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THE FIFTH ODE OF HORACE, Lib. I.
Quis multa gracilis te puer in rosa, rendered almost
word for word without rhyme, according to th Latin measure, as near as the language will permit
What slender youth, bedew'd with liquid odours,
Pyrrha ? for whom bind'st thou
In wreaths thy golden hair,
Rough with black winds, and storms
Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Hopes thee, of flattering gales
Unmindful. Hapless they To whom thou untried seem'st fair! Me, in my
My dank and dropping weeds
TO THE NIGHTINGALE.
O NIGHTINGALE, that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still; Thou with fresh hope the lover's 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 cuckoo's bill,
Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay, Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretel my hopeless doom, in some grove nigh; As thou, from year to year,
hast 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.
sung too late
ON HIS BEING ARRIVED TO THE AGE
How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
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;
inward ripeness doth much less appear That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Hea
ven; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED
TO THE CITY.*
CAPTAIN, or Colonel, or Knight in arms
That call Fame on such gentle acts as these, And he can spread thy name o'er land and seas, What ever clime the sun's bright circle warms. Lift not thy spear against the Muses' bower : Emathian conquerer
spare The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground; and the repeated air Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save th’ Athenian walls from ruin bare.
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green, * In the manuscript after the title, is added 1642. It was in November of that year that the King marched with his army as near as Brentford, and put the city in great consternation.
And with those few art eminently seen,
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
anger find in thee but pity and ruth. Thy care is fix’d, 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 feastful friends
Passes to bliss, at the mid hour of night,
TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY,*
DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President
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.
* We have given the title which is in Milton's Manuscript, To the Lady Margaret Ley. She was 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 Marlbo rough, and Lord High Treasurer, and Lord President of the Council to King James I. He died in an advanced age, and Mil. ton 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. He left several sons and daughters; and the Lady Margaret was married to Captain Hobson, of the Isle of Wight. It appears from the accounts of Milton's life, that in the year 1643 he used frequently to visit this lady and her husband, and about that time we may suppose this sonnet was composed.