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Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
With praise enough for envy to look wan;
That with smooth air couldst humour best our Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her wing
To honour thee, the priest of Phæbus' quire,
That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn, or story. Dante shall give fame leave to set thee higher
Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing
XIV. ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS.
MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND, DECEASED 16TH DEC. 1646.
When faith and love, which parted from thee never,
Had ripend thy just soul to dwell with God,
Of death, call?d life; which us from life doth sever. Thy works, and alms, and all thy good endeavour,
Stay'd not behind, nor in the grave were trod;
5 exempts] Hor. Od. i. i. 32, 'Secernunt populo.' Richardson. 7 writ] Hor. Od. i. vi. 1, · Scriberis Vario fortis,' &c. Newton. 9 honour'st] So Browne's Brit. Past. B. ii. s. 11, of Lord Brooke,
Time shall see Thee honor'd by thy verse, and it by thee.' Todd. 6 Stay'd] Orig. line in MS. * Straight follow'd thee the path that saints have trod.' Warton.
Love led them on, and Faith who knew them best
Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple beams
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And spake the truth of thee on glorious themes
Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams.
XV. TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.*
FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings,
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
(For what can war, but endless war still breed ?) 14 drink] Epitaph. Damonis. 206. • Æthereos haurit latices.
Warton. * This Sonnet, as appears from Milton's MS. was addressed to Fairfax at the siege of Colchester, 1648. It was first printed, together with the two following sonnets, and the two to Cyriac Skinner, at the end of Philips's Life of Milton, 1694. Warton.
2 Filling] So the MS.: before, it was And fills each mouth.' Todd.
5 virtue] So the MS.: before, valour.' In the next line though' is admitted from the MS. instead of while.' Todd.
8 their] So the MS.: before, “ her.' Todd.
For what can war, but acts of war still breed,
Till truth and right from violence be freed,
Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed,
XVI. TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.*
CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Το peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough’d, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued, While Darwen stream with blood of Scots im
brued, And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud, And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much remains
* See Hollis's Memoirs, p. 511.
that through a crowd
5 This and the following line were contracted in the printed copies of Philips, Toland, Tonson, Tickell, and Fenton, into
. And fought God's battles, and his works pursued.' Warton. 7 Darwen] In the printed copies, · Darwent.' Newton.
9 And Worcester's laureat wreath.] This expression, though beautiful, is inaccurate ; for a “laureat wreath' cannot, with propriety, be said to resound his praises loud ;' but the inaccuracy arose from the alteration. The hemistich originally stood, “And twenty battles more,' which was flat enough.
To conquer still; peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war: new foes arise Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains :
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
XVII. TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.*
years, but in sage counsel old, Than whom a better senator ne'er held The helm of Rome, when gowns not arms repell’d
The fierce Epirot and the African bold,
The drift of hollow states hard to be spell’d,
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
Both spiritual pow'r and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learn'd, which few
have done :
peace, &c.] In the printed copies, before Newton's edition, peace has her victories, no less than those of war; and afterwards, • in secular chains.' Todd. Compare Milton' Second Defence, vol. ii. p. 442; and Cas. Sarb. Carm. p. 323, ed. Barbou.
* This Sonnet seems to have been written in behalf of the Independents against the Presbyterian hierarchy. Vane was beheaded in 1662. Warlon.
1 counsel] The printed copies, councils.' Newton. ? Then, &c.] In the printed copies,
• Then to advise how war may be best upheld
Mann'd by her two main nerves,' &c. Newton. 11 severs) •Serves.' Printed edition. Newton.
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe:
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
XVIII. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT.
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold;
When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groans
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
To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow O'er all th’ Italian fields, where still doth
sway The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who having learn’d thy way
XIX. ON HIS BLINDNESS.
When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
13 Therefore, &c.] In the printed copies :
“Therefore on thy right hand Religion leans,
And reckons thee in chief her eldest son.' Newton. 2 Alpine) Fairfax's Tasso, B. xiii. s. 60.
• Distilld from tops of Alpine mountains cold.' Warton.