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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;


This was in consequence of Qu. See note on L'Allegr. v. 1. T. Elizabeth's fashionable establish. Warton. ment of a band of military cour- 12. Hail divinest Melancholy, tiers by that name. They were &c.] Milton, says Mr. Bowle, young men of the finest figure, has here some traces of Albert and of the best families and for. Durer's Melancholia. Particutune. Hence, says Quickly, in larly in the black visage, the looks the Merry Wives, act ii. s. 2. commercing with the skies, and the “ And yet there has been earls, stole drawn over her decent shoulnay, which is more, pensioners." ders. The painter, he adds, gave T. Warton.

her wings, which the poet has Morpheus, the minister of Some transferred to Contemplation, v. nus, or Sleep, so called because 52. I think it is highly probable, he feigns tas magpas, the very that Milton had this personificountenances, words, manners, cation in his eye: and by makand gestures of mankind, and ing two figures out of one, and exhibits them in dreams. So by giving Melancholy a kindred Ovid Met. xi. 634.

companion, to whom wings may Excitat artificem simulatoremque be properly attributed, and who figuræ

is distantly implied in Durer's Morphea.

idea, he has removed the vioPeck.

lence, and cleared the obscurity, 11. —sage and holy,] Melan- of the allegory, preserving at the choly is called sage, as Night was same time the whole of the oritermed by the Greeks EuQgom; ginal conception. Mr. Steevens and for the like reason; both subjoins, “Mr. Bowle might being favourable to wisdom and “ have added, that in Durer's contemplation. « Την νυκτα προσ

“ design, a winged cherub, perειπον ΕΥΦΡΟΝΗΝ, μέγα προς

“haps designed for Contemplaεύρειν των ζητουμενων και σκεψιν « tion, is the satellite of Melanηγουμενοι την ησυχιαν και το απερι- choly. All transfer of plum

σπαστον.” Plutarch. ΠΕΡΙ ΠΟ. age was therefore needless. ΛΥΠΡΑΓΜ. Οpp. ii. p. 521. fol. « The poet indeed has taken the Francof. 1599. Hurd.

“wings from his goddess, and I See also Marston's Scourge of " think with judgment: for alVillanie, ut supr. lib. i. Proem. though Contemplation is exThou nursing mother of fair wisdon's

“ cursive, Melancholy is attached lore,

“ to its object." T. Warton. Ingenuous Melancholy.

16. O'erlaid with black, staid

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Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The Sea-Nymphs, and their pow'rs offended:
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore
To solitary Saturn bore;


wisdom's hue.) Her countenance in revenge persuaded Neptune appears dark to the grossness of to send a prodigious whale into human vision, although in reality Ethiopia. To appease them, she of excessive lustre. The bright was directed to expose her daughvisage was therefore overlaid with ter Andromeda to the monster: black, according to its visible ap- but Perseus delivered Andro- . pearance, by Durer in his por- meda, of whom he was trait of Melancholy. It is the moured, and transported Cassame general idea in Parad. L. iii. siope into heaven, where she 377.

became a constellation. Bibl. ii. -But when thou shad'st

c. iv. $. 3. Hence she is called The full blaze of thy beams, and

that starred Ethiop queen. See through a cloud

Aratus, Phænom. v. 189. seq. Drawn round about thee, &c.

But Milton seems to have been But this imagery is there ex- struck with an old Gothic print tended and enriched with new of the constellations, which I sublimity: for God even thus have seen in early editions of concealed, adds the poet, dazzles the Astronomers, where this heaven, and forces the most ex

queen is represented with a black alted seraphim to retire, and body marked with white stars. cover their eyes with both their T. Warton. wings. T. Warton.

23. Thee bright-hair'd Vesta, 18. Prince Memnon's sister] &c.] Mr. Bowle thinks, that this Mennon, king of Ethiopia, son genealogy, but without the poof Tithonus by Aurora, repair- etry, is froin Gower's song, in ing with a great host to the re- Pericles Prince of Tyre. More lief of Priam king of Troy, was especially as the verses immethere slain by Achilles. Peck. diately follow those quoted from

19. Or that starrid Ethiop the same song, L'Allegr. v. 25. queen &c.] Cassiope, as we learn See edit. Malone, Suppl. Sh. vol. from Apollodorus, was the wife ii. y. of Cepheus king of Ethiopia. She boasted herself to be more

With whom the father liking took,

And her to incest did provoke, &c. beautiful than the Nereids, and challenged them to a trial; who The meaning of Milton's alleVOL. III.

E e




His daughter she (in Saturn's reign,
Such mixture was not held a stain).
Oft in glimmering bow'rs and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
While 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 cyprus law
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.



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gory is, that Melancholy is the likewise, who says it is a comdaughter of Genius, which is mon term in Ben Jonson.

. typified by the bright-haired god- 35. Undoubtedly cyprus is the dess of the eternal fire. Saturn, true spelling. Quinque aurithe father, is the god of satur- “ frigia, quorum tria sunt opere nine dispositions, of pensive and cyprensi noblissimo, et unum gloomy minds. T. Warton, “ est de opere Anglicano.” Lib.

