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poems upon the pleasant assumption of their having “just come out,” and expressed his astonishment at “Mr. Milton's amatory notions" (I quote from memory), takes cccasion, from the obscu. rity of this word, to observe, that the “phenomenon of a tripping crank” would be very curious, and “doubtless attract nu. merous spectators.” He also, in reference to passages a little further on, wonders how “Mirth can be requested to come and go at the same instant;" and protests at the confident immortal. ity of the "young gentleman who takes himself for a poet," in proposing to live with Mirth and Liberty both together.

To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free.

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How delightful is wit, when bantering in behalf of excellence !

3 « Through the sweet-briar,” &c.— Sweet-briar and eglantine," says

Warton, are the same plant: by the twisted eglantine he therefore means the honey-suckle: all three are plants often growing against the side or walls of a house.

This is true; yet the deduction is hardly certain. The same name sometimes means different flowers, in different counties; as may be from passages in Shakspeare. Eglantine, however, is the French word for the flower of the sweet-briar (eglantier); and hence it came to mean, in English, the briar itself. Perhaps, if Milton had been asked why he used it in this place, he would have made Johnson's noble answer to the lady, when she inquir. ed why he defined pastern, in his Dictionary, to be a horse's knee ;-" Ignorance, madam, ignorance.” Poets are often fonder of flowers than learned in their names; and Milton, like his illustrious brethren, Chaucer and Spenser, was born within the sound of Bow bell.

4 And every shepherd tells his tale.—It used to be thought, till Mr. Headley informed Warton otherwise, telling his tale meant telling a love-tale, or story. The correction of this fancy is now admitted ; namely, that tale is a technical word for numbering sheep, and is so used by several poets,-Dryden for one. Warton, like a proper Arcadian, was loth to give up the fancy ; but he afterwards found the new interpretation to be much the better one. Every shepherd telling his story or love-tale, under a hawthorn, at one and the same instant, all over a district, would resemble indeed those pastoral groups upon bed-curtains, in which, and in no other place, such marvels are to be met with. Yet, in common perhaps with most young readers, I remember the time when I believed it, and was as sorry as Warton to be undeceived.

5 « The Cynosure of neighboring eye.Cynosure (dog's-tail) for load-star, must have been a term a little hazardous, as well as over-learned, when it first appeared; though Milton, thinking of the nymph who was changed into the star so called (since known as Ursa minor), was probably of opinion, that it gave his image a peculiar fitness and beauty. That enjoying and truly poetical commentator, Thomas Warton, quotes a passage from Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, that may have been in Milton's recollection :

Yond palace, whose pale turret tops
Over the stately wood survey the copse ;

and then he indulges in pleasing memories of the old style of building, and in regrets for the new, which was less picturesque and less given to concealment. “ This was the great mansion. house,” says he, “ in Milton's early days. With respect to their rural residences, there was a coyness in our Gothic ancestors. Modern seats are seldom so deeply ambushed.” Warton would have been pleased at the present revival of the old taste, which indeed is far superior to the bald and barrack-like insipi. dities of his day, though as to the leafy accessories, I am afraid the poetic pleasure of living “embosom’d” in trees is not thought the most conducive to health.

6“ Rain influence."-Da begli occhi un piacer si caldo piove.
Such fervent pleasure rains from her sweet eyes.

Petrarch, Son. cxxxi

7Jonson's learned sock.”—“ Milton has more frequently and openly copied the plays of Beaumont and Fletcher than of Shakspeare. One is therefore surprised, that in his panegyric on the stage he did not mention the twin-bards, when he celebrated the learned sock of Jonson, and the wood-notes wild of Shakspeare. But he concealed his love.”—WARTON.

Perhaps he was afraid of avowing it, on account of the licence of their muse.

IL PENSEROSO.

Hence, vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly without Father bred !
How little you bested,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the sunbeams ;8
Or likeliest hovering dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.

But hail, thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Hail, divinest Melancholy!
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore, to our weaker view,
O’erlaid with black, staid wisdom's hue ;
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,9
Or that starr’d Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended :
Yet thou art higher far descended :
Thee bright-haired Vesta, long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore:
His daughter she; in Saturn's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain:
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove.
Come, pensive nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,

And sable stole of Cypress lawn
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step and musing gait,
And looks commèrcing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes;
There held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till,
With a sad leaden downward cast,
Thou fix them on the earth as fast,-
And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring
Aye round about Jove's altar sing:
And add to these retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure :
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The cherub Contemplation ;10
And the mute Silence hist along,
Less Philɔmel will deign a song,
In her sweetest saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night,
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke
Gently o’er the accustom’d oak,
Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy! 11
Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among
I woo to hear thy even-song :
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that hath been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft, on a plot of rising ground.
I hear the far-off curfew sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar:
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through the room13
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom ;

13

Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the bellman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high lonely tower, 14
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold
The immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook :
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptred pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine ;
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
But O, sad virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musæus from his bower?
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what love did seek .
Or call up him that left half told 15
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass ;
And of the wondrous horse of brass,
On which the Tartar king did ride:
And if aught else great bards beside
In
sage

and solemn tunes have sung,
Of turneys and of trophies hung,
Of forests and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited morn appear ;
Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kercheft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,

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