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been seldom at the usurper's court, and the cir fice to public principles, than any advice. From cumstance of his having given him advice to spare ordinary men this was more than could be exthe liberties of the people, form some apology pected; but Milton prescribed to others such for this negative adherence. But if the people, austerity of duty, that, in proportion to the altiaccording to his own ideas, were capable of liberty tude of his character, the world, which looked to after Cromwell's death, they were equally so before him forexample, had a right to expect his practical it; and a renunciation of his profits under the virtue to be severe. despot would have been a nobler and fuller sacri

UPON THE CIRCUMCISION.

AN EPITAPH ON THE ADMIRABLE DRAMATICK

POET WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE*,

Ye flaming powers, and winged warriors bright,
That erst with music and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherd's ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along,
Through the soft silence of the list'ning night;
Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow :
He who with all Heaven's heraldry whilere
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease ;
Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin

His infancy to seize !
( more exceeding love, or law more just ?
Just law indeed, but more exceeding love !
For we by rightful doom remediless
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above
High throned in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, even to nakedness ;
And that great covenant which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,
And seals obedience first with wounding smart
This day, but, 0! ere long
Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart.

What needs my Shakspeare for his honour'd bones
The labour of an age in piled stones,
Or that his hallow'd relics should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid ?
Dear son of Memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a live-long monument.
For whilst to the shame of slow-endeavouring art
Thy easy numbers flow, and that each heart
Hath from the leaves of thy unvalued book
Those Delphic lines with deep impression took ;
Then thou our fancy of itself bereaving,
Dost make us marble with too much conceiving ;
And so sepulchred, in such pomp dost lie,
That kings, for such a tomb would wish to die.

SONNET TO THE NIGHTINGALE.

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ON MAY MORNING.

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 cuckow's bill,

Portend success in love ; ( if Jove's will Have link'd that amorous power to thy soft lay,

Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh ;

As thou from year to year hast sung too late 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.

(* We have copied this title at full length from the poem as it was first printed : “ It is true," says Sir Walter Scott, “that Milton descended to upbraid the unfortunate Charles I., that the chosen companion of his private hours was one William Shakspeare, a player." (Life of Dryden, p. 9. Nothing is more untrue, and we quote the passage : “ The poets, and some English, bave been so mindful of decorum, as to put never more pious words in the mouth of any person than of a tyrant. I shall not instance an abstruse author, wherein the king (Charles I.) might be less conversant, but one whom we well know was the closet companion of these, his solitudes, William Shakspeare, who introduces the person of Richard III." sc. speaking such stuff, he goes on to say, as the king has written, and deep dissemblers indulge in. What is there in this disrespectful to the "sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child," of his juvenile verses ?]

Now the bright morning Star, day's harbinger,
Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her
The flow'ry May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose.

Hail, bounteous May! that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire ;
Woods and groves are of thy dressing,

Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing !
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

1

Æolian charms, and Dorian lyric odes,
SONNET ON HIS BLINDNESS.

And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,

Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer callid, WHEN I consider how my light is spent

Whose poem Phæbus challenged for his own. Ere half my days in this dark world and wide, Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught And that one talent which is death to hide,

In chorus or iambic, teachers best Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent Of moral prudence, with delight received To serve therewith my Maker, and present In brief sententious precepts, while they treat My true account, lest He returning chide ;

Of fate, and chance, and change in human life ; Doth God exact day-labour, light denied, High actions and high passions best describing ; I fondly ask ? but Patience to prevent

Thence to the famous orators repair,
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Either man's work or his own gifts ; who best Wielded at will that fierce democratie,

Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece,
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed, [state, To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne.
And post o'er land and ocean without rest ;

They also serve who only stand and wait.'

ATHENS.

SAMSON BEWAILING HIS BLINDNESS AND

CAPTIVITY.
SONNET ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.

(Attendant leading him.)

FROM SAMSON AGONISTES.
METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave, A LITTLE onward lend thy guiding hand
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave

To these dark steps, a little further on ;
4 Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint. For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade ;
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint, There I am wont to sit, when any chance
Purification in the old Law did save,

Relieves me from my task of servile toil, And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Daily in the common prison else enjoin’d me, Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,

Where I a prisoner chain’d, scarce freely draw Came vested all in white, pure as her mind :

The air imprison'd also, close and damp, Her face was veild, yet to my fancied sight

Unwholesome draught : but here I feel amends, Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined

The breath of heaven fresh blowing, pure and sweet, So clear, as in no face with more delight.

