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Story. I cannot but add, that Gray were both strongly attached to the resembles Milton in many instances. cultivation of Latin poetry.” Among others, in their youth they
Whence MILTON drew fome HINTS for his COMUS.
[ From the same Work. ]
N Fletcher's Faithful Shep- fpecies of entertainment. But
herdess, an Arcadian comedy Charles's malks did not, like Cou recently published, Milton found mus, abound with Platonic recommany touches of pastoral and su. mendations of the doctrine of chaperstitious imagery, congenial with stity. his own conceptions. Many of « The ingenious and accurate these, yet with the highest improve- Mr. Reed has pointed out a rude ments, he has transferred into Co- outline, from which Milton seems mus; together with the general cast partly to have sketched the plan of and colouring of the piece. He the fáble of Comus. Sce Biograph. catched also from the lyric rhymes Dramat. ii. p. 441. It is an old of Fletcher, that Dorique delicacy, play, with this title, “ The Old with which fir Henry Wootton was Wives Tale, a pleasant conceited so much delighted in the songs of Comedie, plaied by the Queenés Milton's drama. Flercher's come- Maiefties players. Written by G. dy was coldly received the first night P. [i. e. George Peele.] Printed of its performance. But it had am- at London by John Danter, and are ple revenge in this conspicuous and to be sold by Ralph Hancock and indisputable mark of Milton's ap- John Hardie, 1595." In quarto. probation. It was afterwards re- This very scarce and curious piece presented as a mask at court, before exhibits, among other parallel inthe king and queen on twelfth- cidents, two brothers wandering in night, in 1633. I know not, in- quest of their fifter, whom an endeed, if this was any recommenda- chanter had imprisoned. This mation to Milton ; who in the Para- gician had learned his art from his dife Loft speaks contemptuoutly of mother Meroe, as Comus had been these interludes, which were among inttructed by his mother Circe. The the chief diversions of an elegant brothers call out on the lady's and liberal monarch. B. iv. 767. name, and Echo replies. The en
chanter had given her a potion Court amours, which suspends the powers of rcaMix'd dance, and wanton mask, or midnight-bail, &c.
fon, and superinduces oblivion of
herself. The brothers afterwards I believe the whole compliment was meet with an old man who is also paid to the genius of Fletcher. Yet skilled in magic; and by listening it Mhould be remembered that Mile to his foothsayings, they recover ton had not yet completed his ca- their loft fiiter ; but not till the reer of puritanism. In the mean enchanter's wreath had been torn time, it is true that Milton, as an from his head, his sword wrested author, gave countenance to this from his hand, a glass broken, and
# light extinguished. The names “ In the mean time it must be of some of the characters, as Sac- confefled, that Milton's magician rapant, Chorebus, and others, are Comus, with his cup and wand, is taken from the Orlando Furiofo. ultimately founded on the fable of The history of Meroe, a witch, Circe. The effects of both characmay be seen in “ The xi Bookes of ters are much the same. They are the Golden Asse, containing the both to be opposed at first with force Metamorphofie of Lucius Apuleius and violence. Circe is fubdued by interlaced with fundrie pleasant and the virtues of the herb moly, which delectable tales, &c. Trantiated out Mercury gives to Ulysses, and Coof Latin into English by William
mus by the plant haemony, which Adlington, Lond. 1566.” See the Spirit gives to the two brothers. Chap. iii. - How Socrates in his About the year 1615, a masque returne from Macedony to Lariffa called the Inner Temple Masque, was fpoyled and robbed, and how written by William Browne, auhe fell acquainted with one Meroc thor of Britannia's Pastorals, wbich a witch." And Chap. iv, “How I have frequently cited, was preMeroe the witch turned diuers per- sented by the students of the Inner fons into iniferable beasts.” Of this Temple. It has been lately printbook there were other editions, in ed from a manufcript in the library 1571, 1596, 1600, and 1639. All of Emanuel College: but I have in quarto and the black letter. The
been informed, that a few copies translator was of University Col. were printed foon after the presenlege. See alfo Apuleius in the ori- tation. It is formed on the ftory of ginal. A Meroe is mentioned by Circe, and perhaps might have lug; Ausonius, Epigr. xix. I reserve a gested some few hints to Milton. I more diftinct and particular view of will give fome proofs of parallelism Peele's play, with the use of which as we go along I have been politely favoured by " The genius of the best poets Mr. Henderfon of Covent-garden is often determined, if not directed, theatre, for an appendix to the by circumstances and accident. It notes on Comus. That Milton had is natural, that even so original a his cye on this ancient drama, which writer as Milton Mould have been inight have been the favourite of biaffed by the reigning poetry of bis early youth, perhaps it may be the day, by the composition moft at least afrmed with as much cre- in fashion, and by subjects recentdibility, as that he conceived the ly brought forward, but foon girParadite Lost, from seeing a Myf- ing way to others, and almost as tery at Florence, written by An- foon totally neglected and forgotdreini, a Florentine, in 1617, en- ten." titled Adamo.
