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7. Eagrian maidens. The sisters of Orpheus. Their father was Eagrus, king of Thrace. — Bistonian nymphs. Nymphs of Lake Bistonis, in Thrace, near the home of Orpheus.
8. Dorian Orpheus. So called because of his Doric minstrelsy. John Gay (1688–1732) is sometimes referred to as the “Orpheus of Highwaymen,” from his authorship of The Beggar's Opera. The Irish poet and musician, Furlough O'Carolan (1670–1738), is called the “Orpheus of the Green Isle.” See also note 28, on Lycidas.
9. a refrain of oblivion. That is, a song of forgetfulness. See Theocritus, Id. i.: “Thou canst in no wise carry thy song with thee to Hades, that puts all things out of mind.” Also Iliad, ii. 600: “They took from him the high gift of song, and made him forget his harping."
10. mountains. See Lycidas, 161, and note on the same. Compare with Gray's The Bard:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topped head.” 11. Priapi. See note 9, page 16. — Panes. “ Like many other gods who were originally single, Pan was multiplied in course of time, and we meet with Pans in the plural.” — Keightley. — fountain fairies made moan. Compare with Spenser :
“The water nymphs, that wont with her to sing and daunce,
The Shepheards Calender, November. 12. their tears turned to rivers of waters. See note i, above. Also see Bion's Lament for Adonis, line 13, page 22.
'The flouds doe gaspe, for dryed is their sourse,
Spenser, Shepheards Calender, November. 13. all the flowers have faded. See note 16, page 34.
14. dolphin. Dolphins were lovers of music. When Arion, having won the prize in a musical contest in Sicily, was returning on ship-board to Greece, the sailors plotted to murder him in order to secure his treasures. Learning of their designs, he placed himself in the prow of the ship, and began to play on the cithera. Many song-loving dolphins came about the vessel, and the musician, invoking the gods, threw himself into the sea in their midst. Then one of them took the bard on his back, and carried him in safety to Tænarus. See Lycidas, 164.
15. halcyon. Alcyone was the daughter of Æolus, and the wife of Ceyx. Her husband having perished in a shipwreck, she threw herself
into the sea, and the gods in compassion changed the two into birds called halcyons (kingfishers).
16. birds of Memnon. Memnon, the son of the Morning (Aurora), was slain by Achilles at Troy, and his mother besought Zeus that his memory should have more than mortal honors. Therefore from his funeral pyre two flocks of birds arose, which, after circling about the flames for a little while, began to fight among themselves; and this strange contest continued until the greater number of them perished in the fire. Every year thereafter these birds, called Memnonides, returned to the tomb of Memnon, and renewed the fight. 17. on the boughs. Compare with Spenser, Shepheards Calender :
The turtle on the bared braunch
Laments the wound that Death did launch." 18. but the second prize. See introductory paragraph, page 8. 19. Galatea.
See Theocritus, Idyl xi., “The Cyclops in Love." Galatea was a sea-nymph. For Cyclops, see Odyssey, ix.
20. See The Lament for Adonis, page 22, line 7.
21. Meles. A river flowing near Smyrna, and past Phlossa, the birthplace of Bion. Homer also was said by some to have been reared on the banks of the same river. Calliope was the Muse of epic poetry; hence the expression, “ that sweet mouth of Calliope."
22. Pegasean fount. Hippocrene, the “Fountain of the Horse,” a fountain in Mount Helicon in Boeotia, sacred to the Muses:
Oh for a beaker full of the warm South,
Keats, Ode to a Nightingale. draught of Arethusa. The fountain Arethusa, in Sicily. See note 4, above. “The one sang in Greece, the other in Sicily."
23. fair daughter of Tyndarus. Helen. — son of Thetis. Achilles. Homer sang of love and war, but Bion of pastoral life.
24. Ascra, in Boeotia, the birthplace of Hesiod. Pindar was born in the territory of Thebes, either at Thebes or Cynocephalæ. Alcæus was a native of Lesbos; Anacreon, of Teos, an Ionian city in Asia Minor; Archilochus, of Paros; and Sappho, of Mytilene.
