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To which my spi'rit aspir’d; victorious deeds
Flam'd in my heart, heroic acts, one while
To rescue Israel from the Roman yoke,
Then to subdue and quell o'er all the earth
Brute violence and proud tyrannic power,
Till truth were freed, and equity restor'd :
Yet held it more humane, more heav'nly first

220

218. Then to subdue and quell, far better acquainted than his

o'er all the earth, mother with his descent, and with Brute violence and proud ty. the purpose of his mission. She rannic power,]

indeed kept these sayings in Milton here carries his republican her heart, musing what so many principles to the greatest height, marvels signified; but he never in supposing the overthrow of all appears to speak without absomonarchy to have been one of lute and commanding knowthe objects of our Lord's early ledge. Milton's excuse must be contemplations. Compare Same found in the expression, Jesus son Agonistes, 1268—1280, where increased in wisdom, Luke ii. Mr. Warton considers him as 52, which however relates to the intending a panegyric to the growth of his intellectual faculmemory of Cromwell and his ties and attainments, and does deliverance. Dunster.

not imply ignorance of his office Nothing perhaps in the poem and mission, which would be conis less consistent with Scripture trary to v. 49. Dr. Newton's rethan this supposition of our mark, therefore, upon the accuLord's meditating victorious racy with which Milton adheres deeds, and doubting what work to the Scripture history, appears he came upon the earth to per- exaggerated. See the note at v, form. What follows respecting 255. and see also the notes of his mother's informing him of Mr. Dunster and Mr. Calton on the particulars of his miraculous v. 293. E. birth, &c. (see v. 229, 236, 259, 219. Brute violence] So again is at variance with the letter of in the Mask, the history, as these meditations are with its spirit. See Luke ii.

And noble grace that dash'd brute

violence. 49-52, where the words, How

Thyer. is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about 221. Yet held it more humane, my Father's business ? and the more heav'nly first &c.] Here remark which follows, they un- breathes the true spirit of toleraderstood not the saying which tion in these lines, and the senhe spake unto them, plainly timent is very fitly put into the shew that Jesus, at the time of mouth of him, who came not to dehis being left in the temple, was stroy men's lives, but to save them.

By winning words to conquer willing hearts,
And make persuasion do the work of fear;
At least to try, and teach the erring soul
Not wilfully misdoing, but unware
Misled; the stubborn only to subdue.
These growing thoughts my mother soon perceiving
By words at times cast forth inly rejoic'd,

The allitteration of w's in this subdue.] We cannot sufficiently line, and the assonance of win- condemn the negligence of the ning and willing, have a very former editors and printers, who beautiful effect;

have not so much as corrected By winning words to conquer willing

the errata pointed out to them hearts.

by Milton himself, but have Our author was always a declared

carefully followed all the blun

caref enemy to persecution, and a

ders of the first edition, and infriend to liberty of conscience.

creased the number with new He rises above himself, when

ones of their own. This passage ever he speaks of the subject;

affords an instance. In all the and he must have felt it very editions we read, strongly, to have expressed it so the stubborn only to destroy ; happily. For, as Mr. Thyer and this being good sense, the justly remarks upon this passage, mistake is not so easily detected : there is a peculiar softness and but in the first edition the reader harmony in these lines, exactly is desired in the table of errata suited to that gentle spirit of for destroy to read subdue ; and love that breathes in them; if we consider it, this is the more and that man must have an in- proper word, more suitable to quisitorial spirit indeed who does the humane and heavenly chanot feel the force of them. racter of the speaker; and be

222. to conquer willing sides it answers to the subdue hearts,] Virgil, Georg. iv. 561. and quell in ver. 218. The Son of --victorque volentes

man came not to destroy men's Per populos dat jura

lives, &c. Luke ix. 56. which expression of Virgil's, by

226. Compare Virgil's the way, seems to be taken from -debellare superbos. Æn, vi. 854. Xenophon, (Economic. xxi. 12.

Dunster. Ου γας πανυ μοι δοκει όλον τουτι το 227. - ny mother soon perwyodor arquivov svet, eines Quor, ceiving το εθελοντων αρχειν. I could add inly rejoic'd,] other passages of Xenophon, Virgil, Æn. i. 502. which Virgil has manifestly Latonx tacitum pertentant gaudia copied. Jortin. 226. the stubborn only to

Jortin.

