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Here's the spring-head of Pleasure's flood; Though so exalted she, Where all the riches lie, that she
And I so lowly be, Has coin'd and stamp'a for good.
Tell her, such different notes make all thy har
mony. Pride and ambition here Only in far-fetch'd metaphors appear ;
Hark! how the strings awake: Here nought but winds can hurtful murmurs scatter, And, though the moving hand approach not near, And nought but Echo fatter.
Themselves with awful fear, The gods, when they descended, hither
A kind of numerous trembling make. From Heaven did always chuse their way;
Now all thy forces try, And therefore we may boldly say,
Now all thy charms apply, That 'tis the way too thither.
Revenge upon her ear the conquests of her eye. How happy here should I,
Weak Lyre! thy virtue sure
To cure, but not to wound,
And she to wound, but not to cure. I should have then this only fear
Too weak too wilt thou prove Lest men, when they my pleasures see,
My passion to remove, Should hither throng to live like me,
Physic to other ills, thou'rt nourishment to love. And so make a city here.
Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre !
In sounds that will prevail;
Nor gentle thoughts in her inspire : AWAKE, awake, my Lyre!
All thy vain mirth lay by, And tell thy silent master's humble tale
Bid thy strings silent lie, In sounds that may prevail ;
Sleep, sleep again, my Lyre; and let thy master Sounds that gentle thoughts inspire:
FROM THE DAVIDEIS.
JOAN Milton, a poet of the first rank in eminence, poem, of great elegance. He left Italy by the way of was descended from an ancient family, settled at Geneva, where he contracted an acquaintance with Milton, in Oxfordshire. His father, whose de- two learned divines, John Diodati and Frederic sertion of the Roman Catholic faith was the cause Spanheim ; and he returned through France, having of his disinheritance, settled in London as a scri- been absent about a year and three months. Fener, and marrying a woman of good family, had On his arrival, Milton found the nation agitated two sons and a daughter. John, the eldest son, by civil and religious disputes, which threatened a was born in Bread-street, on December 9. 1608. crisis ; and as he had expressed himself impatient to He received the rudiments of learning from a be present on the theatre of contention, it has been domestic tutor, Thomas Young, afterwards chap- thought extraordinary that he did not immediately lain to the English merchants at Hamburg, whose place himself in some active station. But his turn merits are gratefully commemorated by his pupil, was not military ; his fortune precluded a seat in in a Latin elegy. At a proper age he was sent to parliament ; the pulpit he had declined; and for the St. Paul's school, and there began to distinguish bar he had made no preparation. His taste and himself by his intense application to study, as well habits were altogether literary ; for the present, as by his poetical talents. In his sixteenth year he therefore, he fixed himself in the metropolis, and was removed to Christ's college, Cambridge, where undertook the education of his sister's two sons, of he was admitted a pensioner, under the tuition of the name of Philips. Soon after, he was applied to Ur. W. Chappel.
by several parents to admit their children to the Of his course of studies in the university little is benefit of his tuition. He therefore took a comknown ; but it appears, from several exercises pre- modious house in Aldersgate-street, and opened an served in his works, that he had acquired extraor- academy. Disapproving the plan of education in dinary skill in writing Latin verses, which are of a the public schools and universities, he deviated from purer taste than any pre ding compositions of the it as widely as possible. He put into the hands kind by English scholars. • He took the degrees of his scholars, instead of the common classics, such both of Bachelor and Master of Arts; the latter in Greek and Latin authors as treated on the arts and 1632, when he left Cambridge. He renounced his sciences, and on philosophy ; thus expecting to inoriginal intention of entering the church, for which stil the knowledge of things with that of words. We he has given as a reason, that, “coming to some are not informed of the result of his plan; but it maturity of years, he had perceived what tyranny will appear singular that one who had himself drunk and invaded it;" which denotes a man early habitu- so deeply at the muse's fount, should withhold the ated to think and act for himself.
