Imatges de pÓgina

Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name;
Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower'd Thame

[The rest was prose.]


WHAT needs my Shakspeare, for his honour'd bones,
The labour of an age in piled stones?

Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid

Under a star-ypointing pyramid?

Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,

What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou, in our wonder and astonishment,
Hast built thyself a live-long monument,

For whilst, to the shame of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easy numbers flow; and that each heart
Hath, from the leaves of thy unvalued book,"
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took:
Then thou, our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving;
And, so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings, for such a tomb, would wish to die.


Who sickened in the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London by reason of the plague.

HERE lies old Hobson; Death hath broke his girt.
And here, alas! hath laid him in the dirt;

▾ Or Humber loud, that keeps the Scythian's name.





Humber, a Scythian king, landed in Britain three hundred years before the Roman invasion, and was drowned in this river by Locrine, after conquering king Albanact.T. WARTON.

Or Medway smooth, or royal-tower'd Thame.

The smoothness of the Medway is characterized in the "Mourning Muse of Thestylis." The royal towers of Thames imply Windsor castle, familiar to Milton's view, and to which I have already remarked his allusions.-T. WArton.

This is but an ordinary poem to come from Milton, on such a subject: but he did not yet know his own strength, or was content to dissemble it, out of deference to the false taste of his time. The conceit of Shakspeare's "lying sepulchred in a tomb of his own making," is in Waller's manner, not his own. But he made Shakspeare amends in his "L'Allegro," v. 133.-HURD.

Birch, and from him Dr. Newton, asserts, that this copy of verses was written in the twenty-second year of Milton's age, and printed with the Poems of Shakspeare at London in 1640. This therefore is the first of Milton's pieces that was published. We have here restored the title from the second folio of Shakspeare, printed 1632.-T. WARTON.

This epitaph is dated 1630, in Milton's own edition of his poems in 1673.—TODD. y Dear son of Memory.

He honours his favourite Shakspeare with the same relation as the Muses themselves: for the Muses are called, by the old poets, "the daughters of Memory." See Hesiod, Theog." v. 53.-NEWTON.

The leaves of thy unvalued book.

"Thy invaluable book." So in Shakspeare, "Rich. III." a. i. s. 4:

Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels.-TODD.

Or else, the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that, if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down:
For he had, any time this ten years full,
Dodged with him betwixt Cambridge and the Bull:
And surely Death could never have prevail'd,
Had not his weekly course of carriage fail'd;

But lately finding him so long at home,

And thinking how his journey's end was come,
And that he had ta'en up his latest inn;

In the kind office of a chamberlin

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Show'd him his room where he must lodge that night,
Pull'd off his boots, and took away the light:

If any ask for him, it shall be sed,

Hobson has supp'd, and 's newly gone to bed.




HERE lieth one, who did most truly prove
That he could never die while he could move;
So hung his destiny, never to rot

While he might still jog on and keep his trot,
Made of sphere-metal, never to decay
Until his revolution was at stay.

Time numbers motion; yet, without a crime
'Gainst old truth, motion number'd out his time;
And, like an engine moved with wheel and weight,
His principles being ceased, he ended straight.
Rest that gives all men life, gave him his death,
And too much breathing put him out of breath;
Nor were it contradiction to affirm,
Too long vocation hasten'd on his term.
Merely to drive the time away, he sicken'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with ale be quicken'd;
Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed outstretch'd,
If I mayn't carry, sure I'll ne'er be fetch'd;
But vow, though the cross doctors all stood hearers,
For one carrier put down to make six bearers.
Ease was his chief disease; and, to judge right,
He died for heaviness that his cart went light:
His leisure told him that his time was come,
And lack of load made his life burdensome,
That e'en to his last breath, there be that say't,
As he were press'd to death, he cried, More weight!

a In the kind office of a chamberlin, &c.





I believe the chamberlain is an officer not yet discontinued in some of the old inns in the city.-T. WARTON.

b Hobson's inn at London was the Bull in Bishopsgate-street, where his figure in fresco, with an inscription, was lately to be seen. Peck, at the end of his "Memoirs of Cromwell," has printed Hobson's will, which is dated at the close of the year 1630. He died Jan. 1, 1630, while the plague was in London. This piece was written that year.--T. WARTON.

But, had his doings lasted as they were,
He had been an immortal carrier.
Obedient to the moon, he spent his date
In course reciprocal, and had his fate
Link'd to the mutual flowing of the seas;

Yet, strange to think, his wain was his increase :
His letters are deliver'd all and gone;

Only remains this superscription.

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BECAUSE have thrown off your prelate lord,
And with stiff vows renounced his liturgy,"
To seize the widow'd whore Plurality

From them whose sin ye envied, not abhorr'd;
Dare ye for this adjure the civil sword

To force our consciences that Christ set free,
And ride us with a classic hierarchy

Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rotherford ? <

c Because you have thrown off your prelute lord, &c.

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In railing at establishments, Milton condemned not episcopacy only: he thought even the simple institutions of the new reformation too rigid and arbitrary for the natural freedom of conscience; he contended for that sort of individual or personal religion, by which every man is to be his own priest. When these verses were written, which form an irregular sonnet, presbyterianism was triumphant: and the independents and the churchmen joined in one common complaint against a want of toleration. The church of Calvin had now its heretics. Milton's haughty temper brooked no human control: even the parliamentary hierarchy was too coercive for one who acknowledged only King Jesus. His froward and refining philosophy was contented with no species of carnal policy: conformity of all sorts was slavery. He was persuaded that the modern presbyter was as much calculated for persecution and oppression as the ancient bishop.-T. WARTON.