35. And sable stole, &c.] Here Anniv. Basilic. Vatican. apud Ruis a character and propriety in beum in Vit. Bonifacii viii. P. P. the use of the stole, which, in the p. 345. See also Charpentier, poetical phraseology of the pre- Suppl. Gloss. Cang. tom. i. col. sent day, is not only perpetually 391. “Unum pluviale de canceo misapplied, but misrepresented. “ rubeo, cum aurifrigio de opere It was a veil which covered the

cyprensi.” See Life of Sir T. head and shoulders; and, as Mr. Pope, p. 349. edit. 2. It is a thin Bowle observes, was worn only transparent texture. So Shakeby such of the Roman matrons, speare, Twelfth Night, act iii. as were distinguished for the s. 1.

1 strictness of their modesty. He

-A cyprus, not a bosom, refers us to the Le Imagini delle

Hides my poor heart.Donne, di Enea Vico. In Vinegia, 1557. p. 77. 4to. See also "Al- And, what is more immediately bert Durer's Melancholia, where to our purpose, in Autolycus's this description is exactly an

song in the Wint. Tale, we have swered. T. Warton.


Act iv. s. 3. 35. --cyprus lawn,] In Mil- Lawn as white as driven snow, ton's editions it is cipres lawn ;

Cyprus black as e'er was crow. but I

presume the word is cy- And Donne, Poems, edit. 4to. prus, as Mr. Sympson observed 1634. p. 130. And in Jonson's

Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait,
And looks commercing 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,

45 Spare Fast, that oft with Gods doth diet, And hears the Muses in a ring Aye round about Jove's altar sing: Epigrams, lxxiii. Dryden, by a "rapt spirits." And in many most ridiculous misapprehension, other passages of our author. See in his translation of the first the note on P. L. iii. 522. T. Georgic, has “ shroud-like cy- Warton.

press," v. 25. Here says Mil- 41. There held in holy passion bourne, “ Did not Mr. D. think still, « of that kind of cypress used Forget thyself to marble,] “ often for the scarfs and hat. So in the Epitaph on Shake" bands at funerals formerly, or speare, " for widow's vails " The last

There thou our fancy of itself bereavsense seems to explain Milton. ing, See the Puritan, Stage-direction,

Dost make us marble by too much

conceiving. act i. s. 1. What has been said

In both instances illustrates a passage in Twelfth

of Night, perhaps misunderstood, thought is the cause. T. Warwhich also reflects light on our

ton. text. Act ii. s. 4.

43. With a sad leaden down

ward cast] The same epithet Come away, come away, Death, And in sad cypress let me be laid.

Shakespeare applies to Contem

plation, in his Love's Labour's That is, in a shroud, not in a Lost. coffin of cypress-wood. See also

For when would you, my liege, or Drummond's Sonnets, Edinb.

you, or you 1616. P. i. sign. B. T. Warlon. In leaden contemplation have found 36. –decent shoulders,] Not

out &c. exposed, therefore decent. T.

Thyer. Warton.

47. And hears the Muses in a 40. Thy rapt soul sitting in ring thine eyes : ] Thy ravished soul. Aye round about Jove's altar So in Comus, 764. “Kindle my 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,


Hesiod, Theog. ii.

trim garden in Arcades, 46. and

in Comus, 984, 985, 990. But Και σε περι κρηνην ιοειδεα ποσσαπαλοι

he had changed his ideas of a Ορχουνται, και βωμον ερισθενεος garden when he wrote the PaΚρονίωνος.

radise Lost. T. Warton. 47. “Hinc quoque Musarum,

See Mr. Dunster's remarks on circa Jovis altaria dies noctes- Milton's taste in this particular, que saltantium, ab ultima rerum

P. R. ii. 289. E. “ origine increbuit fabula.” Mil

52. Him that yon soars ton's Prose Works, ii. 588. So golden wing, &c.] Spenser has also the learned and elegant L. likewise given a description of Gyraldus, to the Muses, Opp. Contemplation, but he describes vol. ii. p. 925. ed. Lugd. Bat. him under the figure of a vene1696. fol.

rable old man; and I cannot but

agree with Mr. Thyer, that there Et Jovis ad solium dulce movetis ebur.

is more propriety in this than in T. Warton. the gayer personage of Milton.


52. By contemplation, is here 50. That in trim gardens takes meant that stretch of thought, by his pleasure.] Affectation and false which the mind ascends to the elegance were now carried to the “ first good, first perfect, and first, most elaborate and absurd ex- « fair;" and is therefore very cess in gardening. Laurem- properly said to soar on golden burgius, a physician of Rostock wing, guiding the fiery-wheeled in Germany, has described some throne; that is, to take a high singular monuments of this ex- and glorious flight, carrying travagance at Chartres in France, bright ideas of deity along with and Hampton Court in England, it. But the whole imagery al" where in privet are figured va- ludes to the cherubic forms that « rious animals, the royal arms conveyed the fiery-wheeled car in of England, and many other Ezekiel, x. 2. seq. See also Mil" things." Many gardens of ton himself, Par. L. vi. 750. So England, he adds, as well as of that nothing can be greater or Italy, were to be praised for a juster than this idea of Divine wonderful variety of these ver- Contemplation. Contemplation, dant sculptures. Horticullura, of a more sedate turn, and intent lib. i. cap. 29. s. iii. The pe- only on human things, is more dantry of vegetation has not yet fitly described, as by Spenser, expired in some of our more rem under the figure of an old man; mote counties.

time and experience qualifying Milton, I fear, alludes to the men best for this office. Hurd.

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