draught from others. We learn, however, that he perHe now returned to his father, who had retired formed the task of instruction with great assiduity. from business to a residence at Horton, in Buck- Milton did not long suffer himself to lie under inghamshire; and he there passed five years in the the reproach of having neglected the public cause in study of the best Roman and Grecian authors, and his private pursuits; and, in 1641, he published in the composition of some of his finest miscella- four treatises relative to church-government, in neous poems. This was the period of his Allegro which he gave the preponderance to the presbyteand Penseroso, his Comus and Lycidas. That his rian form above the episcopalian. Resuming the learning and talents had at this time attracted con- same controversy in the following year, he numsiderable notice, appears from an application made bered among his antagonists such men as Bishop to him from the Bridgewater family, which pro- Hall and Archbishop Usher. His father, who had duced his admirable masque of “ Comus," per been disturbed by the king's troops, now came to formed in 1634, at Ludlow Castle, before the Earl live with him; and the necessity of a female head of of Bridgewater, then Lord President of Wales; and such a house, caused Milton, in 1643, to form a conalso by his “ Arcades,” part of an entertainment nection with the daughter of Richard Powell, Esq., presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby, at a magistrate of Oxfordshire. This was, in several Harefield, by some of her family.
respects, an unhappy marriage ; for his father-inIn 1638, he obtained his father's leave to improve law was a zealous royalist, and his wife had achimself by foreign travel, and set out for the con- customed herself to the jovial hospitality of that sinent. Passing through France, he proceeded to party, She had not, therefore, passed above a Italy, and spent a considerable time in that seat of month in her husband's house, when, having prothe arts and of literature. At Naples he was kindly cured an invitation from her father, she went to pass received by Manso, Marquis of Villa, who had the summer in his mansion. Milton's invitations long before deserved the gratitude of poets by his for her return were treated with contempt; upon patronage of Tasso; and, in return for a laudatory which, regarding her conduct as a desertion which distich of Manso, Milton addressed to him a Latin broke the nuptial contract, he determined to punish it by repudiation. In 1644 he published a work | however, suffered no eclipse from this loss of his on The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce;" sensitive faculties; and he pursued, without interand, in the next year, it was followed by “ Te- mission, both his official and his controversial occutrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief pations. Cromwell, about this time, having assumed Places in Scripture which treat of Marriage." He the supreme power, with the title of Protector, 'farther reduced his doctrine into practice, by pay- Milton acted with a subservience towards this ing his addresses to a young lady of great accom- usurper which is the part of his conduct that it is plishments ; but, as he was paying a visit to a neigh- the most difficult to justify. It might have been bour and kinsman, he was surprised with the sud- expected, that when the wisest and most conscienden entrance of his wife, who threw herself at his tious of the republicans had become sensible of his feet, and implored forgiveness. After a short arts, and opposed his ambitious projects, the inind struggle of resentment, he took her to his bosom; of Milton would neither have been blinded by his and he sealed the reconciliation by opening his hypocrisy, nor overawed by his power. Possibly house to her father and brothers, when they had the real cause of his predilection for Cromwell, was been driven from home by the triumph of the re- that he saw no refuge from the intolerance of the publican arms.
Presbyterians, but in the moderation of the ProIn the progress of Milton's prose works, it will tector. And, in fact, the very passage in which he be right to mention his “ Areopagitica; a Speech of addresses him with the loftiest encomium, contains Mr. John Milton, for the Liberty of Unlicensed a free and noble exhortation to him to respect Printing," - a work, published in 1644, written with that public liberty, of which he appeared to be the equal spirit and ability, and which, when reprinted guardian. in 1738, was affirmed by the editor to be the best de- Cromwell at length died; and so zealous and sanfence that had ever then appeared of that essential guine was Milton, to the very last, that one of his article of public liberty. In the following year he latest political productions was, “ A ready and easy took care that his poetical character should not be Way to establish a free Commonwealth." It was in lost to the world, and published his juvenile poems, vain, however, to contend, by pamphlets, with the Latin and English.
national inclination; and Charles II. returned in Milton's principles of the origin and end of triumph. Milton was discharged from his office, government carried him to a full approbation of the and lay for some time concealed in the house of a trial and execution of the king ; and, in order to friend. The House of Commons desired that his conciliate the minds of the people to that act, he Majesty would issue a proclamation to call in Milpublished, early in 1649, a work entitled, “ The ton's Defences of the People, and Iconoclastes, toTenure of Kings and Magistrates; proving that it gether with a book of Goodwyn's. The books were is lawful, and hath been so held through all ages, accordingly burnt by the common hangman ; but the for any who have the power, to call to account authors were returned as having absconded; nor, in a tyrant or wicked king; and, after due con- the act of indemnity, did the name of Milton appear viction, to depose and put him to death, if the ordi- among those of the excepted persons. nary magistrate have neglected or denied to do He now, in reduced circumstances, and under the it." Certainly, it would not be easy to express, in discountenance of power, removed to a private stronger terms, an author's resolution to leave no habitation near his former residence. He had doubts concerning his opinion on this important buried his first wife; and a second, the daughter of topic. His appointment to the Latin Secretaryship a Captain Woodcock, in Hackney, died in childbed. to the Council of State was, probably, the conse- To solace his forlorn condition, he desired his friend, quence of his decision.
