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ON THE MORNING OP
he retired to Chalfont in Buckinghamshire on ac- ( Then, laughing, they repeat my languid lays count of the plague; and to have been seen in “Nymphs of thy native clime, perbaps,*-ścribed on the glass of a window in that place.
they cry, I have seen a copy of it written, apparently in a “For whom thou hast a tongue, may feel thy coeval hand, at the end of Tonson's edition of
praise; Milton's Sinaller Poems in 1713, where it is also But we must understand ere we comply ! said to be Milton's. It is re-printed from Dr. Birch's Life of the poet, in Pawkes and Woty's Do thou, my soul's soft hope, these triflers awa; Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 67. But, Tell them, 'tis nothing, how, or what, I writ! in this sonnet, there is a scriptural mistake; Since love from silent looks can language draw, which, as Mr. Warton has observed, Milton was And scorns the lame impertinence of wit. not likely to commit. Por the Somet improperly represents David as punished by pestilence for his adultery with Bathsheba. Mr. Warton,
ODES. 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, va
CHRIST'S NATIVITY. ries from the construction of the legitimate son. This is the month, and this the happy mort, net, in consisting of only ten lines, instead of wherein the Son of Heaven's
Eternal King, fourteen.
Of wedded maid and virgin mother bora, Fair mirrour of foul times! whose fragile sheen, for so the holy sages once did sing,
Our great redemption from above did bring; Shall, as it blazeth, break; while Providence,
That he our deadly forfeit should release, Aye watching o'er his saints with eye unseen,
And with his father work us a perpetual peace Spreads the red rod of angry pestilence,
To sweep the wicked and their counsels hence; That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Who Heaven's lore reject for brutish sense; Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal
clay. In the concluding note on the seventh Sonnet, Afford a present to the Infant-God?
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred sein it has been observed that other Italian sonnets Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, and compositions of Milton, said to be remain-To welcome him to this his new abode, ing in manuscript at Florence, had been sought for in vain by Mr. Hollis. I think it may not be Now while the Heaven, by the Sun's team untrad, improper here to observe, that there is a tradi- And all the spangled host keep watch in squa
Hath took no print of the approaching light, tion of Milton having fallen in love with a young
drons bright? lady, when he was at Florence; and, as she understood no English, of having written some See, how from far, upon the eastern road, verses to her in Italian, of which the poem, sub-The star-led wisards haste with odours sweet: joined to this remark, is said to be the sense. O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, It bas often been printed ; as in the Gentleman's And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; Magazine for 1760, p. 148; in Fawkes and Wo- Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, ty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 68; in And join thy voice unto the angel-quire, the Annual Register for 1772, p. 219; and in From out his secret altar touch'd with hallor'd the third volume of Milton's poems in the Edi
fire, tion 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
THE HYMN. poem is entitled, A fragment of Milton, from It was the winter wild, the Italian,
While the Heaven-born child When, in your language, Iunskill'd address
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
"This ode, in which the many learned allu“Why, to our tongue's disgrace, does thy dumb sions are highly poetical, was probably composed love
as a college-exercise at Cambridge, our autbor Strive, in rough sound, soft meaning to impart? being now only twenty-one years old. In the He must select his words who speaks to move, edition of 1645, in its title it is said to have beeg
And point his purpose at the hearer's heart." written in 1629.
It was no season then for her
| When such music sweet To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour. Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook; Only with speeches fair
Divinely-warbled voice She wooes the gentle air
Answering the stringed noise, To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; As all their souls in blissful rapture took: And on her naked shame,
The air, such pleasure loth to lose, Pollate with sinful blame,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each hea. The saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
venly close. Confounded, that her Maker's eyes Should look so near upon her foul deformities. Nature that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round But he, her fears to cease,
Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling, Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;
Now was almost won
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling ; His ready harbinger,
She knew such harmony alone With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
union. She strikes an universal peace through sea and
At last surrounds their sight land.
A globe of circular light, No war, or battle's sound,
That with long beams the shamefac'd night Was heard the world around:
The helmed Cherubim,
[array'd ; The idle spear and shield were high up hung; |
And sworded Seraphim,
(play'd, The hooked chariot stood
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings disUnstair'd with hostile blood;
Harping in loud and solemn quire, The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born And kings sat still with aweful eye, As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.
