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My hasting days fly on with full career,
my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
“ me to throw it off, if there good, and more prone affec“ were nothing else in it but an « tions of nature to incline and “affected ind fruitless curiosity“ dispose, not counting outward “ of knowing; and then a na- causes, as expectations and “ tural desire of honour and re- murmurs of friends, scandals “ nown, which I think possesses “ taken, and such like, than the “ the breast of every scholar, as
“ bare love of notions could re“ well of him that shall, as of “ sist. So that if it be that “ him that never shall obtain it, “ which you suppose, it had by “ (if this be altogether bad,) “this been round about begirt " which would quickly oversway “ and overmastered, whether it " this phlegm and melancholy of “had proceeded from virtue, “ bashfulness, or that other hu- “vice, or nature in me. Yet
mour, and prevail with me to “ that you may see that I am "prefer a life, that had at least some time suspicious of my
some credit in it, some place “ self, and do take notice of a given it, before a manner of “ certain belatedness in me, I “living much disregarded and am the bolder to send you “ discountenanced. There is be- “ some of my nightward thoughts “ sides this, as all well know, some. while since, since they
about this time of a man's life, come in fitly, in a Petrarchian
" How soon hath Time, &c."
SIR, dible employment, and no- “ Besides that in sundry other thing more cross than my respects I must acknowledge
way, which my wasting youth me to profit by you whenever we " would presently bethink her “ meet, you are often to me, and
of, and kill one love with an- “ were yesterday especially, as a
other, if that were all. But good watchman to admonish "what delight or what peculiar “ that the hours of the night “conceit, may you in charity pass on, (for so I call my life
think, could hold out against as yet obscure and unservice“the long knowledge of a con- “ able to mankind,) and that the
trary command from above, “ day with me is at hand, wherein " and the terrible seisure of him “ Christ commands all to labour “ that hid his talent? Therefore “ while there is light: which commit
grace to grace, or na. “ because I am persuaded you ture to nature, there will be “ do to no other purpose, than
found on the other way more “ out of a true desire that God “obvious temptations to bad, “ should be honoured in every " as gain, preferment, ambition, “one, I therefore think myself
more winning presentments of “bound, though unasked, to
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arriy'd so near,
« But if
give you account, as oft as “ that a much more potent in“ occasion is, of this my tardy “ clination inbred, which about “ moving, according to the pre
“ this time of life solicits most, “cept of my conscience, which “ the desire of house and family “ I firmly trust is not without “ of his own, to which nothing “ God. Yet now I will not “ is esteemed more helpful than “ strain for any set apology, but “the early entering into credible “only refer myself to what my employment, and nothing more
mind shall have at any time to hindering than this affected “ declare herself at her best ease. “solitariness. And though this
you think, as you said, “ were enough, yet there is to that too much love of learning
" this another act, if not of pure, ' is in fault, and that I have yet of refined nature no less given up inyself to dream “ available to dissuade prolonged
away my years in the arms of obscurity, a desire of honour “studious retirement, like Endy- “and repute and immortal fame “ mion with the moon as the " seated in the breast of every tale of Latmus goes; yet con
" true scholar, which all make “ sider that if it were no more “ haste to by the readiest ways “but the mere love of learning, “ of publishing and divulging “ whether it proceed from a “ conceived merits, as well those “principle bad, good, or natural, " that shall, as those that never “ it could not have held out « shall obtain it. Nature there. “ thus long against so strong “ fore would presently work the opposition on the other side
more prevalent way, if there " of every kind; for if it be bad, “ were nothing but this inferior
why should not all the fond “ bent of herself to restrain her. “hopes that forward youth and Lastly, the love of learning, as "vanity are fledge with, together “it is the pursuit of something “with gain, pride, and ambi- good, it would sooner follow
tion, call me forward more " the more excellent and supreme “powerfully, than a poor re- good known and presented, “gardless and unprofitable sin “and so be quickly diverted “of curiosity should be able to « from the empty and fantastic “ withhold me, whereby a man « chase of shadows and notions “ cuts himself off from all “ to the solid good flowing from " action, and becomes the most ko due and timely obedience to “ helpless, pusillanimous, and that command in the Gospel
unweaponed creature in the « set out by the terrible seizing “ world, the most unfit and " of him that hid the talent. “ unable to do that which all “ It is more probable therefore “ mortals most aspire to, either « that not the endless delight of “ to be useful to his friends, or speculation, but this very con" to offend his enemies. Or if « sideration of that great com“ it be to be thought a natural " mandment, does not press
proneness, there is against or forward, as soon as many do
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits indu’th.
