« AnteriorContinuar »
Then rough-hewn, and lastly rugged. All in From ver. 1. to ver. 8, as now printed.
Ver. 9. And twenty battles more.
So it was at first written, afterwards corrected to Sonn. xii.
the present reading, Worcester's laureat wreath. Ver. 4. Of owls and buztards.
Ver. 11, & 12, as now printed. This sonnet Ver. 10. And hate the truth whereby they should is in a female hand, unlike that in which the 8th be free.
sonnet is written. All in Milton's own hand.
Ver. 1. As now printed. Title. “To my friend Mr. Hen. Lawes, feb. Ver. 2. And to advise how war may, best up9. 1645. On the publishing of his
Move on her two main nerves. Ver. 3. Words with just notes, which till then So at first written, afterwards corrected to then us'd to scan,
and by. With Midas' eares, misjoining short Ver. 10. What power the church and what the and long.
civill means, In the first of these lines “When most were wont to
Thou leachest best, which few have scan” had also been written,
ever done. Ver. 6. And gives thee praise above the pipe of Afterwards thus, Pan,
Both spiritual power and civill, what To after age thou shalt be writ a man,
each means, Thou didst reform thy art the chief |
Thou hast learn'd well, a praise whicla among.
few have won. Thou honourst vers, &c.
Lastly, as now printed. Ver, 12. Fame, by the Tuscan's leav, shall set Ver. 13. thy right hand. thee higher
Afterwards altered to firm hand. And WarburThan old Casell, whom Dante woo'd to ton has said it should have been altered further sing.
to“ firm arm." There are three copies of this sonnet; two in This sonnet is also in a female hand, unlike Milton's hand ; the third in another, a man's either of the two last. hand. Milton, as Mr. Warton observes, had an
| Sonnets xviii, xix, xx, do not appear in the
The four first lines are wanting.
Ver. 8. As now printed.
In the hand of a fourth woman, as it seems, ven doth sever.
Ver. 3. to ver. 5, as now printed.
Afterwards altered to Heaven's hand.
sent reading. Thy hand-maids, &c.
Ver. 12. Of wbich all Europe talks from sider Here also the line had been written,
This sonnet is written in the same female hand Ver. 12. And spoke the truth.
as the last. There are two copies of this sonnet (one corrected) in Milton's hand; and a third in another, a
Sonn. xxiii. man's hand,
No variations, except in the spelling. This is
in a fifth female hand; beautifully written; imiSonn. XV.
tating also Milton's manner of beginning most of Title. “ On the &c. At the siege of Colchester.” the lines with small initial letters; which is not
From ver. 2. to ver. 13, as now printed. See the case with the other female hands. :
APPENDIX TO THE SONNETS. Title. « To the lord general Cromwell, May 1652. On the Proposalls of certaine ministers at the committee for propagation of the gospell." Af- | Dr. Birch, in bis Life of Milton, bas printed a terwards blotted out.
sonnet, said to be written by Milton in 1665, when he retired to Cha!funt in Buckinghamshire on ac- , Then, laughing, they repeat my languid layscount of the plague; and to have been seen in "Nymphs of thy native clime, perhaps, "scribed on the glass of a window in that place.
they cry, I have seen a copy of it written, apparently in a “ For whom thou hast a tongue, may feel thy coeval hand, at the end of Tonson's edition of
praise; Milton's Sınaller Poems in 1713, where it is also But we must understand ere we comply!” said to be Milton's. It is re-printed from Dr. Birch's Life of the poet, in Fawkes and Woty's Do thou, my soul's soft hope, these triflers ave; Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 67. But, Tell them, 'tis nothing, how, or what, I writ! in this sonnet, there is a scriptural mistake; Since love from silent looks can language draw, which, as Mr. Warton has observed, Milton was And scorns the lame impertinence of wit. not likely to commit. Por the Sonnet improperly represents David as punished by pestilence for his adultery with Bathsheba. Mr. Warton,
ODES. however, adds, that Dr. Birch had been informed by Vertue the engraver, that he had seen a satirical medal, struck upon Charles the Second,
ON THE MORNING OF abroad, without any legend, having a correspondent device. This sonnet, I should add, va
CHRIST'S NATIVITY". ries from the construction of the legitimate son
This is the month, and this the happy mom, net, in consisting of only ten lines, instead of
Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King, fourteen.
