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Encomiums upon Milton.

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Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli:
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam,
Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?

Et tamen hæc hodiè terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces! quæ protulit arma!
Quæ canit, et quantâ prælia dira tubâ!
Cœlestes acies! atque in certamine cœlum!

Et quæ cœlestes pugna deceret agros!
Quantus in æthereis tollit se Lucifer armis!
Atque ipso graditur vix Michaële minor!
Quantis, et quàm funestis concurritur iris,
Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ.
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armȧque digna Deo,
Horrendúmque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,

Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Admistis flammis insonuere polo:
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt;
Ad pœnas fugiunt; et, ceu foret Orcus asylum,
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite, Romani Scriptores; cedite, Graii;

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit anus.
Hæc quicunque leget tantùm cecinisse putabit
Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.


WHEN I beheld the Poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,

Messiah crowned, God's reconciled decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Heaven, Hell, Earth, Chaos, all; the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to fable and old song;
(So Samson groped the temple's post in spight,)
The world o'erwhelming, to revenge his sight.
Yet, as I read, still growing less severe,
I liked his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his way should


O'er which lame Faith leads Understanding blind;
Lest he'd perplex the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.

Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,
Jealous I was, that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And, by ill imitating would excel)
Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play
Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise

My causeless, yet not impious surmise:
But I am now convinced; and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.

Thou hast not missed one thought that could be fit,
And all that was improper dost omit:
So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty, which through thy work doth

Draws the devout, deterring the profane:
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease;
And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft:
The bird, named from that Paradise you sing,
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where could'st thou words of such a compass

Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind?
Just Heaven thee, like Tiresias, to requite,
Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure;
While the Town-Bays writes all the while and

And, like a pack-horse, tires without his bells:
Their fancies like our bushy points appear;

The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.

I too, transported by the mode, offend,

And, while I meant to praise thee, must commend:

Thy verse created, like thy theme, sublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.



THREE Poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England, did adorn:
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed;
The next, in najesty; in both the last.
The force of Nature could no farther go:
To make a third she joined the former two.







Acted at the Drury-Lane Theatre, April 5, 1750
for the benefit of Milton's grand-daughter.
YE patriot crowds, who burn for England's fame,
Ye nymphs, whose bosoms beat at MILTON's name,
Whose generous zeal, unbought by flattering

Shames the mean pensions of Augustan times;
Immortal patrons of succeeding days,
Attend this prelude of perpetual praise!
Let Wit, condemn'd the feeble war to wage
With close malevolence, or public rage;
Let Study, worn with virtue's fruitless lore,
Behold this Theatre, and grieve no more.
This night, distinguished by your smiles, shall tell,
That never Britain can in vain excel;
The slighted arts futurity shall trust,

BUT MILTON next, with high and haughty stalks, And rising ages hasten to be just.
Unfetter'd, in majestic numbers, walks:
No vulgar hero can his Muse engage,
Nor earth's wide scene confine his hallow'd rage.
See! see! he upward springs, and, towering high,
Spurns the dull province of mortality;
Shakes Heaven's eternal throne with dire alarms,
And sets th' Almighty Thunderer in arms!
Whate'er his pen describes I more than see,
Whilst every verse array'd in majesty,
Bold and sublime, my whole attention draws,
And seems above the critic's nicer laws.
How are you struck with terror and delight,
When angel with archangel copes in fight!
When great Messiah's outspread banner shines,

How does the chariot rattle in his lines!

What sound of brazen wheels, with thunder, scare

And stun the reader with the din of war!
With fear my spirits and my blood retire,
To see the seraphs sunk in clouds of fire:
But when, with eager steps, from hence I rise,
And view the first gay scene of Paradise;
What tongue, what words of rapture, can express
A vision so profuse of pleasantness!



At length our mighty Bard's victorious lays
Fill the loud voice of universal praise;
And baffled Spite, with hopeless anguish dumb,
Yields to renown the centuries to come;
With ardent haste each candidate of fame,
Ambitious, catches at his towering name:
He sees, and pitying sees, vain wealth bestow
Those pageant honours which he scorned below,
While crowds aloft the laureat bust behold,
Or trace his form on circulating gold.
Unknown,-unheeded, long his offspring lay,
And want hung threatening o'er her slow decay.
What though she shine with no Miltonian fire,
No favouring Muse her morning-dreams inspire;
Yet softer claims the melting heart engage,
Her youth laborious, and her blameless age;
Hers the mild merits of domestic life,
The patient sufferer, and the faithful wife.
Thus graced with humble Virtue's native charms,
Her grandsire leaves her in Britannia's arms;
Secure with peace, with competence, to dwell,
While tutelary nations guard her cell.
Yours is the charge, ye fair, ye wise, ye brave!
'Tis yours to crown desert-beyond the grave.


