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friend, (Mr. Edward King,) who was shipwrecked in the Irish Sea. 5. "L'Allegro," an ode to mirth. 6. "II Penseroso," an ode to melancholy. 7. « Comus, a mask,7' the purest and most exquisite creation of the imagination and fancy in English literature. 8. "Arcades,"1 a part of a mask. 9. "Hymn on the Nativity." 10. « Sonnets.''


This is the month, and this the happy morn,

Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
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.


That glorious form, that light unsufferablo,

And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table

To sit the midst of Trinal-Unity,

He laid asido; and, here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.


Say, heavenly 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 Heaven, by the sun's team untrod,

Hath took no print of die approaching light,

And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?


See how from far upon the eastern road

The star-led wizards haste with odors sweet;
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,

And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;

Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the angel quire,
From out his secret altar touch'd with hallow'd fire.

1 "Arcades," that Is, the Arcadian shepherds: of coarse, It Is of a pastoral character.

: "When It Is recollected that this piece was produced by the author at the age of twenty-one, all deep thinkers, of fancy and sensibility, must pore over It with delighted wonder. The vigor, the grandeur, the Imaginativeness of the conception; the force and maturity of language; the bound, the gathering strength, the thundering roll of the metre; the largeness of the views; the extent of the learning; the solemn and awful tones; the enthusiasm, and a certain spell in the epithets, which puts the reader into a state of mysterious excitement,—all these may be better felt Uian dcacrll>ed."—Sr BftrUm Brydgft.

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It was the winter wild,
While the heaven-bom child

All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;
Nature, in awe to him,
Had dofTd 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.


No war, or battle's sound
Was heard the world around,

The idle spear and shield were high up hung;
The hooked chariot stood
Unstain'd with hostile blood;

The trumpet spake not to the armed throng j
And kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovereign Lord was by.


But peaceful was the night,
Wherein the Prince of Light

His reign of peaco upon the earth began:
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kist,

Whispering new joys to the mild ocean,
Who now hath quite forgot to rave,
While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.


The stars, with deep amaze,
Stand fbe'd in steadfast gaze,

Bending ono way their precious influence;
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,

Or Lucifer, that often wam'd them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.


The shepherds on the- lawn,
Or e'er the point of dawn,

Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;
Full little thought they than,
That the mighty Pan

Was kindly come to live with them below;
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.


When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet,

As never was by mortal finger strook;

Divinely-warbled voice
Answering the stringed noise,

As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air, such pleasures loath to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly clos<\


The oracles are dumb,
No voice or hideous hum

Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
Apollo from his shrine
Can no more divine,

With hollow shriek the steep of Dclphos leaving.
No nightly trance, or breathed spell,
Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.


The lonely mountains o'er
And the resounding shore,

A voice of weeping heard and loud lament;
From haunted spring and dale,
Edged with poplar pale,

The parting Genius is with siglting sent:
With flower-inwoven tresses torn,

The Nymphs, in twilight shade of tangled thickets, mourn.


In consecrated earth,
And on the holy hearth,

The Lars and Lemures moan with midnight plaint;
In urns and altars round,
A drear and dying sound

Affrights the Flamens at their service quaint;
And the dull marble seems to sweat,
While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted scat,
xxvi I.

But see, the Virgin bless'd
Hath laid her Babe to rest;

Time i«, our tedious song should here have ending:
Heaven's youngest-teemed star
Hath fix'd her polish'd car,

Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending,
And all about the courtly stable
Bright-harneas'd angels sit in order serviceable.


In tint Monody, the author bewails a learned friend, unfortunately drowned in htt pottage from Chester on the Irish teat, 1037: and by occasion foretells the ruin of our corrupted clergy, then in their highth.

Yet once more, 0 ye laurels, and once more,
Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,

1 This poem waa made upon the unfortunate and untimely death of Mr. Edward King, son of Sir John King, Secretary for Ireland, a fellow collegian and Intimate friend of Mtlton, who, as he was going to vialt hla relations in Ireland, waa drowned, August 10, 1637, in the 23th year of his age. Dr. JiewloD has observed, that Lycidas Is wtlh great judgment made of the klml, as hoth Mr

I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude;
And. with forced fingers rude,

Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year: 9
Bitter constraint, and sad occasion dear,
Compels me to disturb your season due:
For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer:

Who would not sing for Lycidas? he knew 10
Himself to sing, and build the lofty rhyme.
He must not float upon his watery bier
Unwept, and welter to the parching wind.
Without the meed of some melodious tear.

