Графични страници
PDF файл

O UNEXPECTED stroke, worse than of death!
Must I thus leave thee, Paradise ? thus leave
Thee, native soil ! these happy walks and shades,
Fit haunt of gods? where I had hope to spend,
Quiet though sad, the respite of that day
That must be mortal to us both. O flowers,
That never will in other climate grow,
My early visitation, and my last
At eve, which I bred up with tender hand,
From the first opening bud, and gave ye names !
Who now shall rear ye to the sun, or rank
Your tribes, and water from the ainbrosial"5 fount?
Thee lastly, nuptial bower! by me adorned
With what to sight or smell was sweet! from thee
How shall I part, and whither wander down
Into a lower world; to this obscure
And wild ? how shall we breathe in other air
Less pure, accustomed to immortal fruits?

He looked and saw the ark hull16 on the flood,
Which now abated; for the clouds were fled,
Driven by a keen north wind, that, blowing dry,
Wrinkled the face of Deluge, as decayed ;
And the clear Sun on his wide watery glass
Gazed hot, and of the fresh wave largely drew,
As after thirst; which made their flowing shrink
From standing lake to tripping ebb, that stole
With soft foot towards the Deep; who now had stopt
His sluices, as the Heaven his windows shut.
The ark no more now floats, but seems on ground,
Fast on the top of some high mountain fixed.
And now the tops of hill, as rocks, appear;
With clamour thence the rapid currents drive,
Towards the retreating sea, their furious tide.
Forthwith from out the ark a raven flies,
And after him, the surer messenger,
A dove sent forth once and again to spy
Green tree or ground, whereon his foot may light:
The second time returning, in his bill

An olive-leaf he brings, pacific sign : 15 ambrosial, salutary, delicious, like 16 hull, fall to one side, as a ship run ambrosia, the fabled food of the pagan aground. gods.

Anon, dry ground appears, and from his ark
The ancient Sire descends, with all his train,
Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
Grateful to Heaven, over his head beholds
A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow
Conspicuous with three listed '7 colours gay,

Betokening peace from God, and covenant new.

O Loss of sight, of thee I most complain!
Blind among enemies, 0 worse than chains,
Dungeon, or beggary, or decrepit age !
Light, the prime's work of God, to me's extinct,
And all her various objects of delight
Annulled, which might in part my grief have eased,
Inferior to the vilest now become
Of man or worm; the vilest here excel me;
They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first created Beam, and thou great Word,
Let there be light, and light was over all;
Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decrée ?
The sun to me is dark,
And silent as the moon,
When she deserts the night,
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave''!
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part; why was the sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
So obvious and so easy to be quenched?
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused,
That she might look, at will, through every pore ?
Then had I not been thus exiled from light,
As in the land of darkness, yet in light,

To live a life half dead, a living death, 17 listed, striped.

During that partof the month in which 18 prime, first.

the dark side of the moon is turned to 19 Hid in her vacant interlunar cave!

the earth.


And buried; but, O yet more miserable!
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave;
Buried, yet not exempt,
By privilege of death and burial,
From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs :
But made hereby obnoxiouso more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.


[From the Masque of Comus.]

Can any mortal mixture of earth's mould
Breathe such divine enchanting ravishment ?
Sure something holy lodges in that breast,
And with these raptures moves the vocal air
To testify his hidden residence.
How swiftly did they float upon the wings
Of silence, through the empty vaulted night,
At every fall smoothing the raven down
Of darkness, till it smiled! I have oft heard
My mother Circel with the Sirens22 three,
Amidst the flowery-kirtled23 Naiades,
Culling their potent herbs and baleful drugs;
Who, as they sung, would take the prisoned soul,
And lap it in Elysium; Scylla25 wept,
And chid her barking waves into attention,
And fell Charybdisos murmured soft applause :
Yet they in pleasing slumber lulled the sense :
And in sweet madness robbed it of itself:
But such a sacred and home-felt delight,
Such sober certainty of waking bliss,
I never heard till now.

20 obnoxious, exposed to.

