Explanatory Notes


The primary purpose of these Explanatory Notes is twofold: to explain or identify words and phrases that might be obscure to modern readers of The Emigrant, and to identify Newton’s allusions to and quotations from other writers and works. In the latter category, the notes are intended to complement the Introduction, where emphasis is placed less on local allusions and quotations than on the shape of the poem’s narrative and its context in Newton’s life. Quotations from the Bible are from the King James version and from the works of Alexander Pope and other writers from standard or scholarly editions of their work—for example, from the Twickenham edition of Pope’s Poems edited by John Butt (London: Methuen, 1965). In compiling the notes, extensive use was made of the Oxford English Dictionary, Sir Paul Harvey’s Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, and to numerous specialized works on British and Canadian literature and history such as Nick and Helma Mika’s Places in Ontario: Their Name Origins and History (Belleville: Mika Publishing, 1983).


fudge   Nonsense; pretentious drivel; also, a small patch of print, especially a piece of late news, inserted in a newspaper or in a space reserved for it.


"internal evidence"   Evidence derived from what is contained in the thing itself.


The few SONGS…   The "Other Pieces" in The Emigrant, and Other Pieces are designated "Songs." As their titles and order indicate, they follow the sequence of the seasons in the course of a year and the course of human life from youth to old age: "The Sleighing Song"; "The Raising Song"; "The Harvest Song"; "Anniversary Song"; "The Maid of the Twelve"; "The Sacred Bower" and "The Old Settler."


THE PAYMASTER   An official, especially in the army or navy, whose duty is to pay troops, sailors, workmen or others. Newton is using the term metaphorically to refer to the purchasers of The Emigrant, and Other Pieces.


ST. ANN’S NELSON   Subsequently named Crooks Mills and then Tansley, St. Ann’s or St. Anne’s was a settlement in Nelson township, Halton County approximately 27 kilometres northeast of Hamilton and 58 kilometres east of Toronto. In 1958, Nelson was amalgamated with Burlington, which became a city in 1978.


The Emigrant


The pattern of rising and falling that Newton describes in his opening lines recalls numerous Medieval and Renaissance references to the Wheel of Fortune that supposedly governs human destiny, as well as John Milton’s synopsis of the tragic and comic movements of human history in the opening lines of Paradise Lost. The delayed "I sing" of line 4 also recalls the opening of Paradise Lost and numerous other poems that allude verbally and syntactically to the first line of Virgil’s Aeneid ("Arms, and the man I sing" in John Dryden’s translation).


Cf. Shakespeare, Othello, V.ii.341-342:   "nothing extenuate / or set down aught in malice."


Cf. Thomas Gray, "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College," 99-100:   "where ignorance is bliss / ‘Tis folly to be wise."


the forbidden tree…   "The tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in Genesis 2:17


erst   Formerly; at first.


marrying in haste   A reference to the proverb "marry in haste, repent at leisure."


Competition…Stalks o’er the land…virus   The personification of famine as a predator that "stalks the land" is commonplace, but Newton’s reference to "competition" suggests that he may have had in mind Benjamin Disraeli’s description of "speculation" as a "wild spirit…now stalking abroad" in the opening chapter of Vivian Grey (1826). By "virus" Newton would have understood a moral or intellectual poison or poisonous influence.


the olive branch   Newton seems to be using the olive branch less as an emblem of peace than as a metaphor for children on the basis of Psalm 128.3: "thy children [shall be] like olive plants round about thy table."


Newton here alludes to several Old Testament stories and texts that deal with violence, betrayal, deception, and worldliness; see particularly, Genesis 4.8, 9.22, 37.24; Exodus 1.15-22, 19.20; 1 Samuel 17.49; 2 Samuel 14.15; and 1 Kings 11.19.


Alexander prowled the world   The conquests of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC), the King of Macedonia, included Syria, Egypt, and India.


Demosthenes   The Athenian orator and statesman Demosthenes (383-322 BC) was accused of stealing money from the treasury of Alexander the Great that was in the care of him and other commissioners.


Diogenes…huddled in his stye   Diogenes (4th century BC), the principal representative of the Cynic School of ancient Greek philosophy, is said to have lived in a large tub in Athens.


Homer bawled his ballads   Homer (dates unknown, but several centuries BC) is the name given to the author of the two classical Greek epics, the Iliad and the Odyssey.


