Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining ? time will run

On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth, and clothe, in fresh attire,

The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise

To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice Warble immortal notes, and Tuscan air ?

He, who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.


CYRIACK, whose grandsire, on the royal bench

Of British Themis, with no mean applause,
Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,

Which others, at their bar, so often wrench; To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench

In mirth, that after no repenting draws;

Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intends, and what the French
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know

Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;

For other things, mild Heaven a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show,

That with superfluous burden loads the day, And when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.



CYRIACK, this three-years-day, these eyes, though

To outward view, of blemish or of spot, [clear,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot,

Nor, to their idle orbs, doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,

Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope; but still bear up, and steer Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, friend, to have lost them, overplied,


* Cyriack Skinner was one of the principal members of Ilarrington's political club. Wood says that he was ingenious young gentleman, and scholar to John Milton; which Skinner sometimes held the chair."- Ath. Oron, ü. 591.

In liberty's detence, my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side. [mask,

This thought might lead me through the world's vain Content, though blind, had I no better guide.



METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint,

Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,

Rescued from death by force, though pale and fain, Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint,

Purification in the old law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of her in Heaven, without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind :

Her face was veil'd, yet, to my fancied sight,

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But O, as to embrace me she inclined, I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night

• This Sonnet was written about the year 1656, on the death of his second wife, Catherine, the daughter of Captain Woodcock, of Hackney, a rigid sectarist. She died in child-bed of a daughter, within a year after their marriage. Milton had now been long totally blind.




This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
Of wedded maid, and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And, with his Father, work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont, at Heaven's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day, And chose, with us, a darksome house of mortal clay. Say heavenly muse, shall not thy sacred vein Afford a present to the Infant-God? Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, To welcome him to this his new abode, Now while the Heaven, by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons

See how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wizards haste, with vdours sweet :
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
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.

• This Ode, in which the many learned allusions are highly poetical, was probably composed as a college exercise at Cainbridge, our author being now only twenty-one years old. In the edition of 1645, in its title it is said to have been written in 1629.



It was the winter wild,
While the Heaven-born child,

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 :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.
Only with speeches fair
She wooes the gentle air,

To hide her guilty front, with innocent snow ;
And, on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw ;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She, crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding
Down, through the turning sphere,
His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing, the amorous clouds dividing ; And, waving wide her myrtle wand She strikes an universal peace, through sea & land,

No war, or battle's sound,
Was heard, the world around :

The idle spear & shield were high up hung,
The hooked chariot stood,
Unstain'd with hostile blood,

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ;
And kings sat still, with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.

But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peace upon the earth began :
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kiss'd,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean;
Who now bath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmrd wave
The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fix'd in stedfast 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 glimrering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,

The sun himself with held his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame,
As his inferior flame

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need; He saw a greater sun appear

[bear. Than his bright throne, or burning axletree could

The shepherds, on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting, in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than
That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook ;
Divinely warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took :
The air, such pleasure loth to lose, (close.
With thousand echoes, still prolongs each heavenly

Nature, that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round

Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling,
Now was almost won,
To think her part was done,

And that her reign had here its last fulfilling ;
She knew such harmony, alone,
Could hold all Heaven & mrth in happier union,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »