Foul canker of fair virtuous action,Vile blaster of the freshest blooms on earth,Envys abhorrèd child, Detraction,I here expose, to thy all-tainting breath,The issue of my brain: snarl, rail, bark, bite,Know that my spirit scorns Detraction's spite.
Alas! what boots it with incessant care To tend the homely slighted shepherd's trade, And strictly meditate the thankless Muse? Were it not better done as others use, To sport with Amaryllis in the shade, Or with the tangles of Neaera's hair? Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise (That last infirmity of noble mind) To scorn delights, and live laborious days; But the fair guerdon when we hope to find, And think to burst out into sudden blaze, Comes the blind Fury with th' abhorrèd shears, And slits the thin-spun life.john milton