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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 wise and pure.
TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY*.
DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent.†
* The daughter of Sir James Ley, whose singular learning and abilities raised him through all the great posts of the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough, and Lord High Treasurer, and Lord President of the Council to King James I. He died in an advanced age; and Milton attributes his death to the breaking of the Parliament: and it is true that the Parliament was dissolved the 10th of March 1628-9, and he died on the 14th of the same month. Newton.
+ Isocrates, the orator. The Victory was gained by Philip of Macedon over the Athenians. Warton.
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON MY WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES.
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 awhile, Numbering good intellects; now seldom por❜d 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 MileEnd Green. Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?† [sleek, Those rugged names to our like mouths grow That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp, Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek,+
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King Edward, Greek.
*This was one of Milton's books, published in consequence of his divorce from his first wife. Tetrachordon signifies Expositions on the four chief places in Scripture which mention marriage, or nullities in marriage. Warton.
+ Milton is here collecting, from his hatred to the Scots, what he thinks Scotish names of an ill sound. 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 Macdonalds of that family are styled, by way of distinction. Mac Colicittok, i. e. descendants of lame Colin. Galasp, or George Gillespie, was a Scotish writer against the Independents, and one of the members of the Assembly of Divines. Warton.
The first professor of the Greek tongue in the university of Cambridge, and was afterwards made one of the tutors to Edward VI. See his Life by Strype, or in the Biographia Britannica.
ON THE SAME.
I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs
When straight a barbarous noise environs me Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs:
As when those hinds that were transform'd to frogs Rail'd 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. License 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.
TO MR. H. LAWES, ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS. Written 1645.
HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measur'd song
Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHERINE
Deceased, Dec. 16, 1646.*
WHEN Faith and Love, which parted from thee
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God,
Dr. Newton found in the accounts of Milton's life, that when he was first made Latin Secretary, he lodged at one Thomson's, next door to the Bull Head Tavern, at Charing Cross. This Mrs. Thomson was in all probability one of that family.
TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Victory home, though new rebellions raise Their Hydra heads, and the false north displays Her broken league to imp their serpent wings. O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
(For what can war, but endless war still breed?) Till truth and right from violence be freed, And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed, While Avarice and Rapine share the land.
TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.
CROMWELL, Our chief of men, who through a cloud,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd, And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued, While Derwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued,