COMMENTARY NOTES

Ad lectorem 2, O Laertiade Horace, Sermones II.v.59.
Ad lectorem 2, atque Fernelium Jean François Fernel (d. 1558), author of such medical works as De evacuandi ratione (1545); De abditis rerum causis (1548); Medicina ad Henri, in sylva Dodonaea cum II (1554)., and Universa Medica (1544).
Ad lectorem 2 The allusion is to Jupiter’s oracular grove of oaks at Dodona in Epirus.
Ad lectorem 3, non ita pridem a me vernaculo sermone editum The allusion is to the Preface of Cowley’s 1656 Poems, in which he discussed his abortive attempt to write an epic on the Civil War: having stopped work on one ambitious project, will he not be reprehended for beginning another?
Ad lectorem 3, Bella cano Source: unidentified.
Ad lectorem 5, occurrent daemonia Isaiah 34:24.
Ad lectorem 5, in altos nubium tractus Horace, Odes IV.ii.26f.
Ad lectorem 6, producat in montibus Psalm 146:8.
Ad lectorem 6, Benedicite universa Daniel 3:73.
Ad lectorem 7, Si quidem hercle Terence, Eunuchus 50 (with possim for possis).
Ad lectorem 7 Martialis affirmat Epigrammata I, proem, line 18.
Ergo iterum versus 16 Cf. Iliad I.49, δεινὴ δὲ κλαγγὴ γένετ’ ἀργυρέοιο βιοῖο.
21 He is like the well-known Medea in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, who says (VII.20f.) video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor.
23 In Book VII of the Iliad Diomedes is so foolishly rash as to attempt to do battle against Aphrodite.

I.25 “When the Sun enters Aries, i. e. in March. Colchis is a northern region near the Black Sea, whence the Ram witht he Golden Fleece was said to have been translated into a constellation.”
I.52 “Antonius Musa, physician to Augustus.”
I.57ff. “Betony is hot and dry in the second degree. Wine or vinegar impregnated with it is excellent for the stomack and sight. The smell of it alone refreshes the brain. ’Tis an Italian proverb, he has as many virtues as betony, i. e. innumerable.”
I.81 Mezentius was a hot-blooded Italian tyrant who fought against Aeneas in the Aeneid.
I.87f. “Betony is drunk as a remedy against Madness. Plin., l. 26.11.”
I.89f. “This is according to Dr. Glisson’s opinion, which see in Liber de anatomia hepatis, and Plin., ut supra.
I.127 (129 English) “See Plin. l. 26.19.”
I.135f. (137f. English) “It is everywhere made use of against the gout and sciatica.”
I.137ff. (139f. English) “Betony is said to have so great a virtue against serpents that if they are inclosed in a circle made thereof, they’ll lash themselves to death. Plin. l. 25.8.”
I.150 (152 English) “It has a parlticular faculty to amend the dead colour of the skin, and to render it vivid and clear. Id. l. 26.11.”
I.163 (English) “Capillary plants.”
I.172 (175 English) “The name it bears, because it tinges the hair, and is to this purpose boil’d in wine with parsley-seed and plenty of oil, which renders the hair thick and curling, and keeps it from falling. Plin. l. 22.21.”
I.183 (English) “Being called in latin capillus Veneris.
I.185ff. (191ff. English) “’Tis always green, but never flowers. It delights in dry places, and is green in summer, but withers not in winter. Plin.”
I.201ff. (209ff. English) “It forces urine, is good against the dropsie, strangury, &c. Plin.”
I.211ff. (219ff. English) “The virtues of sage are highly celebrated by all authors; particularly the writers of Schola Salernitana, who may be consulted. It is hot in the first, and dry int he second degree; it is easily astringent, and stays bleedings, strengthens the stomach and brain, and rowzes a dull appetite, but its peculiar faculty is to corroborate the narves, and to oppose all diseases incident unto them. Hence it hath the highest reputation among medicaments for the memory.”
I.259f. (268ff. English) “Agrippa calls it the holy herb, and says that lionesses eat it when they are big. See Heurnius concerning its virtues this way.”
I.271ff. (280ff. English) “Baum is hot and dry in the first degree. It is excellent against melancholy and the evils arising therefrom. It causes chearfulness, a good digestion and a florid colour. The leaves are said, by those who mind signatures, to resemble a heart.”
I.294 (305 English) “It is much loved by the bees, and is a preasent remedy against the stings of them and wasps, &c. Plin.”
I.305 (316 English) “There is no proper Greek word for scurvy.”
I.341 (357 English) “Scurvy-grass is reckoned among the medicines peculiar to this disease. It opens, penetrates, renders volatile the crude and gross humours, purges by urine and sweat, and strengthens the entrails.”
I.358 (378 English) “Not but that ’tis by some thought to be the Britannica of Pliny.”
I.389 (411 English) “The ivy is always call’d ivy, whatsoever it cleaves to, but this herb takes the name from the plant on which it hangs, with whom also it partakes its virtues, ad epithymum, epilinum, epiurtica, &c.”
