John Milton - Sonnet 23 - Introduced by Sir John Gielgud - Read by Ian Richardson - From the 1984 series Six Centuries Of Verse
by John Milton (1608-1674)
Methought I saw my late espousèd saint
Brought to me like Alcestus from the grave,
Whom Jove's great Son to her glad husband gave,
Rescu'd from Death by force though pale and faint.
Mine as whom washed from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the Old Law did save,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veiled, yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness in her person shined
So clear as in no face with more delight.
But O, as to embrace me she inclined
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night.