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Then rough-hewn, and lastly rugged. All in
Milton's own hand.

SONN. xiii.

Title. "To my friend Mr. Hen. Lawes, feb.
9. 1645. On the publishing of his

SONN. xii.

Ver. 4. Of owls and buzzards.

Ver. 11, & 12, as now printed. This sonnet

Ver. 10. And hate the truth whereby they should is in a female hand, unlike that in which the 8th

be free.

sonnet is written.

All in Milton's own hand.

Ver. 3. Words with just notes, which till then
us'd to scan,

With Midas' eares, misjoining short
and long.

In the first of these lines "When most were wont to scan" had also been written.

Ver. 6. And gives thee praise above the pipe of


To after age thou shalt be writ a man,
Thou didst reform thy art the chief


Thou honourst vers, &c.

Ver. 12. Fame, by the Tuscan's leav, shall set
thee higher

Than old Gasell, whom Dante woo'd to

There are three copies of this sonnet; two in
Milton's hand; the third in another, a man's
hand. Milton, as Mr. Warton observes, had an
amanuensis on account of the failure of his eyes.

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From ver. 1. to ver. 8, as now printed.
Ver. 9. And twenty battles more.

So it was at first written, afterwards corrected to
the present reading, Worcester's laureat wreath.

SONN. Xvii.

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he retired to Chalfont in Buckinghamshire on account of the plague; and to have been seen inscribed on the glass of a window in that place. I have seen a copy of it written, apparently in a coeval hand, at the end of Tonson's edition of Milton's Sinaller Poems in 1713, where it is also said to be Milton's. It is re-printed from Dr. Birch's Life of the poet, in Fawkes and Woty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 67. But, in this sonnet, there is a scriptural mistake; which, as Mr. Warton has observed, Milton was not likely to commit. For the Sonnet improperly represents David as punished by pestilence for his adultery with Bathsheba. Mr. Warton, however, adds, that Dr. Birch had been informed by Vertue the engraver, that he had seen a satirical medal, struck upon Charles the Second, abroad, without any legend, having a correspondent device.-This sonnet, I should add, varies from the construction of the legitimate sonnet, in consisting of only ten lines, instead of fourteen.

Fair mirrour of foul times! whose fragile sheen'
Shall, as it blazeth, break; while Providence,
Aye watching o'er his saints with eye unseen,
Spreads the red rod of angry pestilence,
To sweep the wicked and their counsels hence;
Yea, all to break the pride of lustful kings,

Who Heaven's lore reject for brutish sense;
As erst he scourg'd Jessides' sin of yore,
For the fair Hittite, when, on seraph's wings,
He sent him war, or plague, or famine sore.


Then, laughing, they repeat my languid lays—
'Nymphs of thy native clime, perhaps,"-
they cry,
"For whom thou hast a tongue, may feel thy

But we must understand ere we comply!"

When, in your language, Iunskill'd address

The short-pac'd efforts of a trammell'd Muse; Soft Italy's fair critics round me press,

And my mistaking passion thus accuse.

"Why, to our tongue's disgrace, does thy dumb
Strive, in rough sound, soft meaning to impart?
He must select his words who speaks to move,

And point his purpose at the hearer's heart.”

Do thou, my soul's soft hope, these triflers awe;
Tell them, 'tis nothing, how, or what, I writ!
Since love from silent looks can language draw,
And scorns the lame impertinence of wit.




THIS is the month, and this the happy morn
Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King,
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace,


In the concluding note on the seventh Sonnet,

it has been observed that other Italian sonnets
and compositions of Milton, said to be remain-To
ing in manuscript at Florence, had been sought
for in vain by Mr. Hollis. I think it may not be
improper here to observe, that there is a tradi-
tion of Milton having fallen in love with a young
lady, when he was at Florence; and, as she
understood no English, of having written some
verses to her in Italian, of which the poem, sub-
joined to this remark, is said to be the sense.
It has often been printed; as in the Gentleman's
Magazine for 1760, p. 148; in Fawkes and Wo-
ty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 68; in
the Annual Register for 1772, p. 219; and in
the third volume of Milton's poems in the Edi-
tion of the Poets, 1779. But to the original no
reference is given, and even of the translator no
mention is made, in any of those volumes. The

poem is entitled, A fragment of Milton, from IT was the winter wild,

the Italian,

While the Heaven-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize:

That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty, [table
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and, here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day,

And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Afford a present to the Infant-God?
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein

welcome him to this his new abode,
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
Now while the Heaven, by the Sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squa-
drons bright?

See, how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wisards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the angel-quire, From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.


'This ode, in which the many learned allusions are highly poetical, was probably composed as a college-exercise at Cambridge, our author being now only twenty-one years old. In the edition of 1645, in its title it is said to have been written in 1629.

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And, though the shady gloom

Had given day her room,

The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame

The shepherds on the lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,


Sat simply chatting in a rustic row
Full little thought they then,
That the mighty Pan

When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook;
Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air, such pleasure loth to lose,

With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly close.

Nature that heard such sound,
Beneath the hollow round

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.

Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling, Now was almost won

To think her part was done,

And that her reign had here its last fulfilling ; She knew such harmony alone

Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union.

At last surrounds their sight

A globe of circular light,

That with long beams the shamefac'd night The helmed Cherubim, [array'd; [play'd,

And sworded Seraphim,

Are seen in glittering ranks with wings dis-
Harping in loud and solemn quire,

With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born

Such music (as 'tis said)

Before was never made,

But when of old the sons of morning sung, While the Creator great

His constellations set,

The stars, with deep amaze,

Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,

Bending one way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,

Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them For, if such holy song


And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung; And cast the dark foundations deep,

And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.

Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears,

If ye have power to touch our senses so


And let your silver chime

Move in melodious time;

And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow;

And, with your ninefold harmony,
Make up full consort to the angelic symphoy,

The new-enlighten'd world no more should need:
He saw a greater Sun appear

Than his bright throne, or burning axletree, Yea, Truth and Justice then

could bear.

Will down return to men,

Enwrap our fancy long,

Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; And speckled Vanity

Will sicken soon and die,

And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; And Hell itself will pass away,

And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.

Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, Mercy will sit between,

Thron'd in celestial sheen,

With radiant feet the tissued clouds down
And Heaven, as at some festival,
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.

But wisest Fate says no,

This must not yet be so,

The babe yet lies in smiling infancy,

That on the bitter cross

His burning idol all of blackest hue;
In vain with cymbals' ring
They call the grisly king,

Must redeem our loss;

So both himself and us to glorify:
Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep,

In dismal dance about the furnace blue
The brutish gods of Nile as fast,

The wakeful trump of doom must thunder Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.
through the deep;

Nor is Osiris seen

In Memphian grove or green,

Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud:

Nor can he be at rest

Within his sacred chest ;

When, at the world's last session,
The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark

Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud,
In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark


With such a horrid clang
As on mount Sinai rang,


While the red fire and smouldering clouds out

The aged Earth aghast

With terrour of that blast,

Shall from the surface to the centre shake;

And then at last our bliss

Full and perfect is,

But now begins; for, from this happy day,
The old Dragon, under ground
In straiter limits bound,

Not half so far casts his usurped sway;
And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly horrour of his folded tail.

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He feels from Juda's land

The dreaded infant's hand,

The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; Nor all the gods beside

Longer dare abide,

Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine: Our babe, to show his Godhead true.

Can in his swaddling bands controll the damned


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