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Upon the Circumcision.

YE flaming Pow'rs, and winged Warriors bright
That erst with music, and triumphant song,
First heard by happy watchful shepherds ear,
So sweetly sung your joy the clouds along
Through the soft silence of the list'ning night; 5
Now mourn, and if sad share with us to bear
Your fiery essence can distil no tear,
Burn in your sighs, and borrow
Seas wept from our deep sorrow:
He who with all Heav'n's heraldry whilere 10
Enter'd the world, now bleeds to give us ease j

7. Tour fiery essence can distil no tear.

Burn in your figbs. —] Milton ii puzzled how to reconcile the transcendent essence of angels with the infirmities of men. In PaRadise Lost, having made the angel Gabriel share in a repast of fruit with Adam, he finds himself under a necessity of getting rid of an obvious objection, that material food does not belong to intellectual or ethereal substances: and to avoid certain circumstances humiliating and disgraceful to the dignity of the angelic nature, the natural consequences of concoction and digestion, he forms a new theory of transpiration, suggested by the wonderful transmutations of chemistry. In the present instance, he wishes to make angels weep. But being of the essence of fire, they cannot produce water. At length he recollecti, that fire may produce burning sighs. 1 o. He vibo toitb all Heav'n's heraldry whilere

Enter'd the world. ] Great pomps and proecstions are pro.

claimed or preceded by heralds, it is the fame idea in Parad. L. B. i. 752.

Meanwhile the Winged Heralds by command
Of sovran power, with aweful ceremony,
And trumpets found, throughout the host proclaim
A solemn council, Sec. ——

O 0 a Again,

Alas, how soon our sin
Sore doth begin

His infancy to seise!
O more exceeding love, or law more just? 15

Just law indeed, but more exceeding love!
For we by rightful doom remediless
Were lost in death, till he that dwelt above
High thron'd in secret bliss, for us frail dust
Emptied his glory, ev'n to nakedness; 20

And that great covenant which we still transgress
Entirely satisfied,
And the full wrath beside
Of vengeful justice bore for our excess,

[graphic]

Again, B. ii. 516.

Towards the tour winds five speedy cherubims
Put to their mouths the sounding alchemy
By Heralds voice proclaim'd.

Or Hbraldry may mean retinue, train, the procession itself. What he otherwise calls ponp. Parad. L. B. viii. 564.

While the bright pump ascended jubilant. Again, B. v. 353.

More solemn than the tedious Pomp which waits

On princes, Sec.

So again, Eve goes forth, B. viii. 60.

Not unattended, for on her as queen
A Pomp of winning graces waited still.

Her train of regal attendants were u/inning graces. It is the fame, and
it is the true, fense of Pomp, in L'allegr. V. 127.
With Pomp, and feast, and revelry.

But I believe Jonson, affecting classical phraseology, made the word technical in Masques.

And And seals obedience first with wounding foiart This day, but O ere long 26

Huge pangs and strong

Will pierce more near his heart *.

On the Death of a Fair Infant, dying of a Cough.

I.

O Fairest flow'r no sooner blown but blasted, Soft silken primrose fading timelefly, Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry; For he being amorous on that lovely dye 5

That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But kill'd, alas, and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.

II.

For since grim Aquilo his charioteer

By boistrous rape th' Athenian damsel got,

He thought it touch'd his deity full nearf 10

|f likewise he some fair one wedded not,

* It is hard to say, why these three odes on the three grand incidents px events of the life or history of Christ, were not at first printed together. I believe they were all written about the year 1629.

5. For be being amorous on that lovely dye, &c] In Romeo And JuJ-iet, Affliction, and Death, turn paramours, y. 8. Boreas ravislied Orithyia, Ovid. Metam. vi. 677.

Thereby

Thereby to wipe away th' infamous blot

Of long-uncoupled bed, and childless eld, Which 'mongst the wanton Gods a foul reproach

was held.

III.
So mounting up in icy-pearled car, 1e,

Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wander'd long, till thee he fpy'd from far j
There ended was his quest, there ceas'd his care.
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,

But all unwares with his cold-kind embrace 20 Unhous'd thy virgin foul from her fair biding place.

IV.

Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate j
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilome did flay his dearly-loved mate,

1 j. So mounting up in icy-pearled ear.] We should rather read Its* ypearlcd. And so in the Mask, rujh-yfringed for rujby fringed, v. 890. Otherwise, we have two epithets instead of one, with a weaker fense. Milton himself affords an instance in the Ode on the Nativity, v. 155.

Yet first to those Yciiain'd in sleep.

Of the prefixurc of the augment y, in a concatenated epithet, there is an example in the Epitaph on Shakespeare, v. 4. Under a Star-ypointino pyramid.

23. For so Apollo, with unweeting band, Whilome did stay bis dearly loved male.

Young Hyacinth. ] From these lines one would suspect, although it does not immediately follow, that a boy was the subject of the Ode. The child is only called a fair infant in the edition 1673,

where

[graphic]

Young Hyacinth born on Eurotas' strand, 25

Young Hyacinth the pride of Spartan land;

But then transform'd him to a purple flower: Alack that so to change thee Winter had no power.

V.

Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb,
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed, 31

Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb;
Could Heav'n for pity thee so strictly doom?

Oh no! for something in thy face did shine Above mortality, that sliow'd thou was divine. 35

VI.

Resolve me then, oh Soul most surely blest,
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)

'where this piece first appeared, although it was written in 1625. So also in Tonson, 1705. Tickell's title is, A fair Infant, a Nephew of bit. Sec. This is adopted by Fenton. But in the last stanza the poet saya expressly;

But thou, the mother of so sweet a child,

Her false imagin'd loss cease to lament.

Yet in the eighth stanza, the person lamented is alternately supposed to have been sent down to earth in the shape of two divinities, one of whom is styled a just maid, and the other a stue ei-smiling youtb. But the child was certainly a niece, a daughter of Milton's sister Philips.

31. Or that tby beauties lie in wormy bed.*\ This fine periphrasis for grave, is from Shakespeare, Mids. N. Dr. A. iii. S. ult. Already to their Wormy Beds are gone.

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