I.407 (433 English) “Concerning its manifold virtues, consult Heurnius and Fernelius.”The reference is to Johann Heurnius, author of Mehtodus ad praxin medicam (Rotterdam, 1650) and Praxis Medicinae nova (Rotterdam, 1650).
I.415ff. (441ff. English) “Pliny spends all Chapt. 7, l. 27 in enumerating the virtues of wormwood, and Fernelius is large upon it; whom consult.”
I.427ff. (454ff. English) “It strengthens the stomach and purges it of choler, wind and crudities.”
I.475ff. (505ff. English) “It is good against the dropsie.”
I.477f. (507f. English) Cowley may actually have been thinking of the Dutch who came over to drain the East Anglia fenlands in the seventeenth century.
I.487ff. (521ff. English) “And worms, which occasion’d the name, wormwood.”
I.499ff. (539ff. English) “And useful in time of pestilence.”
I.519ff. (549ff, English) “Concerning this custom see Pliny, ut supra.
I.523 (564 English) “Deianira’s blood is said by Calepine to be turn’d into this herb, after she had kill’d herself with Hercules his club, for grief that she had been the cause of his death.
I.565f. (605f. English) “It is call’d by some Hercules’s Club.”
I.569 (609 English) “There are two sorts, a white and a yellow.”
I.579f. (619f. English) “’Tis said to be a great allayer of lechery.”
I.587ff. (627 English) “It takes away morphews and freckles.”
I.593ff. (633ff. English) “It is cold in the second degree, its root and seed are drying, but the flower moistens; being applied to the forehead and nostrils it cures the head-ach arising from phlegm, and is very cooling. Fernel.”
I.606ff. (648ff. English) “The virtues of this herb are told in its name.”
I.617 (659 English) This was written against the background of the Dutch tulip craze.
I.649f. (698 English) “Vitruvius says that in Creet, where this herb abounds, the swine have no spleen.”
I.659ff. (708ff. English) “Augustus is said to have been preserved in his sickness by lettuce. Plin.”
I.731ff. (785ff. English) “Several diseases of the eye are recounted. Epiphora. ophthalmia.”
I.739f. (795f. English) “Suffusio.”
I.743f. (801f. English) “Leucoma.”
I.810 (English) Fistula comes from a Latin word for a pipe or flute.
I.755ff. (xxx English) A sidenote refers to the treatise De Vinis by Arnoldus de Villa Nova.
I.759 An echo of Horace, Ars Poetica 343, omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci.
I.815ff. (877ff. English) “It is excellent against the stone and all diseases of the bladder, thence in Latin call’d vesicaria.
I.831 (891 English) “Vulgarly call’d also Rosa Solis.
I.857 The allusion is to the bowl made by Alcimedon, described at Vergil, Eclogue iii.37ff.
I.875 Patulcius and Clusius (“Opener,” “Closer”) were two cult-titles of Janus.
I.877f. (945f. English) “The coltwort is said to kill the vine, and itself kill’d by this herb.”
I.909 (979 English) “The jaundies, sometimes call’d in Latin aurigo, from aurum.
I.931 (1001 English) “An antient Roman author that wrote about good eating.”
I.952 (1023 English) “The gout.”
I.957 (1027 English) “A Nimph turn’d into a spider.”
I.982 (1059 English) “A heavy sort of dancing in armor.”
I.1029ff. (1112ff. English) “Aristotle gave the world a rule, Neither eat mint nor plant it in time of war, which being variously understood by this followers, the said herb does in this speech make out that it can with no sense be interpreted to its dishonour, by telling her virtues in chearing the spirits and exciting the stomach.” (The reference is to Problems xx).
I.1057 (1142 English) “Minthe was a Nymph, one of Pluto’s harlots, whom Proserpine therefore chang’d into this herb. Opp. Hal. 3.” (The reference is to Oppian, Haleutica III.486, cf. also Ovid, Metamorphoses X.729, cited in a sidenote on I.1090 = English I.1173).
I.1129 (1225 English) “Teutates and Hesus were the two greatest gods of the Gauls.”
I.1133ff. (1228ff. English) “Concerning these ceremonies, see Plin. l. 16.43.”
I.1145 (1250 English) There was a grove of prophetic oaks at Dodona, sacred to Zeus.
I.1155f. (1265f. English) “It averts charms being tied to the neck. Clusius.” The reference is to Charles de l’Ecluse [1526 - 1609], author of Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Hispanias observatarum (15i76), Rariorum aliquot stirpium per Pannoniam, Austriam, et vicinas...Historia (1583), and Rarium Plantarum Historia (1601).
I.1158 (1270 English) “The falling-sickness.” He means epilepsy.
I.1172 (1289 English) In a footnote on the Latin text Cowley quotes Aeneid VIII.3156f., Juvenal vi.11f., and Statius, Thebias IV.276ff.
I.1177ff. (1294ff. English) “A decoction hereof with white-wine and annise-seeds is said to be excellent against the jaundies. Mattiolus says it will cure the same, being applied to the soles of the feet.” The reference is to Pierandrea Martioli [1501 - 77], author of De plantis epitome (1544, expanded version by Joachim Camerarius, 1586).
