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Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savory dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;
And then in haste her bow'r she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound


ii. 10.


84. Are at their savory dinner says Skinner, à Rebacchando, ubi set

Re sensum auget, quia sc. hoc Of herbs, &c.]

instrumento in conviviis, comesMr. Thyer thinks with me that sationibus et symposiis uti solethis is an allusion to Virgil, Ecl. bant; and therefore Milton pro

perly bestows upon it the epithet Thestylis et rapido fessis messoribus jocund. He uses the word again

in his Areopagitica, p. 149. vol. i. Allia serpyllumque herbas contundit edit. 1738. “ The villagers also olentes,

" must have their visitors to enAnd though Phillis is the cook quire what lectures the bagpipe here, Thestylis is introduced soon " and the rebeck reads, &c." after.

94. Probably the same instru92. The upland hamlets] Up- ment which is called in Chaucer, land, in opposition to the hay- Lydgate, and the old French making scene in the lower lands. writers, the Rebible, the diminu. Thyer.

tive of Ribibe, used also by 93. When the merry bells ring Chaucer, originally, as Sir John round.] The first instance I re- Hawkins thinks, from Rebeb, member in our poetry of the cir- the name of a Moorish musical cumstance of a peal of bells, in- instrument with two strings troduced as descriptive of festi- played on by a bow. (See Tyr. vity, is in Morley's Madrigals. whitt's Chaucer, n. on v. 6959.] See England's Helicon, Signat. Q. Sir John adds, that the Moors 4. ed. 1614. T. Warton. brought it into Spain, whence it

94. And the jocund rebecks sound] passed into Italy, and obtained Rebeck is a three-stringed fiddle, the name of Ribeca. Hist. Mus. derived from the French rebec ii. 86. In the Percy Household or the Italian rebecca, and these, book, 1512, are recited “ Myn

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To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holy-day,
Till the live-long day-light fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat,


“ stralls in Household iij. viz. a Sive sub incertas Zephyris motanti.

bus umbras. Taberett, a Luyte, and a Re

Richardson. " becc.

It appears below Q. Elizabeth's reign, in the music 97. And young and old come establishment of the royal house- forth to play hold.

On a sunshine holy-day.] It appears from Sylvester's Du Thus also in the Mask, 959. Bartas, that the cymbal was fur- Back, shepherds, back, enough your nished with wires, and the Re

play, beck with strings of catgut, ed.

Till next sunshine fol. 1621. p. 231.

Holiday-sports are still much But wyerie cymbals, rebecke's sinewes encouraged in the counties to ,

which Milton was used. See twin'd.

note on Sams. Agon. 1418. T. In a barbarous Latin poet of the Warton. middle age, quoted by Du Cange, 100. Then to the spicy nutGloss. Lat. V. Bar:dosa, we have, brown ale.] See the old play of Quidam Rebeccam arcuabant. Henry V. In six Old Plays, &c. Where arcuabant shews that it Lond. 1779. p. 336. was played upon by a bow, arcus.

Yet we will have in store a crab i' th' The rebeck seems to have been

fire, almost a common name for å With nut-brown ale, that is full stale. fiddle. See Fletcher's Kn. Burn. This was Shakespeare's Pestle. Milton's Liberty of un- sip's bowl,” Mids. N. Dr. a. i. licensed Printing. Shakespeare, s. 1. The composition was ale, Rom. and Jul. a. iv. s. 4. and nutmeg, sugar, toast, and roasted Steevens's note. T. Warton. crabs or apples. It was called

96. Dancing in the chequer'd Lambs-wool. Our old dramas shade ;] Shakespeare's Titus An- have frequent allusions to this dronicus, act ii. sc. 4.

delectable beverage. In Fletcher's The green leaves quiver with the Faithfull Shepherdess it is styled cooling wind,

“ the spiced wassel boul.” T. And make a chequer'd shadow on the Warton. ground.

101. With stories, &c.] ShakeVirgil, Ecl. v. 5.

speare's Winter's Tale is supposed

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She was pinch'd, and pull'd she said,
And he by friars' lanthorn led


to be of “ sprites and goblins." Traynes forth midwives in their A. ii. s. 1. T. Warton.


And then leades them from their 103. She was pinch'd and pulld

burrowes, she said, &c.] He and she are

Home through ponds and water-fur. persons of the company assembled to spend the evening, after As Milton here copied Jonson, a country wake, at a rural junket. So Jonson copied Shakespeare, All this is a part of the pastoral Mids. N. Dr. a. ii. s. i. imagery which now prevailed in

Are you not he our poetry. Compare Drayton's

That frights the maidens of the vil. Nymphidia, vol. ii. p. 453.

lagery, &c.

It is remarkable, that the DeThese make our girles their sluttery

mon who was said to haunt rue, By pinching them both black and women in child-bed, and steal blue, &c.

their infants, is mentioned so And Shakespeare, Com. Err. a. ii. early as by Michael Psellus, a s. ii. Of the fairies.

Byzantine philosopher of the

eleventh century, on the OperaThey'll suck our breath, and pinch tions of Demons. Edit. Gaulmin. us black and blue.

Paris. 1615. 12mo. p. 78. T. And the Merry Wives, where

Warton. Falstaffe is pinched by fairies.

104. And he by friars' lantern A. v. 8. 5. And Browne, Brit

. led, &c.] Thus the edition of Past. b. i. s. ii. p. 31. And Hey- 1645. But in the edition 1673, wood's Hierarchie of Angels, b. ix. the context stands thus, p. 574. edit. 1635. fol. Who also,

She was pinch'd and pull'd, she said, among the domestic demons,

And by the friars' lantern led gives what he calls " a strange Tells how, &c.

story of the Spirit of the But- I know not if under the poet's tery." Ibid.

p. 577. But almost immediate direction. And in all that Milton here mentions of Tonson's, 1705. This reading at these house-fairies appears to be least removes a slight confusion taken from Jonson's Entertayn- arising from his, v. 106. Nor ment at Altrope, 1603. Works, is the general sense much altered. fol. p. 872. edit. 1616.

