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I leave these happy walls, while yet I may.
ELEGY II. ON THE DEATH OF THE UNIVERSITY BEDEL AT CAMBRIDGE.
COMPOSED BY MILTON IN THE SEVENTEENTH YEAR OF HIS AQK.
Thee, whose refulgent staff, and summons clear,
Minerva's flock long time was wont to obey,
The last of heralds, Death, has snatched away.
Thy locks were whiter than the plumes displayed
By Leda's paramour in ancient time,
Or /Eson-like to know a second prime,
Commissioned to convene, with hasty call,
The gowned tribes, how graceful wouldst thou stand!
So stood Cyllenius erst in Priam's hall,
Wing-footed messenger of Jove's command;
And so Eurybates, when he addressed
To Peleus' son Atrides' proud behest.
Dread queen of sepulchres! whose rigorous laws
Oh, oft too adverse to Minerva's cause,
Chuse meaner marks, and with more equal aim
Pierce useless drones, earth's burden and its shame!
Flow, therefore, tears for him, from every eye;
All ye disciples of the Muses, weep!
Around his bier, lament his endless sleep!
ON THE DEATH OF THE BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.
COMPOSED IN THE AUTHOR'S SEVENTEENTH. YEAR,
Silent I sat, dejected, and alone, Making in thought the public woes my own, When, first, arose the image in my breast Of England's suffering by that scourge, the Pest!How Death, his funeral torch and scythe in hand,
Entering the lordliest mansions of the land, Has laid the gem-illumined palace low, And levelled tribes of nobles at a blow.
1 next deplored the famed fraternal pair, Too soon to ashes turned, and empty air! Io
The heroes next, whom snatched into the skies All Belgia saw, and followed with her sighs;But thee far most I mourned, regretted most, Winton's chief shepherd, and her worthiest boast!Poured out in tears I thus complaining said:
"Death, next in power to him who rules the dead!
"Is't not enough that all the woodlands yield
"To thy fell force, and every verdant field;
"That lilies, at one noisome blast of thine,
"And even the Cyprian queen's own roses, pine; 20
"That oaks themselves, although the running rill
"Suckle their roots, must wither at thy will;
"That all the winged nations, even those
"Whose heaven-directed flight the future shows,
"And all the beasts, that in dark forests stray,
"And all the herds of Proteus are thy prey?
"Ah, envious! armed with powers so unconfined!
"Why stain thy hands with blood of human kind?
*' Why take delight, with darts, that never roam,
"To chase a heaven-born spirit from her home?" 30 While thus I mourned, the star of evening stood,
A silver current, like the Tagus, rolled O'er golden sands, but sands of purer gold;With dewy airs Favonius fanned the flowers, With airs awakened under rosy bowers:Such, poets feign, irradiated all o'er The sun's abode on India's utmost shore. 50
While I that splendour and the mingled shade Of fruitful vines with wonder-fixt surveyed, At once, with looks that beamed celestial grace, The seer of Winton stood before my face. His snowy vesture's hem descending low His golden sandals swept; and pure as snow New-fallen shone the mitre on his brow. Where'er he trod a tremulous sweet sound Of gladness shook the flowery scene around: Attendant angels clap their starry wings, 60 The trumpet shakes the sky, all nether rings; Each chants his welcome, folds him to his breast, And thus a sweeter voice than all the rest: "Ascend, my son! thy Father's kingdom share! "My son! henceforth be freed from every care!"
So spake the voice, and at its tender close With psaltry's sound the angelic band arose; Then night retired, and, chased by dawning day, The visionary bliss passed all away. I mourned my banished sleep, with fond concern; 70 Frequent to me may dreams like this return!
TO HIS TUTOR, THOMAS YOUNG,
CHAPLAIN TO THE ENGLISH FACTORY AT HAMBURGH. WRITTEN IN THE AUTHOR'S EIGHTEENTH YEAR.
Hence, my epistle—skim the deep—fly o'er Yon smooth expanse to the Teutonic shore!Haste—lest a friend should grieve for thy delay— And the gods grant, that nothing thwart thy way!I will myself invoke the king, who binds
In his Sicanian echoing vault the winds, With Doris and her nymphs, and all the throng Of azure gods, to speed thee safe along. But rather to ensure thy happier haste, Ascend Medea's chariot, if thou mayst; ic
Or that, whence young Triptolemus of yore Descended, welcome on the Scythian shore. The sands, that line the German coast, descried, To opulent Hamburga turn aside!
