Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

and more pointed; but he delights himself with teasing his adversary as much as with confuting him. He makes a foolish allusion of Salmasius, whose doctrine he considers as servile and unmanly, to the stream of Salmacis, which whoever entered left half his virility behind him. Salmasius was a Frenchman, and was unhappily married to a scold. 'Tu es Gallus,' says Milton, 'et, ut aiunt, nimium gallinaceus 3. But his supreme pleasure is

to tax his adversary, so renowned for criticism, with vitious Latin. He opens his book with telling that he has used Persona, which, according to Milton, signifies only a Mask, in a sense not known to the Romans, by applying it as we apply Person. But as Nemesis is always on the watch, it is memorable that he has enforced the charge of a solecism by an expression in itself grossly solecistical, when, for one of those supposed blunders, he says, as Ker, and I think some one before him, has remarked, 'propino te grammatistis tuis vapulandum" From vapulo, which has a passive sense, vapulandus can never be derived. No man forgets his original trade: the rights of nations and of kings sink into questions of grammar, if grammarians discuss them".

nation, speaking for itself.' Letters, i. 191.

See Masson's Milton, iv. 263, for Milton's 'Latin Billingsgate.' Atterbury (Corres. iii. 452) said of Sir Thomas More's answer to Luther that 'the author had the best knack of any man in Europe at calling bad names in good Latin.'

I Works, v. 42; Ovid's Metam. iv. 285.

The fashion of aspersing the birth and condition of an adversary seems to have lasted from the time of the Greek orators to the learned grammarians of the last age.' GIBBON, Decline and Fall, i. 139 n.

'Parmi tout le bruit que lui faisaient sa femme, ses enfans et ses domestiques, il ne laissait pas de composer dans un coin de sa chambre, aussi tranquillement que s'il eût été seul dans son cabinet.' Ménagiana, v. 386. See also ib. p. 408.

Works, v. 118.

4 Ib. v. 41.

5 Solecistical is not in Johnson's Dictionary.

66 ... non tam mihi, neque enim est otium, quam ipsis tuis grammati

[blocks in formation]

stis poenas dabis ; quibus ego te de-
ridendum et vapulandum propino.'
Works, v. 41.
'Pinguis

soloecismus Miltono excidit, ubi Salmasium ob soloecismum exagitavit. Eum notavit Vavassor, De Epig. 22, 302 [De Epigrammate Liber, by Francis Vavasseur, 1678, p. 301].' Selectarum de Lingua Latina Observationum Libri Duo. John Ker. 1708-9, vol. ii, under Vapulandum.

'Milton, in his fifth Elegy, wrote in the first edition, 1645, "quotannis," with the last syllable short. For this Salmasius did not spare him. In the second edition of 1673 the line (30) was altered by the substitution of "perennis," as it now stands.' BISHOP WORDSWORTH, Classical Review, i. 47.

7'So some polemics use to draw their swords

Against the language only and the
words:

As he who fought at barriers with
Salmasius

Engaged with nothing but the style
and phrases;

68

69

Milton when he undertook this answer was weak of body and dim of sight'; but his will was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds 3, and his book was much read*; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention: and he who told every man that he was equal to his King could hardly want an audience.

That the performance of Salmasius was not dispersed with equal rapidity or read with equal eagerness, is very credible. He taught only the stale doctrine of authority and the unpleasing duty of submission; and he had been so long not only the monarch but the tyrant of literature that almost all mankind were delighted to find him defied and insulted by a new name, not yet considered as any one's rival. If Christina 5, as is said, commended the Defence of the people, her purpose must be to torment Salmasius, who was then at her Court; for neither her civil station nor her natural character could dispose her to favour the doctrine, who was by birth a queen and by temper despotick".

And counted breaking Priscian's
head a thing

More capital than to behead a King.
BUTLER, Genuine Remains, 1759, i.

220.

In 1654 Milton wrote that his sight began to fail about ten years earlier, and that the left eye became useless some years before the right. Works, vi. 128. By the spring of 1652 he was blind. Masson's Milton, iv. 427.

* See Works, v. 215, for the fine passage in which he says that, though he was warned that to persist in his 'noble task' would make him blind, he went on; and Sonnets, No. xxii; also Morley's Crit. Misc. iii. 160; post, MILTON, 159 n.; GRAY, 39.

3 Toland (p. 102) is the authority for this. Milton describes himself as 'nulla ambitione, lucro, aut gloria ductus.' Works, v. 215. See also ib. vii. 336.

