or enter with: facebook twitter google Forgot your password? | Signup
or enter with: facebook twitter google
John%20milton

John Milton

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
12

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
       Stol’n on his wing my three—and—twentieth year!
       My hasting days fly on with full career,
       But my late spring no bud or blossom shew’th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth
       That I to manhood am arriv’d so near;
       And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
       That some more timely—happy spirits endu’th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
       It shall be still in strictest measure ev’n
       To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav’n:
       All is, if I have grace to use it so
       As ever in my great Task—Master’s eye.

XVII

Lawrence of vertuous Father vertuous Son,
Now that the Fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help wast a sullen day; what may be Won
From the hard Season gaining: time will run
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth; and cloth in fresh attire
The Lillie and Rose, that neither sow’d nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attick tast, with Wine, whence we may rise
To hear the Lute well toucht, or artfull voice
Warble immortal Notes and Tuskan Ayre?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.

Aug. 12. 1653.

Jehovah to my words give ear
My meditation waigh
The voyce of my complaining hear
My King and God for unto thee I pray.
Jehovah thou my early voyce
Shalt in the morning hear
Ith’morning I to thee with choyce
Will rank my Prayers, and watch till thou appear.
For thou art not a God that takes
In wickedness delight
Evil with thee no biding makes
Fools or mad men stand not within thy sight.
All workers of iniquity
Thou wilt destroy that speak a ly
The bloodi’ and guileful man God doth detest.
But I will in thy mercies dear
Thy numerous mercies go
Into thy house; I in thy fear
Will towards thy holy temple worship low.
Lord lead me in thy righteousness
Lead me because of those
That do observe if I transgress,
Set thy wayes right before, where my step goes.
For in his faltring mouth unstable
No word is firm or sooth
Their inside, troubles miserable;
An open grave their throat, their tongue they smooth.
God, find them guilty, let them fall
By their own counsels quell’d;
Push them in their rebellions all
Still on; for against thee they have rebell’d;
Then all who trust in thee shall bring
Their joy, while thou from blame
Defend’st them, they shall ever sing
And shall triumph in thee, who love thy name.
For thou Jehovah wilt be found
To bless the just man still,
As with a shield thou wilt surround
Him with thy lasting favour and good will.

Lady! that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunned 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 fixed, 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 gained thy entrance, Virgin wise and pure.

O Nightingale! that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the lover’s heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day,
First heard before the shallow cuckoo’s bill,
Portend success in love; O, if Jove’s will
Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay,
Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate
Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh;
As thou from year to year hast sung too late
For my relief, yet hadst no reason why:
Whether the Muse, or Love, call thee his mate,
Both them I serve, and of their train am I.

Now the bright morning-star, Day’€™s harbinger,
Comes dancing from the East, and leads with her
The flowery May, who from her green lap throws
The yellow cowslip and the pale primrose.
Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire
Mirth, and youth, and warm desire!
Woods and groves are of thy dressing;
Hill and dale doth boast thy blessing.
Thus we salute thee with our early song,
And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

To God our strength sing loud, and clear,
Sing loud to God our King,
To Jacobs God, that all may hear
Loud acclamations ring.
Prepare a Hymn, prepare a Song
The Timbrel hither bring
The cheerfull Psaltry bring along
And Harp with pleasant string.
Blow, as is wont, in the new Moon
With Trumpets lofty sound,
Th’appointed time, the day wheron
Our solemn Feast comes round.
This was a Statute giv’n of old
For Israel to observe
A Law of Jacobs God, to hold
From whence they might not swerve.
This he a Testimony ordain’d
In Joseph, not to change,
When as he pass’d through Aegypt land;
The Tongue I heard, was strange.
From burden, and from slavish toyle
I set his shoulder free;
His hands from pots, and mirie soyle
Deliver’d were by me.
When trouble did thee sore assaile,
On me then didst thou call,
And I to free thee did not faile,
And led thee out of thrall.
I answer’d thee in *thunder deep                 *Be Sether ragnam.
With clouds encompass’d round;
I tri’d thee at the water steep
Of Meriba renown’d.
Hear O my people, heark’n well,
I testifie to thee
Thou antient flock of Israel,
If thou wilt list to mee,
Through out the land of thy abode
No alien God shall be
Nor shalt thou to a forein God
In honour bend thy knee.
I am the Lord thy God which brought
Thee out of Aegypt land
Ask large enough, and I, besought,
Will grant thy full demand.
And yet my people would not hear,
Nor hearken to my voice;
And Israel whom I lov’d so dear
Mislik’d me for his choice.
Then did I leave them to their will
And to their wandring mind;
Their own conceits they follow’d still
Their own devises blind
O that my people would be wise
To serve me all their daies,
And O that Israel would advise
To walk my righteous waies.
Then would I soon bring down their foes
That now so proudly rise,
And turn my hand against all those
That are their enemies.
Who hate the Lord should then be fain
To bow to him and bend,
But they, His should remain,
Their time should have no end.
And he would free them from the shock
With flower of finest wheat,
And satisfie them from the rock
With Honey for their Meat.

