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VI.

GIOVANE piano, e semplicetto amante

Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono,
Madonna a voi del mio cuor l'humil dono

Farò divoto; io certo a prove tante
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 cetra 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

TWENTY-THREE.

1631.

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,

Stol'n on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,

But my late spring no bud or blossom show'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,

That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,

That some more timely-happy spirits indu'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 Heaven.

All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-master's eye.

| This sonnet was written at Cambridge, and sent in a letter to a friend,

VIII.

WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE CITY.1

16-12.
CAPtain or Colonel, or Knight in arms,

Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,

Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms

That call fame on such gentle acts as these
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,

Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bow'r:

The great Emathian conqueroro bid spare

The house of Pindarus, when temple and tow'r
Went to the ground: and the repeated air

Of sad Electra's poet: had the pow'r
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.

:

IX.

TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.

Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth

Wisely hast shunn’d the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the hill of heavenly truth,

1 Written when the King's troops had arrived at Brentford, and London expected an immediate attack.

2 Alexander. He suffered the house of Pindar alone to stand untouched ; and honoured the family of the great lyric poet, while making frightful havoc of the Thebans. Milton claims the same favour from the royal forces.

3 Euripides. When Lysander had taken Athens, Plutarch tells us that, -

Some say he really did, in the Council of the Allies, propose to reduce the Athenians t) slavery; and that Erianthus, a Theban officer, gave it as his opinion that the city should be levelled

with the ground, and the spot on which
it stood turned to pasturage.
Afterwards, however,

when the
general officers met at an entertain-
ment, a musician of Phocis happened
to begin a chorus in the 'Electra' of
Euripides, the first lines of which are
these :-
Unhappy daughter of

the great Atrides, * Thy straw-crowned palace : approach.' “The whole company were greatly moved at this incident, and could not help reflecting how barbarous a thing it would be to raze that noble city, which had

• Electra.

1

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 lights

And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends

Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wişe and pure.

X.

TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY.5

6

1643.
DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President

Of England's Council, and her Treasury,
Who lived 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 Chæronea, 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.

produced so many great and illustrious men.”-PLUTARCH, Life of Lysander."

Thus Athens ,was spared, but in cruel mockery. The Spartan collected all the musicians in the city, and pulled down the fortifications, and burned the Athenian ships, to the sound of their in. strumente. i Luke x. 42. 3 Ruth i. 14, 3 Matt. xxv. 4.

Rom. v. 5,

6 Milton used frequently to visit this lady, who married Captain Hobson, of the Isle of Wight. *** Earl -of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer; and Lord Prosident of the Council to King James 1.- Parliament was dissolved the 10th of March, 1628-9; be died on the 14th, but at an advanced age.NEWTON,

Isocrates, the orator, who could not survive the ruin of his country. Chao ronea was gained by Philip of Macedon,

XI.

ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON MY

WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES.

1645.

A BOOK was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon,

And woven close, both matter, form, and style;
The subject new: it walk'd the town a while,

Numb'ring good intellects; now seldom pored on.
Cries the stall-reader, Bless us! what a word on

A title-page is this ! and some in file
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile

End Green. Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon,
Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp??
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow

sleek,
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.
Thy age, like ours, 0 Soul of Sir John Cheke,3

Hated not learning worse than toad or asp,
When thou taught’st Cambridge, and king Edward

Greek.

XII.

ON THE SAME.

I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs

By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls ånd cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs :*

on

| Tetrachordon means exposition on the four chief places in Scripture which mention nullities in marriage.

Scottish writer against the Independents; for whom see Milton's verses

the Forcers of Conscience.”WARTON.

2 Colkitto and Macdonnel are one and the same person, a brave officer on the royal side, an Irishman of the Antrim family, who served under Montrose. The Macdonnels of that family are styled, by way of distinction, Mac Collcittök, i.e., descendants of lame Colin. Galaspis George Gillespie, a

3 Sir John Cheke has been already named in the notes to this volume, He was the first Professor of Greek at Cambridge, and restored the original pronunciation of it. He was tutor to Edward VI. 4 Milton's treatises were on the subjeet “La

As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogg1

Raili 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 loss of blood.?

XIII.

5

TO MR. H. LAWESS ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS.

HARRY, whose tuneful and well measured song

First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent, not to scan

With Midas' ears,4 committing short 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 writ the man,

That with smooth air couldst. humour best our tongue
Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing

To honour thee, 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.

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of “Divorce.” The Presbyterian clergy were much (and justly) scandalized at them, and brought Milton before the Lords for them; but they thought the subject simply speculative, and he was discharged. He thus stigmatizes the Presbyterian clergy.

and playing on the flute to Apollo; and, to pinish his stupidity, Apollo changed his ears into those of an ass.

5 A Latinism, meaning offences against quantity.-RICHARDSON.

6 The “Story of Ariadne," set by Lawes.-WARTON.

I See OVID, Met. VI. fab. iv. tona's progeny” were Apollo and Diana, the sun god and moon goddess.

2 A fine moral, coming, too, from a Republican poet.

3 The musician who put the music to Comus."

4 Midas, a King of Phrygia. He decided that Pan was superior in singing

7 Amongst the souls in Purgatory, Dante recognizes his friend Casella, the musician. In the course of an affectionate conversation, Dante asks for a song to soothe him, and Casella sings, with ravishing sweetness, the poet's second Canzone. See second cant. of Dante's “ Purgatorio."

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