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Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes fow O'er all th' Italian fields, where still doth fway The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow
himself in their favor, and his behaviour in this whole tranfaction is greatly to his honor, even as it is related by an hiftorian, who was far from being partial to his memory. "Nor would the Protector "be backward in fuch a work, "which might give the world a
particular opinion of his piety "and zeal for the proteftant religion; but he proclam'd a fo"lemn faft, and caufed large con"tributions to be gather'd for them throughout the kingdom of Eng"land and Wales. Nor did he "reft here, but fent his agents to "the Duke of Savoy, a prince "with whom he had no correfpondence or commerce, and "the next year fo engag'd the "Cardinal of France, and even terrify'd the Pope himself, without fo much as doing any favor "to the English Roman catholics, "that that Duke thought it neceffary to restore all that he had ta"ken from them, and renew'd all "thofe privileges they had for
"merly enjoy'd. So great was "the terror of his name; nothing being more ufual than his fay"ing, that his fships in the Mediterranean fhould vifit Civita Vecchia, "and the found of his cannon fhould "be heard in Rome." See Echard Vol. 2.
3. Ev'n them who kept thy truth
fo pure of old, &c] And fo in his letter to the States of the United Provinces he calls them Alpinos incolas orthodoxam religionem antiquitus profitentes, the inhabitants at the feet of the Alps, ancient profeffors of the orthodox faith; and afterwards in the fame letter, apud quos noftra religio vel ab ipfis E-vangelii primis doloribus tradita per manus & incorrupte fervata, vel multó ante quam apud cæteras gentes finceritati priftinæ reftituta eft, among whom our religion was either diffe minated by the firit doctors of the Gofpel, and preferv'd from the defilement of fuperftition, or else reftor'd to its priftin fincerity long
A hundred fold, who having learn'd thy way
On his blindness.
When I confider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my foul more bent To ferve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, left he returning chide; Doth God exact day-labor, light deny'd, I fondly afk: But patience to prevent That murmur, foon replies, God doth not need Either man's work or his own gifts; who beft 10 Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
before other nations obtain'd that felicity.
14. the Babylonian woe.] The woes denounced against Rome, under the name of Babylon, in Scripture.
3. And that one talent which is death to hide,] He fpeaks here with allufion to the parable of the
talents, Mat. XXV. and he speaks with great modefty of himself, as if he had not five, or two, but only one talent.
*This Mr. Lawrence was the fon of the Prefident of Cromwell's council: and this fonnet was also in the edition of 1673.
And poft o'er land and ocean without reft;
*To Mr. LAWRENCE.
Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous fon,
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire The lilly' and rose, that neither fow'd nor fpun. What neat repaft fhall feast us, light and choice, Of Attic tafte, with wine, whence we may rife 10 To hear the lute well touch'd, or artful voice Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
6. Favonius] The fame as Zephyrus, or the western wind that blows in the spring. Plin. Lib. 16. Sect. 39. Hic eft genitalis fpiritus mundi, a fovendo dictus, ut quidam exiftimavere. Flat ab occafu æquinoctiali, ver inchoans. And fo Lucretius I. Ic.
Nam fimul ac fpecies patefacta
Et referata viget genitabilis aura
8. that neither fou'd nor fpun.] Alluding to Mat. VI. 26, 28. they fow not, neither do they spin. R 2 Cyriac
He who of thofe delights can judge, and fpare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
To CYRIAC SKINNER.
Cyriac, whofe grandfire on the royal bench
To day deep thoughts refolve with me to drench 5
Let Euclid reft and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intends, and what the French.
+ Cyriac Skinner was the fon of William Skinner Efq; and grandfon of Sir Vincent Skinner, and his mother was Bridget, one of the daughters of the famous Sir Edward Coke Lord Chief Juftice of the King's Bench. Mr. Wood informs us that he was one of Harrington's political club, and fometimes held the chair; and farther adds, that he was a merchant's fon of London, an ingenious young gentleman, and fcholar to John Milton. Athen. Ox. Vol. 2. p. 591. No wonder then that Milton was fo intimate with him, and has addrefs'd two fonnets to him, this first of which was printed in the edition of 1673.
8. And what the Swede intends,] We have printed it as it is in the Manufcript. In the first edition it was And what the Swede intend, which in others is alter'd to And what the Swedes intend. Charles Guftavus, king of Sweden, was at this time waging war with Poland, and the French with the Spaniards in the Netherlands: and what Milton fays is fomewhat in the fpirit and manner of Horace. Od. II. XI. 1.
Quid bellicofus Cantaber, et
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know Toward folid good what leads the nearest way; For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wife in fhow, That with fuperfluous burden loads the day, And when God fends a chearful hour, refrains. XXII.
*To the fame.
Cyriac, this three years day these eyes, though clear,
fonnet likewife is very incorrect, but we shall reftore it by the affiftance of the Manufcript.
3. Bereft of light ih ir feeing have forgot,] In the printed copies
it is abfurdly,
Bereft of fight their feeing have forgot.
* The two fonnets to Cyriac man. In the printed editions this Skinner we have printed in the fame order as they are number'd in the Manufcript. This latter was never printed in Milton's lifetime, but was first publish'd feveral years after his death at the fame time and in the fame manner with the foregoing ones to General Fairfax, Cromwell, and Sir Henry Vane: and tho' the perfon, to whom it is addrefs'd, was not fo obnoxious as any of those before mention'd, yet it might not have been fafe for Milton to have publift'd fuch a commendation of his Defense of the people, which the government had order'd to be burnt by the hands of the common hang
4. Nor to their idle orbs doth fight appear
Of fun, or moon, &c.] In the printed editions it is,
Nor to their idle orbs doth day
appear, Or fun, or moon, &c. R 3 7. Against