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Say, from what golden quivers of the sky The ghosts, and monster-spirits, that did presume Do all thy winged arrows fly?
A body's privilege to assume,
Vanish again invisibly,
All the world's bravery, that delights our eyes, "Tis, I believe, this archery to show,
Is but thy several liveries ; That so much cost in colors thou,
Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st, And skill in painting, dost bestow
Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou Upon thy ancient arms, the gaudy heavenly bow. Swift as light thoughts their empty career run,
A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st; Thy race is finish'd when begun;
A crown of studded gold thou bear'st; Let a post-angel start with thee,
The virgin-lilies, in their white, And thou the goal of Earth shalt reach as soon as he. Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light. Thou in the Moon's bright chariot, proud and gay, The violet, Spring's little infant, stands Dost thy bright wood of stars survey!
Girt in thy purple swaddling-bands. And all the year dost with thee bring
On the fair tulip thou dost doat; Of thousand flowery lights thine own nocturnal Thou cloth’st it in a gay and party-color'd coat. spring.
With flame condens'd thou do'st thy jewels fix, Thou, Scythian-like, dost round thy lands above
And solid colors in it mix : The Sun's gilt tents for ever move,
Flora herself envies to see And still, as thou in pomp dost go,
Flowers fairer than her own, and durable as she. The shining pageants of the world attend thy show.
Ah, goddess! would thou could'st thy hand withhold
And be less liberal to gold ! Nor amidst all these triumphs dost thou scorn
Did'st thou less value to it give, The humble glow-worms to adorn,
of how much care, alas! might'st thou poor man: And with those living spangles gild
relieve! (O greatness without pride !) the bushes of the
To me the Sun is more delightful far, field.
And all fair days much fairer are. Night, and her ugly subjects, thou dost fright,
But few, ah! wondrous few, there be, And Sleep, the lazy owl of night;
Who do not gold prefer, O goddess! ev'n to thee Asham'd, and fearful to appear, They screen their horrid shapes with the black Through the soft ways of Heaven, and air, and sea hemisphere.
Which open all their pores to thee,
Like a clear river thou dost glide, With them there hastes, and wildly takes th'alarm, And with thy living stream through the close chan
nels slide. Of painted dreams a busy swarm: At the first opening of thine eye
But, where firm bodies thy free course oppose, The various clusters break, the antic atoms fly.
Gently thy source the land o'erflows; The guilty serpents, and obscener beasts,
Takes there possession, and does make Creep, conscious, to their secret rests :
Of colors mingled light, a thick and standing lake. Nature to thee does reverence pay, Ill omens and ill sights removes out of thy way.
But the vast ocean of unbounded day,
In th' empyrean Heaven does stay. At thy appearance, Grief itself is said
Thy rivers, lakes, and springs, below, To shake his wings, and rouse his head :
From thence took first their rise, thither at last
must flow. And cloudy Care has often took A gentle beamy smile, reflected from thy look.
At thy appearance, Fear itself grows bold;
Hope! whose weak being ruin'd is, To the cheek color comes, and firmness to the Alike, if it succeed, and if it miss ; knee.
Whom good or ill does equally confound,
And both the horns of Fate's dilemma wound: Ev'n Lust, the master of a harden'd face,
Vain shadow! which does vanish quite, Blushes, if thou be'st in the place,
Both at full noon and perfect night! To Darkness' curtains he retires ;
The stars have not a possibility In sympathizing night he rolls his smoky fires. Of blessing thee;
If things then from their end we happy call, When, goddess ! thou lift'st up thy waken'd head, "Tis hope is the most hopeless thing of all.
Out of the morning's purple bed,
Hope! thou bold taster of delight, [quite! And all the joyful world salutes the rising day. Who, whilst thou should'st but taste, devour'st it
Thou bring'st us an estate, yet leav'st us poor,
Fruition more deceitful is By clogging it with legacies before !
Than thou canst be, when thou dost miss ; The joys which we entire should wed, Men leave thee by obtaining, and straight flee Come deflower'd virgins to our bed;
Some other way again to thee ; Good fortunes without gain imported be,
And that's a pleasant country, without doubt, Such mighty custom's paid to thee.
To which all soon return that travel out
CLAUDIAN'S OLD MAN OF VERONA.
DE SENE VERONENSI, QUI SUBURBIUM NUNQUAM
Felix, qui patriis, &c.
HAPPY the man, who his whole time doth bound But must drop presently in tears!
