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Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent
That to the next I may resign my room. Then Ens' is represented as father of the Predicaments his ten sons, whereof the eldest stood for Substance with his canons, which Ens, thus speaking, explains :
Good luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
shall lull him in her flowery lap; Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door Devouring war shall never case to roar;
1 Ens, a term in metaphysics signifying entity, being, existence. In this mask it is personified, as are also Substan«:e, Quantity, Quality, and Relation. “ This affectation,” says Wartun, “will appear more excusable in Milton, if we recollect that everything in the Masks of this age appeared in a bodily shape.”
A Predicament is a category in
logic; that is, a series of all the predicates or attributes contained under a genus. The logic of Aristotle comprised ten categories : Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, Time, Place, Situation, and Habit. These were personified in the Mask.
3 A pun on the logical accidens.WARTON !
Yea it shall be his natural property
The next Quantity and Quality spake in prose; then Relation was called
by his name.
RIVERS, arise; whether thou be the son
The rest was prose.
i It is said that there were thirty sorts of fish in this river, and thirty religious houses on its banks.
2 At Mickleham, near Dorking, the River Mole, in hot summers, sinks through its sands, and finds a subterra
nean channel. In winter, and when
4 Humber was a Scythian king, said to have been drowned in this river by Locrine, three hundred years before the Romans landed in Britain.
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
This is the month, and this the happy morn,
That He our deadly forfeit should release,
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
I The Prophets.
See how from far upon the eastern road
And join thy voice unto the Angel quire,
It was the winter wild,
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies ;
With her great Master so to sympathize:
Only with speeches fair
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,
1 The Magi. The word " wisard" meant simply wise men, and is used
in Sir John Cheke's translation of St. Matthew's Gospel.
But He her fears to cease,
She, crown'd with olives green, came softly sliding
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
Nor war, or battle's sound
The idle spear and shield were high up hung,
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
But peaceful was the night,
His reign of peace upon the earth began :
Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
The stars with deep amaze
Bending one way their precious influence,
Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
1 Silent, or bushed.