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HERE lieth one, who did most truly prove
While he might still jog on and keep his trot,
Mark, what radiant state she spreads, In circle round her shining throne, Shooting her beams like silver threads; This, this is she alone,
Sitting like a goddess bright,
In the centre of her light.
Who had thought this clime had held A deity so unparallel'd?
Time numbers motion, yet (without a crime
In course reciprocal, and had his fate
Link'd to the mutual flowing of the seas,
Hobson was a carrier, and the first man in this island who let out hackney-horses. He lived in Cambridge; and observing that the scholars rid hard, his manner was, to keep a large stable of horses, with boots, bridles, and whips, to furnish the gentlemen at once, without going from college to college to borrow, as they have done since the death of this worthy man: I say, Mr. Hobson kept a stable of forty good cattle, always ready and fit for travelling: but when a man came for a horse, he was led into the stable, where there was great choice; but he obliged him to take the horse which stood next to the stable-door, so that every customer was alike well served, according to his chance, and every horse ridden with the same justice. From whence it became a proverb, when what ought to be your election was forced upon you, to say, Hobson's choice. This memorable man stands drawn in fresco at an inn (which he used) in Bishopsgate-street, with a hundred pound bag under his arm, with this inscription upon the said bag,
The fruitful mother of a hundred more."
As they come forward, the Genius of the Wood appears, and turning towards them, speaks.
STAY, gentle Swains; for, though in this disguise,
This poem is only part of an Entertainment, or Mask, the rest probably being of a different nature, or composed by a different hand. This Countess Dowager of Derby, to whom it was presented, must have been Alice, daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorp, Northamptonshire, and widow of Ferdinando Stanley, the fifth Earl of Derby. And as Harefield is in Middlesex, and, according to Camden, lieth a little to the north of Uxbridge, we may conclude, that Milton made this poem while he resided in that neighbourhood with his father at Horton near Colebrooke. It should seem too, that
it was made before the Mask at Ludlow, as it is a more imperfect essay. And Frances, the second daughter of this Countess-dowager of Derby, being married to John Earl of Bridgewater, before whom was presented the Mask at Ludlow, we may conceive in some measure how Milton was,induced to compose the one after the other. The alliance between the families naturally and easily accounts for it: and in all probability, the Genius of the wood in this poem, as well as the attendant Spirit in the Mask, was Mr. Henry Lawes, who was the great master of music at that time, and taught most of the young nobility.
And from the boughs brush off the evil dew,
With lucky words favour my destin'd urn; And, as he passes, turn,
On which the fate of Gods and Men is wound.
Such sweet compulsion doth in music lie,
To lull the daughters of Necessity,
And keep unsteady Nature to her law,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute,
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fawns with cloven heel
But, O the heavy change, now thou art gone, Now thou art gone, and never must return! Thee, Shepherd, thee the woods, and desert
With wild thyme and the gadding vine o'ergrown, And all their echoes mourn :
The willows, and 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,
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 shepherds' ear.
All Arcadia hath not seen.
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas?
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream: 55
Had ye been there-for what could that have done?
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 incessant care
To tend the homely, slighted shepherd's trade, 65 And strictly meditate the thankless Muse?
Were it rot better done, as others use,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Though Syrinx your Pan's mistress were, Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.
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.
YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more
This poem was made upon the unfortunate and untimely death of Mr. Edward King, son of Sir John King, Secretary for Ireland, a fellow collegian and intimate friend of Milton, who, as he was going to visit his relations in Ireland, was drowned Aug. 10, 1637, in the 25th year of his age. This poem is with great judgment made of the pastoral kind, as both Mr. King and Milton had been designed for holy orders and the pastoral care, which gives a peculiar propriety to several passages in it.
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
Set off to' the world, nor in broad rumour lies; 80
A sheep-hook, or have learn'd aught else the least
And, when they list, their lean and flashy songs
The musk-rose, and the well attir'd woodbine,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise.
For Lycidas, your sorrow, is not dead,
In solemn troops, and sweet societies,
ON THE NEW FORCERS OF CONSCIENCE
To force our consciences that Christ set free, And ride us with a classic hierarchy, † Taught ye by mere A. S. and Rotherford? Men, whose life, learning, faith, and pure intent, Would have been held in high esteem with Paul, Must now be named and printed Heretics 11 By shallow Edwards and Scotch what d'ye call: But we do hope to find out all your tricks, Your plots and packing worse than those of Trent; That so the Parliament 15 May, with their wholesome and preventive shears, Clip your phylacteries, though balk your ears, And succour our just fears, When they shall read this clearly in your charge, 'New Presbyter is but Old Priest writ large.' 20
This poem is supposed to have been made when the Directory was established, and disputes ran high between the Presbyterians and Independents in 1615, the latter pleading for a toleration, and the former against it.
