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15. 45. in spight of sorrow = out of a spirit of spite towards sorrow, and so = to spite sorrow.
47. The eglantine and sweet-brier are said to be one and the same. See Warton's and Mr. Keightley's notes. Etymologically “eglantine,” of the same root with French aiguille, denotes something prickly. Spenser, in Faerie Queene, II. v. 29, describes an “arber,"
“ Through which the fragrant eglantine did spred
His prickling arms, entrayled with roses red,
Which daintie odours round about them threw.” Eglantine" is distinguished from woodbine honeysuckle” by Oberon in Midsummer Night's Dream, II. i. 251. Perhaps by the epithet twisted Milton means to express some special species of sweet-brier. Else, he is inaccurate here too. His master, Spenser, is frequently careless and inexact in the details of his descriptions of nature : incompatible trees and flowers appear together. See Faerie Queene, I. i. 9; Prothalam. 130.
49. Comp. the picture of Chaunticlere in Chaucer's Nonne Prestes Tale, 16335.
54. Comp. Gray's Elegy, 17-20. The influence of Milton upon Gray's language is conspicuous in all that poet's writings.
55. hoar = rime-white.
“ Wherever fountain or fresh current flow'd
Against the eastern ray,” &c.
See Midsummer Night's Dream, fif. ii. 391.
the eastern gate. Comp. “Heaven's gate” in the song in Shakspere's Cymbeline, II. iii. 21. Gray borrows the phrase in his Descent of Odin.
62. liveries here has its modern sense. In older English it was not confined to clothes, but signified any dole or allowance made to dependents. Cotgrave defines La Livrée des Chanoines to be “their liverie or corrodie ; their stipend, exhibition, dailie allowance in victuals or money.
." The Boke of Curtasye speaks “of candel liueray” = a livery of candles. (Ed. Furnivall, v. 839.) In Bishop Percy's MS. Folio there occurs livere for wages, pay; liverye for allowance of food ; as Gay and Colebrande, 534-6:
“And euery day when the noone bell rang
To ffeitch the ladyes liuerye.'
dight. Il Pens. 159. It is derived from the A.-S. verb dihtan, to dispose, arrange. It is common enough in our older writers, in Chaucer, Spenser, &c. See Faerie Queene, I. iv. 6:
“ Thence to the hall, which was on every side
With rich array and costly arras dight."
In II. i. 18 a steed is spoken of,
“Whose sides with dapled circles weren dight." See Warton's quotations from one of Milton's Prolusiones, and from Britannia's Pastorals, V. iv.
67. tells his tale = counts his flock. This is undoubtedly the meaning, although it may be, as Mr. Keightley says, that the phrase occurs nowhere else in older English in this sense. Milton is, perhaps, more than any other poet fresh and original in his phraseologyTell occurs frequently in the sense of "to count.” This is one of the senses of the A.-S. tellan, Cotgrave in his French Dict. writes “compter, to count, account, reckon, tell, number.' See Gen. xv. 5; Ps. xxii. 17, xlviii. 12. Tale occurs often in the sense of that which is told or counted, a number: A.-S. tal, Germ. Zahl. See Exod. v. 8 and 18; I Sam. xviii. 27; 1 Chron. ix. 28. The Bible Word-Book quotes from Udal's Erasmus, Luke, fol.
“He hath even the verai heares of your heades noumbred out by tale.” Dryden writes :
“ Both number twice a day the milky dams,
And once she takes the tale of all the lambs."
Robert of Gloucester speaks of "folc without tale.” It has been suggested that tells his tale tells the story of, avows his love. But (1) this would be a somewhat abrupt use of the word tale. (2) The every shows that some piece of business is meant. (3) The context too shows that. (4) The early dawn is scarcely the time for love-making. Some of these objections, but not all, are obviated by taking tale in a general sense. See Mr. Keightley's note, who refers to Nat. 85, Virg. Ecl. vii. 1. For the hawthorn, see 3 Hen. VI. II. v. 42:
“Gives not the hawthorne bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds looking on their silly sheep,” &c.
Warton quotes appositely from W. Browne's Shepheard's Pipe, when the dawn is being described :
“ When the shepheards from the fold
All their bleating charges told,
15. 69. Streit = straightway, as in Hamlet, V. i. 2.
70. lantskip. This is nearer to the A.-S. form (landscipe) than our present orthography. The scipe or skipe is of the same root as the A.-S. scapan, our shape. A landscape is simply a land-shape, the c not having been softened away into h, as so frequently happens in our modern English forms as compared with the original ones.
The A.-S. word for a poet is scop = a shaper.
77. It would seem that he here puts together two different autumnal appearances of the pasturages, the morning appearance (comp. hoar hill, in l. 55) and one belonging to a later time of the day, when the grey of the rime has vanished and the dun colour of the ground is visible ; dr perhaps he may refer to different pasturages, one rime-covered, the other showing its natural brown, the difference in colour being due to their different positions, one exposed, the other sheltered. On lawns, see Hymn Nat. 85. Fallow is not used here in its radical sense. It denotes here, as elsewhere, land which has long lain unploughed and is grass-overgrown. 72. stray, as errare, in Virg. Ed. i. 9.
