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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,
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 Omnipotens, fundatis fortius astris,
Hence the prime mover wheels itself about
And to discriminate the night and day.-CowPER. Gray, a century afterwards, wrote tripos verses, at Cambridge, on the subject, • Anne Luna est habitabilis ?
In 1627, anno ætatis 18, Milton wrote his elegy "Ad Thomam Junium præceptorem suum, apud mercatores Anglicos Hamburgæ 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 Stow-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 præeunte, recessus
Lustrabam, et bifidi sacra vireta jugi;
Castalio sparsi læta ter ora mero.
* See Mitford's Poetical Dedication to his edition of Parnell.
THE SUBJECT OF Milton's COLLEGE POETRY
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.
Et vos, o nostri, juvenilia carmina, lusus,
Nomen, ad exemplum, sero servabitis ævo. 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 biogra
phical, 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.)
0, that Pieria's spring would through my breast