Infomotions, Inc.On The Death Of A Fair Infant Dying Of A Cough / Milton, John



Author: Milton, John
Title: On The Death Of A Fair Infant Dying Of A Cough
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): wert; didst; art; fair; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 654 words (really short) Grade range: 14-16 (college) Readability score: 59 (average)
Identifier: milton-on-526
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                                      1626
                 ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT DYING OF A COUGH
                                 by John Milton
            On the Death of a Fair Infant Dying of a Cough.
                           Anno aetatis 17

                                  I

        O FAIREST flower no sooner blown but blasted,
        Soft silken Primrose fading timelesslie,
        Summers chief honour if thou hadst out-lasted
        Bleak winters force that made thy blossome drie;
        For he being amorous on that lovely die
          That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss
        But kill'd alas, and then bewayl'd his fatal bliss.

                                  II

        For since grim Aquilo his charioter
        By boistrous rape th' Athenian damsel got,
        He thought it toucht his Deitie full neer,
        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 ycie-pearled carr,
        Through middle empire of the freezing aire
        He wanderd long, till thee he spy'd from farr,
        There ended was his quest, there ceast his care.
        Down he descended from his Snow-soft chaire,
          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 perswade me thou art dead
        Or that thy coarse corrupts in earths dark wombe,
        Or that thy beauties lie in wormie bed,
        Hid from the world in a low delved tombe;
        Could Heavn for pittie thee so strictly doom?
          Oh no! for something in thy face did shine
        Above mortalitie that shew'd thou wast divine.

                                  VI

        Resolve me then oh Soul most surely blest
        (If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)
        Tell me bright Spirit where e're thou hoverest
        Whether above that high first-moving Spheare
        Or in the Elisian fields (if such there were.)
          Oh say me true if thou wert mortal wight
        And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight.

                                 VII

        Wert thou some Starr which from the ruin'd roofe
        Of shak't Olympus by mischance didst fall;
        Which carefull Jove in natures true behoofe
        Took up, and in fit place did reinstall?
        Or did of late earths Sonnes besiege the wall
          Of sheenie 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
        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 c[r]own'd Matron sage white-robed Truth?
          Or any other of that heav'nly brood
        Let down in clowdie throne to do the world some good.

                                  IX

        Or wert thou of the golden-winged hoast,
        Who having clad thy self in humane weed,
        To earth from thy praefixed seat didst poast,
        And after short abode flie back with speed,
        As if to shew what creatures Heav'n doth breed,
          Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire
        To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heav'n aspire.

                                  X

        But oh why didst thou not stay here below
        To bless us with thy heav'n-lov'd innocence,
        To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe
        To turn Swift-rushing black perdition hence,
        Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,
          To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart
        But thou canst best perform that office where thou art.

                                  XI

        Then thou the mother of so sweet a child
        Her false imagin'd loss cease to lament,
        And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild;
        Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
        And render him with patience what he lent;
          This if thou do he will an off-spring give,
        That till the worlds last-end shall make thy name to live.

                             -THE END-
.

Colophon

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