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.
 
To the Lady Margaret Ley
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
DAUGHTER 1 to that good Earl, once President
  Of Englands Counsel, and her Treasury,
  Who liv’d in both, unstain’d with gold or fee,
  And left them both, more in himself content,
Till the sad breaking of that Parlament        5
  Broke him, as that dishonest 2 victory
  At Chaeronéa, 3 fatal to liberty
  Kil’d with report that Old man eloquent, 4
Though later born, then to have known the dayes
  Wherin your Father flourisht, yet by you        10
  Madam, me thinks I see him living yet;
So well your words his noble vertues praise,
  That all both judge you to relate them true,
  And to possess them, Honour’d Margaret.
 
Note 1. Margaret Ley was daughter of Sir James Ley (1552–1629), Lord High Treasurer (1622), and Lord President of the council (1628), in which year he was created Earl of Marlborough. [back]
Note 2. Dishonest: the word is here used in the sense of the Latin inhonestus. [back]
Note 3. Chaeronea: where the combined forces of Thebes and Athens were destroyed by Philip of Macedon, B.C. 338. [back]
Note 4. Killed with report that Old man eloquent: Isocrates, the Athenian orator died four days after the disaster of Chaeronea; and as Ley died four days after the dissolution of Parliament, Milton makes a poetical comparison between the fate of the two men. [back]
 
 
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