Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
Song: ‘Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph that liv’st unseen’
By John Milton (1608–1674)
From ‘Comus

SWEET Echo, sweetest Nymph that liv’st unseen
        Within the airy shell 1
      By slow Meander’s 2 margent green,
  And in the violet imbroider’d vale
      Where the love-lorn Nightingale        5
Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well.
Canst thou not tell me of a gentle Pair
      That likest thy Narcissus are?
        O if thou have
      Hid them in som flowry Cave,        10
        Tell me but where
Sweet Queen of Parly, Daughter of the Sphear, 3
So maist thou be translated to the skies,
  And give resounding grace 4 to all Heav’ns Harmonies.
Note 1. Airy shell: the hollow vault of atmosphere. Cf. The Rubaiyat, “inverted Bowl they call the sky.” [back]
Note 2. Meander: a river in Asia Minor, selected as a haunt for Echo because of its windings, which would correspond to the replications of echoing sound. For a different opinion see Professor Hales, Folia Litteraria, pp. 231–38. [back]
Note 3. Daughter of the Sphere: i.e., “daughter of what Milton calls the airy shell.” Warburton, quoted by Todd, thinks that “Milton supposes Echo to owe her existence first to the reverberation of the music of the spheres.” Cf. At a Solemn Musick, l. 2: “Sphear-born harmonious Sisters, Voice and Vers.” [back]
Note 4. Resounding grace: i.e., grace of echo. [back]

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