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The city which thou seest no other deem Than great and glorious Rome, queen of the earth, So far renown'd, and with the spoils enrich'd Of nations: there the Capitol thou seest Above the rest lifting his stately head On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel Impregnable; and there Mount Palatine, The imperial palace, compass huge, and high The structure, skill of noblest architects, With gilded battlements, conspicuous far, Turrets and terraces, and glittering spires. Many a fair edifice besides, more like Houses of gods, (so well I have disposed My aery microscope,) thou mayst behold Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs, Carved work, the hand of famed artificers, In cedar, marble, ivory, or gold. Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see What conflux issuing forth, or entering in; Prætors, proconsuls to their provinces Hasting, or on return, in robes of state, Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power, Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings: Or ernbassies from regions far remote In various habits, on the Appian road, Or on the Emilian; some from farthest south, Syene, and where the shadow both way falls, Meroe Nilotick isle, and, more to west, The realm of Bocchus to the Black-moor sea; From the Asian kings, and Parthian among these; From India and the golden Chersonese, And utmost Indian isle Taprobane, Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreathed; From Gallia, Gades, and the British west; Germans and Scythians, and Sarmathians, north Beyond Danubius to the Taurick pool.
Paradise Regained, IV. 44.
ATHENS. 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; .
1 Satan, persisting in the temptation of our Lord, shows him imperial Romc in its greatest pomn and splendor, and tells him that he might easily expel the Emperor Tiberius, and take possession of the whole hiinsell, and thus possess the world. Based in this, he next points out to him the cele. brated seat of ancient learning, Athens, and its celebrated schools of philosophy; pronouncing a bighly unlehed panegyric on the Grecian musicians, poets, orators, and philosophers of the diferent Mects
See there the olive grove of Academe,
Paradise Regained, IV. 23
SAMSON's LAMENTATION FOR HIS BLINDNESS.
O loss of sight, of thee I most complain! Blind among enemies, () worse than chains, Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age! Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct, And all her various objects of delight Annull’d, which might in part my grief have eased, Inferior to the vilest now become Of man or worm; the vileat here excel me: They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong, Within doors or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
O first-created Beam, and thou great Word,
Samson Agonistes, 67.
SONNET ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS.” When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent3 which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve there with my Maker, and present My true account, lest He, returning, chide;
“ Doth God exact day-labor, light denied ?" I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “ God doth nur need Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
1 "Few passnges in poeta y are so affecting as this; and the tone of the expression is peculiarly Miltonic."-Brydges.
2 " Milton's sonnets are, in easy majesty and severe beanty, unequalled by any other compositions of the kind."---Rev. Ale rander Dyce. “Of all the sonnets of Muton, I am most inclined to prefer that "On His Blindness.' It has, to my weak taste, such various excellences as I am unequal to praise sntliciently. It breathes doctrines at once so sublime and consolatory, as to gild the gloomy pathy of our existence here with a new and singular light."--Brydges.
3 He speaks here with allusion to the parable of the talents, Matt. XXV., and with great modesto of himsell, as if he had not five, or two, but only one talent.
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
TO CYRIACK SKINNER."
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
In liberty's defence,3 my noble task,
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY.
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,
Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends
And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure,
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends
Hast gaind thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.
i Cyriack Skinner was the son of William Skinner, Esq., a merchant of London. Wood says that • he was an ingenious young gentleman, and a scholar to John Milton."
2 " or heart or hope," &c. “One of Milton's characteristics was a singular fortitude of mind, arising from a consciousness of superior abilities, and a conviction that his cause was just."--Wartort.
3 When Milton had entered upon the labor of writing his “Defence of the People of England," onc of his eyes was almost gone, and the physicians predicted the loss of both if he proceeded. But he says, “I did not long balance whether my duty should be preferred to my eyes." And yet (prok pudor!) this masterly work was, at the Restoration, ordered to be burnt by the common hangman!
4 «The summit of fame is occupied by the poet, but the base of the vast elevation may justly be sajd to rest on bra prose works; and we invite his admirers to descend from the former, and survey the resion that lies round about the latter;-a less explored, but not less magnificent domain." - Brydges
"The prose writings of Milton deserve the attention of every man who wishes to become acquainted with the full power of the English language. They abound with passages compared with which the finest declamations of Burke sink into inngnificance." Macaulay.
stormy and eventful times in which his lot was cast; but they breatho througliout," says Burnett, “that sublime, ethereal spirit, peculiar only to him. We are continually astonished and delighted at his never-failing abundance of sentiments and imagery—at that majestic stream and swell of thoughts with which his mind always flows. He was a man essen. tially great; and whoever wishes to form his language to a lofty and noble style-his character to a fervid sincerity of soul, will read the works of Milton.”
Milton early commenced his ecclesiastical controversies, and in 1642 published « The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelacy.” The following is a part of the preface of the second book, and is particularly remarkable as giving a prophetic assurance of the proudest monument of his fame-Paradise Lost. MILTON CONSECRATES HIS POWERS TO THE CAUSE OF TRUTH—HIS
STUDIES AND PREPARATION FOR HIS GREAT WORK. Surely to every good and peaceable man, it must in nature needs be a hateful thing to be the displeaser and molester of thousands; much better would it like him doubtless to be the messenger of gladness and contentment, which is his chief intended business to all mankind, but that they resist and oppose their own happiness.
But when God commands to take the trumpet and blow a dolorous or jarring blast, it lies not in man's will what he shall say or what he shall conceal. If he shall think to be silent as Jeremiah did, because of the reproach and derision he met with daily, “and all his familiar friends watched for his halting," to be revenged on him for speaking the truth, he would be forced to confess as he confessed; "his word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary with forbearing, and could not stay."
Which might teach these times not suddenly to condemn all things that are sharply spoken or vehemently written as proceeding out of stomach virulence and ill-nature; but to consider rather, that if the prelates have leave to say the worst that can be said, or do the worst that can be done, while they strive to keep to themselves, to their great pleasure and commodity, those things which they ought to render up, no man can be justly offended with him that shall endeavor to impart and bestow, without any gain to himself, those sharp and saving words, which would be a error and a torment in him to keep back.
For me, I have endeavored to lay up as the best treasure and solace of a good old age, if God vouchsafe it me, the honest liberty of free speech from my youth, where I shall think it avail able in so dear a concernment as the church's good. For, if I be, whether by disposition, or what other cause, too inquisitive, or suspicious of myself and mine own doings, who can help it?
Concerning therefore this wayward subject against prelates, the