Friars' lantern, is the Jack and When about the crean-bowles sweete,

lantern, which led people in the You and all your elves do meet. night into marshes and waters. This is Mab, the mistris fairy, Milton gives the philosophy of That doth nightly rob the dairy,

this superstition, Parad. Lost, ix. And can help or hurt the churning,

634. As shee please, without discerning.She that pinches country wenches,

-A wandering fire If they rub not cleane their benches; Compact of unctuous vapour, which And with sharper nayles remembers

the night, &c. When they rake not up their embers. Which oft, they say, some evil spirit This is she that empties cradles, &c.

attends, &c.


Tells how the drudging goblin sweat,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,

In the midst of a solemn and and called the lubber-fiend, seems learned enarration, his strong to be confounded with the sleepy imagination could not resist å giant mentioned in Beaumont romantic tradition, consecrated and Fletcher's Knight of the by popular credulity. Shake- Burning Pestle, act iii. s. i. vol. speare has finely transferred the vi. p. 411. edit. 1751.

- There general idea of this superstition is a pretty tale of a witch that to his Ghost in Hamlet, a. i. s. 3. “ had the devil's mark about her, Hor. What if it tempt you to the

“ God bless us, that had a gyflood, my Lord ?

“ aunt to her son that was called But then, from the ground-work

“ Lob-lye-by-the-fire." Jonson of a vulgar belief, so beautifully introduces Robin Goodfellow as accommodated and improved, a person of the drama, in Love how does he rise in the progres- Restored, a masque at Court, sion of his imagination to the where more of his services, and supposition of a more alarming a great variety of his gambols, and horrible danger!

are recited. Works, edit. 1616. Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff p. 990. Burton, speaking of That beetles o'er his base into the sea,

these fairies, says, that a

a bigger And there assume some other horrible

« kind there is of them, called form,

“ with us Hob-goblins and Robin Which might deprive your sove- “ Goodfellowes, that would in reignty of reason,

“those superstitious times grinde And draw you into madness ?

T. Warton.

“ corne for a messe of milke, cut

“ wood, or do any manner of 106. To earn his cream-bowl duly set, &c.] Reginald Scot p.i. s. 2. p. 42. edit. 1682. After

drudgery worke.” Melanch.

. gives a brief account of this ima- wards, of the demons that misginary spirit much in the same lead men in the night, he says, manner with this of our author. “Your grand-dames, maids, were ibid. p. 43.

we commonly call them pucks.' “ wont to set a bowl

. milk for

In Grim the Collier of Croy“him, for his pains in grinding don, perhaps printed before 1600, “ of malt or mustard, and sweep. Robin Goodfellow says, “ing the house at midnight « his white bread and milk was his I love a messe of cream as well as ic

standing fee.” Discovery of they, Witchcraft, Lond. [1588 and]

Ho, ho, my masters, no good fellow

ship? 1651. 4to. p. 66. Peck.

Is · Robin Goodfellow a bugbear See note on v. 103. And the commentators on Shakespeare's

See Reed's Old Pl. Mids. N. Dream, vol. iii. p. 27. Act v. s. 1; edit

. 1778. Robin Goodfellow, xi. 254. Again, ibid. p. 238.

. who is here made a gigantic spi- For I shall feet their cream-bowls rit, fond of lying before the fire, night by night.




When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-lab’rers could not end;
Then lies him down the lubbar fiend,

And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,

115 By whisp’ring winds soon lulld asleep. In the old Moralities, it was cus- Mr. Bowle suggests an illustratomary to introduce the devil tion of the text from Warner's with the cry, ho, ho, ho! Gam. Albion's England, ch. 91. Robin Gurt. N. ibid. ii. 34. See note Goodfellow is the speaker. on v. 113. infr. T. Warton.

Hoho, hoho, needs must I laugh, 108. His shadowy flail, &c.] such fooleries to name, We have the flail, an implement And at my crummed messe of milke, here given to Robin Goodfellow,

each night from maid or dame

To do their chares, as they suppos'd, in the exhibition of that favourite

when in their deadest sleepe character in Grim the Collier of

I pulld them out their beds, and Croydon, see act iv. s. 1. Reed's made themselves their houses Old Pl. xi. 238. “ Enter Robin

sweepe. Goodfellow in a suit of leather

How clatter'd I amongst their pots

and pans, &c. • close to his body, his face and “ hands coloured russet colour, Much the same is said in Scot's “ with a flail." In which scene Discoverie of Witchcraft, Lond. he says, p. 241.

1588. 4to. p. 66. See also, To What, miller, are you up agin?

the readers. T. Warton. Nay, then my flail shall never lin. 114. Ere the first cock his matin' Robin Goodfellow, clothed in rings.] Mr. Bowle supposes that green, was a common figure in the poet here thought of a pasthe old city pageants.

See sage in the Faerie Queene, v. vi. Mayne's City Match, act ii. s. 6. 27. edit. 1639. T. Warton.

-The native bellman of the night, 113. And crop-full out of doors The bird that warned Peter of his he flings,


First rings his silver bell teach sleepy Ere the first cock his matin

wight. rings.] Milton remembered the old song It is certainly the same allusion of Puck or Robin Goodfellow, and metaphor in P. L. v. 7. rescued from oblivion by Peck. The shrill matin-song When larks gin sing

Of birds on every bough. Away we fing.

T. Warton.


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