I.1201ff. (1322ff. English) “Alluding to the fable of Philomel turn’d into a swallow.”
I.1202 (1326 English) “The extraordinary faculty of this herb in healing the eyes is said to have been found out by the swallow, who cures his young therewith.”
I.1237ff. (1358ff. English) “Rocket is hot and dry in in the third degree, of a contrary nature to lettuce, a friend to Venus and her affairs.”
I.1254 (1378 English) Cowley’s sidenote quotes Ovid, Remedia Amoris 799.
I.1312 (1435 English) The Latin makes it clear that Cowley is writing of Pythagoras, a vegeterian.
II.1ff. “This Book, treating only of female plants, is dedicated to Cybele, at whose mysteries no man ought to be present.”
II.11ff. (13ff. English) “The moon is call’d Lucina, the goddess of midwifry; and Jana, as the sun Janus; and Mena, as she is the governess of womens menstrous courses.”
II.66 (70 English) “Lavender-cotton.”
II.67 (71 English) “I. e. saffron. Crocus was a boy that died for love, and was turn’d into saffron.”
II.69 (73 English) “The name of a boy that spilt a box of sweet ointment, and was turn’d into sweet marjoram.”
II.85 (91 English) “They are binding.”
II.90 (96 English) “Cat-mint.”
II.96 (102 English) “Betony, call’d vettonica from a people of Spain that first found it out, and are memorable only upon that score.”
II.123 At the beginning of Vergil’s first Eclogue Tityrus is found reclining under a beech tree.
II.126 (132 English) “It is cut that the gum may flow forth.”
II.225 (231 English) Vena cava, a large place.”
II.271 (English) The translation has a sidenote against this line, “Lacerpitium, the gum of which is called assafoetida,” but this note appear to be printed here wrongly.
II.311ff. (324ff, English) “The many virtues of plantain are to be read in Pliny and Fernelius. The old physician Themison wrote a whole volume concerning them.”
II.331 (344 English) He means Hercules.
II.337 (350 English) “Epimenides Cretenses said the Cretans were always lyars.”
II.352 (English) “Rubigo” (i. e., rust).
II.352 (368 English) “Bacchus, to whom the ivy is consecrated.”
II.598 (620 English) “The story of Iphis chang’d into a boy on her wedding day, see Ovid, Met(amorphoses) 9.” See also Henry Bellamy’s dramatization of this myth, Iphis, in The Philological Museum.
II.599 (621 English) “Hippocrates, lib. Epidem(ica) says that Phaethusa, wife of Pithaeus of Abdera, having before been a fruitful woman, upon the banishment of her husband and her courses stopping, she became hairy and had a beard, and her voice grew strong and hoarse, like that of a man; the same he writes of Nemisa the wife of Gorippus.”
II.635 (663 English) “Luna and Lucina, both the same goddess of midwifry, &c.”
II.646 (xxx English) The aedile was a Roman magistrate responsible for the maintenance of roads.
II.657 Thermopylae was a narrow pass, defended by the Greeks against the Persians.
II.689 (719 English) I am not sure what Cowley means by praeposterus: is he thinking of breech births?
II.730 English In Latin, placenta means a cake.
II.709f. (739f. English) “It draws splinters, scales of bones, &c. Fernel(ius).”
II.731f. (762ff. English) “Concerning Glaucus his fishes, see Ovid, Met(amorphoses) lib. 13, fab(ula) ult(ima).”
II.781 (813 English) “The Minotaur.” This would have been a double abortion because he was a half-man, half-beast.
II.799ff. (831ff. English) “Mastick is good for the tooth-ach.”
II.823ff. (856ff. English) “Sennertus and other physicians recommend these stones to be held in the hand, or otherwise applied to those who fear abortion.” The reference is to Daniel Sennert [1572 - 1637], author of Institutiones medicae (1609).
II.895ff. (933ff. English) “Plants that procure abortion.”
II.922 (960 English) “Echolicks, i. e. such medicines as bring away dead children, or cause abortion.”
II.926 (965 English) “The goddess of childbearing.”
II.937 (976 English) “The smell of a candles snuff, ’tis said, will make women miscarry.”
II.951f. (991 English) “The stink of the snufff of a candle is said also to cause abortion in mares.” Bucephalus was Alexander’s horse, after whom he named the city of Bucephela that he founded in India.
II.967 (1010 Engish) “Cynaeras, king of Cyprus. See the story of his daughter Myrrha, Ovid, Met(amorphoses).” The story is told at Met. X.298 - 502.
II.980 (1020 English) “I. e. fits of the mother.”
II.1o08 (1048 English) See the note on II.967 immediately above.
II.1o26 (1066 English) “A noisom lake, over which if birds flew, they were often choked with the stench of it.”
II.1231 (Engish) “The name of the gardiner of the Physick-Garden in Oxford.” (Such was the original name of the Botanical Gardens at Oxford.)
III.199ff. (202ff. English) “These plants by art sometimes are made to flower in winter.”
III.220 (223 English) “This flower’s in December.”