In the Council Order Book a scored-out entry of June 18, 1651, shows that the Council voted its thanks and a reward to Milton. In the substituted entry the reward is omitted, but the thanks are enlarged.

Milton, no doubt, refused to accept the money. Masson's Milton, iv. 321. See post, MILTON, 162.

'Of which all Europe rings from

side to side.' Sonnets, No. xxii. On May 18 Heinsius wrote from Leyden :-'We have seen already four editions of the book, besides the English one; moreover a fifth edition, as Elzevir tells me, is being hurried through the press at the Hague. I see also a Dutch translation hawked about.' Masson's Milton, iv. 318. For its widespread reputation, see ib. iv. 637 and Works, v. 200.

5 Queen of Sweden, daughter of Gustavus Adolphus. She gathered scholars from all parts to her Court. Masson's Milton, iv. 268.

6 Isaac Vossius wrote from Stockholm that 'in the presence of many she spoke highly of the genius of the man [Milton], and his manner of writing.' Ib. iv. 317.

7

Milton, addressing her, wrote:'Quod enim erat in tyrannos dictum, negabas id ad te ullo modo pertinere.' Works, v. 225; vi. 395; Masson's Milton, iv. 345.

The lines Ad Christinam, &c., in

That Salmasius was, from the appearance of Milton's book, 70 treated with neglect, there is not much proof'; but to a man so long accustomed to admiration, a little praise of his antagonist would be sufficiently offensive, and might incline him to leave Sweden; from which, however, he was dismissed, not with any mark of contempt, but with a train of attendance scarce less than regal',

He prepared a reply, which, left as it was imperfect, was 71 published by his son in the year of the Restauration 3. In the beginning, being probably most in pain for his Latinity, he endeavours to defend his use of the word persona; but, if I remember right, he misses a better authority than any that he has found, that of Juvenal in his fourth satire ;

-Quid agis [agas] cum dira & fœdior omni
Crimine Persona est1?'

As Salmasius reproached Milton with losing his eyes in the 72 quarrel, Milton delighted himself with the belief that he had shortened Salmasius's life; and both perhaps with more malignity than reason. Salmasius died at the Spa, Sept. 3, 16535; and, as controvertists are commonly said to be killed by their last dispute, Milton was flattered with the credit of destroying him.

Cromwell had now dismissed the parliament by the authority 73 of which he had destroyed monarchy, and commenced monarch himself under the title of protector, but with kingly and more

Icluded in almost all the editions of
Milton's Poems (Epig. xiii), are, in
Professor Masson's opinion, by Mar-
vell. Masson's Milton, iv. 624.

Milton, speaking of the effect of his Defensio on the queen, says that Salmasius departing 'hoc unum in dubio permultis relinqueret, honoratiorne advenerit an contemptior abierit.' Works, v. 201; vi. 366. Symmons quotes Needham's Mercurius Politicus as stating that 'the Queen cashiered Salmasius her favour as a pernicious parasite and a promoter of tyranny.' ~ Ib. vii. 338.

2 In the first edition the sentence ends with 'Sweden.' In the addition Johnson is answering Phillips, who (p. 32) says that Salmasius' was dismissed with so cold and slight an adieu that, after a faint dying reply, he was glad to have recourse to death.'

See also Toland's Life of Milton, p. 104. For his treatment in Sweden see Masson's Milton, iv. 344.

3 Ib. vi. 203.

4

JUVENAL, Sat. iv. 14. Salmasius does not quote Juvenal. See his Ad Ioannem Miltonum Responsio, 1660, p. 31.

5 Masson's Milton, iv. 539.

'Non enim, ut ille mihi caecitatem, sic ego illi mortem vitio vertam. Quanquam sunt qui nos etiam necis eius reos faciunt, illosque nostros nimis acriter strictos aculeos.' Works, v. 202; vi. 367; Masson's Milton, iv. 585.

'If any one thinks that classical studies of themselves cultivate the taste and the sentiments, let him look into Salmasius's Responsio. Pattison's Milton, p. 108.

than kingly power. That his authority was lawful, never was pretended; he himself founded his right only in necessity: but Milton, having now tasted the honey of publick employment, would not return to hunger and philosophy, but, continuing to exercise his office under a manifest usurpation, betrayed to his power that liberty which he had defended. Nothing can be more just than that rebellion should end in slavery: that he, who had justified the murder of his king, for some acts which to him seemed unlawful, should now sell his services and his flatteries to a tyrant, of whom it was evident that he could do nothing lawful".

