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EREWHILE of musick, and ethereal mirth,
In wintry solstice, like the shorten'd light,
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide;
I cannot agree with Sir Egerton Brydges that this Ode or Elegy is unaccount ahly inferior" to the preceding Ilymn. True, this is not so highly finished as the other, but there are in it exquisite touches of beauty. A beloved friend and accomplished scholar of Oxford (J. W.) writes me--"That third stanza has often suffured my eyes and quickened my heart's pulsation : what it saddening, melancholy tendernessa climax of pathos and of dear human sympathy in the last two lines !".
1. Errwhile, &c. Hence we may conjecture that this Ode was probably com 1 posed 90on after that on the Nativity," And this, perhaps, was a college exercise at Easter, as the last was at Christmas. T. WARTON.
13. Most perfect Hero. See leh. ii. 10. 20. Cremona's trump. Vida's "Christind," which our author seems to think the finest Latin poem on a religious subject, is here called Cremonai's trump, because Vida was born at Cremoni.
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;
The leaves should all be black whereon I write; 34
There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
Might think the infection of my sorrows loud
This subject the author finding to be above the years he had when
he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished.
28. Of lute, or vinl: That is, gentle; / 43. That sad sepulchral rock: That is, not noisy or loud like the trumpet. the lloly Sepulchre at Jerusalem.
34. The leares, &c. Conceits were not 51. Take up a wrrping. Jer. ix. 10. confined to woris only. Mr. Stevens has 52. The gentle neighbourhood. A sweetly a volume of Elegies, in which the paper beautiful couplet, which, with the two is black and the letters white: that is in preceding lines, opened the stanza so all the title-pages. Every intermediate well, that I particularly grieve to find it leaf is also black. What a sudden change, terininate feebly in a most miserably disfrom this hildish idea to the noble apos- gusting concello.-DUNSTER. trophe, the sublime rapture and imagibatiou of the next stauza.--T. WARTON.
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.*
His infancy to seize!
Will pierce more near his heart.
ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, DYING
OF A COUGH.
* The “Circumcision" is better than the “ Passion," and has two or three Miltonie lines. -BRIDES.
† The “ Elogy on the Death of a Fair Infant" is praised by Wurton, and we'l characterized in his last note upon it, but it has more of research and alourel fancy than of feeling, and is not a general favourite.-- BRYDGES. It was writen :.t the age of seventeen.
20. Emplied his glory. An expression taken from Phil, ii. 7, but not as in our translation," He made himself of no
r putation,"—but, as it is in the original, Eau TOV EKEVWOE,) "He emptind linisoif." -NEWTON,
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,
Of long uncoupled bed and childless eld,
So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,
But, all unwares, with his cold-kind embrace
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
But then transform’d him to a purple flower:
0, no! for something in thy face did shine Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine.
8. Aquilo, or Boreas, the North wind, 'Yet, in the eighth stanza, the person laenamourel of Orithvin, the daughter of mented is alternately support to have Erechtheas King of Athens.
been sent down to earth in the shape of 12. Infámons, the common accent in two divinities, or of whom is styled a old Enlish portry.
- just maid." and the other a sweet 23. Furso A lo, &c. From these lince smiling youth." But the child was cer one would suspect, although it does not tainly a niece, a daughter of Milton's immedintely follow, that a boy was the sister Philips. subject of the de; but in the last stanza 40. Were, instend of are, for rhyme.-the poet says expressly,
47. Earth's sons, the giants.--50. Mail, Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child, Justice.-04. TM , ercy. Her false imagined loss cease to lament. 1 67. To turn swift-rusting, &c. Among the blessings which the Hearen-lored inno- pression, and versification; even in the cence of this child might have imparted, conceits, which are many, we perceive by remaining upon earth, the application strong and peculiar marks of genius. I to present circumstances, the supposition think Milton has here given a very rethat she might have averted the pesti- markable specimen of his ability to suc lence now raging in the kingdom, is hap- ceed in the Spenserian stanza. Ile moves piiy and beautifully conceived. On the with great ease and address amidst the whole, from a boy of seventeen, this de embarrassinent of a frequent return of is an extraordinary effort of fancy, ex rhyme.-T. WARTON.
0, say me true, if thou wert mortal wight, And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight?
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou, some goddess fled,
Or any other of that heavenly brood,
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
But, O! why didst thou not stay here below