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imagery, so much admired in Milton, appears to me to be much more practicable than many readers seem to suppose."
I bad adieu to bolts and bars,
And soar'd with angels to the stars,
Like him of old, to whom 'twas given
To mount on fiery wheels to Heaven.
Bootes' waggon, slow with cold,
Appall'd me not; nor to behold
The sword that vast Orion draws,
Or e'en the Scorpion's horrid claws, &c. &c.
The same elegant and classical commentator remarks, that "the poet's natural disposition, so conspicuous in the 'Paradise Lost,' and even in his prose works, for describing divine objects, such as the bliss of the saints, the splendour of Heaven, and the music of the angels, is perpetually breaking forth in some of the earliest of his juvenile poems, and here more particularly in displaying the glories of Heaven, which he locally represents, and clothes with the brightest material decorations: his fancy, to say nothing of the Apocalypse, was aided and enriched with descriptions in romances."
The next poem, 'Naturam non pati senium,' a college exercise, is also praised by Warton. He says that it " is replete with fanciful and ingenious allusions. It has also a vigour of expression, a dignity of sentiment, and elevation of thought, rarely found in very young writers."
The poem consists of sixty-nine lines. The whole is beautiful. In answer to those who assert the liability of nature to old age, the poet says,
At Pater Omnipoteus, fundatis fortius astris,
No! the Almighty Father surer laid
Hence the prime mover wheels itself about
Gray, a century afterwards, \vrote tripos verses, at Cambridge, on the subject, 'Anne Luna est habitabilis?'
In 1627, anno starts 18, Milton wrote bis elegy 'Ad Thomam Junium praeceptorem sutim. apud mercatores Anglicos Hamburg» agentes. Pastoris munere fungentem.' This Thomas Young was Milton's tutor before he went to St. Paul's school. He was a Puritan, of Scotch birth. He returned to England in 1628, and was afterwards preferred by the parliament to the mastership of Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1644, whence he was ejected for refusing the engagement. He died, and was buried at Stem-market, in Suffolk, where he had been vicar thirty years.*
From Young, Milton says that he received his first introduction to poetry.
Primus ego Aonios, illo praeunte, recessus
Lustrabam, et bifidi sacra vireta jugi;
Castalio sparsi laeta ter ora mere
* See Mitford's Poetical Dedication to his edition of Parnell.
THE SUBJECT OF MILTON S COLLEGE POETRY CONTINUED.
It does not appear at what exact date Milton wrote his beautiful Latin poem to his father, (who lived till 1647,) excusing his devotion to the Muses: it was probably before he left Cambridge. Though it assumes that his father did not oppose his pursuits, yet I think we may infer that he had endeavoured to persuade him to occupy himself with some lucrative profession:—
Nec tu perge, precor, sacras contemnere Musas, &c.
The poet ends in this noble manner:—
Et vos, o nostri, juvenilia carmina, lusus,
This is an aspiration which Warton praises with congenial enthusiasm; and which was duly fulfilled to its utmost extent.
This poem may be taken as perfectly biographical, as well as poetical: I think it proper, therefore, to give the whole poem, as translated by Cowper.
TO HIS FATHER.
(TRANSLATED BY WILLIAM COWPER.)
O, that Pieria's spring would through my breast
Pour its inspiring influence, and rush
No rill, but rather an o'erflowing flood!
That, for my venerable Father's sake,
All meaner themes renounced, my Muse on wings
Of duty borne, might reach a loftier strain.
For thee, my Father! howsoe'er it please,
She frames this slender wort: nor know I aught
That may thy gifts more suitably requite;
Though to requite them suitably, would ask
Returns much nobler, and surpassing far
The meagre stores of verbal gratitude;
But such as I possess, T send thee all:
This page presents thee in their full amount
With thy son's treasures, and the sum is nought;
Nought save the riches that from airy dream,
In secret grottos and in laurel bowers,
I have by golden Clio's gift acquired.
Verse is a work divine: despise not thou
Verse, therefore, which evinces (nothing more)
Man's heavenly source, and which, retaining still
Some scintillations of Promethean fire,
Bespeaks him animated from above.
The gods love verse : the infernal powers themselves
Confess the influence of verse, which stirs
The lowest deep, and binds in triple chains
Of adamant both Pluto and the shades.
In verse the Delphic priestess, and the pale
Tremulous sibyl, make the future known:
And he who sacrifices, on the shrine
Hangs verse, both when he smites the threatening bull.
And when he spreads bis reeking entrails wide
To scrutinize the fates inveloped there.