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POEMS

ON

SEVERAL OCCASIONS.

1.

Anno ætatis 17. On the death of a fair infant, dying

of a cough.

O FAIREST flow'r no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry; ·
For he being amorous on that lovely dye

That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.

This elegy was not inserted in shews plainly that the child was the first edition of the author's not a nephew, but a niece, and poems printed in 1645, but was consequently a daughter of his added in the second edition sister Philips, and probably her printed in 1673. It was come first child." posed in the year 1625, that 5. For he being amorous on being the seventeenth year of that lovely dye &c.] In Romeo Milton's age. In some editions and Juliet, Affliction and Death the title runs thus, On the death turn paramours. T. Warton. of a fair infant, a nephew of his, 6. -thought to kiss, dying of a cough: but the sequel But kill'd, alas, &c.]

II.
For since grim Aquilo his charioteer
By boist'rous rape th’ Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touch'd his deity full near,

10 If likewise he some fair one wedded not, Thereby to wipe away th' infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld,
Which’mongst the wanton Gods a foul reproach was held.

III.
So mounting up in icy-pearled car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wander'd long, till thee he spied from far;

15

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Copied probably from this verse of Pluto, as reported by Clauin Shakespeare's Venus and Ado- dian. De Rapt. Pros. i. 32.

Dux Erebi quondam tumidas exarsit He thought to kiss him, and hath

in iras kill'd him so.

Prælia moturus superis, quod solus

egeret 8. For since grim Aquilo &c.]

Connubii, sterilesque diu consumeret Boreas or Aquilo carried off by

annos, force Orithyia daughter of Erec Impatiens nescire torum, nullasque theus king of Athens, Ovid,

mariti Met. vi. fab. 9. as she crossed

Illecebras, nec dulce patris cognos.

cere nomen. over the river Ilissus, (as Apollodorus says, lib. 3.) that is, she

. 15. So mounting up in icywas drowned in a high wind pearled car] We should rather crossing that river. Richardson. read ice-ypearled. And so in 12. th' infámous blot

the Mask, v. 890, rush-yfringed. Of long-uncoupled bed, and

Otherwise we have two epithets childless eld, &c.]

instead of one, with a weaker The author probably pronounced

sense. Milton himself affords an infamous with the middle syllable

instance in the Ode on The Nalong as it is in Latin. 'Eld is tivity, v. 155. old age, a word used in innume. Yet first to those ychain'd in sleep. rable places of Spenser and our Of the prefixture of y, in a conold writers. And in saying that catenated epithet there is an exlong-uncoupled bed and childless ample in the Epitaph on Shakeeld was held a reproach among speare, v. 4. the wanton Gods, the poet seems Under a star-ypointing pyramid. to allude particularly to the ease

T. Warton,

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25

There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his care..
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,

But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace
Unhous'd thy virgin soul from her fair biding place.

IV.
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate ;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilome did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform’d him to a purple flower;
Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.

V.
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb, 30
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low delved tomb;
Could Heav'n for pity thee so strictly doom?

Oh no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortality, that show'd thou wast divine. 35

VI.
Resolve me then, oh Soul most surely blest,
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear,)

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23. For so Apollo, &c.] Apollo And in Spenser's Astrophel, st. slew Hyacinthus by accident 48. playing at quoits, and afterwards Ah no! it is not dead, ne can it die, changed him into a flower of the But lives for aye in blissful Paradise, same name. See Ovid, Met. x. fab. 6.

The fine periphrasis for grave 29. Yet can I not persuade me in v. 31. is from Shakespeare, thou art dead,] So in Lycidas, Mids. N. Dr, a. iji. 8. ult. v. 165.

Already to their wormy beds are gone. Weep no more, woful shepherds,

T. Warton. weep no more For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead.

Tell me bright Spirit where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in th' Elysian fields, (if such there were,) 40

Oh say me true, if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight.

VII. Wert thou some star which from the ruin'd roof Of shakd Olympus by mischance didst fall; Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof 45 Took up, and in fit place did reinstall ? Or did of late earth's sons besiege the wall

Of sheeny heav'n, and thou some goddess fled Amongst us here below to hide thy nectar'd head?

VIII. Or wert thou that just Maid who once before 50

38. Tell me bright Spirit 44. didst fall ;] This is some.

where'er thou hoveresi, what inaccurate in all the ediWhether above, &c.]

tions. Grammar and syntax reThese hypothetical questions are quire did fall. like those in Lycidas, “ Whether 47. Or did of late earth's sons “ beyond the stormy Hebrides, &c.] For when the giants in" &c." v. 156. originally from vaded heaven, the deities fled Virgil, Georg. i. 32.

and concealed themselves in vaAnne novum tardis sidus te mensibus rious shapes. See Ovid, Met. v. addas, &c.

319, &c.

T. Warton. 48. Of sheeny hearen,] So in 39. that high first-moving Spenser, sphere,] The primum mobile, And beautifie the sheenic firmament. that first mored as he calls it, Sheen occurs in Hamlet, a. iii. Paradise Lost, iii. 483. where 8. 2. see the note.

And thirty dozen moons with bor40. —if such there were.) He rowed sheen, &c. should have said are, if the

T. Warton. rhyme had permitted. Hurd.

49. -nectar'd head?] As in 44. Of shak'd Olympus) For Lycidas, ver. 175. shaken. In Cymbeline, a. ii. s. 2.

With nectar pure his oozy locks he - A sly, and constant knave, not to be laves. shak'da

50. that just Maid] Astrea T. Warton.

or the Goddess of justice, who

Forsook the hated earth, O tell me sooth,
And cam’st again to visit us once more?
Or wert thou that sweet smiling Youth?
Or that crown'd matron sage white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heav'nly brood

55 Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good?

IX. Or wert thou of the golden-winged host, Who having clad thyself in human weed, To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post, And after short abode fly back with speed, 60

offended with the crimes of men Orb'd in a rainbow; and like glories forsook the earth. Ovid, Met. i.

wearing

Mercy will sit between &c. 150. Ultima cælestům terras Astrea re- And Mercy is not unfitly repreliquit.

sented as a sweet smiling youth, 53. --that sweet smiling Youth 2] this age being the most suscep. At first I imagined that the au- tible of the tender passions. thor meant Hebe, in Latin Jun 53. The late Mr. John Heskin, venta, or Youth. And Mr. Jortin of Ch. Ch. Oxford, who published communicated the following note. an elegant edition of Bion and “ A word of two syllables is

Moschus, was the author both of “ wanting to fill up the measure

this ingenious conjecture and of “ of the verse. It is easy to

the reasons for it in the preceding “ find such a word, but impos- note. T. Warton. o sible to determine what word 57. Or wert thou of the goldenor Milton would have inserted. winged host.] Mr. Bowle cites “ He uses Youth in the feminine Spenser's Hymne of Heavenlie " gender, as the Latins some. Beautie. “ times use juvenis, and by this

Bright Cherubins fair youth he probably means Which all with golden wings are “ the Goddess Hebe, who was overdight. " also called Juventas or Ju- And Spenser's Heavenly Love “ venta." But others have pro- bas golden wings. Tasso thus posed to fill up the verse thus, describes Gabriel's wings, Gier, Or wert thou Mercy that sweet smil. Lib. i. 14. ing youth?

Ali bianche vesti ch' han d'or le For Mercy is often joined with

cime. Justice and Truth, as in the Hymn on the Nativity, st. 15. See Il Penseroso, v. 52. T. War

Yea Truth and Justice then Will down return to mon,

ton.

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