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Not a waste or needless sound,
Till we come to holier ground;
I shall be your faithful guide
Through this gloomy covert wide ;
And not many furlongs thence
Is your father's residence,
Where this night are met in state
Many a friend to gratulate
His wish'd presence; and beside
All the swains, that there abide,
With jigs and rural dance resort :
We shall catch them at their sport;
And our sudden coming there
Will double all their mirth and chere.
Come, let us haste; the stars grow high

But night sits monarch yet in the mid sk [The scene changes, presenting Ludlow town and the !

Country Dancers; after them the Attendant Sy and the Lady.)


Spir. Back shepherds, back; enough
Till next sunshine holiday :
Here be, without duck or nodo,
Other trippings to be trod
Of lighter toes, and such court guise
As Mercury did first devise,
With the mincing Dryades,
On the lawns, and on the leas.

[This second Song presents them to their Fa

Noble Lord, and Lady bright,
I have brought ye new delight;

a The stars gror

But night sits monarch yet in the me Compare Fletcher's play, a. ii. s. 1.-T. Warton.

Here be, without duck or nod, By " ducks and nods” our author alludes to the co dancing: and, the two Brothers and the Lady being now to way of moving by “ trippings," " lighter toes," "court guis who makes Ariel tell Prospero, that his maskers,

Before you can say, come and go,
And breathe twice, and cry so, so.
Each one, tripping on his toe,

Will be here with mop and mow. And Oberon commands his fairies :

Every elfe, and fairy sprite,
Hop as light as bird from bria
And this ditty after me

Sing, and dance it trippingly The Dryads were wood-nymphs : but here the ladies who court of the lord president of the marches, are very elegantl prophet complains of the Jewish women for mincing as th author uses that word, only to express the neatness of their



Here behold so goodly grown
Three fair branches of your own :
Heaven hath timely tried their youth,
Their faith, their patience, and their truth ;
And sent them here through hard assays
With a crown of deathless praise,
To triumph in victorious dance
O'er sensual folly and intemperance.

[The Dances ended, the Spirit epiloguizes.]
Spir. To the ocean now I fly P,
And those happy climes that lie
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fields of the sky 9:
There I suck the liquid air
All amidst the gardens fair
Of Hesperus, and his daughters threes
That sing about the golden treet:
Along the crisped shades and bowers
Revels the spruce and jocund Spring ;
The Graces, and the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Thither all their bounties bring;



P To the ocean now I fly, &c. This speech is evidently a paraphrase on Ariel's song in the “ Tempest,” a. v. s. 1 :

Where the bee sucks, there suck I.--WARBURTON.

9 Up in the broad fields of the sky. It may be doubted whether from Virgil, “ Aeris in campis latis,” Æn. vi. 888, for at first he had written "plain fields,” with another idea ; a level extent of verdure.T. WARTON.

He wrote “broad fields" from Fairfax, b. viii. st. 57. “ O'er the broad fields of beauen's bright wildernesse.”—TODD.

r There I suck the liquid air. Thus Ubaldo, in Fairfax's "Tasso," a good wisard, who dwells in the centre of the earth, but sometimes emerges, to breathe the purer air of Mount Carmel, b. xiv. st. 43;

And there in liquid ayre myself disport.-T. WARTON.

s All amidst the gardens fair

Of Hesperus, and his daughters three. The daughters of Hesperus, the brother of Atlas, first mentioned in Milton's manuscript as their father, had gardens or orchards which produced apples of gold. Spenser makes them the daughters of Atlas, “ Faer. Qu.” ii. vii. 54. See Ovid, “Metam.” ix. 636 : and Apollodor.“ Bibl." 1. ii. $ 11. But what ancient fabler celebrates these damsels for their skill in singing ? Apollonius Rhodius, an author whom Milton taught to his scholars,

Argou." iv. 1396. Hence Lucan's virgin-choir, overlooked by the commentators, is to be explained, where he speaks of this golden grove, ix. 360 :

fuit aurea silva, Divitiisque graves et fulvo germine rami; Virgineusque chorus, nitidi custodia luci,

Et nunquam somno damnatus lumina serpens, &c. Milton frequently alludes to these ladies, or their gardens, “. Par. Lost," b. iii. 568. iv. 120. viji. 631. “Par. Reg.” b. ii. 357. And the Mask before us, v. 392.- T. Warton.

