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As if to show what creatures heav'n doth breed,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
To scorn the sordid world, and unto heav'n aspire?
X.

But oh why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heav'n-lov'd innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,

To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart?
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art. 70
XI.

Then thou the mother of so sweet a child
Her false imagin❜d loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent;
This if thou do, he will an offspring give,
That till the world's last end shall make thy name to live.

68. Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,] It should be noted, that at this time there was a great plague in London, which gives a peculiar propriety to this whole stanza.

68. The application to present circumstances, the supposition that the heaven-loved innocence of this child, by remaining upon earth, might have averted the pestilence now raging in the kingdom, is happily and beautifully conceived. On the whole,

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from a boy of seventeen, this Ode is an extraordinary effort of fancy, expression, and versification. Even in the conceits, which are many, we perceive strong and peculiar marks of genius. I think Milton has here given a very remarkable specimen of his ability to succeed in the Spenserian stanza. He moves with great ease and address amidst the embarrassment of a frequent return of rhyme. T. Warton.

II.

Anno ætatis 19. At a Vacation Exercise in the College, part Latin, part English. The Latin speeches ended, the English thus began.

HAIL native language, that by sinews weak
Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak,
And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips,
Half unpronounc'd, slide through my infant-lips,
Driving dumb silence from the portal door,
Where he had mutely sat two years before:
Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask,
That now I use thee in my latter task:
Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee,
I know my tongue but little grace can do thee:
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first,
Believe me I have thither pack'd the worst:
And, if it happen as I did forecast,

I

The daintiest dishes shall be serv'd up last.
pray thee then deny me not thy aid
For this same small neglect that I have made:
But haste thee strait to do me once a pleasure,
And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure,

These verses were made in 1627, that being the nineteenth year of the author's age; and they were not in the edition of 1645, but were first added in the edition of 1673.

13. forecast,] See Sams Agon. v. 254. T. Warton.

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18. And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure,

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Not those new-fangled toys, and
trimming slight
Which takes our late fantastics
with delight.]

Perhaps he here alludes to Lilly's
Euphues, a book full of affected
phraseology, which pretended to
reform or refine the English lan-
guage; and whose effects, al-
though it was published some

Not those new fangled toys, and trimming slight
Which takes our late fantastics with delight,
But cull those richest robes, and gay'st attire,
Which deepest spirits, and choicest wits desire:
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And weary of their place do only stay
Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array;
That so they may without suspect or fears
Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears;
Yet I had rather, if I were to choose,
Thy service in some graver subject use,

years before, still remained. The
ladies and the courtiers were all
instructed in this new style; and
it was esteemed a mark of igno-
rance or unpoliteness not to un-
derstand Euphuism. He pro-
ceeds,

But cull those richest robes, and
gay'st attire,
Which deepest spirits, and choicest
wits desire.

From a youth of nineteen, these are striking expressions of a consciousness of superior genius, and of an ambition to rise above the level of the fashionable rhymers. He seems to have retained to the last this contempt for the poetry in vogue. In the Tractate on Education, p. 110. ed. 1673, he says, the study of good critics" would make them soon perceive what despicable "creatures our common rhymers "and play-writers be: and shew "what religious, what glorious "and magnificent use might be "made of poetry." Milton's own writings are the most illustrious proof of this. T. Warton.

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19. Not those new-fangled toys] Dressed anew, fantastically decorated, newly invented. Shakespeare, Love's Lab. Lost, a. i. s. 1.

At Christmas I no more desire a rose, Than wish a snow in May's newfangled shows.

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Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound:
Such where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at heav'n's door
Look in, and see each blissful deity

How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
List'ning to what unshorn Apollo sings

To th' touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire :
Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,

Milton's to his native language, that even in these green years he had the ambition to think of writing an epic poem; and it is worth the curious reader's attention to observe how much the Paradise Lost corresponds in its circumstances to the prophetic wish he now formed. Thyer.

Here are strong indications of a young mind anticipating the subject of the Paradise Lost, if we substitute Christian for Pagan ideas. He was now deep in the Greek poets. T Warton.

36. the thunderous throne] Should it not be the thunderer's? Jortin.

Thunderous is more in Milton's manner, and conveys a new and stronger image. Besides, the word is used in Par. Lost, x.

702.

Nature and ether black with thundrous clouds.

It is from thunder, as slumbrous from slumber, Par. Lost, iv. 615. Wondrous from wonder is obvious. T. Warton.

37.-unshorn Apollo] An epithet by which he is distinguished in the Greek and Latin poets.

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Pindar, Pyth. iii. 26. axsgorxona . Hor. Od. i. xxi. 2. Intonsum pueri dicite Cynthium. 40. Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire, &c.] A sublime mode of describing the study of natural philosophy. Compare another college exercise, written perhaps about the same time. Nec dubitatis, auditores, etiam in cœlos volare, ibique ille multiformia nubium spectra, niviumque coacervatam vim, contemplemini.... Grandinisque exinde loculos inspicite, et armamenta fulminum perscrutemini. Pr. W. ii. 591. But the thoughts are in Sylvester's Du Bartas, p. 133. ed. 1621. He supposes that the soul, while imprisoned in the body, often springs aloft into the airy regions;

-And there she learns to knowe Th' originals of winde, and hail, and snowe;

Of lightning, thunder, blazing-stars, and stormes,

Of rain and ice, and strange-exhaled formes:

By th' aire's steep stairs she boldly climbs aloft

To the world's chambers: heaven she visits oft, &c.

And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow and lofts of piled thunder,
May tell at length how green-ey'd Neptune raves,
In heav'n's defiance mustering all his waves;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When beldam Nature in her cradle was;
And last of kings and queens and heroes old,
Such as the wise Demodocus once told
In solemn songs at king Alcinous feast:
While sad Ulysses soul and all the rest
Are held with his melodious harmony

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48. Such as the wise Demodocus &c.] Alluding to the eighth book of the Odyssey, where Alcinous entertains Ulysses, and the celebrated musician and poet Demodocus sings the loves of Mars and Venus, and the destruction of Troy; and Ulysses and the rest are affected in the manner here described.

48. He now little thought that Homer's beautiful couplet of the fate of Demodocus, could, in a few years, with so much propriety be applied to himself. He was but too conscious of his resemblance to some other Greek the Paradise Lost. See b. iii. 33. bards of antiquity when he wrote seq. T. Warton.

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