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he retired to Chalfont in Buckinghamshire on ac

count of the plague; and to have been seen in

scribed on the glass of a window in that place.

I have seen a copy of it written, apparently in a
coeval hand, at the end of Tonson's edition of
Milton's Smaller Poems in 1713, where it is also
said to be Milton's. It is re-printed from Dr.

Birch's Life of the poet, in Fawkes and Woty's
Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 67. But,

in this sonnet, there is a scriptural mistake;

which, as Mr. Warton has observed, Milton was not likely to commit. For the Sonnet improperly represents David as punished by pestilence for his adultery with Bathsheba. Mr. Warton, however, adds, that Dr. Birch had been informed by Vertue the engraver, that he had seen a satirical medal, struck upon Charles the Second,

abroad, without any legend, having a correspondent device.—This sonnet, I should add, varies from the construction of the legitimate sonnet, in consisting of only ten lines, instead of fourteen.

Fair mirrour of foul times' whose fragile sheen,
Shall, as it blazeth, break; while Providence,
Aye watching o'er his saints with eye unseen,
Spreads the red rod of angry pestilence,
To sweep the wicked and their counsels hence;

Yea, all to break the pride of lustful kings,
Who Heaven's lore reject for brutish sense;
As erst he scourg'd Jessides' sin of yore,
For the fair Hittite, when, on seraph's wings,
He sent him war, or plague, or famine sore.

II.

In the coucluding mote on the seventh Sonnet, it has been observed that other Italian sonnets and compositions of Milton, said to be remaining in manuscript at Florence, had been sought for in vain by Mr. Hollis. I think it may not be improper here to observe, that there is a tradition of Milton having fallen in love with a young lady, when he was at Florence; and, as she understood no English, of having written some verses to her in Italian, of which the poem, subjoined to this remark, is said to be the sense. It bas often been printed; as in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1760, p. 148; in Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 68; in the Annual Register for 1772, p. 219; and in the third volume of Milton's poems in the Edition of the Poets, 1779. But to the original no reference is given, and even of the translator no mention is made, in any of those volumes. The poem is entitled, A fragment of Milton, from the Italian.

When, in your language, I unskill'd address
The short-pac’d efforts of a trammell'd Muse;

Soft Italy's fair critics round me press,
And my mistaking passion thus accuse.

“Why, to our tongue's disgrace, does thy dumb
love
Strive, in rough sound, soft meaning to impart?
He must select his words who speaks to move,
And point his purpose at the hearer's heart.”

Then, laughing, they repeat my languidlays-
“Nymphs of thy native clime, perhaps,”--
they cry,
“For whom thou hast a tongue, may feel thy
praise;
But we must understandere we comply!”

Do thou, my soul's soft hope, these triflers aw;
Tell them, 'tis nothing, how, or what, I writ!

Since love from silentlooks can language draw,
And scorns the lame impertinence of wit.

ODES.

on The Morning of

CHRIST’S NATIPTTP 1.

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, [table

Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council

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 untred,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,

And all the spangled host keep watch in squa

drons bright?

See, how from far, upon the eastern road,

The star-led wisards haste with odours 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.

THE HPMN.

It was the winter wild,
While the Heaven-born child
All meanly wraptin the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize:

*This ode, in which the many learned allusions are highly poetical, was probably composed as a college-exercise at Cambridge, 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.

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Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight!

He, sovran priest, stooping his regal head,

That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,

Poor fleshy tabernacle entered,

His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies:

0, what a mask was there, what a disguise: Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide,

Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethrens'

side.

These latest scenes confine my roving verse;
To this horizon is my Phoebus bound:
His god-like acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings, other where are found;
Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound;
Mesofter airs befit, and softer strings
Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful
things. -

Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;

Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,

And work my flatter'd fancy to belief,

That Heavenand Earth are colour'd with my woe;

My sorrows are too dark for day to know :
The leaves should all be black whereon I write,

And letters, where my tears have wash'd, a wan

mish white,

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,

That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood;

Myspirit some transporting cherub feels,

To bear me where the towers of Salem stood,

Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless blood;

There doth my soul in holy vision sit,

In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic

fit.

Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of Heaven’s richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up lock,
Yet on the soften’d quarry would Iscore
My plaining verse as lively as before;
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
That they would fitly fall in order'd characters.

Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing

Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,

The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring

Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild;

And I (for grief is easily beguil'd)
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud

Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant

cloud,

This subject the author finding to be above the years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, loft it unfinished.

vros the CIRCUMCISION.

Ye flaming powers, and winged warriors bright, That erst with music, and triumphant song, First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear, So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along

Through the soft silence of the listening Night;
Now mourn; and, if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distilno tear,
Burm in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:
He, who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease:
Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize!
O more exceeding love, or law morejust?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom relpediless,
Were lost in death, till he, that dwelt above
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness;
And that great covenant which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied; - -
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess;
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day; but O, ere long,
Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart,

on The DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING of A cough'.

O fairest flower, no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Summer's chiefhonour, if thou hadst out-lasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry;
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to
kiss,
But kill'd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss,

For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,

By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got,

He thought it touch'd his deity full near,

If likewise he some fair one wedded not,

Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot
Of long-uncoupled bed and childlesseld,

Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach

was held.

So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,

Through middle empire of the freezing air

He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far;

There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his care:

Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,
But, all unwares, with his cold kind embrace

Unhous’d thy virgin soul from her fair hiding

place.

Yet art thou notinglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas’ strand,
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform'd him to a purple flower: Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no

power! o

* Written in 1625, and first inserted in edi

tion 1673. He was now seventeen, WARTON.

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For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
And last of all thy gréedy self consum’d,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shire
About the supreme throne
Of him, to whose happy-making sight alone,
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthy grossness quit,
Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee,
O Time.

at a

SOLEMN MUSIC.

Birst pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy,
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse,
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ
Dead things withinbreath'd sense abletopierce;
And to our high-rais'd phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure consent,
Aye sung before the saphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits thereon,
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee;
Where the bright Seraphim, in burning row, 15
Their loud up-lifted angel-trumpets blow;
And the cherubic host, in thousand quires,
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
Singing everlastingly:
That we on Earth, with undiscording voice,
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion'd Sin
Jarr'd against Nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood [sway'd
In first obedience, aud their state of good.
O, may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heaven, till Godere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of
light!

an EPITAPH

on the

MARCHIONESs of minchesten',

This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair

* She was the wife of John marquis of winchester, a conspicuous loyalist in the reign of king Charles the first, whose magnificent house or castle of Basing in Hampshire withstood an obstinate siege of two years against the rebels, and when taken was levelled to the ground be. cause in every window was flourished. Agos Loyaute.

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