-For lofty sense,

Creative fancy, and inspection keen


NOR Second HE that rode sublime

Through the deep windings of the human heart,Upon the seraph-wings of ecstasy;
Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast? The secrets of th' abyss to spy,

Is not each great, each amiable, Muse
Of classic ages in thy MILTON met?
A genius universal as his theme;
Astonishing as chaos; as the bloom

Of blowing Eden fair; as Heaven sublime!

He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.



HIGH on some cliff, to Heaven up-piled,
Of rude access, of prospect wild,

Where, tangled round the jealous steep,
Strange shades o'erbrow the vallies deep,
And holy Genii guard the rock,
Its glooms embrown, its springs unlock,
While on its rich ambitious head
An Eden, like his own, lies spread;
I view that oak the fancied glades among,
By which as MILTON lay, his evening ear,
From many a cloud that dropp'd ethereal dew,,
Nigh sphered in Heaven, its native strains could

On which that ancient trump he reached was

Thither oft his glory greeting,

From Waller's myrtle-shades retreating, With many a vow from Hope's aspiring tongue, My trembling feet his guiding steps pursue; In vain:Such bliss to one alone Of all the sons of Soul was known; And Heaven and Fancy, kindred powers, Have now o'erturn'd th' inspiring bowers, Or curtain'd close such scene from every future view.


MASON'S ODE TO MEMORY. RISE, hallow'd MILTON! rise, and say, How, at thy gloomy close of day;

How, when 'depress'd by age, beset with wrongs;' When 'fall'n on evil days and evil tongues:' When Darkness, brooding on thy sight,

Exil'd the sovereign lamp of light:

Say, what could then one cheering hope diffuse?

When God in Eden, o'er her youthful breast Spread with his own right hand Perfection's gorgeous vest.




POET of other times! to thee I bow
With lowliest reverence. Oft thou tak'st my soul,
And waft'st it by thy potent harmony
To that empyreal mansion, where thine ear
Caught the soft warblings of a seraph's harp,
What time the nightly visitant unlock'd
The gates of Heaven, and to thy mental sight
Display'd celestial scenes. She from thy lyre
With indignation tore the tinkling bells,
And turn'd it to sublimest argument.


COWPER'S TABLE TALK. AGES elaps'd ere Homer's lamp appear'd, And ages ere the Mantuan swan was heard: To carry Nature lengths unknown before, And give a MILTON birth, ask'd ages more. Thus Genius rose and set at order'd times, And shot a day-spring into distant climes, Ennobling every region that he chose; He sunk in Greece, in Italy he rose; And tedious years of gothic darkness pass'd, Emerg'd all splendour in our isle at last. Thus lovely halcyons dive into the main, Then show far off their shining plumes again.


What friends were thine, save Memory and the THE SAME AUTHOR'S TASK, B. III.


Hence the rich spoils thy studious youth Caught from the stores of ancient Truth; Hence all thy busy eye could pleas'd explore, When Rapture led thee to the Latian shore; Each scene that Tiber's bank supplied; Each grace, that play'd on Arno's side; The tepid gales, through Tuscan glades that fly; The blue serene, that spreads Hesperia's sky;

Were still thine own: thy ample mind Each charm receiv'd, retain'd, combin'd. And thence the nightly visitant that came To touch thy bosom with her sacred flame, Recall'd the long-lost beams of grace; That whilom shot from Nature's face,

-PHILOSOPHY, baptized

In the pure fountain of eternal love,
Has eyes indeed; and, viewing all she sees
As meant to indicate a God to man,

Gives Him his praise, and forfeits not her own.
Learning has borne such fruit in other days
On all her branches: Piety has found
Friends in the friends of science, and true prayer
Has flow'd from lips wet with Castalian dews.
Such was thy wisdom, Newton, child-like sage
Sagacious reader of the works of God,
And in his word sagacious. Such too, thine,
MILTON, whose genius had angelic wings,
And fed on manna.-







Paradise Lost.

Dove-like, sat'st brooding on the vast abyss,
And mad'st it pregnant: what in me is dark
Illumine; what is low raise and support;
That to the height of this great argument
I may assert eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men.

Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. And chiefly Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer Before all temples the upright heart and pure, This first book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Instruct me, for thou knowest; Thou from the first man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise where-Wast present, and with mighty wings outspread, in he was placed: then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his angels now fallen into Hell, described here, not in the centre, (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed,) but in a place of utter darkness, fitfiest called Chaos. Here Satan, with his angels, lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable fail. Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven; but tells them lastly of a new world and a new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in heaven; for that angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit

in council.

