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That ten da»-lab'rers could not end; . . Then lies him down the lubbar fiend, And, stretch'd out all the chimney's length, Basks at tire fire his hairy strength, And cropfull out of doors lie flings, Ere the first cock his matin rings. Thus done the tales, 'to bed they creep, By whisp'ring winds soon lulled asleep. “Till the day-light fails they dance, and then they retire to some cottage, to refresh themselves with ale, while they listen to the stories of Mah, queen' of the fairies, who carried off some dainty which had been laid by. One of the maidens tells how she was pinched and pulled by the fairies; whilst a young man reJates how he was "led astray by Will oʻthe Wisp; or tells how a drudging goblin, to earn a bowl of cream that had been left for him, threshed, 'in one night, with his unsubstantial flail, more than ten men could have threshed'; and how, after his labeur, the strong and hairy fiend stretched himself before the fire, till roused by the crowing of the cock, tre hurries out of doors--when the lads and lasses are tired of listening to these stories, they creep fearfully to bed, where they are soon lulled to Peep by the murmuring wind...!! !
Junket, - is another name for soft curds; and it was so much used as a treat by the country people, that, from its their meetings and merry makings have been called junketrings:
Fuseli has made beautiful pictures of these goblins, of the fairy Mab, and the lubbar, fend, conceived in the true spirit of the poétt-his picture of twilight is admirable. ,!!
Fryar's Lantern, or Will of the Wisp, is a meteor, which is spontaneously kindled in the atmosphere near graves and marshy places, where hydrogen or inflammable air is generated. This light flamę, which lasts a very short time, follows the current of the-air; and is 'suddenly extinguished. 'Formerly' these meteors terrified the vulgar; but knowledge of all sorts has been so much disseminated by the art of printing, that these vain terrours exist scarcely any where except in remote places..
Another strange legend or old story, which was formerly current in the country, was, that if a bowl of cream was laid in a barn for a certain fairy, he would come by night and thresh a large quantity of corn;'and when he was tired, would lie down before the fire in the house, till the cock crowed. .
The word lubbar is here used to express the clumsy size of the fiend. Lubhar commonly means lazy- perhaps it may here mean tired. *Cropfull;-isa term appropriate to poultry. It here means full to the throat with the cream that had been set for him.
Tow'red cities please us then,
There' let 'Hymen oft appear.
And pomp, and feast, and revelry
Such sights as youthful poets dream
“Then we seek the pleasures of the city, where knights and barons hold splendid assemblies; where ladies, from the influence of their charins, are appealed to as judges, in contests both of wit and arms; while the candidates for either prizes endeavour to win the favour of her who is considered as superiour to the rest.
“ In these assemblies may Hymen, the God of Marriage, be often present, drest in saffroncoloured robes, and carrying his nuptial torch, burning with bright and auspicious flame, accompanied by pomp, and feast and merriment; with masks and splendid shows, such as were anciently represented, and attended with every pleasure that youthful pride and poeti: imagination can dream of, while reposing in summer evenings by the side of some haunted stream."
Milton now quits the country, where the tired peasant early goes to rest ; and he describes the 'revels, and amusements of cities, which usually begin at a late hour.
Weeds of peace.-Weeds formerly meant any kind of dress; but is now confined to the mourning dresses of widows, which are called their weeds. . . . · The poet seems to forget himself a little when he speaks of adjudging a prize both of wit and arms at a midnight assembly. Perhaps he means a change of time, as well as of scene. In the days of chivalry, and even as late as the reign of queen Elizabeth, justs, tilts, and tournaments were common amusements., They were warlike games, in which young men contended for superiority, with strength and address. A large space was enclosed with a strong rail, called the barrier or lists: this space was surrounded by seats for the spectators, one of which in particular was raised higher than the rest, for the judges.
The knights who contended were covered from head to foot with defensive iron arinour.
They were : mounted upon strong steeds, covered partly with armour, and partly with housings beautifully embroidered with gold and various colours. On these housings and on their shields ? 'were displayed the devices or arms of the knights, to which custom it isi said, but not with certainty, that' heraldry owes it's origin. The knights, on horseback, rode against each other with blunted lances, which were usually broken in the onset ; they sometimes fought, or seemed to fight with blunted swords—These sports however frequently ended fatally. Henry the second of France was killed by count Montgomery at a tournament.
At these trials of courage and address some lady remarkable for birth or beauty presided; she was attended by two ladies as maids or assistants : and the successful champion or knight, when the prize was adjudged to him, came before the seat of honour, and, taking off his helmet, made low obeisance to the lady of the tournament. This is alluded to in the lines,
............“While both contend To win her grace, whom all commend."!