1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

John Abraham Heraud, "Apostrophe to Milton. A Fragment" The Literary Chronicle 6 (6 November 1824) 716-17.



Thou, whom I worship — where art thou?
Monarch of bards! my voice is unto thee—
Oh, that in all thine immortality,
Thou might'st appear to me,
Visible in thy glory now!
Poet of poets! girt and panoplied
With an omnipotence of song;
Dark mingler with fall'n spirits, fierce and strong,
Maddening in seas of fire! Herald dread
Of hell's most horrid session! Utterer
Of its deep secrets to the palsied ear
Of shrunk mortality! Bright denizen
Of yon etherial orb! The seat of men
To angels and to Heaven! Companion
Of ardours burning round the eternal throne!
Fellow of cherubim and seraphim,
Brother and rival in their choral hymn,
Sang to Jehovah in the heaven of heavens!
The nightingale of Eden's balmy evens!
Lark of its morning! Lyrist of its loves,
Galless and gentle as its own sweet doves,—
Breath of its joy — harp of its misery—
My voice is unto thee!

But thou in youth a gentler dream
Shadowed of the smooth Severn stream;
And did'st, with just adjuring verse,
That none but spirits may rehearse,
Oft taking shepherd, weed, and mien,
To visit this worn mold of sin,
Swift as the sparkle of a star,
Guiding the favoured wanderer,
Rightly invoked, in warbled song,
The virgin from her nymphs among,
To list thy spell, where she was sitting,
Her hair in braids of lilies knitting,
And rise and heave her rosy head,
From her coral-paven bed;
And extend her powerful hand,
To undo the charmed band
From virgin beautiful and true,
And in distress and danger too,
Through the force and through the wile
Of unbless'd enchanter vile.—
Once again, oh, grant to me
Help of ensnared chastity,
Virgin, daughter of Locrine,
Sprung of old Anchises' line,
Amphitrite's oozy bower,
To leave for one brief blessed hour,
And whisper in thy poet's ear,
Dulcetly soft, and sweetly clear,
Thine early tale — or to my dream
Come e'en like a shadowy gleam,
And open all the storied scene
On my visionary eyne;
So, like Thyrsis, will I then
Give the benizon agen—
And bid my blessing ever brood
Upon thy margent, cave, and flood,
Like the peaceful halcyon,
After the mad gales have gone!

Thou, of my youth's visions the sole theme—
Thou wert the sun — the aspiring eagle I,
Drinking thy glory in my mind's eye;
Though thou wert throned so high,
Flooding the heaven with thine effulgent stream!

Thou unapproachable! yet in whose light
All may rejoice — supreme, divine;
Bard of the universe — and yet art mine—
Who sang'st, like Philomela, in the night!
Voice of the wilderness, that heralded
Messiah, like a trump of welcome dread!
Poet of his temptation! and the spirit
That did the high and raptured harp inherit,
Which the archangel tuned to triumph, when
Was foiled by man the never-foiled of men—
The infernal serpent! Hail! all hail! great muse
Of mirth and melancholy! — Oh, diffuse
Thy spirit upon mine! dwell in my heart,
Breathe on my soul — and all thine own impart—
Mind of the world — of all worlds — bright and real,
Substance or shadow, dedal or ideal!
Thou, whom I worship — MILTON! where art thou?
Thou, at whose shrine I offered boyhood's vow,
Emulant of thine immortality—
My voice is unto thee!