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One of the best known and most respected figures in English literature is Milton; though, it has been said (De Selincourt), that "the true appreciation of Milton is the last reward of the scholar." Milton was religious (considering the age, - how could one be anything else). His great work was Paradise Lost (1667). The first part of the work celebrated Milton's view that the Godly would ultimately triumph; at the last of it, however we are left with, "God's kingdom is not of this world. Man's intractable nature frustrates the planning of the wise." (Chamber's.) Paradise Regained (1671) was published four years later where Milton picked up the primary theme of Paradise Lost, "the triumph of reason over passion." These works, undoubtedly, reflected the political times: Milton is, in his soul, a humanist; but he could not fight off the Puritanism of the times.
SONNET XVIII: ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEMONT
1 Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughter'd saints, whose bones
2 Lie scatter'd on the Alpine mountains cold,
3 Ev'n them who kept thy truth so pure of old,
4 When all our fathers worshipp'd stocks and stones;
5 Forget not: in thy book record their groans
6 Who were thy sheep and in their ancient fold
7 Slain by the bloody Piemontese that roll'd
8 Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
9 The vales redoubl'd to the hills, and they
10 To Heav'n. Their martyr'd blood and ashes sow
11 O'er all th' Italian fields where still doth sway
12 The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
13 A hundred-fold, who having learnt thy way
14 Early may fly the Babylonian woe.
On the University Carrier
Here lies old Hobson, Death hath broke his girt,
And here alas, hath laid him in the dirt,
Or els the ways being foul, twenty to one,
He's here stuck in a slough, and overthrown.
'Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known,
Death was half glad when he had got him down;
For he had any time this ten yeers full,
Dodg'd with him, betwixt Cambridge and the Bull.
And surely, Death could never have prevail'd,
Had not his weekly cours of carriage fail'd;
But lately finding him so long at home,
And thinking now his journeys end was come,
And that he had tane up his latest Inne,
In the kind office of a Chamberlin
Shew'd him his room where he must lodge that night,
Pull'd off his Boots, and took away the light:
If any ask for him, it shall be sed,
Hobson has supt, and 's newly gon to bed.
Fly, envious Time, till thou run out of race,
Call on the lazy, leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavyplummet’s pace,
And glut thyself with what thy womb devours,
Which is ot more than what is false and vain,
And merely mortal dross.
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast entombed,
And last of all thy greedy self consumed,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss,
And joy shall overtakeus as a flood;
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love that ever shine
About the supreme throne
Of him, t’whose happy-making sight alone
Whence our heavenly-guided soul shall climb,
Then, all this earthy grossness quit,
Attired with stars we shall for ever sit
Thriumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee, O Time!
© 2000 Elena and Yacov Feldman