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Title: An Introduction to the Prose and Poetical Works of John Milton - Comprising All the Autobiographic Passages in his Works, - the More Explicit Presentations of His Ideas of True - Liberty.
Author: Corson, Hiram, 1828-1911
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Introduction to the Prose and Poetical Works of John Milton - Comprising All the Autobiographic Passages in his Works, - the More Explicit Presentations of His Ideas of True - Liberty." ***

Transcriber's Notes: Words in italics in the original are surrounded by
_underscores_. A row of asterisks represents an ellipsis. Ellipses match
the original. Some indented lines of poetry and hemistichs will not
display properly unless the reader uses a mono-spaced font. Other notes
follow the text.




     TO THE




     _Comprising all the Autobiographic Passages in his Works, the more Explicit
     Presentations of his Ideas of True Liberty_


     _With Notes and Forewords_



     _Professor of English Literature in the Cornell University_





     _All rights reserved_

     COPYRIGHT, 1899,

     Norwood Press
     J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith
     Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

          'Servant of God, well done! Well hast thou fought
           The better fight, who single hast maintained
           Against revolted multitudes the cause
           Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms,
           And for the testimony of truth hast borne
           Universal reproach, far worse to bear
           Than violence; for this was all thy care—
           To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds
           Judged thee perverse.'

               —_Paradise Lost_, VI. 29-37.

          'O mighty-mouthed inventor of harmonies,
           O skilled to sing of Time or Eternity,
             God-gifted organ-voice of England,
               Milton, a name to resound for ages;
           Whose Titan angels, Gabriel, Abdiel,
           Starred from Jehovah's gorgeous armories,
             Tower as the deep-domed empyrean
               Rings to the roar of an angel onset—
           Me rather all that bowery loneliness,
           The brooks of Eden mazily murmuring,
             And bloom profuse and cedar arches
               Charm, as a wanderer out in ocean,
           Where some refulgent sunset of India
           Streams o'er a rich ambrosial ocean isle,
             And crimson-hued the stately palmwoods
               Whisper in odorous heights of even.'



     INTRODUCTION                                             xiii-xxxii

     MILTON'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY                                        1-103

       From A Defence of the English People                          2-6

       From Second Defence of the People of England                 6-27

       To Charles Diodati (_Elegia Prima_)                         28-30

       To Alexander Gill, Jr. (Familiar Letters, No. III.)        30, 31

       To Thomas Young (Familiar Letters, No. IV.)                    31

       To Charles Diodati (_Elegia Sexta_)                         31-33

       Prolusiones quædam Oratoriæ                                 33-35

       To Father (_Ad Patrem_)                                     35-40

       English letter to a friend (unknown) who, it appears, had
       been calling him to account for his apparent indifference
       as to his work in life                                      40-43

       Sonnet: On his having arrived at the age of twenty-three   42, 43

       To Alexander Gill, Jr. (Familiar Letters, No. V.)           43-44

       To Charles Diodati (Familiar Letters, Nos. VI., VII.)       44-46

       To Benedetto Bonmattei of Florence (Familiar Letters, No.
       VIII.)                                                         46

       From Mansus, Latin poem addressed to Manso, Marquis of
       Villa                                                          47

       From Areopagitica: a speech for the liberty of unlicensed
       printing                                                   48, 49

       To Lucas Holstenius in the Vatican at Rome (Familiar
       Letters, No. IX.)                                          49, 50

       Epitaphium Damonis                                         50, 51

       From Of Reformation in England                              52-54

       From Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence, etc.    54-56

       From The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty  56-65

       From Apology for Smectymnuus                                65-82

       To Carlo Dati, Nobleman of Florence (Familiar Letters,
       No. X.)                                                     82-84

       Sonnet: On his Blindness                                   84, 85

       To the most distinguished Leonard Philaras, of Athens,
       Ambassador from the Duke of Parma to the King of France
       (Familiar Letters, No. XII.)                               85, 86

       To Henry Oldenburg, agent for the city of Bremen in Lower
       Saxony with the Commonwealth (Familiar Letters, No. XIV.)  87, 88

       To Leonard Philaras, Athenian (Familiar Letters, No. XV.)   88-90

       Sonnet: To Cyriac Skinner                                      91

       Sonnet: On his deceased wife                                   91

       To the most accomplished Emeric Bigot (Familiar Letters,
       No. XXI.)                                                      92

       To Henry Oldenburg (Familiar Letters, No. XXIX.)               93

       From Considerations touching the Likeliest Means to remove
       Hirelings out of the Church (August, 1659)                  94-96

       Autobiographic passages in the Paradise Lost               96-102

       To the very distinguished Peter Heimbach, Councillor to
       the Elector of Brandenburg (Familiar Letters, No.
       XXXI.)                                                   102, 103

     Passages in Milton's prose and poetical works in which his
     idea of true liberty, individual, domestic, civil,
     political, and religious, is explicitly set forth           104-125

     Comus: a Masque presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, before
     the Earl of Bridgewater, then President of Wales            126-164

     Lycidas                                                     165-179

     Samson Agonistes                                            181-244

     NOTES                                                       245-303


Milton's prose works are perhaps not read, at the present day, to the
extent demanded by their great and varied merits, among which may be
named their uncompromising advocacy of whatsoever things are true,
honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; their eloquent assertion
of the inalienable rights of men to a wholesome exercise of their
intellectual faculties, the right to determine for themselves, with all
the aids they can command, what is truth and what is error; the right
freely to communicate their honest thoughts from one to another,—rights
which constitute the only sure and lasting foundation of individual,
civil, political, and religious liberty; the ever-conscious sentiment
which they exhibit, on the part of the poet, of an entire dependence
upon 'that Eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and
knowledge, and sends out his Seraphim with the hallowed fire of his
altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he pleases'; the
ever-present consciousness they exhibit of that stewardship which every
man as a probationer of immortality must render an account, according to
the full measure of the talents with which he has been intrusted—of the
sacred obligation, incumbent upon every one, of acting throughout the
details of life, private or public, trivial or momentous, 'as ever in
his great Task-Master's eye.'

Some of his poetical works are extensively 'studied' in the schools, and
a style study of some of his prose works is made in departments of
rhetoric; but his prose works cannot be said to be much read in the best
sense of the word,—that is, with all the faculties alert upon the
subject-matter as of prime importance, with an openness of heart, and
with an accompanying interest in the general loftiness of their diction;
in short, as every one should train himself to read any great author,
with the fullest loyalty to the author—by which is not meant that all
his thoughts and opinions and beliefs are to be accepted, but that what
they really are be adequately, or _ad modum recipientis_, apprehended;
in other words, loyalty to an author means that the most favorable
attitude possible for each and every reader be taken for the reception
of his meaning and spirit.

Mark Pattison, in his life of Milton, in the 'English Men of Letters,'
while fully recognizing the grand features of the prose works as
monuments of the English language, notwithstanding what he calls their
'asyntactic disorder,' undervalues, or rather does not value at all,
Milton's services to the cause of political and religious liberty as a
polemic prose writer, and considers it a thing to be much regretted that
he engaged at all in the great contest for political, religious, and
other forms of liberty. This seems to be the one unacceptable feature of
his very able life of the poet. 'But for the Restoration,' he says, 'and
the overthrow of the Puritans, we should never have had the great
Puritan epic.' Professor Goldwin Smith, in his article in the _New York
Nation_ on Pattison's 'Milton,' remarks: 'Looking upon the life of
Milton the politician merely as a sad and ignominious interlude in the
life of Milton the poet, Mr. Pattison cannot be expected to entertain
the idea that the poem is in any sense the work of the politician. Yet
we cannot help thinking that the tension and elevation which Milton's
nature had undergone in the mighty struggle, together with the heroic
dedication of his faculties to the most serious objects, must have had
not a little to do both with the final choice of his subject and with
the tone of his poem. "The great Puritan epic" could hardly have been
written by any one but a militant Puritan.'

Dr. Richard Garnett, in his 'Life of Milton,' pp. 68, 69, takes
substantially the same view as does Professor Smith: 'To regret with
Pattison that Milton should, at this crisis of the State, have turned
aside from poetry to controversy, is to regret that "Paradise Lost"
should exist. Such a work could not have proceeded from one indifferent
to the public weal. . . . It is sheer literary fanaticism to speak with
Pattison of "the prostitution of genius to political party." Milton is
as much the idealist in his prose as in his verse; and although in his
pamphlets he sides entirely with one of the two great parties in the
State, it is not as its instrument, but as its prophet and monitor.'

Milton was writing prose when, Mr. Pattison thinks, he should have been
writing poetry, 'and that most ephemeral and valueless kind of prose,
pamphlets, extempore articles on the topics of the day. He poured out
reams of them, _in simple unconsciousness that they had no influence
whatever on the current of events_.'

But they certainly had an influence, and a very great influence, on the
current of events not many years after. The restoration of Charles II.
did not mean that the work of Puritanism was undone, and that Milton's
pamphlets were to be of no effect. It was in a large measure due to that
work and to those pamphlets that in a few years—fourteen only after
Milton's death—the constitutional basis of the monarchy underwent a
quite radical change for the better,—a change which would have been a
solace to Milton, if he could have lived to see it; and he could then
have justly felt that he had contributed to the change. He would have
been but eighty years old, if he had lived till the revolution of 1688.

A man constituted as Milton was could not have kept himself apart from
the great conflicts of his time. He was a patriot in every fibre of his
being. He realized in the cultivation of himself his definition of
education, given in his tractate 'Of Education. To Master S. Hartlib':
'I call a complete and generous education that which fits a man to
perform justly, skilfully, and magnanimously all the offices, both
private and public, of peace and war.' Of course he did not mean that
that was all of education. And in his 'Areopagitica,' he says, after
defining 'the true warfaring Christian,' 'I cannot praise a fugitive and
cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out
and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race, where that immortal
garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.'

Although the direct subjects of his polemic prose works may not have an
interest for the general reader at the present day, they are all,
independently of their direct subjects, charged with 'truths that perish
never,' most vitally expressed. And this is as true of the 'Treatises on
Divorce' as it is of any of the other prose works. They are full of
bright gems of enduring truth.

Lord Macaulay's article on Milton, first published in the _Edinburgh
Review_ for August, 1825, is a brilliant and, in many respects, a
valuable production, but he certainly says some things on the
favorableness of an uncivilized age, and the unfavorableness of a
civilized and learned age, to poetical creativeness, which are quite
remote from the truth, and which Milton would certainly have regarded as
abundantly absurd. So, too, he would have regarded what is said of the
necessary struggle which a great poet must make against the spirit of
his age. All these views are as completely at variance with Milton's own
as are those of Mark Pattison in regard to Milton the politician.

Lord Macaulay's article was occasioned by the publication of an English
version, by Rev. Charles Richard Sumner, afterwards Bishop of
Winchester, of Milton's 'Treatise on Christian Doctrine,' the existence
of which was unknown up to the year 1823, when the original manuscript
in Latin was found in a press of the old State Paper office, in

In this essay the author sets forth an opinion, still widely
entertained, it may be, by a large number of cultivated people, namely,
that as learning and general civilization, and science, with its
applications to the physical needs and comforts of life, advance, Poetry
recedes, and 'hides her diminished head,' and men become more and more
subject to facts as facts, losing sight more and more of the poetical,
that is, spiritual, relations of facts.

'Milton knew,' Macaulay tells us, 'that his poetical genius derived no
advantage from the civilization which surrounded him, or from the
learning which he had acquired; and he looked back with something of
regret to the ruder age of simple words and vivid impressions.'

But it appears from Milton's own authority that he did not know this;
that, on the contrary, he thought the poet should be master of all human
learning, ancient and modern, should know many languages and many
literatures; that 'by labour and _intense study_, which,' he adds, 'I
take to be my portion in this life, joined with the strong propensity of
nature, I might perhaps leave something so written to after-times, as
they should not willingly let it die.' Some of the autobiographic
passages contained in this book will be found a sufficient refutation of
what has been quoted from Macaulay.

The view which Milton took of learning, and acted upon, is one which
should be kept before the minds of students at the present day, when the
tendency is so strong toward learning for its own sake. As well talk of
beefsteak for its own sake. Learning was with Milton a means of
enlarging his capacity—a means toward _being_ and _doing_. Mark
Pattison well says, 'He cultivated, not letters, but himself, and sought
to enter into possession of his own mental kingdom, not that he might
reign there, but that he might royally use its resources in building up
a work which should bring honour to his country, and his native tongue.'

'Though we admire,' Lord Macaulay continues, 'those great works of
imagination which have appeared in dark ages, we do not admire them the
more because they have appeared in dark ages. On the contrary, we hold
that the most wonderful and splendid proof of genius is a great poem
produced in a civilized age. We cannot understand why those who believe
in that most orthodox article of literary faith, that the earliest poets
are generally the best, should wonder at the rule as if it were the
exception. Surely the uniformity of the phenomenon indicates a
corresponding uniformity in the cause.'

Further on he says: 'He who, in an enlightened and literary society,
aspires to be a great poet, must first become a little child.' The most
highly learned and cultured (eternalized), the most fully developed in
every direction, are the most _childlike_, the least knowledge-proud,
and the more spiritual vitality they have, the greater will be their
humility and simplicity—the gates to true wisdom. 'He [the poet] must
take to pieces,' says Macaulay, 'the whole web of his mind.' Rather a
difficult piece of unravelling to impose upon the poor fellow! 'He must
unlearn much of that knowledge which has perhaps constituted hitherto
his chief title of superiority.' Oh, who would be a poet in a civilized
age! 'His very talents will be a hindrance to him.' What an irredeemable
numskull he would have a poet to be! According to this doctrine, our
institutions for feeble-minded children are likely to send forth the
best poets into the world. 'His difficulties will be proportioned to
his proficiency in the pursuits which are fashionable among his
contemporaries, and that proficiency will in general be proportioned to
the vigor and activity of his mind. . . . We have seen in our own time,
great talents, intense labor, and long meditation, employed in this
struggle against the spirit of the age, and employed, we will not say
absolutely in vain, but with dubious success and feeble applause.'

Of all the flimsy theories in regard to the conditions of poetic
creativeness that the mind of man could devise, this is certainly the
flimsiest. It is only necessary to give a hasty glance at the works of
those poets who are regarded as Masters of Song in the various
literatures of the ancient and the modern world, to learn the secret of
their vitality and power—that secret being, first, that they all
possessed the best knowledge and learning of their times and places;
and, secondly, that they all held the widest and most intimate relations
with their several ages and countries, and drank deepest of, and most
intensely reflected, the spirit of those ages and countries. If
Shakespeare was not a learned man, he was the best educated man that
ever lived. He had a fulness of life, intellectual and spiritual, and an
easy command of all his faculties, to which but few of the sons of men
have ever attained; and he lived in an age the most favorable in human
history for the exercise of dramatic genius, and an age, on the whole,
more civilized than any that had ever preceded it.

No true poet could live in any age without imbibing and reflecting its
spirit, and that to a much greater degree than other men. For the poetic
nature is distinguished from ordinary natures by its greater
impressibility and its keener, more penetrating insight, and to suppose
that a poet can keep apart from the spirit of his age and the state of
society around him is to lose sight of the very _differentia_ of the
poetic nature, and implicitly to admit its feebleness. In one respect he
may be said to keep apart from his age, in the sense of rejecting, in
having no affinities for, what in it is ephemeral, while appropriating
what of vital and eternal is in it. His affinities, by virtue of his
poetic nature, are for what is enduring in the transient. And every age
must have the vital and eternal in it, as the vital and eternal are
omnipresent at all times and in all places.

The great poet is great because he is intensely _individual_, and there
can be no intense individuality, paradoxical as it may appear, that is
not subject, in a more than ordinary degree, to impressions of time and
place. An individual in the fullest sense of the word, one who
legitimates, as it were, in the eyes of his country or his age, his
decisive influence over its destiny, is generally characterized, not so
much by his rejecting power, though he will always, and necessarily,
have this in a high degree, as by his appropriating power. He brings to
the special unity of his nature all that that nature, in its healthiest
activity, can assimilate, and throws off only the to him non-assimilable
dross of things. The more complete his life becomes, the more it is
bound up with what surrounds it, and he is susceptible of impressions
the more numerous and the more profound.

The greater impressibility (spiritual sensitiveness) and its resultant,
the keener, more penetrating insight ('the vision and the faculty
divine'), which preëminently distinguish poetic genius from ordinary
natures, render great poets the truest historians of their times and the
truest prophets. The poetic and dramatic literature of a people is a
mirror in which is most clearly reflected their real and essential life.
History gives rather their phenomenal life. It is the essential spirit
only of an age, the permanent, the absolute, in it, as assimilated and
'married to immortal verse' by a great poet, that can retain a hold upon
the interests and sympathies of future generations.

Milton was most emphatically a man of his age, and its clearest
reflector, sustaining to it the most intimate and sympathetic and
intensely active relationship; and, of all that was enduring in it, his
works, both prose and poetical, are the best existing exponent. His
intimate relationship with his age has been set forth in Dr. Masson's
exhaustive and grandly monumental work, in six large octavo volumes,
'The Life of John Milton: narrated in connexion with the political,
ecclesiastical, and literary history of his time.' No other poet in
universal literature, unless Dante be an exception, ever sustained such
a relationship to the great movements of his time and country that an
exhaustive biography of him would need to be, to the same extent,
'narrated in connexion with the political, ecclesiastical, and literary
history of his time.'

Milton might justly and proudly have said of himself, with reference to
the fierce political and ecclesiastical conflicts of his time, '_quorum
pars magna fui_.' And who can doubt that by these conflicts, and even,
also, by his loss of sight therein, he was _tempered_ to write the
'Paradise Lost,' the 'Paradise Regained,' and the 'Samson Agonistes'? He
might have written some other great work, if he had kept himself apart
from these conflicts, as Pattison thinks he ought to have done, but he
certainly could not have written the 'Paradise Lost.' Of the principles
involved in the great contest for civil and religious liberty his prose
works are the fullest exponent. In the 'Paradise Lost' can be seen the
influence of his classical and Italian studies. Homer and Virgil and
Dante are in it, but its essential, vitalizing, controlling spirit is
that of a refined exalted Puritanism, freed from all that was in it of
the contingent and the accidental; and thus that spirit will be
preserved for ever in the pure amber of the poem.

It was not within the scope of this little book, as a primary
introduction to the study of Milton, to include any extended
presentation of the 'Paradise Lost.' But two grand features may be
alluded to here. It is, in some respects, one of the most _educating_ of
English poems. The grand feature of the poem, that feature which
distinguishes it from all other works of genius, both ancient and
modern, is its essential, constitutional sublimity. So universally has
this feature been recognized as peculiar to the poem, that the word
Miltonic has become synonymous with the sublime. The loftiness of the
diction, which is without all touch of bombast, every sympathetic reader
must feel to be an emanation from the august personality of the poet.
There is no perceptible strain anywhere, as there is no perceptible
lapse of power, on the part of the poet. He keeps ever up to the height
of his great argument. To come into the fullest possible sympathetic
relationship with the poem's constitutional sublimity, to be impressed
by its loftiness of diction, by the contriving spirit of its eloquence,
are educating experiences of the highest order—experiences which imply
an exercise, most vitalizing and uplifting, of the reader's higher
organs of apprehension and discernment. The theology of the poem need
not obstruct for any one these educating influences. They are quite
independent of the theology, as are the educating influences of the
'Divina Commedia' independent of its mediæval Catholicism. The absolute
man was in the ascendent in both Dante and Milton; and by virtue of that
ascendency, they are, and ever will continue to be, great educating
personalities, whatever false science and false opinions on various
subjects are embodied in their works, and however much the world's faith
in things which they most vitally believed may decline and entirely
cease to be. Their personalities and their works are consubstantial.
This fact—an immortal fact—was, perhaps, not taken sufficient account
of by Mark Pattison when he wrote in his 'Life of Milton' that 'the
demonology of the poem has already, with educated readers, passed from
the region of fact into that of fiction. Not so universally, but with a
large number of readers, the angelology can be no more than what the
critics call machinery. And it requires a violent effort from any of our
day to accommodate our conceptions to the anthropomorphic theology of
"Paradise Lost." Were the sapping process to continue at the same rate
for two more centuries, the possibility of epic illusion would be lost
to the whole scheme and economy of the poem.' But there is a power in
'Paradise Lost' which is, and ever will be, independent of all manner of
obsolete beliefs.

Both the 'Paradise Lost' and the 'Divina Commedia' belong, in a
supereminent degree, to what Thomas De Quincey calls, in his 'Essay on
Pope,' the literature of _power_, as distinguished from the literature
of _knowledge_; and, as a consequence, the statement of Mark Pattison
that 'there is an element of decay and death in poems which we vainly
style immortal,' is not applicable to them. By the literature of power
is meant that which is, in whatever form, an adequate embodiment of
eternal verities—verities of the human soul and of the divine
constitution of things, and their mutual adaptation, however much the
former may be estranged from the latter. Such embodiment will maintain
its individual existence.

'In that great social order, which collectively we call literature,'
says De Quincey, 'there may be distinguished two separate offices that
may blend and often _do_ so, but capable severally of a severe
insulation, and naturally fitted for reciprocal repulsion. There is,
first, the literature of knowledge, and, secondly, the literature of
_power_. The function of the first is to _teach_; the function of the
second is to _move_. . . . The first speaks to the _mere_ discursive
understanding; the second speaks ultimately, it may happen, to the
higher understanding or reason, but always _through_ affections of
pleasure and sympathy. . . . Whenever we talk in ordinary language of
seeking information or gaining knowledge, we understand the words as
connected with something of absolute novelty. But it is the grandeur of
all truth which can occupy a very high place in human interests, that it
is never absolutely novel to the meanest of minds: it exists eternally
by way of germ or latent principle in the lowest as in the highest,
needing to be developed, but never to be planted. To be capable of
transplantation is the immediate criterion of a truth that ranges on a
lower scale. Besides which, there is a rarer thing than truth, namely,
_power_ or deep sympathy with truth.'

By the truth which 'is never absolutely novel to the meanest of minds,'
De Quincey means absolute, eternal truth, inherent in the human soul, as
distinguished from relative, temporal truth, the former being more or
less 'cabined, cribbed, confined' in all men. As Paracelsus is made to
express it, in Browning's poem 'Paracelsus,' 'There is an inmost centre
in us all, where truth abides in fulness; . . . and "to know" rather
consists in opening out a way whence the imprisoned splendor may escape,
than in effecting entry for a light supposed to be without.'

To continue with De Quincey: 'What you owe to Milton [and he has the
'Paradise Lost' specially in his mind] is not any knowledge, of which a
million separate items are still but a million of advancing steps on the
same earthly level; what you owe is _power_, that is, exercise and
expansion to your own latent capacity of sympathy with the infinite,
where every pulse and each separate influx is a step upwards—a step
ascending as upon a Jacob's ladder from earth to mysterious altitudes
above the earth. _All_ the steps of knowledge, from first to last, carry
you further on the same plane, but could never raise you one foot
above your ancient level of earth; whereas the very _first_ step in
power is a flight—is an ascending into another element where earth is
forgotten. . . . The very highest work that has ever existed in the
literature of knowledge is but a _provisional_ work: a book upon trial
and sufferance, and _quamdiu bene se gesserit_. Let its teaching be even
partially revised, let it be but expanded, nay, even let its teaching be
but placed in a better order, and instantly it is superseded. Whereas
the feeblest works in the literature of power, surviving at all, survive
as finished and unalterable amongst men. For instance, the "Principia"
of Sir Isaac Newton was a book _militant_ on earth from the first. In
all stages of its progress it would have to fight for its existence;
first, as regards absolute truth; secondly, when that combat is over, as
regards its form or mode of presenting the truth. And as soon as a La
Place, or anybody else, builds higher upon the foundations laid by
this book, effectually he throws it out of the sunshine into decay
and darkness; by weapons won from this book he superannuates and
destroys this book, so that soon the name of Newton remains as a mere
_nominis umbra_, but his book, as a living power, has transmigrated
into other forms. Now, on the contrary, the "Iliad," the "Prometheus" of
Æschylus,—the "Othello" or "King Lear,"—the "Hamlet" or "Macbeth,"—and
the "Paradise Lost," are not militant, but triumphant forever as long as
the languages exist in which they speak or can be taught to speak. They
never _can_ transmigrate into new incarnations. . . . All the literature
of knowledge builds only ground-nests, that are swept away by floods, or
confounded by the plough; but the literature of power builds nests in
aërial altitudes of temples, sacred from violation, or of forests
inaccessible to fraud.'

I would not give these extended quotations from De Quincey were it not
that there may be many students who will read this book, and who will
not have access to the works of De Quincey. Those who have, should read
all that he says on the subject. The distinction which he makes between
the literature of knowledge and the literature of power was never before
so clearly and eloquently made, and it is a distinction which needs to
be especially emphasized in these days of excessive knowledge-mongery,
apart from education. Literature is largely made in the schools a
knowledge subject. The great function of literature, namely, to bring
into play the spiritual faculties, is very inadequately recognized, and
the study of English Literature is made too much an objective job—the
fault of teachers, not students. When the literature is studied as a
life-giving power, students are always more interested than when
everything else except the one thing needful receives attention,—the
sources of works of genius, the influences under which they were
produced, their relations to history and to time and place, and whatever
else may be made to engage the minds of students in the absence of the
teacher's ability to bring them into a sympathetic relationship with the
informing life of the works 'studied'—with that which constitutes their
absolute power.

Another important feature of the 'Paradise Lost' to which I would call
attention, and of which much should be made in the study of the poem, as
a condition of assimilating its educating power, is the verse, which
more fully realizes Wordsworth's definition and notion of harmonious
verse, given by Coleridge in the third of his 'Satyrane's Letters,' than
any other blank verse in the language. The definition, it is evident,
was meant to apply more particularly to non-dramatic blank verse.
Wordsworth's definition is, as given by Coleridge, that 'harmonious
verse consists (the English iambic blank verse above all) in the apt
arrangement of pauses and cadences and the sweep of whole paragraphs,

             "with many a winding bout
     Of linkèd sweetness long drawn out,"

and not in the even flow, much less in the prominence or antithetic
vigor of single lines, which are indeed injurious to the total effect,
except where they are introduced for some specific purpose.'

In my 'Primer of English Verse' (Ginn & Co., Boston), I have presented
the two grand features of Milton's blank verse, namely: (1) The
melodious variety of his cadences closing within verses, this being one
of the essentials of 'true musical delight' which Milton mentions, in
his remarks on 'The Verse,' 'the sense variously drawn out from one
verse into another'; and (2) the melodious and harmonious grouping of
verses into what may, with entire propriety, be called stanzas—stanzas
which are more organic than the uniformly constructed stanzas of rhymed
verse. The latter must be more or less artificial, by reason of the
uniformity which is maintained. But the stanzas of Milton's blank verse
are waves of melody and harmony which are larger or smaller, and with
ever varied cadences, according to the propulsion of the thought and
feeling which produces them, which propulsion may be sustained through a
dozen verses or more, or may expend itself in two or three. No other
blank verse in the language exhibits such a masterly skill in the
variation of its pauses—pauses, I mean, where periodic groups, or
logical sections of groups, terminate after, or within, it may be, the
first, second, third, or fourth foot of a verse. There are five cases
where the termination is within the fifth foot.

Stanza is quite exclusively applied to uniform groups of rhymed verses,
but it can be with equal propriety applied to the _varied_ groups of
blank verses, especially those of the 'Paradise Lost.' For the proper
appreciation of the individual verses in Milton's blank verse, they must
be read in groups,—a group sometimes, perhaps generally, beginning
within a verse and ending within a verse. These groups are due to the
unifying action of feeling, just as much as rhymed stanzas are, and,
indeed, often, if not generally, more so.

The autobiographical passages which have been brought together from the
prose and poetical works, occupying 103 pages of the book, exhibit the
man, Milton, better than could any regular biography of the same extent.
The latter could give more of the details of his outward life and
experiences, but could not so reflect his personality, his inmost being.
He was most emphatically a _person_. He realized in himself what is
expressed in the following verses from Tennyson's 'Œnone':

     'Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
      These three alone lead life to sovereign power.
      Yet not for power (power of herself
      Would come uncalled for), but to live by law,
      Acting the law we live by without fear;
      And, because right is right, to follow right
      Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence.'

He also realized in himself what he says in his 'Areopagitica': 'He that
can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming
pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that
which is truly better, he is the true warfaring Christian.'

What he says of himself in reply to the base and scurrilous and utterly
unfounded charges against his private character is more than what Mark
Pattison truly characterizes as 'a superb and ingenuous egotism'; is
more than an _apologia pro vita sua_; it was also prompted by the
consideration that what he was agonizingly contending for in the cause
of civil, political, and religious liberty might suffer, if his private
character were not freed from the charges made against it. In the
extended autobiographical passage in the 'Second Defence of the People
of England,' he assigns two other reasons for acquitting himself of the
charges made against his private character, namely, 'that those
illustrious worthies, who are the objects of my praise, may know that
nothing could afflict me with more shame than to have any vices of mine
diminish the force or lessen the value of my panegyric upon them; and
that the people of England, whom fate or duty, or their own virtues,
have incited me to defend, may be convinced from the purity and
integrity of my life, that my defence, if it do not redound to their
honour, can never be considered as their disgrace.'

A noble motive nobly presented!

There are no authors in the literature more distinctly revealed in their
writings than is John Milton. His personality is felt in his every
production, poetical and prose, and felt almost as much in the earliest
as in the latest period of his authorship. And there is no epithet more
applicable to his personality than the epithet august. He is therefore
one of the most educating of authors, in the highest sense of the word,
that is, educating in the direction of sanctified character.

     ''Tis human fortune's happiest height to be
        A spirit melodious, lucid, poised, and whole:
      Second in order of felicity
        I hold it, to have walked with such a soul.'

The prime value attaching to the prose works of Milton at the present
day is their fervent exposition of true freedom,—a freedom which
involves a deep sympathy with truth; a freedom which is induced by a
willing and, in its final result, a spontaneous obedience to one's
higher nature. Without such obedience no one can be truly free. Outward
freedom, so called, may only afford an opportunity to one with evil
inward tendencies to become, morally, an invertebrate. Lord Byron speaks
of his Lara as

     'Left by his sire, too young such loss to know,
      _Lord of himself; that heritage of woe_,
      That fearful empire which the human breast
      But holds to rob the heart within of rest!—
      With none to check, and few to point in time
      The thousand paths that slope the way to crime.'

There is more outward freedom at the present time than there was ever
before, perhaps, in the world's history, and the temptations which it
involves can be adequately resisted only by the subjective freedom which
Milton so strenuously advocated. His ideas of all kinds of true freedom
(explicit expressions of which have been brought together in the second
section of this book) need to be instilled into all young minds, first,
for their own intrinsic value, and, secondly, as a means—the sole
means—of checking the present and ever increasing tendency toward
unrestrained desires, toward what many mistake for true freedom, namely,
_license_. Of such, Milton says, in one of his sonnets,

     'License they mean when they cry liberty;
      For who loves that must first be wise and good.'

The passage on Discipline (pp. 108-111) from 'The Reason of Church
Government urged against Prelaty,' should be learned _by heart_ (in the
vital sense of the phrase, not in the sense of merely memorizing) by all
young people in our schools. Everything should be done to induce a
sympathetic assimilation on their part of the lofty utterances in this
passage on Discipline, 'whose golden surveying rod,' says Milton, 'marks
out and measures every quarter and circuit of New Jerusalem.'

The translations (not acknowledged in the text) of the two Latin poems
addressed to the poet's Anglo Italian friend, Charles Diodati ('_Elegia
Prima. Ad Carolum Diodatum_,' p. 28, and '_Elegia Sexta. Ad Carolum
Diodatum, ruri commorantem_,' p. 31), and of the Familiar Letters
('_Epistolæ Familiares_'), Nos. III.-X., XII., XIV., XXI., XXIX., and
XXXI. are by Dr. Masson. His translations of the latter are much closer
to the meaning and tone of the original than those by Robert Fellowes,
given in the Bohn edition of the prose works, which hardly warrant the
characterization of them by the editor, J. A. St. John, as 'the very
elegant translation of Mr. Fellowes, of Oxford, who, in most instances,
has happily and with much feeling entered into and expressed the views
of Milton.' The translation of No. XV. of the Familiar Letters, 'To
Leonard Philaras, Athenian,' is by my colleague, Professor Charles E.

Students who are sufficiently good Latin scholars should read Milton's
Latin poems in the original, especially the '_In Quintum Novembris: anno
ætatis 17_,' the '_Ad Patrem_,' and the '_Epitaphium Damonis_.' The '_In
Quintum Novembris_' (On the fifth of November, that is, the anniversary
of the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot) is described by Masson as 'one
of the very cleverest and most poetical of all Milton's youthful
productions, and certainly one of the most characteristic.' The
'_Epitaphium Damonis_' has been admirably edited with notes by C. S.
Jerram, M.A. Trin. Coll. Oxon., along with 'Lycidas.'

The student should first read carefully all the selections, prose and
poetical, without referring to the notes. Notes are a necessary evil,
and should not be read until after a requisite general impression has
been received from an independent reading; often two or more independent
readings should precede any attention to explanatory notes. Even such a
poem as Browning's 'The Ring and the Book,' abounding as it does in out
of the way allusions, difficult syntactical constructions, etc.,
requiring explanation, should be so read. The student would thus get a
better impression of the poem as a whole, and would derive from it a
greater pleasure (the pleasure resulting from the less interrupted
exercise of his higher faculties) than if he should read it at first
with the aid of abundant notes explanatory of details. A special
attention to the details should be given only after the reader has, in a
general way, taken in the articulating thought and the informing life of
the poem.

There are thousands of allusions in the 'Paradise Lost' which a reader
might not know, and yet be able to read the whole poem for the first
time and enjoy it, and, what is all-important, be uplifted by it,
without a single explanatory note.

The portrait of Milton is from that first drawn in crayons by William
Faithorne, and afterward engraved by him for the poet's 'History of
Britain,' published in 1670. Underneath the original engraving is the
inscription, '_Joannis Miltoni Effigies Ætat: 62. 1670. Gul. Faithorne
ad Vivum Delin. et Sculpsit_' (John Milton's effigy at the age of 62.
1670. Drawn from life and engraved by William Faithorne).

Faithorne was the most distinguished portrait artist and engraver of the
time. He appears to have especially excelled in crayon-drawing rather
than in painting. His numerous engravings are both from his own studies
and from those of other artists, especially of Vandyke. 'No one,' says
Masson, 'can desire a more impressive and authentic portrait of Milton
in his later life. The face is such as has been given to no other human
being; it was and is uniquely Milton's. Underneath the broad forehead
and arched temples there are the great rings of eye-socket, with the
blind, unblemished eyes in them, drawn straight upon you by your voice,
and speculating who and what you are; there is a severe composure in the
beautiful oval of the whole countenance, disturbed only by the singular
pouting round the rich mouth; and the entire expression is that of
English intrepidity mixed with unutterable sorrow.'

     H. C.



_made up of all the more important autobiographical passages contained
in his prose and poetical works_

It was found quite impossible to avoid somewhat of a jumble in bringing
together the many autobiographic passages scattered throughout Milton's
prose and poetical works. The passage in the 'Second Defence of the
People of England,' in reply to the scurrilous abuse and utterly
unfounded charges against his private character contained in the _Regii
Sanguinis Clamor ad Cœlum, adversus Parricidas Anglicanos_, 1652,
which occasioned the 'Second Defence,' covers a larger period of
Milton's life than any other, extending, as it does, from his birth to
the time of his writing the 'Second Defence,' published in 1654, Milton
being then in his forty-sixth year; and as there is an autobiographic
passage of some importance in the preface to the 'First Defence'
(published in 1651), this passage and that in the 'Second Defence' are
kept together and given first. In the former he expresses his sense of
the honor done him in his having been engaged to reply to the _Defensio
Regia pro Carolo I._, by Salmasius; and he evidently felt, and justly,
too, that no abler man could have been engaged for that important
function. The extract from 'A Defence of the People of England' is from
the translation ascribed by Milton's biographer, John Toland, to Mr.
Washington, a gentleman of the Temple, and that from the 'Second
Defence,' from the translation by Robert Fellowes, A.M., Oxon. These
are very free translations, and sometimes far from being adequate
representations of Milton's thought. It is much to be regretted that
Milton did not himself make an English translation, for the general
English reader, of these two noble Defences.

The other autobiographic passages are given, as far as may be, in their
chronological order,—that is, not always according to the dates of
their composition, but according to their order in Milton's life.

_From the Preface to 'A Defence of the English People'_

     Although I fear, lest, if in defending the people of England,
     I should be as copious in words, and empty of matter, as most
     men think Salmasius has been in his defence of the king, I
     might seem to deserve justly to be accounted a verbose and
     silly defender; yet since no man thinks himself obliged to
     make so much haste, though in the handling but of any ordinary
     subject, as not to premise some introduction at least,
     according as the weight of the subject requires; if I take the
     same course in handling almost the greatest subject that ever
     was (without being too tedious in it) I am in hopes of
     attaining two things, which indeed I earnestly desire: the
     one, not to be at all wanting, as far as in me lies, to this
     most noble cause and most worthy to be recorded to all future
     ages: the other, that I may appear to have myself avoided that
     frivolousness of matter, and redundancy of words, which I
     blame in my antagonist. For I am about to discourse of matters
     neither inconsiderable nor common, but how a most potent king,
     after he had trampled upon the laws of the nation, and given a
     shock to its religion, and begun to rule at his own will and
     pleasure, was at last subdued in the field by his own
     subjects, who had undergone a long slavery under him; how
     afterwards he was cast into prison, and when he gave no
     ground, either by words or actions, to hope better things of
     him, was finally by the supreme council of the kingdom
     condemned to die, and beheaded before the very gates of the
     royal palace. I shall likewise relate (which will much conduce
     to the easing men's minds of a great superstition) by what
     right, especially according to our law, this judgment was
     given, and all these matters transacted; and shall easily
     defend my valiant and worthy countrymen (who have extremely
     well deserved of all subjects and nations in the world) from
     the most wicked calumnies, both of domestic and foreign
     railers, and especially from the reproaches of this most vain
     and empty sophist, who sets up for a captain and ringleader to
     all the rest. For what king's majesty sitting upon an exalted
     throne, ever shone so brightly, as that of the people of
     England then did, when, shaking off that old superstition,
     which had prevailed a long time, they gave judgment upon the
     king himself, or rather upon an enemy who had been their king,
     caught as it were in a net by his own laws, (who alone of all
     mortals challenged to himself impunity by a divine right,) and
     scrupled not to inflict the same punishment upon him, being
     guilty, which he would have inflicted upon any other? But why
     do I mention these things as performed by the people, which
     almost open their voice themselves, and testify the presence
     of God throughout? who, as often as it seems good to his
     infinite wisdom, uses to throw down proud and unruly kings,
     exalting themselves above the condition of human nature, and
     utterly to extirpate them and all their family. By his
     manifest impulse being set at work to recover our almost lost
     liberty, following him as our guide, and adoring the impresses
     of his divine power manifested upon all occasions, we went on
     in no obscure, but an illustrious passage, pointed out and
     made plain to us by God himself. Which things, if I should so
     much as hope by any diligence or ability of mine, such as it
     is, to discourse of as I ought to do, and to commit them so to
     writing, as that perhaps all nations and all ages may read
     them, it would be a very vain thing in me. For what style can
     be august and magnificent enough, what man has ability
     sufficient to undertake so great a task? Since we find by
     experience, that in so many ages as are gone over the world,
     there has been but here and there a man found, who has been
     able worthily to recount the actions of great heroes, and
     potent states; can any man have so good an opinion of his own
     talents, as to think himself capable of reaching these
     glorious and wonderful works of Almighty God, by any language,
     by any style of his? Which enterprise, though some of the most
     eminent persons in our commonwealth have prevailed upon me by
     their authority to undertake, and would have it be my business
     to vindicate with my pen against envy and calumny (which are
     proof against arms) those glorious performances of theirs,
     (whose opinion of me I take as a very great honour, that they
     should pitch upon me before others to be serviceable in this
     kind of those most valiant deliverers of my native country;
     and true it is, that from my very youth, I have been bent
     extremely upon such sort of studies, as inclined me, if not to
     do great things myself, at least to celebrate those that did,)
     yet as having no confidence in any such advantages, I have
     recourse to the divine assistance; and invoke the great and
     holy God, the giver of all good gifts, that I may as
     substantially, and as truly, discourse and refute the
     sauciness and lies of this foreign declaimer, as our noble
     generals piously and successfully by force of arms broke the
     king's pride, and his unruly domineering, and afterwards put
     an end to both by inflicting a memorable punishment upon
     himself, and as thoroughly as a single person did with ease
     but of late confute and confound the king himself, rising as
     it were from the grave, and recommending himself to the people
     in a book published after his death, with new artifices and
     allurements of words and expressions. Which antagonist of
     mine, though he be a foreigner, and, though he deny it a
     thousand times over, but a poor grammarian; yet not contented
     with a salary due to him in that capacity, chose to turn a
     pragmatical coxcomb, and not only to intrude in state-affairs,
     but into the affairs of a foreign state: though he brings
     along with him neither modesty, nor understanding, nor any
     other qualification requisite in so great an arbitrator, but
     sauciness, and a little grammar only. Indeed if he had
     published here, and in English, the same things as he has now
     written in Latin, such as it is, I think no man would have
     thought it worth while to return an answer to them, but would
     partly despise them as common, and exploded over and over
     already, and partly abhor them as sordid and tyrannical
     maxims, not to be endured even by the most abject of slaves:
     nay, men that have sided with the king, would have had these
     thoughts of his book. But since he has swoln it to a
     considerable bulk, and dispersed it amongst foreigners, who
     are altogether ignorant of our affairs and constitution, it is
     fit that they who mistake them should be better informed; and
     that he, who is so very forward to speak ill of others, should
     be treated in his own kind. If it be asked, why we did not
     then attack him sooner? why we suffered him to triumph so
     long, and pride himself in our silence? For others I am not to
     answer; for myself I can boldly say, that I had neither words
     nor arguments long to seek for the defence of so good a cause,
     if I had enjoyed such a measure of health, as would have
     endured the fatigue of writing. And being but weak in body, I
     am forced to write by piecemeal, and break off almost every
     hour, though the subject be such as requires an unintermitted
     study and intenseness of mind. But though this bodily
     indisposition may be a hindrance to me in setting forth the
     just praises of my most worthy countrymen, who have been the
     saviours of their native country, and whose exploits, worthy
     of immortality, are already famous all the world over; yet I
     hope it will be no difficult matter for me to defend them from
     the insolence of this silly little scholar, and from that
     saucy tongue of his, at least. Nature and laws would be in an
     ill case, if slavery should find what to say for itself, and
     liberty be mute; and if tyrants should find men to plead for
     them, and they that can master and vanquish tyrants, should
     not be able to find advocates. And it were a deplorable thing
     indeed, if the reason mankind is endued withal, and which is
     the gift of God, should not furnish more arguments for men's
     preservation, for their deliverance, and, as much as the
     nature of the thing will bear, for making them equal to one
     another, than for their oppression, and for their utter ruin
     under the domineering power of one single person. Let me
     therefore enter upon this noble cause with a cheerfulness
     grounded upon this assurance, that my adversary's cause is
     maintained by nothing but fraud, fallacy, ignorance, and
     barbarity; whereas mine has light, truth, reason, the practice
     and the learning of the best ages of the world, on its side.

_From the 'Second Defence of the People of England in Reply to an
Anonymous Libel, entitled "The Cry of the Royal Blood to Heaven against
the English Parricides"'_

     A grateful recollection of the divine goodness is the first of
     human obligations; and extraordinary favours demand more
     solemn and devout acknowledgments: with such acknowledgments I
     feel it my duty to begin this work. First, because I was born
     at a time when the virtue of my fellow-citizens, far exceeding
     that of their progenitors in greatness of soul and vigour of
     enterprise, having invoked Heaven to witness the justice of
     their cause, and been clearly governed by its directions, has
     succeeded in delivering the commonwealth from the most
     grievous tyranny, and religion from the most ignominious
     degradation. And next, because when there suddenly arose many
     who, as is usual with the vulgar, basely calumniated the most
     illustrious achievements, and when one eminent above the rest,
     inflated with literary pride, and the zealous applauses of his
     partisans, had in a scandalous publication, which was
     particularly levelled against me, nefariously undertaken to
     plead the cause of despotism, I, who was neither deemed
     unequal to so renowned an adversary, nor to so great a
     subject, was particularly selected by the deliverers of our
     country, and by the general suffrage of the public, openly to
     vindicate the rights of the English nation, and consequently
     of liberty itself. Lastly, because in a matter of so much
     moment, and which excited such ardent expectations, I did not
     disappoint the hopes nor the opinions of my fellow-citizens;
     while men of learning and eminence abroad honoured me with
     unmingled approbation; while I obtained such a victory over my
     opponent that, notwithstanding his unparalleled assurance, he
     was obliged to quit the field with his courage broken and his
     reputation lost; and for the three years which he lived
     afterwards, much as he menaced and furiously as he raved, he
     gave me no further trouble, except that he procured the paltry
     aid of some despicable hirelings, and suborned some of his
     silly and extravagant admirers to support him under the weight
     of the unexpected and recent disgrace which he had
     experienced. This will immediately appear. Such are the signal
     favours which I ascribe to the divine beneficence, and which I
     thought it right devoutly to commemorate, not only that I
     might discharge a debt of gratitude, but particularly because
     they seem auspicious to the success of my present undertaking.
     For who is there, who does not identify the honour of his
     country with his own? And what can conduce more to the beauty
     or glory of one's country than the recovery not only of its
     civil but its religious liberty?

            *       *       *       *       *

     . . . I can easily repel any charge which may be adduced
     against me, either of want of courage, or want of zeal. For
     though I did not participate in the toils or dangers of the
     war, yet I was at the same time engaged in a service not less
     hazardous to myself and more beneficial to my fellow-citizens;
     nor, in the adverse turns of our affairs, did I ever betray
     any symptoms of pusillanimity and dejection: or show myself
     more afraid than became me of malice or of death: For since
     from my youth I was devoted to the pursuits of literature, and
     my mind had always been stronger than my body, I did not court
     the labours of a camp, in which any common person would have
     been of more service than myself, but resorted to that
     employment in which my exertions were likely to be of most
     avail. Thus, with the better part of my frame I contributed as
     much as possible to the good of my country, and to the success
     of the glorious cause in which we were engaged; and I thought
     that if God willed the success of such glorious achievements,
     it was equally agreeable to his will that there should be
     others by whom those achievements should be recorded with
     dignity and elegance; and that the truth, which had been
     defended by arms, should also be defended by reason; which is
     the best and only legitimate means of defending it. Hence,
     while I applaud those who were victorious in the field, I will
     not complain of the province which was assigned me; but rather
     congratulate myself upon it, and thank the Author of all good
     for having placed me in a station, which may be an object of
     envy to others rather than of regret to myself. I am far from
     wishing to make any vain or arrogant comparisons, or to speak
     ostentatiously of myself; but, in a cause so great and
     glorious, and particularly on an occasion when I am called by
     the general suffrage to defend the very defenders of that
     cause, I can hardly refrain from assuming a more lofty and
     swelling tone than the simplicity of an exordium may seem to
     justify: and much as I may be surpassed in the powers of
     eloquence and copiousness of diction by the illustrious
     orators of antiquity, yet the subject of which I treat was
     never surpassed, in any age, in dignity or in interest. It has
     excited such general and such ardent expectation, that I
     imagine myself, not in the forum or on the rostra, surrounded
     only by the people of Athens or of Rome, but about to address
     in this, as I did in my former Defence, the whole collective
     body of people, cities, states, and councils of the wise and
     eminent, through the wide expanse of anxious and listening
     Europe. I seem to survey, as from a towering height, the far
     extended tracts of sea and land, and innumerable crowds of
     spectators, betraying in their looks the liveliest interest,
     and sensations the most congenial with my own. Here I behold
     the stout and manly prowess of the Germans disdaining
     servitude; there the generous and lively impetuosity of the
     French; on this side, the calm and stately valour of the
     Spaniard; on that, the composed and wary magnanimity of the
     Italian. Of all the lovers of liberty and virtue, the
     magnanimous and the wise, in whatever quarter they may be
     found, some secretly favour, others openly approve; some greet
     me with congratulations and applause; others, who had long
     been proof against conviction, at last yield themselves
     captive to the force of truth. Surrounded by congregated
     multitudes, I now imagine that, from the columns of Hercules
     to the Indian Ocean, I behold the nations of the earth
     recovering that liberty which they so long had lost; and that
     the people of this island are transporting to other countries
     a plant of more beneficial qualities, and more noble growth,
     than that which Triptolemus is reported to have carried from
     region to region; that they are disseminating the blessings of
     civilization and freedom among cities, kingdoms, and nations.
     Nor shall I approach unknown, nor perhaps unloved, if it be
     told that I am the same person who engaged in single combat
     that fierce advocate of despotism; till then reputed
     invincible in the opinion of many, and in his own conceit; who
     insolently challenged us and our armies to the combat; but
     whom, while I repelled his virulence, I silenced with his own
     weapons; and over whom, if I may trust to the opinions of
     impartial judges, I gained a complete and glorious victory.
     That this is the plain unvarnished fact appears from this:
     that, after the most noble queen of Sweden, than whom there
     neither is nor ever was a personage more attached to
     literature and to learned men, had invited Salmasius or
     Salmatia (for to which sex he belonged is a matter of
     uncertainty) to her court, where he was received with great
     distinction, my Defence suddenly surprised him in the midst of
     his security. It was generally read, and by the queen among
     the rest, who, attentive to the dignity of her station, let
     the stranger experience no diminution of her former kindness
     and munificence. But, with respect to the rest, if I may
     assert what has been often told, and was matter of public
     notoriety, such a change was instantly effected in the public
     sentiment, that he, who but yesterday flourished in the
     highest degree of favour, seemed to-day to wither in neglect;
     and soon after receiving permission to depart, he left it
     doubtful among many whether he were more honoured when he
     came, or more disgraced when he went away; and even in other
     places it is clear, that it occasioned no small loss to his
     reputation; and all this I have mentioned, not from any futile
     motives of vanity or ostentation, but that I might clearly
     show, as I proposed in the beginning, what momentous reasons I
     had for commencing this work with an effusion of gratitude to
     the Father of the universe. Such a preface was most honourable
     and appropriate, in which I might prove, by an enumeration of
     particulars, that I had not been without my share of human
     misery; but that I had, at the same time, experienced singular
     marks of the divine regard; that in topics of the highest
     concern, the most connected with the exigencies of my country,
     and the most beneficial to civil and religious liberty; the
     supreme wisdom and beneficence had invigorated and enlarged my
     faculties, to defend the dearest interests, not merely of one
     people, but of the whole human race, against the enemies of
     human liberty; as it were in a full concourse of all the
     nations on the earth: and I again invoke the same Almighty
     Being, that I may still be able, with the same integrity, the
     same diligence, and the same success, to defend those actions
     which have been so gloriously achieved; while I vindicate the
     authors as well as myself, whose name has been associated with
     theirs, not so much for the sake of honour as disgrace, from
     unmerited ignominy and reproach.

            *       *       *       *       *

     But the conflict between me and Salmasius is now finally
     terminated by his death; and I will not write against the
     dead; nor will I reproach him with the loss of life as he did
     me with the loss of sight; though there are some who impute
     his death to the penetrating severity of my strictures, which
     he rendered only the more sharp by his endeavours to resist.
     When he saw the work which he had in hand proceed slowly on,
     the time of reply elapsed, the public curiosity subsided, his
     fame marred, and his reputation lost; the favour of the
     princes, whose cause he had so ill defended, alienated, he was
     destroyed, after three years of grief, rather by the force of
     depression than disease.

            *       *       *       *       *

     If I inveigh against tyrants, what is this to kings? whom I am
     far from associating with tyrants. As much as an honest man
     differs from a rogue, so much I contend that a king differs
     from a tyrant. Whence it is clear, that a tyrant is so far
     from being a king, that he is always in direct opposition to a
     king. And he who peruses the records of history, will find
     that more kings have been subverted by tyrants than by their
     subjects. He, therefore, who would authorize the destruction
     of tyrants, does not authorize the destruction of kings, but
     of the most inveterate enemies to kings.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Let us now come to the charges which were brought against
     myself. Is there anything reprehensible in my manners or my
     conduct? Surely nothing. What no one, not totally divested of
     all generous sensibility, would have done, he reproaches me
     with want of beauty and loss of sight.

          'Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen

     I certainly never supposed that I should have been obliged to
     enter into a competition for beauty with the Cyclops; but he
     immediately corrects himself, and says, 'though not indeed
     huge, for there cannot be a more spare, shrivelled, and
     bloodless form.' It is of no moment to say anything of
     personal appearance, yet lest (as the Spanish vulgar,
     implicitly confiding in the relations of their priests,
     believe of heretics) any one, from the representations of my
     enemies, should be led to imagine that I have either the head
     of a dog, or the horn of a rhinoceros, I will say something on
     the subject, that I may have an opportunity of paying my
     grateful acknowledgments to the Deity, and of refuting the
     most shameless lies. I do not believe that I was ever once
     noted for deformity, by any one who ever saw me; but the
     praise of beauty I am not anxious to obtain. My stature
     certainly is not tall; but it rather approaches the middle
     than the diminutive. Yet what if it were diminutive, when so
     many men, illustrious both in peace and war, have been the
     same? And how can that be called diminutive, which is great
     enough for every virtuous achievement? Nor, though very thin,
     was I ever deficient in courage or in strength; and I was wont
     constantly to exercise myself in the use of the broadsword, as
     long as it comported with my habit and my years. Armed with
     this weapon, as I usually was, I should have thought myself
     quite a match for any one, though much stronger than myself;
     and I felt perfectly secure against the assault of any open
     enemy. At this moment I have the same courage, the same
     strength, though not the same eyes; yet so little do they
     betray any external appearance of injury, that they are as
     unclouded and bright as the eyes of those who most distinctly
     see. In this instance alone I am a dissembler against my will.
     My face, which is said to indicate a total privation of blood,
     is of a complexion entirely opposite to the pale and the
     cadaverous; so that, though I am more than forty years old,
     there is scarcely any one to whom I do not appear ten years
     younger than I am; and the smoothness of my skin is not, in
     the least, affected by the wrinkles of age. If there be one
     particle of falsehood in this relation, I should deservedly
     incur the ridicule of many thousands of my countrymen, and
     even many foreigners to whom I am personally known. But if he,
     in a matter so foreign to his purpose, shall be found to have
     asserted so many shameless and gratuitous falsehoods, you may
     the more readily estimate the quantity of his veracity on
     other topics. Thus much necessity compelled me to assert
     concerning my personal appearance. Respecting yours, though I
     have been informed that it is most insignificant and
     contemptible, a perfect mirror of the worthlessness of your
     character and the malevolence of your heart, I say nothing,
     and no one will be anxious that anything should be said. I
     wish that I could with equal facility refute what this
     barbarous opponent has said of my blindness; but I cannot do
     it; and I must submit to the affliction. It is not so wretched
     to be blind, as it is not to be capable of enduring blindness.
     But why should I not endure a misfortune which it behooves
     everyone to be prepared to endure if it should happen; which
     may, in the common course of things, happen to any man; and
     which has been known to happen to the most distinguished and
     virtuous persons in history? Shall I mention those wise and
     ancient bards, whose misfortunes the gods are said to have
     compensated by superior endowments, and whom men so much
     revered, that they chose rather to impute their want of sight
     to the injustice of heaven than to their own want of innocence
     or virtue? What is reported of the Augur Tiresias is well
     known; of whom Apollonius sung thus in his Argonautica:

          'To men he dared the will divine disclose,
           Nor feared what Jove might in his wrath impose.
           The gods assigned him age, without decay,
           But snatched the blessing of his sight away.'

     But God himself is truth; in propagating which, as men display
     a greater integrity and zeal, they approach nearer to the
     similitude of God, and possess a greater portion of his love.
     We cannot suppose the deity envious of truth, or unwilling
     that it should be freely communicated to mankind. The loss of
     sight, therefore, which this inspired sage, who was so eager
     in promoting knowledge among men, sustained, cannot be
     considered as a judicial punishment. Or shall I mention those
     worthies who were as distinguished for wisdom in the cabinet
     as for valour in the field? And first, Timoleon of Corinth,
     who delivered his city and all Sicily from the yoke of
     slavery; than whom there never lived in any age a more
     virtuous man or a more incorrupt statesman: Next Appius
     Claudius, whose discreet counsels in the senate, though they
     could not restore sight to his own eyes, saved Italy from the
     formidable inroads of Pyrrhus: then Cæcilius Metellus the
     high-priest, who lost his sight, while he saved, not only the
     city, but the palladium, the protection of the city, and the
     most sacred relics, from the destruction of the flames. On
     other occasions Providence has indeed given conspicuous proofs
     of its regard for such singular exertions of patriotism and
     virtue; what, therefore, happened to so great and so good a
     man, I can hardly place in the catalogue of misfortunes. Why
     should I mention others of later times, as Dandolo of Venice,
     the incomparable Doge; or Zisca, the bravest leader of the
     Bohemians, and the champion of the cross; or Jerome Zanchius,
     and some other theologians of the highest reputation? For it
     is evident that the patriarch Isaac, than whom no man ever
     enjoyed more of the divine regard, lived blind for many years;
     and perhaps also his son Jacob, who was equally an object of
     the divine benevolence. And in short, did not our Saviour
     himself clearly declare that that poor man whom he restored to
     sight had not been born blind, either on account of his own
     sins or those of his progenitors? And with respect to myself,
     though I have accurately examined my conduct, and scrutinized
     my soul, I call thee, O God, the searcher of hearts, to
     witness, that I am not conscious, either in the more early or
     in the later periods of my life, of having committed any
     enormity which might deservedly have marked me out as a fit
     object for such a calamitous visitation. But since my enemies
     boast that this affliction is only a retribution for the
     transgressions of my pen, I again invoke the Almighty to
     witness, that I never, at any time, wrote anything which I did
     not think agreeable to truth, to justice, and to piety. This
     was my persuasion then, and I feel the same persuasion now.
     Nor was I ever prompted to such exertions by the influence of
     ambition, by the lust of lucre or of praise; it was only by
     the conviction of duty and the feeling of patriotism, a
     disinterested passion for the extension of civil and religious
     liberty. Thus, therefore, when I was publicly solicited to
     write a reply to the Defence of the royal cause, when I had to
     contend with the pressure of sickness, and with the
     apprehension of soon losing the sight of my remaining eye, and
     when my medical attendants clearly announced, that if I did
     engage in the work, it would be irreparably lost, their
     premonitions caused no hesitation and inspired no dismay. I
     would not have listened to the voice even of Æsculapius
     himself from the shrine of Epidaurus, in preference to the
     suggestions of the heavenly monitor within my breast; my
     resolution was unshaken, though the alternative was either the
     loss of my sight, or the desertion of my duty: and I called to
     mind those two destinies, which the oracle of Delphi announced
     to the son of Thetis:

          'I by my Goddess-mother have been warned,
           The silver-footed Thetis, that o'er me
           A double chance of destiny impends:
           If here remaining, round the walls of Troy
           I wage the war, I ne'er shall see my home,
           But then undying glory shall be mine:
           If I return, and see my native land,
           My glory all is gone; but length of life
           Shall then be mine, and death be long deferred.'

               —_Iliad_, ix. 410-416.

     I considered that many had purchased a less good by a greater
     evil, the meed of glory by the loss of life; but that I might
     procure great good by little suffering; that though I am
     blind, I might still discharge the most honourable duties, the
     performance of which, as it is something more durable than
     glory, ought to be an object of superior admiration and
     esteem; I resolved, therefore, to make the short interval of
     sight, which was left me to enjoy, as beneficial as possible
     to the public interest. Thus it is clear by what motives I was
     governed in the measures which I took, and the losses which I
     sustained. Let then the calumniators of the divine goodness
     cease to revile, or to make me the object of their
     superstitious imaginations. Let them consider, that my
     situation, such as it is, is neither an object of my shame nor
     my regret, that my resolutions are too firm to be shaken, that
     I am not depressed by any sense of the divine displeasure;
     that, on the other hand, in the most momentous periods, I have
     had full experience of the divine favour and protection; and
     that, in the solace and the strength which have been infused
     into me from above, I have been enabled to do the will of God;
     that I may oftener think on what he has bestowed, than on what
     he has withheld; that, in short, I am unwilling to exchange my
     consciousness of rectitude with that of any other person; and
     that I feel the recollection a treasured store of tranquillity
     and delight. But, if the choice were necessary, I would, sir,
     prefer my blindness to yours; yours is a cloud spread over the
     mind, which darkens both the light of reason and of
     conscience; mine keeps from my view only the coloured surfaces
     of things, while it leaves me at liberty to contemplate the
     beauty and stability of virtue and of truth. How many things
     are there besides which I would not willingly see; how many
     which I must see against my will; and how few which I feel any
     anxiety to see! There is, as the apostle has remarked, a way
     to strength through weakness. Let me then be the most feeble
     creature alive, as long as that feebleness serves to
     invigorate the energies of my rational and immortal spirit; as
     long as in that obscurity, in which I am enveloped, the light
     of the divine presence more clearly shines, then, in
     proportion as I am weak, I shall be invincibly strong; and in
     proportion as I am blind, I shall more clearly see. Oh, that
     I may thus be perfected by feebleness, and irradiated by
     obscurity! And, indeed, in my blindness, I enjoy in no
     inconsiderable degree the favour of the Deity, who regards me
     with more tenderness and compassion in proportion as I am able
     to behold nothing but himself. Alas! for him who insults me,
     who maligns and merits public execration! For the divine law
     not only shields me from injury, but almost renders me too
     sacred to attack; not indeed so much from the privation of my
     sight, as from the overshadowing of those heavenly wings which
     seem to have occasioned this obscurity; and which, when
     occasioned, he is wont to illuminate with an interior light,
     more precious and more pure. To this I ascribe the more tender
     assiduities of my friends, their soothing attentions, their
     kind visits, their reverential observances; . . . This
     extraordinary kindness which I experience, cannot be any
     fortuitous combination; and friends, such as mine, do not
     suppose that all the virtues of a man are contained in his
     eyes. Nor do the persons of principal distinction in the
     commonwealth suffer me to be bereaved of comfort, when they
     see me bereaved of sight, amid the exertions which I made, the
     zeal which I showed, and the dangers which I run for the
     liberty which I love. But, soberly reflecting on the
     casualties of human life, they show me favour and indulgence,
     as to a soldier who has served his time, and kindly concede to
     me an exemption from care and toil. They do not strip me of
     the badges of honour which I have once worn; they do not
     deprive me of the places of public trust to which I have been
     appointed; they do not abridge my salary or emoluments; which,
     though I may not do so much to deserve as I did formerly, they
     are too considerate and too kind to take away; and, in short,
     they honour me as much as the Athenians did those whom they
     determined to support at the public expense in the Prytaneum.
     Thus, while both God and man unite in solacing me under the
     weight of my affliction, let no one lament my loss of sight
     in so honourable a cause. And let me not indulge in unavailing
     grief, or want the courage either to despise the revilers of
     my blindness, or the forbearance easily to pardon the offence.

