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POEMS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
THE STATIONER TO THE REARER.
[Prefixed to the first Edition of Milton's Poems, printed in 1645.]
It is not any private respect of gain, gentle Reader, for the slightest pamphlet is now-a-days more vendible than the works of learnedest men; but it is the love I have to our own language, that hath made mc diligent to collect and set forth such pieces both in prose and verse, as may renew the wonted honour and esteem of our English tongue: and it's the worth of these both English and Latin poems, not the flourish of any prefixed encomiums that can invite thee to buy them, though these are not without the highest commendations and applause of the learnedest Academies, both domestic and foreign; and amongst those of our own country, the unparallel'd attestation of that renowned Provost of Eton, Sir Henry Wotton. I know not thy palate how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy soul is,'perhaps more trivial airs may please thee better. But howsoever thy opinion is spent upon these, that encouragement I have already received from the most ingenious men in their clear and courteous entertamment of Mr. Waller's late choice pieces, hath once MILTON. VOL. iv. B more more made me adventure into the world, presenting it with these ever-green, and not to be blasted laurels. The author's more peculiar ex-' cellency in these studies was too well known to conceal his papers, or to keep me from attempting to solicit them from him. Let the event guide itself which way it will, I shall deserve of the age, by bringing into the light as true a birth as the Muses have brought forth since our famous Spenser wrote; whose poems in these English ones are as rarely imitated as sweetly excell'd. Reader, if thou art eagle-ey'd 10 censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose them to thy exactest perusal.
• ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS.
1. Anno tc talis IT.'On the death of a fair Infant, dying of a cough.
vJ Fairest flower! no sooner blown but blasted,
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss. But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss,
Of long uncoupled bed, and childless eld, Which 'mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach in. [was held.
So mounting up in icy-pearled car,
But all unwa'res with his cold kind embrase Unhous'd thy virgin-soul from her fair biding-place.
Yet art thou not inglorious in tny fate;
But then transform'd him to a purple flower: Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.
V. Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead, Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb, Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed, Hid from the world in a low delved tomb; Could Heav'n for pity thee so strictly doom?
Oh no! for something in thy face did shine Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine.
VI. , Resolve me then, oh Soul most surely blest, (If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear) Tell me, bright Spirit where'er thou hoverest, Whether above that high first-moving sphere, Or in th' Elysian Fields, (if such there were), Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight, And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy ViI. Lflight.
Wert' thou some star which from the ruin'd roof Of shak'd Olympus by mischance didst fall; Which careful Jove in Nature's true behoof