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Or Trent, who like some earth-born giant spreads.
His thirty arms along th' indented meads,

upon that account have feigned Whose bad condition yet it doth “thirty rivers running into it,

retain,

Oft tossed with his storms, which " and likewise so many kinds of

therein still remain. “ fish swimming in it." However, this notion might very well be And the Medway and the Thame adopted in poetry. Or sullen

are joined together, as they are Mole &c. So Spenser, st. 32.

married in Spenser. I wonder

that Milton has paid no particular And Mole, that like a nousling mole compliment to the river flowing

doth make His way still under ground, till by. Cambridge (this exercise Thamis he o'ertake.

being made and spoken there) See the same account in Camden's

as Spenser has done, st. 34. Surrey. Or Severn swift &c.

Thence doth by Huntingdon and We shall have a fuller account of

Cambridge Ait, this in the Mask. Or rocky Avon,

My mother Cambridge, whom as

with a crown Spenser more largely, st. 31. He doth adorn, and is adorn'd of it But Avon marched in more stately

With many a gentle Muse, and path,

many a learned wit. Proud of his adamants, with which 91. I rather think Milton conhe shines

sulted Drayton's Polyolbion. It is And glisters wide, as als of wondrous Bath

hard to say in what sense, or in And Bristow fair, which on his waves what manner, this introduction of he builded hath.

the rivers was to be applied to the Or sedgy Lee, this river divides subject. or Trent, &c. See the Middlesex and Essex. Spenser Polyolb. s. xii. vol. iii. p. 906. thus describes it, st. 29.

And thirty several streames, from The wanton Lee that oft doth lose

many a sundry way Unto her greatness shall their wat'ry

his way.

tribute pay.

Or coaly Tine, Spenser describes Indented meads. Indent, in this it by the Picts' Wall, st. 36. Or

sense and context, in Sylvester's ancient hallowed Dee; so Spenser, Du Barlus, D. iii. W. 1. st. 39.

Our silver Medway, which doth And following Dee, which Britons

deepe indent long ygone

The flowerie mcdowes of my native Did call divine, that doth by Chester

Kent. tend.

And Drayton speaks of “ creeks See Lycidas too, ver. 55. Or indenting the land." Polyolb. s. i. Humber loud &c. So Spenser or sullen Mole, &c. at Mickleham speaks of this Scythian king, and in Surrey the Mole during the of his being drowned in the

summer appears to sink through river, st. 38.

its sandy bed into a subterraneous And nam'd the river of his wretched

current. Milton alludes to it in fate;

one of his religious disputes.

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Or sullen mole that runneth underneath,
Or Severn swift, guilty of maiden's death,
Or rocky Avon, or of sedgy Lee,
Or coaly Tine, or ancient hallow'd Dee,
Or Humber loud that keeps the Scythian's name,
Or Medway smooth, or royal tow'red Thame.

[The rest was prose.]

100

III.
On the Morning of Christ's Nativity.

*Composed 1629.

• &c."

I. THIS is the month, and this the happy morn, Wherein the Son of heav'n's eternal King, To make the word Gift, like " drowned in Humber." Elegies, “ the river Mole in Surrey, to vol. iv. p. 1244. Or Medway “ run under the bottom of a long smooth; the smoothness of the “ line, and so to start up and to Medway is characterised in Spengovern the word presbytery, ser's Mourning Muse of Thestylis. Animadv. Rem. Def.

The Medwaies silver streames Pr. W.i. 92. --quilty of maiden's

That wont so still to glide, death; Sabrina, see Comus, 827.

Were troubled now and wroth, Ancient hallowed Dee. We have ispor üdwe &c. in Apollonius The royal towers of Thames imRhodius and Theocritus; but ply Windsor Castle, familiar to Milton is not classical here. Milton's view, and to which he Dee's divinity was Druidical, and frequently makes allusions. T. is first mentioned by Gyraldus Warton. Cambrensis, from the popular * To the title of this Ode we traditions, in 1188. -or Humber have added the date, which is loud &c.; the Scythian king, prefixed in the edition of 1645, Humber, landed in Britain 300 Composed 1629, so that Milton years before the Roman invasion, was then twenty-one years old. and was drowned in this river by He speaks of this poem in the Locrine, after conquering King conclusion of his sixth Elegy to Albanact. So Drayton, Polyolb. Charles Deodati : and it was s. viii, vol.ii.p. 796. Drayton has probably made as an exercise at made a most beautiful use of this Cambridge; and there is not tradition in his Elegy “Upon only great learning shown in it, “ three Sons of the Lord Sheffield but likewise a fine vein of poetry.

