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(1608-1674.) Born in Bread Street, London. Educated at St. Paul's School and Christ's College, Cambridge. Travelled through France and Italy, meeting on his tour some of the most distinguished men of the continent. Visited Galileo when in the prison of the Inquisition. In 1649 was appointed Latin or Foreign Secretary to the Council of the Commonwealth. The Restoration drove Milton into retirement and obscurity. Died November 8th, 1674, and was buried beside his father's dust in St. Giles's, Cripplegate. Milton's chief poetical works are Paradise Lost; Paradise Regained ; Ode on the Nativity (written when the poet was only twenty-one years of age); L'Allegro ; Il Penseroso ; Comus ; Lycidas ; Samson Agonistes, etc.
His principal prose works are Areopagitica; The Tenure of King's; Eikonoklastes, etc. ADAM AND EVE'S MORNING HYMN TO
THESE are Thy glorious works, Parent of good,
Almighty! Thine this universal frame,
Thus wondrous fair: Thyself how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitt'st above these heavens
To us invisible, or dimly seen
In these Thy lowest works; yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and power divine.
Speak, ye who best can tell, ye sons of light,
Angels; for ye behold Him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, day without night,
Circle His throne rejoicing ; ye, in heaven :
On earth, join, all ye creatures, to extol
Him first, Him last, Him midst, and without end.
Fairest of stars, last in the train of night,
If better thou belong not to the dawn,
Sure pledge of day, that crown'st the smiling morn
With thy bright circlet, praise Him in thy sphere,
While day arises, that sweet hour of prime.
Thou sun, of this great world both eye and soul,
Acknowledge Him thy greater; sound His praise
In thy eternal course, both when thou climb'st,
And when high noon hast gained, and when thou fall'st.
Moon, that now meet'st the orient sun, now fly'st,
With the fixed stars, fixed in their orb that flies;
And ye five other wandering fires, that move
In mystic dance not without song, resound
His praise, who out of darkness called up light.
Air, and ye elements, the eldest birth
Of Nature's womb, that in quaternion run
Perpetual circle, multiform ; and mix
And nourish all things; let your ceaseless change
Vary to our great Maker still new praise.
Ye mists and exhalations, that now rise
From hill or steaming lake, dusky or gray,
Till the sun paint your fleecy skirts with gold,
In honour to the world's great Author rise;
Whether to deck with clouds the uncoloured sky,
Or wet the thirsty earth with falling showers,
Rising or falling still advance His praise.
His praise, ye winds, that from four quarters blow,
Breathe soft or loud ; and, wave your tops, ye pines;
With every plant, in sign of worship wave.
Fountains, and ye that warble, as ye flow,
Melodious murmurs, warbling tune His praise.
Join voices, all ye living souls : ye birds
That singing up to heaven-gate ascend,
Bear on your wings and in your notes His praise.
Ye that in waters glide, and ye that walk
The earth, and stately tread or lowly creep ;
Witness if I be silent, morn or even,
To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade,
Made vocal by my song, and taught His praise.
Hail, universal Lord, be bounteous still
To give us only good ; and if the night
Hath gathered aught of evil, or concealed,
Disperse it, as now light dispels the dark.
Paradise Lost. Book V.
L'ALLEGRO; OR, THE MERRY MAN. HENCE loathed Melancholy
Of Cerberus and blackest midnight born
In Stygian Cave forlorn 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights
unholy : Find out some uncouth cell Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings, And the night raven sings ; There under ebon shades, and low-browed rocks, As ragged as thy locks
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come, thou goddess fair and free,
In heaven called Euphrosyne !
And, by men, heart-easing Mirth;
Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
With two sister-Graces more,
To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore.
Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful jollity,
Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles ;
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles ;
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport, that wrinkled Care derides;
And Laughter, holding both his sides.
Come ! and trip it as you go
On the light fantastic toe;
And, in thy right hand, lead with thee,
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty ;
And, if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew;
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And, singing, startle the dull Night