23 flowery-kirtled, wearing a kirtle or 21 Circe, a celebrated enchantress in gown embroidered with flowers. the heathen mythology. She wasfabled 24 Naiades, nymphs of the sea. to be the daughter of the Sun.

25 Scylla and Charybdis, the one was 22 Sirens, the Sirens were nymphs a rock, and the other a whirlpool, in fabled to inhabit an island in the west- the straits of Messina, between Sicily ern Mediterranean; so sweet was their and Italy, that proved very destructive song, that mariners who heard it, for- to the early voyagers. They were fabled got home and all its endearments, and by the poets to be cruel monsters that steering direct to the island, were devoured mariners. wrecked on its rocks.



And either tropic26 now 'Gan thunder, and both ends of heaven; the clouds, From many a horrid rift abortive?7, poured Fierce rain with lightning mixed, water with fire In ruin reconciled: nor slept the winds Within their stony caves, but rushed abroad From the four hinges of the world, and fell On the vexed wilderness, whose tallest pines, Though rooted deep as high, and sturdiest oaks, Bowed their stiff necks, loaded with stormy blasts, Or torn up sheer. Ill wast thou shrouded then, O patient Son of God, yet only stoodst Unshaken ! Nor yet stayed the terror there; Infernal ghosts and hellish furies round Environed thee, some howled, some yelled, some shrieked, Some bent at thee their fiery darts, while thou Satst unappalled in calm and sinless peace ! Thus passed the night so foul, till morning fair Came forth, with pilgrim steps, in amice*e gray; Who with her radiant finger stilled the roar Of thunder, chased the clouds, and laid the winds, And grisly spectres, which the fiend had raised To tempt the Son of God with terrors dire. And now the sun with more effectual beams Had cheered the face of earth, and dried the wet From drooping plant or dropping tree; the birds, Who all things now behold more fresh and green, After a night of storm so ruinous, Cleared up their choicest notes in bush and spray, To gratulate2, the sweet return of morn.


Hail, holy light, offspring of Heaven first born,
Or of the Eternal co-eternal 30 beam,
May I express thee, unblamed! Since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light,

Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee, 26 tropic, the tropics are imaginary

28 amice, a robe or garment anciently lines that mark the limits of the eclip- worn by the clergy. tic, or apparent annual path of the sun 29 gratulate, welcome. through the heavens.

30 co-eternal, existing with, from 27 abortive, springing from.


Bright effluence31 of Bright essence increate.
Or hearest thou rather, pure ethereal stream,
Whose fountain who shall tell ? Before the sun,
Before the heavens, thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian3 pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne,
With other notes than to the Orphean33 lyre,
I sung of Chaos* and eternal night,
Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down

The dark descent, and up to re-ascend,
Through hard and rare; thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sovereign vital lamp; but thou
Revisitest not these eyes, that roll in vain
To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;
So thick a drop serene 35 hath quenched their orbs,
Or dim suffusion veiled. Yet not the more
Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt,
Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill,
Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief
Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath,
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget
Those other two, equalled with me in fate,
So were I equalled with them in renown,
Blind Thamyris86 and blind Mæonides37,
And Tiresiasse and Phineus, prophets old :
Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers, as the wakeful bird40
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid,

Tunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the year 81 effluence, that which flows from 36 Thamyris, an ancient poet, said

in fable to have been deprived of sight 3. Stygian, belonging to hell; from for contending against the Muses. Styx, a river fabled by the Greeks to

37 Mæonides, a name given flow through hell.

some source.


Homer. 33 Orphean, belonging to Orpheus, a 38 Tiresias, an ancient soothsayer, musician whose melody was said to fabled to have been struck blind by move stocks and stones.

Juno. 34 Chaos, the unformed mass of mat- 39 Phineus, a king of Thrace, fabled ter from which the world was made. to have been pur ed with blindness

35 drop serene, the gutta serena, a for cruelty to his children. disease of the eyes, producing blind- 40 wakeful bird, the nightingale.


« ПредишнаНапред »