III.355 (363 English) “A plant of the tribe of Pseudo-narcissi Juncifolii, from the shap of a tube in the midst of the flower, called trumpets.”
III.418 (419 English) “The vast price of citron tables, see Pliny, lib. 13.”
III.483 - 538 Meter: Sapphic stanzas.
III.553 - 586 Meter: First Asclepiadeans.
III.596 (583 English) The allusion is to Vergil, Eclogue v.38, pro molli viola, pro purpureo narcisso.
III.599 - 622 Meter: Second Asclepiadeans.
III.627 (616 English) “’Tis fabled to have sprung out of Adonis’s bloud.”
III.631 (618 English) “Its flower never opens but when the wind blows. Pliny 21.23.”
III.633 - 672 Meter: Fourth Asclepiadeans.
III.668 Ovid tells the story of Narcissus at Metamorphoses III.316 - 510.
III.674 (658 English) “This most noble flower, to the sight, that grows. Lauremberg.”
III.681 - 724 Meter: Alcaic stanzas.
III.752 (735 English) “Thence such were and are still call’d candidates.”
III.753 - 804 Meter: Third Asclepiadean stanzas.
III.753 (736 English) The allusion is to Horace, Epodes I.vi.40.
III.723 I. e., Ariadne.
III.801f. Cowley’s foot makes it clear he is writing about the rape of Lucretia.
III.809 - 879 Meter: hendecasyllables.
III.822f. (807 English) “The juice of the root takes away freckes and morphews.”
III.841 (817 English) “Of the root is made that call’d powder of Cyprus or orris powder.”
III.851ff. (827ff. English) “Its faculty in curing these diesase is celebrated by Lauremberg, Fernelius, &c.”
III.880 (857f. English) “The peony male and female.”
III.892f. (871 English) “Homer says Paeon cur’d Pluto with this plant when he was wounded by Hercules.” The allusion is to Iliad V.401f.
III.898 - 943 Meter: iambic strophes (iambic trimeters alternating with iambic dimeters).
III.963 (933f. English) “The rose is said at first to have grown white only, till Venus, running after Adonis, scratch’d her legs upon its thorns, and stain’d the flower with her bloud.”
III.964 - 1049 Meter: Sapphic stanzas.
III.985 Aurora (Homer’s “rosy-fingered Dawn.”
III.1027 (964 English) The Homeric king Nestor was proverbial for his long life.
III.1092 (1039 English) Pharsalia, the site of two battles during the Roman civil wars.
III.1098ff. (1045ff. English) “The civil wars between the Houses of York and Lancaster, of which the first bore the white-rose, and the other the red, cost more English bloud than did twice conquering France.”
III.1096 (1052 English) Cowley is perhaps thinking of the great English victories at Crécy and Agincourt.
III.1111 (1053 English) Cowley’s footnote points out that the thistle was the badge of the King of Scotland.
III.1106 (xxx English) Cowley’s footnote make it clear this is an allusion to Ovid, Fasti V.229.
III.1120ff. (1074ff. English) The allusion is to Lucan’s Bellum Civile (with a quotation from the first line of that epic) and Statius’ Thebais. A more accurate translation of the final couplet is “or he who sang the deaths of the Theban brothers, the next-best bard after Vergil.”
IV.7f. (7f. English) The allusion is to Vergil, Georgics Ι.237ff.
IV.9ff. (9ff. English) The story is told at the beginning of book IV of Quintus Curtius’ Historiae Alexandri Magni.
IV.19 (17 English) The story is told by Valerius Maximus VII.ii (see also Pliny, Natural History VII.xlvii).
IV.48ff. Just as a cycle of lyric odes was embedded in Book III, the portion of of Book IV that begins here presents us with a cycle of epigrams on individual plants, prefaced by an introductory one addressed to the poet’s Muse. As in the printed originals, the articulation into individual epigrams is indicated by blank lines in the Latin text, and by paragraph indentations in the English.
IV.64 (59 English) “Call’d flamy because her three colours are seen in the flame of wood as in the rainbow.”
IV.71 (67 English) “Dames violet, call’d hesperis because it smells strongest int he night. Plin. lib. 27.7.”
IV.79 (76 English) Cacus was a cave-dwelling Italian ogre, overcome by Hercules (mentioned by Livy and Vergil).
IV.125 (117 English) “Blew helmet flowers, or monks-hood, so called from its figure.”
IV.132 (124 English) “Counter-poyson-monks-hood, or wholesom helmet flower.”
IV.155 (147 English) A sidenote says the campion was called lychnis (“lamp”) because it shines at night.
IV.164 (155 English) A sidenote says that the inhabitants of Chalcedon used to be called blind because they chose to settle where they did rather than on the opposite side of the Hellespont, where Byzantium was subsequently located.
IV.158 English “The peacock.”
IV.175 (167 English) a. “Called lysimachia from Lysimachus,” “Found by Gentius King of Illyricum, where they grow largest.”
IV.177 (169 English) “So called from its cleansing quality, used in washing cloth and scouring kitchin vessels.”
IV.183ff. (175ff. English) He of course is writing about Cincinnatus.
