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The Poetical Works of John Milton
Scanned and proofed by Donal O'Danachair,
This e-text contains all of Milton's poems in English and Italian.
Poems in Latin have been ommitted.
The original spelling, capitalisation and punctuation have been
retained as far as possible. Characters not in the ANSI standard
set have been replaced by their nearest equivalent. The AE & OE
digraphs have been transcribed as two letters. Accented
letters in the Italian poems have been replaced by the unaccented
No italics have been retained.
Footnotes have been moved to the end of the poem to which they
refer; in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained they have been
moved to the end of the book.
The Poetical Works of John Milton
PREFACE by the Rev. H. C. Beeching, M. A.
This edition of Milton's Poetry is a reprint, as careful as Editor
and Printers have been able to make it, from the earliest printed
copies of the several poems. First the 1645 volume of the
Minor Poems has been printed entire; then follow in order the
poems added in the reissue of 1673; the Paradise Lost, from the
edition of 1667; and the Paradise Regain'd and Samson
Agonistes from the edition of 1671.
The most interesting portion of the book must be reckoned the
first section of it, which reproduces for the first time the scarce
small octavo of 1645. The only reprint of the Minor Poems in
the old spelling, so far as I know, is the one edited by Mitford,
but that followed the edition of 1673, which is comparatively
uninteresting since it could not have had Milton's oversight as it
passed through the press. We know that it was set up from a
copy of the 1645 edition, because it reproduces some pointless
eccentricities such as the varying form of the chorus to Psalm
cxxxvi; but while it corrects the errata tabulated in that edition
it commits many more blunders of its own. It is valuable,
however, as the editio princeps of ten of the sonnets and it
contains one important alteration in the Ode on the Nativity.
This and all other alterations will be found noted where they
occur. I have not thought it necessary to note mere differences
of spelling between the two editions but a word may find place
here upon their general character. Generally it may be said that,
where the two editions differ, the later spelling is that now in
use. Thus words like goddess, darkness, usually written in the
first edition with one final s, have two, while on the other hand
words like vernall, youthfull, and monosyllables like hugg, farr,
lose their double letter. Many monosyllables, e.g. som, cours,
glimps, wher, vers, aw, els, don, ey, ly, so written in 1645, take
on in 1673 an e mute, while words like harpe, windes, onely,
lose it. By a reciprocal change ayr and cipress become air and
cypress; and the vowels in daign, vail, neer, beleeve, sheild,
boosom, eeven, battail, travailer, and many other words are
similarly modernized. On the other hand there are a few cases
where the 1645 edition exhibits the spelling which has
succeeded in fixing itself, as travail (1673, travel) in the sense of
labour; and rob'd, profane, human, flood and bloody, forest,
triple, alas, huddling, are found where the 1673 edition has
roab'd, prophane, humane, floud and bloudy, forrest, tripple,
alass and hudling. Indeed the spelling in this later edition is not
untouched by seventeenth century inconsistency. It retains here
and there forms like shameles, cateres, (where 1645 reads
cateress), and occasionally reverts to the older-fashioned
spelling of monosyllables without the mute e. In the Epitaph on
the Marchioness of Winchester, it reads --' And som flowers
and some bays.' But undoubtedly the impression on the whole
is of a much more modern text.
In the matter of small or capital letters I have followed the old
copy, except in one or two places where a personification
seemed not plainly enough marked to a modern reader without
a capital. Thus in Il Penseroso, l. 49, I print Leasure, although
both editions read leasure; and in the Vacation Exercise, l. 71,
Times for times. Also where the employment or omission of a
capital is plainly due to misprinting, as too frequently in the
1673 edition, I silently make the correction. Examples are,
notes for Notes in Sonnet xvii. l. 13; Anointed for anointed in
Psalm ii. l.12.
In regard to punctuation I have followed the old printers except
in obvious misprints, and followed them also, as far as possible,
in their distribution of roman and italic type and in the grouping
of words and lines in the various titles. To follow them exactly
was impossible, as the books are so very different in size.
At this point the candid reader may perhaps ask what advantage
is gained by presenting these poems to modern readers in the
dress of a bygone age. If the question were put to me I should
probably evade it by pointing out that Mr. Frowde is issuing an
edition based upon this, in which the spelling is frankly that of
to-day. But if the question were pressed, I think a sufficient
answer might be found. To begin with, I should point out that
even Prof. Masson, who in his excellent edition argues the
point and decides in favour of modern spelling, allows that there
are peculiarities of Milton's spelling which are really significant,
and ought therefore to be noted or preserved. But who is to
determine exactly which words are spelt according to the poet's
own instructions, and which according to the printer's whim? It
is notorious that in Paradise Lost some words were spelt upon a
deliberate system, and it may very well happen that in the
volume of minor poems which the poet saw through the press in
1645, there were spellings no less systematic. Prof. Masson
makes a great point of the fact that Milton's own spelling,
exhibited in the autograph manuscript of some of the minor
poems preserved in Trinity College, Cambridge, does not
correspond with that of the printed copy. [Note: This
manuscript, invaluable to all students of Milton, has lately been
facsimiled under the superintendence of Dr. Aldis Wright, and
published at the Cambridge University press]. This is certainly
true, as the reader may see for himself by comparing the
passage from the manuscript given in the appendix with the
corresponding place in the text. Milton's own spelling revels in
redundant e's, while the printer of the 1645 book is very sparing
of them. But in cases where the spelling affects the metre, we
find that the printed text and Milton's manuscript closely
correspond; and it is upon its value in determining the metre,
quite as much as its antiquarian interest, that I should base a
justification of this reprint. Take, for instance, such a line as the
eleventh of Comus, which Prof. Masson gives as:-
Amongst the enthroned gods on sainted seats.
A reader not learned in Miltonic rhythms will certainly read this
Amongst th' enthroned gods
But the 1645 edition reads:
Amongst the enthron'd gods
and so does Milton's manuscript. Again, in line 597, Prof.
It shall be in eternal restless change
Self-fed and self-consumed. If this fail,
The pillared firmament is rottenness, &c.
But the 1645 text and Milton's manuscript read self-consum'd;
after which word there is to be understood a metrical pause to
mark the violent transition of the thought.
Again in the second line of the Sonnet to a Nightingale Prof.
Warblest at eve when all the woods are still
but the early edition, which probably follows Milton's spelling
though in this case we have no manuscript to compare, reads
'Warbl'st.' So the original text of Samson, l. 670, has 'temper'st.'
The retention of the old system of punctuation may be less
defensible, but I have retained it because it may now and then
be of use in determining a point of syntax. The absence of a
comma, for example, after the word hearse in the 58th line of
the Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester, printed by Prof.
