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Best Famous John Milton Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous John Milton poems. This is a select list of the best famous John Milton poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous John Milton poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of John Milton poems.

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by Delmore Schwartz | |

Sonnet On Famous And Familiar Sonnets And Experiences

 (With much help from Robert Good, William Shakespeare, 
John Milton, and little Catherine Schwartz) 


Shall I compare her to a summer play?
She is too clever, too devious, too subtle, too dark:
Her lies are rare, but then she paves the way
Beyond the summer's sway, within the jejune park
Where all souls' aspiration to true nobility
Obliges Statues in the Frieze of Death
And when this pantomime and Panama of Panorama Fails,
"I'll never speak to you agayne" -- or waste her panting breath.
When I but think of how her years are spent Deadening that one talent which -- for woman is -- Death or paralysis, denied: nature's intent That each girl be a mother -- whether or not she is Or has become a lawful wife or bride -- 0 Alma Magna Mater, deathless the living death of pride.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 16

 XVI

When I consider how my light is spent,
E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one Talent which is death to hide,
Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, least he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,
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 milde yoak, they serve him best, his State
Is Kingly.
Thousands at his bidding speed And post o're Land and Ocean without rest: They also serve who only stand and waite.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 23

 XXIII

Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom washed from spot of child-bed taint Purification in the Old Law did save, And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in Heav'n without restraint, Came vested all in white, pure as her mind: Her face was veiled, yet to my fancied sight Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O, as to embrace me she inclined, I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 07

 VII

How soon hath Time the suttle theef of youth,
Stoln on his wing my three and twentith yeer!
My hasting dayes flie on with full career,
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th,
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arriv'd so near,
And inward ripenes doth much less appear,
That som more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow.
It shall be still in strictest measure eev'n, To that same lot, however mean, or high, Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heav'n; All is, if I have grace to use it so, As ever in my great task Masters eye.


by John Milton | |

To Mr. Cyriack Skinner Upon His Blindness

 Cyriack, this three years day these eys, though clear
To outward view, of blemish or of spot;
Bereft of light thir seeing have forgot,
Nor to thir idle orbs doth sight appear
Of Sun or Moon or Starre throughout the year,
Or man or woman.
Yet I argue not Against heavns hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope; but still bear vp and steer Right onward.
What supports me, dost thou ask? The conscience, Friend, to have lost them overply'd In libertyes defence, my noble task, Of which all Europe talks from side to side.
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask Content though blind, had I no better guide.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 17

 XVII


Lawrence of vertuous Father vertuous Son,
Now that the Fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help wast a sullen day; what may be Won
From the hard Season gaining: time will run
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth; and cloth in fresh attire
The Lillie and Rose, that neither sow'd nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, Of Attick tast, with Wine, whence we may rise To hear the Lute well toucht, or artfull voice Warble immortal Notes and Tuskan Ayre? He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 06

 VI

Giovane piano, e semplicetto amante
Poi che fuggir me stesso in dubbio sono,
Madonna a voi del mio cuor l'humil dono
Faro divoto; io certo a prove tante
L'hebbi fedele, intrepido, costante,
De pensieri leggiadro, accorto, e buono;
Quando rugge il gran mondo, e scocca il tuono,
S 'arma di se, e d' intero diamante,
Tanto del forse, e d' invidia sicuro,
Di timori, e speranze al popol use 
Quanto d'ingegno, e d' alto valor vago,
E di cetra sonora, e delle muse:
Sol troverete in tal parte men duro
Ove amor mise l 'insanabil ago.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 13

 XIII

To Mr.
H.
Lawes, on his Aires.
Harry whose tuneful and well measur'd Song First taught our English Musick how to span Words with just note and accent, not to scan With Midas Ears, committing short and long; Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng, With praise enough for Envy to look wan; To after age thou shalt be writ the man, That with smooth aire couldst humor best our tongue Thou honour'st Verse, and Verse must send her wing To honour thee, the Priest of Phoebus Quire That tun'st their happiest lines in Hymn or Story Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher Then his Casella, whom he woo'd to sing Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.
Note: 9 send] lend Cambridge Autograph MS.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 12

