« السابقةمتابعة »
TO MR. LAWRENCE.
Lawrenee, of virtnous father virtnous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
From the hard season gaining? Time will run i
What neat repast shall feast us, light and ehoiee,
Of Attiek taste, with wine, whenee we may rise 10
Warble immortal notes and Tusean air?
He who of those delights ean judge, and spare
TO CYR1ACK SKINNER.
Cyriaek, whose grandsire, on the royal beneh
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to dreneh $
And what the Swede intends, and what the Freneh.
To measure life learn thou betimes, and know
Toward 8olid good what leads the nearest way; 10
And disapproves that eare, though wise in show,
talents, Matt . Xxv. And he speaks with great medesty of himself, a* if ho had not tlve, or two, hut only ono talent.— Newton.
14. 8tand and watt. My own opinion is, that this is the noblest of Miiton's Sounets.—Rrvdokn.
8onnet XV.—The w virtnous father," Henry Lawrenee, was member for Herefordshire in the Little Parliament whieh began in 1053, and was aetive in settiing the proteetorate of Cromweli. The famiiy appears to hare been seated not far from .Miiton's neighbourboed in Buekinghamshire.—T. Warton. This Henry Lawrenee, the "virtnous son," is the author of a work snited to MiMon's taste, on the subjeet of whieh l make no doubt
he and the author by the fire helped to wastt many a sullen day. II is entitled, "Of our Communion and Warre with Angels." Ae. l suppose him also the same who printed "A Vindieation of the 8eriptures and Cbristian Ordinanees."— Tonn.
8onnbt XV1. —Cyriaek 8kiuner was one of the prineipal memWrs of Harrington's poiitieal elub. Woed says, that he was an ingenious yonng gentleman, and seholar to John Miiton.
8. And what ibr 8teede intends. Charles Gustavus. Ring of 8weden, was at this time waging war with Peland; and Iho Freneh with the 8paniards in the Netherlands.
TO THE SAME.
Cyriaek, this three years day these eyes, though elear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
The eonseienee, friend, to have lost them overplied 10
In liberty's defenee, my noble task,
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.
ON H1S DECEASED W1FE.
Metuocgut I saw my late espoused saint
Reseued from death by foree, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of ehild-bed taint 5
Came, vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her faee was veil'd; yet to my faneied sight 10
So elear, as in no faee with more delight.
8on)tet XVl1.—8. Of heart or hope„ One of Miiton's eharaeteristies was a singular fortitnde of ndnd, arising from a eonseiousness of superior abiiities, and a eonvietion that his eause was just.—T. Warton.
10. To have lost them, Ae . When he was employed to answer 8almasins, one of his eyes was almost gone, and the ysieiaus predieted lhe loss of both, if proeeeded. But he says, in answer to Du Moniin, "1 did not long balanee whether my duty should be preferred to my eyes." What a noble sentiment; and how eneouraging sneh iines from the greatest of aii men as well as the greatest of all poets, to those who are labouring in the eause of Liin-rty and Humanity l
8oxnet XVUi.—l. Methangld, Ae. llaleigh's elegant 8ounet, ealled "A Vision
upon the Faerie Qneene," lsee "Compendinm of Rngiish Literature," p. 151,l begins thus,—
Me tBought l saw tIle grave vbere Laura lay; and here, perbaps, the idea of a 8ounet in the form of a vision was snggested to Miiton. This 8ounet was written al,out the year 1.'.,J-. on the death of his seeond wife. Catharine, the danghter of Captain Woedeoek, of Haekney. 8he died in ehiid-bed of a danghter, wRhin a year after their marriage. Miiton had now been long totally biind: so that this ndght have been oue of his day-dreams. —T. Waktox.
2. Meutis. This refers to the Aleestis of Euripides", in whieh Hereules )Jrnvr's grtat sonl brings beek to Admetus, from the realms of Plato, his wife Ateestis. who had resuivod to die to sate her hushand.
MORN1NG OF CHR1ST'S NATIVITY.
Tnere is no doubt that the prima stamina of the hard's divine epies are exhibited in this poem; bnt it has several peeuliarities, whieh distinguish it from the poet's other eompositions: it is more truly lyrieal; the stanza is beantifully eonstrueted; and there is a solemuity, a grandenr, and a swell of verse, whieh is magieai. The images are magnifieent, and they have this superiority of exeellenee; that none of them are merely deseriptive, but have a mixture of intelleetnality and spiritnality.
8ome one has said that Miiton had no ear for the harmony of versifieation; this Hymn proves that his ear was perfeet. 8penser's Alexandrines are fine; Milton's are more like the deepest swell of the organ.
When it is reeolleeted that this pieee was produeed by the author at the age of twenty-one, all doep thinkers of faney and sensibiiity must pore upon it with delighted wondev. The vigour, the grandenr, the imaginativeness of the eoneeption; the foree and maturity of langnage; the bound, the gathering strength, the thundering roll of the metre; the largeness of the views; the extent of the learning; the solemu and awful tones; the enthusiasm, and a eertain spell in the epithets, whieh pnts the reader into a state of mysterions exeitement, may be better felt than deseribed.
I venture to pronounee this poem far superior to the "L'Allegro" and "I1 Penserose," though the popular taste may not eoneur with me: it is mueh deeper; mueh more original; and of a nobler east of materials. The two latter poems are mainly deseriptive of the inanimate beauties of ereation: it is the grand purpose of poetry to embody invisible spirits; to give shape and form to the ideal; to bring ont into palpable lines and eolours the intelleetnal world; to assoeiate with that whieh is material that whieh is purely spiritnal; to travel into air, and open upon the faney other ereations. Faney is bnt one faeulty of the mind; it is a mirror, of whose impressions the transfer upon paper by the medinm of langnage is a single operation.
Miiton, before he eould write the Hymu, must have already exereised and enriehed all his faeulties with vast and sueeessful eulture. He had travelled in those dim regions, into whieh young minds seareely ever venture; and he had earried a gnarded lamp with him, so as to see all around him, before and behind; yet not so peering and reekless as to destroy the religious awe. The dne position of the lights and shades was never infrtnged upon. 8ir Kqeuton Rrydqes.
Tnis 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 onee did sing, I
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high eouneil-table 10
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
lie laid aside; and here with us to be,
Forsook the eourts of everlasting day,
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy saered vein 10
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To weleome him to this his new abode,
Now, while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaehing light, 20 And all the spangled host keep wateh iu squadrons 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; 25
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voiee unto the angel quire,
s I eaunot doubt that this hymu was the eongenial p)vlutlo of that holy and inspired imagination whieh predured the " Paradisr Lost," nearly forty years afterwards.—B,nts;"*. iio it renumbered that this sublime Hymn was written in his twenty first year, prohably as a eoiiege exereise.
It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-born ehild 30
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doff'd her gaudy trim,
It was no season then for her Si
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour,
Only with speeehes fair
To hide her guilty front with innoeent snow;
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
But he, her fears to eease, 45
She, erown'd with olive green, eame softly sliding
With turtle wing the amorous elouds dividing; 00
No war, or battle's sound,
The idle spear and shield were high up hung; M
The trumpet spako not to the armed throng;
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by, eo
But peaeeful was the night,
His reign of peaee upon the earth began:
45. To erase, uml aetively. 52. 8he srnAr/ a ptntr. This is a pwuliar pbraseology, showing the rapidity
with whieh it wu done, as it wore with