IV.187ff. (179ff. English) “Bell flowers, campanulae.
IV.197 (190 English) “The hearing.”
IV.199 (190 English) “Call<ed> great bind-weed, or great bell-flower.”
IV.200 (191 English) Corinthian silver and bronze pieces were highly prized by Roman collectors.
IV.204 (195 English) “In Latine call’d flos cardinalis.
IV.205 (196 English) Flos digitalis from resembling a glove.” In view of Cowley’s usual interest in the pharmacological virtues of plants, it is remarkable that he has nothing to say about digitalis.
IV.211 (200 English) Canna Indica, or flos cancri.
IV.235 (224f. English) “The syllables ac, as most visible in this flower.”
IV.241 (230 English) “The common hyacinth, who wants all the notes of the old hyacinth or Ajax flower.
IV.301 (286 English) “Star-wort. Virg. Georg. 4” (the allusion is to Georgics IV.278.
IV.349 (349 English) “A flower so call’d, and sometimes falsly French marigolds.”
IV.411 (384 English) Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit-trees.
IV.419 (392 English) Vertumnus was the Roman god of springtime.
IV.435f.(405f. English) Pythagoras forbade his followers to eat beans.
IV.457ff. (424ff. English) Cowley harks back to the story he has told at I.517ff.
IV.473ff. (439ff. English) Flos passionis Christi. The passion-flower, or Virginian climber. The first of these names was given it by the Jesuites, who pretend to find in it all instruments of our Lord’s Passion, not so easily discern’d by men of senses not so fine as they.”
IV.510 (470 English) In Book X of the Odyssey Hermes presents Odysseus with the magic herb moly, with which he was able to rescue his shipmates, who had been turned into swine by Circe.
IV.515 - 529 Meter: dactylic hexameters alternating with iambic trimeters catalectic.
IV.476 (English) “Μέγα, magnum.
IV.540ff. (492 English) Horace, Epodes i.1 - 4.
IV.570 (521 English) “The goddess of waters.”
IV.571f. (523 English) The Cicones (a people of Thrace) and their magical river are mentioned by Ovid, Metamorphoses XIV.314.
IV.584ff. (525 English) “Lark-spur, the herb by the touch of which Juno was feigned to conceive Mars. Ovid, Fasti lib. &c.” The reference is to Fasti V.229.
IV.658 - 675 Meter: Alcaic stanzas.
IV.674ff. (631ff. English) “Jupiter, in order to make Hercules immortal, clap’d him to Juno’s breasts while she was asleep. The lusty little rogue suck’d so hard that too great a gush of milk coming forth, some spilt uponthe sky, which made the Galaxy or milky way, and out of some which fell to earth arose the lily.”
IV.720 - 803 Meter: Sapphic stanzas.
IV.766 For this proverb meaning “sleep soundly,” cf. Terence, Heauton Timorumenos 341f.:

ademptum tibi iam faxo omnem metum,
in aurem utramvis otiose ut dormias.

IV.780 (732 English) “In old time the seed of the white-poppy parch’d was serv’d up as a dessert.”
IV.830 - 855 Meter: second pythiambics (dactylic hexameters alternating with iambic trimeters).
IV.852 (803 English) “America, where grow the largest sun-flowers.”
IV.860 - 887 Meter: Alcmanic strophes (dactylic hexameters alternating with dactylic tetrameters).
IV.902f. (896 English) “Meadow saffron, called, bulbus strangulatorius, et ephemeron lethale.
IV.916 - 987 Meter: hendecasyllables.
IV.920f. (872 English) Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses IV.283.
IV.1002 - 1029 Meter: third Asclepiadean stanzas.
IV.1055 (982f. English) For Tarquin’s exercise of savagery against the flowers in his garden, see Livy I.liv.6, Ovid, Fasti II.705f., and Pliny, N. H. XIX.clxix.
V.33 (36 English) In Book VII of the Odyssey, when Nausicaa leads the Odysseus to the palace of her father Alcinous, they pass by his orchards.
V.54 (53 English) See the note on IV.413.
V.74 English I. e., America.
V.110 (113 English) I am not sure who Omelochilus is supposed to be: since he is described as the American equivalent of Bacchus, possiblyhe is to be equated with Omacatl, the Aztec god of feasts and joy.
V.125 (128 English) Conceivably Cowley had heard of Ochus (the site of modern Pensacola), captured by Pizarro.
V.127 Tlaloc was the Aztec god of floods and droughts, and so might plausibly be regarded as an American equivalent of Neptune.
V.128 (129 English) Viracocha Pachayachachi was the Inca creator-god (as recounted here).
V.182ff. (196ff. English) “Of this is made the divining rod, with which they discover mines.”
V.220 (237 English) Thersites is the grotesque and cowardly hunchback who appears in Book II of the Iliad.
V.223f. (241f. English) Vergil writes of the pulcherrima pinus at Eclogue vii.65.
V.235ff. (251ff. English) All this is written because ships were made out of pine.
V.243ff. (259ff. English) “Atys, reported for the sake of chastity to have made himself an eunuch.”
