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Fuor di sua natia alma primavera,
L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante,
De pensieri leggiadro, accorto, e buono ;
Quando rugge il gran mondo, e scocca il tuono,
S'arma di se, e d'intero diamante:
Tanto del forse, e d'invidia sicuro,
Di timori, e speranze, al popol use,
Quanto d'ingegno, e d'alto valor vago,
E di cetta sonora, e delle muse :
Ove Amor mise l'insanabil ago.
ON HIS BEING ARRIVED TO THE AGE OF 23.
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth, M accostandosi attorno, e perche scrivi, Stol'n on his wing my three and twentieth year Perche tu scrivi in lingua ignota e strana
My hasting days
fly on with full career, Verseggiando d'amor, e come tosi?
But my late spring no hud or blossom shew'th. Dinne, se la tua speme sia mai vana,
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.
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE
CAPTAIN, or colonel, or knight in arms, [seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please, [harms. M'abbaglian sì, ma sotto nova idea
Guard them, and him within protect from Pellegrina bellezza che'l cuor bea,
He can requite thee; for he knows the charms Portamenti alti honesti, e nelle ciglia
That call fame on sucir gentle acts as these, Quel sereno fulgor d'amabil nero,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and Parole adorne di lingua piu d'una,
seas, E'l cantar che di mezzo l'hemispero
Whatever clime the Sun's bright circle warms. Traviar ben puo la faticosa Luna,
Lift not thy spear against the Muses bower : E degli occhi suoi auventa si gran fuoco The great Emathian conqueror bid spare Che l'incerar gli orecchi mi fia poco.
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground: and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth [green,
Wisely hast shunnid 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, Tutte le notti a me suol far piovose
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth. Finche mia Alba rivien colma di rose.
Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, VI.
And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure
[friends Giovane piano, e semplicette amante
Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono,
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night, Madonna a voi del mio cuor l'humil dono Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and Farò divoto; io certo a prove tante,
ON THE SAME.
I did bat prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs re
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs: And left them both, more in himself content, Till sad the breaking of that parliament
As when those hinds that were transform'd to
frogs Broke him, as that dishonest victory
Raild at Latona's twin-born progeny, At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee.
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs;
And still revolt when truth would set them
free. So well your words his noble virtues praise,
Licence they mean when they cry Liberty ; That all both judge you to relate them true,
For who loves that, must first be wise and good; And to possess them, honourd Margaret.
But from that mark how far they rove we see, XI.
For all this waste of wealth, and loos of blood.
TO MR. H. LAWES ON THE PUBLISHING HIS A BOOK was writ of late called Tetrachordon,
And woven close, both matter, form, and style; HARRY, whose tuneful and well measur'd song The subjeet new : it walk'd the town awhile,
First taught our English music how to span Numbering good intellects; now seldom por'd Words with just note and accent, not to scan on.
With Midas ears, committing short and long; Cries the stall-reader, Bless us ! what a word on Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the A title page is this! and some in file
throng, Stand spelling false, while one might walk to · With praise enough for Envy to look wan; Mile
(Gordon, To after age thou shalt be writ the man, Evd Green. Why is it harder, sirs, than That with smooth air could'st humour best eur Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
[wing Those rugged names to our like mouths grow Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her sleek,
[gasp. To honour thee, the priest of Phebus' quire, That would have made Quintilian stare and
That tun'st their bappiest lines in hymn or Thy age, like ours, O soul of sir John Cheek,
story. Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher When thou taught'st Cambridge, and king Than his Časella, whom he woo'd to sing Edward, Greek.
Met in the milder shades of Purgatory. Ver. 1. Daughter to that good earl,] She was
XIV. the daughter of sir James Ley, whose singular ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF WRS. CATRElearning and abilities raised him through all the
RINE THOMSON', my Christian friend, great posts of the law, till he came to be made
deceased 16 Decemb. 1646. earl of Malborough, and lord higis treasurer, and lord president of the council to king James Wien Faith and Love, which parted from thee 1. He died in an advanced age; and Milton at
never, tributes his death to the breaking of the parlia Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God, ment; and it is true that the parliament was Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load dissolved the 10th of March 1628-9, and he died Of death, call'd life; which us from life doth on the 14th of the same month. He left seve
sever. ral sons and daughters; and the lady Margaret was married to captain Hobson of the Isle of of whom Milton calls a Serving-man turned SolWight. It appears from the accounts of Mil- licitor! Our author's divorce was on Platonic ton's life, that in 1643 he used frequently to vi- principles. He held, that disagreement of mind sit this lady and her husband; about which was a better cause of separation than adultery or time we may suppose this sonnet to have been frigidity. Here was a fair opening for the laughcomposed.
