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10. \Vho would not sing for Lycidas ?This is after Virgil in his Tenth Eclogue :

“ Pauca meo Gallo, sed quæ legat ipsa Lycoris,
Carmina sunt dicenda : neget quis carmina Gallo ?”

" he kn.w
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
To "build the lofty rhyme" (so spelt here, and not rime) has its
original, as Newton pointed out, either in Horace's “ seu condis
amabile carmen(Epist. 1. iii. 24), or, as Hurd pointed out, in the still
bolder phrase of Euripides, àoida's énúpywae (Supplices, 998). For the
nature and amount of King's claims to the poetical character, see Introd.
II. pp. 262—264.

13. "Unwept, and welter to the parching wind." The second nonrhyming line in the poem. 14.

melodious tear." This use of tear for " lamentation 'elegy” was not uncommon, even in titles to poems : thus Spenser's Teares of the Muses.” In Milton's Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester (line 55) we have "tears of perfect moan." Curiously enough, Milton's college-fellow Cleveland, afterwards known as a satirist, says, in that poem of his on King's death which was bound up in the same volume with Lycidas (see Introd. 266), I like not tears in tune.—Observe that in the opening paragraph of the poem, which the word tear ends, the sound of that word is the dominant rhyme. It possesses six lines out of the fourteen.

15. Begin, then, Sisters of the sacred well." The third non-rhyming line in the poem.

15, 16. “ the sacred well that from beneath the seat of Fove doth spring: i.e. the Pierian Spring at the foot of Mount Olympus in Thessaly, the great Homeric seat of the Gods. This was the original birth-place and abode of the Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne; though afterwards their worship was transferred to Mount Helicon in Boeotia, with its fountains Aganippe and Hippocrene. 19-22. So may some gentle Muse

IVith lucky words favour my destined urni," &c. I have ventured to italicise the word my in this passage, to bring out fully the meaning. It is “ Let me, with whatever reluctance, write this memorial poem now, if I would hope that, when I am dead, some one may write with kindly interest of me.” The word “ Muse” stands for "poet"; hence the "he" following.

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud !The fourth unrhyming line in the poem. I


with Todd and some other editors in making this line end the second paragraph of the poem, although in Milton's own editions the paragraph includes the two subsequent lines,


ending at “rill.The reason may have been a wish to end the paragraph with a rhyme; but this appears insufficient, in face of the logical objection. 23--36.

For we were nursed upon the self-same hill,

Fed the same flock,&c. Here the language of the pastoral is used, as was the rule in all such poems, to veil and at the same time express real facts. Milton and King had been fellow-students at Christ's College, Cambridge, visiting each other's rooms, taking walks together, performing academic exercises in common, exchanging literary confidences; all which, translated into the language of the pastoral, makes them fellow-shepherds, who had driven their flock a-field together in the morning, and fed it all day by the same shades and rills, not without mutual ditties on their oaten flutes, when sometimes other shepherds, or even Fauns and Satyrs, would be listening.

26. Under the opening eyelids of the Morn." This noble phrase, found also in other poets (Sylvester and Middleton, for example), was possible, one would think, as a flash of derivative invention from the more general expression, “the eye of day” (Pens. 141, and Com. 978). Todd, however, found an original for it in a marginal reading in the Authorized Version of the Bible. In Job iii. 9, where the afflicted patriarch is cursing the day of his birth, saying " Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark ; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day," the alternative reading for "dawning of the day,” offered in the margin as more true to the Hebrew, is the eyelids of the morning." The “high Jawns" appearing “under the opening eyelids of the morn,” is, however, a picture apart, and it is Milton's own. 28. “ What time the grey-fly." The grey-fly is called also “the


29. Battening: i.e. feeding. The verb, like feed itself, is both active and neuter. 34-36. “Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel

From the glad sound would not be absent long;

