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Went to the ground: And the repeated air
To fave th' Athenian walls from ruin bare.
To a virtuous young Lady.
Lady that in the prime of earliest youth
and the green,
And with those few art eminently feen, That labor up the hill of heav'nly truth, The better part with Mary and with Ruth Chofen thou haft; and they that overween, And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
12. And the repeated air &c] I fuppofe this refers to a paffage in Plutarch's Life of Lyfander. When that general had taken Athens, he propofed to change the government. Some fay he moved in council that the Athenians might be reduced to flavery, when at the fame time Erianthus the Theban propofed wholly to deftroy the city, and leave the country defolate: but a little afterwards at an entertainment of the captains, one of them repeated fome verses out of Euripides's Electra, beginning thus,
Electra, Oh unhappy queen,
Your abfence the forfaken groves
This ftruck them, and them gave occafion to reflect, how barbarous it would appear to lay that city in ruin, which had been renown'd for the birth and education of fo many famous men. στα μωτοι σωσίας λυομθύνης των ἡγεμόνων παρα του τον, και τινΘ Φωκέως ασανσ εκ της Ευριπίδο Ηλεκτρας των wagdov, is ʼn apxn,
ΑγαμεμνονΘ- ω κορα, ηλυθον
Ποτι σαν αγροτειραν αυλαν Πανίας επικλαπlαι, και φανηναι χετλιον εργον,των έτως εκλέα 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,
And hope that reaps not fhame. Therefore be fure Thou, when the bridegroom with his feaftful friends Paffes to blifs at the mid hour of night, Haft gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wife and pure. X.
*To the Lady Margaret Ley.
Daughter to that good Earl, once President
that the fame word fhould rime to itself though in different fenfes: but our old poets were not fo very delicate, and the reader may fee parallel inftances in Spenfer's Faery Queen, B. 1. Cant. 6. St. 39. and B. 7. Cant. 6. St. 38.
13. Paffes to bliss at the mid hour of night,] Inftead of this line he had written at first,
Opens the door of bliss that hour of night:
but he rightly alter'd it, the better to accommodate it to the parable to which he is alluding. See Mat. XXV.
8. but pity and ruth.] Here Ruth and ruth are made to rime to each other, and it may perhaps of* We have given the title which fend the niceness of modern ears is in Milton's Manufcript, To the
And left them both, more in himself content,
Till fad the breaking of that Parlament
Broke him, as that dishoneft victory
At Chæronea, fatal to liberty,
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent. Though later born than to have known the days father florish'd, yet by you,
Madam, methinks I fee him living yet;
Lady Margaret Ley. She was the
* On the detraction which followed upon my writing certain treatises.
A book was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon,
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile-
* When Milton publish'd his books of Divorce, he was greatly condemn'd by the Prefbyterian clergy, whofe advocate and champion he had been before. He publish'd his Tetrachordon or Expofitions upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of
fonnets, which were firft printed in the edition of 1673, and to which we have prefixed the title that he himfelf has in the Manuscript.
1. A book was writ of late &c] In the Manufcript he had written at first,
I writ a book of late call'd Tetrachordon, And weav'd in clofe, both matter, form and ftile;
It went off well about the town a while,
Numb'ring good wits, but now is feldom por'd on.
marriage or nullities in marriage, The reader will readily agree, that
in 1645; and foon after we may fuppofe he compofed these two
it was alter'd for the better.
Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow fleek, That would have made Quintilian ftare and gafp. Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek, Hated not learning worfe than toad or afp, When thou taught'ft Cambridge, and king Edward
On the fame.
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
9. Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galafp?] We may fuppofe that thefe were perfons of note and eminence amongst the Scotch minifters who were for preffing and enforcing the Covenant. Galafp we know was one of the Scotch minifters and commiffioners from the Kirk to the Parlament. See the verfes on the forcers of conScience.
10. Thofe rugged names] He had written at firft barbarous, and then rough hewn, and then rugged.
12. Sir John Check Or Cheke.
He was the firft Profeffor of the
Cambridge, and was highly inftru-
Milton's Manufcript it ftands,