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Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild,
Might think th' 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.
On Time *.
FLY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb'd,
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,
* In these poems where no date is prefixed, and no circumstances direct us to ascertain the time when they were composed, we follow the order of Milton's own editions. And before this copy of verses, it appears from
the manuscript that the poet had written To be set on a clock-case.
12. individual] Eternal, inseparable. As in P. L. iv. 485. v. 610. See note on dividual, P. L. vii. 382. T. Warton.
14. sincerely good.] Purely,
And perfectly divine,
With truth, and peace, and love, shall ever shine
Of him, t' whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,
Attir'd with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Upon the Circumcision.
YE flaming pow'rs, and winged warriors bright,
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:
perfectly, good; as in Comus, 455. T. Warton.
18.-happy-making sight,] The plain English of beatific vision. 7. Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs,] Milton is puzzled how to reconcile the transcendent essence of angels with the infirmities of men. He met with a similar difficulty in describing the repast of Raphael in Paradise; P. L.
v. 434-443. In the present
10. He who with all heav'n's
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
His infancy to seize !
O more exceeding love or law more just?
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above
And that great covenant which we still transgress
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first with wounding smart
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart*.
Great pomps and processions are proclaimed or preceded by heralds. It is the same idea in P. L. i. 752.
Of sovereign power, &c.
Improbus ille puer: crudelis tu quoque mater.
Richardson. 20. Emptied his glory,] An exMeanwhile the winged heralds by pression taken from Phil. ii. 7. but not as it is in our translation, He made himself of no reputation, but as it is in the original, izUTI Exos, He emptied himself.
And again, b. ii. 516. Or herald-
24. for our excess,] He has
but I think with greater propriety there than here.
*It is hard to say, why these three odes on the three grand
Crudelis mater magis, an puer im- incidents or events of the life of
probus ille ?
Christ, (the Nativity, the Passion,
At a Solemn Music.
BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of heav'n's joy,
Compare L'Allegro, 137. See also King James's Furies in the Invocation.
Musick and Poesie:
-marrying so my heavenly verse
In that King's Poeticall Exercises,
6. of pure concent,] So we read in the manuscript, and in the edition of 1673, and we prefer the authority of both to the single one of the edition in 1645, which has of pure
6. Concent, not consent, (which Tonson first reads, ed. fol. 1695.) is the reading of the Cambridge manuscript. Hence we should correct Jonson, in an Epithalamium on Mr. Weston, vol. vii. 2. And in the Foxe, a. iii. s. iv. p. 483. vol. vii. Works, ed. 1616. And perhaps Shakespeare, K. Henr. V. a. i. s. 2.
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee,
That we on earth with undiscording voice
14. Compare P. L. vi. 882. and the Epitaph. Damon. 216. Lætaque frondentis gestans umbracula palmæ. T. Warton. 17-25. That we on earth, &c. -renew that song.] Perhaps there are no finer lines in Milton, less obscured by conceit, less embarrassed by affected expressions, and less weakened by pompous epithets. And in this perspicuous and simple style are conveyed some of the noblest ideas of a most sublime philosophy, heightened by metaphors
and allusions suitable to the subject. T. Warton.
18. May rightly answer that melodious noise ;] The following lines were thus at first in the manuscript.
By leaving out those harsh ill sounding jurs
Of clamorous sin that all our music
And in our lives, and in our song