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P. 174. The difference between the poems of Beaumont and those of Fletcher shows two strongly opposed types of mind: Fletcher, musical, sensuous, almost effeminate; Beaumont, solid and reflective. In fact, Beaumont had no real lyric gift; he simply wrote tolerable verse.

The interest of the Letter to Jonson is entirely in its picture of the gatherings at the Mermaid Inn. For an illustration of the kind of wit that Beaumont had in mind, see the word contest between Mercutio and Romeo, Romeo and Juliet, II, iv, 38-106.

11. 58-65. The meaning is: "My wit has gone to seed. I shall take to writing cheap ballads. I am getting to like country sports such as telling riddles and singing catches. Soon I shall even be proud of being able to use long words so fast am I degenerating." For the kind of ballads that Beaumont means, see Winter's Tale, IV, iv, 262-296. In sell bargains (1. 62) he refers to a country sport known as the New Fair.

11. 67-68. Our young men (in Leicestershire, where the poem was probably written) know little and talk much.

1. 69. They have vegetable souls, like the trees.

1. 79. Apparently refers to the finishing of a play, The Coxcombe, which Beaumont and Fletcher were working on in the summer of 1609.


P. 174. Drummond, whose picturesque country place at Hawthornden, near Edinburgh, is still visited by tourists, was a dilettante who played at poetry as he played at science. In his literary isolation in Scotland, he continued to imitate the Italians after their influence had ceased to be felt in England.


1. 5. Small, capitalized because it refers to the microcosm, small universe, a term commonly applied to man, over against the macrocosm, the great universe.

1. 13. this prince, Prince Henry, son of King James I; his death was greatly lamented by the English people.


Translated from the Italian of Guarini.



P. 175. l. 14. pelican. According to ancient fable the pelican wounded her own breast and fed her young with the blood. Because of this, she was often used in religious poetry as a type of Christ.

In his own day, Wither was known as a bold and insuppressible satirist. But as his satire was of temporary and local interest and as his style, though vigorous, was simple and often diffuse, his satires are no longer read. His lyrics have grace and playfulness and this one, at least, has a permanent place in English anthologies.



Pp. 176 f. A copy of the first edition of this poem with notes written in Milton's handwriting points to the most significant fact about Browne, that he was a sort of bridge over which pastoral poetry passed from Spenser to Milton. It does not seem, however, that his influence on Milton was of much importance.

This passage is interesting as a seventeenth century attempt at a description of romantic


Il. 141-144. Cf. Herrick's Corinna's Going AMaying (p. 177).

1. 158. frizzled coats, apparently a conceit for foliage, i.e., trees.

1. 163. end the creek. of is omitted for metrical


1. 173. thronged. The waters were crowded together as the creek grew narrow. The phrase is an instance of post-Elizabethan obscure subtlety.



P. 177. Nash wrote of her in 1591: "artes do adore [her] as a second Minerva, and our poets extol [her] as the patroness of their invention." See notes on Sidney's Arcadia and on Samuel Daniel.


Pp. 177 f. Herrick has, in addition to the sweetness and melody of the Elizabethans, a sense of proportion and of the fitness of things to which they rarely attained. Where they are sponta

neous and unrestrained, he has the repose that comes with a sense of art. One of the greatest charms of his work is the country freshness that he managed to get into it from long association with Devonshire. Another is an occasional flash of imaginative insight that fuses commonplace words into an immortal phrase, as when, in describing the movement of a woman's silk dress, he speaks of "the liquefaction of her clothes" (Upon Julia's Clothes, l. 3).


P. 177. Cf. Campion's poem on the same subject, p. 162.


The custom of maying in the sixteenth century is thus described by Stowe:

"In the moneth of May, namely on May day in the morning, every man, except impediment, would walke into the sweete meadowes and greene woods, there to rejoyce their spirites with the beauty and savour of sweete flowers, and with the harmony of birds, praysing God in their kind, and for example hereof Edward Hall hath noted, that K. Henry the eight, as in the 3. of his raigne, and divers other yeares, so namely in the seaventh of his raigne on May day in the morning with Queene Katheren his wife, accompanied with many Lords and Ladies, rode a Maying from Greenwitch to the high ground of Shooters hill, where as they passed by the way, they espied a companie of tall yeomen cloathed all in Greene, with greene whoodes [hoods], and with bowes and arrowes to the number of 200. One being their Chieftaine was called Robin Hoode, who required the king and his companie to stay and see his men shoote, whereunto the king graunting, Robin Hoode whistled, and all the 200. Archers shot off, loosing all at once, and when he whistled againe, they likewise shot againe, their arrowes whistled by craft of the head, so that the noyse was straunge and loude, which greatly delighted the King, Queene and their Companie. Moreover, this Robin Hoode desired the King & Queene with their retinue to enter the greene wood, where, in harbours made of boughes, and decked with flowers, they were set and served plentifully with venison and wine, by Robin Hoode and his meynie, to their great contentment, and had other Pageants and pastimes as ye may reade in my saide Authour. I find also that in the moneth of May, the Citizens of London of all estates, lightly in every Parish, or

sometimes two or three parishes joyning togither had their severall mayings, and did fetch in Maypoles, with diverse warlike shewes, with good Archers, Morice dauncers, and other devices for pastime all the day long, and towards the Evening they had stage playes, and Bonefiers in the streetes."

