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TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,

Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repelled

The fierce Epirot and the African bold,
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold

The drift of hollow states hard to be spelled;
Then to advise how war may best, upheld,

Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
In all her equipage; besides, to know

Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learned, which few

have done.
The bounds of either sword to thee we owe:

Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.

ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughtered Saints, whose bones

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,

When all our fathers worshiped 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 rolled

Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they

To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow

O’er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow

A hundredfold, who, having learnt thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

ON HIS BLINDNESS
WHEN I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"

I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best

Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,

And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

TO CYRIACK SKINNER
CYRIACK, this three years' day these eyes, though clear,

To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;

Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,

Or man, or woman. Yet 1 argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot

Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied

In Liberty's defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side. This thought might lead me through the world's

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

TO MR. LAWRENCE

LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,

Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire

Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run

On smoother, till Favonius reinspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire

The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise

To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?

He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

ON HIS DECEASED WIFE

METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,

Rescued from Death by force, though pale and faint. Mine, as whom washed from spot of childbed taint

Purification in the Old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind.

Her face was veiled; yet to my fancied sight

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

But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.

FROM PARADISE REGAINED

BOOK IV

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To whom the Fiend, with fear abashed, replied: “Be not so sore offended, Son of God Though Sons of God both Angels are and Men If I, to try whether in higher sort Than these thou bear'st that title, have proposed What both from Men and Angels I receive Tetrarchs of Fire, Air, Flood, and on the Earth Nations besides from all the quartered winds — God of this World invoked, and World beneath. Who then thou art, whose coming is foretold To me most fatal, me it most concerns. The trial hath endamaged thee no way, Rather more honour left and more esteem; Me naught advantaged, missing what I aimed. Therefore let pass, as they are transitory, The kingdoms of this world; I shall no more Advise thee; gain them as thou canst, or not. And thou thyself seem'st otherwise inclined Than to a worldly crown, addicted more To contemplation and profound dispute; As by that early action may be judged, When, slipping from thy mother's eye, thou went'st Alone into the Temple, there was found Among the gravest Rabbies, disputant On points and questions fitting Moses' chair, Teaching, not taught. The childhood shews the man, As morning shews the day. Be famous, then, By wisdom; as thy empire must extend, So let extend thy mind o'er all the world In knowledge; all things in it comprehend. All knowledge is not couched in Moses' law,

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The Pentateuch, or what the Prophets wrote;
The Gentiles also know, and write, and teach
To admiration, led by Nature's light;
And with the Gentiles much thou must converse,
Ruling them by persuasion, as thou mean'st.
Without their learning, how wilt thou with them,
Or they with thee, hold conversation meet?
How wilt thou reason with them, how refute
Their idolisms, traditions, paradoxes?
Error by his own arms is best evinced.
Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,
Westward, much nearer by south-west, behold
Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,
Built nobly, pure the air and light the soil
Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits
Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,
City or suburban, studious walks and shades.
See there the olive-grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird
Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There, flowery hill, Hymettus, with the sound
Of bees' industrious murmur, oft invites
To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls
His whispering stream. Within the walls then view
The schools of ancient sages — his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,
Lyceum there; and painted Stoa next.
There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various-measured verse,
Æolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer called,
Whose poem Phoebus challenged for his own.

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