Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
To the Ocean Now I Fly
By John Milton (1608–1674)
From ‘Comus

The Spirit Epiloguises
TO the Ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that ly
Where day never shuts his eye,
Up in the broad fields of the sky:
There I suck the liquid ayr        5
All amidst the Gardens fair
Of Hesperus, and his daughters three
That sing about the golden tree:
Along the crispèd shades and bowres
Revels the spruce and jocond Spring,        10
The Graces, and the rosie-boosom’d Howres,
Thither all their bounties bring,
That there eternal Summer dwels,
And West winds, with musky wing
About the cedar’n alleys fling        15
Nard, and Cassia’s balmy smels.
Iris there with humid bow,
Waters the odorous banks that blow
Flowers of more mingled hew
Then her purfl’d scarf can shew,        20
And drenches with Elysian dew
(List mortals, if your ears be true)
Beds of Hyacinth, and roses
Where young Adonis oft reposes, 1
Waxing well of his deep wound        25
In slumber soft, and on the ground
Sadly sits th’ Assyrian Queen; 2
But far above in spangled sheen
Celestial Cupid her fam’d son advanc’t
Holds his dear Psyche sweet intranc’t        30
After her wandring labours long,
Till free consent the gods among
Make her his eternal Bride,
And from her fair unspotted side
Two blissful twins are to be born,        35
Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn.
  But now my task is smoothly don,
I can fly, or I can run
Quickly to the green earths end,
Where the bow’d welkin slow doth bend,        40
And from thence can soar as soon
To the corners of the Moon.
  Mortals that would follow me,
Love vertue, she alone is free,
She can teach ye how to clime        45
Higher then the Spheary chime;
Or if Vertue feeble were,
Heav’n it self would stoop to her.
Note 1. Adonis oft reposes: Cf. Bion’s Lament for Adonis, Lang’s edition. [back]
Note 2. Assyrian queen: the Phœnician Ashtaroth, and Aphrodite in the Greek mythology. [back]

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