Dr. Paget, to look out a third wife for him, who The learned Frenchman, Salmasius, or Saumaise, recommended a relation of his own, named Elizahaving been hired by Charles II., while in Holland, beth Minshull, of a good family in Cheshire. His to write a work in favour of the royal cause, which he powerful mind, now centered in itself, and unentitled, “ Defensio Regia," Milton was employed disturbed by contentions and temporary topics, to answer it; which he did in 1651, by his celebrated opened to those great ideas which were continually “ Defensio pro Populo Anglicano," in which he filling it, and the result was, Paradise Lost. Much exercised all his powers of Latin rhetoric, both to discussion has taken place concerning the original justify the republican party, and to confound and conception of this grand performance; but whatvilify the famous scholar against whom he took up ever hint may have suggested the rude outline, it is the pen. By this piece he acquired a high repu- certain that all the creative powers of a strong tation, both at home and abroad; and he received a imagination, and all the accumulated stores of a present of a thousand pounds from the English life devoted to learning, were expended in its comgovernment. His book went through several edi- pletion. Though he appears, at an early age, to tions; while, on the other hand, the work of Sal- have thought of some subject in the heroic times of masius was suppressed by the States of Holland, in English history, as peculiarly calculated for English whose service he lived as a professor at Leyden. verse, yet his religious turn, and assiduous study of
Milton's intense application to study had, for the Hebrew Scriptures, produced a final preference some years preceding, brought on an affection of of a story derived from the Sacred Writings, and the eyes, which gradually impaired his sight; and, giving scope to the introduction of his theological before he wrote his “ Defensio,” he was warned by system. It would be superfluous, at this tiine, to his physicians that the effort would probably end in weigh the merits of Milton's great work, which total blindness. This opinion was soon after justi- stands so much beyond competition ; but it may be fied by a gutta serena, which seized both his eyes, affirmed, that whatever his other poems can exand subjected the remainder of his life to those pri- hibit of beauty in some parts, or of grandeur in vations which he has so feelingly described in some others, may all be referred to Paradise Lost as passages of his poems. His intellectual powers, the most perfect model of both.
Milton, not exhausted by this great effort, fol- With this work his poetical account closes ; and a lowed it in 1670 by “ Paradise Regained,” written few pieces in prose can scarcely claim particular noupon a suggestion of the Quaker Elwood's, and ap- tice. He sunk tranquilly under an exhaustion of parently regarded as the theological completion of the vital powers in November, 1674, when he had the Paradise Lost. Although, in point of inven- nearly completed his 66th year. His remains were tion, its inferiority is plainly apparent, yet, modern carried from his house in Bunhill-Fields to the criticism has pronounced that there are passages in church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, with a numerous it by no means unworthy of the genius of Milton, and splendid attendance. No monument marked allowance being made for the small compass of the the tomb of this great man, but his memory was subject, and his purpose in writing it. Together honoured with a tomb in 1737, in Westininster with it appeared his tragedy of “ Sampson Ago- | Abbey, at the expense of Auditor Benson. The nistes," composed upon the model of antiquity, and only family whom he left were daughters. never intended for the stage.
Then to come, in spite of sorrow, Hexce, loathed Melancholy,
And at my window bid good morrow,
Through the sweet-brier, or the vine, Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,
Or the twisted eglantine: In Stygian cave forlorn,
(holy! While the cock, with lively din, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights un
Scatters the rear of Darkness thin. Find out some uncouth cell,
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Checrly rouse the slumbering Morn, As ragged as thy locks,
From the side of some hoar hill, In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
Through the high wood echoing shrill: But come, thou goddess fair and free,
Some time walking, not unseen, In Heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern-gate
Where the great Sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light, To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore :
The clouds in thousand liveries dight; Or whether (as some sager sing)
While the ploughman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his sithe, There on beds of violets blue,
And every shepherd tells his tale And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Under the hawthorn in the dale. Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Whilst the landscape round it measures; Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Russet lawns, and fallows gray, Jet and youthful Jollity,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray ; Quips, and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
Mountains, on whose barren breast, Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles,
The labouring clouds do often rest; Such as bang on Hebe's cheek,
Meadows trim with daisies pide, And love to live in dimple sleek;
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide : Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
Towers and battlements it sees And laughter holding both his sides.
