صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني




On the death of a fair Infant, dying of a cough.


[ocr errors]

O , ,

Fairest flow'r no sooner blown but blasted,

Soft silken primrose fading timelesly, Summer's chief honor, if thou hadst out-lasted Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry; For he being amorous on that lovely dye

5 That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.


This elegy was not inserted in the first edi- sequently a daughter of his sister Philips, and tion of the author's poems printed in 1645, probably her first child. but was added in the second edition printed in

6. 1673. It was compos’d in the year 1625,

thought to kiss, that being the 17th year of Milton's age. In

But kill'd, alas, &c] Copied probably from some editions the title runs thus, On the death this verse in Shakespear's Venus and Adonis, of a fair Infant, a nephew of bis, dying of a He thought to kiss him, and hath kill'd cough: but the sequel shows plainly that the

him fo. child was not a nephew, but a niece, and con



For since grim Aquilo his charioteer
By boistrous rape th’ Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touch'd his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away th’infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld, Which’mongstthewantonGods a foul reproach was held.


So mounting up in icy-pearled car,

15 Through middle empire of the freezing air He wander'd long, till thee 'he spy'd from far ; There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his care. Down he descended from 'his snow-soft chair,

But all unwares with 'his cold-kind embrace Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair biding place.



[ocr errors]


8. For since grim Aquilo &c ] Boreas or dorus says lib. 3.) that is, she was drown'd Aquilo carried off by force Orithyia daughter in a high wind crossing that river. of Erectheus king of Athens. Ovid Met. VI.

Richardson. Fab. Milton hath invented this fine fable

tb' infamous blot of Winter's rape' upon his fister's daughter, Of long uncoupled bed, and childless.eld, &c ] on the same grounds as that of Boreas on the The author probably pronounced infamous with daughter of Erectheus, whom he ravish'd as the middle syllable long as it is in Latin. Eld The cross'd over the river Ilyffus (as Apollo- is old age, a word used in innumerable places




Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate ;
For fo Apollo, with unwceting hand,
Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth born on Eurota’s strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform'd him to a purple flower : Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.

Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low delyed tomb;
Could Heav'n for pity thee so strictly doom?

Oh no! for something in thy face did fhine
Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine.




35 VI.

of Spenfer and our old writers. And in fay-
ing that long-uncoupled bed and childless eld was
beld a reproach among the wanton Gods, the
poet seems to allude particularly to the case
of Pluto, as reported by Claudian. De Rapt.

Connubii, fterilesque diu consumeret annos,
Impatiens nescire torum, nullasque mariti
Illecebras, nec dulce patris cognoscere no-


Prof. I. 32.

Dux Erebi quondam tumidas exarsit in iras
Prælia moturus fuperis, quod folus egeret

23. For so Apollo, &c] Apollo New Hyacinthus by accident playing at quoits, and afterwards changed him into a flower of the same


Resolve me then, oh Soul most surely blest,
(If so it be that thou these plaints doft hear)
Tell me bright Spirit where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in th’Elysian fields (if such there were)

Oh fay me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight.



Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof
Of shak’d Olympus by mischance didst fall;
Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
Or did of late earth's fons besiege the wall



ver. 175

name. The reader may see the story in Ovid. 49.

neetard head? ) As in Lycidas Met. X. Fab. 6. 39. that high first-moving Sphere,] The With nectar



locks he laves. primum mobile, that first mov'd as he calls it Paradise Loft. III. 483. where see the note.

50. that just Maid] Astrea or the 44.

Goddess of justice, who offended with the didit fall; ]. This is somewhat in- crimes of men forsook the earth. Ovid Met, accurate in all the editions. Grammar and


150. syntax require did fall.

Ultima cæleftûm terras Astrea reliquit. 47. Or did of late earth's sons &c ] For when the giants invaded Heaven, the deities

53. that sweet finiling Youth?] At first Aed and concealed themselves in various shapes. I imagin’d that the author meant Hebe, in LaSee Ovid. Met. V. 319. &c.

tin Juventa, or youth. And Mr. Jortin com



Of sheeny Heav'n, and thou some Goddess Aed Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head?



Or wert thou that just Maid who once before
Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth,
And cam'st again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet smiling Youth?
Or that crown'd matron sage white-robed Truth?

Or any other of that heav'nly brood,
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good ?




Or wert thou of the golden-winged hoft,
Who having clad thyself in human weed,
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,



municated the following note. “ A word of For Mercy is often join'd with Justice and “ two syllables is wanting to fill up the mea- Truth, as in the Hymn on the Nativity. St. 15. “ sure of the verse. It is easy to find such a

Yea Truth and Justice then “ word, but impossible to determin what word

Will down return to men, « Milton would have inserted. He uses Youth

Orb’d in a rainbow; and like glories weare " in the feminine gender, as the Latins fome

ing « times use juvenis, and by this fair youth he

Mercy will fit between &c. “ probably means the Goddess Hebe, who was “ also called Juventas or Juventa.” But others And Mercy is not unfitly represented as a sweet have proposed to fill up the verse thus, , smiling youth, this age being the most susceptiOr wert thou Mercy that sweet smiling ble of the tender passions. youth?


68. Or

« السابقةمتابعة »