And old Damætas loved to hear our song." The “Satyrs” and Faunsmay be the miscellaneous Cambridge undergraduates; and “old Damætas” may be some fellow or tutor of Christ's College, if not Dr. Bainbrigge, the master. William Chappell, who had been both King's and Milton's tutor there, was now Provost of Trinity College, Dublin ; but Joseph Meade, the Apocalyptic Commentator, who must have been well known to them both, was still a fellow of the college, and one of the noted characters of Cambridge. The pastoral name Damætas, taken from the Sixth Idyll of Theocritus and the Third Eclogue of Virgil, has a sound of “ Meade" in it. Such

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minute personal identification is, of course, now as futile as it is unnecessary ; but, while Milton wrote, a vision of some particular person at Cambridge did certainly pass across his mind.

39. “ Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods and desert cares." The fifth non-rhyming line in the poem.

40. “gadding: straggling, restless.

45. “ As killing as the canker to the rose." Warton and Todd have noted Shakespeare's fondness for this simile.

46. "taint-form to the weanling herds." According to Sir Thomas Browne in his Vulgar Errors (Book iii. c. 27), the name taintor tainctwas given, in certain parts of England, not to a worm, but to a very minute kind of red spider, which appeared in summer, and which was supposed to be deadly to cattle when they licked it. Browne himself had experimented on dogs, calves, and horses with this tainct,and found it perfectly innocent.—“weanling” is “newly-weaned.”

47. wardrobe": spelt“ wardrop” in the First and Second Editions, and “ wardrope" in the Cambridge MS. This last is the spelling of the word in the only other case of its occurrence in Milton's poetry : At a l'ac. Ex. 18. See note there. In the present passage the word is used not for the closet or cabinet containing the apparel, which is the etymological sense (ward-robe), but for the apparel itself.

49. “Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's car." Todd quotes Mids. N. Dream, I. I:

“ More tunable than lark to shepherd's ear," and ought to have quoted the next line to complete the parallelism :

" When wheat is green, when hawthorn buds appear." 50-55. Il’here were ve, Nymphs,” &c. This


is an express imitation of Theocritus, Idyll 1. 66-69:

Πα ποκάρ ησθ' όκα Δάφνις ετέκετο; πα ποκα, νύμφαι ;
*Η κατα Πηνειώ καλά τέμπεα, ή κατά Πίνδω ;
Οι γαρ δή ποταμοΐο μέγαν ρόον είχετ' Ανάπω,

Ουδ' 'Αιτνας σκοπιάν, ουδ' 'Ακιδος ιερόν ύδωρ.
Virgil's imitation of the same (Ed. x. 9--12) was, of course, also, in
Milton's mind :-

Quæ nemora, aut qui vos saltus habuere, puellæ
Naides, indigno quum Gallus amore periret ?
Nam neque Parnassi vobis juga, nam neque Pindi

Ulla moram fecere, neque Aonie Aganipie."
But Milton's imitation of Theocritus, as Mr. Keightley remarks, excels
Virgil's, inasmuch as, in thinking of the places where the Muses might
have been lingering when Lycidas was drowned, he selects those that

were near the scene of the disaster. The steep where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,” may be any of the Welsh mountains : Mr. Keightley suggests Penmaenmawr, in Carnarvonshire, opposite Anglesey; but Warton rather thinks Milton remembered Camden's mention of the sepultures of the Druids at Kerig-y-Druidion among the mountains of South Denbighshire.-" the shaggy top of Mona" is the high interior of. Anglesey, the island fastness of the Druids, once thick with woods. Deva” is the Dee, the ancient boundary between England and Wales : many Arthurian legends and other superstitions belonged to it (see Faery Queene, I. ix. 4, 5), and hence it was called often “ the holy Dee," or, as here, the “wizard stream.Chester, from which King sailed on his fatal voyage to Ireland, is on the Dee, at some distance from its mouth, and was the chief port in that part of the West of England efore the rise of Liverpool.