Bosom’d high in tufted trees, Come, and trip it, as you go,
Where perhaps some beauty lies, On the light fantastic toe;
The Cynosure of neighbouring eyes. And in thy right hand lead with thee
Hard by, a cottage chimney smoaks, The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty ;
From betwixt two aged oaks, And, if I give thee honour due,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met, Mirth, ac mit me of thy crew,
Are at their savoury dinner set To live with her, and live with thee,
Of herbs and other country messes, In unreproved pleasures free.
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ; To hear the lark begin his flight,
And then in haste her bower she leaves, And singing startle the dull Night,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ; From his watch-tower in the skies,
Or, if the earlier season leal, Til the dappled Dawn doth rise ;
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
Dwell in some idle brain, The upland hamlets will invite,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, When the merry bells ring round,
As thick and numberless And the jocund rebecks sound
As the gay motes that people the sun-beams; To many a youth, and many a maid,
Or likest hovering dreams, Dancing in the chequer'd shade ;
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train. And young and old come forth to play
But hail, thou goddess, sage and holy, On a sun-shine holiday,
Hail, divinest Melancholy ! Till the live-long day-light fail :
Whose saintly visage is too bright Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
To hit the sense of human sight, With stories told of many a feat,
And therefore to our weaker view How faery Mab the junkets eat ;
O’erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue; She was pinch’d, and pull’d, she sed;
Black, but such as in esteem And he, by friars lantern led,
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem, Tells how the drudging goblin swet,
Or that starr'd Ethiop queen that strove To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
To set her beauty's praise above When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended: His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
Yet thou art higher far descended : That ten day-labourers could not end;
Thee bright-hair'd Vesta, long of yore,
To solitary Saturn bore;
Such mixture was not held a stain:
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades Ere the first cock his matin rings.
He met her, and in secret shades Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
Of woody Ida's inmost grove, By whispering winds soon lulld asleep.
Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove. Tower'd cities please us then,
Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure, And the busy hum of men,
Sober, stedfast, and demure, Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
All in a robe of darkest grain, In weeds of peace, high triumphs hold,
Flowing with majestic train, With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
And sable stole of Cyprus lawn, Rain influence, and judge the prize
Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Of wit, or arms, while both contend
Come, but keep thy wonted state, To win her grace, whom all commend.
With even step, and musing gait; There let Hymen oft appear
And looks commercing with the skies, In saffron robe, with taper clear,
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes : And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
There, held in holy passion still, With mask, and antique pageantry;
Forget thyself to marble, till Such sights as youthful poets dream
With a sad leaden downward cast On summer eves by haunted stream.
Thou fix them on the earth as fast: Then to the well-trod stage anon,
And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, Or sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
And hears the Muses in a ring Warble his native wood-notes wild.
Aye round about Jove's altar sing : And ever, against eating cares,
And add to these retired Leisure, Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure : Married to immortal verse;
But first, and chiefest, with thee bring, Such as the meeting soul may pierce,
Him that yon soars on golden wing, In notes, with many a winding bout
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
The cherub Contemplation; With wanton heed and giddy cunning;
And the mute Silence hist along, The melting voice through mazes running,
'Less Philomel will deign a song, Untwisting all the chains that tie
In her sweetest saddest plight, The hidden soul of harmony;
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, That Orpheus' self may heave his head
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke, From golden slumber on a bed
Gently o'er the accustom'd oak: Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, Such strains as would have won the ear
Most musical, most melancholy! Of Pluto, to have quite set free
Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among, His half-regain’d Eurydice.
I woo, to hear thy even-song; These delights if thou canst give,
And, missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green,
Like one that had been led astray
Through the Heaven's wide pathless way ; Hence, vain deluding Joys,
And oft, as if her head she bow'd, The brood of Folly, without father bred!
Stooping through a fleecy cloud. How little you bested,
Oft, on a plat of rising ground, Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
I hear the far-off Curfeu sound,