With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.-
But, 0! as to embrace me she inclined, This day a solemn feast the people hold
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night. To Dagon their sea-idol, and forbid

Laborious works ; unwillingly this rest
Their superstition yields me ; hence with leave
Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
This unfrequented place to find some ease,
Ease to the body some, none to the mind,

From restless thoughts, that like a deadly swarm
Look once more ere we leave this specular mount, Of hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone,
Westward, much nearer by south-west behold But rush upon me thronging, and present
Where on the Ægean shore a city stands

Times past, what once I was, and what am now. Built nobly, pure the air and light the soil, O wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts Twice by an angel, who at last in sight And eloquence, native to famous wits

Of both my parents all in flames ascended Or hospitable, in her sweet recess.

From off the altar, where an offering burnd, City or suburban, studious walks and shades ;

As in a fiery column, charioting See there the olive grove of Academe,

His godlike presence, and from some great act Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird

Or benefit reveal'd to Abraham's race? Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long; Why was my breeding order'd and prescribed There, flowery hill, Hymettus, with the sound

As of a person separate to God, Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites

Design’d for great exploits ; if I must die Lo studious musing ; there Ilissus rolls

Betray'd, captived, and both my eyes put out, Iis whispering stream: within the walls then view Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze ; l'he schools of ancient sages ; his who bred To grind in brazen fetters under task Treat Alexander to subdue the world,

With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious yceum there, and painted Stoa next :

Put to the labour of a beast, debased (strength "here shalt thou hear and learn the secret power Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I of harmony in tones and numbers hit

Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver ; by voice or hand, and various-measured verse, Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him

FROM BOOK IV. OF PARADISE REGAINED,

Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,

With God not parted from him, as was fear'd, Himself in bonds, under Philistian yoke.

But favouring and assisting to the end.

Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail O loss of sight, of thee I most complain !

Or knock the breast ; no weakness, no contempt, Blind among enemies, 0 worse than chains, Dispraise, or blame, nothing but well and fair, Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !

And what may quiet us in a death so noble. Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, Let us go find the body where it lies And all her various objects of delight

Soak'd in his enemies' blood, and from the stream, Annull’d, which might in part my grief have eased, With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off Inferior to the vilest now become

The clotted gore. I with what speed the while Of man or worm : the vilest here excel me ; (Gaza is not in plight to say us nay), They creep, yet see ; I, dark in light, exposed Will serd for all my kindred, all my friends, To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,

To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend Within doors or without, still as a fool,

With silent obsequy, and funeral train, In power of others, never in my own;

Ilome to his father's house : there will I build him Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half. A monument, and plant it round with shade O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon, Of laurel ever green, and branching palm, Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse

With all his trophies hung, and acts inrollid Without all hope of day!

In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.
O first created Beam, and thou great Word, Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
* Let there be light, and light was over all ;' And from his memory inflame their breasts
Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decree? To matchless valour, and adventures high :
The sun to me is dark

The virgins also shall on feastful days
And silent as the moon,

Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing When she deserts the night,

His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice, Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.

From whence captivity and loss of eyes. Since light so necessary is to life,

Chorus. All is best, though we oft doubt And almost life itself, if it be true

What th' unsearchable dispose That light is in the soul,

of highest Wisdom brings about, She all in every part ; why was the sight

And ever best found in the close. To such a tender ball as the eye confined,

Oft he seems to hide his face, So obvious and so easy to be quenchid ?

But unexpectedly returns, And not as feeling through all parts diffused, And to his faithful champion hath in place That she might look at will through every pore? Bore witness gloriously ; whence Gaza mourns, Then had I not been thus exiled from light, And all that band them to resist As in the land of darkness yet in light,

His uncontrollable intent ; To live a life half dead, a living death,

His servants he with new acquist And buried : but O yet more miserable !

Of true experience from this great event, Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave,

With peace and consolation hath dismiss'd,
Buried, yet not exempt

And calm of mind all passion spent.
By privilege of death and burial,
From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs ;
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,

FROM COMUS.
Life in captivity

The first Scene discovers a wild Wood. Among inhuman foes.

