Obrazy na stronie
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L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante,
De peusieri leggiadro, accorto, e buomo;
Qualido rugge il granmondo, escoccail tuono,
S'arma dise, e d' intero diamante:

Tanto del forse, e d'invidia sicuro,
Di timori, esperanze, al popol use,
Quanto d'ingegno, e d'alto valor vago,

E di cetta sonora, e delle muse:
Sol troverete in tal parte men duro,
Ove Amor mise l'insanabil ago.

VII. on his BEING ARRIVED To the Age of 23.

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol'm on his wing mythree and twentieth year
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arriv'd so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high, ,
Toward which Time leads me, and the Will of
All is, if I have grace to use it so, [Heaven:
As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.

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Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth [green,
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the hill of heavenly truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fix’d, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,
And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be
sure [friends
Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and
pure, -

X. to the LADY martGArtet LEY.

DAuchter to that good earl, once president
Of England's council and her treasury,
Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee,
And left them both, more in himself content,
Till sad the breaking of that parliament
Broke him, as that dishonest victory
At Chaeronea, fatal to liberty,
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent.
Though later born than to have known the days,
Wherein your father flourish'd, yet by you,
Madam; methinks, I see him living yet ;
So well your words his noble virtues praise,
That all both judge you to relate them true,
And to possess them, honour'd Margaret.

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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
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs:
As when those hinds that were transform'd to
frogs
Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee.
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs;
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them
free.
Licence they mean when they cry Liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good;
But from that mark how far they rove we see,
For all this waste of wealth, and loos of blood.

XIII.

To Mr. H. LAwes on the PUBLISHINe his Airts.

Hanny, whose tuneful and well measur’d song
First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan
With Midas ears, committingshort and long;
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the
throng,
- With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writthe man,
That with smooth air could'st humour bestour
tongue. [wing
Thou honourst verse, and verse must lend her
To honourthee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,
That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn or

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-
vour,
Staid not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod,
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Love led them on and Faith, whoknew them best
Thy hand-maids, clad them o'er with purple
beams

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
cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast
plough'd,
And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pur-
sued, [imbrued,
While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much re-
mains
To conquer still ; peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise
Threatening to bindour souls with secular chains:
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.

XVII. to siR HENRY vane, The YouNgER.

VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a bettersenator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, re-
The fierce Epirot and the African bold; spell’d

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.

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When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more
bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide;
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
1 fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
“Either man's work, or his own gifts; who
best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his
o state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

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Cyriack, whose grandsire, on the royal bench
Of British Themis, with no mean applause
Pronounc'd, 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
o way;
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,
And disapproves that care, though wiseon show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.

XXII. *to the sames

Cyriack, this three years day these eyes, though
clear
“To outward view, of blemish or of spot,

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

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?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them
overplied
In liberty's defence, my noble task,
Of which all Europe rings from side to side. .
This thought might lead me through the
world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.

XXIII. on his DECEASED WIFE.

Mathought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband

gave, faint.

Rescu'd from death by force, theugh pale and

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 shin'd

So clear, as in no face with more delight-
But O, as to embrace me she inclin'd,
Iwak'd; she fled; and day brought back my

night.

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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,

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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.

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