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Give the vengeance due

To the valiant crew !
Behold how they toss their torches on high,

How they point to the Persian abodes,
And glittering temples of their hostile gods !
The princes applaud, with a furious joy;
And the king seized a flambeau with zeal to destroy;

Thais led the way,

To light him to his prey,
And, like another Helen, fired another Troy.

Thus, long ago,
Ere heaving bellows learned to blow

While organs yet were mute;
Timotheus, to his breathing flute,

And sounding lyre,
Could swell the soul to rage, or kindle soft desire.

At last divine Cecilia came,

Inventress of the vocal frame;
The sweet enthusiast, from her sacred store,

Enlarged the former narrow bounds,

And added length to solemn sounds,
With Nature's mother-wit, and arts unknown before.
Let old Timotheus yield the prize,

Or both divide the crown;
He raised a mortal to the skies,

She drew an angel down.

Dryden's Prose.

151. CHAUCER AND COWLEY.

In the first place, as he is the father of English poetry, so I hold him in the same degree of veneration as the Grecians held Homer, or the Romans Virgil. He is a perpetual fountain of good sense, learned in all sciences, and therefore speaks properly on all subjects. As he knew what to say, so he knows also when to leave off; a continence which is practised by few writers, and scarcely by any of the ancients, excepting Virgil and Horace. One of our late great poets' is sunk in his reputation, because he could never forgive any conceit which came in his way; but swept, like a drag-net, great and small. There was plenty enough, but the dishes were ill sorted; whole pyramids of sweetmeats for boys and women, but little of solid meat for men. All this proceeded not from any want of knowledge, but of judgment. Neither did he want that in discerning the beauties and faults of other

i Cowley.

They creep, yet see; I, dark in light, exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors or without, still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own;
Scarce half I seem to live, dead more than half.
O dark, dark, dark, amid the blaze of noon,
Irrecoverably dark, total eclipse
Without all hope of day!
O first-created Beam, and thou great Word,
“ Let there be light, and light was over all;"
Why am I thus bereaved thy prime decree?
The sun to me is dark,
And silent as the moon,
When she deserts the night,
Hid in her vacant interlunar cave.
Since light so necessary is to life,
And almost life itself, if it be true
That light is in the soul,
She all in every part; why was this sight
To such a tender ball as the eye confined,
So obvious and easy to be quenched?
And not, as feeling, through all parts diffused,
That she might look at will through every poie?
Then had I not been thus exiled from light,
As in the land of darkness, yet in light,
To live a life half dead, a living death,
And buried; but, O yet more miserable !
Myself my sepulchre, a moving grave;
Buried, yet not exempt,
By privilege of death and burial,
From worst of other evils, pains, and wrongs;
But made hereby obnoxious more
To all the miseries of life,
Life in captivity
Among inhuman foes.

FROM THE SONNETS. 137. SONNET ON HIS OWN BLINDNESS, When I consider how my light is spent

Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,

And that one talent which is death to hide, Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, lest He, returning, chide; “Doth God exact day-labor, light denied ?"

I fondly ask: but Patience, to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, “God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best; his state

Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest :
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

138. ON THE LATE MASSACRE IN PIEDMONT.
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones

Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept thy truths so pure of old,

When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones,
Forget not: in thy book record their groans

Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, that rolled

Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they

To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow

O’er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow

A hundred fold, who, having learned thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.

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I deny not but that it is of greatest concernment in the church and commonwealth to have a vigilant eye how books demean themselves, as well as men, and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors, - for books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a progeny of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve, as in a vial, the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively and as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon's teeth; and, being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself; kills the image of God, as it were, in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. It is true no age can restore a life, whereof, perhaps, there is no great loss; and revolutions

Over the burning marle, not like those steps
On Heaven's azure; and the torrid clime
Smote on him sore besides, vaulted with. fire:
Nathless he so endured till on the beach
Of that inflaméd sea he stood, and called
His legions, angel forms, who lay entranced,
Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks
In Vallombrosa, where the Etrurian shades,
High over-arched, embower; or scattered sedge
Afloat, when with fierce winds Orion armed
Hath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves o'erthrew
Busiris and his Memphian chivalry,
While with perfidious hatred they pursued
The sojourners of Goshen, who beheld
From the safe shore their floating carcasses
And broken chariot wheels : so thick bestrewn,
Abject and lost lay these, covering the flood,
Under amazement of their hideous change.
He called so loud, that all the hollow deep
Of Hell resounded. Princes, potentates,
Warriors, the flower of Heaven, once yours, now lost,
If such astonishment as this can seize
Eternal spirits; or have ye chosen this place,
After the toil of battle to repose
Your wearied virtue, for the ease you find
To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?
Or in this abject posture have ye sworn
T adore the Conqueror? who now beholds
Cherub and seraph rolling in the flood
With scattered arms and ensigns, till anon
His swift pursuers, from Heaven-gates, discern
l'h' advantage, and, descending, tread us down
Thus drooping, or with linkéd thunderbolts
Transfix us to the bottom of this gulf.
Awake, arise, or be forever fallen."

128. PANDEMONIUM. (Book I.)

Anon, out of the earth a fabric huge
Rose like an exhalation, with the sound
Of dulcet symphonies and voices sweet,
Built like a temple, where pilasters round
Were set, and Doric pillars overlaid
With golden architrave; nor did there want
Cornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven:
The roof was fretted gold. Not Babylon,

Nor great Alcairo, such magnificence
Equalled in all their glories, to enshrine
Belus or Serapis their gods, or seat
Their kings, when Egypt with Assyria strove
In wealth and luxury. The ascending pile
Stood fixed her stately height: and straight the doors,
Opening their brazen folds, discover, wide
Within, her ample spaces, o'er the smooth
And level pavement; from the archéd roof,
Pendent by subtle magic, many a row
Of starry lamps and blazing cressets, fed
With naphtha and asphaltus, yielded light
As from a sky.

129. DEATH AND SATAN. (Book II.)

The other shape,
If shape it might be called that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb;
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,
For each seemed either: black it stood as night,
Fierce as ten furies, terrible as Hell,
And shook a dreadful dart; what seemed his head
The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
Satan was now at hand, and from his seat
The monster moving onward came as fast
With horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode.
The undaunted fiend what this might be admired,
Admired, not feared; God and his Son except,
Created thing naught valued he, nor shunned;
And with disdainful look thus first began:

" Whence and what art thou, execrable shape,
That dar'st, though grim and terrible, advance
Thy miscreated front' athwart my way
To yonder gates? through them I mean to pass,
That be assured, without leave asked of thee:
Retire, or taste thy folly, and learn by proof
Hell-born, not to contend with spirits of Heaven.”

To whom the goblin full of wrath replied:
“ Art thou that traitor-angel, art thou he,
Who first broke peace in Heaven, and faith, till then
Unbroken; and in proud rebellious arms
Drew after him the third part of Heaven's sons
Conjured against the Highest; for which both thou
And they, outcast from God, are here condemned
To waste eternal days in woe and pain?
And reckon'st thou thyself with spirits of Heaven,

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