John Milton

John Mitford, "Lines written under the Portrait of Milton" 1830 ca.; Mitford, Miscellaneous Poems (1858) 52-53.

Praise be to him, whose faithful touch reveal'd
That countenance serene, on which we gaze,
And on each venerable feature trace,
Shaded with years, with pensive labours worn,
The illuminating Spirit, that within
Fed all as with a lamp's perpetual glow,
In its own light unquenchable — and thus
Calm thoughts, substantial duties, and the voice
Of Conscience, that with no irreverent aim,
Mid fiercest strife of passions blind, when good
And evil in unnatural concord met,
Had fought for truth and freedom. — They were his,
In the strong manhood of his life, and his
In the majestic solitude of age,
With danger and with darkness compass'd round,
In awful subjugation to the will
Of violence and wrong — yet not the less
With self-respect on self-reliance built,
Unshaken, undejected, undismay'd,
His were the silent hopes of one who knew
The consolations of a heart approved,
Perplexed but not distrusting, — well prepared
For conflict to endure, as one who fights
Beneath the banners of a righteous cause
That cannot be withstood — and cheer'd with thoughts
Of recompense for toil, though long withheld,
Yet safe beneath the law divine, which gives,
Early or late, as best beseems its will,
Its justice equal — given or delay'd.