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Milton had an open, pure, and beautiful face. His complexion was exceedingly fair, and even in old age his cheeks retained a ruddy tinge. His hair was light brown, parted in front, and hung down over his shoulders. His eyes were a dark gray, and even when he was totally deprived of sight they retained their luster.
A clergyman, who was a contemporary, has left a record of how he “found John Milton in a small chamber, hung with rusty green, sitting in an elbowchair, and dressed neatly in black; pale, but not cadaverous. He used, also, to sit in a gray, coarse cloth coat at the door of his house in Bunhill Fields, in warm, sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh air, and so, as well as in his room, received the visits of people of distinguished parts, as well as quality.” On the whole, , a pleasant picture.
In his manner of living he was exceedingly temperate. In summer he rose at four, in winter at five, in the morning. A chapter of the Hebrew Bible was read to him, after which he studied, with the intervention of breakfast, till noon. He then took gardenexercise for an hour, dined, played on the organ, either sang himself, or made some friend sing, and continued his studies till six in the evening. From six to eight he entertained visitors. After a light supper, followed by a pipe of tobacco and a glass of water, he retired to rest.
By nature he was serenely serious; an heroic trust in Heaven made him superior to the accidents of life: and so, when we think of his old age, wrapped in
darkness, and assailed with evil tongues, the vision that rises before us is not that of a soured and disappointed politician, but of a seraphic bard who finds a holy joy in the perennial inspirations of his own genius.
Let us close this sketch with the noble lines in which Wordsworth pays tribute to this lofty soul:-
Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart:
[L'Allegro (pron. lal-lā'gro: Ital.) signifies literally the cheerful or merry man; and the poem celebrates the charms of a social, amiable, light-hearted view of life. The advocate of this mood calls on "hearteasing Mirth" (mirth to be understood as a placid, philosophical sentiment) to come to him with a retinue of kindred spirits. He would fain hear the lark singing, and enjoy all other cheery sights and sounds of the bright morning time; he would be present at the merry-makings of the village, and listen to the marvelous tales there told; he rejoices in the life of the town, in all its gay gatherings; he goes to see great comedies acted; above all things, he would be surrounded by the sweet singing of exquisite verses.”']
HENCE, loathéd Melancholy,
Of Cerberus? and blackest Midnight 3 born,
1 Melancholy. What is the fig- | nal regions; usually represented as ure of speech? (See Def. 4.) a dog with three heads, but some
2 Cerberus, the monster that times with a hundred. guarded the entrance to the in fer- 3 Midnight. Figure ?
In Stygian cave forlorn, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights2 unholy!
Find out some uncouth 3 cell,
In dark Cimmerian 6 desert ever dwell.
Haste thee,lo nymph, and bring with thee
1 Stygian, from Styx (meaning 7 ycleped, named. “the Hateful"), a river of Hades 8 Euphrosyne two sister over which Charon ferried the Graces more. Euphrosyne (the ghosts of the dead.
Mirthful), one of the three Graces 2 shapes, shrieks, sights. Note who attended on Venus, the godthe alliteration.
dess of love. The “two sister 8 uncouth, wild, strange.
Graces more were Aglaia (Bright4 ebon. Meaning ?
ness) and Thalia (Bloom). 5 ragged. Find in Isa. ii. 21, a 9 Bacchus, the god of wine. similar use of this adjective. Rugged 10 Haste thee, etc. Point out all is the more common expression the examples of personification in
these lines. 6 Cimmerian, relating to the Cim 11 Quips and cranks. A “quip” merii, who, in Homer's time, were is a smart, satirical saying; a supposed to inhabit a region of “crank," a lively, humorous, and perpetual darkness, “beyond the puzzling turn of speech. ocean stream."
12 wanton, free and easy.
Nods, and becks, and wreathéd smiles
1 Hebe, the goddess of youth. derogatory meaning; but not so 2 trip it... toe. Express in here.
Crew is radically the plain language.
same word as crowd. 3 Mountain nymph ... Liber 5 unreproved; i.e., not requirty. “Liberty is here called a ing reproof, blameless. mountain nymph in allusion to 6 dappled dawn. Explain this the “ fleet Oreads (mountain beautiful epithet. nymphs), who were supposed to 7 in spite of sorrow=to spite
sport visibly on the sunny sorrow. slopes of Grecian hills.
8 twisted eglantine here denotes crew. Except when denoting the common honeysuckle or doga ship's crew, this word now has a
While the cock, with lively din,
i lively din. Explain.
9 dight (Anglo-Saxon dihtan,. to 2 Scatters ... thin. Express in arrange, to deck), arrayed. plain terms.
10 tells his tale. The tale is here 8 cheerly=cheerily.
not a tale of love, but the tale (tally, 4 hoar hill, a hill covered with number) of sheep counted by the hoar-frost, rime-white.
shepherd. So the “tale" of bricks 5 against, towards.
in Exod. v. 8. 6 the eastern gate. Explain. 11 Straight=straightway, imme7 state, stately progress.
diately. 8 liveries, colors.
12 landscape. See Glossary.