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PRESERVE thy sighs, unthrifty girl
To purify the air;

Thy tears to thread instead of pearl,
On bracelets of thy hair.

The trumpet makes the echo hoarse,
And wakes the louder drum ;
Expense of grief gains no remorse,

When sorrow should be dumb.

For I must go where lazy Peace
Will hide her drowsy head;

And, for the sport of kings, increase
The number of the dead.

But first I’ll chide thy cruel theft:
Can I in war delight,
Who being of my heart bereft,
Can have no heart to fight

Thou know'st the sacred laws of old,
Ordained a thief should pay,

To quit him of his theft, seven-fold
What he had stolen away.

Thy payment shall but double be ;
O then with speed resign

My own seducéd heart to me,
Accompanied with thine.


The lark now leaves his watery nest,
And climbing, shakes his dewy wings;
He takes this window for the east,
And to implore your light, he sings:
Awake, awake the morn will never rise,
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.

The merchant bows unto the seaman’s star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are,
Who look for day before his mistress wakes.
Awake, awake! break through your veils of lawn
Then draw your curtains and begin the dawn.

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THE history of Milton's wives, and his checkered experience of married life, is well known ; but the story of his early loves, if he had any, is irrevocably lost. Everybody has read the romantic anecdote of the young Italian lady of rank, who, travelling in England when he was a student at Cambridge, found him one day asleep under a tree, and, alighting from her carriage, was so much struck by his beauty that she wrote in pencil a madrigal of Guarini, “Occhi stelle mortali,” which she slipped into his hand, and then pursued her journey. When he awoke he read the lines with amazement, and learning the way in which he came by them, conceived such a passion for the fair unknown, that he afterwards journeyed to Italy in search of her. A similar story is told of him in Rome, the scene being shifted to the suburbs of that city, and the date changed to correspond with the period of his visit thither, but it is as mythical as the former one. There is not a word of truth in either. That Milton did travel in Italy, where he met one or two ladies who interested him, is certain; but study, and not love, was the cause of his journey. The first of his Italian heroines, if I may call them such, was the celebrated singer, Leonora Baroni, whom he met at Rome, in the palace of Cardinal Barberini, where he had frequent opportunities of hearing her sing. He celebrated her musical talents in three Latin epigrams, which contain nothing that can be twisted into a declaration of love. Of the second lady, to whom he wrote four Italian sonnets, nothing is known. He is supposed by his latest biographer, Mr. Masson, to have met her in, or near, Bologna, in the spring of 1639. She was for a long time thought to have been a German lady, the word Rheno in the second line of one of the sonnets being interpreted to mean the German Rhine; but Mr. Masson shows that such an interpretation is unnecessary, there being a river Rheno near Bologna, in which city she probably resided. The “deceased wife” of the last sonnet was Milton's second wife, Catharine Woodcock. She married the poet in 1656, the fourth year of his blindness, and died in childbed within a year after her marriage. His touching tribute to her memory was written shortly after her death.

I have used Cowper's version of the Italian sonnets. It is an elegant one, and, bating the mistake of the Rheno for the Rhine, sufficiently faithful for poetical purposes.

Fair Lady whose harmonious name the Rhine,
Through all his grassy vales, delights to hear,
Base were indeed the wretch who could forbear
To love a spirit elegant as thine,
That manifests a sweetness all divine,
Nor knows a thousand winning acts to spare,
And graces, which Love's bow and arrows are,
Tempering thy virtues in a softer shine.
When gracefully thou speak'st, or singest gay,
Such strains as might the senseless forest move,
Ah then—turn each his eyes and ears away,
Who feels himself unworthy of thy love
Grace can alone preserve him ere the dart
Of fond desire yet reach his inmost heart.

As on a hill-top rude, when closing day
Embrowns the scene, some pastoral maiden fair
Waters a lovely foreign plant with care,
Borne from its native genial airs away,
That scarcely can its tender bud display;
So, on my tongue these accents, new and rare,
Are flowers exotic, which Love waters there.
While thus, O sweetly scornfull I essay
Thy praise in verse to British ears unknown,
And Thames exchange for Arno’s fair domain :
So Love has willed, and ofttimes Love has shown
That what he wills, he never wills in vain.
O that this hard and sterile breast might be
To Him, who plants from Heaven, a soil as free


Charles, and I say it wondering, thou must know
That I, who once assumed a scornful air,
And scoffed at Love, am fallen in his snare,

(Full many an upright man has fallen so):

Yet think me not thus dazzled by the flow
Of golden locks, or damask cheeks; more rare
The heartfelt beauties of my foreign fair ;
A mien majestic, with dark brows that show
The tranquil lustre of a lofty mind;
Words exquisite, of idioms more than one,
And song, whose fascinating power might bind,
And from her sphere draw down the labouring moon;
With such fire-darting eyes that, should I fill
My ears with wax, she would enchant me still.

Lady It cannot be but that thine eyes
Must be my sun, such radiance they display,
And strike me e'en as Phoebus him whose way
Through horrid Libya’s sandy desert lies.
Meantime, on that side steamy vapours rise
Where most I suffer. Of what kind are they,
New as to me they are, I can not say,
But deem them, in the lover's language—sighs.
Some, though with pain, my bosom close conceals,
Which, if in part escaping thence, they tend
To soften thine, thy coldness soon congeals.
While others to my tearful eyes ascend,
Whence my sad nights in showers are ever drowned,
Till my Aurora comes, her brow with roses bound.

Enamoured, artless, young, on foreign ground,
Uncertain whither from myself to fly;
To thee, dear Lady, with an humble sigh

Let me devote my heart, which I have found

By certain proofs, not few, intrepid, sound,
Good, and addicted to conceptions high :
When tempests shake the world, and fire the sky,

It rests in adamant self-wrapt around,

As safe from envy, and from outrage rude,
From hopes and fears that vulgar minds abuse,

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