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Egrediturque frequens ad amæni gaudia the girls go out with gold-cinctured breasts

to take the pleasure of the pleasant spring. Virgineos auro cincta puella sinus.

Each has a single prayer, and every one Votum est cuique suum; votum est tamen omnibus unum,

that Cytherea may send her Ut sibi quem cupiat det Cytherea virum. the man she loves for husband. Nunc quoque septenâ modulatur arundine

Now, too, the shepherd pipes on his seven pastor,

reeds, and Phyllis has a soug to match. The Et sua quæ jungat carmina Phyllis habet. Javita nocturno placat sua sidera cantu,

sailor hymns nightly to the stars; the dolDelphinasque leves ad vada summa vo- phins come to the surface of the waves to cat,

listen. Jove himself and his spouse make Jupiter ipse alto cum conjuge ludit Olympo.

merry in Olympus, and call the subject gods Convocat et famulos ad sua festa Deos. Nunc etiam Satyri, cum sera crepuscula

to feast. And now, when the late twilight surgunt,

falls, fleet bands of Satyrs skim over the Pervolitant celeri florea rura choro, blossomy fields; and with them Sylvanus, Sylvanusque suâ cyparissi fronde revinctus, Semicaperque Deus, semideusque caper.

cypress - crowned, half god and half goat. Quæque sub arboribus Dryades latuere ve

The Dryads who hide amid old trees now tustis

roam abroad over the ridges and the lonely Per juga, per solos expatiantur agros. fields. Through the sown boskets riots Per sata luxuriat fruticetaque Mænalius

Mænalian Pan; mother Cybele and Ceres Pan; Vix Cybele mater, vix sibi tuta Ceres;

are scarce safe from him. Wanton Faunus Atque aliquam cupidus prædatur Oreada makes prey of the oread. She flies with Faunus,

startled feet. Now she hides, but not too Consulit in trepidos dum sibi nympha well, lest she might fail to be found; she

pedes, Jamque latet, latitansque cupit malè tecta

flees, but even as she flees longs to be videri,

caught. The gods desert the sky for the Et fugit, et fugiens pervelit ipsa capi. 130 woods of earth; each grove has its deity. Dii quoque non dubitant cælo præponere Long may each grove have its deity! sylvas,

Gods, desert not, I pray, your homes amid Et sua quisque sibi numina lucus habet.

the trees. O Jove, bring back to the wretchEt sua quisque diu sibi numina lucus habeto, Nec vos arboreâ, dii, precor, ite domo.

ed world its golden age. Why hast thou Te referant, miseris te, Jupiter, aurea ter- returned to thy clouds and harsh arrows ris

of lightning? At least do thou, Phæbus. Sæcla ! quid ad nimbos, aspera tela, redis ? curb as much as may be thy rapid team. Tu saltem lentè rapidos age, Phæbe, jugales

and let the days of spring pass slowly. na po:es, et sensim tempora veris eant: Brumaque productas tardè ferat hispida

Let it be long ere rough winter brings us noctes,

its tedious nights; let the shades fall later Ingruat et nostro serior umbra polo ! 140 than their wont about our pole !



Qui, cum Idibus Decemb. scripsisset, et sua carmina excusari postulâsset si solito minus

essent bona, quod inter lautitias quibus erat ab amicis exceptus haud satis felicem operam Musis dare se posse affirmabat, hoc habuit responsum.


(To Charles Diodati, who, sending the author some verses from the country at Christmas

time, asked him to excuse their mediocrity, on the ground that they were composed amid the distractions of the festival season).

