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436--swart ... mine. Popular superstition peopled mines with spirits of earth called “gnomes."
443.-brinded: brindled, streaked, literally “branded.”
447.-Gorgon. The head of Meduga, the only one of the three Gorgons who was mortal, retained its petrifying power even after it was cut off by Perseus and placed in the shield of Athene. The moral interpretation of the myths of Diana's invulnerability by Cupid and of the Gorgon shield is Milton's own. 451.-dashed: suddenly checked. 452.-blank: sheer. 455.—lackey: wait on. 459.—oft converse: frequent intercourse.
460.—begin: subjunctive mood. Note that the indicative is used in turns (ver. 462), as if, according to M., to show increased certainty.
468.-imbodies and imbrutes: becomes fleshly and brutish.
469.-property: peculiar quality.
463–75.—Warton notes that Milton here paraphrases a passage from Plato's Phaedo.
474.---sensualty. It is necessary to retain Milton's spelling here for the sake of the metre.
479.-nectared: heavenly. Cf. ambrosial in ver. 16 and note.
495.-huddling: either hastening, or with the sense of heaping up its waters through delaying. madrigal: a kind of pastoral song. The passage is obviously meant as a compliment to Lawes, who acted Thyrsis, in his own character as a musician. Note that ver. 495-512
rhyme in couplets, the rest of the poem (except the lyrics) being in blank verse.
501.-next: nearest, dearest.
508.-how chance: how chances it? According to V., it is a combination of this construction and the adverbial “by what chance?''
517.-chimeras: fire-breathing monsters, part lion, part serpent, and part goat.
520.-navel: centre. 521.-immured: walled in. 526.-murmurs: muttered charms. 529.-mintage: stamp, imprint. 530.-charactered: marked, engraved, stamped. 531.-crofts: small fields. 532.—that . . . glade: overhanging this deep wooded valley.
533.—monstrous rout: band of monsters. 534.-stabled: in their lairs.
535.—Hecate: goddess of witchcraft. Cf. ver. 135 and note.
539.—unweeting: unwitting. 542.—besprent: besprinkled. 547.--meditate: practise (imitated from Vergil). Cf. Lyc., ver. 66 and note.
548.-ere a close: before I had finished a song.
552.-i. e., when Comus hushed his revellers at the lady's approach.
553. drowsy-flighted. This is the reading of the Cam. bridge MS., and is preferred by M. and others, who take it as meaning “flying drowsily.” Milton's early printed
editions have "drowsie frighted,” i. e., drowsy, as being the horses of the chariot of sleep, and frighted by the noise of Comus and his rout.
558.--took. This is usually explained as "charmed," a common Shaksperean usage, which fits the context. On the other hand, the phrase took ere she was ware may mean merely “taken unawares," "surprised.”
559, 60.-be ... displaced: cease to exist, if her place could be always taken by such sounds.
565.- amazed: confounded, not merely astonished” as in modern English.
573.-prevent. Here it probably includes the etymological sense of “anticipate.”
597.-pillared: referring to the ancient belief as to the manner in which the heavens were supported.
604.- Acheron: one of the rivers of the lower world. Used here for the infernal regions in general.
605.- Harpies: monstrous creatures in Greek mythol. ogy, half woman and half bird. Hydras. The Hydra was the many-headed serpent slain by Hercules.
607.-purchase: acquisition, prize, prey.
620.-to see to: to look at. The editors attempt to identify this ghepherd lad with Milton's early friend Diodati, who taught him botany, and on the occasion of whose death Milton wrote the Latin Epitaphium Damonis.
621.-virtuous: see note on ver. 165, and cf. Il Pens., ver. 113 and note.
627.-simples: medicinal herbs, originally single ingredients in compounded drugs.
634.—like esteemed: i. e., likewise unesteemed.
636.-Moly: the name of the plant in the passage in Homer here alluded to (Odyssey, x).
637.-To enable him to resist the spells of Circe. 638.-Hæmony: a name that appears to have been invented by Milton from Hæmonia or Thessaly, the land of magic.
639.-sovran: literally, “supreme;" here," of the highest efficacy.” 641.-Furies: goddesses of vengeance. Stage direction.-goes about: makes an attempt. 642.--pursed it up: put it away in my purse.
661.-Daphne: a maiden who was pursued by Apollo, and, at her own request, turned into a bay-tree. The syntax here is loose, but easily intelligible.
672.-julep: from a Persian word meaning "rosewater;" here, "a sweet drink.”
675.–Nepenthes: cf. Odyssey, iv, 219–226: — "Then Helen, daughter of Zeus .... cast a drug into the wine whereof they drank, a drug to lull all pain and anger, and bring forgetfulness of every sorrow. Whoso should drink a. draught thereof, when it is mingled in the bowl, on that day he would let no tear fall down his cheeks, not though his mother and father died, not though men slew his brother or dear son with the sword before his face, and his own eyes beheld it.” (Butcher and Lang's translation.)
685.—unexempt condition: condition from which no mortal is exempt.
688.-that. The antecedent is you in ver. 682.
698.-vizored: wearing a mask.
707.-budge. The word has two meanings: (1) a kind of fur, (2) stout, pompous, surly. The second one is not found elsewhere as early as the date of Comus, and the use of fur in the same line supports the view that (1) is meant. If so, it is probably an allusion to the fur used on academic gowns, here suggested by doctors.
708.-Cynic tub: in reference to the tub in which Di. ogenes the Cynic philosopher is said to have lived. The Stoic and the Cynic philosophers are alluded to here on account of their contempt for the pleasures of the senses.
714.—but all: except merely. sate: satisfy. curious: dainty, critical (V.); perhaps with a shade of the sense of “inquisitive," "eager to try new sensations."
734.—they below. Various interpretations have been made of this. (1) If the deep = the sea, then they below = sea-monsters, or (2) men (V). (3) If the deep = the center of the earth, then they below = gnomes (T).
735.-inured: hardened, accustomed.
737.—coy: bashful or disdainful-at this period with. out the implication of affectation. cozened: cheated.
750.--sorry grain: wretched hue. Cf. Il Pens., ver. 33, note.
751.-sampler: a pattern piece of needlework. tease: to comb or card wool, scratch or raise the nap of cloth (Skeat). The modern sense of “irritate” is derived from this.
759.-pranked: dressed up.
760.—bolt: to separate the flour from the bran, hence, “to refine."
779-806.—This passage is wanting in the earlier MSS. and seems to have been added later.