Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Restoration Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Restoration Verse.  1910.
 
On His Deceased Wife
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
METHOUGHT 1 I saw my late espousèd Saint
  Brought to me like Alcestis 2 from the grave,
  Whom Joves great Son to her glad Husband gave,
  Rescu’d from death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint,        5
  Purification in the old Law did save,
  And such, as yet once more I trust to have
  Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind;
  Her face was vail’d, 3 yet to my fancied sight,        10
  Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin’d
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
  But O as to embrace me she enclin’d
  I wak’d, she fled, and day brought back my night.
 
Note 1. Milton’s second wife, Catherine, whom he married on November 12, 1656. She died in childbirth, February, 1658. [back]
Note 2. Alcestis: wife of Admetus, King of Pherae, in Thessaly, who died in her husband’s stead, and brought back to life by Herakles, “Joves great Son.” [back]
Note 3. Face was vail’d: as Alcestis, when she appeared to Admetus. [back]
 
 
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