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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 be 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. Warlon.
THE FIRST SCENE DISCOVERS A WILD WOOD.
The Attendant Spirit descends or enters.
Milton has here more pro
Noble, courageous, high, unmatchfessedly imitated the manner of
able, Shakespeare in his fairy scenes
Where Cæsar's is not; but near him
thy angel than in any other of his works: Becomes a fear.and his poem is much the better for it, not only for the beauty, The expressions, however, are variety, and novelty of his images, literally from North’s Plutarch. but for a brighter vein of poetry, See also Spenser's Ruins of Rome, and an ease and delicacy of ex- st. 27. pression very superior to his na- The Spirit's prologue, which tural manner. Warburlon. opens the business of the drama,
1. Before the starry threshold is introduced after the manner &c.] This character of the at- of the Greek tragedy. He might, tendant Spirit is formed upon however, have avoided any apthat of Ariel in the l'empest, but plication to an audience, as at v, very much heightened and im- 43. See, among others, the proproved by Milton, who was well logues to the Hecuba, Hippolytus, acquainted with the Platonic and Iphigenia in Tauris, of Eunotions of spirits or demons; ripides. T. Warton. and in Milton's manuscript this 3. Of bright aereal spirits live personage is entitled a Guardian inspherd.] In Il Penseroso, the Spirit or Demon.
spirit of Plato was to be unsphered, 1. Demon is used for spirit, v. 88. That is, to be called down and also for angel, in Antony and from the sphere to which it had Cloopatia, act ii. s. 3.
been allotted, where it had been Thy demon, that's thy spirit, which insphered: the word occurs exkeeps thee, is
actly in the same sense in Dray
In regions mild of calm and serene air,
ton, on his mistress, vol. iv. p. His uninchanted eye: around the 1352.
And sacred limits of this blissful isle Whereas I will insphere her
The jealous ocean that old river winds In regions high and starry.
His far-extended arms, till with steep
fall Compare Par. L. vii. 247. T.
Half his waste flood the wide Atlantic Warton.
fills, 4. In regions mild of calm and And half the slow unfathom'd Stygian serene air,] Alluding probably pool. to Homer's happy seats of the
But soft, I was not sent to court your
wonder gods, Odyss. vi. 42.
With distant worlds and strange re-οθι φασι θεων είδος ασφαλες αιει
moved climes. Εμμεναι· ουτ' ανεμοισι τινασσεται, ουτε
Yet thence I come, and oft from
thence behold Δευεσαι, ουτε χιων επιπιλνασαι: αλλα
The smoke and stir of this dim narμαλ' αιθρη
row spot, &c. Πεσταται αννεφιλος, λευκη δ' επιδεδρομεν
These lines, I think, may serve αιγλη. . Which verses Lucretius has ex
as a specimen of the truth of
what Waller says, cellently copied, ii. 18. Apparet Divům numen, sedesque
Poets lose half the praise they should quietæ; Quas neque concutiunt venti, neque
Could it be known what they dis
creetly blot. nubila nimbis Adspergunt; neque nix acri concreta 5. this dim spot,
pruina Cana cadens violat; semperque innu.
Which men call Earth,]
As Adam speaks to the angel,
An atom, &c. departed soul of Pompey. After
Round this opacous Earth, this puncthis line Milton had inserted
T. Warton. these which follow, and scratched them out again in his manu- 7. Confin'd, and pester'd in this script.
pinfold here,] Pinfold is now proAmidst th' Hesperian gardens, on
vincial, and signifies sometimes whose banks
a sheepfold, but most commonly Bedew'd with nectar and celestial a pound. It occurs seemingly songs
in the first sense in Spenser's Eternal roses grow, and hyacinth,
Ireland, Our author calls the And fruits of golden rind, on whose fair tree
Liturgy “a pinfold of set words.” The scaly. harness d dragon ever keeps Pr. W. i. 413. Compare Fair
Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
fax's Tasso, c. xiii. 20. Shake- if he had said just before speare, K. Lear, act ii. s. 2. Two
Beyond the written date of mortal Gent. Verona, act i. s. 1. It is a change : pound in Hudibras. A pinner is and therefore I cannot but think a shepherd in some parts of Eng. that he blotted out this line not land, one who pins the fold. without reason. In old deeds, among manorial
8. Besides, an allusion to the rights, the privilege of a pinfold written date of Scripture would for pound is claimed. T. Warton.
be improper in the person of the 8. Strive to keep up a frail ond attendant spirit. For the same feverish being,] This endeavour
reason there seems to be an im. is in itself no fault; it becomes so only as it is circumstanced: sion to St. Peter's golden key in
propriety in supposing an alluand the Trinity manuscript gives v. 13, where see the note. E. this circumstance, which was
11. Amongst the enthron'd Gods therefore necessary to the just- on sainted seats.] So this verse ness of the thought,
stands in Milton's manuscript as Beyond the written date of mortal well as in all his editions: and change.
yet I cannot but prefer the readBy the written date is meant ing of Mr. Fenton's editions, Scripture, in which is recorded Amongst the enthroned Gods
sainted seats. the abridged date of mortal life. Warburton.
11. Shakespeare, Anton. Cleop. I am still inclined to think act i. s. 3. that this line is better omitted.
Though you in swearing shake the For though it may not be a fault throned Gods. in itself to
See note on Par. L. v. 595. T.
Warton. Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
13. -thut golden key, &c.]
This seems to be said in allusion yet it certainly is so to strive to keep it up
to Peter's golden key, mentioned
likewise in Lycidas, 110. Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives :
Two massy keys he bore of metals
twain, and he could not have added
(The golden opes, the iron shuts
amain.) -the crown that virtue gives After this mortal changem
And this verse, which was first