COMMENTARY NOTES

spacerDedicatory epigram 1ff. One wonders about which of his previous works Watson was thinking: this allusion to the happy unrealities of pastoral may refer to the background against which the tragedy of Amyntas and Phyllis was enacted, but it is a strange description of what transpired in the foreground.
spacerIn signaling this change of subject and tone, Watson seems to be imitating the alternative proem of the Aeneid preserved by Donatus and Servius:

Ille ego, qui quondam gracili modulatus avena
Carmen, et egressus silvis vicina coegi
Ut quamvis avido parerent arva colono,
Gratum opus agricolis, at nunc horrentia Martis
Arma virumque cano...

spacer2 For the locution furta iocosa cf. Horace, Odes I.x.7f.

spacer20 This line foreshadows the later allusion to the story of the death of Hylas, related at Lamentation VI.93ff. of Amyntas: see the commentary note ad loc.

spacer15 Surely Watson was thinking of Aeneid II.3, infandum, regina, iubes renovare dolorem.

spacer22 The picture of the bereft turtlelove perched on his rotten branch is calculated to remind the reader of the extended simile at Amyntas, Lamentation V. 15ff.

spacer31 Cf. Amyntas, Final Lamentation 81, et rubor in foliis, scires e sanguine nata.

spacer32 Cf. Ovid, Heroides iv.20, et caecum pectora vulnus habent.

spacer36 For mens una duobus cf. Amyntas, Lamentation VIII.45.

spacer46 The Hippocrene, a fountain sacred to the Muses, was supposed to have been created by a blow of Pegasus’ hoof.

spacer49 For this tradition about the antiquity of the Arcadians cf. Ovid, Fasti I.289f.:

Ante Iovem genitum terras habuisse feruntur
spacerArcades, et luna gens prior illa fuit.

Since Arcadia stands for England in Watson’s allegory, perhaps he is alluding to the tradition that Britain was settled by refugees from Troy under the leadership of the eponymous Brutus.

spacer71 This line echoes Amyntas, Lamentation VI.34.

spacer75f. Cf. Seneca, Hercules Furens 325f.:

Inique raro maximis virtutibus
Fortuna parcit.

spacer82 Gloria ruris is a phrase that had been used at Amyntas, Lamentation VII.6.

spacer84 For Iunonis Avernae cf. ib., Lamentation IV.18.

spacer91 Morta was sometimes named as one of the three Fates according to Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights III.xv.11.

spacer94 Astrophil is of course Sir Philip Sidney. Since his Astrophil and Stella was not printed until 1596, Watson (like a large number of his contemporaries) must have read it in manuscript. Hyale was his wife Frances, Walsingham’s daughter.

spacer96 For dum fata sinebant cf. Amyntas, Lamentation I.27 with the commentary note ad loc.

spacer97ff. Sir Philip participated in the 1596 Lowlands campaign. He was shot in the leg at the Battle of Zutphen in September, and died of his wound in the next month. His death led to a vast outpouring of national grief and elicited a corresponding effusion of eulogistic poetry. Eclogue IV of Amintae Gaudia is a memorable specimen of such literature.

spacer100 Since Astrophil is a warrior-shepherd defending a flock, he is equipped with the sort of impromptu weaponry peasants would employ, described at Aeneid VII.513f.:

spacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerspacerNon iam certamine agresti
Stipitibus duris agitur sudibusque praeustis.

spacer106ff. As noted in the Introduction, these questions are meant to recall the similar ones at Amyntas, Lamentation IX.27ff. Note especially the parellel of Lamentation IX.31 - 3 to lines 112 - 5 here. The picture of an overflowing river closely imitates that of the flooding Thames at Lamentation IX.38ff.

spacer117 A line probably suggested by Vergil, Georgics IV.414, Vesper ubi e pastu vitulos ad tecta reducit.

spacer125ff. A bucolic equivalent of the statesmanlike way in which Neptune calms the warring winds in Book I of the Aeneid.

spacer130 Cf. Horace, Ars Poetica 343, omne tulit punctum, qui miscuit utile dulci.

spacer135 Watson expresses a wish that the Catholic (and spectacularly vicious) Henri III would be replaced by the Protestant Henri of Navarre, the future Henri IV.

spacer137 Cf. Amyntas, Lamentation VII.22, quantum upupae cygnis.

