Imatges de pÓgina

He thought it touch'd his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed and childless eld,

Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach was held

So, mounting up in icy-pearled car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far;
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care.
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair;

But, all unwares, with his cold-kind embrace
Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding-place.

Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth,' born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform'd him to a purple flower:
Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no power!

Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb.
Could Heaven for pity thee so strictly doom?

O, no! for something in thy face did shine.
Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine.

Resolve me then, O soul most surely blest,
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
Tell me, bright spirit, where'er thou hoverest;
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in the Elysian fields, (if such there were)

O, say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight?

Wert thou some star, which from the ruin'd roof
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall;

For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,

Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth.







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
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?

Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall

Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some goddess fled,
Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head?

Or wert thou that just maid, who once before
Forsook the hated earth, O, tell me sooth,
And camest again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet-smiling youth?

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,
And after short abode fly back with speed,
As if to show what creatures heaven doth breed;
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire

To scorn the sordid world, and unto heaven aspire?

But, O! why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy Heaven-loved innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilence,"

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.

h To turn swift-rushing black Perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering Pestilence.


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.

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FLY, envious Time, till thou run 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,

When Truth, and Peace, and Love, shall ever shine.
About the supreme throne

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.*




BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heaven's joy;
Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice and Verse;
Wed your divine sounds, and mix'd power employ
Dead things with imbreathed 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,

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.

j Individual.

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;
Where the bright seraphim, in burning row,
Their loud uplifted angel trumpets blow;
And the cherubick host, in thousand quires,
Touch their immortal harps of golden wires,
With those just spirits that wear victorious palms,
Hymns devout and holy psalms

Singing everlastingly:


That we on earth, with undiscording voice,

May rightly answer that melodious noise;

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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 concert us unite,

To live with him, and sing in endless morn of light!


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.
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;

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That we on earth, &c.

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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,
Quickly found a lover meet.

She was the wife of John, Marquis of Winchester, a conspicuous loyalist in the reign

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,
Had 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,
Saved 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.


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.

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