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To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart?
But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.
Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child,
Her false-imagined loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild:
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent.
This, if thou do, he will an offspring give,
That, till the world's last end, shall make thy name to live.
Fly, envious Time, till thou rụn out thy race;
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain!
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss ;
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love, shall ever shine
Of him, to whose happy-making sight alone
When once our heavenly-guided soul shall climb;
Then, all this earthy grossness quit,
Attired with stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time.
AT A SOLEMN MUSICK.
Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy;
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse;
* In Milton's manuscript, written with his own hand, the title is,—“On Time. To be set on a clock-case."
† The “Ode at a Solemn Musick” is a short prelude to the strain of genius which produced " Paradise Lost.” Warton says, that perhaps there are no finer lines in Milton than one long passage which he cites, (17-24.) I must say that this is going
little too far. That they are very fine I admit; but the sublime philosophy, to which he alludes as their prototype, must not be put in comparison with the fountains of Paradise Lost." So far they are exceedingly curious, that they show how early the poet had constructed in his own mind the language of his divine imagery, and how rich and vigorous his siyle was, airiost in his boy bood.-BEYDGES.
12. Individual: Eternal, inseparable.
14. Sincerely: Purely, perfectly.
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ
Dead things with inbreathed sense able to pierce;
And to our high-raised phantasy present
That undisturbed song of pure concent,
Aye sung before the sapphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits thereon,
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee;
Where the bright Seraphim, in burning row,
Their loud uplifted angel trumpets blow;
And the cherubic host, in thousand quires,
Touch their immortal barps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms
That we on earth, with undiscording voice,
May rightly answer that melodious noise ;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against Nature's chime, and with harsh din
Broke the fair musick that all creatures made
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
In perfect diapason, whilst they stood
In first obedience, and their state of good.
O, may we soon again renew that song,
And keep in tune with Heaven, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF
This rich marble doth inter
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir,
Besides what her virtues fair
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth.
Summers three times eight save one
She had told; alas! too soon,
After so short time of breath,
To house with darkness and with death.
* In Howell's entertaining Letters, there is one to this lady,--the Lady Jane Sarage Marchioness of Winchester,-dated March 15, 1626. lle pays, he assisted her in learning Spanish; and that Nature and the Graces exhausted all their treasure and skiil in "framing this exact model of female perfection."
6. The undisturbed song of pure concent, affected expressions, and less weakened is the dinpa-op of the music of the by pompous epithets: and in this perspheres, to which, in Plato's system, Gold spicuous and simple style are conveyed himself listene.-T. WARTON. See note soine of the noblest ideas of a most subon line 62 of " Arcades," p. 451.
lime philosophy, heightened by meta17. That we on earth, &c. Perhaps phors and allusions suitable to the sub there are no finer lines in Milton, less ject.-T. WARTON. obscured by conceit, less embarrassed by
Yet had the number of her days
Been as complete as was her praise,
Nature and Fate had had no strife
In giving limit to her life.
Her high birth, and her graces sweet,
Quickly found a lover meet;
The virgin quire for her request
The god that sits at marriage feast:
He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce well-lighted flame;
And in his garland, as he stood,
Ye might discern a cypress bud.
Once had the early matrons run
To greet her of a lovely son;
And now with second hope she goes,
And calls Lucina to her throes:
But, whether by mischance or blame,
Atropos for Lucina came;
And with remorseless cruelty
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree:
The hapless babe, before his birth,
Ilad burial, yet not laid in earth ;
And the languish'd mother's womb
Was not long a living tomb.
So have I seen some tender slip,
Sav'd with care from winter's nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck'd up by some unheedy swain,
Who only thought to crop the flower
New shot up from vernal shower;
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Sideways, as on a dying bed;
And those pearls of dew she wears
Prove to be presaging tears,
Which the sad morn had let fall
On her hastening funeral.
Gentle lady, may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travel sore
Sweet rest seize thee evermore,
That, to give the world increase,
Shorten'd hast thy own life's lease.
Here, besides the sorrowing
That thy noble house doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Wept for thee in Helicon ;
And some flowers, and some bays,
For thy herse, to strow the ways,
22. Cypress bud: An emblem of a funeral, called by Horace funebris, and by Spenser ** the cypress funeral.” 28. Atropos, the fate who presided over death.
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
Devoted to thy virtuous name;
Whilst thou, bright saint, high sit’st in glory,
Next her, much like to thee in story,
That fair Syrian shepherdess,
Who, after years of barrenness,
The highly-favour'd Joseph bore
To him that served for her before ;
And at her next birth, much like thee,
Through pangs fled to felicity,
Far within the bosom bright
Of blazing Majesty and Light:
There with thee, new welcome Saint,
Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
No Marchioness, but now a Queen.
SONG ON MAY MORNING.*
Now the bright morning-star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the cast, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing!
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.
* This beautiful little song presents an eminent proof of Milton's attention to the effect of metre, in that admirable change of numbers with which he describes the appearance of the May Morning, and salutes her after she has aj peared; as different as the subject is, and produced by the transition from iambics to trochaics. So in “L’Allegro," he banishes Melancholy in iambics, but invites Euphrosyne and her attendants in trochaics.-TODD,
59. Banks of Came: The Camus angli- 68. Through pangs, &c. We cannot tou cised. See - Lyciilas," 103. "I have been much admire the beauty of this line: I told that there was a Cambridge-colleo wish it had closed the poem, which it tion of verses on her death, among which would have done with singular effect. Milton's elegiack ode first appeared."-T. What follows serves only to weaken it, WARTON.
and the last verse is an eminent instance 63. Syrian shepherdess: Rachel. Gen. of the bathos.--DUNSTER. XXX. 22, 23.
At a VACATION EXERCISE* in the College, part Latin, part English.
The Latin speeches ended, the English thus began :
Hail, native Language, that by sinews weak
Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak;
And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips,
Half unpronounced, slide through my infant lips;
Driving dumb Silence from the portal door,
Where he had mutely sat two years before!
Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask,
That now I use thee in my latter task:
Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee;
I know my tongue but little grace can do thee:
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first;
Believe me, I have thither pack'd the worst:
And, if it happen as I did forecast,
The daintiest dishes shall be served up last.
I pray thee, then, deny me not thy aid
For this same small neglect that I have made:
But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure,
And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure;
Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight,
Which takes our late fantasticks with delight;
But cull those richest robes, and gay'st attire,
Which deepest spirits and choicest wits desire.
Written in 1627. The “ Verses at a Vacation Exercise in College,” are full of ingenuity and imagery, and have several fine passages; but, though they blame “ new-funglel toys” with a noble disdain, they are themselves in many parts too fantastic.- BRYDGES.
19. Not those new.fungled toys, &c. Milton began to conceive a contempt for Perhaps he here alludes to Lilly's “ Eu- the poetry in vogue; and this he seems phues," book full of affected phraseo- to have retained to the lx-t. In the locy, which pretended to reform or refine 6. Tractate on Education," recommending the English languare. The laulies and to his pupils the study of pool critics, the courtiers were all instructed in this he adds, "This would make them soon new style, and it was esteemei a mark perceive what despicable creatures our of ignorance or unpoliteness not to un- common rhymers and play-writers be; derstand Euphuism.
and show what religious, what glorious, 21. Bit(ul, &c. From a yonth of nine- what mignificent use might le mede of teen these are triking expressions of a poetry." Milton's own writings are the consciousness of superior genius, and of most illustrious proof of this.-T. WARan audition to rise above the level of the TON. fashionable rhymers. At so early an age