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And joyous news of heav'nly Infant's birth,
5 In wintry folstice like the shorten'd light Soon swallow'd up in dark and long out-living night.
II. For now to sorrow must I tune my song, And set my harp to notes of faddest woe, Which on our dearest Lord did seise ere long, Dangers, and snares, and wrongs, and worse than so, Which he for us did freely undergo :
Most perfect Hero, try'd in heaviest plight
22. Thefe latest scenes] So it is in cus Hieronymus Vida, who was a the second edition of 1673; in the native of Cremona, and alludes former of 1645 it is Thefe latter particularly to his poem, Chriscenes.
ftiados Libri sex. And Mantua 26. Loud o'er the rest Cremona's the birth place of Virgil being near trump doth found;] He means Mar- to Cremona, Virg. Ecl. IX. 28.
Yet more; the stroke of death he must abide, A 20 Then lies him meekly down fast by his brethrens fide.
These latest fcenes confine my roving verse, To this horizon is my Phæbus bound; His Godlike acts, and his temptations fierce, And former sufferings other where are found; : 25 Loud o'er the rest Cremona's trump doth sound;
Me fofter airs befit, and fofter strings Of lute, or viol still, more apt for mournful things.
V. Befriend me Night, best patroness of grief, Over the pole thy thickest mantle throw, 30 And work my flatter'd fancy to belief, That Heav'n and Earth are color'd with my woe; My sorrows are too dark for day to know:
The leaves should all be black whereon I write, And letters where my tears have wash'd a wannish white.
Mantua væ, miseræ nimium vi
cina Cremonæ, Mr. Pope takes occasion from thence to pay a handsome compliment to Vida in his Effay on Crie ticifm ; • Vol. II.
Cremona now shall ever boast
thy name, As next in place to Mantua, next
39 Once glorious tow'rs, now funk in guiltless blood;
There doth my soul in holy vision fit
hath found that fad fepulchral rock
For fure so well instructed are my tears,
Would 37. That whirld the propbet up at the river Chebar, and was carried
Chebar flood,] As the prophet in the spirit to Jerusalem; so the Ezekiel faw the vision of the four poet fancies himself transported to wheels and of the glory of God at the same place.
Would soon unbofom all their echoes mild,
Might think th’infection of my forrows loud 55 Had got a race of mourners on some pregnant cloud. This subject the Author finding to be above the years
he had, when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what was begun, left it unfinish’d.
* On TIME.
LY envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours, Whose speed is but the heavy plummet's pace; And glut thyself with what thy womb devours, Which is no more than what is false and vain, 5 And merely mortal dross ; So little is our loss, So little is thy gain. For when as each thing bad thou hast intomb’d, And last of all thy greedy felf consum’d,
* In these poems where no date is of Milton's own editions. And beprefix'd, and no circumstances direct fore this copy of verses, it appears us to ascertain the time when they from the Manuscript that the poet were compos'd, we follow the order had written To be set on a clock.cafe.
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
Upon the CIRCUMCISION.
That erst with music, and triumphant song, First heard by happy watchful shepherds ear,
18. -happy-making fight,] The plain English of beatific vision. 15. O more exceeding love or law
Just law indeed, but more exceeding
love !] Virgil. Ecl. VIII. 49. Crudelis mater magis, an puer improbus ille?