Il Pens. 5o; Ilymn Nat. 33 ; Com. 120. This word occurs commonly in Shakspere and elsewhere as a substantive, as an adjective, as a verb.
daisies pide. See Song in Love's Labour Lost, V. ii. 903. Shylock speaks of "all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied” (Merchant of Venice, I. iii. 82). Shelley's Adonais,
"Faded violets, white, and pied, and blue." The root survives in "mag pie," " piebald.”
76. Runlets abound at and near Horton. For rivers, there are the Thames and the Coln, which about a mile from the village pours itself into the Thames.
77. Is he thinking of Harefield Place, the residence of the Dowager Countess of Derby (a cousin of Spenser the poet), in whose honour his Arcades were written? or, rather, of what is the
great commanding feature of the landscape around Horton-of Windsor Castle?
15. 78. [What is the exact meaning of boosom'd here, and of tufted?See Paradise Lost, v. 127, and Com. 225.
79. lies = dwells, as very commonly in Old English. See 1 Henry VI. II. ï. 41 ; Othello, III. iv.
&c. 16. 8o. cynosure. See Class. Dict. Ovid, Fast. iii. 107.
Com. 341 : “ And thou shalt be our star of Arcady,
Or Tyrian Cynosure."
Comp. “lode-star" in Midsummer Night's Dream, I. i. 183.
81. hard by. “The idea is from hard substances being usually compact, close is texture." (Bible Word-Book.) Compare close by, fast by.
85. messes. See Gen. xliii. 34; 2 Saix. xi. 8. Comp. Virg. Ecl. ii. 10.
86. neat-handed. “He uses neat-fingered of a cook in Animadversions.” (Mr. Keightley.)
87. bowre. See note, Prothal. 15.
90. This line may be connected immediately with lead, in which case must be under. stood "She goes there,” or something of that sort; or, better, it may be loosely connected with her bowre she leaves, which phrase conveys the notion of going: i.e. her bowre she leaves is used zeugmatically.
91. [What are the derivation, the first meaning, the classical use, of secure ?]
92. upland hamlets, opp. to towred cities, v. 117. Upland = country as opp. to town. Strictly it means “highland,” Germ. oberland, and derives that other force from the fact that large towns belong to the plains. A third meaning naturally is rude, illiterate, unrefined, savage. See Trevisa's Higden's Polych. apud Mr. Morris's Spec. Early Eng. : “Uplondysche men wol lykne hamsylf to gentile man,” &c. Gray in his Elegy seems to use the word loosely for “on the higher ground.” Perhaps he took it from Milton without quite understanding in what sense Milton used it. So Johnson says, that it means here “higher in situation." So Mr. Keightley, &c.
“Hugh Rebeck” is one of the musicians in Romeo and Juliet, IV. v. 135an instrument of music having catgut strings, and played with a bow; but originally with only two strings, then with three, till it was exalted into the more perfect violin with four strings." (Nares.) See Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time.
96. Comp. Titus Andronicus, II. ïïi. 15.
100. the spicy nut-brown ale=Shakspere's "gossips' bowl” (Midsummer Night's Dream, II. i. 47), says Warton. This beverage consisted of “ale, nutmeg, sugar, toast, and roasted crabs or apples; it was called Lamb's Wool. In Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess it is styled 'the spiced wassail-bowl.””
to the, &c. Comp. v. 90. 102. fairy Mab. See Mercutio's description of her in Romeo and Juliet, I. iv. 54. See also Keightley's Fairy Mythology.
junkets, also written juncates, = sweetmeats, dainties. Cotgrave, in his definition of dragée, speaks of “jonkets, comfits, or sweetmeats, served in the last course for stomach closers." Then = any delicacy. See Taming of the Shrew, III. ii. 250. Faerie Queene,
V. iv. 49:
“And beare with you both wine and juncates fit,
And bid him eate.”
Comp. Ital. giuncata cream-cheese. Then
= a feast, a merrymaking. So the verb "Job's children,” says South, apud Johnson, "junketed and feasted together often," &c. : and “the Apostle would have no revelling or junketing.” In Devonshire and Cornwall junkets is still in use, for curds and clouted cream.
16. 103. See Merry Wives of Windsor, V. v. 95:
As you trip, still pinch him to your time.”
According to the old ballad of Robin Goodfellou', servant-maids were only so pinched if they deserved it :
“When house or hearth doth sluttish lie,
I pinch the maids both black and blue,
Pull off, and lay them nak'd to view."
See also Butler's Hudibras, III. 1413 ; and especially Ben Jonson's Entertaynment at Althorpe :
“When about the cream-bowles sweete," &c.
