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Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee highe
Than his Casella', whom he woo'd to sing
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHAR
MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND, DECEASED DEC. 16, le
When Faith and Love, which parted from the
Had ripen'd thy just soul to dwell with God
Of death, call'd life; which us from life dot
Stay'd not behind, nor in the grave were tro
Follow'd thee up to joy and bliss for ever.
Thy handmaids, clad them o'er with purple
And azure wings, that up they flew so drest,
Before the Judge ; who thenceforth bid the
Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europ
b Than his Casella, &c. Dante, on his arrival in Purgatory, sees a vessel approaching souls under the conduct of an angel, to be cleansed from their si dise : when they are disembarked, the poet recognises in the cro the musician. The interview is strikingly imagined, and, in the dialogue, the poet requests a soothing air; and Casella sings, sweetness, Dante's second Canzone. By “milder shades," 0 comparatively much less horrible than those which Dante descril T. WARTON. See a notice of Henry Lawes in the notes prefixed to “Comus
SONNET XIV. - Mrs. Catharine Thomson. I find in the accounts of Milton's life, that when he was first n lodged at one Thomson's, next door to the Bull-head tavern at C Thomson was in all probability one of that family. Newton.
d Stay'd not behind, nor in the grare were trot “Nor in the grave were trod,” is a beautiful periphrasis for “ go death," and a happy improvement of the original line in the man low'd thee the path that saints have trod.”—T. Warton.
e With her golden rod. Perhaps from the golden reed in the Apocalypse.-T. Warton
For obvious political reasons, this Sonnet, the two following, Skinner, were not inserted in the cdition of 1673; they were firs Philips's Life of Milton prefixed to the English version of his pub are quoted by Toland in his Life of Milton, 1698, p. 24. 34. 35. his editions of 1695, 1705 : but growing less offensive by time, th of 1713. The Cambridge manuscript happily corrects many of
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings" ;
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Her broken league to imp their serpent-wings'.
(For what can war but endless war still breed ?)
Till truth and right from violence be freed,
Of publick fraudi. In vain doth Valour bleed,
CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud,
Not of war only', but detractions rude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,
They were the favourites of the republicans long after the Restoration : it was some consolation to an exterminated party to have such good poetry remaining on their side of the question. These five Sonnets, being frequently transcribed, or repeated from memory, became extremely incorrect : their faults were implicitly preserved by Tonson, and afterwards continued without examination by Tickell and Fenton. This Sonnet, as appears from Milton's manuscript, was addressed to Fairfax at the siege of Colchester, 1648.-T. WARTON.
& Daunt remotest kings. Who dreaded the example of England, that their monarchies would be turned into republics.-T. Warton.
h Her broken league. Because the English parliament held, that the Scotch had broken their covenaut, by Hamilton's march into England. - HURD.
i To imp their serpent-wings. In falconry, to imp a feather in a bawk's wing, is to add a new piece to a mutilated stump. From the Saxon impan, to ingraft.-T. Warton.
J of public fraud. The presbyterian committees and sub-committees. The grievance so much complained of by Milton in his “History of England." “ Publick fraud " is opposed to “publick faith,” the security given by the parliament to the city contributions for carrying on the
war.- WARBURTON. i k Written in 1652. The prostitution of Milton's Muse to the celebration of Cromwell,
was as inconsistent and unworthy, as that this enemy to kings, to ancient magnificence, and to all that is venerable and majestic, should have been buried in the chapel of Henry VII. but there is great dignity both of sentiment and expression in this Sonnet : and, unfortu
dately, the close is an anticlimax to both. After a long flow of perspicuous and nervous H
language, the unexpected pause at Worcester's laureat wreath,” is very emphatical and ! has a striking effect.-T. Warton.
| Not of war only. A“ cloud of war" is a classical expression : “Nubem belli,” Virg. " En." x. 809,SEWTON.
m Crowned Fortune. Hlis malignity to kings aided his imagination in the expression of this sublime sentiment IURD.
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pui
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud
To conquer still; Peace hath her victories
So less renown'd than War: new foes arise
Help us to save free conscience from the pa
TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGE l'ane, young in years, but in sage counsel old Than whom a better senator ne'er held
• While Darwen stream. The Darwen, or Derwen, is a small river near Preston in Lai well routed the Scotch army under Duke Hamilton in Augu: Dunbar and Worcester are too well known to be particulari memorable third of September, the one in 1650, and the other
• And Worcester's laureat wreath. This seems pretty, but is inexact in this place. However, what Cromwell said of his success at Worcester, that it was his “
This hemistich originally stood, " And twenty battles more." thoughts in a fine passage. I take it, that one of the essential bea to carry the pauses into the middle of the lines. Of this our auth examples, and here we discern the writer whose ear was tuned to
P Secular chains. The ministers moved Cromwell to lend the secular arm to suppre
9 Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their m Hence it appears that this Sonnet was written about May 165 he means the presbyterian clergy, who possessed the revenues of the old constitution, and whose conformity he supposes to be fou of emolument. There was now no end of innovation and refor proposed in parliament to abolish tithes, as Jewish and anti authorised only by the ceremonial law of Moses, which was abr as the proposal tended to endanger lay-impropriations, the notion allowed to have some weight, and the business was postponed. which Selden had abused his great learning. Milton's party wer parish shonld elect, so it should respectively sustain, its own mini others proposed to throw the tithes of the whole kingdom into a distribute them according to the size of the parishes : some of the Christ's ministers should have no settled property at all, but be ! sent out to preach without staff or scrip, without common necessi “ Lacked ye any thing?" A succession of miracles was therefore the saints from starving. Milton's praise of Cromwell may be that zeal which he professed for liberty; for Cromwell's assumptic if we allow the lawfulness of the rebellion, was palpably a vio over the rights of the nation, and was reprobated even by the r however, in various parts of the “Defensio Secunda," gives excell well, and with great spirit, freedom, and eloquence, not to abuse ! without an intermixture of the grossest adulation.--T, WARTON.