Virgil fawned…   Virgil (Publius Virgilius Maro) (70-19 BC) composed the Aeneid while living in a residence provided by the Roman Emperor Augustus.


Caesar with his gold…Brutus…   The Roman general and emperor Gaius Julius Caesar (c. 102-44 BC) spent lavishly on such things as gladiatorial displays to secure popularity. His contempt for republican institutions was part of the reason for his assassination by a group that included Marcus Junius Brutus (c. 78-42 BC).


Saul…lightning’s glare   The story of the miraculous conversion of Saul, a persecutor of Christians, to Paul, the greatest Christian evangelist, is recounted in detail in Acts 9, where the "lightning’s glare" is described as "a light from heaven."


Peter in a sheet from Heaven…   Newton is referring to Peter’s vision in Acts 11 of "a certain vessel descend[ing], as it had been a great sheet let down from heaven by four corners."


Mahomet mounted Gabriel’s mare   On a mountain near Mecca, the archangel Gabriel is said to have appeared on a horse to Mahommet (570-632) and commanded him to preach the gospel of Islam.


Luther Leo’s Bulls…a pretty Nun…   After being excommunicated by Pope Leo X, the German Protestant reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) burned the papal bull (document) of excom-munication publicly on June 15, 1520. Five years later, in 1525, he married a former nun, Katharina Von Bora (1499-1564).


Calvin…Servetus   The French Protestant theologian John Calvin (1509-1564) established a theocratic régime in Geneva in 1541 and thereafter tortured and executed several of the régime’s opponents, including Michael Servetus (1511-1533), a French doctor who argued for the abandonment of the doctrine of the Trinity.


Cranmer…German bride   In his capacity as Archbishop of Canterbury, the English Protestant reformer Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556) annulled Henry VIII’s marriages to Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn and arranged the King’s divorce from Anne of Cleves. In 1532 he secretly married Margaret Osiander, the niece of the German Reformation theologian Andreas Osiander.


Cromwell…   Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658), one of the leaders of the Parliamentary Party in the struggle with Charles I that resulted in the King’s execution in 1649, subsequently established himself as a virtual dictator or monarch.


Bonaparte…world slaves   Following in the wake of the French Revolution (and its championship of liberty), Napoleon Bona- parte (1769-1821) used his military skills to make France an imperial power and himself the Emperor of the French.


Owen, the Utopian…   The wealthy owner of a cotton-spinning factory in Manchester, England, the Welsh-born Robert Owen (1771-1858) was a socialist and philanthropist whose belief in mutual co-operation led him to establish two model communities, New Lanark, Scotland (1799) and New Harmony, Indiana (1825). His A New View of Society (1813) led to the reforms incarnated in the British Factory Act (1821). A source for Newton’s first quotation has yet to be found in Owen’s work, but it pithily reflects his view, as expressed in the Preface to The Book of the New Moral World (1836), that "[s]ociety has emanated from fundamental errors of the imagination, and all the institutions and social arrangements of man over the world have been based on these errors. Society is, therefore, through all its ramifications, artificial and corrupt, and, in consequence, ignorance, falsehood, and grave folly, alone govern all the affairs of mankind." The remainder of Newton’s quotations from Owen are from the fourth essay in A New View of Society: "[l]et [mankind’s] instruction continue to be left, as heretofore, to chance, and often to the most inefficient members of the community, and society must still experience the endless miseries which still arise from such weak and puerile conduct…For it may truly be said to be a wonder-working power; one that merits the deepest attention of the legislature; with ease it may be used to train man into a demon of mischief to himself and to all around him, or into an agent of unlimited benevolence."


J.P.   Justice of the Peace: a local minor magistrate commissioned to keep the peace; often a honourary title with few or no duties.


Jockey Club   An association for the promotion and ordering of horse-racing.


"the tub"   The pulpit.


this small book, composed by William Howitt Probably the Popular History of Priestcraft in All Ages and Nations (1833) by the English writer and radical thinker William Howitt (1792-1879), whose numerous other works include The Rural Life of England (1838).