It shall be still in strictest measure even
"to undergo, but keeps off with as I am, lest having thus “ a sacred reverence and religi- “tired you singly, I should deal “ous advisement how best to worse with a whole congrega
undergo; not taking thought “ tion, and spoil all the patience “ of being late, so it give advan- “ of a parish: for I myself do tage to be more fit; for those
“ not only see my own tedious" that were latest lost nothing, ness, but now grow offended "1 when the master of the vine- “ with it, that has hindered me
yard came to give each one “ thus long from coming to the « his hire. And here I am “ last and best period of my let
come to a stream-head copious ter, and that which must now enough to disburthen itself
chiefly work my pardon, that “ like Nilus at seven mouths “I am your true and unfeigned " into an ocean; but then I
“ friend." s should also run into a recipro" cal contradiction of ebbing 2. Sloľn on his wing my three “ and flowing at once, and do and twentieth year!] Mr. Bowle “that which I excuse myself for cites Shakespeare, All's well that “ not doing, preach and not ends well, act v. s. 2. “ preach. Yet that you may see « that I am something suspicious
-On our quick'st decrees
The inaudible and noiseless foot of " of myself, and do take notice Time “ of a certain belatedness in me, Steals, ere we can effect them.
I am the bolder to send “you some of my nightward And Mr. Warton, Juvenal, Sat.
ix. 128. thoughts some while since, “ because they come in not -dum bibimus, dum serta, unguenta, " altogether unfitly, made up in puellas a Petrarchian stanza, which I
Poscimus, obrepit non intellecta setold you of.
But the application of steal in " How soon hath Time, &c.
this sonnet, as Mr. Warton re* By this I believe you may marks, is different. In Shake“ well repent of having made speare and Juvenal, Time and “ mention at all of this matter, Old Age come imperceptibly “ for if I have not all this while upon us and our purposes. In " won you to this, I have certain- Milton, Time as imperceptibly
ly wearied you of it. This and silently carries off on his “ therefore alone may be a suf- wing, in his flight, the poet's “ ficient reason for me to keep twenty-third year. E.
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
To this sonnet we have pre
K. Rich. Marshal, ask yonder knight fixed the title, which the author himself has in the Manuscript.
T. Wasion. In the Manuscript this sonnet 3. If deed of honour did thee was written by another hand, ever please,] So this verse is and had this title, On his door printed in the second edition in when the City expected an assault: the year 1673. In the first edibut this he scratched out, and tion of 1645, and in the Manuwrote with his own hand, When script, it stands thus, the assault was intended to the If ever deed of honour did thee please. City. The date was also added, 10. The great Emathian con1642, but blotted out again: and queror &c.] When Alexander the it was in November, 1642, that Great took Thebes, and entirely the King marched with his army rased the rest of the
city, he oras near as Brentford, and put the dered the house of Pindar to be city in great consternation. Mil- preserved out of regard to his ton was then in his thirty-fourth memory: and the ruins of Pinyear,
dar's house were to be seen at 1. Knight in arms,] So Thebes, in Pausanias's time, who Shakespeare, K. Richard II. act lived under Antoninus the pbii. s. 3. where Bolingbroke enters, losopher. See Pausan. Bæot. cap. “ appellant in armour.”
25. edit. Kuhnii.
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tow'r
Of sad Electra's poet had the pow'r
young Lady. LADY, that in the prime of earliest youth
Wisely hast shunn'd the broad way and the green, And with those few art eminently seen,
11. -temple and tow'r] See Αγαμιμνονος και κορα, ηλυθον Ηλιατρα note, P. R. iii. 268. E.
Ποτι σαν αγροτιιραν αυλαν 12. - and the repeated air &c.] Παντας επικλασθηναι, και φανηναι I suppose this refers to a passage σχετλιον εργον, την ούτως ευκλεα και in Ρlutarch's Life of Lysander. τοιουτους ανδρας φερουσαν ανελειν και When that general had taken durcyeraobod thy foam. Vol. i. p. Athens, he proposed to change 441. edit. Paris. 1624. the government. Some say he
12. The lines of Euripides are moved in council that the Athe. at v. 168. It appears, however, nians might be reduced to slavery, that Lysander ordered the walls when at the same time Erianthus and fortifications to be demothe Theban proposed wholly to lished. See Plutarch. Opp. tom. destroy the city, and leave the ii. Vit. p. 807. Par. 1572. 8vo. country desolate: but a little af- By the epithet sad, Milton deterwards, at an entertainment of nominates the pathetic character the captains, one of them re
of Euripides. Repeated signifies peated some verses out of Eu- recited. But it has been ingeripides's Electra, beginning thus, niously suggested, that the epi
thet sad belongs to Electra, who Electra, oh unhappy queen !
often calls herself OIKTPA, Whit her wou'd you fly ? return; TAAAINA, &c. in Euripides's Your absence the forsaken groves And desert palace seem to mourn.
play; and says, that all the city
gave her the same appellation, This struck them, and gave
“· κικλήσκουσι δε μ' AΘΛΙΑΝ Ηλιαthem occasion to reflect, how
τρων πολιηται. 1. Warton. barbarous it would appear to lay
14. To save th' Alhenian walls that city in ruin; which had been by ruin bare.] See our author's renowned for the birth and edu
Psalm vii. 60. cation of so many famous men,
Fall on his crown with ruin steep. ειτα μέντοι συνουσιας γενομένης των The meaning in both instances ηγεμονων παρα ποτον, και τινος Φω- is obvious and similar. κβως ασαντος και της Ευριπιδου Ηλε- This is one of Milton's best κτρας την παροδον, ης η αρχη, Sonnets. T. Warion.