The Attendant Spirit (lescends or enters. Before the starry threshold of Jove's court

My mansion is, where those immortal shapes SPEECHES, OF MANOAH THE FATHER OF SAM

Of bright aërial spirits live insphered
SON AND OF THE CHIORUS, ON HEARING OF
HIS LAST ACHIEVEMENT AND DEATH,

In regions mild of calm and serene air,

Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot Manoah. Samson hath quit himself

Which men call Earth, and with low-thoughted care Like Samson, and heroically hath finish'd

Confined, and pester'd in this pin-fold here, A life heroic; on his enemies

Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being, Fully revenged, hath left them years of mourning, Unmindful of the crown that Virtue gives, And lamentation to the Sons of Caphtor

After this mortal change, to her true servants, Through all Philistian bounds, to Israel

Amongst the enthron'd gods, on sainted seats.
Honour hath left, and freedom, let but them Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
Find courage to lay hold on this occasion ; To lay their just hands on that golden key
To himself and father's house eternal fame,

That opes the palace of Eternity :
And which is best and happiest yet, all this To such my errand is ; and but for such,

I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds Therefore, when any favour'd of high Jove With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould. Chances to pass through this advent'rous glade,

But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star Of every salt-flood, and each ebbing stream, I shoot from heaven to give him safe

convoy, Took in by lot 'twixt high and nether Jove, As now I do : but first I must put off Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles,

These my sky-robes, spun out of Iris' woof, That like to rich and various gems inlay

And take the weeds and likeness of a swain The unadorned bosom of the deep,

That to the service of this house belongs, Which he to grace his tributary gods

Who with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song, By course commits to several government,

Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar, And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns, And hush the waving woods ; nor of less faith, And wield their little tridents': but this isle, And in this office of his mountain watch, The greatest and the best of all the main,

Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid He quarters to his blue-hair'd deities ;

Of this occasion. But I hear the tread And all this tract that fronts the falling sun,

Of hateful steps. I must be viewless now. A noble peer of mickle trust and power

Comus enters with a charming-rod in one hand, his glass Has in his charge, with temper'd awe to guide

in the other; with him a rout of morsters, headed like An old and haughty nation proud in arms :

sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, women, their apparel glistering; they come in, making Are coming to attend iheir father's state,

a riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands. And new-entrusted sceptre ; but their way

Comus. The star that bids the shepherd fold, Lies through the perplex'd paths of this drear wood, Now the top of heaven doth hold, The nodding horror of whose shady brows And the gilded car of Day, Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger ; His glowing axle doth allay And here their tender age might suffer peril, In the steep Atlantic stream, But that by quick command from sovereign Jove

And the slope sun his upward beam I was despatch'd for their defence and guard ;

Shoots against the dusky pole, And listen why; for I will tell you now

Pacing toward the other goal
What never yet was heard in tale or song,

Of his chamber in the East.
From old or modern bard, in hall or bower. Meanwhile, welcome Joy and Feast,
Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape

Midnight Shout and Revelry,
Crush'd the sweet poison of misused wine, Tipsy Dance, and Jollity.
After the Tuscan mariners transform’d,

Braid your locks with rosy twine,
Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed, Dropping odours, dropping wine.
On Circe's island fell : (Who knows not Circe, Rigour now is gone to bed,
The daughter of the Sun? whose charmed cup And Advice with scrupulous head,
Whoever tasted, lost his upright shape,

Strict Age, and sour Severity,
And downward fell into a groveling swine) With their grave saws in slumber lie.
This nymph, that gazed upon his clust'ring locks We that are of purer fire
With ivy berries wreath’d, and his blythe youth,

Imitate the starry quire, || Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son

Who in their nightly watchful spheres, Much like his father, but his mother more,

Lead in swift round the months and years. Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named, The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove, Who ripe, and frolic of his full-grown age,

Now to the moon in wavering morrice move; Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,

And on the tawny sands and shelves At last betakes him to this ominous wood,

Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves. And in thick shelter of black shades imbower'd, By dimpled brook and fountain brim, Excels his mother at her mighty art,

The wood-nymphs, deck'd with daisies trim,
Offering to every weary traveller

Their merry wakes and pastimes keep :
His orient liquor in a crystal glass, [taste, What hath night to do with sleep ?
To quench the drought of Phæbus, which as they | Night hath better sweets to prove,
(For most do taste, through fond intemp’rate thirst) Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance, Come, let us our rites begin,
Th’ express resemblance of the gods, is changed ”Tis only day-light that makes sin,
Into some brutish form of wolf or bear,

Which these dun shades will ne'er report.-
Or ounce or tiger, hog or bearded goat,

Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport, All other parts remaining as they were ;

Dark-veil'd Cotytto! t' whom the secret flame And they, so perfect is their misery,

Of midnight torches burns ; mysterious dame ! Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,

That ne'er art call’d, but when the dragon womb But boast themselves more comely than before,

Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom, And all their friends and native home forget,

And makes one blot of all the air, To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.

Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,

Wherein thou ridest with Hecate, and befriend And envious darkness, ere they could return, Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end

Had stole them from me ; else, 0 thievish Night, Of all thy dues be done, and rone left out; Why wouldst thou, but for some felonious end, Ere the blabbing eastern scout,

In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars The nice morn on the Indian steep

That Nature hung in heaven, and fill’d their lamps From her cabin'd loophole peep,

With everlasting oil, to give due light And to the tell-tale sun descry

To the misled and lonely traveller? Our conceal'd solemnity.

This is the place, as well as I may guess, Come, knit hands, and beat the ground

Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth In a light fantastic round.

Was rife and perfect in my list’ning ear;

Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
The Measure.

What might this be? A thousand fantasies
Break off, break off, I feel the different pace

Begin to throng into my memory, Of some chaste footing near about this ground.

Of calling shapes, and beck’ning shadows dire, Run to your shrouds, within these brakes and trees; Our number may affright : some virgin sure

And airy tongues that syllable men's names

On sands, and shores, and desert wildernesses. (For so I can distinguish by mine art)

These thoughts may startle well, but not astound Benighted in these woods. Now to my charms,

The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
And to my wily trains : I shall ere long
Be well stock'd with as fair a herd as grazed

By a strong-siding champion, Conscience.

O welcome pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope, About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl

Thou hovering Angel, girt with golden wings, My dazzling spells into the spungy air,

And thou, unblemish'd form of Chastity! Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,

I see ye visibly, and now believe And give it false presentments, lest the place

That He, the Supreme Good, t' whom all things ill And my quaint habits breed astonishment, Are but as slavish officers of vengeance, And put the damsel to suspicious flight;

Would send a glist'ring guardian, if need were, Which must not be, for that's against my course :

To keep my life and honour unassail'd. I under fair pretence of friendly ends,

Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,

Turn forth her silver living on the night? Baited with reasons not unplausible,

I did not err; there does a sable cloud Wind me into the easy-hearted man,

Turn forth her silver lining on the night, And hug him into snares, When once her eye And casts a gleam over this tufted grove. Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,

I cannot halloo to my brothers, but I shall appear some harmless villager,

Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.

I'll venture ; for my new enliven'd spirits But here she comes ; I fairly step aside,

Prompt me; and they perhaps are not far off. And hearken, if I may, her business here.

The LADY enters.
Lady. This way the noise was,if mine ear be true,

Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that livest unseen

Within thy airy shell,
My best guide now; methought it was the sound

By slow Meander's margent green,
Of riot and ill-managed merriment,
Such as the jocund flute, or gamesome pipe,

And in the violet-embroider'd vale,

Where the love-lorn nightingale
Stirs up among the loose unletter'd hinds,
When for their teeming flocks, and granges full,

Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well ;

Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth

That likest thy Narcissus are ?
To meet the rudeness and swill'd insolence

O if thou have Of such late wassailers ; yet 0, where else

Hid them in some flow'ry cave, Shall I inform my unacquainted feet

Tell me but where, In the blind mazes of this tangled wood ?

Sweet queen of parly, daughter of the Sphere; My brothers, when they saw me wearied out

So mayst thou be translated to the skies, With this long way, resolving here to lodge

And give resounding grace to all Heaven's har

monies. Under the spreading favour of these pines, Stept, as they said, to the next thicket side,

Enter ComUS. To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit

Comus. Canany mortal, mixture of earth's mould, As the kind hospitable woods provide.

Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ? They left me then, when the grey-hooded Even, Sure something holy lodges in that breast, Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,

And with these raptures moves the vocal air Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phæbus' wain. To testify his hidden residence : But where they are, and why they came not back, How sweetly did they float upon the wings Is now the labour of my thoughts ; 'tis likeliest Of silence, through the empty vaulted night, They had engaged their wand'ring steps too far, At every fall smoothing the raven down

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