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801.-set off: supported by.
805.-Saturn's crew: the Titans who supported Saturn against Jupiter.
808.-canon ... foundation: the rules of our company. The figure is from the ecclesiastical laws established by the Papacy and the Church Councils; and the word foundation was familiar in connection with endowed in. stitutions such as the Colleges of the Universities.
816,7.—The idea is, of course, to undo the force of the spells by reversing the process used by Comus.
822.-Melibaus: a traditional name for a shepherd in pastoral poetry. The story of Sabrina had been told by Geoffrey of Monmouth, the prose chronicler, and by Sackville, Drayton, Warner, and Spenser. Geoffrey and Spenser have been most frequently identified with Me. libæus by the editors.
825.—The masque was performed not far from the Severn.
827.-Locrine. Mr. Swinburne has written a tragedy on this subject.
828.—Brute: from this legendary Brutus medieval writers derived the name Britain.
834.-pearled: adorned with pearls. The association of pearls with water-divinities was conventional.
835.—Nereus: the father of the Nereids or waternymphs.
838.-lavers: baths. nectared: “often has much the same force as ambrosial, i. e., fragrant” (V.). In the baths filled with nectar floated asphodels, the flower that grows over the Elysian flelds where the blessed dead wander.
845.-helping: supply "to cure”. urchin blasts: influence of wicked elves. Urchin is used here in a
sense intermediate between the original one of "hedge. hog” (a beast of ill-omen) and the modern one of “small child."
863—amber-dropping hair. This does not seem to mean anything more difficult than that amber-colored water was dropping from her hair. Several editors, however, suppose that the amber color was reflected from her hair.
870.-Oceanus: in Greek mythology, the god of the great river that flowed around the earth. Tethys: the wife of Oceanus.
871.-Nereus'. Cf. ver. 835 and note. .
872.—Carpathian wizard's hook. · Proteus, the "old man of the sea,” had the power of prophecy (whence wizard), lived on the island of Carpathos near Crete (whence Carpathian), and was the shepherd of the flocks of Amphitrite, i. e., the seals (whence hook).
873.--Triton. Cf. Lyc., ver. 89 and note.
874.-Glaucus: a fisherman of Boeotia who was changed into a sea-god with a gift of prophecy.
875.—Leucothea: i. e., the white goddess—the name given to Ino after she had been saved from drowning by the dolphins and had been made a sea-goddess. Homer calls her "Ino of the fair ankles." See next note.
877.-her son. When Ino threw herself into the sea to escape from her mad husband, Athamas, she had with her Melicertes, her son, who also was deified as Palæmon.
877.—Thetis: the daughter of Nereus and mother of Achilles, always called “silver-footed” by Homer. Mil. ton translates the epithet, using tinsel in the sense of “silvery," "flashing.”
879.-Parthenope: one of the Sirens who was fabled to have been buried near Naples.
880.--Ligea: another of the Sirens. 891.-osier: the water-willow.
893.-azurn. This derivative from azure occurs no. where else.
893-5.—The sense of this passage seems to be that the chariot is inlaid with agate, turquoise, and emerald colors, like the shifting blue and green lights that glimmer through the water (in the channel strays).
917.-of glutinous heat: i. e., glutinous when heated. 921.- Amphitrite: the wife of Neptune.
923.-In ver. 827, Locrine was stated to be the son of Brutus who was descended from Æneas, the son of Anchises.
934-7.—The confusion of figure here is due to the two conceptions of Sabrina as a maiden and as a river. In the crowned head he is thinking of the former, in the towers and groves, of the latter. Roun:) (ver. 935) may be taken as an adverb modifying crowned, and upon (ver. 936) as a preposition governing banks.
945.-covert: thicket. Editors have noted that the scene has changed from the palace (cursed place, ver. 939), but T. points out that the Spirit may refer by anticipation to the covert, everyone knowing that a forest lay round the palace of Comus. This is supported, he notes acutely, by the use of thence, not “hence,” in the next line. · 949.-gratulate: welcome, rejoice in.
963.—Mercury does not seem to be elsewhere associated with the wood nymphs or Dryads. He may be mentioned here on account of his being the god of inventiveness (cf. devise), the discoverer of music, and proverbially light-footed.
976-1011.-When the masque was originally per. formed, this passage, with slight change, was sung at the opening, and the epilogue began at But now my tasky ver. 1012,
981, 2.-Cf. ver. 393 and note.
992.–Iris: goddess of the rainbow. Cf. ver, 83, Iris woof.
995.-purfled: with embroidered edge (V.).
999.- Adonis: the youth beloved of Venus, who died of a wound from a boar's tusk. [The "gardens of Adonis,” to which many editors refer in connection with this passage, are not here alluded to.]
1002.- Assyrian queen: Ashtaroth, i. li, Venus. She is given her oriental name here in recollection of the eastern origin of the Adonis myth.
1005.-Psyche: the soul, beloved of Cupid, according to a late (myth. Venus opposed her son's love, and wandering labors refers to the tasks set by the goddess for Psyche to perform before she could gain immortality and be united to Cupid.
1011.—This offspring of Cupid and Psyche is Milton's own invention. 1015.-bowed welkin: vaulted heaven.
LYCIDAS Title.—The name is taken from the pastoral poetry of Theocritus and Vergil. Here it stands for Edward King, the subject of the elegy. Monody: originally "a solo," then "a lament.” This argument was written by Milton for the second edition of the poem.
1-14.--The poem opens with a reference to Milton's resuming the writing of poetry-Yet once more-after heo had determined to discontinue it for a time.
1, 2.-laurels ... myrtles ... ivy: evergreens tradition. ally used for the crowning of poets.
2.-brown: dark. Cf. Il Pens., ver. 134 and note. sera: dry, withered.
3.-crude: utripe (with reference to his sense of unreadiness for writing great poetry).
5.-shatter: scatter (originally forms of the same word). before . . . year: before the autumn ripens the fruit, i. e., before time matures my genius.
6.--dear. In Shakspere this word is used, as here, of anything that comes home to one intimately, whether good or bad. constraint: compulsion.
7.-compels: singular verb, because constraint and occasion refer to one idea. due: proper.
10.--knew to sing: a Latin idiom. In modern English we should say, “knew how.” .
11.-rhyme: used here for verse. 13.-welter: toss about.
14.--tear. This was a conventional figure for elegiac poetry.
15.-sisters. The Muses were goddesses of inspiring springs, and so were associated with a number of fountains. V. thinks that sacred well here is Aganippe on Mt. Helicon, where there was an altar to Jove; M. and B. think it is Pieria, near Mt. Olympus, on which were the residences of the gods. There is nothing in the passage to give ground for a definite conclusion. Cf. Il Pens., ver. 47, 8, and note.
18.--coy: bashful, difficult of access, disdainful.
19.-Muse here stands for "poet." Note the he in ver. 21.
20.-lucky: wishing me good luck.
23-36.-In this passage the elegy becomes clearly pastoral. The hill, the shepherds, the rural ditties, etc., signify Cambridge, the student society, college verses, etc. But the allegory is not to be interpreted in every detail, or it becomes ridiculous.
27.- drove: supply “our flocks."