Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 so
But had his doingg 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 unconth 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 deserts 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 N Penseroso-are supposed to have been written in Milton's youth, but were first published in 1648.

9 The three-beaded dog which kept the gate of Hell.

3 The Cimmerians were proverbial for dwelling in dark caves.

Zephyr with Aurore playing,
As he met her once a Maying;
There on bedi 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 siden
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with theo
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 starțle 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 list' ning how the hounds and hora
Cheerly rouse the slumb’ring 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 furrow'd 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 flockg do stray, Mountains, on whose barren breast The lab'ring clouds do often rest; Meadows trim with daisies 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 che merry bells ring round, And the jocund rebeckså sound

1 The Pule star- alluding to its mag. Detio attraction. The magnetio needle Brays points to ft.

"Your cyes are Lodestars," is said by Shakespeare.

? A rebeck was a fiddle with thiroo strings.

[graphic][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »