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While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of instrumental sounds,
In full harmonic number join'd, their songs

Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to Heaven."
Thus talking, hand in hand alone they pass'd
On to their blissful bower: it was a place
Chosen by the sovran Planter, when he framed
All things to man's delightful use: the roof
Of thickest covert was inwoven shade,
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grew
Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side
Acanthus, and each odorous bushy shrub,

Fenced up the verdant wall; each beauteous flower,
Iris all hues, roses, and jessamin,

Rear'd high their flourish'd heads between, and wrought
Mosaic; under-foot the violet,

Crocus, and hyacinth, with rich inlay

Broider'd the ground, more color'd than with stone

Of costliest emblem: other creature here,

Beast, bird, insect, or worm, durst enter none,

Such was their awe of man! In shadier bower
More sacred and sequester'd, though but feign'd,
Pan or Sylvanus never slept; nor nymph
Nor Faunus haunted. Here, in close recess,
With flowers, garlands, and sweet-smelling herbs,
Espoused Eve deck'd first her nuptial bed;
And heavenly quires the hymenean sung,
What day the genial angel to our sire
Brought her, in naked beauty more adorn'd,
More lovely than Pandora; whom the gods
Endow'd with all their gifts; and, O! too like
In sad event, when to the unwiser son
Of Japhet brought by Hermes, she ensnared
Mankind with her fair looks, to be avenged
On him who had stole Jove's authentic fire.

Thus, at their shady lodge arrived, both stood,
Both turn'd, and under open sky adored

The God that made both sky, air, earth, and heaven,
Which they beheld, the moon's resplendent globe,
And starry pole: "Thou also madest the night,
Maker Omnipotent! and thou the day
Which we, in our appointed work employ'd,
Have finish'd, happy in our mutual help
And mutual love, the crown of all our bliss
Ordain'd by thee; and this delicious place,
For us too large, where thy abundance wants
Partakers, and uncropt falls to the ground.
But thou hast promised from us two a race
To fill the earth, who shall with us extol
Thy goodness infinite, both when we wake,
And when we seek, as now, thy gift of sleep."

Paradise Lost, IV. 598.


The city which thou seest no other deem

Than great and glorious Rome, queen of the earth,
So far renown'd, and with the spoils enrich'd
Of nations: there the Capitol thou seest
Above the rest lifting his stately head
On the Tarpeian rock, her citadel
Impregnable; and there Mount Palatine,
The imperial palace, compass huge, and high
The structure, skill of noblest architects,
With gilded battlements, conspicuous far,
Turrets and terraces, and glittering spires.
Many a fair edifice besides, more like
Houses of gods, (so well I have disposed
My aery microscope,) thou mayst behold
Outside and inside both, pillars and roofs,
Carved work, the hand of famed artificers,
In cedar, marble, ivory, or gold.

Thence to the gates cast round thine eye, and see
What conflux issuing forth, or entering in;
Prætors, proconsuls to their provinces

Hasting, or on return, in robes of state,

Lictors and rods, the ensigns of their power,

Legions and cohorts, turms of horse and wings:
Or embassies from regions far remote

In various habits, on the Appian road,

Or on the Emilian; some from farthest south,
Syene, and where the shadow both way falls,
Meroe Nilotick isle, and, more to west,
The realm of Bocchus to the Black-moor sea;
From the Asian kings, and Parthian among these;
From India and the golden Chersonese,

And utmost Indian isle Taprobane,

Dusk faces with white silken turbans wreathed;
From Gallia, Gades, and the British west;

Germans and Scythians, and Sarmathians, north
Beyond Danubius to the Taurick pool.

Paradise Regained, IV. 44.


Look once more, ere we leave this specular mount,

Westward, much nearer by south-west; behold

Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,

Built nobly; pure the air, and light the soil;

Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts
And eloquence, native to famous wits,

Or hospitable, in her sweet recess,

City, or suburban, studious walks and shades;

1 Satan, persisting in the temptation of our Lord, shows him imperial Rome in its greatest pomp and splendor, and tells him that he might easily expel the Emperor Tiberius, and take possession of the whole himself, and thus possess the world. Baffled in this, he next points out to him the cele brated seat of ancient learning, Athens, and its celebrated schools of philosophy; pronouncing a highly finished panegyric on the Grecian musicians, poets, orators, and philosophers of the different sects