E must not read Comus of berries, too far to find their way
with an eye to the stage, brck, and leave a helpless lady to or with the expectation of dramatic all the sadness and danger of loli. poetry: l'nder this restriction, the tude. But here is no desertion, or abíuidity (f the Spirit Speaking to neglect of the lady. The brothers an audier ce in a solitary forest at leave their sister under a spreading midnight, and the want of recipro- pine in the forest, fainting for recation in the dialogue, are over- freshment: they go to procure ber> looked. Comus is a suite of speeches, ries or some other fruit for her imnot interesting by discrimination of mediate relief, and, with great procharaé er; not conveying a variety bability, lose their way in going or of incidents, nor gradually excit- returning. To say nothing of the ing curiotity : but perpetually at poet's art, in making this very na. traćtirg attention by sublime lenti- tural and fimple accident to be proment, by fanciful imagery of the ductive of the distress, which forms richeit vein, by an exuberance of the future business and complicapicturesque description, poetical al- tion of the fable. It is certainly a julion, and ornamental expretlion. fault, that the brothers, although While it widely departs from the with some indications of anxiety, gro'esque anomalies of the malk should enter with so much tranquilnew in fashion, it does not nearly lity, when their lister is lost, and approach to the natural conflitu- at leisure pronounce philosophical ton of a regular play. There is a panegyrics on the mysteries of virchastity in the application and con- ginity. But we must not too scru('uct of the machinery : and Sabri- puloully attend to the exigencies of na is introduced with much address, situation, nor suffer ourselves to supafter the brothers had imprudently pole that we are reading a play, suffered the inchantment of Comus which Milton did not mean to write. to take effect. This is the first time These splendid insertions will pleate, the old English mask was in some independently of the story, from degree reduced to the principles and which however they refult; and form of rational compofition. A their elegance and sublimity will great critic obferves, that the discoverbalance their want of place. Ia pute betwcen the lady and Comus á Greek tragedy, such sentimental is the most animated and affecting harangues, arising from the subject, scene of the piece. Perhaps some would have been given to a chorus. other fcenes, either confifting only " On the whole, whether Coof a soliloquy, or of three or four mus, be or be not, deficient as a speeches only, have afforded more drama, whether it is considered as true pleasure. The action is faid an epic drama, a series of lines, a to be improbable: because the bro. malk, or a poem, I am of opinion, thers, when their fister finks with that our author is here only inferior fatigue in a pathless wilderness, to his own Paradise Lost.“ Wander both away together in search
GENERAL CHARACTER of the POEMS of the late JOHN
bear.imagery, in which it will be found
Bid here dark peas or tangled vetches that his principal merit is novelty spreach, in description, and a laudable en- There buckwheat's white flower faintly deavour to introduce an occasional Bid here potatoes deep greenstems be born, fimplicity of ityle, perhaps too much And yellow cule th’ enciosure there adom. rejected by the present fastidious
Eclog. II. readers of poetry. He was certainly no servile copyist of the
“ The follo:ving lines are easy
and affecting. thoughts of others : for living in the country, and being a clofe and Beside his gate, beneath the lofty tree, accurate observer, he painted what Old Thyrfis' well known feat I vacant see; he law, though he mult unavoid. There, while his prattling offspring roui:d ably sometimes fall on ideas and He oft, to please them, toys of oziers made: expreffions common to all pastoral "That feat his weight shall never more sufwriters. He cultivated the know- tain, Ledge of natural history and botany, That offspring round him r:e'er shall spa: which enabled him to preterve the
Eclog. 1. truth of nature with many discri- * In the Oriental Eclogues, he sinating touches, perhaps not ex. has, with judgment, made use of ceiled by any descriptive poet since such circumiances as inight give che days of Thomsor.
