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Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold ;
of old, When all our fathers worshipt stocks and stones, Forget not : in thy book record their groans 5
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rollid
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they 9
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and alhes sow O’er all th' Italian fields, where still doth sway
2. Lie scatter'd or tbe Alpine mountains cold.] From Fairfax's Tasso, C. xiii, 60.
Into the valleys greene Distill’d from tops of Alpine MOUNTAINS COLD. 3. Ev'n them who kept by truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipi jlocks and stones ] It is pretended that when the church of Rome became corrupt, they preserved the primitive apoftolical christianity: and that they have manuscripts against the papal Antichrist and Purgatory, as old as 1120. See their History by Paul Perrin, Genev. 1619. Their poverty, and seclusion from the rest of the world for so many ages, contributed in great measure to this simplicity of worship.
In his pamphlet, “ The likeliest means to remove HIRELINGs out “of churches," against endowing churches with tythes, our author frequently refers to the happy poverty and purity of the Waldenses. And he quotes Peter Gilles, and “an antient Tractate inserted in the “ Bohemian history.” This pamphlet was written after our Sonnet, in 1659. See PROSE-Works, vol. i. 568. 574. 7.
а piece of cruelty in Moreland. He relates, that“ a mother was hurled “ down a mighty rock, with a little infant in her arms; and three “ days after, was found dead with the little childe alive, but fait “claíped between the arms of the dead mother which were cold and “ stiffe, insomuch that those who found them had much ado to get “the young childe out.” p. 363.
The triple Tyrant ; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who having learn’d thy way
On his BLINDNESS
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
My true account, lest he returning chide ;
I fondly ask : But Patience, to prevent
* Aubrey says that Milton's father could read without spectacles at eighty.four: but that his mother used them soon after she was thirty. MS. Muf. Ashmol. ut infr.
7. “ Dorb God exact day-labour, light deny'd 29" Here is a pun on the do&trine in the gospel, that we are to work only while it is light, and in the night no man can work. There is an ambiguity between the natural light of the day, and the author's blindness. I have introduced the turned commas, both in the question and answer, not from any authority, but because they seem absolutely necessary to the sense.
9. From this ninth verse to the end of this Sonnet, is a speech of PATIENCE, here personified. Dr. J. WARTON.
“ Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
They also serve who only stand and wait."
Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Thousands at his bidding speed,
They also serve who only stand and wait.] Compare Spenser, in the HYMNE OF HEAVENLY Love, it. x. Of the angels.
There they in their trinall triplicities
Or on his own dread presence to attend.
Millions of spiritual creatures walk the earth
Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep, &c. See also on the Death OF A FAIR INFANT, v. 59.
To earth from thy prefixed seat didit post. We have post in Parad. L. B. iv. 171.
With a vengeance sent From Media Post to Egypt. 1. Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous fou, &c.] Of the virtuous son nothing has transpired. The virtuous father Henry Lawrence, was member for Hertfordshire in the Little Parliament which began in 1653, and was active in settling the protectorate of Cromwell. In consequence of his services, he was made President of Cromwell's Council; where he appears to have signed many severe and arbitrary decrees, not only against the royalilts, but the Brownifts, fifth. monarchy-men, and other sectariits. He continued high in favour with Richard Cromwell. As innovation is progressive, perhaps the son, Milton's friend, was an independent and a still warmer republican. The family appears to have been seated not far from Milton's neighbourhood in Buckinghamshire : for Henry Lawrence's near re.
Where Ihall we sometimes meet, and by the fire Help waste a sullen day, what
may From the hard season gaining ? Time will run 5
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
lation, William Lawrence a writer, and appointed a Judge in Scot. land by Cromwell, and in 1631 a gentleman commoner of Trinity college Oxford, died at Belfont near Staines in Middlesex, in 1682. Hence says Milton, v. 2.
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, &c, This Sonnet does not appear in the edition 1645. 3.
And by the fire Help waste a fullen day, &c.] He has sentiments of much the fame cast in the EPITAPH. DAMON. V. 45.
Quis me lenire docebit
Molle pyrum, et nucibus ftrepitat focus, &c.
They may become John Hewes's lyre,
Hath made us gravely merry: 6. Till Favonius re-inspire, &c.] Favonius had before been rendered familiar in English poetry for Zephyr, by the following beautiful passage in Jonson's MASQUES, vol. vi. 24.
As if Favonius, father of the Spring,
Resolving Iris, &c.
Compellat Zephyrum. Pater o gratiffime Veris,
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lilly' and rose, that neither sow'd nor spun. What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic tafte, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touch'd, 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.
To CYRIAC SKINNER *.
Cyriac, whose grandfire on the royal bench
Of British Themis, with no mean applause Pronounc'd and in his volumes taught our laws, Which others at their bar so often wrench
Non tales volucer pandit Junonius alas,
Semita secretis interviret humida nimbis.
And mild Favonius breathes.
And like FAVONIUS gives a gentle blast. 13. The close of this Sonnet is perfectly in the style of Horace and and the Grecian lyrics. As is that of the following to Cyriac Skinner.
* Cyriac Skinner was one of the principal members of Harrington's political club. Wood says, that he was “an ingenious young “ gentleman, and scholar to John Milton, which Skinner sometimes « held the chair.” Ath. Oxon. ii. 591. I find one Cyriac Skinner, I know not if the same, a member of Trinity college Oxford in 1640. In 1659-60, Milton published "A Ready and easy way to establish a