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What a dewy freshness and fragrance breathe from his lines on May Morning :

Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The Aowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, beauteous 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.

We are all familiar with Milton's majestic Morning Hymn: how grandly it opens :

These are thy glorious works, Parent of good :
Almighty, thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair ; Thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels! for ye behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle His throne rejoicing; ye in heaven,
On earth, -join all ye creatures to extol
Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end !

No less beautiful is his description of Evening in Paradise :

Now came still evening on, and twilight gray
Had in her sober livery all things clad ;

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Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale ;
She all night long her amorous descant sung:
Silence was pleased : now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw !

What a rich collection of little gems might be gathered from the brilliant pages of this great poet, had we space for the garnering. Here are two or three, caught at random :

From Comus :

How charming is divine philosophy !
Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose ;
But musical as is Apollo's lute,
And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets,
Where no crude surfeit reigns.

From L'Allegro :

Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out.

From Lycidas :

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise

(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;

But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life.

How much the world is indebted to the “blind old master of English song,” it would be impossible to compute ; for not only has he enriched our literature with the vast resources of a mind pre-eminently endowed, but he was among the foremost of the pioneers of civil and religious liberty. His able and authoritative pen served as efficiently in that noble emprise, as legions of armed soldiers in the field. As the champion of human freedom, he was necessarily obnoxious to the opposing party; accordingly, on the accession of Charles II., Milton became the object of bitter hostility: to such an extent, indeed, that in order to save his valuable

life, his very existence had for a time to be kept secret. It is said that his friends spread a report that he was dead, and, assembling a mournful procession, followed his pretended remains to the grave. The king, some time afterwards discovering the trick, commended his policy “in escaping death by a seasonable show of dying.” It is related of the Duke of York, that when, on one occasion, he visited Milton, and he was asked whether he did not regard the loss of his eyesight as a judgment inflicted on him for what he had written against the late king ? he replied, “ If your highness thinks that the calamities which befall us here are indications of the wrath of Heaven, in what manner are we to account for the fate of the late king, your father? the displeasure of Heaven must, upon this supposition, have been much greater upon him than upon me, for I have only lost my eyes, but he has lost his head !” Despised and persecuted as this illustrious man was for his political faith, he stood calmly and grandly forth, in the majesty and integrity of truth, amidst all; and his posterity has not forgotten his noble service. John Milton's great spirit left the world on Sunday, the eighth of November, 1674 ; and his sacred dust reposes near the chancel of St. Giles's, Cripplegate ;-a shrine, whither tend many pilgrim feet from all parts of the civilized world. It is a note-worthy fact, that while the greatest of English poets (the bard of Avon alone excepted) received only the trifling sum of five pounds for the first edition of his great epic, one of his editors, Newton, received six hundred guineas for his annotations upon it.

The following vigorous and impressive stanzas are by Byrd :

My mind to me a kingdom is ;

Such perfect joy therein I find,
As far exceeds all earthly bliss

That God or nature hath assigned.
Though much I want, that most would have,
Yet still my mind forbids to crave.

Content I live; this is my stay,

I seek no more than may suffice;
I press to bear no haughty sway ;

Look, what I lack, my mind supplies.
Lol thus I triumph like a king,
Content with that my mind doth bring.

Some have too much, yet still they crave;

I little have, yet seek no more ;
They are but poor, though much they have,

And I am rich with little store.
They poor, I rich; they beg, I give;
They lack, I lend; they pine, I live.

My wealth is health and perfect ease ;

My conscience clear, my chief defence ;
I never seek by bribes to please,

Nor by desert to give offence.
This is my choice; for why? I find
No wealth is like a quiet mind.

CHAMBERLAYNE, a poet but little known, but of evident genius, is the author of this beautiful description of a summer morning :

The morning hath not lost her virgin blush,
Nor step, but mine, soiled the earth's tinselled robe.
How full of heaven this solitude appears,
This healthful comfort of the happy swain ;
Who from his hard but peaceful bed roused up,
In's morning exercise saluted is
By a full quire of feathered choristers,
Wedding their notes to the enamoured air !

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