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HENCE, loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights
And the night-raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd
Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness sads his jealous Meadows trim with daisies pide,
As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free,
In Heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth;
Whom lovely Venus, at
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore:
Or whether (as some sager sing)
The frolic wind, that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-maying;
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering Morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill :
Some time walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern-gate
Where the great Sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight;
While the ploughman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his sithe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee Jest, and youthful Jollity, Quips, and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles, Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, And love to live in dimple sleek; Sport that wrinkled Care derides, And Laughter holding both his sides. Come, and trip it, as you go, On the light fantastic toe; And in thy right hand lead with thee The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty; And, if I give thee honour due, Mirth, admit me of thy crew, To live with her, and live with thee, In unreproved pleasures free; To hear the lark begin his flight, And singing startle the dull Night, From his watch-tower in the skies, Till the dappled Dawn doth rise; Then to come, in spite of sorrow, And at my window bid good morrow, Through the sweet-briar, or the vine, Or the twisted eglantine: While the cock, with lively din, Scatters the rear of Darkness thin. And to the stack, or the barn-door, Stoutly struts his dames before:
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
Whilst the landscape round it measures;
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
Mountains, on whose barren breast,
The labouring clouds do often rest;
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide:
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smoaks,
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;
And then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sun-shine holy-day,
Till the live-long day-light fail:
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How faery Mab the junkets eat;
She was pinch'd, and pull'd, she sed;
And he, by friars lantern led,
Tells how the drudging goblin swet,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-labourers could not end;
Then lies him down the lubbar fiend,
And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trød stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his hative wood-notes wild.
And ever, against eating cares, Lap me in soft Lydian airs, Married to immortal verse; Such as the meeting soul may pierce, In notes, with many a winding bout Of linked sweetness long drawn out, With wanton heed and giddy cunning; The melting voice through mazes running, Untwisting all the chains that tie The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.
HENCE, vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly without father bred!
How little you bested,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the sun-beams; Or likest hovering dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
But hail, thou goddess, sage and holy,
Hail, divinest Melancholy!
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight,
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue;
Black, but such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended:
Yet thou art higher far descended:
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta, long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she; in Saturn's reign,
Such mixture was not held a stain:
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
lie met her, and in secret shades
Of woody. Ida's inmost grove,
Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove.
Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestic train,
And sable stole of Cyprus lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn
Come, but keep thy wonted state,
With even step, and musing gait;
And looks commércing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
There, held in holy passion still,
Forget thyself to marble, till
With a sad leaden downward cast
Thou fix them on the earth as fast:
And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring
Aye round about Jove's altar sing:
And add to these retired Leisure,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure:
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring,
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist along,
'Less Philomel will deign a song,
In her sweetest saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night,
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke,
Gently o'er the accustom'd oak:
Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy!
Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among,
I woo, to hear thy even-song;
And, missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
To behold the wandering Moon,
Riding near her highest noon,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the Heaven's wide pathless way;
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft, on a plat of rising ground,
I hear the far-off Curfeu sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
Swinging slow with sullen roar :
Or, if the air will not permit,
Some still removed place will fit,
Where glowing embers through theroom
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom;
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the cricket on the hearth,
Or the belman's drowsy charm,
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lamp at midnight hour,
Be seen in some high lonely tower,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
With thrice-great Hermes, or unsphere.
The spirit of Plato, to unfold
What worlds or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
And of those demons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet, or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In scepter'd pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine;
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskin'd stage.
But, O sad virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musæus from his bower!
These pleasures, Melancholy, give, And I with thee will choose to live.
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes, as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what love did seek!
Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass;
And of the wonderous horse of brass.