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well, 15
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring!
Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string. •
Hence with denial vain, and coy excuse:
So may some gentle Muse

With lucky words favor my destined urn; 20

And, as he passes, turn,

And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.

For wo were nursed upon the self-same hill,

Fed the same flock by fountain, shade, and rill.

Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd 25

Under the opening eyelids of the morn,

We drove afield; and bodi together heard

What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn,

Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night,

Oft till the star, that rose at evening, bright, 30

Toward Heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel.

Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,

Temper'd to the oaten flute;

King and Milton had been designed Tor holy orders and the pastoral care, which gives a peculiar propriety to several passages In It.

Addison says, 11 that he who desires to know whether he has a true taste for history or not, should consider whether he Is pleased with Llvy's manner of telling a story; so, perhaps It may be sail, that he who wishes to know whether he has a true taste for poetry or not, should consider whether he Is highly delighted or not with the perusal of Milton's Lycidas."—/. Warton.

"Whatever stern grandeur Milton's two epics and his drama, written in his latter days, exhibit; by whatever divine invenUon they are created; Lycidas and Comus have a fluency, a sweetne**, a melody, a youthful freshness, a dewy brightness of description, which those gigantic poems have not. The prime charm of poetry, the rapidity and the novelty, yet the natural association of beautiful Ideas, Is pre-eminently exhibited in Lycidas, and it strikes me, that Uiere la no poem of Milton, In which the pastoral and rural imagery is so breathing, so brilliant, and so new as this."—Sir Egtrim Brydget.

"I shall never cease to consider this monody as the sweet effusion of a most poetic and tender mind; entitled as well by its beautiful melody as by the frequent grandeur of its sentiments and language, to the utmost enthusiasm of admiration."— Todd.

Line 3. This Is a beautiful nlliniton to the unripe a?e of his friend, In which death "shotterM hla leaves before the mellowing year."

L. 15. "The sacred well," Helicon.

L. 25. "From the regularity of his pursuits, the purity of hi* pleasures, his temperance, and general simplicity of life, Milton habitually became »n early rUer; hence he gained an acquaintance with the beauties ofthe morning, which he Bo frequently contemplated with delight, and has theretore so repeatedly described in nil their various Hp)>i>ar:inecc"—T. tVarion.

L. 27. "We drove afield," lliat la, we drove our flocks afield.

L. 28. The "sultry horn," Is the sharp hum of ibis Insert a: uoon.

Rough Satyrs danced, and Fawns with cloven heel

From the glad sound would not be absent long; 35

And old Damcetas loved to hear our song.

But, O, the heavy change, now thou art gone,
Now thou art gone, and never must return I
Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves,
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, 40
And all their echoes mourn:
The willows, and hazel copses green,
Shall now no more be seen,
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.

As lulling as the canker to the rose, 4 5

Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
When first the white-Uiorn blows;—
Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear.

Where were ye. Nymphs, when the remorseless deep 50
Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?
For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Where your old bards, the famous Druids, Ue,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,

Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream. 55
Ay me! I fondly dream!

Had ye been there—for what could that have done?
What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore,
The Muse herself, for hor enchanting son,

Whom universal Nature did lament, 60
When by the rout that made the hideous roar,
His gory visage down the stream was sent,
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore?

Alas! what boots it with uncessant care
To tend the homely, slighted shepherd's trade, <55
And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it not better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Ncara's hair?

Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise, 70

(That last infirmity of noble mind)

To scorn delights, and live laborious days;

But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,

And think to burst out into sudden blaze,

Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears, 75
And slits the thin-spun life. "But not the praise,"

Line it. "Where were ye!" "This buret li as magnificent as it Is affecting."— Sir /:. Btydgt*.

L. 54. Beftrrenee Is here made to Orpheus, torn in pieces by the Bacchanalians, whose murderers are called "the rout." "Lycidas, as a poet, is here tadUy compared with Orpheus: they were both *ho victims of the water."— T. Wartm.

L. "s. fce. "So lines have been more often cited, and more popular than these; nor more JusUy Instructive and InsplrtUng."—Sir Egerton Bridget.

L. 76. "Bnt not the praise;" that is, but the praise Is not intercepted. "While the poet In the character of a shepherd, Is moralizing on the uncertainty of human life, Phoebus Interposes with a sublime strain, above the tone of pastoral poetry: he then, In an abrupt and elliptical apostrophe, at '0 fountain Arethase;' hastily recollects himself, and apologize* to his rural Muse, ar In other words to AreUinaa and sllnelus, the celebrated streams of bucolic song, for having so suddenly departed from pastoral allusions and tlte tenor of his subject." H'artott.

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