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Posts Tagged ‘Milton’

Great men have been among us; hands that penned
And tongues that uttered wisdom – better none:
The later Sidney, Marvel, Harrington,
Young Vane, and others who called Milton friend.
These moralists could act and comprehend:
They knew how genuine glory was put on;
Taught us how rightfully a nation shone
In splendour: what strength was, that would not bend
But in magnanimous meekness, France, ‘tis strange,
Hath brought forth no such souls as we had then.
Perpetual emptiness! Unceasing change!
No single volume paramount, no code,
No master spirit, no determined road;
But equally a want of books and men!

 

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What is a sonnet?  ‘T is the pearly shell
   That murmurs of the far-off murmuring sea;
   A precious jewel carved most curiously;
   It is a little picture painted well.
What is a sonnet?  ‘T is the tear that fell
   From a great poet’s hidden ecstasy;
   A two-edged sword, a star, a song – ah me!
   Sometimes a heavy-tolling funeral bell.
This was the flame that shook with Dante’s breath;
   The solemn organ whereon Milton played,
   And the clear glass where Shakespeare’s shadow falls:
A sea this is – beware who ventureth!
   For like a fjord the narrow floor is laid
   Deep as mid-ocean to the sheer mountain walls.

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