On which the Tartar king did ride:
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of turneys, and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear,
Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kercheft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or usher'd with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill, Ending on the russling leaves, With minute drops from off the eaves. And, when the Sun begins to fling His flaring beams, me, goddess, bring To arched walks of twilight groves, And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves, Of pine, or monumental oak, Where the rude axe, with heaved stroke, Was never heard the nymphs to daunt, Or fright them from their hallow'd hat. There in close covert by some brook, Where no profaner eye may look, Hide me from day's garish eye, While the bee with honied thigh, That at her flowery work doth sing, And the waters murmuring, With such consort as they keep, Entice the dewy feather'd Sleep; And let some strange mysterious dream Wave at his wings in aery stream Of lively portraiture display'd, Softly on my eye-lids laid. And, as I wake, sweet music breathe Above, about, or underneath, Sent by some spirit to mortal good, Or the unseen genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail To walk the studious cloysters pale, And love the high-embowed roof, With antic pillars massy proof, And storied windows richly dight, Casting a dim religious light: There let the pealing organ blow, To the full-voic'd quire below, In service high and anthems clear, As may with sweetness, through mine ear, Dissolve me into ecstasies, And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age Find out the peaceful hermitage, The hairy gown and mossy cell, Where I may sit and rightly spell Of every star that Heaven doth shew, And every herb that sips the dew; Till old experience do attain To something like prophetic strain.
Of famous Arcardy ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alphéus, who by secret sluce
Stole under seas to meet his Arethuse;
And ye, the breathing roses of the wood,
Fair silver-buskin'd nymphs, as great and good;
I know, this quest of yours, and free intent,
Was all in honour and devotion meant
To the great mistress of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine;
And, with all helpful service, will comply
To further this night's glad solemnity;
And lead ye, where ye may more near behold 40
What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold;
Which I full oft, amidst these shades alone,
Have sat to wonder at, and gaze upon:
For know, by lot from Jove I am the power
Of this fair wood, and live in oaken bower,
To nurse the sapplings tall, and curl the grove
With ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
And all my plants I save from nightly ill
Of noisome winds, and blasting vapours chill:
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew, 50
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blue,
Or what the cross dire-looking planet smites,
Or hurtful worm with canker'd venom bites.
When Evening grey doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground;
And early, ere the odorous breath of Morn
Awakes the slumbering leaves, or tassel'd horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to
Follow me ;
I will bring you where she sits,
30 Clad in splendour as befits
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
But else in deep of night, when drowsiness
Hath lock'd up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Syrens' harmony,
That sit upon the nine infolded spheres,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law,
And the low world in measur'd motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear,
Of human mould, with gross unpurged ear;
And yet such music worthiest were to blaze
The peerless height of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferior hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds: yet, as we go,
Whate'er the skill of lesser gods can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate,
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all, that are of noble stem,
Approach, and kiss her sacred vesture's hem.
O'er the smooth enamell'd green
Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me, as I sing
And touch the warbled string,
Under the shady roof
Of branching elm star-proof.
Nymphs and shepherds, dance no more
By sandy Ladon's lilied banks;
On old Lycæus, or Cyllene hoar,
Trip no more in twilight ranks;
Though Erymanth your loss deplore,
A better soil shall give ye thanks.
From the stony Mænalus
Bring your flocks, and live with us;
Here ye shall have greater grace,
To serve the lady of this place.
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural queen
All Arcadia hath not seen:
ORIGINAL VARIOUS READINGS OF ARCADES
From Milton's MS, in his own hand.
Ver. 10. Now seems guiltie of abuse
And detraction from her praise,
Lesse than halfe she hath exprest:
Envie bid her hide the rest.
Here her hide is erased, and conceale written over it.
Ver. 18. Seated like a goddess bright.
But seated is also expunged, and sitting supplied.
Ver. 23. Ceres dares not give her odds:
Who would have thought, &c.
Both these readings are erased, and Juno and
had, as the printed copies now read, are written
Ver. 41. Those virtues which dull Fame, &c.
This likewise is expunged, and What shallow is
Ver. 44. For know, by lot from Jove I have
Here again the pen is drawn through have, and am is written over it.
Ver. 47. In ringlets quaint.
But With is placed over In expunged:
Of noisome winds, or blasting va
Ver. 50. And from the leaves brash off, &c. So it was at first. But the pen is drawn through leaves, and bowes supplied.