V.250ff. (267ff. English) “The daughter of Midas, espoused to Atys.”
V.283 (298 English) Mater pia et dura mater.
V.307 (317 English) For King Mithridates’ interest in antidotes to poison, cf. Pliny, N. H. XXIII.viii.
V.327 (335 English) “Pomegranate, call’d malus Punica.
V.338 (346 English) a.) “Juno being the same with Lucina goddess of midwifery.”
V.339 (349 English) “Jupiter is said to have promis’d Ceres that Prosperine should be restored to her if she had tasted nothing in the lower regions, but she having eaten pomegranate seeds was retain’d.”
V.343 (355 English) “Pomegranate a most powerful restringent, used in all immoderate evacuations.”
V.391ff. (392ff. English) “The cherry-tree in Latin call’d Cerasus a town in Cappadocia, from whence it was brought into Italy by Lucullus anno urbis 680.”
V.426 English “Rhodocina.”
V.443f. (435f. English) “Of which wood spears and bows were made.”
V.445 English “An African plant.”
V.456ff. (451ff. English) The allusion is to the tale of Priapus and Lotis, as told by Ovid, Metamorphoses IX.347ff.
V.467ff. (461ff. English) I. e., the tree endured from the time of Romulus to that of Nero. The story of this tree is told by Pliny, N. H. XVI.ccxxxv.
V.474f. (466f. English) “Instruments of musick made of her wood.”
V.502 (494 English) “Strabo relates that the Babylonians used a song that recidted three hundred and sixty benefits of the palm or date-tree.”
V.508 (500 English) “Leaping into the flame of his funeral pile.” (Evadne committed suicide on the pyre of her husband Capaneus after his death in the battle of the Seven against Thebes.)
V.509 (501 English) “Who died in her husband Admetus’ stead.”
V.514 A quotation of a famous line from Cicero’s lost poem on his consulship (fr. 11.1 Büchner).
V.520f. (518ff. English) “The contention between Neptune and Minerva, who should give the name to Athens.”
V.539f. (535 English) “Laws were made in Athens to secure the olive tree.”
V.538 English Halirrhotius. He raped Ares’ daughter Alcippe. Ares killed him, was tried by the court of the Areopagus, and was acquitted.
V.586 (574 English) Written in imitation of the incomplete lines in the Aeneid (in her translation of Book VI Aphra Behn is very liberal in the use of this device).
V.597 (590 English) “The top thereof resembling a crown or coronet.”
V.661 (652 English) “Pyramus and Thisbe.” They used to meet under a white mulberry tree. After their deaths, the mulberry bore red berries in memory of their love.
V.665ff. (657ff. English) Silkworms live in mulberry trees.
V.684 (674 English) See the note on I.941.
V.685f. (675f. English) “Phitalus, who kindly entertain’d her, and in return receiv’d from her the fig-tree. Pausanias.” The reference is Graeciae Descriptio I.xxxviii.
V.768 (757 English)
“Caninus was Consul but seven hours, dying the same day he was chosen.”
V.770 (758 English) Nahum Tate was wrong: it was not Vespasian, but rather his son Titus who was called “the darling of the world” (cf. orbis amor at Ausonius, Monosticha 4.12).
V.783ff. (771ff. English) For the following section on American plants and the individual items discussed, cf. this iconographic page.
V.804 (795 English) The Inca earth goddess.
V.825 (819 English) The Quito, the inhabitants of modern Equador.
V.836 (831 English) For the hovia see here.
V.870 (867 English) A Mexican city.
V.884 English A city of Bolivia.
V.889 (889 English) Cártama must have been a Spanish settlement in Peru (or Mexico) where gold was mined, named after the Spanish town on the Costa del Sol.
V.908 I. e. the Aztec mother-goddess Tlazolteotl.
V.920ff. (921ff. English) “The thorn growing at the end of each leaf, which together with the stringy part joyning to it, is used in manner of a needle and thread to sew withal.”
V.983 For this expression (meaning “trifling things”), cf. Erasmus, Adagiorum Chiliades I.iii.53.
V.1018 (1026 English) Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec god of war.
V.1022 (1032 English) Tezcatlipoca, Aztec god of wild animals, change, and magic.
V.1025f. (1036f. English) Aphrodite is wounded by Diomedes in Book V of the Iliad.
V.1052 Evidently = “consecrated to Coatlicue” (a sinister Aztec snake goddess).
V.1099 (1121 English) The native name of the island where Columbus first made landfall.
V.1107 A deliberate echo of Aeneid III.57, auri sacra fames.
V.1180 (1217 English) Cowley is thinking of the half-Inca historian Garcilaso de la Vega [d. 1616], author of Comentarios Reales de los Incas (1609).
V.1198 (1239 English) It is unclear who “Guanacapaci” is supposed to be: possibly Cuauhtemoc, the last Aztec king, or Coanacoch, briefly king of Texcoco in 1520.
VI.21 (23 English) Charles is supposed to have hidden in the Royal Oak at Boscobel House after royalist defeat at Worcester in 1651.