And some flowers, and some bays
For thy hearse to strew thy ways,
but in the 1645 edition:--
And som Flowers, and som Bays,
For thy Hears to strew the ways,
goes to prove that for here must be taken as 'fore.
Of the Paradise Lost there were two editions issued during
Milton's lifetime, and while the first has been taken as our text,
all the variants in the second, not being simple misprints, have
been recorded in the notes. In one respect, however, in the
distribution of the poem into twelve books instead of ten, it has
seemed best, for the sake of practical convenience, to follow the
second edition. A word may be allowed here on the famous
correction among the Errata prefixed to the first edition: 'Lib.
2. v. 414, for we read wee.' This correction shows not only that
Milton had theories about spelling, but also that he found
means, though his sight was gone, to ascertain whether his rules
had been carried out by his printer; and in itself this fact justifies
a facsimile reprint. What the principle in the use of the double
vowel exactly was (and it is found to affect the other
monosyllabic pronouns) it is not so easy to discover, though
roughly it is clear the reduplication was intended to mark
emphasis. For example, in the speech of the Divine Son after
the battle in heaven (vi. 810-817) the pronouns which the voice
would naturally emphasize are spelt with the double vowel:
Stand onely and behold
Gods indignation on these Godless pourd
By mee; not you but mee they have despis'd,
Yet envied; against mee is all thir rage,
Because the Father, t'whom in Heav'n supream
Kingdom and Power and Glorie appertains,
Hath honourd me according to his will.
Therefore to mee thir doom he hath assign'd.
In the Son's speech offering himself as Redeemer (iii. 227-249)
where the pronoun all through is markedly emphasized, it is
printed mee the first four times, and afterwards me; but it is
noticeable that these first four times the emphatic word does
not stand in the stressed place of the verse, so that a careless
reader might not emphasize it, unless his attention were
specially led by some such sign:
Behold mee then, mee for him, life for life
I offer, on mee let thine anger fall;
Account mee man.
In the Hymn of Creation (v.160-209) where ye occurs fourteen
times, the emphasis and the metric stress six times out of seven
coincide, and the pronoun is spelt yee; where it is unemphatic,
and in an unstressed place, it is spelt ye. Two lines are especially
Speak yee who best can tell, ye Sons of light (l. 160);
Fountains and yee, that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune his praise (l. 195).
In v. 694 it marks, as the voice by its emphasis would mark in
reading, a change of subject:
So spake the false Arch-Angel, and infus'd
Bad influence into th' unwarie brest
Of his Associate; hee (i. e. the associate) together calls,
An examination of other passages, where there is no antithesis,
goes to show that the lengthened form of the pronoun is most
frequent before a pause (as vii. 95); or at the end of a line (i.
245, 257); or when a foot is inverted (v. 133); or when as
object it precedes its verb (v. 612; vii. 747), or as subject
follows it (ix. 1109; x. 4). But as we might expect under
circumstances where a purist could not correct his own proofs,
there are not a few inconsistencies. There does not seem, for
example, any special emphasis in the second wee of the
Freely we serve.
Because wee freely love, as in our will
To love or not; in this we stand or fall (v. 538).
On the other hand, in the passage (iii. 41) in which the poet
speaks of his own blindness:
Thus with the Year
Seasons return, but not to me returns
where, if anywhere, we should expect mee, we do not find it,
though it occurs in the speech eight lines below. It should be
added that this differentiation of the pronouns is not found in
any printed poem of Milton's before Paradise Lost, nor is it
found in the Cambridge autograph. In that manuscript the
constant forms are me, wee, yee. There is one place where
there is a difference in the spelling of she, and it is just possible
that this may not be due to accident. In the first verse of the
song in Arcades, the MS. reads:
This, this is shee;
and in the third verse:
This, this is she alone.
This use of the double vowel is found a few times in Paradise
Regain'd: in ii. 259 and iv. 486, 497 where mee begins a line,
and in iv. 638 where hee is specially emphatic in the concluding
lines of the poem. In Samson Agonistes it is more frequent
(e.g. lines 124, 178, 193, 220, 252, 290, 1125). Another word
the spelling of which in Paradise Lost will be observed to vary is
the pronoun their, which is spelt sometimes thir. The spelling in
the Cambridge manuscript is uniformly thire, except once when
it is thir; and where their once occurs in the writing of an
amanuensis the e is struck through. That the difference is not
merely a printer's device to accommodate his line may be seen
by a comparison of lines 358 and 363 in the First Book, where
the shorter word comes in the shorter line. It is probable that
the lighter form of the word was intended to be used when it
was quite unemphatic. Contrast, for example, in Book iii. l.59:
His own works and their works at once to view with line 113:
Thir maker and thir making and thir Fate. But the use is not
consistent, and the form thir is not found at all till the 349th
line of the First Book. The distinction is kept up in the Paradise
Regain'd and Samson Agonistes, but, if possible, with even less
consistency. Such passages, however, as Paradise Regain'd, iii.
414-440; Samson Agonistes, 880-890, are certainly spelt upon a
method, and it is noticeable that in the choruses the lighter form
Paradise Regain'd and Samson Agonistes were published in
1671, and no further edition was called for in the remaining
three years of the poet's lifetime, so that in the case of these
poems there are no new readings to record; and the texts were
so carefully revised, that only one fault (Paradise Regain'd, ii.
309) was left for correction later. In these and the other poems
I have corrected the misprints catalogued in the tables of Errata,
and I have silently corrected any other unless it might be
mistaken for a various reading, when I have called attention to
it in a note. Thus I have not recorded such blunders as Letbian
for Lesbian in the 1645 text of Lycidas, line 63; or hallow for
hollow in Paradise Lost, vi. 484; but I have noted content for
concent, in At a Solemn Musick, line 6.
In conclusion I have to offer my sincere thanks to all who have
collaborated with me in preparing this Edition; to the Delegates
of the Oxford Press for allowing me to undertake it and
decorate it with so many facsimiles; to the Controller of the
Press for his unfailing courtesy; to the printers and printer's
reader for their care and pains. Coming nearer home I cannot
but acknowledge the help I have received in looking over proof-
sheets from my sister, Mrs. P. A. Barnett, who has
ungrudgingly put at the service of this book both time and
eyesight. In taking leave of it, I may be permitted to say that it
has cost more of both these inestimable treasures than I had
anticipated. The last proof reaches me just a year after the first,
and the progress of the work has not in the interval been
interrupted. In tenui labor et tenuis gloria. Nevertheless I cannot
be sorry it was undertaken.
H. C. B.
November 8, 1899.
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of 1645 edition
Mr John Milton,
ENGLISH and LATIN
Compos'd at several times.
Printed by his true copies.
The SONGS were set in Musick by
Mr. HENRY LAWES Gentleman of
the KINGS Chappel, and one
of His MAIESTIES
Cingite, ne vace noceat mala lingua futuro,
Virgil, Eclog. 7.
