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of them are careless and inharmonious; and the merit of some of the finest among them is diminished by the injury of an inadequate or defective close. If the sonnet to Cromwell had been finished with the same spirit and taste with which it was begun, it would have been of unrivalled excellence; it would, indeed, have been a precious stone, with its worth infinitely enhanced by the exquisite sculpture, on its surface, of an Olympian Jove. On the subject of this fine sonnet, it has been justly remarked by bishop Hurd that the beautiful hemistich in the ninth line is vitiated by an impropriety of metaphor.
And Dunbar field resounds thy praises loud,
Though we have noticed in this place all the sonnets of Milton, it may
proper to mention that only ten of them were included in the publication of which we are now speaking, the rest having been composed at a subsequent period, Five of them indeed, viz. those to Fairfax, to Cromwell, to Vane, and to Cyriac Skinner, who was honoured with two of these poetical addresses, were withdrawn, for a considerable period, from the public. They were annexed by Philips to his life of his uncle; and, about four years
afterwards, four of them were transcribed by Toland into his work on the same biographical subject: but they were again omitted in some of the following editions, and seemed to be in danger of falling under the proscription of the execrable spirit of party. Faction, however, has not been able to add this injury to the many which it has inflicted on us; and, in this remoter age, we are not diverted, by the political offence of these sonnets, from the admiration of their poetical excellence. In the second of the two addressed to Cyriac Skinner is exhibited such a sublime picture of the author's resignation, fortitude, loftiness of soul, and ardent zeal for the great interests of his species as must necessarily conciliate our reverence and regard, even if it should fail of exciting the stronger feeling of our wonder.9
" I may add in a note what might be considered as too• great an interruption of my subject in the body of the work. Though the regular sonnet has not been a favourite with the present times; and has seen its name, without its power, usurped by a poem of fourteen lines in the elegiac stanza,
it has been constructed with eminent success by more than one of those ladies, whose poetic talents bave formed a distinguishing feature in the character of our immediate age. It will be obvious that I allude, more particularly, to a few exquisite sonnets from the pen of Mrs. Charlotte and to greater number of them from that of Miss Seward, the merit of which has been acknowledged and ratified by the taste of an
Of this edition of his poems Milton presented a copy to the Bodleian library: but the volume being by some accident lost,
applauding public. But I wish to explain that I allude, also, to another female Muse, whose name is yet unknown to the world, who can no longer warble her melodies upon earth, and who is now in that place, to which human praise in its highest elevation can never ascend. When the reader has perused the following sonnet, chosen from others in my possession solely for the melancholy, I had almost said the prophetic peculiarity of its subject, let him know that the writer of it was only in the middle of her twelfth year, and that, when she had just completed her fourteenth, she closed a life as amiable for piety and sweetness as it was remarkable for genius. Let him know, also, that this sonnet, which was once read by me with exquisite delight, not unmingled, perhaps, with pride, is now transcribed by me with tears, which can never cease to flow when the idea obtrudes itself of the daughter whom I lately had, and have no more.
ON A BLIGHTED ROSE-BUD.
Scarce bad thy velvet lips imbibed the dew,
And Nature hail'd thee infant queen of May;
Scarce saw thine opening bloom the sun's broad ray,
And by his cold, rude kiss thy charms decay:
No more the queen of flowers, no longer gay.
Her mind array'd in innocency's vest
Death clasps the virgin to his iron breast,
Nov. 27, 1800.
John Rouse,' the principal librarian, wrote to solicit a repetition of the gift. The request was of too flattering a nature to be refused; and to the book, which he sent in compliance with it, the author gave additional value by inscribing its first page
with a latin ode, a composition entitled to considerable though not to unqualified praise. Its irregularity of measure, for which any classical authority, even among the choruses of the Greek dramatists, would be vainly sought, must certainly be admitted in diminution of its merit. But its diction is pure and, equally with its matter, eminently poetic. As it exhibits the last effort of Milton's Roman muse, and has not, perhaps, experienced sufficient attention, the reader will pardon me for transcribing some of its stanzas, as I can gratify him, at the same time, with a translation of them by the elegant pen of my friend Francis Wrangham.
Gemelle cultu simplici gaudens liber,
John Rouse or Russe, A. M. Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, was elected chief librarian of the Bodleian may 9, 1620. He died in april 1652. WARTON,
Go, Book, with one informing mind
Living beneath a twofold face : 5
And, studious of no alien grace,
While 'mid Ausonia's classic shade
He struck on Rome's or Albion's lyre:
Modo quis deus, aut editus deo,
* This volume had a double title-page, one prefixed to the Latin and one to the English poems.