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Be the stillness life-destroying

That could make me slow to feel,
To enjoy with your enjoying,

To be zealous with your zeal.
Grant me not, ye reigning Hours,
Virtues that beseem the young-
Vigour for my failing powers,

Music for my faltering tongue :
Let me, cheerful thoughts retaining,
Live awhile, nor fear to die;
Ever new affections gaining,

Such as Heaven might well supply!


There was once living in Naples, in the days of Tasso and of Milton, a noble-hearted old manManso, Marquis of Villa-of princely character and position, "a venerable friend and patron of the Muses," who most hospitably entertained the poet of "Paradise Lost," when young in years and new to fame, and at that time on a visit to Naples. The old Italian nobleman and the young English poet were charmed with each other; only the difference of religion a little disturbed the old man, who wrote in Latin this very complimentary epigram on the beautiful and gifted "Angle":

With mind, mien, temper, face, did faith agree, No Angle, but an angel, thou wouldst be.

And Milton responded (also in Latin) with the following learned and prophetic poem addressed to his entertainer :—


Once more the Muses to your praise aspire,

O Manso! dear to the Phœbean choir;
Graced by the god, and made his chosen pride,

Since his own Gallus and Mecenas died.

My Muse would throne you, were her power so


With bays and ivy clustering round your state;
Friendship once mingled yours and Tasso's fame,
And stamp'd his deathless pages with your name.






Hail, then! from Clio and your Phœbus, hail! Crown'd be your locks with wreaths that never fail!

Hail, honour'd sire! in homage to your worth, A youth salutes you from the distant north: Nor you this offering of a Muse despise, Who, scarcely nursed beneath her Arctic skies, With hasty step has traced the Hesperian shore, Your towns, your arts, your manners to explore. We too can boast our swans, whose liquid throats Cheer the dull darkness with their dulcet notes; Where silver Thames, in proud diffusion spread, Pours his full flood on Ocean's azure head. We too can boast that Tityrus of yore,* To your gay clime the muse of Britain bore.

Phoebus avows us, and not rude our strain, Though our night pause beneath the stormy wain; We too have vow'd to Phoebus, and of old Our blushing orchards, and our fields of gold, If ancient lore be true, have heap'd his shrine, Brought by the fathers of the Druid line. (The hoary Druids, in harmonious praise, Hymn'd the blest gods, and sung heroic lays.)

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Blest sire! where'er Torquato's victor muse
Her glorious track to fame o'er earth pursues;

* Chaucer, who travelled into Italy, is named Tityrus in Spenser's pastorals.

Where'er extends Marino's* mild renown,

Your name, and worth, and honours shall be known.

In the same car of triumph as you ride,

Still shall you share the plaudit and the pride, Deck'd with their crowns, in all their pomp of


Shall pass with them through fame's eternal gate.
Succeeding times shall say the god of song
Dwelt, with his minstrel maids, your train among,
A willing inmate; not as once, from heaven
By Jove's stern wrath, to serve Admetus driven,†
He press'd with haughty step the regal floor,
Though great Alcides there had trod before.
Indignant still he watch'd the bleating plains,
But oft, to shun the rudeness of the swains,
Tired, would he seek mild Chiron's learnèd cave
(Which vines o'erhang, and lucid fountains lave,
By Peneus' bank), and there diffusely laid,
Fann'd by soft breezes in the whispering shade,
Would sing, indulgent to his friend's desire,
And cheat his tedious exile with the lyre.
Then rocks would move, the stream forget to flow;
Great Pelion's summits with their forests bow;
Trees, quick with ear, confess the sweet control,
And fawning pards submit their savage soul.

Heaven-loved old man! to gild your natal day Jove, sure, and Phoebus, shot their purest ray With Maia's son; for no less honour'd birth Could suit the soul that grasp'd Torquato's worth.

Manso was the biographer of his two friends, Torquato Tasso, and Marino.

+ Milton here refers to the fable of Apollo, driven by Jupiter from heaven, and compelled to tend the flocks of Admetus, King of Thessaly.

There, while a purple glory veils my face,
Feel my mind swell to fit her heavenly place;
And, smiling at my life's successful fight,
Exult and brighten in ethereal light.

A friendly Highland chief, at the age of seventyone, was thus honoured by Robert Burns :

Health to the Maxwells' veteran chief!
Health, aye unsour'd by care or grief!
Inspired, I turn'd Fate's sibyl leaf

This natal morn :

I see thy life is stuff o' prief*

Scarce quite half worn.

This day thou metes threescore eleven,
And I can tell that bounteous Heaven

(The second sight, ye ken, is given

To ilka poet)

On thee a tack o' seven times seven
Will yet bestow it.

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But for thy friends, and they are monie
Baith honest men and lasses bonnie,
May couthie fortune, kind and cannie,
In social glee,

Wi' mornings blythe and e'enings funny,

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Your friends


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Bless them and thee!


love, your faes aye fear ye; For me, shame fa' me,

heart I dinna wear ye

While Burns they ca' me!

* Proof.

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