Printed, and Publish'd according to
Printed by Ruth Raworth for Humphrey Moseley,
and are to be sold at the signe of the Princes
Arms in S. Pauls Church-yard. 1645.
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of 1673 edition
Mr. John Milton:
Both ENGLISH and LATIN &c.
Composed at several times.
With a small tractate of
To Mr. HARTLIB
Printed for Tho. Dring at the Blew Anchor
next Mitre Court over against Fetter
Lane in Fleet-street. 1673.
THE STATIONER TO THE READER.
It is not any Private respect of gain, Gentle Reader, for the
slightest Pamphlet is now adayes more vendible then the Works
of learnedest men; but it is the love I have to our own Language
that hath made me diligent to collect, and set forth such Peeces
in Prose and Vers as may renew the wonted honour and esteem
of our tongue: and it's the worth of these both English and Latin
poems, not the flourish of any prefixed encomions that can
invite thee to buy them, though these are not without the
highest Commendations and Applause of the learnedst
Academicks, both domestic and forrein: And amongst those of
our own Countrey, the unparalleled attestation of that
renowned Provost of Eaton, Sir Henry Wootton: I know not
thy palat how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy
soul is; perhaps more trivial Airs may please thee better. But
howsoever thy opinion is spent upon these, that incouragement
I have already received from the most ingenious men in their
clear and courteous entertainment of Mr. Wallers late choice
Peeces, hath once more made me adventure into the World,
presenting it with these ever-green, and not to be blasted
Laurels. The Authors more peculiar excellency in these studies,
was too well known to conceal his Papers, or to keep me from
attempting to sollicit them from him. Let the event guide it self
which way it will, I shall deserve of the age, by bringing into the
Light as true a Birth, as the Muses have brought forth since our
famous Spencer wrote; whose Poems in these English ones are
as rarely imitated, as sweetly excell'd. Reader, if thou art
Eagle-eied to censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose
them to thy exactest perusal.
Thine to Command
ON THE MORNING OF CHRISTS NATIVITY.
This is the Month, and this the happy morn
Wherin the Son of Heav'ns eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherwith he wont at Heav'ns high Councel-Table, 10
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,
Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day,
And chose with us a darksom House of mortal Clay.
Say Heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no vers, no hymn, or solemn strein,
To welcom him to this his new abode,
Now while the Heav'n by the Suns team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approching light, 20
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
See how from far upon the Eastern rode
The Star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet,
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet,
And joyn thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
>From out his secret Altar toucht with hallow'd fire.
IT was the Winter wilde,
While the Heav'n-born-childe, 30
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature in aw to him
Had doff't her gawdy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun her lusty Paramour.
Only with speeches fair
She woo'd the gentle Air
To hide her guilty front with innocent Snow,
And on her naked shame, 40
Pollute with sinfull blame,
The Saintly Vail of Maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her Makers eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
But he her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyd Peace,
She crown'd with Olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphear
His ready Harbinger,
With Turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing, 50
And waving wide her mirtle wand,
She strikes a universall Peace through Sea and Land.
No War, or Battails sound
Was heard the World around,
The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked Chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood,
The Trumpet spake not to the armed throng,
And Kings sate still with awfull eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by. 60
But peacefull was the night
Wherin the Prince of light
His raign of peace upon the earth began:
The Windes with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,
Whispering new joyes to the milde Ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While Birds of Calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
The Stars with deep amaze
Stand fit in steadfast gaze, 70
Bending one way their pretious influence,
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;
But in their glimmering Orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.
And though the shady gloom
Had given day her room,
The Sun himself with-held his wonted speed,
And hid his head for shame, 80
As his inferior flame,
The new enlightened world no more should need;
He saw a greater Sun appear
Then his bright Throne, or burning Axletree could bear.
The Shepherds on the Lawn,
Or ere the point of dawn,
Sate simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than,
That the mighty Pan
Was kindly com to live with them below; 90
Perhaps their loves, or els their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busie keep.
When such Musick sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook,
Answering the stringed noise,
As all their souls in blisfull rapture took:
The Air such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echo's still prolongs each heav'nly close. 100
Nature that heard such sound
Beneath the hollow round
of Cynthia's seat the Airy region thrilling,
Now was almost won
To think her part was don
And that her raign had here its last fulfilling;
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Heav'n and Earth in happier union.
At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light, 110
That with long beams the shame faced night arrayed
The helmed Cherubim
And sworded Seraphim,
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displaid,
Harping in loud and solemn quire,
With unexpressive notes to Heav'ns new-born Heir.
Such Musick (as 'tis said)
Before was never made,
But when of old the sons of morning sung,
While the Creator Great
His constellations set, 120
And the well-ballanc't world on hinges hung,
And cast the dark foundations deep,
And bid the weltring waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out ye Crystall sphears,
Once bless our human ears,
(If ye have power to touch our senses so)
And let your silver chime
Move in melodious time;
And let the Base of Heav'ns deep Organ blow, 130
And with your ninefold harmony
Make up full consort to th'Angelike symphony.
For if such holy Song
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold,
And speckl'd vanity
Will sicken soon and die,
And leprous sin will melt from earthly mould,
And Hell it self will pass away
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day. 140
Yea Truth, and Justice then
Will down return to men,
Th'enameld Arras of the Rain-bow wearing,
And Mercy set between
Thron'd in Celestiall sheen,
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down stearing,
And Heav'n as at som festivall,
Will open wide the gates of her high Palace Hall.
But wisest Fate sayes no,
This must not yet be so, 150
The Babe lies yet in smiling Infancy,
That on the bitter cross
Must redeem our loss;
So both himself and us to glorifie:
Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep,
The Wakeful trump of doom must thunder through the deep,
With such a horrid clang
As on Mount Sinai rang
While the red fire, and smouldring clouds out brake:
The aged Earth agast 160
With terrour of that blast,
Shall from the surface to the center shake;
When at the worlds last session,
The dreadfull Judge in middle Air shall spread his throne.
And then at last our bliss
Full and perfect is,
But now begins; for from this happy day
Th'old Dragon under ground
In straiter limits bound,
Not half so far casts his usurped sway, 170
And wrath to see his Kingdom fail,
Swindges the scaly Horrour of his foulded tail.
The Oracles are dumm,
No voice or hideous humm
Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,
With hollow shreik the steep of Delphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
Inspire's the pale-ey'd Priest from the prophetic cell. 180
The lonely mountains o're,
And the resounding shore,
A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament;
>From haunted spring, and dale
Edg'd with poplar pale
The parting Genius is with sighing sent,
With flowre-inwov'n tresses torn
The Nimphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets mourn.