            *       *       *       *       *

     I must crave the indulgence of the reader if I have said
     already, or shall say hereafter, more of myself than I wish to
     say; that, if I cannot prevent the blindness of my eyes, the
     oblivion or the defamation of my name, I may at least rescue
     my life from that species of obscurity, which is the associate
     of unprincipled depravity. This it will be necessary for me to
     do on more accounts than one; first, that so many good and
     learned men among the neighbouring nations, who read my works,
     may not be induced by this fellow's calumnies to alter the
     favourable opinion which they have formed of me; but may be
     persuaded that I am not one who ever disgraced beauty of
     sentiment by deformity of conduct, or the maxims of a freeman
     by the actions of a slave; and that the whole tenor of my life
     has, by the grace of God, hitherto been unsullied by enormity
     or crime. Next, that those illustrious worthies, who are the
     objects of my praise, may know that nothing could afflict me
     with more shame than to have any vices of mine diminish the
     force or lessen the value of my panegyric upon them; and,
     lastly, that the people of England, whom fate, or duty, or
     their own virtues, have incited me to defend, may be convinced
     from the purity and integrity of my life, that my defence, if
     it do not redound to their honour, can never be considered as
     their disgrace. I will now mention who and whence I am. I was
     born in London, of an honest family; my father was
     distinguished by the undeviating integrity of his life; my
     mother, by the esteem in which she was held, and the alms
     which she bestowed. My father destined me from a child to the
     pursuits of literature; and my appetite for knowledge was so
     voracious, that, from twelve years of age, I hardly ever left
     my studies, or went to bed before midnight. This primarily led
     to my loss of sight. My eyes were naturally weak, and I was
     subject to frequent headaches; which, however, could not chill
     the ardour of my curiosity, or retard the progress of my
     improvement. My father had me daily instructed in the
     grammar-school, and by other masters at home. He then, after I
     had acquired a proficiency in various languages, and had made
     a considerable progress in philosophy, sent me to the
     University of Cambridge. Here I passed seven years in the
     usual course of instruction and study, with the approbation of
     the good, and without any stain upon my character, till I took
     the degree of Master of Arts. After this I did not, as this
     miscreant feigns, run away into Italy, but of my own accord
     retired to my father's house, whither I was accompanied by the
     regrets of most of the fellows of the college, who showed me
     no common marks of friendship and esteem. On my father's
     estate, where he had determined to pass the remainder of his
     days, I enjoyed an interval of uninterrupted leisure, which I
     entirely devoted to the perusal of the Greek and Latin
     classics; though I occasionally visited the metropolis, either
     for the sake of purchasing books, or of learning something new
     in mathematics or in music, in which I, at that time, found a
     source of pleasure and amusement. In this manner I spent five
     years till my mother's death. I then became anxious to visit
     foreign parts, and particularly Italy. My father gave me his
     permission, and I left home with one servant. On my departure,
     the celebrated Henry Wotton, who had long been king James's
     ambassador at Venice, gave me a signal proof of his regard, in
     an elegant letter which he wrote, breathing not only the
     warmest friendship, but containing some maxims of conduct
     which I found very useful in my travels. The noble Thomas
     Scudamore, king Charles's ambassador, to whom I carried
     letters of recommendation, received me most courteously at
     Paris. His lordship gave me a card of introduction to the
     learned Hugo Grotius, at that time ambassador from the queen
     of Sweden to the French court; whose acquaintance I anxiously
     desired, and to whose house I was accompanied by some of his
     lordship's friends. A few days after, when I set out for
     Italy, he gave me letters to the English merchants on my
     route, that they might show me any civilities in their power.
     Taking ship at Nice, I arrived at Genoa, and afterwards
     visited Leghorn, Pisa, and Florence. In the latter city, which
     I have always more particularly esteemed for the elegance of
     its dialect, its genius, and its taste, I stopped about two
     months; when I contracted an intimacy with many persons of
     rank and learning; and was a constant attendant at their
     literary parties; a practice which prevails there, and tends
     so much to the diffusion of knowledge, and the preservation of
     friendship. No time will ever abolish the agreeable
     recollections which I cherish of Jacopo Gaddi, Carlo Dati,
     Frescobaldi, Coltellini, Bonmattei, Chimentelli, Francini, and
     many others. From Florence I went to Siena, thence to Rome,
     where, after I had spent about two months in viewing the
     antiquities of that renowned city, where I experienced the
     most friendly attentions from Lucas Holstenius, and other
     learned and ingenious men, I continued my route to Naples.
     There I was introduced by a certain recluse, with whom I had
     travelled from Rome, to Giovanni Battista Manso, marquis of
     Villa, a nobleman of distinguished rank and authority, to whom
     Torquato Tasso, the illustrious poet, inscribed his book on
     friendship. During my stay, he gave me singular proofs of his
     regard: he himself conducted me around the city, and to the
     palace of the viceroy; and more than once paid me a visit at
     my lodgings. On my departure he gravely apologized for not
     having shown me more civility, which he said he had been
     restrained from doing, because I had spoken with so little
     reserve on matters of religion. When I was preparing to pass
     over into Sicily and Greece, the melancholy intelligence which
     I received of the civil commotions in England made me alter my
     purpose; for I thought it base to be travelling for amusement
     abroad, while my fellow-citizens were fighting for liberty at
     home. While I was on my way back to Rome, some merchants
     informed me that the English Jesuits had formed a plot against
     me if I returned to Rome, because I had spoken too freely on
     religion; for it was a rule which I laid down to myself in
     those places, never to be the first to begin any conversation
     on religion; but if any questions were put to me concerning my
     faith, to declare it without any reserve or fear. I,
     nevertheless, returned to Rome. I took no steps to conceal
     either my person or my character; and for about the space of
     two months I again openly defended, as I had done before, the
     reformed religion in the very metropolis of popery. By the
     favour of God, I got safe back to Florence, where I was
     received with as much affection as if I had returned to my
     native country. There I stopped as many months as I had done
     before, except that I made an excursion for a few days to
     Lucca; and, crossing the Apennines, passed through Bologna and
     Ferrara to Venice. After I had spent a month in surveying the
     curiosities of this city, and had put on board a ship the
     books which I had collected in Italy, I proceeded through
     Verona and Milan, and along the Leman lake to Geneva. The
     mention of this city brings to my recollection the slandering
     More, and makes me again call the Deity to witness, that in
     all those places in which vice meets with so little
     discouragement, and is practised with so little shame, I never
     once deviated from the paths of integrity and virtue, and
     perpetually reflected that, though my conduct might escape the
     notice of men, it could not elude the inspection of God. At
     Geneva I held daily conferences with John Diodati, the
     learned professor of Theology. Then pursuing my former route
     through France, I returned to my native country, after an
     absence of one year and about three months; at the time when
     Charles, having broken the peace, was renewing what is called
     the episcopal war with the Scots, in which the royalists being
     routed in the first encounter, and the English being
     universally and justly disaffected, the necessity of his
     affairs at last obliged him to convene a parliament. As soon
     as I was able, I hired a spacious house in the city for myself
     and my books; where I again with rapture renewed my literary
     pursuits, and where I calmly awaited the issue of the contest,
     which I trusted to the wise conduct of Providence, and to the
     courage of the people. The vigour of the parliament had begun
     to humble the pride of the bishops. As long as the liberty of
     speech was no longer subject to control, all mouths began to
     be opened against the bishops; some complained of the vices of
     the individuals, others of those of the order. They said that
     it was unjust that they alone should differ from the model of
     other reformed churches; that the government of the church
     should be according to the pattern of other churches, and
     particularly the word of God. This awakened all my attention
     and my zeal. I saw that a way was opening for the
     establishment of real liberty; that the foundation was laying
     for the deliverance of man from the yoke of slavery and
     superstition; that the principles of religion, which were the
     first objects of our care, would exert a salutary influence on
     the manners and constitution of the republic; and as I had
     from my youth studied the distinctions between religious and
     civil rights, I perceived that if I ever wished to be of use,
     I ought at least not to be wanting to my country, to the
     church, and to so many of my fellow-Christians, in a crisis of
     so much danger; I therefore determined to relinquish the other
     pursuits in which I was engaged, and to transfer the whole
     force of my talents and my industry to this one important
     object. I accordingly wrote two books to a friend concerning
     the reformation of the church of England. Afterwards, when two
     bishops of superior distinction vindicated their privileges
     against some principal ministers, I thought that on those
     topics, to the consideration of which I was led solely by my
     love of truth, and my reverence for Christianity, I should not
     probably write worse than those who were contending only for
     their own emoluments and usurpations. I therefore answered the
     one in two books, of which the first is inscribed, Concerning
     Prelatical Episcopacy, and the other Concerning the Mode of
     Ecclesiastical Government; and I replied to the other in some
     Animadversions, and soon after in an Apology. On this occasion
     it was supposed that I brought a timely succour to the
     ministers, who were hardly a match for the eloquence of their
     opponents; and from that time I was actively employed in
     refuting any answers that appeared. When the bishops could no
     longer resist the multitude of their assailants, I had leisure
     to turn my thoughts to other subjects; to the promotion of
     real and substantial liberty; which is rather to be sought
     from within than from without; and whose existence depends,
     not so much on the terror of the sword, as on sobriety of
     conduct and integrity of life. When, therefore, I perceived
     that there were three species of liberty which are essential
     to the happiness of social life—religious, domestic, and
     civil; and as I had already written concerning the first, and
     the magistrates were strenuously active in obtaining the
     third, I determined to turn my attention to the second, or the
     domestic species. As this seemed to involve three material
     questions, the conditions of the conjugal tie, the education
     of the children, and the free publication of the thoughts, I
     made them objects of distinct consideration. I explained my
     sentiments, not only concerning the solemnization of the
     marriage, but the dissolution, if circumstances rendered it
     necessary; and I drew my arguments from the divine law, which
     Christ did not abolish, or publish another more grievous than
     that of Moses. I stated my own opinions, and those of others,
     concerning the exclusive exception of fornication, which our
     illustrious Selden has since, in his Hebrew Wife, more
     copiously discussed; for he in vain makes a vaunt of liberty
     in the senate or in the forum, who languishes under the vilest
     servitude, to an inferior at home. On this subject, therefore,
     I published some books which were more particularly necessary
     at that time, when man and wife were often the most inveterate
     foes, when the man often staid to take care of his children at
     home, while the mother of the family was seen in the camp of
     the enemy, threatening death and destruction to her husband. I
     then discussed the principles of education in a summary
     manner, but sufficiently copious for those who attend
     seriously to the subject; than which nothing can be more
     necessary to principle the minds of men in virtue, the only
     genuine source of political and individual liberty, the only
     true safeguard of states, the bulwark of their prosperity and
     renown. Lastly, I wrote my Areopagitica, in order to deliver
     the press from the restraints with which it was encumbered;
     that the power of determining what was true and what was
     false, what ought to be published and what to be suppressed,
     might no longer be entrusted to a few illiterate and illiberal
     individuals, who refused their sanction to any work which
     contained views or sentiments at all above the level of the
     vulgar superstition. On the last species of civil liberty, I
     said nothing, because I saw that sufficient attention was paid
     to it by the magistrates; nor did I write anything on the
     prerogative of the crown, till the king, voted an enemy by the
     parliament, and vanquished in the field, was summoned before
     the tribunal which condemned him to lose his head. But when,
     at length, some Presbyterian ministers, who had formerly been
     the most bitter enemies to Charles, became jealous of the
     growth of the Independents, and of their ascendency in the
     parliament, most tumultuously clamoured against the sentence,
     and did all in their power to prevent the execution, though
     they were not angry, so much on account of the act itself, as
     because it was not the act of their party; and when they dared
     to affirm, that the doctrine of the protestants, and of all
     the reformed churches, was abhorrent to such an atrocious
     proceeding against kings; I thought that it became me to
     oppose such a glaring falsehood; and accordingly, without any
     immediate or personal application to Charles, I showed, in an
     abstract consideration of the question, what might lawfully be
     done against tyrants; and in support of what I advanced,
     produced the opinions of the most celebrated divines; while I
     vehemently inveighed against the egregious ignorance or
     effrontery of men, who professed better things, and from whom
     better things might have been expected. That book did not make
     its appearance till after the death of Charles; and was
     written rather to reconcile the minds of the people to the
     event, than to discuss the legitimacy of that particular
     sentence which concerned the magistrates, and which was
     already executed. Such were the fruits of my private studies,
     which I gratuitously presented to the church and to the state;
     and for which I was recompensed by nothing but impunity;
     though the actions themselves procured me peace of conscience,
     and the approbation of the good; while I exercised that
     freedom of discussion which I loved. Others, without labour or
     desert, got possession of honours and emoluments; but no one
     ever knew me either soliciting anything myself or through the
     medium of my friends; ever beheld me in a supplicating posture
     at the doors of the senate, or the levees of the great. I
     usually kept myself secluded at home, where my own property,
     part of which had been withheld during the civil commotions,
     and part of which had been absorbed in the oppressive
     contributions which I had to sustain, afforded me a scanty
     subsistence. When I was released from these engagements, and
     thought that I was about to enjoy an interval of uninterrupted
     ease, I turned my thoughts to a continued history of my
     country, from the earliest times to the present period. I had
     already finished four books, when, after the subversion of the
     monarchy, and the establishment of a republic, I was surprised
     by an invitation from the council of state, who desired my
     services in the office for foreign affairs. A book appeared
     soon after, which was ascribed to the king, and contained the
     most invidious charges against the parliament. I was ordered
     to answer it; and opposed the Iconoclast to his Icon. I did
     not insult over fallen majesty, as is pretended; I only
     preferred queen Truth to king Charles. The charge of insult,
     which I saw that the malevolent would urge, I was at some
     pains to remove in the beginning of the work; and as often as
     possible in other places. Salmasius then appeared, to whom
     they were not, as More says, long in looking about for an
     opponent, but immediately appointed me, who happened at the
     time to be present in the council. I have thus, sir, given
     some account of myself, in order to stop your mouth, and to
     remove any prejudices which your falsehoods and
     misrepresentations might cause even good men to entertain
     against me. I tell thee then, thou mass of corruption, to hold
     thy peace; for the more you malign, the more you will compel
     me to confute; which will only serve to render your iniquity
     more glaring, and my integrity more manifest.

_To Charles Diodati, Milton's schoolfellow at St. Paul's School, and his
dearest friend_

     At length, dear friend, your letter has reached me, and the
     messenger-paper has brought me your words—brought me them
     from the western shore of Chester's Dee, where with prone
     stream it seeks the Vergivian wave. Much, believe me, it
     delights me that foreign lands have nurtured a heart so loving
     of ours, and a head so faithfully mine; and that a distant
     part of the country now owes me my sprightly companion,
     whence, however, it means soon, on being summoned, to send him
     back. Me at present that city contains which the Thames washes
     with its ebbing wave; and me, not unwilling, my father's house
     now possesses. At present it is not my care to revisit the
     reedy Cam; nor does the love of my forbidden rooms yet cause
     me grief (_nec dudum vetiti me laris angit amor_). Nor do
     naked fields please me, where soft shades are not to be had.
     How ill that place suits the votaries of Apollo! Nor am I in
     the humour still to bear the threats of a harsh master (_duri
     minas perferre magistri_), and other things not to be
     submitted to by my genius (_cæteraque ingenio non subeunda
     meo_). If this be exile (_si sit hoc exilium_), to have gone
     to my father's house, and, free from cares, to be pursuing
     agreeable relaxations, then certainly I refuse neither the
     name nor the lot of a fugitive (_non ego vel profugi nomen
     sortemque recuso_), and gladly I enjoy the condition of exile
     (_lætus et exilii conditione fruor_). Oh that that poet, the
     tearful exile in the Pontic territory had never endured worse
     things! Then had he nothing yielded to Ionian Homer, nor would
     the supreme reputation of having surpassed him be yours, O
     Maro! For it is in my power to give my leisure up to the
     placid Muses; and books, which are my life, have me all to
     themselves. When I am wearied, the pomp of the winding theatre
     takes me hence, and the garrulous stage calls me to its noisy
     applauses—whether it be the wary old gentleman that is heard,
     or the prodigal heir; whether the wooer, or the soldier with
     his helmet doffed, is on the boards, or the lawyer, prosperous
     with a ten years' lawsuit, is mouthing forth his gibberish to
     the unlearned forum. Often the wily servant is abetting the
     lover-son, and at every turn cheating the very nose of the
     stiff father; often there the maiden, wondering at her new
     sensations, knows not what love is, and, while she knows not,
     loves. Or, again, furious Tragedy shakes her bloody sceptre
     and rolls her eyes, with dishevelled locks, and it is a pain
     to look, and yet it is a pleasure to have looked and been
     pained; for sometimes there is a sweet bitterness in tears. Or
     the unhappy boy leaves his untasted joys, and falls off, a
     pitiful object, from his broken love; or the fierce avenger of
     crime recrosses the Styx from the shades, perturbing guilty
     souls with his funeral torch. Or the house of Pelops or that
     of noble Ilium is in grief, or the palace of Creon expiates
     its incestuous ancestry. But not always within doors, nor even
     in the city, do we mope; nor does the season of spring pass by
     unused by us. The grove also planted with thick elms, has our
     company, and the noble shade of a suburban neighborhood. Very
     often here, as stars breathing forth mild flames, you may see
     troops of maidens passing by. Ah! how often have I seen the
     wonders of a worthy form, which might even repair the old age
     of Jove! Ah! how often have I seen eyes surpassing all gems
     and whatever lights revolve round either pole; and necks twice
     whiter than the arms of living Pelops, and than the way which
     flows tinged with pure nectar; and the exquisite grace of the
     forehead; and the trembling hair which cheating love spreads
     as his golden nets; and the inviting cheeks, compared with
     which hyacinthine purple is poor, and the very blush, Adonis,
     of thy own flower! . . . But for me, while the forbearance of
     the blind boy allows it, I prepare as soon as possible to
     leave these happy walls, and, using the help of divine
     all-heal, to flee far from the infamous dwellings of the
     sorceress Circe. It is fixed that I do go back to the rushy
     marshes of Cam, and once more approach the murmur of the
     hoarse-murmuring school. Meanwhile accept the little gift of
     your faithful friend, and these few words forced into
     alternate measures.

_To Alexander Gill, Jr._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. III.)

     . . . Indeed, every time I recollect your almost constant
     conversations with me (which even in this Athens, the
     University itself, I long after and miss), I think
     immediately, and not without grief, what a quantity of benefit
     my absence from you has cheated me of,—me who never left
     your company without a manifest increase and ἐπίδοσις of
     literary knowledge, just as if I had been to some emporium of
     learning. Truly, amongst us here, as far as I know, there are
     hardly one or two that do not fly off unfeathered to Theology
     while all but rude and uninitiated in either Philology or
     Philosophy,—content also with the slightest possible touch of
     Theology itself, just as much as may suffice for sticking
     together a little sermon anyhow, and stitching it over with
     worn patches obtained promiscuously: a fact giving reason for
     the dread that by degrees there may break in among our clergy
     the priestly ignorance of a former age. For myself, finding
     almost no real companions in study here, I should certainly be
     looking straight back to London, were I not meditating a
     retirement during this summer vacation into a deep literary
     leisure and a period of hiding, so to speak, in the bowers of
     the Muses. But, as this is your own daily practice, I think
     it almost a crime to interrupt you longer with my din at
     present. Farewell.

     CAMBRIDGE, July 2, 1628.

_To Thomas Young._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. IV.)

     . . . Having been invited to your part of the country, as soon
     as spring is a little advanced, I will gladly come, to enjoy
     the delights of the season, and not less of your conversation,
     and will withdraw myself from the din of town for a while to
     your Stoa of the Iceni, as to that most celebrated Porch of
     Zeno or the Tusculan Villa of Cicero, where you, with moderate
     means but regal spirit, like some Serranus or Curius, placidly
     reign in your little farm, and, contemning fortune, hold, as
     it were, a triumph over riches, ambition, pomp, luxury, and
     whatever the herd of men admire and are marked by. . . .

     CAMBRIDGE, July 21, 1628.

_To Charles Diodati_,

making a stay in the country, who, having written to the author on the
13th of December, and asked him to excuse his verses, if they were less
good than usual, on the ground that, in the midst of the festivities
with which he had been received by his friends, he was unable to give a
sufficiently prosperous attention to the Muses, had the following reply:

     . . . You seem to be enjoying yourself rarely. How well you
     describe the feasts, and the merry December and preparations
     for Christmas, and the cups of French wine round the gay
     hearth! Why do you complain that poesy is absent from these
     festivities? Festivity and poetry are surely not
     incompatible. . . . One sees the triple influence of Bacchus,
     Apollo, and Ceres, in the verses you have sent me. And, then,
     have you not music—the harp lightly touched by nimble hands,
     and the lute giving time to the fair ones as they dance in the
     old tapestried room? Believe me, where the ivory keys leap,
     and the accompanying dance goes round the perfumed hall, there
     will the Song-god be. But let me not go too far. Light Elegy
     is the care of many gods, and calls any one of them by turns
     to her assistance—Bacchus, Erato, Ceres, Venus, and little
     Cupid besides. To poets of this order, therefore, conviviality
     is allowable; and they may often indulge in draughts of good
     old wine. _But the man who speaks of high matters—the heaven
     of the full-grown Jove, and pious heroes, and demigod leaders
     of men, the man who now sings the holy counsels of the gods
     above, and now the subterranean realms guarded by the fierce
     dog—let him live sparely, after the manner of the Samian
     master; let herbs afford him his innocent diet, let clear
     water in a beechen cup stand near him, and let him drink sober
     draughts from a pure fountain! To this be there added a youth
     chaste and free from guilt, and rigid morals, and hands
     without stain. Being such, thou shalt rise up, glittering in
     sacred raiment and purified by lustral waters, an augur about
     to go into the presence of the unoffended gods._ So is wise
     Tiresias said to have lived, after he had been deprived of his
     sight; and Theban Linus; and Calchas the exile; and old
     Orpheus. So did the scantily-eating, water-drinking Homer
     carry his hero Ulysses through the monster-teeming hall of
     Circe, and the straits insidious with the voices of the
     Syrens, and through thy courts, too, O infernal King, where he
     is said to have held the troops of shades enthralled by
     libations of black blood. For the poet is sacred and the
     priest of the gods; and his breast and his mouth breathe the
     indwelling Jove.

     And now, if you will know what I am myself doing (if indeed
     you think it is of so much consequence to know if I am doing
     anything), here is the fact: we are engaged in singing the
     heavenly birth of the King of Peace, and the happy age
     promised by the holy books, and the infant cries and cradling
     in a manger under a poor roof of that God who rules, with his
     Father, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the sky with the new-sprung
     star in it, and the ethereal choirs of hymning angels, and the
     gods of the heathen suddenly fleeing to their endangered
     fanes. This is the gift which we have presented to Christ's
     natal day. On that very morning, at daybreak, it was first
     conceived. The verses, which are composed in the vernacular,
     await you in close keeping; you shall be the judge to whom I
     shall recite them.

_Prolusiones quædam Oratoriæ_

Some University Latin Oratorical Exercises, seven in number, first
published in 1674, the year of Milton's death, along with his Familiar
Letters (Epistolæ Familiares), 'as a make-weight to counterbalance the
paucity of the Letters,' have an autobiographic value; but, with the
exception of a small bit, space does not allow the admission of them
here. 'They throw light,' says Masson, 'upon Milton's career at
Cambridge. They illustrate the extent and nature of his reading, his
habits and tastes as a student, the relation in which he stood to the
University system of his time, and to the new intellectual tendencies
which were gradually affecting that system. They also settle in the most
conclusive manner the fact that Milton passed through two stages in his
career at the University,—a stage of decided unpopularity, in his own
College at least, which lasted till about 1628, and a final stage of
triumph, when his powers were recognized.'

Masson characterizes the seventh oratorical exercise as 'one of the
finest pieces of Latin prose ever penned by an Englishman.'

The following is a passage, in Masson's close translation, from this
exercise, which exhibits what continued to be Milton's attitude through

'I regard it, my hearers, as known and accepted by all, that the great
Maker of the Universe, when he had constituted all things else as
fleeting and corruptible, did mingle up with Man, in addition to that of
him which is mortal, a certain divine breath, as it were part of
Himself, immortal, indestructible, free from death and extinction;
which, after it had sojourned purely and holily for some time in the
earth as a heavenly guest, should flutter aloft to its native heaven,
and return to its proper home and fatherland: accordingly, that _nothing
can deservedly be taken into account as among the causes of our
happiness that does not somehow or other regard both that everlasting
life and this civil life below_.'

'When his earlier writings,' says Masson, 'are compared with those of
his coevals at the University, what strikes one most, next to their
vastly greater merit altogether, is their more ideal tone. As, more than
any of them, he was conscious of the _os magna soniturum_, the mouth
formed for great utterances, so all that he does utter has a certain
character and form of magnitude.'

Milton's Latin poem, 'Ad Patrem' (To Father), was occasioned, as may be
seen in the poem, by an expressed dissatisfaction on the part of his
father with his continued devotion, after leaving the University, to his
favorite studies and the Muses, to the exclusion of all consideration of
a profession. He had, while yet at the University, fully decided that
the Church, for which he was destined by his parents, was not for him,
bowing, as it was, beneath the galling 'yoke of prelaty'; and to the
legal profession he must have been equally, if not more, averse.

Such a tribute of filial affection and gratitude, as is this poem,
certainly overcame all objections the father may have expressed in
regard to his course of life at the time.

We learn from this poem, which was no doubt composed soon after Milton's
final return to his father's house at Horton, in 1632, he being then in
his twenty-fourth year, that, along with the Latin and the Greek, he had
acquired, and by his father's advice, a knowledge of the French,
Italian, and Hebrew. We also learn of the father's musical genius, both
instrumental and vocal, and of the son's lofty estimate of the power of
poesy. He ascribes to it a divine nature which evidences man's heavenly
origin, and bespeaks him illuminated from above.

I give the translation by the poet Cowper, which, while being somewhat
free, is, I think, altogether the best and most poetical that has been
made. That by Masson, in hexameters, is closer to the original, but has
in it a dactylic dance which is not so much in harmony with the tone of
the original as is Cowper's blank-verse translation.

_To Father_

       Oh, that Pieria's spring would thro' my breast
     Pour its inspiring influence, and rush
     No rill, but rather an o'erflowing flood!
     That, for my venerable father's sake,
     All meaner themes renounced, my muse, on wings                5
     Of duty borne, might reach a loftier strain.
     For thee, my father! howsoe'er it please,
     She frames this slender work, nor know I aught
     That may thy gifts more suitably requite;
     Though to requite them suitably would ask                    10
     Returns much nobler, and surpassing far
     The meagre stores of verbal gratitude;
     But, such as I possess, I send thee all.
     This page presents thee in their full amount
     With thy son's treasures, and the sum is nought;             15
     Nought, save the riches that from airy dream
     In secret grottos and in laurel bowers
     I have, by golden Clio's gift, acquired.

       Verse is a work divine; despise not thou
     Verse, therefore, which evinces (nothing more)               20
     Man's heavenly source, and which, retaining still
     Some scintillations of Promethean fire,
     Bespeaks him animated from above.
     The gods love verse; the infernal Powers themselves
     Confess the influence of verse, which stirs                  25
     The lowest deep, and binds in triple chains
     Of adamant both Pluto and the Shades.
     In verse the Delphic priestess, and the pale
     Tremulous Sibyl make the future known;
     And he who sacrifices, on the shrine                         30
     Hangs verse, both when he smites the threatening bull,
     And when he spreads his reeking entrails wide
     To scrutinize the Fates enveloped there.
     We, too, ourselves, what time we seek again
     Our native skies, and one eternal now                        35
     Shall be the only measure of our being,
     Crowned all with gold, and chaunting to the lyre
     Harmonious verse, shall range the courts above,
     And make the starry firmament resound;
     And, even now, the fiery spirit pure                         40
     That wheels yon circling orbs, directs, himself,
     Their mazy dance with melody of verse
     Unutterable, immortal, hearing which
     Huge Ophiuchus holds his hiss suppressed,
     Orion, softened, drops his ardent blade,                     45
     And Atlas stands unconscious of his load.
     Verse graced of old the feasts of kings ere yet
     Luxurious dainties, destined to the gulph
     Immense of gluttony, were known, and ere
     Lyæus deluged yet the temperate board.                       50
     Then sat the bard a customary guest
     To share the banquet, and, his length of locks
     With beechen honours bound, proposed in verse
     The characters of heroes, and their deeds
     To imitation, sang of Chaos old, sword, belt, and club;      55
     Of nature's birth, of gods that crept in search
     Of acorns fallen, and of the thunder bolt
     Not yet produced from Etna's fiery cave.
     And what avails, at last, tune without voice,
     Devoid of matter? Such may suit perhaps                      60
     The rural dance, but such was ne'er the song
     Of Orpheus, whom the streams stood still to hear
     And the oaks followed. Not by chords alone
     Well touched, but by resistless accents more
     To sympathetic tears the ghosts themselves                   65
     He moved; these praises to his verse he owes.

       Nor thou persist, I pray thee, still to slight
     The sacred Nine, and to imagine vain
     And useless, powers by whom inspired thyself
     Art skilful to associate verse with airs                     70
     Harmonious, and to give the human voice
     A thousand modulations, heir by right
     Indisputable of Arion's fame.
     Now say, what wonder is it if a son
     Of thine delight in verse, if so conjoined                   75
     In close affinity, we sympathize
     In social arts and kindred studies sweet?
     Such distribution of himself to us
     Was Phœbus' choice; thou hast thy gift and I
     Mine also; and between us we receive,                        80
     Father and son, the whole inspiring god.
     No! howsoe'er the semblance thou assume
     Of hate, thou hatest not the gentle Muse,
     My Father! for thou never bad'st me tread
     The beaten path and broad that leads right on                85
     To opulence, nor didst condemn thy son
     To the insipid clamours of the bar,
     To laws voluminous and ill observed;
     But, wishing to enrich me more, to fill
     My mind with treasure, ledst me far away                     90
     From city din to deep retreats, to banks
     And streams Aonian, and, with free consent,
     Didst place me happy at Apollo's side.
     I speak not now, on more important themes
     Intent, of common benefits and such                          95
     As nature bids, but of thy larger gifts,
     My Father! who, when I had opened once
     The stores of Roman rhetoric, and learned
     The full-toned language of the eloquent Greeks,
     Whose lofty music graced the lips of Jove,                  100
     Thyself didst counsel me to add the flowers
     That Gallia boasts, those, too, with which the smooth
     Italian his degenerate speech adorns,
     That witnesses his mixture with the Goth;
     And Palestine's prophetic songs divine.                     105
     To sum the whole, whate'er the heaven contains,
     The earth beneath it, and the air between,
     The rivers and the restless deep, may all
     Prove intellectual gain to me, my wish
     Concurring with thy will; Science herself,                  110
     All cloud removed, inclines her beauteous head,
     And offers me the lip, if, dull of heart,
     I shrink not and decline her gracious boon.

       Go now and gather dross, ye sordid minds
     That covet it; what could my Father more?                   115
     What more could Jove himself, unless he gave
     His own abode, the heaven, in which he reigns?
     More eligible gifts than these were not
     Apollo's to his son, had they been safe,
     As they were insecure, who made the boy                     120
     The world's vice-luminary, bade him rule
     The radiant chariot of the day, and bind
     To his young brows his own all-dazzling wreath.
     I, therefore, although last and least, my place
     Among the learned in the laurel grove                       125
     Will hold, and where the conqueror's ivy twines,
     Henceforth exempt from the unlettered throng
     Profane, nor even to be seen by such.
     Away then, sleepless Care, Complaint away,
     And Envy, with thy 'jealous leer malign!'                   130
     Nor let the monster Calumny shoot forth
     Her venomed tongue at me. Detested foes!
     Ye all are impotent against my peace,
     For I am privileged, and bear my breast
     Safe, and too high for your viperean wound.                 135
     But thou, my Father! since to render thanks
     Equivalent, and to requite by deeds
     Thy liberality, exceeds my power,
     Suffice it that I thus record thy gifts,
     And bear them treasured in a grateful mind!                 140
     Ye, too, the favourite pastime of my youth
     My voluntary numbers, if ye dare
     To hope longevity, and to survive
     Your master's funeral, not soon absorbed
     In the oblivious Lethæan gulph                              145
     Shall to futurity perhaps convey
     This theme, and by these praises of my sire
     Improve the Fathers of a distant age!

_An English letter to a friend (unknown), who, it appears, had been
calling him to account for his apparent indifference as to his work in

This letter has an exceptional autobiographic value. The sonnet, which
is inserted, appears to have been independently written some time
before, and was originally published in 1645, with the heading 'On his
having arrived at the age of twenty-three.'

     'SIR,—Besides that in sundry respects I must acknowledge me
     to profit by you whenever we meet, you are often to me, and
     were yesterday especially, as a good watchman to admonish that
     the hours of the night pass on (for so I call my life, as yet
     obscure and unserviceable to mankind), and that the day with
     me is at hand, wherein Christ commands all to labor, while
     there is light. Which, because I am persuaded you do to no
     other purpose than out of a true desire that God should be
     honoured in every one, I therefore think myself bound, though
     unasked, to give you an account, as oft as occasion is, of
     this my tardy moving, according to the precept of my
     conscience, which I firmly trust is not without God. Yet now I
     will not strain for any set apology, but only refer myself to
     what my mind shall have at any time to declare herself at her
     best ease.

     But if you think, as you said, that too much love of learning
     is in fault, and that I have given up myself to dream away my
     years in the arms of studious retirement, like Endymion with
     the moon, as the tale of Latmus goes, yet consider that, if it
     were no more but the mere love of learning, whether it proceed
     from a principle bad, good, or natural, it could not have held
     out thus long against so strong opposition on the other side
     of every kind. For, if it be bad, why should not all the fond
     hopes that forward youth and vanity are fledge with, together
     with gain, pride, and ambition, call me forward more
     powerfully than a poor, regardless, and unprofitable sin of
     curiosity should be able to withhold me; whereby a man cuts
     himself off from all action, and becomes the most helpless,
     pusillanimous, and unweaponed creature in the world, the most
     unfit and unable to do that which all mortals most aspire to,
     either to be useful to his friends or to offend his enemies?
     Or, if it be to be thought a natural proneness, there is
     against that a much more potent inclination inbred, which
     about this time of a man's life solicits most—the desire of
     house and family of his own; to which nothing is esteemed more
     helpful than the early entering into credible employment, and
     nothing hindering than this affected solitariness. And, though
     this were enough, yet there is another act, if not of pure,
     yet of refined nature, no less available to dissuade prolonged
     obscurity—a desire of honour and repute and immortal fame,
     seated in the breast of every true scholar; which all make
     haste to by the readiest ways of publishing and divulging
     conceived merits—as well those that shall, as those that
     never shall, obtain it. Nature, therefore, would presently
     work the more prevalent way, if there were nothing but this
     inferior bent of herself to restrain her. Lastly, the love of
     learning, as it is the pursuit of something good, it would
     sooner follow the more excellent and supreme good known and
     presented, and so be quickly diverted from the empty and
     fantastic chase of shadows and notions, to the solid good
     flowing from due and timely obedience to that command in the
     Gospel set out by the terrible feasing of him that hid the

     It is more probable, therefore, that not the endless delight
     of speculation, but this very consideration of that great
     commandment, does not press forward, as soon as many do, to
     undergo, but keeps off, with a sacred reverence and religious
     advisement how _best_ to undergo, not taking thought of being
     _late_, so it give advantage to be more _fit_; for those that
     were latest lost nothing when the master of the vineyard came
     to give each one his hire. And here I am come to a streamhead,
     copious enough to disburden itself, like Nilus, at seven
     mouths into an ocean. But then I should also run into a
     reciprocal contradiction of ebbing and flowing at once, and do
     that which I excuse myself for not doing—preach and not
     preach. Yet, that you may see that I am something suspicious
     of myself, and do take notice of a certain belatedness in me,
     I am the bolder to send you some of my nightward thoughts some
     while since, because they come in not altogether unfitly, made
     up in a Petrarchian stanza, which I told you of:

          How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
            Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
            My hasting days fly on with full career;
          But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
          Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth               5
            That I to manhood am arrived so near;
            And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
          That some more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
          Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
            It shall be still in strictest measure even             10
            To that same lot, however mean or high,
            Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven.
          All is, if I have grace to use it so,
            As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.

     By this I believe you may well repent of having made mention
     at all of this matter; for, if I have not all this while won
     you to this, I have certainly wearied you of it. This,
     therefore, alone may be a sufficient reason for me to keep me
     as I am, lest, having thus tired you singly, I should deal
     worse with a whole congregation and spoil all the patience of
     a parish; for I myself do not only see my own tediousness, but
     now grow offended with it, that has hindered me thus long from
     coming to the last and best _period_ of my letter, and that
     which must now chiefly work my pardon,—that I am

     Your true and unfeigned friend, etc.'

_To Alexander Gill, Jr._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. V.)

     If you had presented to me a gift of gold, or of preciously
     embossed vases, or whatever of that sort mortals admire, it
     were certainly to my shame not to have some time or other made
     you a remuneration in return, as far as my faculties might
     serve. Your gift of the day before yesterday, however, having
     been such a sprightly and elegant set of Hendecasyllabics, you
     have, just in proportion to the superiority of that gift to
     anything in the form of gold, made us the more anxious to find
     some dainty means by which to repay the kindness of so
     pleasant a favour. We had, indeed, at hand some things of our
     own of this same kind, but such as I could nowise deem fit to
     be sent in contest of equality of gift with yours. I send,
     therefore, what is not exactly mine, but belongs also to the
     truly divine poet, this ode of whom, only last week, with no
     deliberate intention certainly, but from I know not what
     sudden impulse before daybreak, I adapted, almost in bed, to
     the rule of Greek heroic verse: with the effect, it seems,
     that, relying on this coadjutor, who surpasses you no less in
     his subject than you surpass me in art, I should have
     something that might have a resemblance of approach to a
     balancing of accounts. Should anything meet you in it not
     coming up to your usual opinion of our productions, understand
     that, since I left your school, this is the first and only
     thing I have composed in Greek,—employing myself, as you
     know, more willingly in Latin and English matters; inasmuch
     as whoever spends study and pains in this age on Greek
     composition runs a risk of singing mostly to the deaf. . . .

     From our suburban residence (_E nostro suburbano_), December
     4, 1634.

_To Charles Diodati._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. VI.)

     Now at length I see plainly that what you are driving at is to
     vanquish me sometimes in the art of obstinate silence; and, if
     it is so, bravo! have that little glory over us, for behold!
     we write first. All the same, if ever the question should come
     into contention why neither has written to the other for so
     long, do not think but that I shall stand by many degrees the
     more excused of the two,—manifestly so indeed, as being one
     by nature slow and lazy to write, as you well know; while you,
     on the other hand, whether by nature or by habit, are wont
     without difficulty to be drawn into epistolary correspondence
     of this sort. It makes also for my favour that I know your
     method of studying to be so arranged that you frequently take
     breath in the middle, visit your friends, write much,
     sometimes make a journey, whereas my genius is such that no
     delay, no rest, no care or thought almost of anything, holds
     me aside until I reach the end I am making for, and round
     off, as it were, some great period of my studies. . . .

     LONDON, September 2, 1637.

_To Charles Diodati._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. VII.)

     . . . What besides God has resolved concerning me I know not,
     but this at least: _He has instilled into me, if into any one,
     a vehement love of the beautiful._ Not with so much labour, as
     the fables have it, is Ceres said to have sought her daughter
     Proserpina as it is my habit day and night to seek for this
     _idea of the beautiful_, as for a certain image of supreme
     beauty, through all the forms and faces of things (_for many
     are the shapes of things divine_), and to follow it as it
     leads me on by some sure traces which I seem to recognize.
     Hence it is that, when any one scorns what the vulgar opine in
     their depraved estimation of things, and dares to feel and
     speak and be that which the highest wisdom throughout all ages
     has taught to be best, to that man I attach myself forthwith
     by a kind of real necessity, wherever I find him. If, whether
     by nature or by my fate, I am so circumstanced that by no
     effort or labour of mine can I myself rise to such an honour
     and elevation, yet that I should always worship and look up to
     those who have attained that glory, or happily aspire to it,
     neither gods nor men, I reckon, have bidden nay.

     But now I know you wish to have your curiosity satisfied. You
     make many anxious inquiries, even as to what I am at present
     thinking of. Hearken, Theodotus, but let it be in your private
     ear, lest I blush; and allow me for a little to use big
     language with you. You ask what I am thinking of? So may the
     good Deity help me, of immortality! And what am I doing?
     _Growing my wings_ and meditating flight; but as yet our
     Pegasus raises himself on very tender pinions. Let us be lowly

            *       *       *       *       *

     I have by continuous reading brought down the affairs of the
     Greeks as far as the time when they ceased to be Greeks. I
     have been long engaged in the obscure business of the state of
     Italians under the Longobards, the Franks, and the Germans,
     down to the time when liberty was granted them by Rodolph,
     King of Germany: from that period it will be better to read
     separately what each City did by its own wars. . . .

     LONDON, September 23, 1637.

_To Benedetto Bonmattei of Florence._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. VIII.)

     . . . I, certainly, who have not wet merely the tips of my
     lips with both those tongues, but have, as much as any, to the
     full allowance of my years, drained their deeper draughts, can
     yet sometimes willingly and eagerly go for a feast to that
     Dante of yours, and to Petrarch, and a good few more; nor has
     Attic Athens herself, with her pellucid Ilissus, nor that old
     Rome with her bank of the Tiber, been able so to hold me but
     that I love often to visit your Arno and these hills of
     Fæsule. See now, I entreat, whether it has not been with
     enough of providential cause that _I_ have been given to you
     for these few days, as your latest guest from the ocean, who
     am so great a lover of your nation that, as I think, there is
     no other more so. . . .

     FLORENCE, September 10, 1638.


Milton's Latin poem addressed to Manso, Marquis of Villa, in grateful
acknowledgment of the distinguished attention which had been shown him
by the aged Marquis, during his stay in Naples, contains the first
intimation in his writings of his contemplating an epic poem to be based
on the legendary or mythical history of Britain, with King Arthur for
its hero.

The following is Masson's quite literal prose translation of vv. 70-100:

. . . 'Oh that my lot might yield me such a friend, one who should know
as well how to decorate Apollo's children, if perchance I shall ever
call back into verse our native kings, and Arthur stirring wars even
under the earth that hides him, or speak of the great-souled heroes, the
knights of the unconquered Table, bound in confederate brotherhood, and
(Oh may the spirit be present to me!) break the Saxon phalanxes under
the British Mars. Then, when, having measured out the period of a not
silent life, and full of years, I shall leave the dust its due, he would
stand by my bed with wet eyes; it would be enough if I said to him
standing by "Let me be thy charge;" he would see that my limbs, slacked
in livid death, were softly laid in the narrow coffin; perchance he
would bring out from the marble our features, wreathing the hair either
with the leaf of Paphian myrtle or with that of Parnassian laurel; but I
should repose in secure peace. Then, too, if faith is aught, if there
are assured rewards of the good, I myself, withdrawn into the ether of
the heaven-housed gods, whither labour and the pure mind and the fire of
virtue carry us, shall behold these things from some part of the unseen
world, as far as the fates allow, and, smiling serene, with soul entire,
shall feel my face suffused with the purple light, and applaud myself
the while in the joy of ethereal Olympus.'

_From the 'Areopagitica: a speech for the liberty of unlicensed
printing. To the Parliament of England'_

     And lest some should persuade ye, lords and commons, that
     these arguments of learned men's discouragement at this your
     order are mere flourishes, and not real, I could recount what
     I have seen and heard in other countries, where this kind of
     inquisition tyrannizes; when I have sat among their learned
     men, (for that honour I had,) and been counted happy to be
     born in such a place of philosophic freedom, as they supposed
     England was, while themselves did nothing but bemoan the
     servile condition into which learning amongst them was
     brought; that this was it which had damped the glory of
     Italian wits; that nothing had been there written now these
     many years but flattery and fustian. There it was that I found
     and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the
     Inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the
     Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought. And though I knew
     that England then was groaning loudest under the prelatical
     yoke, nevertheless I took it as a pledge of future happiness,
     that other nations were so persuaded of her liberty.

     Yet was it beyond my hope, that those worthies were then
     breathing in her air, who should be her leaders to such a
     deliverance, as shall never be forgotten by any revolution of
     time that this world hath to finish. When that was once begun,
     it was as little in my fear, that what words of complaint I
     heard among learned men of other parts uttered against the
     Inquisition, the same I should hear, by as learned men at
     home, uttered in time of parliament against an order of
     licensing; and that so generally, that when I had disclosed
     myself a companion of their discontent, I might say, if
     without envy, that he whom an honest quæstorship had endeared
     to the Sicilians, was not more by them importuned against
     Verres, than the favourable opinion which I had among many
     who honour ye, and are known and respected by ye, loaded me
     with entreaties and persuasions, that I would not despair to
     lay together that which just reason should bring into my mind,
     towards the removal of an undeserved thraldom upon learning.

_To Lucas Holstenius in the Vatican at Rome._ (_Familiar Letters_, No.

     Although I both can and often do remember many courteous and
     most friendly acts done me by many in this my passage through
     Italy, yet, for so brief an acquaintance, I do not know
     whether I can justly say that from any one I have had greater
     proofs of goodwill than those which have come to me from you.
     For, when I went up to the Vatican for the purpose of meeting
     you, though a total stranger to you,—unless perchance
     anything had been previously said about me to you by Alexander
     Cherubini,—you received me with the utmost courtesy. Admitted
     at once with politeness into the Museum, I was allowed to
     behold the superb collection of books, and also very many
     manuscript Greek authors set forth with your
     explanations,—some of whom, not yet seen in our age, seemed
     now, in their array, like Virgil's

                            penitus convalle virenti
          Inclusæ animæ superumque ad lumen ituræ, (vi. 679)

     to demand the active hands of the printer, and a delivery into
     the world, while others, already edited by your care, are
     eagerly received everywhere by scholars:—dismissed, too,
     richer than I came, with two copies of one of these last
     presented to me by yourself. Then, I could not but believe
     that it was in consequence of the mention you made of me to
     the most excellent Cardinal Francesco Barberini that, when he,
     a few days after, gave that public musical entertainment
     with truly Roman magnificence (ἀκρόαμα illud musicum
     magnificentiâ vere Romanâ publice exhiberet), he himself,
     waiting at the doors, and seeking me out in so great a crowd,
     almost seizing me by the hand, indeed, admitted me within
     in a truly most honourable manner. Further, when, on this
     account, I went to pay my respects to him next day, you again
     were the person that both made access for me and obtained me
     an opportunity of leisurely conversation with him—an
     opportunity such as, with so great a man,—than whom, on the
     topmost summit of dignity, nothing more kind, nothing more
     courteous,—was truly, place and time considered, too ample
     rather than too sparing. . . .

     FLORENCE, March 30, 1639.

_Epitaphium Damonis_

The 'Epitaphium Damonis' is a pastoral elegy, occasioned by the death of
Charles Diodati, which occurred in the summer or autumn of 1638, while
Milton was on his continental tour. As an expression of the poet's grief
for the loss of his boyhood's and early manhood's dearest, most
intimate, and sympathetic friend, it has a general autobiographic
character; but it contains one passage (vv. 161-178), having a special
interest of the kind, in which he again alludes to his contemplated epic
poem, to be based on the legendary history of Britain.

The following is Masson's translation of the Argument and of vv.

'Thyrsis and Damon, shepherds of the same neighbourhood, following the
same pursuits, were friends from their boyhood, in the highest degree of
mutual attachment. Thyrsis, having set out to travel for mental
improvement, received news when abroad of Damon's death. Afterwards at
length returning, and finding the matter to be so, he deplores himself
and his solitary condition in the following poem. Under the guise of
Damon, however, is here understood Charles Diodati, tracing his descent
on the father's side from the Tuscan city of Lucca, but otherwise
English—a youth remarkable, while he lived, for his genius, his
learning, and other most shining virtues.'

     'Go unpastured, my lambs: your master now heeds not your bleating.
      _I_ have a theme of the Trojans cruising our southern headlands
      Shaping to song, and the realm of Imogen, daughter of Pandras,
      Brennus and Arvirach, dukes, and Bren's bold brother, Belinus;
      Then the Armorican settlers under the laws of the Britons,
      Ay, and the womb of Igraine fatally pregnant with Arthur,
      Uther's son, whom he got disguised in Gorlois' likeness,
      All by Merlin's craft. Oh then, if life shall be spared me,
      Thou shalt be hung, my pipe, far off on some brown dying pine tree,
      Much forgotten of me; or else your Latian music
      Changed for the British war-screech! What then? For one to do all
      One to hope all things, fits not! Prize sufficiently ample
      Mine, and distinction great (unheard of ever thereafter
      Though I should be, and inglorious, all through the world of the
      If but yellow-haired Ouse shall read me, the drinker of Alan,
      Humber, which whirls as it flows, and Trent's whole valley of
      Thames, my own Thames, above all, and Tamar's western waters,
      Tawny with ores, and where the white waves swinge the far Orkneys.'

_From 'Of Reformation in England'_

     Oh, sir, I do now feel myself inwrapped on the sudden into
     those mazes and labyrinths of dreadful and hideous thoughts,
     that which way to get out, or which way to end, I know not,
     unless I turn mine eyes, and with your help lift up my hands
     to that eternal and propitious Throne, where nothing is
     readier than grace and refuge to the distresses of mortal
     suppliants: and it were a shame to leave these serious
     thoughts less piously than the heathen were wont to conclude
     their graver discourses.

     Thou, therefore, that sittest in light and glory
     unapproachable, Parent of angels and men! next, thee I
     implore, omnipotent King, Redeemer of that lost remnant whose
     nature thou didst assume, ineffable and everlasting Love! and
     thou, the third subsistence of divine infinitude, illumining
     Spirit, the joy and solace of created things! one Tripersonal
     godhead! look upon this thy poor and almost spent and expiring
     church, leave her not thus a prey to these importunate wolves,
     that wait and think long till they devour thy tender flock;
     these wild boars that have broke into thy vineyard, and left
     the print of their polluting hoofs on the souls of thy
     servants. Oh! let them not bring about their damned designs,
     that stand now at the entrance of the bottomless pit,
     expecting the watchword to open and let out those dreadful
     locusts and scorpions, to reinvolve us in that pitchy cloud of
     infernal darkness, where we shall never more see the sun of
     thy truth again, never hope for the cheerful dawn, never more
     hear the bird of morning sing. Be moved with pity at the
     afflicted state of this our shaken monarchy, that now lies
     labouring under her throes, and struggling against the grudges
     of more dreaded calamities.

     O thou, that, after the impetuous rage of five bloody
     inundations, and the succeeding sword of intestine war,
     soaking the land in her own gore, didst pity the sad and
     ceaseless revolution of our swift and thick-coming sorrows;
     when we were quite breathless, of thy free grace didst motion
     peace, and terms of covenant with us; and having first well
     nigh freed us from antichristian thraldom, didst build up this
     Britannic empire to a glorious and enviable height, with all
     her daughter-islands about her; stay us in this felicity, let
     not the obstinacy of our half-obedience and will-worship bring
     forth that viper of sedition, that for these fourscore years
     hath been breeding to eat through the entrails of our peace;
     but let her cast her abortive spawn without the danger of this
     travailing and throbbing kingdom: that we may still remember
     in our solemn thanksgivings, how for us, the northern ocean
     even to the frozen Thule was scattered with the proud
     shipwrecks of the Spanish armada, and the very maw of hell
     ransacked, and made to give up her concealed destruction, ere
     she could vent it in that horrible and damned blast.

     Oh how much more glorious will those former deliverances
     appear, when we shall know them not only to have saved us from
     greatest miseries past, but to have reserved us for greatest
     happiness to come! Hitherto thou hast but freed us, and that
     not fully, from the unjust and tyrannous claim of thy foes;
     now unite us entirely, and appropriate us to thyself, tie us
     everlastingly in willing homage to the prerogative of thy
     eternal throne.

     And now we know, O thou our most certain hope and defence,
     that thine enemies have been consulting all the sorceries of
     the great whore, and have joined their plots with that sad
     intelligencing tyrant that mischiefs the world with his mines
     of Ophir, and lies thirsting to revenge his naval ruins that
     have larded our seas: but let them all take counsel together,
     and let it come to nought; let them decree, and do thou cancel
     it; let them gather themselves, and be scattered; let them
     embattle themselves, and be broken; let them embattle, and be
     broken, for thou art with us.

     _Then, amidst the hymns and hallelujahs of saints, some one
     may perhaps be heard offering at high strains in new and lofty
     measures, to sing and celebrate thy divine mercies and
     marvellous judgments in this land throughout all ages_;
     whereby this great and warlike nation, instructed and inured
     to the fervent and continual practice of truth and
     righteousness, and casting far from her the rags of her old
     vices, may press on hard to that high and happy emulation to
     be found the soberest, wisest, and most Christian people at
     that day, when thou, the eternal and shortly-expected King,
     shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the
     world, and distributing national honours and rewards to
     religious and just commonwealths, shalt put an end to all
     earthly tyrannies, proclaiming thy universal and mild monarchy
     through heaven and earth; where they undoubtedly, that by
     their labours, counsels, and prayers, have been earnest for
     the common good of religion and their country, shall receive
     above the inferior orders of the blessed, the regal addition
     of principalities, legions, and thrones into their glorious
     titles, and in supereminence of beatific vision, progressing
     the dateless and irrevoluble circle of eternity, shall clasp
     inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in overmeasure for ever.

_From 'Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence,' etc._

     O thou the ever-begotten Light and perfect Image of the
     Father! thou hast opened our difficult and sad times, and
     given us an unexpected breathing after our long oppressions:
     thou hast done justice upon those that tyrannized over us,
     while some men wavered and admired a vain shadow of wisdom in
     a tongue nothing slow to utter guile, though thou hast taught
     us to admire only that which is good, and to count that only
     praiseworthy, which is grounded upon thy divine precepts. Thou
     hast discovered the plots, and frustrated the hopes, of all
     the wicked in the land, and put to shame the persecutors of
     thy church: thou hast made our false prophets to be found a
     lie in the sight of all the people, and chased them with
     sudden confusion and amazement before the redoubled brightness
     of thy descending cloud, that now covers thy tabernacle. Who
     is there that cannot trace thee now in thy beamy walk through
     the midst of thy sanctuary, amidst those golden candlesticks,
     which have long suffered a dimness amongst us through the
     violence of those that had seized them, and were more taken
     with the mention of their gold than of their starry light;
     teaching the doctrine of Balaam, to cast a stumbling-block
     before thy servants, commanding them to eat things sacrificed
     to idols, and forcing them to fornication? Come, therefore, O
     thou that hast the seven stars in thy right hand, appoint thy
     chosen priests according to their orders and courses of old,
     to minister before thee, and duly to press and pour out the
     consecrated oil into thy holy and ever-burning lamps. Thou has
     sent out the spirit of prayer upon thy servants over all the
     land to this effect, and stirred up their vows as the sound of
     many waters about thy throne. Every one can say, that now
     certainly thou hast visited this land, and hast not forgotten
     the utmost corners of the earth, in a time when men had
     thought that thou wast gone up from us to the furthest end of
     the heavens, and hadst left to do marvellously among the sons
     of these last ages. Oh perfect and accomplish thy glorious
     acts! for men may leave their works unfinished, but thou art a
     God, thy nature is perfection: shouldst thou bring us thus far
     onward from Egypt to destroy us in this wilderness, though we
     deserve, yet thy great name would suffer in the rejoicing of
     thine enemies, and the deluded hope of all thy servants. When
     thou hast settled peace in the church, and righteous judgment
     in the kingdom, then shall all thy saints address their
     voices of joy and triumph to thee, standing on the shore of
     that Red Sea into which our enemies had almost driven us. _And
     he that now for haste snatches up a plain ungarnished present
     as a thank-offering to thee, which could not be deferred in
     regard of thy so many late deliverances wrought for us one
     upon another, may then perhaps take up a harp, and sing thee
     an elaborate song to generations._ In that day it shall no
     more be said as in scorn, this or that was never held so till
     this present age, when men have better learnt that the times
     and seasons pass along under thy feet to go and come at thy
     bidding: and as thou didst dignify our fathers' days with many
     revelations above all the foregoing ages, since thou tookest
     the flesh; so thou canst vouchsafe to us (though unworthy) as
     large a portion of thy Spirit as thou pleasest: for who shall
     prejudice thy all-governing will? seeing the power of thy
     grace is not passed away with the primitive times, as fond and
     faithless men imagine, but thy kingdom is now at hand, and
     thou standing at the door. Come forth out of thy royal
     chambers, O Prince of all the kings of the earth! put on the
     visible robes of thy imperial majesty, take up that unlimited
     sceptre which thy Almighty Father hath bequeathed thee; for
     now the voice of thy bride calls thee, and all creatures sigh
     to be renewed.

_From 'The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty'_

     For me, I have determined 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
     available in so dear a concernment as the church's good. For
     if I be, either by disposition or what other cause, too
     inquisitive, or suspicious of myself and mine own doings, who
     can help it? But this I foresee, that should the church be
     brought under heavy oppression, and God have given me ability
     the while to reason against that man that should be the author
     of so foul a deed; or should she, by blessing from above on
     the industry and courage of faithful men, change this her
     distracted estate into better days, without the least
     furtherance or contribution of those few talents, which God at
     that present had lent me; I foresee what stories I should hear
     within myself, all my life after, of discourage and reproach.
     Timorous and ungrateful, the church of God is now again at the
     foot of her insulting enemies, and thou bewailest. What
     matters it for thee, or thy bewailing? When time was, thou
     couldst not find a syllable of all that thou hast read, or
     studied, to utter in her behalf. Yet ease and leisure was
     given thee for thy retired thoughts, out of the sweat of other
     men. Thou hast the diligence, the parts, the language of a
     man, if a vain subject were to be adorned or beautified; but
     when the cause of God and his church was to be pleaded, for
     which purpose that tongue was given thee which thou hast, God
     listened if he could hear thy voice among his zealous
     servants, but thou wert dumb as a beast; from henceforward be
     that which thine own brutish silence hath made thee. Or else I
     should have heard on the other ear: Slothful, and ever to be
     set light by, the church hath now overcome her late distresses
     after the unwearied labours of many her true servants that
     stood up in her defence; thou also wouldst take upon thee to
     share amongst them of their joy: but wherefore thou? Where
     canst thou shew any word or deed of thine which might have
     hastened her peace? Whatever thou dost now talk, or write, or
     look, is the alms of other men's active prudence and zeal.
     Dare not now to say or do anything better than thy former
     sloth and infancy; or if thou darest, thou dost impudently to
     make a thrifty purchase of boldness to thyself, out of the
     painful merits of other men; what before was thy sin is now
     thy duty, to be abject and worthless. These, and such-like
     lessons as these, I know would have been my matins duly, and
     my even-song. But now by this little diligence, mark what a
     privilege I have gained with good men and saints, to claim my
     right of lamenting the tribulations of the church, if she
     should suffer, when others, that have ventured nothing for her
     sake, have not the honour to be admitted mourners. But if she
     lift up her drooping head and prosper, among those that have
     something more than wished her welfare, I have my charter and
     freehold of rejoicing to me and my heirs. Concerning therefore
     this wayward subject against prelaty, the touching whereof is
     so distasteful and disquietous to a number of men, as by what
     hath been said I may deserve of charitable readers to be
     credited, that neither envy nor gall hath entered me upon this
     controversy, but the enforcement of conscience only, and a
     preventive fear lest the omitting of this duty should be
     against me, when I would store up to myself the good provision
     of peaceful hours: so, lest it should be still imputed to me,
     as I have found it hath been, that some self-pleasing humour
     of vain-glory hath incited me to contest with men of high
     estimation, now while green years are upon my head; from this
     needless surmisal I shall hope to dissuade the intelligent and
     equal auditor, if I can but say successfully that which in
     this exigent behoves me; although I would be heard only, if it
     might be, by the elegant and learned reader, to whom
     principally for a while I shall beg leave I may address
     myself. To him it will be no new thing, though I tell him that
     if I hunted after praise, by the ostentation of wit and
     learning, I should not write thus out of mine own season when
     I have neither yet completed to my mind the full circle of my
     private studies, although I complain not of any insufficiency
     to the matter in hand; or were I ready to my wishes, it were a
     folly to commit anything elaborately composed to the careless
     and interrupted listening of these tumultuous times. Next, if
     I were wise only to my own ends, I would certainly take such a
     subject as of itself might catch applause, whereas this hath
     all the disadvantages on the contrary, and such a subject as
     the publishing whereof might be delayed at pleasure, and time
     enough to pencil it over with all the curious touches of art,
     even to the perfection of a faultless picture; whenas in this
     argument the not deferring is of great moment to the good
     speeding, that if solidity have leisure to do her office, art
     cannot have much. Lastly, I should not choose this manner of
     writing, wherein knowing myself inferior to myself, led by the
     genial power of nature to another task, I have the use, as I
     may account, but of my left hand. And though I shall be
     foolish in saying more to this purpose, yet, since it will be
     such a folly, as wisest men go about to commit, having only
     confessed and so committed, I may trust with more reason,
     because with more folly, to have courteous pardon. For
     although a poet, soaring in the high reason of his fancies,
     with his garland and singing robes about him, might, without
     apology, speak more of himself than I mean to do; yet for me
     sitting here below in the cool element of prose, a mortal
     thing among many readers of no empyreal conceit, to venture
     and divulge unusual things of myself, I shall petition to the
     gentler sort, it may not be envy to me. I must say, therefore,
     that after I had for my first years, by the ceaseless
     diligence and care of my father, (whom God recompense!) been
     exercised to the tongues, and some sciences, as my age would
     suffer, by sundry masters and teachers, both at home and at
     the schools, it was found that whether aught was imposed me by
     them that had the overlooking, or betaken to of mine own
     choice in English, or other tongue, prosing or versing, but
     chiefly by this latter, the style, by certain vital signs it
     had, was likely to live. But much latelier in the private
     academies of Italy, whither I was favoured to resort,
     perceiving that some trifles which I had in memory, composed
     at under twenty or thereabout, (for the manner is, that every
     one must give some proof of his wit and reading there,) met
     with acceptance above what was looked for; and other things,
     which I had shifted in scarcity of books and conveniences to
     patch up amongst them, were received with written encomiums,
     which the Italian is not forward to bestow on men of this side
     the Alps; I began thus far to assent both to them and divers
     of my friends here at home, and not less to an inward
     prompting which now grew daily upon me, that by labour and
     intense study, (which I take to be my portion in this life,)
     joined with the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps
     leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not
     willingly let it die. These thoughts at once possessed me, and
     these other; that if I were certain to write as men buy
     leases, for three lives and downward, there ought no regard be
     sooner had than to God's glory, by the honour and instruction
     of my country. For which cause, and not only for that I knew
     it would be hard to arrive at the second rank among the
     Latins, I applied myself to that resolution, which Ariosto
     followed against the persuasions of Bembo, to fix all the
     industry and art I could unite to the adorning of my native
     tongue; not to make verbal curiosities the end, (that were a
     toilsome vanity,) but to be an interpreter and relater of the
     best and sagest things among mine own citizens throughout this
     island in the mother dialect. That what the greatest and
     choicest wits of Athens, Rome, or modern Italy, and those
     Hebrews of old did for their country, I, in my proportion,
     with this over and above, of being a Christian, might do for
     mine; not caring to be once named abroad, though perhaps I
     could attain to that, but content with these British islands
     as my world; whose fortune hath hitherto been, that if the
     Athenians, as some say, made their small deeds great and
     renowned by their eloquent writers, England hath had her
     noble achievements made small by the unskilful handling of
     monks and mechanics.