Such music (as 'tis said)
Before was never made, But peaceful was the night,
But when of old the sons of morning sung, Wherein the Prince of light
While the Creator great His reign of peace upon the Earth began:
His constellations set, The winds, with wonder whist,
And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung; Smoothly the waters kist,
And cast the dark foundations deep, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel Who now bath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed
Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears, The stars, with deep amaze,
If ye have power to touch our senses so; Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,
And let your silver chime Bending one way their precious influence ;
Move in melodious time; And will not take their flight,
And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow; For all the morning light,
And, with your pinefold harmony, Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
Make up full consort to the angelic symphoy. But in their glimmering orbs did glow, Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them For, if such holy song go.
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; And, though the shady gloom
And speckled Vanity Had given day her room,
Will sicken soon and die, The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed, And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; And hid his head for shame,
And Hell itself will pass away, As his inferior flame
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering The new-enlighten'd world no more should need:
day: He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, | Yea, Truth and Justice then could bear.
Will down return to men,
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, The shepherds on the lawn,
Mercy will sit between, Or e'er the point of dawn,
Thron'd in celestial sheen, Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down Full little thought they then,
And Heaven, as at some festival, (steering ; That the mighty Pan
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall. Was kindly come to live with them below; Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
But wisest Fate says no, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. This must not yet be so,
The babe get lies in smiling infancy,
His burning idol all of blackest húe; That on the bitter cross
In vain with cymbals' ring Must redeem our loss;
They call the grisly king, So both himself and us to glorify:
In dismal dance about the furnace blue : Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep, .
The brutish gods of Nile as fast, The wakeful trump of doom must thunder Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste. through the deepi
Nor is Osiris seen With such a horrid clang
In Memphian grove or green, As on mount Sinai rang,
Trampling the unshower'd grass with loving While the red fire and smouldering clouds out
loud: The aged Earth aghast
Nor can he be at rest With terrour of that blast,
Within his sacred chest; Shall from the surface to the centre shake; Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud; When, at the world's last session,
In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark throne.
He feels from Juda's land And then at last our bliss
The dreaded infant's hand, Full and perfect is,
The rays of Bethlehem blind bis dusky eyn; But now begins; for, from this happy day,
Nor all the gods beside The old Dragon, under ground
Longer dare abide, In straiter limits bound,
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine: Not half so far casts his usurped sway;
Our babe, to show bis Godhead true. And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Can in his swaddling bands controll the damned Swindges the scaly horrour of his folded tail.
crew, The oracles are dumb,
So, when the Sun in bed, No voice or hideous hum
Curtain'd with cloudy red, Runs through the arched roof in words deceive Pillows his chin upon an orient ware, ing.
The flocking shadowş pale Apollo from his shrine
Troop to the infernal jail, Can no more divine,
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave; With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leav- | And the yellow-skirted Fayes No nightly trance, or breathed spell, Ling. Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their moon Inspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic
The lonely mountains o'er,
But see, the Virgin blest And the resounding shore,
Hath laid her babe to rest; A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
Time is, our tedious song should here haro From haunted spring and dale,
ending : Edg'd with poplar pale,
Heaven's youngest-teemed star The parting genius is with sighing sent;
Hath fix'd her polish'd car, With flower-inwoven tresses torn
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp at. The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets
And all about the courtly stable (tending: mourn.
* Bright-harness'd angels sit in ord er serviceable. In consecrated earth, And on the holy hearth,
[plaint ; | BREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth, A drear and dying sound
Wherewith the stage of air and Earth did ring, Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint ; And joyous news of Heavenly Infant's birth, And the chill marble seems to sweat,
My Muse with angels did divide to sing; While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted But headlong joy is ever on the wing, seat.
In wintery solstice like the shorten'd light,
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living Peor and Baälim
night. Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of palestine; For now to sorrow must I tune my song, And mooned Ashtaroth,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe, Heaven's queen and mother both,
Which on our dearest Lord did seize ere long,[so, Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than The Libye Hammon shrinks his horn,
Which he for us did freely undergo : In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Tham. muz mourn.
3. This Ode was probably composed soon after And sullen Moloch, fed,
that on the Nativity. And this perhaps was
a college exorcise at Easter, as the last was at Hath left in shadows dread
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight Through the soft silence of the listening Night; Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human Now mourn ; and, if sad share with us to bear wight!