1. 4. fresh-quilted. A homely country touch, with a world of associations of cottage life.

11. 30-31. Each field is so full of people, and each street is so full of boughs.


Pp. 178 f. Like Herrick, Herbert was a clergyman, but while Herrick was in feeling almost a pagan, Herbert was almost a saint. It seems extraordinary that he should have been the brother of the brilliant and worldly philosopher, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and the friend of the subtle and thought-tormenting Dr. Donne, and still have developed his serene and unique genius. He is the poet who most nearly represents the early Christian ideal of ethics, the surrender of worldly things to the life of the spirit, yet without the mystic rapture of Vaughan and Crashaw.


Pp. 179 ff. The ironmonger who owned "half a shop" in Fleet Street, the nonagenarian whose life stretched across from Marlowe to Pope, the simple-minded gentleman who thought that he knew all about fishing and who somehow got himself the friendship of the most interesting literary men of his day, achieved fame seemingly without trying. There are critics who say that he made mistakes in his theory of fishing, but there are few readers who deny the spell of perfect naturalness and simplicity and the sense of being in the open air that comes when we begin to walk with him up Tottenham Hill. His Compleat Angler went through five editions between 1653 and 1676 — a fact which shows that England had other interests besides deposing and restoring kings and persecuting people for their religious beliefs.


P. 181. See the note on Waller, Carew and others, p. 717 below.


Pp. 181 ff. When the diarist Evelyn visited Sir Thomas Browne at Norwich, he found the

house and garden of "that famous scholar and physitian," full of "rarities, and that of the best collections, especially medails, books, plants, and natural things." His mind likewise was stocked with "rarities" of thought. His curiosity in regard to out-of-the-way matters is illustrated by his Hydriotaphia: Urn-Burial; or, a Discourse of the Sepulchral Urns Lately Found in Norfolk.

The occasion of this discourse was the discovery in 1658 of between forty and fifty burial urns which Sir Thomas believed to be of Romans or Romanized Britons. His interest in the matter led him to write a discussion of the different methods of burial; and to conclude that the desire of the ancients to "subsist in lasting monuments, to live in their productions, to exist in their names . . . is nothing in the metaphysics of true belief."

Sir Thomas Browne is impressive because of a certain breadth of wisdom due to much reading and reflection, and perhaps even more because of the slow and rhythmical pacing of his rich and elaborate style.


Pp. 184 f. As Waller was the most notable of the love poets of the seventeenth century, and his long life almost covered the century, we may group with him others who distinguished themselves especially for this same kind of lyric verse, Carew and Suckling, and later, Lovelace, Sedley, and Rochester.

Waller's "sweetness," as Pope's criticism possibly implies (Essay on Criticism, II, 361, p. 275), at once made and marred his work. He lacks both ideas and virility, but such short lyrics as On a Girdle and Go, Lovely Rose, are pearls without a flaw.

Carew (p. 181) is somewhat violent in his imagery and the mental conceptions behind it. The idea of his Song is that his lady is the source of roses, the nightingale's song, the stars, and that she is the Phoenix's nest in which that unique and immortal bird is born again (cf. note on Crashaw's Hymn, l. 46, p. 724). This is a perfect case of a "metaphysical" conceit, that is, an extravagance of imagery based upon an elaborately ingenious idea.

Suckling (p. 214) is at the opposite pole from Carew, being simple, natural, and genial.

Lovelace (p. 218) is the noblest of the group, because the most sincere. Though not as simple as Waller and Sedley, he is not as sentimental. He lacks Suckling's humor and Rochester's wit, but he has an earnestness and a quaintness all his own.

Rochester (p. 244) has, like Suckling, a sense of humor, but he is sharp rather than sunny, to a degree not illustrated by the selections given.

Sedley (p. 243) is merely prettily sentimental, and falls far short of Waller.


P. 184. Thyrsis is Waller himself who professes adoration for a lady whom he calls Sacharissa (Dorothy, Countess of Sunderland); but the passion seems to have been purely literary. The classical myth here "applied" is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses, I, 452-567 (cf. also Gayley's Classic Myths, pp. 138-141).


Pp. 185 ff. Thomas Fuller was famous, both as preacher and as writer, for his quips and ingenious conceits. He had learning and native wit, and he came at a time when elaborate combinations of the two were allowed and praised.

