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Went to the ground: And the repeated air

Of fad Electra's poet had the pow'r
To save th' Athenian walls from ruin bare.


To a virtuous young Lady.
Lady that in the prime of earliest youth

Wisely haft shunn’d the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labor


the hill of heav'nly truth, The better part with Mary and with Ruth

Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,



12. And the repeated air &c] Your absence the forsaken groves I suppose this refers to a passage in And desert palace seem to mourn. Plutarch's Life of Lyfander. When that general had taken Athens, he This struck them, and gave them proposed to change the govern- occasion to reflect, how barbarous ment.

Some say he moved in it would appear to lay that city in council that the Athenians might ruin, which had been renown'd for be reduced to slavery, when at the the birth and education of so many same time Erianthus the Theban famous men, eta ilu Tol o wolas proposed wholly to destroy the city, Iluopfurns twv viz qoywy mae and leave the country defolate : τον, και τινα Φωκρως ασανία but a little afterwards at an en- Ex TNS Evertido Hrexlegs they tertainment of the captains, one wledov, sis apXn,

ท์ of them repeated some verses out

Az elejuvor w xoeg, maubor of Euripides’s Electra, beginning

w ,

Ηλεκτες thus,

Ποτι σαν αγegTelegν αυλαν Electra, Oh unhappy queen, Πανας επικλαδωαι, και φανηγαι Whither wou'd you fly return; g&TASOY EPYou7 luv TWS doxaed xel


εργον,τω τως και


No anger

find in thee, but pity' and ruth. Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends

To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, IÓ

And hope that reapš not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends

Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Haft gain’d thy entrance, Virgin wife and pure.

* To the Lady Margaret Ley.
Daughter to that good Earl, once President

Of England's Council, and her Treasury,
Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee,


τοιετες ανδρας φερεσαν ανελειν και that the fame word fhould rime to drepyar dola tlw araw. Vol. i. . itself though in different senses : P. 441. Edit. Paris. 1624. but our old poets were not so very

5. — with Mary and with Ruth] delicate, and the reader may see So it is in Milton's Manuscript, parallel instances in Spenser's Faery and in the edition of 1673. In Queen, B. 1. Cant. 6. St. 39. and the first edition of 1645 it was B. 7. Cant. 6. St. 38. fallly printed

13. Passes to bliss at the mid hour with Mary and the Ruth.

of night,] Instead of this line

he had written at first, 7. And at thy growing virtues] In

Opens the door of bliss that hour the Manuscript it was at first,

of night : And at thy blooming virtue or but he rightly alter'd it, the better profpering

to accommodate it to the parable 8. —but pity and rutb.] Here to which he is alluding. See Mat. Ruth and ruth are made to rime to XXV. each other, and it may perhaps of. * We have given the title which fend the niceness of modern ears is in Milton's Manuscript, To the

R 2


And left them both, more in himself content, Till fad the breaking of that Parlament

5 Broke him, as that dishonest victory At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,

Kill'd with report that old man eloquent. Though later born than to have known the days

Wherein your father florish’d, yet by you,

Madam, methinks I see him living yet;
So well your words his noble virtues praise,

That all both judge you to relate them true,
And to possess them, honor'd Margaret.



James I.

Lady Margaret Ley. She was the to visit this lady and her husband, daughter of Sir James Ley, whose and about that time we may supfingular learning and abilities raised pose that this sonnet was comhim through all the great posts pos’d. of the the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough, and 6. as that dishoneft vitory Lord High Treasurer, and Lord &c] This victory was gain'd by President of the Council to King Philip of Macedon over the Athe

He died in an advanc'd nians and their allies; and the age,

and Milton attributes his news being brought to Athens, death to the breaking of the par- that old man eloquent, Isocrates, lament; and it is true that the who was near a hundred years parlament was dissolved the roth old, died within a few days, being of March 1628-9, and he died on determin'd not to survive the lithe 14th of the same month. He berties of his country. left feveral fons and daughters και λατα τον βιον επι Χαιρωνιδα αρand the Lady Margaret was mar- X-V10, ongous rinceg.us uster ried to Captain Hobfon of the le της εν Χαιρώνεια μαχης, δυουν of Wight. It appears from the δεονα βεβιωκως εκατον ετη, γνω accounts of Milton's life, that in un aproapelo, duce mois ayatlie year 1643 he ufed frequently θους της πόλεως συγκαταλύσαι τον


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XI. * On the detraction which followed upon my

writing certain treatises.
A book was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon,

And woven close, both matter, form and stile;
The subject new: it walk'd the town a while,

Numb’ring good intellects ; now seldom por'd on. Cries the stall-reader, Bless us! what a word on 5 A title


is this! and some in file Stand spelling false, while one might walk to MileEnd Green. Why is it harder Sirs than Gordon,



{av Ty Blov. Dionyfius Halicar. sonnets, which were first printed in naff

. de Ifocrate Vol. 2. p. 150. the edition of 1673, and to which Edit. Hudson. Plutarch says that we have prefixed the title that he he abftain'd from food for four himself has in the Manuscript. days, and so put a period to his life, having liv'd 98, or as some 1. A book was writ of late &c ] say 100 years. See Plutarch's Lives In the Manuscript he had written of the ten Orators. Vol. 2. p. 837. at first, Edit. Paris. 1624.

I writ a book of late call'd Tea * When Milton publish'd his trachordon, books of Divorce, he was greatly And weav'd in close, both matcondemn'd by the Presbyterian ter, form and stile ; clergy, whose advocate and cham, It went off well about the town pion he had been before. He

a while, publish'd his Tetrachordon or Ex- Numb’ring good wits, but now positions upon

the four chief is feldom por’d on. places in Scripture, which treat of marriage or nullities in marriage, The reader will readily agree, that in 1645 ; and soon after we may it was alter'd for the better. suppose he composed these two


9. Colkitto,

Thy age,

like ours,

Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?

9 Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek, That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.

O Soul of Sir John Cheek, Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge, and king Edward Greek.


On the fame. I did but



age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When strait a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuccoos, asses, apes and dogs:


9. Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Ga. Cambridge, and was highly inftru

lasp?] We may suppose that mental in bringing that language these were persons of note and into repute, and restoring the orieminence amongst the Scotch mi- ginal pronunciation of it, tho' nisters who were for pressing and with great opposition from the pa. enforcing the Covenant. Galasp trons of ignorance and popery, we know was one of the Scotch and especially from Gardiner, biministers and commissioners from sop of Winchester, and chancelthe Kirk to the Parlament. See lor of the university. He was af. the verses on the forcers of con- terwards made one of the tutors science.

to Edward VI. See his life by 10. Those rugged names] He had Strype, or in Biographia Britanwritten at first barbarous, and then nica. rough hewn, and then rugged. 12. Sir John Cheek) Or Cheke. Milton's Manuscript it ftands,

4. Of owls and cuccoos, ) In He was the first Professor of the Greek tongue in the university of Of owls and buzzards


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