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HYMN TO LIGHT.
All thy remaining life should sunshine be;
"As a fair morning of the blessed spring,
Such was the glorious entry of our king;
A One of old Gideon's miracles was shown;
With pearly dew was crown'd,
And upon all the quicken'd ground
The fruitful seed of Heaven did brooding lie,
When God to his own people said
They look'd up to that Heaven in vain,
That bounteous Heaven, which God did not re-
Upon the most unjust to shine and rain.
The foolish sports I did on thee bestow,
Where once such fairies dance, no grass doth ever
"When my new mind had no infusion known,
To wash away th' inherent dye:
To all the ports of honour and of gain,
By making them so oft to be
The tinkling strings of thy loose minstrelsy.
As they who only Heaven desire
This was my error, this my gross mistake.
Thus, with Sapphira and her husband's fate,
"Teach me not then, O thou fallacious Muse!
The heaven under which I live is fair,
"The Rachel, for which twice seven years and more Thine, thine is all the barrenness; if thou
Thou didst with faith and labour serve,
And didst (if faith and labour can) deserve,
Given to another thou didst see
Given to another, who had store
Of fairer and of richer wives before,
Give thee, to fling away
Into the court's deceitful lottery:
But think how likely 'tis that thou,
Thou, to whose share so little bread did fall,
In that miraculous year, when manna rain'd on all."
Thus spake the Muse, and spake it with a smile,
"Ah, wanton foe! dost thou upbraid
When in the cradle innocent I lay,
And my abused soul didst bear
Into thy new-found worlds, I know not where,
Still I rebel, still thou dost reign;
Mak'st me sit still and sing, when I should plough.
Our patient sovereign did attend
His long misfortunes' fatal end;
How cheerfully, and how exempt from fear,
I ought to be accurst, if I refuse
To wait on his, O thou fallacious Muse!
Kings have long hands, they say; and, though I be
However, of all the princes, thou
Should'st not reproach rewards for being small or
Thou! who rewardest but with popular breath,
The ghosts, and monster-spirits, that did presume A body's privilege to assume,
Vanish again invisibly,
And bodies gain again their visibility.
All the world's bravery, that delights our eyes,
Thou the rich dye on them bestow'st, Thy nimble pencil paints this landscape as thou go'st.
A crimson garment in the rose thou wear'st;
Are clad but with the lawn of almost naked light.
The violet, Spring's little infant, stands
Girt in thy purple swaddling-bands
With flame condens'd thou do'st thy jewels fix,
Flowers fairer than her own, and durable as she.
Ah, goddess! would thou could'st thy hand withhold,
Of how much care, alas! might'st thou poor man relieve!
To me the Sun is more delightful far,
And all fair days much fairer are.
But few, ah! wondrous few, there be,
Who do not gold prefer, O goddess! ev'n to thee.
They screen their horrid shapes with the black Through the soft ways of Heaven, and air, and sea, hemisphere.
Which open all their pores to thee, Like a clear river thou dost glide,
With them there hastes, and wildly takes th' alarm, And with thy living stream through the close chan-
The various clusters break, the antic atoms fly
The guilty serpents, and obscener beasts,
Creep, conscious, to their secret rests:
Ill omens and ill sights removes out of thy way.
To shake his wings, and rouse his head:
A gentle beamy smile, reflected from thy look.
At thy appearance, Fear itself grows bold; Thy sun-shine melts away his cold. Encouraged at the sight of thee,
But, where firm bodies thy free course oppose,
Of colours mingled light, a thick and standing lake.
But the vast ocean of unbounded day,
In th' empyræan Heaven does stay. Thy rivers, lakes, and springs, below, From thence took first their rise, thither at last must flow.
HOPE! whose weak being ruin'd is,
To the cheek colour comes, and firmness to the Alike, if it succeed, and if it miss ; knee.
Ev'n Lust, the master of a harden'd face,
In sympathising night he rolls his smoky fires.
When, goddess! thou lift'st up thy waken'd head,
Whom good or ill does equally confound,
Vain shadow! which does vanish quite, Both at full noon and perfect night! The stars have not a possibility
Of blessing thee;
If things then from their end we happy call, 'Tis hope is the most hopeless thing of all.
Hope! thou bold taster of delight, [quite! Who, whilst thou should'st but taste, devour'st it
Thou bring'st us an estate, yet leav'st us poor, By clogging it with legacies before!
The joys which we entire should wed, Come deflower'd virgins to our bed; Good fortunes without gain imported be, Such mighty custom's paid to thee.
For joy, like wine, kept close does better taste; If it take air before, its spirits waste.
Hope! Fortune's cheating lottery!
Where for one prize an hundred blanks there be ;
Thin, empty cloud, which th' eye deceives
When thy false beams o'er Reason's light prevail,
Brother of Fear, more gayly clad!
By the strange witchcraft of "anon!"
HOPE! of all ills that men endure,
Thou manna, which from Heaven we eat,
Hope! thou first-fruits of happiness!
Thou gentle dawning of a bright success!
