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6. And clay cold was her lily hand
The poet (Mallet) wishes to contrast the pale hand with the black shroud, and he takes advantage, for this purpose, of the association between death and blackness; for shrouds in our oldest poets are called white.
" Ah me! what ghastly spectre's yon
Comes in his pale shroud bleeding after.”+ Here a contrast is made between the whiteness of the shroud, and the colour of the · streaming blood.
• And may at last my weary age.
And I with thee will choose to live."
• Ancient Poetry, Vol. III.
the works of providence, in the wonderful structure of the universe, and in the minutest plant that contains medicinal virtue, may I thus acquire from experience the power of
ture, by my knowledge of the past. If, Melancholy, thou wilt give me these solid pleasures of the understanding, with thee I will choose to live.
........................ Rightly spell,
Of every star that Heav'n doth shew, Spelle-Endeavour to discover the meaning of.-Formerly, even near the time of Milton, mankind were inclined to believe that the stars had some influence upon human events. Men of good sense, who were yersed in history, and who had acquired the habit of tracing events back to their causes, could frequently, when similar circumstances began again to actuate mankind, foretet the events which were likely to happen ; for instance, it was not difficult, during the latter years of the french monarchy, to foretell a revolution ; nor was it difficult to foresee, that slavery and democratic tyranný would ensue in France, afrer the death of the king.
believe in what is called judicial astrology,
a man who had pretended to consult the stars, and who had predicted the events which have lately happened, would have passed for an astrologer and a prophet.
In peaceful times. men are not so curious _about future events, as during foreign wars, or domestic tumults. The vulgar, not seeing any adequate cause for the great events which in such times happen before their eyes, are apt to attribute them to celestial influence. This aptitude arises from the nature of the association of our ideas : they have heard that in former public calamities it had been observed, that par, ticular appearances of the stars accompanied particular events; and when they see the appearance of the same phenomena in the heavens, they expect a recurrence of the same events upon earth. . . . . .'i,
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,' ' · "And I with thee will choose to-live.
Milton in his conclusion expresses no doubt of Melancholy's power to bestow the pleasures he has described, and therefore determines to live with her, if she will allow him to share' them.
ODE TO FEAR.
It has already been said, that in poetry the virtues and the vices, the passions, and almost every feeling of the mind, are personified ; that is, represented and addressed as animated beings.
In the ode we are going to explain, Fear is described as a nymph, or sylvan goddess, attended by many other ideal personages, such as Danger, Vengeance, Murder, &c. This is called an allegorical description ; and the companions which the poet allegorically brings forward in the train of Fear are all such as are naturally connected with it, either as cause or effect. Danger, as a cause, produces Fear. Fear often produces Danger, as an effect. Vengeance justly causes Fear; as the consequences of Revenge, whether the efforts of sudden rage, or of slow malignity, are equally dreadful and dangerous, and are frequently the causes of Murder, another of the allegorical persons here introduced.-
« Thou, to whom the world unknown,
Ah! Fear, ah ! frantic Fear,
I see, I see thee near ;
“ O'thou, to whom Fancy displays a world . of visionary shapes ; thou, who art terrified at
the ideal scene thy own imagination forms ; thou, who art frantic with terrour, O Fear, I behold thee approaching. I know thee by the hurried motion of thy steps, and by the wildness of thine eyes. I see thee start. I also start like thee. I see thee attempt to escape in confusion and disorder ; and, like thee, with confusion and disorder I attempt to flee : for lo! what monsters do I behold in thy train ! The horrour of the sight terrifies me in the same manner as it has appalled thyself," :
Collins begins by addressing himself to Fear, as to a person, who has the power of seeing something more than is visible to mortal eyes, the power of seeing the shadowy shapes, or visionary figures of the unknown world, and of perceiving those things which exist only in the imagination. · Thus he gives to Fear, as a