So called, if legendary fame be true,
From Hama, whom a club-armed Cimbrian slew.
There lives, deep-learned and primitively just,
A faithful steward of his Christian trust,
My friend, and favourite inmate of my heart,
That now is forced to want its better part. 20
What mountains now, and seas, alas, how wide!
From me this other, dearer self divide,
Dear as the sage renowned for moral truth
To the prime spirit of the Attic youth!
Dear as the Stagyrite to Ammon's son,
His pupil, who disdained the world he won!
Nor so did Chiron, or so Phcenix shine
In young Achilles' eyes, as he in mine.
First led by him through sweet Aonian shade,
Each sacred haunt of Pindus I surveyed; 30
And favoured by the Muse, whom I implored,
Thrice on my lip the hallowed stream I poured.
But thrice the sun's resplendent chariot, rolled
To Aries, has new-tinged his fleece with gold,
And Chlor!s twice has dressed the meadows gay,
And twice has summer parched their bloom away,
Since last delighted on his looks I hung,
Or my ear drank the music of his tongue:
Fly, therefore, and surpass the tempest's speed;
Aware thyself that there is urgent need! 'fi
Him, entering, thou shalt haply seated see
Beside his spouse, his infants on his knee;
Or turning, page by page, with studious look,
Some bulky Father, or God's holy book;
Or ministering (which is his weightiest care)
To Christ's assembled flock their heavenly fare.
Give him, whatever his employment be,
Such gratulation as he claims from me;
And, with a downcast eye, and carriage meek,
Addressing him, forget not thus to speak! 50
"If, compassed round with arms, thou canst attend To verse, verse greets thee from a distant friend. Long due, and late, I left the English shore;But make me welcome for that cause the more!Such from Ulysses, his chaste wife to cheer, The slow epistle came, though late, sincere. But wherefore this? why palliate I the deed, For which the culprit's self could hardly plead?Self-charged, and self-condemned, his proper part He feels neglected, with an aching heart; 60 But thou forgive: delinquents, who confess And pray forgiveness, merit anger less; From timid foes the lion turns away, Nor yawns upon or rends a crouching prey;Even pike-wielding Thracians learn to spare, Won by soft influence of a suppliant prayer;
And Heaven's dread thunderbolt arrested stands By a cheap victim, and uplifted hands. Long had he wished to write, but was withheld, And writes at last, by love alone compelled;
For Fame, too often true when she alarms, Reports thy neighbouring fields a scene of arms;Thy city against fierce besiegers barred, And all the Saxon chiefs for fight prepared. Enyo wastes thy country wide around, And saturates with blood the tainted ground;Mars rests contented in his Thrace no more, But goads his steeds to fields of German gore:
The ever-verdant olive fades and dies, And Peace, the trumpet-hating goddess, flies,
Flies from that earth which Justice long had left, And leaves the world of its last guard bereft.
"Thus horror girds thee round. Meantime alone Thou dwell'st, and helpless, in a soil unknown; Poor, and receiving from a foreign hand The aid denied thee in thy native land. O ruthless country, and unfeeling more Than thy own billow-beaten chalky shore!Leavest thou to foreign care the worthies given By Providence to guide thy steps to heaven? His ministers, commissioned to proclaim Eternal blessings in a Saviour's name? Ah, then most worthy, with a soul unfed, In Stygian night to lie for ever dead!So once the venerable Tishbite strayed An exiled fugitive from shade to shade, When, flying Ahab and his fury wife, In lone Arabian wilds he sheltered life; So from Philippi wandered forth forlorn Cilician Paul, with sounding scourges torn; And Christ himself so left, and trod no more, The thankless Gergesenes' forbidden shore.
"But thou take courage! strive against despair!Quake not with dread, nor nourish anxious care!Grim war indeed on every side appears, And thou art menaced by a thousand spears;Yet none shall drink thy blood, or shall offend Even the defenceless bosom of my friend. For thee the /Egis of thy God shall hide, Jehovah's self shall combat on thy side: The same, who vanquished under Sion's towers, At silent midnight, all Assyria's powers;The same, who overthrew in ages past Damascus' sons that laid Samaria waste!Their king he filled and them with fatal fears By mimic sounds of clarions in their ears, Of hoofs, and wheels, and neighings from afar. Of clashing armour, and the din of war.