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168. Land was arrested in Dec 1641, condemned by bill of attainder just three years afterwards, and executed in the following month. See Hist. Eng.
170. the plundered palace. He refers to Woodstock &c. See, in Scott's novel of Woodstock, some account of the Commissioners there and how they fared.
The sequester'd rent. There was a special court of Sequestrators, whose function it was to discover and fine any favourers of Royalty. Of course in the eyes of Royalists sequestrator meant robber; hence Jeremy Taylor: "I am fallen into the hands of publicans and sequestrators, and they have taken all from me." "Sequestrations were first introduced by Sir Nicholas Bacon" (Blackstone).
171. [What is meant by parts here? See Winter's Tale, I. ii. 400.]
177. gazette. "A paper called the London Gazette was first published, Aug. 22, 1642. The London Gazette of the existing series was first published at Oxford, the court being there on account of the plague, Nov. 7, 1665, and afterwards at London, Feb. 5, 1666.”—(Haydn's Dict. Dates.)
179. [What interval of time was there between Alexander's landing in the Troad, and his death at Babylon? See Hist. Greece.]
182. [The Danube and the Rhine. See in your Atlas the following places, and in your Hist. Eng. some account of the battles fought at or near them: Hochstett, Dettingen, Fontenoy. Add to these.]
183. [This pow'r has praise, &c. Which is the subject here? What is the antecedent of that?]
184. The universal charm. See Young's Love of Fame, the universal passion, in Seven characteristical Satires. (1726-8.)
188. We have to thank our Wars, and them only, for our National Debt. The beginning of that monstrous burden dates from the reign of William III. In 1697 it amounted to 5 millions; at the conclusion of the wars of Queen Anne's reign to 54 millions; at the end of the Spanish War in 1749, when this satire was published, to 78 millions. Since Johnson's time it has increased at such a frightful pace, that it now amounts to some 800 millions—a fine legacy for posterity as for us
70. 192. See Voltaire's Charles XII.
Charles' reign extended from 1697 to 1718.
193. Voltaire speaks of his "Ce corps de fer gouverné par une âme si hardie et si inébranlable." See the instances he gives.
199. surrounding kings. The Tsar of Russia (Peter the Great), the King of Denmark (Frederick IV.), the King of Poland and Elector of Saxony (Frederick Augustus). The dangers surrounding Charles XII. in the beginning of his reign, and the amazing vigour with which he extricated himself from them, call to mind Alexander's earlier career.
200. one capitulate. So the king of Denmark in 1700.
one resign. So the king of Poland in 1701.
202. Charles was not content with great victories over the Russians. He conceived the idea of overthrowing that vast empire. In 1707, when the Duke of Marlborough had an interview with him, that shrewd observer no less than consummate general saw that "le véritable dessein du roi de Suède et sa seule ambition étaient de détroner le czar après le roi de Pologne." After Charles had crossed the Dnieper, and his purpose was made manifest, the. Tsar attempted to negotiate. "Charles XII., accoutumé à s'accorder la paix à ses ennemis que dans leur capitales, repondit; 'Je traiterai avec le czar à Moscow.""
209. cold. The winter of 1708 was of uncommon severity.
delay. The sing. here is certainly inaccurate; but it is perhaps explical le when the sense is considered. The sense is: "both want and cold do not his course delay."
210. The battle of Pultowa was fought, July 8, 1709.
"He fled into Turkey, where he met with a hospitable reception. His establishment at Bender was such as became a prince. Though his followers were soon a thousandnumbers from Poland and Sweden joined him every week-they were liberally maintained by the sultan Achmet II., who allowed him 500 crowns a day for his own household."
(Dunham's Hist. Denm. Swed, and Norway). Then he began to dream of enlisting Turkey in his great design. "Vizier after vizier he flattered or assailed, according as they aided or opposed his views; and the seraglio, in which gold brought him creatures devoted to his will, became the scene of innumerable intrigues. The tsar had more gold than he; and it was distributed with better effect," &c. At last, in 1713, he was removed by force to Adrianople, and thence to Demotica; whence, despairing of Turkish aid, he made his escape in disguise to Stralsund, 1714. See Tatler, No. 155.