     Time serves not now, and perhaps I might seem too profuse to
     give any certain account of what the mind at home, in the
     spacious circuits of her musing, hath liberty to propose to
     herself, though of highest hope and hardest attempting;
     whether that epic form whereof the two poems of Homer, and
     those other two of Virgil and Tasso, are a diffuse, and the
     book of Job a brief model: or whether the rules of Aristotle
     herein are strictly to be kept, or nature to be followed,
     which in them that know art, and use judgment, is no
     transgression, but an enriching of art: and lastly, what king
     or knight, before the conquest, might be chosen in whom to lay
     the pattern of a Christian hero. And as Tasso gave to a prince
     of Italy his choice whether he would command him to write of
     Godfrey's expedition against the Infidels, or Belisarius
     against the Goths, or Charlemagne against the Lombards; if to
     the instinct of nature and the emboldening of art aught may be
     trusted, and that there be nothing adverse in our climate, or
     the fate of this age, it haply would be no rashness, from an
     equal diligence and inclination, to present the like offer in
     our own ancient stories; or whether those dramatic
     constitutions, wherein Sophocles and Euripides reign, shall be
     found more doctrinal and exemplary to a nation. The Scripture
     also affords us a divine pastoral drama in the Song of
     Solomon, consisting of two persons, and a double chorus, as
     Origen rightly judges. And the Apocalypse of St. John is the
     majestic image of a high and stately tragedy, shutting up and
     intermingling her solemn scenes and acts with a sevenfold
     chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies: and this my
     opinion the grave authority of Pareus, commenting that book,
     is sufficient to confirm. Or if occasion shall lead, to
     imitate those magnific odes and hymns, wherein Pindarus and
     Callimachus are in most things worthy, some others in their
     frame judicious, in their matter most an end faulty. But those
     frequent songs throughout the law and prophets beyond all
     these, not in their divine argument alone, but in the very
     critical art of composition, may be easily made appear over
     all the kinds of lyric poesy to be incomparable. These
     abilities, wheresoever they be found, are the inspired gift of
     God, rarely bestowed, but yet to some (though most abuse) in
     every nation; and are of power, beside the office of a pulpit,
     to imbreed and cherish in a great people the seeds of virtue
     and public civility, to allay the perturbations of the mind,
     and set the affections in right tune; to celebrate in glorious
     and lofty hymns the throne and equipage of God's almightiness,
     and what he works, and what he suffers to be wrought with high
     providence in his church; to sing victorious agonies of
     martyrs and saints, the deeds and triumphs of just and pious
     nations, doing valiantly through faith against the enemies of
     Christ; to deplore the general relapses of kingdoms and states
     from justice and God's true worship. Lastly, whatsoever in
     religion is holy and sublime, in virtue amiable or grave,
     whatsoever hath passion or admiration in all the changes of
     that which is called fortune from without, or the wily
     subtleties and refluxes of man's thoughts from within; all
     these things with a solid and treatable smoothness to paint
     out and describe. Teaching over the whole book of sanctity and
     virtue, through all the instances of example, with such
     delight to those especially of soft and delicious temper, who
     will not so much as look upon truth herself, unless they see
     her elegantly dressed; that whereas the paths of honesty and
     good life appear now rugged and difficult, though they be
     indeed easy and pleasant, they will then appear to all men
     both easy and pleasant, though they were rugged and difficult
     indeed. And what a benefit this would be to our youth and
     gentry, may be soon guessed by what we know of the corruption
     and bane which they suck in daily from the writings and
     interludes of libidinous and ignorant poetasters, who having
     scarce ever heard of that which is the main consistence of a
     true poem, the choice of such persons as they ought to
     introduce, and what is moral and decent to each one; do for
     the most part lay up vicious principles in sweet pills to be
     swallowed down, and make the taste of virtuous documents harsh
     and sour. But because the spirit of man cannot demean itself
     lively in this body, without some recreating intermission of
     labour and serious things, it were happy for the commonwealth,
     if our magistrates, as in those famous governments of old,
     would take into their care, not only the deciding of our
     contentious law-cases and brawls, but the managing of our
     public sports and festival pastimes; that they might be, not
     such as were authorized a while since, the provocations of
     drunkenness and lust, but such as may inure and harden our
     bodies by martial exercises to all warlike skill and
     performance; and may civilize, adorn, and make discreet our
     minds by the learned and affable meeting of frequent
     academies, and the procurement of wise and artful recitations,
     sweetened with eloquent and graceful enticements to the love
     and practice of justice, temperance, and fortitude,
     instructing and bettering the nation at all opportunities,
     that the call of wisdom and virtue may be heard everywhere, as
     Solomon saith: 'She crieth without, she uttereth her voice in
     the streets, in the top of high places, in the chief
     concourse, and in the openings of the gates.' Whether this may
     not be, not only in pulpits, but after another persuasive
     method, at set and solemn paneguries, in theatres, porches, or
     what other place or way may win most upon the people to
     receive at once both recreation and instruction, let them in
     authority consult. The thing which I had to say and those
     intentions which have lived within me ever since I could
     conceive myself anything worth to my country, I return to
     crave excuse that urgent reason hath plucked from me, by an
     abortive and foredated discovery. And the accomplishment of
     them lies not but in a power above man's to promise; but that
     none hath by more studious ways endeavoured, and with more
     unwearied spirit that none shall, that I dare almost aver of
     myself, as far as life and free leisure will extend; and that
     the land had once enfranchised herself from this impertinent
     yoke of prelaty, under whose inquisitorious and tyrannical
     duncery, no free and splendid wit can flourish. Neither do I
     think it shame to covenant with any knowing reader, that for
     some years yet I may go on trust with him toward the payment
     of what I am now indebted, as being a work not to be raised
     from the heat of youth, or the vapours of wine; like that
     which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar amourist, or
     the trencher fury of a rhyming parasite; nor to be obtained by
     the invocation of dame Memory and her Siren daughters, but by
     devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all
     utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim, with the
     hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of
     whom he pleases: to this must be added industrious and select
     reading, steady observation, insight into all seemly and
     generous arts and affairs; till which in some measure be
     compassed, at mine own peril and cost, I refuse not to sustain
     this expectation from as many as are not loth to hazard so
     much credulity upon the best pledges that I can give them.
     Although it nothing content me to have disclosed thus much
     beforehand, but that I trust hereby to make it manifest with
     what small willingness I endure to interrupt the pursuit of no
     less hopes than these, and leave a calm and pleasing
     solitariness, fed with cheerful and confident thoughts, to
     embark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse disputes, put
     from beholding the bright countenance of truth in the quiet
     and still air of delightful studies, to come into the dim
     reflection of hollow antiquities sold by the seeming bulk, and
     there be fain to club quotations with men whose learning and
     belief lies in marginal stuffings, who, when they have, like
     good sumpters, laid ye down their horse-loads of citations and
     fathers at your door, with a rhapsody of who and who were
     bishops here or there, ye may take off their packsaddles,
     their day's work is done, and episcopacy, as they think,
     stoutly vindicated. Let any gentle apprehension, that can
     distinguish learned pains from unlearned drudgery imagine what
     pleasure or profoundness can be in this, or what honour to
     deal against such adversaries. But were it the meanest
     under-service, if God by his secretary conscience enjoin it,
     it were sad for me if I should draw back; for me especially,
     now when all men offer their aid to help, ease, and lighten
     the difficult labours of the church, to whose service, by the
     intentions of my parents and friends, I was destined of a
     child, and in mine own resolutions: till coming to some
     maturity of years, and perceiving what tyranny had invaded the
     church, that he who would take orders must subscribe slave,
     and take an oath withal, which, unless he took with a
     conscience that would retch, he must either straight perjure,
     or split his faith; I thought it better to prefer a blameless
     silence before the sacred office of speaking, bought and begun
     with servitude and forswearing. Howsoever, thus church-outed
     by the prelates, hence may appear the right I have to meddle
     in these matters, as before the necessity and constraint

_From 'Apology for Smectymnuus'_

     If, readers, to that same great difficulty of well-doing what
     we certainly know, were not added in most men as great a
     carelessness of knowing what they and others ought to do, we
     had been long ere this, no doubt but all of us, much further
     on our way to some degree of peace and happiness in this
     kingdom. But since our sinful neglect of practising that which
     we know to be undoubtedly true and good, hath brought forth
     among us, through God's just anger, so great a difficulty now
     to know that which otherwise might be soon learnt, and hath
     divided us by a controversy of great importance indeed, but of
     no hard solution, which is the more our punishment; I resolved
     (of what small moment soever I might be thought) to stand on
     that side where I saw both the plain authority of scripture
     leading, and the reason of justice and equity persuading; with
     this opinion, which esteems it more unlike a Christian to be a
     cold neuter in the cause of the church, than the law of Solon
     made it punishable after a sedition in the state.

     And because I observe that fear and dull disposition,
     lukewarmness and sloth, are not seldomer wont to cloak
     themselves under the affected name of moderation, than true
     and lively zeal is customably disparaged with the term of
     indiscretion, bitterness, and choler; I could not to my
     thinking honour a good cause more from the heart, than by
     defending it earnestly, as oft as I could judge it to behove
     me, notwithstanding any false name that could be invented to
     wrong or undervalue an honest meaning. Wherein although I have
     not doubted to single forth more than once such of them as
     were thought the chief and most nominated opposers on the
     other side, whom no man else undertook; if I have done well
     either to be confident of the truth, whose force is best seen
     against the ablest resistance, or to be jealous and tender of
     the hurt that might be done among the weaker by the entrapping
     authority of great names titled to false opinions; or that it
     be lawful to attribute somewhat to gifts of God's imparting,
     which I boast not, but thankfully acknowledge, and fear also
     lest at my certain account they be reckoned to me rather many
     than few; or if lastly it be but justice not to defraud of due
     esteem the wearisome labours and studious watchings, wherein I
     have spent and tired out almost a whole youth, I shall not
     distrust to be acquitted of presumption: knowing, that if
     heretofore all ages have received with favour and good
     acceptance the early industry of him that hath been hopeful,
     it were but hard measure now if the freedom of any timely
     spirit should be oppressed merely by the big and blunted fame
     of his elder adversary; and that his sufficiency must be now
     sentenced, not by pondering the reason he shews, but by
     calculating the years he brings.

     However, as my purpose is not, nor hath been formerly, to look
     on my adversary abroad, through the deceiving glass of other
     men's great opinion of him, but at home, where I may find him
     in the proper light of his own worth, so now against the
     rancour of an evil tongue, from which I never thought so
     absurdly, as that I of all men should be exempt, I must be
     forced to proceed from the unfeigned and diligent inquiry of
     my own conscience at home, (for better way I know not,
     readers,) to give a more true account of myself abroad than
     this modest confuter, as he calls himself, hath given of me.
     Albeit, that in doing this I shall be sensible of two things
     which to me will be nothing pleasant; the one is, that not
     unlikely I shall be thought too much a party in mine own
     cause, and therein to see least: the other, that I shall be
     put unwillingly to molest the public view with the vindication
     of a private name; as if it were worth the while that the
     people should care whether such a one were thus, or thus. Yet
     those I entreat who have found the leisure to read that name,
     however of small repute, unworthily defamed, would be so good
     and so patient as to hear the same person not unneedfully

     I will not deny but that the best apology against false
     accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set
     against dishonest words. And that I could at this time most
     easily and securely, with the least loss of reputation, use no
     other defence, I need not despair to win belief; whether I
     consider both the foolish contriving and ridiculous aiming of
     these his slanderous bolts, shot so wide of any suspicion to
     be fastened on me, that I have oft with inward contentment
     perceived my friends congratulating themselves in my
     innocence, and my enemies ashamed of their partner's folly: or
     whether I look at these present times, wherein most men, now
     scarce permitted the liberty to think over their own
     concernments, have removed the seat of their thoughts more
     outward to the expectation of public events: or whether the
     examples of men, either noble or religious, who have sat down
     lately with a meek silence and sufferance under many libellous
     endorsements, may be a rule to others, I might well appease
     myself to put up any reproaches in such an honourable society
     of fellow-sufferers, using no other defence.

     And were it that slander would be content to make an end where
     it first fixes, and not seek to cast out the like infamy upon
     each thing that hath but any relation to the person traduced,
     I should have pleaded against this confuter by no other
     advocates than those which I first commended, silence and
     sufferance, and speaking deeds against faltering words. But
     when I discerned his intent was not so much to smite at me, as
     through me to render odious the truth which I had written, and
     to stain with ignominy that evangelic doctrine which opposes
     the tradition of prelacy, I conceived myself to be now not as
     mine own person, but as a member incorporate into that truth
     whereof I was persuaded, and whereof I had declared openly to
     be a partaker. Whereupon I thought it my duty, if not to
     myself, yet to the religious cause I had in hand, not to leave
     on my garment the least spot or blemish in good name, so long
     as God should give me to say that which might wipe it off;
     lest those disgraces which I ought to suffer, if it so befall
     me, for my religion, through my default religion be made
     liable to suffer for me. And, whether it might not something
     reflect upon those reverent men, whose friend I may be thought
     in writing the Animadversions, was not my last care to
     consider: if I should rest under these reproaches, having the
     same common adversary with them, it might be counted small
     credit for their cause to have found such an assistant, as
     this babbler hath devised me. What other thing in his book
     there is of dispute or question, in answering thereto I doubt
     not to be justified; except there be who will condemn me to
     have wasted time in throwing down that which could not keep
     itself up. As for others, who notwithstanding what I can
     allege have yet decreed to misinterpret the intents of my
     reply, I suppose they would have found as many causes to have
     misconceived the reasons of my silence.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Thus having spent his first onset, not in confuting, but in a
     reasonless defaming of the book, the method of his malice
     hurries him to attempt the like against the author; not by
     proofs and testimonies, but 'having no certain notice of me,'
     as he professes, 'further than what he gathers from the
     Animadversions,' blunders at me for the rest, and flings out
     stray crimes at a venture, which he could never, though he be
     a serpent, suck from anything that I have written, but from
     his own stuffed magazine and hoard of slanderous inventions,
     over and above that which he converted to venom in the
     drawing. To me, readers, it happens as a singular contentment;
     and let it be to good men no light satisfaction, that the
     slanderer here confesses he has 'no further notice of me than
     his own conjecture.' Although it had been honest to have
     inquired, before he uttered such infamous words, and I am
     credibly informed he did inquire; but finding small comfort
     from the intelligence which he received, whereon to ground the
     falsities which he had provided, thought it his likeliest
     course, under a pretended ignorance, to let drive at random,
     lest he should lose his odd ends, which from some penurious
     book of characters he had been culling out and would fain
     apply. Not caring to burden me with those vices, whereof,
     among whom my conversation hath been, I have been ever least
     suspected; perhaps not without some subtlety to cast me into
     envy, by bringing on me a necessity to enter into mine own
     praises. In which argument I know every wise man is more
     unwillingly drawn to speak, than the most repining ear can be
     averse to hear.

     Nevertheless, since I dare not wish to pass this life
     unpersecuted of slanderous tongues, for God hath told us that
     to be generally praised is woeful, I shall rely on his promise
     to free the innocent from causeless aspersions: whereof
     nothing sooner can assure me, than if I shall feel him now
     assisting me in the just vindication of myself, which yet I
     could defer, it being more meet, that to those other matters
     of public debatement in this book I should give attendance
     first, but that I fear it would but harm the truth for me to
     reason in her behalf, so long as I should suffer my honest
     estimation to lie unpurged from these insolent suspicions. And
     if I shall be large, or unwonted in justifying myself to those
     who know me not, for else it would be needless, let them
     consider that a short slander will ofttimes reach further than
     a long apology; and that he who will do justly to all men,
     must begin from knowing how, if it so happen, to be not unjust
     to himself. I must be thought, if this libeller (for now he
     shows himself to be so) can find belief, after an inordinate
     and riotous youth spent at the university, to have been at
     length 'vomited out thence.' For which commodious lie, that he
     may be encouraged in the trade another time, I thank him; for
     it hath given me an apt occasion to acknowledge publicly with
     all grateful mind, that more than ordinary favour and respect,
     which I found above any of my equals at the hands of those
     courteous and learned men, the fellows of that college wherein
     I spent some years: who, at my parting, after I had taken two
     degrees, as the manner is, signified many ways how much better
     it would content them that I would stay; as by many letters
     full of kindness and loving respect, both before that time,
     and long after, I was assured of their singular good affection
     towards me. Which being likewise propense to all such as were
     for their studious and civil life worthy of esteem, I could
     not wrong their judgments and upright intentions, so much as
     to think I had that regard from them for other cause, than
     that I might be still encouraged to proceed in the honest and
     laudable courses, of which they apprehended I had given good
     proof. And to those ingenuous and friendly men, who were ever
     the countenancers of virtuous and hopeful wits, I wish the
     best and happiest thing that friends in absence wish one to

     As for the common approbation or dislike of that place, as now
     it is, that I should esteem or disesteem myself, or any other
     the more for that, too simple and too credulous is the
     confuter, if he think to obtain with me, or any right
     discerner. Of small practice were that physician, who could
     not judge by what both she and her sister hath of long time
     vomited, that the worser stuff she strongly keeps in her
     stomach, but the better she is ever kecking at, and is queasy.
     She vomits now out of sickness; but ere it will be well with
     her, she must vomit by strong physic. In the meantime, that
     suburb sink, as this rude scavenger calls it, and more than
     scurrilously taunts it with the plague, having a worse plague
     in his middle entrail, that suburb wherein I dwell shall be in
     my account a more honourable place than his university. Which
     as in the time of her better health, and mine own younger
     judgment, I never greatly admired, so now much less. But he
     follows me to the city, still usurping and forging beyond his
     book notice, which only _he_ affirms to have had; 'and where
     my morning haunts are, he wisses not.' It is wonder that,
     being so rare an alchymist of slander, he could not extract
     that, as well as the university vomit, and the suburb sink
     which his art could distil so cunningly; but because his
     lembec fails him, to give him and envy the more vexation, I
     will tell him.

     Those morning haunts are where they should be, at home; not
     sleeping, or concocting the surfeits of an irregular feast,
     but up and stirring, in winter often ere the sound of any bell
     awake men to labour or to devotion; in summer as oft with the
     bird that first rouses, or not much tardier, to read good
     authors, or cause them to be read, till the attention be
     weary, or memory have its full fraught: then, with useful and
     generous labours preserving the body's health and hardiness to
     render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedience to the
     mind, to the cause of religion, and our country's liberty,
     when it shall require firm hearts in sound bodies to stand and
     cover their stations, rather than to see the ruin of our
     protestation, and the inforcement of a slavish life.

     These are the morning practices: proceed now to the afternoon;
     'in playhouses,' he says, 'and the bordelloes.' Your
     intelligence, unfaithful spy of Canaan? He gives in his
     evidence, that 'there he hath traced me.' Take him at his
     word, readers; but let him bring good sureties ere ye dismiss
     him, that while he pretended to dog others, he did not turn in
     for his own pleasure: for so much in effect he concludes
     against himself, not contented to be caught in every other
     gin, but he must be such a novice as to be still hampered in
     his own hemp. In the Animadversions, saith he, I find the
     mention of old cloaks, false beards, night-walkers, and salt
     lotion; therefore, the animadverter haunts playhouses and
     bordelloes; for if he did not, how could he speak of such
     gear? Now that he may know what it is to be a child, and yet
     to meddle with edged tools, I turn his antistrophon upon his
     own head; the confuter knows that these things are the
     furniture of playhouses and bordelloes, therefore, by the same
     reason, 'the confuter himself hath been traced in those
     places.' Was it such a dissolute speech, telling of some
     politicians who were wont to eavesdrop in disguises, to say
     they were often liable to a night-walking cudgeller, or the
     emptying of a urinal? What if I had writ, as your friend the
     author of the aforesaid mime, 'Mundus alter et idem,' to have
     been ravished like some young Cephalus or Hylas, by a troop of
     camping housewives in Viraginea, and that he was there forced
     to swear himself an uxorious varlet; then after a long
     servitude to have come into Aphrodisia, that pleasant country,
     that gave such a sweet smell to his nostrils among the
     shameless courtezans of Desvergonia? Surely he would have then
     concluded me as constant at the bordello, as the galley-slave
     at his oar.

     But since there is such necessity to the hearsay of a tire, a
     periwig, or a vizard, that plays must have been seen, what
     difficulty was there in that? when in the colleges so many of
     the young divines, and those in next aptitude to divinity,
     have been seen so often upon the stage, writhing and unboning
     their clergy limbs to all the antic and dishonest gestures of
     Trinculoes, buffoons, and bawds; prostituting the shame of
     that ministry, which either they had, or were nigh having, to
     the eyes of courtiers and court ladies, with their grooms and
     mademoiselles. There, while they acted and overacted, among
     other young scholars, I was a spectator; they thought
     themselves gallant men, and I thought them fools; they made
     sport, and I laughed; they mispronounced, and I misliked; and,
     to make up the Atticism, they were out, and I hissed. Judge
     now whether so many good textmen were not sufficient to
     instruct me of false beards and vizards, without more
     expositors; and how can this confuter take the face to object
     to me the seeing of that which his reverend prelates allow,
     and incite their young disciples to act? For if it be unlawful
     to sit and behold a mercenary comedian personating that which
     is least unseemly for a hireling to do, how much more blameful
     is it to endure the sight of as vile things acted by persons
     either entered, or presently to enter, into the ministry; and
     how much more foul and ignominious for them to be the actors!

     But because as well by this upbraiding to me the bordelloes,
     as by other suspicious glancings in his book, he would seem
     privily to point me out to his readers, as one whose custom of
     life were not honest, but licentious, I shall entreat to be
     borne with, though I digress; and in a way not often trod,
     acquaint ye with the sum of my thoughts in this matter,
     through the course of my years and studies: although I am not
     ignorant how hazardous it will be to do this under the nose of
     the envious, as it were in skirmish to change the compact
     order, and instead of outward actions, to bring inmost
     thoughts into front. And I must tell ye, readers, that by this
     sort of men I have been already bitten at; yet shall they not
     for me know how slightly they are esteemed, unless they have
     so much learning as to read what in Greek ἀπειροκαλία is,
     which, together with envy, is the common disease of those
     who censure books that are not for their reading. With me it
     fares now, as with him whose outward garment hath been injured
     and ill-bedighted; for having no other shift, what help but to
     turn the inside outwards, especially if the lining be of the
     same, or, as it is sometimes, much better? So if my name and
     outward demeanour be not evident enough to defend me, I must
     make trial if the discovery of my inmost thoughts can: wherein
     of two purposes, both honest and both sincere, the one
     perhaps I shall not miss; although I fail to gain belief with
     others, of being such as my perpetual thoughts shall here
     disclose me, I may yet not fail of success in persuading some
     to be such really themselves, as they cannot believe me to be
     more than what I feign.

     I had my time, readers, as others have, who have good learning
     bestowed upon them, to be sent to those places where, the
     opinion was, it might be soonest attained; and as the manner
     is, was not unstudied in those authors which are most
     commended. Whereof some were grave orators and historians,
     whose matter methought I loved indeed, but as my age then was,
     so I understood them; others were the smooth elegiac poets,
     whereof the schools are not scarce, whom both for the pleasing
     sound of their numerous writing, which in imitation I found
     most easy, and most agreeable to nature's part in me, and for
     their matter, which what it is, there be few who know not, I
     was so allured to read, that no recreation came to me better
     welcome. For that it was then those years with me which are
     excused, though they be least severe, I may be saved the
     labour to remember ye. Whence having observed them to account
     it the chief glory of their wit, in that they were ablest to
     judge, to praise, and by that could esteem themselves
     worthiest to love those high perfections, which under one or
     other name they took to celebrate; I thought with myself by
     every instinct and presage of nature, which is not wont to be
     false, that what emboldened them to this task, might with such
     diligence as they used embolden me; and that what judgment,
     wit, or elegance was my share, would herein best appear, and
     best value itself, by how much more wisely, and with more love
     of virtue I should choose (let rude ears be absent) the object
     of not unlike praises. For albeit these thoughts to some will
     seem virtuous and commendable, to others only pardonable, to a
     third sort perhaps idle; yet the mentioning of them now will
     end in serious.

     Nor blame it, readers, in those years to propose to themselves
     such a reward, as the noblest dispositions above other things
     in this life have sometimes preferred: whereof not to be
     sensible when good and fair in one person meet, argues both a
     gross and shallow judgment, and withal an ungentle and
     swainish breast. For by the firm settling of these
     persuasions, I became, to my best memory, so much a
     proficient, that if I found those authors anywhere speaking
     unworthy things of themselves, or unchaste of those names
     which before they had extolled; this effect it wrought with
     me, from that time forward their art I still applauded, but
     the men I deplored; and above them all, preferred the two
     famous renowners of Beatrice and Laura, who never write but
     honour of them to whom they devote their verse, displaying
     sublime and pure thoughts, without transgression. And long it
     was not after, when I was confirmed in this opinion, _that he
     who would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter
     in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem; that is,
     a composition and pattern of the best and honourablest things;
     not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men, or famous
     cities, unless he have in himself the experience and the
     practice of all that which is praiseworthy_. These reasonings,
     together with a certain niceness of nature, an honest
     haughtiness, and self-esteem either of what I was, or what I
     might be, (which let envy call pride,) and lastly that
     modesty, whereof, though not in the title-page, yet here I may
     be excused to make some beseeming profession; all these
     uniting the supply of their natural aid together, kept me
     still above those low descents of mind, beneath which he must
     deject and plunge himself, that can agree to saleable and
     unlawful prostitutions.

     Next, (for hear me out now, readers,) that I may tell ye
     whither my younger feet wandered; I betook me among those
     lofty fables and romances, which recount in solemn cantos the
     deeds of knighthood founded by our victorious kings, and from
     hence had in renown over all Christendom. There I read it in
     the oath of every knight, that he should defend to the expense
     of his best blood, or of his life, if it so befell him, the
     honour and chastity of virgin or matron; from whence even then
     I learned what a noble virtue chastity sure must be, to the
     defence of which so many worthies, by such a dear adventure of
     themselves, had sworn. And if I found in the story afterward,
     any of them, by word or deed, breaking that oath, I judged it
     the same fault of the poet, as that which is attributed to
     Homer, to have written indecent things of the gods. Only this
     my mind gave me, that every free and gentle spirit, without
     that oath, ought to be born a knight, nor needed to expect the
     guilt spur, or the laying of a sword upon his shoulder to stir
     him up both by his counsel and his arms, to secure and protect
     the weakness of any attempted chastity. So that even these
     books, which to many others have been the fuel of wantonness
     and loose living, I cannot think how, unless by divine
     indulgence, proved to me so many incitements, as you have
     heard, to the love and steadfast observation of that virtue
     which abhors the society of bordelloes.

     Thus, from the laureat fraternity of poets, riper years and
     the ceaseless round of study and reading led me to the shady
     spaces of philosophy; but chiefly to the divine volumes of
     Plato, and his equal Xenophon: where, if I should tell ye what
     I learnt of chastity and love, I mean that which is truly so,
     whose charming cup is only virtue, which she bears in her hand
     to those who are worthy; (the rest are cheated with a thick
     intoxicating potion, which a certain sorceress, the abuser of
     love's name, carries about;) and how the first and chiefest
     office of love begins and ends in the soul, producing those
     happy twins of her divine generation, knowledge and virtue.
     With such abstracted sublimities as these, it might be worth
     your listening, readers, as I may one day hope to have ye in a
     still time, when there shall be no chiding; not in these
     noises, the adversary, as ye know, barking at the door, or
     searching for me at the bordelloes, where it may be he has
     lost himself, and raps up without pity the sage and rheumatic
     old prelatess with all her young Corinthian laity, to inquire
     for such a one.

     Last of all, not in time, but as perfection is last, that care
     was ever had of me, with my earliest capacity, not to be
     negligently trained in the precepts of the Christian religion:
     this that I have hitherto related, hath been to show, that
     though Christianity had been but slightly taught me, yet a
     certain reservedness of natural disposition, and moral
     discipline, learnt out of the noblest philosophy, was enough
     to keep me in disdain of far less incontinences than this of
     the bordello. But having had the doctrine of holy scripture
     unfolding those chaste and high mysteries, with timeliest care
     infused, that 'the body is for the Lord, and the Lord for the
     body;' thus also I argued to myself, that if unchastity in a
     woman, whom St. Paul terms the glory of man, be such a scandal
     and dishonour, then certainly in a man, who is both the image
     and glory of God, it must, though commonly not so thought, be
     much more deflouring and dishonourable; in that he sins both
     against his own body, which is the perfecter sex, and his own
     glory, which is in the woman; and, that which is worst,
     against the image and glory of God, which is in himself. Nor
     did I slumber over that place expressing such high rewards of
     ever accompanying the Lamb with those celestial songs to
     others inapprehensible, but not to those who were not defiled
     with women, which doubtless means fornication; for marriage
     must not be called a defilement.

     Thus large I have purposely been, that if I have been justly
     taxed with this crime, it may come upon me, after all this my
     confession, with a tenfold shame: but if I have hitherto
     deserved no such opprobious word, or suspicion, I may hereby
     engage myself now openly to the faithful observation of what I
     have professed.

            *       *       *       *       *

     I had said, that because the Remonstrant was so much offended
     with those who were tart against the prelates, sure he loved
     toothless satires, which I took were as improper as a toothed
     sleekstone. This champion from behind the arras cries out,
     that those toothless satires were of the Remonstrant's making;
     and arms himself here tooth and nail, and horn, to boot, to
     supply the want of teeth, or rather of gums in the satires;
     and for an onset tells me, that the simile of a sleekstone
     'shows I can be as bold with a prelate as familiar with a
     laundress.' But does it not argue rather the lascivious
     promptness of his own fancy, who, from the harmless mention of
     a sleekstone, could neigh out the remembrance of his old
     conversation among the viragian trollops? For me, if he move
     me, I shall claim his own oath, the oath _ex officio_, against
     any priest or prelate in the kingdom, to have ever as much
     hated such pranks as the best and chastest of them all. That
     exception which I made against toothless satires, the confuter
     hopes I had from the satirist, but is far deceived: neither
     have I ever read the hobbling distich which he means.

     For this good hap I had from a careful education, to be inured
     and seasoned betimes with the best and elegantest authors of
     the learned tongues, and thereto brought an ear that could
     measure a just cadence, and scan without articulating: rather
     nice and humorous in what was tolerable, than patient to read
     every drawling versifier. Whence lighting upon this title of
     'toothless satires,' I will not conceal ye what I thought,
     readers, that sure this must be some sucking satyr, who might
     have done better to have used his coral, and made an end of
     teething, ere he took upon him to wield a satire's whip. But
     when I heard him talk of 'scouring the rusty swords of elvish
     knights,' do not blame me if I changed my thought, and
     concluded him some desperate cutler.

            *       *       *       *       *

     But now, readers, we have the port within sight; his last
     section, which is no deep one, remains only to be forded, and
     then the wished shore. And here first it pleases him much,
     that he had descried me, as he conceives, to be unread in the
     councils. Concerning which matter it will not be unnecessary
     to shape him this answer: that some years I had spent in the
     stories of those Greek and Roman exploits, wherein I found
     many things both nobly done, and worthily spoken: when, coming
     in the method of time to that age wherein the church had
     obtained a Christian emperor, I so prepared myself, as being
     now to read examples of wisdom and goodness among those who
     were foremost in the church, not elsewhere to be paralleled;
     but to the amazement of what I expected I found it all quite
     contrary: excepting in some very few, nothing but ambition,
     corruption, contention, combustion; insomuch that I could not
     but love the historian, Socrates, who, in the proem to his
     fifth book professes, 'he was fain to intermix affairs of
     state; for that it would be else an extreme annoyance to hear,
     in a continued discourse, the endless brabbles and
     counterplottings of the bishops.'

     Finding, therefore, the most of their actions in single to be
     weak, and yet turbulent, full of strife and yet flat of
     spirit; and the sum of their best council there collected, to
     be most commonly in questions either trivial or vain, or else
     of short and easy decision, without that great bustle which
     they made; I concluded that if their single ambition and
     ignorance was such, then certainly united in a council it
     would be much more; and if the compendious recital of what
     they there did was so tedious and unprofitable, then surely to
     set out the whole extent of their tattle in a dozen volumes
     would be a loss of time irrecoverable. Besides that which I
     had read of St. Martin, who for his last sixteen years could
     never be persuaded to be at any council of the bishops. And
     Gregory Nazianzen betook him to the same resolution, affirming
     to Procopius, 'that of any council or meeting of bishops he
     never saw good end; nor any remedy thereby of evil in the
     church, but rather an increase. For,' saith he, 'their
     contentions and desire of lording no tongue is able to

     I have not, therefore, I confess, read more of the councils,
     save here and there; I should be sorry to have been such a
     prodigal of my time; but, that which is better, I can assure
     this confuter, I have read into them all. And if I want
     anything yet I shall reply something toward that which in the
     defence of Murena was answered by Cicero to Sulpitius the
     lawyer. 'If ye provoke me (for at no hand else will I
     undertake such a frivolous labour) I will in three months be
     an expert councilist.' For, be not deceived, readers, by men
     that would overawe your ears with big names and huge tomes
     that contradict and repeal one another, because they can cram
     a margin with citations. Do but winnow their chaff from their
     wheat, ye shall see their great heap shrink and wax thin, past

            *       *       *       *       *

     But this which comes next in view, I know not what good vein
     or humour took him when he let drop into his paper; I that
     was erewhile the ignorant, the loiterer, on the sudden by his
     permission am now granted 'to know something.' And that 'such
     a volley of expressions' he hath met withal, 'as he would
     never desire to have them better clothed.' For me, readers,
     although I cannot say that I am utterly untrained in those
     rules which best rhetoricians have given, or unacquainted with
     those examples which the prime authors of eloquence have
     written in any learned tongue; yet true eloquence I find to be
     none, but the serious and hearty love of truth: and that whose
     mind soever is fully possessed with a fervent desire to know
     good things, and with the dearest charity to infuse the
     knowledge of them into others, when such a man would speak,
     his words, (by what I can express,) like so many nimble and
     airy servitors, trip about him at command, and in well-ordered
     files, as he would wish, fall aptly into their own places.

_To Carlo Dati, Nobleman of Florence._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. X.)

     When I came upon that passage where you write that you had
     sent me three letters before, which I now know to have been
     lost, then, in the first place, that sincere gladness of mine
     at the receipt of this one began to be infected and troubled
     with a sad regret, and presently a something heavier creeps in
     upon me, to which I am accustomed in very frequent grievings
     over my own lot: the sense, namely, that those whom the mere
     necessity of neighbourhood, or something else of a useless
     kind, has closely conjoined with me, whether by accident or by
     the tie of law (sive casu, sive lege, conglutinavit), they are
     the persons, though in no other respect commendable, who sit
     daily in my company, weary me, nay, by heaven, all but plague
     me to death whenever they are jointly in the humour for it,
     whereas those whom habits, disposition, studies, had so
     handsomely made my friends, are now almost all denied me
     either by death or by most unjust separation of place, and are
     so for the most part snatched from my sight that I have to
     live well nigh in a perpetual solitude. As to what you say
     that from the time of my departure from Florence you have been
     anxious about my health and always mindful of me, I truly
     congratulate myself that a feeling has been equal and mutual
     in both of us, the existence of which on my side only I was
     perhaps claiming to my credit. Very sad to me also, I will not
     conceal from you, was that departure, and it planted stings in
     my heart which now rankle there deeper, as often as I think
     with myself of my reluctant parting, my separation as by a
     wrench, from so many companions at once, such good friends as
     they were, and living so pleasantly with each other in one
     city, far off indeed, but to me most dear. I call to witness
     that tomb of Damon, ever to be sacred and solemn to me, whose
     adornment with every tribute of grief was my weary task, till
     I betook myself at length to what comforts I could, and
     desired again to breathe a little—I call that sacred grave to
     witness that I have had no greater delight all this while than
     in recalling to my mind the most pleasant memory of all of
     you, and of yourself especially. This you must have read for
     yourself long ere now, if that poem reached you, as now first
     I hear from you it did. I had carefully caused it to be sent,
     in order that, however small a proof of talent, it might, even
     in those few lines introduced into it emblem-wise, be no
     obscure proof of my love towards you. My idea was that by this
     means I should lure either yourself or some of the others to
     write to me; for, if I wrote first, either I had to write to
     all, or I feared that, if I gave the preference to any one, I
     should incur the reproach of such others as came to know it,
     hoping as I do that very many are yet there alive who might
     certainly have a claim to this attention from me. Now,
     however, you first of all, both by this most friendly call of
     your letter, and by your thrice repeated attention of writing
     before, have freed the reply for which I have been somewhile
     since in your debt from any expostulation from the others.
     There was, I confess, an additional cause for my silence in
     that most turbulent state of our Britain, subsequent to my
     return home, which obliged me to divert my mind shortly
     afterwards from the prosecution of my studies to the defence
     anyhow of life and fortune. What safe retirement for literary
     leisure could you suppose given one among so many battles of a
     civil war, slaughters, flights, seizures of goods? Yet, even
     in the midst of these evils, since you desire to be informed
     about my studies, know that we have published not a few things
     in our native tongue; which, were they not written in English,
     I would willingly send to you, my friends in Florence, to
     whose opinions, I attach very much value. The part of the
     Poems which is in Latin I will send shortly, since you wish
     it; and I would have done so spontaneously long ago, but that,
     on account of the rather harsh sayings against the Pope of
     Rome in some of the pages, I had a suspicion they would not be
     quite agreeable to your ears. Now I beg of you that the
     indulgence you were wont to give, I say not to your own Dante
     and Petrarch in the same case, but with singular politeness to
     my own former freedom of speech, as you know, among you, the
     same you, Dati, will obtain (for of yourself, I am sure) from
     my other friends whenever I may be speaking of your religion
     in our peculiar way.

     LONDON, April 21, 1647.

_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                      5
       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                 10
       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 the most distinguished Leonard Philaras, of Athens, Ambassador from
the Duke of Parma to the King of France._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XII.)

     Your good will toward me, most honoured Leonard Philaras, as
     well as your high opinion of our _Defence for the English
     People_, I learnt from your letters, written partly on that
     subject, to Mr. Augier, a man illustrious among us for his
     remarkable fidelity in diplomatic business for this republic:
     after which I received, through the same, your kind greeting,
     with your portrait, and the accompanying eulogium, certainly
     most worthy of your virtues,—and then, finally, a most polite
     letter from yourself. Be assured that I, who am not in the
     habit of despising the genius of the Germans, or even of the
     Danes or Swedes, cannot but value very much such an opinion of
     me from _you_, a native of Attic Athens, who have besides,
     after happily finishing a course of literary studies among the
     Italians, reached such ample honours by great handling of
     affairs. For, as the great Alexander himself, when carrying on
     war in the remotest parts of the earth, declared that he had
     undergone such great labours _for the sake of the good opinion
     of the Athenians_, why should not I congratulate myself, and
     think myself honoured to the highest, in having received
     praises from one in whom singly at this day the Arts of the
     old Athenians and all their celebrated excellencies appear,
     after so long an interval, to revive and rebloom? Remembering
     how many men of supreme eloquence were produced by that city,
     I have pleasure in confessing that whatever literary advance I
     have made I owe chiefly to steady intimacy with their writings
     from my youth upwards. But, were there in me, by direct gift
     from them, or a kind of transfusion, such a power of pleading
     that I could rouse our armies and fleets for the deliverance
     of Greece, the land of eloquence, from her Ottoman
     oppressor,—to which mighty act you seem almost to implore our
     aid—truly there is nothing which it would be more or sooner
     in my desire to do. For what did even the bravest men of old,
     or the most eloquent, consider more glorious or more worthy of
     them than, whether by pleading or by bravely acting, to make
     the Greeks free and self-governing? There is, however,
     something else besides to be tried, and in my judgment far the
     most important: namely, that some one should, if possible,
     arouse and rekindle in the minds of the Greeks, by the
     relation of that old story, the old Greek valour itself, the
     old industry, the old patience of labour. Could some one do
     _that_—and from no one more than yourself ought we to expect
     it, looking to the strength of your feeling for your native
     land, and the combination of the same with the highest
     prudence, skill in military affairs, and a powerful passion
     for the recovery of the ancient political liberty—then, I am
     confident, neither would the Greeks be wanting to themselves,
     nor any other nation wanting to the Greeks. Farewell.

     LONDON, June, 1652.

_To Henry Oldenburg, agent for the city of Bremen in Lower Saxony with
the Commonwealth._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XIV.)

     Your former letter, Honoured Sir, was given to me when your
     messenger, I was told, was on the point of return; whence it
     happened that there was no opportunity of reply at that time.
     While I was afterwards purposing an early reply, some
     unexpected business took me off; but for which I should
     certainly not have sent you my book, Defence though it is
     called, in such a naked condition, without accompanying
     excuse. And now I have your second letter, in which your
     thanks are quite disproportioned to the slenderness of the
     gift. It was in my mind, too, more than once, to send you back
     English for your Latin, in order that, as you have learnt to
     speak our language more accurately and happily than any other
     foreigner of my acquaintance, you should not lose any
     opportunity of writing the same; which I believe you could do
     with equal accuracy. But in this, just as henceforward the
     impulse may be, let your own choice regulate. As to the
     substance of your communication, you plainly think with me
     that a 'Cry' of that kind 'to Heaven' transcends all bounds of
     human sense; the more impudent, then, must be he who declares
     so boldly he has heard it. You throw in a scruple after all as
     to who he is: but, formerly, whenever we talked on this
     subject, just after you had come hither from Holland, you
     seemed to have no doubt whatever but Morus was the author,
     inasmuch as that was the common report in those parts and no
     one else was named. If, then, you have now at last any more
     certain information on the point, be so good as to inform me.
     As to the treatment of the argument, I should wish (why should
     I dissemble?) not to differ from you, if only because I would
     fain know what there is to which one would more readily yield
     than the sincere judgment of friendly men, like yourself, and
     praise free from all flattery. To prepare myself, as you
     suggest, for other labours,—whether nobler or more useful I
     know not, for what can be nobler or more useful in human
     affairs than the vindication of Liberty?—truly, if my health
     shall permit, and this blindness of mine, a sorer affliction
     than old age, and lastly the 'cries' of such brawlers as there
     have been about me, I shall be induced to that easily enough.
     An idle ease has never had charms for me, and this unexpected
     contest with the Adversaries of Liberty took me off against my
     will when I was intent on far different and altogether
     pleasanter studies: not that in any way I repent of what I
     have done, since it was necessary; for I am far from thinking
     that I have spent any toil, as you seem to hint, on matters of
     inferior consequence. But of this at other time: meanwhile,
     learned Sir, not to detain you too long, farewell, and reckon
     me among your friends.

     WESTMINSTER, July 6, 1654.

_To Leonard Philaras, Athenian._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XV.)

     Though from boyhood I have ever been devoted to all things
     Greek, and especially to your native city, Athens, yet, in
     addition to this, I have ever cherished the conviction that
     sometime that city would make a fair return to me for my
     devotion; and in very truth that ancient genius of your most
     glorious land has fulfilled my prophecy; for it has given me
     _you_, a genuine son of Attica, and a true friend of mine;
     who, though I was known to you only by my writings, yet
     addressed me most kindly by letter when separated by long
     distance, and later, coming unexpectedly to London, visited me
     in my blindness, and, in that misfortune which has made me to
     no one more distinguished, to many less so, you honour me
     still with the same kindness.

     Inasmuch as you urge me not to abandon all hope of recovering
     my sight, and write that you have at Paris a friend and
     relative who is a physician, Thevenot by name, a man of
     special eminence in treating eyes, whom you propose to consult
     with regard to mine, if you only learn from me enough to
     enable him to understand the causes and symptoms of the
     disease;—in view of this I will do what you suggest, in order
     that I may not seem to reject the possibility of any help that
     may come from God's hand.

     It is now, I should say, ten years, more or less, since I
     found my sight growing dim and weak; at the same time my
     spleen was affected and my internal organs were troubled with
     flatulency; in the morning whenever I began to read anything
     in accordance with my usual custom, my eyes at once began to
     pain me and to shrink from the task, though they would
     experience relief after a brief period of bodily exercise;
     whenever I looked at a lamp, a halo would seem to encircle it.
     Not long after this, at the left extremity of the left eye
     (for that eye lost its sight some years before the other),
     there gradually came on a dimness, which took from my view all
     objects situated on that side; objects directly in front of
     it, too, were seen less clearly whenever I happened to close
     the right eye. During the last three years the other eye has
     gradually lost its sight; but some months before my blindness
     became complete, everything that I saw, even though I was
     perfectly still, seemed to swim about, moving now to the
     right, now to the left. My forehead and temples suffer from
     constant burning sensations. This often affects my eyes with a
     certain drowsiness, from breakfast till evening; so that I
     often think of the words of Phineus the seer of Salmydessus,
     in the _Argonautica_:

                 κάρος δέ μιν ἀμφεκάλυψεν
          Πορφύρεος· γαῖαν δε πέριξ ἐδόκησε φέρεσθαι
          νειόθεν, ἀβληχρῷ δ' ἐπὶ κώματι κέκλιτ' ἄναυδος.

     But I must not omit to say that, while there still remained
     some little sense of sight, whenever I lay down in bed, and
     reclined on either side, bright lights in abundance would
     flash from my eyes even when closed; subsequently, as my power
     of sight grew daily less, dull colours would dart forth in the
     same way, accompanied with throbbings and noises within my
     head. But now the brightness seems to be dispelled, and, at
     times, absolute blackness, or blackness veined with an ashy
     grayness, as it were, is often wont to spread over my eyes.
     Yet the dimness which is there, both night and day, seems
     always more like something white than like anything black,
     which, as the eye turns, allows the merest particle of light
     to enter, as through a tiny crack. But even though from this
     circumstance the physician might gather some little hope, yet
     I am resigned as to an absolutely incurable affliction; and I
     often reflect that, though to each one of us are allotted many
     days of darkness, as the Wise Man reminds us, my darkness as
     yet, by God's special grace, passed, as it is, amid leisure
     and studies, and the voices of friends and their greetings, is
     far pleasanter than the darkness of death. But if, as it is
     written, 'man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word
     that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,' what reason is there
     why any one should not find comfort also in the reflection
     that one sees not by the eyes only, but by the light of God's
     guidance and providence. So long, at least, as He himself
     looks out for me, and provides for me, as He does, and so long
     as He leads and guides me with His hand through all the ways
     of life, I shall gladly bid my eyes keep their long holiday,
     since it has so seemed best to Him. But you, my dear Philaras,
     whatever be the issue, I greet with as stout and firm a heart
     as if I were Lynceus himself.

     WESTMINSTER, September 28, 1654.

_To Cyriac 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,                5
       Or man or woman. Yet I 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        10
       In Liberty's defence, my noble task,
     Of which all Europe talks from side to side,
       This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
       Content, though blind, had I no better guide.

_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 child-bed taint             5
     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                 10
     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.

_To the most accomplished Emeric Bigot._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XXI.)

     . . . Many have made a figure by their published writings
     whose living voice and daily conversation have presented next
     to nothing that was not low and common: if then, I can attain
     the distinction of seeming myself equal in mind and manners to
     any writings of mine that have been tolerably to the purpose,
     there will be the double effect that I shall so have added
     weight personally to my writings, and shall receive back by
     way of reflection from them credit, how small soever it may
     be, yet greater in proportion. For, in that case, whatever is
     right and laudable in them, that same I shall seem not more to
     have derived from authors of high excellence than to have
     fetched forth pure and sincere from the inmost feelings of my
     own mind and soul. I am glad, therefore, to know that you are
     assured of my tranquillity of spirit in this great affliction
     of loss of sight, and also of the pleasure I have in being
     civil and attentive in the reception of visitors from abroad.
     Why, in truth, should I not bear gently the deprivation of
     sight, when I may hope that it is not so much lost as revoked
     and retracted inwards, for the sharpening rather than the
     blunting of my mental edge? Whence it is that I neither think
     of books with anger, nor quite intermit the study of them,
     grievously though they have mulcted me,—were it only that I
     am instructed against such moroseness by the example of King
     Telephus of the Mysians, who refused not to be cured in the
     end by the weapon that had wounded him. . . .

     WESTMINSTER, March 24, 1658.

_To Henry Oldenburg._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XXIX.)

     . . . Of any such work as compiling the history of our
     political troubles, which you seem to advise, I have no
     thought whatever [longe absum]: they are worthier of silence
     than of commemoration. What is needed is not one to compile a
     good history of our troubles, but one who can happily end the
     troubles themselves; for, with you, I fear lest, amid these
     our civil discords, or rather sheer madnesses, we shall seem
     to the lately confederated enemies of Liberty and Religion a
     too fit object of attack, though in truth, they have not yet
     inflicted a severer wound on Religion than we ourselves have
     been long doing by our crimes. But God, as I hope, on His own
     account, and for His own glory, now in question, will not
     allow the counsels and onsets of the enemy to succeed as they
     themselves wish, whatever convulsions Kings and Cardinals
     meditate and design. . . .

     WESTMINSTER, December 20, 1659.

The following extract from the Prefatory address to the Parliament (the
restored Rump) shows no misgivings, on the part of Milton, in regard to
the stability of the Commonwealth. But he must have been secretly
hopeless. Cromwell had died the previous year, on September 3, and his
son Richard, his successor, had abdicated on the 25th of the following
May. A state of things little short of anarchy had set in before the
publication of Milton's pamphlet. But as late as near the end of
February, 1660, he published 'The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free
Commonwealth,' still, as it appears, unable to believe, desperate as was
the state of things, that the Commonwealth was in its death throes. On
the 29th of the following May, Charles II. entered London amid the
wildest acclamations of the people; and the commonwealth, for which
Milton had fought to the bitter end, was no more, and he himself was in
concealment. But he must have been assured that the principles for which
he had fought would sooner or later assert themselves in spite of all
opposition that could be brought against them, though he could hardly
have thought that these principles would assert themselves so soon as
they did. Fourteen years after his death, James II. was driven from the
throne, and the constitutional basis of the monarchy underwent a quite
radical change—a change largely, if not wholly, due to the work of
Puritanism, which, it was generally supposed, at the Restoration of
Charles II., had been completely undone. 'It was,' says John Richard
Green, 'from the moment of its (Puritanism's) seeming fall that its real
victory began.'

_From 'Considerations touching the Likeliest Means to remove Hirelings
out of the Church.'_ (_August, 1659_)

     Owing to your protection, Supreme Senate! this liberty of
     writing, which I have used these eighteen years on all
     occasions to assert the just rights and freedoms both of
     church and state, and so far approved, as to have been trusted
     with the representment and defence of your actions to all
     Christendom against an adversary of no mean repute; to whom
     should I address what I still publish on the same argument,
     but to you, whose magnanimous councils first opened and
     unbound the age from a double bondage under prelatical and
     regal tyranny; above our own hopes heartening us to look up at
     last, like men and Christians, from the slavish dejection,
     wherein from father to son we were bred up and taught; and
     thereby deserving of these nations, if they be not barbarously
     ingrateful, to be acknowledged, next under God, the authors
     and best patrons of religious and civil liberty, that ever
     these islands brought forth? The care and tuition of whose
     peace and safety, after a short but scandalous night of
     interruption, is now again, by a new dawning of God's
     miraculous providence among us, revolved upon your shoulders.
     And to whom more appertain these considerations, which I
     propound, than to yourselves, and the debate before you,
     though I trust of no difficulty, yet at present of great
     expectation, not whether ye will gratify, were it no more than
     so, but whether ye will hearken to the just petition of many
     thousands best affected both to religion and to this your
     return, or whether ye will satisfy, which you never can, the
     covetous pretences and demands of insatiable hirelings, whose
     disaffection ye well know both to yourselves and your
     resolutions? That I, though among many others in this common
     concernment, interpose to your deliberations what my thoughts
     also are; your own judgment and the success thereof hath given
     me the confidence: which requests but this, that if I have
     prosperously, God so favouring me, defended the public cause
     of this commonwealth to foreigners, ye would not think the
     reason and ability, whereon ye trusted once (and repent not)
     your whole reputation to the world, either grown less by more
     maturity and longer study, or less available in English than
     in another tongue; but that if it sufficed some years past to
     convince and satisfy the unengaged of other nations in the
     justice of your doings, though then held paradoxal, it may as
     well suffice now against weaker opposition in matters, except
     here in England with a spirituality of men devoted to their
     temporal gain, of no controversy else among protestants.
     Neither do I doubt, seeing daily the acceptance which they
     find who in their petitions venture to bring advice also, and
     new models of a commonwealth, but that you will interpret it
     much more the duty of a Christian to offer what his
     conscience persuades him may be of moment to the freedom and
     better constituting of the church: since it is a deed of
     highest charity to help undeceive the people, and a work
     worthiest your authority, in all things else authors,
     assertors, and now recoverers of our liberty, to deliver us,
     the only people of all protestants left still undelivered,
     from the oppressions of a simonious decimating clergy, who
     shame not, against the judgment and practice of all other
     churches reformed, to maintain, though very weakly, their
     popish and oft-refuted positions; not in a point of conscience
     wherein they might be blameless, but in a point of
     covetousness and unjust claim to other men's goods; a
     contention foul and odious in any man, but most of all in
     ministers of the gospel, in whom contention, though for their
     own right, scarce is allowable. Till which grievances be
     removed, and religion set free from the monopoly of hirelings,
     I dare affirm that no model whatsoever of a commonwealth will
     prove successful or undisturbed; and so persuaded, implore
     divine assistance on your pious counsels and proceedings to
     unanimity in this and all other truth.

          —JOHN MILTON.

_Autobiographic passages in the 'Paradise Lost'_

     'Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven first-born!
      Or of the Eternal coeternal beam
      May I express thee unblamed? since God is light,
      And never but in unapproachèd light
      Dwelt from eternity—dwelt then in thee,                     5
      Bright effluence of bright essence, increate!
      Or hearest thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
      Whose fountain who shall tell? Before the Sun,
      Before the Heavens, thou wert, and at the voice
      Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest                      10
      The rising World of waters dark and deep,
      Won from the void and formless Infinite!
      Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
      Escaped the Stygian Pool, though long detained
      In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight,                15
      Through utter and through middle Darkness borne,
      With other notes than to the Orphéan lyre
      I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,
      Taught by the Heavenly Muse to venture down
      The dark descent, and up to reascend,                       20
      Though hard and rare. Thee I revisit safe,
      And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou
      Revisit'st not these eyes, that roll in vain
      To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
      So thick a drop serene hath quenched their orbs,            25
      Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
      Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt
      Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
      Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
      Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,                 30
      That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
      Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
      Those other two equalled with me in fate,
      So were I equalled with them in renown,
      Blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,                          35
      And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old:
      Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move
      Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
      Sings darkling, and, in shadiest covert hid,
      Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year                40
      Seasons return; but not to me returns
      Day, or the sweet approach of even or morn,
      Or sight of vernal bloom, or summer's rose,
      Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;
      But cloud instead and ever-during dark                      45
      Surrounds me, from the cheerful ways of men
      Cut off, and, for the book of knowledge fair,
      Presented with a universal blank
      Of Nature's works, to me expunged and rased,
      And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.                  50
      So much the rather thou, Celestial Light,
      Shine inward and the mind through all her powers
      Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
      Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
      Of things invisible to mortal sight.'                       55

          —_Paradise Lost_, Book iii. 1-55.

     'Descend from Heaven, Urania, by that name
      If rightly thou art called, whose voice divine
      Following, above the Olympian hill I soar,
      Above the flight of Pegasean wing!
      The meaning, not the name, I call; for thou                  5
      Nor of the Muses nine, nor on the top
      Of old Olympus dwell'st; but, heavenly-born,
      Before the hills appeared or fountain flowed,
      Thou with Eternal Wisdom didst converse,
      Wisdom thy sister, and with her didst play                  10
      In presence of the Almighty Father, pleased
      With thy celestial song. Up led by thee,
      Into the Heaven of Heavens I have presumed,
      An earthly guest, and drawn empyreal air,
      Thy tempering. With like safety guided down,                15
      Return me to my native element;
      Lest, from this flying steed unreined (as once
      Bellerophon, though from a lower clime)
      Dismounted, on the Aleian field I fall,
      Erroneous there to wander and forlorn.                      20
      Half yet remains unsung, but narrower bound
      Within the visible Diurnal Sphere.
      Standing on Earth, not rapt above the pole,
      More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
      To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,              25
      On evil days though fallen, and evil tongues,
      In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
      And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
      Visit'st my slumbers nightly, or when Morn
      Purples the East. Still govern thou my song,                30
      Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
      But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
      Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race
      Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard
      In Rhodope, where woods and rocks had ears                  35
      To rapture, till the savage clamour drowned
      Both harp and voice; nor could the Muse defend
      Her son. So fail not thou who thee implores;
      For thou art heavenly, she an empty dream.'

          —_Paradise Lost_, Book vii. 1-39.

     'No more of talk where God or Angel Guest
      With Man, as with his friend, familiar used
      To sit indulgent, and with him partake
      Rural repast, permitting him the while
      Venial discourse unblamed. I now must change                5
      Those notes to tragic—foul distrust, and breach
      Disloyal, on the part of man, revolt
      And disobedience; on the part of Heaven,
      Now alienated, distance and distaste,
      Anger and just rebuke, and judgment given,                  10
      That brought into this World a world of woe,
      Sin and her shadow Death, and Misery,
      Death's harbinger. Sad task! yet argument
      Not less but more heroic than the wrath
      Of stern Achilles on his foe pursued                        15
      Thrice fugitive about Troy wall; or rage
      Of Turnus for Lavinia disespoused;
      Or Neptune's ire, or Juno's, that so long
      Perplexed the Greek, and Cytherea's son;
      If answerable style I can obtain                            20
      Of my celestial Patroness, who deigns
      Her nightly visitation unimplored,
      And dictates to me slumbering, or inspires
      Easy my unpremeditated verse,
      Since first this subject for heroic song                    25
      Pleased me, long choosing and beginning late,
      Not sedulous by nature to indite
      Wars, hitherto the only argument
      Heroic deemed, chief mastery to dissect
      With long and tedious havoc fabled knights                  30
      In battles feigned (the better fortitude
      Of patience and heroic martyrdom
      Unsung), or to describe races and games,
      Or tilting furniture, emblazoned shields,
      Impresses quaint, caparisons and steeds,                    35
      Bases and tinsel trappings, gorgeous knights
      At joust and tournament; then marshalled feast
      Served up in hall with sewers and seneshals:
      The skill of artifice or office mean;
      Not that which justly gives heroic name                     40
      To person or to poem! Me, of these
      Nor skilled nor studious, higher argument
      Remains, sufficient of itself to raise
      That name, unless an age too late, or cold
      Climate, or years, damp my intended wing                    45
      Depressed; and much they may if all be mine,
      Not hers who brings it nightly to my ear.'

          —_Paradise Lost_, Book ix. 1-47.

The following verses addressed to the seraph Abdiel, Milton, at the time
he wrote them, might justly have taken to himself:

     'Servant of God, well done! Well hast thou fought
      The better fight, who single hast maintained
      Against revolted multitudes the cause
      Of truth, in word mightier than they in arms,
      And for the testimony of truth hast borne
      Universal reproach, far worse to bear
      Than violence; for this was all thy care—
      To stand approved in sight of God, though worlds
      Judged thee perverse.'

          —_Paradise Lost_, Book vi. 29-37.

Milton regarded himself as an Abdiel (_i.e._ as the name signifies in
Hebrew, Servant of God), in the past struggle for civil and religious
liberty; like Abdiel,

     'Among innumerable false, unmoved,
      Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,
      His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;
      Nor number nor example with him wrought
      To swerve from truth, or change his constant mind,
      Though single.'

          —_Paradise Lost_, Book v. 898-903.

The following, from 'Paradise Regained,' Book i. 196-208, Milton might
have written of himself:

     'Oh, what a multitude of thoughts at once
      Awakened in me swarm, while I consider
      What from within I feel myself, and hear
      What from without comes often to my ears,
      Ill sorting with my present state compared!
      When I was yet a child, no childish play
      To me was pleasing; _all my mind was set
      Serious to learn and know, and thence to do,
      What might be public good; myself I thought
      Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
      All righteous things_. Therefore, above my years,
      The Law of God I read, and found it sweet;
      Made it my whole delight.'

The following letter reveals the difficulties under which Milton, in his
blindness, was, at times, obliged to write.

_To the very distinguished Peter Heimbach, Councillor to the Elector of
Brandenburg._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XXXI.)

