1795 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

John Blair Linn, "Lines written in a blank Leaf of Paradise Lost" 1795 ca.; Literary Magazine and American Register [Philadelphia] 3 (February 1805) 134.



Thou first of bards, whom God did not inspire,
Oh let me listen to thine awful lyre!
Thy heavenly song might win an angel's ear,
And draw for fallen man a seraph's tear.
Here in thy pages let me trace and find
The soarings of a spirit unconfin'd;
Here let me trace that bold eventful plan,
That justifies the ways of God to man.
Though plung'd thy vision in the depths of night,
On wing thy spirit sought the realms of light;
For from this little earth it urg'd its way,
And bask'd and wanton'd in the flood of day.
Up to the courts where sits our God and King,
O let me follow thy ascending wing:
There let me hear that uncreated voice,
At which worlds tremble, and the saints rejoice;
Which spake, and slumbering nature took its form;
Which rolls the thunder, and drives on the storm;
Which form'd from sluggish earth the human frame,
And breath'd within a pure etherial flame.

Hark! what a sound breaks from the depths below!
What yells of fury, and what shrieks of woe!
Hurl'd from the skies, lo! Satan and his train
Toss'd on the billows of unceasing pain;
There see him rally his terrific bands,
Who bade defiance to a God in arms;
And, by the glimmerings of infernal light,
Wing his huge way amid the deeps of night.
Oh bear me from these shades of black despair,
And let me follow through the fields of air;
Let me roll onward in thy flying car,
Or, with an angel, on a shooting star,
Let me alight on new-born earth, and rove
With vagrant feet o'er valley, stream, and grove.
Great God! what wonders meet my searching eyes!
Worlds circling worlds, on systems systems rise!
A burning orb darts his propitious ray,
And all the darkness kindles into day.
And when he quenches in the wave his light,
The pale moon wanders through the hosts of night;
She calls the stars to light their silver beam,
And with her visit mountain, vale, and stream.