Within th' inclosure of his little ground. When thy false beams o'er Reason's light prevail, Happy the man, whom the same humble place By ignes fatui for north-stars we sail.
(Th' hereditary cottage of his race)
From his first rising infancy has known, Brother of Fear, more gayly clad!
And by degrees sees gently bending down,
Could ever into foolish wanderings get.
He never heard the shrill alarms of war,
The change of seasons is his calendar.
Autumn by fruits, and spring by flowers, he knows
He measures time by land-marks, and has found Hope! of all ills that men endure,
For the whole day the dial of his ground. The only cheap and universal cure!
A neighboring wood, born with himself, he sees, Thou captive's freedom, and thou sick man's health! And loves his old contemporary trees. Thou loser's victory, and thou beggar's wealth!
He 'as only heard of near Verona's name, Thou manna, which from Heaven we eat,
And knows it, like the Indies, but by fame.
Does with a like concernment notice take
of the Red-sea, and of Benacus' lake. Which nought has power to alienate!
Thus health and strength he to a third age enjoys, Thou pleasant, honest flatterer! for none
And sees a long posterity of boys. Flatter unhappy men, but thou alone!
About the spacious world let others roam,
The voyage, life, is longest made at home.
Well, then; I now do plainly see And art a blessing still in hand!
This busy world and I shall ne'er agree ; Whilst thee, her earnest-money, we retain,
The very honey of all earthly joy We certain are to gain,
Does of all meats the soonest cloy ; Whether she her bargain break or else fulfil ;
And they, methinks, deserve my pity, Thou only good, not worse for ending ill!
Who for it can endure the stings, Brother of Faith! 'twixt whom and thee
The crowd, and buzz, and murmurings, The joys of Heaven and Earth divided be!
Of this great hive, the city. Though Faith be heir, and have the fixt estate, Ah, yet, ere I descend to th' grave, Thy portion yet in movables is great.
May I a small house and large garden have ! Happiness itself's all one
And a few friends, and many books, both true, In thee, or in possession!
Both wise, and both delightful too! Only the future's thine, the present his !
And, since love ne'er will from me flee, Thine's the more hard and noble bliss :
A mistress moderately fair,
Only belov'd, and loving me!
Oh, fountains! when in you shall I Thou Way, that may'st dispute it with the End ! Myself, eas'd of unpeaceful thoughts, espy? For love, I fear, 's a fruit that does delight
Oh fields! oh woods! when, when shall I be made The taste itself less than the smell and sight.
The happy tenant of your shade ?
Here's the spring-head of Pleasure's flood; Though so exalted she Where all the riches lie, that she
And I so lowly be, Has coin'd and stamp'd for good.
Tell her, such different notes make all thy har
mony. Pride and ambition here
Hark! how the strings awake: Only in far-fetch'd metaphors appear;
And, though the moving hand approach not near, Here nought but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter,
Themselves with awful fear, And nought but Echo flatter.
A kind of numerous trembling make. The gods, when they descended, hither
Now all thy forces try, From Heaven did always choose their way ;
Now all thy charms apply,
Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye.
Weak Lyre! thy virtue sure
To cure, but not to wound,
And she to wound, but not to cure. I should have then this only fear
Too weak too wilt thou prove Lest men, when they my pleasures see,
My passion to remove, Should hither throng to live like me,
Physic to other ills, thou’rt nourishment to love.
Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre!
In sounds that will prevail ;
Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire:
All thy vain mirth lay by, And tell thy silent master's humble tale
Bid thy strings silent lie, In sounds that may prevail ;
Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre; and let thy master Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire :
John Milton, a poet of the first rank in eminence, spoem, of great elegance. He left Italy by the way was descended from an ancient family, settled at of Geneva, where he contracted an acquaintance Milton, in Oxfordshire. His father, whose deser. with two learned divines, John Diodati and Frederic tion of the Roman Catholic faith was the cause of Spanheim ; and he returned through France, having his disinheritance, settled in London as a scrivener, been absent about a year and three months. and marrying a woman of good family, had two On his arrival, Milton found the nation agitated sons and a daughter. John, the eldest son, was by civil and religious disputes, which threatened a born in Bread-street, on December 9, 1608. He crisis; and as he had expressed himself impatient to received the rudiments of learning from a domestic be present on the theatre of contention, it has been tutor, Thomas Young, afterwards chaplain to the thought extraordinary that he did not immediately English merchants at Hamburg, whose merits are place himself in some active station. But his tum gratefully commemorated by his pupil, in a Latin was not military; his fortune precluded a seat in elegy. At a proper age he was sent to St. Paul's parliament; the pulpit he had declined ; and for the school, and there began to distinguish himself by bar he had made no preparation. His taste and his intense application to study, as well as by his habits were altogether literary; for the present, poetical talents. In his sixteenth year he was re- therefore, he fixed himself in the metropolis, and moved to Christ's college, Cambridge, where he underlook the education of his sister's two sons, of was admitted a pensioner, under the tuition of Mr. the name of Philips. Soon after, he was applied to W. Chappel.
