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Poems ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
ANNO ÆTATIS 17.
On the death of a fair Infant, dying of a cough.
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
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.
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 ;
But then transform'd him to a purple flower : Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.
Oh no! for something in thy face did fhine
of Spenfer and our old writers. And in fay-
Connubii, fterilesque diu consumeret annos,
Prof. I. 32.
Dux Erebi quondam tumidas exarsit in iras
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,
Oh fay me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof
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
Or any other of that heav'nly brood,
Or wert thou of the golden-winged hoft,
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?