The above note, given in the original edi. softer and the sterner sides of the poet's vocations, explains the purport of the elegy. The tion; and it gives an account of the Hymn on verse-letter of Diodati's, here referred to, was the Nativity, just completed, or perhaps still written on the thirteenth of December, 1629, under way. The picture of Christmas merryand Milton's reply was probably sent soon after making in an English country-house gains a Christmas. It is of extreme autobiographic peculiar charm from the queer medium of interest, for two reasons. It contains a noble seventeenth century Latin in which it is constatement of Milton's poetic creed, at a time veyed. when he felt with almost equal intensity the

Mitto tibi sanam non pleno ventre salu- UNSURFEITED with feasting, I send you a tem,

good-health, for which your full stomach Quâ tu distento fortè carere potes. may give you need. Why do you bempt At tua quid nostram prolectat Musa came- me to write verses by sending me yours ? nam,

Why will you not allow my Muse to stay Nec sinit optatas posse sequi tenebras ? in the shadow she loves ? You desire me Carmine scire velis quàm te redamemque to tell in verse how much I love and cherish colamque;

you ? Believe me, that is a thing you can Crede mihi vix hoc carmine scire queas. scarcely hope to learn in verse ; my love Nam neque noster amor modulis includitur cannot be held in the strict bonds of metre, arctis,

nor be put whole and unimpaired into Nec venit ad claudos integer ipse pe- measured syllables. des.

How well you tell of your high feastings, Quàm bene solennes epulas, hilaremque of your December merriment, and all the Decembrim,

gaieties that celebrate the coming of the Festaque cælifugam quæ coluere Deum, 10 heavenly One to earth !1 How well you Deliciasque refers, hiberni gandia ruris, tell of the joys of winter in the country, Haustaque per lepidos Gallica musta and of the French must sipped pleasantly focos !

by the fireside! But why do you imply that Quid quereris refugam vino dapibusque a poet must keep aloof from drinking and poesin ?

feasting? Song loves Bacchus, and BacCarmen amat Bacchum, carmina Bacchus chus loves song. Apollo was not ashamed amat.

to bear the green corymbus ; nay, even to Nec puduit Phæbum virides gestâsse corym- put the ivy of the wine-god above his own bos,

laurel. Many a time the nine Muses have Atque hederam lauro præposuisse suæ. mixed with the Bacchic chorus crying Evce Sæpiùs Aoniis clamavit collibus Euce on the Baotian hills. Those verses which

Mista Thyoneo turba novena choro. Ovid sent from the fields of Thrace were Naso Corallæis mala carmina misit ab agris; Nou illic epulæ, non sata vitis erat.

1 A double reference is intended, to Christ and to Saturn; the Roman Saturnalia was celebrated in De




per te,

Quid nisi vina, rosasque, racemiferumque bad, because there were no feasts there Lyæum,

and no vineyards. What but roses and the Cantavit brevibus Tëia Musa modis ? Pindaricosque inflat numeros Teumesius

grape-laden vine did Anacreon sing in those Euan,

delicate staves of his ? Teumesian Bacchus Et redolet sumptum pagina quæque me

inspired Pindar's strain ; each page of his rum;

breathes ardor from the drained cup, as Dum vis everso currus crepat axe supi- he sings of the crash of the heavy chariot nus,

overturned, and the rider flying by, dark Et volat Eleo pulvere fuscus eques. with the dust of the Elean race-course. Quadrimoque madens Lyricen Romanus Iaccho

The Roman lyrist drank first of the fourDulcè canit Glyceran, flavicomamque year-old vintage, ere he sang so sweetly Chloen.

of Glycera and blond-haired Chloe. The Jam quoque lauta tibi generoso mensa pa- sinews of thy genius, too, draw strength ratu

from the generously laden table. Your Mentis alit vires, ingeniumque fovet. Massica fecundam despumant pocula ve

Massic cups foam with a rich vein of song; nam,

from the very jar you pour a learned strain. Fundis et ex ipso condita metra cado. Add to such incitements those of the arts, Addimus his artes, fusumque per intima and of Apollo penetrant within the inmost Phæbum

chambers of your heart, and it is little Corda; favent uni Bacchus, Apollo, Ceres.

wonder that such delightful verses come Scilicet haud mirum tam dulcia carmina

from you, since three gods in accord, BacNumine composito, tres peperisse Deos. chus, Apollo, and Ceres, brought them to Nunc quoque Thressa tibi cælato barbitos birth.

For you, too, the lute, Orpheus's instruInsonat argutâ molliter icta manu; Auditurque chelys suspensa tapetia circum,

ment, gold-embossed, sounds now, gently Virgineos tremulâ quæ regat arte pe

touched by a master hand. In tapestried des.

rooms is heard the lyre, swaying with subtle Illa tuas saltem teneant spectacula Musas, rhythm the feet of young girls in the dance.

