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For the present line 895—“ That in the channel stays,"—the Cambridge draft had
“ That my rich wheels inlays." For the present line 983—" That sing about the golden tree,”—the Cambridge draft shows an intention to substitute
“Where grows the high-borne gold upon his native tree ;" but the line is scored out.
Between line 995 and line 996 the Cambridge draft has this, crossed for erasure :
“ Yellow, watchet, green, and blue.”' III. PASSAGES OF THE PRESENT TEXT WANTING IN THE ORIGINAL CAMBRIDGE DRAFT :-One of these has been already mentioned : viz. the nine lines 357–365, in place of which the original draft gave three lines, afterwards rejected. Besides this, however, the twenty-six lines from "Shall I go on?” in line 779 to “And try her yet more strongly” in line 806 are mentioned by Todd as wanting in the original draft; also the four lines 984-987; also the beautiful passage about Adonis and Psyche, lines 999—1011. It may be here noted also that the thirty-four lines now numbered 672–705, containing Comus's recommendation of the “cordial julep” and the Lady's rejection of the same, do not come in at quite so early a point in the original draft, but about fifty lines later—i.e. at what is now line 755. That line originally stood thus : “ Think what, and look upon this cordial julep”; and the further recommendation of the julep by Comus, with the Lady's rejection of it, followed. The throwing back of this incident fifty lines in the Masque was a rather important change.
IV. PASSAGES OF THE PRESENT TEXT WANTING IN THE BRIDGEWATER STAGE COPY :—The three beautiful lines 188—190 ; the thirty lines and a half beginning "Else, O thievish Night," line 195 and ending “this tufted grove,” line 225; the nine lines 357–365, mentioned above as wanting also in the Cambridge draft; the six lines 632—637 ; the four lines 697-700 ; the words “the forehead of the deep, and so bestud” in lines 733, 734; the twenty lines beginning “List, Lady," line 737, and ending "you are but young yet," line 756 ; the twenty-seven lines beginning “Shall I go on?” in line 779 and ending “And try her yet more strongly "in line 806—this passage being wanting also in the Cambridge draft ; the single line 847; also the four lines 984-987, and the twelve, 1000—1011, in the Guardian Spirit's Epilogue (wanting also in the Cambridge draft), the rest of that Epilogue, as has been mentioned, having been turned into a Prologue to the Masque in the actual performance.—What reasons can be assigned for these defects in the stage-copy? In several cases the reason is obvious. Some of the passages wanting in the stage-copy are wanting also in the Cambridge draft, and were therefore not extant at the time of the Ludlow performance, but were added afterwards. It is interesting to note that each of these added passages is a fine one, and that one of them (779-806) contains that exposition of the "power of chastity," or that “sage and serious doctrine of Virginity,” which is the main moral of the Masque. But why were the other passages of the present text, which were also in the original draft, and therefore available for the Ludlow performance, omitted in that performance? Some of them may have been omitted from mere inadvertence (e.g. 733, 734 and 847), or merely to lighten the speaking here and there, especially for the young Lady Alice Egerton (e.g. 195--225); but in one or two cases I think a deeper reason may be perceived. If the reader will look at the omitted passages 195—225, and 697-700, he will see that they are such as the Earl and Countess of Bridgewater would hardly have liked to hear their young daughter, on the stage in Ludlow Castle, speaking aloud or having audibly addressed to her. That, I believe, was the reason of the omission of these passages from the stage-copy, though they were in Milton's original draft. The moral of the Masque would be sufficiently clear to the spectators without them, expressed as it was by the mere succession of the incidents and situations, and by the dialogue of the Boy Brothers in lines 350-475, though several lines in that dialogue were less emphatic in the original draft and the stage-copy than they are now in the printed text. We can see that Milton took care, in that text, to make the expression of the moral more definite. Not only did he restore the passages of the original draft that had been omitted in the stage-copy ; but he added the long passage 779-806, which had not been in the original draft.