     Small wonder if, in the midst of so many deaths of my
     countrymen, in a year of such heavy pestilence, you believed,
     as you write you did, on the faith of some special rumour,
     that I also had been cut off. Such a rumour among your people
     is not displeasing, if it was the occasion of making known the
     fact that they were anxious for my safety, for then I can
     regard it as a sign of their good will to me. But, by the
     blessing of God, who had provided for my safety in a country
     retreat, I am still both alive and well, nor useless yet, I
     hope, for any duty that remains to be performed by me in this
     life.—That after so long an interval I should have come into
     your mind is very agreeable; although, from your exuberant
     expression of the matter, you seem to afford some ground for
     suspecting that you have rather forgotten me, professing as
     you do such an admiration of the marriage-union in me of so
     many different virtues. Truly, I should dread a too numerous
     progeny from so many forms of the marriage-union as you
     enumerate, were it not an established truth that virtues are
     nourished most and flourish most in straitened and hard
     circumstances; albeit I may say that one of the virtues of
     your list has not very handsomely requited me the hospitable
     reception she had. For what you call _policy_, but I would
     rather have you call _loyalty to one's country_,—this
     particular lass, after inveigling me with her fair name, has
     almost expatriated me, so to speak. The chorus of the rest,
     however, makes a very fine harmony. One's country is wherever
     it is well with one.—And now I will conclude, after first
     begging you, if you find anything incorrectly written or
     without punctuation here, to impute that to the boy who has
     taken it down from my dictation, and who is utterly ignorant
     of Latin, so that I was forced, while dictating, not without
     misery, to spell out the letters of the words one by one.
     Meanwhile, I am glad that the merits of one whom I knew as a
     young man of excellent hope have raised him to so honourable a
     place in his Prince's favour; and I desire and hope all
     prosperity for you otherwise. Farewell!

     LONDON, August 15, 1666.


From an early period of his life Milton, as has been seen, looked
forward to the production of a great poem which would embody his highest
ideals of the true life of man and which 'after times would not
willingly let die'; and all his studies and all his earliest efforts in
poetry were, advisedly, preparations for this prospective creation. He
estimated learning wholly as a means of building himself up for the work
to which he felt himself dedicated. He cared not for learned lumber
which he could not bring into relation with his intellectual or
spiritual vitality, or make use of in his creative work. 'Learning for
its own sake' was no part of his creed as a scholar. He may be said to
speak for himself in the words which he gives to the Saviour in the
'Paradise Regained' (Book iv. 322 _et seq._):

                                     'who reads
     Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
     A spirit and judgment equal or superior,
     —And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek?—
     Uncertain and unsettled still remains,
     Deep-versed in books and shallow in himself,
     Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys
     And trifles for choice matters, worth a spunge;
     As children gathering pebbles on the shore.'

And so, too, in the words which he gives to the angel Raphael, in the
'Paradise Lost' (Book vii. 126 _et seq._):

     'But knowledge is as food, and needs no less
      Her temperance over appetite, to know
      In measure what the mind may well contain;
      Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns
      Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.'

Wordsworth had as firm an assurance as Milton had, that he was a
dedicated spirit; but he did not attach the importance which Milton did
to great acquisitions of knowledge as a means to the fulfilment of his
mission. But Wordsworth's sense of his mission as a poet called for an
expression of his soul-experiences in _occasional_ poems. The
composition of a great epic would have shut him off from expressing, day
by day, the relations of Nature to the soul, as those relations were
revealed to him—relations with which wide learning had comparatively
little to do.

Milton was constitutionally, as well as by his education and
associations, a Puritan. And the state of the times in which he lived
coöperated with his mental and moral constitution, and with his
education, to make _the conflict of Good and Evil, the great fact, for
him, of the world, and, indeed, of the Universe_. To picture in the most
impressive way possible this great fact, and the sure triumph of Good
over Evil, however long that triumph may be retarded, he early felt to
be his mission as a poet. And he looked upon the acquisition of great
stores of learning as part of the indispensable equipment for one, who,
in this conflict, would range himself on the side of Good. All history
and all literatures, all sciences, religions, mythologies, were to be
explored, and made subservient, as far as might be, by him who would
fight the good fight. The accumulated knowledge and wisdom of mankind
was for him a part of that panoply of God which St. Paul, in his
Epistle to the Ephesians (vi. 11), commands to put on, in order to 'be
able to stand against the wiles of the devil.'

But learning was but a part, and however indispensable, an inferior
part, of this panoply. The soul's essential self, as the medium of the
divine, must give the prime efficacy to whatever is done in the mighty
conflict of good with evil. In the words of Browning's 'Sordello,' 'a
poet must be earth's essential king,' and he is that by virtue of his
exerting, or shedding the influence of, his essential personality in his
poetical creations. In his 'Apology for Smectymnuus,' he says, 'And long
it was not after, when I was confirmed in this opinion, that he who
would not be frustrate of his hope to write well hereafter in laudable
things, _ought himself to be a true poem_; that is, a composition and
pattern of the best and honourablest things; not presuming to sing high
praises of heroic men, or famous cities, _unless he have in himself the
experience and the practice of all that which is praiseworthy_.'

And in his 'Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty,' he
speaks of the great work which looms hazily up in the future, as one
'not to be obtained by the invocation of dame memory and her siren
daughters, but _by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich
with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his Seraphim, with the
hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom he
pleases_: to this must be added industrious and select reading, steady
observation, insight into all seemly and generous arts and affairs;'
etc. In his invocation of the Holy Spirit, in the opening of the
'Paradise Lost,' he says:

     'And chiefly thou, O Spirit that dost prefer
      Before all temples _the upright heart and pure_,
      Instruct me.'

And in the 'Paradise Regained' (Book i. 8-15):

     'Thou Spirit, who ledst this glorious Eremite
      Into the desert, his victorious field,
      Against the spiritual foe, and broughtst him thence
      By proof the undoubted Son of God, _inspire,
      As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute_,
      And bear through highth or depth of Nature's bounds,
      With prosperous wing full summed, to tell of deeds
      Above heroic.'

Milton did not entertain the restricted view of inspiration which is
still entertained by large numbers of good people, namely, that only the
writers of the Old and New Testaments were inspired. With him, every
soul, raised, by ardent faith and sanctified desire, to a high plane of
spirituality, and thus brought into relationship with the highest
spiritual forces, was, in a measure, inspired.

What follows the quotation just made, from St. Paul's Epistle to the
Ephesians (vi. 12-18), is the best expression which may be given of
Milton's actuating creed:

'We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the
whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day,
and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt
about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and
your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all,
taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the
fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the
sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all
prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all
perseverance and supplication for all saints.'

It would seem that this grand passage from the Apostle must occur to
every reader of Milton as the best expression of the law according to
which he lived and wrote.

The intellectual and spiritual preparation which Milton felt necessary,
and was making, with an undivided devotion, for the production of a
great poem, determined his idea of liberty when, bidding farewell, for a
time (he could not have thought that it would be for so long a time), to
the loved haunts of the Muses, he engaged as a polemic prose writer, in
the struggle for domestic, civil, political, and religious liberty. This
idea, which may be said to be the informing principle of his prose
works, is that _inward liberty is the condition of true outward
liberty_. The latter cannot exist without the former. What is often
miscalled liberty is license; which only leads to a more degraded inward
servitude. For, in the absence of wholesome restraint, and of discipline
either self-imposed, or imposed by those in authority, men in their
weakness become more and more subjected to their lower nature. This idea
is beautifully presented in the following passage:

_From 'The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty.' Chap. I._

     'There is not that thing in the world of more grave and urgent
     importance throughout the whole life of man, than is
     DISCIPLINE. What need I instance? He that hath read with
     judgment of nations and commonwealths, of cities and camps, of
     peace and war, sea and land, will readily agree that the
     flourishing and decaying of all civil societies, all the
     moments and turnings of human occasions, are moved to and fro
     as upon the axle of discipline. So that whatsoever power or
     sway in mortal things weaker men have attributed to Fortune,
     I durst with more confidence (the honour of Divine Providence
     ever saved) ascribe either to the vigour or the slackness of
     discipline. Nor is there any sociable perfection in this life,
     civil or sacred, that can be above discipline; but she is that
     which with her musical chords preserves and holds all the
     parts thereof together. Hence in those perfect armies of Cyrus
     in Xenophon, and Scipio in the Roman stories, the excellence
     of military skill was esteemed, not by the not needing, but by
     the readiest submitting to the edicts of their commander. And
     certainly discipline is not only the removal of disorder; but
     if any visible shape can be given to divine things, the very
     visible shape and image of Virtue, whereby she is not only
     seen in the regular gestures and motions of her heavenly
     paces, as she walks, but also makes the harmony of her voice
     audible to mortal ears. Yea, the angels themselves, in whom no
     disorder is feared, as the apostle that saw them in his
     rapture describes, are distinguished and quaternioned into
     their celestial princedoms and satrapies, according as God
     himself has writ his imperial decrees through the great
     provinces of heaven. The state also of the blessed in
     paradise, though never so perfect, is not therefore left
     without discipline, whose golden surveying reed marks out and
     measures every quarter and circuit of New Jerusalem. Yet is it
     not to be conceived, that those eternal effluences of sanctity
     and love in the glorified saints should by this means be
     confined and cloyed with repetition of that which is
     prescribed, but that our happiness may orb itself into a
     thousand vagancies of glory and delight, and with a kind of
     eccentrical equation be, as it were, an invariable planet of
     joy and felicity; how much less can we believe that God would
     leave his frail and feeble, though not less beloved church
     here below, to the perpetual stumble of conjecture and
     disturbance in this our dark voyage, without the card and
     compass of discipline? Which is so hard to be of man's making,
     that we may see even in the guidance of a civil state to
     worldly happiness, it is not for every learned, or every wise
     man, though many of them consult in common, to invent or frame
     a discipline: but if it be at all the work of man, it must be
     of such a one as is a true knower of himself, and in whom
     contemplation and practice, wit, prudence, fortitude, and
     eloquence must be rarely met, both to comprehend the hidden
     causes of things, and span in his thoughts all the various
     effects that passion or complexion can work in man's nature;
     and hereto must his hand be at defiance with gain, and his
     heart in all virtues heroic; so far is it from the ken of
     these wretched projectors of ours, that bescrawl their
     pamphlets every day with new forms of government for our
     church. And therefore all the ancient lawgivers were either
     truly inspired, as Moses, or were such men as with authority
     enough might give it out to be so, as Minos, Lycurgus, Numa,
     because they wisely forethought that men would never quietly
     submit to such a discipline as had not more of God's hand in
     it than man's. To come within the narrowness of household
     government, observation will show us many deep counsellors of
     state and judges to demean themselves incorruptly in the
     settled course of affairs, and many worthy preachers, upright
     in their lives, powerful in their audience: but look upon
     either of these men when they are left to their own
     disciplining at home, and you shall soon perceive, for all
     their single knowledge and uprightness, how deficient they are
     in the regulating of their own family; not only in what may
     concern the virtuous and decent composure of their minds in
     their several places, but, that which is of a lower and easier
     performance, the right possessing of the outward vessel, their
     body, in health or sickness, rest or labour, diet or
     abstinence, whereby to render it more pliant to the soul, and
     useful to the commonwealth; which if men were but as good to
     discipline themselves, as some are to tutor their horses and
     hawks, it could not be so gross in most households. If then it
     appear so hard, and so little known how to govern a house
     well, which is thought of so easy discharge, and for every
     man's undertaking, what skill of man, what wisdom, what parts
     can be sufficient to give laws and ordinances to the elect
     household of God? If we could imagine that he had left it at
     random without his provident and gracious ordering, who is he
     so arrogant, so presumptuous, that durst dispose and guide the
     living ark of the Holy Ghost, though he should find it
     wandering in the field of Bethshemesh, without the conscious
     warrant of some high calling? But no profane insolence can
     parallel that which our prelates dare avouch, to drive
     outrageously, and shatter the holy ark of the church, not
     borne upon their shoulders with pains and labour in the word,
     but drawn with rude oxen, their officials, and their own brute
     inventions. Let them make shows of reforming while they will,
     so long as the church is mounted upon the prelatical cart, and
     not, as it ought, between the hands of the ministers, it will
     but shake and totter; and he that sets to his hand, though
     with a good intent to hinder the shogging of it, in this
     unlawful waggonry wherein it rides, let him beware it be not
     fatal to him, as it was to Uzza.'

The following are some of the many explicit statements of Milton's idea
of Liberty, which occur in his Prose Works. They may be said to be
variations on the saying of the Saviour (John viii. 31, 32), 'If ye
abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the
truth, and the truth shall make you free':

     'What though the brood of Belial, the draff of men, to whom no
     liberty is pleasing, but unbridled and vagabond lust without
     pale or partition, will laugh broad perhaps, to see so great a
     strength of scripture mustering up in favour, as they suppose,
     of their debaucheries; they will know better when they shall
     hence learn, that honest liberty is the greatest foe to
     dishonest licence.'

          —_The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce._

     'Real and substantial liberty is rather to be sought from
     within than from without; its existence depends, not so much
     on the terror of the sword, as in sobriety of conduct and
     integrity of life.'

          —_Second Defence of the People of England._

     'The exposition here alleged is neither new nor licentious, as
     some now would persuade the commonalty, although it be nearer
     truth that nothing is more new than those teachers themselves,
     and nothing more licentious than some known to be, whose
     hypocrisy yet shames not to take offence at this doctrine for
     licence, whereas indeed they fear it would remove licence, and
     leave them few companions.'


     'In every commonwealth, when it decays, corruption makes two
     main steps: first, when men cease to do according to the
     inward and uncompelled actions of virtue, caring only to live
     by the outward constraint of law, and turn this simplicity of
     real good into the craft of seeming so by law. To this
     hypocritical honesty was Rome declined in that age wherein
     Horace lived, and discovered it to Quinctius':

          'Whom do we count a good man, whom but he
           Who keeps the laws and statutes of the Senate?
           Who judges in great suits and controversies?
           Whose witness and opinion wins the cause?
           But his own house, and the whole neighbourhood
           Sees his foul inside through his whited skin.'

     'The next declining is, when law becomes now too strait for
     the secular manners, and those too loose for the cincture of
     law. This brings in false and crooked interpretations to eke
     out law, and invents the subtle encroachments of obscure
     traditions hard to be disproved.'


     'If men within themselves would be governed by reason, and not
     generally give up their understanding to a double tyranny of
     custom from without, and blind affections within, they would
     discern better what it is to favour and uphold the tyrant of a
     nation. But, being slaves within doors, no wonder that they
     strive so much to have the public state conformably governed
     to the inward vicious rule by which they govern themselves.
     For, indeed, none can love freedom heartily but good men; the
     rest love not freedom but licence, which never hath more scope
     or more indulgence than under tyrants. Hence is it that
     tyrants are not oft offended, nor stand much in doubt of bad
     men, as being all naturally servile; but in whom virtue and
     true worth most is eminent, them they fear in earnest, as by
     right their masters; against them lies all their hatred and
     suspicion. Consequently, neither do bad men hate tyrants, but
     have been always readiest, with the falsified names of loyalty
     and obedience, to colour over their base compliances.'

          —_The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates._

     'He who reigns within himself, and rules passions, desires,
     and fears, is more than a king.'

     'For stories teach us, that liberty sought out of season, in a
     corrupt and degenerate age, brought Rome itself to a further
     slavery; for liberty hath a sharp and double edge, fit only to
     be handled by just and virtuous men; to bad and dissolute, it
     becomes a mischief unwieldy in their own hands: neither is it
     completely given, but by them who have the happy skill to know
     what is grievance and unjust to a people, and how to remove it
     wisely; what good laws are wanting, and how to frame them
     substantially, that good men may enjoy the freedom which they
     merit, and the bad, the curb which they need. But to do this,
     and to know these exquisite proportions, the heroic wisdom
     which is required, surmounted far the principles of these
     narrow politicians: what wonder then if they sunk as these
     unfortunate Britons before them, entangled and oppressed with
     things too hard and generous, above their strain and temper?'

          —_The History of Britain_, Book iii.

     'But when God hath decreed servitude on a sinful nation,
     fitted by their own vices for no condition but servile, all
     estates of government are alike unable to avoid it.'

          —_The History of Britain_, Book v.

_Peroration of 'The Second Defence of the People of England'_

     'It is of no little consequence, O citizens, by what
     principles you are governed, either in acquiring liberty, or
     in retaining it when acquired. And unless that liberty which
     is of such a kind as arms can neither procure nor take away,
     which alone is the fruit of piety, of justice, of temperance,
     and unadulterated virtue, shall have taken deep root in your
     minds and hearts, there will not long be wanting one who will
     snatch from you by treachery what you have acquired by arms.
     War has made many great whom peace makes small. If after being
     released from the toils of war, you neglect the arts of peace,
     if your peace and your liberty be a state of warfare, if war
     be your only virtue, the summit of your praise, you will,
     believe me, soon find peace the most adverse to your
     interests. Your peace will be only a more distressing war; and
     that which you imagined liberty will prove the worst of
     slavery. Unless by the means of piety, not frothy and
     loquacious, but operative, unadulterated, and sincere, you
     clear the horizon of the mind from those mists of superstition
     which arise from the ignorance of true religion, you will
     always have those who will bend your necks to the yoke as if
     you were brutes, who, notwithstanding all your triumphs, will
     put you up to the highest bidder, as if you were mere booty
     made in war; and will find an exuberant source of wealth in
     your ignorance and superstition. Unless you will subjugate the
     propensity to avarice, to ambition, and sensuality, and expel
     all luxury from yourselves and your families, you will find
     that you have cherished a more stubborn and intractable despot
     at home, than you ever encountered in the field; and even your
     very bowels will be continually teeming with an intolerable
     progeny of tyrants. Let these be the first enemies whom you
     subdue; this constitutes the campaign of peace; these are
     triumphs, difficult indeed, but bloodless; and far more
     honorable than those trophies which are purchased only by
     slaughter and by rapine. Unless you are victors in this
     service, it is in vain that you have been victorious over the
     despotic enemy in the field. For if you think that it is a
     more grand, a more beneficial, or a more wise policy, to
     invent subtle expedients for increasing the revenue, to
     multiply our naval and military force, to rival in craft the
     ambassadors of foreign states, to form skillful treaties and
     alliances, than to administer unpolluted justice to the
     people, to redress the injured and to succour the distressed,
     and speedily to restore to every one his own, you are involved
     in a cloud of error; and too late will you perceive, when the
     illusion of those mighty benefits has vanished, that in
     neglecting these, which you now think inferior considerations,
     you have only been precipitating your own ruin and despair.
     The fidelity of enemies and allies is frail and perishing,
     unless it be cemented by the principles of justice; that
     wealth and those honours, which most covet, readily change
     masters; they forsake the idle, and repair where virtue, where
     industry, where patience flourish most. Thus nation
     precipitates the downfall of nation; thus the more sound part
     of one people subverts the more corrupt; thus you obtained the
     ascendant over the royalists. If you plunge into the same
     depravity, if you imitate their excesses, and hanker after the
     same vanities, you will become royalists as well as they, and
     liable to be subdued by the same enemies, or by others in your
     turn; who, placing their reliance on the same religious
     principles, the same patience, the same integrity and
     discretion which made you strong, will deservedly triumph over
     you who are immersed in debauchery, in the luxury and the
     sloth of kings. Then, as if God was weary of protecting you,
     you will be seen to have passed through the fire that you
     might perish in the smoke; the contempt which you will then
     experience will be great as the admiration which you now
     enjoy; and, what may in future profit others, but cannot
     benefit yourselves, you will leave a salutary proof what great
     things the solid reality of virtue and of piety might have
     effected, when the mere counterfeit and varnished resemblance
     could attempt such mighty achievements, and make such
     considerable advances towards the execution. For, if either
     through your want of knowledge, your want of constancy, or
     your want of virtue, attempts so noble, and actions so
     glorious, have had an issue so unfortunate, it does not
     therefore follow that better men should be either less daring
     in their projects or less sanguine in their hopes. But from
     such an abyss of corruption into which you so readily fall, no
     one, not even Cromwell himself, nor a whole nation of
     Brutuses, if they were alive, could deliver you if they would,
     or would deliver you if they could. For who would vindicate
     your right of unrestrained suffrage, or of choosing what
     representatives you liked best, merely that you might elect
     the creatures of your own faction, whoever they might be, or
     him, however small might be his worth, who would give you the
     most lavish feasts, and enable you to drink to the greatest
     excess? Thus not wisdom and authority, but turbulence and
     gluttony, would soon exalt the vilest miscreants from our
     taverns and our brothels, from our towns and villages, to the
     rank and dignity of senators. For should the management of the
     republic be entrusted to persons to whom no one would
     willingly entrust the management of his private concerns; and
     the treasury of the state be left to the care of those who had
     lavished their own fortunes in an infamous prodigality? Should
     they have the charge of the public purse, which they would
     soon convert into a private, by their unprincipled
     peculations? Are they fit to be the legislators of a whole
     people who themselves know not what law, what reason, what
     right and wrong, what crooked and straight, what licit and
     illicit means? who think that all power consists in outrage,
     all dignity in the parade of insolence? who neglect every
     other consideration for the corrupt qualification of their
     friendships, or the prosecution of their resentments? who
     disperse their own relations and creatures through the
     provinces, for the sake of levying taxes and confiscating
     goods; men, for the greater part, the most profligate and
     vile, who buy up for themselves what they pretend to expose to
     sale, who thence collect an exorbitant mass of wealth, which
     they fraudulently divert from the public service; who thus
     spread their pillage through the country, and in a moment
     emerge from penury and rags to a state of splendour and of
     wealth? Who could endure such thievish servants, such
     vicegerents of their lords? Who could believe that the masters
     and the patrons of a banditti could be the proper guardians of
     liberty? or who would suppose that he should ever be made one
     hair more free by such a set of public functionaries, (though
     they might amount to five hundred elected in this manner from
     the counties and boroughs,) when among them who are the very
     guardians of liberty, and to whose custody it is committed,
     there must be so many, who know not either how to use or to
     enjoy liberty, who neither understand the principles nor merit
     the possession? But, what is worthy of remark, those who are
     the most unworthy of liberty are wont to behave most
     ungratefully towards their deliverers. Among such persons, who
     would be willing either to fight for liberty, or to encounter
     the least peril in its defence? It is not agreeable to the
     nature of things that such persons ever should be free.
     However much they may brawl about liberty, they are slaves,
     both at home and abroad, but without perceiving it; and when
     they do perceive it, like unruly horses that are impatient of
     the bit, they will endeavour to throw off the yoke, not from
     the love of genuine liberty, (which a good man only loves and
     knows how to obtain,) but from the impulses of pride and
     little passions. But though they often attempt it by arms,
     they will make no advances to the execution; they may change
     their masters, but will never be able to get rid of their
     servitude. This often happened to the ancient Romans, wasted
     by excess, and enervated by luxury: and it has still more so
     been the fate of the moderns; when, after a long interval of
     years, they aspired, under the auspices of Crescentius
     Nomentanus, and afterwards of Nicolas Rentius, who had assumed
     the title of Tribune of the People, to restore the splendour
     and reëstablish the government of ancient Rome. For, instead
     of fretting with vexation, or thinking that you can lay the
     blame on any one but yourselves, know that to be free is the
     same thing as to be pious, to be wise, to be temperate and
     just, to be frugal and abstinent, and, lastly, to be
     magnanimous and brave; so to be the opposite of all these is
     the same as to be a slave; and it usually happens, by the
     appointment, and as it were retributive justice, of the Deity,
     that that people which cannot govern themselves, and moderate
     their passions, but crouch under the slavery of their lusts,
     should be delivered up to the sway of those whom they abhor,
     and made to submit to an involuntary servitude. It is also
     sanctioned by the dictates of justice and by the constitution
     of nature, that he who from the imbecility or derangement of
     his intellect, is incapable of governing himself, should, like
     a minor, be committed to the government of another; and least
     of all should he be appointed to superintend the affairs of
     others or the interest of the state. You, therefore, who wish
     to remain free, either instantly be wise, or, as soon as
     possible, cease to be fools; if you think slavery an
     intolerable evil, learn obedience to reason and the government
     of yourselves; and, finally, bid adieu to your dissensions,
     your jealousies, your superstitions, your outrages, your
     rapine, and your lusts. Unless you will spare no pains to
     effect this, you must be judged unfit, both by God and
     mankind, to be entrusted with the possession of liberty and
     the administration of the government; but will rather, like a
     nation in a state of pupilage, want some active and courageous
     guardian to undertake the management of your affairs. With
     respect to myself, whatever turn things may take, I thought
     that my exertions on the present occasion would be serviceable
     to my country; and, as they have been cheerfully bestowed, I
     hope that they have not been bestowed in vain. And I have not
     circumscribed my defence of liberty within any petty circle
     around me, but have made it so general and comprehensive, that
     the justice and the reasonableness of such uncommon
     occurrences, explained and defended, both among my countrymen
     and among foreigners, and which all good men cannot but
     approve, may serve to exalt the glory of my country, and to
     excite the imitation of posterity. If the conclusion do not
     answer to the beginning, that is their concern; I have
     delivered my testimony, I would almost say, have erected a
     monument, that will not readily be destroyed, to the reality
     of those singular and mighty achievements which were above all
     praise. As the epic poet, who adheres at all to the rules of
     that species of composition, does not profess to describe the
     whole life of the hero whom he celebrates, but only some
     particular action of his life, as the resentment of Achilles
     at Troy, the return of Ulysses, or the coming of Æneas into
     Italy; so it will be sufficient, either for my justification
     or apology, that I have heroically celebrated at least one
     exploit of my countrymen; I pass by the rest, for who could
     recite the achievements of a whole people? If, after such a
     display of courage and of vigour, you basely relinquish the
     path of virtue, if you do anything unworthy of yourselves,
     posterity will sit in judgment on your conduct. They will see
     that the foundations were well laid; that the beginning (nay,
     it was more than a beginning) was glorious; but with deep
     emotions of concern will they regret, that those were wanting
     who might have completed the structure. They will lament that
     perseverance was not conjoined with such exertions and such
     virtues. They will see that there was a rich harvest of glory,
     and an opportunity afforded for the greatest achievements, but
     that men only were wanting for the execution; while they were
     not wanting who could rightly counsel, exhort, inspire, and
     bind an unfading wreath of praise round the brows of the
     illustrious actors in so glorious a scene.'

This informing idea of the Prose Works comes out explicitly in the
second of the sonnets,

_On the Detraction which followed upon my Writing Certain Treatises_

     'I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
      By the known rules of ancient liberty,
      When straight a barbarous noise environs me
      Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes, and dogs:
      As when those hinds that were transformed to frogs           5
      Railed at Latona's twin-born progeny,
      Which after held the sun and moon in fee.
      But this is got by casting pearl to hogs,
      That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
      And still revolt when truth would set them free.            10
      Licence they mean when they cry liberty;
      For who loves that must first be wise and good;
      But from that mark how far they rove we see,
      For all this waste of wealth, and loss of blood.'

Again it appears, and in the most explicit form, in the 'Paradise Lost,'
Book xii. 82-101. The angel Michael, in his discourse with Adam, on the
mount of speculation, says:

                       'yet know withal,
     Since thy original lapse, true liberty
     Is lost, which always with right reason dwells
     Twinned, and from her hath no dividual being.                85
     Reason in man obscured, or not obeyed,
     Immediately inordinate desires
     And upstart passions catch the government
     From Reason, and to servitude reduce
     Man, till then free. Therefore, since he permits             90
     Within himself unworthy powers to reign
     Over free reason, God, in judgment just,
     Subjects him from without to violent lords,
     Who oft as undeservedly enthral
     His outward freedom. Tyranny must be,                        95
     Though to the tyrant thereby no excuse.
     Yet sometimes nations will decline so low
     From virtue, which is reason, that no wrong,
     But justice and some fatal curse annexed,
     Deprives them of their outward liberty,                     100
     Their inward lost.'

In the 'Samson Agonistes,' Samson says to the Chorus (vv. 268-276, and
here Milton may be said virtually to speak, as he does throughout the
drama, in _propria personâ_):

     'But what more oft, in nations grown corrupt
      And by their vices brought to servitude,
      Than to love bondage more than liberty,                    270
      Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty;
      And to despise, or envy, or suspect
      Whom God hath of his special favour raised
      As their deliverer? if he aught begin,
      How frequent to desert him, and at last                    275
      To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds?'

In the 'Paradise Regained,' Book ii. 410-486, Satan says to the Saviour:

         'all thy heart is set on high designs,                  410
     High actions; but wherewith to be achieved?
     Great acts require great means of enterprise;
     Thou art unknown, unfriended, low of birth,
     A carpenter thy father known, thyself
     Bred up in poverty and straits at home,                     415
     Lost in a desert here, and hunger-bit.
     Which way, or from what hope, dost thou aspire
     To greatness? whence authority derivest?
     What followers, what retinue canst thou gain?
     Or at thy heels the dizzy multitude,                        420
     Longer than thou canst feed them on thy cost?
     Money brings honour, friends, conquest, and realms.
     What raised Antipater, the Edomite,
     And his son Herod placed on Judah's throne—
     Thy throne—but gold that got him puissant friends?         425
     Therefore, if at great things thou wouldest arrive,
     Get riches first, get wealth, and treasure heap,—
     Not difficult, if thou hearken to me.
     Riches are mine, fortune is in my hand;
     They whom I favour thrive in wealth amain,                  430
     While virtue, valour, wisdom, sit in want.'
     To whom thus Jesus patiently replied:
     'Yet wealth without these three is impotent
     To gain dominion, or to keep it gained;
     Witness those ancient empires of the earth,                 435
     In highth of all their flowing wealth dissolved.
     But men endued with these have oft attained
     In lowest poverty to highest deeds;
     Gideon, and Jephtha, and the shepherd-lad,
     Whose offspring on the throne of Judah sat                  440
     So many ages, and shalt yet regain
     That seat, and reign in Israel without end.
     Among the Heathen—for throughout the world
     To me is not unknown what hath been done
     Worthy of memorial—canst thou not remember                 445
     Quintius, Fabricius, Curius, Regulus?
     For I esteem those names of men so poor,
     Who could do mighty things, and could contemn
     Riches, though offered from the hand of kings.
     And what in me seems wanting, but that I                    450
     May also in this poverty as soon
     Accomplish what they did? perhaps and more.
     Extol not riches then, the toil of fools,
     The wise man's cumbrance, if not snare; more apt
     To slacken Virtue, and abate her edge,                      455
     Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise.
     What, if with like aversion I reject
     Riches and realms! yet not, for that a crown,
     Golden in shew, is but a wreath of thorns,
     Brings dangers, troubles, cares, and sleepless nights,      460
     To him who wears the regal diadem,
     When on his shoulders each man's burden lies;
     For therein stands the office of a king,
     His honour, virtue, merit, and chief praise,
     That for the public all this weight he bears.               465
     Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules
     Passions, desires, and fears, is more a king;
     Which every wise and virtuous man attains:
     And who attains not, ill aspires to rule
     Cities of men, or headstrong multitudes,                    470
     Subject himself to anarchy within,
     Or lawless passions in him, which he serves.
     But to guide nations in the way of truth
     By saving doctrine, and from error lead
     To know, and knowing, worship God aright,                   475
     Is yet more kingly: this attracts the soul,
     Governs the inner man, the nobler part;
     That other o'er the body only reigns,
     And oft by force, which to a generous mind
     So reigning can be no sincere delight.                      480
     Besides, to give a kingdom hath been thought
     Greater and nobler done, and to lay down
     Far more magnanimous, than to assume.
     Riches are needless then, both for themselves,
     And for thy reason why they should be sought,               485
     To gain a sceptre, oftest better missed.'

All this, it may be truly said, is nothing more than the old teaching of
Solomon, 'He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a
city' (Prov. xvi. 32). There has always been truth enough in the world
which, if realized in men's lives, would soon bring about the
millennium. But, unfortunately, it has only been born in their brains.

Great writers owe their power among men, not necessarily so much to a
wide range of ideas or to the originality of their ideas, as to the
vitality which they are able to impart to some one comprehensive
fructifying idea with which, through constitution of mind, or
circumstances, they have become _possessed_. It is only when a man is
really possessed with an idea (that is, if it does not run away with
him), that he can express it with a quickening power, and ring all
possible changes upon it.

The passages quoted sufficiently show the _kind_ of liberty which Milton
estimated above all others, and to the advancement of which he devoted
his best powers, for twenty years, and those years the best, generally,
of a man's life, for intellectual and creative work, namely, from
thirty-two to fifty-two. The last eight of those years he worked in
total darkness, not bating a jot of heart or hope, sustained by the
consciousness of having lost his eyes 'overplied in Liberty's
defence'—'the glorious liberty,' more especially, 'of the children of
God,' 'the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free,' without which,
outward liberty he regarded as a temptation and a snare.

In addition to the absolute merit attaching to his labors in the cause
of liberty, it must not be forgotten that he turned aside with a heroic
self-denial, during all those years of his manhood's prime, from what he
had, from his early years up, felt himself dedicated to, and toward
fitting himself for the accomplishment of which, he had, with an
unflagging ardor, trained and marshalled all his faculties.


_A Masque presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, before the Earl of
Bridgewater, then President of Wales_

Masques, in the reigns of Elizabeth, James I., and Charles I., were
generally written for the entertainment of royalty and nobility. They
were, besides, in most cases, presented by royal and noble persons. In
their setting, they were in strong contrast to the public drama of the
day, got up, as they were, with great magnificence of architecture,
scenery, and 'appareling' (Ben Jonson's word for the apparatus of the
scene), and frequently at an enormous expense. They were generally
offset by grotesque and comic antimasques, which were played by common
actors, dancers, and buffoons, from the public theatres. Shakespeare's
'A Midsummer Night's Dream' was probably not written as a regular drama
for the public stage, but as a masque, on the occasion of some noble
marriage. 'The most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus
and Thisbe' presented by the 'rude mechanicals,' 'hard-handed men,' in
the fifth act, is the antimasque. It offsets the Masque in a special
way. The Masque makes great demands on the imagination in its
presentation of the fairy world; the antimasque is absurdly
realistic—nothing is left by the 'rude mechanicals' to the imagination.

The Masque of 'Comus' is the last notable, if not entirely the last,
composition of the kind in English literature, and the loftiest and
loveliest. It is a glorification of the power of purity and chastity
over the impure and the unchaste; and the poet no doubt meant it as a
reflection upon the license and excesses and revelries (of which Comus
is a personification) of the profligate and extravagant court of the
time, imported from 'Celtic and Iberian fields.' The now obvious
attitude of the composition was perhaps not at all suspected when it was
performed at Ludlow Castle.

There is nothing in the Masque of 'Comus' that is even suggestive of the
antimasque of the earlier masques, unless it be where the Country
Dancers come in before the entrance of the Attendant Spirit with the two
Brothers and the Lady, who catch the dancers at their sport. The
Attendant Spirit addresses them in the song (vv. 958-965):

     'Back, shepherds, back! Enough your play
      Till next sunshine holiday.
      Here be, without duck or nod,
      Other trippings to be trod
      Of lighter toes,' etc.

The subject of 'Comus' was too serious to be offset or parodied in any
way by an antimasque; and, furthermore, Milton was not the man for
anything of the kind. His theme excluded all humor, even if he had had
any to expend upon it. Its seriousness must have been deepened for him
by what he no doubt already felt in regard to the Court and the Church,
that both were corrupt, and that both were leagued in their despotic
tendencies, or rather in their actual despotic characters.

The traditional story that the two sons of the Earl of Bridgewater, the
Lord Brackley and Mr. Thomas Egerton, and their sister, the Lady Alice
Egerton, were lost in Haywood Forest on their way to Ludlow Castle from
Herefordshire, where they had been visiting their relatives, the
Egertons, and that the Lady Alice was for a time separated from her
brothers, they having gone to discover the right path, may have had its
origin in the Masque. This seems more likely than that the Masque had
its origin in the story.

In the talk of the two Brothers in regard to their lost sister, the idea
of the Masque is explicitly presented by the elder Brother. He had said:

     'My sister is not so defenceless left
      As you imagine; she has a hidden strength
      Which you remember not.'

The second Brother replies:

             'What hidden strength,
     Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that?'

And then the elder Brother gives expression, in a long speech, the gem
of the Masque (vv. 418-475), to the power of chastity and purity over
the unchaste and the impure.

In the service of this idea, the poet started, no doubt, with Comus, the
personification of unchaste and impure revelry (κῶμος), and therefrom
constructed his plot, in which a pure maiden is brought within range of
the wiles and temptations of the enchanter. And as the daughter of the
noble family for which the Masque was written was to play the part of
the tempted maiden, in the presentation of the Masque, the incident of
her being temporarily and necessarily left alone by her brothers in the
forest, would be readily suggested to the poet. It afforded him, too, an
opportunity of paying a high compliment to the children of the Earl of

The traditional story may therefore be safely regarded as a figment.

Henry Lawes, the most prominent music teacher of the time, in noble and
wealthy families, and with a high reputation as a musical composer,
furnished the music for the Masque, and took the part of the Attendant
Spirit, first appearing as such, and afterward in the guise of the old
and faithful shepherd Thyrsis. It is not known by whom the parts of
Comus and Sabrina were taken.

Lawes had been one of Milton's musical friends from early boyhood.

Milton addressed the following sonnet to him, which was prefixed to
'Choice Psalmes . . . by Henry and William Lawes, brothers, 1648.' In
Milton's volume of poems published in 1645, Lawes is represented as
'Gentleman of the king's chapel and one of His Majesty's private music.'

_To Mr. H. Lawes, on his Airs_ (1646)

     'Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song
      First taught our English music 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,            5
      With praise enough for envy to look wan;
      To after-age thou shalt be writ the man,
      That with smooth air could humour best our tongue.
      Thou honourest verse, and verse must lend her wing
      To honour thee, the priest of Phœbus' quire,             10
      That tunest their happiest lines in hymn or story.
      Dante shall give fame leave to set thee higher
      Than his Casella, whom he wooed to sing,
      Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.'


     THE ATTENDANT SPIRIT, afterward in the habit of THYRSIS.
     COMUS, with his Crew.
     THE LADY.
     SABRINA, the Nymph.

The Chief Persons which presented were:

     The Lord Brackley;
     Mr. Thomas Egerton, his Brother;
     The Lady Alice Egerton.

_The First Scene discovers a Wild Wood._

_The ATTENDANT SPIRIT descends or enters._

     Before the starry threshold of Jove's court
     My mansion is, where those immortal shapes
     Of bright aerial spirits live insphered
     In regions mild of calm and serene air,
     Above the smoke and stir of this dim spot                     5
     Which men call Earth, and, with low-thoughted care,
     Confined and pestered in this pinfold here,
     Strive to keep up a frail and feverish being,
     Unmindful of the crown that virtue gives,
     After this mortal change, to her true servants,              10
     Amongst the enthronèd Gods on sainted seats.
     Yet some there be that by due steps aspire
     To lay their just hands on that golden key
     That opes the palace of eternity.
     To such my errand is; and, but for such,                     15
     I would not soil these pure ambrosial weeds
     With the rank vapours of this sin-worn mould.
       But to my task. Neptune, besides the sway
     Of every salt flood and each ebbing stream,
     Took in by lot, 'twixt high and nether Jove,                 20
     Imperial rule of all the sea-girt isles
     That, like to rich and various gems, inlay
     The unadornèd bosom of the deep;
     Which he, to grace his tributary gods,
     By course commits to several government,                     25
     And gives them leave to wear their sapphire crowns
     And wield their little tridents. But this Isle,
     The greatest and the best of all the main,
     He quarters to his blue-haired deities;
     And all this tract that fronts the falling sun               30
     A noble Peer of mickle trust and power
     Has in his charge, with tempered awe to guide
     An old and haughty nation proud in arms:
     Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore,
     Are coming to attend their father's state,                   35
     And new-intrusted sceptre. But their way
     Lies through the perplexed paths of this drear wood,
     The nodding horror of whose shady brows
     Threats the forlorn and wandering passenger;
     And here their tender age might suffer peril,                40
     But that, by quick command from sovran Jove,
     I was despatched for their defence and guard.
     And listen why; for I will tell you now
     What never yet was heard in tale or song,
     From old or modern bard, in hall or bower.                   45
       Bacchus, that first from out the purple grape
     Crushed the sweet poison of misusèd wine,
     After the Tuscan mariners transformed,
     Coasting the Tyrrhene shore, as the winds listed,
     On Circe's island fell. (Who knows not Circe,                50
     The daughter of the Sun, whose charmed cup
     Whoever tasted lost his upright shape,
     And downward fell into a grovelling swine?)
     This Nymph, that gazed upon his clustering locks,
     With ivy berries wreathed, and his blithe youth,             55
     Had by him, ere he parted thence, a son
     Much like his father, but his mother more,
     Whom therefore she brought up, and Comus named:
     Who, ripe, and frolic of his full-grown age,
     Roving the Celtic and Iberian fields,                        60
     At last betakes him to this ominous wood,
     And, in thick shelter of black shades imbowered,
     Excels his mother at her mighty art,
     Offering to every weary traveller
     His orient liquor in a crystal glass,                        65
     To quench the drouth of Phœbus; which as they taste
     (For most do taste through fond intemperate thirst),
     Soon as the potion works, their human count'nance,
     The express resemblance of the gods, is changed
     Into some brutish form of wolf or bear,                      70
     Or ounce, or tiger, hog, or bearded goat,
     All other parts remaining as they were.
     And they, so perfect is their misery,
     Not once perceive their foul disfigurement,
     But boast themselves more comely than before,                75
     And all their friends and native home forget,
     To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.
     Therefore, when any favoured of high Jove
     Chances to pass through this adventurous glade,
     Swift as the sparkle of a glancing star                      80
     I shoot from heaven, to give him safe convoy,
     As now I do. But first I must put off
     These my sky robes, spun out of Iris' woof,
     And take the weeds and likeness of a swain
     That to the service of this house belongs,                   85
     Who, with his soft pipe, and smooth-dittied song,
     Well knows to still the wild winds when they roar,
     And hush the waving woods; nor of less faith,
     And in this office of his mountain watch
     Likeliest, and nearest to the present aid                    90
     Of this occasion. But I hear the tread
     Of hateful steps; I must be viewless now.

          _COMUS enters, with a charming rod in one hand, his glass
          in the other; with him a rout of monsters, headed like
          sundry sorts of wild beasts, but otherwise like men and
          women, their apparel glistering. They come in making a
          riotous and unruly noise, with torches in their hands._

     _Comus._ The star that bids the shepherd fold
     Now the top of heaven doth hold;
     And the gilded car of day                                    95
     His glowing axle doth allay
     In the steep Atlantic stream;
     And the slope sun his upward beam
     Shoots against the dusky pole,
     Pacing toward the other goal                                100
     Of his chamber in the east.
     Meanwhile, welcome joy and feast,
     Midnight shout and revelry,
     Tipsy dance and jollity.
     Braid your locks with rosy twine,                           105
     Dropping odours, dropping wine.
     Rigour now is gone to bed;
     And Advice with scrupulous head,
     Strict Age, and sour Severity,
     With their grave saws, in slumber lie.                      110
     We, that are of purer fire,
     Imitate the starry quire,
     Who, in their nightly watchful spheres,
     Lead in swift round the months and years.
     The sounds and seas, with all their finny drove,            115
     Now to the moon in wavering morrice move;
     And on the tawny sands and shelves
     Trip the pert fairies and the dapper elves.
     By dimpled brook and fountain-brim,
     The wood-nymphs, decked with daisies trim,                  120
     Their merry wakes and pastimes keep;
     What hath night to do with sleep?
     Night hath better sweets to prove;
     Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
     Come, let us our rites begin,                               125
     —'Tis only daylight that makes sin—
     Which these dun shades will ne'er report.
     Hail, goddess of nocturnal sport,
     Dark-veiled Cotytto, to whom the secret flame
     Of midnight torches burns! mysterious dame,                 130
     That ne'er art called but when the dragon womb
     Of Stygian darkness spets her thickest gloom,
     And makes one blot of all the air!
     Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
     Wherein thou ridest with Hecat', and befriend               135
     Us thy vowed priests, till utmost end
     Of all thy dues be done, and none left out;
     Ere the blabbing eastern scout,
     The nice Morn on the Indian steep,
     From her cabined loop-hole peep,                            140
     And to the tell-tale Sun descry
     Our concealed solemnity.
     Come, knit hands, and beat the ground
     In a light fantastic round.

          _The Measure._

     Break off, break off! I feel the different pace             145
     Of some chaste footing near about this ground.
     Run to your shrouds within these brakes and trees;
     Our number may affright. Some virgin sure
     (For so I can distinguish by mine art)
     Benighted in these woods! Now to my charms,                 150
     And to my wily trains: I shall ere long
     Be well stocked with as fair a herd as grazed
     About my mother Circe. Thus I hurl
     My dazzling spells into the spungy air,
     Of power to cheat the eye with blear illusion,              155
     And give it false presentments, lest the place
     And my quaint habits breed astonishment,
     And put the damsel to suspicious flight;
     Which must not be, for that's against my course.
     I, under fair pretence of friendly ends,                    160
     And well-placed words of glozing courtesy,
     Baited with reasons not unplausible,
     Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
     And hug him into snares. When once her eye
     Hath met the virtue of this magic dust,                     165
     I shall appear some harmless villager
     Whom thrift keeps up about his country gear.
     But here she comes; I fairly step aside,
     And hearken, if I may her business hear.

          _The LADY enters._

     _Lady._ This way the noise was, if mine ear be true,        170
     My best guide now. Methought it was the sound
     Of riot and ill-managed merriment,
     Such as the jocund flute or gamesome pipe
     Stirs up among the loose unlettered hinds,
     When, for their teeming flocks, and granges full,           175
     In wanton dance they praise the bounteous Pan,
     And thank the gods amiss. I should be loth
     To meet the rudeness and swilled insolence
     Of such late wassailers; yet, oh! where else
     Shall I inform my unacquainted feet                         180
     In the blind mazes of this tangled wood?
     My brothers, when they saw me wearied out
     With this long way, resolving here to lodge
     Under the spreading favour of these pines,
     Stepped, as they said, to the next thicket-side             185
     To bring me berries, or such cooling fruit
     As the kind hospitable woods provide.
     They left me then when the gray-hooded Even,
     Like a sad votarist in palmer's weed,
     Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phœbus' wain.           190
     But where they are, and why they came not back,
     Is now the labour of my thoughts. 'Tis likeliest
     They had engaged their wandering steps too far;
     And envious darkness, ere they could return,
     Had stole them from me. Else, O thievish Night,             195
     Why shouldst thou, but for some felonious end,
     In thy dark lantern thus close up the stars
     That Nature hung in heaven, and filled their lamps
     With everlasting oil to give due light
     To the misled and lonely traveller?                         200
     This is the place, as well as I may guess,
     Whence even now the tumult of loud mirth
     Was rife, and perfect in my listening ear;
     Yet nought but single darkness do I find.
     What might this be? A thousand fantasies                    205
     Begin to throng into my memory,
     Of calling shapes, and beckoning shadows dire,
     And airy tongues that syllable men's names
     On sands and shores and desert wildernesses.
     These thoughts may startle well, but not astound            210
     The virtuous mind, that ever walks attended
     By a strong siding champion, Conscience.
     O, welcome, pure-eyed Faith, white-handed Hope,
     Thou hovering angel girt with golden wings,
     And thou unblemished form of Chastity!                      215
     I see ye visibly, and now believe
     That He, the Supreme Good, to whom all things ill
     Are but as slavish officers of vengeance,
     Would send a glistering guardian, if need were,
     To keep my life and honour unassailed. . . .                220
     Was I deceived, or did a sable cloud
     Turn forth her silver lining on the night?
     I did not err: there does a sable cloud
     Turn forth her silver lining on the night,
     And casts a gleam over this tufted grove.                   225
     I cannot hallo to my brothers, but
     Such noise as I can make to be heard farthest
     I'll venture; for my new enlivened spirits
     Prompt me, and they perhaps are not far off.


          Sweet Echo, sweetest nymph, that liv'st unseen         230
              Within thy airy shell
          By slow Meander's margent green,
          And in the violet-embroidered vale,
              Where the love-lorn nightingale
          Nightly to thee her sad song mourneth well:            235
          Canst thou not tell me of a gentle pair
                That likest thy Narcissus are?
                Oh, if thou have
              Hid them in some flowery cave,
                Tell me but where,                               240
            Sweet Queen of Parley, Daughter of the Sphere!
            So mayst thou be translated to the skies,
          And give resounding grace to all Heaven's harmonies!

     _Comus._ Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
     Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment?                  245
     Sure something holy lodges in that breast,
     And with these raptures moves the vocal air
     To testify his hidden residence.
     How sweetly did they float upon the wings
     Of silence, through the empty-vaulted night,                250
     At every fall smoothing the raven down
     Of darkness till it smiled! I have oft heard
     My mother Circe with the Sirens three,
     Amidst the flowery-kirtled Naiades,
     Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs,               255
     Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul,
     And lap it in Elysium: Scylla wept,
     And chid her barking waves into attention,
     And fell Charybdis murmured soft applause.
     Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense,              260
     And in sweet madness robbed it of itself;
     But such a sacred and home-felt delight,
     Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
     I never heard till now. I'll speak to her,
     And she shall be my queen.—Hail, foreign wonder!           265
     Whom, certain, these rough shades did never breed,
     Unless the goddess that in rural shrine
     Dwell'st here with Pan or Sylvan, by blest song
     Forbidding every bleak unkindly fog
     To touch the prosperous growth of this tall wood.           270

     _Lady._ Nay, gentle shepherd, ill is lost that praise
     That is addressed to unattending ears.
     Not any boast of skill, but extreme shift
     How to regain my severed company,
     Compelled me to awake the courteous Echo                    275
     To give me answer from her mossy couch.

     _Comus._ What chance, good Lady, hath bereft you thus?

     _Lady._ Dim darkness and this leavy labyrinth.

     _Comus._ Could that divide you from near-ushering guides?

     _Lady._ They left me weary on a grassy turf.                280

     _Comus._ By falsehood, or discourtesy, or why?

     _Lady._ To seek i' the valley some cool friendly spring.

     _Comus._ And left your fair side all unguarded, Lady?

     _Lady._ They were but twain, and purposed quick return.

     _Comus._ Perhaps forestalling night prevented them.         285

     _Lady._ How easy my misfortune is to hit!

     _Comus._ Imports their loss, beside the present need?

     _Lady._ No less than if I should my brothers lose.

     _Comus._ Were they of manly prime, or youthful bloom?

     _Lady._ As smooth as Hebe's their unrazored lips.           290

     _Comus._ Two such I saw, what time the laboured ox
     In his loose traces from the furrow came,
     And the swinked hedger at his supper sat.
     I saw them under a green mantling vine,
     That crawls along the side of yon small hill,               295
     Plucking ripe clusters from the tender shoots;
     Their port was more than human, as they stood.
     I took it for a faery vision
     Of some gay creatures of the element,
     That in the colours of the rainbow live,                    300
     And play i' the plighted clouds. I was awe-strook,
     And, as I passed, I worshipped. If those you seek,
     It were a journey like the path to Heaven
     To help you find them.

     _Lady._                Gentle villager,
     What readiest way would bring me to that place?             305

     _Comus._ Due west it rises from this shrubby point.

     _Lady._ To find out that, good shepherd, I suppose,
     In such a scant allowance of star-light,
     Would overtask the best land-pilot's art,
     Without the sure guess of well-practised feet.              310

     _Comus._ I know each lane, and every alley green,
     Dingle, or bushy dell, of this wild wood,
     And every bosky bourn from side to side,
     My daily walks and ancient neighbourhood;
     And, if your stray attendance be yet lodged,                315
     Or shroud within these limits, I shall know
     Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark
     From her thatched pallet rouse. If otherwise,
     I can conduct you, Lady, to a low
     But loyal cottage, where you may be safe                    320
     Till further quest.

     _Lady._             Shepherd, I take thy word,
     And trust thy honest-offered courtesy;
     Which oft is sooner found in lowly sheds,
     With smoky rafters, than in tapestry halls
     And courts of princes, where it first was named,            325
     And yet is most pretended. In a place
     Less warranted than this, or less secure,
     It cannot be, that I should fear to change it.
     Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
     To my proportioned strength! Shepherd, lead on.             330

          _Enter the TWO BROTHERS._

     _Eld. Bro._ Unmuffle, ye faint stars; and thou, fair moon,
     That wont'st to love the traveller's benison,
     Stoop thy pale visage through an amber cloud,
     And disinherit Chaos, that reigns here
     In double night of darkness and of shades;                  335
     Or, if your influence be quite dammed up
     With black usurping mists, some gentle taper,
     Though a rush-candle from the wicker hole
     Of some clay habitation, visit us
     With thy long-levelled rule of streaming light,             340
     And thou shalt be our Star of Arcady,
     Or Tyrian Cynosure.

     _Sec. Bro._         Or, if our eyes
     Be barred that happiness, might we but hear
     The folded flocks, penned in their wattled cotes,
     Or sound of pastoral reed with oaken stops,                 345
     Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
     Count the night-watches to his feathery dames,
     'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering,
     In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
     But, oh, that hapless virgin, our lost sister!              350
     Where may she wander now, whither betake her
     From the chill dew, amongst rude burs and thistles?
     Perhaps some cold bank is her bolster now,
     Or 'gainst the rugged bark of some broad elm
     Leans her unpillowed head, fraught with sad fears.          355
     What if in wild amazement and affright,
     Or, while we speak, within the direful grasp
     Of savage hunger, or of savage heat!

     _Eld. Bro._ Peace, brother: be not over-exquisite
     To cast the fashion of uncertain evils;                     360
     For, grant they be so, while they rest unknown,
     What need a man forestall his date of grief,
     And run to meet what he would most avoid?
     Or, if they be but false alarms of fear,
     How bitter is such self-delusion!                           365
     I do not think my sister so to seek,
     Or so unprincipled in virtue's book,
     And the sweet peace that goodness bosoms ever,
     As that the single want of light and noise
     (Not being in danger, as I trust she is not)                370
     Could stir the constant mood of her calm thoughts,
     And put them into misbecoming plight.
     Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
     By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
     Were in the flat sea sunk. And Wisdom's self                375
     Oft seeks to sweet retirèd solitude,
     Where, with her best nurse, Contemplation,
     She plumes her feathers, and lets grow her wings,
     That, in the various bustle of resort,
     Were all to-ruffled, and sometimes impaired.                380
     He that has light within his own clear breast,
     May sit i' the centre, and enjoy bright day:
     But he that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts
     Benighted walks under the mid-day sun;
     Himself is his own dungeon.

     _Sec. Bro._                 'Tis most true                  385
     That musing meditation most affects
     The pensive secrecy of desert-cell,
     Far from the cheerful haunt of men and herds,
     And sits as safe as in a senate-house;
     For who would rob a hermit of his weeds,                    390
     His few books, or his beads, or maple dish,
     Or do his grey hairs any violence?
     But Beauty, like the fair Hesperian tree
     Laden with blooming gold, had need the guard
     Of dragon-watch with unenchanted eye,                       395
     To save her blossoms, and defend her fruit,
     From the rash hand of bold Incontinence.
     You may as well spread out the unsunned heaps
     Of miser's treasure by an outlaw's den,
     And tell me it is safe, as bid me hope                      400
     Danger will wink on Opportunity,
     And let a single helpless maiden pass
     Uninjured in this wild surrounding waste.
     Of night or loneliness it recks me not;
     I fear the dread events that dog them both,                 405
     Lest some ill-greeting touch attempt the person
     Of our unownèd sister.

     _Eld. Bro._            I do not, brother,
     Infer as if I thought my sister's state
     Secure without all doubt or controversy;
     Yet, where an equal poise of hope and fear                  410
     Does arbitrate the event, my nature is
     That I incline to hope rather than fear,
     And gladly banish squint suspicion.
     My sister is not so defenceless left
     As you imagine; she has a hidden strength,                  415
     Which you remember not.

     _Sec. Bro._             What hidden strength,
     Unless the strength of Heaven, if you mean that?

     _Eld. Bro._ I mean that too, but yet a hidden strength,
     Which, if Heaven gave it, may be termed her own.
     'Tis chastity, my brother, chastity;                        420
     She that has that, is clad in complete steel,
     And, like a quivered nymph with arrows keen,
     May trace huge forests, and unharboured heaths,
     Infámous hills, and sandy perilous wilds;
     Where, through the sacred rays of chastity,                 425
     No savage fierce, bandite, or mountaineer,
     Will dare to soil her virgin purity.
     Yea, there where very desolation dwells,
     By grots and caverns shagged with horrid shades,
     She may pass on with unblenched majesty,                    430
     Be it not done in pride, or in presumption.
     Some say no evil thing that walks by night,
     In fog or fire, by lake or moorish fen,
     Blue meagre hag, or stubborn unlaid ghost,
     That breaks his magic chains at curfew time,                435
     No goblin or swart faery of the mine,
     Hath hurtful power o'er true virginity.
     Do ye believe me yet, or shall I call
     Antiquity from the old schools of Greece
     To testify the arms of chastity?                            440
     Hence had the huntress Dian her dread bow,
     Fair silver-shafted queen for ever chaste,
     Wherewith she tamed the brinded lioness
     And spotted mountain-pard, but set at nought
     The frivolous bolt of Cupid; gods and men                   445
     Feared her stern frown, and she was queen o' the woods.
     What was that snaky-headed Gorgon shield
     That wise Minerva wore, unconquered virgin,
     Wherewith she freezed her foes to congealed stone,
     But rigid looks of chaste austerity,                        450
     And noble grace that dashed brute violence
     With sudden adoration and blank awe?
     So dear to Heaven is saintly chastity
     That, when a soul is found sincerely so,
     A thousand liveried angels lackey her,                      455
     Driving far off each thing of sin and guilt,
     And in clear dream and solemn vision
     Tell her of things that no gross ear can hear;
     Till oft converse with heavenly habitants
     Begin to cast a beam on the outward shape,                  460
     The unpolluted temple of the mind,
     And turns it by degrees to the soul's essence,
     Till all be made immortal. But, when lust,
     By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
     But most by lewd and lavish act of sin,                     465
     Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
     The soul grows clotted by contagion,
     Imbodies, and imbrutes, till she quite lose
     The divine property of her first being.
     Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp                470
     Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres,
     Lingering and sitting by a new-made grave,
     As loth to leave the body that it loved,
     And linked itself by carnal sensuality
     To a degenerate and degraded state.                         475

     _Sec. Bro._ How charming is divine Philosophy!
     Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
     But musical as is Apollo's lute,
     And a perpetual feast of nectared sweets,
     Where no crude surfeit reigns.

     _Eld. Bro._                    List! list! I hear           480
     Some far-off hallo break the silent air.

     _Sec. Bro._ Methought so too; what should it be?

     _Eld. Bro._                                      For certain,
     Either some one, like us, night-foundered here,
     Or else some neighbour woodman, or, at worst,
     Some roving robber calling to his fellows.                  485

     _Sec. Bro._ Heaven keep my sister! Again, again, and near!
     Best draw, and stand upon our guard.

     _Eld. Bro._                          I'll hallo.
     If he be friendly, he comes well: if not,
     Defence is a good cause, and Heaven be for us!

          _Enter the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, habited like a shepherd._

     That hallo I should know. What are you? Speak!              490
     Come not too near; you fall on iron stakes else.

     _Spir._ What voice is that? my young Lord? speak again.

     _Sec. Bro._ O brother, 'tis my father's shepherd, sure.

     _Eld. Bro._ Thyrsis! whose artful strains have oft delayed
     The huddling brook to hear his madrigal,                    495
     And sweetened every musk-rose of the dale.
     How camest thou here, good swain? hath any ram
     Slipped from the fold, or young kid lost his dam,
     Or straggling wether the pent flock forsook?
     How couldst thou find this dark sequestered nook?           500

     _Spir._ O my loved master's heir, and his next joy,
     I came not here on such a trivial toy
     As a strayed ewe, or to pursue the stealth
     Of pilfering wolf; not all the fleecy wealth
     That doth enrich these downs is worth a thought             505
     To this my errand, and the care it brought.
     But, oh! my virgin Lady, where is she?
     How chance she is not in your company?

     _Eld. Bro._ To tell thee sadly, Shepherd, without blame
     Or our neglect, we lost her as we came.                     510

     _Spir._ Ay me unhappy! then my fears are true.

     _Eld. Bro._ What fears, good Thyrsis? Prithee briefly shew.

     _Spir._ I'll tell ye. 'Tis not vain or fabulous
     (Though so esteemed by shallow ignorance)
     What the sage poets, taught by the heavenly Muse,           515
     Storied of old in high immortal verse,
     Of dire Chimeras and enchanted isles,
     And rifted rocks whose entrance leads to Hell;
     For such there be, but unbelief is blind.
       Within the navel of this hideous wood,                    520
     Immured in cypress shades, a sorcerer dwells,
     Of Bacchus and of Circe born, great Comus,
     Deep skilled in all his mother's witcheries,
     And here to every thirsty wanderer
     By sly enticement gives his baneful cup,                    525
     With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison
     The visage quite transforms of him that drinks,
     And the inglorious likeness of a beast
     Fixes instead, unmoulding reason's mintage
     Charáctered in the face. This have I learnt                 530
     Tending my flocks hard by i' the hilly crofts
     That brow this bottom-glade; whence, night by night,
     He and his monstrous rout are heard to howl
     Like stabled wolves, or tigers at their prey,
     Doing abhorrèd rites to Hecate                              535
     In their obscurèd haunts of inmost bowers.
     Yet have they many baits and guileful spells
     To inveigle and invite the unwary sense
     Of them that pass unweeting by the way.
     This evening late, by then the chewing flocks               540
     Had ta'en their supper on the savoury herb
     Of knot-grass dew-besprent, and were in fold,
     I sat me down to watch upon a bank
     With ivy canopied, and interwove
     With flaunting honey-suckle, and began,                     545
     Wrapt in a pleasing fit of melancholy,
     To meditate my rural minstrelsy,
     Till fancy had her fill. But ere a close,
     The wonted roar was up amidst the woods,
     And filled the air with barbarous dissonance;               550
     At which I ceased, and listened them a while,
     Till an unusual stop of sudden silence
     Gave respite to the drowsy-flighted steeds
     That draw the litter of close-curtained Sleep.
     At last a soft and solemn-breathing sound                   555
     Rose like a steam of rich distilled perfumes,
     And stole upon the air, that even Silence
     Was took ere she was ware, and wished she might
     Deny her nature, and be never more,
     Still to be so displaced. I was all ear,                    560
     And took in strains that might create a soul
     Under the ribs of Death. But, oh! ere long
     Too well I did perceive it was the voice
     Of my most honoured Lady, your dear sister.
     Amazed I stood, harrowed with grief and fear;               565
     And "O poor hapless nightingale," thought I,
     "How sweet thou sing'st, how near the deadly snare!"
     Then down the lawns I ran with headlong haste,
     Through paths and turnings often trod by day,
     Till, guided by mine ear, I found the place                 570
     Where that damned wizard, hid in sly disguise
     (For so by certain signs I knew), had met
     Already, ere my best speed could prevent,
     The aidless innocent lady, his wished prey,
     Who gently asked if he had seen such two,                   575
     Supposing him some neighbour villager.
     Longer I durst not stay, but soon I guessed
     Ye were the two she meant; with that I sprung
     Into swift flight, till I had found you here,
     But further know I not.