Thou Shepherd that dost Israel keep
Give ear in time of need,
Who leadest like a flock of sheep
Thy loved Josephs seed,
That sitt’st between the Cherubs bright
Between their wings out-spread
Shine forth, and from thy cloud give light,
And on our foes thy dread.
In Ephraims view and Benjamins,
And in Manasse’s sight
Awake* thy strength, come, and be seen                    *Gnorera.
To save us by thy might.
Turn us again, thy grace divine
To us O God vouchsafe;
Cause thou thy face on us to shine
And then we shall be safe.
Lord God of Hosts, how long wilt thou,
How long wilt thou declare
Thy *smoaking wrath, and angry brow                     *Gnashanta.
Against thy peoples praire.
Thou feed’st them with the bread of tears,
Their bread with tears they eat,
And mak’st them* largely drink the tears                  *Shalish.
Wherewith their cheeks are wet.
A strife thou mak’st us and a prey
To every neighbour foe,
Among themselves they *laugh, they *play,                *Jilgnagu.
And *flouts at us they throw.
Return us, and thy grace divine,
O God of Hosts vouchsafe
Cause thou thy face on us to shine,
And then we shall be safe.
A Vine from Aegypt thou hast brought,
Thy free love made it thine,
And drov’st out Nations proud and haut
To plant this lovely Vine.
Thou did’st prepare for it a place
And root it deep and fast
That it began to grow apace,
And fill’d the land at last.
With her green shade that cover’d all,
The Hills were over-spread
Her Bows as high as Cedars tall
Advanc’d their lofty head.
Her branches on the western side
Down to the Sea she sent,
And upward to that river wide
Her other branches went.
Why hast thou laid her Hedges low
And brok’n down her Fence,
That all may pluck her, as they go,
With rudest violence?
The tusked Boar out of the wood
Up turns it by the roots,
Wild Beasts there brouze, and make their food
Her Grapes and tender Shoots.
Return now, God of Hosts, look down
From Heav’n, thy Seat divine,
Behold us, but without a frown,
And visit this thy Vine.
Visit this Vine, which thy right hand
Hath set, and planted long,
And the young branch, that for thy self
Thou hast made firm and strong.
But now it is consum’d with fire,
And cut with Axes down,
They perish at thy dreadfull ire,
At thy rebuke and frown.
Upon the man of thy right hand
Let thy good hand be laid,
Upon the Son of Man, whom thou
Strong for thyself hast made.
So shall we not go back from thee
To wayes of sin and shame,
Quick’n us thou, then gladly wee
Shall call upon thy Name.
Return us, and thy grace divine
Lord God of Hosts voutsafe,
Cause thou thy face on us to shine,
And then we shall be safe.

OH how comely it is and how reviving
To the Spirits of just men long opprest!
When God into the hands of thir deliverer
Puts invincible might
To quell the mighty of the Earth, th’ oppressour,
The brute and boist’rous force of violent men
Hardy and industrious to support
Tyrannic power, but raging to pursue
The righteous and all such as honour Truth;
He all thir Ammunition
And feats of War defeats
With plain Heroic magnitude of mind
And celestial vigour arm’d,
Thir Armories and Magazins contemns,
Renders them useless, while
With winged expedition
Swift as the lightning glance he executes
His errand on the wicked, who surpris’d
Lose thir defence distracted and amaz’d.

ALL is best, though we oft doubt,
What th’ unsearchable dispose
Of highest wisdom brings about,
And ever best found in the close.
Oft he seems to hide his face,
But unexpectedly returns
And to his faithful Champion hath in place
Bore witness gloriously; whence Gaza mourns
And all that band them to resist
His uncontroulable intent.
His servants he with new acquist
Of true experience from this great event
With peace and consolation hath dismist,
And calm of mind all passion spent.

