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As wholly thine; But the acceptance, that must be,

My Christ, by thee.

To KEEP A TRUE LENT

Some brittle sticks of thorn or briar

Make me a fire,
Close by whose living coal I sit,

And glow like it.
Lord, I confess, too, when I dine,

The pulse is thine,
And all those other bits that be

There placed by thee;
The worts, the purslain, and the mess

Of water-cress,
Which of thy kindness thou hast sent;

And my content
Makes those, and my beloved beet,

To be more sweet. "Tis thou that crown'st my glittering hearth

With guiltless mirth, And giv'st me wassail bowls to drink,

Spiced to the brink. Lord, 'tis thy plenty-dropping hand

That soils my land,
And giv'st me, for my bushel sown,

Twice ten for one;
Thou mak'st my teeming hen to lay

Her egg each day;
Besides my healthful ewes to bear

Me twins each year;
The while the conduits of my kine

Run cream, for wine.
All these, and better thou dost send

Me, to this end,
That I should render, for my part,

A thankful heart,
Which, fired with incense, I resign,

Is this a fast, to keep

The larder lean,

And clean From fat of veals and sheep? Is it to quit the dish

Of flesh, yet still

To fill
The platter high with fish?
Is it to fast an hour,

Or ragg’d to go,

Or show
A downcast look, and sour ?
No; 'tis a fast, to dole

Thy sheaf of wheat

And meat
Unto the hungry soul.
It is to fast from strife,

From old debate,

And hate;
To circumcise thy life.
To show a heart grief-rent;

To starve thy sin,

Not bin;
And that's to keep thy Lent.

II.

FAITH AND FREEDOM: JOHN MILTON

1.

THE MAKER OF AN HEROIC POEM

HIJSELF A TRUE POEM [From An Apology for Smectymnuus, 1642]

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, wlio never write but honor 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 honorablest 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. ...

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 honor 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 gilt 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.

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.

of the beautiful in all the forms and appearances of things. I am wont day and night to continue my search, and I follow in the way in which you go before. Hence, I feel an irresistible impulse to cultivate the friendship of him who, despising the prejudices and false conceptions of the vulgar, dares to think, to speak, and to be that which the highest wisdom has in every age taught to be the best. But if my disposition or my destiny were such that I could without any conflict or any toil emerge to the highest pitch of distinction and of praise, there would nevertheless be no prohibition, either human or divine, against my constantly cherishing and revering those who have either obtained the same degree of glory, or are successfully laboring to obtain it. But now I am sure that you wish me to gratify your curiosity, and to let you know what I have been doing, or am meditating to do. Hear me, my Diodati, and suffer me for a moment to speak without blushing in a more lofty strain. Do you ask what I am meditating? By the help of Heaven, an immortality of fame.

L'ALLEGRO

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Hence, loathèd Melancholy,

Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born In Stygian cave forlorn, Mongst horrid shapes and shrieks and

sights unholy ! Find out some uncouth cell, Where brooding darkness spreads his

jealous wings, And the night-raven sings; There under ebon shades and low-browed

rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou Goddess fair and free,
In heaven yelept Euphrosyne,
And by men heart-easing Mirth;
Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
With two sister Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether (as some sager sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,
There on beds of violets blue
And fresh-blown roses washed in dew,
Filled her with thee, a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Haste thee, nymph, and bring with thee

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[From A Letter to Diodati, 1637] But that you may indulge any excess of menace I must inform you, that I cannot help loving you such as you are; for whatever the Deity may have bestowed upon me in other respects, he has certainly inspired me, if any ever were inspired, with a passion for the good and fair. Nor did Ceres, according to the fable, ever seek her daughter Proserpine with such unceasing solicitude, as I have sought this perfect model

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Jest, and youthful Jollity,
Quips and cranks and wanton wiles,
Nods and becks and wreathèd smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as you go,
On the light fantastic toe;
And in thy right hand lead with thee
The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty;
And if I give thee honor due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreprovèd pleasures free:
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing, startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet-briar or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock, with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn-door,
Stoutly struts his dames before:
Oft listening how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumbering morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,

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Through the high wood echoing shrill:
Sometime walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate
Where the great sun begins his state,
Robed in flames and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight;
While the plowman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrowed land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the landskip round it measures ;
Russet lawns and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
Mountains on whose barren breast
The laboring clouds do often rest ;
Meadows trim with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks and rivers wide;
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosomed high in tufted trees,
Where perbaps some beauty lies,
The cynosure of neighboring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes -
From betwixt two aged oaks,

Where Corydon and Thyrsis met Are at their savory dinner set Of herbs and other country messes, Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses; And then in haste her bower she leaves, With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; Or, if the earlier season lead, To the tanned haycock in the mead. Sometimes, with secure delight, The upland hamlets will invite, When the merry bells ring round, And the jocund rebecks sound To many a youth and many a maid Dancing in the chequered shade; And young and old come forth to play On a sunshine holiday, 'Till the livelong daylight fail: Then to the spicy nut-brown ale, With stories told of many a feat, How faery Mab the junkets eat. She was pinched and pulled, she said; And he, by friar's lantern led, Tells how the drudging goblin sweat To earn his cream-bowl duly set, When in one night, ere glimpse of morn, His shadowy flail hath threshed the corn That ten day-laborers could not end; Then lies him down, the lubber fiend, And, stretched out all the chimney's length, Basks at the fire his hairy strength, And crop-full out of doors he flings, . Ere the first cock his matin rings. Thus done the tales, to bed they creep, By whispering winds soon lulled asleep. Towered cities please us then, And the busy hum of men, Where throngs of knights and barons bold, In eds of peace high triumphs hold, With store of ladies, whose bright eyes Rain influence, and judge the prize Of wit or arms, while both contend To win her grace whom all commend. There let Hymen oft appear In saffron robe, with taper clear, And pomp and feast and revelry, With mask and antique pageantry; Such sights as youthful poets dream On summer eves by haunted stream. Then to the well-trod stage anon, If Jonson's learned sock be on, Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child, Warble his native wood-notes wild. And ever, against eating cares, Lap me in soft Lydian airs, Married to immortal verse, Such as the meeting soul may pierce, In notes with many a winding bout

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Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto to have quite set free
His half-regained Eurydice.