See there the olive grove of Academe,
Plato's retirement, where the Attic bird

Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;
There flowery hill Hymettus with the sound

Of bees' industrious murmur oft invites

To studious musing; there Ilissus rolls

His whispering stream: within the walls then view
The schools of ancient sages; his who bred
Great Alexander to subdue the world,

Lyceum there, and painted Stoa next:

There shalt thou hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony, in tones and numbers hit

By voice or hand; and various-measured verse,
Eolian charms and Dorian lyric odes,

And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes, thence Homer call'd,
Whose poem Phœbus challenged for his own:
Thence what the lofty grave tragedians taught
In chorus or iambic, teachers best

Of moral prudence, with delight received
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life;
High actions, and high passions best describing:
Thence to the famous orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce democratie,
Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece

To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne:

To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear,

From Heaven descended to the low-roof'd house
Of Socrates; see there his tenement,

Whom, well inspired, the oracle pronounced
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth
Mellifluous streams, that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Surnamed Peripatetics, and the sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe:

These here revolve, or, as thou likest, at home,
Till time mature thee to a kingdom's weight:
These rules will render thee a king complete
Within thyself; much more with empire join'd.

Paradise Regained, IV. 230


O loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, O worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age!
Light, the prime work of God, to me is extinct,
And all her various objects of delight

Annull'd, which might in part my grief have eased,
Inferior to the vilest now become

Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me:
They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors or without, still as a fool,

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In power of others, never in my own;

Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,1
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?
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,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the soul,

She all in every part; why was this sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
So obvious and so easy to be quench'd?
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,
And buried; but, O 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;
But made hereby obnoxious more

To all the miseries of life,

Life in captivity

Among inhuman foes.

Samson Agonistes, 67.


[ When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent3 which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He, returning, chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"

I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best

1 "Few passages in poeti y are so affecting as this; and the tone of the expression is peculiarly Miltonic."-Brydges.

2 "Milton's sonnets are, in easy majesty and severe beauty, unequalled by any other compositions of the kind."-Rev. Alexander Dyce. "Of all the sonnets of Milton, I am most inclined to prefer that 'On His Blindness.' It has, to my weak taste, such various excellences as I am unequal to praise sufficiently. It breathes doctrines at once so sublime and consolatory, as to gild the gloomy paths of our existence here with a new and singular light."—Brydges.

3 He speaks here with allusion to the parable of the talents, Matt. xxv., and with great modesty of himself, as if he had not five, or two, but only one talent.


Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait."|


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,
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not

Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope;2 but still bear up and steer

Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied

In liberty's defence,3 my noble task,

Of which all Europe rings from side to side.

This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask
Content though blind, had I no better guide.


Lady, that in the prime of earliest youth

Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green,
And with those few art eminently seen,

That labour up the hill of heavenly truth;

The better part with Mary and with Ruth
Chosen thou hast; and they that overween,
And at thy growing virtues fret their spleen,

No anger find in thee but pity and ruth.

Thy care is fix'd, and zealously attends

To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light,

And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be sure,
Thou, when the Bridegroom with his feastful friends

Passes to bliss at the mid hour of night,

Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.

The prose works of Milton are scarcely less remarkable than his poetry. They are mostly of a controversial character in Religion and Politics, and, as such, have lost some of the interest with which they were invested in the

1 Cyriack Skinner was the son of William Skinner, Esq., a merchant of London. Wood says that "he was an ingenious young gentleman, and a scholar to John Milton."

2 "Of heart or hope," &c. "One of Milton's characteristics was a singular fortitude of mind, arising from a consciousness of superior abilities, and a conviction that his cause was just."-- Warton. 3 When Milton had entered upon the labor of writing his "Defence of the People of England," one of his eyes was almost gone, and the physicians predicted the loss of both if he proceeded. But he says, "I did not long balance whether my duty should be preferred to my eyes." And yet (proh pudor!) this masterly work was, at the Restoration, ordered to be burnt by the common hangman! 4 "The summit of fame is occupied by the poet, but the base of the vast elevation may justly be said to rest on his prose works; and we invite his admirers to descend from the former, and survey the region that lies round about the latter;-a less explored, but not less magnificent domain.”—Brydges, "The prose writings of Milton deserve the attention of every man who wishes to become ac quainted with the full power of the English language. They abound with passages compared with which the finest declamations of Burke sink into insignificance."-Macaulay.

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