220. A petty fortress. He was shot dead at Frederickshall on the coast of Norway, on the night of Dec. 11, 1718.
A dubious hand. Whether it was an enemy's ball that struck him down, or that of a traitor friend, remains a vexed question. Voltaire speaks of the story that Siquier assassinated him as "une colomnie renouvelée trop souvent à la mort des princes, &c.," and altogether disbelieves it. Coxe (died 1828) agrees with Voltaire, (see his Travels in Poland, Russia, Sweden and Denmark). Clarke, the traveller (died 1822), on the other hand, says: "that he was assassinated seems so clear that it is marvellous any doubt should be entertained as to the fact.
224. Persia's tyrant. See Herod. vii. and viii.
Bavaria's lord. Charles Albert, Elector of Bavaria, who, on the death of the Emperor Charles VI., laid claim to the Kingdom of Bohemia on the strength of an article in the will of the Emperor Ferdinand I., brother to Charles V.
226. See Grote's Hist. Greece, Part II. chap. xxxviii.
230. sooth. See London, 40.
232. See Par. Lost, x. 306–311, esp. 311:
"And scourged with many a stroke the indignant waves."
Butler's Hudibras, II. i. 845:
"A Persian emp'ror whipped his [Cupid's] grannum,
71. 234. lops, &c.
See the story of Dagon.
239. See the play in which Eschylus celebrates the splendid triumph of his country, the Persa, 417-20 (Dindorf):
“ ὑπτιοῦτο δὲ
σκάφη νεῶν, θάλασσα δ ̓ οὐκέτ' ἦν ἰδεῖν
241. France assisted him, and at first he carried everything before him. He seized Passau, and then Lintz; and so advanced upon Vienna. Presently he was crowned King of Bohemia at Prague, and then elected Emperor at Frankfort.
242. Cæsarean power. He would be Kaiser. See Bryce's Holy Roman Empire. 245. Fair Austria = the fair Archduchess of Austria. So in King Lear, for example, Burgundy = Duke of Burgundy, France = King of France.
"Her form was majestic, her features beautiful, her countenance sweet and animated, her voice musical, her deportment gracious and dignified." (Macaulay's Essays, Frederic the Great.)
sets the world in arms. At the Diet of Presburg "the enthusiasm of Hungary broke forth into that war-cry which soon resounded throughout Europe: 'Let us die for our king, Maria Theresa.""
247. beacon is of the same root as beckon, &c., and properly means a sign, a signal. See Macaulay's fragment on the Armada.
249. Hussars="light cavalry of Poland and Hungary, about 1600." The name was adopted into the British army in 1759.
"The terrible names of the Pandoor, the Croat, and the Hussar then first became familiar to Western Europe."
251. baffled. In chivalry, baffle was a technical word. See Trench's Study of Words. "The unfortunate Charles of Bavaria, vanquished by Austria, betrayed by Prussia, driven from his hereditary states, and neglected by his allies, was hurried by shame and remorse to an untimely end." He died at Munich in 1745. 252. [the fatal doom. What is the force of the article here?] 253. blame. See note on sorrow, Lycid. 166. 265. Comp. As you like it, II. vii. 163—6. 270. Orpheus. See Lycid. 59. [What is meant by witness'd here ?]
273. dictates, the Lat. dictata. We should rather say "dictations," if we used any word of this family.
274. [What is the sense of positively here? What is its common sense now? Connect
the two senses.]
275. the still returning tale. This weakness of old age is a theme Thackeray often touches upon, in a style between tears and laughter.
72. 277. [What is the meaning of gath'ring here?]
280. expence. Perhaps this old spelling arose from some lurking suspicion, quite groundless, of a connection between this word and pence.
282. [Explain improve here.]
285. Comp. Horace's Ep. ad Pis. 170. The miser has been a favourite subject with both painters and poets. [Mention instances.]
293. See Goldsmith's Deserted Village, 107-112.
302. [Explain mourns here.]
308. [Explain superfluous.]
313. See Herod. i. 29-33.
[What is meant here by descend?]
317. In the last eight years of Marlborough's life (1714—22), "two paralytic strokes shook his strength, but without at all seriously impairing his faculties;" Johnson's line "was at least a poetical exaggeration; for he continued to be consulted on all affairs of war or of policy and to attend his parliamentary and other duties until a few months before his death." (Cabinet Portrait Gallery of British Worthies, Vol. xi.)
318. See Johnson's Lives of the Poets, Swift: "He grew more violent, and his mental powers declined, till (1741) it was found necessary that legal guardians should be appointed of his person and fortune. He now lost distinction. [What does that mean?] His madness was compounded of rage and fatuity... At last he sunk into a perfect silence, which continued till about the end of October, 1744, when in his 78th year he expired without a struggle."