 XII.
On the same.
I did but prompt the age to quit their cloggs By the known rules of antient libertie, When strait a barbarous noise environs me Of Owles and Cuckoes, Asses, Apes and Doggs.
As when those Hinds that were transform'd to Froggs Raild at Latona's twin-born progenie Which after held the Sun and Moon in fee.
But this is got by casting Pearl to Hoggs; That bawle for freedom in their senceless mood, And still revolt when truth would set them free.
Licence they mean when they cry libertie; For who loves that, must first be wise and good; But from that mark how far they roave we see For all this wast of wealth, and loss of blood.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 18

 XVIII

Cyriack, whose Grandsire on the Royal Bench
Of Brittish Themis, with no mean applause
Pronounc't and in his volumes taught our Lawes,
Which others at their Barr so often wrench:
To day deep thoughts resolve with me to drench
In mirth, that after no repenting drawes;
Let Euclid rest and Archimedes pause,
And what the Swede intend, and what the French.
To measure life, learn thou betimes, and know Toward solid good what leads the nearest way; For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains, And disapproves that care, though wise in show, That with superfluous burden loads the day, And when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains.


by John Milton | |

On His 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
Lodg'd 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-labour, 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.
"


by John Milton | |

On Shakespear

 What needs my Shakespear for his honour'd Bones,
The labour of an age in piled Stones,
Or that his hallow'd reliques should be hid
Under a Star-ypointing Pyramid?
Dear son of memory, great heir of Fame,
What need'st thou such weak witnes of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thy self a live-long Monument.
For whilst to th'sharne of slow-endeavouring art, Thy easie numbers flow, and that each heart Hath from the Leaves of thy unvalu'd Book, Those Delphick lines with deep impression took, Then thou our fancy of it self bereaving, Dost make us Marble with too much conceaving; And so Sepulcher'd in such pomp dost lie, That Kings for such a Tomb would wish to die.
Notes: On Shakespear.
Reprinted 1632 in the second folio Shakespeare: Title] An epitaph on the admirable dramaticke poet W.
Shakespeare 1 needs] neede 6 weak] dull 8 live-long] lasting 10 heart] part 13 it] her


by John Milton | |

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.


by John Milton | |

Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint

 Methought I saw my late espoused Saint 
Brought to me like Alcestus from the grave, 
Who Jove's great Son to her glad Husband gave, 
Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint Purification in the old Law did save, And such as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in Heav'n without restraint, Came vested all in white, pure as her mind: Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight Love, sweetness, goodness in her person shin'd So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O as to embrace me she enclin'd I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.


by John Milton | |

On The New Forcers Of Conscience Under The Long Parliament

 Because you have thrown of your Prelate Lord,
And with stiff Vowes renounc'd his Liturgie
To seise the widdow'd whore Pluralitie
From them whose sin ye envi'd, not abhor'd,
Dare ye for this adjure the Civill Sword
To force our Consciences that Christ set free,
And ride us with a classic Hierarchy
Taught ye by meer A.
S.
and Rotherford? Men whose Life, Learning, Faith and pure intent Would have been held in high esteem with Paul Must now he nam'd and printed Hereticks By shallow Edwards and Scotch what d'ye call: But we do hope to find out all your tricks, Your plots and packing wors then those of Trent, That so the Parliament May with their wholsom and preventive Shears Clip your Phylacteries, though bauk your Ears, And succour our just Fears When they shall read this clearly in your charge New Presbyter is but Old Priest Writ Large.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 19

 XIX

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-labour, 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.
"


by John Milton | |

On His Deceased Wife

 METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused Saint 
 Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave, 
 Whom Joves great Son to her glad Husband gave, 
 Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint, Purification in the old Law did save, And such, as yet once more I trust to have Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint, Came vested all in white, pure as her mind: Her face was vail'd, yet to my fancied sight, Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But O as to embrace me she enclin'd I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.


by John Milton | |

Sonnet 20

 XX

Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice, Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air? He who of those delights can judge, and spare To interpose them oft, is not unwise.


by John Milton | |

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.


by John Milton | |

To The Nightingale

 O Nightingale! that on yon bloomy spray
Warblest at eve, when all the woods are still,
Thou with fresh hope the lover's heart dost fill,
While the jolly hours lead on propitious May.
Thy liquid notes that close the eye of day, First heard before the shallow cuckoo's bill, Portend success in love; O, if Jove's will Have linked that amorous power to thy soft lay, Now timely sing, ere the rude bird of hate Foretell my hopeless doom in some grove nigh; As thou from year to year hast sung too late For my relief, yet hadst no reason why: Whether the Muse, or Love, call thee his mate, Both them I serve, and of their train am I.