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ters, whom he trained to read to him not merely in English, but in Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, and Hebrew, though they did not understand a word of what they read. What little we know of their relations to their father is not pleasant. They seem to have been rebellious and undutiful, though doubtless there was much provocation. In 1663 Milton took a third wife, Elizabeth Minshull, who did much to give ease and comfort to his last years, and who long survived him.

The retirement in which he lived during this third period, when public affairs seemed to him to have gone all wrong, was not absolutely solitary. The harshness that appears in his controversial writings, and the somewhat unsympathetic austerity that seems to be indicated by his relations with his first wife and his children, are to be counterbalanced in our minds by the impression of companionableness that we derive from the picture of the old blind poet, sought out by many who not merely admired his greatness, but found pleasure in his society, and counted it a privilege to talk with him and read to him. Stern and sad he could hardly fail to be, but his old age was peaceful and not bitter. He died on November 8, 1674, and was buried in the Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London.

In spite of Milton's association with the Puritan party in the political struggles of his time, the common habit of referring to him as "the Puritan poetis seriously misleading. The Puritans of the generation of Milton's father were indeed often men of culture and love of the arts, but the Puritans of the Civil War, the Puritans whom we think of to-day in our ordinary use of the term, were in general men who had not only no interest in art, but who regarded beauty itself as a temptation of the evil one. Even a slight study of Milton's works wil. convince the reader that to this class Milton could never have belonged. Side by side with his love of liberty and his enthusiasm for moral purityqualities in which even then the Puritans had no monopoly Milton was passionately devoted to beauty; and the reason why his work survives to-day is not because part of it expresses the Puritan theology, but because of its artistic qualities-above all because it is at once more faultless and more nobly sustained in music than that of any other English poet.








HIS is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,

Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,

That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his father work us a perpetual peace.


That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heaven's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and, here with us to be,

Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay


Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heaven, by the Sun's team untrod,


Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons



See how from far upon the Eastern road
The star-led Wisards haste with odours sweet!
Oh! run; prevent them with tlıy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessèd feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,

And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.



It was the winter wild,

While the heaven-born child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;

Nature, in awe to him,

Had doffed her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize:
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the Sun, her lusty Paramour.


Only with speeches fair

She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow,

And on her naked shame,

Pollute with sinful blame,
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.


But he, her fears to cease,

Sent down the meek-eyed Peace:
She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding

Down through the turning sphere,

His ready Harbinger, With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And, waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.


No war, or battail's sound,

Was heard the world around;
The idle spear and shield were high uphung;

The hooked chariot stood,

Unstained with hostile blood;
The trumpet spake not to the armed throng;
And Kings sat still with awful eye,
As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by.

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But peaceful was the night

Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began.

The winds, with wonder whist,

Smoothly the waters kissed, Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean, Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.


The stars, with deep amaze,

Stand fixed in steadfast gaze,
Bending one way their precious influence,

And will not take their flight,

For all the morning light,
Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;
But in their glimmering orbs did glow,
Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.


And, though the shady gloom

Had given day her room,
The Sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame The new-enlightened world no more should need: He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright Throne or burning axletree could bear.


The Shepherds on the lawn,

Or ere the point of dawn,
Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;

Full little thought they than

That the mighty Pan
Was kindly come to live with them below:
Perhaps their loves, or else their sheep,
Was all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.


When such music sweet

Their hearts and ears did greet
As never was by mortal finger strook,

Divinely-warbled voice

Answering the stringéd noise,
As all their souls in blissful rapture took:
The air, such pleasure loth to lose,
With thousand echoes still prolongs each heavenly



Nature, that heard such sound

Beneath the hollow round
Of Cynthia's seat the airy Region thrilling,

Now was almost won

To think her part was done,
And that her reign had here its last fulfilling:
She knew such harmony alone
Could hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union


At last surrounds their sight
A globe of circular light,

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