319. teeming. See Hymn Nat. 240.
73. 320. birth what is born. So 2 Henry IV., IV. iv. 122, &c. So often partus in Latin, as in Cic. Tusc. Disp. v. 27: "bestiæ pro suo partu propugnant."
321. Vane. Lady Vane, the daughter of a Mr Hawes; she married first Lord William Hamilton, and then Lord Vane; she was the mistress of Lord Berkeley and others. She is the heroine of the Memoirs of a Lady of Quality, inserted in Smollett's Peregrine Pickle. See Walpole's Letters, passim.
322. Sedley. The daughter of Sir Charles Sedley, was one of the mistresses of James II. made by him Countess of Dorchester. See Macaulay's Hist. Eng. chap. vi. It was certainly not her beauty that raised, or ruined her; for this "form that pleased a king" was singularly plain; but her influence over her lover was supreme. "Personal charms she had none, with the exception of two brilliant eyes.... The nature of her influence over James is not easily to be explained.... Catharine herself was astonished by the violence of his passion."
346. darkling. The term ling here is not participial, but adverbial. So in grovelling &c. See note to sidelong, Des. Vill. 29.
353. [What is the meaning of ambush here?]
355. Secure here in the sense of the Latin securus, as Hor. Od. I. xxvi, 3-6:
"Quis sub Arcto
Rex gelidæ metuatur oræ
In this sense verbalized secure occurs in King Lear, IV. i. 22-a passage which has terribly puzzled commentators.
359. Comp. the prayer which Horace offers for himself at the dedication of a temple of Apollo:
"Frui paratis et valido mihi,
361. for love which can hold or contain nearly all mankind, love of vast capacity.
362. Sovereign o'er transmuted ill sovereign over ill so that it becomes transmuted or changed into good. Transmuted is used proleptically. Misfortunes may be made blessings, if borne well and nobly. Transmute was a technical term in alchemy.
74. 365. [Should we now use goods in this way?]
William Collins was born at Chichester, the son of a hatter, in 1720. He received education at Winchester school, and at Queen's College, Oxford.
"with many pro
About the year 1744, according to Dr Johnson, he came up to London, jects in his head and very little money in his pocket," which indeed was very much Dr Johnson's own equipment on his first appearance in the metropolis. For some years he led a life of hardships and necessities. "He published proposals for a History of the Revival of Learning;" he designed several tragedies; he undertook to translate, with a commentary, Aristotle's Poetics; but with all these strings to his bow he shot nothing. Like many another litterateur of his time he lived often in fear of the debtor's prison. Johnson speaks of visiting him one day, "when he was immured by a bailiff that was prowling in the street." At last he was freed from his pecuniary difficulties by a legacy from an uncle of some £2000—“a sum which Collins could scarcely think exhaustible, and which he did not live to exhaust." Freed from poverty, still direr evils fell upon him-disease, and insanity. After a vain struggle with a terrible despondency which gradually overwhelmed him, he was confined for a time in a lunatic asylum, and shortly afterwards died in his sister's house in his native city.
Like Gray, Collins produced but little; but concerning him, as concerning Gray, there can be no doubt that he had in him a genuine poetical spirit. His Ode How sleep the brave is one of the most exquisite gems of our lyrical literature. Strength does not so much characterize him as a certain fine delicacy and sweetness. His powers of expression were scarcely adequate for his ideas and sympathies; for certainly he lived mostly in the poet's land; his mind was ever there revelling in the fair visions of it. Spenser, "the poet's poet," was his great delight. When the bailiffs were besetting his earthly lodgings, he was often far away in Faerie. He felt and enjoyed more than he could write. In what little he did write, with all its imperfections, it is easy to see how refined and spiritual was his nature.
Collins, like Spenser, has but little dramatic power; for his fine imagination abstractions were themselves real and substantial enough; he does not feel any necessity for clothing them with flesh and blood. Hence in his poems, as in Spenser's, abstractions abound unbodied, as Peace, Evening, Mercy, Simplicity, and the Passions in the following poem. He introduces "airy nothings" in all their airiness; for him they are the real existences. Despair is as forcible a figure in his eyes as the desperate man; the concrete has no advantage over the abstract. Poets of this type are never, and are not likely ever to be, so popular as the dramatic poets. The general taste prefers creations more tangible and solid; it cannot be satisfied with spiritual visions; it wearies of pure airinesses; nor can this preference be justly censured. Collins can only hope. like another greater master of the same poetic order, for "fit audience, though few."