IL PENSEROSOBy John Milton
HENCEvain deluding Joys
............The brood of Folly without father bred!
How little you bested
............Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain
............And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess
As thick and numberless
............As the gay motes that people the sun-beams
Or likest hovering dreams
............The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
Buthail! thou Goddess sage and holy!
Whose saintly visage is too bright
To hit the sense of human sight
And therefore to our weaker view
O'erlaid with blackstaid Wisdom's hue;
Blackbut such as in esteem
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem
Or that starred Ethiop queen that strove
To set her beauty's praise above
The Sea-Nymphsand their powers offended.
Yet thou art higher far descended:
Thee bright-haired Vesta long of yore
To solitary Saturn bore;
His daughter she; in Saturn's reign
Such mixture was not held a stain.
Oft in glimmering bowers and glades
He met herand in secret shades
Of woody Ida's inmost grove
Whilst yet there was no fear of Jove.
Comepensive Nundevout and pure
All in a robe of darkest grain
Flowing with majestic train
And sable stole of cypress lawn
Over thy decent shoulders drawn.
Come; but keep thy wonted state
With even stepand musing gait
And looks commercing with the skies
Thy rapt soul sitting in thine eyes:
Thereheld in holy passion still
Forget thyself to marbletill
With a sad leaden downward cast
Thou fix them on the earth as fast.
And join with thee calm Peace and Quiet
Spare Fastthat oft with gods doth diet
And hears the Muses in a ring
Aye round about Jove's altar sing;
And add to these retired Leisure
That in trim gardens takes his pleasure;
Butfirst and chiefestwith thee bring
Him that yon soars on golden wing
Guiding the fiery-wheeled throne
The Cherub Contemplation;
And the mute Silence hist along
'Less Philomel will deign a song
In her sweetest saddest plight
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night
While Cynthia checks her dragon yoke
Gently o'er the accustomed oak.
Sweet birdthat shunn'st the noise of folly
Most musicalmost melancholy!
Theechauntressoft the woods among
I wooto hear thy even-song;
Andmissing theeI walk unseen
On the dry smooth-shaven green
To behold the wandering moon
Riding near her highest noon
Like one that had been led astray
Through the heaven's wide pathless way
And oftas if her head she bowed
Stooping through a fleecy cloud.
Ofton a plat of rising ground
I hear the far-off curfew sound
Over some wide-watered shore
Swinging slow with sullen roar;
Orif the air will not permit
Some still removed place will fit
Where glowing embers through the room
Teach light to counterfeit a gloom
Far from all resort of mirth
Save the cricket on the hearth
Or the bellman's drowsy charm
To bless the doors from nightly harm.
Or let my lampat midnight hour
Be seen in some high lonely tower
Where I may oft outwatch the Bear
With thrice great Hermesor unsphere
The spirit of Platoto unfold
What worlds or what vast regions hold
The immortal mind that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook;
And of those demons that are found
In fireairfloodor underground
Whose power hath a true consent
With planet or with element.
Sometime let gorgeous Tragedy
In sceptred pall come sweeping by
Presenting Thebesor Pelops' line
Or the tale of Troy divine
Or what (though rare) of later age
Ennobled hath the buskined stage.
ButO sad Virgin! that thy power
Might raise Musaeus from his bower;
Or bid the soul of Orpheus sing
Such notes aswarbled to the string
Drew iron tears down Pluto's cheek
And made Hell grant what love did seek;
Or call up him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold
Of Camballand of Algarsife
And who had Canace to wife
That owned the virtuous ring and glass
And of the wondrous horse of brass
On which the Tartar king did ride;
And if aught else great bards beside
In sage and solemn tunes have sung
Of turneysand of trophies hung
Of forestsand enchantments drear
Where more is meant than meets the ear.
ThusNightoft see me in thy pale career
Till civil-suited Morn appear
Not tricked and frouncedas she was wont
With the Attic boy to hunt
But kerchieft in a comely cloud
While rocking winds are piping loud
Or ushered with a shower still
When the gust hath blown his fill
Ending on the rustling leaves
With minute-drops from off the eaves.
Andwhen the sun begins to fling
His flaring beamsmeGoddessbring
To arched walks of twilight groves
And shadows brownthat Sylvan loves
Of pineor monumental oak
Where the rude axe with heaved stroke
Was never heard the nymphs to daunt
Or fright them from their hallowed haunt.
Therein close covertby some brook
Where no profaner eye may look
Hide me from day's garish eye
While the bee with honeyed thigh
That at her flowery work doth sing
And the waters murmuring
With such consort as they keep
Entice the dewy-feathered Sleep.
And let some strange mysterious dream
Wave at his wingsin airy stream
Of lively portraiture displayed
Softly on my eyelids laid;
Andas I wakesweet music breathe
Sent by some Spirit to mortals good
Or the unseen Genius of the wood.
But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloister's pale
And love the high embowed roof
With antique pillars massy proof
And storied windows richly dight
Casting a dim religious light.
There let the pealing organ blow
To the full-voiced quire below
In service high and anthems clear
As may with sweetnessthrough mine ear
Dissolve me into ecstasies
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
Find out the peaceful hermitage
The hairy gown and mossy cell
Where I may sit and rightly spell
Of every star that heaven doth shew
And every herb that sips the dew
Till old experience do attain
To something like prophetic strain.
And I with thee will choose to live.