1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

F. S. E., "Milton" Philadelphia Monthly Magazine 1 (October 1827) 12-13.



Wrong'd and forsaken, yet the immortal dream
So clearly brightened on his seraph mind,
That all which inspiration could redeem,
Of glory fled, was palpably defined;
And, free from mortal shade, his glowing thought
Won, ev'n on earth, the Elysium which it sought.

The spirits of the sky became to him
Companions, and revealers of the past;
Each high sublimity — the wild and dim,
A living splendour o'er his vision cast;
Till, led "above the Aonian Mount," he soared,
Where the thron'd Seraphim of heaven adored.

Thanks for the radiant gift, another stream
Of light and gladness, bursting on mankind,
A talisman against the woes that teem,
A draught to quench the burnings of the mind;
For this, O Bard! we consecrate thy name,
The holiest gem upon the shrine of fame.

Thanks for thy creed, that thus the earth is filled
With those pure watchers from the starry sphere;—
How should Man's grosser thought be hushed and stilled
With knowledge of the presence that is near!
Yea, striving with our dross, we might almost
Obtain communion with that sinless host.

The lonely rest of hills, a mountain peak
Invading the blue solitudes of air,
Silent — except perchance some torrent creek
Or winds may hold a stormy revel there,—
Bring to the human bosom a deep sense
Of life all spiritual and intense.

The curbless ocean, and the rosy track
Which sunset leaves upon the coloured sky;
As if the day would cast a blessing back,
Before it mingles with the shades gone by,
Awaken, with strange longings of the soul,
A mournfulness that dust should so control:

For mind would blend with mind, and though a curse
Hath darkly bound us to our sordid clay,
At times the gloom will partially disperse,
And matter o'er the ethereal lose its sway;
Then, Milton! thy aspiring creed is found
Attested by the glories which surround.