+ The golden tree. Many say that the apples of Atlas's garden were of gold : Ovid is the only ancient writer that says the trees were of gold, “Metam.” iv. 636.— T. Warton.

There eternal Summer dwells,
And west winds, with musky wing,
About the cedar'd alleys fling
Nard and cassia's balmy smells.
Iris there with humid bow
Waters the odorous banks, that blow"
Flowers of more mingled hew
Than her purfled scarf can shew;
And drenches with Elysian dew'
(List, mortals, if your ears be true")
Beds of hyacinth and roses,
Where young Adonis oft reposes,
Waxing well of his deep wound
In slumber soft, and on the ground*
Sadly sits the Assyrian queen':

But far above in spangled sheen? 1

Celestial Capid, her famed son, advanced
Holds his dear Psyche sweet entranced,
After her wandering labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal bride,
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,
Youth and Joya ; so Jove hath sworn.

But now my task is smoothly done",

I can fly, or I can run, u " Blow" is liere actively used, as in Beaumont and a. ii. s. 1:

The wind that blows the April-flowers | That is, “makes the flowers blow.” So, in Jonson's “ M

For these, Favonius here shall blow
New flowers, &c.--T. WARTON.

v And drenches with Elysian As in “ Par. Lost," b. xi. 367, the angel says to Adam

Let Eve, for I have drench'd her Here sleep below.-T. WARTON.

w If your cars be true. Intimating that this song, which follows, of Adonis, a the profane, but only for well-purged ears.- HURD. * See Spenser's “ Astrophel," st. 48.–T. Warton.

The Assyrian queen. Venus is called “the Assyrian queen," because she was See Pausanias, " Attic.” lib. i. cap. 14.--Newton.

: In spangled sheen. “ Mids. N. Dream," a. ii. s. l:

By fountain clear, or spangled starlight sh * Undoubtedly Milton's allusion at large, is here to Adonis, “ Faer. Qu.” iii. vi. 46, seq., but at the same tim to Spenser's “ Hymne of Love," where Love is feign'd delight," with Hebe, or Youth, and the rest of the darlin daughter Pleasure.-T. Warton,

b But now my task is smoothly don So Shakspeare's Prospero, in the Epilogue to the “ Teu




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Quickly to the green earth's endo,
Where the bow'd welkin slow doth bend ";
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon e.

Mortals, that would follow me,
Love Virtue ; she alone is free:
She can teach ye how to clime'
Higher than the sphery chime 6 ;
Or, if Virtue feeble were,
Heaven itself would stoop to her h.

Now my charms are all o'erthrown, &c.
And thus the satyr, in Fletcher's “Faithful Shepherdess," who bears the character of our
Attendant Spirit, when his office or commission is finished, displays his power and activity,
promising any farther services, s. ult.-T. WARTON.

c The green earth's end. Cape de Verd isles.-SYMPSON.

d here the bow'd welkin slow doth bend. A curve which bends or descends slowly, from its great sweep. Bending" has the same sense, of Dover cliff, in “ K. Lear,” a. iv. 8. 1 :

There is a cliff, whose high and bending head

Looks fearfully on the confined deep. And, in the “Faithful Shepherdess," “ bending plain,” p. 105. Jonson has“ bending vale," vii. 39.-T. WARTON.

e And from thence can soar as soon

To the corners of the moon.
Oberon says of the swiftness of his fairies, “ Mids. N. Dr.” a. iv. s. 1 :-

We the globe can compass soon

Swifter than the wandering moon.
And Puck's fairy, ibid. a. ii. s. 1 :-

I do wander every where,
Swifter than the moone's sphere.—T. WARTON.

f she can teach ye how to clime, &c. Dr. Warburton has observed, that the last four verses furnished Pope with the thought for the conclusion of his “ Ode on St. Cecilia's Day.” A prior imitation may be traced in the close of Dryden's Ode.—Todd.