In consecrated Earth,
And on the holy Hearth, 190
The Lars, and Lemures moan with midnight plaint,
In Urns, and Altars round,
A drear, and dying sound
Affrights the Flamins at their service quaint;
And the chill Marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar power forgoes his wonted seat.
Peor, and Baalim,
Forsake their Temples dim,
With that twise-batter'd god of Palestine,
And mooned Ashtaroth, 200
Heav'ns Queen and Mother both,
Now sits not girt with Tapers holy shine,
The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn,
In vain the Tyrian Maids their wounded Thamuz mourn.
And sullen Moloch fled,
Hath left in shadows dred,
His burning Idol all of blackest hue,
In vain with Cymbals ring,
They call the grisly king,
In dismall dance about the furnace Blue; 210
And Brutish gods of Nile as fast,
lsis and Orus, and the Dog Anubis hast.
ERE-while of Musick, and Ethereal mirth,
Wherwith the stage of Ayr and Earth did ring,
And joyous news of heav'nly Infants birth,
My muse with Angels did divide to sing;
But headlong joy is ever on the wing,
In Wintry solstice like the shortn'd light
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living night.
For now to sorrow must I tune my song,
And set my Harpe to notes of saddest wo,
Which on our dearest Lord did sease er'e long,
Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse then so, 10
Which he for us did freely undergo.
Most perfect Heroe, try'd in heaviest plight
Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human wight.
He sov'ran Priest stooping his regall head
That dropt with odorous oil down his fair eyes,
Poor fleshly Tabernacle entered,
His starry front low-rooft beneath the skies;
O what a Mask was there, what a disguise!
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, 20
Then lies him meekly down fast by his Brethrens side.
These latter scenes confine my roving vers,
To this Horizon is my Phoebus bound,
His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce,
And former sufferings other where are found;
Loud o're the rest Cremona's Trump doth sound;
Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
Of Lute, or Viol still, more apt for mournful things.
Note: 22 latter] latest 1673.
Befriend me night best Patroness of grief,
Over the Pole thy thickest mantle throw, 30
And work my flatterd fancy to belief,
That Heav'n and Earth are colour'd with my wo;
My sorrows are too dark for day to know:
The leaves should all be black wheron I write,
And letters where my tears have washt a wannish white.
See see the Chariot, and those rushing wheels,
That whirl'd the Prophet up at Chebar flood,
My spirit som transporting Cherub feels,
To bear me where the Towers of Salem stood,
Once glorious Towers, now sunk in guiltles blood; 40
There doth my soul in holy vision sit
In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatick fit.
Mine eye hath found that sad Sepulchral rock
That was the Casket of Heav'ns richest store,
And here though grief my feeble hands up-lock,
Yet on the softned Quarry would I score
My plaining vers as lively as before;
For sure so well instructed are my tears,
They would fitly fall in order'd Characters.
I thence hurried on viewles wing, 50
Take up a weeping on the Mountains wilde,
The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Would soon unboosom all their Echoes milde,
And I (for grief is easily beguild)
Might think th'infection of my sorrows bound,
Had got a race of mourners on som pregnant cloud.
Note: This subject the Author finding to be above the yeers he had,
when he wrote it, and nothing satisfi'd with what was begun,
left it unfinish'd.
FLY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;
And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more then what is false and vain,
And meerly 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 consum'd, 10
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,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine
About the supreme Throne
Of him, t'whose happy-making sight alone,
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,
Then all this Earthy grosnes quit, 20
Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.
Note: See the appendix for the manuscript version.
UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.
YE flaming Powers, and winged Warriours bright,
That erst with Musick, and triumphant song
First heard by happy watchful Shepherds ear,
So sweetly sung your Joy the Clouds along
Through the soft silence of the list'ning night;
Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distill no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow,
He who with all Heav'ns heraldry whileare 10
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin
His Infancy to sease!
O more exceeding love or law more just?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love !
For we by rightfull doom remediles
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, ev'n to nakednes; 20
And that great Cov'nant which we still transgress
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful Justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first with wounding smart
This day, but O ere long
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more neer his heart.
AT A SOLEMN MUSICK.
BLEST pair of Sirens, pledges of Heav'ns joy,
Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice, and Vers,
Wed your divine sounds, and mixt power employ
Dead things with inbreath'd sense able to pierce,
And to our high-rais'd phantasie present,
That undisturbed Song of pure content,
Ay sung before the saphire-colour'd throne
To him that sits theron
With Saintly shout, and solemn Jubily,
Where the bright Seraphim in burning row 10
Their loud up-lifted 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
That we on Earth with undiscording voice
May rightly answer that melodious noise;
As once we did, till disproportion'd sin
Jarr'd against natures chime, and with harsh din 20
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 Heav'n, till God ere long
To his celestial consort us unite,
To live with him, and sing in endles morn of light.
Note: 6 content] Manuscript reads concent as does the Second
Edition; so that content is probably a misprint.
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESTER.
THIS rich Marble doth enterr
The honour'd Wife of Winchester,
A Vicounts daughter, an Earls heir,
Besides what her vertues fair
Added to her noble birth,
More then 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 darknes, and with death. 10
Yet had the number of her days
Bin as compleat 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;
The Virgin quire for her request
The God that sits at marriage feast;
He at their invoking came
But with a scarce-wel-lighted flame; 20
And in his Garland as he stood,
Ye might discern a Cipress 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 throws;
But whether by mischance or blame
Atropos for Lucina came;
And with remorsles cruelty,
Spoil'd at once both fruit and tree: 30
The haples Babe before his birth
Had burial, yet not laid in earth,
And the languisht Mothers Womb
Was not long a living Tomb.
So have I seen som tender slip
Sav'd with care from Winters nip,
The pride of her carnation train,
Pluck't up by som unheedy swain,
Who onely thought to crop the flowr
New shot up from vernall showr; 40
But the fair blossom hangs the head
Side-ways 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 hast'ning funerall.
Gentle Lady may thy grave
Peace and quiet ever have;
After this thy travail sore
Sweet rest sease thee evermore, 50
That to give the world encrease,
Shortned hast thy own lives lease;
Here besides the sorrowing
That thy noble House doth bring,
Here be tears of perfect moan
Weept for thee in Helicon,
And som Flowers, and som Bays,
For thy Hears to strew the ways,
Sent thee from the banks of Came,
Devoted to thy vertuous name; 60
Whilst thou bright Saint high sit'st in glory,
Next her much like to thee in story,
That fair Syrian Shepherdess,
Who after yeers of barrennes,
The highly favour'd Joseph bore
To him that serv'd for her before,
And at her next birth much like thee,
Through pangs fled to felicity,
Far within the boosom bright
of blazing Majesty and Light, 70
There with thee, new welcom Saint,
Like fortunes may her soul acquaint,
With thee there clad in radiant sheen,
No Marchioness, but now a Queen.
