Sonnet XVI, by William Shakespeare

But wherefore do not you a mightier way
Make war upon this bloody tyrant, time,
And fortify yourself in your decay
With means more blessed than my barren rhyme?
Now stand you on the top of happy hours,
With many maiden gardens yet unset
With virtuous wish would bear your living flowers,
Much liker than your painted counterfeit.
So should the lines of life that life repair
Which this time's pencil or my pupil pen
Neither in inward worth nor outward fair
Can make you live yourself in eyes of men.
  To give away yourself keeps yourself still,
  And you must live drawn by your own sweet skill.

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John Milton's 16th sonnet was written in May of 1652. It was first published in 1694 in Letter's of State Written by Mr. John Milton. The sonnet is addressed to Lord Oliver Cromwell. It is a critique of Cromwell's government's policy of regulating and licensing priests.

On the proposals of certain ministers at the Committee for Propagation of the Gospel

Cromwell, our chief of men, who through a cloud
Not of war only, but detractions rude,
Guided by faith and matchless fortitude,
To peace and truth thy glorious way hast plough'd,
And on the neck of crowned Fortune proud
Hast rear'd God's trophies, and his work pursu'd,
While Darwen stream with blood of Scots imbru'd,
And Dunbar field, resounds thy praises loud,
And Worcester's laureate wreath; yet much remains
To conquer still: peace hath her victories
No less renown'd than war. New foes arise
Threat'ning to bind our souls with secular chains:
Help us to save free Conscience from the paw
Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw

Source:
http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poems/milton5.html

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