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at Cambridge, on the subject, Anne Luna est habitabilis?'

In 1627, anno ætatis 18, Milton wrote his elegy Ad Thomam Junium præceptorem suum, apud mercatores Anglicos Hamburgæ agentes, Pastoris munere fungentem.' This Thomas Young was Milton's tutor before he went to St. Paul's school. He was a Puritan, of Scotch birth. He returned to England in 1628, and was afterwards preferred by the parliament to the mastership of Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1644, whence he was ejected for refusing the engagement. He died, and was buried at Stow-market, in Suffolk, where he had been vicar thirty years.*

From Young, Milton says that he received his first introduction to poetry.


Primus ego Aonios, illo præeunte, recessus
Lustrabam, et bifidi sacra vireta jugi;
Pieriosque hausi latices, Clioque favente,
Castalio sparsi læta ter ora mero.

See Mitford's Poetical Dedication to his edition of Par



Ir does not appear at what exact date Milton wrote his beautiful Latin poem to his father, (who lived till 1647,) excusing his devotion to the Muses it was probably before he left Cambridge. Though it assumes that his father did not oppose his pursuits, yet I think we may infer that he had endeavoured to persuade him to occupy himself with some lucrative profession:

Nec tu perge, precor, sacras contemnere Musas, &c.
The poet ends in this noble manner :—

Et vos, o nostri, juvenilia carmina, lusus,
Si modo perpetuos sperare audebitis annos,
Et domini superesse rogo, lucemque tueri,
Nec spisso rapient oblivia nigra sub Orco;
Forsitan has laudes, decantatumque parentis
Nomen, ad exemplum, sero servabitis ævo.

This is an aspiration which Warton praises with congenial enthusiasm; and which was duly fulfilled to its utmost extent.

This poem may be taken as perfectly biogra

phical, as well as poetical: I think it proper, therefore, to give the whole poem, as translated by Cowper.



O, that Pieria's spring would through my breast
Pour its inspiring influence, and rush

No rill, but rather an o'erflowing flood!
That, for my venerable Father's sake,

All meaner themes renounced, my Muse on wings
Of duty borne, might reach a loftier strain.
For thee, my Father! howsoe'er it please,
She frames this slender work: nor know I aught
That may thy gifts more suitably requite;
Though to requite them suitably, would ask
Returns much nobler, and surpassing far
The meagre stores of verbal gratitude;
But such as I possess, I send thee all :
This page presents thee in their full amount
With thy son's treasures, and the sum is nought;
Nought save the riches that from airy dream,
In secret grottos and in laurel bowers,

I have by golden Clio's gift acquired.

Verse is a work divine: despise not thou

Verse, therefore, which evinces (nothing more)

Man's heavenly source, and which, retaining still
Some scintillations of Promethean fire,

Bespeaks him animated from above.

The gods love verse: the infernal powers themselves
Confess the influence of verse, which stirs

The lowest deep, and binds in triple chains

Of adamant both Pluto and the shades.

In verse the Delphic priestess, and the pale
Tremulous sibyl, make the future known:

And he who sacrifices, on the shrine

Hangs verse, both when he smites the threatening bull,
And when he spreads his reeking entrails wide

To scrutinize the fates inveloped there.

We too, ourselves, what time we seek again
Our native skies, (and one eternal now
Shall be the only measure of our being,)
Crown'd all with gold, and chanting to the lyre
Harmonious verse, shall range the courts above,
And make the starry firmament resound:
And even now the fiery spirit pure,

That wheels yon circling orbs, directs, himself,
Their mazy dance with melody of verse
Unutterable, immortal; hearing which,
Huge Ophiuchus holds his hiss suppress'd;
Orion, soften'd, drops his ardent blade,
And Atlas stands unconscious of his load.
Verse graced of old the feast of kings, ere yet
Luxurious dainties, destined to the gulf
Immense of gluttony, were known, and ere
Lyæus deluged yet the temperate board.
Then sat the bard a customary guest,

To share the banquet; and his length of locks,
With beechen honours bound, proposed in verse
The character of heroes, and their deeds
To imitation: sang of chaos old;

Of nature's birth; of gods that crept in search
Of acorns fallen, and of the thunder-bolt
Not yet produced from Etna's fiery cave:
And what avails, at last, tune without voice,
Devoid of matter? Such may suit perhaps
The rural dance, but such was ne'er the song
Of Orpheus, whom the streams stood still to hear,
And the oaks follow'd. Not by chords alone
Well touch'd, but by resistless accents more
To sympathetic tears the ghosts themselves
He moved these praises to his verse he owes.

Nor thou persist, I pray thee, still to slight
The sacred Nine, and to imagine vain
And useless powers, by whom inspired, thyself
Art skilful to associate verse with airs
Harmonious, and to give the human voice
A thousand modulations, heir by right
Indisputable of Arion's fame.

Now say, what wonder is it, if a son

Of thine delight in verse, if so conjoin'd
In close affinity, we sympathize

In social arts, and kindred studies sweet?
Such distribution of himself to us

Was Phoebus' choice: thou hast thy gift, and I
Mine also; and between us we receive,
Father and son, the whole inspiring god.

No! howsoe'er the semblance thou assume
Of hate, thou hatest not the gentle Muse,
My Father! for thou never badst me tread
The beaten path and broad, that leads right on
To opulence, nor didst condemn thy son
To the insipid clamours of the bar,
To laws voluminous and ill observed;
But, wishing to enrich me more, to fill
My mind with treasure, led'st me far away
From city din to deep retreats, to banks
And streams Aonian, and, with free consent,
Didst place me happy at Apollo's side.
I speak not now, on more important themes
Intent, of common benefits, and such
As nature bids, but of thy larger gifts,
My Father! who, when I had open'd once
The stores of Roman rhetoric, and learn'd
The full-toned language of the eloquent Greeks,
Whose lofty music graced the lips of Jove,

Thyself didst counsel me to add the flowers

That Gallia boasts,-those too with which the smooth

Italian his degenerate speech adorns,

That witnesses his mixture with the Goth;

And Palestine's prophetic songs divine.

To sum the whole, whate'er the heaven contains,
The earth beneath it, and the air between,
The rivers and the restless deep, may all
Prove intellectual gain to me, my wish
Concurring with thy will; science herself,
All cloud removed, inclines her beauteous head,
And offers me the lip, if dull of heart

I shrink not, and decline her gracious boon.

Go, now, and gather dross, ye sordid minds
That covet it: what could my Father more?

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