SONG ON MAY MORNING.
Now the bright morning Star, Dayes harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The Flowry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow Cowslip, and the pale Primrose.
Hail bounteous 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 welcom thee, and wish thee long. 10
ON SHAKESPEAR. 1630.
WHAT needs my Shakespear 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 witnes of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a live-long Monument.
For whilst to th'sharne of slow-endeavouring art,
Thy easie numbers flow, and that each heart 10
Hath from the Leaves of thy unvalu'd Book,
Those Delphick lines with deep impression took,
Then thou our fancy of it self bereaving,
Dost make us Marble with too much conceaving;
And so Sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie,
That Kings for such a Tomb would wish to die.
Notes: On Shakespear. Reprinted 1632 in the second folio
Title] An epitaph on the admirable dramaticke poet W.
1 needs] neede
6 weak] dull
8 live-long] lasting
10 heart] part
13 it] her
ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER WHO SICKN'D IN THE TIME OF HIS
VACANCY, BEING FORBID TO GO TO LONDON, BY REASON OF THE
HERE lies old Hobson, Death hath broke his girt,
And here alas, hath laid him in the dirt,
Or els 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 yeers full,
Dodg'd with him, betwixt Cambridge and the Bull.
And surely, Death could never have prevail'd,
Had not his weekly cours of carriage fail'd; 10
But lately finding him so long at home,
And thinking now his journeys end was come,
And that he had tane up his latest Inne,
In the kind office of a Chamberlin
Shew'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 supt, and 's newly gon to bed.
ANOTHER ON THE SAME.
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 jogg on, and keep his trot,
Made of sphear-metal, never to decay
Untill his revolution was at stay.
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
'Gainst old truth) motion number'd out his time:
And like an Engin mov'd with wheel and waight,
His principles being ceast, he ended strait. 10
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 vacation hastned on his term.
Meerly to drive the time away he sickn'd,
Fainted, and died, nor would with Ale be quickn'd;
Nay, quoth he, on his swooning bed out-stretch'd,
If I may not carry, sure Ile ne're be fetch'd,
But vow though the cross Doctors all stood hearers,
For one Carrier put down to make six bearers. 20
Ease was his chief disease, and to judge right,
He di'd for heavines that his Cart went light,
His leasure told him that his time was com,
And lack of load, made his life burdensom
That even to his last breath (ther be that say't)
As he were prest to death, he cry'd more waight;
But had his doings lasted as they were,
He had bin an immortall Carrier.
Obedient to the Moon he spent his date
In cours reciprocal, and had his fate 30
Linkt to the mutual flowing of the Seas,
Yet (strange to think) his wain was his increase:
His Letters are deliver'd all and gon,
Onely remains this superscription.
HENCE loathed Melancholy
Of Cerberus, and blackest midnight born,
In Stygian Cave forlorn
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shreiks, and sights unholy,
Find out som uncouth cell,
Where brooding darknes spreads his jealous wings,
And the night-Raven sings;
There under Ebon shades and low-brow'd Rocks,
As ragged as thy Locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell. 10
But com thou Goddes fair and free,
In Heav'n ycleap'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To Ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether (as som Sager sing)
The frolick Wind that breathes the Spring,
Zephir with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a Maying, 20
There on Beds of Violets blew,
And fresh-blown Roses washt in dew,
Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
So bucksom, blith, and debonair.
Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Nods, and Becks, and Wreathed Smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek; 30
Sport that wrincled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Com, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastick toe,
And in thy right hand lead with thee,
The Mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty;
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crue
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free; 40
To hear the Lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
>From his watch-towre in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to com in spight of sorrow,
And at my window bid good morrow,
Through the Sweet-Briar, or the Vine,
Or the twisted Eglantine.
While the Cock with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darknes thin, 50
And to the stack, or the Barn dore,
Stoutly struts his Dames before,
Oft list'ning how the Hounds and horn
Chearly rouse the slumbring morn,
>From the side of som Hoar Hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill.
Som time walking not unseen
By Hedge-row Elms, on Hillocks green,
Right against the Eastern gate,
Wher the great Sun begins his state, 60
Rob'd in flames, and Amber light,
The clouds in thousand Liveries dight.
While the Plowman neer at hand,
Whistles ore the Furrow'd Land,
And the Milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the Mower whets his sithe,
And every Shepherd tells his tale
Under the Hawthorn in the dale.
Streit mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the Lantskip round it measures, 70
Russet Lawns, and Fallows Gray,
Where the nibling flocks do stray,
Mountains on whose barren brest
The labouring clouds do often rest:
Meadows trim with Daisies pide,
Shallow Brooks, and Rivers wide.
Towers, and Battlements it sees
Boosom'd high in tufted Trees,
Wher perhaps som beauty lies,
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes. 80
Hard by, a Cottage chimney smokes,
>From betwixt two aged Okes,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savory dinner set
Of Hearbs, and other Country Messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses;
And then in haste her Bowre she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the Sheaves;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tann'd Haycock in the Mead, 90
Som times with secure delight
The up-land Hamlets will invite,
When the merry Bells ring round,
And the jocond rebecks sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the Chequer'd shade;
And young and old com forth to play
On a Sunshine Holyday,
Till the live-long day-light fail,
Then to the Spicy Nut-brown Ale, 100
With stories told of many a feat,
How Faery Mab the junkets eat,
She was pincht, and pull'd she sed,
And he by Friars Lanthorn led
Tells how the drudging Goblin swet,
To ern his Cream-bowle duly set,
When in one night, ere glimps of morn,
His shadowy Flale hath thresh'd the Corn
That ten day-labourers could not end,
Then lies him down the Lubbar Fend. 110
And stretch'd out all the Chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And Crop-full out of dores he flings,
Ere the first Cock his Mattin rings.
Thus don the Tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering Windes soon lull'd asleep.
Towred Cities please us then,
And the busie humm of men,
Where throngs of Knights and Barons bold,
In weeds of Peace high triumphs hold, 120
With store of Ladies, whose bright eies
Rain influence, and judge the prise
Of Wit, or Arms, while both contend
To win her Grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In Saffron robe, with Taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique Pageantry,
Such sights as youthfull Poets dream
On Summer eeves by haunted stream. 130
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonsons learned Sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespear fancies childe,
Warble his native Wood-notes wilde,
And ever against eating Cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian Aires,
Married to immortal verse
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of lincked sweetnes long drawn out, 140
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running;
Untwisting all the chains that ty
The hidden soul of harmony.
That Orpheus self may heave his head
>From golden slumber on a bed
Of heapt Elysian flowres, and hear
Such streins as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half regain'd Eurydice. 150
These delights, if thou canst give,
Mirth with thee, I mean to live.