by several parents to admit their children to the Of his course of studies in the university little is benefit of his tuition. He therefore took a com. known; but it appears, from several exercises pre- modious house in Aldersgate-street, and opened an served in his works, that he had acquired extraor. academy. Disapproving the plan of education in dinary skill in writing Latin verses, which are of a the public schools and universities, he deviated from purer taste than any preceding compositions of the it as widely as possible. He put into the hands kind by English scholars. He took the degrees of his scholars, instead of the common classics, such both of Bachelor and Master of Arts; the latter in Greek and Latin authors as treated on the arts and 1632, when he left Cambridge. He renounced his sciences, and on philosophy; thus expecting to inoriginal intention of entering the church, for which stil the knowledge of things with that of words. We he has given as a reason, that, “coming to some are not informed of the result of his plan; but it maturity of years, he had perceived what tyranny will appear singular that one who had himself drunk had invaded it;" which denotes a man early habitu- so deeply at the muse's fount, should withhold the ated to think and act for himself.
draught from others. We learn, however, that he perHe now returned to his father, who had retired formed the task of instruction with great assiduity. from business to a residence at Horton, in Buck. Milton did not long suffer himself to lie under inghamshire; and he there passed five years in the the reproach of having neglected the public cause study of the best Roman and Grecian authors, and in his private pursuits; and, in 1641, he publishin the composition of some of his finest miscella- /ed four treatises relative to church government, in neous poems. This was the period of his Allegro which he gave the preponderance to the Presby. and Penseroso, his Comus and Lycidas. That his terian form above the Episcopalian. Resuming the learning and talents had at this time attracted con- same controversy in the following year, he numsiderable notice, appears from an application made bered among bis antagonists such men as Bishop to him from the Bridgewater family, which pro- Hall and Archbishop Usher. His father, who had duced his admirable masque of “Comus," perform- been disturbed by the king's troops, now came to ed in 1634, at Ludlow Castle, before the Earl of live with him; and the necessity of a female head Bridgewater, then Lord President of Wales ; and of such a house, caused Milton, in 1643, to form a also by his “ Arcades," part of an entertainment connexion with the daughter of Richard Powell, presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby, at Esq.
, a magistrate of Oxfordshire. This was, in Harefield, by some of her family.
several respects, an unhappy marriage; for his fatherIn 1638, he obtained his father's leave to improve in-law was a zealous royalist, and his wife had achimself by foreign travel, and set out for the con- customed herself to the jovial hospitality of that tinent. Passing through France, he proceeded to party. She had not, therefore, passed above a Italy, and spent a considerable time in that seat of month in her husband's house, when, having prothe arts and of literature. At Naples he was kindly cured an invitation from her father, she went to pass received by Manso, Marquis of Villa, who had the summer in his mansion. Milton's invitations tong before deserved the gratitude of poets by his for her return were treated with contempt ; upon patronage of Tasso; and, in return for a laudatory which, regarding her conduct as a desertion which listich of Manso, Milton addressed to him a Latin broke the nuptial contract, he determined to punish it by repudiation. In 1644 he published a work however, suffered no eclipse from this loss of his on “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ;" sensitive faculties; and he pursued, without interand, in the next year, it was followed by “Te- mission, both his official and his controversial occutrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief pations. Cromwell, about this time, having assumed Places in Scripture which treat of Marriage." He the supreme power, with the title of Protector, further reduced his doctrine into practice, by pay- Milton acted with a subservience towards this ing his addresses to a young lady of great accom- usurper which is the part of his conduct that it is plishments; but, as he was paying a visit to a neigh- the most difficult to justify. It might have been bor and kinsman, he was surprised with the sud-expected, that when the wisest and most conscienden entrance of his wife, who threw herself at tious of the republicans had become sensible of his his feet, and implored forgiveness. After a short arts, and opposed his ambitious projects, the mind struggle of resentment, he took her to his bosom; of Milton would neither have been blinded by his and he sealed the reconciliation by opening his hypocrisy, nor overawed by his power. Possibly house to her father and brothers, when they had the real cause of his predilection for Cromwell, was been driven from home by the triumph of the re- that he saw no refuge from the intolerance of the publican arms.