On the other hand, clean and tidy servants were rewarded. See Dryden's Fables, The Wife of Bath, her tale :
“ The dairy maid expects no fairy guest
On which Bell quotes from Bishop Corbett's ballad, The Faerye's Farewell:
“ And though they sweepe theyr hearths no less
Than mayds were wont to doe,
Finds sixpence in her shoe?
Compare particularly in Midsummer Night's Dream, II. i., the conversation between Fairy and Puck,
104. Two stories seem here run into one as regards the grammar: (1) the story of how Will o'the Wisp misled the swain ; (2) the story of the servant spirit. Otherwise, if led is to be taken as a predicate, there is no subject to tells. But the confusion of the two stories is so awkward, that it is perhaps better to take led so. Milton might use “tells” for “he tells,”— that is, might regard the pronoun as superfluous, as indeed it etymologically is (for the final s is the sign of the third person in the present tense), and in Latin and Greek is practically. In Par. Reg. i. 85 he uses am for I am. So dost is used for dost thou; so hast, didst, &c. The 1645 Edition reads:
“And by the Friar's lantern led.” friars lanthorn. According to Mr. Keightley, Milton is guilty here of confounding two very different beings, viz. Friar Rush and Jack o' the Lanthorn. probably the name Rush, which suggested rushlight, which caused Milton's error. Scott, in a note on Marmion, makes a like blunder: “Friar Rush, alias Will o' the Wisp." Friar Rush “haunted houses, not fields.” “He is the Brüder Rausch of Germany, the Broder Ruus of Denmark.” For Jack o' the Lanthorn (the Scotch Spunkie) see Comus, 432 ; Paradise Lost, ix. 634-42. This ignis fatuus was also called Meg with the Wad. 105. Comp. Butler's Hudibras, III. i. 1407 :
“ Thou art some paltry blackguard spright
Condemn'd to drudgery in the night," &c. Burton's Anat. Mel. I. ii. 1,
subsect. 1: “A bigger kind there is of them (“terrestrial devils"), called with us hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows, that would in those superstitious
" It was
times grind corn for a mess of milk, cut wood, or do any kind of drudgery work,” &c. &c. Comp. Scotch “ brownie.” See Reginald Scott's Discoverie of Witchcrafte, IV. ch. 10; Warner's Albion's England, ch. 91. 16. 105. [Swet. Explain this form of the pret.)
107. ere. See note, Hymn Nat. 86.
108. hath. The old Southern inflection survived in this word after it had for the most part disappeared from the written language. Milton does not use the form has.
In Grim, the Collier of Croydon, Robin Goodfellow “enters with a flail.”
lubbar. See Fairy Myth. The fairy in Midsummer Night's Dream addresses Puck as “Thou lob of spirits,” II. i. 16. In Fletcher's Knight of the Burning Pestle, III. i. : “There is a pretty tale of a witch that had a giant to be her son, that was called Lob Lie-bythe-fire." (Comp. “stretch'd out all the chimney's length.") Connect with it loby, looby, lubbard, lubberkin, lob-cock, lob-coat.
111. chimney fire-place. Comp. chimney-piece. So Shakspere, Cymbeline, II. iv. 80: “The chimney is south the chamber.” The word comes to us through the French, from the Latin caminus. In the Turke and Gowin (Bishop Percy's MS. Fol. i. 98) it is used for a grate, a sort of huge brazier :
“ Then there stood amongst them all
With barres mickle of pride ;
That upon it did abide."
113. crop-full. Specially, crop is the craw or first stomach of fowls.
I. ii. 379.
116. [In what grammatical relation does this verse stand to creep?]
117. Milton himself showed this variety of taste. His residence at the “ upland hamlet" of Horton was diversified by visits to the “ towered city” of London.
then (not when the tales are over and the tellers in bed, but) = at some other time. He is not describing one long day, but the pleasures which one day or another might entertain L'Allegro.
120. weeds. This word was not confined to a widow's dress in the seventeenth century. See Shakspere, passim. The phrase "weeds of peace occurs in Troilus and Cressida,
III. iii. 239.
triumphs ="public shows or exhibitions, such as masques, pageants, processions. Lord Bacon, describing the parts of a palace, says of the different sides : “The one for feasts and triumphs, and the other for dwelling.'” (Nares.) See Bacon's Essay on Masques and Triumphs. Sams. Agon. 1312.
121. store. See Prothal. 1. 33.
122. influence. See note, Hymn Nat. 71. 17. 123. Probably the poet is here drawing from what he had read rather than from anything he had seen or heard. What the Tournaments were for “arms "in the old Romance days, that were the Parliaments of Love for “wit."
125. As a specimen of the marriage gaieties here referred to, see Ben Jonson's Hymenai, or the Solemnities of Masque and Barriers at a Marriage. See also the last scene of As You Like It.
126. See Jonson's Hymen. : "Entered Hymen... in a saffron-coloured robe, his under