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comes robed in black and of pensive mien, her eyes lifted upon high. Her attendants are Fast, Peace, Leisure, and Contemplation. The time of her coming is eventide. The sights and sounds that we meet with in this poem are often nocturnal, all grand and striking, but all melancholy. In the day time we are plunged into the depths of a forest of patriarchal overarching trees. Here in the thick of this vast solitude we fall asleep to the lullaby of the hum of bees and the gush of waterfalls. Solemn dreams steal over us, and the sounds of spiritual music surround us. As we wake, where can we walk in moods like these but to

"Studious cloisters pale,

And love the high embowered 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 sweetness, through mine ear,
Dissolve me into ecstasies,

And bring all heaven before mine eyes."

Thus year after year the student lives in these grand scenes; he becomes a hermit at length, and immures himself in his

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In quiet force of pure intellect for consummate artistic taste, and for sensuous and idyillic beauty, these poems are not surpassed by anything in the language.

The "Arcades" is a masque composed for presentation to the venerable Dowager Countess of Derby by the members of her family. It was the favourite form of private theatricals, and consisted of a pageant and procession, with songs and speeches sung or said by persons dressed in emblematic or allegorical costumes; all this was done in honour of some hero or heroine or some worthy person. The poem was mostly founded upon some allegory, some story in ancient history, some Greek mythological fable, some domestic incident, or some legend of chivalry. "Comus" is a work of this description, and was written for presentation to the Earl of Bridgewater at Ludlow Castle, where he resided as Lord President. of Wales. It is founded upon an accident that befel his children in passing through Haywood Forest; they missed their way, and were in some peril. In the beautifully conceived and constructed

poem we see "Comus," the god of riot, and his burly crew. It was the wont of this riotous deity to way-lay travellers and compel them to drink enchanted wine, when their faces were changed into that of some fierce beast. Lady Alice and her brothers had got separated in the forest; they wander about seeking each in vain. The lady is attracted by sounds of merriment. Though loath to meet such revellers yet she fears not; there were many things to startle her, but nothing to move her virtue. In her heart she longed for help. Just then a sable cloud turned its silver lining on the right, and cast a gloom over the tufted grove where she was. She cheers herself by singing, thinking, too, that perhaps her song might reach the ears of her brothers. Comus draws near, charmed by the singer's voice, but he is disguised as a shepherd; he offers to conduct her to her brothers, and she, unsuspecting, goes with him. As soon as they were gone the brothers come to the place, and are concerned for their sister. The younger one is anxious for the fate of the beautiful maid in so dangerous a place. The elder, though not free from fear, yet reasons on the power of true chastity so eloquently that the younger one exclaims,

"How charming is divine philosophy!

Not harsh and crabbed, as dull fools suppose,
But musical as is Apollo's lute."

Their father's faithful shepherd joins them. He tells them of the monstrous revels of Comus and his crew he had heard, and how they had lured the young lady away. He had prevailed upon her to sit in a marble chair, to which he could bind her by his wand. She tries to rise but cannot; he uses all his arts to make her his victim; she nobly resists. The brothers rush in and dash the glass from the monster's hand, he makes his escape, but takes his wand with him, without which she cannot rise from her chair. How should they release their sister? Thyrsis, the shepherd, comes to their help. He invokes the aid of the goddess Sabrina with suitable song:

"Sabrina fair,

Listen where thou art sitting,

Under the glossy, cool, translucent wave,

In twisted braids of lilies knitting

The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair:
Listen for dear honour's sake,

Goddess of the silver lake,

Listen and save."

The adjured goddess comes to the rescue, and they go home congratulating themselves upon the good fortune of their deliverance. This is a most exquisite performance: a more lovely and perfect thing of the kind cannot be conceived of. His Lycidas appeared in a volume of contributions to the memory of Edward King. Henry More, J. Beaumont, and others, contributed to the volume.

In 1635 he availed himself of a custom common in his day, allowing the members of one University to be incorporated with the other. Milton became an Oxford M.A. along with a fascinating young preacher, Jeremy Taylor. The year after his incorporation at Oxford England was visited with a return of the plague. Six or seven years previously it had raged fearfully, and now serious apprehension was felt for the safety of the lives of the people. Among the places where it decimated the population was the village of Horton. The number of interments rose from nine or ten in the year to thirty-four and five. Among the deaths not attributable to the plague, but likely enough owing to the unhealthiness connected with it, was that of Milton's mother. Over her deep grave in the middle aisle of the church, is a large stone with this simple record:-"Heare lyeth the body of Sara Milton, the wife of John Milton, who died April 3rd, 1637." This loss sorely affected him, and covered him with a dark shadow for some time.

Milton's life may, from this point, be divided into three parts, viz., his "grand tour" over the continent, his public life and struggles in the Revolution and Commonwealth, his retirement after the Restoration, during which he wrote the great work of his life— Paradise Lost. We purpose in the next issue of the AMBASSADOR asking the reader to accompany us in the recital of the remainder of this important life-story.

