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His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That even to his last breath (there be that say't)
As he were press’d to death, he cried “ more weight;"
But had his doings lasted as they were,
He had been an immortal carrier.
Obedient to the moon he spent his date
In course reciprocal, and had his fate
Link'd to the mutual flowing of the seas,
Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase :
His letters are deliver'd all and gone,
Only remains this superscription.

L'ALLEGRO.

HENCE, loathed Melancholy,

Of Cerberus’ and blackest Midnight born, In Stygian cave forlorn,

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy, Find out some uncouth cell,

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings;

There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert: ever dwell.
But come thou Goddess fair and free,
In heaven y-clep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether (as some sager sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,

i These two Poems-L'Allegro and Il Penseroso—are supposed to have been written in Milton's youth, but were first published in 1648.

2 The three-headed dog which kept the gate of Hell.

3 The Cimmerians were proverbial for dwelling in dark caves.

Zephyr with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a Maying;
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Fill’d her with thee a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.

Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest, and youthful Jollity,
Quips, and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty ;
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good morrow,
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine:
While the cock with lively din
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before :
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill:
Some time walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,

Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great sun begins his state,
Robed in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight;
While the ploughman near at hand
Whistles o'er the furrowed land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the landscape round it measures;
Russet lawns, and faliows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray,
Mountains, on whose barren breast
The lab’ring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim with pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide.
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosom’d high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some Beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighb'ring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage-chimney smokes,
From betwixt two agèd oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses,
And then in haste the bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tann'd haycock in the mead,
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks” sound

i The Pole star-alluding to its magnetic attraction. The magnetio needle always points to it.

Your eyes are lodestars,

" is said by Shakespeare,

3.A rebeck was a fiddle with three strings.

To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the live-long daylight fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,?
With stories told of many a feat,
How fairy Mab the junkets eat;
She was pinch’d, and pull’d, she said,
And he by friar's lanthorno led,
Tells how the drudging Goblin sweat,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy fail hath thresh'd the corn,
That ten day-lab'rers could not end;
Then lies him down the lubber fiend,3
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength,
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry,
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.

| The gossip's bowl, called “ Lamb's wool."

2 Will-o'-the-Wisp.
· Puck; the Pixie, in Devonshire--the

Kobold of Germany - supposed to do
household work at night for the maids,
who, in return, left him a bowl of

cream,

Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.

And ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
In notes, with many a winding bout!
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half regain'd Eurydice.

These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

IL PENSEROSO.

HENCE, vain deluding joys,

The brood of folly without father bred, How little you bestead,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys ? Dwell in some idle brain,

And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless

As the gay motes that people the sunbeams, Or likest hovering dreams

The fickle pensioners' of Morpheus' train.

1 Turn.

2 Followers. The term was used first in this sense by a band of courtiers, who

were enrolled by Queen Elizabeth under that title. They were young nobles of the big best fashion of the period.

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