Et revocent quantum crapula pellit iners. Let such gracious sights as this hold yonr Crede mihi, dum psallit ebur, comitataque

Muse at gaze, and they will call back all the plectrum Implet odoratos festa chorea tholos,

skill and ardor that dull repletion drove Percipies tacitum per pectora serpere away. Trust me, when the ivory keys of Phæbum,

the virginal leap under the player's fingers, Quale repentinus permeat ossa calor; and the crowd of dancers fills the perfumed Perque puellares oculos digitumque sonan

chambers, you will feel the spirit of song tem Irruet in totos lapsa Thalia sinus.

stealing into your heart, penetrating your Namque Elegia levis multorum cura deo- very bones with a sudden glow. From the rum est,

eyes and fingers of the girlish player, Thalia Et vocat ad numeros quemlibet illa

will slip into your breast and possess it all. suos; Liber adest elegis, Eratoque, Ceresque,

For light elegy is the care of many gods, Venusque,

and calls to its numbers whom it will ; Et cum purpureâ matre tenellus Amor. Erato, Ceres, Venus, all gladly come, and Talibus inde licent convivia larga poetis,

tender stripling Love with his rosy

mother. Sæpiùs et veteri commaduisse mero.

But the poet who will tell of wars, and of At qui bella refert, et adulto sub Jove cælum,

Heaven under adult Jove, and of pious heHeroasque pios; semideosque duces, roes, and leaders half-divine, singing now





Et nunc sancta canit superûm consulta the holy counsels of the gods above, and deorum,

now the realms profound where Cerberus Nunc latrata fero regna profunda cane, howls, - such a poet must live sparely, after Ille quidem parcè, Samii pro more magis- the manner of Pythagoras, the Samian tri,

teacher. Herbs must furnish him his innan Vivat, et innocuos præbeat herba cibos; 60 cent food ; clear water in a beechen cup, Stet prope fagineo pellucida lympha ca

sober draughts from the pure spring, must tillo,

be his drink. His youth must be chaste Sobriaque e puro pocula fonte bibat.

and void of offence ; his manners strict, his Additur huic scelerisque vacans et casta

hands without stain. He shall be like a juventus, Et rigidi mores, et sine labe manus;

priest shining in sacred vestment, washed Qualis veste nitens sacrâ, et lustralibus

with lustral waters, who goes up to make undis,

augury before the jealous gods. Thus Surgis ad infensos augur iture Deos. righteously, they say, wise Tiresias lived, Hoc ritu vixisse ferunt post rapta saga- after his eyes were darkened ; and Linus,

and Calchas, who fled from his doomed Lumina Tiresian, Ogygiumque Linon, hearth, and Orpheus, roaming in old age Et lare devoto profugum Calchanta, senem- through lonely caverns, quelling the wild que

beasts with bis music. So, a spare eater Orpheon edomitis sola per antra feris; 70

and a drinker of water, Homer carried Sic dapis exiguus, sic rivi potor Homerus Dulichium vexit per freta longa virum,

Odysseus through the long straits, through

the monster-haunted hall of Circe, and the Et per monstrificam Perseiæ Phæbados

shoals where the Sirens made insidious aulam, Et vada femineis insidiosa sonis,

music; and through thy realms, netherPerque tuas, rex ime, domos, ubi sanguine

most king, where they say he held with nigro

a spell of black blood the troops of the Dicitur umbrarum detinuisse greges:

shades. Yea, for the bard is sacred to the Diis etenim sacer est vates, divûmque sacer- god; he is their priest; mysteriously from dos,

his lips and his breast he breathes Jove. Spirat et occultum pectus et ora Jovem.

