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TO THE LADY MARGARET LEY.
Kill'd with report that old man eloquent.
A BOOK was writ of late call'd "Tetrachordon,"
A title-page is this! and some in file
Stand spelling false, while one might walk to MileEnd Green. Why is it harder, sirs, than Gordon, Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?
ON THE DETRACTION WHICH FOLLOWED UPON MY WRITING CERTAIN TREATISES.
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek, That would have made Quintilian stare and gasp. Thy age, like ours, O Soul of Sir John Cheek,
Hated not learning worse than toad or asp,
When thou taugh'st Cambridge, and king Edward, Greek.
SONNET V.-1. Daughter, &c. She was the daughter of Sir James Ley, whose singular learning and abilities raised him through all the great posts of the law, till he came to be made Earl of Marlborough and Lord High Treasurer. The Laly Margaret was married to Captain Hobson of the Isle of Wight.-NEWTON.
8. Kill'd with report, &c. When the news of the victory gained by Philip of Macedon over the Athenians, at Charonea, (338 B. C.) reached Athens, the orator Isocrates, then in a very advanced age, was so affected by it, that he immediately expired.
SONNET VI.-Milton wrote this Sonnet in sport.-ToDD.
Tetrachordon. This was one of Mil
ton's books published in consequence of his divorce from his first wife. The word signifies, Expositions of the Four chief places in Scripture which mention marringes or nullities in marriage.
9. Calkitto, &c. These are Scottish names of an ill sound. Colitto and Macdonnel are one and the same person, a brave officer on the royal side who served under Montrose. The Macdonnels of that family are styled Mac Colicittok, that is, descendants of lame Colin. Galasp is a Scottish writer against the Independents.-T. WARTON.
12. Sir John Cheek, or Che' e, was the first professor of Greek in the University of Cambridge, and was afterwards one of the tutors of Edward VI. See his biography,
ON THE SAME.
I DID but prompt the age to quit their clogs
And still revolt when truth would set them free.
HARRY, whose tuneful and well-measured song
That with smooth air couldst humour best our tongue.
and a specimen of his English style in the "Compendium of English Literature." SONNET VII-As the preceding Sonnet is evidently of a ludicrous, so the present is of a more contemptuous cast.
5. As when those hinds, &c. The fable of the Lycian clowns changed into frogs is related by Ovid, Met, vi. Fab. iv. And the poet in saying "Which after held the sun and moon in fee," intimates the good hopes which he had of himself, and his expectations of making a considerable figure in the world.-NEWTON.
TO MR. H. LAWES, ON THE PUBLISHING HIS AIRS.
SONNET VIII. For a notice of Henry Lawes, see page 417, note to line 84.
4. Committing is a Latinism, and conveys with it the iden of offending against quantity and harmony.
13 Than his Cisella. Dante, on his arrival in Purgatory, sees a vessel approaching the shore, freighted with souls under the conduct of an angel, to be cleansed from their sins, and made fit for Paradise: when they are disembarked the poet recognises in the crowd his old friend Casella, the musician. The interview is strikingly imagined, and, in the course of an affectionate dialogue, the poet requests a soothing air; and Casella sings, with the most ravishing sweetness, Dante's second "Canzone.' By milder shades our author means, shades comparatively much less horrible than those which Dante describes in the "Inferno."-T. WARTON.
ON THE RELIGIOUS MEMORY OF MRS. CATHARINE THOMSON,
MY CHRISTIAN FRIEND, DECEASED DEC. 16, 1646.
Of death, call'd life; which us from life doth sever.
TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
(For what can war but endless war still breed?)
Of publick fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed,
at Charing Cross. This Mrs. Thomson was in all probability one of that family.NEWTON.
6. Nor in the grave, &c.; that is, were not for otten at her death.
SONNET IX.-I find in the accounts of 4. Daunt remotest kings: who dreaded Milton's life. that when he was first made the example of England, that their moLatin secretary, he ledged at one Thom-narchies would be turned into republics. son's, next door to the Bull-head Tavern-T. WARTON.