Of wedded maid and virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring; Fair mirrour of foul times! whose fragile sheen,
nes! whose fragile sheen' For so the holy sages once did sing, Shall, as it blazeth, break; while Providence,
That he our deadly forfeit should release, Aye watching o'er his saints with eye unseen, And with his father work us a perpetual peace, Spreads the red rod of angry pestilence,
To sweep the wicked and their counsels hence; That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
Who Heaven's lore reject for brutish sense; Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal
Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred rein" In the concluding note on the seventh Sonnet,
Afford a present to the Infant-God? it has been observed that other Italian sonnets
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain, and compositions of Milton, said to be remain
To welcome him to this bis new aboile, ing in manuscript at Florence, had been sought
Now while the Heaven, by tbe Sun's team untrod, for in vain by Mr. Hollis. I think it may not be
Hath took no print of the approaching light, improper here to observe, that there is a tradi
And all the spangled host keep watch in squation of Milton having fallen in love with a young
drons bright? lady, when he was at Florence; and, as she understood no English, of having written some See, how from far, upon the eastern road, verses to her in Italian, of which the poem, sub- The star-led visards haste with odours sweet: joined to this remark, is said to be the sense. O run, prevent them with thy humble ode, It has often been printed ; as in the Gentleman's And lay it lowly at his blessed feet; Magazine for 1760, p. 148; in Fawkes and Wo- Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet, ty's Poetical Calendar, 1763, vol. viii. p. 68; int And join thy voice unto the angel-quire, the Annual Register for 1772, p. 219; and in From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd the third volume of Milton's poems in the Edi
fire. tion of the Poets, 1779. But to the original no reference is given, and even of the translator no mention is made, in any of those volumes. The
It was the winter wild,
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies; When, in your language, Iunskill'd address
Nature in awe tu hiin,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
"This ode, in which the many learned allu“Why, to our tongue's disgrace, does thy dumb sions are highly poetical, was probably composed love
as a college-exercise at Cambridge, our author Strive, in rough sound, soft meaning to impart being now only twenty-one years old. In the He must select his words who speaks to move, edition of 1645, in its title it is said to have been
And point his purpose at the hearer's heart." | written in 1029.
It was no season then for her
| When such music sweet To wanton with the Sun, her lusty paramour. Their hearts and ears did greet,
As never was by mortal finger strook ; Only with speeches fair
Divinely-warbled voice She wooes the gentle air
Answering the stringed noise, To hide her guilty front with innocent snow; As all their souls in blissful rapture took: And on her naked shame,
The air, such pleasure loth to lose, Pollute with sinful blame,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heaThe saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
venly close. Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Nature that heard such sound, Should look so near upon her foul deformities.
Beneath the hollow round But he, her fears to cease,
Of Cynthia's seat, the aery region thrilling, Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;
Now was almost won
singl And that her reigo had here its last fulfilling ; His ready harbinger,
She knew such harmony alone With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier And, waving wide her myrtle wand,
union. She strikes an universal peace through sea and
At last surrounds their sight land.
A globe of circular light,
That with long beams the shamefac'd night No war, or battle's sound, Was heard the world around :
The helmed Cherubim,
(array'd ; The idle spear and shield were high up hung ; 1
And sworded Seraphim,
[play'd, The hooked chariot stood
Are seen in glittering ranks with wings disUnstain'd with hostile blood;
Harping in loud and solemn quire, The trumpet spake not to the armed throng; With unexpressive notes, to Heaven's new-born And kings sat still with aweful eye,
Heir. As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.
Such music (as 'tis said) •
Before was never made, But peaceful was the night,
But when of old the sons of morning sung, Wherein the Prince of light
While the Creator great His reign of peace upon the Earth began:
His constellations set, The winds, with wonder wbist,
And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung; Smoothly the waters kist,
| And cast the dark foundations deep, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
And bid the weltering waves their cozy channel Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
keep. While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave,
Ring out, ye crystal spheres,
Once bless our human ears, The stars, with deep amaze,
If ye have power to touch our senses so; Stand fix'd in stedfast gaze,
And let your silver chime Bending one way their precious influence;
Move in melodious time; And will not take their flight,
And let the base of Heaven's deep organ blow; For all the morning light,
And, with your pipefold harmony, Or Lucifer that often war'd them thence;
Make up full consort to the angelic symphoy, But in their gluinnering orbs did glow, Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them
For, if such holy song go.
Enwrap our fancy long,
Time will run back, and fetch the age of gold; And, though the shady gloom
And speckled Vanity Had given day her room,
Will sicken soon and die, The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,
And leprous Sin will melt from earthly mould; And hid his head for shame,
And Hell itself will pass away, As his inferior flame
And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering The new-enlighten'd world no more should need:
day. He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright throne, or buruing axletree, Yea, Truth and Justice then could bear.
Will down return to men,
Orb'd in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing, The shepherds on the lawn,
Mercy will sit between, Or e'er the point of dawn,
Thron'd in celestial sheen, Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
With radiant feet the tissued clouds down Full little thought they then,
And Heaven, as at some festival, (steering ; That the mighty Pan
Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall. Was kindly come to live with them below; • Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
But wisest Fate says no, Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep. | This must not yet be so,
The babe yet lies in smiling infancy,
His burning idol all of blackest hue That on the bitter cross
In vain with cymbals' ring Must redeem our loss;.
They call the grisly king, . So both himself and us to glorify:
In dismal dance about the furnace blue : Yet first, to those yobain'd in sleep,
The brutish gods of Nile as fast, The wakeful trump of doom must thunder Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste. through the deep;
Nor is Osiris seep With such a horrid clang
In Memphian grove or green, As on mount Sinai rang,
[brake: 1 Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowing While the red fire and smouldering clouds out
loud : The aged Earth aghast
Nor can he be at rest With terrour of that blast,
Within his sacred chest; Shall from the surface to the centre shake;
Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud; When, at the world's last session,
In vain with timbrelld anthems dark The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread his
The sable-stoled sorcerers bear his worshipt ark throne.
