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XV.

TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.1

FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,

Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze

And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings,
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings

Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false north displays

Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
Oh! yet a nobler task awaits thy hand

(For what can war but endless war still breed ?)

Till truth and right from violence be freed,
And public faith cleared from the shameful brand

Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed,
While avarice and rapine share the land.

XVI.

TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.

CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud

Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,

To peace and truth thy glorious way hast ploughed, And on the neck of crowned fortune proud

Hast reared God's trophies, and his work pursued,
While Darwen stream with blood of Scots imbrued,

And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureate wreath. Yet much remains

To conquer still; peace hath her victories

No less renowned than war: new foes arise
Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains:

Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.

1 The three following poems are not, for obvious reasons, found in the editions of Milton published during the reign of Charles II.

2 Near Preston, in Lancashire.

XVI.

TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.

VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,

Than whom a better senator ne'er held
The helm of Rome, when gowns not arms repelled

The fierce Epirot and the African bold;
Whether to settle peace, or to unfold

The drift of hollow states hard to be spelled,
Then to advise how war may best upheld

Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold,
In all her equipage; besides to know

Both spiritual power and civil, what each means,

What severs each, thou hast learned, which few have The bounds of either sword to thee we owe; [done :

Therefore, on thy firm hand religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.

XVII.

ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT.1

AVENGE, O Lord! thy slaughtered saints, whose bones

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,

When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans

Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rolled

Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans 1 Probably written in 1655. Newton observes: “This prayer, in behalf of the persecuted Protestants, was not entirely without effect. For Cromwell exerted himself in their favour, and his behaviour in this whole transaction is greatly to his honour, even as it is related by an historian, who was far from being partial to his memory. Nor would the Protector be backward in such a work, which might give the world a particular opinion of his piety and zeal for the Protestant religion ; but he proclaimed a solemn fast, and caused large contributions to be gathered for them throughout the kingdom of England and Wales. Nor did he rest here, but sent his agents to the Duke of Savoy, a prince with whom he had no correspondence or commerce, and the next year so engaged the Cardinal of France, and even terrified the Pope himself, without so much as doing any favour to the English

The vales redoubled to the hills, and they

To Heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sov

O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow

A hundredfold, who having learned thy way
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

XIX.

ON HIS BLINDNESS.

WHEN I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide;
And that one talent which is death to hide,

Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest he returning chide;
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied,
I fondly ask? But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need

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;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

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 Roman Catholics, that that Duke thought it necessary to restore all that he had taken from them, and renewed all those privileges they had formerly enjoyed—so great was the terror of his name; nothing being more usual than his saying that his ships in the Mediterranean should visit Civita Vecchia, and the sound of his cannon should be heard in Rome.'--See Echard, vol. 2."

1 An allusion to the parable in Matthew xxv. 2 Son of the president of Cromwell's council.

From the hard season gaining ? Time will run

On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire

The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,

Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise

To hear the lute well touched, 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
Pronounced, and in his volumes taught, our laws,

Which others at their bar so often wrench ;
To-day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench

In mirth, that after no repenting draws;
Let Euclid rest, and Archimedes pause,

And what the Swede intends, and what the French.4 To measure life learn thou betimes, and know

Toward solid good what leads the nearest way

For other things mild Heaven 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.

XXII.

TO THE SAME.

CYRIAC, this three years' day these eyes, though clear,

To outward view, of blemish or of spot, Bereft of light their seeing have forgot, Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear i. e., Zephyr, the spring western wind. 2 Son of William Skinner, by Bridget, danghter of Lord C oke,and a distinguished member of Harrington's political club.

3 i. e., Charles Gustavus, who was then waging war with Poland. 4 The French were then at war in the Netherlands.

Of sun, or moon, or star throughout the year,

Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot

Of heart or hope; but still bear up, and steer
Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask?

The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In liberty's

defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe talks from side to side. [mask

This thought might lead me through the world's vain Content, though blind, had I no better guide.

XXIII

ON HIS DECEASED WIFE.

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, though pale and faint. Mine, as whom washed from spot of child-bed taint

Purification in the old law did save;
And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind :

Her face was veiled, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person

shined So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.

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