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Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his father work us a perpetual peace.

II.
That glorious form, that light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at heav'n's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and here with us to be,

Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

III.
Say heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heav'n by the sun's team untrod,

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excuse.

1. This is the month, &c.] The Et subito elisos ad sua fana Deos. sixth Elegy to his friend Deodate See st. xix.-xxvi. appears to have been sent about the close of the month December.

The oracles are dumb, &c. &c. Deodate had enquired how he The rest of the Ode chiefly conwas spending his time. Milton sists of a string of affected conanswers, v. 81.

ceits, which only his early youth,

and the fashion of the times, can Paciferum canimus coelesti semine

But there is a dignity regem, Faustaque sacratis sæcula pacta lic and simplicity in st. iv. * No bris;

war, or battle's sound, &c." Vagitumque Dei, et stabulantem

worthy the maturest years, and paupere tecto

the best times. Nor is the poetry Qui suprema suo cum patre regna colit;

But peaceful was the Stelli parumque solum, modulantes- “night, &c." an expression or que æthere turmas.

two excepted, unworthy of MilThe concluding pentameter of ton. T. Warton. the paragraph points out the best 5. Sages] The prophets of part of this ode.

the Old Testament. T. Warton.

of st. v.

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Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watchin squadrons bright?

IV.

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
O

run, prevent them with thy humble ode, And lay it lowly at his blessed feet ;

25 Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the Angel quire,
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.

THE HYMN.

I. It was the winter wild, While the heav'n-born child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies

30

;

men.

23. The star-led wizards) Wise this hath touched thy lips, and

So Spenser calls the an- thine iniquity is taken away, and cient philosophers, the antique thy sin purged. In his Reason wizards, F.Q. iv. xii. 2. And he of Church Government our ausays that Lucifera's kingdom was thor has another beautiful allu. upheld by the policy,

sion to the same passage, which And strong advizement of six wisurds we quoted in a note upon the old.

Paradise Lost, i. 17.-" that eterThat is, six wise counsellors. “ nal Spirit who can enrich with Ibid. i. iv. 12, 18. See also « all utterance and knowledge, Comus, v. 872. (24.) prevent them,

" and sends out his Seraphim, come thither, before them. T. " with the hallowed fire of his Warton.

“ altar, to touch and purify the 28. From out his secret altar “ lips of whom he pleases.' As touch'd with hallow'd fire.) Allud- Mr. Pope's Messiah is formed ing to Isaiah vi. 6, 7. Then flew upon passages taken from the one of the Seraphims unto me, prophet Isaiah, he very properly having a live coal in his hand, invocates the same divine Spirit. which he had taken with the tongs

-O thou my voice inspire, from of the altar. And he laid

Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips it upon my mouth, and said, Lo,

with fire.

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Nature in awe to him
Had dofft her gaudy trim,

With her great Master so to sympathize :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun her lusty paramour.

II.
Only with speeches fair
She woos the gentle air

To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinful blame,

The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

III.
But he her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-ey'd Peace;

She crown'd with olive green, came softly sliding
Down through the turning sphere
His ready harbinger,

With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing, And waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes an universal peace through sea and land.

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32. Nature in awe to him, &c.] 52. Perhaps Dr. Newton's obHere is an imitation of Petrarch's jection is too nice. Roman third Sonnet.

phraseology however, by which Era 'l giorno, ch' al sol si scoloraro

he would excuse the expression Per la pieta del suo fattore i rai; strike a peace, is here quite out Quand'i fui preso, &c.

of the question. It is not a

I. Warlon. league or agreement of peace 52. She strikes an universal between two parties that is inpeace] The expression is a little tended. A quick and universal inaccurate, Peace to strike a diffusion is the idea. It was peace : but otherwise it is classi- done as with a stroke. T. Warcal, fædus ferire.

ton.

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