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Since fate relentless stopp'd their heav'nly voice, No more the forests ring, or groves rejoice;
Who now shall charm the shades, where COWLEY
His living harp, and lofty DENHAM sung?
Here noble SURREY felt the sacred rage,
Ver. 282.] The Mira of Granville was the Countess of Newburgh. Towards the end of her life Dr. King, of Oxford, wrote a very severe satire against her, in three books, 4to, called The Toast. Warton.
Ver. 291. Here noble Surrey.] Henry Howard Earl of Surrey, one of the first refiners of the English poetry; who flourish'd in the time of Henry VIII.
Ver. 290. her silver star.] All the lines that follow were not added to the poem till the year 1710. What immediately followed this, and made the conclusion, were these;
My humble Muse in unambitious strains
Paints the green forests and the flow'ry plains;
Matchless his pen, victorious was his lance,
Oh would'st thou sing what heroes Windsor bore,
Ver. 297. Fair Geraldine,] "The Fair Geraldine, (says Mr. Warton in his Hist. of English Poetry, vol. iii.) the general object of Lord Surrey's passionate sonnets, is commonly said to have lived at Florence, and to have been of the family of the Geraldi of that city. This is a misapprehension of an expression in one of our poet's odes, and a passage in Drayton's Heroic Epistles. She was, undoubtedly, one of the daughters of Gerald Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare.
In the History of English Poetry, vol. iii. p. 12. is a poem of the elegiac kind, in which he laments his imprisonment in Windsor Castle.
Ver. 303. Edward's acts] Edward III. born here.
and his son!
Mighty victor, mighty lord,
Low on his funeral couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye afford
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Ver. 300. What kings first breath'd, &c.]
"Not to recount those several kings, to whom
It gave a cradle, and to whom a tomb."
Draw monarchs chain'd, and Cressi's glorious field, The lilies blazing on the regal shield:
Then, from her roofs when Verrio's colours fall, And leave inanimate the naked wall,
Still in thy song should vanquish'd France appear, And bleed for ever under Britain's spear.
Let softer strains ill-fated Henry mourn, And palms eternal flourish round his urn.
Which is followed by that striking question,—
Is the sable warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
The Bard, strophe 2.
I have sometimes wondered that Pope did not mention the building of Windsor Castle by Edward III. His architect was William of Wykeham, whose name, it must not be wondered at, if I seize every opportunity of mentioning with veneration and gratitude. Yet, perhaps, he was rather the supervisor and comptroller of the work, than the actual architect, as he had singular talents for business, activity, and management of affairs. Warton.
Ver. 307.] "Without much invention, (says Mr. Walpole, vol. iii. p. 59.) and with less taste, Verrio's exuberant pencil was ready at pouring out gods, goddesses, kings, emperors, and triumphs, over those public surfaces, on which the eye never rests long enough to criticise, and where one should be sorry to place the works of a better master; I mean ceilings and staircases. He received, in all, for his various works, the sum of 6,845l." Ver. 311. Henry mourn.] Henry VI. How could he here omit the mention of Eton College, founded by this unfortunate King, and the Chapel of King's College in Cambridge. But Gray has made ample amends for this omission,
Ver. 307. Originally thus in the MS.
When Brass decays, when Trophies lie o'erthrown,
Here o'er the Martyr-King the marble weeps,
Make sacred Charles's tomb for ever known, (Obscure the place, and uninscrib'd the stone) 320 Oh fact accurst! what tears has Albion shed, Heav'ns, what new wounds! and how her old have bled!
by his most beautiful ode on the prospect of this neighbouring college, from which so many ornaments and supports of state and church have proceeded.
Ver. 314. once-fear'd Edward sleeps :] Edward IV. Ver. 316.] See an account of Belerium, so called from Bellerus, a Cornish giant, that part of Cornwall called the Lands End, in Warton's edition of Milton's Poems, p. 28.
Cape Cornwall is called by geographers Promontorium Bolericum, but by Diodorus Siculus, v. 21, Belerium. The same place is intended in Milton's Lycidas, v. 160.
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old.
Ver. 319. Make sacred Charles's] Vigneul-Marville, v. 1. p. 152, relates a fact concerning this unhappy Monarch that I do not find mentioned in any history: which he says Lord Clarendon used to mention when he retired to Rouen in Normandy; that one of the first circumstances that gave disgust to the people of England, and to some of the nobility, was a hint thrown out by Charles
Ver. 321. Originally thus in the MS.
Oh fact accurst! oh sacrilegious brood,
Sworn to Rebellion, principled in blood!
She saw her sons with purple death expire,
In that blest moment, from his oozy bed
Old father Thames advanc'd his rev'rend head; 330 His tresses dropp'd with dews, and o'er the stream His shining horns diffus'd a golden gleam;
Charles I. at the beginning of his reign, that he thought all the ecclesiastical revenues that had been seized and distributed by Henry VIII. ought to be restored to the church. Warton.
Ver. 329.] It may gratify a curious reader to see an extract of a letter of Prior to Lord Bolingbroke, written from Paris, May 18, 1713, concerning a medal that was to be struck on the Peace
Ver. 327. Thus in the MS.
Till Anna rose and bade the Furies cease;
Let there be peace—she said, and all was Peace. Between Verse 330 and 331, originally stood these lines; From shore to shore exulting shouts he heard,
O'er all his banks a lambent light appear'd,
With sparkling flames heav'n's glowing concave shone,
saw, and gently rose above the stream;
His shining horns diffuse a golden gleam:
With pearl and gold his tow'ry front was drest,
Ver. 328. The world obey'd, and all was peace!]
"Silence, ye troubled waves, and thou deep, Peace." Milton.