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To the first edition of the author's poems, printed in
1645, was prefixed the following advertisement of
The STATIONER TO THE READER.
T is not any private respect of gain, gentle Reader,
for the flightest pamphlet is now-a-days more vendible than the works of learnedeft men; but it is the love I have to our own language, that hath made me diligent to collect and set forth such pieces both in prose and verse, as may renew the wonted honor and esteem of our English tongue: and it's the worth of these both English and Latin poems, not the florish of any prefixed encomiums, that can invite thee to buy them, though these are ot without the highest commendations and applause of the learnedest Academics, both domestic and foreign; and amongst those of our own country, the unparallel'd attestation of that renown’d Provost of Eton, Sir Henry Wotton. I know not thy palate how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy soul is; perhaps more trivial airs may please thee better. But howsoever thy opinion is spent upon these, that encouragement I have already received from the most ingenious men in their clear and courteous entertainment of Mr. Waller's late choice pieces, hath once more made me adventure into the world, presenting it with these ever-green, and not to be blasted laurels. The Author's more peculiar excellency in these studies was too well known to conceal his papers, or to keep me from attempting to solicit them from
him. Let the event guide itself which way
it will, I fhall deserve of the age, by bringing into the light as true a birth, as the Mufes have brought forth fince our famous Spenser wrote ; whose poems in these English ones are as rarely imitated, as sweetly excell'd. Reader, if thou art eagle-ey'd to censure their worth, I am not fearful to expose them to thy exacteft perufal.
On the Death of a fair Infant, dying of a cough*.
Soft filken primrose fading timelesly,
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss,
* This elegy was not inserted in the first edition of the author's poems, printed in 1645, but was added in the second edition printed in 1673. It was compos’d in the year 1625that being the 17th year of Milton's age. In some editions the title runs thus, On the dearb of a fair Infant, a nephew of kis, dying of a cough: but the fequel shows plainly that the child was not a nephew, but a niecej and consequently a daughter of his fifter Philips, and probably her
th' Athenian damfel got,
[held. Which ’mongst the wanton Gods a foul reproach was
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, 25 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 corte 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 to luidly doom?