Imagens da página

How they are fed, in forrest, spring and lake,
And their contentment for ensample take.

Time was (for each one hath his doting time)
These siluer locks were golden tresses than)
That countrie life I hated as a crime,
And from the forrests sweet contentment ran,
To Memphis stately pallace would I clime,
And there became the mightie Caliphes man,
And though I but a simple gardner weare,
Yet could I marke abuses, fee and heare.

Entised on with hope of future gairie,
I suffred long what did my soule displease;
But when my youth was spent, my hopes was

I felt my natiue strength at last decrease;
I gan my losse of lustie yeeres complaine,
And wisht I had enjoy'd the countries peace;
I bod the court farewell, and with content
My later age here haue I quiet spent.

14. While thus he spake, Erminia husht and still His wise discourses heard, with great attention, His speeches graue those idle fancies kill, Which in her troubled soule bred such dissen

tion j After much thought reformed was her will, Within those woods to dwell was her intention, Till fortune should occasion new afford, To turnc her home to her desired Lord.

15She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate!

That troubles some didst whilom feele andproue,

Yet liuest now in this contented state,

Let my mishap thy thoughts to pitie moue,

'• To To entertaine me as a willing mate

In shepherds life, which I admire and loue;

Within these pleasant groues perchance my hart,

Of her discomforts, may vnload some part.

16. If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare, If iewels rich, thou diddest hold in prise, Such store thereof, such plentie haue I seen, As to a greedie minde might well suffice; With that downe trickled many siluer teare, Two christiall streames fell from her watrie eies; Part of her fad misfortunes than she told, And wept, and with her wept that shepherd old.

17' With speeches kind, he gan the virgin deare Towards his cottage gently home to guide; His aged wife there made her homely cheare, Yet welcomde her, and plast her by her side. The Princesse dond a poore pastoraes geare, A kerchiefe course vpon her head she tide j But yet her gestures and her lookes (I gesse) Were such, as ill bescem'd a shepherdesse. iS. Not those rude garments could obscure, and hide, The heau'nly beautie of her angels face, Nor was her princely ofspring damnifide, Or Ought disparag'de, by those labours bace; Her little flocks to pasture would she guide, And milke her goates, and in their folds them place, Both cheese and butter could she make, and

frame Her seise to please the shepherd and his dame.



J. H E Life of Milton has been already writT ten in so many forms, with such minute enquiry, that I might perhaps more properly have contented myself with the addition of a few notes to Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgement, but that a new narrative was thought necessary to the uniformity of this edition.

JOHN MILTON was by birth a gentleman, descended from the proprietors of Milton near Thame in Oxfordshire, one of whom forfeited his estate in the times of York and Lancaster. Which side he took I know not; his descendant inherited no veneration for the White Rose.

His grandfather John was keeper of the forest of Shotover, a zealous papist, who disinherited his son, because he had forsaken the religion of his ancestors.

His father, John, who was the son disinherited, had recourse for his support to the profession of a scrivener. He was a man eminent for his skill in musick, many of his compositions being still to be found; and his reputation in his profession was such, that he grew rich and retired to an estate. He had probably more than common literature, as his son addresses him in one of his most elaborate Latin poems. He married a gentlewoman of

the the name of Caston, a Welsh family, by whom he had two sons, John the poet, and Christopher who studied the law, and adhered, as the law taught him, to the king's party, for which he was awhile persecuted, but having, by his brother's interest, obtained permission to live in quiet, he supported himself by chamber practice, till, soon after the accession of king James, he was knighted and made a judge; but, his constitution being too weak for business, he retired before any disreputable compliances became necessary.

He had likewise a daughter Anne, whom he married with a considerable fortune to Edward Philips, who came from Shrewsbury, and rose in the Crown-office to be secondary: by him she had two sons, John and Edward, who were educated by the poet, and from whom is derived the only authentick account of his domestick manners.

John, the poet, was born in his father's house, at the Spread-Eagle in Bread-street, Dec. 9, 1608, between six and seven in the morning. His father appears to have been very solicitous about his education ; for he was instructed at first by private tuition under the care of Thomas Young, who was afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburgh j and of whom we have reason to think well, since his scholar considered him as worthy of an epistolary Elegy.

He was then lent to St. Paul's School, under the care of Mr. Gill; and removed, in the beginning of his sixteenth year, to Christ's College in Cambridge, where he entered a sizer, ieb. 12, 1624.


He was at this time eminently (killed in the JLa&n tongue; and he himself, by annexing the dates to bis first compositions, a boast of which the Learned Politian had given him an example, seems to commend the earliness of his own proficiency to the notice of posterity. But the products of his vernal fertility have been surpassed by many, and particularly by his contemporary Cowley. Or the powers of the mind it is difficult to form an estimate: many have excelled Milton in their first essays, who never rose to works like Paradise Lost.

At fifteen, a date which he uses till he is sixteen, he translated or versified two Psalms, 114 and 136, which he thought worthy of the publick eye; but they raise no great expectations: they would in any numerous school have obtained praise, but not excited wonder.

Many of his Elegies appear to have been written in his eighteenth year, by which it appears that he had then read the Roman authors with very nice discernment. I once heard Mr. Hampton, the translator of Polybius, remark what I think is true, that Milton was the first Englishman who, after the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses with classick elegance. If any exceptions can be made, they are very few: Haddon and Ascham, the pride of Elizabeth's reign, however they may have succeeded in prose, no sooner attempt verses than they provoke derision. If we produced any thing worthy of notice before the elegies of Milton, it was perhaps Alablafters Roxana.


« AnteriorContinuar »