Presbyterians, but in the moderation of the ProIn the progress of Milton's prose works, it will tector. And, in fact, the very passage in which he be right to mention his “ Areopagitica; a Speech of addresses him with the loftiest encomium, contains Mr. John Milton, for the Liberty of Unlicensed a free and noble exhortation to him to respect Printing,"-- work, published in 1644, written with that public liberty, of which he appeared to be the equal spirit and ability, and which, when reprinted guardian. in 1738, was affirmed by the editor to be the best Cromwell at length died; and so zealous and sandefence that had ever then appeared of that essen- guine was Milton, to the very last, that one of his tial article of public liberty. In the following year latest political productions was, “ A ready and easy he look care that his poetical character should not Way to establish a free Commonwealth.” It was in be lost to the world, and published his juvenile vain, however, to contend, by pamphlets, with the poems, Latin and English.
national inclination; and Charles II. returned in Milton's principles of the origin and end of triumph. Milton was discharged from his office, government carried him to a full approbation of the and lay for some time concealed in the house of a trial and execution of the king; and, in order to friend. The House of Commons desired that his conciliate the minds of the people to that act, he Majesty would issue a proclamation to call in Mil. published, early in 1649, a work entitled, “ The ton's Defences of the People, and Iconoclastes, to. Tenure of Kings and Magistrates; proving that it gether with a book of Goodwyn's. The books were is lawful, and hath been so held through all ages, accordingly burnt by the common hangman; but the for any who have the power, to call to account authors were returned as having absconded ; nor, in a tyrant or wicked king; and, after due convic- the act of indemnity, did the name of Milton appear tion, to depose and put him to death, if the ordinary among those of the excepted persons. magistrate have neglected or denied to do it.” He now, in reduced circumstances, and under Certainly, it would not be easy to express, in the discountenance of power, removed to a private stronger terms, an author's resolution to leave no habitation near his former residence. He had doubts concerning his opinion on this important buried his first wife; and a second, the daughter of topic. His appointment to the Latin Secretaryship a Captain Woodcock, in Hackney, died in childbed. to the Council of State was, probably, the conse- To solace his forlorn condition, he desired his friend, quence of his decision.
Dr. Paget, to look out a third wife for him, who The learned Frenchman, Salmasius, or Saumaise, recommended a relation of his own, named Elizahaving been hired by Charles II., while in Holland, beth Minshull, of a good family in Cheshire. His to write a work in favor of the royal cause, which powerful mind, now centered in itself, and unhe entitled, “Defensio Regia," Milton was employed disturbed by contentions and temporary topics, to answer it; which he did in 1651, by his celebrated opened to those great ideas which were continually * Defensio pro Populo Anglicano,” in which he filling it, and the result was, Paradise Lost. Much exercised all his powers of Latin rhetoric, both to discussion has taken place concerning the original justify the republican party, and to confound and conception of this grand performance; but whatvilify the famous scholar against whom he took up ever hint may have suggested the rude outline, it the pen. By this piece he acquired a high reputa- is certain that all the creative powers of a strong tation, both at home and abroad; and he received imagination, and all the accumulated stores of a a present of a thousand pounds from the English life devoted to learning, were expended in its comgovernment. His book went through several edi- pletion. Though he appears, at an early age, to tions; whil on the other hand, the work of Sal- have thought of some subject in the heroic times of masius was suppressed by the States of Holland, in English history, as peculiarly calculated for English whose service he lived as a professor at Leyden. verse, yet his religious turn, and assiduous study of
Milton's intense application to study had, for the Hebrew Scriptures, produced a final preference some years preceding, brought on an affection of of a story derived from the Sacred Writings, and the eyes, which gradually impaired his sight; and, giving scope to the introduction of his theological before he wrote his “ Defensio," he was warned by system. It would be superfluous, at this time, to his physicians that the effort would probably end in weigh the merits of Milton's great work, which total blindness. This opinion was soon after justi- stands so much beyond competition ; but it may be fied by a gutta serena, which seized both his eyes, affirmed, that whatever his other poems can exhibit and subjected the remainder of his life to those pri- of beauty in some parts, or of grandeur in others, vations which he has so feelingly described in some may all be referred to Paradise Lost as the mos: passages of his poems. Ilis intellectual powers, /perfect model of both.