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.
 
When the Assault Was Intended to the City
By John Milton (1608–1674)
 
CAPTAIN 1 or Colonel, or Knight in Arms,
  Whose chance on these defenceless dores may sease,
  If ever deed of honour did thee please,
  Guard them, and him within protect from harms,
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms        5
  That call Fame on such gentle acts as these,
  And he can spred thy Name o’re Lands and Seas,
  What ever clime the Suns bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muses Bowre,
  The great Emathian 2 Conqueror 3 bid spare        10
  The house of Pindarus, when Temple and Towre
Went to the ground: And the repeated air
  Of sad Electra’s Poet 4 had the power
  To save th’ Athenian Walls from ruine bare.
 
Note 1. The assault expected was in November, 1642, after the indecisive skirmish at Edgehill, fought on October 23, when the Parliamentary army under Essex withdrew to Warwick, and the Royal army advanced along the Thames valley upon London. The king was opposed by a strong Parliamentary force of twenty-four thousand at Turnham Green, and withdrew to Colnbrook, and the city was saved from assault. [back]
Note 2. Emathian: Macedonia, from Emathius, the capitol city. [back]
Note 3. Conqueror: Alexander the Great, by whom Thebes was sacked, B.C. 333. The tradition is related in Pliny, Natural History, 7, 19, that after Alexander had conquered Thebes, the city in which Pindar had passed most of his life, he commanded that the poet’s house should be spared from destruction. It is supposed that Alexander’s clemency was not altogether out of regard for the poet, but in recognition of Pindar’s odes in praise of Alexander of Macedon, his ancestor. [back]
Note 4. Sad Electra’s poet: Euripides, whose tragedy of Electra was produced B.C. 415–13. [back]
 
 
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