In the Presbyterian form of government there are congregational, classical, provincial, and national assemblies.
It is not known who is meant by A. S. Mr. Samuel Rotherford was Professor of Divinity at St. Andrew's, and one of the Scotch commissioners to the Westminster assembly.
Mr. Thomas Edwards, author of the Gangræna.
That sing, and, singing, in their glory move, 180 George Gillespie, both commissioners to the West
And wipe the tears for ever from his eyes.
TO A VIRTUOUS YOUNG LADY. 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, 10 And hope that reaps not shame. Therefore be [friends Thou, when the Bridegroom, with his feastful Passes to bliss, at the mid hour of night, Hast gain'd thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.
ON HIS BEING ARRIVED TO THE AGE
HOW soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
It shall be still in strictest measure even To that same lot, however mean or high, [ven; Toward which Time leads me, and the Will of HeaAll is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.
TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY. DAUGHTER to that good Earl, once President Of England's Council, and her Treasury, Who liv'd in both, unstain'd with gold or fee, And left them both, more in himself content, Till the sad breaking of that Parliament Broke him, as that dishonest victory At Chæronea, fatal to liberty, Kill'd with report that old man eloquent. Though later born than to have known the days Wherein your father flourish'd, yet by you, Madam, methinks I see him living yet; So well your words his noble virtues praise, That all both judge you to relate them true, And to possess them, honour'd Margaret.
On the Detraction which followed upon the writing certain Treatises.t
A BOOK was writ of late call'd Tetrachordon, And woven close, both matter, form, and style; The subject new: it walk'd the Town awhile,
Manuscript, To the Lady Margaret Ley. She was We have given the title which is in Milton's the daughter of Sir James Ley, whose singular learning and abilities raised him through all the great posts of the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough, and Lord High Treasurer, and Lord President of the Council to King James L. He died in an advanced age, and Milton attributes his death to the breaking of the parliament; and it is true that the parliament was dissolved the 10th of March, 1628-9, and he died on the 14th of the same month. He left several sons and daughters; and the Lady Margaret was married to Captain Hobson of the Isle of Wight. It appears from the accounts of Milton's life, that in the year 1643. he used frequently to visit this lady and her husband, and about that time we may suppose that this sonnet was composed.
+ When Milton published his book of Divorce, he was greatly condemned by the Presbyterian ministers, whose advocate and champion he had
TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX. FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise, And all her jealous monarchs with amaze And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings; Thy firm, unshaken virtue, ever brings Victory home, though new rebellions raise Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays Her broken league, to imp their serpent wings. O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
(For what can war but endless war still breed ?) Till truth and right from violence be freed, 11 And public faith clear'd from the shameful brand Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed, While Avarice and Rapine share the land.
TO Mr. H. LAWES, ON HIS AIRS, 1645.‡ HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measur'd 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 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. [wing Thou honour'st verse, and verse must lend her To honour thee, the priest of Phoebus' quire, 10 That tun'st their happiest lines in hymn, or story. Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher Than his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.
been before. He published his Tetrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of marriage, or nullities in marriage, in 1645.
"We may suppose, (says Dr. Newton) that these were persons of note and eminence among the Scotch ministers who were for pressing and enforcing the covenant." Mr. George Gillespie, here wrongously named Galasp, was one of the Scotch commissioners to the Westminster assembly. But who the other persons were is not known. It appears from this sonnet, and the verses on the forcers of conscience, that Milton treats the Presbyterians with great contempt.
This Gentleman was the first Professor of the Greek tongue in the University of Cambridge, and was highly instrumental in bringing that language into repute. He was afterwards made one of the tutors to Edward VI.
This Mr. Henry Lawes was a gentleman of the king's chapel, and one of his band of music, and an intimate friend of Milton.
"Who this Mrs. Thomson was, (says Dr. Newton) we cannot be certain; but I find in the ac
counts of Milton's life, that when he was first made Latin Secretary, he lodged at one Thomson's, next door to the Bull-head tavern at Charing-cross. This Mrs. Thomson, therefore was, in all probability, one of that family."
This sonnet appears, from the manuscript, to have been addressed to Gen. Fairfax, at the siege of Colchester, which was carried on in the summer, 1648.
+ In the Author's manuscript is this inscription: To the Lord General Cromwell, May 1652. On the proposals of certain ministers at the committee for propagation of the Gospel.