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease : His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies : Alas, how soon our sin 0, what a mask was there, what a disguise: Sore doth begin
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, His infancy to seize! Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethrens' O more exceeding love, or law more just ? side.
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we, by rightful doom remediless,
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dast
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness; And former sufferings, other where are found; And that great covenant which we still transgress Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound; Entirely satisfied ; Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
And the full wrath beside Of lute, or riol still, more apt for mournful Of vengeful justice bore for our excess; things.
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart, Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;
This day; but O, ere long, Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw,
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart,
The leaves should all be black whereon I write,
DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, nish white, See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
DYING OF A COUGH'. That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood; 0
FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted, My spirit some transporting cherub feels, Soft silken primrose fading timelessly, To bear me where the towers of Salem stood, Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry; blood;
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye There doth my soul in holy vislon sit,
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic
But kill'd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss, Mine eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer, That was the casket of Heaven's richest store, By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got, And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, He thought it touch'd his deity full near, Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score If likewise he some fair one wedded not, My plaining verse as lively as before;
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot For sure so well instructed are my tears, Of long-uncoupled bed and childless eld, That they would fitly fall in order'd characters. Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reprogch Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing
was held. Take up a weeping on the mountains wild, The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
So, mounting up in icy-pearled car, Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild ;
Through middle empire of the freezing air And I (for grief is easily beguild)
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far; Might think the infection of my sorrows loud There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his
care: Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair, cloud.
But, all unwares, with his cold kind embrace
Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair hiding This subject the author finding to be above the
place. years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing | Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate; satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished. 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 : CIRCUMCISION,
Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no Ye flaming powers, and winged warriors bright, power! That erst with music, and triumphant song, First beard by happy watchful shepherds ear, 1 Written in 1625, and first inserted in ediSo sweetly sung your joy the clouds along tion 1673. He was now seventeen, WARTON,
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead, For when as each thing bad thou hast entombid,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
Oh po! for something in thy face did shine When every thing that is sincerely good
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shire Resolve me then, oh soul most surely blest,
About the supreme throne (If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear;) Of him, to whose happy-making sight alone, Tell me, bright spirit, where'er thou hoverest, When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb, Whether above that high first-moving sphere, Then, all this earthy grossness quit, Or in the Elysian Fields, (if such were there ;)
Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit, Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou, some goddess Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse, Amongst us here below to hide thy nectard head: Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ Or wert thou that just maid, who once before
Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce ; Forsook the hated Earth, O tell me sooth,
And to our high-rais'd phantasy present And cam'st again to visit us once more ?
That undisturbed song of pure consent, Or wert thou that sweet-smiling youth?
Aye sung before the saphire-colour'd throne Or that crown'd matruns age white-robed Truth? To him that sits thereon, Or any other of that heavenly brood
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee; Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some
Where the bright Seraphim, in buming row, 19 good ?
Their loud up-lifted angel-trumpets blow;
And the cherubic host, in thousand quires, Or wert thou of the golden-winged host, Touch their immortal harps of golden wires, Who, having clad thyself in human weed, With those just spirits that wear victorious palms, To Earth from thy prefixed seat didst post, Hymns devout and holy psalms And after short abode ay back with speed, Singing everlastingly: As if to show what creatures Heaven doth breed; That we on Earth, with undiscording voice,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire May rightly answer that melodious noise; To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heaven As once we did, till disproportion'd Sin aspire ?
Jari'd against Nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair music that all creatures made But oh! why didst thou not stay here below
To their great Lord, whose love their motion To bless us with thy heaven-lov'd innocence, To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe, In first obedience, and their state of good,
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood (sway'd To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence,
O, may we soon again renew that song, Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilence,
And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart?
To his celestial consort us unite, But thou canst best perform that office where to live with him, and sing in endless mora of thou art.
EPITAPH And render him with patience what he lent;
This if thou do, he will an offspring give,
Tyts rich marble doth inter
A viscount's daughter, an earl's beir,
Besides what her virtues fair
chester, a conspicuous loyalist in the reign of Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace; king Charles the first, whose magnificent house And glut thyself with what thy womb devours, or castle of Basing in Hampshire withstood an Which is no more than what is false and vain, obstinate siege of two years against the rebels, And merely mortal dross ;
and when taken was levelled to the ground, beSo little is our loss,
cause in every window was fourished. Ans So little is thy gain!