     _Sec. Bro._             O night and shades,                 580
     How are ye joined with Hell in triple knot
     Against the unarmed weakness of one virgin,
     Alone and helpless! Is this the confidence
     You gave me, brother?

     _Eld. Bro._           Yes, and keep it still;
     Lean on it safely; not a period                             585
     Shall be unsaid for me. Against the threats
     Of malice or of sorcery, or that power
     Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm:
     Virtue may be assailed, but never hurt,
     Surprised by unjust force, but not enthralled;              590
     Yea, even that which Mischief meant most harm
     Shall in the happy trial prove most glory.
     But evil on itself shall back recoil,
     And mix no more with goodness, when at last,
     Gathered like scum, and settled to itself,                  595
     It shall be in eternal restless change
     Self-fed, and self-consumed. If this fail,
     The pillared firmament is rottenness,
     And earth's base built on stubble. But come, let's on!
     Against the opposing will and arm of Heaven                 600
     May never this just sword be lifted up;
     But for that damned magician, let him be girt
     With all the grisly legiöns that troop
     Under the sooty flag of Acheron,
     Harpies and Hydras, or all the monstrous forms              605
     'Twixt Africa and Ind, I'll find him out,
     And force him to return his purchase back,
     Or drag him by the curls to a foul death,
     Cursed as his life.

     _Spir._             Alas! good venturous youth,
     I love thy courage yet, and bold emprise;                   610
     But here thy sword can do thee little stead.
     Far other arms and other weapons must
     Be those that quell the might of hellish charms.
     He with his bare wand can unthread thy joints,
     And crumble all thy sinews.

     _Eld. Bro._                 Why, prithee, Shepherd,         615
     How durst thou then thyself approach so near
     As to make this relation?

     _Spir._                   Care and utmost shifts
     How to secure the Lady from surprisal
     Brought to my mind a certain shepherd-lad,
     Of small regard to see to, yet well skilled                 620
     In every virtuous plant and healing herb
     That spreads her verdant leaf to the morning ray.
     He loved me well, and oft would beg me sing;
     Which when I did, he on the tender grass
     Would sit, and hearken e'en to ecstasy,                     625
     And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
     And show me simples of a thousand names,
     Telling their strange and vigorous faculties.
     Amongst the rest a small unsightly root,
     But of divine effect, he culled me out.                     630
     The leaf was darkish, and had prickles on it,
     But in another country, as he said,
     Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil,
     Unknown, and like esteemed, and the dull swain
     Treads on it daily with his clouted shoon;                  635
     And yet more med'cinal is it than that Moly
     That Hermes once to wise Ulysses gave.
     He called it Hæmony, and gave it me,
     And bade me keep it as of sovereign use
     'Gainst all enchantments, mildew blast or damp,             640
     Or ghastly Furies' apparitiön.
     I pursed it up, but little reckoning made,
     Till now that this extremity compelled.
     But now I find it true; for by this means
     I knew the foul enchanter, though disguised,                645
     Entered the very lime-twigs of his spells,
     And yet came off. If you have this about you
     (As I will give you when we go), you may
     Boldly assault the necromancer's hall;
     Where if he be, with dauntless hardihood                    650
     And brandished blade rush on him, break his glass,
     And shed the luscious liquor on the ground;
     But seize his wand. Though he and his curst crew
     Fierce sign of battle make, and menace high,
     Or, like the sons of Vulcan, vomit smoke,                   655
     Yet will they soon retire, if he but shrink.

     _Eld. Bro._ Thyrsis, lead on apace; I'll follow thee;
     And some good angel bear a shield before us!

          _The Scene changes to a stately palace, set out with all
          manner of deliciousness: soft music, tables spread with
          all dainties. COMUS appears with his rabble, and the LADY
          set in an enchanted chair, to whom he offers his glass,
          which she puts by, and goes about to rise._

     _Comus._ Nay, Lady, sit. If I but wave this wand,
     Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,                660
     And you a statue, or as Daphne was,
     Root-bound, that fled Apollo.

     _Lady._                       Fool, do not boast.
     Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind
     With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
     Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good.               665

     _Comus._ Why are you vext, Lady? why do you frown?
     Here dwell no frowns, nor anger; from these gates
     Sorrow flies far. See, here be all the pleasures
     That fancy can beget on youthful thoughts,
     When the fresh blood grows lively, and returns              670
     Brisk as the April buds in primrose season.
     And first behold this cordial julep here,
     That flames and dances in his crystal bounds,
     With spirits of balm and fragrant syrups mixed.
     Not that Nepenthes, which the wife of Thone                 675
     In Egypt gave to Jove-born Helena,
     Is of such power to stir up joy as this,
     To life so friendly, or so cool to thirst.
     Why should you be so cruel to yourself,
     And to those dainty limbs which Nature lent                 680
     For gentle usage and soft delicacy?
     But you invert the covenants of her trust,
     And harshly deal, like an ill borrower,
     With that which you received on other terms,
     Scorning the unexempt conditiön                             685
     By which all mortal frailty must subsist,
     Refreshment after toil, ease after pain,
     That have been tired all day without repast,
     And timely rest have wanted. But, fair virgin,
     This will restore all soon.

     _Lady._                     'Twill not, false traitor!      690
     'Twill not restore the truth and honesty
     That thou hast banished from thy tongue with lies.
     Was this the cottage and the safe abode
     Thou told'st me of? What grim aspects are these,
     These oughly-headed monsters? Mercy guard me!               695
     Hence with thy brewed enchantments, foul deceiver!
     Hast thou betrayed my credulous innocence
     With vizored falsehood and base forgery?
     And wouldst thou seek again to trap me here
     With liquorish baits, fit to ensnare a brute?               700
     Were it a draught for Juno when she banquets,
     I would not taste thy treasonous offer. None
     But such as are good men can give good things;
     And that which is not good is not delicious
     To a well-governed and wise appetite.                       705

     _Comus._ O foolishness of men! that lend their ears
     To those budge doctors of the Stoic fur,
     And fetch their precepts from the Cynic tub,
     Praising the lean and sallow Abstinence!
     Wherefore did Nature pour her bounties forth                710
     With such a full and unwithdrawing hand,
     Covering the earth with odours, fruits, and flocks,
     Thronging the seas with spawn innumerable,
     But all to please and sate the curious taste?
     And set to work millions of spinning worms,                 715
     That in their green shops weave the smooth-haired silk,
     To deck her sons; and that no corner might
     Be vacant of her plenty, in her own loins
     She hutched the all-worshiped ore and precious gems,
     To store her children with. If all the world                720
     Should, in a pet of temperance, feed on pulse,
     Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,
     The All-giver would be unthanked, would be unpraised,
     Not half his riches known, and yet despised;
     And we should serve him as a grudging master,               725
     As a penurious niggard of his wealth,
     And live like Nature's bastards, not her sons,
     Who would be quite surcharged with her own weight,
     And strangled with her waste fertility;
     The earth cumbered, and the winged air darked with plumes,  730
     The herds would over-multitude their lords;
     The sea o'erfraught would swell, and the unsought diamonds
     Would so emblaze the forehead of the deep,
     And so bestud with stars, that they below
     Would grow inured to light, and come at last                735
     To gaze upon the sun with shameless brows.
     List, Lady; be not coy, and be not cozened
     With that same vaunted name, Virginity.
     Beauty is Nature's coin; must not be hoarded,
     But must be current; and the good thereof                   740
     Consists in mutual and partaken bliss,
     Unsavoury in the enjoyment of itself.
     If you let slip time, like a neglected rose
     It withers on the stalk with languished head.
     Beauty is Nature's brag, and must be shown                  745
     In courts, at feasts, and high solemnities,
     Where most may wonder at the workmanship.
     It is for homely features to keep home;
     They had their name thence; coarse complexions
     And cheeks of sorry grain will serve to ply                 750
     The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool.
     What need a vermeil-tinctured lip for that,
     Love-darting eyes, or tresses like the morn?
     There was another meaning in these gifts;
     Think what, and be advised; you are but young yet.          755

     _Lady._ I had not thought to have unlocked my lips
     In this unhallowed air, but that this juggler
     Would think to charm my judgment, as mine eyes,
     Obtruding false rules pranked in reason's garb.
     I hate when vice can bolt her arguments,                    760
     And virtue has no tongue to check her pride.
     Impostor! do not charge most innocent Nature,
     As if she would her children should be riotous
     With her abundance. She, good cateress,
     Means her provision only to the good,                       765
     That live according to her sober laws,
     And holy dictate of spare Temperance.
     If every just man, that now pines with want,
     Had but a moderate and beseeming share
     Of that which lewdly-pampered Luxury                        770
     Now heaps upon some few with vast excess,
     Nature's full blessings would be well dispensed
     In unsuperfluous even proportiön,
     And she no whit encumbered with her store;
     And then the Giver would be better thanked,                 775
     His praise due paid: for swinish Gluttony
     Ne'er looks to Heaven amidst his gorgeous feast,
     But with besotted base ingratitude
     Crams, and blasphemes his Feeder. Shall I go on?
     Or have I said enow? To him that dares                      780
     Arm his profane tongue with contemptuous words
     Against the sun-clad power of Chastity,
     Fain would I something say;—yet to what end?
     Thou hast nor ear, nor soul, to apprehend
     The sublime notion and high mystery                         785
     That must be uttered to unfold the sage
     And serious doctrine of Virginity;
     And thou art worthy that thou shouldst not know
     More happiness than this thy present lot.
     Enjoy your dear wit, and gay rhetoric,                      790
     That hath so well been taught her dazzling fence;
     Thou art not fit to hear thyself convinced.
     Yet should I try, the uncontrollèd worth
     Of this pure cause would kindle my rapt spirits
     To such a flame of sacred vehemence,                        795
     That dumb things would be moved to sympathize,
     And the brute Earth would lend her nerves, and shake,
     Till all thy magic structures, reared so high,
     Were shattered into heaps o'er thy false head.

     _Comus._ She fables not. I feel that I do fear              800
     Her words set off by some superior power;
     And, though not mortal, yet a cold shuddering dew
     Dips me all o'er, as when the wrath of Jove
     Speaks thunder and the chains of Erebus
     To some of Saturn's crew. I must dissemble,                 805
     And try her yet more strongly.—Come, no more!
     This is mere moral babble, and direct
     Against the canon-laws of our foundation.
     I must not suffer this; yet 'tis but the lees
     And settlings of a melancholy blood.                        810
     But this will cure all straight; one sip of this
     Will bathe the drooping spirits in delight
     Beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise, and taste.

         _The BROTHERS rush in with swords drawn, wrest his glass
         out of his hand, and break it against the ground; his rout
         make sign of resistance, but are all driven in. The
         ATTENDANT SPIRIT comes in._

     _Spir._ What! have you let the false enchanter scape?
     Oh, ye mistook; ye should have snatched his wand,           815
     And bound him fast. Without his rod reversed,
     And backward mutters of dissevering power,
     We cannot free the Lady that sits here
     In stony fetters fixed, and motionless.
     Yet stay: be not disturbed; now I bethink me,               820
     Some other means I have which may be used,
     Which once of Melibœus old I learnt,
     The soothest shepherd that e'er piped on plains.
       There is a gentle nymph not far from hence,
     That with moist curb sways the smooth Severn stream:        825
     Sabrina is her name: a virgin pure;
     Whilom she was the daughter of Locrine,
     That had the sceptre from his father Brute.
     She, guiltless damsel, flying the mad pursuit
     Of her enragèd stepdame, Guendolen,                         830
     Commended her fair innocence to the flood,
     That stayed her flight with his cross-flowing course.
     The water-nymphs, that in the bottom played,
     Held up their pearlèd wrists, and took her in,
     Bearing her straight to aged Nereus' hall;                  835
     Who, piteous of her woes, reared her lank head,
     And gave her to his daughters to imbathe
     In nectared lavers strewed with asphodil,
     And through the porch and inlet of each sense
     Dropt in ambrosial oils, till she revived,                  840
     And underwent a quick immortal change,
     Made Goddess of the river. Still she retains
     Her maiden gentleness, and oft at eve
     Visits the herds along the twilight meadows,
     Helping all urchin blasts, and ill-luck signs               845
     That the shrewd meddling elf delights to make,
     Which she with precious vialed liquors heals;
     For which the shepherds at their festivals
     Carol her goodness loud in rustic lays,
     And throw sweet garland wreaths into her stream             850
     Of pansies, pinks, and gaudy daffodils.
     And, as the old swain said, she can unlock
     The clasping charm, and thaw the numbing spell,
     If she be right invoked in warbled song;
     For maidenhood she loves, and will be swift                 855
     To aid a virgin, such as was herself,
     In hard-besetting need. This will I try,
     And add the power of some adjuring verse.


          Sabrina fair,
            Listen where thou art sitting                        860
          Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
            In twisted braids of lilies knitting
          The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair;
            Listen for dear honour's sake,
            Goddess of the silver lake,                          865
                Listen and save!

     Listen and appear to us,
     In name of great Oceanus.
     By the earth-shaking Neptune's mace,
     And Tethy's grave majestic pace;                            870
     By hoary Nereus' wrinkled look,
     And the Carpathian wizard's hook;
     By scaly Triton's winding shell,
     And old soothsaying Glaucus' spell;
     By Leucothea's lovely hands,                                875
     And her son that rules the strands;
     By Thetis' tinsel-slippered feet,
     And the songs of Sirens sweet;
     By dead Parthenope's dear tomb,
     And fair Ligea's golden comb,                               880
     Wherewith she sits on diamond rocks,
     Sleeking her soft alluring locks;
     By all the nymphs that nightly dance
     Upon thy streams with wily glance;
     Rise, rise, and heave thy rosy head                         885
     From thy coral-paven bed,
     And bridle in thy headlong wave,
     Till thou our summons answered have.
                         Listen and save!

          _SABRINA rises, attended by water-nymphs, and sings._

     By the rushy-fringèd bank,                                  890
     Where grows the willow and the osier dank,
       My sliding chariot stays,
     Thick set with agate, and the azurn sheen
     Of turkis blue, and emerald green,
       That in the channel strays;                               895
     Whilst, from off the waters fleet,
     Thus I set my printless feet
     O'er the cowslip's velvet head,
       That bends not as I tread.
     Gentle swain, at thy request                                900
       I am here!

     _Spir._ Goddess dear,
     We implore thy powerful hand
     To undo the charmèd band
     Of true virgin here distrest                                905
     Through the force and through the wile
     Of unblest enchanter vile.

     _Sabr._ Shepherd, 'tis my office blest
     To help ensnarèd chastity.
     Brightest Lady, look on me.                                 910
     Thus I sprinkle on thy breast
     Drops that from my fountain pure
     I have kept of precious cure;
     Thrice upon thy finger's tip,
     Thrice upon thy rubied lip;                                 915
     Next this marble venomed seat,
     Smeared with gums of glutinous heat,
     I touch with chaste palms moist and cold.
     Now the spell hath lost his hold;
     And I must haste ere morning hour                           920
     To wait in Amphitrite's bower.

          _SABRINA descends, and the LADY rises out of her seat._

     _Spir._ Virgin, daughter of Locrine,
     Sprung of old Anchises' line,
     May thy brimmèd waves for this
     Their full tribute never miss                               925
     From a thousand petty rills,
     That tumble down the snowy hills;
     Summer drouth, or singèd air
     Never scorch thy tresses fair,
     Nor wet October's torrent flood                             930
     Thy molten crystal fill with mud;
     May thy billows roll ashore
     The beryl, and the golden ore;
     May thy lofty head be crowned
     With many a tower and terrace round,                        935
     And here and there thy banks upon
     With groves of myrrh and cinnamon.
       Come, Lady; while Heaven lends us grace,
     Let us fly this cursed place,
     Lest the sorcerer us entice                                 940
     With some other new device.
     Not a waste or needless sound,
     Till we come to holier ground.
     I shall be your faithful guide
     Through this gloomy covert wide;                            945
     And not many furlongs thence
     Is your Father's residence,
     Where this night are met in state
     Many a friend to gratulate
     His wished presence, and beside                             950
     All the swains that there abide
     With jigs, and rural dance resort.
     We shall catch them at their sport,
     And our sudden coming there
     Will double all their mirth and cheer.                      955
     Come, let us haste; the stars grow high,
     But Night sits monarch yet in the mid-sky.

          _The Scene changes, presenting Ludlow town and the
          President's castle; then come in country dancers; after
          them the ATTENDANT SPIRIT, with the TWO BROTHERS and the


     _Spir._ Back, shepherds, back! enough your play,
     Till next sunshine holiday.
     Here be, without duck or nod,                               960
     Other trippings to be trod
     Of lighter toes, and such court-guise
     As Mercury did first devise
     With the mincing Dryades
     On the lawns and on the leas.                               965

          _This second Song presents them to their Father and

     Noble Lord, and Lady bright,
     I have brought ye new delight.
     Here behold so goodly grown
     Three fair branches of your own.
     Heaven hath timely tried their youth,                       970
     Their faith, their patience, and their truth,
     And sent them here through hard assays
     With a crown of deathless praise,
     To triumph in victorious dance
     O'er sensual folly and intemperance.                        975

          _The dances ended, the SPIRIT epiloguizes._

     _Spir._ To the ocean now I fly,
     And those happy climes that lie
     Where day never shuts his eye,
     Up in the broad fields of the sky.
     There I suck the liquid air,                                980
     All amidst the gardens fair
     Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
     That sing about the golden tree.
     Along the crispèd shades and bowers
     Revels the spruce and jocund Spring;                        985
     The Graces and the rosy-bosomed Hours
     Thither all their bounties bring.
     There eternal Summer dwells,
     And west-winds with musky wing
     About the cedarn alleys fling                               990
     Nard and cassia's balmy smells.
     Iris there with humid bow
     Waters the odorous banks, that blow
     Flowers of more mingled hue
     Than her purfled scarf can shew,                            995
     And drenches with Elysian dew
     (List, mortals, if your ears be true)
     Beds of hyacinth and roses,
     Where young Adonis oft reposes,
     Waxing well of his deep wound,                             1000
     In slumber soft, and on the ground
     Sadly sits the Assyrian queen.
     But far above, in spangled sheen,
     Celestial Cupid, her famed son, advanced
     Holds his dear Psyche, sweet entranced                     1005
     After her wandering labours long,
     Till free consent the gods among
     Make her his eternal bride,
     And from her fair unspotted side
     Two blissful twins are to be born,                         1010
     Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.

       But now my task is smoothly done,
     I can fly, or I can run
     Quickly to the green earth's end,
     Where the bowed welkin slow doth bend,                     1015
     And from thence can soar as soon
     To the corners of the moon.

       Mortals, that would follow me,
     Love Virtue; she alone is free.
     She can teach ye how to climb                              1020
     Higher than the sphery chime;
     Or, if Virtue feeble were,
     Heaven itself would stoop to her.


The poem of Lycidas was occasioned by the death of Milton's College
friend, Edward King, son of Sir John King, Knight, Privy Councillor for
Ireland, and Secretary to the Irish Government. King was admitted on the
9th of June, 1626, at the age of fourteen, to Christ's College,
Cambridge, about sixteen months after Milton's admission. Milton left
College after receiving his Master's degree in July, 1632; so that at
this date, he and King had been at College together about six years.
King was made a Fellow of his College in June, 1630, in conformity with
a royal mandate, secured, it may have been, through Sir John's influence
at court, due to his official position. He had also been Privy
Councillor for the Kingdom of Ireland, to their majesties, Elizabeth and

Milton's claim, as a scholar, to the Fellowship must have been far
superior to King's, and he was ahead of him in his College course. But
Fellowships went a good deal by political and ecclesiastical influence;
and, furthermore, it is not likely that Milton would have accepted a
Fellowship at the time, if it had been offered to him, involving, as it
did, the taking of orders, against which Milton's mind must already at
that time have been decided, though he had been sent to the University
with the Church in view.

King received his Master's degree in July, 1633, and continued his
connection with the College as fellow, tutor, and, in 1634-35, as
'prælector.' He was noted for his amiability and purity of character and
genuine piety; and Milton was probably drawn to him more by these
qualities than by his intellectual and poetical abilities. He left
numerous Latin compositions (published in various collections), which,
according to Masson, have no remarkable poetical merit. But their
subjects, all, with one exception, royal occasions, did not afford
opportunities for the display of poetic genius,—the birth of the
Princess Mary, the king's recovery from the smallpox, the king's safe
return from Scotland, July, 1633, commendatory iambics prefixed to a
Latin comedy, _Senile Odium_, performed in Queen's College, the birth of
Prince James, Duke of York, the birth of the Princess Elizabeth, and the
birth of the Princess Anne.

King was preparing himself for the Church; and it may be inferred from
Milton's poem that he regarded him as worthy, in an eminent degree, to
discharge the responsible duties of a Christian minister.

In the Long Vacation of 1637, King set out to visit his family and
friends in Ireland. He embarked at Chester for Dublin. When but a short
distance from the Welsh coast, the weather being at the time, as appears
from Milton's poem, perfectly calm, the ship (it is alluded to as a
'fatal and perfidious bark') struck on a rock and soon went down, only a
few of the passengers being rescued.

A volume of 'In Memoriam' poems, by members of different Colleges of the
University, and others, twenty in Latin, three in Greek, and thirteen in
English, was printed at the University Press and published early in the
following year (1638). The Latin and Greek part of the volume bore the
title, 'Justa Edovardo King naufrago, ab amicis mœrentibus, amoris et
μνείας χάριν. _Si recte calculum ponas, ubique naufragium est._
Petron. Arb. Cantabrigiæ, apud Thomam Buck et Rogerum Daniel, celeberrimæ
Academiæ typographos. 1638.'

The English part bore the title, 'Obsequies to the memorie of Mr. Edward
King, Anno Dom. 1638. Printed by Th. Buck and R. Daniel, printers to
the Vniversitie of Cambridge, 1638.'

Prefixed to the volume is a brief Latin inscriptive panegyric, in which
King's last moments are described: 'haud procul a littore Britannico,
navi in scopulum allisa et rimis ex ictu fatiscente, dum alii vectores
vitæ mortalis frustra satagerent, immortalem anhelans in genu provolutus
oransque una cum navigio ab aquis absorptus, animam deo reddidit iiii
eid. Sextilis anno Salutis MDCXXXVII, Ætatis xxv.'

The extracts given by Masson, from the English poems, have no poetic
merit, nor merit of any kind, being clumsy tissues of far-fetched,
cold-blooded conceits, of which the following, from three of the
contributions, are not unfair specimens. There could not have been an
excess of poetical ability in the University at the time.

     'I am no poet here; my pen's the spout
      Where the rain-water of my eyes runs out.
      In pity of that name whose fate we see
      Thus copied out in grief's Hydrographie.'

                     'Since first the waters gave
      A blessing to him which the soul did save,
      They loved the holy body still too much,
      And would regain some virtue from a touch.'

     'Weep forth your tears, then; pour out all your tide;
      All waters are pernicious since King died.'

The writers must all have sat at the feet and learned of John Donne,
whose coldly ingenious conceits had for some time been passing for

Milton might well lament, in the person of his bereaved shepherd, the
sad decline of poetry, since the Elizabethan days.

     'Alas! what boots it with uncessant care
      To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade,
      And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
      Were it not better done, as others use,
      To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
      Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?

Milton's poem comes last in the collection, without title, and with
simply the initials I. M. appended. It presents a strange contrast to
the worthless productions which precede it. Unless the other writers'
poetic appreciation was very far in advance of their poetic power, as
exhibited in their several contributions, they could have had but little
appreciation of the merits of Milton's poem. There is no reason for
supposing that King's death caused Milton a deep personal grief, such as
that which was caused by the death of Charles Diodati, and to which the
_Epitaphium Damonis_ bears testimony.

Milton had no doubt cherished for King a deep regard, as one
exceptionally fitted, by his purity of character, and sincere piety, for
the sacred office. And the presentation, in his elegiac ode, of these
qualities, afforded an occasion for giving an expression to what was
evidently a greater grief to him than the death of his College friend,
namely, the condition of the Church, which he regarded as corrupt in
itself, and as in league with the despotic tendencies of the political
power. All the 'higher strains' of the ode are inspired by a holy
indignation toward the time-serving ecclesiastics, whose unworthiness,
as shepherds of Christ's flock, he sets forth in the burning
denunciations attributed to St. Peter, as the type of true episcopal
power,—denunciations which are prophetic of those he is destined to
pronounce in a few years, in his polemic prose works, against the more
developed ecclesiastical and political abuses of the time, as one
specially commissioned by God, so to do, in the words delivered to the
prophet: 'Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and
declare unto my people their transgression, and to the house of Jacob
their sins.'

When the poem was republished with the author's full name, in 1645, it
had the following heading: 'In this Monody the author bewails a learned
friend, unfortunately drowned in his passage from Chester on the Irish
seas, 1637; and, by occasion, foretells the ruin of our corrupted
Clergy, then in their height.'

This heading would, no doubt, have caused the rejection of the poem by
the Cambridge authorities. Milton's hostility to the hierarchy of
England was little suspected then: he was no doubt regarded as a loyal
and dutiful son of his _Alma Mater_, and, besides, it is not likely that
the several contributions to the King Memorial were looked into very
closely by the Committee of Examination.

The death of the Shepherd Lycidas is made to image forth the death of a
pure priesthood. It is possible that Milton may have seen an
etymological significance in the name Lycidas (which the philology of
the present day would not admit) and which caused him to adopt the name
as bearing upon the ecclesiastical import of the poem. The name for him
may have signified a _wolf-seer_, to look out for the wolf being one of
the most important duties of the shepherd who has the care of the sheep
and of the spiritual shepherd or pastor who watches over Christ's flock.

'The pilot of the Galilean lake,' St. Peter, 'the type and head of true
episcopal power,' is introduced among the mourners of the death of King,
denouncing the lewd hirelings of the priesthood of the time.

     'How well could I have spared for thee, young swain,
      Enow of such as, for their bellies' sake,
      Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold!
      Of other care they little reckoning make
      Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
      And shove away the worthy bidden guest.
      Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
      A sheep-hook, or have learnt aught else the least
      That to the faithful herdman's art belongs!
      What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
      And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
      Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
      The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
      But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,
      Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread;
      Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
      Daily devours apace, and nothing said.
      But that two-handed engine at the door
      Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.'

The two last verses some commentators have explained as a prophecy of
the execution of Archbishop Laud, which took place on the 10th of
January, 1644, six years after the publication of 'Lycidas.' Warton thus
paraphrases the lines: 'But there will soon be an end of all these
evils; the axe is at hand, to take off the head of him who has been the
great abettor of these corruptions of the gospel. This will be done by
one stroke.'

If this is the meaning of the passage, it was certainly a very
remarkable prophecy, when it was written, for the king and the
archbishop were then at the height of their power, and there was little
or nothing to indicate its overthrow.

The passage admits of a more probable explanation. The two-handed
engine, the epithet 'two-handed' meaning that its length and weight
required it to be grasped with both hands, refers to the sword of St.
Michael, the guardian and protector of the Church. In the 6th Book of
the 'Paradise Lost' (vv. 250-253) it is said of the sword of Michael
that it

                         'Smote and felled
     Squadrons at once; with huge two-handed sway
     Brandished aloft, the horrid edge came down

The poet in this passage therefore means to say that St. Michael's sword
is to smite off the head of Satan, who, at the door of Christ's fold,
is, 'with privy paw,' daily devouring the hungry sheep.

In a sublime invocation to the Son of God, at the conclusion of the
fourth section of 'Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence against
Smectymnuus,' Milton says: 'As thou didst dignify our fathers' days with
many revelations above all the foregoing ages, since thou tookest the
flesh, so thou canst vouchsafe to us (though unworthy) as large a
portion of thy spirit as thou pleasest; for who shall prejudice thy
all-governing will? Seeing the power of thy grace is not passed away
with the primitive times, as fond and faithless men imagine, but thy
kingdom is now at hand, and thou _standing at the door_. Come forth out
of thy royal chambers, O Prince of all the kings of the earth! put on
the visible robes of thy imperial majesty, take up that unlimited
sceptre which thy Almighty Father hath bequeathed thee; for now the
voice of thy bride calls thee, and all creatures sigh to be renewed.'

The view taken is strengthened by another disputed passage of the poem,
a few verses farther on. The poet is addressing his drowned friend,
whose body he imagines to be tossed about by the waves (vv. 154-163):

     'Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
      Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled;
      Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
      Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
      Visitest the bottom of the monstrous world;
      Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied,
      Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
      Where the great Vision of the guarded mount
      Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold,
      Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth.'

By 'the fable of Bellerus old,' is meant St. Michael's Mount at the
Land's End in Cornwall, anciently named Bellerium, from Bellerus, a
Cornish giant, where the Vision of St. Michael was, by the old fable,
represented to sit, looking toward far Namancos and the hold of Spanish

Much of the deeper meaning of the poem centres in the three last verses
of the passage quoted:

     'Where the great Vision of the guarded mount
      Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold,
      Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth.'

The annotators say nothing, so far as I know, about the application of
the great Vision of the guarded mount to the ecclesiastical meaning of
the poem. The meaning I take to be this: in making the Archangel
Michael, the guardian and defender of the Church of Christ, look toward
Namancos and Bayona's hold, _i.e._ toward Spain, the great stronghold,
at the time, of Papacy, and which, in the reign of Elizabeth, had
threatened England with invasion and with the imposition of the Roman
Catholic religion, the poet would evidently imply the Archangel's
watchfulness over the Church against foreign foes. But the danger is not
from _without_ (this I take to be the idea shadowed forth), the danger
is not from without—it lies _within_ the Church. Milton, or rather
'Milton transformed in his imagination, for the time, into a poetic
shepherd,' therefore says:

     'Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth.'

Lycidas, who is made to represent, allegorically, the good shepherd that
careth for the sheep and looketh out for the wolf, is _dead_; and the
lewd hirelings who, for their bellies' sake, have crept into the fold,
and to whom the hungry sheep look up and are not fed, have themselves
become grim wolves, and with privy paw seize upon and devour the flock.

'Lycidas' was the last of Milton's poems produced during his residence
under his father's roof at Horton, in Buckinghamshire. He set out soon
after on his continental tour. Perhaps the 'fresh woods and pastures
new,' in the last verse of the poem, refers to this contemplated tour.
On his return to his native land, he had to bid farewell, a long
farewell, to the loved haunts of the Muses, and gird himself to fight
the battle of civil and religious liberty.

     Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more,
     Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never sere,
     I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude,
     And with forced fingers rude
     Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.                5
     Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear
     Compels me to disturb your season due;
     For Lycidas is dead, dead ere his prime,
     Young Lycidas, and hath not left his peer.
     Who would not sing for Lycidas? He knew                      10
     Himself to sing and build the lofty rhyme.
     He must not float upon his watery bier
     Unwept, and welter to the parching wind,
     Without the meed of some melodious tear.
       Begin, then, Sisters of the sacred well                    15
     That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;
     Begin, and somewhat loudly sweep the string.
     Hence with denial vain and coy excuse—
     So may some gentle Muse
     With lucky words favour _my_ destined urn,                   20
     And as he passes turn,
     And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud—
     For we were nursed upon the self-same hill,
     Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill;
     Together both, ere the high lawns appeared                   25
     Under the opening eyelids of the Morn,
     We drove a-field, and both together heard
     What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn,
     Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night,
     Oft till the star that rose at evening, bright,              30
     Toward heaven's descent had sloped his westering wheel.
     Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
     Tempered to the oaten flute;
     Rough Satyrs danced, and Fauns with cloven heel
     From the glad sound would not be absent long;                35
     And old Damœtas loved to hear our song.
       But, oh! the heavy change, now thou art gone,
     Now thou art gone and never must return!
     Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert caves
     With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown,              40
     And all their echoes, mourn.
     The willows, and the hazel copses green,
     Shall now no more be seen
     Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.
     As killing as the canker to the rose,                        45
     Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
     Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
     When first the white-thorn blows;
     Such, Lycidas, thy loss to shepherd's ear.
       Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep           50
     Closed o'er the head of your loved Lycidas?
     For neither were ye playing on the steep
     Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,
     Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
     Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream.                55
     Ay me! I fondly dream
     'Had ye been there,' . . . for what could that have done?
     What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore,
     The Muse herself, for her enchanting son,
     Whom universal nature did lament,                            60
     When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,
     His gory visage down the stream was sent,
     Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore?
     Alas! what boots it with uncessant care
     To tend the homely, slighted, shepherd's trade,              65
     And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
     Were it not better done, as others use,
     To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
     Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
     Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise            70
     (That last infirmity of noble mind)
     To scorn delights and live laborious days;
     But, the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
     And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
     Comes the blind Fury with the abhorrèd shears,               75
     And slits the thin-spun life. 'But not the praise,'
     Phœbus replied, and touched my trembling ears:
     'Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
     Nor in the glistering foil
     Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies,              80
     But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes
     And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
     As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
     Of so much fame in heaven expect thy meed.'
     O fountain Arethuse, and thou honoured flood,                85
     Smooth-sliding Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds,
     That strain I heard was of a higher mood.
     But now my oat proceeds,
     And listens to the Herald of the Sea,
     That came in Neptune's plea.                                 90
     He asked the waves, and asked the felon winds,
     What hard mishap hath doomed this gentle swain?
     And questioned every gust of rugged wings
     That blows from off each beakèd promontory.
     They knew not of his story;                                  95
     And sage Hippotades their answer brings,
     That not a blast was from his dungeon strayed:
     The air was calm, and on the level brine
     Sleek Panope with all her sisters played.
     It was that fatal and perfidious bark,                      100
     Built in the eclipse, and rigged with curses dark,
     That sunk so low that sacred head of thine.
       Next, Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,
     His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge,
     Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge                 105
     Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe.
     'Ah! who has reft,' quoth he, 'my dearest pledge?'
     Last came, and last did go,
     The Pilot of the Galilean Lake;
     Two massy keys he bore of metals twain                      110
     (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain).
     He shook his mitred locks, and stern bespake:
     'How well could I have spared for thee, young swain,
     Enow of such as, for their bellies' sake,
     Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold!                115
     Of other care they little reckoning make
     Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast,
     And shove away the worthy bidden guest.
     Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
     A sheep-hook, or have learned aught else the least          120
     That to the faithful herdman's art belongs!
     What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
     And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
     Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
     The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,                  125
     But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,
     Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread;
     Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
     Daily devours apace, and nothing said.
     But that two-handed engine at the door                      130
     Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.'
       Return, Alpheus; the dread voice is past
     That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse,
     And call the vales, and bid them hither cast
     Their bells and flowerets of a thousand hues.               135
     Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
     Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks,
     On whose fresh lap the swart star sparely looks,
     Throw hither all your quaint enamelled eyes,
     That on the green turf suck the honeyed showers,            140
     And purple all the ground with vernal flowers.
     Bring the rathe primrose that forsaken dies,
     The tufted crow-toe, and pale jessamine,
     The white pink, and the pansy freaked with jet,
     The glowing violet,                                         145
     The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
     With cowslips wan that hang the pensive head,
     And every flower that sad embroidery wears;
     Bid amaranthus all his beauty shed,
     And daffodillies fill their cups with tears,                150
     To strew the laureate herse where Lycid lies.
     For so, to interpose a little ease,
     Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise,
     Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding seas
     Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurled;               155
     Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
     Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
     Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world;
     Or whether thou, to our moist vows denied,
     Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,                      160
     Where the great Vision of the guarded mount
     Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold:
     Look homeward, Angel, now, and melt with ruth:
     And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth.
       Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more,             165
     For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
     Sunk though he be beneath the watery floor.
     So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
     And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
     And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore             170
     Flames in the forehead of the morning sky:
     So Lycidas sunk low, but mounted high,
     Through the dear might of Him that walked the waves,
     Where, other groves and other streams along,
     With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves,                   175
     And hears the unexpressive nuptial song,
     In the blest kingdoms meek of joy and love.
     There entertain him all the Saints above,
     In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
     That sing, and singing in their glory move,                 180
     And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
     Now, Lycidas, the shepherds weep no more;
     Henceforth thou art the genius of the shore,
     In thy large recompense, and shalt be good
     To all that wander in that perilous flood.                  185

       Thus sang the uncouth swain to the oaks and rills,
     While the still morn went out with sandals grey:
     He touched the tender stops of various quills,
     With eager thought warbling his Doric lay:
     And now the sun had stretched out all the hills,            190
     And now was dropt into the western bay.
     At last he rose, and twitched his mantle blue;
     To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new.





     Aristot. Poet. Cap. 6.

     Τραγῳδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας, etc.

     Tragœdia est imitatio actionis seriæ, etc., per misericordiam
     et metum perficiens talium affectuum lustrationem.


'_The intensest utterance of the most intense of English Poets_'

In his 'Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty,' Milton makes
the following remarkable allegorical application of the story of Samson
to a king and his prelates. It is contained in 'THE CONCLUSION. _The
Mischief that Prelaty does to the State_':

'I shall shew briefly, ere I conclude, that the prelates, as they are to
the subjects a calamity, so are they the greatest underminers and
betrayers of the monarch, to whom they seem to be most favourable. I
cannot better liken the state and person of a king than to that mighty
Nazarite Samson; who being disciplined from his birth in the precepts
and the practice of temperance and sobriety, without the strong drink of
injurious and excessive desires, grows up to a noble strength and
perfection with those his illustrious and sunny locks, the laws, waving
and curling about his godlike shoulders. And while he keeps them about
him undiminished and unshorn, he may with the jawbone of an ass, that
is, with the word of his meanest officer, suppress and put to confusion
thousands of those that rise against his just power. But laying down his
head among the strumpet flatteries of prelates, while he sleeps and
thinks no harm, they wickedly shaving off all those bright and weighty
tresses of his law, and just prerogatives, which were his ornament and
strength, deliver him over to indirect and violent counsels, which, as
those Philistines, put out the fair and far-sighted eyes of his natural
discerning, and make him grind in the prison house of their sinister
ends and practices upon him; till he, knowing this prelatical razor to
have bereft him of his wonted might, nourish again his puissant hair,
the golden beams of law and right; and they, sternly shook, thunder
with ruin upon the heads of those his evil counsellors, but not without
great affliction to himself. This is the sum of their loyal service to
kings; yet these are the men that still cry, The king, the king, the
Lord's anointed! We grant it; and wonder how they came to light upon
anything so true; and wonder more, if kings be the Lord's anointed, how
they dare thus oil over and besmear so holy an unction with the corrupt
and putrid ointment of their base flatteries; which, while they smooth
the skin, strike inward and envenom the lifeblood. What fidelity kings
can expect from prelates, both examples past, and our present experience
of their doings at this day, whereon is grounded all that hath been
said, may suffice to inform us. And if they be such clippers of regal
power, and shavers of the laws, how they stand affected to the lawgiving
parliament, yourselves, worthy peers and commons, can best testify; the
current of whose glorious and immortal actions hath been only opposed by
the obscure and pernicious designs of the prelates, until their
insolence broke out to such a bold affront, as hath justly immured their
haughty looks within strong walls.'

'The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty' was published in
1641, nearly eight years before Charles I. was beheaded, and just thirty
years before the publication of 'Samson Agonistes.' He little dreamed
that the reigning king would, in less than eight years, be put to death,
and that he should play such a rôle in the subsequent state of things,
should have such experiences and such disappointments and sorrows as
would make the fortunes of Samson the prototype of a great final
creation embodying allegorically his own strangely similar fortunes.

In Milton's MS. jottings of subjects for a tragedy or an epic poem, in
the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge, made in 1640 and some time
following, and occupying seven pages of folio-sized paper, is included
(No. 19 of the list of Old Testament subjects) 'Samson Pursophorus or
Hybristes' [_i.e._ Samson the Firebrand-bringer or Violent, as Masson
explains], 'or Samson Marrying, or Ramath-Lechi: Judges xv.'

Nothing, of course, could have been more remote from Milton's mind than
that thirty years after this jotting, his swan-song would be given to
the world, in which Samson, blind and among the Philistines, would
allegorically reflect his own condition, in the last years of his life.

'The parallelisms in the fortunes of Samson and Milton have been noticed
by almost every editor and every critic of the 'Samson Agonistes.' They
are too obvious to escape the notice of the most careless reader who
knows anything of the life of Milton. Samson is Milton in the polemic
and in the post-Restoration period of his life. In all literature there
is not a nobler, more exalting and pathetic egotism, than the 'Samson
Agonistes' exhibits—an egotism for which every lover of the great poet
must be abundantly thankful. 'How very much,' Walter Savage Landor
justly remarks, 'would literature have lost, if this marvellously great
and admirable man had omitted the various references to himself and his

Of the numerous autobiographical passages in the 'Samson Agonistes,'
which editors have noted, those most distinctly so are the following:
vv. 40, 41; 67-109; 191-193; 219-226; 241-255; 268-276; 563-572;
590-598; 695-702; 760, 761; 1025-1060; 1418-1422; 1461-1471; 1687-1707.

These passages show that the allegorical significance of the 'Samson
Agonistes' bears not only upon Milton's individual life and experiences,
but also upon the backsliding of the English people, in their
restoration of monarchy. The misgivings to which Milton gave expression
in his 'Ready and easy way to establish a free commonwealth, and the
excellence thereof, compared with the inconveniences and dangers of
readmitting kingship in this nation,' were realized in less than three
months after its publication late in February or early in March, 1660.
Charles II. entered London May 29, 1660. These misgivings are expressed,
or, at least, implied, in the following passage of 'The ready and easy
way.' The involved construction of the language in this pamphlet shows
that it must have been very hastily dictated by the blind poet:

'After our liberty and religion thus prosperously fought for, gained,
and many years possessed, except in those unhappy interruptions, which
God hath removed; now that nothing remains, but in all reason the
certain hopes of a speedy and immediate settlement for ever in a firm
and free commonwealth, for this extolled and magnified nation,
regardless both of honour won, or deliverances vouchsafed from heaven,
to fall back, or rather to creep back so poorly, _as it seems the
multitude would_, to their once abjured and detested thraldom of
kingship, to be ourselves the slanderers of our own just and religious
deeds, though done by some to covetous and ambitious ends, yet not
therefore to be stained with their infamy, or they to asperse the
integrity of others; and yet these now by revolting from the conscience
of deeds well done, both in church and state, to throw away and forsake,
or rather to betray, a just and noble cause for the mixture of bad men
who have ill-managed and abused it (which had our fathers done
heretofore, and on the same pretence deserted true religion, what had
long ere this become of our gospel, and all protestant reformation so
much intermixed with the avarice and ambition of some reformers?), and
by thus relapsing, to verify all the bitter predictions of our
triumphing enemies, who will now think they wisely discerned and justly
censured both us and all our actions as rash, rebellious, hypocritical,
and impious; not only argues a strange, degenerate contagion suddenly
spread among us, fitted and prepared for new slavery, but will render us
a scorn and derision to all our neighbours.'


Tragedy, as it was anciently composed, hath been ever held the gravest,
moralest, and most profitable of all other poems; therefore said by
Aristotle to be of power, by raising pity and fear, or terror, to purge
the mind of those and such-like passions,—that is, to temper and reduce
them to just measure with a kind of delight, stirred up by reading or
seeing those passions well imitated. Nor is Nature wanting in her own
effects to make good his assertion; for so, in physic, things of
melancholic hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against
sour, salt to remove salt humours. Hence philosophers and other gravest
writers, as Cicero, Plutarch, and others, frequently cite out of tragic
poets, both to adorn and illustrate their discourse. The Apostle Paul
himself thought it not unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the
text of Holy Scripture, 1 Cor. xv. 33; and Paræus, commenting on the
_Revelation_, divides the whole book, as a tragedy, into acts,
distinguished each by a chorus of heavenly harpings and song between.
Heretofore men in highest dignity have laboured not a little to be
thought able to compose a tragedy. Of that honour Dionysius the elder
was no less ambitious than before of his attaining to the tyranny.
Augustus Cæsar also had begun his _Ajax_, but, unable to please his own
judgment with what he had begun, left it unfinished. Seneca, the
philosopher, is by some thought the author of those tragedies (at least
the best of them) that go under that name. Gregory Nazianzen, a Father
of the Church, thought it not unbeseeming the sanctity of his person to
write a tragedy, which is entitled 'Christ Suffering.' This is mentioned
to vindicate Tragedy from the small esteem, or rather infamy, which in
the account of many it undergoes at this day with other common
interludes; happening through the poet's error of intermixing comic
stuff with tragic sadness and gravity, or introducing trivial and vulgar
persons: which by all judicious hath been counted absurd, and brought in
without discretion, corruptly to gratify the people. And though ancient
Tragedy use no Prologue, yet using sometimes, in case of self-defence or
explanation, that which Martial calls an Epistle, in behalf of this
tragedy, coming forth after the ancient manner, much different from what
among us passes for best, thus much beforehand may be _epistled_,—that
Chorus is here introduced after the Greek manner, not ancient only, but
modern, and still in use among the Italians. In the modelling therefore
of this poem, with good reason, the Ancients and Italians are rather
followed, as of much more authority and fame. The measure of verse used
in the Chorus is of all sorts, called by the Greeks _monostrophic_, or
rather _apolelymenon_, without regard had to strophe, antistrophe, or
epode,—which were a kind of stanzas framed only for the music, then
used with the Chorus that sung; not essential to the poem, and therefore
not material; or, being divided into stanzas or pauses, they may be
called _allœostropha_. Division into act and scene, referring chiefly
to the stage (to which this work never was intended), is here omitted.

It suffices if the whole drama be found not produced beyond the fifth
act. Of the style and uniformity, and that commonly called the plot,
whether intricate or explicit,—which is nothing indeed but such
economy, or disposition of the fable, as may stand best with
verisimilitude and decorum,—they only will best judge who are not
unacquainted with Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, the three tragic
poets unequalled yet by any, and the best rule to all who endeavour to
write Tragedy. The circumscription of time, wherein the whole drama
begins and ends, is, according to ancient rule and best example, within
the space of twenty-four hours.—_M._


_Samson, made captive, blind, and now in the prison at Gaza, there to
labour as in a common workhouse, on a festival day, in the general
cessation from labour, comes forth into the open air, to a place nigh,
somewhat retired, there to sit a while and bemoan his condition. Where
he happens at length to be visited by certain friends and equals of his
tribe, which make the Chorus, who seek to comfort him what they can;
then by his old father, Manoa, who endeavours the like, and withal tells
him his purpose to procure his liberty by ransom; lastly, that this
feast was proclaimed by the Philistines as a day of thanksgiving for
their deliverance from the hands of Samson—which yet more troubles him.
Manoa then departs to prosecute his endeavour with the Philistian lords
for Samson's redemption: who, in the meanwhile, is visited by other
persons, and, lastly, by a public officer to require his coming to the
feast before the lords and people, to play or show his strength in their
presence. He at first refuses, dismissing the public officer with
absolute denial to come: at length, persuaded inwardly that this was
from God, he yields to go along with him, who came now the second time
with great threatenings to fetch him. The Chorus yet remaining on the
place, Manoa returns full of joyful hope to procure ere long his son's
deliverance; in the midst of which discourse an Ebrew comes in haste,
confusedly at first, and afterwards more distinctly, relating the
catastrophe—what Samson had done to the Philistines, and by accident to
himself; wherewith the Tragedy ends._


     MANOA, the Father of Samson.
     DALILA, his wife.
     HARAPHA, of Gath.
     Public Officer.
     Chorus of Danites.

The SCENE, before the Prison in Gaza.


     _Samson._ A little onward lend thy guiding hand
     To these dark steps, a little further on;
     For yonder bank hath choice of sun or shade.
     There I am wont to sit, when any chance
     Relieves me from my task of servile toil,                     5
     Daily in the common prison else enjoined me,
     Where I, a prisoner chained, scarce freely draw
     The air, imprisoned also, close and damp,
     Unwholesome draught. But here I feel amends—
     The breath of heaven fresh blowing, pure and sweet,          10
     With day-spring born; here leave me to respire.
     This day a solemn feast the people hold
     To Dagon, their sea-idol, and forbid
     Laborious works. Unwillingly this rest
     Their superstition yields me; hence with leave               15
     Retiring from the popular noise, I seek
     This unfrequented place to find some ease—
     Ease to the body some, none to the mind
     From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
     Of hornets armed, no sooner found alone                      20
     But rush upon me thronging, and present
     Times past, what once I was, and what am now.
     Oh, wherefore was my birth from Heaven foretold
     Twice by an Angel, who at last, in sight
     Of both my parents, all in flames ascended                   25
     From off the altar where an offering burned,
     As in a fiery column charioting
     His godlike presence, and from some great act
     Or benefit revealed to Abraham's race?
     Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed                   30
     As of a person separate to God,
     Designed for great exploits, if I must die
     Betrayed, captived, and both my eyes put out,
     Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze,
     To grind in brazen fetters under task                        35
     With this heaven-gifted strength? O glorious strength,
     Put to the labour of a beast, debased
     Lower than bond-slave! Promise was that I
     Should Israel from Philistian yoke deliver!
     Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him               40
     Eyeless, in Gaza, at the mill, with slaves,
     Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.
     Yet stay; let me not rashly call in doubt
     Divine prediction. What if all foretold
     Had been fulfilled but through mine own default?             45
     Whom have I to complain of but myself,
     Who this high gift of strength committed to me,
     In what part lodged, how easily bereft me,
     Under the seal of silence could not keep,
     But weakly to a woman must reveal it,                        50
     O'ercome with importunity and tears?
     O impotence of mind, in body strong!
     But what is strength without a double share
     Of wisdom? vast, unwieldy, burdensome,
     Proudly secure, yet liable to fall                           55
     By weakest subtleties; not made to rule,
     But to subserve where wisdom bears command.
     God, when he gave me strength, to show withal
     How slight the gift was, hung it in my hair.
     But peace! I must not quarrel with the will                  60
     Of highest dispensation, which herein
     Haply had ends above my reach to know.
     Suffices that to me strength is my bane,
     And proves the source of all my miseries—
     So many, and so huge, that each apart                        65
     Would ask a life to wail. But chief of all,
     O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
     Blind among enemies! Oh worse than chains,
     Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!
     Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct,              70
     And all her various objects of delight
     Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased.
     Inferior to the vilest now become
     Of man or worm, the vilest here excel me:
     They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed               75
     To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
     Within doors, or without, still as a fool,
     In power of others, never in my own—
     Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
     Oh dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,                 80
     Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
     Without all hope of day!
     O first created beam, and thou great Word,
     'Let there be light, and light was over all,'
     Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decree?                     85
     The sun to me is dark
     And silent as the moon,
     When she deserts the night,
     Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
     Since light so necessary is to life,                         90
     And almost life itself, if it be true
     That light is in the soul,
     She all in every part, why was the sight
     To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
     So obvious and so easy to be quenched,                       95
     And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused,
     That she might look at will through every pore?
     Then had I not been thus exiled from light,
     As in the land of darkness, yet in light,
     To live a life half dead, a living death,                   100
     And buried; but, oh yet more miserable!
     Myself, my sepulchre, a moving grave;
     Buried, yet not exempt,
     By privilege of death and burial,
     From worst of other evils, pains and wrongs;                105
     But made hereby obnoxious more
     To all the miseries of life,
     Life in captivity
     Among inhuman foes.
     But who are these? for with joint pace I hear               110
     The tread of many feet steering this way;
     Perhaps my enemies, who come to stare
     At my affliction, and perhaps to insult—
     Their daily practice to afflict me more.

     _Chorus._ This, this is he; softly a while;                 115
     Let us not break in upon him.
     Oh change beyond report, thought, or belief!
     See how he lies at random, carelessly diffused,
     With languished head unpropt,
     As one past hope, abandoned,                                120
     And by himself given over,
     In slavish habit, ill-fitted weeds
     O'er-worn and soiled.
     Or do my eyes misrepresent? Can this be he,
     That heroic, that renowned,                                 125
     Irresistible Samson? whom unarmed,
     No strength of man, or fiercest wild beast, could withstand;
     Who tore the lion, as the lion tears the kid;
     Ran on embattled armies clad in iron,
     And, weaponless himself,                                    130
     Made arms ridiculous, useless the forgery
     Of brazen shield and spear, the hammered cuirass,
     Chalybean-tempered steel, and frock of mail
     Adamantean proof;
     But safest he who stood aloof,                              135
     When insupportably his foot advanced,
     In scorn of their proud arms and warlike tools,
     Spurned them to death by troops. The bold Ascalonite
     Fled from his lion ramp; old warriors turned
     Their plated backs under his heel,                          140
     Or grovelling soiled their crested helmets in the dust.
     Then with what trivial weapon came to hand,
     The jaw of a dead ass, his sword of bone,
     A thousand foreskins fell, the flower of Palestine,
     In Ramath-lechi, famous to this day.                        145
     Then by main force pulled up, and on his shoulders bore,
     The gates of Azza, post and massy bar,
     Up to the hill by Hebron, seat of giants old,
     No journey of a sabbath-day, and loaded so;
     Like whom the Gentiles feign to bear up Heaven.             150
     Which shall I first bewail,
     Thy bondage or lost sight?
     Prison within prison
     Inseparably dark.
     Thou art become (Oh worst imprisonment!)                    155
     The dungeon of thyself; thy soul
     (Which men enjoying sight oft without cause complain)
     Imprisoned now indeed,
     In real darkness of the body dwells,
     Shut up from outward light                                  160
     To incorporate with gloomy night;
     For inward light, alas!
     Puts forth no visual beam.
     O mirror of our fickle state,
     Since man on earth unparalleled,                            165
     The rarer thy example stands,
     By how much from the top of wondrous glory,
     Strongest of mortal men,
     To lowest pitch of abject fortune thou art fallen.
     For him I reckon not in high estate                         170
     Whom long descent of birth
     Or the sphere of fortune raises;
     But thee, whose strength, while virtue was her mate,
     Might have subdued the earth,
     Universally crowned with highest praises.                   175

     _Samson._ I hear the sound of words; their sense the air
     Dissolves unjointed ere it reach my ear.

     _Chorus._ He speaks, let us draw nigh. Matchless in might,
     The glory late of Israel, now the grief!
     We come, thy friends and neighbours not unknown,            180
     From Eshtaol and Zora's fruitful vale,
     To visit or bewail thee; or, if better,
     Counsel or consolation we may bring,
     Salve to thy sores; apt words have power to swage
     The tumours of a troubled mind,                             185
     And are as balm to festered wounds.

     _Samson._ Your coming, friends, revives me; for I learn
     Now of my own experience, not by talk,
     How counterfeit a coin they are who 'friends'
     Bear in their superscription (of the most                   190
     I would be understood). In prosperous days
     They swarm, but in adverse withdraw their head,
     Not to be found, though sought. Ye see, O friends,
     How many evils have enclosed me round;
     Yet that which was the worst now least afflicts me,         195
     Blindness; for had I sight, confused with shame,
     How could I once look up, or heave the head,
     Who, like a foolish pilot, have shipwracked
     My vessel trusted to me from above,
     Gloriously rigged; and for a word, a tear,                  200
     Fool! have divulged the secret gift of God
     To a deceitful woman? tell me, friends,
     Am I not sung and proverbed for a fool
     In every street? do they not say, 'how well
     Are come upon him his deserts?' yet why?                    205
     Immeasurable strength they might behold
     In me, of wisdom nothing more than mean.
     This with the other should, at least, have paired;
     These two, proportioned ill, drove me transverse.

     _Chorus._ Tax not divine disposal. Wisest men               210
     Have erred, and by bad women been deceived;
     And shall again, pretend they ne'er so wise.
     Deject not, then, so overmuch thyself,
     Who hast of sorrow thy full load besides.
     Yet, truth to say, I oft have heard men wonder              215
     Why thou shouldst wed Philistian women rather
     Than of thine own tribe fairer, or as fair,
     At least of thy own nation, and as noble.

     _Samson._ The first I saw at Timna, and she pleased
     Me, not my parents, that I sought to wed                    220
     The daughter of an infidel. They knew not
     That what I motioned was of God; I knew
     From intimate impulse, and therefore urged
     The marriage on, that, by occasion hence,
     I might begin Israel's deliverance—                        225
     The work to which I was divinely called.
     She proving false, the next I took to wife
     (Oh that I never had! fond wish too late!)
     Was in the vale of Sorec, Dalila,
     That specious monster, my accomplished snare.               230
     I thought it lawful from my former act,
     And the same end, still watching to oppress
     Israel's oppressors. Of what now I suffer
     She was not the prime cause, but I myself,
     Who, vanquished with a peal of words (oh weakness!)         235
     Gave up my fort of silence to a woman.

     _Chorus._ In seeking just occasion to provoke
     The Philistine, thy country's enemy,
     Thou never wast remiss, I bear thee witness:
     Yet Israel still serves with all his sons.                  240

     _Samson._ That fault I take not on me, but transfer
     On Israel's governors and heads of tribes,
     Who, seeing those great acts which God had done
     Singly by me against their conquerors,
     Acknowledged not, or not at all considered,                 245
     Deliverance offered. I, on the other side,
     Used no ambition to commend my deeds;
     The deeds themselves, though mute, spoke loud the doer.
     But they persisted deaf, and would not seem
     To count them things worth notice, till at length           250
     Their lords, the Philistines, with gathered powers,
     Entered Judea, seeking me, who then
     Safe to the rock of Etham was retired—
     Not flying, but forecasting in what place
     To set upon them, what advantaged best.                     255
     Meanwhile the men of Judah, to prevent
     The harass of their land, beset me round;
     I willingly on some conditions came
     Into their hands, and they as gladly yield me
     To the Uncircumcised a welcome prey,                        260
     Bound with two cords. But cords to me were threads
     Touched with the flame: on their whole host I flew
     Unarmed, and with a trivial weapon felled
     Their choicest youth; they only lived who fled.
     Had Judah that day joined, or one whole tribe,              265
     They had by this possessed the towers of Gath,
     And lorded over them whom they now serve.
     But what more oft in nations grown corrupt,
     And by their vices brought to servitude,
     Than to love bondage more than liberty—                    270
     Bondage with ease than strenuous liberty—
     And to despise, or envy, or suspect,
     Whom God hath of his special favour raised
     As their deliverer? If he aught begin,
     How frequent to desert him, and at last                     275
     To heap ingratitude on worthiest deeds!

     _Chorus._ Thy words to my remembrance bring
     How Succoth and the fort of Penuel
     Their great deliverer contemned,
     The matchless Gideon, in pursuit                            280
     Of Madian, and her vanquished kings;
     And how ingrateful Ephraim
     Had dealt with Jephtha, who by argument,
     Not worse than by his shield and spear,
     Defended Israel from the Ammonite,                          285
     Had not his prowess quelled their pride
     In that sore battle when so many died
     Without reprieve, adjudged to death,
     For want of well pronouncing _Shibboleth_.

     _Samson._ Of such examples add me to the roll.              290
     Me easily indeed mine may neglect,
     But God's proposed deliverance not so.

     _Chorus._ Just are the ways of God,
     And justifiable to men,
     Unless there be who think not God at all.                   295
     If any be, they walk obscure;
     For of such doctrine never was there school
     But the heart of the fool,
     And no man therein doctor but himself.
       Yet more there be who doubt his ways not just,            300
     As to his own edicts found contradicting;
     Then give the reins to wandering thought,
     Regardless of his glory's diminution,
     Till, by their own perplexities involved,
     They ravel more, still less resolved,                       305
     But never find self-satisfying solution.
       As if they would confine the Interminable,
     And tie him to his own prescript,
     Who made our laws to bind us, not himself,
     And hath full right to exempt                               310
     Whomso it pleases him by choice
     From national obstriction, without taint
     Of sin, or legal debt;
     For with his own laws he can best dispense.
       He would not else, who never wanted means,                315
     Nor in respect of the enemy just cause,
     To set his people free,
     Have prompted this heroic Nazarite,
     Against his vow of strictest purity,
     To seek in marriage that fallacious bride,                  320
     Unclean, unchaste.
       Down, Reason, then; at least, vain reasonings, down;
     Though Reason here aver
     That moral verdict quits her of unclean:
     Unchaste was subsequent, her stain not his.                 325
       But see! here comes thy reverend sire,
     With careful step, locks white as down,
     Old Manoa: advise
     Forthwith how thou ought'st to receive him.

     _Samson._ Ay me! another inward grief, awaked               330
     With mention of that name, renews the assault.

     _Manoa._ Brethren and men of Dan (for such ye seem,
     Though in this uncouth place), if old respect,
     As I suppose, towards your once gloried friend,
     My son, now captive, hither hath informed                   335
     Your younger feet, while mine, cast back with age,
     Came lagging after, say if he be here.

     _Chorus._ As signal now in low dejected state,
     As erst in highest, behold him where he lies.

     _Manoa._ Oh miserable change! is this the man?              340
     That invincible Samson, far renowned,
     The dread of Israel's foes, who with a strength
     Equivalent to Angels', walked their streets,
     None offering fight; who, single combatant,
     Duelled their armies ranked in proud array,                 345
     Himself an army, now unequal match
     To save himself against a coward armed
     At one spear's length. Oh ever-failing trust
     In mortal strength! and oh, what not in man
     Deceivable and vain? Nay, what thing good                   350
     Prayed for, but often proves our woe, our bane?
     I prayed for children, and thought barrenness
     In wedlock a reproach; I gained a son,
     And such a son as all men hailed me happy.
     Who would be now a father in my stead?                      355
     Oh, wherefore did God grant me my request,
     And as a blessing with such pomp adorned?
     Why are his gifts desirable, to tempt
     Our earnest prayers, then, given with solemn hand
     As graces, draw a scorpion's tail behind?                   360
     For this did the Angel twice descend? for this
     Ordained thy nurture holy, as of a plant
     Select and sacred? glorious for a while,
     The miracle of men; then in an hour
     Ensnared, assaulted, overcome, led bound,                   365
     Thy foes' derision, captive, poor and blind,
     Into a dungeon thrust, to work with slaves!
     Alas! methinks whom God hath chosen once
     To worthiest deeds, if he through frailty err,
     He should not so o'erwhelm, and as a thrall                 370
     Subject him to so foul indignities,
     Be it but for honour's sake of former deeds.