4 And with stiff vows renounced his liturgy.

The Directory was enforced under severe penalties in 1644. The legislature prohibited the use of the Book of Common Prayer, not only in places of public worship, but in private families.-T. WARTON.

e And ride us with a classic hierarchy.

In the presbyterian church now established by law, there were, among others, classical assemblies: the kingdom of England, instead of so many dioceses, was now divided into a certain number of provinces, made up of representatives from the several classes within their respective boundaries: every parish had a congregational or parochial presbytery for the affairs of its own circle; these parochial presbyteries were combined into classes, which chose representatives for the provincial assembly, as did the provincial for the national. Thus, the city of London being distributed into twelve classes, each class chose two ministers and four lay-elders to represent them in a provincial assembly, which received appeals from the parochial and classical presbyteries, &c. These ordinances, which ascertain the age of the piece before us, took place in 1646 and 1647. See Scobell, "Col." P. i. p. 99, 150.-T. WARTON.

Taught ye by mere A. S.

The independents were now contending for toleration. In 1643 their principal leaders published a pamphlet with this title, "An Apologeticall Narration of some Ministers formerly exiles in the Netherlands, now members of the Assembly of Divines. Humbly submitted to the honourable Houses of Parliament." This piece was answered by one A. S., the person intended by Milton.-T. WARTON

* Rotherford.

Samuel Rutherford, or Rutherfoord, was one of the chief commissioners of the church

Men, whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent
Would have been held in high esteem with Paul,
Must now be named and printed hereticks
By shallow Edwards and Scotch what d'ye call :1
But we do hope to find out all your tricks,
Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent;J
That so the parliament

May, with their wholesome and preventive shears,
Clip your phylacteries, though bauk your ears,*
And succour our just fears,

When they shall read this clearly in your charge;
New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large.1

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of Scotland, who sat with the Assembly at Westminster, and who concurred in settling the grand points of presbyterian discipline. He was professor of divinity in the university of St. Andrew's, and has left a great variety of Calvinistic tracts. He was an avowed enemy to the independents, as appears from his "Disputation on pretended Liberty of Conscience, 1649." It is hence easy to see, why Rotherford was an obnoxious character to Milton.-T. WARTON.

b By shallow Edwards.

It is not the "Gangrena" of Thomas Edwards that is here the object of Milton's resentment, as Dr. Newton and Mr. Thyer have supposed. Edwards had attacked Milton's favourite plan of independency, in two pamphlets full of miserable invectives, immediately and professedly levelled against the "Apologeticall Narration" abovementioned, "Antapologia, or a full Answer to the Apologeticall Narration, &c., wherein is handled many of the controversies of these Times. By T. Edwards, minister of the gospel. Lond. 1644." However, in the "Gangrena," not less than in these two tracts, it had been his business to blacken the opponents of presbyterian uniformity, that the parliament might check their growth by penal statutes.-T. Warton.

i And Scotch what d'ye call.

Perhaps Henderson, or George Gillespie, another Scotch minister with a harder name, and one of the ecclesiastical commissioners at Westminster.-T. Warton.

j Your plots and packing, worse than those of Trent.

The famous council of Trent.-T. WARTON.

k Clip your phylacteries, though bauk your ears.

That is, although your ears cry out that they need clipping, yet the mild and gentle parliament will content itself with only clipping away your Jewish and persecuting principles.-WARBURTON.

The meaning of the present context is, "Check your insolence, without proceeding to cruel punishments." To "balk," is to spare.-T. WARTON.

1 Writ large.

That is, more domineering and tyrannical.—WARBURTON

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WHAT slender youth bedew'd with liquid odours,
ourts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
Pyrrha? For whom bind'st thou

In wreaths thy golden hair,

Plain in thy neatness? O, how oft shall he
On faith and changed gods complain, and seas
Rough with black winds, and storms
Unwonted shall admire!

Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who always vacant, always amiable
Hopes thee, of flattering gales
Unmindful. Hapless they,

To whom thou untried seem'st fair! Me, in my vow'd
Picture, the sacred wall declares to have hung

My dank and dropping weeds

To the stern god of sea.


BRUTUS thus addresses DIANA in the country of Leogecia:
GODDESS of shades, and huntress, who at will

Walk'st on the rowling spheres, and through the deep:

On thy third reign, the earth, look now and tell

What land, what seat of rest, thou bidd'st me seek,
What certain seat, where I may worship thee
For aye, with temples vow'd and virgin quires.

To whom, sleeping before the altar, DIANA answers in a vision the same night:
Brutus, far to the west, in the ocean wide,
Beyond the realm of Gaul, a land there lies,
Sea-girt it lies, where giants dwelt of old;
Now void, it fits thy people: thither bend
Thy course; there shalt thou find a lasting seat;
There to thy sons another Troy shall rise,
And kings be born of thee, whose dreadful might
Shall awe the world, and conquer nations bold.


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AH, Constantine! of how much ill was cause,
Not thy conversion, but those rich domains
That the first wealthy pope received of thee!



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