I read this yesterday, honest! I just haven't posted it until today.
Volume 4, pp. 7-18 . The main poem is "On the morning of Christ’s nativity" (“It was no season then for her/To wanton with the Sun, her lusty Paramour.”) Otherwise it’s sort of like “O Little Town of Bethlehem” peacufl was the night/Wherein the Prince of Light…)
But then he turns once again to Theodicy -- “And Heaven, as at some festival,/Will open wide the gates of her high palace-hall [a rhyme Milton would like to have back?]/ But wisest Fate says No/This must not yet be so;/The Babe lies yet in smiling infancy/That on the bitter cross/Must redeem our loss…The aged Earth, aghast/With terror of that blast…”)
It’s also interesting the mix of Classic and religious, “Apollo from his shrine/Can no more divine...” – he’s powerless, but he’s still there..
Also some workups of a couple of psalms…not better than the King James committee, in my opinion.
I thought they gave us an Xmas poem because we were still in the twelve days, but it’s because the first edition of Milton’s collected poems was published on this day in 1645. But then -- why the school-day poems, and not something like Lycidias? Is it because they expected Great-Grandfather to have read Lycidias? Don’t’ get me wrong – I liked the poem, because you forget Milton’s fruit salad of Classic learning and Puritan doctrine. Maybe it’s that, by giving you something you wouldn’t have gotten in high school, the HC gives you the feeling of going deeper, wider.