V. MORE MINUTE VARIATIONS :- These are very numerous, especially if we include not only the improvements made in the printed text upon the text as it finally stood in the Cambridge draft, but also (what we have hardly a right to do, though Todd does it) the original readings in the draft itself visible under the subsequent amendments. The following are perhaps the most important, C standing for the Cambridge draft and B for the Bridgewater MS. -For line 21 C had first “ The rule and title of each sea-girt isle.” For “the main ” in line 28 C had “his empire.” For line 58 C had “Which therefore she brought up and named him Comus," and B“ Which therefore she brought up and Comus named.” For line 9o C had “Nearest and likeliest to give present aid.” For “ Atlantic" in line 97 C had “ Tartarian.” For “dusky” in line 99 B gives " northern,” and C had the same at first, though “ dusky" is given in the margin. For "Advice with " in line 108 C had “ quick Law with her.” For “hath” in line 123 both C and B have "has," and the grammatical change is worth noting. For line 133 C has first “And makes a blot of nature," next “And throws a blot o'er all the air.” For line 144 C had “With a light and frolic round.” For “charms” in line 150 C gives “trains,” and for “my
wily trains" in the next line " my mother's charms." For “ dazzling" in line 154 C gives "powdered.” For “snares ” in line 164 C gives
For “mine” in line 170 both C and B give “my,” and the change is worth noting. For “granges” in line 175 C had “ garners.” For “mazes” in line 181 C had “alleys” and for “tangled” in the same line “arched.” For “wain ” in line 190 C had “chair.” For line 194 C gives “To the soon-parting light, and envious Darkness"; and for “stole” in the next line both C and B give “stolne "—which reading was retained in Lawes's printed edition. For the fine phrase, “that syllable men's names,” in line 208, C had the much feebler one, lure night-wanderers." For " hovering" in line 214 C had “fittering," retained in Lawes's printed text; and for “unblemished” in the following line C had “unspotted.” For “guardian” in line 219 Chad “cherub." For “shell in line 231 C had “cell.” For “give resounding grace" in line 243 C had originally “ hold a counterpoint”: this reading is carefully erased there, and the present substituted; but “hold a counterpoint” is the reading in the Bridgewater MS. For "it" in line 252 both C and B have “she," and Lawes's printed text retains “she”: the change is worth noting. For "wept" in line 257 C had “would weep," and for “And chid" in the following line “Chiding." For “prosperous” in line 270 C and B give “prospering.” For “near-ushering guides ” in line 279 C had “ their ushering hands.” For the sure guess ” in line 310 C had “
sure steerage.” For “Or shroud within these limits” in line 316 C gives “Within these shroudy limits.” For “And yet is most pretended” in line 326 C gives “And is pretended yet.” For “amongst rude burs and thistles ” in line 352 C had “ in this dead solitude.” For “sweet retired solitude” in line 376 C had “ solitary sweet retire.” For “weeds” in line 390 C gives “beads," and for “ His few books, or his beads” in the following line "His books, or his hair gown." For “wild surrounding waste ” in line 403 C had first “wide surrounding waste," and this is retained in B, but was altered in C into “ vast and hideous wild.” For “
rays” in line 425 C had “ awe.” For “Some say” in line 432 C and B give “Nay more.” For “meagre” in line 434 C had “wrinkled.” For “lewd and lavish” in line 465 C had“ the lascivious" and B “lewd lascivious.” For “ sepulchres” in line 471 C gives “monuments," and for “Lingering" in the next line C, B, and Lawes's text, all give “Hovering.” For "roving robber” in line 485 C had originally “curled man of the sword”; then“ hedger.” For “iron ” in line 491 C had “pointed.” For “ dale” in line 496 C had “valley.” For "swain ” in line 497 C and B give “shepherd,” and for “Slipped from the fold line C had “Leapt o'er the pen.” For "ye" in line 513 C, B, and Lawes's text all give “you.” For “hilly crofts” in line 531 C had "pastured lawns.” In C the two lines 555, 556 were originally “At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound Rose like the soft steam of distilled perfumes ”; the first “soft” was changed to “still” and then to
"sweet," and with this last change the lines appear in B : afterwards, however, “soft” was readmitted in C in the first line, the “soft” in the second giving place first to "slow” and then to “rich.” For “monstrous forms” in line 605 both C and B give monstrous bugs," and the change is notable. For “unthread” in line 614 C gives “unquilt.” For “names” in line 627 C gives “hues.” For “ That Hermes once" in line 636 C had “Which Mercury.” For “ dauntless hardihood” in line 650 C had “sudden violence.” For “or as Daphne" in line 661 C had “fixed as Daphne.” For “fur" in line 707 C had “ gown,” and for “Thronging” in line 713 “Cramming.” Lines 732—734 stood, as five lines, thus in C:
“ The sea oerfraught would heave her waters up
Above the stars, and the unsought diamonds
Were they not taken thence, that they below.”
