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Book III.-The Garden.
11. 1-8. Cp. Par. Lost, ix. 445-53.
1. 32. Nitrous air was one of the names by which Dr. Priestley (born 1733, died 1804) designated what is now called Oxygen Gas,-then newly discovered by him.
1. 73. unsmirch'd;—unsullied. Cp. Shakspeare's chaste unsmirched brow,' Hamlet iv. 5.
11. 100-4. Cp. Rochefoucauld, Reflex. Mor. No. 223: 'L'hypocrisie est un homage que le vice rend à la vertu.'
11. 108-12. Cp. the Earl of Surrey, The Faithful Lover, 1. 21:
Then as a stricken deer withdraws himself alone,
So do I seek some secret place where I may make my moan.' 1. 113. Cp. Genesis xlix. 23.
11. 155-66. Cp. Bk. vi. 198-210.
11. 174-6. Cp. The Rape of Lucrece, st. 31
"What win I if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy;
1. 189. Cp. Matthew Green, The Spleen, 1. 15:
Nor vainly buys what Gildon sells,—
II. 196-201. Cp. Terence, Heautont, act i. I:
'Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto.'
1. 215. The parallax is the difference between the real and the apparent place of the sun, or of a star, viewed from the surface of the earth.
1. 251. Castalia was a fountain on Mount Parnassus, sacred to Apollo and the Muses and whoso drank of its waters was inspired to know the things
11. 252-60. Sir Isaac Newton, born 1642, died 1727; John Milton, born 1608, died 1674; Sir Matthew Hale (Chief Baron of Exchequer, 1660; Chief Justice of King's Bench, 1671-5), born 1609, died 1676.
1. 257. Themis, daughter of Ouranos and Gaia (Heaven and Earth), and wife of Zeus, was Goddess of Justice; the first to whom mortals raised temples; represented as holding a sword in one hand, and a pair of scales in the other.
1. 261. Isaiah xl. 6, 7.
1. 263. Proverbs xxiii. 15.
1. 267. Cp. Ecclesiastes i. 3, 14.
1. 268. The Amaranth is an imaginary flower of the poets, that never fades (Gr. ả, not; μapaívw, to wither). See Par. Lost, iii. 352-60. Cp. Shirley's Contention of Ajax and Ulysses, sc. 3:
'Only the actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust.'
Cp. too Cicero, De Senect. cap. 19: 'Sed mihi ne diuturnum quidem quidquam videtur, in quo est aliquid extremum: quum enim id advenit, tunc illud quod praeteriit effluxit; tantum remanet quod virtute et recte factis consecutus sis.'
1. 270. St. John xviii. 38.
Il. 334-51. The Poet's favourite hare Puss,' given to him in 1774. See his 'Account of the Treatment of his Hares,' inserted in Gentleman's Magazine for June, 1784 (S. iv. 422). Puss died March 9, 1786, ‘aged eleven years eleven months,-of mere old age.'
1. 351. Cowper had acquired considerable applause, as a child, in the recital of Gay's popular Fable—“The Hare and many Friends." (Hayley, ed. 1812, iv. 179.)
1. 361. Laborious ease;-Cp. Horace's strenua inertia,' lib. i. Epist. xi. 28.
1. 400. lubbard;-another form of lubber, here used adjectivally for
' sluggish.' Milton has 'the lubbar fiend,' L'Allegro, 1. 110.
1. 429. Miraturque novos fructus et non sua poma"-Virgil.'—C. (Georg. ii. 82-for novos fructus' read novas frondes).
1. 452. The Culex (Gnat) attributed to Virgil (born at Mantua): and the Batrachomyomachia (Battle of the Frogs and Mice) fathered on Homer.
1. 455. John Phillips of Ch. Ch. Oxford (born 1676, died 1708), published in 1703 'The Splendid Shilling,' a parody on the style of Milton. The earliest piece of Cowper's that has come down to us is a poem written in his seventeenth year, in imitation of Phillips: viz. 'Verses written at Bath, on finding the heel of a shoe, in 1748.'
1. 490. voluble ;-(from Lat. volvere, to roll), here used in its proper sense of 'rolling.' So Milton has volúbil earth' (with accent on the second syllable), Par. Lost, iv. 594.
1. 495. The atmosphere of Boeotia was proverbially thick and foggy, owing to the great number of lakes and rivers in that district. And the dwellers in it were regarded as exceptionally lumpish, and lacking in intelligence.
1. 559. Cp. Bk. ii. 286.
1. 576. The Amomum here intended is perhaps the Myrtus pimenta, or Jamaica Pepper.
1. 579. Ficoides;—the Mesembryanthemum crystallinum, or Ice-plant.
1. 597. Q. Roscius Gallus, the famous Roman Actor, under whom Cicero studied the art of delivery, died about B.C. 62. David Garrick (born 1716,
died 1779) has often been called The British Roscius.' He 'trod the stage,' from 1741 to 1776.
1. 687. Cp. Goldsmith's Deserted Village, 1. 101—
Who quits a world where strong temptations try, And, since 'tis hard to combat, learns to fly.' 1. 714. King Ahasuerus: see Esther i. 10.
1. 729. Cp. L'Allegro, l. 117—
And the busy hum of men.'
1. 766. Lancelot Brown, a famous landscape-gardener (born 1715, died 1773). He was called "Capability Brown,' from his favourite phrase about
great capability of improvement.' He laid out the grounds and park at Weston, for Sir Robert Throckmorton, the grandfather of Cowper's 'Benevolus.'
