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John Milton: Light

John Milton

(1608–1674)

 

  Light

 

Hail holy light, ofspring of Heav’n first-born,

Or of th’ Eternal Coeternal beam

May I express thee unblam’d? since God is light,

And never but in unapproached light

Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,

Bright effluence of bright essence increate.

Or hear’st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,

Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,

Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice

Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest

The rising world of waters dark and deep,

Won from the void and formless infinite.

Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,

Escap’t the Stygian Pool, though long detain’d

In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight

Through utter and through middle darkness borne

With other notes then to th’ Orphean Lyre

I sung of Chaos and Eternal Night,

Taught by the heav’nly Muse to venture down

The dark descent, and up to reascend,

Though hard and rare: thee I revisit safe,

And feel thy sovran vital Lamp; but thou

Revisit’st not these eyes, that rowle in vain

To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn;

So thick a drop serene hath quencht thir Orbs,

Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more

Cease I to wander where the Muses haunt

Cleer Spring, or shadie Grove, or Sunnie Hill,

Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief

Thee Sion and the flowrie Brooks beneath

That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow,

Nightly I visit: nor somtimes forget

Those other two equal’d with me in Fate,

So were I equal’d with them in renown.

Blind Thamyris and blind Maeonides,

And Tiresias and Phineus Prophets old.

Then feed on thoughts, that voluntarie move

Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful Bird

Sings darkling, and in shadiest Covert hid

Tunes her nocturnal Note. Thus with the Year

Seasons return, but not to me returns

Day, or the sweet approach of Ev’n or Morn,

Or sight of vernal bloom, or Summers Rose,

Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;

But cloud in stead, and ever-during dark

Surrounds me, from the chearful waies of men

Cut off, and for the Book of knowledg fair

Presented with a Universal blanc

Of Natures works to mee expung’d and ras’d,

And wisdome at one entrance quite shut out.

So much the rather thou Celestial light

Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers

Irradiate, there plant eyes, all mist from thence

Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell

Of things invisible to mortal sight.

 

 

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