VI.37 I. e., Daphne in her transformed condition.
VI.72ff. (114ff. English) In a footnote Cowley assures the reader that he personally witnessed most of these prodigies (he is referring to the year 1628, ten years after his birth, or a little before).
VI.83 (135 English) The English general George Monck, who engineered the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 by a bloodless coup, and was rewarded by Charles II by being created first Duke of Albemarle.
VI.107 (166 English) By “Caledonian monsters” Cowley means the Presbyterians of Scotland.
VI.134 (205 English) “What this bird truly was is not known, but was much dred by the [haruspices]: Pliny, Servius, etc.” Cf. Pliny, N. H. X.xxxvi.7, Festus, De Verborum Significatione p.333.1, etc. (but Servius has nothing about it).
VI.139f. (214f. English) “For the truth herof take Pliny’s word, l. 16.13.”
VI.189 In a footnote Cowley cites Aeneid VII.61, populus Alcidae gratissimus.
VI.190 (286 English) The alter is so called because the sisters of Phaeton were transformed into alder trees (Vergil, Eclogue vi.62f.).
VI.193 (292 English) “That is, a tribe which early drops its seed, or which is an enemy to venery.”
VI.216 Besides a reference to the harsh Athenian lawgiver Draco, this line contains a reference to Horace’s schoolmaster lagosus Orbilius (“Orbilius the Flogger”) of Epistles II.i.70f.
VI.238 (341 English) Tityrus is a speaker in Vergil’s First Eclogue.
VI.315ff. (462ff. English) In this passage Cowley writes of four uses to which the box is put: for topiaries, and for making ladies’ combs, such products as axle-trees and hinges requiring especially hard and durable wood, and woodwind instruments such as recorders.
VI.360 A comic exaggeration the proverb explained in the note on IV.760.
VI.331ff. (481 English) “Hereof birdlime is made.”
VI.525 English Not wanting to cope with translating a passage based on Greek and Latin puns (involving τόξος = “bow,” τοξικὀς = “poisonous,” and taxus = “yew”), Aphra Behn skipped the equivalent Latin passage, which may be rendered “Answer my request for wine and hand me cups of yew, I won’t avoid them even if offered by the hand of a stepmother. It is a rotten thing, you grammarians, to call it toxic for this reason, they get this dire name from the Greek word for a bow, and from the old habit of shooting poisoned arrows they have appointed this savage name involving deadly venoms.”
VI.382ff. (538ff. English) Cyparissus, son of Telephus, possessed a deer that was given to him by Apollo. When he accidentally killed the animal he became inconsolable and the god turned him into a cypress. The story is told by Ovid, Metamorphoses X.143 - 219.
VI.588ff. English The lines italicized here, written by Aphra Behn about herself, correspond to nothing in Cowley’s Latin text.
VI.451 (632 English) Pyrrho of Elis, head of the New Academy, introduced a new kind of skepticism reflected in Cicero’s Academica and the works of Sextus Empiricus.
VI.504 (701 English) I. e. the Symplegades or Clashing Rocks, between which the Argonauts were obliged to sail.
VI.511 (711 English) I. e., belonging to Iolchus, the home of Jason. Unless the English text suffers from a typographical error, Aphra Behn evidently misinterpreted this adjective as meaning “Pegasus-like.”
VI.517f. (720f. English) The cedars of Lebanon, pines of Mt. Ida, and palms of North Africa.
VI.539 (745 English) Cyrrhaean = Dephic.
VI.540 (750 English) See the note on I.1155.
VI.554 (773 English) Chaonian = belonging to Dodona.
VI.569ff. (792ff.l English) The legend that Britain was settled by Aeneas’ grandson or great-grandson Brutus was given great currency, although not actually invented, by Geoffrey of Monmouth in the Historia Britonum.
VI.581 (813 English) Cowley follows a version of the tale according to which Brutus’s father was not Aeneas’ son Ascanius, but rather Ascanius’ son Silvius.
VI.596 (837 English) “Gomerite” is here used as a blanket term for the aborigines encountered and defeated by Brutus at his arrival in Britain.
VI.618 Teutates was a Celtic god of war.
VI.630ff. (875ff. English) In a sense, the Civil War began with the so-called Bishops’ War of 1640, in which the Scots Covenanters rebelled against Charles’ attempt to impose Anglicanism on Scotland, defeated the royal forces, and captured Newcastle. Charles was forced both to capitulate and to turn to Parliament for more money.
VI.642. (889ff. English) The Short Parliament, under the leadership of John Pym, responded by listing its grievances. Charles regarded this as treasonous and prorogued it.
VI.649f. (897ff. English) As Aphra Behn thought, the reference is to Charles’ general Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, who fought the Scots Covenanters and was executed by Parliamentary attainder in 1641.
VI.651ff. (xxx English) Getting ahead of the chronological order of events, Cowley looks ahead to the catastrophic Battle of Worcester (1651), in which the forces of Charles II were defeated. This marked the final end of the Royalist cause.
VI.653ff. (907ff. English) The first important battle of the Civil War was fought near Edge Hill and Kineton, Warks., in October 1642.