& The sphery chime. Chime," Ital. Cima. Yet he uses " chime” in the common sense, “ Ode Nativ." F. 128. He may do so here, but then the expression is licentious, I suppose for the sake of the rhyme - Hurd.

The "sphery chime " is the music of the spheres.—T. Warton. The moral of this poem is very finely summed up in the six concluding lines : the thought contained in the last two might probably be suggested to our author by a passage in the “ Table of Cebes," where Patience and Perseverance are represented stooping and stretching out their hands to help up those, who are endeavouring to climb the craggy hill of Virtue, and yet are too feeble to ascend of themselves.—THyer.

Had this learned and ingenious critic duly reflected on the lofty mind of Milton, “smit with the love of sacred song," and so often and so sublimely employed on topics of religion, he might readily have found a subject, to which the poet obviously and divinely alludes in these concluding lines, without fetching the thought from the “ Table of Cebes." In the preceding remark, I am convinced Mr. Thyer had no ill intention : but, by overlooking so elcar and pointed an allusion to a subject, calculated to kindle that lively glow in the bosoun of every Christian, which the poet intended to excite, and by referring it to an image in a profane author, he may, beside stifling the sublime effect so happily produced, afford a handle to some, in these “ evil days," who are willing to make the religion of Socrates and Cebes (or that of Nature) supersede the religion of Christ. “ The moral of this poem

is, indeed, very finely sumped up in the six concluding lir of the most elegant productions of his genius, “ the poet's threw up its last glance to Heaven, in rapt contemplati whereby He, the lofty theme of “ Paradise Regained," st ** bowed the heavens, and came down on earth, to atone strengthen feeble virtue by the influence of his grace, throne.”-FRANCIS HENRY EGERTON, afterwards Earl of E

The Attendant Spirit opens the poem with a descriptio: promises, " after this mortal life, to her true servants : considered more perfect, in closing, as it commenced, with timents of Scripture.--Topd.

In the peculiar disposition of the story, the sweetness o the expression, and the moral it teaches, there is nothing “ Mask of Comus."— Toland.

Milton's “ Juvenile Poems” are so no otherwise, tha younger years; for their dignity and excellence, they are : the most celebrated of the poets, even of the ancients " Lycidas” are perhaps superior to all in their several kins

" Comus' is written very much in imitation of Sha “Faithful Shepherdess'' of Fletcher; and though one of beautiful of Milton's compositions.-NEWTON.

Milton seems in this poem to have imitated Shakspes other of his works; and it was very natural for a you the stage, to propose to himself for a pattern the most ce matic poetry.— Tayer.

Milton has here more professedly imitated the manner i than in any other of his works; and his poem is much th beauty, variety, and novelty of his images, but for a brig and delicacy of expression very superior to his natural ma

If this Mask had been revised by Milton, when his ea formed, it had been the most exquisite of all his poems. in it, and many inaccuracies of expression and versifica poems are of 1645 and 1673, In 1645, he was, as he w 1673, he would condemn himself for having written such a great Lord and a sort of viceroy, -Hurd.

The greatest of Milton's juvenile performances is the " very plainly be discovered the dawn or twilight of “Para have formed very early that system of diction, and mo judgment approved, and from which he never endeavouret does “Comus ” afford only a specimen of his language; i description and fiis vigour of sentiment, employed in the p work more truly poetical is rarely found; allusions, i embellish almost every period with lavish decoration : as a be considered as worthy of all the admiration with which a drama it is deficient. The action is not probable. A natural intervention is admitted, must indeed be given up but, so far as the action is merely human, it ought to be said of the conduct of the two Brothers; who, when the pathless wilderness, wander both away together in search way back, and leave a helpless lady to all the sadness and ever, is a defect overbalanced by its convenience. What that the prologue spoken in the wild wood by the Attenaudience; a mode of communication so contrary to the n that no precedents can support it. The discourse of the that may be made to almost all the following speeches : t a dialogue animated by reciprocal contention, but seem composed, and formally repeated, on a moral question : th lecture, without passion, without anxiety. The song of but, what may recommend Milton's morals as well as pleasure are so general, that they excite no distinct image no dangerous hold on the fancy. The following soliloqu

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