John Milton

1608 - 1674


Sonnet 23 (19)


ca. 1658



John Milton, Complete Poems and Major Prose

ed. Merritt Y. Hughes, New York: The Odyssey Press 1957






Sonnet XXIII


METHOUGHT I saw my late espoused Saint

Brought to me like Alcestis from the grave,

Whom Jove's great Son to her glad Husband gave,

Rescu'd from death by force though pale and faint.


Mine as whom washt from spot of child-bed taint,

Purification in the old Law did save,

And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint,

Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:


Her face was veil'd, yet to my fancied sight,

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shin'd

So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But O, as to embrace me she enclin'd,

I wak'd, she fled, and day brought back my night.