51. Closed o’er the head of your loved Lycidas.The sixth noniyming line in the poem. 58–63. “ IVhat could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore . . . for her chanting son when . . . his gory visage,&c. The reference to the fate of Orpheus (see note, L'Allegro, 145). This great poet d musician was the son of the Muse Calliope ; and yet, according to e legends, his was a tragic death. His continued grief for his wife trydice, after he had failed to recover her from the underworld, so ended the Thracian women that they fell upon him in one of their cchanalian orgies, and tore him to pieces. The fragments of his dy were collected by the Muses and buried with all honour at the bt of Mount Olympus; but his head, having been thrown into the vracian river Hebrus, was rolled down to the sea, and so carried to e island of Lesbos, where it was separately interred. The legend curs strikingly in Par. Lost, VII. 32–39.-In the First edition the ord was spelt Letbian ; it is corrected in the Second.

uncessant.I have restored this reading from Milton's own text the First and Second editions. Modern editions have incessant. 55.To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade: i.e., according to e established metaphor of pastoralists, " to practise poetry.” Todd .otes from Spenser (Sh. Cal. June), “ And holden scorne of homely epheard's quill." 66. " meditate ... the Muse.” From Virgil, Ed. 1. 2. 67–69. Iere it not better done, as others use, to sport with maryllis ... or with the tangles of Neæra's hair ?: i.e.“Would it not : better to do like others, and lead a life of luxurious leisure, amuseent, and frivolous love-making ?" Amaryllis and Neæra are names : imaginary shepherdesses in the Greek and Latin pastorals. Warton, ià note appended to Milton's Latin Elegies, has a curious reference VOL. III.



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to this passage. He traces in it an oblique censure” of Buchanan, who has Latin poems addressed both to an Amaryllis and to a Neæra, and makes much of the latter lady's beautiful ringlets. Milton, Warton thinks, meant to say “Instead of cultivating serious and high poetry, would it not be better to do as others have done (Buchanan, for example), and write mere Anacreontic verses?” This is too ingenious, and, in fact, absurd. Milton respected Buchanan, and had no thought of censuring him; and, besides, it so happens that the “Amaryllis” of one of Buchanan's poems is a personification of the city of Paris (see his poem Desiderium Lutetiæ). 70.

clear; here in the sense of the Latin clarus. 71. (" That last infirmity of noble mind"). The sentiment of this celebrated, but generally misquoted, line is found, frequently enough, in writers before Milton; but perhaps the nearest approach in expression is a sentence which Todd quotes from Milton's good friend and adviser, Sir Henry Wotton. “I will not deny his appetite for glory, which

generous minds do ever latest part from," Sir Henry had said of James I. in a Panegyrick addressed to Charles.

75. "the blind Fury with the abhorred shears." In strict Mythology the Furies or Erinnyes were distinct beings from the Fates, and Atropós was one of the Fates. While her sister Clotho turned the spindle, and her sister Lachesis pointed to the horoscope of the person whose lifethread was being spun, Atropos stood with her shears, ready to cut the thread at the destined instant. 76, 77,

466 But not the praise,' Phæbus replied, and touched my trembling ears." Commentators, after Peck, refer here to Virgil's expression (Ed. vi. 3-5:

“ Cum canerem reges et prælia, Cynthius aurem

Vellit, et admonuit : Pastorem, Tityre, pingues

Pascere oportet oves, deductum dicere carmen.' There is certainly the resemblance that in both passages Apollo speaks to the shepherd, and “ears ” are mentioned; and therefore Milton may have had the passage in mind. But Milton's "touched my trembling ears” is utterly different from Virgil's uurem vellit," and involves a subtle meaning, the very opposite in effect to that in Virgil's lines. To this day it is a popular humour that the tingling of a person's ears is a sign that somewhere people are talking of him and saying good or ill of him in his absence. The superstition was an old one in Milton's time. “When our cheek burneth or ear tingleth,” says Sir Thomas Browne, in his Vulgar Errors (v. 23), “we usually say that somebody

) is talking of us; which is an ancient conceit, and ranked among superstitious opinions by Pliny : “ Absentes tinnitu aurium præsentire

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