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 Mr. Lawrence
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
LAWRENCE 1 of vertuous Father vertuous Son,
  Now that the Fields are dank, and ways are mire,
  Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
  Help wast a sullen day; what may be won
From the hard Season gaining: time will run        5
  On smoother, till Favonius 2 re-inspire
  The frozen earth; and cloth in fresh attire
  The Lillie and Rose, that neither sow’d nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
  Of Attick tast, with Wine, whence we may rise        10
  To hear the Lute well toucht, or artfull voice
Warble immortal Notes and Tuskan Ayre? 3
  He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise.
 
Note 1. The Lawrence to whom this sonnet is addressed is one of the sons, presumably the second, Henry (Masson), of Henry Lawrence, President of Cromwell’s Council, 1654. [back]
Note 2. Favonius: the south-west wind which ushers in the spring. [back]
Note 3. What neat repast … Tuscan ayre: These lines are a description of Milton’s domestic life, as Pattison has recorded it in The Sonnets of John Milton, p. 210: “Milton commonly studied till twelve, then used some exercise for an hour, then dined. After dinner came music, when he either sung himself or made his wife sing, to accompany him on the organ or bass viol. After music he studied again till six; then entertained his visitors till eight, when came a light supper. In his diet he was temperate, desiring it light and choice. Of wine he drank little; but after a pipe of tobacco and a glass of water retired to bed at nine.” [back]
 
 
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