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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Milton, Mellifluous streams

From Paradise Regained


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Page 2

There thou shalt hear and learn the secret power
Of harmony in tones and numbers hit
By voice or hand, and various-measur'd verse,
Aeolian charms and Dorian Lyric Odes,
And his who gave them breath, but higher sung,
Blind Melesigenes thence Homer call'd,
Whose Poem Phoebus challeng'd for his own.

Thence what the lofty grave Tragoedians taught
In Chorus or Iambic, teachers best
Of moral prudence, with delight receiv'd
In brief sententious precepts, while they treat
Of fate, and chance, and change in human life;
High actions, and high passions best describing:

Thence to the famous Orators repair,
Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence
Wielded at will that fierce Democracy,
Shook the Arsenal and fulmin'd over Greece,
To Macedon, and Artaxerxes' Throne;
To sage Philosophy next lend thine ear,
From Heaven descended to the low-rooft house
Of Socrates, see there his Tenement,
Whom well inspir'd the Oracle pronounc'd
Wisest of men; from whose mouth issu'd forth
Mellifluous streams that water'd all the schools
Of Academics old and new, with those
Surnam'd Peripatetics, and the Sect
Epicurean, and the Stoic severe;
These here revolve, or, as thou lik'st, at home,
Till time mature thee to a Kingdom's weight;
These rules will render thee a King complete
Within thyself, much more with Empire join'd.

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