Cobbett on the Reformation   William Cobbett (1763-1835) had a complex political and publishing career in Britain and North America, shifting, around the turn of the century, from conservation to radicalism. His History of the Protestant "Reformation" in England and Ireland appeared in 1824. An undated journal entry that almost certainly belongs to the period before Newton moved to Ireland in December 1847 indicates that he wanted the Dudley Hill Literary Society (see note 4 to the Introduction in the present edition) to purchase a copy of the History of the Protestant "Reformation" and regarded Cobbett at that time as "a real patriot."


his seed / Had fallen on good ground   An allusion to the parable of the sower (Christ); see Matthew 13.3-9, Mark 4.3-9; and Luke 8.5-8.


pour a draft into the willing ear   A variation on the commonplace association of corrupting ideas with poison, and perhaps an allusion to William Shakespeare’s Hamlet I. v. 61-64 (the Ghost is speaking to Hamlet): "thy uncle stole, / With juice of cursed hebona in a vial, / And in the porches of my ear did pour / The leperous distilment…."


The Law then gives, and it must take away   An allusion to Job 1.21: "the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."


meet th’ oppressor face to face Cf. Corinthians 13.12:   "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."


the Weekly Sun, / The Poor Man’s Guardian and the Northern Star   The Weekly, True Sun (1839), The Poor Man’s Guardian (1831-1835), and The Northern Star (1837-1848) were radical British political newspapers with a predominantly working-class readership. Although founded and owned by Henry Hetherington, The Poor Man’s Guardian was largely edited by James Bronterre O’Brien (see the note to 218-21, below), who was also a frequent contributor to The Northern Star, which was founded, owned, and edited by the radical Chartist Feargus O’Connor.


Bronterre’s translation / Of the true hist’ry of Babeuf’s conspiracy   The History of Babeuf’s Conspiracy (1836), a translation with notes by James Bronterre O’Brien (1804-1864) of Conspiration pour l’égalité dite de Babeuf (1828) by Filipo Michele Buonarrotti (1761-1837). Written by one of his co-conspirators, Conspiration pour l’égalité dite de Babeuf is an account of the attempt by François-Noël ("Gracchus") Babeuf (1760-1797) in 1796 to overthrow  the  French  revolutionar  Directorate  and  to re-establish the French Constitution of 1793. An Irish-born radical who advocated revolution, O’Brien represented Manchester and other areas at the Chartist convention that took place in London in the spring of 1839 (see the note to 223-25 below). As a result of his involvement in the Newport Rising (see also the note to 223-25), he was convicted of seditious speaking and sentenced to eighteen months in prison. After his release, he continued his Chartist activities. A (partial?) inventory of Newton’s books that accompanies the Newton Papers suggests that a copy of O’Brien’s translation of Buonarotti’s Conspiration was in his library at his death.


th’ National Convention   Newton is probably referring specifically to the assembly of British Chartists (see note to 392-410, below) that took place in February 1839, but he may also have wished to evoke the National Convention that governed France from September 1792 to October 1795. Composed of delegates from the workers of large towns and cities, the National Convention of 1839 sent a massive petition to the British Parliament but to no avail, with the result that there was a hugely destructive riot in Birmingham and an armed attack on Newport in Monmouthshire. Several rioters were killed or wounded by soldiers in the Newport attack and in 1840 its leaders were tried and condemned to death, though their sentences were subsequently commuted to transportation for life.


very   In the full sense; nothing less than; exactly; actual.


auditory   Audience.


natural philosophy   The science of the physical properties of bodies: physics, or physics and dynamics.


Cobbett’s Grammar   Grammar of the English Language (1818) by William Cobbett, (see note, above) was intended for working-class people seeking to become literate through their own efforts.


spouter   Orator; fluent speaker.


these with a ‘high hand’   Powerful and arrogant people.


nature’s law   Natural law: the sense of right and wrong that supposedly arises from the constitution of the human mind rather than as a result of revelation, education, or legislation.


…People’s Charter…   As originally framed in the form of a draft parliamentary bill on May 8, 1838, the "People’s Charter" from which the British working-class Chartist movement derived its name contained not five, but six points, namely: "1. A VOTE for every man twenty-one years of age, of sound mind, and not undergoing punishment for crime. 2. THE BALLOT—To protect the elector in the exercise of his vote. 3. NO PROPERTY QUALIFICATION for Members of Parliament—thus enabling the constituencies to return the man of their choice, be he rich or poor. 4. PAYMENT OF MEMBERS, thus enabling an honest tradesman, working man, or other person, to serve a constituency, when taken from his business to attend to the interests of the Country. 5. EQUAL CONSTITUENCIES, securing the same amount of representation for the same number of electors, instead of allowing small constituencies to swamp the votes of large ones. 6. ANNUAL PARLIAMENTS, thus presenting the most effectual check to bribery and intimidation, since though a constituency might be bought once in seven years (even with the ballot), no purse could buy a constituency (under a system of universal suffrage) in each ensuing twelve-month; and since members, when elected for a year only, would not be able to defy and betray their constituents as now." Newton omits point 5 and replaces it with a version of point 2.