The volume from which our selection is taken is a miscellaneous collection of sketches and moral essays.


Pp. 189 ff. While all Milton's early work gives abundant evidence of his love of the classics and his study of classic methods, only Lycidas, among the poems here quoted, may be said to approach a classic model in form and in substance. The titles L'Allegro and Il Penseroso show Italian influence, while the use of nature in both poems is as English as Herrick's; Il Penseroso is decidedly romantic, after the first thirty lines even mediævally romantic, in treatment, while On the Morning of Christ's Nativity is a precursor of Paradise Lost in its blending of Greek and Hebraic elements.


This ode was begun, as Milton himself says in one of his Latin elegies (VI, ll. 81-90), on Christmas Day. The irregular metre, with its wonderful interlacing of short and long lines, gives an extraordinary effect as of leaping flames.

Il. 45-60. Milton emphasizes the idea that the Roman peace throughout the world at the time of Christ's birth was in preparation for the coming of the Prince of Peace.

1. 48. the turning sphere, perhaps specifically the Primum Mobile. Milton knew the Coper

nican system of astronomy, which regards the earth as one of a system of planets revolving round the sun; but in his poetry he preferred to make use of the older system known as the Ptolemaic. As this system is constantly referred to in our earlier literature, it may be explained here briefly : 1. The earth is the centre of the mundane universe. 2. Surrounding it at different distances, and revolving on it as a centre, are several hollow transparent spheres. 3. In the first seven of these are placed the seven planets, one planet in the surface of each sphere, in the following order: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. Each planet is carried about by the motion of its own sphere but has also its own motion in the surface of its sphere. 4. The eighth hollow sphere is that of the fixed stars, which are immovably set in its surface. 5. Outside of these eight spheres, according to the older view, was a ninth sphere, called the Primum Mobile or First Mover, which revolved round the earth daily from east to west and caused the succession of day and night. Its motion was so powerful and its adjustment to the other spheres of such a nature that it carried them all about with it in its diurnal revolution, though each of them had an independent motion from west to east and each of the planets was free to move within its sphere or orb, as has just been said. As the spheres were placed at harmonic intervals, they were supposed to make a divine music, inaudible by human ears. 6. By Milton's time this simple system had been found inadequate to account for all the motions of the heavenly bodies and a crystalline sphere had been added (between the Primum Mobile and the fixed stars), to account for certain irregularities (see Par. Lost, III, 481-483). 7. The Mundane Universe, consisting of this system of spheres, is surrounded on all sides by Chaos (unorganized matter). 8. The Mundane Universe is suspended from Heaven (or the Empyrean), which lies above it, by a golden chain (see Tennyson's Morte D'Arthur, 254-255). 9. Below the Mundane Universe, and distant from Heaven by three times the radius of that Universe, lies Hell (cf. Par. Lost, I, 72-4).

1. 68. birds of calm, halcyons, fabulous birds, identified with kingfishers, supposed to nest on the sea for seven days before and after the winter solstice. At this time the sea was always calm. For the story of Ceyx and Halcyone, see Ovid, Metamorphoses, XI, 410-748, or Gayley's Classic Myths, pp. 194-196. Cf. also Theocritus, Idyls, VII (the Song of Lycidas).

P. 190. 1. 89. Pan, here Christ. The identi

fication came about through the character of each as a shepherd (cf. John, x:11).

II. 125-132. The music of the spheres. It was a common idea that this could be heard by the pure of heart. In Arcades (11. 61-73), Milton follows Plato in imagining the Muses (celestial sirens), as making the music of the spheres.

P. 191. ll. 173-180. The pagan religion has come to an end. Professor Shorey suggests that the form Delphos (1. 178) may be due to Milton's recollection of the striking passage in Æschylus' Eumenides, 1. 16, in which the King of Delphi is called Delphos. He also points out that Sir Thomas Browne uses Delphos for Delphi. Marlowe has Colchos for Colchis.

ll. 181-188. The mourning is for the death of Pan, here symbolical of paganism, not of Christ, as in l. 89.

P. 192. ll. 229–231. Certainly a grotesque picture.


Pp. 192 ff. Although these companion pieces are almost balanced in structure, Milton's preference for the thoughtful mood appears in two ways. He adds to Il Penseroso (l. 167-174) a desire for a life of continued solitude which carries him outside his plan of giving a day for each mood; and furthermore, in L'Allegro he is throughout walking apart, merely the observer of the life of joy; not for a moment is he "admitted" to be of the "crew" of Mirth.

The plan of each poem is: (1) an introduction banishing the opposite mood; (2) the origin of the mood; (3) a day lived in each mood; (4) the poet's attitude.

In L'Allegro, the typical day begins with the lark and a sunshiny early morning in the country; continues with a rustic dinner and work in the fields, followed by country sports and tales; and ends with a description of evening life in cities, with social gatherings, marriages, comedies, and Lydian (secular) music.

