1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

James Jennings, "Inscription for a Tablet in Bread Street, London, where John Milton was born" Jennings, Poems (1810) 96-97.



Mortal! who hither turn'st thy casual steps
As on thou hurriest to the altar proud
Of splendid Plutus; — or to kiss the feet
Of that foul demi-god Oppressive Power,
Pause here awhile, nor let thy sudden soul
Start from Instruction. Know that here was born
JOHN MILTON! If that, heretofore, thou dwelt
Amid the Sons of Luxury and Pride,
Thy soul perchance, ebullient with wrath
And indignation at the Great Man's name,
Will turn away contemptuous: he indeed
WAS GREAT! and sang of Luxury and Pride
And merciless oppression in such strains
That Hell was silent. He indeed WAS GREAT!
He made the bad man tremble at the Truth
And Righteousness and Judgment! He foretold,
In the rich radiance of his heavenly mind,
The many wrongs to come. He prophesied
Of comfort to the Just — of holiest things—
Of retribution and his LORD'S behests
Fulfilled! MORTAL! pass not hence thy ways
As heedless as thou camest. His high Song,
Immortal as thy soul, might on thine ear
Regardless vibrate, but if PARADISE,
Even, in thy after-thoughts, hath ever place,
Sure his high Song shall at the last be heard,
Sure holier hymning shall thy heart attune,
Thou, from amongst the unhallowed Sons of Earth,
Wilt come rejoicing, and thy latter end,
Devote to GOD, as MILTON'S, shall be peace!