spacer146 For Nature as our first parent cf. ib., Lamentation III.38f.

spacer165 For innato with the accusative cf. Cicero, De Natura Deorum III.cxxiii.

spacer167 Cf. the commentary note on ib., Lamentation IX.48.

spacer171 In classical literature sinuosa volumina is a locution used of snakes (Aeneid XI.753, Statius, Thebais I.562). Here it designates the orbits of the moveable celestial bodies.

spacer177 The adverb veridice does not exist in the classical Latin lexicon.

spacer178 Since the point of the line is Saturn’s sluggishness, amaro seems a desirable emendation for the book’s avaro.

spacer184 Jupiter was born to Rhea on Crete.

spacer185 Lampada sequenti because Watson is beginning with the outermost of the moveable celestial bodies (as located in Ptolemy’s geocentric model of the universe), and working inward.

spacer187 Jove should cease being jovial.

spacer193 Watson alludes to the precession and recession of Venus, as it becomes the morning and evening star. Possibly we should read sed tuo tempore.

spacer195 Mercury’s winged cap is supposed to eclipse the sun.

spacer198 Cf. Vergil, Georgics II.478, varios lunaeque labores.

spacer211 For spatio diffusus inani cf. Lucan, Bellum Civile III.363.

spacer216 For discordia semina cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses I.9.

spacer217ff. The translation here is written with an eye on Watson’s English version (189ff.):

Now set the firie Pyramids to viewe,
spacerthy divers
Idols, Candles burning bright:
Inflamed
Shafts, Comets of dreadfull hewe;
spacer
Sparkles that flie, and Starres that fall by night.
Let all thy
Meteors, of what ever kinde,
spacerwith terror sort them selves in full araie.

spacer252 Vernix is not a word found in the classical Latin lexicon; its evident meaning can be deduced from the context.

spacer257 Rubella is not a word found in the classical Latin lexicon; obviously it is used to designate some small red songbird, perhaps the robin.

spacer267 A deliberate inversion of Vergil, Eclogue vii.48, iam lento surgens in palmite gemma.

spacer273 Cf. Amyntas, Lamentation VII.47, lilia, et violas, casiamque, rosasque, thymumque.

spacer277 For flebilis Eccho cf. ib. III.8.

spacer280 Coaxatrix, a word not found in the classical Latin lexicon, may be Watson’s own neologism. Cf. also coaxando at Amintae Gaudia, Eclogue VIII.67.

spacer290 Cf. Lucan, Bellum Civile II.681, curis animum mordacibus angit.

spacer292f. See the note on line 82. Watson had already called the Earl of Arundel mascula gloria regni in the dedicatory poem prefacing his 1581 Antigone, line 65.

spacer317 For the prophetic marine deity Glaucus cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses XIII.906ff.; he will play a more prominent role in Amintae Gaudia. I do not know any place in classical mythology where Glaucus is represented as the son of Nereus.

spacer319 The serpent Lado, who guarded the garden of the Hesperides, was the son of Ceto and Phorcys in some mythological accounts: Robert Graves, The Greek Myths § 133 (b). Cf. Martial X.xciv.1, nonmea Massylus servat pomaria serpens.

spacer321 For Melicertes’ transformation into the sea-god Palaemon see Graves § 70 (h).

spacer322 Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses XI.253, centum mentita figuras.

spacer323 The Carpathian Sea is a designation for the waters lying between Crete and Rhodes.

spacer329ff. Cf. Aeneid VI.171, cava dum personat aequora concha. But the following lines are even more indebted to Ovid, Metamorphoses I.333ff.:

Caeruleum Tritona vocat conchaeque sonanti
Inspirare iubet fluctusque et flumina signo
Iam revocare dato: cava bucina sumitur illi,              
Tortilis in latum quae turbine crescit ab imo,
Bucina, quae medio concepit ubi aera ponto,
Litora voce replet sub utroque iacentia Phoebo
.

spacer336f. The story of the dolphin and the boy is told by Aulus Gellius VI.viii, and that of Arion and the dolphin by Herodotus Lxxiii and Pliny, Natural History IX.viii (cf. also Vergil, Eclogue viii.46, Propertius II.xxvi(a).18 and Martial VIII.50.15).

spacer340 Cf. Ovid, Metamorphoses VI.531, passos laniata capillos.