33 Ye] You 1673
104 And he by] And by the 1673
Hence vain deluding joyes,
The brood of folly without father bred,
How little you bested,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toyes;
Dwell in som idle brain
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess,
As thick and numberless
As the gay motes that people the Sun Beams,
Or likest hovering dreams
The fickle Pensioners of Morpheus train. 10
But hail thou Goddess, sage and holy,
Hail divinest Melancholy
Whose Saintly visage is too bright
To hit the Sense of human sight;
And therefore to our weaker view,
Ore laid with black staid Wisdoms hue.
Black, but such as in esteem,
Prince Memnons sister might beseem,
Or that Starr'd Ethiope Queen that strove
To set her beauties praise above 20
The Sea Nymphs, and their powers offended.
Yet thou art higher far descended,
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she (in Saturns raign,
Such mixture was not held a stain)
Oft in glimmering Bowres, and glades
He met her, and in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove,
While yet there was no fear of Jove. 30
Com pensive Nun, devout and pure,
Sober, stedfast, and demure,
All in a robe of darkest grain,
Flowing with majestick train,
And sable stole of Cipres Lawn,
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Com, but keep thy wonted state,
With eev'n step, and musing gate,
And looks commercing with the skies,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes: 40
There held in holy passion still,
Forget thy self to Marble, till
With a sad Leaden downward cast,
Thou fix them on the earth as fast.
And joyn with thee calm Peace, and Quiet,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet,
And hears the Muses in a ring,
Ay round about Joves Altar sing.
And adde to these retired Leasure,
That in trim Gardens takes his pleasure; 50
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring,
Him that yon soars on golden wing,
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne,
The Cherub Contemplation,
And the mute Silence hist along,
'Less Philomel will daign a Song,
In her sweetest, saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of night,
While Cynthia checks her Dragon yoke,
Gently o're th'accustom'd Oke; 60
Sweet Bird that shunn'st the noise of folly
Most musical!, most melancholy!
Thee Chauntress oft the Woods among
I woo to hear thy eeven-Song;
And missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven Green,
To behold the wandring Moon,
Riding neer her highest noon,
Like one that had bin led astray
Through the Heav'ns wide pathles way; 70
And oft, as if her head she bow'd,
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Oft on a Plat of rising ground,
I hear the far-off Curfeu sound,
Over som wide-water'd shoar,
Swinging slow with sullen roar;
Or if the Ayr will not permit,
Som still removed place will fit,
Where glowing Embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom 80
Far from all resort of mirth,
Save the Cricket on the hearth,
Or the Belmans drowsie charm,
To bless the dores from nightly harm:
Or let my Lamp at midnight hour,
Be seen in som high lonely Towr,
Where I may oft out-watch the Bear,
With thrice great Hermes, or unsphear
The spirit of Plato to unfold
What Worlds, or what vast Regions hold 90
The immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook:
And of those Daemons that are found
In fire, air, flood, or under ground,
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet or with Element.
Som time let Gorgeous Tragedy
In Scepter'd Pall com sweeping by,
Presenting Thebs, or Pelops line,
Or the tale of Troy divine. 100
Or what (though rare) of later age,
Ennobled hath the Buskind stage.
But, O sad Virgin, that thy power
Might raise Musaeus from his bower,
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as warbled to the string,
Drew Iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what Love did seek.
Or call up him that left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold, 110
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That own'd the vertuous Ring and Glass,
And of the wondrous Hors of Brass,
On which the Tartar King did ride;
And if ought els, great Bards beside,
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of Turneys and of Trophies hung;
Of Forests, and inchantments drear,
Where more is meant then meets the ear. 120
Thus night oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appeer,
Not trickt and frounc't as she was wont,
With the Attick Boy to hunt,
But Cherchef't in a comly Cloud,
While rocking Winds are Piping loud,
Or usher'd with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the russling Leaves,
With minute drops from off the Eaves. 130
And when the Sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me Goddes bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown that Sylvan loves
Of Pine, or monumental Oake,
Where the rude Ax with heaved stroke,
Was never heard the Nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallow'd haunt.
There in close covert by som Brook,
Where no profaner eye may look, 140
Hide me from Day's garish eie,
While the Bee with Honied thie,
That at her flowry work doth sing,
And the Waters murmuring
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feather'd Sleep;
And let som strange mysterious dream,
Wave at his Wings in Airy stream,
Of lively portrature display'd,
Softly on my eye-lids laid. 150
And as I wake, sweet musick breath
Above, about, or underneath,
Sent by som spirit to mortals good,
Or th'unseen Genius of the Wood.
But let my due feet never fail,
To walk the studious Cloysters pale,
And love the high embowed Roof
With antick Pillars massy proof,
And storied Windows richly dight,
Casting a dimm religious light. 160
There let the pealing Organ blow,
To the full voic'd Quire below,
In Service high, and Anthems cleer,
As may with sweetnes, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into extasies,
And bring all Heav'n before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peacefull hermitage,
The Hairy Gown and Mossy Cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell 170
Of every Star that Heav'n doth shew,
And every Herb that sips the dew;
Till old experience do attain
To somthing like prophetic strain.
These pleasures Melancholy give,
And I with thee will choose to live.
O Nightingale, that on yon bloomy Spray
Warbl'st at eeve, when all the Woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the Lovers heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May,
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day,
First heard before the shallow Cuccoo's bill
Portend success in love; O if Jove's will
Have linkt that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude Bird of Hate
Foretell my hopeles doom in som Grove ny: 10
As thou from yeer to yeer hast sung too late
For my relief; yet hadst no reason why,
Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.
Donna leggiadra il cui bel nome honora
L'herbosa val di Rheno, e il nobil varco,
Ben e colui d'ogni valore scarco
Qual tuo spirto gentil non innamora,
Che dolcemente mostra si di fuora
De suoi atti soavi giamai parco,
E i don', che son d'amor saette ed arco,
La onde l' alta tua virtu s'infiora.
Quando tu vaga parli, O lieta canti
Che mover possa duro alpestre legno, 10
Guardi ciascun a gli occhi ed a gli orecchi
L'entrata, chi di te si truova indegno;
Gratia sola di su gli vaglia, inanti
Che'l disio amoroso al cuor s'invecchi.
Qual in colle aspro, al imbrunir di sera
L'avezza giovinetta pastorella
Va bagnando l'herbetta strana e bella
Che mal si spande a disusata spera
Fuor di sua natia alma primavera,
Cosi Amor meco insu la lingua snella
Desta il fior novo di strania favella,
Mentre io di te, vezzosamente altera,
Canto, dal mio buon popol non inteso
E'l bel Tamigi cangio col bel Arno 10
Amor lo volse, ed io a l'altrui peso
Seppi ch' Amor cosa mai volse indarno.
