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corps. "A woman's bodies, or a pair of bodies, corset, corpset.” Sherwood's Dict. “Thy budies bolstred out with bumbast and with bagges.” Gascoigne in R., i.e. “Thy bodice stuffed out with cotton" (Wedgwood). Ben Jonson writes bodies, see an Elegie :
“The whalebone man
That quilts those bodies I have leave to span,” for probably here those bodies = that bodice: but it is possible it may = those boddices. Laced boddices seem to have been the mode in the first half of the eighteenth century. See Fairholt's Costume in England.
230. attire. See note on Lycid. 146.
231. mermaid = sea-maid. Mer is of the same family as the mor in Ar-mor-i-ca and in Mor-ini, the Lat. mare, Eng, mar-iner, mar-ish or mar-sh, &c.
237. Prosaically, the epithet poppied should perhaps be attached to sleep, rather than to warmth, but indeed warmth of sleep is but a phrase for warm sleep, like 'Cato's virtue for 'the virtuous Cato,' 'Hercules' strength' for 'the strong Hercules,' &c. See Georg. i. 78 :
“Lethæo perfusa papavera somno.” (What does he mean, do you think, by poppied ?]
239. the morrow-day. Morrow strictly = morning, the -ow=-ing, both being diminutival. But the strict sense has been forgotten, as in Tomorrow-night.
240. = unread, and so unopened. Mohammedans would no more care to peruse the Christian Scriptures, than Christians those of Mohammed.
242. See Tennyson's Ulysses. 183. 244. stolen. See note on 1. 199.
[What does so mean here ?) 247. tenderness. Comp. “tender-taken breath” in Keats' Last Sonnet, "a gentle sigh,” lenis of sounds in Latin writers, &c.
251. carpet. So in l. 360. But in the Middle Ages carpets in the modern sense were almost unknown. What were called carpets then, were our table-cloths, as in Tam, of the Shrew, IV. i. 57. The only exception seems to have been that sometimes in palaces carpets were laid down in “my lady's chamber.” “Isabella, queen of Edward II., had a black carpet in her chamber at Hertford,” &c.; see Our English Home. Floor-carpets (obs. the significance of this compound) were not common till the 17th century.
255. This was a carpet in the medieval sense.
257. Morphean. The accent ought to be on the penult. as in the case of Orpheus in Par. Lost, iii. 17.
amulet, of Arabian origin, strictly = something carried. Talisman is of Greek origin, and strictly = something consecrated.
261. This may serve to illustrate In Mem. xxviii.
263. lavender'd. Lavender, Fr. lavande, derives its name from the usage here referred to.
265. candied is said to be derived from the Pers. gand = sugar. So that sugar-candy is simply tautologous, as Brown Bess (see Blackley's Gossip about Word's), Mount ben jerlaw (where ben = law = Mount), &c.
quince is the Fr. coing, Old Fr. cooing, Prov. codoing, Ital. cotogna, Lat. cotonea (see Brachet), which comes from Cydonia, the name of a town in Crete.
gourd is from the Fr. congourde, Lat. cucurbita (from currus). 267. syrops. Fr. sirop, Low Lat. sirupus, Arab. sharab. Shrub and sherbet are cognate-are in fact but various forms of syrup.
268. argosy is derived from Argo the famous old Greek ship; or, more probably, from Ragusa the famous late medieval port (at its greatest prosperity 1427-1440).
269. (Where arc Fez and Samarcand ?]
270. Samarcand is described as a populous and prosperous city by the Spanish traveller Clavijo in the beginning of the 15th century.
276. seraph. How completely “artists” have ruined the word cherub as a term of endearment!
277. eremite. Of this word hermit is a corruption. Comp. avaxwpisn's and anchorite. 184. 284. salvers = radically, tasting-dishes (so Wedgwood), or perhaps savers, sase-keepers.
285. i.e. the fringe shows bright in the moonlight.
292. See it in Keats' Poems, ed. 1868, or that of 1871 (ed. W. Rossetti) or in the Golden Treas. of Songs and Lyrics. It would seem to have been rather the name of the old poem, than the old poem itself, that inspired Keats' piece. The old poem, written originally by Alain Chartier in the early 15th century, translated into English by Sir Richard Ros, consists mainly of a somewhat prolix conversation between an obdurate lady and her lover, at the close of which she goes away indifferent to dance and play, he desperate to tear his hair and die. A copy of the English version may be seen in Chalmer's British Poets, vol. i. 518, and also in Political, Religrous, and Love Poems, ed. by Mr. Furnivall for the Early English Text Society. For some account of Alain Chartier see Besant's Early French Poetry. chap i.