spacer359ff. Having gone through the signs of the Zodiac and the moveable spheres, Watson now enumerates the nine Orders of angels in the Celestial Hierarchy. At first sight it might appear that the antiquus vates is Dante. But Watson lists this hierarchy in the order presented by Pope Gregory I in his Homilies on the Gospels, which differs from that of the Paradiso: cf. the comparative table given in the note to Paradiso, Canto XXVII.133-5 in the Penguin translation of the Divine Comedy by Dorothy L. Sayers and Barbara Reynolds (1962) III.308.

spacer367 That “Principalities” is the correct translation of Princems Numerus is shown by Watson’s English version (295ff.):

Where Dominations rule and yet obaie:
spacerwhere
Principalities to lower powers
Deepe hidden misteries doe still bewraie.

spacer378 Cf. Amyntas, Lamentation III.64ff.

spacer386 Dryas represents Sir Francis’ second wife Ursula, the daughter of Henry St. Barbe and widow of Sir Richard Worsley of Appulflurcombe, the mother of Lady Frances Walsingham (Watson’s Hyale). She died in 1602.

spacer387 The Philacia coniux is Laodamia, who committed suicide whens he heard of the death of her husband Protesilaus: Graves, The Greek Myths § 162 (d).

spacer388 For gracilem,,,umbram cf. Ovid, Tristia IV.x.86.

spacer389 Hyale represents Sir Francis’ daughter Frances, who had been the wife of Sir Philip Sidney, and would become in turns the wife of the Earls of Essex and Clanticarde. The English translation of Meliboeus was dedicated to her.spacer

spacer392f. Cf. Ovid, Amores III.vii.7f.:

Ille quidem nostro subiecit eburnea collo
spacerBracchia Sithonia candidiora nive.

spacer394f. Cf. Ovid, Heroides V.47f.:

Non sic adpositis vincitur vitibus ulmus,
Ut tua sunt collo bracchia nexa meo.

spacer396 The tiger appears on the Walsingham family crest: Fairbairn’s Book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland (fourth ed. London, 1905, repr. Baltimore, 1983) 574 col. 3.

spacer402 Elizabeth is our goddess and our oracle of truth. Evidently this characterization of the queen as a Sibyl was Watson’s own invention. He had used it the introductory poem Authoris ad Libellum Suum Protrepticon of the Ἑκατομπαθία in the lines quae Cybile coeli nostri; quae gloria regni / unica, quaeque sui sola Sybilla soli, and would do so again at Amintae Gaudia, Epistle V.64.spacer

spacer405f. Elizabeth was a polyglot and delighted in addressing foreign ambassadors in their own language. When Watson calls her a vates he is thinking of her characaterization as a Sibyl, but the word also means a poet.

spacer407f. The three competitors in the contest which Paris judged. Cf. Passion XXI of the Ἑκατομπαθία, lines 7 - 9, and of course the Judgment of Paris was described in Watson’s translation of Coluthus’ Raptus Helenae.

spacer411 The first part of The Faerie Queene had just appeared in the previous year.

spacer416ff. Elizabeth should console herself by thinking of the surviving members of the Privy Council. “Damaetus” is Sir Christopher Hatton [1540 - 91], her Lord Chancellor.

spacer424 “Damon” is William Cecil, Lord Burghley [1530 - 98], the Lord Treasurer. At just about this time he was also compared to Nestor by John Sanford in some occasional verse written for the royal visit to Oxford in September 1592. Cf. his In Eginae Elizabethae Auspicatissimum et Exoptatissimum Adventum, Apollonis et Musarum Εὐκτικὰ Εἰδύλλια 325ff.:

Nobilis a dextra sequitur Cecilius heros,
Vir gravis et doctus, verae pietatis amator,
Facundusque senex, aevi prudentia nostri.

A sidenote against this passage acknowledges that aevi prudentia nostri comes from Ovid, Metamorphoses XII.178, where the phrase is used of Nestor. (Sanford’s poem gives a group portrait of the Privy Council at this time, although Hatton was not present on the occasion).spacer

spacer431 “Aegon” is Charles Howard, Baron Howard of Effingham and Earl of Nottingham, the Lord High Admiral [1546 - 1624]. We are given no basis for identifying the various shepherds named below with individual members of the Council.