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54. "possit.” So in Second Edition, changed from “posset” in First. 58. “via."
The more rigid construction would have been “viam”; but there are classic precedents for Milton's form.
65. “Achæmenie turrita fronte puelle." According to Warton, Sandys in his Travels, first published in 1615, described the high head-dresses of the women of the part of Persia anciently called Achæmenia.
66. “Memnoniamque Ninon." Mr. Keightley observes that it was Susa, and not Ninos or Nineveh, that was called “the Memnonian city” by Herodotus. 69, 70. “Nec Pompeianas Tarpëia Musa," etc.
The “ Tarpëia Musa is here used for the Roman poets generally, or more expressly for Ovid, whose house was near the Tarpeian Rock, and who, in his Art. Amat. Lib. I., recommended Roman gentlemen in pursuit of beauty to walk slowly up and down in the shade of Pompey's Portico, if they did not object to the sera et sapientior ætas of the ladies they were likely to see there, but above all never to miss the theatres.
73. “Tuque urbs Dardaniis, Londinum," etc. London, in the British legends, was founded by the Trojan settlers who came in with Brutus, and was first called Trinovantum or New Troy.
77–80. “Non tibi tot cælo,” etc. An expansion of Ovid's Art. Amat. I. 59 :
“ Quot cælum stellas, tot habet tua Roma puellas." 84. "et roseam posthabitura Cypron.” The phrase is from the Æneid, I. 153
" Quam Juno fertur terris magis omnibus unam
Posthabitâ coluisse Samo."
87, 88. “ Circes atria . Molyos,” etc. See notes, Comus, 46–50, 636, 637. 89, 90. “ Stat quoque,
etc. See note ante, lines 11–20. Whatever was the nature of Milton's absence from Cambridge for a while in the second year of his undergraduateship, it is certain that it did not involve the loss of even one term in his undergraduate
The “stat,” therefore, may imply “It has been satisfactorily arranged that I return," etc.
92. “alternos . . . modos”: i.e. the alternate Hexameters and Pentameters of the Elegy.
1, 2. "baculo fulgente
ciere gregem.” See Introduction to the Elegy, I. p. 259.
5, 6. "plumis sub quibus accipimus delituisse Jovem": i.e. the swan-plumage of Jupiter when he wooed Leda.
Warton quotes Ovid's line (Heroides, VIII. 68) :
“Nec querar in plumis delituisse Jovem.” 7, 8. “Hemonio juvenescere succo . in Æsonios ... dies," A recollection of Medea's occupation in Ovid's Met. VII, 264, 265%
- Illic Hæmoniâ radices valle resectas,
Seminaque, floresque, et succos incoquit acres,” and of the subsequent description of the result of the process, when Æson, the old father of Jason, had the magical decoction poured into his veins by Medea, and was straightway made young again. See also Com. 638, and note there; and compare Mansus, 75. · Dignus quem
Coronides.” Another Ovidian reference; more especially, as Mr. Keightley has noted, to Fast. VI. 745 et seq. Æsculapius, the god of medicine, son of Apollo, but here, after Ovid, called Coronides because his mother was Coronis, restored to life Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, whose death had greatly vexed Diana. “Multum indignante Diana,” Ovid's phrase for the goddess's anger at the death, suggests to Milton the “sæpe rogante deâ” in the matter of the resuscitation.
“ Phæbo”: the Vice-Chancellor of the University ? 13-16. “Talis in Iliacâ," etc. In the allusions in these lines Warton discerns proofs of Milton's early familiarity with Homer. The Eurybates of lines 15, 16, is one of the heralds of Agamemnon in the Iliad, sent to the court of Achilles to demand Briseis (I. 320 et seq.); but Mr. Keightley questions the accuracy of the Homeric reference in the two preceding lines to the god Hermes (called Cyllenius from his temple in mount Cyllene in Arcadia). “We are unable,” he says, “to find any instance of Hermes being sent to the palace of Priam ; for in the only two instances (II. II. 786; XXIV. 160) it is Iris that is sent." In this second instance, however, after Iris had delivered Jove's message to the afflicted Priam in his palace, and encouraged him to go forth for the recovery of the dead body of Hector, slain by Achilles, it is Hermes that is specially despatched to complete the mercy by guiding Priam to the tent of Achilles (II. XXIV. 334 et seq.). When Hermes encounters the old king he is certainly no longer in his palace, but in the
plain outside Ilium, driving through the darkness in his chariot towards the Greek entrenchment and ships. In the phrase "in Iliaca stabat Cyllenius aula," therefore, Milton does take a liberty with the Homeric text.
19. “pondus inutile terræ.” A literal translation of Homer's phrase étúo lov öx@os ápoúpns (II. XVIII. 104).
“ Academia.” Here, as well as in the only other instance of the use of the word in Milton's Latin poems (Epilogue to Eleg. VII.), the penult is made short, against the usual practice.
3-8. "Protinus en subiit," etc.
” The reference in these six lines is to the ravages of the Plague in England in 1625 and 1626, mentioned also in the poem On the Death of a Fair Infant (see line 68 of that poem, and Introd. to it, I. p. 117). Among the thousands who had died of the Plague (35,417 in London and its neighbourhood alone, according to Whitlocke) there were not a few persons of rank. The mortality by this cause had fallen greatly by the beginning of 1626; but in September or October in that year, when this Elegy was written, the horror was still of recent memory. 9-12.