293. [How would you explain touching the melody?]
“Your tongue's sweet air
More tuneable than lark to shepherd's ear,” &c. (Complete nonsense is made of these words in Steeven's glee, by breaking off the connection of air with its predicate). On -ble see note to variable, Proth. 13. 185. 318. See Keats' Sonnet, Bright star! would I were stead fast as thou art.
325. flaw-blown. Flaw = gust, blast, as often in Spenser.
333. unpruned = untrimmed. Prune is ultimately from the stem propago. See Cymb. V. iv. 118.
“His royal bird
As when his god is pleas'd."
346. wassailers. Wassail is said to be derived from the Ancient Eng. drinking salutation wces-hael = good health to join.
349. Rhenish, see Mer. of Ven., I. ii. 102; Hamlet, I. iv, 10.
mead. Milton uses the form meath, Par. Lost, v. 345. 186. 355. darkling. See note to Des. Vill. 29.
358. The arras of Henry V's bed was embroidered with scenes of hunting and hawking, See Our Eng. Home. Read M. Arnold's Tristram and I seult. Best of all, go and look at the old tapestry still hanging in the Earl's bed-chamber and the dressing-room belonging to it at Haddon Hall.
1. 1792--1811. Percy Bysshe Shelley was born Aug. 4, 1792, at Field Place, near Horsham, Sussex, where his father resided till his succession to the Baronetcy in 1815. He was sent to minor schools, and then to Eton, and thence in 1810 to University College, Oxford. From his earliest years he shewed great independence of mind and spirit; indeed he never accepted things as he found them, because he found them so, but from the beginning he boldly asked for reasons, and protested when they could not be or were not given, and if somewhat wildly and over sanguinely, yet always with the utmost generosity and the purest purpose, schemed reformations. He says that even at school he vowed thus with himself:
"I will be wise,
The selfish and the strong still tyrannize
Revolt of Islam. Dedication.
And this vow to the end of his life he did his best to keep. At Oxford, his vigorously sceptical spirit expressed itself in certain theological discontents. The authorities of that day could not, or did not believe in “honest doubt.” Shelley's dissatisfactions and enquirings were answered summarily by a sentence of expulsion.
2. 1811-1818. Thus Shelley at the age of 19 was sent adrift. There seems to have existed but imperfect sympathy between him and his own family at this time; though he received some pecuniary allowance from his father, he resided little, or not at all at home. It could not be good for him to be thrown so completely upon his own unassisted judgment; and the only wonder is that the consequences were not quite disastrous. Happily he had great, though not sufficient, protections in his own noble nature and sincere philanthropy. He made an unfortunate marriage with Harriett Westbrooke, a school-girl of 16. The young couple lived at various places--at Edinburgh, York, Keswick, Dublin, in the Isle of Man, North Wales, North Devon, Killarney, London. Shelley studied and speculated and theorized ; he wrote also some few poems, of which Queen Mab was the chief. Towards the close of 1813 his wife and he parted. Her subsequent life is sad enough; let charity draw a veil over it till its end in suicide in November, 1816. Meanwhile Shelley had formed a fresh connection with Mary Godwin, a truer helpmate, whom after Harriett's death he married. Their pecuniary distresses were relieved in 1815, by an arrangement with his father, just then become Sir Timothy, by which he was to receive £ 1000 a year. He still lived a somewhat nomad life; he visited Switzerland; then resided awhile in South Devon, at Clifton, at Bishopgate Heath, near Windsor Forest: visited Switzerland again; then settled for some time at Great Marlow. During these various wanderings he wrote Alastor, and the Revolt of Islam, besides various minor poems. His genius was more and more definitely and brilliantly displaying itself. But he began to find his country but little congenial. The shamefulest calumnies about him were circulating everywhere. Lord Chancellor Eldon de
prived him of the guardianship of his own children by his first wife. His hopes and dreams of a more truly free and enlightened time seemed to find nothing to sustain them.
Tennyson in one of his poems, after speaking with high pride of this English land, declares that he would quit it if ever the praises he bestows should cease to be due.