* Perhaps written about the time of the last, having the same ti the younger was the chief of the independents, and therefore Mi contriver of the solemn league and covenant: he was an eccent eccentric characters. In religion the most fantastic of all enthu he was a judicious and sagacious politician : the warmth of his ze
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repella
The fierce Epirot and the African bold :
The drift of hollow states' hard to be spelld;
Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
Both spiritual power and civil, what each means,
What severs each, thou hast learn’d, which few have done :
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
AVENGE, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold ;
When all our fathers worship'd stocks and stones", measures : he was a knight-errant in every thing but affairs of state. The sagacious bishop Burnet in vain attempted to penetrate the darkness of his crecd. He beld, that the devils and the damned would be saved : he believed himself the person delegated by God to reign over the saints upon earth for a thousand years. His principles founded a sect called the Vanists. On the whole, no single man ever exhibited such a medlcy of fanaticism and dissimulation, solid abilities and visionary delusions, good sense and madness. In the pamphlets of that age he is called Sir Humorous Vanity. He was beheaded 1662. On the scaffold, he compared Tower Hill to Mount Pisgah, where Moses went to die, in full assurance of being immediately placed at the right hand of Christ. Milton alludes to the execution of Vane and other regicides, after the Restoration, and in general to the sufferings of his friends on that event, in a speech of the Chorus on Samson's degradation, “ Sams. Agon." v. 687. This Sonnct seems to have been written in behalf of the independents, against the presbyterian hierarchy.-T. Warton.
# Hollow stales. Peace with the hollow states of Holland.-WARBURTON.
• In 1655, the Duke of Savoy determined to compel his reformed subjects in the valleys of Piedmont to embrace popery, or quit their country; all who remained and refused to be converted, with their wives and children, suffered a most barbarous massacre : those who escaped fled into the mountains, from whence they sent agents into England to Cromwell for relief. Hc instantly commanded a general fast, and promoted a national contribution, in which near £10,000 were collected. The persecution was suspended, the duke recalled his army, and the surviving inhabitants of the Piedinontese valleys were reinstated in their cottages, and the peaceable exercise of their religion. On this business there are several state-letters in Croniwell's name written by Milton. One of them is to the duke of Savoy, and is published in his “ Prose Works." Milton's mind, busied with this affecting subject, hero broke forth in a strain of poetry, where his feelings were not fettered by ceremony or formality. The protestants availed themselves of an opportunity of exposing the horrors of popery, by publishing many sets of prints of this unparalleled scene of religious butchery, which operated like Fox's * Book of Martyrs.” Sir William Moreland, Cromwell's agent for the valleys of Piedmont, at Geneva, published a minute account of this whole transaction, in “The History of the Valleys of Piemont, &c. Lond. 1658." fol. with numerous cuts. Milton, among many other atrocious examples of the papal spirit, appeals to this massacre, in Cromwell's letter to king Charles Gustavus, dat. 1656.
“ Testes Alpiou valles miserorum cæde ac sanguine redundantes,”' &c.—T. Warton.
Erin them wcho kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worship'd stocks and stones. It is pretended that, when the church of Rome became corrupt, tley preserved the
Forget not : in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Mother with infant down the rocks'. Their moans
To Heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
A hundred fold, who, having learn'd thy way,
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
My true account, lest He, returning, chide;
I fondly ask : but Patience, to prevent
Either man's work, or his own giftsz ; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best : his state
And post o'er land and ocean without rest :
They also serve who only stand and wait. primitive apostolical christianity; and that they have manuscripts aginst the papal antichrist and purgatory, as old as 1120. See their history by Paul Perrin, Gener. 1619. Their poverty and seclusion from the rest of the world for so many ages, contributed in great measure to this simplicity of worship. In his pamphlet, " The likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of Churches," against endowing churches with tithes, our author frequeolly refers to the happy poverty and purity of the Waldenses.—T. WARTON.
Mother with infant down the rocks. There is a print of this piece of cruelty in Moreland. He relates that "a mother was hurled down a mighty rock, with a little infant in her arms; and three days after, was found dead with the little childe alive, but fast clasped between the arms of the dead mother which were cold and stiffe, insomuch that those who found them had much ado to get the young childe out." P. 363.-T. Warton.
* Babylonian woe. Antichrist.-WARBURTON.
* And that one talent which is death to hide. He speaks here with allusion to the parable of the talents, Matt. xxv, and he speaks with great modesty of himself, as if he had not five, or two, but only one talent.-Newyos.
y Doth God exact day-labour, light denied Here is a pun on the doctrine in the gospel, that we are to work only while it is light, and in the night no man can work. There is an ambiguity between the natural light of the day, and the author's blindness.-T. Warton.
2 Man's work, or his own gifls. Free-will or grace.-T. WARTON.
Sland and wait.