O FOR some honest lover’s ghost,
   Some kind unbodied post
   Sent from the shades below!
   I strangely long to know
Whether the noble chaplets wear
Those that their mistress’ scorn did bear
   Or those that were used kindly.

For whatsoe’er they tell us here
   To make those sufferings dear,
   'Twill there, I fear, be found
   That to the being crown’d
T’ have loved alone will not suffice,
Unless we also have been wise
   And have our loves enjoy’d.

What posture can we think him in
   That, here unloved, again
   Departs, and 's thither gone
   Where each sits by his own?
Or how can that Elysium be
Where I my mistress still must see
   Circled in other’s arms?

For there the judges all are just,
   And Sophonisba must
   Be his whom she held dear,
   Not his who loved her here.
The sweet Philoclea, since she died,
Lies by her Pirocles his side,
   Not by Amphialus.

Some bays, perchance, or myrtle bough
   For difference crowns the brow
   Of those kind souls that were
   The noble martyrs here:
And if that be the only odds
(As who can tell?), ye kinder gods,
   Give me the woman here!

IV

Diodati, e te’l diro con maraviglia,
Quel ritroso io ch’amor spreggiar solea
E de suoi lacci spesso mi ridea
Gia caddi, ov’huom dabben talhor s’impiglia.
Ne treccie d’oro, ne guancia vermiglia
M’ abbaglian si, ma sotto nova idea
Pellegrina bellezza che’l cuor bea,
Portamenti alti honesti, e nelle ciglia
Quel sereno fulgor d’ amabil nero,
Parole adorne di lingua piu d’una,
E’l cantar che di mezzo l’hemispero
Traviar ben puo la faticosa Luna,
E degil occhi suoi auventa si gran fuoco
Che l 'incerar gli oreechi mi fia poco.

I did but prompt the age to quit their clogs
       By the known rules of ancient liberty,
       When straight a barbarous noise environs me
       Of owls and cuckoos, asses, apes and dogs:
As when those hinds that were transform’d to frogs
       Rail’d at Latona’s twin—born progeny
       Which after held the sun and moon in fee.
       But this is got by casting pearl to hogs,
That bawl for freedom in their senseless mood,
       And still revolt when truth would set them free.
       Licence they mean when they cry liberty;
For who loves that, must first be wise and good.
       But from that mark how far they rove we see,
       For all this waste of wealth and loss of blood.

Aug.  14. 1653.
Upon The Words Of Chush The Benjamite Against Him.

Lord my God to thee I flie
Save me and secure me under
Thy protection while I crie
Least as a Lion (and no wonder)
He hast to tear my Soul asunder
Tearing and no rescue nigh.

Lord my God if I have thought
Or done this, if wickedness
Be in my hands, if I have wrought
Ill to him that meant me peace,
Or to him have render’d less,
And fre’d my foe for naught;

Let th’enemy pursue my soul
And overtake it, let him tread
My life down to the earth and roul
In the dust my glory dead,
In the dust and there out spread
Lodge it with dishonour foul.

Rise Jehovah in thine ire
Rouze thy self amidst the rage
Of my foes that urge like fire;
And wake for me, their furi’ asswage;
Judgment here thou didst ingage
And command which I desire.

So th’ assemblies of each Nation
Will surround thee, seeking right,
Thence to thy glorious habitation
Return on high and in their sight.
Jehovah judgeth most upright
All people from the worlds foundation.

Judge me Lord, be judge in this
According to my righteousness
And the innocence which is
Upon me: cause at length to cease
Of evil men the wickedness
And their power that do amiss.

But the just establish fast,
Since thou art the just God that tries
Hearts and reins.  On God is cast
My defence, and in him lies
In him who both just and wise
Saves th’ upright of Heart at last.

God is a just Judge and severe,
And God is every day offended;
If th’ unjust will not forbear,
His Sword he whets, his Bow hath bended
Already, and for him intended
The tools of death, that waits him near.

(His arrows purposely made he
For them that persecute.)  Behold
He travels big with vanitie,
Trouble he hath conceav’d of old
As in a womb, and from that mould
Hath at length brought forth a Lie.

He dig’d a pit, and delv’d it deep,
And fell into the pit he made,
His mischief that due course doth keep,
Turns on his head, and his ill trade
Of violence will undelay’d
Fall on his crown with ruine steep.

Then will I Jehovah’s praise
According to his justice raise
And sing the Name and Deitie
Of Jehovah the most high.