This and the following Sonnet were written Ver. 1. A book was writ of late call'd Tetrachor. soon after 1645. For this doctrine Milion was don,] This elaborate discussion, unworthy in summoned before the Lords. But they not apmany respects of Milton, and in which much proving his accusers, the presbyterian clergy, or acuteness of argument, and comprehension of thinking the business too speculative, he was reading, were idly thrown away, was received quickly dismissed. On this occasion Miltoa with contempt, or rather ridicule, as we learn commenced hostilities against the Presbytefrom Howel's Letters. A better proof that it rians. was treated with neglect, is, that it was attacked * Mrs. Catherine Thomson,] I find in the ac by two nameless and obscure writers only; one counts of Milton's life, that, when he was first
Thy works, and almas, and all thy good endea - Whether to settle peace, or to unfold vour,
The drift of hollow states hard to be spellid; Staid not behind, nor in the grave were trod; Then to advise how war may, best upheld, But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod, Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever. In all her equipage: besides to know Love led them on,and Faith, who knew them best Both spiritual power and civil, what each Thy hand-maids, clad them o'er with purple
What severs each, thou hast learu'd, which few And azure wings, that up they few so drest,
have done: And spake the truth of thee on glorious cliemes The bounds of either sword to thee we owe: Before the Judge; who thenceforth bid thee Therefore on thy firm hand religion leans rest,
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son. And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT.
bones FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold; rings,
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old, Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
When all our fathers worshipt" stocks and And all her jealous monarchs with amaze
stones, And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings; Forget not: in thy book record their groans Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd Their Hydra heads, and the false North dis Mother with infant down the rocks. Their plays
moans Her broken league to imp their serpent-wings. The vales redoubled to the hills, and they yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
To Heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes (For what can war, but endless war still
SOW Till truth and right from violence be freed, O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth swa/ And public faith cloar'd from the shameful brand The triple tyrant ; that from these may grow
of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, A hundred fold, who, having learu'd thy way While avarice and rapine share the land.
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, And that one talent which is death to hide, To peace and truth thy glorious way hast Lodgod with me useless, though my soul more plough'd,
bent And on the neck of crowned fortune proud To serve therewith my Maker, and present Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pur My true account, lest he, returning, chide ; sued,
[imbrued, “ Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?» While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots 1 fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need * And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much re “Either man's work, or his own gifts; who mains
best To conquer still; peace hath her victories Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best : his No less renown'd than war: new foes arise
state Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains: Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
Help us to save free conscience from the paw And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
TO MR. LAWRENCE.
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, re
mire, The fierce Epirot and the African bold; [pelld Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won made Latin secretary, he lodged at one Thomson's next door to the Bull-head tavern at Char Ver. 1. Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous ing-Cross. This Mrs. Thomson was in all pro- son, &c.] The virtuous father Henry Lawrence, bability one of that family. NEWTON. was member for Herefordshire in the Little Par
From the hard season gaining? Time will run Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The conscience, friend, to have lost them The frozen Earth, and clothe in fresh attire
overplied The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun. In liberty's defence, my noble task, What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, of which all Europe rings from side to side. Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may This thought might lead me through the rise
world's vain mask To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice Content though blind, had I no better guide, Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air? He who of those delights can judge, and spare
ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, TO CYRIACK SKINNER'.
Whom Jove's great son to her glad hasband gave,
(faint. CYRIACK, whose grandsire, on the royal bench Resew'd from death by force, though pale and
Of British Themis, with no mean applause Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed Pronounc'd, and in his volumes taught, our
Purification in the old Law did save, Which others at their bar so often wrench; And such, as yet once more I trust to have To day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
In mirth that, after, no repenting draws ; Came vested all in white, pure as her mind: Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
Her face was veil'd; yet to my fancied sight And what the Swede intends, and what the Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shra'd French,
So clear, as in no face with more delight. To measure life learn thou betimes, and know But O, as to embrace me she inclin'd, Toward solid good what leads the nearest I wak'd; she fled; and day brought back my way;
night. For other things mild Heaven a time ordains, and disapproves that care, though wise in show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day,
FROM THE CAMBRIDGE MS.
Title. « On his dore tohen the Citty expected en CYRIACK, this three years day these eyes, though assault.” Then, as at present; with an addition clear
of the date 1642, afterwards expunged. To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Ver. 3. If ever deed of honour did thee please, Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot; As in the edit. 1645. The present reading 00
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear curs first in the edit. 1673.
