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Sol troverete in tal parte men duro
Ove Amor mise l'infanabil ago.


VII. * On his being arriv’d to the age of 23. How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,


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Yet now

“ with another, if that were all. But what “ whenever we meet, you are often to me, and " delight or what peculiar conceit, may you were yesterday especially, as a good watch" in charity think, could hold out against the man to admonish that the hours of the night “ long knowledge of a contrary command pass on (for so I call my life as yet ob“ from above, and the terrible seisure of him sc scure and unserviceable to mankind) and that 66 that hid his talent ? Therefore commit “ the day with me is at hand, wherein Christ

grace to grace, or nature to nature, there “ commands all to labor while there is light : 66 will be found on the other way more obvious “ which because I am persuaded you do to no s temptations to bad, as gain, preferment, “ other purpose, than out of a true desire that " ambition, more winning presentments of « God should be honor'd in every one, I there“ good, and more prone affections of nature “fore think myself bound, though unask'd, “ to incline and dispose, not counting out- to give you account, as oft as occasion is, " ward causes, as expectations and murmurs “ of this my tardy moving, according to ľ of friends, fcandals taken, and such like, “ the precept of my conscience, which I

6 than the bare love of notions could refift. " firmly trust is not without God. «« So that if it be that which you suppose, it “ I will not strain for any set apology, but “ had by this been round about begirt and only refer myself to what my mind shall “ « overmaster'd, whether it had proceeded “ have at any time to declare herself at her “ from virtue, vice, or nature in me. Yet " beit ease. But if you think, as you said, " that you may see that I am some tiine süspi- « that too much love of learning is in fault, “ cious of myself, and do take notice of a " and that I have given up myself to dream “ certain belatedness in me, I am the bolder to

away my years in the arms of studious re“ send you some of my nightward thoughts " tirement, like Endymion with the moon “ some while since, since they come in fitly, “ as the tale of Latmus goes; yet consider " in a Petrarchian stanza. a

66 that if it were no more but the mere love “ How soon hath Time &c.

s6 of learning, whether it proceed from a prin

ciple bad, good, or natural, it could not The latter draught is as follows.

so have held out thus long against so strong

" opposition on the other side of every kind; SIR,

“ for if it be bad, why should not all the fond « Besides that in sundry other respects I hopes that forward youth and vanity are 56 must acknowledge me to profit by you “ fledge with; together with gain, pride, and


“ ambition,

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Stoln on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full carreer,

But my late spring no bud or blossom fhew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,

That I to manhood am arriv'd so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,

That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or foon or flow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even



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« ambition, call me forward more powerfully, “ by the readiest ways of publishing and di" than a poor regardless and unprofitable sin vulging conceived merits, as well those that “ of curiosity should be able to withhold me, “ Thall, as those that never shall obtain it. “ whereby a man cuts himself off from all “ Nature therefore would presently work the

action, and becomes the most helpless, pu- more prevalent way, if there were nothing fillanimous, and unweapon’d creature in the " but this inferior bent of herself to restrain

world, the most unfit and unable to do that “ her. Lastly the love of learning, as it is * which all mortals most aspire to, either to " the pursuit of something good, it would

be useful to his friends, or to offend his ene- « sooner follow the more excellent and su“ mies. Or if it be to be thought a natural preme good known and presented, and lo “ proneness, there is against that a much more “ be quickly diverted from the empty and

potent inclination inbred, which about this “ fantastic chafe of shadows and notions to the “ time of life folicits most, the desire of house " solid good flowing from due and timely abe“ and family of his own, to which nothing is "dience to that command in the Gospel fet “ esteemed more helpful than the early entring out by the terrible feising of bim that hid “ into credible employment, and nothing more " the talent. It is more probable therefore that “ hindering than this affected solitariness. And “ not the endless delight of speculation, but

though this were enough, yet there is to this " this very consideration of that great com" another act, if not of pure, yet of refin'd “ mandment, does not press forward, as soon “ mature, no less available to diffuade prolong- « as many do, to undergo, but keeps off with " ed obscurity, a desire of honor and repute a sacred reverence and religious advisement « 'and immortal fame feated in the breast of “ how best to undergo; not taking thought " every true fcholar, which all make halte to “ of being late, fo it give advantage to be

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To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;

All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.


