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Then rough-hewn, and lastly rugged. All in
Title. "To my friend Mr. Hen. Lawes, feb.
Ver. 4. Of owls and buzzards.
Ver. 11, & 12, as now printed. This sonnet
Ver. 10. And hate the truth whereby they should is in a female hand, unlike that in which the 8th
sonnet is written.
All in Milton's own hand.
Ver. 3. Words with just notes, which till then
With Midas' eares, misjoining short
In the first of these lines "When most were wont to scan" had also been written.
Ver. 6. And gives thee praise above the pipe of
To after age thou shalt be writ a man,
Thou honourst vers, &c.
Ver. 12. Fame, by the Tuscan's leav, shall set
Than old Gasell, whom Dante woo'd to
There are three copies of this sonnet; two in
From ver. 1. to ver. 8, as now printed.
So it was at first written, afterwards corrected to
ON THE MORNING OF
he retired to Cha!funt in Buckinghamshire on ac- , Then, laughing, they repeat my languid layscount of the plague; and to have been seen in- “Nymphs of thy native clime, perhaps, "scribed on the glass of a window in that place.
they cry, I have seen a copy of it written, apparently in a “ For whom thou hast a tongue, may feel thy coeval hand, at the end of Tonson's edition of
praise; Milton's Sinaller. Poems in 1713, where it is also But we must understand ere we comply!” said to be Milton's. It is re-printed from Dr. Birch's Life of the poet, in Fawkes and Woty's Do thou, my soul's soft hope, these triflers awe; Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 67. But, Tell them, 'tis nothing, how, or what, I writ! in this sonnet, there is a scriptural mistake; Since love from silent looks can language draw, which, as Mr. Warton has observed, Milton was And scorns the lame impertinence of wit. not likely to commit. For the Sonnet improperly represents David as punished by pestilence for his adultery with Bathsheba. Mr. Warton,
ODES. however, adds, that Dr. Birch had been informed by Vertue the engraver, that he had seen a satirical medal, struck upon Charles the Second, abroad, without any legend, having a correspondent device. This sonnet, I should add, va
CHRIST'S NATIVITY. ries from the construction of the legitimate son- | This is the month, and this the happy moin, net, in consisting of only ten lines, instead of
Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King, fourteen.
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born, Pair mirrour of foul times! whose fragile sheen, For so the holy sages once did sing,
Our great redemption from above did bring; Shall, as it blazeth, break; while Providence,
That he our deadly forfeit should release, Aye watching o'er his saints with eye unseen, And with bis Father work us a perpetual peace. Spreads the red rod of angry pestilence,
To sweep the wicked and their counsels hence; That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Who Heaven's lore reject for brutish sense; Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council.
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal
clay. II. In the concluding note on the seventh Sonnet, Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred rein
Afford a present to the Infant-God? it has been observed that other Italian sonnets and compositions of Milton, said to be remain To welcome him to this bis new above,
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, ing in manuscript at Florence, had been sought Now while the Heaven, by the Sun's team untrod, for in vain by Mr. Hollis. I think it may not be improper here to observe, that there is a tradi- And all the spangled host keep watch in squa
Hath took no print of the approaching light, tion of Milton having fallen in love with a young
drons bright? lady, when he was at Florence; and, as she understood no English, of baving written some See, how from far, upon the eastern road, verses to her in Italian, of which the poem, sub- | The star-led wisards haste with odours sweet: joined to this remark, is said to be the sense. O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, It has often been printed ; as in the Gentleman's And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; Magazine for 1760, p. 148; in Fawkes and Wo- | Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, ty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 68; in And join thy voice unto the angel-quire, the Annual Register for 1772, p. 219; and in From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd the third volume of Milton's poems in the Edi
fire. tion of the Poets, 1779. But to the original no reference is given, and even of the translator no mention is made, in any of those volumes. The
THE HYMN. poem is entitled. A fragment of Milton, from It was the winter wild, the Italian,
While the Heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies; When, in your language, Tụnskill'd address
Nature in awe tu hiin,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
This ode, in which the many learned allu“Why, to our tongue's disgrace, does thy dumb sions are highly poetical, was probably composed love
as a college-exercise at Cambridge, our author Strive, in rough sound, soft meaning to impart being now only twenty-one years old. In the He'must select his words who speaks to move, edition of 1645, in its title it is said to have been
And point his purpose at the hearer's heart.” written in 1029.