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not the title, now prefix'd to it, is written by Milton
Sonn, ix. liament which began in 1653, and was active in Title. “To a Lady." settling the protectorate of Cromwell. In con Ver. 7. And at thy blooming certue fret their sequence of his services, he was made president
spleen. of Cromwell's council; where he appears to have Ver. 13. Opens the dore of blisse that hour of signed many severe and arbitrary decrees, not
night, only against the royalists, but the Brownists, All in Milton's own hand-writing, fifth-monarchy men, and other sectarists. He continued high in favour with Richard Cromwell.
SonN. X. Henry Lawrence, the virtuous son, is the author of a work entitled Of our Communion and
Title, as printed in this edition. Warre with Angels, &c. Printed Anno Dom. 1646. 40, 189 pages. The dedication is “ To
Sonn, xi. my Most deare and Most honoured Mother, the Title, as printed in this edition. lady Lawrence,” He is perhaps the same Ver. 1. I writt a book of late call'd Tetraa Henry Lawrence, who printed A Vindication
chordon, of the Scriptures and Christian Ordinances,
And weav'd it close, both matter,form, 1649. Lond. 4o.
and style : Son of William Skinner, esq. and grandson of
It went off well about the town awhile, sir Vincent Skinner ; and his mother was Bridget,
Numbering good wils, but now is sch one of the daughters of the famous sir Edward
dom por'd op. Coke, lord chief justice of the King's Bench. Ver. 10. Those barbarous namese
Then rough-hewn, and lastly rugged. All in From ver. 1. to ver. 8, as now printed.
Ver. 9. And twenty battles more.
So it was at first written, afterwards corrected to -Sonn. xii.
the present reading, Worcester's laureat wreath. Ver. 4. Of owls and buzzards.
Ver. 11, & 12, as now printed. This sonnet Ver. 10. And hate the truth whereby they should is in a female hand, unlike
that in which the Sika be free.
sonnet is written. All in Milton's own hand.
Ver. 1. As now printed. Title. “ To my friend Mr, Hen. Lawes, feb. Ver. 2. And to advise how war may, best up9. 1645. On the publishing of his
Move on her two main nerves. Ver. 3. Words with just notes, which till then So at first written, afterwards corrected to then usd to scan,
and by. With Midas' eares, misjoining short Ver. 10. What power the church and what the and long.
civill means, In the first of these lines "When most were wont to
Thou teachest best, which few have scan" had also been written,
ever done. Ver. 6. And gives thee praise above the pipe of Afterwards thus, Pan,
Both spiritual power and civill, what To after age thou shalt be writ a nian,
each means, Thou didst reform thy art the chief
Thou hast learn'd well, a praise which among.
few have won. Thou honourst vers, &c.
Lastly, as now printed. Ver. 12. Fame, by the Tuscan's leav, shall set Ver. 13. thy right hand. thee higher
Afterwards altered to firm hand. And WarburThan old Casell, whom Dante woo'd to ton has said it should have been altered further sing.
to“ firm arm." There are three copies of this sonnet; two in This sonnet is also in a female hand, unlike Milton's hand; the third in another, a man's either of the two last. hand. Milton, as Mr. Warton observes, had an Sonnets xviii, xix, xx, do not appear in the amanuensis on account of the failure of his eyes. manuscript. Sonn. xiv.
The four first lines are wanting.
Ver. 8. As now printed.
ven doth sever.
Ver. 3. to ver. 5, as now printed.
Afterwards altered to Heaven's hand.
sent reading. Thy hand-maids, &c.
Ver. 12. of which all Europe talks from sido Here also the line had been written,
This sonnet is written in the same female hand Ver. 12. And spoke the truth.
as the last. There are two copies of this sonnet (one corrected) in Milton's hand; and a third in another, a
SONN. xxiii. man's hand,
No variations, except in the spelling. This is
in a fifth female hand; beautifully written; imiSonx. xv.
tating also Milton's manner of beginning most of Title. “On the &c. At the siege of Colchester.” the lines with small initial letters; which is not
From ver. 2. to ver. 13, as now printed. See the case with the other female hands. the variations of the printed copies before doctor Newton's edition, in the notes on the sonnet.
APPENDIX TO THE SONNETS. Sony. xvi. Title. “To the lord general Cromwell, May
I. 1652. On the Proposalls of certaine ministers at the committee for propagation of the gospell.” Af- Dr. Birch, in his LIFE OF MILTON, bas printed a terwards blotted out.
sonnet, said to be written by Milton in 1665, when 6