The Poets

December 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Milton

One and four hundred years ago from this day there was born a man who would become one of history's greatest poets ... John Milton.

Anyone who knows me knows that not only does he bare a great influence on my poetic preferences, but that it was by reading his Paradise Lost that I developed an irreversible passion for poetry in the first place.

With that said, here are two poems written by him, poems particularly appropriate for this day's blog as their subjects deal with temporal existence and how we relate to it.

(The first one is about the consuming nature of Time and Eternity's triumph over it; and the second one, written by Milton on his 24th birthday, is about time and how he's aging through it.)

To this thy fete of birth
With joy and godly boast
Thy works and thee in mirth
We celebrate and toast



On Time

Fly envious Time, till thou run out thy race,
Call on the lazy leaden-stepping hours,
Whose speed is but the heavy Plummets pace;
And glut thy self with what thy womb devours,
Which is no more then what is false and vain,
And meerly mortal dross;
So little is our loss,
So little is thy gain.
For when as each thing bad thou hast entomb'd,
And last of all, thy greedy self consum'd,
Then long Eternity shall greet our bliss
With an individual kiss;
And Joy shall overtake us as a flood,
When every thing that is sincerely good
And perfectly divine,
With Truth, and Peace, and Love shall ever shine
About the supreme Throne
Of him, t'whose happy-making sight alone,
When once our heav'nly-guided soul shall clime,
Then all this Earthy grosnes quit,
Attir'd with Stars, we shall for ever sit,
Triumphing over Death, and Chance, and thee O Time.


How Soon Hath Time

How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stoln on his wing my three and twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on wtih full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near,
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye.

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