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The hairy gown and mossy cell,
Or any other of that heavenly brood
55 Where I'may sit and rightly spell
170 Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some Of every star that Heaven doth shew,
good ? And every herb that sips the dew;
Or wert thou of the golden-winged host,
175 Who having clad thyself in human weed, And I with thee will choose to live.
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heaven aspire? ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING OF A COUGH.
But oh! why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heaven-lov'd innocence, 65 I.
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe, O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted,
To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence, Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence, Summer's chief honour, it thou hadst out-lasted To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart?Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry: But thou canst best perform that office where For he being amorous on that lovely dye
70 That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
Then thou, the mother of so sweet a Child,
Her false imagin'd loss cease to lainent,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild ; By boist'rous rape th' Athenian damsel got,
Think what a present thou to God hast sent, He thought it touch'd his deity full near, 10
And render him with patience what he lent: 75 If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
This if thou do, he will an offering give Thereby to wipe away th' infamous blot
That till the world's last end shall make thy name Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
to live. Which 'mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach
So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,
15 Through middle empire of the freezing air, He wander'd long, till thee he spicd from far; Anno Ætatis 19. (1627.) At a Vacation Exercise in There ended was bis quest, there ceas'd his care: the College, parl Latin, part English. The Latin Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,
Speeches ended, the English thus began : But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace 20 Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair biding place. HAIL, native language, that by sinews weak IV.
Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak,
And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips, Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate ;
Half unpronounc'd, slide through my infant lips, For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Driving dumb Silence from the portal door, 5 Whilome did slay his dearly loved mate,
Where he had mutely sat two years before : Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas' strand, 25 Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask, Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;
'That now I use thee in my latter task : But then transforni'd him to a purple flower : Sinall loss it is that thence can come unto thee, Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power. I know my tongue but little grace can do thee: 10 V.
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first,
Believe me I have thither pack'd the worst:
And, if it happen as I did forecast,
15 Hid from the world in a low delved tomb;
For this same small neglect that I have made : Could Heaven for pity thee so strictiy doom? But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure,
Oh no! for something in thy face did shine And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure, Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine. 35 Not those new fangled toys, and trimming slight VI.
20 Which takes our late fantastics with delight,
But cull those richest robes, and gay'st attire Resolve me then, oh Soul most surely bless'd, : Which deepest spirits, and choicest wits desire : (If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
I have some naked thoughts that rove about, Tell me, bright Spirit, where'er thou hoverest, And loudly knock to have their passage out; Whether above that high first-moving sphere, And weary of their place do only stay
25 Or in th' Elysian fields (if such there were) 40 Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array ; O say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
That so they may without suspect or fears And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears. flight?
Yet I had rather, if I were to choose,
30 Thy service in some graver subject use,
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round, Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound : Of shak'd Olympus by mischance didst fall; Such where the deep transported mind may soar Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof 45 Above the wheeling poles, and at Heaven's door Took up, and in fit place did reinstall ?
Look in, and see each blissful Deity
35 Or did of late earth's sons besiege the wall
How he before the thunderous throne doth lie, Of sheeny Heaven, and thou, some Goddess fled, List'ning to what unshorn Apollo sings, Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head To th' touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
nectar to her kingly sire:
Then passing thro' the spheres of watchful fire, 40 Or wert thou that just maid who once before 50 And misty regions of wide air next under, Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth,
And hills of snow, and softs of piled hunder, And cam'st again to visit us once more?
May tell at length how green-ey'd Neptune raves, Or wert thou, (Mercy,]
that sweet smiling Youth ? In Heaven's defiance mustering all his waves. Or that crown'd matron sage white-robed Truth? Then sing of secret things that came to pass 45
When beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last of kings and queens and heroes old, • Composed in 1625, the 17th year of Milton's
Such as the wise Demodocus once told age. This infant was the author's niece, a daugh In solemn songs at king Alcinus' feast, ter of his sister Philips, and probably her first child. While sad Ulysses' soul and all the rest 50
Are held with his melodious harmony
Forsook the courts of everlasting day, In willing chains and sweet captivity.