Deh! foss' il mio cuor lento e'l duro seno
A chi pianta dal ciel si buon terreno.
Ridonsi donne e giovani amorosi
M' occostandosi attorno, e perche scrivi,
Perche tu scrivi in lingua ignota e strana
Verseggiando d'amor, e conie t'osi ?
Dinne, se la tua speme sia mai vana
E de pensieri lo miglior t' arrivi;
Cosi mi van burlando, altri rivi
Altri lidi t' aspettan, & altre onde
Nelle cui verdi sponde
Spuntati ad hor, ad hor a la tua chioma 10
L'immortal guiderdon d 'eterne frondi
Perche alle spalle tue soverchia soma?
Canzon dirotti, e tu per me rispondi
Dice mia Donna, e'l suo dir, e il mio cuore
Questa e lingua di cui si vanta Amore.
Diodati, e te'l diro con maraviglia,
Quel ritroso io ch'amor spreggiar solea
E de suoi lacci spesso mi ridea
Gia caddi, ov'huom dabben talhor s'impiglia.
Ne treccie d'oro, ne guancia vermiglia
M' abbaglian si, ma sotto nova idea
Pellegrina bellezza che'l cuor bea,
Portamenti alti honesti, e nelle ciglia
Quel sereno fulgor d' amabil nero,
Parole adorne di lingua piu d'una, 10
E'l cantar che di mezzo l'hemispero
Traviar ben puo la faticosa Luna,
E degil occhi suoi auventa si gran fuoco
Che l 'incerar gli oreechi mi fia poco.
Per certo i bei vostr'occhi Donna mia
Esser non puo che non fian lo mio sole
Si mi percuoton forte, come ci suole
Per l'arene di Libia chi s'invia,
Mentre un caldo vapor (ne senti pria)
Da quel lato si spinge ove mi duole,
Che forsi amanti nelle lor parole
Chiaman sospir; io non so che si sia:
Parte rinchiusa, e turbida si cela
Scosso mi il petto, e poi n'uscendo poco 10
Quivi d' attorno o s'agghiaccia, o s'ingiela;
Ma quanto a gli occhi giunge a trovar loco
Tutte le notti a me suol far piovose
Finche mia Alba rivien colma di rose.
Giovane piano, e semplicetto amante
Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono,
Madonna a voi del mio cuor l'humil dono
Faro divoto; io certo a prove tante
L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante,
De pensieri leggiadro, accorto, e buono;
Quando rugge il gran mondo, e scocca il tuono,
S 'arma di se, e d' intero diamante,
Tanto del forse, e d' invidia sicuro,
Di timori, e speranze al popol use 10
Quanto d'ingegno, e d' alto valor vago,
E di cetra sonora, e delle muse:
Sol troverete in tal parte men duro
Ove amor mise l 'insanabil ago.
How soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth,
Stoln on his wing my three and twentith yeer !
My hasting dayes flie on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th,
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arriv'd so near,
And inward ripenes doth much less appear,
That som more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow.
It shall be still in strictest measure eev'n, 10
To that same lot, however mean, or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav'n;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great task Masters eye.
Captain or Colonel, or Knight in Arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless dores may sease,
If ever deed of honour did thee please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms,
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms
That call Fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spred thy Name o're Lands and Seas,
What ever clime the Suns bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses Bowre,
The great Emathian Conqueror bid spare 10
The house of Pindarus, when Temple and Towre
Went to the ground: And the repeated air
Of sad Electra's Poet had the power
To save th' Athenian Walls from ruine bare.
Camb. autograph supplies title, When the assault was intended
to the city.
3 If deed of honour did thee ever please, 1673.
Lady that in the prime of earliest youth,
Wisely hath shun'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
That labour up the Hill of heav'nly Truth,
The better part with Mary and with Ruth,
Chosen thou hast, and they that overween,
And at thy growing vertues fret their spleen,
No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth.
Thy care is fixt and zealously attends
To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light,
And Hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastfull friends
Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.
Note: 5 with Ruth] the Ruth 1645.
Daughter to that good Earl, once President
Of Englands Counsel, and her Treasury,
Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee,
And left them both, more in himself content,
Till the sad breaking of that Parlament
Broke him, as that dishonest victory
At Chaeronea, fatal to liberty
Kil'd with report that Old man eloquent,
Though later born, then to have known the dayes
Wherin your Father flourisht, yet by you 10
Madam, me thinks I see him living yet;
So well your words his noble vertues praise,
That all both judge you to relate them true,
And to possess them, Honour'd Margaret.
Note: Camb. autograph supplies title, To the Lady Margaret
Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of
Darby at Harefield, by som Noble persons of her Family, who
appear on the Scene in pastoral habit, moving toward the seat
of State with this Song.
LOOK Nymphs, and Shepherds look,
What sudden blaze of majesty
Is that which we from hence descry
Too divine to be mistook:
This this is she
To whom our vows and wishes bend,
Heer our solemn search hath end.
Fame that her high worth to raise,
Seem'd erst so lavish and profuse,
We may justly now accuse 10
Of detraction from her praise,
Less then half we find exprest,
Envy bid conceal the rest.
Mark what radiant state she spreds,
In circle round her shining throne,
Shooting her beams like silver threds,
This this is she alone,
Sitting like a Goddes bright,
In the center of her light.
Might she the wise Latona be, 20
Or the towred Cybele,
Mother of a hunderd gods;
Juno dare's not give her odds;
Who had thought this clime had held
A deity so unparalel'd?
As they com forward, the genius of the Wood appears, and
turning toward them, speaks.
GEN. Stay gentle Swains, for though in this disguise,
I see bright honour sparkle through your eyes,
Of famous Arcady ye are, and sprung
Of that renowned flood, so often sung,
Divine Alpheus, who by secret sluse, 30
Stole under Seas to meet his Arethuse;
And ye the breathing Roses of the Wood,
Fair silver-buskind Nymphs as great and good,
I know this quest of yours, and free intent
Was all in honour and devotion ment
To the great Mistres of yon princely shrine,
Whom with low reverence I adore as mine,
And with all helpful service will comply
To further this nights glad solemnity;
And lead ye where ye may more neer behold 40
What shallow-searching Fame hath left untold;
Which I full oft amidst these shades alone
Have sate to wonder at, and gaze upon:
For know by lot from Jove I am the powr
Of this fair wood, and live in Oak'n bowr,
To nurse the Saplings tall, and curl the grove
With Ringlets quaint, and wanton windings wove.
And all my Plants I save from nightly ill,
Of noisom winds, and blasting vapours chill.
And from the Boughs brush off the evil dew, 50
And heal the harms of thwarting thunder blew,
Or what the cross dire-looking Planet smites,
Or hurtfull Worm with canker'd venom bites.
