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In folemn fongs at king Alcinous feast,
While fad Ulyffes foul and all the reft
In willing chains and fweet captivity.
But fie, my wand'ring Mufe, how thou doft ftray!.
Thou know'ft it must be now thy only bent
Then Ens is represented as father of the Predicaments his ten fons, whereof the eldest stood for Subftance with his canons, which Ens, thus fpeaking, explains.
MOOD luck befriend thee, Son; for at thy birth
The faery ladies danc'd upon the hearth; 60, Thy droufy nurse hath fworn fhe did them fpie Come tripping to the room where thou didst lie, T And sweetly finging round about thy bed, Strow all their bleffings on thy fleeping head.
and Ulyffes and the reft are affected in the manner here defcrib'd.
56. of thy predicament:] What
She heard them give thee this, that thou shouldst still
Yet there is fomething that doth force my fear,
A Sibyl old, bow-bent with crooked age,
That far events full wifely could prefage,
O'er all his brethren he shall reign as king,
peace fhall lull him in her flow'ry lap;
ftotle's Categories, or Burgerfdicius, or any of the old logicians, he will not want what follows to be ex
Yet fhall he live in ftrife, and at his door
Devouring war fhall never cease to roar:
To harbour those that are at enmity.
What pow'r, what force, what mighty fpell, if not Your learned hands, can loose this Gordian knot? go
91. Rivers arife; &c.] In invoking thefe rivers Milton had his eye particularly upon that admirable episode in Spenfer of the marriage of the Thames and the Medway, where the feveral rivers are introduc'd in honor of the ceremony. Faery Queen B. 4. Cant. 11. Of utmoft Tweed; fo Spenfer St. 36.
who like fome earth-born giant &c. This defcription is much nobler than Spenfer's St. 35
And bounteous Trent, that in himself enfeams
Both thirty forts of fish, and thirty fundry streams.
The name is of Saxon original, but (as Camden obferves in his
And Twede the limit betwixt Lo- Staffordshire.) "fome ignorant
gris land And Albany
"and idle pretenders imagine the
name to be derived from the "French word Trente, and upon "that account have feign'd thirty " rivers running into it, and like"wife fo many kinds of fish swim
See Camden's Yorkshire. Or Trent, See the fame account in Camden's
The next Quantity and Quality spake in profe, then Relation was call'd by his name.
RIVERS arife; whether thou be the fon
Of utmost Tweed, or Oofe, or gulphy Dun, Or Trent, who like fome earth-born giant fpreads His thirty arms along th' indented meads,
Surry. Or Severn swift &c. We fall have a fuller account of this in the Mafk. Or rocky Avon, Spenfer more largely St. 31.
But Avon marched in more stately path,
Proud of his adamants, with which he fhines
And glifters wide, as als of wondrous Bath
And Briftow fair, which on his waves he builded hath.
Or fedgy Lee, this river divides Middlefex and Effex. Spenfer thus defcribes it, St. 29.
See Lycidas too ver. 55. Or Humber loud &c. So Spenfer speaks of this Scythian king, and of his being drown'd in the river, St. 38.
And nam'd the river of his wretched fate;
Whose bad condition yet it doth retain,
Oft toffed with his storms, which therein ftill remain.
And the Medway and the Thame are join'd together, as they are married in Spenfer. I wonder that Milton has paid no particular compliment to the river flowing by Cambridge (this exercife being
The wanton Lee that oft doth made and spoken there) as Spenfer has done St. 34.
lose his way.
Or coaly Tine, Spenfer defcribes it by the Picts Wall. St. 36. Or ancient hallow'd Dee; fo Spenfer St.
And following Dee, which Bri-
Thence doth by Huntingdon and
My mother Cambridge, whom
He doth adorn, and is adorn'd of it
With many a gentle Mufe, and many a learned wit.
Or fullen Mole that runneth underneath,
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death,
Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,
[The reft was profe.]
On the MORNING of CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
* Compos'd 1629.
HIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
That he our deadly forfeit fhould release,
* To the title of this Ode we pos'd 1629, fo that Milton was have added the date, which is pre- then 21 years old. He speaks of fixed in the edition of 1645, Com- this poem in the conclufion of his