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Me softer airs befity

, and softer strings Oflute, 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 heav'n and 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 wannish white.

See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirld the Prophet up at Chebar flood,


26. Loud o'er the rest Cremona's 28. —still] That is, gentle, trump doth sound ;] He means not loud, not noisy, as is the Marcus Hieronymus Vida, who trumpet. So 1 Kings xix. 12. was a native of Cremona, and A still small voice." And in alludes particularly to his poem, First Part Henry V. a. iv. s. 1. Christiados Libri sex. And Man

The hum of either army stilly sounds. tua the birth-place of Virgil See also Il Pens. 127. Still is being near to Cremona, Virg: not often applied to sound. Ecl. ix. 28.

Hence still-born of a child born Mantua væ, miseræ nimium vicina dead. T. Warton. Cremonæ,

30. See Par. Lost, iv. 609. Mr. Pope takes occasion from And o'er the dark her silver mantle thence to pay a handsome com

threw. pliment to Vida in his Essay on Where see the note. T. Warlon. Criticism;

34. Conceits were now conCremona now shall ever boast thy fined not to words only. Mr.

Steevens has a volume of Elegies, As next in place to Mantua, next in in all the title-pages of which fame.


paper is black, and the letters 26. Milton seems to think that white. Every intermediate leaf Vida's Christiad was the finest is also black. What a sudden Latin poem on a religious sub- change from this childish idea to ject; but perhaps it is excelled the noble apostrophe, the sublime by Saunazarius De partu Vir- rapture and imagination of the ginis, a poem of more vigour and next stanza. T. Warton. fire than this work of Vida. 37. That whirld the prophet up J. Warton.

at Chebar flood,] As the prophet



My spirit some transporting Cherub feels,
To bear me where the tow'rs of Salem stood,
Once glorious tow'rs, now sunk in guiltless blood; 40

There doth my soul in 'holy vision sit
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic fit.


eye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
That was the casket of heav'n's richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up lock,
Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score
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



Ezekiel saw the vision of the “ an unfainting perseverance ! four wheels and of the glory of " who then did dictate this God at the river Chebar, and was “hymne to my Redeemer, &c.” carried in the spirit to Jerusalem; Travels, p. 167. ed. 1627. The so the poet fancies himself trans- first is 1615. T. Warton. ported to the same place.

50. —hurried on viewless wing, 42. This is to be held in holy Viewless ; see Par. Lost, iii. 518. passion, as in Il Pens. 41. —mine Hurried is used here in an accepteye hath found that sad sepulchral ation less familiar than at prerock, &c. He seems here to sent. And so in other places, as have been struck with reading Par. Lost, ii. 603, 937. v. 778, Sandys's description of the Holy In all these passages it is applied Sepulchre at Jerusalem; and to preternatural motion, the to have catched sympathetically movements of imaginary beings. Sandys's sudden impulse to break T. Warton. . forth into a devout song at the 51. Take up a weeping on the awful and inspiring spectacle. mountains wild.] This expres“ It is a frozen zeal that will not sion is from Jeremiah ix. 10.

be warmed at the sight thereof. For the mountains will I take up And oh, that I could retaine a weeping and wailing, &c. i. “ the effects that it wrought with Warlon.



Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild,
And I (for grief is easily beguild)

Might think th' 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, left it unfinished.


On Time *,


FLY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb’d,
And last of all thy greedy 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


* In these poems where no the manuscript that the poet had date is prefixed, and no circum- written To be set on a clock-case. stances direct us to ascertain the 12. -individual] Eternal, intime when they were composed, separable. As in P. L. iv. 485. we follow the order of Milton's v. 610. See note 'on dividual, own editions. And before this P. L. vii. 382. T. Warton. copy of verses, it

from 14. --sincerely good.] Purely,


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And perfectly divine,

15 With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine About the supreme throne Of him, whose happy-making sight alone When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime, Then all this earthy grossness quit, Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit, Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O




Upon the Circumcision. YE flaming pow'rs, 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 list’ning night; 5 Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear Your fiery essence can distil no tear, Burn in your sighs, and borrow Şeas wept from our deep sorrow: He who with all heav'n's heraldry whilere perfectly, good; as in Comus, v. 434—443. In the present 455. T. Warlon.

instance he wishes to make angels 18. -happy-making sight,] The weep. But being of the essence plain English of beatific vision. of fire, they cannot produce 7. Your fiery essence can distil water. At length he recollects no tear,

that fire may produce burning Burn in your sighs,]

sighs. It is debated in Thomas Milton is puzzled how to recon- Aquinas whether angels have cile the transcendent essence of not, or may not have, beards. angels with the infirmities of T. Warton.

He met with a similar 10. He who with all heav'n's difficulty in describing the repast heraldry whilere of Raphael in Paradise; P. L. Enter'd the world.]

10 15


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 more just ?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love !
For we by rightful doom remediless
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, ev'n 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 *.





Great pomps and processions are Improbus ille puer: crudelis tu quo. proclaimed or preceded by he

que mater. ralds. It is the same idea in

Richardson. P. L. i. 7 52.

20. Emptied his glory,] An exMeanwhile the winged heralds by pression taken from Phil. ii. 7. command

but not as it is in translation, Of sovereign power, &c.

He made himself of no reputation, And again, b. ii. 516. Or herald- but as it is in the original, exUTOY ry may mean retinue, train, the Exewos, He emptied himself. procession itself; what he other- 24. -for our excess,] He has wise calls pomp. See the note, used the word in the same sense P. L. viii. 60. T. Warton.

Paradise Lost, xi. 111. 15. O more exceeding love or Bewailing their excesslaw more just ?

but I think with greater proJust law indeed, but more ex- priety there than here. ceeding love !]

* It is hard to say, why these Virgil, Ecl. viii. 49.

three odes on the three grand Crudelis mater magis, an puer im- incidents or events of the life of probus ille ?

Christ, (the Nativity, the Passion,

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