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Whether to settle peace, or to unfold
The drift of hollow states hard to be spell'd,
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, In all her equipage: besides to know
Both spiritual pow'r and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few have done :
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe:
XVIII. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
7 Then, &c.] In the printed copies,
Then to advise how war may be best upheld Mann'd by her two main nerves,' &c. Newton. 11 severs] 'Serves.' Printed edition. Newton.
13 Therefore, &c.] In the printed copies :
Forget not in thy book record their groans Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Therefore on thy right hand Religion leans,
Alpine] Fairfax's Tasso, B. xiii, s. 60.
'Distill'd from tops of Alpine mountains cold.' Warton.
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their matyr'd blood and ashes sow O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway The triple tyrant; that from these may grow A hundred fold, who having learn'd thy way Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
XIX. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my soul more To serve therewith my Maker, and present [bent My true account, lest he returning chide; "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied," I fondly ask: But Patience, to prevent That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed, [state And post o'er land and ocean without rest; They also serve who only stand and wait." 10 man's work, or his own gifts] Free will, or grace.
13 post] P. L. iv. 171,
• With a vengeance sent,
From Media post to Egypt.' Warton.
XX. TO MR. LAWRENCE.*
LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun. What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
XXI. TO CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, whose grandsire on the royal bench
* Lawrence published a work called ' Of our Communion and Warre with Angels,' &c. 1646. 4to. Todd. See British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 352.
7 Euclid] See Censura Literaria, vi. p. 144.
And what the Swede intends, and what the French. To measure life learn thou betimes, and know Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day, And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
XXII. TO THE SAME.
CYRIAC, this three years day these eyes, tho' clear,
8 And what the Swede intends] So the MS. The first ed. ⚫ And what the Swede intend,' which in others is altered to, And what the Swedes intend.' Newton.
11 mild Heaven] So Son. xix. bear his mild yoke.” Par. Reg. ii. 125, these mild seats.' Sil. Italicus, iv. 795, Mite et cognatum est homini deus.' And Hen. More's Poems, p. 196.
3 Bereft, &c.] In the printed copies,
'Bereft of sight their seeing have forgot,
7 a] In the printed copies,' one.' Newton.
Of which all Europe rings from side to side, This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.
XXIII. ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, Rescued from death by force, tho' pale and faint. Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed Purification in the old Law did save, [taint
And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in Heav'n without restraint, Came, vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight 10 Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O, as to embrace me she inclin'd,
I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my
12 rings] So the printed copies before Newton's edition, in which 'talks' is substituted from the MS. instead of 'rings.' The Sonnet thus concluded before Newton's ed. 'Whereof all Europe rings from side to side.
This thought might lead me through this world's vain mask, Content though blind, had I no other guide.' Todd.
* The original various readings to the sonnets from the Cambridge MS. may be seen in Mr. Todd's edition of Milton's Poet. Works, (1809,) vol. vi. p. 500—3.