74 He had now been blind for some years; but his vigour of intellect was such that he was not disabled to discharge his office of Latin secretary, or continue his controversies: his mind was too eager to be diverted, and too strong to be subdued.

75

76

About this time his first wife died in childbed, having left him three daughters3. As he probably did not much love her he did not long continue the appearance of lamenting her, but after a short time married Catherine, the daughter of one captain Woodcock of Hackney; a woman doubtless educated in opinions like his own. She died within a year of childbirth, or some distemper that followed it; and her husband has honoured her memory with a poor sonnet.

The first Reply to Milton's Defensio Populi was published in 1651, called Apologia pro Rege et Populo Anglicano, contra Johannis Polypragmatici (alias Miltoni [Angli]) defensionem

'Milton had private means of his own, as Johnson knew. Post, MILTON, 104, 162.

2 The Whig Addison attacks Milton scarcely less severely than the Tory Johnson

'Oh! had the poet ne'er profaned his
pen

To varnish o'er the guilt of faithless
men,' &c.

Addison's Works, i. 25. Milton, though 'an ardent Oliverian,' nevertheless, in his Defensio Secunda, 'praised most heartily after Cromwell,' men who, as republicans, were opposed to the Protector. Masson's Milton, iv. 605. See also ib. iv. 608-15; Works, v. 259; vi. 436, for his 'appeals to Cromwell not to use

[blocks in formation]

destructivam Regis et Populi [Anglicani]. Of this the author was not known; but Milton and his nephew Philips, under whose name he published an answer so much corrected by him that it might be called his own 2, imputed it to Bramhal3, and, knowing him no friend to regicides, thought themselves at liberty to treat him as if they had known what they only suspected.

Next year appeared Regii Sanguinis clamor ad Cælum. Of 77 this the author was Peter du Moulin, who was afterwards prebendary of Canterbury 5; but Morus, or More, a French minister 6, having the care of its publication, was treated as the writer by Milton in his Defensio Secunda', and overwhelmed by such violence of invective that he began to shrink under the tempest, and gave his persecutors the means of knowing the true author 3. Du Moulin was now in great danger, but Milton's pride operated against his malignity 10; and both he and his friends were more willing that Du Moulin should escape than that he should be convicted of mistake ".

ΤΟ

For the book see Masson's Milton, iv. 347, and for John Rowland, the author, see ib. p. 536.

2

Phillips' Milton, p. 32. The book is entitled Joannis Philippi Angli Responsio ad Apologiam Anonymi cuiusdam Tenebrionis pro Rege et Populo Anglicano Infantissimam. Works, v. 351. Phillips was nineteen. Ib. vii. 341. It was published on Dec. 243

1652. Masson's Milton, iv. 470. Evelyn recorded on July 28, 1660:-'I saluted my old friend, the Archbishop of Armagh, formerly of Londonderry [Dr. Bramhall] Diary, i. 358. Bramhall complained of 'that silly book' being ascribed to him. Masson's Milton, iv. 348, 536 n. He is described as 'ab ineunte aetate homo discinctus et ebriosus; ... inedia pressus et latrantis stomachi instinctu, nihil sibi utilius esse duxit quam ut, sacerdotis munere

[ocr errors]

seeing my bantling laid at another man's door, and the blind and furious Milton fighting and slashing the air, like the hoodwinked horse-combatants in the old circus, not knowing by whom he was struck and whom he struck in return.'

Alexander More or Moir, the son of a Presbyterian Scot the Principal of a French Protestant College, had held professorships at Geneva and Middelburg, and now held one at Amsterdam. Ib. iv. 459, 627.

7 Ioannis Miltoni Angli pro Populo Anglicano Defensio Secunda: Contra Infamem Libellum Anonymum cui titulus Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Coelum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos. It was published on May 30, 1654. Ib. iv. 467, 580; Works, v. 197. For Morus's reply in October see Masson's Milton, v. 150, and for his Supplementum in ib. p. 192.

indutus, Ecclesiam, tunc quidem 1655 Seerus was almost chivalrously lupis omnibus patentem, invaderet.' Works, v. 353.

It was probably published in Aug. 1652.' Masson's Milton, iv. 453. 5 He was the son of a French Protestant theologian. Ib. v. 215; vi. 213. See also ib. v. 220, where he writes:-'I looked on in silence, and not without a soft chuckle, at

reticent' about the author's name. Ib. v. 222.

? See his Poematum Libelli Tres, p. 141, quoted ib. v. 219.

10 It was hard for Milton ever to admit he was wrong, even in a trifle.' Ib. v. 209.

"His sharp writing against Alex

« PreviousContinue »