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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.


On the Busts of Milton, in Youth and Age at Stourhead

By William Lisle Bowles (1762–1850)

In Youth

MILTON, our noblest poet, in the grace

Of youth, in those fair eyes and clustering hair,

That brow untouched by one faint line of care

To mar its openness, we seem to trace

The front of the first lord of human race,

Mid thine own paradise portrayed so fair,

Ere sin or sorrow scathed it: such the air

That characters thy youth. Shall time efface

These lineaments as crowding cares assail!

It is the lot of fallen humanity.

What boots it! armed in adamantine mail,

The unconquerable mind and genius high

Right onward hold their way through weal and woe,

Or whether life’s brief lot be high or low!

In Age

And art thou he, now “fallen on evil days,”

And changed indeed! Yet what do this sunk cheek,

These thinner locks, and that calm forehead speak?

A spirit reckless of man’s blame or praise,—

A spirit, when thine eyes to the noon’s blaze

Their dark orbs roll in vain, in suffering meek,

As in the sight of God intent to seek,

Mid solitude or age, or through the ways

Of hard adversity, the approving look

Of its great Master; whilst the conscious pride

Of wisdom, patient and content to brook

All ills to that sole Master’s task applied,

Shall show before high Heaven the unaltered mind,

Milton, though thou art poor, and old, and blind!