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Stay'd not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes
Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest
XV. TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.*
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe
rings, Filling each mouth with envy or with praise, And all her jealous monarchs with amaze
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings, Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions raise 6 Stay'd] Orig. Line in MS. Straight follow'd thee the path that saints have trod.'
Warton. 14 drink] Epitaph. Damonis. 206. Æthereos haurit latices.' Warton.
* This Sonnet, as' appears from Milton's MS. was addressed to Fairfax at the siege of Colchester, 1648. It was first printed, together with the two following sonnets, and the two to Cyriack Skinner, at the end of Phillips's Life of Milton, 1694. Warton. Filling] So the MS : before, it was • And fills each mouth.
Todd s virtue] So the MS : before, ' valour.' In the next line though’is admitted from the MS. instead of while.' Todd.
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays
Her broken league to imp their serpent wings. O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
(For what can war, but endless war still breed ?)
Till truth and right from violence be freed, And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand
Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, While avarice and rapine share the land.
CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Topeace and truth thyglorious way hast plough'd, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
their] So the MS.: before her.' Todd. 10 This and the following lines were thus in the printed copies :
For what can war, but acts of war still breed,
And public faith be rescued from the brand. Newton. * See Hollis's Memoirs, p. 511. 1 who, &c.] In the printed copy thus :
that through a crowd Not of war only, but distractions rude. But a 'cloud of war' is a classical expression. Virg. Æn.
• Nubem belli.' Newton. 5 This and the following line were contracted in the printed copies of Phillips, Toland, Tonson, Tickell, and Fenton, into • And fought God's hattles, and his works pursued.'
Warton, VOL. III.
Hast rear'dGod's trophies, and his work pursued, While Darwen stream with blood of Scots im.
brued, And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much re
mains To conquer still; peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains: Help us to save free conscience from the
paw Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.
XVII. TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.*
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
e And Worcester's laureat wreath.] This expression, though beautiful, is inaccurate ; for a 'laureat wreath' cannot, with propriety, be said to resound his praises loud ;' but the inaccuracy arose from the alteration. The hemistich originally slood, 'And twenty battles more,' which was flat enough.
peace, &c.] In the printed copies, before Newton's edition, 'peace has her victories, no less than those of war;' and afterwards, ' in secular chains.' Todd. Compare Milton's Second Defence, vol. ii. p. 442; and Cas. Sarb. Carm. p. 323, ed. Barbou.
* This Sonnet seems to have been written in behalf of the Independants against the Presbyterian hierarchy. Vane was beheaded in 1662. Warton.
counsel] The printed copies, councils. Newton.
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states hard to be spellid,
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold In all her equipage: besides to know
Both spiritual pow'r and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few
have done :
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
XVIII. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose
bones Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold; Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and
stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
7 Then, &c.] In the printed copies,
• Then to advise how war may be best upheld
Mann'd by her two main nerves,' &c. Newton. 11 severs] Serves.' Printed edition. Newton. 13 Therefore, &c.] In the printed copies :
* Therefore on thy right hand Religion leans,
And reckons thee in chief her eldest son.' Newton. ? Alpine] Fairfax's Tasso, B. xiii. s. 60. * Distill’d from tops of Alpine mountains cold.' Warton,
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rollid
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their matyr'd blood and ashes sow
O’er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple tyrant ; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who having learn’d thy way Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
XIX. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more To serve therewith my Maker, and present [bent
My true account, lest he returning chide; “ Doth God exact day-labour, light denied,"
I fondly ask: But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, " God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed, [state
And post o’er land and ocean without rest; They also serve who only stand and wait.” 10 man's work, or his own gifts] Free will, or grace.
Warburton. 13 post] P. L. iv. 171,
· With a vengeance sent,