VI.657ff. (911ff. English) Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Charles’ nephew, gained a victory in the Battle of Powick Bridge, fought in the month before Edgehill, but this brought no lasting benefit for the Royalists.
VI.664 (919 English) From Cornwall (the location of St. Burien) all the way to the Orkneys.
VI.671ff. (926ff. English) During the Civil War two significant battles were fought at Newbury, Berks. (in 1643 and 1644). Cowley must be adding some minor skirmish that also occurred there. He compares this with Macedonian Philippi, where two battles were fought between the forces of the second Roman triumvirate and Caesar’s assassins.
VI.677 (935 English) In 1645 Charles’ forces were effectively destroyed in the two decisive battles of Naseby and Langport.
VI.700ff. (968ff. English) After escaping from besieged Oxford in 1646, Charles entrusted himself to the Scots Presbyterian army at Newar, but in the next year the Scots compounded with the Parliamentarians and delivered Charles to them.
VI.713 (987 English) When captured, Charles was first imprisoned in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight.
VI.719 (997 English) The Battle of Preston (1648) was fought near the River Ribble, in Northumberland.
VI.721 (999 English) The battle of Maidstone (1648) was fought near the River Maidstone, in Kent.
VI.722ff. (1001ff. English) Colchester was besieged by the Parliamentarians in 1648. After its surrender, the Parliamentary commander, Fairfax, brutally executed the senior Royalist officers.
VI.852ff. (1189ff. English) It will be convenient to summarize in one place the events discussed in the following passage. Charles II was crowned King of Scotland by the Covenanters at Scone in January 1651. He was persuaded to abandon the project of a direct march on London and head to the Severn valley, where he hoped to find Royalist support. Towards the end of August he arrived at Worcester and rested his troops. Cromwell came up and threw forces over the Severn and the Tene, thus blocking Charles’ progress in that direction. Then, in early September, Cromwell launched an attack on Worcester and destroyed Charles’ army, forcing the young king to make his escape to France.
VI.902 (1270 England) Red Hill was a suburb of Worcester, the site of a skirmish during the battle that involved Charles himself.
VI.912f. (1284ff. English) Cowley mentions Charles’ most distinguished followers on this campaign: James Stanley, seventh Earl of Derby (who was captured and executed by the Royalists during Charles’ flight), Henry Wilmot, first Earl of Rochester, and George Villiers, second Duke of Buckingham. |
VI.939ff. (1329ff. English) Fleeing the defeat at Worcester, Charles took refuge at Boscobel House, the Shropshire estate of a follower. There he disguised himself as a tenant’s son and hid in the branches of the Royal Oak to avoid the Parliaments who were scouring the countryside to find him.
VI.1002 (1428 English) Colonel William Carles or Carlis, an officer who had served him well at Worcester, came up to warn Charles of the appending arrival of the Roundheads.
VI.10427 (1483 English) See the note on VI.83.
VI.1049 (1489 English) At the time of the Restoration, Charles had two younger brothers, James Duke of York, and Henry Duke of Gloucester (the latter died without issue in 1660).
VI.1075 Astraea, the Roman goddess of justice, is supposed to have abandoned the corrupt world in disgust: cf. Ps.-Seneca, Octavia 422ff.:

neglecta terras fugit et mores feros
hominum, cruenta caede pollutas manus
Astraea virgo, siderum magnum decus.

VI.1078ff. (1533ff. English) Henrietta Maria, who went into exile in her native France following the execution of Charles I in 1649.
VI.1125 See the note on V.587.
VI.1121ff. (1594ff. English) Book VI concludes with a set-piece description of the spectacular English naval victory in the Battle of Lowestoft, which occurred during the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665).
VI.1144 (1615 English) The English fleet was commanded by Charles’ brother James, Duke of York (the future James II).
VI.1151f. (1625 English) The center of the English fleet was commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine (for whom cf. the note on VI.657ff.). The “moon” is the crescent-shaped formation of the Dutch fleet.
VI.1157ff (1635ff. English) In this passage Cowley describes the engagement of James, aboard the Royal Charles (not Royal Sovereign, as Aphra Behn has it) and the hapless Dutch admiral, Jacob van Wassenaer Obdam (usually called Opdam by the English) aboard the Eendracht. The Dutch flagship suddenly disappeared in a great explosion, possibly caused by an accident in her powder magazine.
VI.1174f. (1657f. English) In 1623 Van Speult, the governor of Amboina in the Dutch East Indies, had ordered the execution of twelve English settlers on a specious charge of conspiring to take over the local fort. The memory of this event still rankled, and was produced as a casus belli.
VI.1187 Despite Aphra Behn’s translation, the Fame was the name of a twelve-gun fireship that participated in the battle (see this site) — I am indebted to James D. Kinney for providing this information). The proper translation is “Fame fired three ships, that ship of divine name that deserves no little commemoration.”
VI.1226 (1724 English) Vergil (Aeneid VIII.727) had called the Rhine Rhenus bicornis, “the two-horned Rhine,” because after arriving at Lippe it divides into two branches.