Or man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our wo,
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,
Sing, heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top
Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth
Rose out of Chaos: or if Sion hill
Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook, that flowed
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my advent'rous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar
Above the Aonian mount, while it pursues

Say first, for Heav'n hides nothing from thy view,
Nor the deep tract of Hell; say first, what cause
Moved our grand parents, in that happy state,
Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off
From their Creator, and transgress his will
For one restraint, lords of the world besides?
Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?
Th' infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile
Stirr'd up with envy and revenge, deceived
The mother of mankind, what time his pride
Had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host
Of rebel angels; by whose aid aspiring
To set himself in glory above his peers,
He trusted to have equall'd the Most High
If he opposed; and, with ambitious aim
Against the throne and monarchy of God,
Raised impious war in Heav'n, and battle proud,
With vain attempt. Him the almighty power
Hurled headlong flaming from the ethereal sky,
With hideous ruin and combustion, down
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell
In adamantine chains and penal fire,
Who durst defy th' Omnipotent to arms.
Nine times the space that measures day and night
To mortal men, he with his horrid crew
Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,
Confounded, though immortal: but his doom
Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought
Both of lost happiness, and lasting pain,
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes,
That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,
Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate:

At once, as far as angels ken, he views
The dismal situation waste and wild;
A dungeon horrible on all sides round,

|Doubted his empire; that were low indeed,
That were an ignominy, and shame beneath
This downfall; since, by fate, the strength of gods

As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flames And this empyreal substance can not fail;

No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of wo,

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery deluge, fed
With ever-burning sulphur unconsumed;
Such place eternal Justice had prepared
For those rebellious; here their prison ordained
In utter darkness, and their portion set
As far removed from God and light of heav'n,
As from the centre thrice to th' utmost pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell!
There the companions of his fall, o'erwhelmed
With floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,
He soon discerns; and welt'ring by his side
One next himself in power, and next in crime,
Long after known in Palestine, and named
Beelzebub. To whom th' arch enemy,

Since, through experience of this great event,
In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,
We may with more successful hope resolve
To wage, by force or guile, eternal war,
Irreconcileable to our grand foe,

Who now triumphs, and, in th' excess of joy
Sole reigning, holds the tyranny of Heaven."

So spake th' apostate angel, though in pain,
Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair:
And him thus answered soon his bold compeer.

"O prince, O chief of many throned powers,
That led th' embattled seraphim to war
Under thy conduct, and, in dreadful deeds
Fearless, endangered Heav'n's perpetual King,
And put to proof his high supremacy,
Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate;
Too well I see and rue the dire event,
That with sad overthrow and foul defeat
Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty host

And thence in Heav'n called Satan, with bold words In horrible destruction laid thus low,
Breaking the horrid silence thus began.

As far as the gods and heavenly essences

"If thou beest he; but O how fall'n! how Can perish: for the mind and spirit remains changed

From him, who, in the happy realms of light,
Clothed with transcendent brightness, didst out-

Myriads though bright! If he whom mutual league,
United thoughts and counsels, equal hope
And hazard in the glorious enterprise,
Joined with me once, now misery hath joined
In equal ruin! into what pit thou seest,
From what height fall'n; so much the stronger

He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms? yet not for those,
Nor what the potent victor in his rage
Can else inflict, do I repent or change,

Invincible, and vigour soon returns,

Though all our glory, extinct, and happy state
Here swallowed up in endless misery.
But what if he our Conqueror (whom I now
Of force believe almighty, since no less
Than such could have o'erpowered such force as

Have left us in this our spirit and strength entire
Strongly to suffer and support our pains,
That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,
Or do him mightier service as his thralls
By right of war, whate'er his business be,
Here in the heart of hell to work in fire,
Or do his errands in the gloomy deep;
What can it then avail, though yet we feel

Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed Strength undiminished, or eternal being,


And high disdain from sense of injured merit,
That with the mightiest raised me to contend,
And to the fierce contention brought along
Innumerable force of spirits armed,

That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,
His utmost power with adverse power opposed
In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,
And shook his throne. What tho' the field be lost?
All is not lost; th' unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield,
And what is else not to be overcome;
That glory never shall his wrath or might
Extort from me. To bow and sue for grace
With suppliant knee, and deify his power,
Who from the terror of this arm so late

To undergo eternal punishment?"

Whereto with speedy words th' arch fiend replied

"Fall'n Cherub! to be weak is miserable

Doing or suffering; but of this be sure,
To do aught good never will be our task,
But ever to do ill our sole delight,
As being the contrary to his high will
Whom we resist. If then his providence
Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,
Our labour must be to pervert that end,
And out of good still to find means of evil;
Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps
Shall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturb
His inmost counsels from their destined aim.
But see! the angry victor hath recalled

His ministers of vengeance and pursuit

Back to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,

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