Whether she her bargain break or else fulfil;
Brother of Faith! 'twixt whom and thee
Happiness itself's all one
In thee, or in possession!
Thine's the more hard and noble bliss:
Hope! thou sad lovers' only friend! Thou Way, that may'st dispute it with the End! For love, I fear, 's a fruit that does delight The taste itself less than the smell and sight.
HAPPY the man, who his whole time doth bound
About the spacious world let others roam,
WELL, then; I now do plainly see
Does of all meats the soonest cloy;
Ah, yet, ere I descend to th' grave,
And good as guardian-angels are
Önly belov'd, and loving me!
Oh, fountains! when in you shall I Myself, eas'd of unpeaceful thoughts, espy? Oh fields! oh woods! when, when shall I be made The happy tenant of your shade?
JOHN MILTON, a poet of the first rank in eminence, | was descended from an ancient family, settled at Milton, in Oxfordshire. His father, whose desertion of the Roman Catholic faith was the cause of his disinheritance, settled in London as a scrivener, and marrying a woman of good family, had two sons and a daughter. John, the eldest son, was born in Bread-street, on December 9. 1608. He received the rudiments of learning from a domestic tutor, Thomas Young, afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburg, whose merits are gratefully commemorated by his pupil, in a Latin elegy. At a proper age he was sent to St. Paul's school, and there began to distinguish himself by his intense application to study, as well as by his poetical talents. In his sixteenth year he was removed to Christ's college, Cambridge, where he was admitted a pensioner, under the tuition of Mr. W. Chappel.
Of his course of studies in the university little is known; but it appears, from several exercises preserved in his works, that he had acquired extraordinary skill in writing Latin verses, which are of a purer taste than any preceding compositions of the kind by English scholars. He took the degrees both of Bachelor and Master of Arts; the latter in 1632, when he left Cambridge. He renounced his original intention of entering the church, for which he has given as a reason, that, "coming to some maturity of years, he had perceived what tyranny had invaded it;" which denotes a man early habituated to think and act for himself.
He now returned to his father, who had retired from business to a residence at Horton, in Buckinghamshire; and he there passed five years in the study of the best Roman and Grecian authors, and in the composition of some of his finest miscellaneous poems. This was the period of his Allegro and Penseroso, his Comus and Lycidas. That his learning and talents had at this time attracted considerable notice, appears from an application made to him from the Bridgewater family, which produced his 'admirable masque of "Comus," performed in 1634, at Ludlow Castle, before the Earl of Bridgewater, then Lord President of Wales; and also by his "Arcades," part of an entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Derby, at Harefield, by some of her family.
In 1638, he obtained his father's leave to improve himself by foreign travel, and set out for the continent. Passing through France, he proceeded to Italy, and spent a considerable time in that seat of the arts and of literature. At Naples he was kindly received by Manso, Marquis of Villa, who had long before deserved the gratitude of poets by his patronage of Tasso; and, in return for a laudatory distich of Manso, Milton addressed to him a Latin
poem, of great elegance. He left Italy by the way of Geneva, where he contracted an acquaintance with two learned divines, John Diodati and Frederic Spanheim; and he returned through France, having been absent about a year and three months.
On his arrival, Milton found the nation agitated by civil and religious disputes, which threatened a crisis; and as he had expressed himself impatient to be present on the theatre of contention, it has been thought extraordinary that he did not immediately place himself in some active station. But his turn was not military; his fortune precluded a seat in parliament; the pulpit he had declined; and for the bar he had made no preparation. His taste and habits were altogether literary; for the present, therefore, he fixed himself in the metropolis, and undertook the education of his sister's two sons, of the name of Philips. Soon after, he was applied to by several parents to admit their children to the benefit of his tuition. He therefore took a commodious house in Aldersgate-street, and opened an academy. Disapproving the plan of education in the public schools and universities, he deviated from it as widely as possible. He put into the hands of his scholars, instead of the common classics, such Greek and Latin authors as treated on the arts and sciences, and on philosophy; thus expecting to instil the knowledge of things with that of words. We are not informed of the result of his plan; but it will appear singular that one who had himself drunk so deeply at the muse's fount, should withhold the draught from others. We learn, however, that he performed the task of instruction with great assiduity.
Milton did not long suffer himself to lie under the reproach of having neglected the public cause in his private pursuits; and, in 1641, he published four treatises relative to church-government, in which he gave the preponderance to the presbyterian form above the episcopalian. Resuming the same controversy in the following year, he numbered among his antagonists such men as Bishop Hall and Archbishop Usher. His father, who had been disturbed by the king's troops, now came to live with him; and the necessity of a female head of such a house, caused Milton, in 1643, to form a connection with the daughter of Richard Powell, Esq., a magistrate of Oxfordshire. This was, in several respects, an unhappy marriage; for his father-inlaw was a zealous royalist, and his wife had accustomed herself to the jovial hospitality of that party. She had not, therefore, passed above a month in her husband's house, when, having procured an invitation from her father, she went to pass the summer in his mansion. Milton's invitations for her return were treated with contempt; upon which, regarding her conduct as a desertion which broke the nuptial contract, he determined to punish