It was no season then for her
When such music sweet To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour.
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook ; Only with speeches fair
Divinely-warbled voice She wooes the gentle air
Answering the stringed noise, To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; As all their souls in blissful rapture took: And on her naked shame,
The air, such pleasure loth to lose, Pollute with sinful blame,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heaThe saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
venly close. Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Nature that beard such sound, Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
Beneath the hollow round But he, her fears to cease,
Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling, Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;
Now was almost won
And that her reigo had here its last fulfilling; His ready harbinger,
She knew such harmony alone With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier
union. And, waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes an universal peace through sea and
At last surrounds their sight land.
A globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shamefac'd night No war, or battle's sound, Was heard the world around:
The helmed Cherubim,
And sworded Seraphim, The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
(play'd, The hooked chariot stood
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings disUnstain'd with hostile blood;
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of moming sung, Wherein the Prince of light
While the Creator great His reign of peace upon the Earth began:
His constellations set, The winds, with wonder wbist,
And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung; Smoothly the waters kist,
And cast the dark foundations deep, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
keep. While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed
Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears, The stars, with deep amaze,
If ye have power to touch our senses so; Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,
And let your silver chime Bending one way their precious influence;
Move in melodious time; And will not take their flight,
And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow; For all the morning light,
And, with your ninefold harmony, Or Lucifer that often warn'd them thence;
Make up full consort to the angelic symphoy, But in their glimmering orbs did glow, Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them For, if such holy song
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; And, though the shady gloom
And speckled Vanity Had given day her room,
Will sicken soon and die, The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; And hid his head for shame,
And Hell itself will pass away, As his inferior flame
And leave' her dolorous mansions to the peering The new-enlighten'd world no more should need:
day. He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright throne, or buruing axletree, | Yea, Truth and Justice then could bear.
Will down return to men,
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, The shepherds on the lawn,
Mercy will sit between, Or e'er the point of dawn,
Thron'd in celestial sheen, Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down Full little thought they then,
And Heaven, as at some festival, (steering ; That the mighty Pan
Will open wide the gates of her high palace ball. Was kindly come to live with them below; Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
But wisest Fate says no, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. This must not yet be so,
The babe yet lies in smiling infancy, That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss;
So both himself and us to glorify: Yet first, to those ychain'd in sleep,
His burning idol all of blackest hue;
In dismal dance about the furnace blue
The wakeful trump of doom must thunder Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.
With such a horrid clang
While the red fire and smouldering clouds out
The aged Earth aghast
With terrour of that blast,
Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
Peor and Baälim
Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of palestine;
Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;
And sullen Moloch, fled,
Nor is Osiris seen
In Memphian grove or green,
Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowing loud:
Nor can he be at rest
Within his sacred chest ;
Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud, The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark. In vain with timbrell'd anthems dark
In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,
The Lars, and Lemures, moan with midnight EREWHILE of music, and ethereal mirth,
In urns, and altars round,
Wherewith the stage of air and Earth did ring,
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
2 This Ode was probably composed soon after that on the Nativity. And this perhaps was a college exercise at Easter, as the last was at Christmas. WARTON.
Ye flaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess;
Will pierce more near his heart.
DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT,
DYING OF A COUGH'.
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to
But kill'd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.
Of long-uncoupled bed and childless eld, Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach was held.
So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,
But, all unwares, with his cold kind embrace Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair hiding place.
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!
1 Written in 1625, and first inserted in edition 1673. He was now seventeen. WARTON.