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He thought it touch'd his deity full near,
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
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
But then transform'd him to a purple flower:
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
O, no! for something in thy face did shine.
Resolve me then, O soul most surely blest,
O, say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
Wert thou some star, which from the ruin'd roof
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
From these lines one would suspect, although it does not immediately follow, that a boy was the subject of the Ode: but in the last stanza the poet says expressly:— Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child,
Her false-imagined loss cease to lament.
Yet, in the eighth stanza the person lamented is alternately supposed to have been sent down to earth in the shape of two divinities, one of whom is styled a "just maid," and the other a "sweet-smiling youth." But the child was certainly a niece, a daughter of Milton's sister Philips, and probably her first child.-T. WARTON.
If such there were.
He should have said "are," if the rhyme had permitted.-HURd.
Which careful Jove in Nature's true behoof
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some goddess fled,
Or wert thou that just maid, who once before
Or that crown'd matron sage, white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heavenly brood,
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good?
Or wert thou of the golden-winged host,
Who, having clad thyself in human weed,
To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post,
To scorn the sordid world, and unto heaven aspire?
But, O! why didst thou not stay here below
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,
This, if thou do, he will an offspring give,
That, till the world's last end shall make thy name to live.
h To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence,
Among the blessings, which the "heaven-loved" innocence of this child might have imparted, by remaining upon earth, the application to present circumstances, the sup position that she might have averted the pestilence now raging in the kingdom, is happily and beautifully conceived. On the whole, from a boy of seventeen, this Ode is an extraordinary effort of fancy, expression, and versification: even in the conceits, which are many, we perceive strong and peculiar marks of genius. I think Milton has here given a very remarkable specimen of his ability to succeed in the Spenserian stanza. He moves with great ease and address amidst the embarrassment of a frequent return of rhyme.-T. WARTON.
FLY, envious Time, till thou run out thy race;
Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain!
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
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,
When 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;
i In Milton's manuscript, written with his own hand, fol. 8, the title is, "On Time. To be set on a clock-case."-T. WARTON.
Eternal, inseparable. As in "Paradise Lost," b. iv. 485, b. v. 610.-T. Warton.
Milton could not help applying the most solemn and mysterious truths of religion on all subjects and occasions. He has here introduced the beatific vision, and the investiture of the soul with a robe of stars, into an inscription on a clock-case. Perhaps something more moral, more plain and intelligible, would have been more proper. John Bunyan, if capable of rhyming, would have written such an inscription for a clockcase. The latter part of these lines may be thought wonderfully sublime; but it is in the cant of the times. The poet should be distinguished from the enthusiast.—T. WARTON.
Yet still, I think, Milton is here no enthusiast: the triumph, which he mentions, will certainly be the triumph of every sincere Christian.-TODD.
1 That undisturbed song of pure concent, &c.
The "undisturbed song of pure concent" is the diapason of the music of the spheres, to which, in Plato's system, God himself listens.-T. WARTON.
With saintly shout, and solemn jubilee;
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
To their great Lord, whose love their motion sway'd
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 live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
The honour'd wife of Winchester,
A viscount's daughter, an earl's heir,
Added to her noble birth,
More than she could own from earth.
To house with darkness and with death.
Been as complete as was her praise,
Her high birth, and her graces sweet,
That we on earth, &c.
Perhaps there are no finer lines in Milton, less obscured by conceit, less embarrassed by affected expressious, 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.
a Besides what her virtues fair, &c.
In Howell's entertaining Letters, there is one to this lady, the Lady Jane Savage, Marchioness of Winchester, dated March 15, 1626. He says, he assisted her in learning Spanish; and that Nature and the Graces exhausted all their treasure and skill, in framing this exact model of female perfection."-T. WARTON.
• Her high birth, and her graces sweet,
She was the wife of John, Marquis of Winchester, a conspicuous loyalist in the reign
The virgin quire for her request
But with a scarce well-lighted flame;"
And with remorseless cruelty
So have I seen some tender slip,
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.
of king Charles L., whose magnificent house or castle of Basing in Hampshire withstood an obstinate siege of two years against the rebels, and when taken was levelled to the ground, because in every window was flourished Aymez Loyauté. He died in 1674, and was buried in the church of Englefield in Berkshire; where, on his monument, is ar admirable epitaph in English verse written by Dryden, which I have often seen. It is remarkable, that both husband and wife should have severally received the honour of an epitaph from two such poets as Milton and Dryden.-T. WARTON.
P He at their invoking came,
But with a scarce well-lighted flame.
Almost literally from his favourite poet Ovid, "Metam." x. 4, of Hymen:
Adfuit ille quidem: sed nec solennia verba,
Nee lætos vultus, nec felix attulit omen:
Fax quoque quam tenuit, lacrymoso stridula fumo,
Usque fuit, nullosque invenit motibus ignes.-T. WARTON.
q Ye might discern a cypress bud.
An emblem of a funeral; and it is called in Virgil "feralis," Æn. vi. 216, and in Horace "funebris," Epod. v. 18, and in Spenser "the cypress funeral," Faer. Qu. 1. i. 8. -NEWTON.