25. Theocritus. Some have supposed from this passage that Theocritus was still alive, and lamented the death of Bion.
26. Ausonian sorrow. That part of the Mediterranean adjoining Sicily was called the Ausonian Sea, from Auson, the son of Odysseus. Hence Moschus, the Sicilian, calls his sorrow Ausonian or Sicilian.
27. to me thy minstrelsy. It is from this stanza that we are led to infer that Moschus was the pupil of Bion.
28. unawakening sleep :
“Whence is it that the flowret of the field doth fade,
And lyeth buried long in Winters bale ?
Spenser, Shepheards Calender, November,
“For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that the tender branch thereof will not die. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground, yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away. ... Man lieth down, and riseth not; till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep." — Job xiv. 7-12.
29. poison. This is all that we know about the manner of Bion's death. Compare with Adonais, xxxvi. 30. no music in his soul. See Merchant of Venice, Act v., Sc. I:
“ The man that hath no music in himself,” etc. 31. like Orpheus to Tartarus. Orpheus descended into Hades (not Tartarus) that he might restore to life his wife Eurydice. See Virgil's Georgics, iv. See also Pope's Ode on St. Cecilia's Day. Odysseus visited “the dwelling of Hades and of dread Persephone to seek the spirit of Theban Teiresias, the blind soothsayer, whose wits abide steadfast.” See Odyssey, x. 488. Alcides (Herakles) visited the under-world in the performance of a task assigned to him by Eurystheus, namely, “to bring from Erebus the loathed hound, Cerberus.” See Iliad, viii. 367.
32. the Maiden. Persephone, the daughter of Demeter. While gathering flowers on the Nysian plain, near Etna, in Sicily, she was seized by Aidoneus (Pluteus), and borne in his chariot to his gloomy halls in the under-world, there to become his queen. 33
" He sung, and hell consented
To hear the poet's prayer;
Pope, Ode on St. Cecilia's Day. “And now retracing his way,
he had overpassed all dangers; and Eurydice was just approaching the regions above, following him; for Proserpina had given him that law. ... He stopped, and unmindful and not master of himself, looked back on his Eurydice." — Virgil, Georgics, iv.
DEATH OF SIR PHILIP SIDNEY
By Edmund Spenser
A PASTORALL ÆGLOGUE
By L. B.
WRITTEN ABOUT 1587
Sir Philip Sidney having gone over into the Low-Countries to aid his Uncle, Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in defending the united Provinces against the Spanish cruelties, he was given command of the cautionary Town of Flushing; a Trust which he so faithfully discharged that he turned the Envy of the Dutch Townsmen into Affection and Admiration. Not long after some service was to be performed nigh Zutphen in Gelderland, where the English through false intelligence were mistaken in the strength of the Enemy. Sir Philip is imployed next to the Chief in that Expedition ; which he so discharged that it is questionable whether his Wisdom, Industry, or Valour may challenge to it self the greatest praise of the Action. And now as the triumphant Laurel was ready to be wreathed about his brows, the English so near the Victory that they touched it, ready to lay hold upon it, an unlucky Bullet shot him thorow the thigh, so that the pain thereof put him into a Feaver and blasted the expectations of Christendom in his sudden and unexpected death. So general was the lamentation at his Funerals, that a face thereat might sooner be found without Eyes than without Tears. It was accounted a sin for any Gentleman of Quality, for many months after, to appear at Court or City in any light or gaudy Apparel; and, though a private Subject, such solemnities were preformed at his Interment for the quality and multitude of Mourners, that few Princes in Christendom have exceeded, if any excelled, the sad Magnificence thereof. ... Nor indeed were the Muses dumb at this time of universall Sorrow; but many Poets essayed to render in Verse due homage to his Memory. Edmund Spenser, who afterwards did indite The Faerie Queene, collected six of these Poems into a volume, himself writing for it the following introductory Elegie.