'Tower'd cities please us then,
1. 796. In Bk. iv. 607-12, the Poet charges even the magistrates of his day with being open to bribery.
11. 843-8. Cp. Genesis xviii. 22-33.
1. 845. Cp. St. Matthew v. 13.
Book IV.-The Winter Evening.
1. 1. This wooden bridge is of a length 'wearisome,'-because it 'bestrides' the whole valley between Olney and Emberton; and needful,'-on account of the wintry flood' which would otherwise render that valley often impassable to the foot-passenger.
And whistled as he went for want of thought.'
1. 40. Bishop Berkeley, in the 217th paragraph of his Siris (1747) says of 'the luminous spirit lodged and detained in the native balsam of pines and firs,'— in other words, his favourite Tar-water,—that it is of a nature so mild and benign, and proportioned to the human constitution, as to warm without heating, to cheer but not inebriate. (Notes and Queries 2nd. Ser. i. 490).
1. 86. 'Doctor' Katterfelto was a notorious quack, who used to be attended by a black Morocco cat, and headed his advertisements with the words Wonders! Wonders! Wonders!' He died in 1799.
1. 103, Lupus homini homo, non homo, quum qualis sit non novit.' Plautus, Asinar. act ii. sc. 4, 1. 88. Qy. Is this the idea embodied in the old legends respecting Lycanthropy the were-wolf (i.e. man-wolf) of the Germanic races, and the loup-garoux of the south of France?
1. 104. Cp. Milton's brazen throat of war,' Par. Lost, xi. 713.
ll. 113-9. My imagination is so captivated upon these occasions, that I
seem to partake with the navigators in all the dangers they encountered. I lose my anchor; my mainsail is rent into shreds; I kill a shark, and by signs converse with a Patagonian; and all this without moving from the fireside.'-To Newton, Oct. 6. 1783.
11. 139-43. 'I see the winter approaching without much concern, though a passionate lover of fine weather and the pleasant scenes of summer: but the long evenings have their comforts too, and there is hardly to be found upon the earth I suppose so snug a creature as an Englishman by his fireside in the winter.'-To Hill, Oct. 20, 1783.
1. 190. Sabine bard;-Horace (born at Venusia in Apulia, a.u.c. 688), Sat. lib. ii. 6. 1. 65—
'O noctes caenaeque Deum.'
1. 221. Billiard-mast;-old form of the modern mace,' which latter was first substituted for it in ed. 1806.
1. 244. Cp. Milton's Song on May Morn, l. 10
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.'
1. 285. Cp. Bk. vi. 106. I can assert with the strictest truth that Ì not only do not think with connexion, but that I frequently do not think at all. I am much mistaken if I do not often catch myself napping in this way; for when I ask myself what was the last idea (as the ushers at Westminster ask an idle boy what was the last word), I am not able to answer, but, like the boy in question, am obliged to stare and say nothing.'-To Newton, Oct. 9, 1784,
1. 402. Skillet;-a small kettle or boiler. Old Fr. escuellette, now écuellette, dim. of écuelle, a porringer. Cp. Othello, i. 3
'Let housewives make a skillet of my helm.'
1. 411. Cp. Hamlet, iii. I—
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes.'
1. 428. Mr. Robert Smith, created Lord Carrington in 1796 (born, 1752; died 1838). Under the strictest injunctions of secresy, he sent forty pounds, twenty at a time,' for the relief of the poor at Olney.—To Unwin, Jan. 19, 1783. I have paid one compliment. I which is so justly due, that I did not know how to withhold it, especially having so fair an occasion,.. to Mr. Smith. It is, however, so managed, that nobody but himself can make the application.'-To Unwin, Oct. 10, 1784.
11. 429-49. The subject of the 'rural thief' was probably suggested to the poet by the recent experience of Lady Austen. In August 1782, soon after her return to Clifton Reynes, her brother-in-law, Mr. Jones, went to London. Thereupon for several successive nights the house was visited by villains, who were at length detected in removing a pane of glass from the kitchen window, to effect an trance. The ladies of the house fled in alarm to Mrs. Unwin's protection; and 'men furnished with firearms were put into the
house' till Mr. Jones's return. Lady Austen, unable to 'repose in a place
1. 437. To plash (Fr. plisser, from late Lat. plictiare, a derivative of plicare,
1. 460. Ebriety (from Lat. ebrius, drunken) is now almost supplanted by
1. 507. Midas, king of Phrygia, in return for his hospitality to Silenus,
11. 515-6. Maro (i.e. Virgil) in his Eclogues: Sir Philip Sidney in his
1. 533. Tramontane;-foreign, strange: literally, belonging to countries
1. 579. Cp. Bk. v. 592-5; and Par. Lost, xii. 105.
1. 596. Cp. Romans xiii. 4.
1. 602. See note on Table Talk, 1. 312.
1. 642. The use of hair-powder, which had been compulsory in the British
1. 707. Tityrus;-The name of the rustic swain in the first Eclogue of
'The god of shepherds, Tityrus.'
There the last numbers flow'd from Cowley's tongue.'
(Pope's Windsor Forest, 1. 270.)
1. 757. Well;-the Poet seems to mean that the citizen's garden, as being
1. 765. The Frenchman's darling ;—' Mignonette.-C.