Verse > Anthologies > James and Mary Ford, eds. > Every Day in the Year
James and Mary Ford, eds.  Every Day in the Year.  1902.
June 13
On the Lord General Fairfax
By John Milton (1608–1674)
          This sonnet was written to commemorate the Siege of Colchester, which together with the battle of Preston, formed the culminating point of the royalist rising of 1648. The town was invested on June 18th and surrendered on August 27th. The Lord Fairfax here addressed is the third of his name, and may be distinguished as the great Lord Fairfax.

FAIRFAX, whose name in arms through Europe rings,
Filling each mouth with envy or with praise,
And all her jealous monarchs with amaze,
And rumours loud that daunt remotest kings;
Thy firm unshaken virtue ever brings        5
Victory home, though new rebellions raise
Their Hydra heads, and the false North displays
Her broken league to imp their serpent-wings.
O yet a nobler task awaits thy hand
(For what can war but endless war still breed?)        10
Till truth and right from violence be freed,
And public faith cleared from the shameful brand
Of public fraud. In vain doth valour bleed,
While avarice and rapine share the land.

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