     _Samson._ Appoint not heavenly disposition, father.
     Nothing of all these evils hath befallen me
     But justly; I myself have brought them on;                  375
     Sole author I, sole cause. If aught seem vile,
     As vile hath been my folly, who have profaned
     The mystery of God, given me under pledge
     Of vow, and have betrayed it to a woman,
     A Canaanite, my faithless enemy.                            380
     This well I knew, nor was at all surprised,
     But warned by oft experience. Did not she
     Of Timna first betray me, and reveal
     The secret wrested from me in her highth
     Of nuptial love professed, carrying it straight             385
     To them who had corrupted her, my spies
     And rivals? In this other was there found
     More faith, who, also in her prime of love,
     Spousal embraces, vitiated with gold,
     Though offered only, by the scent conceived                 390
     Her spurious first-born, Treason against me?
     Thrice she assayed, with flattering prayers and sighs
     And amorous reproaches, to win from me
     My capital secret, in what part my strength
     Lay stored, in what part summed, that she might know;       395
     Thrice I deluded her, and turned to sport
     Her importunity, each time perceiving
     How openly and with what impudence
     She purposed to betray me, and (which was worse
     Than undissembled hate) with what contempt                  400
     She sought to make me traitor to myself.
     Yet, the fourth time, when, mustering all her wiles,
     With blandished parleys, feminine assaults,
     Tongue-batteries, she surceased not day nor night
     To storm me, over-watched, and wearied out,                 405
     At times when men seek most repose and rest,
     I yielded, and unlocked her all my heart,
     Who, with a grain of manhood well resolved,
     Might easily have shook off all her snares;
     But foul effeminacy held me yoked                           410
     Her bond-slave. Oh indignity, oh blot
     To honour and religion! servile mind
     Rewarded well with servile punishment!
     The base degree to which I now am fallen,
     These rags, this grinding, is not yet so base               415
     As was my former servitude, ignoble,
     Unmanly, ignominious, infamous,
     True slavery; and that blindness worse than this,
     That saw not how degenerately I served.

     _Manoa._ I cannot praise thy marriage-choices, son,         420
     Rather approved them not; but thou didst plead
     Divine impulsion prompting how thou might'st
     Find some occasion to infest our foes.
     I state not that; this I am sure—our foes
     Found soon occasion thereby to make thee                    425
     Their captive, and their triumph; thou the sooner
     Temptation found'st, or over-potent charms,
     To violate the sacred trust of silence
     Deposited within thee—which to have kept
     Tacit, was in thy power; true; and thou bear'st             430
     Enough, and more, the burden of that fault;
     Bitterly hast thou paid, and still art paying,
     That rigid score. A worse thing yet remains:
     This day the Philistines a popular feast
     Here celebrate in Gaza, and proclaim                        435
     Great pomp, and sacrifice, and praises loud,
     To Dagon, as their god who hath delivered
     Thee, Samson, bound and blind, into their hands,
     Them out of thine, who slew'st them many a slain.
     So Dagon shall be magnified, and God                        440
     Besides whom is no god, compared with idols,
     Disglorified, blasphemed, and had in scorn
     By the idolatrous rout amidst their wine;
     Which to have come to pass by means of thee,
     Samson, of all thy sufferings think the heaviest,           445
     Of all reproach the most with shame that ever
     Could have befallen thee and thy father's house.

     _Samson._ Father, I do acknowledge and confess
     That I this honour, I this pomp, have brought
     To Dagon, and advanced his praises high                     450
     Among the Heathen round; to God have brought
     Dishonour, obloquy, and oped the mouths
     Of idolists and atheists; have brought scandal
     To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
     In feeble hearts, propense enough before                    455
     To waver, or fall off and join with idols;
     Which is my chief affliction, shame and sorrow,
     The anguish of my soul, that suffers not
     Mine eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest.
     This only hope relieves me, that the strife                 460
     With me hath end; all the contest is now
     'Twixt God and Dagon. Dagon hath presumed,
     Me overthrown, to enter lists with God,
     His deity comparing and preferring
     Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure,                     465
     Will not connive, or linger, thus provoked,
     But will arise and his great name assert.
     Dagon must stoop, and shall ere long receive
     Such a discomfit, as shall quite despoil him
     Of all these boasted trophies won on me,                    470
     And with confusion blank his worshippers.

     _Manoa._ With cause this hope relieves thee, and these words
     I as a prophecy receive; for God
     (Nothing more certain) will not long defer
     To vindicate the glory of his name                          475
     Against all competition, nor will long
     Endure it doubtful whether God be Lord,
     Or Dagon. But for thee what shall be done?
     Thou must not in the mean while, here forgot,
     Lie in this miserable loathsome plight                      480
     Neglected. I already have made way
     To some Philistian lords, with whom to treat
     About thy ransom: well they may by this
     Have satisfied their utmost of revenge,
     By pains and slaveries, worse than death, inflicted         485
     On thee, who now no more canst do them harm.

     _Samson._ Spare that proposal, father; spare the trouble
     Of that solicitation. Let me here,
     As I deserve, pay on my punishment,
     And expiate, if possible, my crime,                         490
     Shameful garrulity. To have revealed
     Secrets of _men_, the secrets of a friend,
     How heinous had the fact been, how deserving
     Contempt and scorn of all—to be excluded
     All friendship, and avoided as a blab,                      495
     The mark of fool set on his front!
     But I _God's_ counsel have not kept, his holy secret
     Presumptuously have published, impiously,
     Weakly at least, and shamefully—a sin
     That Gentiles in their parables condemn                     500
     To their Abyss and horrid pains confined.

     _Manoa._ Be penitent, and for thy fault contrite;
     But act not in thy own affliction, son.
     Repent the sin; but, if the punishment
     Thou canst avoid, self-preservation bids;                   505
     Or the execution leave to high disposal,
     And let another hand, not thine, exact
     Thy penal forfeit from thyself. Perhaps
     God will relent, and quit thee all his debt;
     Who ever more approves and more accepts                     510
     (Best pleased with humble and filial submission)
     Him who, imploring mercy, sues for life,
     Than who, self-rigorous, chooses death as due;
     Which argues over-just, and self-displeased
     For self-offence, more than for God offended.               515
     Reject not, then, what offered means. Who knows
     But God hath set before us to return thee
     Home to thy country and his sacred house,
     Where thou mayst bring thy offerings, to avert
     His further ire, with prayers and vows renewed?             520

     _Samson._ His pardon I implore; but as for life,
     To what end should I seek it? when in strength
     All mortals I excelled, and great in hopes,
     With youthful courage, and magnanimous thoughts
     Of birth from Heaven foretold and high exploits,            525
     Full of divine instinct, after some proof
     Of acts indeed heroic, far beyond
     The sons of Anak, famous now and blazed,
     Fearless of danger, like a petty god
     I walked about, admired of all, and dreaded                 530
     On hostile ground, none daring my affront—
     Then, swollen with pride, into the snare I fell
     Of fair fallacious looks, venereal trains,
     Softened with pleasure and voluptuous life,
     At length to lay my head and hallowed pledge                535
     Of all my strength in the lascivious lap
     Of a deceitful concubine, who shore me
     Like a tame wether, all my precious fleece,
     Then turned me out ridiculous, despoiled,
     Shaven, and disarmed among mine enemies.                    540

     _Chorus._ Desire of wine and all delicious drinks,
     Which many a famous warrior overturns,
     Thou could'st repress; nor did the dancing ruby
     Sparkling, out-poured, the flavour, or the smell,
     Or taste that cheers the heart of gods and men,             545
     Allure thee from the cool crystalline stream.

     _Samson._ Wherever fountain or fresh current flowed
     Against the eastern ray, translucent, pure
     With touch ethereal of Heaven's fiery rod,
     I drank, from the clear milky juice allaying                550
     Thirst, and refreshed; nor envied them the grape
     Whose heads that turbulent liquor fills with fumes.

     _Chorus._ Oh madness! to think use of strongest wines
     And strongest drinks our chief support of health,
     When God with these forbidden made choice to rear           555
     His mighty champion, strong above compare,
     Whose drink was only from the liquid brook!

     _Samson._ But what availed this temperance, not complete
     Against another object more enticing?
     What boots it at one gate to make defence,                  560
     And at another to let in the foe,
     Effeminately vanquished? by which means,
     Now blind, disheartened, shamed, dishonoured, quelled,
     To what can I be useful? wherein serve
     My nation, and the work from Heaven imposed?                565
     But to sit idle on the household hearth,
     A burdenous drone; to visitants a gaze,
     Or pitied object; these redundant locks,
     Robustious to no purpose, clustering down,
     Vain monument of strength; till length of years             570
     And sedentary numbness craze my limbs
     To a contemptible old age obscure.
     Here rather let me drudge, and earn my bread,
     Till vermin, or the draff of servile food,
     Consume me, and oft-invocated death                         575
     Hasten the welcome end of all my pains.

     _Manoa._ Wilt thou then serve the Philistines with that gift
     Which was expressly given thee to annoy them?
     Better at home lie bed-rid, not only idle,
     Inglorious, unemployed, with age outworn.                   580
     But God, who caused a fountain at thy prayer
     From the dry ground to spring, thy thirst to allay
     After the brunt of battle, can as easy
     Cause light again within thy eyes to spring,
     Wherewith to serve him better than thou hast.               585
     And I persuade me so. Why else this strength
     Miraculous yet remaining in those locks?
     His might continues in thee not for nought,
     Nor shall his wondrous gifts be frustrate thus.

     _Samson._ All otherwise to me my thoughts portend—         590
     That these dark orbs no more shall treat with light,
     Nor the other light of life continue long,
     But yield to double darkness nigh at hand;
     So much I feel my genial spirits droop,
     My hopes all flat: Nature within me seems                   595
     In all her functions weary of herself;
     My race of glory run, and race of shame,
     And I shall shortly be with them that rest.

     _Manoa._ Believe not these suggestions, which proceed
     From anguish of the mind, and humours black                 600
     That mingle with thy fancy. I, however,
     Must not omit a father's timely care
     To prosecute the means of thy deliverance
     By ransom or how else. Mean while be calm,
     And healing words from these thy friends admit.             605

     _Samson._ Oh, that torment should not be confined
     To the body's wounds and sores,
     With maladies innumerable
     In heart, head, breast, and reins,
     But must secret passage find                                610
     To the inmost mind,
     There exercise all his fierce accidents,
     And on her purest spirits prey,
     As on entrails, joints, and limbs,
     With answerable pains, but more intense,                    615
     Though void of corporal sense!
       My griefs not only pain me
     As a lingering disease,
     But, finding no redress, ferment and rage;
     Nor less than wounds immedicable                            620
     Rankle, and fester, and gangrene,
     To black mortification.
     Thoughts, my tormentors, armed with deadly stings,
     Mangle my apprehensive tenderest parts,
     Exasperate, exulcerate, and raise                           625
     Dire inflammation, which no cooling herb
     Or medicinal liquor can assuage,
     Nor breath of vernal air from snowy Alp.
     Sleep hath forsook and given me o'er
     To death's benumbing opium as my only cure;                 630
     Thence faintings, swoonings of despair,
     And sense of Heaven's desertion.
       I was his nursling once and choice delight,
     His, destined from the womb,
     Promised by heavenly message twice descending.              635
     Under his special eye
     Abstemious I grew up and thrived amain;
     He led me on to mightiest deeds,
     Above the nerve of mortal arm,
     Against the Uncircumcised, our enemies:                     640
     But now hath cast me off as never known,
     And to those cruel enemies,
     Whom I by his appointment had provoked,
     Left me all helpless, with the irreparable loss
     Of sight, reserved alive to be repeated                     645
     The subject of their cruelty or scorn.
     Nor am I in the list of them that hope;
     Hopeless are all my evils, all remediless.
     This one prayer yet remains, might I be heard,
     No long petition, speedy death,                             650
     The close of all my miseries, and the balm.

     _Chorus._ Many are the sayings of the wise,
     In ancient and in modern books enrolled,
     Extolling patience as the truest fortitude,
     And to the bearing well of all calamities,                  655
     All chances incident to man's frail life,
     Consolatories writ
     With studied argument, and much persuasion sought,
     Lenient of grief and anxious thought.
     But with the afflicted in his pangs their sound             660
     Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
     Harsh, and of dissonant mood from his complaint,
     Unless he feel within
     Some source of consolation from above,
     Secret refreshings that repair his strength                 665
     And fainting spirits uphold.
       God of our fathers! what is Man,
     That thou towards him with hand so various—
     Or might I say contrarious?—
     Temper'st thy providence through his short course:          670
     Not evenly, as thou rul'st
     The angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute,
     Irrational and brute?
     Nor do I name of men the common rout,
     That, wand'ring loose about,                                675
     Grow up and perish, as the summer fly,
     Heads without name, no more rememberèd;
     But such as thou hast solemnly elected,
     With gifts and graces eminently adorned,
     To some great work, thy glory,                              680
     And people's safety, which in part they effect.
     Yet toward these thus dignified, thou oft,
     Amidst their highth of noon,
     Changest thy countenance and thy hand, with no regard
     Of highest favours past                                     685
     From thee on them, or them to thee of service.
       Nor only dost degrade them, or remit
     To life obscured, which were a fair dismission,
     But throw'st them lower than thou didst exalt them high—
     Unseemly falls in human eye,                                690
     Too grievous for the trespass or omission;
     Oft leav'st them to the hostile sword
     Of heathen and profane, their carcasses
     To dogs and fowls a prey, or else captived,
     Or to the unjust tribunals, under change of times,          695
     And condemnation of the ingrateful multitude.
     If these they scape, perhaps in poverty
     With sickness and disease thou bow'st them down,
     Painful diseases and deformed,
     In crude old age;                                           700
     Though not disordinate, yet causeless suffering
     The punishment of dissolute days. In fine,
     Just or unjust alike seem miserable,
     For oft alike both come to evil end.
       So deal not with this once thy glorious champion,         705
     The image of thy strength, and mighty minister.
     What do I beg? how hast thou dealt already!
     Behold him in this state calamitous, and turn
     His labours, for thou canst, to peaceful end.
       But who is this? what thing of sea or land?               710
     —Female of sex it seems—
     That so bedecked, ornate, and gay,
     Comes this way sailing,
     Like a stately ship
     Of Tarsus, bound for the isles                              715
     Of Javan or Gadire,
     With all her bravery on, and tackle trim,
     Sails filled, and streamers waving,
     Courted by all the winds that hold them play,
     An amber scent of odorous perfume                           720
     Her harbinger, a damsel train behind;
     Some rich Philistian matron she may seem,
     And now, at nearer view, no other certain
     Than Dalila thy wife.

     _Samson._ My wife? my traitress; let her not come near me.  725

     _Chorus._ Yet on she moves; now stands and eyes thee fixed,
     About to have spoke; but now, with head declined,
     Like a fair flower surcharged with dew, she weeps,
     And words addressed seem into tears dissolved,
     Wetting the borders of her silken veil.                     730
     But now again she makes address to speak.

     _Dalila._ With doubtful feet and wavering resolution
     I came, still dreading thy displeasure, Samson,
     Which to have merited, without excuse,
     I cannot but acknowledge; yet if tears                      735
     May expiate (though the fact more evil drew
     In the perverse event than I foresaw),
     My penance hath not slackened, though my pardon
     No way assured. But conjugal affection,
     Prevailing over fear and timorous doubt,                    740
     Hath led me on, desirous to behold
     Once more thy face, and know of thy estate,
     If aught in my ability may serve
     To lighten what thou sufferest, and appease
     Thy mind with what amends is in my power,                   745
     Though late, yet in some part to recompense
     My rash but more unfortunate misdeed.

     _Samson._ Out, out, hyæna! these are thy wonted arts,
     And arts of every woman false like thee—
     To break all faith, all vows, deceive, betray;              750
     Then, as repentant, to submit, beseech,
     And reconcilement move with feigned remorse,
     Confess, and promise wonders in her change—
     Not truly penitent, but chief to try
     Her husband, how far urged his patience bears,              755
     His virtue or weakness which way to assail:
     Then, with more cautious and instructed skill,
     Again transgresses, and again submits;
     That wisest and best men, full oft beguiled,
     With goodness principled not to reject                      760
     The penitent, but ever to forgive,
     Are drawn to wear out miserable days,
     Entangled with a poisonous bosom-snake,
     If not by quick destruction soon cut off,
     As I by thee, to ages an example.                           765

     _Dalila._ Yet hear me, Samson; not that I endeavour
     To lessen or extenuate my offence,
     But that, on the other side, if it be weighed
     By itself, with aggravations not surcharged,
     Or else with just allowance counterpoised,                  770
     I may, if possible, thy pardon find
     The easier towards me, or thy hatred less.
     First granting, as I do, it was a weakness
     In me, but incident to all our sex,
     Curiosity, inquisitive, importune                           775
     Of secrets, then with like infirmity
     To publish them—both common female faults—
     Was it not weakness also to make known,
     For importunity, that is for nought,
     Wherein consisted all thy strength and safety?              780
     To what I did thou showd'st me first the way.
     But I to enemies revealed, and should not;
     Nor should'st thou have trusted that to woman's frailty:
     Ere I to thee, thou to thyself wast cruel.
     Let weakness, then, with weakness come to parle,            785
     So near related, or the same of kind;
     Thine forgive mine, that men may censure thine
     The gentler, if severely thou exact not
     More strength from me than in thyself was found.
     And what if love, which thou interpret'st hate,             790
     The jealousy of love, powerful of sway
     In human hearts, nor less in mine towards thee,
     Caused what I did? I saw thee mutable
     Of fancy, feared lest one day thou would'st leave me
     As her at Timna; sought by all means, therefore,            795
     How to endear, and hold thee to me firmest:
     No better way I saw than by importuning
     To learn thy secrets, get into my power
     Thy key of strength and safety. Thou wilt say,
     'Why, then, revealed?' I was assured by those               800
     Who tempted me, that nothing was designed
     Against thee but safe custody and hold.
     That made for me; I knew that liberty
     Would draw thee forth to perilous enterprises,
     While I at home sat full of cares and fears,                805
     Wailing thy absence in my widowed bed;
     Here I should still enjoy thee, day and night,
     Mine and love's prisoner, not the Philistines',
     Whole to myself, unhazarded abroad,
     Fearless at home of partners in my love.                    810
     These reasons in love's law have passed for good,
     Though fond and reasonless to some perhaps;
     And love hath oft, well meaning, wrought much woe,
     Yet always pity or pardon hath obtained.
     Be not unlike all others, not austere                       815
     As thou art strong, inflexible as steel.
     If thou in strength all mortals dost exceed,
     In uncompassionate anger do not so.

     _Samson._ How cunningly the sorceress displays
     Her own transgressions, to upbraid me mine!                 820
     That malice, not repentance, brought thee hither,
     By this appears. I gave, thou say'st, the example,
     I led the way; bitter reproach, but true;
     I to myself was false ere thou to me.
     Such pardon, therefore, as I give my folly,                 825
     Take to thy wicked deed; which when thou seest
     Impartial, self-severe, inexorable,
     Thou wilt renounce thy seeking, and much rather
     Confess it feigned. Weakness is thy excuse,
     And I believe it—weakness to resist                        830
     Philistian gold. If weakness may excuse,
     What murtherer, what traitor, parricide,
     Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it?
     All wickedness is weakness; that plea, therefore,
     With God or man will gain thee no remission.                835
     But love constrained thee! call it furious rage
     To satisfy thy lust. Love seeks to have love;
     My love how could'st thou hope, who took'st the way
     To raise in me inexpiable hate,
     Knowing, as needs I must, by thee betrayed?                 840
     In vain thou striv'st to cover shame with shame,
     Or by evasions thy crime uncover'st more.

     _Dalila._ Since thou determin'st weakness for no plea
     In man or woman, though to thy own condemning,
     Hear what assaults I had, what snares besides,              845
     What sieges girt me round, ere I consented;
     Which might have awed the best-resolved of men,
     The constantest, to have yielded without blame.
     It was not gold, as to my charge thou lay'st,
     That wrought with me. Thou know'st the magistrates          850
     And princes of my country came in person,
     Solicited, commanded, threatened, urged,
     Adjured by all the bonds of civil duty
     And of religion; pressed how just it was,
     How honourable, how glorious, to entrap                     855
     A common enemy, who had destroyed
     Such numbers of our nation: and the priest
     Was not behind, but ever at my ear,
     Preaching how meritorious with the gods
     It would be to ensnare an irreligious                       860
     Dishonourer of Dagon. What had I
     To oppose against such powerful arguments?
     Only my love of thee held long debate,
     And combated in silence all these reasons
     With hard contest. At length, that grounded maxim,          865
     So rife and celebrated in the mouths
     Of wisest men, that to the public good
     Private respects must yield, with grave authority
     Took full possession of me, and prevailed;
     Virtue, as I thought, truth, duty, so enjoining.            870

     _Samson._ I thought where all thy circling wiles would end—
     In feigned religion, smooth hypocrisy!
     But, had thy love, still odiously pretended,
     Been, as it ought, sincere, it would have taught thee
     Far other reasonings, brought forth other deeds.            875
     I, before all the daughters of my tribe
     And of my nation, chose thee from among
     My enemies, loved thee, as too well thou knew'st,
     Too well; unbosomed all my secrets to thee,
     Not out of levity, but overpowered                          880
     By thy request, who could deny thee nothing;
     Yet now am judged an enemy. Why, then,
     Didst thou at first receive me for thy husband,
     Then, as since then, thy country's foe professed?
     Being once a wife, for me thou wast to leave                885
     Parents and country; nor was I their subject,
     Nor under their protection, but my own;
     Thou mine, not theirs. If aught against my life
     Thy country sought of thee, it sought unjustly,
     Against the law of nature, law of nations;                  890
     No more thy country, but an impious crew
     Of men conspiring to uphold their state
     By worse than hostile deeds, violating the ends
     For which our country is a name so dear;
     Not therefore to be obeyed. But zeal moved thee;            895
     To please thy gods thou didst it! gods unable
     To acquit themselves and prosecute their foes
     But by ungodly deeds, the contradiction
     Of their own deity, gods cannot be;
     Less therefore to be pleased, obeyed, or feared.            900
     These false pretexts and varnished colours failing,
     Bare in thy guilt, how foul must thou appear!

     _Dalila._ In argument with men a woman ever
     Goes by the worse, whatever be her cause.

     _Samson._ For want of words, no doubt, or lack of breath!   905
     Witness when I was worried with thy peals.

     _Dalila._ I was a fool, too rash, and quite mistaken
     In what I thought would have succeeded best.
     Let me obtain forgiveness of thee, Samson;
     Afford me place to show what recompense                     910
     Towards thee I intend for what I have misdone,
     Misguided. Only what remains past cure
     Bear not too sensibly, nor still insist
     To afflict thyself in vain. Though sight be lost,
     Life yet hath many solaces, enjoyed                         915
     Where other senses want not their delights—
     At home, in leisure and domestic ease,
     Exempt from many a care and chance to which
     Eye-sight exposes, daily, men abroad.
     I to the lords will intercede, not doubting                 920
     Their favourable ear, that I may fetch thee
     From forth this loathsome prison-house, to abide
     With me, where my redoubled love and care,
     With nursing diligence, to me glad office,
     May ever tend about thee to old age,                        925
     With all things grateful cheered, and so supplied
     That what by me thou hast lost thou least shalt miss.

     _Samson._ No, no; of my condition take no care;
     It fits not; thou and I long since are twain;
     Nor think me so unwary or accursed,                         930
     To bring my feet again into the snare
     Where once I have been caught. I know thy trains,
     Though dearly to my cost, thy gins, and toils.
     Thy fair enchanted cup, and warbling charms,
     No more on me have power; their force is nulled;            935
     So much of adder's wisdom I have learned,
     To fence my ear against thy sorceries.
     If in my flower of youth and strength, when all men
     Loved, honoured, feared me, thou alone could'st hate me,
     Thy husband, slight me, sell me, and forgo me,              940
     How would'st thou use me now, blind, and thereby
     Deceivable, in most things as a child
     Helpless, thence easily contemned and scorned,
     And last neglected! How would'st thou insult,
     When I must live uxorious to thy will                       945
     In perfect thraldom! how again betray me,
     Bearing my words and doings to the lords
     To gloss upon, and, censuring, frown or smile!
     This jail I count the house of liberty
     To thine, whose doors my feet shall never enter.            950

     _Dalila._ Let me approach at least, and touch thy hand.

     _Samson._ Not for thy life, lest fierce remembrance wake
     My sudden rage to tear thee joint by joint.
     At distance I forgive thee; go with that;
     Bewail thy falsehood, and the pious works                   955
     It hath brought forth to make thee memorable
     Among illustrious women, faithful wives;
     Cherish thy hastened widowhood with the gold
     Of matrimonial treason: so farewell.

     _Dalila._ I see thou art implacable, more deaf              960
     To prayers than winds and seas; yet winds to seas
     Are reconciled at length, and sea to shore:
     Thy anger, unappeasable, still rages,
     Eternal tempest never to be calmed.
     Why do I humble thus myself, and, suing                     965
     For peace, reap nothing but repulse and hate?
     Bid go with evil omen, and the brand
     Of infamy upon my name denounced.
     To mix with thy concernments I desist
     Henceforth, nor too much disapprove my own.                 970
     Fame, if not double-faced, is double-mouthed,
     And with contráry blast proclaims most deeds;
     On both his wings, one black, the other white,
     Bears greatest names in his wild aery flight.
     My name, perhaps, among the Circumcised                     975
     In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering tribes,
     To all posterity may stand defamed,
     With malediction mentioned, and the blot
     Of falsehood most unconjugal traduced.
     But in my country, where I most desire,                     980
     In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath,
     I shall be named among the famousest
     Of women, sung at solemn festivals,
     Living and dead recorded, who, to save
     Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose                  985
     Above the faith of wedlock-bands; my tomb
     With odours visited and annual flowers;
     Not less renowned than in mount Ephraim
     Jael, who, with inhospitable guile,
     Smote Sisera sleeping, through the temples nailed.          990
     Nor shall I count it heinous to enjoy
     The public marks of honour and reward
     Conferred upon me for the piety
     Which to my country I was judged to have shown.
     At this whoever envies or repines,                          995
     I leave him to his lot, and like my own.

     _Chorus._ She's gone—a manifest serpent by her sting
     Discovered in the end, till now concealed.

     _Samson._ So let her go. God sent her to debase me,
     And aggravate my folly, who committed                      1000
     To such a viper his most sacred trust
     Of secrecy, my safety, and my life.

     _Chorus._ Yet beauty, though injurious, hath strange power,
     After offence returning, to regain
     Love once possessed, nor can be easily                     1005
     Repulsed, without much inward passion felt,
     And secret sting of amorous remorse.

     _Samson._ Love-quarrels oft in pleasing concord end,
     Not wedlock-treachery endangering life.

     _Chorus._ It is not virtue, wisdom, valour, wit,           1010
     Strength, comeliness of shape, or amplest merit,
     That woman's love can win or long inherit;
     But what it is, hard is to say,
     Harder to hit,
     Which way soever men refer it                              1015
     (Much like thy riddle, Samson), in one day
     Or seven, though one should musing sit.
       If any of these, or all, the Timnian bride
     Had not so soon preferred
     Thy paranymph, worthless to thee compared,                 1020
     Successor in thy bed,
     Nor both so loosely disallied
     Their nuptials, nor this last so treacherously
     Had shorn the fatal harvest of thy head.
     Is it for that such outward ornament                       1025
     Was lavished on their sex, that inward gifts
     Were left for haste unfinished, judgment scant,
     Capacity not raised to apprehend
     Or value what is best
     In choice, but oftest to affect the wrong?                 1030
     Or was too much of self-love mixed,
     Of constancy no root infixed,
     That either they love nothing, or not long?
       Whate'er it be, to wisest men and best,
     Seeming at first all heavenly under virgin veil,           1035
     Soft, modest, meek, demure,
     Once joined, the contrary she proves—a thorn
     Intestine, far within defensive arms
     A cleaving mischief, in his way to virtue
     Adverse and turbulent; or by her charms                    1040
     Draws him awry, enslaved
     With dotage, and his sense depraved
     To folly and shameful deeds which ruin ends.
     What pilot so expert but needs must wreck,
     Embarked with such a steers-mate at the helm?              1045
       Favoured of heaven who finds
     One virtuous, rarely found,
     That in domestic good combines!
     Happy that house! his way to peace is smooth:
     But virtue which breaks through all opposition,            1050
     And all temptation can remove,
     Most shines and most is acceptable above.
       Therefore God's universal law
     Gave to the man despotic power
     Over his female in due awe,                                1055
     Nor from that right to part an hour,
     Smile she or lour:
     So shall he least confusion draw
     On his whole life, not swayed
     By female usurpation, nor dismayed.                        1060
       But had we best retire? I see a storm.

     _Samson._ Fair days have oft contracted wind and rain.

     _Chorus._ But this another kind of tempest brings.

     _Samson._ Be less abstruse; my riddling days are past.

     _Chorus._ Look now for no enchanting voice, nor fear       1065
     The bait of honied words; a rougher tongue
     Draws hitherward; I know him by his stride,
     The giant Harapha of Gath, his look
     Haughty, as is his pile high-built and proud.
     Comes he in peace? what wind hath blown him hither         1070
     I less conjecture than when first I saw
     The sumptuous Dalila floating this way:
     His habit carries peace, his brow defiance.

     _Samson._ Or peace or not, alike to me he comes.

     _Chorus._ His fraught we soon shall know: he now arrives.  1075

     _Harapha._ I come not, Samson, to condole thy chance,
     As these perhaps, yet wish it had not been,
     Though for no friendly intent. I am of Gath;
     Men call me Harapha, of stock renowned
     As Og, or Anak, and the Emims old                          1080
     That Kiriathaim held. Thou know'st me now,
     If thou at all art known. Much I have heard
     Of thy prodigious might and feats performed,
     Incredible to me,—in this displeased,
     That I was never present on the place                      1085
     Of those encounters, where we might have tried
     Each other's force in camp or listed field;
     And now am come to see of whom such noise
     Hath walked about, and each limb to survey,
     If thy appearance answer loud report.                      1090

     _Samson._ The way to know were not to see, but taste.

     _Harapha._ Dost thou already single me? I thought
     Gyves and the mill had tamed thee. Oh, that fortune
     Had brought me to the field, where thou art famed
     To have wrought such wonders with an ass's jaw!            1095
     I should have forced thee soon with other arms,
     Or left thy carcass where the ass lay thrown;
     So had the glory of prowess been recovered
     To Palestine, won by a Philistine
     From the unforeskinned race, of whom thou bear'st          1100
     The highest name for valiant acts; that honour,
     Certain to have won by mortal duel from thee,
     I lose, prevented by thy eyes put out.

     _Samson._ Boast not of what thou would'st have done, but do
     What then thou would'st; thou seest it in thy hand.        1105

     _Harapha._ To combat with a blind man I disdain,
     And thou hast need much washing to be touched.

     _Samson._ Such usage as your honourable lords
     Afford me, assassinated and betrayed;
     Who durst not with their whole united powers               1110
     In fight withstand me single and unarmed,
     Nor in the house with chamber-ambushes
     Close-banded durst attack me, no, not sleeping,
     Till they had hired a woman with their gold,
     Breaking her marriage-faith, to circumvent me.             1115
     Therefore, without feigned shifts, let be assigned
     Some narrow place enclosed, where sight may give thee,
     Or rather flight, no great advantage on me;
     Then put on all thy gorgeous arms, thy helmet
     And brigandine of brass, thy broad habergeon,              1120
     Vant-brace and greaves and gauntlet; add thy spear,
     A weaver's beam, and seven-times-folded shield:
     I only with an oaken staff will meet thee,
     And raise such outcries on thy clattered iron,
     Which long shall not withhold me from thy head,            1125
     That in a little time while breath remains thee,
     Thou oft shalt wish thyself at Gath, to boast
     Again in safety what thou would'st have done
     To Samson, but shalt never see Gath more.

     _Harapha._ Thou durst not thus disparage glorious arms,    1130
     Which greatest heroes have in battle worn,
     Their ornament and safety, had not spells
     And black enchantments, some magician's art,
     Armed thee or charmed thee strong, which thou from Heaven
     Feign'dst at thy birth was given thee in thy hair,         1135
     Where strength can least abide, though all thy hairs
     Were bristles ranged like those that ridge the back
     Of chafed wild boars or ruffled porcupines.

     _Samson._ I know no spells, use no forbidden arts;
     My trust is in the Living God, who gave me,                1140
     At my nativity, this strength, diffused
     No less through all my sinews, joints, and bones,
     Than thine, while I preserved these locks unshorn,
     The pledge of my unviolated vow.
     For proof hereof, if Dagon be thy god,                     1145
     Go to his temple, invocate his aid
     With solemnest devotion, spread before him
     How highly it concerns his glory now
     To frustrate and dissolve these magic spells,
     Which I to be the power of Israel's God                    1150
     Avow, and challenge Dagon to the test,
     Offering to combat thee, his champion bold,
     With the utmost of his godhead seconded:
     Then thou shalt see, or rather to thy sorrow
     Soon feel, whose God is strongest, thine or mine.          1155

     _Harapha._ Presume not on thy God. Whate'er he be,
     Thee he regards not, owns not, hath cut off
     Quite from his people, and delivered up
     Into thy enemies' hand; permitted them
     To put out both thine eyes, and fettered send thee         1160
     Into the common prison, there to grind
     Among the slaves and asses, thy comrades,
     As good for nothing else, no better service
     With those thy boisterous locks; no worthy match
     For valour to assail, nor by the sword                     1165
     Of noble warrior, so to stain his honour,
     But by the barber's razor best subdued.

     _Samson._ All these indignities, for such they are
     From thine, these evils I deserve and more,
     Acknowledge them from God inflicted on me                  1170
     Justly, yet despair not of his final pardon,
     Whose ear is ever open, and his eye
     Gracious to re-admit the suppliant;
     In confidence whereof I once again
     Defy thee to the trial of mortal fight,                    1175
     By combat to decide whose god is God,
     Thine, or whom I with Israel's sons adore.

     _Harapha._ Fair honour that thou doest thy God, in trusting
     He will accept thee to defend his cause,
     A murtherer, a revolter, and a robber!                     1180

     _Samson._ Tongue-doughty giant, how dost thou prove me these?

     _Harapha._ Is not thy nation subject to our lords?
     Their magistrates confessed it, when they took thee
     As a league-breaker, and delivered bound
     Into our hands: for hadst thou not committed               1185
     Notorious murder on those thirty men
     At Ascalon, who never did thee harm,
     Then, like a robber, stripp'dst them of their robes?
     The Philistines, when thou hadst broke the league,
     Went up with armed powers thee only seeking,               1190
     To others did no violence nor spoil.

     _Samson._ Among the daughters of the Philistines
     I chose a wife, which argued me no foe,
     And in your city held my nuptial feast;
     But your ill-meaning politician lords,                     1195
     Under pretence of bridal friends and guests,
     Appointed to await me thirty spies,
     Who, threatening cruel death, constrained the bride
     To wring from me, and tell to them, my secret,
     That solved the riddle which I had proposed.               1200
     When I perceived all set on enmity,
     As on my enemies, wherever chanced,
     I used hostility, and took their spoil,
     To pay my underminers in their coin.
     My nation was subjected to your lords!                     1205
     It was the force of conquest; force with force
     Is well ejected when the conquered can.
     But I, a private person, whom my country
     As a league-breaker gave up bound, presumed
     Single rebellion, and did hostile acts!                    1210
     I was no private, but a person raised,
     With strength sufficient, and command from Heaven,
     To free my country. If their servile minds
     Me, their deliverer sent, would not receive,
     But to their masters gave me up for nought,                1215
     The unworthier they; whence to this day they serve.
     I was to do my part from Heaven assigned,
     And had performed it, if my known offence
     Had not disabled me, not all your force.
     These shifts refuted, answer thy appellant,                1220
     Though by his blindness maimed for high attempts,
     Who now defies thee thrice to single fight,
     As a petty enterprise of small enforce.

     _Harapha._ With thee, a man condemned, a slave enrolled,
     Due by the law to capital punishment?                      1225
     To fight with thee no man of arms will deign.

     _Samson._ Cam'st thou for this, vain boaster, to survey me,
     To descant on my strength, and give thy verdict?
     Come nearer; part not hence so slight informed;
     But take good heed my hand survey not thee.                1230

     _Harapha._ O Baal-zebub! can my ears unused
     Hear these dishonours, and not render death?

     _Samson._ No man withholds thee; nothing from thy hand
     Fear I incurable; bring up thy van;
     My heels are fettered, but my fist is free.                1235

     _Harapha._ This insolence other kind of answer fits.

     _Samson._ Go, baffled coward, lest I run upon thee,
     Though in these chains, bulk without spirit vast,
     And with one buffet lay thy structure low,
     Or swing thee in the air, then dash thee down,             1240
     To the hazard of thy brains and shattered sides.

     _Harapha._ By Astaroth, ere long thou shalt lament
     These braveries in irons loaden on thee.

     _Chorus._ His giantship is gone somewhat crest-fallen,
     Stalking with less unconscionable strides,                 1245
     And lower looks, but in a sultry chafe.

     _Samson._ I dread him not, nor all his giant brood,
     Though fame divulge him father of five sons,
     All of gigantic size, Goliah chief.

     _Chorus._ He will directly to the lords, I fear,           1250
     And with malicious counsel stir them up
     Some way or other yet further to afflict thee.

     _Samson._ He must allege some cause, and offered fight
     Will not dare mention, lest a question rise
     Whether he durst accept the offer or not;                  1255
     And that he durst not plain enough appeared.
     Much more affliction than already felt
     They cannot well impose, nor I sustain,
     If they intend advantage of my labours,
     The work of many hands, which earns my keeping,            1260
     With no small profit daily to my owners.
     But come what will, my deadliest foe will prove
     My speediest friend, by death to rid me hence;
     The worst that he can give, to me the best.
     Yet so it may fall out, because their end                  1265
     Is hate, not help to me, it may with mine
     Draw their own ruin who attempt the deed.

     _Chorus._ Oh how comely it is, and how reviving
     To the spirits of just men long oppressed,
     When God into the hands of their deliverer                 1270
     Puts invincible might,
     To quell the mighty of the earth, the oppressor,
     The brute and boisterous force of violent men,
     Hardy and industrious to support.
     Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue                       1275
     The righteous, and all such as honour truth!
     He all their ammunition
     And feats of war defeats,
     With plain heroic magnitude of mind
     And celestial vigour armed;                                1280
     Their armories and magazines contemns,
     Renders them useless, while
     With wingèd expedition
     Swift as the lightning glance he executes
     His errand on the wicked, who, surprised,                  1285
     Lose their defence, distracted and amazed.
       But patience is more oft the exercise
     Of saints, the trial of their fortitude,
     Making them each his own deliverer,
     And victor over all                                        1290
     That tyranny or fortune can inflict.
     Either of these is in thy lot,
     Samson, with might endued
     Above the sons of men; but sight bereaved
     May chance to number thee with those                       1295
     Whom patience finally must crown.
       This Idol's day hath been to thee no day of rest,
     Labouring thy mind
     More than the working day thy hands.
     And yet perhaps more trouble is behind;                    1300
     For I descry this way
     Some other tending; in his hand
     A sceptre or quaint staff he bears,
     Comes on amain, speed in his look.
     By his habit I discern him now                             1305
     A public officer, and now at hand.
     His message will be short and voluble.

     _Officer._ Ebrews, the prisoner Samson here I seek.

     _Chorus._ His manacles remark him; there he sits.

     _Officer._ Samson, to thee our lords thus bid me say:      1310
     This day to Dagon is a solemn feast,
     With sacrifices, triumph, pomp, and games;
     Thy strength they know surpassing human rate,
     And now some public proof thereof require
     To honour this great feast, and great assembly.            1315
     Rise, therefore, with all speed, and come along,
     Where I will see thee heartened and fresh clad,
     To appear as fits before the illustrious lords.

     _Samson._ Thou know'st I am an Ebrew; therefore tell them
     Our Law forbids at their religious rites                   1320
     My presence; for that cause I cannot come.

     _Officer._ This answer, be assured, will not content them.

     _Samson._ Have they not sword-players, and every sort
     Of gymnic artists, wrestlers, riders, runners,
     Jugglers and dancers, antics, mummers, mimics,             1325
     But they must pick me out, with shackles tired,
     And over-laboured at their public mill,
     To make them sport with blind activity?
     Do they not seek occasion of new quarrels,
     On my refusal, to distress me more,                        1330
     Or make a game of my calamities?
     Return the way thou cam'st; I will not come.

     _Officer._ Regard thyself; this will offend them highly.

     _Samson._ Myself? my conscience and internal peace.
     Can they think me so broken, so debased                    1335
     With corporal servitude, that my mind ever
     Will condescend to such absurd commands?
     Although their drudge, to be their fool or jester,
     And, in my midst of sorrow and heart-grief,
     To show them feats, and play before their god—            1340
     The worst of all indignities, yet on me
     Joined with extreme contempt! I will not come.

     _Officer._ My message was imposed on me with speed,
     Brooks no delay: is this thy resolution?

     _Samson._ So take it with what speed thy message needs.    1345

     _Officer._ I am sorry what this stoutness will produce.

     _Samson._ Perhaps thou shalt have cause to sorrow indeed.

     _Chorus._ Consider, Samson; matters now are strained
     Up to the highth, whether to hold or break.
     He's gone, and who knows how he may report                 1350
     Thy words by adding fuel to the flame?
     Expect another message more imperious,
     More lordly thundering than thou well wilt bear.

     _Samson._ Shall I abuse this consecrated gift
     Of strength, again returning with my hair                  1355
     After my great transgression? so requite
     Favour renewed, and add a greater sin
     By prostituting holy things to idols,
     A Nazarite, in place abominable,
     Vaunting my strength in honour to their Dagon?             1360
     Besides how vile, contemptible, ridiculous,
     What act more execrably unclean, profane?

     _Chorus._ Yet with this strength thou serv'st the Philistines,
     Idolatrous, uncircumcised, unclean.

     _Samson._ Not in their idol-worship, but by labour         1365
     Honest and lawful to deserve my food
     Of those who have me in their civil power.

     _Chorus._ Where the heart joins not, outward acts defile not.

     _Samson._ Where outward force constrains, the sentence holds.
     But who constrains me to the temple of Dagon,              1370
     Not dragging? the Philistian lords command:
     Commands are no constraints. If I obey them,
     I do it freely, venturing to displease
     God for the fear of man, and man prefer,
     Set God behind; which, in his jealousy,                    1375
     Shall never, unrepented, find forgiveness.
     Yet that he may dispense with me, or thee,
     Present in temples at idolatrous rites
     For some important cause, thou need'st not doubt.

     _Chorus._ How thou wilt here come off surmounts my reach.  1380

     _Samson._ Be of good courage; I begin to feel
     Some rousing motions in me, which dispose
     To something extraordinary my thoughts.
     I with this messenger will go along,
     Nothing to do, be sure, that may dishonour                 1385
     Our Law, or stain my vow of Nazarite.
     If there be aught of presage in the mind,
     This day will be remarkable in my life
     By some great act, or of my days the last.

     _Chorus._ In time thou hast resolved: the man returns.     1390

     _Officer._ Samson, this second message from our lords
     To thee I am bid say: Art thou our slave,
     Our captive, at the public mill our drudge,
     And dar'st thou, at our sending and command,
     Dispute thy coming? Come without delay;                    1395
     Or we shall find such engines to assail
     And hamper thee, as thou shalt come of force,
     Though thou wert firmlier fastened than a rock.

     _Samson._ I could be well content to try their art,
     Which to no few of them would prove pernicious;            1400
     Yet, knowing their advantages too many,
     Because they shall not trail me through their streets
     Like a wild beast, I am content to go.
     —Masters' commands come with a power resistless
     To such as owe them absolute subjection;                   1405
     And for a life who will not change his purpose?
     So mutable are all the ways of men.—
     Yet this be sure, in nothing to comply
     Scandalous or forbidden in our Law.

     _Officer._ I praise thy resolution. Doff these links:      1410
     By this compliance thou wilt win the lords
     To favour, and perhaps to set thee free.

     _Samson._ Brethren, farewell. Your company along
     I will not wish, lest it perhaps offend them
     To see me girt with friends; and how the sight             1415
     Of me as of a common enemy,
     So dreaded once, may now exasperate them,
     I know not. Lords are lordliest in their wine;
     And the well-feasted priest then soonest fired
     With zeal, if aught religion seem concerned;               1420
     No less the people, on their holy-days,
     Impetuous, insolent, unquenchable.
     Happen what may, of me expect to hear
     Nothing dishonourable, impure, unworthy
     Our God, our Law, my nation, or myself;                    1425
     The last of me or no I cannot warrant.

     _Chorus._ Go, and the Holy One
     Of Israel be thy guide
     To what may serve his glory best, and spread his name
     Great among the Heathen round;                             1430
     Send thee the Angel of thy birth, to stand
     Fast by thy side, who from thy father's field
     Rode up in flames after his message told
     Of thy conception, and be now a shield
     Of fire; that Spirit, that first rushed on thee            1435
     In the camp of Dan,
     Be efficacious in thee now at need!
     For never was from Heaven imparted
     Measure of strength so great to mortal seed,
     As in thy wondrous actions hath been seen.                 1440
     But wherefore comes old Manoa in such haste
     With youthful steps? much livelier than ere while
     He seems: supposing here to find his son,
     Or of him bringing to us some glad news?

     _Manoa._ Peace with you, brethren! My inducement hither    1445
     Was not at present here to find my son,
     By order of the lords new parted hence
     To come and play before them at their feast.
     I heard all as I came; the city rings,
     And numbers thither flock; I had no will,                  1450
     Lest I should see him forced to things unseemly.
     But that which moved my coming now, was chiefly
     To give ye part with me what hope I have
     With good success to work his liberty.

     _Chorus._ That hope would much rejoice us to partake       1455
     With thee. Say, reverend sire; we thirst to hear.

     _Manoa._ I have attempted, one by one, the lords,
     Either at home, or through the high street passing,
     With supplication prone and father's tears,
     To accept of ransom for my son, their prisoner.            1460
     Some much averse I found, and wondrous harsh,
     Contemptuous, proud, set on revenge and spite;
     That part most reverenced Dagon and his priests;
     Others more moderate seeming, but their aim
     Private reward, for which both God and State               1465
     They easily would set to sale; a third
     More generous far and civil, who confessed
     They had enough revenged, having reduced
     Their foe to misery beneath their fears;
     The rest was magnanimity to remit,                         1470
     If some convenient ransom were proposed.
     What noise or shout was that? it tore the sky.

     _Chorus._ Doubtless the people shouting to behold
     Their once great dread, captive and blind before them,
     Or at some proof of strength before them shown.            1475

     _Manoa._ His ransom, if my whole inheritance
     May compass it, shall willingly be paid
     And numbered down. Much rather I shall choose
     To live the poorest in my tribe, than richest,
     And he in that calamitous prison left.                     1480
     No, I am fixed not to part hence without him.
     For his redemption all my patrimony,
     If need be, I am ready to forgo
     And quit. Not wanting him, I shall want nothing.

     _Chorus._ Fathers are wont to lay up for their sons;       1485
     Thou for thy son art bent to lay out all;
     Sons wont to nurse their parents in old age,
     Thou in old age car'st how to nurse thy son,
     Made older than thy age through eye-sight lost.

     _Manoa._ It shall be my delight to tend his eyes,          1490
     And view him sitting in the house, ennobled
     With all those high exploits by him achieved,
     And on his shoulders waving down those locks
     That of a nation armed the strength contained.
     And I persuade me, God had not permitted                   1495
     His strength again to grow up with his hair
     Garrisoned round about him like a camp
     Of faithful soldiery, were not his purpose
     To use him further yet in some great service—
     Not to sit idle with so great a gift                       1500
     Useless, and thence ridiculous, about him.
     And since his strength with eye-sight was not lost,
     God will restore him eye-sight to his strength.

     _Chorus._ Thy hopes are not ill founded, nor seem vain,
     Of his delivery, and thy joy thereon                       1505
     Conceived, agreeable to a father's love,
     In both which we, as next, participate.

     _Manoa._ I know your friendly minds and . . . oh, what noise!
     Mercy of Heaven! what hideous noise was that?
     Horribly loud, unlike the former shout.                    1510

     _Chorus._ Noise call you it, or universal groan,
     As if the whole inhabitation perished!
     Blood, death, and deathful deeds, are in that noise,
     Ruin, destruction at the utmost point.

     _Manoa._ Of ruin indeed methought I heard the noise.       1515
     Oh, it continues; they have slain my son!

     _Chorus._ Thy son is rather slaying them; that outcry
     From slaughter of one foe could not ascend.

     _Manoa._ Some dismal accident it needs must be.
     What shall we do—stay here or run and see?                1520

     _Chorus._ Best keep together here, lest, running thither,
     We unawares run into danger's mouth.
     This evil on the Philistines is fallen;
     From whom could else a general cry be heard?
     The sufferers then will scarce molest us here;             1525
     From other hands we need not much to fear.
     What if, his eye-sight (for to Israel's God
     Nothing is hard) by miracle restored,
     He now be dealing dole among his foes,
     And over heaps of slaughtered walk his way?                1530

     _Manoa._ That were a joy presumptuous to be thought.

     _Chorus._ Yet God hath wrought things as incredible
     For his people of old; what hinders now?

     _Manoa._ He can, I know, but doubt to think he will;
     Yet hope would fain subscribe, and tempts belief.          1535
     A little stay will bring some notice hither.

     _Chorus._ Of good or bad so great, of bad the sooner;
     For evil news rides post, while good news baits.
     And to our wish I see one hither speeding—
     An Ebrew, as I guess, and of our tribe.                    1540

     _Messenger._ Oh, whither shall I run, or which way fly
     The sight of this so horrid spectacle,
     Which erst my eyes beheld, and yet behold?
     For dire imagination still pursues me.
     But providence or instinct of nature seems,                1545
     Or reason, though disturbed, and scarce consulted,
     To have guided me aright, I know not how,
     To thee first, reverend Manoa, and to these
     My countrymen, whom here I knew remaining,
     As at some distance from the place of horror,              1550
     So in the sad event too much concerned.

     _Manoa._ The accident was loud, and here before thee
     With rueful cry; yet what it was we hear not.
     No preface needs, thou seest we long to know.

     _Messenger._ It would burst forth; but I recover breath,   1555
     And sense distract, to know well what I utter.

     _Manoa._ Tell us the sum, the circumstance defer.

     _Messenger._ Gaza yet stands, but all her sons are fallen,
     All in a moment overwhelmed and fallen.

     _Manoa._ Sad! but thou know'st to Israelites not saddest   1560
     The desolation of a hostile city.

     _Messenger._ Feed on that first, there may in grief be surfeit.

     _Manoa._ Relate by whom.

     _Messenger._             By Samson.

     _Manoa._                            That still lessens
     The sorrow, and converts it nigh to joy.

     _Messenger._ Ah! Manoa, I refrain too suddenly             1565
     To utter what will come at last too soon,
     Lest evil tidings, with too rude irruption
     Hitting thy aged ear, should pierce too deep.

     _Manoa._ Suspense in news is torture; speak them out.

     _Messenger._ Take then the worst in brief: Samson is dead.  1570

     _Manoa._ The worst indeed! oh, all my hope's defeated
     To free him hence! but Death who sets all free
     Hath paid his ransom now and full discharge.
     What windy joy this day had I conceived,
     Hopeful of his delivery, which now proves                  1575
     Abortive as the first-born bloom of spring
     Nipt with the lagging rear of winter's frost!
     Yet, ere I give the reins to grief, say first
     How died he; death to life is crown or shame.
     All by him fell, thou say'st; by whom fell he?             1580
     What glorious hand gave Samson his death's wound?

     _Messenger._ Unwounded of his enemies he fell.

     _Manoa._ Wearied with slaughter, then, or how? explain.

     _Messenger._ By his own hands.

     _Manoa._                       Self-violence? what cause
     Brought him so soon at variance with himself               1585
     Among his foes?

     _Messenger._    Inevitable cause—
     At once both to destroy and be destroyed.
     The edifice, where all were met to see him,
     Upon their heads and on his own he pulled.

     _Manoa._ Oh, lastly over-strong against thyself!           1590
     A dreadful way thou took'st to thy revenge.
     More than enough we know; but, while things yet
     Are in confusion, give us, if thou canst,
     Eye-witness of what first or last was done,
     Relation more particular and distinct.                     1595

     _Messenger._ Occasions drew me early to this city,
     And, as the gates I entered with sun-rise,
     The morning trumpets festival proclaimed
     Through each high street. Little I had dispatched,
     When all abroad was rumoured that this day                 1600
     Samson should be brought forth, to show the people
     Proof of his mighty strength in feats and games.
     I sorrowed at his captive state, but minded
     Not to be absent at that spectacle.
     The building was a spacious theatre,                       1605
     Half-round, on two main pillars vaulted high,
     With seats where all the lords, and each degree
     Of sort, might sit in order to behold;
     The other side was open, where the throng
     On banks and scaffolds under sky might stand;              1610
     I among these aloof obscurely stood.
     The feast and noon grew high, and sacrifice
     Had filled their hearts with mirth, high cheer, and wine,
     When to their sports they turned. Immediately
     Was Samson as a public servant brought,                    1615
     In their state livery clad; before him pipes
     And timbrels; on each side went armèd guards,
     Both horse and foot; before him and behind
     Archers and slingers, cataphracts and spears.
     At sight of him the people with a shout                    1620
     Rifted the air, clamouring their god with praise,
     Who had made their dreadful enemy their thrall.
     He, patient but undaunted where they led him,
     Came to the place; and what was set before him,
     Which without help of eye might be assayed,                1625
     To heave, pull, draw, or break, he still performed
     All with incredible, stupendious force,
     None daring to appear antagonist.
     At length, for intermission sake, they led him
     Between the pillars; he his guide requested                1630
     (For so from such as nearer stood we heard),
     As over-tired, to let him lean a while
     With both his arms on those two massy pillars,
     That to the archèd roof gave main support.
     He unsuspicious led him; which when Samson                 1635
     Felt in his arms, with head a while inclined,
     And eyes fast fixed, he stood, as one who prayed,
     Or some great matter in his mind revolved.
     At last, with head erect, thus cried aloud:
     'Hitherto, Lords, what your commands imposed               1640
     I have performed, as reason was, obeying,
     Not without wonder or delight beheld;
     Now of my own accord such other trial
     I mean to show you of my strength, yet greater,
     As with amaze shall strike all who behold.'                1645
     This uttered, straining all his nerves, he bowed;
     As with the force of winds and waters pent
     When mountains tremble, those two massy pillars
     With horrible convulsion to and fro
     He tugged, he shook, till down they came, and drew         1650
     The whole roof after them, with burst of thunder,
     Upon the heads of all who sat beneath,
     Lords, ladies, captains, counsellors, or priests,
     Their choice nobility and flower, not only
     Of this, but each Philistian city round,                   1655
     Met from all parts to solemnize this feast.
     Samson, with these immixed, inevitably
     Pulled down the same destruction on himself;
     The vulgar only scaped, who stood without.

     _Chorus._ Oh, dearly-bought revenge, yet glorious!         1660
     Living or dying thou hast fulfilled
     The work for which thou wast foretold
     To Israel, and now liest victorious
     Among thy slain self-killed;
     Not willingly, but tangled in the fold                     1665
     Of dire Necessity, whose law in death conjoined
     Thee with thy slaughtered foes, in number more
     Than all thy life had slain before.

     _Semichorus._ While their hearts were jocund and sublime,
     Drunk with idolatry, drunk with wine,                      1670
     And fat regorged of bulls and goats,
     Chaunting their idol, and preferring
     Before our living Dread, who dwells
     In Silo, his bright sanctuary,
     Among them he a spirit of phrenzy sent,                    1675
     Who hurt their minds,
     And urged them on with mad desire
     To call in haste for their destroyer.
     They, only set on sport and play,
     Unweetingly importuned                                     1680
     Their own destruction to come speedy upon them.
     So fond are mortal men,
     Fallen into wrath divine,
     As their own ruin on themselves to invite,
     Insensate left, or to sense reprobate,                     1685
     And with blindness internal struck.

     _Semichorus._ But he, though blind of sight,
     Despised, and thought extinguished quite,
     With inward eyes illuminated,
     His fiery virtue roused                                    1690
     From under ashes into sudden flame,
     And as an evening dragon came,
     Assailant on the perchèd roosts
     And nests in order ranged
     Of tame villatic fowl, but as an eagle                     1695
     His cloudless thunder bolted on their heads.
     So Virtue, given for lost,
     Depressed and overthrown, as seemed,
     Like that self-begotten bird,
     In the Arabian woods embost,                               1700
     That no second knows nor third,
     And lay erewhile a holocaust,
     From out her ashy womb now teemed,
     Revives, reflourishes, then vigorous most
     When most unactive deemed;                                 1705
     And, though her body die, her fame survives,
     A secular bird, ages of lives.

     _Manoa._ Come, come; no time for lamentation now,
     Nor much more cause. Samson hath quit himself
     Like Samson, and heroicly hath finished                    1710
     A life heroic, on his enemies
     Fully revenged; hath left them years of mourning,
     And lamentation to the sons of Caphtor
     Through all Philistian bounds; to Israel
     Honour hath left and freedom, let but them                 1715
     Find courage to lay hold on this occasion;
     To himself and father's house eternal fame;
     And, which is best and happiest yet, all this
     With God not parted from him, as was feared,
     But favouring and assisting to the end.                    1720
     Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail
     Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt,
     Dispraise, or blame; nothing but well and fair,
     And what may quiet us in a death so noble.
     Let us go find the body where it lies                      1725
     Soaked in his enemies' blood, and from the stream
     With lavers pure, and cleansing herbs, wash off
     The clotted gore. I, with what speed the while
     (Gaza is not in plight to say us nay),
     Will send for all my kindred, all my friends,              1730
     To fetch him hence, and solemnly attend,
     With silent obsequy and funeral train,
     Home to his father's house. There will I build him
     A monument, and plant it round with shade
     Of laurel ever green, and branching palm,                  1735
     With all his trophies hung, and acts enrolled
     In copious legend, or sweet lyric song.
     Thither shall all the valiant youth resort,
     And from his memory inflame their breasts
     To matchless valour, and adventures high;                  1740
     The virgins also shall, on feastful days,
     Visit his tomb with flowers, only bewailing
     His lot unfortunate in nuptial choice,
     From whence captivity and loss of eyes.

     _Chorus._ All is best, though we oft doubt,                1745
     What the unsearchable dispose
     Of Highest Wisdom brings about,
     And ever best found in the close.
     Oft He seems to hide his face,
     But unexpectedly returns,                                  1750
     And to his faithful champion hath in place
     Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns,
     And all that band them to resist
     His uncontrollable intent.
     His servants He, with new acquist                          1755
     Of true experience from this great event,
     With peace and consolation hath dismissed,
     And calm of mind, all passion spent.


_A Defence of the People of England_

Page 2. _Salmasius_ (Claudius), Latinized name of Claude de Saumaise, b.
1588, d. 1653; regarded in his time, throughout Europe, as the paragon
of scholarship; engaged, after the execution of Charles I., to defend
the royal cause against the Commonwealth, which he endeavored to do in
his _Defensio Regia pro Carolo I._, addressed to Charles II. In this
work he defines a king ('if that,' says Milton, 'may be said to be
defined which he makes infinite') 'to be a person in whom the supreme
power of the kingdom resides, who is answerable to God alone, who may do
whatsoever pleases him, who is bound by no law.'

P. 4, 5. _single person_: Milton himself, who replied to the _Eikon
Basilike_, and refuted its 'maudlin sophistry' in his _Eikonoklastes_;
_antagonist of mine_: Salmasius.

_The Second Defence of the People of England_

P. 7. _one eminent above the rest_: Salmasius.

P. 9, 10. _columns of Hercules_: the mountains on each side of the
Straits of Gibraltar. It was fabled that they were formerly one
mountain, which was rent asunder by Hercules. _Triptolemus_: the fabled
inventor of the plough and the distributor of grain among men, under
favor of Ceres.

P. 10. _the most noble queen of Sweden_: Christina, daughter of Gustavus

P. 12. _Monstrum horrendum_: a monster horrible, mis-shapen, huge,
deprived of his eyesight; description of the Cyclops Polyphemus, whose
one eye was put out by Ulysses.—_Virgil's Æneid_, iii. 658.

P. 14. _Tiresias_: the blind prophet of Thebes. _Apollonius Rhodius_:
poet and rhetorician (B.C. 280-203), author of the _Argonautica_, a
heroic poem on the Argonautic expedition to Colchis in quest of the
golden fleece.

P. 14, 15. _Timoleon of Corinth_: Greek statesman and general, who
expelled the tyrants from the Greek cities of Sicily, and restored the
democratic form of government; died blind, 337 B.C. _Appius Claudius_:
surnamed Cæcus from his blindness. Roman consul, 307 and 296; induced
the senate, in his old age, to reject the terms of peace which Cineas
had proposed on behalf of Pyrrhus. _Pyrrhus_: king of Epirus (B.C.
318-272), who waged war against the Romans. _Cæcilius Metellus_: Roman
consul, B.C. 251, 249; pontifex maximus for twenty-two years from 243;
lost his sight in 241 while rescuing the Palladium when the temple of
Vesta was on fire. _Dandolo_ (_Enrico_): b. 1107(?); elected Doge in
1192; d. 1205. He was ninety-six years old when, though blind, he
commanded the Venetians at the taking of Constantinople, June 17, 1203.

     'Oh, for one hour of blind old Dandolo!
      The octogenarian chief, Byzantium's conquering foe.'

          —_Byron's Childe Harold_, Canto iv. St. xii.

_Ziska_, or Zizka (John): military chief of the Hussites, b. 1360(?), d.
1424; his real name was Trocznow; he lost an eye in battle, and was
thence called Ziska, _i.e._ one-eyed; lost his other eye from an arrow
at the siege of Rubi, but his blindness did not prevent his continuing
the war against ecclesiastical tyranny. _Jerome Zanchius_ (Girolamo
Zanchi), Italian Protestant theologian, b. 1516, d. 1590; was canon
regular of the Lateran when he became a Protestant; professor of
theology and philosophy, University of Strasburg, 1553-1563; professor
of theology, University of Heidelberg, 1568-1576.

P. 16. _Æsculapius_: the god of medicine. _Epidaurus_ (now Epidauro):
chief seat of the worship of Æsculapius; _the son of Thetis_: Achilles,
the hero of the Iliad. I have substituted the Earl of Derby's
translation of the lines which follow from the Iliad, for that given by
Robert Fellowes.