them an air of local truth. This Having already noticed the couplet is happily inserted in alluFour Elegies, the Elegy of 1768, lion to the Eastern fable. and the poem of Amwell, it reinains
Soft as the night bird's amorons music to take a general view of the other
Rows, pieces that compose the volume. In Zibet's garden when the woos the rose, 5. Of there the Amoebran E
Zerad, clogues feem to me che laft happy “ The following is highly poof Mr. Scott's productions ; for in etical. his attempt at novelty, he has ad. snitted such names and circumstan
There Thirst, fell demon, haunts the
sultry air, ces, as, in my opinion, no verlifi
And his wild eye-balls roll with horrid cation, however harmonious, can glare : make poetical: these lines may, in There deadly Sumiel", striding o'er the some measure, Mhew the force of my Sweeps his red wing, and whirls the burri objections.
Zerad Old oaken siubs tough fuplings there adorn,
* The fiery blafting wind of the desert. There hedge-row plafhes yield the knotty " The Eclogue of Serim, or the
thorn; The Swain for different uses there avail,
Artificial Fainine, has much poeti. And form the traveler's Itaff, the threin- cal merit; but perhaps it were to er's flail.
be wided, that the philanthrophy
CHARACTER of the POEMS of the late J. SCOTT, Esq. [1251
of ihe author had not led him to I hate that drum's disco dant found, inake choice of a story so apparent- Parading round, and round, and round ly disgraceful to the British name
To thoughtless youth it pleasure yields,
And lures from cities and from fields.--in India, the circumstances of which To me it talks of ravag'd plains, have been, doubtless, greatly exag. And burning towns, and ruin'd (wains, gerated, while the enermities of a And mangled limbs, and dying groans, few individuals have been swelled, And widows tears, and orphans moans.
Ode XIII by designing men, into a general and universal spirit of rapine, ava- How custom feels the human breast, rice, and cruelty. The poem opens To deeds that Nature's thoughts deteft! with folemnity
How castom confecrates to fame,
That reason else would give to Mame! O! guardian genius of this facred wave,
Privateering, Ode XVII. 0! save thy fons, if thine the power to " The Mexican Ode may admit fave!
of much praise. It opens with a " The following image was a spirited abruptness. particular favourite with tho author.
From Cholula's brofile plain, Sad on our ways by human foot unworn,
Lefe her treacherous legions Dain, Sralks the dim form of Solitude forlorn.
Left her temples all on flame,
Cortez' conquering army came. “ The Chinese Eclogue, called “ It ends with equal dignity afLi-po, or the Good Governor, haster the prophecy of the Mexican picturesque touches of the country, idol. and contains many amiable reflections political and moral. The Vic Ceas'd the voice with dreadful frunds,
Loud as tides that break their hounds; fion of Contulius is very poctical. Roll'd the form in smoke away.'Midlt palmy fields, with sunshine ever “ The vanishing of the demon is bright,
attended with circumstances not A palace rear'd its walls of filvery white; The gates of pearl a shady hall disclos’d,
very diffimilar from the disappearWhere old Confucius' reverend form re- ance of the spirit of the Cape in pos'd :
Cainoens. Loose o'er his limbs the filk's light iexture
“ The two Epistles that follow How'd,
the Odes, are written in a very fa-, His eyes ferenc etherial lustre fhow'd.
miliar and easy ftrain of verlifica" The Odes, as the author in- tion. forms us, were written at very dif. " The second Epistle describes ferent periods, and some appear to the occupations and amusements of be his earliest effufions in poetry. a contemplative mind in the courrThe style of these odes is various; try, and inay be contidered as a picgay and familiar, pathetic and fub- ture of the author's own manner lime. In the odes on Recruiting of living. and Privateering, the thoughts are " The Eflay on Painting is an new, and fingularly characteristic elegant piece of vertification, and of Mr. Scott's religious tenets; thews, in the fulleit light, Mra and what ought to reflect no little Scott's turn for the polite arts. He honour on those teners, itri&tly con- was always a great adinirer of paintformable to the dictates of every ing, and for many years never missed feeling mind, uncorrupted with the an annual exhibition. The poern maxiins of human policy,
is laid to be addrelled to a young