E. H.



OMEWHERE about 1810 or 1811 years ago four men might have been seen one morning in the harbour of an Asiatic port looking out for a passage to Europe. Three of the four had just descended from the mountain ranges of the interior to the shores of a sea for ever famous in story. The Egean archipelago lay before them; far off rose the lofty summits of Mount Athos and Samothrace, shining like burnished gold in the rays of the morning sun. Along those shores Homer had sung in deathless song of the ill-fated Troy; Xerxes passed that way with his army to conquer Greece; Julius Cæsar had visited the spot after the battle of Pharsalia; and here Alexander of Macedon started when he went forth to overthrow the mighty empires of the east, while on the other side of that sea were

"The burning isles where Sappho sung."

Yonder was beautiful Athens, the eye of Greece, which outstripped Rome, if not in the invincibility of its arms or the extent of its

conquests, yet in the culture of its schools and its philosophic prestige. Over all this fair scene was the balmy breath and bending sky of an eastern clime.

Who were those four men standing on the classical shore? Tradition furnishes us with a photograph of the chief or principal member of the group, a description, be it observed, which is fully verified by the early Christian sculpture. He was a strongly marked Jew, of small and meagre stature, his body disfigured by some lameness or distortion, which drew from his enemies contemptuous remarks. The aquiline nose of his countrymen, the face long and oval, with lines indicative of Greek thought and culture, his forehead high, the head bald, the beard long, flowing, and pointed. He is just recovering from a long and severe sickness which had befallen him in Galatia. Paul, the tentmaker of Tarsus, is confessedly the chief figure of the group we are picturing. The second member of the group is Silas, from Jerusalem, who receives honourable mention by Paul in one of his letters. That he was in high repute at home is instanced by the fact that when the first apostolic letter was sent to the provincial Jews who had embraced the Christian faith he was one of the deputation.

The third of the group was a very young man whom Paul had persuaded to leave his home among the hills and become a candidate for the ministry. In all probability this young man had nursed Paul during his sickness, and having surrendered his young affections to the Saviour, there sprang up a friendship between this son and his father in the Gospel pure and fervent, which struck a deeper root and developed into a richer growth amidst labours and sufferings more abundant. After Timothy the remaining member of the group is Luke, who had just joined the company on the sea coast. He was a physician by profession, and a native of Antioch on the Levantine shore of the Mediterranean. The general esteem in which he was held, coupled with the urbanity of his manners, was characteristic of his profession. Was he summoned to that missionary tour to watch over the health of Paul, who was not yet convalescent? Be it so or not, this much is certain, that being liberally educated he had an eye to see and a facility to narrate which marked him out as the historian of the party.

Of these four men on the quay at Troas, what was the object of their voyage? Seldom has there been anything so big with marvel, so fraught with weighty interests to the untold generations of men. These men of God had left their homes to turn the world upside down. Their course at present was dubious; vast tracts of Asia lay before them unexplored, but when they selected this or that portion of a field of toil they received a Divine intimation forbidding the attempt. Troas was reached in this state of hesitancy when a vision of the night passed before Paul. To use the beauti


ful language of one of the company, that "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets," revealed his will to these his servants as aforetime. Paul was no stranger to the supernatural. His arrest on the way to Damascus, producing an entire surrender of body and soul to the once despised Galilean, was brought about by a vision of such surpassing brilliance, yea, unearthly lustre, that he was blinded with excess of light, and the words spoken on that memorable vision were for ever ringing in his ears, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?" This last vision was of a man of Macedonia, known to be such either by his dress or speech, saying in supplicatory tones, "Come over and help us." Immediately," says Luke, "we endeavoured to go, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the Gospel unto them." How simple yet sublime are these words, breathing a spirit of absolute, unresisting submission to the will of heaven. No dalliance with ease or convenience, no compromise with flesh and blood. Difficulties there were enough, perils not a few; sufferings seemed inevitable, and death not improbable. But these men were not governed by worldly prudence. Had they dubitated upon what would probably be the upshot of the course upon which they had entered, very likely they would have turned their back upon the work, and gone home to comfort and a quiet life. But they had been trained in another school than that of earthborn "utilities." Prompted by a high sense of duty, by the dictates of an enlightened conscience rather than worldly maxims of profit and loss, they listened reverently to the inward voice, and followed its high behest, leaving results to a higher than they.


We have not far to look for the rationale of such conduct. springs from the deepest instincts of our religious nature, it has its root in faith, and just as the healthy and vigorous plant is dependent upon the rich loam in which it is rooted, so spiritual health and beauty spring from the rich soil of faith. Let the eye of the soul be purged from the films and vapours of sin, so that with a strong and penetrating vision it shall look into the unseen, and God fill up the mighty circumference of vision, then will the soul trample on the baits of sense, hold cheap all transient things in comparison with what is unchanging and eternal. Faith in the highest and best of beings, working by love, purifying and quickening all the springs of moral action, is the mightiest motive that can sway the human soul. Faith and love to Jesus, who hung as a common felon upon the cross, but who had risen from the dead, and passed into the heavens, "till the restitution of all things," this stirred their spirit to a noble bearing, and a high issue. It was not a sickly sentimentalism, or a poetic frenzy, but the outcome of sober conviction and large sympathies; this like some tidal water,

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