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JOHN MILTON.

TO THE LORD GENERAL FAIRFAX.

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FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze
And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings;
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays
Her broken league to imp their serpent wings.
O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand,
(For what can war, but endless war still breed ?)
Till truth and right from violence be freed,
And publick faith clear'd from the shameful brand
Of publick fraud. In vain doth Valour bleed,
While Avarice and Rapine share the land,

JOHN MILTON.

TO THE LORD GENERAL CROMWELL.

CROMWELL, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough’d,
And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursued,
While Darwen stream, with blood of Scots imbrued,
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureat wreath. Yet much remains

To conquer still ; Peace hath her victories

No less renown'd than War: new foes arise

Threatening to bind our souls with secular chains :
Help us to save free conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves, whose gospel is their maw.

JOHN MILTON.

TO SIR HENRY VANE THE YOUNGER.

VANE, young

in

years, but in sage counsel old, Than whom a better senator ne'er held The helm of Rome, when gowns, not arms, repell’d The fierce Epirot and the African bold; Whether to settle peace, or to unfold The drift of hollow states hard to be spell’d; Then to advise how War may, best upheld, Move by her two main nerves, iron and gold, In all her equipage : besides to know Both spiritual power and civil, what each means, What severs each, thou hast learn’d, which few have done: The bounds of either sword to thee we owe:

Therefore on thy firm hand Religion leans
In peace, and reckons thee her eldest son.

JOHN MILTON.

ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT.

Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold!
Even them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rolld
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heaven. Their matyr'd blood and ashes sow
O’er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple Tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundred fold, who, having learn’d thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

JOHN MILTON.

ON HIS BLINDNESS.

When I consider how my light is spent
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodg’d with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide';
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied ?”
I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, “ God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”.

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