1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

W., "Lines written under a Picture of Milton" New Monthly Magazine 12 (September 1819) 191.



He, tho' he dwelt in seeming night,
Scattered imperishable light
Around: and to the regions of the day
Sent his winged thoughts away,
And bade them search the ways on high
For the bright flame of poetry.
('Tis to adventurous spirits given
Alone, who dare themselves obey,
And look at the face of the inmost heaven.)

He saw the burning fire that keeps
In the unfathomable deeps
Its powers for ever: and made a sign
To the morning prince divine,
Who came across the sulfurous flood
Obedient to that master-call;
And, in angel-beauty, stood
Proud on his star-lit pedestal.

Then, the mighty limner drew,
And tinted with a skyey hue,
The king of all the damned; the same
Who headlong from the empyrean came,

With all his fiery cherubim
Blasted, (and millions fell with him:)
He saw the dreary regions where
Eternal Chaos sate, and there
Learnt secrets of the whispering gloom,
And faced the father of the tomb,
Orcus, and many an awful thing
That come, in wild dreams hovering,

Tumult and Chance and Discord — Fame—
And heard and saw "the dreaded name
Of Demogorgon;" and his soul
Felt the shadowy darkness roll
From Night's throne; and then he told
To man those signs and wonders old.