7. Golden rod: perhaps from the golden reed in the Apocalypse.-J. WARTON, SONNET X.-This Sonnet is generally and properly admired as powerful, majestic, and historically valuable: it has a loftiness of sentiment and tone becoming the bold and enlightened bard.BRYDGES.
5. Virtue, in the sense of the Latin virtus, valour.
8. Her broken league; because the English Parliament held that the Scotch had broken their Covenant, by Hamilton's march into England.-HURD, In falcony, to imp a feather in the hawk's wing, is to add a new piece to a mutilated stump: from the Saxon impan, "to ingraft."-T. WARTON.
10. For what can war, &c. When will the world learn and act upon this noble and truthful line,that the sword can never
TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued;
TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.
VANE, young in years, but in sage counsel old,
Than whom a better senator ne'er held
Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
establish justice, and that to settle disputes, peaceful arbitration is as much the duty of nations as of individuals?
The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell'd
The drift of hollow states hard to be spell'd;
Both spiritual power and civil, what each means,
SONNET XI.-This is the most nervous of all his Sonnets: the images and expressions are for the most part dignified, grand, and poetical.-BRYDGES,
5. Crowned Fortune. His malignity to kings aided his imagination in the expression of this sublime sentiment.-HURD.
7. Darwen, or Derwen, is a small river near Preston, in Lancashire, where Cromwell routed the Scotch army under Duke Hamilton. August. 1648. The battles of Dunbar and Worcester are too well known to be particularized; both fought on the memorable 3d of September, the one in 1650, and the other in 1651.-NEWTON.
10. Peace hath her victories, &c. What an admirable sentiment, and how truth
fully illustrated in the wonderful discoveries of modern science!
SONNET XII.-Sir Henry Vane the younger was the chief of the Independents, and therefore Milton's friend. He was the contriver of the solemn league and covenant, and was an eccentric character in an age of eccentric characters. He was beheaded in 1662. Milton alludes to the execution of Vane and other regicides, after the Restoration, and in general to the sufferings of his friends, on that event, in a speech of the Chorus on Sainsou's degradation,-" Samson Agonistes,” line 687. This Sonnet seems to have been written in behalf of the Independ ents, against the Presbyterian hierarchy. -T. WARTON.
6. Hollow states. Peace with the hollow states of Holland.-WARBURTON.
ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT.
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
To Heaven. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
ON HIS BLINDNESS.
WHEN I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
My true account, lest He, returning, chide;
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?"
That murmur, soon replies;-"God doth not need
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
ton. One of them is to the Duke of Savoy. See "Prose Works," ii. 183, seq. 437.439. Milton's mind, busied with this affecting subject, here broke forth in a strain of poetry, where his feelings were not fettered by ceremony or formality. The Protestants availed themselves of an opportunity of exposing the horrors of popery, by publishing many sets of prints of this unparalleled scene of religious butchery, which operated like Fox's "Book of Martyrs."-T. WARTON.
14. Babylonian woe: Antichrist. SONNET XIV.-The Sonnet "On his Blindness," is to my taste next in interest to that "On arriving at his Twenty-third year." The sentiments and expressions are in all respects Miltonic.
3. And that one talent, &c. He here
SONNET XIII-In 1655, the Duke of Savoy determined to compel his reformed subjects in the valleys of Piedmont to embrace popery, or quit their country. All who remained and refused to be converted, with their wives and children, suffered a most barbarous massacre. Those who escaped fled into the mountains, from whence they sent agents into England to Cromwell, for relief. He instantly commanded a general fast, and promoted a national contribution, in which near £40,000 were collected. The persecution was suspended, the duke recalled his army, and the surviving inhabitants of the Piedmontese valleys were reinstated in their cottages and the peaceable exercise of their religion. On this business, there are several state-letters in Cromwell's name, written by Mil-speaks with allusion to the parable of the