it was more generally combined. Thus a fhepherd in Drayton's Pastorals,
Shepherd, these things are all too coy for me,
Whose youth is spent in jollity and mirth. That is,“This sort of knowledge is too hard, too difficult for me, &c." ECLOGUES, vii. vol. iv. p. 1418. edit. Oldys, 8vo. Lond. 1753.
25. Together both, &c.] Here a new paragraph begins in the edition of 1645, and in all that followed. But in the edition 1638, the whole context is thus pointed and arranged.
For we were nurst upon the self-fame hill,
Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd, &c. 26. Under the opening eyelids of the morn.) Perhaps from Thomas Middleton's Game at C'H ES 3 E, an old forgotten play, published about the end of the reign of James the first, 1625.
Like a pearl,
Upon the bashful rose.
We drove afield, and both together heard
edition of 1638, have hitherto been noticed. Shakespeare has the Morning's Eye. Rom. Jul. A. iji. S. v.
I'll say yon grey is not the MORNING's eye. Again, A. ii. S. iii.
The GREY-EYEĎ morn smiles on the frowning night. 27. We drove afield. -) That is, “ we drove our flocks afield." I mention this, that Gray's echo of the passage in the CHURCH-YARD Elegy, yet with another meaning, may not mislead many careless rea. ders.
: How joyous did they drive the team afield. From the regularity of his pursuits, the purity of his pleasures, his temperance, and general fimplicity of life, Milton habitually became an early riser. Hence he gained an acquaintance with the beauties of the morning, which he so frequently contemplated with delight, and has therefore so repeatedly described, in all their various appearances : and this is a subject which he delineates with the lively pencil of a lover. In the APOLOCY FOR SMECTYMNUUS he declares, “ Those
morning haunts are where they should be, at home : not sleeping " or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast, but up and stirring, “ in winter often before the sound of any bell awakens men to labour “ or devotion ; in summer, as oft as the bird that first rouses, or not “ much tardyer, to read good authors, &c." ProSE-WORKS, edit. 1738. vol.i.iog. In L'ALLEGRO, one of the first delights of his chearful man, is to hear the “lark begin her flight." His lovely landscape of Eden always wears its most attractive charms at sun-rising, and seems most delicious to our first parents at that season prime for “ sweetest sents and airs.” In the present instance, he more particularly alludes to the stated early hours of a collegiate life, which he Ihared, on the self-fame bill, with his friend Lycidas at Cambridge.
29. Battning our flocks with the fresh dews of night.] TO BATTEN is both neutral and active, to grow or to make fat. The neutral is most common. Shakespeare, HAML, A. iii. S. iv.
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And BATTEN on this moor?
Their BATTENING FLOCKS on grassie lcas to hold. Milton had this line in his eye. BAT FULL, that is plentiful, is a frequent epithet in Drayton, especially in his POLYOLBION.
Oft till the star that rose, at evening, bright, 30
But O the heavy change, now thou art gone,
30. Oft till the far that rose, at evening, bright.] Thus the editiog 1645. In the edition of 1638, and Cambridge manuscript,
Oft till the evn-Itarre bright.
31. -Had fop'd bis wefl'ring wheel.] Beside to wester in Chaucer, of the sun, we have to west in Spenser, F. Q. v. INTROD. 8.
And twice hath risen where he now doch WEST,
The rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to th'oaten flute.] So Phineas Fletcher, a popular author in Milton's days, Purpl. Isl. C. ix. ft. iii.
TEMPERING their sweetest notes unto thy lay. And the same writer, in PoeticaLL MISCELLANIES, Cambr. 1633: P. 55. 4to.
And all in course their voice ATTEMPERING. And Spenser, in June.
Where birds of
kind To th' waters fall their tunes ATTEMPER right. It is the same phraseology in Parad. L. B. vii. 598. Of various inItruments of music. TEMPER'D soft tunings.
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves
39. Tbee, Shepherd, tbee the woods, and desert caves, &c.] It is thus in the firit edition, 1638.
Thee shepherds, thee the woods, and desert caves, &c. That is, “ thee the shepherds, thee the woods, and thee the caves, “ lament.” Without the address to Lycidas.
40. With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown.] Doctor Warbure ton supposes, that the vine is here called GADDING, because, being married to the elm, like other wives she is fond of GADDING ABROAD, and seeking a new associate. I have met with a peculiar use of the word GADDING, which also shews its antient and original spelling. From the Register of a Chantry at Godderfton in Norfolk, under the year 1534. "Receyvid at the GADYNG with Saynte Marye Songe at “ Crismas." Blomf. Norf. iii. 404. That is, “ AT going ABOUT “ from house to house at christmass with a Carol of the Holy Virgin, “&c." It seems as if there was such an old verb as GADE, a frequen. tative from co. Chaucer, Rom. R. 938.
These bowis two held Swete-Loking,
That ne semid like no GADIING. That is, “no gadder, idler, &c.” And in the Coke's Tale of Ga. melyn, V. 203
Stondith stille thou GADILING.
For CANKER vice the swEETEST BUDS doth love.
And loathsom CANKER lives in swEETEST BUD.
Which, like a Canker in thy fragrant 'ROSE,
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Where were ye, Nymphs,when the remorseless deepClos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas ? 50 For neither were ye playing on the steep,
And of a rose again, which had feloniously stolen the boy's complexion and breath, ibid. xcix.
But for his theft, in pride of all his growth,
A vengefull CANKER eat him up to death.
As in the swEETEST BUDS
Hath not thy Rose a CANKER, Somerset ?
The CANKER galls the infants of the SPRING
Too oft before their buttons are disclos'd, And in K. RICHARD ii. A. ii. S. ji.
But now will cancer sorrow eat my BUD. And in the Rape of LUCRECE, SUPPL. Shakesp. i. 52.
Why Thould the worm intrude the maiden BUD? And in the Mids. N. Dr. A. ii. S. iii. The fairies are employed,
Some to kill CANKERS in the MUSK•Rose buds. Canker-Blooms are mentioned in Shakespeare's Sonn. liv.
The CANKER-Blooms have fuli as deep a dye
As the perfumed tincture of the roses. But there the CANKER-Bloom is the dog-rose. As in Much ADO ABOUT NOTHING, A. i. S. iii. “I had rather be a Canker in a hedge, than “ role in his grace." Shakespeare affords other instances.