P. 18. _Prytaneum_: 'a public building in the towns of Greece, where the
Prytanes (chief magistrates in the states) assembled and took their
meals together, and where those who had deserved well of their country
were maintained during life.'

P. 19, 20. _born in London_: 9th of December, 1608; _grammar-school_:
St. Paul's, notable among the classical seminaries then in London. The
head-master was a Mr. Alexander Gill, Sr., and the sub-master, or usher,
Mr. Alexander Gill, Jr.; with the latter Milton afterward maintained an
intimate friendship.

P. 20. _On my father's estate_: at Horton, in Buckinghamshire. _Henry
Wotton_: at this time Provost of Eton. His letter to Milton is dated 13
April, 1638. In the concluding paragraph, Sir Henry writes: 'At Sienna I
was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman courtier
in dangerous times, . . . at my departure toward Rome (which had been
the centre of his experience) I had won confidence enough to beg his
advice, how I might carry myself securely there, without offence of
others, or of mine own conscience. _Signor Arrigo mio_ (says he), _I
pensieri stretti, & il viso sciolto_: that is, your thoughts close and
your countenance loose, will go safely over the whole world. Of which
Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) your judgment doth need no
commentary; and therefore, Sir, I will commit you with it to the best of
all securities, God's dear love, remaining your friend as much at
command as any of longer date.' Milton was certainly the last man in the
world to make such a prudential, or rather crafty, maxim his rule of
conduct, even in such a country as Italy then was. He has stated his own
rule further on in this extract. _Thomas Scudamore_: miswritten for John

P. 21. _Jacopo Gaddi_: a prominent and influential literary man of
Florence, member of the Florentine Academy, author of poems, historical
essays, etc., in Latin and in Italian. _Carlo Dati_: his full name was
Carlo Ruberto Dati; only in his 19th year when Milton visited Florence;
was afterwards one of the most distinguished of the Florentine men of
letters and academicians; became strongly attached to Milton, and
corresponded with him after his return to England; author of 'Vite de'
Pittori Antichi' (Lives of the Ancient Painters) and numerous other

P. 21. _Frescobaldi_ (_Pietro_): a Florentine academician. _Coltellini_
(_Agostino_): a Florentine advocate; founder of an academy under the
name of the Apatisti (the Indifferents). 'Such were the attractions of
this academy, and so energetic was Coltellini in its behalf, that within
ten or twenty years after its foundation it had a fame among the Italian
academies equal, in some respects, to that of the first and oldest, and
counted among its members not only all the eminent Florentines, but most
of the distinguished _literati_ of Italy, besides cardinals, Italian
princes and dukes, many foreign nobles and scholars, and at least one
pope.'—_Masson._ _Bonmattei_, or _Buommattei_ (_Benedetto_): an eminent
member of various Florentine and other academies; author of various
works, among them a commentary on parts of Dante, and a standard
treatise, _Della Lingua Toscana_; by profession a priest. _Chimentelli_
(_Valerio_): a priest; professor of Greek, and then of Eloquence and
Politics, in Pisa; author of an archæological work, entitled _Marmor
Pisanum_. _Francini_ (_Antonio_): Florentine academician and poet.
_Lucas Holstenius_ (in the vernacular, Lukas Holste, or Holsten),
secretary to Cardinal Barberini, and one of the librarians of the
Vatican. _Manso_: author of a Life of Tasso, 1619. Milton, just before
leaving Naples, addressed to him his Latin poem, _Mansus_.

P. 22. _so little reserve on matters of religion_: here it appears that
he did not make Sir Henry Wotton's prudential maxim his rule of conduct.

P. 22, 23. _the slandering More_ (Lat. _Morus_), Alexander: a Reformed
minister, then resident in Holland, and at one time a friend of
Salmasius. He had formerly been Professor of Greek in the University of
Geneva. The real author of the _Regii Sanguinis Clamor_ was the Rev. Dr.
Peter Du Moulin, the younger, made, 1660, a prebendary of Canterbury.
More was, indeed, the publisher of the book, the corrector of the press,
and author of the dedicatory preface in the printer's name, to Charles
II. Milton fully believed when he wrote the Second Defence that More was
the author of the _R. S. C._, having received convincing assurances that
he was. _Diodati_ (Dr. Jean, or Giovanni), uncle of Milton's friend,
Carolo Diodati. He made the Italian translation of the Scriptures, known
as Diodati's Bible, published in 1607. _at the time when Charles_, etc.:
Milton's return to England was not, as he himself (by a slip of memory,
no doubt) states, 'at the time when Charles, having broken the peace
with the Scots, was renewing the second of those wars named Episcopal,'
but exactly a twelvemonth previous to that time, and about eight months
before the meeting of the Short Parliament.—_Keightley._

P. 24. _two books to a friend_: 'Of Reformation in England, and the
causes that hitherto have hindered it. 1641.' _two bishops_: Dr. Joseph
Hall (1574-1656), Bishop of Exeter, afterward Bishop of Norwich; and Dr.
James Usher (1580-1656), Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of Ireland.
_Concerning Prelatical Episcopacy_: the full title is, 'Of prelatical
episcopacy, and whether it may be deduced from the apostolical times, by
virtue of those testimonies which are alleged to that purpose in some
late treatises; one whereof goes under the name of James, Archbishop of
Armagh. 1641.' _Concerning the mode of ecclesiastical government_: 'The
reason of church government urged against prelaty. 1641.'

P. 24. _Animadversions_: 'Animadversions upon the remonstrant's defence
against Smectymnuus. 1641.'

P. 24. _Apology_: 'An apology for Smectymnuus.' 1642. The pamphlet by
Smectymnuus was published with the following title, which is
sufficiently descriptive of its character: 'An Answer to a Book
entituled "An Humble Remonstrance" [by Bishop Hall], in which the
originall of Liturgy [and] Episcopacy is discussed and quæres propounded
concerning both, the parity of Bishops and Presbyters in Scripture
demonstrated, the occasion of their unparity in Antiquity discovered,
the disparity of the ancient and our modern Bishops manifested, the
antiquity of Ruling Elders in the Church vindicated, the Prelaticall
Church bounded: Written by Smectymnuus.' 1641. The pamphlet was the
joint production of five Presbyterian clergymen, Stephen Marshall,
Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow, but
written for the most part by Thomas Young, Milton's former tutor. The
name Smectymnuus was made up from the several authors' initials: S. M.,
E. C., T. Y., M. N., U. U. (for W.) S.

P. 24. _the domestic species_: the titles of the pamphlets on marriage
and divorce are: 'The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,' 1643, 1644;
'The Judgment of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce,' 1644; 'Tetrachordon:
expositions upon the four chief places in Scripture which treat of
marriage, or nullities in marriage,' 1644; 'Colasterion: a reply to a
nameless answer against the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,' 1645.

P. 25. _Selden_ (_John_), 1584-1654, celebrated English lawyer,
statesman, and political writer. His 'Table Talk' was long famous,
'being his sense of various matters of weight and high consequence,
relating especially to religion and state.'

P. 25. _an inferior at home_: many passages in Milton's works, poetical
and prose, indicate, on his part, an estimate of woman which may be
attributed, in some measure, at least, to his unfortunate first
marriage. His own opinions of what should be the relation of wife to
husband he, no doubt, expressed in the following passages in the
'Paradise Lost,' Book iv. 635-638, x. 145-156, xi. 287-292, 629-636; and
in the 'Samson Agonistes,' 1053-1060. But no one can read the several
treatises on Divorce without being impressed with the loftiness of
Milton's ideal of marriage, and his sense of the sacred duties
appertaining thereto. The only true marriage with him was the union of
_souls_, as well as of bodies, souls whom _God_ hath joined together
(Matt. xix. 6, Mark x. 9), not the priest nor the magistrate.

P. 25. _the principles of education_: 'Of Education. To Master Samuel
Hartlib.' 1644. Hartlib was nominally a merchant in London, a foreigner
by birth, the son of a Polish merchant of German extraction, settled in
Elbing, in Prussia, whose wife was the daughter of a wealthy English
merchant of Dantzic. He was a reformer and philanthropist, and an
advocate of the views of the educational reformer, Comenius.

P. 25. '_Areopagitica_: a speech for the liberty of unlicensed printing,
to the Parliament of England.' 1644.

P. 26. _what might lawfully be done against tyrants_: in his pamphlet
entitled, 'The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates: proving that it is
lawful, and hath been held so through all ages, for any, who have the
power, to call to account a tyrant or wicked king, and, after due
conviction, to depose, and put him to death, if the ordinary magistrate
have neglected, or denied to do it; and that they who of late so much
blame deposing are the men that did it themselves. The author J. M.

P. 27. _history of my country_: 'The History of Britain; that part
especially now called England. From the first traditional beginning
continued to the Norman Conquest.'

P. 27. _I had already finished four books_: _i.e._ in 1648; the work was
not published till 1670. It contained the fine portrait of Milton, by
William Faithorne, for which he sat in his 62d year.

P. 27. _A book . . . ascribed to the king_: ten days after the king's
death, was published (9 Feb. 1649), 'Ἑἰκὼν Βασιλική: The True
Portraicture of His Sacred Majestie in his Solitudes and
Sufferings.—_Rom._ viii. _More than conquerour_, &c.—_Bona agere et
mala pati Regium est._—MDCXLVIII.' The book professed to be the king's
own production, and Milton answered it as such, tho' it appears he had
his suspicions as to its authorship. It was universally regarded, at the
time, as the king's; but it was before long well known (though the
controversy as to the authorship was long after kept up) to have been
written by Dr. John Gauden, Rector of Bocking, and, after the
Restoration, Bishop of Exeter, and, a short time before his death,
Bishop of Worcester. Milton's reply, published 6th of Oct., 1649, is
entitled 'ἙΙΚΟΝΟΚΛΆΣΤΗΣ in Answer To a Book Intitl'd ἘΙΚῺΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΙΚΉ,
The Portrature of his Sacred Majesty in his Solitudes and Sufferings.
The Author I. M.

Prov. xxviii. 15, 16, 17.

     15. As a roaring Lyon, and a ranging Beare, so is a wicked
     Ruler over the poor people.

     16. The Prince that wanteth understanding, is also a great
     oppressor; but he that hateth covetousnesse shall prolong his

     17. A man that doth violence to the blood of any person, shall
     fly to the pit, let no man stay him.

Salust. Conjurat. Catilin.

     Regium imperium, quod initio, conservandæ libertatis, atque
     augendæ reipub. causâ fuerat, in superbiam, dominationemque se

     Regibus boni, quam mali, suspectiores sunt; semperque his
     aliena virtus formidolosa est.

     Quidlibet impunè facere, hoc scilicet regium est.

          Published by Authority.

London, Printed by Matthew Simmons, next dore to the gilded Lyon in
Aldersgate street. 1649.'

P. 27. _Salmasius then appeared_: that is, with his _Defensio Regia pro
Carolo I._

_To Charles Diodati_

P. 28. _Chester's Dee_: the old city of Chester is situated on the Dee
(Lat. _Deva_).

P. 28. _Vergivian wave_ (Lat. _Vergivium salum_): the Irish Sea.

P. 28. _it is not my care to revisit the reedy Cam_, etc.: this was the
period of his rustication from Christ's College, Cambridge, due, it
seems, to some difficulty which Milton had with his tutor, Mr. Chappell.

P. 28. _the tearful exile in the Pontic territory_: Ovid, who was
relegated (rather than exiled) to Tomi, a town on the Euxine.

P. 28. _Maro_: the Latin poet, Publius Virgilius Maro.

P. 29. _or the unhappy boy . . . or the fierce avenger_: as Masson
suggests, the allusions here may be to Shakespeare's Romeo and the Ghost
in _Hamlet_.

P. 29. _the house of Pelops_, etc.: subjects of the principal Greek

P. 29. _the arms of living Pelops_: an allusion to the ivory shoulder of
Pelops, by which, when he was restored to life after having been served
up at a feast of the gods, given by his father Tantalus, the shoulder
consumed by Ceres was replaced.

P. 30. _thy own flower_: the anemone into which Adonis was turned by
Venus, after his dying of a wound received from a wild boar during the

P. 30. _alternate measures_: the alternate hexameters and pentameters of
the Elegy.

_To Alexander Gill, Jr._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. III.)

P. 30. _Alexander Gill, Jr._: Gill was Milton's tutor in St. Paul's
School, of which his father, Alexander Gill, was head-master. Milton was
sent to this school in his twelfth year (1620), and remained there till
his seventeenth year (1625). He was entered very soon after at Christ's
College, Cambridge, beginning residence in the Easter term of 1625.

_To Thomas Young._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. IV.)

P. 31. _Thomas Young_: Young had been Milton's tutor before he entered
St. Paul's School, and later; he was one of the authors of the
Smectymnuan pamphlet; was appointed Master of Jesus College, Cambridge,
in 1644.

P. 31. _Stoa of the Iceni_ (Lat. _Stoam Icenorum_): a pun for Stowmarket
in Suffolk, the Iceni having been the inhabitants of the parts of Roman
Britain corresponding to Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, etc.—_Masson._ Their
queen was Boadicea, who led their revolt against the Romans.

P. 31. _Zeno_: Greek philosopher (about 358-260 B.C.), father of the
Stoic philosophy, so called from his teaching in the _Stoa Pœcile_,
in Athens, in which were the frescoes of Polygnotus (about 480-430

P. 31. _Serranus_: an agnomen, or fourth name, given to L. Quinctius
Cincinnatus; Roman consul 460 B.C.; in 458 called from the plough to the
dictatorship, whence called by Florus, _Dictator ad aratro_; the agnomen
is said to have been derived from _serere_, to sow; 'Quis te, magne
Cato, tacitum, aut te, Cosse, relinquat? . . . vel te sulco, Serrane,
serentem' (Who can leave thee unmentioned, great Cato, or thee,
Cossus? . . . or thee, Serranus, sowing in the furrow).—_Æneid_, vi.

P. 31. _Curius_: M'. Curius Dentatus, noted for his fortitude and
frugality; consul B.C. 290; a second time 275, when he defeated Pyrrhus,
king of Epirus; consul a third time, 274; afterward retired to his small
farm, which he cultivated himself.

_To Charles Diodati, making a Stay in the Country_

P. 32. _Erato_: the muse of erotic poetry.

P. 32. _the fierce dog_: Cerberus.

P. 32. _the Samian master_: Pythagoras, who was a native of Samos.

P. 32. _Tiresias_: the Theban prophet, deprived of sight by Juno;
Jupiter, in compensation, bestowed upon him the power of prophecy.

P. 32. _Theban Linus_: the singer and philosopher.

P. 32. _Calchas the exile_: a famous soothsayer, who accompanied the
Greeks to Troy.

P. 32. _Orpheus_: the fabulous Thracian poet and musician.

P. 32. _Circe_: See Comus, 50-53.

P. 33. _the heavenly birth of the King of Peace_: his ode _On the
Morning of Christ's Nativity_, composed on and just after Christmas,

_Ad Patrem_

P. 35. 1. _Pieria's_: used for Pierian, from Pierus, a mountain of
Thessaly sacred to the muses.

P. 36. 18. _Clio_: the Muse of History, 'inasmuch,' says Masson, 'as
what he is to say about his Father is strictly true.'

P. 36. 22. _Promethean fire_: the fire which Prometheus brought down
from heaven.

P. 37. 44. _Ophiuchus_: _i.e._ a serpent holder (ὄφις + ἔχειν); a
constellation in the northern hemisphere, the outline of which is
imagined to be a man holding a serpent; called also Anguitenens and
Serpentarius, which have the same meaning; Ophiuchus is the translator's
word; the original is _sibila serpens_, the hissing serpent.

P. 37. 45. _Orion_: a constellation with sword, belt, and club; 'Orion
arm'd.'—_P. L._, i. 305.

P. 37. 50. _Lyæus_: an epithet of Bacchus as the deliverer from care
(Gk. λυαίος).

P. 37. 53. _proposed_: set forth.

P. 37. 55. _to imitation_: _i.e._ for imitation, to be imitated, _i.e._
the character of heroes and their deeds.

P. 38. 92. _Streams Aonian_: so called as if the resort of the muses.

P. 39. 120. _the boy_: Phaëthon.

P. 40. 141-148. _Ye too, . . . my voluntary numbers_: it does not seem
to me improbable that these six lines [115-120 of the original] were
added to the poem just before its publication in the volume of 1645. The
phrase '_juvenilia carmina_' seems to refer to that volume as containing
this piece among others. Anyhow, it was a beautiful ending and

_An English Letter to a Friend_

P. 40. _English letter to a friend_: this letter of which there are two
undated drafts in Milton's handwriting in the Library of Trinity
College, Cambridge, must have been written in 1632 or 1633. In the
second draft (which is given in the text), Milton is content, for the
first few sentences, with simply correcting the language of the first;
but in the remaining portion he throws the first draft all but entirely
aside, and rewrites the same meaning more at large in a series of new
sentences. Evidently he took pains with the letter.—_Masson._

P. 41. _tale of Latmus_: _i.e._ of Endymion's sleeping upon Mount
Latmus, and of his being visited by Selene (the moon).

P. 42. 5. _Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth_: _i.e._ he
appears younger than he really is. In his Second Defence, he says,
'though I am more than forty years old, there is scarcely any one to
whom I do not appear ten years younger than I am.'

P. 42. 8. _timely-happy_: happy, or fortunate, in the matter of inward

P. 42. 10. _it_: 'inward ripeness.'

P. 42. _it shall be still_: Milton very early regarded himself as
dedicated to the performance of some great work for which he had to make
adequate preparation, in the way of building himself up; _even_: equal,
in proportion to, in conformity with.

P. 43. _Your true and unfeigned friend, etc._: see penultimate sentence
of the passage given, p. 65, from 'The Reason of Church Government urged
against Prelaty.'

_To Alexander Gill, Jr._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. V.)

P. 43. _this ode_: Psalm cxiv.

_To Charles Diodati._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. VI.)

P. 44. _To Charles Diodati_: Milton's schoolfellow at St. Paul's, and
his dearest friend; he died in August, 1638, while Milton was on his
Continental tour; on his return he wrote the _In memoriam_ poem,
_Epitaphium Damonis_.

_To Benedetto Bonmattei of Florence._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. VIII.)

P. 46. _To Benedetto Bonmattei_: mentioned by Milton among his
Florentine friends, in the autobiographical passage in the Second
Defence; see note, p. 247.


P. 47. _our native kings_: the ancient kings of Britain.

P. 47. _stirring wars even under the earth_: King Arthur, after his
death, was supposed to be carried into the subterraneous land of Faerie,
or of Spirits, where he still reigned as a king, and whence he was to
return into Britain, to renew the Round Table, conquer all his old
enemies, and reëstablish his throne. He was, therefore, _etiam movens
bella sub terris_, still meditating wars under the earth. The impulse of
his attachment to this subject was not entirely suppressed; it produced
his History of Britain. By the expression _revocabo in carmina_, the
poet means, that these ancient kings, which were once the themes of the
British bards, should now again be celebrated in verse.—_Warton._
Warton renders _bella moventem_ [v. 81 of the Latin] _meditating wars_,
but that is not the true sense; it is waging wars, and Arthur is
represented as so employed in Fairy-land in the romances.—_Keightley._

P. 47. _Paphian myrtle_: the myrtle was sacred to Venus; Paphos was an
ancient city of Cyprus, where was a temple of Venus.


P. 48. _Galileo_: b. 1564, d. 1642; he was seventy-four years old when
Milton visited him in 1638; whether he was actually imprisoned at the
time is somewhat uncertain; he may have been, as Hales suggests, _in
libera custodia_, _i.e._ 'only kept under a certain restraint, as that
he should not move away from a specified neighborhood, or perhaps a
special house.'

P. 48. _never be forgotten by any revolution of time_: _i.e._ as Hales
explains, caused to be forgotten.

P. 48. _other parts_: _i.e._ of the world.

P. 48. _in time of parliament_: there was no parliament assembled from
1629 to 1640.

P. 48. _without envy_: without exciting any odium against me.—_Hales._

P. 48. _he whom an honest quæstorship_: Cicero, 75 B.C.

P. 48. _Verres_: pro-prætor in Sicily, 73-71 B.C. Cicero's Verrine
orations were directed against his extortions and exactions.

_To Lucas Holstenius._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. IX.)

P. 49. _Lucas Holstenius_: see note, p. 21.

P. 49. _Alexander Cherubini_: Roman friend of Milton, 'known in his
lifetime as a prodigy of erudition, though he died at the early age of

P. 49. _Virgil's 'penitus convalle virenti'_: Virgil's 'souls enclosed
within a verdant valley, and about to go to the upper light.'

P. 49. _Cardinal Francesco Barberini_: b. 1597, d. 1679; librarian of
the Vatican, and founder of the Barberini Library.

_Epitaphium Damonis_

P. 50. In the British legends of Geoffrey of Monmouth and others, the
mythical Brutus, before arriving in Britain with his Trojans, marries
Imogen, daughter of the Grecian king Pandrasus; Brennus and Belinus are
two legendary British princes of a much later age, sons of King Dunwallo
Molmutius; Arvirach or Arviragus, son of Cunobeline, or Cymbeline,
belongs to the time of the Roman conquest of Britain; the "Armorican
settlers" are the Britons who removed to the French coast of Armonica to
avoid the invading Saxons; Uther Pendragon, Igraine, Gorlois, Merlin,
and Arthur are familiar names of the Arthurian romances.—_Masson._

_Of Reformation in England_

P. 52. _their damned designs_: the restoration of Papacy and
ecclesiastical despotism.

P. 53. _antichristian thraldom_: he would seem to allude to the
invasions of England by the Romans, Saxons, Danes (twice), and Normans,
and the War of the Roses, followed by the partial reformation under
Henry VIII.—_Keightley._

P. 53. _Thule_: some undetermined island or other land, regarded as the
northernmost part of the earth; called in Latin _Ultima Thule_; often
used metaphorically for an extreme limit.

P. 53. _that horrible and damned blast_: Keightley understands this as
referring to the Gunpowder plot.

P. 53. _that sad intelligencing tyrant_: Philip IV., King of Spain from
1621 to 1665.

P. 53. _mines of Ophir_: used in a general sense for gold mines.

P. 53. _his naval ruins_: an allusion to the destruction of the Spanish
armada, in 1588, in the reign of his grandfather, Philip II.

P. 54. _in this land_: when Milton wrote this, he must still have been
meditating a poem to be based on British history.

_Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence, etc._

P. 56. _and thou standing at the door_: see introductory remarks on

_The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty_

P. 57. _Slothful, and ever to be set light by_: thou slothful one, and
ever, etc.

P. 57. _infancy_: not speaking.

P. 58. _preventive_: going before, forecasting, anticipative.

P. 58. _equal_: impartial, equitable; Lat. _æqualis_.

P. 58. _the elegant and learned reader_: him only Milton addressed, not
the common reader. He was no demagogue.

P. 58. _anything elaborately composed_: he had his meditated great work
in mind.

P. 59. _another task_: poetical composition.

P. 59. _empyreal conceit_: lofty conceit of himself.

P. 59. _envy_: odium; Lat. _invidia_.

P. 60. _Ariosto_ (_Lodovico_): Italian poet; b. 1474, d. 1533; author of
the _Orlando Furioso_.

P. 60. _Bembo_ (_Pietro_): b. 1470, d. 1547; secretary to Pope Leo X.;
Cardinal, 1539; famous as a Latin scholar.

P. 60. _wits_: geniuses.

P. 61. _Tasso_ (_Torquato_): Italian poet; b. 1544, d. 1595; author of
the _Gerusalemme Liberata_ (Jerusalem Delivered).

P. 61. _a prince of Italy_: Alfonso II., Duke of Ferrara?

P. 61. _Godfrey's expedition against the Infidels_: the subject of
Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered; Godfrey of Bouillon, leader of the first
crusade; b. about 1058, d. 1100.

P. 61. _Belisarius_: a celebrated general, in the reign of Justinian; b.
about 505 A.D., d. 565.

P. 61. _Charlemagne_ (or Charles the Great): b. 742, d. 814; Emperor of
the West and King of the Franks.

P. 61. _doctrinal and exemplary_: instructive and serving for example.

P. 61. _Origen_: Christian Father, of Alexandria (185-254).

P. 61. _Pareus_ (_David_): b. 1548, d. 1622; a Calvinist theologian,
Professor of Theology, University of Heidelberg.

P. 62. _Pindarus_: Greek lyric poet, about 522-442 B.C.

P. 62. _Callimachus_: Greek poet and grammarian, about 310-235 B.C.

P. 62. _most an end_: 'almost uninterruptedly, almost always, mostly,
for the most part.'—_Murray's New English Dictionary_, _s.v._ 'an end.'
The phrase occurs again in Chap. III. Book II. of this same pamphlet:
'the patients, which most an end are brought into his [the civil
magistrate's] hospital, are such as are far gone,' etc. Vol. II. p. 491,
of the Bohn ed. of the P. W.

P. 63. _demean_: conduct; O. Fr. _demener_.

P. 63. _such (sports, etc.) as were authorized a while since_: _i.e._ in
the Book of Sports. Proclamation allowing Sunday sports, issued by James

P. 63. _paneguries_: same as panegyrics.

P. 64. _Siren daughters_: the Muses, daughters of Memory or Mnemosyne.

P. 65. _gentle apprehension_: a refined faculty of conception or

_Apology for Smectymnuus_

P. 66. _Solon_: Athenian statesman and lawgiver, about 638-558 B.C.
'According to Suidas it was a law of Solon that he who stood neuter in
any public sedition, should be declared ἄτιμος, infamous.'

P. 66. _doubted_: hesitated; or, perhaps, in the sense of feared.

P. 66. _most nominated_: most frequently named, most prominent.

P. 66, 67. _my certain account_: the account which I shall certainly
have to render.

P. 67. _tired out almost a whole youth_: see the extract given from 'The
Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty.'

P. 67. _this modest confuter_: Dr. Joseph Hall, Bishop of Exeter,
afterward of Norwich; the reference is to his 'Modest Confutation' of
Milton's 'Animadversions.'

P. 69. _Animadversions_: 'A. upon the Remonstrant's Defence against
Smectymnuus.' 1641.

P. 69. _devised_: described, represented.

P. 70. _conversation_: in New Testament sense, mode or way of life,
conduct, deportment (ἀναστροφή).

P. 70. _apology_: defence, vindication.

P. 71. _propense_: inclined, disposed.

P. 71. _that place_: the University.

P. 71. _to obtain with me_: prevail, succeed with me, to get the better

P. 71. _both she or her sister_: Cambridge or Oxford University; 'both'
requires 'and'; 'or' requires 'either.'

P. 71. _that suburb sink_: the 'pretty garden-house in Aldersgate
street,' as his nephew, Edward Phillips styles it, to which he removed
from 'his lodgings in St. Bride's Churchyard,' in 1640, and where he was
living when he wrote his 'Apology for Smectymnuus.'

P. 72. _I never greatly admired, so now much less_: in 'The Reason of
Church Government urged against Prelaty' ('The Conclusion. The mischief
that Prelaty does in the State'), Milton writes: 'The service of God,
who is truth, her (Prelaty's) liturgy confesses to be perfect freedom;
but her works and her opinions declare that the service of prelaty is
perfect slavery, and by consequence perfect falsehood. Which makes me
wonder much that many of the gentry, studious men as I hear, should
engage themselves to write and speak publicly in her defence; but that I
believe their honest and ingenuous natures coming to the universities to
store themselves with good and solid learning, and there unfortunately
fed with nothing else but the scragged and thorny lectures of monkish
and miserable sophistry, were sent home again with such a scholastic bur
in their throats, as hath stopped and hindered all true and generous
philosophy from entering, cracked their voices for ever with
metaphysical gargarisms, and hath made them admire a sort of formal
outside men prelatically addicted, whose unchastened and unwrought minds
were never yet initiated or subdued under the true lore of religion or
moral virtue, which two are the best and greatest points of learning;
but either slightly trained up in a kind of hypocritical and hackney
course of literature to get their living by, and dazzle the ignorant, or
else fondly over-studied in useless controversies, except those which
they use with all the specious and delusive subtlety they are able, to
defend their prelatical Sparta.'

P. 72. _wisses_: knows.

P. 72. _the bird that first rouses_: the lark; see 'L'Allegro,' 41 _et

P. 72. _old cloaks, false beards, night-walkers, and salt lotion_: the
passage alluded to in the 'Animadversions,' is the following: 'We know
where the shoe wrings you, you fret and are galled at the quick; and oh
what a death it is to the prelates to be thus unvisarded, thus uncased,
to have the periwigs plucked off, that cover your baldness, your inside
nakedness thrown open to public view! The Romans had a time, once every
year, when their slaves might freely speak their minds; it were hard if
the free-born people of England, with whom the voice of truth for these
many years, even against the proverb, hath not been heard but in
corners, after all your monkish prohibitions, and expurgatorious
indexes, your gags and snaffles, your proud Imprimaturs not to be
obtained without the shallow surview, but _not shallow hand_ of some
mercenary, narrow-souled, and illiterate chaplain; when liberty of
speaking, than which nothing is more sweet to man, was girded and
strait-laced almost to a brokenwinded phthisic, if now, at a good time,
our time of parliament, the very jubilee and resurrection of the state,
if now the concealed, the aggrieved, and long-persecuted truth, could
not be suffered to speak; and though she burst out with some efficacy of
words, could not be excused after such an injurious strangle of silence,
nor avoid the censure of libelling, it were hard, it were something
pinching in a kingdom of free spirits. Some princes, and great statists,
have thought it a prime piece of necessary policy, to thrust themselves
under disguise into a popular throng, to stand the night long under
eaves of houses, and low windows, that they might hear everywhere the
utterances of private breasts, and amongst them find out the precious
gem of truth, as amongst the numberless pebbles of the shore; whereby
they might be the abler to discover, and avoid, that deceitful and
close-couched evil of flattery, that ever attends them, and misleads
them, and might skilfully know how to apply the several redresses to
each malady of state, without trusting the disloyal information of
parasites and sycophants; whereas now this permission of free writing,
were there no good else in it, yet at some time thus licensed, is such
an unripping, such an anatomy of the shyest and tenderest particular
truths, as makes not only the whole nation in many points the wiser, but
also presents and carries home to princes, men most remote from vulgar
concourse, such a full insight of every lurking evil, or restrained good
among the commons, as that they shall not need hereafter, in old cloaks
and false beards, to stand to the courtesy of a night-walking cudgeller
for eaves-dropping, not to accept quietly as a perfume, the overhead
emptying of some salt lotion. Who could be angry, therefore, but those
that are guilty, with these free-spoken and plain-hearted men, that are
the eyes of their country, and the prospective glasses of their prince?
But these are the nettlers, these are the blabbing books that tell,
though not half your fellows' feats. You love toothless satires; let me
inform you, a toothless satire is as improper as a toothed sleekstone,
and as bullish.'

P. 73. _antistrophon_: reasoning turned upon an opponent.

P. 73. _mime_: a kind of buffoon play, in which real persons and events
were ridiculously mimicked and represented.

P. 73. _Mundus alter et idem_ (another world and the same): a satire by
Bishop Hall.

P. 73. _Cephalus_: son of Mercury (Hermes), carried off by Aurora (Eos).

P. 73. _Hylas_: accompanied Hercules in the Argonautic expedition. His
beauty excited the love of the Naiads, as he went to draw water from a
fountain, on the coast of Mysia, and he was drawn by them into the
water, and never again seen.

P. 73. _Viraginea_: the land of viragoes.

P. 73. _Aphrodisia_: the land of Aphrodite (Venus).

P. 73. _Desvergonia_: the land of shamelessness. Ital. _vergona_, shame,

P. 73. _hearsay_: the hearing of, knowing about.

P. 73. _tire_: head-dress.

P. 73. _those in next aptitude to divinity_: divinity students.

P. 73. _Trinculoes_: Trinculo is the name of a jester in Shakespeare's
'Tempest'; or, according to a note in Johnson's 'Life of Milton,' signed
R., referred to by J. A. St. John, 'by the mention of this name he
evidently refers to "Albemazor," acted at Cambridge in 1614.'

P. 73. _mademoiselles_: ladies' maids.

P. 73. _Atticism_: because he is here imitating a well-known passage in
Demosthenes's speech against Æschines.—_Keightley._

P. 74. _for me_: so far as I'm concerned.

P. 74. ἀπειροκαλία: ignorance of the beautiful, want of taste or
sensibility (Liddell and Scott).

P. 75. _elegiac poets, whereof the schools are not scarce_: _i.e._ they
are much read in the schools.

P. 75. _numerous_: in poetic numbers; 'in prose or numerous verse.'—_P.
L._, v. 150.

P. 75. _For that_: because.

P. 75. _severe_: serious.

P. 76. _the two famous renowners of Beatrice and Laura_: Dante and

P. 76. _though not in the title-page_: an allusion to his opponent's 'A
_Modest_ Confutation.'

P. 78. _Corinthian_: licentious, Corinth having been noted for its

P. 78. _the precepts of the Christian religion_: J. A. St. John quotes
from Symmons's 'Life of Milton': 'It was at this early period of his
life, as we may confidently conjecture, that he imbibed that spirit of
devotion which actuated his bosom to his latest moment upon earth: and
we need not extend our search beyond the limits of his own house for the
fountain from which the living influence was derived.'

P. 78. _had been_: _i.e._ might have been.

P. 79. _sleekstone_: a smoothing stone; a toothed sleekstone would fail
of its purpose as much as a toothless satire.

P. 79. _this champion from behind the arras_: probably an allusion to
Polonius, who, in the closet scene (A. III. S. iv.), conceals himself
behind the arras to overhear the interview between Hamlet and his

P. 80. _Socrates_: surnamed Scholasticus; a Greek ecclesiastical
historian; b. about 379, d. after 440; author of a 'History of the
Church from 306 to 439 A.D.'

P. 81. _St. Martin_: there are two saints of the name; which one is
alluded to is uncertain, but probably Bishop of Tours, 4th century.

P. 81. _Gregory Nazianzen_: a Greek father, surnamed the Theologian; b.
about 328, d. 389 A.D.

P. 81. _Murena_: Roman consul, 63 B.C.; charged with bribery by Servius
Sulpicius; defended by Cicero, in his oration _Pro Murena_. In Cicero's
answer to Sulpicius, 'three months,' as given by Milton, should be
'three days': 'itaque, si mihi, homini vehementer occupato, stomachum
moveritis, _triduo_ me jurisconsultum esse profitebor.'

_To Carlo Dati._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. X.)

P. 83. _tomb of Damon_: _i.e._ of Carolo Diodati.

P. 83. _that poem_: 'Epitaphium Damonis.'

_On his Blindness_

P. 84. 1. _spent_: extinguished.

P. 84. 2. _Ere half my days_: _i.e._ are spent; Milton was about
forty-four years old when his 'light' was fully 'spent.'

P. 85. 8. _fondly_: foolishly; _prevent_: to come before, anticipate,

P. 85. 12. _thousands_: _i.e._ of 'spiritual creatures.' See 'P. L.,'
iv. 677.

P. 85. 14. _They also serve_: _i.e._ as Verity explains, those other
angels too, who, etc.

_To Leonard Philaras._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XII.)

P. 85. _Angier_ (_René_): resident agent in Paris for the English

_To Henry Oldenburg._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XIV.)

P. 87. _Henry Oldenburg_: b. at Bremen about 1615, d. 1677; sent in 1653
by the Council of Bremen as their agent to negotiate with Cromwell some
arrangement by which the neutrality of Bremen should be respected in the
naval war between England and Holland ('Dict. of National Biography');
became a member and secretary of the Royal Society of London, and was
afterward elected a fellow of the Society; corresponded extensively with
the philosopher, Benedict Spinosa; published the 'Transactions' of the
Royal Society from 1664 to 1677.

P. 87. _'Cry' of that kind 'to Heaven'_: the reference is to the _Regii
Sanguinis Clamor ad Cœlum, adversus Parricidas Anglicanos_ (The Cry
of the Royal Blood to Heaven against the English Parricides).

P. 87. _Morus_: Alexander More, whom Milton supposed to be the author of
'The Cry of the Royal Blood to Heaven.' See note, p. 248.

_To Leonard Philaras._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XV.)

P. 89. _Phineus_: see note on 'P. L.,' iii. 36, in this volume.

P. 89. _Salmydessus_: a town of Thrace, on the coast of the Black Sea.

P. 89. _Argonautica_: a heroic poem on the Argonautic expedition, by
Apollonius Rhodius.

P. 89. κάρος δέ μιν ἀμφεκάλυψεν:

     'A darkling maze now round about him drew,
      The earth from underneath seemed whirling fast,
      In languid trance he lay bereft of speech.'

          _Prof. Charles E. Bennett's translation._

P. 90. _the Wise Man_: Ecclesiastes xi. 8.

P. 90. _Lynceus_: the keen-sighted Argonaut.

_To Cyriac Skinner_

P. 91. 1. _this three years' day_: this day three years ago. Milton
became completely blind in 1652, so this sonnet must have been written
in 1655. _though clear_: see passage from Second Defence, p. 13.

P. 91. 7. _bate_: from 'abate.'

P. 91. 8. _bear up and steer right onward_: the nautical sense of 'bear
up,' _i.e._ to put the ship before the wind, is indicated by what

P. 91. 10. _conscience_: consciousness.

P. 91. 12. _talks_: the Trin. Coll. MS. reading; the word 'rings' was
substituted by Phillips in his printed copy of 1694; 'talks' does not
sound so well, in the verse, but it is more modest.

P. 91. 13. _mask_: masquerade.

_On his deceased wife_

P. 91. 1. _my late espoused saint_: his second wife, Catherine Woodcock,
whom he married November 12, 1656; she died in February, 1658.

P. 91. 2. _Alcestis_: brought back to life by Herakles (Hercules). _her
glad husband_: Admetus, King of Pheræ in Thessaly. See Browning's
'Balaustion's Adventure, including a Transcript from [the Alkestis of]

P. 91. 5. _as whom_: as one whom.

P. 91. 6. _Purification_: Leviticus xii.

P. 91. 10. _her face was veiled_: Alcestis was still in his mind. In
Browning's 'Balaustion's Adventure,' when Hercules returns with her:

     'Under the great guard of one arm, there leant
      A _shrouded_ something, live and woman-like,
      Propped by the heart-beats 'neath the lion coat. . . .
      There is no telling how the hero twitched
      The veil off: and there stood, with such fixed eyes
      And such slow smile, Alkestis' silent self!'

_To Emeric Bigot._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XXI.)

P. 92. _Emeric Bigot_: a French scholar, native of Rouen; b. 1626, d.

P. 92. _King Telephus of the Mysians_: wounded by Achilles and by him
healed with the rust of his spear; and in return Telephus directed the
Greeks on their way to Troy.

_Autobiographic passages in the Paradise Lost_

P. 96. 2. _Or of the Eternal_: or may I, unblamed, express thee as the
coeternal beam of the Eternal.

P. 96. 6. _increate_: qualifies 'bright effluence.'

P. 96. 7. _Or hearest thou rather_: or approvest thou rather the
appellation of pure ethereal stream; 'hearest' is a classicism:
'Matutine pater, seu Jane libentius audis' (father of the morning, or if
Janus thou hearest more willingly).—_Horace_, Sat. II., vi. 20, cited
by Bentley.

P. 97. 13. _wing_: flight.

P. 97. 17. _With other notes_: Orpheus made a hymn to Night, which is
still extant; he also wrote of the creation out of Chaos. See 'Apoll.
Rhodius,' i. 493. Orpheus was inspired by his mother Calliope only,
Milton by the _heavenly Muse_; therefore he boasts that he sung with
_other notes_ than Orpheus, though the subjects were the

P. 97. 21. _hard and rare_: evidently after Virgil's Æneid, vi. 126-129.

P. 97. 25. _a drop serene_: gutta serena, _i.e._ amaurosis.

P. 97. 26. _dim suffusion_: cataract.

P. 97. 34. _So_: appears to be used optatively, as Lat. _sic_, Greek
ὡς, would that I were equalled with them in renown.

P. 97. 35. _Thamyris_: a Thracian bard, mentioned by Homer, Iliad, ii.

                             'he, over-bold,
     Boasted himself preëminent in song,
     Ev'n though the daughters of Olympian Jove,
     The Muses, were his rivals: they in wrath,
     Him of his sight at once and power of song
     Amerced, and bade his hand forget the lyre.'

          —_Earl of Derby's Translation_, 692-697.

P. 97. 35. _Mæonides_: a patronymic of Homer.

P. 97. 36. _Tiresias_: the famous blind soothsayer of Thebes, 'cui
profundum cæcitas lumen dedit' (to whom his blindness gave deep sight),
says Milton, in his _De Idea Platonica_, v. 25.

P. 97. 36. _Phineus_: a blind soothsayer, who, according to some
authorities, was king of Salmydessus, in Thrace. By reason of his
cruelty to his sons, who had been falsely accused, he was tormented by
the Harpies, until delivered from them by the Argonauts, in return for
prophetic information in regard to their voyage.

P. 97. 39. _darkling_: in the dark.

P. 97. 42. _Day_: note the emphasis imparted to this initial
monosyllabic word, which receives the ictus and is followed by a pause;
Milton felt that the loss of sight was fully compensated for by an
inward celestial light.

P. 98. 1. _Urania_: the Heavenly Muse invoked in the opening of the

P. 98. 4. _Pegaséan wing_: above the flight of 'the poet's winged steed'
of classical mythology.

P. 98. 5. _the meaning, not the name_: Urania was the name of one of the
Grecian Muses; he invokes not her, but what her name signifies, the
Heavenly one. See vv. 38, 39.

P. 98. 8. _Before the hills appeared_: Prov. viii. 23-31.

P. 98. 10. _didst play_: the King James's version, Prov. viii. 30,
reads, 'rejoicing always before him'; the Vulgate, '_ludens_ coram eo
omni tempore.'

P. 98. 15. _thy tempering_: the empyreal air was tempered for, adapted
to, his breathing, as a mortal, by the Heavenly Muse.

P. 98. 17. _this flying steed_: _i.e._ this higher poetic inspiration
than that represented by the classical Pegasus; _unreined_: unbridled,

P. 98. 18. _Bellerophon_: thrown from Pegasus when attempting to soar
upon the winged horse to heaven.

P. 99. 19. _Aleian field_: in Asia Minor, where Bellerophon, after he
was thrown from Pegasus, wandered and perished; πεδίον τὸ Ἀλήïον,
Iliad, vi. 201, land of wandering (ἄλη).

P. 99. 20. _erroneous there to wander_: to wander without knowing
whither; Lat. _erroneus_; _forlorn_: entirely lost; 'for' is intensive.

P. 99. 21. _Half yet remains unsung_: 'half of the episode, not of the
whole work, . . . the episode has two principal parts, the war in
heaven, and the new creation; the one was sung, but the other remained
unsung, . . . _but narrower bound_, . . . this other half is not rapt so
much into the invisible world as the former, it is confined in narrower
compass, and bound within the visible sphere of day.'—_Newton._

_narrower_: more narrowly.

P. 99. 26. _on evil days though fallen_: a pathetic emotional
repetition; note the artistic change in the order of the words. Macaulay
justly characterizes the thirty years which succeeded the protectorate
as 'the darkest and most disgraceful in the English annals. . . . Then
came those days never to be recalled without a blush—the days of
servitude without loyalty, and sensuality without love, of dwarfish
talents and gigantic vices, the paradise of cold hearts and narrow
minds, the golden age of the coward, the bigot, and the slave. The king
cringed to his rival [Louis XIV.] that he might trample on his people,
sunk into a viceroy of France, and pocketed, with complacent infamy, her
degrading insults and her more degrading gold. The caresses of harlots,
and the jests of buffoons regulated the measures of a government which
had just ability enough to deceive, and just religion enough to
persecute. The principles of liberty were the scoff of every grinning
courtier, and the Anathema Maranatha of every fawning dean. . . . Crime
succeeded to crime, and disgrace to disgrace, till the race, accursed of
God and man, was a second time driven forth, to wander on the face of
the earth, and to be a by-word and a shaking of the head to the

P. 99. 33. _Bacchus and his revellers_: Charles II. and his Court, from
whom Milton had reason to fear a similar fate to that of the Thracian
bard, Orpheus, who was torn to pieces by the Bacchanalian women of

P. 99. 38. _so fail not thou_: _i.e._ to defend me as the Muse Calliope
failed to defend her son, Orpheus.

P. 99. 1. _no more of talk_: _i.e._ as in the foregoing episode.

P. 99. 5. _venial_: allowable, fitting.

P. 100. 14-19. _the wrath of stern Achilles . . . Cytherea's son_: these
are not the arguments (subjects) proper of the three epics, the Iliad,
the Odyssey, and the Æneid; as Newton pointed out, the poet mentions
certain angers or enmities, the wrath of Achilles, the rage of Turnus,
Neptune's and Juno's ire; 'the anger, etc. (v. 10) of Heaven which he is
about to sing is an argument more heroic, not only than the anger of
men, of Achilles and Turnus, but than that even of the gods, of Neptune
and Juno;' _his foe_: Hector; _Turnus_: king of the Rutuli when Æneas
arrived in Italy; _Lavinia_: daughter of King Latinus, betrothed to
Turnus, but afterward given in marriage to Æneas; _the Greek_: Ulysses;
_Cytherea's son_: Æneas; Cytherea, a surname of Venus, from the island
Cythera, famous for her worship.

P. 100. 19. _Perplexed the Greek_: a respective construction, 'perplexed
the Greek' looks back to 'Neptune's ire,' 'Cytherea's son,' to Juno's
ire. Bentley's note is remarkable: '_Juno's that long perplexed the
Greek_: when, contrary, the _Greek_ was her favourite all along.'

P. 100. 20. _answerable_: corresponding to the high argument.

P. 100. 21. _my celestial Patroness_: Urania, the Heavenly Muse.

P. 100. 23. _inspires_: Milton regarded himself as inspired by the Holy
Spirit in the composition of 'Paradise Lost.'

P. 100. 25. _Since first this subject_: Milton, as has been seen, had
meditated, as early as 1638, an epic poem to be based on legendary
British history, with King Arthur for its hero, a subject which it
appears he abandoned in the course of two or three years. While still
undecided, he jotted down ninety-nine different subjects, sixty-one
Scriptural, thirty-eight from British history. Among the former,
'Paradise Lost' appears first of all. These jottings occupy seven pages
of the Cambridge MSS. It is evident that by 1640, Milton was quite
decided as to the subject of 'Paradise Lost,' but not as to the form of
his work. It was first as a tragedy that he conceived it, on the model
of the Grecian drama with choruses. His nephew, Edward Phillips, informs
us that several years before the poem was begun (about 1642, according
to Aubrey), Satan's address to the sun (Book iv. 32-41) was shown him as
designed for the beginning of the tragedy. The composition of the poem
was begun, according to Phillips, about 1658, the poet being then fifty
years of age. The student should read, in connection with this subject,
the thirteenth chapter of Mark Pattison's 'Life of Milton.'

P. 100. 35. _Impresses_: 'devices or emblems used on shields or
otherwise.' Keightley alludes to the enumeration of the devices of the
nobles of England, in the tenth Canto of the 'Orlando Furioso.'

P. 100. 36. _bases_: 'the base was a skirt or kilt which hung down from
the waist to the knees of the knight when on horseback.'

P. 100. 37. _marshalled feast_: 'from Minshew's "Guide into Tongues," it
appears that the marshal placed the guests according to their rank, and
saw that they were properly served; the sewer marched in before the
meats and arranged them on the table, and was originally called
_Asseour_ from the French _asseoir_, to set down, or place; and the
_Seneshal_ was the household-steward.'—_Todd._

P. 100. 41. _Me . . . higher argument remains_: _i.e._ for me.

P. 101. 44. _an age too late_: Milton might well feel, in the reign of
the 'merry monarch,' that he was treating his high argument in an age
too late.

P. 101. 45, 46. _my intended wing depressed_: 'wing' is used, by
metonymy, for 'flight.' Keightley incorrectly puts a comma after 'wing,'
'intended wing depressed' being a case of the placing of a noun between
two epithets, usual with Milton, the epithet following the noun
qualifying the noun as qualified by the preceding epithet. Rev. James
Robert Boyd, in his edition of the 'P. L.,' explains 'intended,'
'stretched out'; but the word is undoubtedly used in its present sense
of 'purposed.'

_Letter to Peter Heimbach._ (_Familiar Letters_, No. XXXI.)

P. 102. _a country retreat_: 'a pretty box,' secured for him by his
Quaker friend, Elwood, at Chalfont St. Giles; the house still exists,
having undergone little or no change.

I hardly like to express in the text a fancy that has occurred to me in
translating the letter and studying it in connection with Heimbach's, to
wit, that Milton may not merely have been ironically rebuking Heimbach
for his adulation and silly phraseology, but may also have been
suspicious of the possibility of some trap laid for him politically.
Certainly, if this letter of Milton's to a Councillor of the Elector of
Brandenburg had been intercepted by the English government, it is so
cleverly worded that nothing could have been made of it. But Heimbach
may have been as honest as he looks. Even then, however, Milton, knowing
little or nothing of Heimbach for the last nine years, had reason to be

_Passages in which Milton's Idea of True Liberty is Set Forth_

P. 104. _Deep versed in books_: Milton would, I conceive, have thus
characterized his old antagonist, Salmasius.—_Dunster._

P. 104. _trifles for choice matters_: as choice matters.

P. 104. _worth a spunge_: deserving to be wiped out. So in his
'Areopagitica': 'sometimes five imprimaturs are seen together,
dialogue-wise, in the piazza of one title-page, complimenting and
ducking each to other with their shaven reverences, whether the author,
who stands by in perplexity at the foot of his epistle, shall to the
press or to the spunge.'

P. 111. _Uzza_: see 2 Sam. vi. 3-8.

P. 112. _Whom do we count a good man_:

                 'Vir bonus est quis?—
     Qui consulta patrum, qui leges juraque servat;
     Quo multæ magnæque secantur judice lites;
     Quo res sponsore, et quo causæ teste tenentur.
     Sed videt hunc omnis domus et vicinia tota
     Introrsùs turpem, speciosum pelle decorâ.'

          —_Epistolarum Liber_, i. 16, vv. 40-45, _Ad Quinctium_.

P. 118. _Crescentius Nomentanus_: Roman patrician, a native of Nomentum
(now La Mentana), tenth century, was at the head of the Italian party
against the Germans and the popes, with title of Consul; was besieged in
the Castle St. Angelo, and finally capitulated on terms honorable to
himself, but was basely put to death by Otho III., A.D. 998.

P. 118. _Nicholas Rentius_: Rienzi, or Rienzo (Niccolo Gabrini), or Cola
di Rienzi, 'the last of the Roman Tribunes,' b. about 1313, d. 1354.

     'Then turn we to her latest tribune's name,
      From her ten thousand tyrants turn to thee,
      Redeemer of dark centuries of shame—
      The friend of Petrarch—hope of Italy—
      Rienzi! last of Romans! while the tree
      Of Freedom's withered trunk puts forth a leaf,
      Even for thy tomb a garland let it be—
      The forum's champion, and the people's chief—
      Her new-born Numa thou—with reign, alas! too brief.'

          —_Byron's Childe Harold_, Canto iv. St. cxiv.

P. 120. _the resentment of Achilles_: the subject of the Iliad.

P. 120. _the return of Ulysses_: the subject of the Odyssey.

P. 120. _the coming of Æneas into Italy_: the subject of the Æneid.

P. 121. _As when those hinds_: he compares the reception given it [the
doctrine of his Divorce pamphlets] to the treatment of the goddess
Latona and her newly born twins by the Lycian rustics. These twins
afterward 'held the sun and moon in fee' (_i.e._ in full possession),
for they were Apollo and Diana; and yet, when the goddess, carrying them
in her arms, and fleeing from the wrath of Juno, stooped in her fatigue
to drink of the water of a small lake, the rustics railed at her and
puddled the lake with their hands and feet; for which, on the instant,
at the goddess's prayer, they were turned into frogs, to live forever in
the mud of their own making (Ovid, _Met._, vi. 335-381).—_Masson._
Wordsworth uses the phrase, 'in fee,' in the same way in the opening
verse of his sonnet on the 'Extinction of the Venetian Republic': 'Once
did She hold the gorgeous east in fee.'

P. 121. _lapse_: fall.

P. 121. _twinned_: as a twin.

P. 121. _dividual_: separate.

P. 121. _undeservedly_: without right or merit; no thanks to them.

P. 121. _virtue, which is reason_: 'Virtus est recta ratio, et animi
habitus, naturæ modo, rationi consentaneus.'—_Cicero._

P. 123. 424. _his son Herod_: king of Judea when Christ was born.

P. 123. 439. _Gideon, and Jephtha_; see _Judges_ vi.-viii. and xi.,
xii.; _the shepherd-lad_: David; see the _Books of Samuel_.

P. 123. 446. _Quintius_: Quintius Cincinnatus: _Fabricius_: the
patriotic Roman who was proof against the bribes of Pyrrhus; _Curius_:
_Curius Dentatus_: who would accept no public rewards; _Regulus_: after
dissuading the Romans from making peace with the Carthaginians, returned
to Carthage, knowing the consequences he would suffer.


P. 129. 4. _With Midas' ears_: _i.e._ with the ears of an ass;
_committing_: bringing together, setting at variance (Lat.
_committere_). Martial says, 'Cum Juvenale meo cur me committere
tentas?' _i.e._ 'why try to match me with my Juvenal,' _i.e._ in a
poetical contest with him.

P. 129. 5. _exempts_: separates, distinguishes; the compound subject
'worth and skill' is logically singular, and takes a singular verb.

P. 129. 11. _story_: 'the story of Ariadne, set by him to music,' as
explained in a note in 'Choice Psalms,' 1648.

P. 129. 13. _Casella_: 'a Florentine musician and friend of Dante, who
here ['Purgatorio,' ii. 91 _et seq._] speaks to him with so much
tenderness and affection as to make us regret that nothing more is known
of him.—_Longfellow's note._

_milder shades_: _i.e._ than those of the Inferno which Dante has just

3. _insphered_: in their several spheres.

7. _pestered_: here, as indicated by 'pinfold,' the word means
'clogged'; 'pester' is a shortened form of 'impester.' Fr. _empêtrer_
(OF. _empestrer_) 'signifies properly to hobble a horse while he feeds
afield. Mid. Lat. _pastorium_, a clog for horses at
pasture.'—_Brachet's Etymol. Dict. of the French Language_, _s.v._

10. _After this mortal change_: 'mortal' I understand to be used here as
a noun, the subject of 'change,' a verb in the subjunctive; there is
evidently an allusion to 1 Cor. xv. 52-54, in which occur the
expressions, 'we shall be changed' and 'this mortal must put on

16. _ambrosial weeds_: immortal or heavenly garments, _i.e._ garments
worn by an immortal. Gk. Ἀμβρόσιος, lengthened form of ἄμβροτος,
immortal. See v. 83.

20. _high and nether Jove_: by metonymy for the realms of Jove and

23. _unadornèd_: _i.e._ but for 'the sea-girt isles.'

25. _several_: separate; _by course_: in due order.

29. _quarters_: not literally, but simply, divides, distributes.

30. _this tract that fronts the falling sun_: Wales.

31. _a noble Peer_: the Earl of Bridgewater, Lord President of Wales,
before whom 'Comus' was presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634.

32. _tempered awe_: _i.e._ tempered with mercy; 'mercy seasons justice.'

34. _nursed in princely lore_: nurtured in high learning.

38. _horror_: ruggedness, shagginess. See v. 429. . . . 'densis
hastilibus horrida myrtus.'—Virgil's _Æneid_, iii. 23. _brows_:
overarching branches.

39. _forlorn and wandering_: entirely lost and, consequently, straying
at random.

48. _After the Tuscan mariners transformed_: a Latinism; so, 'since
created man.'—_P. L._, i. 573. The allusion is to the story of the
Etruscan or Tyrrhenian pirates, who attempted to carry off Bacchus, sell
him as a slave, and were by him changed into dolphins.—_Ovid_, _Met._,
660 _et seq._

49. _listed_: pleased.

50. _On . . . fell_: happened upon.

59. _of_: from, by reason of.

60. _Celtic and Iberian fields_: France and Spain.

61. _ominous_: portentous.

65. _orient_: bright. The word was used independently of the idea of
'eastern.' In the ode 'On the Nativity,' v. 231, the _setting_ sun
'pillows his chin upon an orient wave.' Fuller, in his 'Holy War,' Book
ii. Chap. I., says of Godfrey of Bouillon, 'His soul was enriched with
many virtues, but the most _orient_ of all was his humility, which took
all men's affections without resistance.'

66. _the drouth of Phœbus_: the thirst caused by the sun's heat.

67. _fond_: foolish.

88. _nor of less faith_: _i.e._ than of musical power; 'faith' means the
fidelity of his service.

90. _Likeliest_: the best suited for impersonation by the Attendant
Spirit, by reason of his office of mountain watch over the flocks. He
would therefore be supposed to be near at hand if aid were needed.

92. _viewless_: invisible.

93. _The star that bids the shepherd fold_: the evening star cannot be
said to hold the top of heaven, _i.e._ be in the meridian; any star, the
earliest to appear, must be meant.

101. _his chamber in the east_: an allusion to Psalm xix. 5.

110. _saws_: sayings, maxims; 'grave' is used contemptuously by Comus.

116. _to the moon in wavering morrice move_: the sounds and seas beneath
the moon reflect dancing lights; 'morrice,' a rapid Moorish dance, once
common in England.

129. _Cotytto_: the goddess of shameless and licentious orgies. Her
priests were called _Baptæ_.

                 'involved in thickest gloom,
     Cotytto's priests her secret torch illume;
     And to such orgies give the lustful night,
     That e'en Cotytto sickens at the sight.'

          —_Gifford's translation of Juvenal_, ii. 91, 92.

132. _spets_: spits.

135. _Hecate_: goddess of sorcery and magic and 'of all kinds of
nocturnal ghastliness, such as spectral sights, the howlings of dogs,
haunted spots, the graves of the murdered, witches at their
incantations' (_Masson_). King Lear (I. i. 112) swears by 'the mysteries
of Hecate and the night.'

139. _nice_: fastidious, over-scrupulous; used contemptuously by Comus.

141. _descry_: reveal.

144. _round_: a circular dance; in 'L'Allegro,' 34, we have 'the light
fantastic toe.'

151. _trains_: enticements, allurements.

154. _spungy air_: which absorbs his 'dazzling spells.'

155. _blear_: dim, deceiving.

156. _false presentments_: representations which deceive the eye.

157. _quaint habits_: strange garments.

165. _virtue_: peculiar power. See v. 621; 'Il Pens.,' 113.

167. _country gear_: rural affairs.

168. _fairly_: softly.

175. _granges_: used in its original sense—barns. (Fr. _grange_.)

178. _swilled_: drunken.

180. _inform my unacquainted feet_: where else shall I learn my way than
from these revellers.

203. _perfect_: perfectly distinct, sure, certain, unmistakable. There
is a similar use of the word in Shakespeare: 'Thou art perfect, then,
our ship hath touched upon the deserts of Bohemia?'—_Winter's Tale_,
III. iii. 1; 'I am perfect that the Pannonians and Dalmatians for their
liberties are now in arms.'—_Cymb._, III. i. 73; 'What hast thou done?
I am perfect what' ('I know full well, I am fully aware.'
_Schmidt_).—_Cymb._, IV. ii. 118.

204. _single darkness_: pure darkness, only that and nothing more.

210. _may startle well_: _i.e._ may well (or indeed) startle.

212. _strong-siding_: strongly supporting.

215. _Chastity_: significantly substituted for Charity, as the companion
virtue of Faith and Hope, it being the _theme_, the central idea of the
poem, to which an explicit expression is given in the Elder Brother's
speech, vv. 418-475, and in the speech of the Lady to Comus, 780-799.

231. _airy shell_: the dome of the sky; 'cell' is in the margin of
Milton's MS.

248. _his_: (old neuter genitive) its, referring to 'something.'

251. _fall_: cadence.

251, 252. _smoothing . . . till it smiled_: Dr. Symmons, in his 'Life of
Milton,' remarks: 'Darkness may aptly be represented by the blackness of
the raven; and the stillness of that darkness may be paralleled by an
image borrowed from the object of another sense—by the softness of
down; but it is surely a transgression which stands in need of pardon
when, proceeding a step further and accumulating personifications, we
invest this raven-down with life and make it smile.' The metaphorical
use of 'smile' or 'laugh,' applied to inanimate things that are
smooth, shining, glossy, bright in colour, and the like, is, perhaps,
common in all literatures. The Latin 'rideo' and the Greek γελάω
are frequently so used; _e.g._ 'florumque coloribus almus ridet
ager' (and the bounteous field laughs with the colours of its
flowers).—_Ovid_, _Met._, xv. 205; 'Domus ridet argento' (the house
smiles with glittering silver).—_Horace_, _Odes_, IV. xi. 6; 'Ille
terrarum mihi praeter omnes angulus ridet' (that corner of the earth
smiles for me above all others).—_Horace_, _Odes_, II. vi. 14.

262. _home-felt delight_: _i.e._ delight that keeps one at home with
himself, does not carry him out of himself; in contrast with the singing
of Circe and the Sirens three, which 'in sweet madness _robbed it_ (the
sense) _of itself_.'

267. _unless the goddess_: _i.e._ unless (thou be) the goddess;
'dwell'st' should properly be 'dwells,' the antecedent of the relative
'that' being 'goddess,' third person, not 'thou' in the ellipsis.

273. _extreme shift_: last resort; Fr. _dernier ressort_.

279. _near ushering_: attending near at hand.

285. _forestalling night_: preventing, or hindering, night came before
them; 'forestall' has here the present sense of 'prevent,' and 'prevent'
its old, literal sense of come before.

287. _imports their loss_: does their loss signify other than your
present need of them?

290. _Hebe_: the goddess of youth; cupbearer to the gods before

293. _Swinked_: hard-worked. Spenser frequently uses the verb 'swink,'
and several times in connection with 'sweat'; _severe_ toil is always
implied in his use of the word: 'For which men swinck and sweat
incessantly.'—_F. Q._, 2. 7, 8; 'And every one did swincke, and every
one did sweat.'—2. 7, 36; 'For which he long in vaine did sweate and
swinke,' 6. 4, 32; 'Of mortal men, that swincke and sweate for
nought.'—_The Sheapherd's Calender_, _November_, 154; 'For they doo
swinke and sweate to feed the other.'—_Mother Hubbard's Tale_, 163.

