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TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY.*
Of England's council, and her treasury,
And left them both, more in himself content,
Broke him, as that dishonest victory,
Kill’d, with report, that old man eloquent. +
Wherein your father flourish'd, yet by you,
Madam, methinks I see him living yet ;
That all both judge you to relate them true,
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON MY
WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES. 1645.
And woven close, both matter, form, & style;
The subject new : it walk'd the town awhile, Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored on. Cries the stall-reader, " Bless us! what a word on
A title page is this !” and some, in file,
spelling false, while one might walk to MileEnd Green. Why, is it harder, sirs, than Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp ? $
* The daughter of Sir James Ley, whose singular learning and abilities raised him through all the great posts of the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough, and Lord High Treasurer, and Lord President of the Council to King James I. He died in an advanced age; and Milton attributes
his death to the breaking of the Parliament: and it is true that the Parliament was dissolved the 10th of March 1628-9, and he died on the 14th of the same month.-Newton.
+ Isocrates, the orator. The victory was gained by Philip of Macedon over the Athenians.- Warton.
| This was one of Milton's books published in consequence of his divorce from his first wife. Tetrachordon signifies Expositions on the four chief places in Scripture which mention marriage or nullities in marriage.- Warton.
§ Milton is here collecting, from his hatred to the Scots, what he thinks Scottish nanies of an ill sound. Colkitto and Macdonnel, are one and the same person ; a brave officer on the royal side, an Irishman of the Antrim family, who served un
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek,
That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp, Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek, *
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge, and king Edward
ON THE SAME.
I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs,
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs :
Rail'd at Latona's twin-born progeny, Which after held the sun and moon in fee. But this is got by casting pearls to hogs; That bawl for freedom, in their senseless mood
And still revolt when truth would set them free,
License they mean, when they cry liberty ;
But from that mark, how far they rove we see,
TO MR. H. LAWES, ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS.
HARRY, whose tuneful and well measured song
First taught our English music how to span
With Midas' ears, committing short and long; Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writ the man, That with smooth air, could'st humour best our tongue. Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing
der Montrose. The Macdonalds of that family are styled, by way of distinction, Mac Collcittock,--that is, descendants of lame Colin. Galasp is a Scottish writer against the Independents; for whom see Milton's verses On the Forcers of Conscience, &c. He is George Gillespie, one of the Scotch members of the Assembly of Divines.- Warton.
* The first professor of the Greek tongue in the university of Cambridge, and was afterwards made one of the tutors to Edward VI. See his Life by Strype, or Biographia Britannica. -Newton.
To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire,
That tunest their happiest lines in hymn, or story. Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing,
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHARINE
THOMSON, MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND,
Deceased December 16, 1646.* When Faith and Love, which parted from thee never,
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God,
Meekly thou didst resign this earthly load
Štaid not behind, nor in the grave were trod ;
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Thy hand-maids, clad them o'er with purple beams,
And azure wings, that up they flew so dress'd, And spake the truth of thee, on glorious themes,
Before the Judge; who thenceforth bid thee rest, And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings,
Victory home, though new rebellions raise Their hydra heads, and the false North displays
Her broken league, to imp their serpent wings. O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
For what can war, but endless war still breed ?
Till truth and right from violence be freed, And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand
• Dr. Newton found, in the accounts of Milton's life, that when he was first made Latin Secretary, he lodged at one Thomson's, next oor to the Bull Head Tavern, at Charing Cross. This Mrs. Thomson was in all probability one of that family,
Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, While avarice and rapine share the land.
TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.
CROMWELL, our chief of men, who, through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
To peace & truth thy glorious way hast plough’d, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud,
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued; While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued,
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much remains
To conquer still; peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise, Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains :
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The fierce Epirot, and the African bold,
The drift- of hollow states, hard to be spell’d;
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
Both spiritual power & civil, what each means,
What severs each, thou hast learn’d, which few have The bounds of either sword to thee we owe : [done.
Therefore, on thy firm hand Religion leans
• Sir Henry Vane the younger was the chief of the Independents, and therefore Milton's friend. He was the contriver of the Solemn League and Covenant. In the pamphlets of that age he is called Sir Humorous Vanity. He was beheaded in 1662.
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT, 1655. Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold ;
When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks & stones, Forget not : in thy book record their groans,
Who were thy sheep, and, in their ancient fold
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heaven. Their martyr'd blood & ashes sow O’er all the Italian fields, where still doth
sway The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learn'd thy way,
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he, returning, chide ; “ Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?”
I fondly ask : but patience, to prevent That murmur,
soon replies, “ God doth not need Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
TO MR. LAWRENCE.
Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and, by the fire,
* The virtuous son was author of a work “ Of our Communion with Angels,” printed in 1646. The father was member for Herefordshire, in the Little Parliament which began in 1653, and was active in settling the protectorate of Cromwell.