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Compos'd at several times,
Mr. JOHN MILTON.
Baccare frontem Cingite, ne vati noceat mala lingua futuro.
Virgil, Eclog. 70
To the first edition of the author's poems printed in 1645 was prefixed the following advertisement of
The STATIONER to the READER.
Reader, for the nightest pamphlet is now adays more vendible than the works of learnedeft men; but it is the love I have to our own language, that hath made me diligent to collect and set forth such pieces both in profe and verse, as may renew the wonted honor and esteem of our English tongue: and it's the worth of these both English and Latin poems, not the fiorish of any prefixed encomiums that can invite thee to buy them, though these are not without the highest commendations and applause of the learnedest Academics, both domestic and foreign; and amongst those of our own country, the ünparallel’dattestation of that renowned Provost of Eton, Sir Henry Wotton. I know not thy palate how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy soul is; perhaps more trivial airs may please thee better. But howsoever thy opinion is spent upon these, that encouragement I have already received from the most ingenious men in their clear and courteous entertainment of Mr. Waller's late choice pieces, hath once more made me adventure into the world, presenting it with these ever-green, and not to be blasted laurels. The Author's more peculiar excellency in these ftudies was too well known to conceal his papers, or to keep me from attempting to solicit them from him. Let the event guide itself which way it will, I Thall deserve of the age, by bringing into the light as true a birth, as the Muses have brought forth lince our famous Spenser wrote ; whose poeins in these English ones are as rarely imitated, as sweetly excell d. Reader, if thou art eagle-ey'd to censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose them to thy exastet perufal.
Thine to command,
On the death of a fair Infant, dying of a cough,
1. Fairest flow'r no sooner blown but blasted, Soft silken primrose fading timelesly,
Summer's chief honor, if thou hadst out-lasted Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry ; For he being amorous on that lovely dye S
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.
For since grim Aquilo his charioteer
Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld, [held. Which’mongst the wanton Gods a foul reproach was
But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace, 20 Unhous’d thy virgin soul from her fair biding place.
But then transform'd him to a purple flower : Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power,
V. Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead, Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb, 30 Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed, Hid from the world in a low delved tomb; Could Heav'n for pity thee fo ftri&tly doom?
Oh no! for something in thy face did shine Above mortality, that show'd thou waft divine. 35
40 Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight, And why from us fo quickly thou didst takethy flight.
VII. Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof Of Mak’d Olympus by mifchance didst fall; Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof 45 Took up, and in fit place did reinstall ? Or did of late earth's sons besiege the wall
Of sheeny Heav'n, and thou some Goddess fled Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head ?
VIII. Or wert thou that just Maid who once before 50 Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth, And cam'st again to visit us once more ? Or wert thou that sweet smiling Youth? Or that crown'd matron sage white-robed Truth? or any other of that heav'nly brood
55 Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good
IX. Or wert thou of the golden-winged hoft, Who having clad thyself in human weed, To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post, And after short abode fly back with speed, 60 As if to show what creatures Heav'n doth breed,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire Toicorn the fordid world, and unto Heav'n aspire ?
To stand 'twixt us and our delerved smart?