Author: Milton, John
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): yeer; pure; 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: 1,629 words (really short) Grade range: 15-17 (college) Readability score: 59 (average)
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1645 SONNETS by John Milton I O NIGHTINGALE, that on yon bloomy Spray Warbl'st at eeve, when all the Woods are still, Thou with fresh hope the Lovers heart dost fill, While the jolly hours lead on propitious May, Thy liquid notes that close the eye of Day, First heard before the shallow Cuccoo's bill Portend success in love; O if Jove's will Have linkt that amorous power to thy soft lay, Now timely sing, ere the rude Bird of Hate Foretell my hopeles doom in som Grove ny: As thou from yeer to yeer hast sung too late For my relief; yet hadst no reason why, Whether the Muse, or Love call thee his mate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I. VII How soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth, Stoln on his wing my three and twentith yeer! My hasting dayes flie on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth, That I to manhood am arriv'd so near, And inward ripenes doth much less appear, That som more timely-happy spirits indu'th. Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow, It shall be still in strictest measure eev'n, To that same lot, however mean, or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav'n; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great task Masters eye. VIII Captain or Colonel, or Knight in Arms, Whose chance on these defenceless dores may sease, If ever deed of honour did thee please, Guard them, and him within protect from harms, He can requite thee, for he knows the charms That call Fame on such gentle acts as these, And he can spred thy Name o're Lands and Seas, What ever clime the Suns bright circle warms. Lift not thy spear against the Muses Bowre, The great Emathian Conqueror bid spare The house of Pindarus, when Temple and Towre Went to the ground: And the repeated air Of sad Electra's Poet had the power To save th' Athenian Walls from ruine bare. IX Lady that in the prime of earliest youth, Wisely hath shun'd the broad way and the green, And with those few art eminently seen, That labour up the Hill of heav'nly Truth, The better part with Mary and with Ruth, Chosen thou hast, and they that overween, And at thy growing vertues fret their spleen, No anger find in thee, but pity and ruth. Thy care is fixt and zealously attends To fill thy odorous Lamp with deeds of light, And Hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastfull friends Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night, Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure. X Daughter to that good Earl, once President Of Englands Counsel, and her Treasury, Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee, And left them both, more in himself content, Till the sad breaking of that Parlament Broke him, as that dishonest victory At Chaeronea, fatal to liberty Kil'd with report that Old man eloquent, Though later born, then to have known the dayes Wherin your Father flourisht, yet by you Madam, me thinks I see him living yet; So well your words his noble vertues praise, That all both judge you to relate them true, And to possess them, Honour'd Margaret. XI A Book was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon; And wov'n close, both matter, form and stile; The Subject new: it walk'd the Town a while, Numbring good intellects; now seldom por'd on. Cries the staff-reader, bless us! what a word on A title page is this! and some in file Stand spelling fals, while one might walk to Mile- End Green. Why is it harder Sirs then Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp? Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek, Hated Learning wors then Toad or Asp; When thou taught'st Cambridge, and King Edward Greek. XII On the same I did but prompt the age to quit their cloggs By the known rules of antient libertie, When strait a barbarous noise environs me Of Owles and Cuckoes, Asses, Apes and Doggs. As when those Hinds that were transform'd to Froggs Raild at Latona's twin-born progenie Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee. But this is got by casting Pearl to Hoggs; That bawle for freedom in their senceless mood, And still revolt when truth would set them free. Licence they mean when they cry libertie; For who loves that, must first be wise and good; But from that mark how far they roave we see For all this wast of wealth, and loss of blood. XIII To Mr. H. Lawes, on his Aires Harry whose tuneful and well measur'd Song First taught our English Musick how to span Words with just note and accent, not to scan With Midas Ears, committing short and long; Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng, With praise enough for Envy to look wan; To after age thou shalt be writ the man, That with smooth aire couldst humor best our tongue. Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must send her wing To honour thee, the Priest of Phoebus Quire That tun'st their happiest lines in Hymn, or Story. Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher Then his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing Met in the milder shades of Purgatory. XIV When Faith and Love which parted from thee never, Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God, Meekly thou did'st resign this earthly load Of Death, call'd Life; which us from Life doth sever. Thy Works and Alms and all thy good Endeavour Staid not behind, nor in the grave were trod; But as Faith pointed with her golden rod, Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever. Love led them on, and Faith who knew them best Thy hand-maids, clad them o're with purple beams And azure wings, that up they flew so drest, And speak the truth of thee on glorious Theams Before the Judge, who thenceforth bid thee rest And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams. XV On the late Massacher in Piemont Avenge O Lord thy slaughter'd Saints, whose bones Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold, Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old When all our Fathers worship't Stocks and Stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groanes Who were thy Sheep and in their antient Fold Slayn by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd Mother with Infant down the Rocks. Their moans The Vales redoubl'd to the Hills, and they To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow O're all th' Italian fields ;Where still doth sway The triple Tyrant: that from these may grow A hunder'd-fold, who having learnt thy way Early may fly the Babylonian wo. XVI When I consider how my light is spent, E're half my days, in this dark world and wide, And that one Talent which is death to hide, Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present My true account, least he returning chide, Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd, 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 milde yoak, they serve him best, his State Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed And post o're Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and waite. XVII Lawrence of vertuous Father vertuous Son, Now that the Fields are dank, and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire Help wast a sullen day; what may be won From the hard Season gaining: time will run On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire The frozen earth; and cloth in fresh attire The Lillie and Rose, that neither sow'd nor spun. What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, Of Attick tast, with Wine, whence we may rise To hear the Lute well toucht, or artfull voice Warble immortal Notes and Tuskan Ayre? He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise. XVIII Cyriack, whose Grandsire on the Royal Bench Of Brittish Themis, with no mean applause Pronounc't and in his volumes taught our Lawes, Which others at their Barr so often wrench: To day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench In mirth, that after no repenting drawes; Let Euclid rest and Archimedes pause, And what the Swede intend, and what the French. To measure life, learn thou betimes, and know Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day, And when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains. XIX Methought I saw my late espoused Saint Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave, Whom Joves great Son to her glad Husband gave, Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint. Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed 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 vail'd, yet to my fancied sight, Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd So clear, as in no face with more delight. But O as to embrace me she enclin'd I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night. -THE END- .