“ Tunc memini,” etc. The other recent calamities, which Milton here represents himself as remembering in September or October 1626, were the deaths of some of the conspicuous champions of Protestantism on the Continent in that early stage of the great Thirty Years' War the object of which was the recovery of the Palatinate for its hereditary Prince-Elector, nominally “King of Bohemia,” husband of the English Elizabeth, daughter of James I. The “ clarus dux” and his “frater verendus” of lines 9, 10, may be, as Lord Hailes suggested to Warton, the young Duke Christian of Brunswick and Count Mansfeldt, chivalrous supporters of the Palatinate cause (called “brothers,” as having been “brothers-in-arms”), both of whom died in 1626, the former by poison; the “heroes rapti” and “amissi duces” of lines 11, 12, lamented by all Belgia, may, on the same suggestion, include Henry Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford, who died at the siege of Breda in 1625. He was a relative of the more celebrated Sir Horace Vere, on whom, and his English troops, much of the hard work in the Palatinate had rested from 1620 to 1624, but who had returned to England in this latter year (to be created Baron of Tilbury in 1625), and may therefore count also among the “amissi duces” of the Low Countries at that epoch.
13. “dignissime Præsul." See Introduction, I. p. 260.
21. "fluvio contermina quercus.” Conterminus, as Warton pointed out, is a favourite word with Ovid ; and in one passage (Met. VIII. 620) he has the phrase "tiliæ contermina quercus."
22. "prætereuntis aque." The exact phrase occurs, as Todd noted, in the second of Buchanan's Latin Elegies.
30. “Semideamque animam," etc. Compare On the Death of a Fair Infant, line 2 1.
32. “Roscidus occiduis Hesperus exit aquis.” Ovid has “ Hesperus roscidus” in Fasti, II. 314; and “ Eois Lucifer exit aquis,” in
Epist. ex Ponto," II. v. 50. The observation is Warton's. Mr. Keightley adds that the second passage may have led Milton into an astronomical error here. As Lucifer rises in Ovid out of the Eastern waters, why should not Hesperus rise out of the Western ? "This,” says Mr. Keightley, “is an impossibility, for the Evening Star is always to the east of the Sun.” 33.
“ Tartessiaco ... æquore": i.e. in the Atlantic, beyond Tartessus, the southern district of Spain, to the west of the Pillars of Hercules. Tartessius is Ovid's adjective (Met. XIV. 416): “Presserat occiduis Tartessia littora Phoebus”; but Warton finds Tartessiacus in Martial, and in Buchanan's Latin Poems.
41. “Thaumantia proles": i.e. Iris, the Rainbow-goddess, the daughter of Thaumas, who was the son of Pontus and Ge. 43, 44.
“Non dea hortos Alcinoi Zephyro Chloris amata.” The Greek goddess Chloris is the Roman Flora ; and how she became the wife of Zephyrus is told by Ovid, Fasti, V. 195 et seq.
“Chloris eram, quæ Flora vocor. Corrupta Latino
Nominis est nostri littera Græca sono.
Rem fortunatam ante fuisse viris.
Insequitur ; fugio. Fortior ille fuit.
Vim tamen emendat dando mihi nomina nuptæ." The particular gardens over which Milton here fancies Chloris or Flora lavishing her colours are those of Alcinous, the happy king of the Phæacians in the Odyssey. Compare Par. Lost, V. 340, 341, and IX. 439—441; and see also Eleg. IV. 34–36.
46. “Ditior Hesperio flavet arena Tago." The Tagus in Spain was celebrated for its golden sands. Ovid, describing the effects of Phaethon's fiery course in heaven on the various rivers, particularises that on the Tagus thus (Met. II. 251) =
“Quodque suo Tagus amne vehit fluit ignibus aurum.”
47. “ Favoni”: i.e. of Zephyrus. See Sonnet XX.
49, 50. “Talis in extremis terræ Gangetidis oris Luciferi regis," etc. Warton, imagining the Lucifer rex to be the Lucifer of Paradise Lost, i.e. Satan, whose palace is described there as being on the northern bounds of Heaven (V. 757 et seq.), could reconcile this passage with that only by a strained interpretation of “in extremis terræ Gangetidis oris” as implying a northern direction; and, besides, he confessed that he could not find any fiction, such as Milton hints at, of a palace of Lucifer in those parts. But “ Lucifer rex," as Steevens pointed out, is here not a name for Satan, but simply for the Sun or Light-bringer, whose home is placed by all poets in the far East. Ovid's description of the palace of Sol, at the beginning of Met. II., may have been in Milton's mind.
59. "gemmatis .. pennis.” Warton quotes from Ovid (Remed. Am. 39), “movit Amor gemmatas aureus alas.” 63, 64. “ Nate, veni,” etc.
Rev. xiv. 13.
But compare the whole of this dream of Heaven in the Elegy, and vision of Bishop Andrewes glorified there, with the close of Lycidas, and also with the close of the Epitaphium Damonis.
1. “ Curre per immensum subito, mea littera, pontum. Warton compares the beginning of Ovid's Trist., III. 7
“ Vade salutatum subitò perarata Perillam,
Littera, sermonis fida ministra mei.” " Teutonicos agros”: i.e. Germany, where Young was. 3. Segnes rumpe moras." Quoted verbatim, as Mr. Keightley notes, from Virgil, Georg. III. 42, 43.
5, 6. “Sicanio frænantem carcere ventos Æolon.” Copied, as Warton noted, from Ovid, Met. XIV. 224:
“ Æolon Hippotaden frænantem carcere ventos ; where, however, cohibentem appears for frenantem in some editions. See also Virgil, Æn. I. 52–54.—“Sicanio,” because the Island of Lipara (Lipari), where, in most accounts, Æolus had his residence and cave, was off the Sicilian coast.
So Virgil, Æn. VIII. 416, 417 :
“ Insula Sicanium juxta latus Æoliamque