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230

And said to me apart, High are thy thoughts
O Son, but nourish them and let them soar
To what height sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example higli;
By matchless deeds express thy matchless Sire.
For know, thou art no son of mortal man;
Though men esteem thee low of parentage, 235
Thy father is th' eternal King who rules
All heav'n and earth, angels and sons of men ;
A messenger from God foretold thy birth
Conceiv'd in me a virgin, he foretold
Thou should'st be great, and sit on David's throne, 240
And of thy kingdom there should be no end.
At thy nativity a glorious quire
Of angels in the fields of Bethlehem sung
To shepherds watching at their folds by night,
And told them the Messiah now was born

245 Where they might see him, and to thee they came, Directed to the manger where thou lay'st,

233. By matchless deeds express &c. fc. And they were offended in thy matchless Sire,] Milton, in him. Matt. xiii. 55–57. He the Par. Lost, viii. 440. uses the shall be great, and shall be called verb to express in the same sense. the Son of the Highest : and the The Deity is addressing Adam, Lord God shall give unto him • I find thee

the throne of his father David : Erpressing well the spirit within and he shall reign over the thee free,

house of Jacob for ever; and My image, not imparted to the brute.

of his kingdom there shall be Dunster. no end. Luke i. 32, 33. DunDunster.

ster. 235. Though men esteem thee

241. there should be no end.] low of parentage,

We have restored the reading of Thy father is th' eternal King Milton's own edition, should not &c.]

shall, as before Is not this the carpenter's Son ? Is not his mother culled Mary ? Thou should'st be great.

For in the inn was left no better room :
A star, not seen before, in heav'n appearing
Guided the wise men thither from the east, 250
To honour thee with incense, myrrh, and gold,
By whose bright course led on they found the place,
Affirming it thy star new grav’n in heaven,
By which they knew the King of Israel born.
Just Simeon and prophetic Anna, warn’d

255
By vision, found thee in the temple', and spake
Before the altar and the vested priest,
Like things of thee to all that present stood.
This having heard, straight I again revolv’d
The law and prophets, searching what was writ: 260
Concerning the Messiah, to our scribes
Known partly, and soon found of whom they spake
I am ; this chiefly, that my way must lie
Through many a hard assay ev'n to the death,

255. Just Simeon and prophetic and unknown even to himself, till Anna,) It may not be improper Elias had anointed and declared to remark how strictly our au- him. Xpatos de el xos goyantab, xem thor adheres to the Scripture 891 tov, GYUWOTOS EGTi, xai oude autos history, not only in the particu. WW ÉQUTOY ETIOTATA, oude snu durapean lars which he relates, but also in tira, pizcens der sowy Hasics xeron the very epithets which he AUTON, sal Qarspor Fudi tommon. affixes to the persons; as here Just. Mart. Dial. cum Tryph. p. Just Simeon, because it is said 226. Ed. Col. Calton. Luke ii. 25. and the same man 264. Through many a hard was just: and prophetic Anna, assay evn to the death,] Thus, in because it is said Luke ii. 36. the Comus, 972. and there was one Anna a pro- And sent them here, through hard pheless. The like accuracy may assays. be observed in all the rest. And Spenser, Faery Queen, b. 262. and soon found of whom vi. c. vi. st. 3. they spake

And pass'd through many perilous I am ;]

assays. The Jews thought that the Mes- Unto the death is a Scriptural siah, when he came, would be expression. See Acts xxii. 4. without all power and distinction, Judges v. 18. &c. Dunster..

Ere I the promis'd kingdom can attain,

265 Or work redemption for mankind, whose sins . Full weight must be transferr'd upon my head. Yet neither thus dishearten’d or dismay'd, The time prefix'd I waited, when behold The Baptist (of whose birth I oft had heard, 270 Not knew by sight) now come, who was to come Before Messiah and his way prepare. I as all others to his baptism came, Which I believ'd was from above ; but he Straight knew me, and with loudest voice proclaim'd 275 Me him (for it was shown him so from heaven) Me him whose harbinger he was ; and first Refus’d on me his baptism to confer, As much his greater, and was hardly won :

266. --whose sins

276. Me him (for it was Full weight must be transferr'd shown him so from heaven) upon my head.

Me him.) Isaiah liji. 6. The Lord hath laiil See other repetitions of this kind on him the iniquity of us all. in the Par. Lost, iii. 236. x. 923.

271. Not knew by sight] and compare Virgil, Æn. ix. Though Jesus and John the 247. Baptist were related, yet they were brought up in different

Me, me, adsum qui feci, in me con.

vertite ferrum, countries, and had no manner

O Rutuli! of intimacy or acquaintance with

Dunster. each other. John the Baptist says expressly, John i. 31, 33. 278. Refus'd on me his baptism And I knew him not; and he did

to confer, not so much as know him by sight, As much his greater ] till our Saviour came to his bap- Here Milton uses the word tism; and afterwards it doth not greater in the same manner as appear that they ever conversed he had done before, Parad. Lost, together. And it was wisely or. v. 172. dered so by Providence, that the

Thou Sun, of this great world both testimony of John might have

eye and soul, the greater weight, and be freer Acknowledge him thy greater. from all suspicion of any compact

Thyer. or collusion between them.

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