These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

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IL PENSEROSO

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And looks commercing with the skies, Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes: There, held in holy passion still, Forget thyself to marble, till With a sad leaden downward cast Thou fix them on the earth as fast. And join with thee calm Peace, and Quiet, Spare Fast, that oft with gods doth diet, And hears the Muses in a ring Aye round about Jove's altar sing; And add to these retired Leisure, That in trim gardens takes his pleasure; But first, and chiefest, with thee bring Him that yon soars on golden wing, Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne, The cherub Contemplation; And the mute Silence hist along, 'Less Philomel will deign a song, In her sweetest, saddest plight, Smoothing the rugged brow of Night, While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke Gently o'er the accustomed oak: Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly, Most musical, most melancholy! Thee, chauntress, oft the woods among, I woo to hear thy even-song; And missing thee, I walk unseen On the dry smooth-shaven green, To behold the wandering moon, Riding near her highest noon, Like one that had been led astray Through the heaven's wide pathless way, And oft, as if her head she bowed, Stooping through a fleecy cloud. Oft on a plat of rising ground, I hear the far-off curfew sound, Over some wide-watered shore, Swinging slow with sullen roar; Or if the air will not permit, Some still removed place will fit, Where glowing embers through the room Teach light to counterfeit a gloom, Far from all resort of mirth, Save the cricket on the hearth, Or the bellman's drowsy charm To bless the doors from nightly harm. Or let my lamp at midnight hour Be seen in some high lonely tower, Where I may oft out-watch the Bear, With thrice-great Hermes; or unsphere The spirit of Plato, to unfold What worlds or what vast regions hold The immortal mind that hath forsook Her mansion in this fleshly nook; And of those demons that are found In fire, air, flood, or underground, Whose power hath a true consent

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Hence, vain deluding Joys,

The brood of Folly without father bred! How little you bested,

Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys! Dwell in some idle brain, And fancies fond with gaudy shapes pos

sess, As thick and numberless As the gay motes that people the sun

beams, Or likest hovering dreams, The fickle pensioners of Morpheus'

train. But hail, thou Goddess sage and holy, Hail, divinest Melancholy! Whose saintly visage is too bright To hit the sense of human sight, And therefore to our weaker view O'erlaid with black, staid Wisdom's hue; Black, but such as in esteem Prince Memnon's sister might beseem, Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove To set her beauty's praise above

20 The sea nymphs, and their powers offended. Yet thou art higher far descended : Thee bright-haired Vesta long of yore To solitary Saturn bore; His daughter she (in Saturn's reign Such mixture was not held a stain). Oft in glimmering bowers and glades He met her, and in secret shades Of woody Ida's inmost grove, Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove. Come, pensive Nun, devout and pure, Sober, steadfast, and demure, All in a robe of darkest grain, Flowing with majestic train, And sable stole of cypress lawn Over thy decent shoulders drawn. Come, but keep thy wonted state, With even step, and musing gait,

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Sent by some spirit to mortals good,
Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale,
And love the high embowèd roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voiced quire below,
In service high and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out peaceful hermitage,
The hairy gown, and mossy cell,
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that heaven doth shew,
And every herb that sips the dew,
Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.

These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
And I with thee will choose to live.

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LYCIDAS

With planet or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In seeptered pall come sweeping by,
Presenting Thebes, or Pelops' line,
Or the tale of Troy divine,
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskined stage.
But, I sad Virgin! that thy power
Might raise Musæus from his bower;
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes as, warbled to the string,
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
And made Hell grant what love did seek ;
Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,
Of Camball, and of Algarsife,
And who had Canace to wife,
That owned the virtuous ring and glass,
And of the wondrous horse of brass
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung,
Of tourneys, and of trophies hung,
Of forests, and enchantments drear,
Where more is meant than meets the ear. 120
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Till civil-suited Morn appear,
Not tricked and frounced as she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt,
But kerchieft in a comely cloud,
While rocking winds are piping loud,
Or ushered with a shower still,
When the gust hath blown his fill,
Ending on the rustling leaves,
With minute-drops from off the eaves.
And when the sun begins to fling
His flaring beams, me, Goddess, bring
To arched walks of twilight groves,
And shadows brown, that Sylvan loves,
Of pine, or monumental oak,
Where the rude axe with heavèd stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt,
Or fright them from their hallowed hauat.
There in close covert by some brook,
Where no profaner eye may look,
Hide me from day's garish eye,
While the bee with honeyed thigh,
That at her flowery work doth sing,
And the waters murmuring,
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy-feathered Sleep;
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wings in airy stream
Of lively portraiture displayed,
Softly on my eyelids laid;
Ad as I wake, sweet music breathe
Above, about, or underneath,

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Yet once more, () 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, 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 liis peer, Who would not sing for Lycidas ? he

knew 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 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 favor

my
destined

urn,
And as he passes turn,
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nursed upon tlie self-same

hill,

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