“Should banded unions persecute
Opinion, and induce a time
When single thought is civil crime
The name of Britain trebly great:
Tho' every channel of the State
Wild wind! I seek a warmer sky,
The palms and temples of the South.”
3. 1818—1822. The rest of Shelley's life was passed in Italy—at Milan, Leghorn, Venice, Ferrara, Bologna, Rome, Naples, Pisa, lastly at Spezzia. During this period his greatest works were written, not to mention minor pieces: in 1819 were composed his great dramas Prometheus Unbound, and The Cenci, in 1820 his exquisite Ode to a Skylark, in 1821 that most generous and noble Elegy Adonais. In Italy, 1822, he was drowned in a squall off Via Reggio in the gulph of Leghorn. His remains, restored by the waves a fortnight afterwards, were, according to an Italian law relating to things washed up by the sea, burnt on the shore, where they were found. The ashes were deposited in the Protestant Cemetery at Rome, where lay his loved little son, his “lost William,”
Which its lustre faintly hid.”
“O cursed spite
That ever I was born to set it right !" Rather he addressed himself to the task of reformation with zeal and delight. There are many points of similarity between Shelley and Milton, in their geniuses, in their tastes, even in the facts of their lives. They were both idealistic, not realists, and lyrical rather than dramatic; they were both intensely Greek in their literary sympathies; they were both ardent social, religious, and political reformers. The error of both of them as reformers arose out of their too sanguine hopes of their fellow-men. Out of the generosity of their natures they calculated on others acting with the same denial, the same single-mindedness, the same purity of soul as moved and guided themselves. As to the practicability of the reforms advocated it would be decidedly unfair to couple Milton with Shelley. It is true that Milton's schemes mostly proved at the time abortive; but certainly they cannot be stigmatized as wild and dreamy. Some of his measures did in time become facts; and some may in some sort be even now becoming so. Whereas Shelley can scarcely be rescued from the charge of fancifulness and unreality. He had less knowledge and less judgment than his great predecessor. He set
about reforming the world before he well understood its case, at an age when the really impossible seemed possible. He had faith enough in his cause and in his fellow-man to make the removal of mountains seem easy; but the mountains were huge and of deep roots, and scarcely even quaked for all his efforts. His early rupture with the English worid lost him all the advantages which a fuller experience of it and a longer intercourse with it might have given. That world was no less estranged from him than he from it. It misunderstood and misinterpreted him throughout his career. It covered him with its opprobrium. Assuredly he was not the man that world painted. It by no means followed that because Shelley did not repeat the ordinary creeds and even mocked at them, he believed in nothing. Shelley was never in his soul an atheist; it was simply impossible with his nature that he should be ; what he did deny and defy was a deity whose worship seemed, as he saw the world, consistent with the reign of selfishness and bigotry.
Shelley's poetry bears the impress of his eager, spiritual nature, and also of his vexed, peaceless life. When those vexations are remembered and also that he was cut off when not yet "in flushing," the works he has left behind move wonder and astonishment at the splendour of his genius. Without doubt he is one of the foremost of English poets. Scarcely one has possessed in a higher degree the gifts of language and of melody. Few indeed have heard
“The still sad music of humanity,” and echoed it with such fine feeling and exquisite modulation as he. If ever any poet, he heard that subtle sphere-music Plato speaks of, and made it in some sort audible for mankind. There was much in common between his genius and that of Wordsworth. Certainly of his contemporaries Wordsworth influenced him most, however the conservatism of Wordsworth's maturer years shocked and alienated him. Would that he had had something of Wordsworth's patient, faithful workmanship! In other respects he was perhaps the better endowed by nature. His poetic faculty is livelier and more vigorous. It droops or falls less often—is less subject to prosaic intervals. Guidance and control it sometimes wants, not ever life and power. His eyes pierced, so far as a man's may, through the material world, to the eternal world which lies beyond and onward. Indeed the material world did but furnish him with the means of expression ; what he would express was not its nor of it. His visions were not of earth; to his spirit one may speak as he to the lark in his famous ode:
“Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar and soaring ever singest.” All the fairnesses of the earth were dearest to him as imaging yet more exquisite and diviner beauty.
“He will watch from dawn to gloom
The lake reflected sun illume
Nor heed nor see what things they be ;