"he that runs may read"   A proverbial expression meaning that anyone can understand.


"the natural rights of man"   Newton may be making a general reference to the innate rights of human beings (see note 375, above) or alluding specifically to The Rights of Man (1791, 1792) by Thomas Paine (1737-1809).


‘Procrastination is the thief of time’   A quotation from Edward Young’s The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death and Immortality (1742-1745), 1:18 that had become proverbial by the mid-nineteenth century.


"Would we be free ourselves must strike the blow!"   Cf. Byron, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (1812-1818) 2:720-21: "Hereditary bondsmen! Know ye not / Who would be free themselves must strike the blows?"


a glorious pop’lar demonstration   Possibly the Chartists’ National Convention of 1833 (see note to 223-25, above).


the Chevalier   Chevalier (French): knight. Newton may be referring specifically to James Stuart (the Old Pretender), the son of James II of England (reign: 1685-1688), who was also known as "the Chevalier" (as his son, "Bonnie Prince Charlie," was in turn known as "the Young Pretender" and "the Young Chevalier"); however, his mention of the "moon" and a "commission" suggest that he may be referring to a legendary or literary character who has yet to be identified.


"Billet"   A resting place (or, in the colloquial sense, a job or occupation).


ball   Planet.


corpus   Latin: body.


liege   Free, except within the feudal relation of a vassal to a lord.


"man’s days of endless peace, which time / Is fast maturing"   The source of this quotation from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (see note to 435, above) suggest that he might have had in mind Byron’s description of the ocean as a "boundless, endless, and sublime" "image of Eternity" at the conclusion of that poem (see 4:1603-56).


The distant shores of freedom and the free   The United States of America.


Pinnock’s Guide to Knowledge   The Guide to Knowledge; an Interesting Literary Repository, and Popular Scientific Instructor: Consisting of Art and Science, Biography, Essays, Natural history, Anecdote, Poetry and General Literature (July 7, 1833—July 22, 1837), a weekly series edited by the English publisher William Pinnock (1782-1843). Among the miscellaneous materials appended to Newton’s Journal 5 (see also the notes to 533-52 and 559-87, below) are "a few lines of dedication to the ‘Guide to Knowledge’" and an undated draft of a letter to the editor of a newspaper that concludes with the following postscript:

You may please yourself whether you make any other use than reading the following or not.—J.N.

Written on the blank leaf of a volume of Pinnock’s Guide to Knowledge

The Guide to Knowledge:—aye indeed thou art
A Guide faithful and kindly as the spot
To which thou guid’st th’ oft weary trav’ler
Is ‘pleasant to the eye’—potent and fam’d
In all nations and at all times; not as
The Guide who leads his hapless charge through woods
Briers and sloughs—thou leadest him through lawns
And verdant fields, and ever and anon
Benignly shows the rich and living scenes
To thy astonish’d charge, until, at last
He stands transfix’d with wonder in the plains
O Knowledge, where reign joy and peace for aye!

The materials appended to Journal 5 include a meditation on "Independence" that links the concept to education and knowledge and describes it as "one of the most troublesome or annoying things you meet with in business or company," where "[m]odest merit has no chance whatever." The meditation is followed by a draft of lines 559-87 of The Emigrant that begins "You whom business, fate or folly / Leads to cross the Atlantic tide…" and ends "Lightning all our hearts as we / Hail the land of liberty."


thou leadest him through lawns / And verdant fields   Newton alludes to Psalm 23.3: "he leadeth me beside the still waters."


aye   Ever.


