1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen, "Milton dictating to his Daughters" The Bijou (1830) 146.



What pride is on that brow! but not the pride
By lordly power or youth's wild hope supplied;
For deep'ning clouds around his fate are roll'd,
And he is friendless now, and blind, and old.
Yet not his spirit quails before the power
Of this cold world, when comes his loftier hour;
In holier vision, when his sight grows clear,
And Heaven's own music fills his list'ning ear:—
Hark! the full tide of inspiration rolls,
Thund'ring with mighty voice; and o'er our souls
Comes awe, deep awe:

Before our tranced sight
Float glorious visions — angels cloth'd in light,
Fall'n and yet angels; ever doomed to bear
The curse of GOD within them, — terrible forms
Scarr'd by the bolts, and darkly girt with storms.

And see, within that bow'r in silence laid,
Two human forms are slumbering in the shade,
The first, the fated pair — and o'er them beams
A hallowing light, for GOD is in their dreams,
A laugh, a horrid laugh! Hell triumphs now,
And sin's dread mark is fixed on mortal brow,
And shame weighs down the heart — a low'ring gloom
Falls on the soul in that hush'd hour of doom.
Hark! the loud trumpet!

But the trance is o'er—
And that deep voice is musical no more;
Closed is his gorgeous vision, and again
His sprit seeks the haunts of earthly men.
His reverent daughters mark his changeful face,
And the last fading rays of glory trace
Left by his Heavenward musings, — and once more
Milton is desolate, and blind, and poor.