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John Milton


This and the following Psalm were done by the Author
at fifteen years old.

WHEN the blest seed of Terah's faithful son
After long toil their liberty had won,
And past from Pharian fields to Canaan land,
Led by the strength of the Almighty's hand,
Jehovah's wonders were in Israel shown,
His praise and glory was in Israel known.
That saw the troubled sea, and shivering fled,
And sought to hide his froth-becurlèd head
Low in the earth; Jordan's clear streams recoil,
As a faint host that hath received the foil.
The high huge-bellied mountains skip like rams
Amongst their ewes, the little hills like lambs.
Why fled the ocean? and why skipped the mountains?
Why turnèd Jordan toward his crystal fountains?
Shake, Earth, and at the presence be aghast
Of Him that ever was and aye shall last,
That glassy floods from rugged rocks can crush,
And make soft rills from fiery flint-stones gush.




Notes: —Several phrases and rhymes in this juvenile piece have been traced to Sylvester's Du Bartas—e.g. the rhymes recoil, foil (9, 10), mountains, fountains (13, 14), crush, gush (17, 18).— "Terah's faithful son" (I) is Abraham; "Pharian" for Egyptian (3) is either from Pharaoh or from Pharos (an island on the coast of Egypt), and is found in Buchanan's Psalms.

Masson, David, ed. The Poetical Works of John Milton. Vol III.
        London: Macmillan and Co., 1893. 235.

to Works of John Milton

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