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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 cuckoo's bill, Portend success in love; O if Jove's will Have linked 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 had'st no reason why:

Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I.


How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career,
But my late spring no bud nor blossom showeth.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,

That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely happy spirits indueth.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,

It shall be still in strictest measure even

To that same lot, however mean or high,

TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY. LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth Wisely hast shunned the broadway and the green,

And with those few art eminently seen,

That labour up the hill of heavenly truth, The better part with Mary and with Ruth Chosen thou hast; and they that overween, And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen, No anger find in thee, but piety and ruth. Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends

To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be


Thou, when the bridegroom with his feastful friends

Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,
Hast gained thy entrance, virgin wise and pure.

TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY. DAUGHTER to that good earl, once president Of England's council and her treasury, Who lived in both, unstained with gold or fee, And left them both, more in himself content, Till sad the breaking of that Parliament Broke him, as that dishonest victory At Charonea, fatal to liberty, Killed with report that old man eloquent.

Toward which time leads me, and the will of Though later born than to have known the days

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Wherein your father flouished, yet by you, Madam, methinks I see him living yet; So well your words his noble virtues praise, That all both judge you to relate them true, And to possess them, honoured Margaret.


A BOOK was writ of late called Tetrachordon, And woven close, both matter, form, and style: The subject new: it walked the town a while, Numbering good intellects; now seldom pored


Cries the stall-reader, Bless us! what a word on A title page is this! and some in file

Stand spelling false, while one might walk to Mile

End Green. Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon,

Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?

Those rugged names to our like mouths grow


That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp.

Thy age, like ours, O soul of Sir John Cheek, Hated not learning worse than toad or asp, When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King Edward Greek.


I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs
By the known rules of ancient liberty,
When straight a barbarous noise environs me
Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs:
As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs
Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny,
Which after held the sun and moon in fee.
But this is got by casting pearl to hogs;
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
And still revolt when truth would set them free.
License they mean when they cry liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good;
But from that mark how far they rove we see,
For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood.



HARRY, whose tuneful and well measured song
First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent not to scan
With Midas' ears, committing short and long;
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
With praise enough for envy to look wan;
To after age thou shalt be writ the man,
That with smooth air could'st humour best our

Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing

To honour thee the priest of Phoebus' choir, That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn, or

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But, as Faith pointed with her golden rod, Followed thee up to joy and bliss for ever. Love led them on, and Faith, who knew them best. Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beam

And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes Before the Judge; who thenceforth bid thee rest, And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.

TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX. FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,

Filling each mouth with envy or with praise, And all her jealous monarchs with amaze And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings; Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings

Victory home, though new rebellions raise Their hydra heads, and the false north displays Her broken league to imp their serpent wings. O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,

(For what can war, but endless war still breed?) Till truth and right from violence be freed, And public faith cleared from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, While avarice and rapine share the land.


WELL. CROMWELL, Our chief of men, who through a cloud, Not of war only, but detractions rude, Guided by faith and matchless fortitude, To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plonghed,

And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud Hast reared God's trophies, and his work pursued,

While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued,

And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much re


To conquer still; peace hath her victories No less renowned than war: new foes arise Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains: Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves, whose Gospel is their maw.



Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,

Stayed not behind, nor in the grave were trod;

Than whom a better senator ne'er held

The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms repelled

The fierce Epirot and the African bold; Whether to settle peace or to unfold

The drift of hollow states hard to be spelled; Then to advise how war may, best upheld, Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, In all her equipage: besides to know

Both spiritual power and civil, what each means,
What severs each, thou hast learned, which few
have done;

The bounds of either sword to thee we owe:
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.



LAWRENCE, of virtuous father, virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run
On smoother, till Favonius reinspire

The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire

The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us; light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touched or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.


AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose CYRIAC, whose grandsire, on the royal bench


Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and

Forget not in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their


The vales redoubled to the hills, and they

Of British Themis, with no mean applause
Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,
Which others at their bar so often wrench;
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench
In mirth, that, after, no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intends, and what the

To measure life learn thou betimes, and know
Toward solid good what leads the nearest way;
For other things mild Heaven a time ordains,

To Heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes And disapproves that care, though wise in show,


O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learned thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian wo.


WHEN I consider how my life is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more

To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning, chide;
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?
I fondly ask: But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his


Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

That with superfluous burden loads the day
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.

ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.* METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, Rescued from death by force, tho' pale and faint. Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child bed taint Purification in the' old Law did save,

And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint, Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:

Her face was veil'd; yet to my fancied sight Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd So clear, as in no face with more delight:

But O! as to embrace me she inclin'd,

I wak'd; she fled; and day brought back my night.

This sonnet was written about the year 1656, on the death of his second wife, Catharine, the daughter of Captain Woodcock, of Hackney, a rigid sectarist. She died in child-bed of a daughter, within a year after their marriage. Milton had now been long totally blind.

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WHAT slender youth, bedew'd with liquid odours,
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,
Pyrrha? For whom bind'st thou
In wreaths thy golden hair,

Plain in thy neatness? O, how oft shall he
On faith and changed gods complain, and seas
Rough with black winds and storms
Unwonted shall admire!

Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who always vacant, always amiable

Hopes thee, of flattering gales
Unmindful. Hapless they

To whom thou untried seem'st fair! Me, in my vow'd
Picture, the sacred wall declares to have hung

My dank and dropping weeds

To the stern god of sea.



AH, Constantine, of how much ill was cause, Not thy conversion, but those rich domains That the first wealthy pope receiv'd of thee.


FOUNDED in chaste and humble poverty,
"Gainst them that rais'd thee dost thou lift thy horn,
Impudent whore, where hast thou plac'd thy hope?
In thy adulterers, or thy ill-got wealth?
Another Constantine comes not in haste.


THEN pass'd he to a flowery mountain green, Which once smelt sweet, now stinks as odiously: This was the gift, if you the truth will have, That Constantine to good Sylvester gave.


BRUTUS thus addresses DIANA in the country of WHOM do we count a good man? Whom but he


GODDESS of shades, and huntress, who at will
Walk'st on the rolling spheres,and through the deep;
On thy third reign, the earth, look now, and tell
What land, what seat of rest, thou bid'st me seek;
What certain seat, where I may worship thee
For aye, with temples vow'd and virgin quires.

To whom, sleeping before the altar, DIANA answers in a vision, the same night.

BRUTUS, far to the west, in the ocean wide,
Beyond the realm of Gaul, a land there lies,
Sea-girt it lies, where giants dwelt of old;
Now void, it fits thy people: thither bend
Thy course; there shalt thou find a lasting seat;
There to thy sons another Troy shall rise,
And kings be born of thee, whose dreadful might
Shall awe the world, and conquer nations bold.

Hist. Brit. i. xi. "Diva potens nemorum," &c.

Who keeps the laws and statutes of the senate,
Who judges in great suits and controversies,
Whose witness and opinion wins the cause?
But his own house, and the whole neighbourhood,
Sees his foul inside through his whited skin.


THIS is true liberty, when freeborn men,
Which he who can, and will, deserves high praise,
Having to' advise the public, may speak free;
Who neither can, nor will, may hold his peace;
What can be juster in a state than this?


-Laughing to teach the truth,

What hinders? As some teachers give to boys Junkets and knacks, that they may learn apace.


-Joking decides great things, Stronger and better oft than earnest can.


'Tis you that say it, not I. You do the deeds, And your ungodly deeds find me the words.


-There can be slain

No sacrifice to God more acceptable, Than an unjust and wicked king.


Done into verse, 1653

BLESSED is the man who hath not walked astray
In counsel of the wicked, and i' the way
Of sinners hath not stood, and in the seat
Of scorners hath not sat: but in the great
Jehovah's law is ever his delight,
And in his law he studies day and night.
He shall be as a tree which planted grows
By watery streams, and in his season knows
To yield his fruit, and his leaf shall not fall,
And what he takes in hand shall prosper all.
Not so the wicked, but as chaff which fann'd
The wind drives, so the wicked shall not stand
In judgment, or abide their trial then,
Nor sinners in the assembly of just men.
For the Lord knows the upright way of the just,
And the way of bad men to ruin must.

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Be taught, ye judges of the earth; with fear Jehovah serve, and let your joy converse With trembling; kiss the Son, lest he appear In anger and ye perish in the way,

If once his wrath take fire, like fuel sere, Happy all those who have in him their stay.

PSALM III. Aug. 9, 1653.

When he fled from Absalom.

LORD, how many are my foes!

How many those,

That in arms against me rise.
Many are they,

That of my life distrustfully thus say;
No help for him in God there lies.

But thou, Lord, art my shield, my glory
Thee, through my story,

The exalter of my head I count
Aloud I cried

Unto Jehovah, he full soon replied,
And heard me from his holy mount.

I lay and slept; I waked again;
For my sustain

Was the Lord. Of many millions
The populous rout

I fear not, though, encamping round about, They pitch against me their pavilions.

Rise, Lord; save me, my God; for thou
Hast smote, ere now

On the cheek-bone all my foes,

Of men abhorred

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Shall laugh; the Lord shall scoff them; then, Thou didst me disenthrall


Speak to them in his wrath, and in his fell And fierce ire trouble them; but I, saith he, Anointed have my King (though ye rebel) On Sion my holy hill. A firm decree

I will declare: The Lord to me hath said, Thou art my Son, I have begotten thee This day; ask of me, and the grant is made; As thy possession I on thee bestow

The heathen; and, as thy conquest to be sway'd, Earth's utmost bounds: them shalt thou bring full low

With iron sceptre bruised, and them disperse Like to a potter's vessel shivered so. And now be wise at length, ye kings averse,

And set at large; now spare,

Now pity me, and hear my earnest prayer.
Great ones, how long will ye

My glory have in scorn?
How long be thus forborne
Still to love vanity?

To love, to seek, to prize,

Things false and vain, and nothing else but lies?
Yet know the Lord hath chose,
Chose to himself apart,

The good and meek of heart;
(For whom to choose he knows)
Jehovah from on high

Will hear my voice, what time to him I cry.
Be awed, and do not sin;

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