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II

Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, Friend, to’have lost them overply'd

In liberty's defense, my noble task, Of which all Europe talks from side to side. This thought might lead me through the world's

vain mask Content though blind, had I no better guide.

XXIII.
On his deceased WIFE.

Methought I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,

9. Right onward. --] Mr. Harris, in his notes on the Treatise on HAPPINESS, observes on this expression of Right onward, p.306.“ One “ would imagine that our great countryman Milton had the reasoning “ of Marcus Antoninus in view. L. 5. §. 5. Where in this Sonnet, “ speaking of his own Blindness, he says with a becoming magnani. “ mity, yet I argue not, &c. The whole Sonnet is not unworthy of “ perusal, being both simple and sublime.” Dr. J. Warton.

11. In liberty's defence, &c.] This Sonnet was not hazarded in the edition of 1673, where the last appears. For the DefenSIO PRO POPULO ANGLICANO, of which he here speaks with so much satisfaction, and self-applause, at the restoration was ordered to be burnt by the hands of the common hangman, together with his Icono. CLASTES, at which time his person was spared ; and, by a fingular act of royal clemency, he survived to write Paradise Lost. It is more remarkable, that Goodwin, a famous Independent preacher, should have been indemnified, whose books were also burnt, in which he justified the king's murther.

1. Methought I saw my late espoused saint, &c.] Raleigh's elegant Sonnet, called a vision upon the conceipt of the FAERIE QUEENE, begins thus,

Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay. And hence perhaps the idea of a Sonnet in the form of a vision was suggested to Milton,

Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave, Rescued from death by force, though pale and

faint. Mine, as whom walh'd from spot of child-bed taint Purification in the old Law did fave,

5 And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full light of her in Heav'n without restraint, Came vested all in white, pure as her mind :

Her face was veild, yet to my fancied fight

This Sonnet was written about the year 1661, on the death of his second wife, Catharine, the daughter of captain Woodcock of Hackney, a rigid fectarist. She died in child-bed of a daughter, within a year after their marriage. Milton had now been totally blind for two or three years : so that this might have been one of his day-dreams.

Captain Woodcock had a brother Francis, as I collect, a covenanter, and of the affembly of divines, who was presented by the ufurping powers to the benefice of S. Olave in Southwark, 1646. One of his surname, perhaps the same with this Francis, was appointed by parliament in 1659. to approve of ministers ; was a great frequenter of conventicles, and has some puritanical sermons extant in Tbe morning exercise mer bodized, 1676.

2. Brought to me like Aluefiis. - The last scene of the Alcestis of Euripides, our author's favourite writer, to which he alludes in this passage, is remarkably pathetic ; particularly at v. 1155.

Ω φιλτάτης γυναικός όμμα, &c. And all that follows on Hercules's discovering that it was his wife whom Hercules had brought to him covered with a veil. And equally tender and pathetic is the passage in the first Act, which describes Alcestis taking leave of her family and house, when she had resolved to die to save her husband : particularly from v, 175. to v. 196. Thomson closely copied this passage in his EDWARD and ELEONORA. I have often wondered, that Addison, who has made so many obser. vations on the allegory of Sin and Death, in the PARADISE Lost, did not recollect, that the person of Death, was clearly and obviously taken from the OANATOE of Euripides in this Tragedy of ALCESTIS. Dr. J. WARTON.

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd
So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But O, as to embrace me the inclin'd,
I wak’d, she fled, and day brought back my

night *

* Birch has printed a Sonnet said to be written by Milton, in 1665, when he retired to Chalfont on account of the plague, and to have been lately seen inscribed on the glass of a window in that place. LIFE, p. xxxviii. It has the word SHEENE as a substantive. But Milton was not likely to commit a fcriptural mistake. For the Sonnet improperly represents David as punished by a peftilence for his adul. tery with Bathsheba. Birch, however, had been informed by Vertue, that he had seen a satirical medal, Itruck upon Charles the second, abroad, without any legend, having a correspondent device.

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TRANSLATIONS.

The Fifth ODE of HORACE, Lib. I. *

W odours

HAT Nender youth bedew'd with liquid

odours
Courts thee on roses in some pleasant cave,

Pyrrha ? For whom bind'st thou
In wreaths thy golden hair,

* This piece did not appear in the first edition of the year 1645.

1. What sender youth. -- ] In this measure, my friend and school. fellow Mr. William Collins wrote his admired Ode to EVENING ; and I know he had a design of writing many more Odes without rhyme. In this measure also, an elegant Ode was written on the PARADISE Lost, by the late captain Thomas, formerly a student of Christ church Oxford, at the time that Mr. Benson gave medals as prizes for the best verses that were produced on Milton, at all our great schools. It feems to be an agreed point, that Lyric poetry cannot exist without rhyme in our language. The following Trochaics of Mr. Glover are harmonious, however, without rhyme.

Pride of art, majestic columns,

Which beneath the sacred weight
Of that God's refulgent mansion

Lift your flow'r-insculptur'd heads,
Oh, ye marble-channell'a fountains

Which the swarming city cool,
And, as art directs your murmurs,
Warble your obedient rills ! &c.
Dr. J. WARTON.

Plain in thy neatness ? O how oft shall he 5 On faith and changed Gods complain, and seas

Rough with black winds, and storms

Unwonted shall admire !
Who now enjoys thee credulous, all gold,
Who always vacant, always amiable

Hopes thee, of Aattering gales

Unmindful. Hapless they To whom thou untry'd seem'st fair. Me in my vow'd Picture, the sacred wall declares t' have hung

10

Dr. J. WARTON might have added, that his own Ode to Even: ING was written before that of his friend Collins; as was a Poem of his, entitled the ASSEMBLY OF THE PASSIONS, before Collins's favourite Ode on that subject.

There are extant two excellent Odes, of the truest taste, written in unrhyming metre many years ago by two of the students of Christ. Church Oxford, and among its chief ornaments, now high in the church. One is on the death of Mr. Langton who died on his tra. vels: the other is addressed to George Onslow esquire. But it may be doubted, whether there is sufficient precision and elegance in the English language for metre without rhyme. In England's HELICON, there is Oenone's complaint in blank verse, by George Peele, written about 1590. Signat Q 4. edit. 1614. The verses indeed are heroic, but the whole consists of quatrains. I will exhibit the firit ftanza.

Melpomene, the muse of tragicke songs
With mournfull tunes, in stole of dismall huc;
Aslitt a filly nymphe to waile her woe,
And leave thy lustie company

behind. v. 5. Plain in thy neatnefs? --] Rather, “plain in your ornaments." Milion mistakes the idiomatical use and meaning of Munditiæ. She was plain in her dress: or, more paraphrastically, in tbe manner of adorning herself. The sense of the context is, “ For whom do you; “ who study no ornaments of dress, thus unaffectedly bind up your “ yellow locks

My

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