But if you will know what I am doing, I At tu si quid agam scitabere (si modd

will tell

if indeed you


my doings saltem

worth your concern. I am singing the Esse putas tanti noscere siquid agam) 80 Paciferum canimus cælesti semine regem,

King of Heaven, bringer of peace, and the Faustaque sacratis sæcula pacta libris;

fortunate days promised by the holy book ; Vagitumque Dei, et stabulantem paupere

the wanderings of God, and the stabling tecto

under a poor roof of Him who rules with Qui suprema suo cum patre regna colit;

his father the realms above; the star that Stelliparumque polum, modulantesque

led the wizards, the hymning of angels in æthere turmas,

the air, and the gods flying to their en. Et subitò elisos ad sua fana Deos.

dangered fanes. This poem I made as a Dona quidem dedimus Christi natalibus birthday gift for Christ; the first light of illa:

Christmas dawn brought me the theme. Illa sub auroram lux mihi prima tulit. The poor strains which I have piped Te quoque pressa manent patriis meditata musingly to my homely reed await you ; cicutis;

yon, when I recite them to you, will be my Tu mihi, cui recitem, judicis instar eris. 90 judge.


Anno ætatis undevigesimo


This elegy constitutes a personal confession nineteenth year was completed, i. e., sometime of an unusually intimate kind, a confession of between May 1 and December 9, 1627. “ love at first sight" for a girl whom the poet The postscript which follows the poem probencountered by chance in some public place ably is to be taken with this elegy alone, in London. Though conceived in a tone of though from the manner in which it is printed whimsical extravagance and with the conven- in the original editions, it may be taken to have tional sentimental machinery of the pseudo- a general application to the entire seven. It classic poet, it indubitably records a real ex- was written at a later date than the elegies to perience, and one which is significant in the which it is appended, in some mood of strenuunderstanding of Milton's character. The un- ousness when the technical shortcomings of usual form of the date attached, in which the the verse and its occasional rather lax Ovidian ordinal is put in place of the numeral, seems tone made an apology seem necessary. to imply that the poem was written before his NONDUM blanda tuas leges, Amathusia, I DID not yet know thy laws, bland Aphnôram,

rodite, and my heart was still free from Et Paphio vacuum pectus ab igne fuit.

Paphian fire. Often I spoke scorn, Love, Sæpe cupidineas, puerilia tela, sagittas,

of thy great name,

and disdained Cupid's Atque tuum sprevi maxime numen, Amor. “ Tu puer imbelles " dixi “transfige colum

arrows as puerile weapons. Boy unfit bas;

for war," I said, "go shoot doves; only Conveniunt tenero mollia bella duci: easy battles suit so delicate a chieftain. Aut de passeribus tumidos age, parve, tri- Or make a swelling triumph, poor child, umphos;

over a conquest of sparrows. These are Hæc sunt militiæ digna trophæa tuæ.

trophies worthy of thy warrior-ship. Why In genus

humanum quid inania dirigis take up thy silly arms against mankind ? arma ? Non valet in fortes ista pharetra viros.” 10

That quiver of thine avails not against Non tulit hoc Cyprius (neque enim Deus strong men." The Cyprian boy could not ullus ad iras

endure this (there is no god swifter to anPromptior), et duplici jam ferus igne ger), and at my words he burned with a calet.

double fire of rage. Ver erat, et summæ radians per culmina

It was spring, and shining over the roofs villæ

of the town, dawn had brought the MayAttulerat primam lux tibi, Maie, diem; At mihi adhuc refugam quærebant lumina

day; but my eyes were turned toward renoctem,

treating night, and could not endure the Nec matutinum sustinuere jubar. radiance of morning. Suddenly Love stood Astat Amor lecto, pictis Amor impiger by my bed, Love with painted wings for alis;

speed. The swaying quiver betrayed the Prodidit astantem mota pharetra Deum; god where he stood; his torch betrayed Prodidit et facies, et dulcè minantis ocelli,

bim, and his eyes sweetly menacing, and Et quicquid puero dignum et Amore

whatever else about him was boyish and fuit. Talis in æterno juvenis Sigeius Olympo 20

lovely. So Ganymede looks, as he brims Miscet amatori pocula plena Jovi;

the cups of amorous Jove in ever-during Aut, qui formosas pellexit ad oscula nym- Olympus; or Hylas, who lured the beauphas,

tiful nymphs to his kisses, and who was Thiodamantæus Naiade raptus Hylas. stolen away by the Naiad. Wrath was on

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