in line 806 C had “ Come, y' are too moral”; and instead of the next three lines these two :
“This is mere moral stuff, the very lees
And settlings,” &c. For “rod” in line 816 C had “art." For “Some other means I have which” in line 821 C had “ There is another way that.” For "pearled” in line 834 C had “white," and for “took” in the same line “received." Line 851 in C ran thus, “ Of pansies and of bonnie daffodils," and line 853 thus, “Each clasping charm and secret holding spell." For “art sitting” in line 860 C had originally “sit’st.” For “ Brightest ” in line 910 C had “ Virtuous.” Line 921 in C ran thus “To wait on Amphitrite in her bower.” For “sits” in line 957 C had “reigns.” Lines 962, 963 ran thus in C:-
“Of nimbler toes, and courtly guise
Such as Hermes did devise." For“ broad” in line 979 C gives "plain.” Lines 990, 991 stood thus in C:
“ About the myrtle alleys fling
Balm and cassia's fragrant smells." For “Elysian ” in line 996 C had “Sabæan,” besides an earlier reading, cancelled ; and for “young Adonis oft” in line 999 “many a cherub soft.” For “task is smoothly” in line 1012 C gives “message well is”; for “green Earth's end” in line 1014" Earth's green end,” besides a previous reading cancelled; for “slow” in line 1015 "low" or “clear"; and for “stoop” in line 1023 “bow.” B retains “ Earth's
ARGUMENT.-The last word of the Argument is spelt "height," as now, in both Milton's own editions, and not “highth,” as usual with him.
1. “ Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more.” Some such formula was frequent with poets in beginning a new exercise of their art. once again, my Muse,” is an example quoted by Warton from an anonymous elegy on the death of the Countess of Pembroke, Sidney's sister. In the present case, the formula has additional significance from the fact that three years had elapsed since Milton had written Comus, and in that interval, so far as we know, he had done nothing in English verse. A new occasion, he seems to say, compels him, amid his harder studies, to resume his pen in that style.—This first line of the poem, it is worth observing, stands without any following rhyme.
3—5. " I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude . . . before the mellowing year;" The critics have detected in this a “beautiful allusion to the unripe age of his friend." But have they not missed the real meaning ? The “laurels,” the “myrtles," and the “ivy never-sere " (never dry, ever green), are the plants that supply poets with their wreaths; to "pluck their berries or abstract their “leaves" is to solicit such a wreath-.e. to write a poem; and to pluck the berries when they are “harsh and crude,” or “ shatter the leaves” by hastily fingering them before the due season (“the mellowing year "), is to yield to the temptation of writing a poem on some sudden occasion, instead of reserving oneself for a fuller and riper work. The sequel shows that this is Milton's meaning.
7. " Compels." Notice the singular verb after the two nominatives.
8, 9. " Lycidas is dead . . . young Lycidas.” A form of repetition not uncommon : thus in the lines in Spenser's Astrophel (Elegy on Sir Philip Sidrey) quoted by Mr. Browne :
Young Astrophel, the pride of shepheard's praise,
Young Astrophel, the rustick lasses' love." Again in the same poet's Eleventh Eclogue :
“For dead is Dido, dead, alas ! and drent ;
Dido, the great shephcard his daughter sheene.” The name Lycidas, chosen by Milton for Edward King, is taken, as was customary in such elegies, from the classic pastorals. It occurs in Theocritus ; and Virgil has the name for one of the speakers in his Ninth Eclogue. The only real Lycidas whose existence is registered in our Biographical Dictionaries was an Athenian of that name (Avklồns) who was stoned to death by his fellow-citizens, B.C. 479.