Ver. 52. Or what the crosse, &c.
It was at first And, as in the printed copies;
but that is erased, and Or substituted.
And number all my ranks, and
Here And and all are expunged with the pen, and visit, as in the printed copies, completes the
Ver. 62. Hath chain'd mortalitie.
This also is erased, and lockt op mortal sense writ
ten over it.
Ver. 81. And so attend you toward &c.
I will bring ye where she site.
PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634, BEFORE
JOHN EARL OF BRIDGEWATER, THEN PRESI-
DENT OF WALES.
To the right honourable JOHN lord viscount BRACLY son and heir apparent to the earl of BRIDGEWATER, &c.
stowed upon me here the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer then to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H., [ would have been bold, in our vulgar phrase, to mend my draught (for you left me with an extreme thirst) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together som good authors of the ancient time: among which, I observed you to have been familiar.
THIS poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a final dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledged by the author3, yet it is a legitimate off-spring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my severall friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now to offer it up in all rightful devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much promising youth, which give a full assurance to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by many favours been long obliged to your most honoured parents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyrsis, so now in all reall expression
Your faithfull and most humble servant,
The copy of a Letter written by sir Henry
Wootton, to the Author, upon the following
From the Colledge, this 13 of April,
This is the dedication to Lawes's edition of the Mask, 1637, to which the following motto was prefixed, from Virgil's second Eclogue,
Eheu! quid volui misero mihi! floribus
6 Mr. H.] Mr. Warton in his first edition of Comus says, that Mr. H. was "perhaps Milton's
It was a special favour, when you lately be- friend, Samuel Hartlib, whom I have seen mentioned in some of the pamphlets of this period, as well acquainted with sir Henry Wotton" but this is omitted in his second edition. Mr. Warton perhaps doubted his conjecture of the person. I venture to state from a copy of the Reliquiae Wottonianæ in my possession, in which a few notes are written (probably soon after the publication of the book, 3d edit. in 1672) that the person intended was the "ever-memorable" John Hales. This information will be supported by the reader's recollecting sir Henry's intimacy with Mr. Hales; of whom sir Henry says, in one of his letters, that he gave to his bearned friend the title of Bibliotheca ambulans, the walking Library. See Reliq. Wotton. 3d edit. p. 475, TODD. 7 Mr. R.] Ibelieve " Mr. R." to be John Rouse, Bodley's librarian. "The late R." is unques tionably Thomas Randolph, the poet. WAKTON. 8 Mr. M. B. Mr. Michael Branthwait, as I suppose; of whom sir Henry thus speaks in one of his Letters, Reliq. Wotton. 3d edit, p. 546, "Mr. Michael Branthwait, heretofore his majestie's agent in Venice, a gentleman of approved confidence and sincerity." TODD.
This motto is omitted by Milton himself in the editions of 1645, and 1673. WARTON.
The First Brother in the Mask. WARTON. 3 It never appeared under Milton's name, till the year 1645. WARTON.
4 This dedication does not appear in the edition of Milton's Poems, printed under his own inspection, 1673, when lord Brackley, under the title of earl Bridgwater, was still living. Milton was perhaps unwilling to own his early connections with a family, conspicuous for its unshaken loyalty, and now highly patronised by king Charles the Second. WARTON,
Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for a very kinde letter from you dated the sixth of this month, and for a dainty pecce of entertainment which came therwith. Wherin I should much commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your songs and odes; whereunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our language: But I must not omit to tell you ipsa mollities. unto me (how modestly soever) the true artificer. that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating For the work itself I had viewed som good while before with singular delight, having received it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R.s Poems, printed at Oxford, whereunto it is added (as I now suppose) that the accessary might help out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave the reader con la bocca dolce.
s April, 1638.] Milton had communicated to sir Henry his design of seeing foreign countries, and had sent him his Mask. He set out on his travels soon after the receipt of this letter.
Now, sir, concerning your travels wherin I may chalenge a little more privilege of discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therefore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young lord