In Il Penseroso, it begins with the nightingale, a moonlight walk, the study of astronomy and philosophy, the reading of tragedies and romances; continues with a stormy morning, a woodland walk; and ends with religious music in a cathedral. It is interesting to work out minutely the balancing of detail; also to observe the difference in treatment due to Milton's personal preference. It is obvious that he is not interested in Nature except as a means of reflecting his moods; and equally clear that he is thoroughly interested in

music for its own sake. Cf. L'Allegro, ll. 136-144, Il Penseroso, ll. 161-166, and Paradise Lost, I, 550-559 (in which he describes martial music). No one but a musician could have written so fully and so technically. Lines 139-144 of L'Allegro exactly describe the elaborations of the seventeenth century songs. Milton played both the bass viol and the organ. Observe also the prominence he ascribes to music in his scheme of education, p. 209.

Metrically, each poem begins with a ten-line introduction in alternate short and long lines, and then drops into the regular beat of the eightsyllabled iambic couplet. There is, however, a great difference in effect caused by the omission in more than a third of the lines of L'Allegro of the unaccented first syllable, which gives a tripping trochaic movement (cf., for example, ll. 25-34, and ll. 69-70, which are actually trochaic). In Il Penseroso this unaccented syllable is kept in more than seven-eighths of the lines and gives a slower, more regular movement (cf., for example, ll. 155176).


Il. 33-68. One long, loosely constructed sentence, the effect of which is to give a hurried, almost breathless movement. to come (1. 45) is parallel with singing (1. 42) and begin (1. 41), though it can scarcely be said to depend upon hear (1. 41); while To hear and listening (1. 53) and walking (1. 57) are parallel and refer to the poet.

P. 193. 1. 83. Corydon and Thyrsis, neighbors, as in Vergil, Eclogues, VII (where they are called "Arcades ambo"). Phillis (1. 86), regularly associated with the former in pastoral verse and praised by both in the Eclogue just cited, is waiting on them. Thestylis here is apparently a woman's name, as in Theocritus, Idyls, II, and Vergil, Eclogues, II.

1. 102. fairy Mab. See Drayton's Nymphidia, p. 150, and the note on it.

1. 104. Apparently a confusion of will o' the wisp ("ignis fatuus") which appeared outdoors, and Friar Rush, a demonic apparition that haunted houses; the drudging goblin is Puck or Robin Goodfellow. See A Midsummer Night's Dream, II, i, 16–57.

1. 136. soft Lydian airs, voluptuous music.

Il. 145-150. Orpheus by his music persuaded Pluto, the god of Hades, to give him back his wife Eurydice, from the dead. But he broke Pluto's condition that he should not look back at her until they had left Hades, and so lost her again. Cf. Gayley's Classic Myths, pp. 185-188, Ovid, Meta

morphoses, X, 1-77, and Vergil, Georgics, IV, 453– 506.

Il Penseroso

The germ of this poem is in Fletcher's Sweetest Melancholy, p. 173 (cf. note on that poem).

P. 194. ll. 83-84. The bellman was a night watchman who passed through the streets ringing a bell and calling out the hours and the weather. He also pronounced a blessing on the sleeping city. 1. 88. thrice-great Hermes. Hermes Trismegistus, the Greek god Hermes (Roman Mercury) who came to be identified with the Egyptian Thoth, and was the reputed author of magical, alchemical, and astrological works.

11. 99-100. The three great subjects of the classical drama, of which Milton was a devoted admirer. That he cared less for the Elizabethan drama appears from ll. 101-102.

1. 104. See note on Hero and Leander, p. 706, above.

ll. 109-115. Chaucer. The persons named are in the unfinished Squire's Tale, to which Milton refers perhaps as a type of pure romance.

P. 195. ll. 116-120. Probably The Faerie Queene which Milton admired and imitated.

ll. 156-160. The characteristic features of Gothic architecture: the cloister, which is always attached to a cathedral, the vaulted roof, pillars massive and strong, and stained-glass windows. But on this point Milton was not in accord with the taste of the times. About thirty years after he wrote these lines, Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt many of the churches destroyed by the Great Fire of London, in a very different style of architecture; and it was not until a century later that a liking for the Gothic was revived.


Contributed for the memorial volume of Latin poems published by the friends of Edward King, whose death is referred to in the note at the beginning of the poem. Milton had been five years away from Cambridge, with which King was still connected at the time of his death. There is no evidence, external or internal, of any special friendship between the men; and almost half the poem is given to Milton's own ideas and affairs (ll. 19-22 and 64-84), a lament over the corruption of the church (II. 114-131), and elaborate embellishments in imitation both of classical elegiasts and of Spenser.

The framework of Lycidas, following the general conventions of the Greek pastoral, is as follows:

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