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GIOVANE piano, e semplicetto amante
Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono,
Farò divoto; io certo a prove tante
De pensieri leggiadro, accorto, e buono;
S'arma di se, e d'intero diamante;
Di timori, e speranze al popol use
Quanto d'ingegno, e d'alto valor vago,
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol'n on his wing my three and twentieth year!
But my late spring no bud or blossom show'th.
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
| This sonnet was written at Cambridge, and sent in a letter to a friend,
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE CITY.1
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
That call fame on such gentle acts as these
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
The great Emathian conqueroro bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tow'r
Of sad Electra's poet: had the pow'r
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunn’d the broad way and the green,
1 Written when the King's troops had arrived at Brentford, and London expected an immediate attack.
2 Alexander. He suffered the house of Pindar alone to stand untouched ; and honoured the family of the great lyric poet, while making frightful havoc of the Thebans. Milton claims the same favour from the royal forces.
3 Euripides. When Lysander had taken Athens, Plutarch tells us that, -
“Some say he really did, in the Council of the Allies, propose to reduce the Athenians t) slavery; and that Erianthus, a Theban officer, gave it as his opinion that the city should be levelled
with the ground, and the spot on which
the great Atrides, * Thy straw-crowned palace : approach.' “The whole company were greatly moved at this incident, and could not help reflecting how barbarous a thing it would be to raze that noble city, which had
The better part with Mary' and with Ruth?
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of lights
And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY.5
Of England's Council, and her Treasury,
And left them both, more in himself content,
Broke him, as that dishonest victory
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent.?
Wherein your father flourish’d, yet by you,
Madam, methinks I see him living yet;
That all both judge you to relate them true,
produced so many great and illustrious men.”-PLUTARCH, Life of Lysander."
Thus Athens ,was spared, but in cruel mockery. The Spartan collected all the musicians in the city, and pulled down the fortifications, and burned the Athenian ships, to the sound of their in. strumente. i Luke x. 42. 3 Ruth i. 14, 3 Matt. xxv. 4.
Rom. v. 5,
6 Milton used frequently to visit this lady, who married Captain Hobson, of the Isle of Wight. *** Earl -of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer; and Lord Prosident of the Council to King James 1.- Parliament was dissolved the 10th of March, 1628-9; be died on the 14th, but at an advanced age.NEWTON,
Isocrates, the orator, who could not survive the ruin of his country. Chao ronea was gained by Philip of Macedon,
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON MY
WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES.
A BOOK was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon,
And woven close, both matter, form, and style;
Numb'ring good intellects; now seldom pored on.
A title-page is this ! and some in file
End Green. Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon,
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp,
ON THE SAME.
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
| Tetrachordon means exposition on the four chief places in Scripture which mention nullities in marriage.
Scottish writer against the Independents; for whom see Milton's verses
the Forcers of Conscience.”WARTON.
2 Colkitto and Macdonnel are one and the same person, a brave officer on the royal side, an Irishman of the Antrim family, who served under Montrose. The Macdonnels of that family are styled, by way of distinction, Mac Collcittök, i.e., descendants of lame Colin. Galaspis George Gillespie, a
3 Sir John Cheke has been already named in the notes to this volume, He was the first Professor of Greek at Cambridge, and restored the original pronunciation of it. He was tutor to Edward VI. 4 Milton's treatises were on the subjeet “La
As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogg1
Raili at Latona's twin-born progeny,
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs;
And still revolt when truth would set them free.
Licence they mean when they cry Liberty;
But from that mark how far they rove we see
TO MR. H. LAWESS ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS.
HARRY, whose tuneful and well measured song
First taught our English music how to span
With Midas' ears,4 committing short and long;:
With praise enough for envy to look wan;
That with smooth air couldst. humour best our tongue
To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,
That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn, or story.
Than his Casella,? whom he woo'd to sing
of “Divorce.” The Presbyterian clergy were much (and justly) scandalized at them, and brought Milton before the Lords for them; but they thought the subject simply speculative, and he was discharged. He thus stigmatizes the Presbyterian clergy.
and playing on the flute to Apollo; and, to pinish his stupidity, Apollo changed his ears into those of an ass.
5 A Latinism, meaning offences against quantity.-RICHARDSON.
6 The “Story of Ariadne," set by Lawes.-WARTON.
I See OVID, Met. VI. fab. iv. tona's progeny” were Apollo and Diana, the sun god and moon goddess.
2 A fine moral, coming, too, from a Republican poet.
3 The musician who put the music to “Comus."
4 Midas, a King of Phrygia. He decided that Pan was superior in singing
7 Amongst the souls in Purgatory, Dante recognizes his friend Casella, the musician. In the course of an affectionate conversation, Dante asks for a song to soothe him, and Casella sings, with ravishing sweetness, the poet's second Canzone. See second cant. of Dante's “ Purgatorio."