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L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante,
Tanto del forse, e d'invidia sicuro,
E di cetta sonora, e delle muse:
VII. on his BEING ARRIVED To the Age of 23.
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth [green,
X. to the LADY martGArtet LEY.
DAuchter to that good earl, once president
Ver. 1. Daughter to that good earl,] She was the daughter of sir James Ley, whose singular learning and abilities raised him through all the great posts of the law, till he came to be made earl of Malborough, and lord hig, treasurer, and lord president of the council to king James I. He died in an advanced age; and Milton attributes his death to the breaking of the parliament; and it is true that the parliament was dissolved the 10th of March 1628–9, and he died on the 14th of the same month. He left several sons and daughters; and the lady Margaret was married to captain Hobson of the Isle of Wight. It appears from the accounts of Milton's life, that in 1643 he used frequently to vi. sit this lady and her husband; about which time we may suppose this sonnet to have been composed.
Ver. 1. A book was writ of late call’d Tetrachordon,] This elaborate discussion, unworthy in many respects of Milton, and in which much acuteness of argument, and comprehension of reading, were idly thrown away, was received with contempt, or rather ridicule, as we learn from Howel's Letters. A better proof that it was treated with neglect, is, that it was attacked by two nameless and obscure writers only; one
XII. on the same
Ipid but prompt the age to quit their clogs
To Mr. H. LAwes on the PUBLISHINe his Airts.
Hanny, whose tuneful and well measur’d song
story. Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.
XIV. on TRE RELIGious MEMORY of MRs. CATHE
RINE Thomson', my Christian friend, deceased 16 Decemb. 1646.
When Faith and Love, which parted from thee never, Hadripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God, Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load Of death, call’d life; which us from life doth sever.
of whom Milton calls, a Serving-man turned Sollicitor: Our author's divorce was on Platonic principles. He held, that disagreement of mind was a better cause of separation than adultery or frigidity. Here was a fair opening for the laughers. This and the following Sonnet were written soon after 1645. For this doctrine Milton was summoned before the Lords. But they net approving his accusers, the presbyterian clergy, or thinking the business too speculative, he was quickly dismissed. On this occasion Milton commenced hostilities against the Presbyterians. * Mrs. Catherine Thomson, I find in the sccounts of Milton's life, that, when he was first
Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endea-
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And spake the truth of thee on glorious memes Before the Judge; who thenceforth bid thee
rest, And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
XV. to the Lord Greneral rairtrax.
Falafax, whose name in arms through Europe
... rings, Filling each mouth with envy or with praise, Andall herjealous monarchs with amaze And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings; Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings Victory home, though new rebellions raise Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays Her broken league to imp their serpent-wings. ©yet a nobler task awaits thy hand, (For what can war,but endless war still breed?) Till truth and right mom 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.
XVI. to the Lord GENERAL CROM well.
Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a
XVII. to siR HENRY vane, The YouNgER.
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
made Latin secretary, he lodged at one Thomson's next door to the Bull-head tavern at Charing-Cross. This Mrs. Thomson was in all probability one of that family. NEWTON.
When I consider how my light is spent
Cyriack, whose grandsire, on the royal bench
XXII. *to the sames
Cyriack, this three years day these eyes, though
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Of Sun, or Moon, or star, throughout the year,
liament which began in 1653, and was active in settling the protectorate of Cromwell. In consequence of his services, he was made president of Cromwell's council; where he appears to have signed many severe and arbitrary decrees, not only against the royalists, but the Brownists, fifth-monarchy men, and other sectarists. He continued high in favour with Richard Cromwell. Henry Lawrence, the virtuous son, is the author of a work entitled Of our Communion and Warre with Angels, &c. Printed Anno Dom. 1646. 4°, 189 pages. The dedication is “To my Most deare and Most honoured Mother, the lady Lawrence.” He is perhaps the same Henry Lawrence, who printed A Vindication of the Scriptures and Christian Ordinances, 1649. Lond. 4°.
'Son of William Skinner, esq. and grandson of sir Vincent Skinner; and his mother was Bridget, one of the daughters of the famous sir Edward Coke, lord chief justice of the King's Bench.
Rightonward. What supportsme, dostthou ask?
XXIII. on his DECEASED WIFE.
Mathought I saw my late espoused saint
Rescu'd from death by force, theugh pale and
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
So clear, as in no face with more delight-
Title. “To my friend Mr. Hen. Lawes, feb. 9. 1645. On the publishing of his aires.” Ver, 3. Words with just notes, which till then us’d to scan, With Midas' eares, misjoining short and long. In the first of these lines “When most were wont to scan” had also been written. Ver, 6. 4;gives thee praise above the pipe of - art. To after age thou shalt be writ a man, Thou didst reform thy art the chief among. Thou honourst vers, &c. Ver, 12. Fame, by the Tuscan's leav, shall set thee higher Than old Casell, whom Dante woo'd to sing. There are three copies of this sonnet; two in Milton's hand; the third in another, a man's hand. Milton, as Mr. Warton observes, had an amanuensis on account of the failure of his eyes,
From ver. 1. to ver, 8, as now printed. Ver. 9. And twenty battles more. So it was at first written, afterwards corrected to the present reading, Worcester’s laureat wreath. Ver, 11, & 12, as now printed. This somet is in a female hand, unlike that in which the 8th sonnet is written.
SoNN. xvii. Ver. 1. As now printed. Ver. 2. And to advise how war may, best upheld, Move on her two main nerves. So at first written, afterwards corrected to then and by. Wer. 10. What power the church and what the civill means, Thou teachest best, which few have ever done. Afterwards thus, Both spiritual power and civill, what each means, Thou hast learn'd well, a praise which few have won. Lastly, as now printed. Ver. 13. —thy right hand. Afterwards altered to firm hand. And Warburton has said it should have been altered further to “firm arm.” This sonnet is also in a female hand, unlike. either of the two last. Son.NETs xviii, xix., xx, do not appear in the manuscript.