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That art which knew to join all parts in one,
Makes the least violent separation.
Yet though our ligaments betimes grow weak,
We must not force them till themselves they break.
Pythagoras bids us in our station stand,
Till God, our general, shall us disband.
Wise Solon dying, wish'd his friends might grieve,
That in their memories he still might live.
Yet wiser Ennius gave command to all
His friends, not to bewail his funeral;
Your tears for such a death in vain you spend,
Which straight in immortality shall end.
In death if there be any sense of pain,
But a short space to age it will remain;
On which, without my fears, my wishes wait,
But timorous youth on this should meditate:
Who for light pleasure this advice rejects,
Finds little, when his thoughts he recollects.
Our death (though not its certain date) we know;
Nor whether it may be this might or mo: *
How then can they contented live, who fear
A danger certain? and none knows how near.
They err, who for the fear of death dispute,
Our gallant actions this mistake confute.
Thee Brutus, Rome's first martyr I must name,
The Curtii bravely div'd the gulph of flame;
Attilius sacrific'd himself, to save
That faith, which to his barbarous foes he gave ;
With the two Scipio's did thy uncle fall,
Rather than fly from conquering Hannibal ;
The great Marcellus (who restored Rome)
His greatest foes with honour did intomb.
Their lives how many of our legions threw
Into the breach 2 whence no return they knew.
Must then the wise, the old, the learned, fear
What not the rude, the young, th’ unlearn'd for-
bear 2
Satiety from all things else doth come,
Then life must to itself grow wearisome.
Those trifles wherein children take delight
Grow nauseous to the young man's appetite;
And from those gaieties our youth requires
To exercise their minds, our age retires.
And when the last delights of age shall die,
Life in itself will find satiety. [hear,
Now you, my friends, my sense of death shall
Which I can well describe, for he stands near.
Your father, Laelius, and your's, Scipio,
My friends, and men of honour, I did know;
As certainly as we must die, they live
That life which justly may that name receive:
Till from these prisons of our flesh releas'd,
Our souls with heavy burthens lie oppress'd;
Which part of man from Heaven falling down,
Earth, in her low abyss, doth hide and drown,
A place so dark to the coelestial light,
And pure etermal fire's quite opposite.
The gods thiough human bodies did disperse
An heavenly soul, to guide this universe,
That man, when he of heavenly bodies saw
The order, might from thence a pattern draw;
Nor this to me did my own dictates show,
But to the old philosophers I owe.
I heard Pythagoras, and those who came
With him, and from our country took their name;
Who never doubted but the beams divine,
JDeriv'd from gods in mortal breasts did shine.
Nor from my knowledge did the ancients hide
What Socrates declar'd the hour he dy’d;

He th’ immortality of souls proclaim’d,
(Whom th” oracle of men the wisest nam'd.)
Why should we doubt of that, whereof our sense
Finds demonstration from experience
Our minds are here, and there, below, above;
Nothing that’s mortal can so swiftly move.
Our thoughts to future things their flight direct,
And in an instant all that's past collect.
Reason, remelnbrance, wit, inventive art,
No nature, but immortal, can impart.
Man's soul in a perpetual motion flows,
And to no outward cause that motion owes;
And therefore that no end an overtake,
Because our minds cannot themselves forsake.
And since the matter of our soul is pure
And simple, which no mixture ean endure
Of parts, which not among themselves agree;
Therefore it never can divided be.
And Nature shows (without philosophy)
What cannot be divided, cannot die.
We ev’n in early infancy discern,
Knowledge is born with babes before they leam;
Ere they can speak, they find so many ways
To serve their turn, and see more arts than
days:
Before their thoughts they plainly can .
The words and things they know are numberless,
Which Nature only, and no art could find,
But what she taught before, she call'd to mind.
These to his sons (as Xenophon records)
Of the great Cyrus were the dying words;
“Fear not when I depart (nor therefore mourn)
I shall be no where, or to nothing turn:
That soul, which gave me life, was seen by none,
Yet by the actions it design'd, was known;
And though its flight no mortal eye shall see,
Yet know, for ever it the same shall be.
That soul, which can immortal glory give,
To her own virtues must for ever live.
Can you believe, that man's all-knowing mind
Can to a mortal body be confin'd?
Though a foul foolish prison her immure
On Earth, she (when escap'd) is wise and pure.
Man's body, when dissolv’d, is but the same
With beasts, and must return from whence it
came;
But whence into our bodies reason flows,
None sees it, when it comes, or where it goes.
Nothing resembles death so much as sleep,
Yet then our minds themselves from slumbers keep,
When from their fleshly bondage they are free,
Then what divine and future things they see!
Which makes it most apparent whence they are,
And what they shall hereafter be, declare.”
This noble speech the dying Cyrus made.
Me, Scipio, shall no argument persuade,
Thy grandsire, and his brother, to whom Fame
Gave, from two conquer'd parts o' th' world, their
name,
Northy great grandsire, northy father Paul,
Who fell at Cannae against Hannibal;
Nor I (for 'tis permitted to the ag'd
To boast their actions) had so oft engag'd
In battles, and in pleadings, had we thought,
That only Fame our virtuous actions bought;
'Twere better in soft pleasure and repose,
Ingloriously our peaceful cyes to close:
Some high assurance hath possest ny mind,
After my death an happier life to find.

Unless our souls from the immortals came,
What end have we to seek immortal fame?
All virtuous spirits some such hope attends,
Therefore the wise his days with pleasure ends.
The foolish and short-sighted die with fear,
That they go no-where, or they know not
where.
The wise and virtuous soul, with clearer eyes,
Before she parts, some happy port descries.
My friends, your fathers I shall surely see
Nor only those I lov’d, or who lov'd me;
But such as before ours did end their days
Ofwhom we hear, and read, and write their
praise.
This I believe: for were I on my way,
None should persuade me to return, or stay:
Should some god tell me, that I should be born,
And cry again, his offer I would scorn;
Asham'd, when I have ended well my race,
Tobe led back to my first starting-place.
And since with life we are more griev'd than joy'd,
We should be either satisfy'd or cloy'd :
Yet will I not my length of days deplore,
As many wise and learn'd have done before;
Nor can I think such life in vain is lent,
Which for our country and our friends is spent.
Hence from an inn, not from my home I pass,
Since Nature meant us here no dwelling-place.
Happy when I, from this turmoil set free,
That peaceful and divine assembly see:

Not only those I nam'd I there shall greet,
But my own gallant, virtuous Cato meet.
Nor did I weep, when I to ashes turn'd
His belov'd body, who should mine have bun'd.
I in my thoughts beheld his soul ascend,
Where his fixthopes our interview attend:
Then cease to wonder that I feel no grief
From age, which is of my delights the chief.
My hopes, if this assurance hath deceiv'd,
(That I man's soul immortal have believ'd)
And if I err, no power shall dispossess
My thoughts of that expected happiness:
Though some minute philosophers pretend,
That with our days our pains and pleasures end.
If it be so, I hold the safer side,
For none efthem my errour shall deride;
And if hereafter no rewards appear,
Yet virtue hath itself rewarded here.
If those, who this opinion have despis'd,
And their whole life to pleasure sacrific'd,
Should feel their errour, they, when undeceiv'd,
Too late will wish, that me they had believ'd.
If souls no immortality obtain,
'Tis fit our bodies should be out of pain.
The same uneasiness which everything
Gives to our nature, life must also bring.
Good acts, if long, seem tedious; so is age,
Acting too long upon this Earth, her stage,
Thus much for age, to which when you arrive,
That joy to you, which it gives me, 'twill give.

THE

POEMS

or

JOHN MILTON.

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