1] Sir Thomas Fairfax (1611-1671) was made general of the re-modelled Parliamentary army in 1645 and was in command at Naseby. On the outbreak of the "Second Civil War" or new Royalist rising in 1648, Fairfax laid siege to Colchester, which had been seized for the kind, and after a stubborn defence, captured it, August 28, 1648. It appears that the sonnet was composed after the siege of Colchester had begun, and before the battle of Preston, August 17, the false North being still undefeated when Milton wrote.
7] Hydra: the many-headed monster slain by Hercules.
8] imp: strengthen by grafting in new feathers.
Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department
of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.
Original text: John Milton, Letters of State Written by Mr. John Milton (London, 1694). [With Edward Phillips' life of Milton.] B-10 702 Fisher Rare Book Library
First publication date: 1694
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.369; RPO 1996-2000.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/24
Other poems by John Milton