He feels from Juda's land And then at last our bliss
The dreaded infant's hand, Full and perfect is,
The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn; But now begins; for, from this happy day,
Nor all the gods beside The old Dragon, under ground
Longer dare abide, In straiter limits bound,
Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine: Not half so far casts his usurped sway;
Our babe, to show, his Godhead true. And, wroth to see his kingdom fail,
| Can in his swaddling bands controll the damned Swindges the scaly horrour of his folded tail.
crew. The oracles are dumb,
So, when the Sun in bed, No voice or hideous hum
Curtain'd with cloudy red, Runs through the arched roof in words deceiv- | Pillows his chin upon an orient wave, ing
The flocking shadows pale Apollo from his shrine
Troop to the infernal jail, Can no more divine,
Each fetter'd ghost slips to his several grave; With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leav- | And the vellow-skirted Faves No nightly trance, or breathed spell, [ing. Fly after the night-steeds, leaving their mooriInspires the pale-ey'd priest from the prophetic
lov'd maze. cell.
But see, the Virgin blest The lonely mountains o'er,
Hath Jaid her babe to rest; And the resounding shore,
Time is, our tedious song should here bare A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
ending : From haunted spring and dale,
Heaven's youngest-teemed star Edg'd with poplar pale,
Hath fix'd her polish'd car, The parting genius is with sighing sont;
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp at: With flower-inwoven tresses torn
And all about the courtly stable (tending : The nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thickets
| Bright-harness'd angels sit in ord er serviceable. mourn.
In consecrated earth,
Er while of music, and ethereal mirth, A drear and dying sound
Wherewith the stage of air and Earth did ring, Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint ; And joyous news of Heavenly Infant's birth, And the chill marble seems to sweat,
My Muse with angels did divide to sing; While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted | But headlong joy is ever on the wing, seat.
In wintery solstice like the shorten'd light,
Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living Peor and Baälim
night. Forsake their temples dim,
With that twice-batter'd god of palestine; For now to sorrow must I tune my song, .. And mooned Ashtaroth,
And set my harp to notes of saddest woe, Heaven's queen and mother both,
Which on our dearest Iord did seize ere long, [so, Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine; Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than The Libye Hammon shrinks his horn,
Which he for us did freely undergo: In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuz mourn.
* This Ode was probably composed soon after
that on the Nativity. And this perhaps was And sullen Moloch, fled,
a college exercise at Easter, as the last was a Hath left in shadows dread
Most perfect Hero, tried in heaviest plight 1 Through the soft silence of the listening Night; Of labours huge and hard, too hard for human Now mourn ; and, if sad share with us to bear wight!
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
| Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease;
Sore doth begin
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!.
For we, by rightful doom remediless,
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Entirely satisfied ; Me softer airs befit, and softer strings
And the full wrath beside Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess ; : things.
And seals obedience first, with wounding smart,
This day ; but O, ere long, Befriend me, Night, best patroness of grief;
Huge pangs and strong
Will pierce more near his heart,
DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT, nish white. See, see the chariot, and those rushing wheels,
DYING OF A COUGH'. That whirl'd the prophet up at Chebar flood; O Fairest flower, no sooner blown but blasted, My spirit some transporting cherub feels,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly, To bear me where the towers of Salem stood, Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted Once glorious towers, now sunk in guiltless Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossoin dry; blood;
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye There doth my soul in holy vision sit,
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to In pensive trance, and anguish, and ecstatic
But kill'd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss, Mine cye hath found that sad sepulchral rock
For since grim Aquilo, his charioteer, That was the casket of Heaven's richest store,
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got, I And here though grief my feeble hands up lock, He thought it touch'd his deity full near, Yet on the soften'd quarry would I score
If likewise he some fair one wedded not, My plaining verse as lively as before;
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot For sure so well instructed are my tears, "
Of long-uncoupled bed and childless eld, That they would fitly fall in order'd characters. Which, 'mongst the wanton gods, a foul reproach. Or should I thence hurried on viewless wing
was held. Take up a weeping on the mountains wild,
So, mounting up in icy-pearled car, . The gentle neighbourhood of grove and spring
Through middle empire of the freezing air Would soon unbosom all their echoes mild;
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far; And I (for grief is easily beguild)
There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his care: Might think the infection of my sorrows loud Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,
But, all unwares, with his cold kind embrace cloud.
Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair hiding
place, This subject the author finding to be above the years he had, when he wrote it, and nothing Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate; satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinished, 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 : CIRCUMCISION.
Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no YB Aaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
power! That erst with music, and triumphant song, First heard by happy watchful shepherds' ear,
Written in 1625, and first inserted in ediSo sweetly sung your joy the clouds along tion 1673. He was now seventeen, WARTON.