Included with Newtons’s "Sketch" of his life in Journal 5 (April—June 1839) but clearly a product, like the "Sketch," of his experience of emigration are fair copies two poems entitled "Farewell song on leaving Ireland for America" and "The Hottinguer—a Jingle" with the byline "Hottinguer/Oct 6, 1842." See also the entry under October 6, 1842 (Journal 8) in the Appendix to the present edition.


weal   Welfare; condition.


indite   Put into words, particularly in a literary or rhetorical form such as a poem or a speech.


See the notes to 514 and 533-52, above. "Those whom business, fate, or folly…" is a version of "The Hottinguer—a Jingle" with the name of the ship changed to "Liberty." See also the version of the poem appended to Journal 12 in the present edition.


declension   Descent; decay.


Young art thou in Independence   The colonies that became the United States declared their independence from Britain in 1776 and formally achieved it by the Treaty of Versailles in 1783.


"naught’s in a name"   Cf. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet II. ii. 43-44: "What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet."


Quantum   Quantity.


meted out   Measured out; given out.


"Isle of Beauty"   A poem by the English versifier Nathaniel Thomas Haynes Bayly (1797-1839) that sentimentally expresses the emotions aroused by leaving a beloved island.


"tip the finger"   Give money.


drown himself like Tannahill   In 1807, the Scottish weaver and poetic disciple of Robert Burns (see note to 693, below), Robert Tannahill (1774-1810) published a book of Poems and Songs that was harshly criticized by reviewers. After having a revised edition of the book rejected by a publisher, he destroyed his manuscripts and drowned himself in a culvert, a decisive and considerate course of action that all bad poets should consider emulating.


get well drunk, like Nicholson and Burns   In addition to being Scots, the artist William Nicholson (1781-1844) and the poet Robert Burns (1759-1796) were both heavy drinkers of alcohol, an unacceptable alternative to the fate of Tannahill for bad poets.


sounding   Proclaiming; enacting.


"Thy yoke is easy and thy burthen light"   An allusion to Christ’s words in Matthew 11.28-30: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you…For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."


the lake   Probably Lake Ontario.


But, hush…her life.   Newton’s journal entry for February 8, 1837 (Journal 3) includes a draft of lines 732-61 of The Emigrant after a note explaining their origins: "[L]ast week I read a story of a man, a settler in America, who was charmed by a rattle snake. The circumstance has made a very strong impression upon my mind, and I have composed the following lines in the vacation." The source of Newton’s inspiration for lines 740-77 has not been located, but clearly it contained a version of the story entitled "The Rattlesnake Hunter" in the September 9, 1882 number of the Canadian Illustrated News, p. 174:

The following is the story of a man known amongst the Green Mountains as the Rattlesnake Hunter:—