• When the assault was intended to the City. Captain or Colonel, or Knight in arms, Whose chance on these defenseless doors may feise,

If « more fit; for those that were latest loft no- « fon for me to keep me as I am, left having “ thing, when the master of the vineyard“ thus tired you singly, I should deal worse

, “ came to give each one his hire. And here " with a whole congregation, and spoil all the “ I am come to a stream-head copious enough patience of a parish : for I myself do not 56 to disburden itself like Nilus at seven mouths

“ only see my own tediousness, but now grow “ into an ocean; but then I should also run “ offended with it, that has hinder'd me thus “ into a reciprocal contradiction of ebbing and “ long from coming to the last and best pe

flowing at once, and do that which I excuse “ riod of my letter, and that which must now “ myself for not doing, preach and not preach. “ chiefly work my pardon, that I am “ Yet that you may see that I am something

Your true and unfeigned friend." « suspicious of myself, and do take notice of

a certain belatedness in me, I am the bolder * To this fonnet we have prefixed the title,

to fend you some of my nightward thoughts which the author himself has in the Manu- . “ fome while since, because they come in not fcript. In the Manuscript this sonnet was


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altogether unfitly, made up in a Petrarchian written by another hand, and had this title " ftanza, which I told you


On bis door when the City expected an assault :

but this he scratched out, and wrote with his own 46 How soon hath Time &c.

hand When the affeult was intended to the City. By this I believe you may well repent of The date was also added 1642, but blotted out " having made mention at all of this matter, again: and it was in November 1642 that the " for if I have not all this while won you to King marched with his army as near as Brent. “ this, I have certainly wearied you of it. ford, and put the City in great consternation, This therefore alone may be a sufficient rea- Milton was then in his 34th year.

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3. If

If deed of honor did thee ever pleale,

Guard them, and him within protect from harms. . He can requite thee, for he knows the charms 5

That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o’er lands and seas,

Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses bow'r:

The great Emathian conqueror bid spare

The house of Pindarus, when temple' and tow'r
Went to the ground: And the repeated air

Of sad Electra's poet had the pow'r
To save th’ Athenian walls from ruin bare.


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3. If deed of honor did thee ever please,] So this refers to a paffage in Plutarch's Life of this verse is printed in the second edition in the Lysander. When that general had taken year 1673. *In the first edition of 1645, and Athens, he proposed to change the governin the Manuscript it stands thus,

Some say he moved in council that the

Athenians might be reduced to Navery, when If ever deed of honor did thee please.

at the same time Erianthus the Theban pro10. The great Emathian conqueror &c ] posed wholly to destroy the city, and leave the When Alexander the great took Thebes, and country desolate : but a little afterwards at an entirely ras'd the rest of the city, he order'd entertainment of the captains, one of them rethe house of Pindar to be preserv'd out of re- peated some verses out of Euripides's Electra, gard to his memory : and the ruins of Pin- beginning thus, dar's house were to be seen at Thebes, in Pau

Electra, Oh unhappy queen, sanias's time, who lived under Antoninus the philosopher. See Pausan. Bæot. cap. 25. Edit.

Whither wou'd you fy? return; Kuhnii.

Your absence the forsaken groves - And the repeated air &c] I suppose And desert palace seem to mourn.



To a virtuous young Lady.
Lady that in the prime of earliest youth

Wisely haft shunn’d the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,

That labor up the hill of heav'nly truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth

Chosen thou haft; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,

No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fix’d, and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,




This struck them, and gave them occasion to 1673. In the first edition of 1645 it was falny reflect, how barbarous it would appear to lay printed with Mary and the Ruth. that city in ruin, which had been renown'd for the birth and education of so


famous 9. And at thy growing virtues] In the Manumen. ατα μενιοι σωεσιας γενομένης των ηγεμο- fcript it was at firft, νων σαρα σοτον, και τινος Φωκεως ασανθος εκ της And at thy blooming virtue or prospering. Ευριπιδου Ηλεκτρgς τίω απαe9σον, ης η αρχη,

8. Αγαμεμνονος και κορα, ηλυθον Ηλεκτρα

but pity and rutb.] Here Ruth and Ποτι σαν αγροτειραν αυλαν

rutb are made to rime to each other, and it

may perhaps offend the niceness of modern Πανίας επικλαθηναι, και φανηναι χετλιον ερ- ears that the fame word hould rime to itfelf γον, τίω ετως ακλεα και τοιετες ανδρας φερεσαν though in diferent fenfes : but our old poets avshely you o'lepyasada tlu wolny. Vol. 1. p. were not so very delicate, and the reader may 441. Edit. Paris. 1624.

see parallel instances in Spenser's Faery Queen, 5. — with Mary and with Ruth] So it is B. 1. Cant. 6. St. 39. and B. 7. Cant. 6. St. 38. in Milton's Manuscript, and in the edition of

13. Paffes

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