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All this the world knows well; yet none knows well To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
Shaksfiere (129).
In his use of the sonnet form Milton departed alto­gether from the Shaksperian model, and reverted to the Italian type. He was well read in the litera­ture of Italy, and, recognising the melodious beauty of the sonnets of Petrarch and Dante, he adopted their arrangement of the rhymes in the quatrain, while varying it slightly in the sestet. He also departed from the archetype by allowing no break in the melody between the two halves of the poem, which gives to his productions a majestic sonority pre-eminently grand. In the two fine examples quoted below the rhymes of the sestet in the first vary from the original c, d, e ; ct d, e, being arranged cy d; c, d; cy d.
Avenge, O Lord, thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold ;
Even those who kept thy truth so pure of old, When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones, Forget not: in thy book record their groans,
Who were thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piedmontese, who rolled Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple Tyrant; that from there may grow A hundredfold, who having learnt thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe.