Selected Poems (milton, John) by John MiltonSelected Poems (milton, John) by John Milton

Selected Poems (milton, John)

byJohn MiltonIntroduction byJohn LeonardEditorChristopher Ricks

Paperback | December 18, 2007

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An authoritative new edition of Milton's essential verse

John Milton, who abandoned early plans of becoming a clergyman to become a poet, was a master of almost every type of verse-from the classical to the religious, from the lyric to the epic. His writing reflected his radical views and his profound understanding of politics and power. This collection includes such early works as the devotional "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity," "Comus," and the pastoral elegy "Lycidas."

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and studied at the University of Cambridge. He originally planned to become a clergyman, but abandoned those ambitions to become a poet. Political in his writings, he served a government post during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1651, he went completely blind but he continued to wr...
Title:Selected Poems (milton, John)Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.78 × 5.12 × 0.89 inPublished:December 18, 2007Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140424415

ISBN - 13:9780140424416

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Ode on the Morning of Christ's NativityThis is the month, and this the happy mornWherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,Of wedded maid, and virgin mother born,Our great redemption from above did bring;For so the holy sages once did singThat he our deadly forfeit should release,And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.That glorious form, that light unsufferable,And that far-beaming blaze of majestyWherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-tableTo sit the midst of trinal unity,He laid aside; and here with us to be,Forsook the courts of everlasting day,And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.Say, Heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred veinAfford a present to the Infant God?Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,To welcome him to this his new abode,Now while the heav'n, by the sun's team untrod,Hath took no print of the approaching light,And all the spangled host keep watch in squadronsbright?See how from far, upon the eastern road,The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,And lay it lowly at his blessèd feet;Have thou the honour first, thy Lord to greet,And join thy voice unto the angel choir,From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.The HymnIt was the winter wild,While the Heav'n-born-child,All meanly wrapped in the rude manger lies;Nature in awe to himHad doffed her gaudy trim,With her great Master so to sympathize:It was no season then for herTo wanton with the sun her lusty paramour.Only with speeches fairShe woos the gentle airTo hide her guilty front with innocent snow,And on her naked shame,Pollute with sinful blame,The saintly veil of maiden white to throw,Confounded, that her Maker's eyesShould look so near upon her foul deformities.But he her fears to cease,Sent down the meek-eyed Peace;She crowned with olive green, came softly slidingDown through the turning sphereHis ready harbinger,With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing.And waving wide her myrtle wand,She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.No war, or battle's soundWas heard the world around:The idle spear and shield were high up hung;The hookèd chariot stoodUnstained with hostile blood,The trumpet spake not to the armèd throng,And kings sat still with awful eye,As if they surely knew their sov'reign Lord was by.But peaceful was the nightWherein the Prince of LightHis reign of peace upon the earth began:The winds, with wonder whist,Smoothly the waters kissedWhispering new joys to the mild Oceàn,Who now hath quite forgot to rave,While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmèdwave.The stars with deep amazeStand fixed in steadfast gaze,Bending one way their precious influence,And will not take their flight,For all the morning light,Or Lucifer that often warned them thence;But in their glimmering orbs did glowUntil their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.And though the shady gloomHad given day her room,The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,And hid his head for shame,As his inferior flame,The new-enlightened world no more should need;He saw a greater Sun appearThan his bright throne, or burning axle-tree couldbear.The shepherds on the lawn,Or ere the point of dawn,Sat simply chatting in a rustic row;Full little thought they then,That the mighty PanWas kindly come to live with them below;Perhaps their loves, or else their sheepWas all that did their silly thoughts so busy keep.When such music sweetTheir hearts and ears did greet,As never was by mortal finger