A poem by John Milton, written in 1642. The army of Charles I, King of England, was moving to attack Parliament, and was only a day away from London, being encamped in Brentford.

Captain or Colonel

Captain or Colonel, or Knight in Arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless dores may sease,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms,
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms
That call Fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread 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 Conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when Temple and Towre
Went to the ground1: And the repeated air
Of sad Electra's Poet had the power
To save th' Athenian Walls from ruine bare2.

Notes

  1. When Alexander the Great attacked and destroyed Thebes, he spared the house of Pindar.
  2. Electra's Poet is a reference to Euripides, who wrote a tragedy based on the story of Electra. Legend has it that the chorus in the play so moved Lysander, who was attacking Athens, to spare it.

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