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay. But fie, nuy wand'ring Muse, how thou dost stray !
III Expectance calls thee now another way; Thou know'st it must be now thy only bent 55 Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein 15 To keep in compass' of thy predicament:
Afford a present to the Infant-God ?
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Hath took no print of the approaching light, 20 Then Ens is represented as Father of the Predica
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons ments his two Sons, whereof the eldest stood for
bright? Substance with his Canons, which Ens thus speak.
IV. ing explains.
See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wisards haste with odours sweet; Good luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, 60
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; The fairy ladies danc'd upon the hearth;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the Angel quire,
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire. And, sweetly singing round about thy bed, Strow all their blessings on thy sleeping head. She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
65 From eyes of mortals walk invisible:
IT was the winter wild,
While the Heaven-born child
30 Foresaw what future days should bring to pass :
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies
Nature in awe to him
Had doff"d her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize :
35 Yet every one shall make him underling, And those that cannot live from him asunder
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour. Ungratefully shall strive to keep him under, In worth and excellence she shall out-go them, Yet
being above them, he shall be below them; 80 Only, with speeches fair, From others he shall stand in need of nothing,
She wooes the gentle air, Yet on his brothers shall depend for clothing.
To hide her guilty front with innocent snov; To find a foe it shall not be his hap,
And on her naked shame,
40 And Peace shall lull him in her flowery lap;
Pollute with sinful blame, Yet shall he live in strife, and at his door 85
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw; Devouring War shall never cease to roar:
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes Yea it shall be his natural property
Should look so near upon her foul deformities. To harbour those that are at enmity.
But he her fears to cease
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace; The next Quantity and Quality spcke in Prose; then
She, crown'd with olive green, came softly-sliding Relation was called by his Name.
Down through the turning sphere
His ready harbinger, Rivers, arise; whether thou be the son
With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing, 50 Of utmost Tweed, or Oose, or gulfy Dun,
And waving wide her myrtle wand, Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreads
She strikes a universal peace through sea and His thirty arms along th' indented meads;
land. Or sullen Mole, that runneth underneath; 95
No war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around: Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name;
The idle spear and shield were high up hung;55 Or Medway smooth, or royal towered Thame. 100
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
61 Wherein the Prince of Light ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S
His reign of peace upon the earth began :
The winds, with wonder whist,
65 Composed in 1629.
Whisp'ring new joys to the mild ocean ;
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed THIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
wave. Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
VI. Of wedded Maid, and Virgin-Mother born, The stars, with deep amaze, Our great redemption from above did bring;
70 For so he holy sages once did sing,
Stand fix'd in steadfast gaze,
Bending one way their precious influence,
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,. And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table
VII. To sit the midst of Trinal-Unity,
11 And though the shady gloom He laid aside; and, here with us to be,
Had given day her room,
The sun himself withheld his wonted speed, The Babe yet lies in smiling infancy, And hid his head for shame,
80 That on the bitter cross As his inferior flame
Must redeem our loss;
Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep,
155 Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, could The wakeful trump of doom must thunder through bear.
the deep; VIII.
XVII. The shepherds on the lawn,
85 With such a horrid clang Or ere the point of dawn,
As on mount Sinai rang, Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
While the red fire and smouldering clouds outFull little thought they then,
brake; That the mighty Pan
The aged earth aghast,
160 Was kindly come to live with them below; 90
With terror of that blast, Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Shall from the surface to the centre shake; Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. When at the world's last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his When such inusic sweet
XVIII. Their hearts and ears did greet,
And then at last our bliss
165 As never was by mortal finger strook;
95 Full and perfect is, Divinely-warbled voice
But now begins; for from this happy day Answering the stringed noise,
Th' old Dragon under ground As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
In straiter limits bound, The air, such pleasures loth to lose,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway,
170 With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly And, wroth to see his kingdom fail, close.
100 Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail,
XIX. Nature that heard such sound,
The oracles are dumb, Beneath the hollow round
No voice or hideous hum Of Cynthia's seat, the airy region thrilling,
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving. Now was almost won
Apollo from his shrine
176 To think her part was done,
105 Can no more divine, And that her reign had here its last fulfilling ; With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving. She knew such harmony alone
No nightly trance, or breathed spell, Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union. Inspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic cell.
XX. At last surrounds their sight
The lonely mountains o'er
181 A globe of cireular light,
110 And the resounding shore, That with long beams the shame-fac'd night ar A voice of weeping heard and loud lament; The helmed Cherubim,
196 And sworded Seraphim,
Edgʻd with poplar pale, Are seen in glittering ranks with wings display'd,
The parting Genius is with sighing sent:
(mourn. Harping in loud and solemn quire, (Hcir. With flower-inwoven tresses torn, With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born The Nymphs, in twilight shade of tangled thickets, XII.
XXI. Sueh music (as 'tis said)
In consecrated earth,
190 Before was never made,
And on the holy hearth, But when of old the sons of morning sung,
The Lars, and Lemures moan with midnight While the Creator great 120 In urns and altars round,
(plaint; His constellation set,
A drear and dying sound And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung,
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint ;
195 And cast the dark foundations decp,
And the chill marble seems to sweat, And bid the welt'ring waves their cozy channel keep.
While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat. XIII.
XXII. Ring out, ye crystal Spheres,
125 Peor and Baalim Once bless our human ears,
Forsake their temples dim, (If ye have power to touch our senses so)
With that twice-batter'd god of Palestine; And let your silver chime
And mooned Ashtaroth,
200 Move in melodious time;
Heaven's queen and mother both,
The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn, (moum. Make up full concert to th' angelic symphony. . In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thaminuz XIV.
XXIII. For if such holy song
And sullen Moloch fled,
20s Inwrap our fancy long,
Hath left in shadows dread
136 In vain, with cymbals' ring, Will sicken soon and die,
They call the grisly king, And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mold; In dismal dance about the furnace blue : 210 And Hell itself will pass away,
[day. The brutish gods of Nile as fast, And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste. XV.
XXIV. Yea, Truth and Justice then,
141 Nor is Osiris seen Will down return to men,
In Memphian grove or green,
floud: Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, Trampling the unshower'a grass with lowings Mercy will sit between,
Nor can he be at rest
216 Thrond in celestial sheen,
145 Within his sacred chest ; With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steer. Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud; And Heaven, as at some festival,
In vain with timbrel'd anthems dark Will open wide the gates of her high palace nall. The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipp'd ark. XVI.
XXV. Rut wisest Fate says no,
He feels from Judah's land
221 This must not yet be so,
150 The dreaded Infant's hand,
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyne ; There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
41 Nor all the gods beside,
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic St. Longer dare abide,
225 Nor Typhon huge ending in snaky twine :
VII. Our Babe, to show his Godhead true,
Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock Can in his swaddling bands control the damned That was the casket of Heaven's richest store; XXVI.
And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, 45
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score So when the sun in bed,
My plaining verse as lively as before : Curtaind with cloudy red,
230 For sure so well instructed are my tears, Pillows his chin upon an orient wave,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.
Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing, 50
Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon-lov'd The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring maze.
Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild;
And I (for grief is easily beguil'd)
Might think th' infection of my sorrows loud 53 But see, the Virgin-bless'd
Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant Hath laid her Babe to rest ;
cloud. Time is, our tedious song should here have end. Heaven's youngest-teemed star
240 Hath fix'd her polish'd car,
(ing: This subject the Author finding to be above the Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp atiend years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisAnd all about the courtly stable
fied with what was begun, left it unfinished. Bright-harness'd angels sit in order serviceable.
FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race ;
Which is no more than what is false and vain, 5 But headlong joy is ever on the wing,
5 And merely mortal dross; In wintry solstice like the shorten's light (night. So little is our loss, Soon swallow'd up in dark, and long out-living So little is thy gain!
For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb'd,
And last of all thy greedy self consum'd, 10 For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And perfectly divine,
Of Him, to' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heavenly guided soul shall climb;
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
YE flaming Powers, and winged Warriors Bright,
That erst with music, and triumphant song, Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound;
First heard by happy, watchful shepherds' ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along
Now mourn; and, if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw, 30 Seas wept from
our deep sorrow : And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,
He, who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere 10 That Heaven and Earth are colour'd with my woe;
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease; My sorrows are too dark for day to know:
Alas, how soon our sin The leaves should all be black whereon I write, Sore doth begin And letters, where my tears have wash'd, a wan
His infancy to seize! nish white.
35 O more exceeding love, or law more just? 15
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom remediless,
Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
no circumstances direct to ascertain the time when
editions is followed. Before this copy of verses, it * This poem appears to have been composed appears from the author's manuscript, that he had soon after the Ode on the Nativity,
written, To be set on a clock-case.
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness;
20 The hapless babe, before his birth, And that great covenant which we still transgress Had burial, yet not laid in earth; Entirely satisfied;
And the languish'd mother's womb And the full wrath beside
Was not long a living tomb Of vengeful justice bore for our excess;
So have I seen some tender slip,
35 And seals obedience first, with wounding smart, 25 Sav'd with care from winter's nip; This day; but o, ere long,
The pride of her carnation train Huge pangs and strong
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flower
Prove to be presaging tears,
On her hast'ning funeral. BLESS'D pair of Syrens, pledges of Heaven's joy,
may thy grave Sphere-born, harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Peace and quiet ever have; Wed your divine sounds, and inix'd power employ
After this thy travail sore Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce;
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
50 And to our high-rais'd phantasy present
That to give the world increase,
Shorten'a hast thy own life's lease.
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
55 Where the bright Seraphim, in burning row, 10 Wept for thee in Helicon; Their loud, up-lifted angel-trumpets blow:
And some flowers, and some bays And the cherubic host, in thousand quires,
For thy hearse, to strew the ways,
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
GO With those just Spirits that wear victorious palms
Whilst thou, bright Saint, high sitt'st in glory, Singing everlastingly :
Next her, much like to thee in story, That we on earth, with undiscording voice,
That fair Syrian shepherdess, May rightly answer that melodious noise :
Who, after years of barrenness, As once we did; till disproportion'd sin
T'he highly favour'd Joseph bore
65 Jarr'd against Nature's chime, and with harsh din To him that serv'd for her before, Broke the fair music that all creatures made 21 And at her next birth, much like thee, To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd Through pangs fled to felicity, In perfect diapason, whilst they stood
Far within the bosom bright In first obedience, and their state of good.
Of blazing Majesty and Light:
70 0, may we soon again renew that song,
25 There with thee, new welcome Saint, And keep in tune with Heaven, till God, ere long,
Like fortunes may her soul acquaint, To his celestial concert us unité,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen, To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light !
No Marchioness, but now a queen.
SONG.-ON MAY MORNING.
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF
Now the bright Morning-star, day's harbinger,
Hail, bounteous May, thou dost inspire 5
THIS rich marble doth inter
Her high birth, and her graces swee:,
WHAT needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd
• This Lady was Jane, daughter of Thomas Lord Visc. Savage of Rock-Savage, Cheshire, who by marriage becarze the heir of Lord Darcy, Earl of Rivers; and was the wife of John Marquis of Winchester, and the mother of Charles first Duke of Bolton. She died in childbed of a second son in the 230 year of her age; and Milton made these verses at Cambridge, as appears by the sequel.
ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER,
to go to London, by reason of the plague. HERE lies old Hobson; Death hath broke his girt, And here, alas ! hath laid him in the dirt;
. We have the following account of this extraordinary man in the Spectator, No. 509. "Mr. Tobias