strook,Divinely-warbled voiceAnswering the stringèd noise,As all their souls in blissful rapture took:The air such pleasure loath to lose,With thousand echoes still prolongs each Heav'nlyclose.Nature that heard such soundBeneath the hollow roundOf Cynthia's seat the airy region thrilling,Now was almost wonTo think her part was done,And that her reign had here its last fulfilling;She knew such harmony aloneCould hold all Heaven and Earth in happier union.At last surrounds their sightA globe of circular light,That with long beams the shame-faced night arrayed;The helmèd CherubimAnd sworded Seraphim,Are seen in glittering ranks with wings displayed,Harping in loud and solemn choir,With unexpressive notes to Heav'n's new-born heir.Such music (as 'tis said)Before was never madeBut when of old the sons of morning sung,While the Creator greatHis constellations set,And the well-balanced world on hinges hung,And cast the dark foundations deep,And bid the welt'ring waves their oozy channel keep.Ring out, ye crystal spheres,Once bless our human ears,(If ye have power to touch our senses so)And let your silver chimeMove in melodious time;And let the bass of heav'n's deep organ blow,And with your ninefold harmonyMake up full consort to the angelic symphony.For if such holy songEnwrap our fancy long,Time will run back and fetch the age of gold;And speckled VanityWill sicken soon and die,And lep'rous Sin will melt from earthly mould,And Hell itself will pass away,And leave her dolorous mansions to the peering day.Yea, Truth and Justice thenWill down return to men,Orbed in a rainbow; and, like glories wearing,Mercy will sit betweenThroned in celestial sheen,With radiant feet the tissued clouds down steering,And Heav'n as at some festival,Will open wide the gates of her high palace hall.But wisest Fate says No,This must not yet be so,The babe yet lies in smiling infancy,That on the bitter crossMust redeem our loss;So both himself and us to glorify:Yet first to those chained in sleepThe wakeful trump of doom must thunder through theDeep.With such a horrid clangAs on Mount Sinai rangWhile the red fire, and smould'ring clouds outbrake:The aged Earth aghastWith terror of that blast,Shall from the surface to the centre shake;When, at the world's last sessïon,The dreadful Judge in middle air shall spread histhrone.And then at last our blissFull and perfect is,But now begins; for from this happy dayTh' old Dragon under groundIn straiter limits bound,Not half so far casts his usurpèd sway;And wroth to see his kingdom fail,Swinges the scaly horror of his folded tail.The Oracles are dumb, No voice or hideous humRuns through the archèd roof in words deceiving.Apollo from his shrineCan no more divine,With hollow shriek the steep of Delphos leaving.No nightly trance, or breathèd spell,Inspires the pale-eyed priest from the prophetic cell.The lonely mountains o'er,And the resounding shore,A voice of weeping heard, and loud lament;From haunted spring, and daleEdged with poplar pale,The parting Genius is with sighing sent,With flow'r-inwoven tresses tornThe nymphs in twilight shade of tangled thicketsmourn.In consecrated earth,And on the holy hearth,The lars and lemures moan with midnight plaint;In urns, and altars round,A drear and dying soundAffrights the flamens at their service quaint;And the chill marble seems to sweat,While each peculiar Power foregoes his wonted seat.Peor and BaälimForsake their temples dim,With that twice-battered god of Palestine,And moonèd AshtarothHeav'n's queen and mother both,Now sits not girt with tapers' holy shine;The Lybic Hammon shrinks his horn,In vain the Tyrian maids their wounded Thammuzmourn.And sullen Moloch, fled,Hath left in shadows dreadHis burning idol all of blackest hue;In vain with cymbals' ringThey call the grisly king,In dismal dance about the furnace blue;The brutish gods of Nile as fast,Isis, and Orus, and the dog Anubis, haste.Nor is Osiris seenIn Memphian grove, or green,Trampling the unshower'd grass with lowings loud:Nor can he be at restWithin his sacred chest,Nought but profoundest Hell can be his shroud,In vain with timbrelled anthems darkThe sable-stolèd sorcerers bear his worshipped ark.He feels from Judah's landThe dreaded infant's hand,The rays of Bethlehem blind his dusky eyn;Nor all the gods besideLonger dare abide,Not Typhon huge ending in snaky twine:Our babe to show His Godhead true,Can in His swaddling bands control the damnèdcrew.So when the sun in bedCurtained with cloudy redPillows his chin upon an orient wave,The flocking shadows pale,Troop to th' infernal jail,Each fettered ghost slips to his several grave,And the yellow-skirted fays,Fly after the Night-steeds, leaving their moon-lovedmaze.But see the virgin blestHath laid her babe to rest.Time is our tedious song should here have ending;Heav'n's youngest teemèd star,Hath fixed her polished car,Her sleeping Lord with hand-maid lamp attending.And all about the courtly stable,Bright-harnessed angels sit in order serviceable.