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70.-landskip: an older spelling of "landscape,” the suffix being the same as in friendship, worship, etc.
71.-fallows: ploughed land unsown; originally, “palecolored," as in fallow-deer.
75.-pied: variegated, like a (mag)pie. 78.—bosomed: surrounded breast-high. 79.-lies: dwells.
80.—cynosure: literally, "dog's tail," a name given to that part of the constellation of the Lesser Bear in which the polestar is situated, whence the present use in the sense of an object to which all eyes are directed. Cf. Comus, ver. 342 and note.
83-8.-Corydon and Thyrsis ... Phyllis ... Thestylis: typical names of peasants in the pastoral poetry of Theocritus and Vergil.
85.-messes: dishes. 87.—bower: chamber. 91.-secure: used in the literal sense of “free from care.” 92.-upland: remote from towns.
94.-rebeck: a musical instrument now obsolete, which resembled a fiddle, but had fewer strings.
96.-chequered: i. e., with the sun shining through the spaces between the leaves.
100.-spicy. The practice of flavoring ale and wine with nutmeg and other spices was common.
102.-Faery Mab. See Romeo and Juliet, I, iv, 54-95, and Shelley's Queen Mab. M. quotes Jonson's Satyr, beginning:
This is Mab, the mistress Fairy,
That doth nightly rob the dairy. junkets: originally, a kind of cream-cheese (wrapt in rushes, from Italian giunco, a rush), and now most commonly used of curds and cream.
103.-pinched. This was the usual sign of the anger of the fairies. Cf. the sufferings of Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, V, v, 96, 103-105.
· 103, 4.-she... he: individuals in the company.
104.- Friar's lantern. The allusion is to the ignis fatuus, known by various popular names, such as “Willo'-the-wisp," "Jack o' Lanthorn,” etc. Friar's has, in all probability, no connection with Friar Rush, a demon of folk-lore who was disguised as a friar. Scott, however, as the New English Dictionary notes, has confused the two, probably misinterpreting Milton:
Better we had through mire and bush
— Marmion, IV, 1. 104, 5.-The punctuation here is that of the first edi. tion, making he the subject of tells. If this is thought to crowd the sense too much, the reading of the second edition may be taken, with a period after led, and the subject of tells to be supplied.
105–114.-Cf. Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, I, ii, 1, 2, (quoted by Warton and others):-"A bigger kind there is of them si. e., spirits] called with us hobgoblins and Robin Goodfellows, that would in these superstitious times grind corn for a mess of milk, cut wood, or do any manner of drudgery work."
110.--lubber: clumsy, doltish.
117.-M. thinks that what follows is meant to suggest merely L’Allegro’s evening reading. But it seems more naturally taken as describing actual experiences in the city, just as the previous passage has described actual country sights. In a poem dealing with a series of typical occupations, there is no need to make it possible to fit them into a practicable time-table for one day, and it is no objection that no means are provided to transport L'Allegro to the town.
120.-weeds: garments. There are two weeds in English. In what modern pbrase do we find the one here used? triumphs: pageants, spectacles.
122.—influence. The original use of this word had reference to the astrological belief in the power of the stars over human destiny. The easy comparison of bright eyes to stars strengthens the suggestion that the poet had the original sense of the word in mind here.
123.–The references are to contests in poetry and to tournaments, in both of which ladies were accustomed to award the prize.
124.-her: i. l., the presiding lady-Queen of Love, Queen of the Tourney, or whatever her title might be for the particular occasion.
125-8.-Milton has in mind the court masques which reached their highest degree of splendor in the reigns of James I. and Charles I. See Introduction, pp. 34ff.
125.--Hymen: the God of Marriage, a common figure in masques, since they were frequently presented on the occasion of the marriages of nobles. Cf. As You Like It, V, iv, 113 ff., and Ben Jonson's Masque of Hymen.
126.—saffron. In the masques, Hymen appeared in a yellow robe.
132, 3.—Milton here points out the familiar contrast between the learning shown in Jonson's plays, and the spontaneity and natural genius of Shakspere's. On the ground of the comparatively faint praise given here to Shakspere, and of one or two other passages equally doubtful, some have based the opinion that Milton had an inadequate appreciation of Shakspere.
132.-sock. The soccus was the low-heeled slipper worn by actors in the classical comedy, as opposed to the high-heeled buskin used in tragedy. Cf. Il Pens., ver. 102.
133.–Fancy: used in the wider sense of “Imagination."
135.-Note that these lines describing L'Allegro's mu. sical diversions are the most melodious in the poem.
136.–Lydian. The three "modes” of ancient music were the Dorian, the Phrygian, and the Lydian, characterized respectively by stateliness, liveliness, and softness.
138.-meeting: responsive. Soul is the object of pierce.
139—bout: literally, a "bend” or “round;" here, a "passage.”
141.-Note the apparent contradiction between adjectives and nouns. The adjectives describe the appearance of unconsciousness in a work of art where the perfection is shown in the concealment of the pains taken. The figure used here is called oxymoron.
142-4.-"The accompanied voice is meant, otherwise there would be melody, but not harmony'' (B.).
145.- Orpheus: the famous mythical poet and music cian, who, when his wife Eurydice died, descended into Hades, and so charmed by his music the rulers of the underworld that he was permitted to take his wife away with him, on condition that he should not gaze around him as he returned through the shades. But, just as he was leaving, he looked behind, and Eurydice had to remain-hence quite and half-regained.
147.-Elysian. In the Greek mythology, the Elysian fields were the abode of the blessed after death.
149.- Pluto: the god of the underworld.
IL PENSEROSO Title-The statement made by Mark Pattison that Milton was mistaken as to both the form and the meaning of this word has been disproved by W. H. David (Notes and Queries, 7th series, VIII, 326). The word is correct Italian of the seventeenth century, and means "pensive" or "meditative.”
3.—bested' (or bestead): help, avail.
6.-fond: foolish, the original meaning. possess: take possession of, enter into. The object of possess is fancies.
6-9.-The gaudy shapes are most like to dreams.
15.—weaker: the comparative used in the sense of "too weak.”
17, 18.-i. e., though she seems black, yet her beauty is as estimable as befits the sister of Memnon.
18.—Memnon: the Ethiopian prince, famous for his beauty, who fought for Troy (Odyssey, xi, 552). His sister, Hemera, is mentioned by Dictys, but the fact of her beauty seems to have been inferred by Milton from Homer's statement about Memnon.
19.-starred Ethiop queen: Cassiopeia, who boasted that she (or, according to a common version, her daughter Andromeda) was more beautiful than the Nereids. These latter persuaded Poseidon to send floods and a monster to ravage the land. Andromeda was given up to the monster in atonement, but was rescued by Perseus. Both motherand daughter were afterwards placed among the constellations: hence starred.
23.— Vesta: the goddess of the hearth. In her worship special stress was laid on purity.
24, 5.-Saturn. This god was reputed the founder of civilization. The derivation of Melancholy from Purity and Solitude or Culture, is, like the second one suggested for Euphrosyne in L'Allegro, of the poet's own manufacture. Milton probably also had in mind the astrological belief that the influence of Saturn made men morose. (Cf. Saturnine.) Saturn's reign is the fabled golden age.