Sonnet 13: Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song

By John Milton 1608–1674 John Milton

To Mr. H. Lawes, On His Airs

Harry, whose tuneful and well-measured song
      First taught our English music how to span
      Words with just note and accent, not to scan
      With Midas’ ears, committing short and long,
Thy worth and skill exempts thee from the throng,
      With praise enough for Envy to look wan;
      To after-age thou shalt be writ the man
      That with smooth air couldst humor best our tongue.
Thou honor’st Verse, and Verse must lend her wing
      To honor thee, the priest of Phœbus’ choir,
      That tun’st their happiest lines in hymn or story.
Dante shall give Fame leave to set thee higher
      Than his Casella, whom he wooed to sing,
      Met in the milder shades of Purgatory.

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Poet John Milton 1608–1674


Subjects Religion, Faith & Doubt, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Music

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 John  Milton


John Milton’s career as a writer of prose and poetry spans three distinct eras: Stuart England; the Civil War (1642-1648) and Interregnum, including the Commonwealth (1649-1653) and Protectorate (1654-1660); and the Restoration. When Elizabeth I, the so-called Virgin Queen and the last of the Tudors, died, James VI, King of Scots, was enthroned as Britain’s king. Titled James I, he inaugurated the House of Stuart. His son and . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, Faith & Doubt, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Music


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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