When Eev'ning gray doth rise, I fetch my round
Over the mount, and all this hallow'd ground,
And early ere the odorous breath of morn
Awakes the slumbring leaves, or tasseld horn
Shakes the high thicket, haste I all about,
Number my ranks, and visit every sprout
With puissant words, and murmurs made to bless, 60
But els in deep of night when drowsines
Hath lockt up mortal sense, then listen I
To the celestial Sirens harmony,
That sit upon the nine enfolded Sphears,
And sing to those that hold the vital shears,
And turn the Adamantine spindle round,
On which the fate of gods and men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in musick ly,
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteddy Nature to her law, 70
And the low world in measur'd motion draw
After the heavenly tune, which none can hear
Of human mould with grosse unpurged ear;
And yet such musick worthiest were to blaze
The peerles height of her immortal praise,
Whose lustre leads us, and for her most fit,
If my inferior hand or voice could hit
Inimitable sounds, yet as we go,
What ere the skill of lesser gods can show,
I will assay, her worth to celebrate, 80
And so attend ye toward her glittering state;
Where ye may all that are of noble stemm
Approach, and kiss her sacred vestures hemm.
O're the smooth enameld green
Where no print of step hath been,
Follow me as I sing,
And touch the warbled string.
Under the shady roof
Of branching Elm Star-proof,
Follow me, 90
I will bring you where she sits
Clad in splendor as befits
Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
Nymphs and Shepherds dance no more
By sandy Ladons Lillied banks.
On old Lycaeus or Cyllene hoar,
Trip no more in twilight ranks,
Though Erynanth your loss deplore, 100
A better soyl shall give ye thanks.
>From the stony Maenalus,
Bring your Flocks, and live with us,
Here ye shall have greater grace,
To serve the Lady of this place.
Though Syrinx your Pans Mistres were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
Note: 22 hunderd] Milton's own spelling here is hundred. But in
the Errata to Paradise Lost (i. 760) he corrects hundred to hunderd.
Transcriber's note: Facsimile of Title page of Lycidas follows:
Sirecte calculam ponas, ubique naufragium est.
Apud Thomam Buck, & Rogerum Daniel, celeberrimae
Academiae typographos. 1638.
In this Monody the Author bewails a learned Friend,
unfortunatly drown'd in his Passage from Chester on the Irish
Seas, 1637. And by occasion foretels the ruine of our
corrupted Clergy then in their height.
YET once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never-sear,
I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:
Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme. 10
He must not flote upon his watry bear
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
Without the meed of som melodious tear.
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring,
Begin, and somwhat loudly sweep the string.
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse,
So may som gentle Muse
With lucky words favour my destin'd Urn, 20
And as he passes turn,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shrowd.
For we were nurst upon the self-same hill,
Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.
Together both, ere the high Lawns appear'd
Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
We drove a field and both together heard
What time the Gray-fly winds her sultry horn,
Batt'ning our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
Oft till the Star that rose, at Ev'ning, bright 30
Toward Heav'ns descent had slop'd his westering wheel.
Mean while the Rural ditties were not mute,
Temper'd to th'Oaten Flute;
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fauns with clov'n heel,
>From the glad sound would not be absent long,
And old Damoetas lov'd to hear our song.
But O the heavy change, now thou art gon,
Now thou art gon, and never must return!
Thee Shepherd, thee the Woods, and desert Caves,
With wilde Thyme and the gadding Vine o'regrown, 40
And all their echoes mourn.
The Willows, and the Hazle Copses green,
Shall now no more be seen,
Fanning their joyous Leaves to thy soft layes.
As killing as the Canker to the Rose,
Or Taint-worm to the weanling Herds that graze,
Or Frost to Flowers, that their gay wardrop wear,
When first the White thorn blows;
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to Shepherds ear.
Where were ye Nymphs when the remorseless deep 50
Clos'd o're the head of your lov'd Lycidas?
For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Where your old Bards, the famous Druids ly,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wisard stream:
Ay me, I fondly dream!
Had ye bin there -- for what could that have don?
What could the Muse her self that Orpheus bore,
The Muse her self, for her inchanting son
Whom Universal nature did lament, 60
When by the rout that made the hideous roar,
His goary visage down the stream was sent,
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore.
Alas! What boots it with uncessant care
To tend the homely slighted Shepherds trade,
And strictly meditate the thankles Muse,
Were it not better don as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair?
Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise 70
(That last infirmity of Noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious dayes:
But the fair Guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze.
Comes the blind Fury with th'abhorred shears,
And slits the thin spun life. But not the praise,
Phoebus repli'd, and touch'd my trembling ears;
Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to th'world, nor in broad rumour lies, 80
But lives and spreds aloft by those pure eyes,
And perfet witnes of all judging Jove;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
Of so much fame in Heav'n expect thy meed.
O Fountain Arethuse, and thou honour'd floud,
Smooth-sliding Mincius, crown'd with vocall reeds,
That strain I heard was of a higher mood:
But now my Oate proceeds,
And listens to the Herald of the Sea
That came in Neptune's plea, 90
He ask'd the Waves, and ask'd the Fellon winds,
What hard mishap hath doom'd this gentle swain?
And question'd every gust of rugged wings
That blows from off each beaked Promontory,
They knew not of his story,
And sage Hippotades their answer brings,
That not a blast was from his dungeon stray'd,
The Ayr was calm, and on the level brine,
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd.
It was that fatall and perfidious Bark 100
Built in th'eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
Next Camus, reverend Sire, went footing slow,
His Mantle hairy, and his Bonnet sedge,
Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge
Like to that sanguine flower inscrib'd with woe.
Ah; Who hath reft (quoth he) my dearest pledge?
Last came, and last did go,
The Pilot of the Galilean lake,
Two massy Keyes he bore of metals twain, 110
(The Golden opes, the Iron shuts amain)
He shook his Miter'd locks, and stern bespake,
How well could I have spar'd for thee, young swain,
Anow of such as for their bellies sake,
Creep and intrude, and climb into the fold?
Of other care they little reck'ning make,
Then how to scramble at the shearers feast,
And shove away the worthy bidden guest.
Blind mouthes! that scarce themselves know how to hold
A Sheep-hook, or have learn'd ought els the least 120
That to the faithfull Herdmans art belongs!
What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
And when they list, their lean and flashy songs
Grate on their scrannel Pipes of wretched straw,
The hungry Sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoln with wind, and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread:
Besides what the grim Woolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing sed,
But that two-handed engine at the door, 130
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; Return Sicilian Muse,
And call the Vales, and bid them hither cast
Their Bels, and Flourets of a thousand hues.
Ye valleys low where the milde whispers use,
Of shades and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
On whose fresh lap the swart Star sparely looks,