"We had resided in the new country nearly a year. Our settlement had increased rapidly, and the comforts and delicacies of life were beginning to be felt, after the weary privations and severe trials to which we had been subjected. The red men were few and feeble, and did not molest us. The beasts of the forest and mountain were ferocious, but we suffered little from them. The only immediate danger to which we were exposed resulted from the rattlesnakes, which infested our neighbourhood. Three or four of our settleers were bitten by them, and died in terrible agonies. The Indians often told us frightful stories of this snake, and its powers of fascination, and although they were generally believed, yet, for myself, I confess I was rather more amused than convinced by their marvellous legends.
     "In one of my hunting excursions abroad, on a fine morning—it was just at this time of the year—I was accompanied by my wife. It was a beautiful morning. The sunshine was warm, but the atmosphere was perfectly clear; and a fine breeze from the north-west shook the bright green leaves which clothed to profusion the wreathing branches over us. I had left my companion for a short time in the pursuit of fame; and in climbing a rugged ledge of rocks, interspersed with shrubs and dwarfish trees, I was startled by a quick, grating rattle. I looked forward. On the edge of a loosened rock lay a large rattlesnake, coiling himself as if for the deadly spring. He was within a few feet of me, and I paused for an instant to survey him. I know not why, but I stood still, and looked at the deadly serpent with a strange feeling of curiousity. Suddenly he unwound his coil, as if relenting from his purpose of hostility, and raising his head, he fixed his bright fiery eye directly on my own. A chilling and indescribable sensation, totally different from anything I had ever before experienced, followed this movement of the serpent; but I stood still, and gazed steadily and earnestly, for at that moment there was a visible change in the reptile. His form seemed to grow larger and his colours brighter. His body moved with a slow, almost imperceptible motion towards me, and a low hum of music came from him, or at least it sounded in my ear a strange sweet melody, faint as that which melts from the throat of a humming-bird. Then the tints of his body deepened, and changed and glowed, like the changes of a beautiful kaleidoscope—green, purple, and gold—until I lost sight of the serpent entirely, and saw only a wild and curiously woven circle of strange colours, quivering around me like an atmosphere of rainbows. I seemed in the centre of a great prism, a world of mysterious colours, and tints varied and darkened and lighted up again around me; and the low music went on without ceasing until my brain reeled; and fear, for the first time, came over me. The new sensation gained up on me rapidly, and I could feel the cold sweat gushing from my brow. I had no certainty of danger in my mind, no definite ideas of peril, all was vague and clouded, like the unaccountable terrors of a dream, and yet my limbs shook, and I fancied I could feel the blood stiffening with cold as it passed along my veins. I would have given worlds to have been able to tear myself from the spot—I even attempted to do so, but the body obeyed not the impulse of the mind, not a muscle stirred, and I stood still as if my feet had grown to the solid rock, with the infernal music of the tempter in my ear, and the baleful colourings of his enchantment before me.
     "Suddenly a new sound came on my ear. It was a human voice, but it seemed strange and awful. Again, again, but I stirred not; and then a white form plunged before me, and grasped my arm. The horrible spell was at once broken. The strange colours passed from before my vision. The rattlesnake was coiling at my very feet, with glowing eyes and uplifted fangs; and my wife was clinging in terror upon me. The next instant the serpent threw himself upon us. My wife was the victim! The fangs pierced deeply into her hands; and her scream of agony, as she staggered backwards from me, told me the dreadful truth.
     "Then it was that a feeling of madness came upon me; and when I saw the foul serpent stealing away from his work, reckless of danger, I sprang forward and crushed him under my feet, grinding him upon the ragged rock. The groans of my wife now recalled me to her side, and to the horrible reality of her situation. There was a dark livid spot on her hand; and it deepened into blackness as I led her away. We were at a considerable distance from any dwelling; and after wandering for a short time, the pain of her wound became insupportable to my wife, and she swooned away in my arms. Weak and exhausted as I was, I yet had strength enough to carry her to the nearest rivulet, and bathe her brow in the cool water. She partially recovered, and sat down upon the bank, while I supported her head upon my bosom. Hour after hour passed away, and none came near us, and there, alone in the great wilderness, I watched over her, and prayed with her, and she died."
     The old man groaned audibly as he uttered these words, and as he clapsed his long bony hands over his eyes, I could see the tears falling thickly through his gaunt fingers. After a momentary struggle with his feelings, he lifted his head once more, and there was a fierce light in his eyes as he spoke;—
     "But I have had my revenge. From that fatal moment I have felt myself fitted and set apart, by the terrible ordeal of affliction, to rid the place of my abode of its foulest course. And I have well nigh succeeded. The fascinating demons are already few and powerless."
     Years have passed since my interview with the Rattlesnake Hunter; the place of his abode has changed—a beautiful village rises near the spot of conference, and the grass of the churchyard is green over the grave of the old hunter. But his story is fixed upon my mind, and Time, like enamel, only burns deeper the first impression. It comes up before me like a vividly remembered dream, whose features are too horrible for reality.


ingrate   Ungrateful.


And with his "heel bruises the serpent’s head"   Cf. God’s words to the serpent after the Fall of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.15: "And I will put emnity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."


Apart from the addition of commas in the first line, Newton’s quotation from the first scene of Taste (1752) by the English actor and playwright Samuel Foote (1720-1777) is accurate.


a "little learning" "drinking deep"   The two phrases quoted by Newton are from Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism (1711) 215-18: "A little learning is a dang’rous Thing; / Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring: / There shallow Draughts intoxicate the Brain, / And drinking largely sobers us again."


"whatever is, is right"   This statement is quoted from Pope’s An Essay on Man (1733-1744) 1:293-94: "And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason’s spite, / One truth is clear, ‘Whatever IS, IS RIGHT.’"


Hid in the womb of dark futurity   Cf. Walter Scott, A Legend of Montrose (1819), Chapter 1: "These events were still in the womb of futurity"—that is, future time.


recurs to   Reverts to; recalls.


enow   Enough.


Council…Provincial Assembly   Town Council and Legislative Assembly (presumably of Upper Canada).