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And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide;
I fondly ask: But Patience, to prevent
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest :
XX. TO MR. LAWRENCE.*
LAWRENCE, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire, Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
10 man's work, or his own gifts] Free will, or grace. Warburton. post] P. L. iv. 171,
With a vengeance sent,
From Media post to Egypt.' Warton. * Lawrence published a work called “Of our Communion and Warre with Angels,' &c. 1646, 4to. Todd. See British Bibliographer, vol. i. p. 352.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touch’d, or artful voice Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air ?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
XXI. TO CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, whose grandsire on the royal bench
Of British Themis, with no mean applause Pronounc'd and in his volumes taught our laws,
Which others at their bar so often wrench; To day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench 5
In mirth, that after no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest and Archimedes pause, And what the Swede intends, and what the French. To measure life learn thou betimes, and know
Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; 10
For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day, And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.
7 Euclid] See Censura Literaria, vi. p. 144.
8 And what the Swede intends] So the MS. The first ed. • And what the Swede intend, which in others is altered to, ' And what the Swedes intend.' Newton.
11 mild Heav'n] So Son. xix. 'bear his mild yoke.' Par. Reg. ii. 125, these mild seats. Sil. Italicus, iv. 795, Mite et cognatum est homini deus.' And Hen. More's Poems, p. 196.
XXI. TO THE SAME.
CYRIAC, this three years day these eyes, tho' clear
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Of heart or hope ; but still bear up and steer Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask ?
The conscience, Friend, t have lost them overplied
In liberty's defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side. This thought might lead me through the world's
vain mask Content though blind, had I no better guide.
12 XXIII. ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.
3 Bereft, &c.] In the printed copies,
· Bereft of sight their seeing have forgot,
Or sun or moon. Newton.
12 rings] So the printed copies before Newton's edition, in which "talks' is substituted from the MS. instead of rings.' The Sonnet thus concluded before Newton's ed.
• Whereof all Europe rings from side to side.
METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave, Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, tho' pale and faint. Mine, as whóm wash'd from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old Law did save,
Full sight of her in Heav'n without restraint,
Her face was veild, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O, as to embrace me she inclin’d,
The original various readings to the sonnets from the Cambridge MS. may be seen in Mr. Todd's edition of Milton's Poet. Works, (1809,) vol. vi. p. 500—3.
PSALM I. DONE INTO VERSE, 1653.
Bless'p is the man who hath not walk'd astray
But in the great
5 And in his law he studies day and night. He shall be as a tree which planted grows By watery streams, and in his season knows To yield his fruit, and his leaf shall not fall, And what he takes in hand shall prosper all. Not so the wicked, but as chaff which fann'd The wind drives, so the wicked shall not stand In judgment, or abide their trial then, Nor sinners in th' assembly of just men. For the Lord knows th’ upright way of the just, 15 And the way of bad men to ruin must.
PSALM II. DONE Aug. 8, 1653. TERZETTE.
Why do the Gentiles tumult, and the nations
Muse a vain thing, the kings of th’ earth upstand
With pow'r, and princes in their congregations Lay deep their plots together through each land