301. _plighted_: folded, involved.

313. _bosky bourn_: Masson explains 'shrubby boundary or watercourse.'
Warton's explanation seems better supported by the context: 'A _bourn_
. . . properly signifies here, a winding, deep, and narrow valley, with
a rivulet at the bottom. In the present instance, the declivities are
interspersed with trees and bushes. This sort of valley Comus knew from
_side to side_. He knew _both_ the _opposite sides_ or ridges, and had
consequently traversed the intermediate space.'

315. _attendance_: attendants.

329. _square_: adapt.

332. _wont'st_: art accustomed; _benison_: blessing.

333. _stoop_: the same idea, or _impression_, rather, in regard to the
moon, is expressed in 'Il Penseroso,' 72:

     'And oft, as if her head she bowed,
      Stooping through a fleecy cloud.'

     'And those thin clouds above, in flakes and bars,
      That give away their motion to the stars.'

          —_Coleridge's Dejection: an Ode._

336. _influence_: (astrological) the effect _flowing in, or upon_, from
the stars. See 'P. L.,' vii. 375, viii. 513, ix. 107, x. 662; 'L'Al.,'
122; 'Od. Nat.,' 71.

340. _rule_: long horizontal beam of light.

341. _Star of Arcady_: the constellation of the Greater Bear, by which,
or by some star in which, the Greek mariner steered his course.

342. _Tyrian Cynosure_: the constellation of the Lesser Bear, or the
pole star therein, by which the Phœnician (Tyrian) mariner steered.

344. _wattled cotes_: sheep-pens made of interwoven twigs.

349. _innumerous_: innumerable.

355. _leans_: subject 'she' implied in 'her,' above. See note on 'Samson
Agonistes', 1671; some editors make 'head' the subject.

358. _heat_: lust.

359. _exquisite_: used literally: outsearching; 'consider not too

366. _so to seek_: so wanting, so much at a loss.

367. _unprincipled_: ignorant of the elements, or first principles.

369. _noise_: not to be connected with 'single want of'; the meaning is,
mere darkness and noise.

373. _would_: might wish.

375. _flat sea_: in 'Lycidas,' 98, 'level brine.'

376. _oft seeks to_: oft resorts to.

380. _all to-ruffled_: all ruffled up; the prefix 'to-' is an old
intensive, with force of Ger. 'zer-'; generally imparts the idea of
destruction: 'all to-brake,' broke all in pieces; 'all to-rent,' tore
all in pieces.

382. _centre_: as in Shakespeare, centre of the earth.

386. _affects_: likes, entirely without any of its present meaning of
making a show of.

390. _weeds_: garments.

391. _maple_: maple-wood.

393. _Hesperian tree_: the tree in the Hesperian gardens which bore
golden apples and was guarded by the sleepless dragon Ladon, which was
slain by Hercules.

395. _unenchanted_: not to be enchanted, or wrought upon by magical

401. _wink on_: not take notice or advantage of.

402. _single_: solitary, alone.

404. _it recks me not_: I take no account of, care not for.

405. _events_: outcomes, consequences.

407. _unowned_: without a protector.

409. _without all doubt_: _i.e._ without any doubt; a Latinism.

413. _squint_: 'looking askance.' Spenser represents Suspect ('F. Q.,'
3. 12, 15) as

                 'ill favourèd, and grim,
     Under his eiebrowes looking still askaunce.'

419. _if_: even if Heaven _did_ give it.

423. _unharboured_: without harbor, or shelter.

424. _infámous_: of bad reputation.

430. _unblenched_: fearless, self-sustained.

432. _some say_: reminds, as has been often noted, of the passage in
'Hamlet': 'some say that ever 'gainst that season comes,' etc.—I. i.

455. _lackey_: attend, or wait upon, as guardians.

474. _and linked itself_: and as if it were itself linked.

494. _artful_: artistic, skilful.

495. _huddling_: hurrying; Verity understands 'huddling' as the result
of 'delayed.'

501. _next joy_: Thyrsis addresses the elder brother as his master's
heir, and then the second brother as 'his next joy,' _i.e._ object of
his joy.

503. _stealth_: the thing stolen.

509. _sadly_: seriously; _without blame_: _i.e._ on our part.

515, 516. _what the sage poets . . . storied_: made the theme of story:

     Tells him of trophies, statues, tombs, and stories
     His victories, his triumphs, and his glories.

          —_Shakespeare's V. and A._, 1013, 14.

520. _navel_: centre.

526. _murmurs_: muttered spells, or incantations.

529. _mintage_: coinage.

533. _monstrous rout_: rout of monsters; so, 'monstrous world,' world of
monsters.—_Lycidas_, 158.

539. _unweeting_: not knowing.

540. _by then_: by the time that.

547. _meditate_: practice; see 'Lycidas,' 66.

548. _had_: subj., should have; _close_: _i.e._ of his 'rural

552. _unusual stop of sudden silence_: see 145.

553. _drowsy-flighted_: this is the reading of the Cambridge MS., which
Masson adopts. Lawes's ed., 1637, and Milton's editions, 1645, 1673,
read 'drowsy frighted.' Masson quite conclusively supports the reading
of the MS., which he explains, 'always drowsily flying.' Keightley
retains 'drowsy frighted,' but says in his note, 'we are strongly
inclined to think it [the MS. reading] the right reading, and the
present one a mistake of Lawes himself or his printer.'

558. _took_: rapt.

560. _still_: ever.

585. _period_: sentence.

586. _for me_: as for me.

603. _grisly_: horrible. 'So spake the grisly terror (Death).'—_P. L._,
ii. 704.

604. _Acheron_: a river of the lower world; here used for the lower
world itself.

607. _purchase_: acquisition; the word retains here much of its original
meaning, _i.e._ what has been hunted down or stolen.

610. _yet_: notwithstanding; _emprise_: here, readiness for any
dangerous undertaking.

619. _a certain shepherd-lad_: a supposed compliment to Milton's dearest
friend, Charles Diodati.

620. _to see to_: to look upon.

621. _virtuous_: efficacious, potent.

627. _simples_: medicinal herbs.

634. _and like esteemed_: _i.e._ and (un)esteemed.

635. _clouted shoon_: patched shoes.

636. _Moly_: (Gk. μώλυ) a fabulous herb, 'that Hermes [Mercury] to
wise Ulysses gave,' as a protection against the spells of Circe.—_Od._,
x. 305. See Pope's note, in his translation, x. 361, Tennyson's 'Lotus
Eaters,' 133.

638. _Hæmony_: supposed to be from Hæmonia, Thessaly, famous for its

641. _Furies'_: used objectively.

642. _little reckoning made_: see 'Lycidas,' 116.

646. _lime-twigs_: used metaphorically.

662. _root-bound_: referring to her metamorphosis into a laurel tree

673. _his_: old neuter genitive, its.

675. _Nepenthes_ (Gk. νηπενθὲς, sorrow-soothing): the drug (supposed
to be opium) given by Polydamna to Helena, who put it into her husband
Menelaus's wine.—_Od._, iv. 220 _et seq._ See note to Pope's
translation, v. 302.

     'Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore.'

          —_Poe's Raven_, 83.

685. _unexempt condition_: condition to which all mortal frailty is
subject, namely, refreshment after toil, ease after pain.

688. _that_: referring to 'you,' 682.

695. _oughly_: the spelling in Milton's editions; 'as Milton has the
common spelling, _ugly_, in all other cases where he has used the word,
he must have intended a different form here, perhaps to indicate a more
guttural pronunciation.'—_Masson._

698. _visored_: masked; he appears as 'some harmless villager,' v. 166.

707. _budge_: austere, morose; _fur_: used metaphorically for order,
sect, profession. Landor remarks that 'it is the first time Cynic or
Stoic ever put on fur.' 'Budge' also means a kind of fur, but it
certainly cannot have that meaning here; the context requires the other

708. _from the Cynic tub_: _i.e._ from the tub whence Diogenes, the
Cynic, delivered them.

714. _curious_: careful, nice, delicate, fastidious.

719. _hutched_: hoarded, laid up, as in a hutch or chest.

724. _yet_: in addition; or, it may have the force of 'even.'

744. _it_: _i.e._ beauty.

750. _grain_: 'a term derived from the Latin _granum_, a seed or kernel,
or grain in the sense of "grain of corn,"—which word _granum_ had come,
in later Latin times, to be applied specifically to the _coccum_, a
peculiar dye-stuff consisting of the dried, granular, or seed-like
bodies of insects of the genus _Coccus_, collected in large quantities
from trees in Spain and other Mediterranean countries. But that dye was
distinctly red. Another name for it, and for the insect producing it,
was _kermes_ . . . whence our "carmine" and "crimson." "Grain,"
therefore, meant a dye of such red as might be produced by the use of
kermes or coccum.'—From Masson's note on 'Sky-tinctured grain,' 'P.
L.,' v. 285, based on George P. Marsh's dissertation on the etymology of
the word, in his 'Lectures on the English Language' (1st S., 4th Am.
ed., 1861, pp. 65-75). Masson's note on 'cheeks of sorry grain' is
'_i.e._ of poor colour,' as if 'grain' were used in the general sense of
colour merely. It is better, I think, to understand 'grain' here in its
special sense of red, but used by Comus ironically, as indicated by
'sorry.' Beautiful cheeks are presumed to have a delicate reddish hue;
but where the features are homely and the complexion coarse, the cheeks
may be said, ironically, to be of a sorry grain, _i.e._ not red at all.

759. _pranked_: set off, adorned, decked.

760. _bolt_: sift, refine; a metaphor from the process of separating
flour from the bran. But the word may mean, as Dr. Newton explains, 'to
shoot,' or, as Dr. Johnson explains, 'to blurt out, or throw out

782. _sun-clad_: spiritually refulgent.

785. _the sublime notion_: see in extract from 'Apology for
Smectymnuus,' in this volume.

788. _worthy_: deserving, in a bad sense.

790. _your dear wit_: the change from 'thy' to 'your' is not explainable

791. _her dazzling fence_: dear wit's and gay rhetoric's dazzling art of
fencing. Todd quotes from Prose Works, 'Hired Masters of Tongue-fence':
'dear wit' and 'gay rhetoric,' not constituting a compound idea in
Milton's mind, the relative 'that,' of which they are the antecedents,
takes a singular verb, and the two nouns are represented by the singular
personal pronoun 'her.' In the following passage from Spenser's 'Faerie
Queene,' B. II. C. ii. St. 31, two subjects take a singular verb, and
are represented by a singular personal pronoun:

     'But lovely concord, and most sacred peace,
      Doth nourish vertue, and fast friendship breeds;
      Weake she makes strong, and strong thing does increace.'

The italicized portion of the following passage from 'The Passions and
Faculties of the Soul,' by Reynolds, C. xxxix, given in Trench's 'Select
Glossary,' _s.v._ Wit, defines well 'dear wit': 'I take not _wit_ in
that common acceptation, whereby men understand _some sudden flashes of
conceit whether in style or conference, which, like rotten wood in the
dark, have more shine than substance, whose use and ornament are, like
themselves, swift and vanishing, at once both admired and forgotten_.
But I understand a settled, constant and habitual sufficiency of the
understanding, whereby it is enabled in any kind of learning, theory, or
practice, both to sharpness in search, subtilty in expression, and
despatch in execution.'

797. _brute_: senseless; _lend her nerves_: _i.e._ to this sacred

800-806. spoken aside.

804. _speaks thunder_: threatens thunder and the chains of Erebus to
some of the Titans who are disposed to be rebellious in their
imprisonment in Tartarus. It seems to be meant that Erebus is a more
painful region than that into which they were cast after their defeat by
Jove (Zeus).

815. _snatched his wand_: see v. 653.

816. _without his rod reversed_: the process, as related in Ovid,
'Met.,' xiv. 299-305, by which the companions of Ulysses are, through
his intervention, retransformed by Circe.

822. _Melibœus_: Spenser is probably referred to.

823. _soothest_: truest, most faithful.

826. _Sabrina_: the legend of Sabrina is told by Geoffrey of Monmouth,
in his 'Latin History of the Britons'; by Drayton, in his 'Polyolbion,'
6th Song; by Warner, in his 'Albion's England'; by Spenser, in his
'Faerie Queene,' II. x. 14-19, and by Milton, in the first book of his
'History of Britain.'

835. _Nereus_: 'the good spirit of the Ægean Sea,' father of the nereids
or sea-nymphs.

852. _old swain_: Melibœus.

867-889. _Listen, and appear to us_: _Oceanus_ was the most ancient
sea-god, . . . _Neptune_, with his trident, was a later being. _Tethys_
was the wife of Oceanus, and mother of the river-gods. _Hoary Nereus_ is
the 'aged Nereus' of line 835. The _Carpathian wizard_ is the subtle
_Proteus_, ever shifting his shape: . . . _Triton_, son of Neptune and
Aphrodite, . . . he was 'scaly,' because the lower part of him was fish.
_Glaucus_ was a Bœotian fisherman who had been changed into a marine
god: . . . was an oracle for sailors and fishermen. _Leucothea_ ('the
white goddess') was originally Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, and had
received her new name after she had drowned herself and been converted
into a sea-deity. _Her son that rules the strands_ was Melicertes,
drowned and deified with her, and thenceforward known as _Palæmon_, or
_Portumnus_, the god of bays and harbours. _Thetis_, one of the
daughters of Nereus, and therefore a sea-deity by birth, married Peleus,
and was the mother of Achilles: . . . Of the _Sirens_, or singing
sea-nymphs . . . _Parthenope_ and _Ligea_ were two. The 'dear tomb' of
the first was at Naples . . . the 'golden comb' of the second is from
stories of our own mermaids.—_Masson's note, condensed._

900. _gentle swain_: the attendant spirit is still in the person and
habit of the shepherd Thyrsis.

913. _cure_: curative power.

919. _his_: old neuter genitive, its.

921. _to wait_: to attend in the bower (court) of Amphitrite (wife of

922. _daughter of Locrine_: see vv. 827, 828. The order of the legendary
'line' is, Anchises, Æneas, Ascanius, Silvius, Brutus, Locrine.

924. _brimmed_: full to the brim or edge of the bank; _cf._ 'full-fed
river.'—_Tennyson's Palace of Art._

929. _scorch_: optative subj.

934-937. The true construction of these lines is pointed out by Mr.
Calton, quoted in Todd's _variorum_ ed.: 'May thy lofty head be
_crowned round_ with many a tower and terrace, and here and there [may]
thy banks [be crowned] upon with groves of myrrh and cinnamon.'

960. _duck or nod_: _i.e._ of the awkward country dancers.

964. _mincing Dryades_: daintily stepping wood-nymphs.

968. _goodly_: interesting and attractive in appearance.

972. _assays_: trials.

982. _Hesperus and his daughters three_: brother of Atlas, and father of
the Hesperides.

1012. _But now, etc._: may be an independent or a subordinate sentence;
if the latter, understand 'that' after 'now.' It is, perhaps, preferable
to take it as an independent sentence.

1015. _bowed welkin_: arched sky; the idea is that the bend is the less
noticeable at 'the green earth's end.'

1017. _corners_: horns.

1021. _higher than the sphery chime_: '_i.e._ to the Empyrean, beyond
the spheres which give forth their music.'—_Keightley._


P. 167. _haud procul a littore Britannico_: 'the ship having struck on a
rock not far from the British shore and been ruptured by the shock, he,
while the other passengers were fruitlessly busy about their mortal
lives, having fallen forward upon his knees, and breathing a life which
was immortal, in the act of prayer going down with the vessel, rendered
up his soul to God, August 10, 1637, aged 25.'—_Masson's translation._

1-5. _Yet once more_: these verses express the poet's sense of his
unripeness for the exercise of the poetic gift. See his 'English Letter
to a Friend,' p. 40; laurel, myrtle, and ivy are poetical emblems.

5. _before the mellowing year_: _i.e._ before the mellowing year or
period of his own life; 'mellowing' is intransitive, growing or becoming
mellow; 'year' is not a nominative, the subject of 'does' or 'shatters,'
understood, as several editors make it, but is the object of the
preposition 'before.'

6. _dear_: of intimate concernment; the word was formerly applied to
what is precious, or painful, to the heart; it has here, of course, the
latter application.

7. _Compels me to disturb your season due_: _i.e._ compels me to write a
poem before I have attained to the requisite 'inward ripeness.' The
compound subject, 'bitter constraint and sad occasion dear,' is
logically singular, and takes a singular verb. The placing of a noun
between two epithets is usual with Milton, especially when the epithet
following the noun qualifies the noun as qualified by the preceding
epithet; _e.g._ 'hazel copses green,' v. 42; 'flower-inwoven tresses
torn.'—_Hymn on the Nativity_, 187; 'beckoning shadows dire.'—_Comus_,

14. _melodious tear_: 'tear' is used, by metonymy, for an elegiac poem.

15. _sacred well_: the Pierian spring.

16. _the seat of Jove_: Mount Olympus.

17. _loudly_: _i.e._ as Hunter explains, in lamentation; or, perhaps, in

18. _Hence with denial vain and coy excuse_: away with, etc., _i.e._ on
_my_ part; _denial_: refusal; _coy_: shrinking, hesitating, reluctant,
by reason of what is expressed in the opening verses.

19-22. _So may . . . sable shroud_: these verses are parenthetical, and
v. 23 must be connected with v. 18, 'Hence with denial vain,' etc. I
have followed Keightley's pointing; _gentle Muse_: high-born (nobly
endowed) poet; _lucky words_: words that will favorably perpetuate my
memory; _bid fair peace_: pray that fair peace be, etc.

23-36. _For we were nursed_: these verses express in pastoral language
the devotion to their joint studies, early and late, of Milton and King,
at Christ's College, Cambridge.

25. _ere the high lawns appeared_: _i.e._ before daybreak.

28. _What time the grey-fly_: _i.e._ the sultry noontide.

30. _Oft till the star . . . had sloped his westering wheel_: _i.e._
they continued their studies till after midnight, while in the meantime
many of their fellow-students were giving themselves to music and

33. _Tempered_: attuned, modulated.

36. _old Damœtas_: 'may be,' says Masson, 'some fellow or tutor of
Christ's College, if not Dr. Bainbrigge, the master.'

37. _Now thou art gone_: emotionally repeated; _heavy_: sad.

40. _With wild thyme . . . o'ergrown_: to be connected only with 'desert
caves,' not 'woods.'

44. _to_: responsively to.

45. _canker_: cankerworm.

49. _Such_: used in its etymological sense, so-like; so-like killing is
thy loss; _thy_: of thee; the personal pronoun here, used objectively,
and not the possessive adjective pronoun.

52. _the steep_: some one of the Welsh mountains.

53. _lie_: lie buried.

54. _Mona_: the isle of Anglesey; Mona is represented by Tacitus as the
chief seat of the Druids; _shaggy_: densely wooded; 'shaggy hill.'—_P.
L._, iv. 224.

     'They plucked the seated hills, with all their load,
      Rocks, waters, woods, and by the shaggy tops
      Uplifting, bore them in their hands.'

          —_P. L._, vi. 645.

     'grots and caverns shagged with horrid shades.'—_Comus_, 429.

55. _Deva_: the river Dee; called a 'wizard stream' from its
associations with Druidical divinations and traditions, or Milton, in
his use of the epithet, may have had more particularly in his mind the
belief in regard to the river as the boundary between England and Wales,
that it was itself prophetic. Drayton, in his 'Polyolbion,' 10th Song,
says of the Dee:

     'A brook, that was supposed much business to have seen,
      Which had an ancient bound twixt Wales and England been,
      And noted was by both to be an ominous flood,
      That changing of his fords, the future ill, or good,
      Of either country told; of either's war, or peace,
      The sickness, or the health, the dearth, or the increase:
      And that of all the floods of Britain, he might boast
      His stream in former times to have been honoured most,
      When as at Chester once King Edgar held his court,
      To whom eight lesser kings with homage did resort:
      That mighty Mercian lord, him in his barge bestowed,
      And was by all those kings about the river rowed.'

Aubrey, in his 'Miscellanies,' 1696, Chap. XVII., says, as quoted by
Todd, 'F. Q.,' IV. xi. 39, 'when any Christian is drowned in the river
Dee, there will appear over the water, where the corpse is, a light, by
which means they do find the body; and it is therefore called the holy

58. _The Muse herself_: Calliope.

59. _enchanting_: refers to the power he exercised, with the lyre given
him by Apollo, over wild beasts, trees, rocks, etc.

64-69. _Alas! what boots it_: in these verses Milton, with his high
ideal of the function of poetry, laments its low state, and momentarily
gives way to the thought that it would be better to conform to the
prevailing flimsy taste than to 'strictly meditate the thankless Muse,'
_i.e._ seriously devote one's self to song such as meets with no favor
in these days. Amaryllis and Neæra are names of shepherdesses in
Virgil's first and third Eclogues, and in other pastorals; 'meditate the
thankless Muse' is after Virgil's 'Silvestrem tenui Musam meditaris
avenâ.'—_Ecl._, i. 2.

75. _Fury_: used in a general, and not in its special, mythological
sense; the allusion is, of course, to Atropos, one of the Fates; called
a blind fury by reason of the rashness with which she sometimes slits
the thin-spun thread of life, as in the case of his friend King; 'slit'
now always means to cut lengthwise; here, to cut across, sever.

76. _But not the praise_: 'slits' is understood, but it doesn't yoke
well with 'praise'; the nearest substitute would be 'cuts off': but cuts
not off the praise.

79. _Nor in_: _i.e._ nor (lies) in, not set off in; 'set off' refers,
not to 'Fame,' but to 'glistering foil,' _i.e._ the bright outside
exhibited to the world.

81. _by_: as Keightley explains, by means of, under the influence of; he
quotes Habakkuk i. 13: 'Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil.'

85. _fountain Arethuse_: in the island Ortygia, near Syracuse; by
metonymy for the 'Sicilian Muse' (v. 133), or the fountain-nymph,
Arethusa, presiding over pastoral poetry, which originated in Sicily,
and was consummated by Theocritus, a native of Syracuse. Virgil, in the
opening of his fourth Eclogue, Pollio, invokes the Sicilian Muses
(Sicelides Musæ, paullo majora canamus), and in his tenth Eclogue,
Gallus, he invokes the fountain nymph, Arethusa, to aid him in his last
pastoral song (Extremum hunc, Arethusa, mihi concede laborem); _and thou
honoured flood, smooth-sliding Mincius_: Mantua, Virgil's birth town, or
what he regarded as such (he was born in the neighboring village of
Andes), is on an island in the river Mincius, a tributary of the Po;
_honoured flood . . . crowned with vocal reeds_: _i.e._ by reason of its
association with Virgil, and his fame as a pastoral poet. Lord Tennyson,
in his ode 'To Virgil, written at the request of the Mantuans for the
nineteenth centenary of Virgil's death,' speaks of him as a pastoral
poet, in the fourth and fifth stanzas:

     'Poet of the happy Tityrus
              piping underneath his beechen bowers;
      Poet of the poet-satyr
              whom the laughing shepherd bound with flowers;
      Chanter of the Pollio, glorying
              in the blissful years again to be,
      Summers of the snakeless meadow,
              unlaborious earth and oarless sea.'

88. _my oat proceeds_: the suspended pastoral strain is resumed.

89. _Herald of the Sea_: Triton, with 'wreathed horn.'

90. _in Neptune's plea_: Neptune's is an objective genitive: in defence,
or exculpation of Neptune. This explanation of 'plea' is supported by
its use in all other places in Milton's poetry:

     'So spake the fiend, and with necessity,
      The tyrant's plea, excused his devilish deeds.'

          —_P. L._, iv. 394.

                           'to make appear,
     With righteous plea, their utmost vigilance.'—_P. L._, x. 30.

     'Yet of another plea bethought him soon.'—_P. R._, iii. 149.

                     'Weakness is thy excuse, . . .
     All wickedness is weakness; that plea therefore
     With God or man will gain thee no remission.'

          —_S. A._, 834.

Keightley explains that Triton 'came, deputed by Neptune, to hold a
judicial inquiry into the affair. We have the Pleas of the Crown and the
Court of Common Pleas.'

96. _Hippotades_: a patronymic of Æolus, god of the winds.

98. _the level brine_: in v. 167, 'the watery floor.'

99. _Sleek Panope_: one of the sea-nymphs, daughter of Nereus; the name
(in Gk. Πανόπη) seems to indicate that the nymph is a personification
of a smooth sea ('level brine') which affords a _full view_ all around
to the horizon. The voyager on such a sea is 'ringed with the azure
world.' The epithet 'sleek' is in accord with the personification.

100-102. _It was that fatal_: these verses are not part of the answer
which Hippotades brings; the poet speaks in his own person.

101. _Built in the eclipse_: eclipses were believed to shed malign
influences (see 'P. L.,' i. 594-599); one of the ingredients of the
witches' hell-broth, in 'Macbeth,' is 'slips of yew, slivered in the
moon's eclipse'; _rigged with curses dark_: 'with,' of course, though
this has been questioned, expresses accompaniment; to understand it as
instrumental, makes a crazy hyperbole of the phrase.

102. _sacred head_: King was dedicated to the holy office of the
ministry. He is made to represent, in the poem, a pure priesthood.

103-107. _Next Camus_: Dr. Masson's note, and the included quoted one,
are the most acceptable of the numerous notes on this passage: 'Camus,
the tutelary genius of the Cam, and of Cambridge University, appeared as
one of the mourning figures; for had not King been one of the young
hopes of the University? The garb given to Camus must doubtless be
characteristic, and is perhaps most succinctly explained by a Latin note
which appeared in a Greek translation of "Lycidas" by Mr. John Plumptre
in 1797. "The mantle," said Mr. Plumptre in this note, "is as if made of
the plant 'river-sponge,' which floats copiously in the Cam; the
_bonnet_ of the river-sedge, distinguished by vague marks traced somehow
over the middle of the leaves, and serrated at the edge of the leaves
after the fashion of the ἀὶ, ἀὶ of the hyacinth." It is said that the
flags of the Cam still exhibit, when dried, these dusky streaks in the
middle, and apparent scrawlings on the edge; and Milton (in whose MS.
"_scrawled o'er_" was first written for "_inwrought_") is supposed to
have carried away from the "_arundifer Camus_" ('Eleg.,' i. 11) this
exact recollection. He identifies the edge-markings with the ἀὶ, ἀὶ
(Alas! Alas!) which the Greeks fancied they saw on the leaves of the
hyacinth, commemorating the sad fate of the Spartan youth from whose
blood that flower had sprung.'

107. _pledge_: child; Lat. _pignus amoris_.

109. _The Pilot_: St. Peter, whom, it must be understood, Milton
presents as 'the type and head of _true_ episcopal power,' to which he
was in no wise opposed. He wished the bishop to be a truly spiritual
_overseer_, as the word signifies.

114. _Enow_: an archaic plural form of 'enough'; 'hellish foes
enow.'—_P. L._, ii. 504; 'evils enow to darken all his
goodness.'—_Antony and Cleopatra_, I. iv. 11.

117. _to scramble at the shearer's feast_: to scramble for and gobble up
fat benefices.

118. _the worthy bidden guest_: one who has been truly called to serve
the Church.

119. _Blind mouths_: 'mouths' is used, by synecdoche, for gluttons, as
the five preceding verses show. Ruskin's explanation of the phrase, in
his 'Sesame and Lilies,' is very ingenious, but it is not likely that
Milton meant it to have such significance. 'Those two monosyllables,' he
says, 'express the precisely accurate contraries of right character in
the two great offices of the Church,—those of Bishop and Pastor. A
Bishop means a person who sees. A Pastor means one who feeds. The most
unbishoply character a man can have is, therefore, to be Blind. The most
unpastoral is, instead of feeding, to want to be fed,—to be a Mouth.
Take the two reverses together, and you have "blind mouths."'

Milton makes here his first onset upon the ecclesiastical abuses of the
time. He was destined to make, not long after, fiercer onsets in his
polemic prose writings.

120. _the least_: connect with 'aught else' rather than 'belongs.'

122. _What recks it them_: what does it concern them; _They are sped_:
they've been successful in obtaining rich livings.

123. _list_: please; in earlier English generally used impersonally with
a dative; _when they list_: _i.e._ when it suits them, not otherwise.
They don't act from any sense of duty.

123, 124. _their lean and flashy songs grate_: their wretched sermons
are wretchedly delivered with the emphasis of insincerity. Masson
explains 'scrannel,' 'screeching, ear-torturing.'

126. _wind and the rank mist they draw_: _i.e._ the mere wind of some
sermons and the poisonous doctrines of others, which their flocks inhale
and drink in, and then impart the resulting spiritual disease to others.

128, 129. _the grim wolf_: generally understood to mean the Church of
Rome. Bishop Newton, who first understood the passage to have reference
to Archbishop Laud's 'privily introducing popery' afterward gave the
alternative explanation, 'besides what the popish priests privately
pervert to their religion,' which Masson conclusively supports in his
'Life of Milton,' and adopts in his note on the passage in his edition
of the 'Poetical Works'; the 'privy paw' doesn't suit Archbishop Laud,
who did everything above-board.

130, 131. _But that two-handed engine_: see my explanation of these
verses in the Introductory Remarks.

132. _Return, Alpheus_: he invokes the return of the pastoral Muse when
the dread denouncing voice of St. Peter has ceased. Alpheus, the chief
river of Peloponnesus, flowing through Arcadia and Elis. The river-god
loved the nymph Arethusa, of Elis, whom, in her flight from him, Diana
changed into a fountain which was directed by the goddess under the sea
to the island of Ortygia, near Syracuse. The river followed under sea
and united with the fountain. See note on v. 85.

136. _use_: frequent.

138. _whose_: refers to 'valleys'; _the swart star_: understood by
editors to mean the dog-star Sirius. But it may mean, and I think it
does, the day-star, the sun. See v. 168; 'diurnal star.'—_P. L._, x.
1069; _swart_: used causatively; _sparely looks_: _i.e._ by reason of
the shades.

139. _quaint enamelled eyes_: flowers of curious structure and of
variegated glossy colors (?); the words are more enjoyable than
distinctly intelligible; in the 'P. L.,' ix. 529, it is said of the

                         'oft he bowed
     His turret crest, and sleek enamelled neck, fawning.'

Here 'enamelled' appears to mean variegated and glossy; so in Arcades:

     'O'er the smooth enamelled green.'

141. _purple_: an imperative, to be construed with 'throw.'

142. _rathe_: early, soon; the old positive form of 'rather,' sooner.
Tennyson uses the word in his 'In Memoriam,' c. ix. 2, 'The men of rathe
and riper years'; and in 'Lancelot and Elaine,' 339, 'Till rathe she
rose,' etc.; _that forsaken dies_: forsaken by the sun.

153. _with false surmise_: _i.e._ that we have the body of Lycidas with

158. _monstrous world_: the world of sea-monsters.

159. _moist_: tearful.

160. _the fable of Bellerus old_: _i.e._ the scene of the fable.

161-163. _Where the great Vision_: see Introductory Remarks.

164. _O ye dolphins_: an allusion to the story of Arion.

166. _your sorrow_: used objectively, he who is the object of your
sorrow. 'Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead.'—_Shelley's

167. _watery floor_: what is called the level brine, v. 98; 'the shining
levels of the lake.'—_Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur_, suggested, no doubt,
by the classical _æquora_.

169-171. _repairs his drooping head_: Milton, in these lines, compares
great things with small (_parvis componit magna_); if they are
'considered curiously,' the sun makes his toilet on rising from his
ocean bed!

172. _sunk . . . mounted_: any one reading this verse for the first time
would be likely to get the impression that these words are participles;
this would not be the case if 'sunk' were 'sank,' originally the
distinctive singular form of the preterite, 'sunk' being plural; AS.
_sanc_, _suncon_.

173. _Him that walked the waves_: a beautiful designation of the
Saviour, in accord with the occasion of the poem; and so St. Peter is
designated as 'the Pilot of the Galilean Lake.'

174. _along_: beside.

176. _unexpressive_: inexpressible.

184. _thy large recompense_: 'thy' is the personal, not the possessive
adjective pronoun, being used objectively,—the large recompense thou
hast received, in which is included thy becoming the genius of the
shore; good: kind, propitious; 'sent by some spirit to mortals
good.'—_Il Pens._, 154.

185. _in that perilous flood_: 'in' is more poetic than 'on' or 'o'er'
would be; 'that perilous flood' is spoken of as a domain in which is
included the atmosphere with its winds and storms; so, to wander in the

186. _uncouth_: used, it is most likely, in its original sense of
'unknown,' Milton so regarding himself, as a poet; there may be involved
the idea (supported by the opening lines of the Elegy) of wanting in
poetic skill and grace.

188. _tender stops_: poetic transference of epithet, 'tender' being
logically applicable to the music; _various quills_: used, by metonymy,
for the varied moods, strains, metres, and other features of the Elegy;
_eager thought_: perhaps meant to signify as much as sharp grief;
_Doric_: equivalent to pastoral, the great Greek bucolic poets having
written in the Doric dialect.

190, 191. _had . . . was_: note the distinctive use of these
auxiliaries, the former being used with a participle of a transitive
verb, and the latter, with that of an intransitive; _all the hills_:
_i.e._ their shadows.

192. _twitched_: Keightley explains, 'pulled, drew tightly about him on
account of the chilliness of the evening.' Jerram explains, 'snatched up
from where it lay beside him.'

_Samson Agonistes_

P. 187. _Aristotle_: Greek philosopher, B.C. 384-322; the reference is
to 'The Poetics,' (Περὶ ποιητικῆς), the greater part of which is
devoted to the theory of tragedy.

P. 187. _a verse of Euripides_: φθείρουσιν ἤθη χρήσθ' ὁμιλίαι
κακαί, 'evil communications corrupt good manners'; found in the
fragments of both Euripides and Menander.

P. 187. _Pareus_: David Pareus, a German Calvinist theologian and
biblical commentator, 1548-1622.

P. 187. _Dionysius the elder_: known as 'the tyrant of Syracuse,' B.C.
431-367; repeatedly contended for the prize of tragedy at Athens.

P. 187. _Seneca_ (_Lucius Annæus_): Roman Stoic philosopher, B.C. 3?-65

P. 187. _Gregory Nazianzen_: saint; a Greek father of the Church, Bishop
of Constantinople, about 328-389.

P. 188. _Martial_: M. Valerius Martialis, Latin epigrammatic poet,
43-104 A.D. or later.

P. 188. _apolelymenon_: 'a Greek word, ἀπολελυμένον, "loosed from,"
_i.e._ from the fetters of strophe, antistrophe, or epode; monostrophic
(μονόστροφος) meaning literally "single stanzaed," _i.e._ a strophe
without answering antistrophe. So allœostrophic (ἀλλοιόστροφος)
signifies stanzas of irregular strophes, strophes not consisting of
alternate strophe and antistrophe.'—_John Churton Collins._

P. 188. _beyond the fifth act_: 'Neve minor, neu sit quinto productior
actu Fabula.'—_Horace_, _Ars Poetica_, 189.

P. 191. _Agonistes_: one who contends as an athlete. 'The term is
peculiarly appropriate to Samson, for he is the hero of the drama . . .
and the catastrophe results from the exhibition of his strength in the
public games of the Philistines.'—_J. Churton Collins._

2. _dark_: blind.

6. _else_: otherwhile, at other times.

9. _draught_: appositive to 'air.'

11. _day-spring_: the dawn.

12. With this line Samson's soliloquy begins, the attendant having

13. _Dagon_: god of the Philistines; represented in the 'Paradise Lost'
(i. 462, 463) as a 'sea-monster, upward man, and downward fish.' See 1
Sam. v. 1-9.

16. _popular_: of the people.

19-21. Restless thoughts, that rush thronging upon me found alone.

24. _Twice by an Angel_: see Judges xiii.

27. _charioting_, etc.: withdrawing as in a chariot his godlike

28. _and from_: and (as) from.

31. _separate_: separated, set apart: 'the Holy Ghost said, Separate me
Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.'—Acts
xiii. 2.

35. _under task_: under a prescribed task.

41. _Eyeless, in Gaza_, etc.: Thomas De Quincey, in his paper entitled
'Milton _vs._ Southey and Landor,' remarks: 'Mr. Landor makes one
correction by a simple improvement in the punctuation, which has a very
fine effect. . . . Samson says, . . .

     Ask for this great deliverer now, and find him
     _Eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves_.

Thus it is usually printed, that is, without a comma in the latter line;
but, says Landor, 'there ought to be commas after _eyeless_, after
_Gaza_, after _mill_.' And why? because thus, 'the grief of Samson is
aggravated at every member of the sentence.' He (like Milton) was 1,
blind; 2, in a city of triumphant enemies; 3, working for daily bread;
4, herding with slaves—Samson literally, and Milton with those whom
politically he regarded as such.'

45. _but through_: except for, had it not been for.

55. _Proudly secure_: 'secure' is subjective, free from care or fear;
'Security is mortals' chiefest enemy.'—_Macbeth_, III. v. 32.

56. _By weakest subtleties_: by those most weak but crafty creatures
(women), who are not made to rule, but to serve as subordinates to the
rule of wisdom, the prerogative of man. This was, unfortunately, too
much Milton's own opinion of women.

58. _withal_: at the same time.

62. _above my reach_: above the reach of my capacity to know.

63. _Suffices_: it is sufficient (to know).

67. _O loss of sight_: Milton here speaks virtually _in propria

70. _Light the prime work of God._—Gen. i. 3; 'offspring of Heaven
first born.'—_P. L._, iii. 1.

75, 76. _exposed to daily fraud_: Milton here, no doubt, drew from his
own experiences as a father.

77. _still_: ever, always.

82. _all_: any; 'without all doubt.'—_Henry VIII._, IV. i. 113; without
all remedy.'—_Macbeth_, III. ii. 11.

87. _silent_: invisible; the epithet which pertains to one sense, that
of hearing, is transferred to another, that of sight. Lat. _luna

89. _Hid in her vacant interlunar cave_: the moon is poetically
represented as hid in a cave, and giving no light (vacant), between her
disappearance and return, in the sky.

91, 92. _if it be true that light is in the soul_: the soul proceeding
from God, and partaking of the 'Bright effluence of bright essence
increate.'—_P. L._, iii. 6.

93. _She_ (the soul) _all in every part_ (of the body).

95. _obvious_: literally, in the way of (Lat. _obvius_), and so,
exposed; 'Not obvious, not obtrusive, but retired.'—_P. L._, viii.

106. _obnoxious_: subject, liable.

111. _steering_: directing their course; 'With radiant feet the tissued
clouds down steering.'—_Ode on Nativity_, 146.

118. _at random_: anyway or anyhow; _carelessly diffused_: passively
stretched upon the ground, sprawling.

           'His limbs did rest
     Diffused and motionless.'

          —_Shelley's Alastor._

Spenser uses two phrases of similar import; '_Pour'd out in loosnesse_
on the grassy ground.'—_F. Q._, I. vii. 7; 'carelessly displaid.'—_F.
Q._, II. v. 32. This use of 'diffused' is a Latinism.

     'Publica me requies curarum somnus habebat,
      _Fusa_que erant toto languida membra toro.'

          —_Ovid_, _Ex Ponto_, III. iii. 7, 8.

122. _weeds_: garments, clothes.

128. _Who tore the lion_: see Judges xiv. 5, 6.

132. _hammered cuirass_: the cuirass was originally of leather; here of
metal, formed with the hammer.

133. _Chalybean-tempered steel_: having the temper of steel wrought by
the Chalybes, an ancient Asiatic people dwelling south of the Black Sea,
and famous as workers in iron; hence, Lat. _chalybs_, steel, Gr. [Greek:
chalyps]. Dr. Masson accents 'Chalybean' on the third syllable; it seems
rather to have the accent here on the second.

134. _Adamantean proof_: having the strength of adamant.

136. _insupportably_: irresistibly.

139. _his lion ramp_: his leap or spring as of a lion. In the
description of the sixth day of the creation (_P. L._, vii. 463-466) it
is said of the lion,

                         'now half appeared
     The tawny lion, pawing to get free
     His hinder parts, then springs, as broke from bonds,
     And rampant shakes his brinded mane.'

144. _foreskins_: uncircumcised Philistines.

145. _Ramath-lechi_: see Judges xv. 17.

147. _Azza_: Gaza. See Judges xvi. 3. The form Azzah is used Deut. ii.

148. _Hebron, seat of giants old_: for Hebron was the city of Arba, the
father of Anak, and the seat of the Anakims.—Josh. xv. 13, 14. 'And the
Anakims were giants, which come of the giants.'—Num. xiii. 33.

149. _No journey of a sabbath-day_: Hebron was about thirty miles
distant from Gaza; a sabbath-day's journey was but three-quarters of a

150. _Like whom_: Atlas.

157. _complain_: directly transitive, in the sense of lament, bewail.

163. _visual beam_: ray of light, the condition of seeing.

                               'the air,
     No where so clear, sharpen'd his visual ray.'

          —_P. L._, iii. 620.

     'then [Michael] purged with euphrasy and rue
      The visual nerve, for he [Adam] had much to see.'

          —_P. L._, xi. 415.

165. _Since man on earth_: a Latinism like _Post urbem conditam_, of
frequent occurrence in Milton's poetry; 'Never since created man.—_P.
L._, i. 573; 'After the Tuscan mariners transformed.'—_Comus_, 48.

169. _pitch_: usually pertains to height; here to depth.

172. _the sphere of fortune_: a constantly revolving globe.

173. _But thee_: construe with 'him,' third line above: 'For him I
reckon not in high estate . . . But thee.'

181. _Eshtaol and Zora_: see Josh. xix. 41.

185. _tumours_: perturbations, agitations; so _tumor_ is used in Latin:
'Cum tumor animi resedisset;' 'Erat in tumore animus.'

190. _superscription_: a continuation of the metaphor in preceding line.

191-193. _In prosperous days they swarm_: perhaps from Milton's own
experience after the Restoration.—_Masson._

207. _mean_: moderate, as compared with his physical strength.

208. _This_: _i.e._ wisdom.

209. _drove me transverse_: a continuation of the metaphor in 198-200.
So in 'P. L.,' iii. 488:

     'A violent cross wind from either coast
      Blows them transverse ten thousand leagues away
      Into the devious air.'

212. _pretend they ne'er so wise_: claim they to be never so wise; the
idea of falseness is not in the word 'pretend' as in its present use.

219. _The first I saw at Timna_: Judges xiv.

221. _The daughter of an infidel_: Milton probably had his first wife,
Mary Powell, in his mind, whose family was infidel to his own political

222. _motioned_: proposed.

223. _intimate_: inward, inmost.

228. _fond_: foolish.

229. _vale of Sorec_: a valley (and stream) between Askelon and Gaza,
not far from Zorah.—Judges xvi. 4.

230. _specious_: good appearing.

235, 236. _vanquished with a peal of words_: a metaphor drawn from the
storming of a fortress. A similar metaphor is found in '1 Henry VI.,'
III. iii. 79, 80:

     'I am vanquished; these haughty words of hers
      Have battered me like roaring cannon-shot.'

237. _provoke_: to call forth, to challenge. Lat. _provocare_.

241. _That fault I take not on me_: 'with an occult reference, perhaps,
to the conduct of those in power in England after Cromwell's death, when
Milton still argued vehemently against the restoration of the

247. _ambition_: used literally, going about in the service of some
object, canvassing. Lat. _ambitio_.

248. _spoke loud_: proclaimed.

253. _Etham_: Judges xv. 8, 9.

257. _harass_: ravaging.

258. _on some conditions_: Judges xv. 11-13.

263. _a trivial weapon_: the jawbone of an ass. Judges xv. 15.

268-276. _But what more oft_: a plain reference to the state of England,
and to Milton's own position there, after the Restoration.—_Masson._

271. _strenuous_: ardently maintained. Newton quotes a similar sentiment
from the oration of Æmilius Lepidus, the consul, to the Roman people,
against Sulla: 'Annuite legibus impositis; accipite otium cum
servitio;'—but for myself—'potior visa est periculosa libertas quieto

278. _How Succoth_: Judges viii. 4-9.

282. _how ingrateful Ephraim_: Judges xi. 15-27.

287-289. _sore battle_: the battle fought by Jephthah with Ephraim.
Judges xii. 4-6.

291. _mine_: my people.

297, 298. _For of such doctrine_: 'Observe the peculiar effect of
contempt given to the passage by the rapid rhythm and the sudden
introduction of a rhyme in these two lines.'—_Masson._

305. _They ravel more, still less resolved_: they become more confused,
and ever less disentangled.

327. _careful step_: 'careful' is used subjectively; a step indicating
that Manoa was full of care, deeply concerned. Chaucer so uses

     'With dredeful foot thanne stalketh Palamoun.'

          —_Knight's Tale_, 1479.

333. _uncouth_: literally, unknown; strange, with the idea of the

334. _gloried_: a participial form derived from the noun.

335. _informed_: directed.

343. _Angels'_: I have followed Keightley in making 'Angels' a genitive.

345. _Duelled_: it was an individual fight on the part of Samson.

354. _as_: that; this use of 'as' after 'so' and 'such' is not uncommon
in Shakespeare and Bacon, and the later literature.

     'I feel such sharp dissension in my breast,
      Such fierce alarums both of hope and fear,
      As I am sick with working of my thoughts.'

          —_1 Henry VI._, V. v. 86.

364. _miracle_: wonder, admiration.

373. _Appoint_: 'Do not you arrange or direct the disposition of
heavenly things.'—_Keightley._

383. _Of Timna_: Judges xiv.

394. _my capital secret_: a play on the word 'capital' is, no doubt,
designed; chief secret and the secret of his strength depending upon his

433. _That rigid score_: rigorous account or reckoning.

434. _This day_: Judges xvi. 23.

453. _idolists_: idolaters.

455. _propense_: disposed.

466. _provoked_: called forth, challenged.

499, 500. _a sin that Gentiles_: supposed to be an allusion to Tantalus,
who divulged the secrets of the gods.

503. _but act not_: take not a part in thy own affliction; 'thy' is
objective: in afflicting thyself.

505. _self-preservation bids_: _i.e._ that thou do so.

509. _his debt_: debt to him.

516. _what offered means_: those offered means which.

528. _blazed_: trumpeted abroad.

531. _affront_: a front to front encounter. The word occurs as a noun
but once in Shakespeare:

     'There was a fourth man in a silly habit,
      That gave the affront with them.'—_Cymb._, V. iii. 87.

_i.e._ faced or confronted the enemy (Rolfe).

533. _venereal trains_: snares of Venus, or love.

537. _me_: an ethical dative? or it may be the usual dative.

539. _Then turned me out ridiculous_: an object of ridicule, a

549. _rod_: ray of light.

552. _turbulent_: used causatively.

563-572. _Now blind, disheartened_: almost literally autobiographic.

569. _robustious_: Masson explains 'full of force'; but 'vain monument
of strength' in the following verse, does not seem to support this

581. _caused a fountain_: Judges xv. 18, 19.

590-598. _All otherwise_: this pathetic passage is quite literally
autobiographic, if 'race of shame' be excepted; but even this might be
understood, in Milton's case, to be used objectively.

599. _suggestions_: the word has a stronger meaning than at present:
inward promptings.

               'why do I yield to that suggestion
     Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair
     And make my seated heart knock at my ribs
     Against the use of nature?'—_Macbeth_, I. iii. 34.

604. _how else_: elsewise, otherwise.

612. _all his_ (torment's) _fierce accidents_: all the fierce things
which _fall to_, or happen to, body or mind.

613. _her_: the mind's.

615. _answerable_: corresponding.

624. _apprehensive_: taking hold of, mentally; having the power of
conception or perception.

627. _medicinal_: accented on the penult.

628. _snowy Alp_: used generically for any snowy mountain.

633. _his_: Heaven's.

635. _message_: messenger, angel.

637. _amain_: vigorously.

643. _provoked_: called forth, challenged.

645. _to be repeated_: to be again and again made the subject of their
cruelty or scorn.—_Masson._

650. _speedy death_: an appositive of 'prayer.'

658. _much persuasion_: to be construed with 'many are the sayings,'
etc., and 'much persuasion (is) sought.'

662. _dissonant mood from_: mood dissonant from his complaint.

677. _Heads_: appositive to 'the common rout of men.'

683. _their highth of noon_: the meridian of their glory.

684. _Changest thy countenance_: a similar expression, but with a
different meaning, to that in Job xiv. 20: 'Thou changest his (man's)
countenance, and sendest him away.'

686. _or them to thee of service_: or of service (from) them to thee.

690. _Unseemly_: unbecoming in human eye; 'falls' is a noun in
apposition to the preceding thought, 'thou throwest them lower than thou
didst exalt them high.'

695-702. _Or to the unjust tribunals_: there has been an occult
reference all through this chorus to the wreck of the Puritan cause by
the Restoration; but in these lines the reference becomes distinct.
Milton has the trials of Vane and the Regicides in his mind. He himself
had been in danger of the law; and, though he had escaped, it was to a
'crude (premature) old age,' afflicted by painful diseases from which
his temperate life might have been expected to exempt him.—_Masson._

699. _deformed_: attended with deformity.

700. _crude_: premature.

701. _disordinate_: inordinate, irregular; yet suffering without cause.

707. _What_: the word here, perhaps, means 'why.' The following question
seems to support this.

715. _Tarsus_: _i.e._ Tarshish, which Milton avoided from his dislike to
the sound _sh_. He seems to have agreed with those who thought that
Tarshish was Tarsus in Cilicia, instead of Tartessus in Spain. In the
Bible, 'ships of Tarshish' signify large sea-going vessels in general;
_the iles_, etc.: _i.e._ the isles and coasts of Greece and Lesser
Asia; _Javan_ (pr. _Yawan_) is Ἰάονες, Ἴωνες, the Ionians. As these
were the best known of the Greeks in the south, their name was given to
the whole people, just as the Greeks themselves called all the subjects
of the king of Persia, Medes; _Gadire_: Γαδείρα, Gades,

717. _bravery_: finery, ornament; _trim_: shipshape, in good order.

719. _hold them play_: keep them in play.

720. _An amber scent_: an ambergris scent.

731. _makes address_: prepares.

732 _et seq._ 'The student will notice how thoroughly Euripidean the
whole of the following scene is, not merely in the fact that two of the
_dramatis personæ_ are pitted dialectically against one another, but in
the cast of the language and in the quality of the sentiment.'—_John
Churton Collins._

748. _hyæna_: 'a creature somewhat like a wolf, and is said to imitate a
human voice so artfully as to draw people to it, and then devour them.

     "'Tis thus the false hyæna makes her moan,
      To draw the pitying traveller to her den;
      Your sex are so, such false dissemblers all."

          —_Thomas Otway's Orphan_, A. ii.

Milton applies it to a woman, but Otway to the men.'—_Newton._

760, 761. _not to reject the penitent_: an obvious allusion to Milton's
forgiveness of his first wife, after her two years' abandonment of him.

803. _That made for me_: helped my purpose (_i.e._ to keep you from
leaving me as you did her at Timna).

842. _Or_: Keightley suspects that 'or' should be 'and' here, as 'or'
does not connect well with what precedes.

868. _respects_: considerations; 'there's the respect that makes
calamity of so long life.'—_Hamlet_, III. i. 68, 69.

906. _peals_: peals of words. See l. 235.

932, 933. _trains_, _gins_, _toils_: these words all express modes of
entrapping any one or anything.

934. _thy fair enchanted cup_: an allusion to Circe and the Sirens.

948. _gloss_: comment, construe.

950. _To thine_: compared to thine.

988, 989. _in mount Ephraim Jael_: Judges iv. 5.

990. _Smote Sisera_: Judges v. 26.

1016. _thy riddle_: Judges xiv. 12-19; _in one day or seven_: connect
with 'harder to hit.'

1018. _If any of these, or all_: if it be any or all of these qualities,
virtue, wisdom, valor, etc., that can win or long inherit (possess)
woman's love, the Timnian bride had not so soon preferred thy paranymph
(bridesman). Judges xiv., xv.

1022. _Nor both_: nor both wives; _disallied_: severed.

1025. _for that_: because.

1025-1060. _Is it for that such outward ornament_: the ideas expressed
in these verses, it must be admitted, were too much Milton's own, in
regard to woman, as his Divorce pamphlets show.

1030. _affect_: like.

1037. _Once joined_: _i.e._ in marriage.

1038. _far within_: a thorn in the flesh, a cleaving mischief, deep
beneath defensive armor; these may be an allusion to the poisoned shirt
sent to Hercules by his wife Deianira.

1048. _combines_: _i.e._ with her husband.

1057. _lour_: frown, or look sullen.

1062. _contracted_: drawn together, gathered.

1068. _Harapha of Gath_: see under 1079.

1069. _pile_: the giant's body is spoken of as a pile, or large, proudly
towering building.

1073. _habit_: dress.

1075. _His fraught_: the freight of commands or whatever else he is
charged with. The word seems to be used contemptuously.

1076. _chance_: fate.

1079. _Men call me Harapha_: 'No such giant is mentioned by name in
Scripture; but see 2 Sam. xxi. 16-22. The four Philistine giants
mentioned there are said to be sons of a certain giant in Gath called
"the giant"; and the Hebrew word for "the giant" there is Rapha or
Harapha. Milton has appropriated the name to his fictitious giant, whom
he makes out in the sequel (1248, 1249) to be the actual father of that
brood of giants.'—_Masson._

1080. _Og, or Anak_: see Deut. iii. 11, ii. 10, and Gen. xiv. 5.

1081. _Thou know'st me now_: so in 'P. L.,' iv. 830:

     'Not to know me argues yourselves unknown.'

1091. _taste_: to make trial of; Fr. _tâter_, OF. _taster_;

                             'he now began
     To taste the bow, the sharp shaft took, tugg'd hard,' etc.

          —_Chapman's Homer's Od._, xxi. 211.

1092. _single me_: challenge me to single combat.—_Keightley._

1093. _Gyves_: handcuffs.

1105. _In thy hand_: in thy power.

1109. _assassinated_: cruelly abused or maltreated. The word is so used
in Milton's 'Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce,' Book I. c. xii.

1113. _close-banded_: secretly leagued.—_Dr. Johnson._

1116. _without feigned shifts_: without any pretended considerations for
my blindness.

1118. _Or rather flight_: a cutting phrase, implying that otherwise the
giant may seek safety in flight, if they were not in 'some narrow place

1120, 1121. _brigandine_: coat of armor for the body; _habergeon_: armor
for neck and shoulders; _Vant-brace_: (_avant bras_) armor for the arms;
_greaves_: leg armor; _gauntlet_: (_gant_) glove of mail.

1122. _A weaver's beam_: 1 Sam. xvii. 5-7 was in Milton's mind in lines
1119-1122. 'And he [Goliath] had an helmet of brass upon his head, and
he was armed with a coat of mail; . . . And he had greaves of brass upon
his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of
his spear was like a weaver's beam;' . . .

1132. _had not spells_: 'taken from the ritual of the combat in
chivalry. When two champions entered the lists, each took an oath that
he had no charm, herb, or any enchantment about him.'—_T. Warton._

1164. _boisterous_: strong, powerful?

1169. _thine_: thy people?

1181. _Tongue-doughty_: tongue-valiant.

1186. _thirty men_: Judges xiv. 19.

1195. _politician lords_: lords of your state.

1197. _spies_: Judges xiv. 10-18. 'Milton follows Jewish tradition in
supposing the thirty bridal friends there mentioned to have been spies
appointed by the Philistines.'—_Masson._

1202. _wherever chanced_: _i.e._ wherever by chance met with.

1219. _not all your force_: the ellipsis is, would have disabled me.

1220. _These shifts_: the charges made by Harapha of his being 'a
murderer, a revolter, and a robber'; _appellant_: challenger.

1223. _enforce_: demand of strength.

1224. _With thee_: (fight) with thee?

1231. _Baal-zebub_: the god of Ekron. 2 Kings i. 16.

1238. _bulk without spirit vast_: vast bulk without spirit.

1242. _Astaroth_: the Phœnician goddess.

1243. _braveries_: bravadoes.

1266. _mine_: my end.

1274. _Hardy_: bold.

1292. _Either of these_: 'might' or 'patience.'

1309. _remark him_: plainly mark him.

1317. _heartened_: encouraged, emboldened.

1334. _Myself_: regard myself, do you say? No, my conscience and
internal peace I regard. Keightley and Masson both place an (!) instead
of an (?). But 'myself' requires to be uttered with an _inquiring_
surprise, and should be followed by an (?).

1346. _stoutness_: firm refusal.

1369. _the sentence holds_: the sentence, 'outward acts defile not,'
holds good, where outward force constrains.

1375. _which_: represents what precedes, 'If I obey . . . set God

1377. _dispense with_: pardon. 'Milton here probably had in view the
story of Naaman the Syrian, begging a _dispensation_ of this sort from
Elisha, which he seemingly grants him.' See 2 Kings v. 18, 19.—_Thyer._

1397. _as_: used after 'such' to introduce a result, instead of 'that,'
as in present English; not uncommon in Shakespeare, Bacon, and other
writers of the time and later.

1399. _to try_: to test.

1408. _Yet this be sure_: looks back to 'I am content to go.'

1418-1422. _Lords are lordliest_: 'in this passage may be detected a
reference to England in Milton's time.'—_Masson._

1435. _that Spirit that first rushed on thee_: 'a young lion roared
against him. And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he
rent him as he would have rent a kid.'—_Judges_ xiv. 5, 6.

1450. _I had no will_: _i.e._ to go thither.

1455. _That hope_: to partake that hope with thee would much rejoice us.

1461-1471. _Some much averse I found_: the different shades of feeling
among the men in power in England after the Restoration may be supposed
to be glanced at in this passage: obstinate and revengeful Royalism,
strongest among the High Church party; and so on.—_Masson._

1470. _The rest_: to remit the rest was magnanimity.

1471. _convenient_: fitting. Lat. _conveniens_, coming together.

1474. _Their once great dread_: former object of their great dread.

1512. _whole inhabitation_: all the inhabitants of the world, as is
indicated by 'universal groan.'

1514. _ruin_: down crashing.

1529. _dole_: grief, sorrow; 'dealing dole' is not a case of the cognate
accusative, as it is understood by some critics.

1538. _baits_: literally, stops for refreshment; in a general sense,

1551. _concerned in_: connected with.

1554. _needs_: is necessary.

1557. _tell us the sum_: the main fact, defer what accompanied it.

1581. _glorious_: used proleptically.

1594. _eye-witness_: ocular testimony.

1599. _high street_: main or principal street; so, highway, high seas.

1608. _sort_: rank.

1610. _banks_: benches.

1619. _cataphracts_: heavy-armed cavalry soldiers, whose horses as well
as themselves were covered with a complete suit of mail armor. Gr.
κατάφρακτος, covered; _spears_: spearmen.

1621. _rifted_: split.

1625. _assayed_: tried.

1626. _still_: ever.

1671. _And fat regorged_: Keightley explains, 'and the fat of bulls and
goats was regorged by them who had eaten too much.' This, along with the
preceding and the following verse, gives a Miltonic sublimity of the
disgusting to the passage. But the prefix 're-' is, perhaps, simply
intensive, and 'regorged' may mean gorged, or swallowed, voraciously.
The construction is, 'And (while they, 'they' being implied in 'their,'
above) fat regorged of bulls and goats, . . . Among them he (our living
Dread) a spirit of phrenzy sent.'

1674. _Silo_: Shiloh. Joshua xviii. 1, Judges xxi. 19. 'He probably
terms it _bright_, on account of the Shekinah which was supposed to rest
on the ark.'—_Keightley._

1688. _and thought extinguished quite_: this phrase is understood by
some as a nominative absolute (the Latin ablative absolute), thought
having been quite extinguished; but 'thought' is rather a past
participle referring to 'he': thought to be entirely extinguished.

1692. _as an evening dragon came_: 'he' (Samson) is the subject of
'came'; he came among the Philistines as an evening dragon comes on tame
farmhouse fowl, but afterward bolted his cloudless thunder on their
heads, as an eagle.

1699. _that self-begotten bird_: the phœnix.

1700. _embost_: enclosed in a wood.

1702. _erewhile_: for some time before; _holocaust_: a whole burnt

1703. _teemed_: brought forth.

1704. _revives_: the subject is 'Virtue,' 1697.

1707. _A secular bird_: a bird living for generations. Lat. _sæcula_.

1713. _sons of Caphtor_: the Philistines, 'originally of the island
Caphtor or Crete. A colony of them settled in Palestine and there went
by the name of Philistim.'—_Meadowcourt, in Todd's Var. Ed. of Milton._

1733. _Home to his father's house_: see Judges xvi. 31.

1753. _band them_: unite themselves.

1755. _acquist_: acquisition.

Aims of Literary Study



_Cornell University_

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Professor Corson's volume will bear rereading many times, for it is the
expression of a philosophy of education; as to literature, rich out of
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The lesson that Professor Corson desires to teach is one which needs to
be taught almost universally in this country.


It contains in a small compass much that deserves the attention of those
who are teaching literature as well as the general reader.



The Voice and Spiritual Education



_Cornell University_

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He holds simply that one can't read well unless he appreciates well, and
that a proper use of one's voice in reading aloud is an outward and
audible sign of inward and spiritual grace. He writes earnestly and with
the eloquent simplicity of a man who has something to say and has
considered well how he shall say it.


Educationalists who are progressive in their ideas should not fail to
familiarize themselves with his suggestions; and in every family where
culture is an aim this book ought to be a veritable source of


We believe that if this little book were thoroughly studied the result
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It is a little book with much sensible matter in it, which we most
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Variations in spelling and hyphenation have been left as in the
original. Words with and without accents appear as in the original.

The following corrections have been made to the original text:

     Page xxix: lessen the value of my panegyric[original has
     "pangeyric"] upon them

     Page 136: ([parenthesis missing in original]For so I can
     distinguish by mine art)

     Page 175: '[quotation mark missing in original]But not the
     praise,' Phœbus replied

     Page 251: situated on the Dee (Lat. _Deva_[original has
     extraneous period]).

     Page 255: specified neighborhood, or perhaps a special
     house.'[quotation mark missing in original]

     Page 269: the mud of their own making (Ovid, _Met._, vi.
     335-381).[original has extraneous quotation mark]

     Page 273: ([quotation mark missing in original]'I know full
     well, I am fully aware.' _Schmidt_).

     Page 274: 'And every one did swincke, and every one did
     sweat.'[quotation mark missing in original]—2. 7, 36

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Introduction to the Prose and Poetical Works of John Milton - Comprising All the Autobiographic Passages in his Works, - the More Explicit Presentations of His Ideas of True - Liberty." ***

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