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declaring she will not be his mistress, as Mrs. Price, to go up and down the Privy-stairs, but will be owned publickly, and so she is.' PEPYS, Diary, iii. 208.

'Jan. 7, 1666-7. Lord Brouncker tells me that my Lady Denham is at last dead. Some suspect her poisoned.' Ib. p. 372.

In the Memoirs of Grammont, 1876, p. 207, Denham is accused of poisoning his wife. According to Aubrey, she was 'poysoned by the Co. of Roc. [Countess of Rochester] with chocolatte.' Brief Lives, i. 219. Butler, after charging him with fraud in his surveyorship, continues :'All this was done before those days began

In which you were a wise and happy man.

For who e'er liv'd in such a Paradise,

Until fresh straw and darkness op'd your eyes?'

Butler's Genuine Remains, i. 159, Eng. Poets, xiv. 202.

Lord Lisle wrote to Temple on Sept. 26, 1667 :-' If Sir John Denham had not the name of being mad, I believe in most companies he would be thought wittier than ever he was.' Temple's Works, 1757, i. 484.



HE Life of Milton has been already written in so many

1 forms and with such minute enquiry that I might per


haps more properly have contented myself with the addition of a few notes to Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgement 3, but that a new narrative was thought necessary to the uniformity of this edition.

JOHN MILTON was by birth a gentleman*, descended from the proprietors of Milton near Thame in Oxfordshire, one of whom forfeited his estate in the times of York and Lancaster 5.

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Milton's Life was begun in January 1779, and finished in six weeks.' Gent. Mag. 1785, p. 9.

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Malone wrote on April 5, 1779:'Johnson told me, we have had too many honeysuckle lives of Milton, and that his should be in another strain."' Hist. MSS. Com. Report xii. App. x. 345.

'Johnson's treatment of Milton,' wrote Cowper, 'is unmerciful to the last degree. A pensioner is not likely to spare a republican; and the Doctor, in order, I suppose, to convince his royal patron of the sincerity of his monarchical principles, has belaboured that great poet's character with the most industrious cruelty.' Southey's Cowper's Works, iii. 313.

Pattison after calling Johnson 'a literary bandit,' 'who conspired with one Lauder to stamp out Milton's credit' [Boswell's Johnson, i. 228], continues: 'He afterwards took ample revenge for the mortification of this exposure [of the conspiracy], in his Lives of the Poets, in which he employed all his vigorous powers and consummate skill to write down Milton. He undoubtedly dealt a heavy blow at the poet's reputation.' Pattison's Milton, pp. 217-9.

Landor, on the other hand, wrote: -'In Johnson's estimate [of Milton] I do not perceive the unfairness of which many have complained.' Imag. Conver. (Crump), iv. 243.

The following list of the Lives of Milton used by Johnson I have taken from Mr. C. H. Firth's edition of Johnson's Milton, Clarendon Press, 1888, p. 83:-Wood's Ath. Oxon. 1691-2 [Fasti Oxon. 1815, i. 479]; Letters of State. written by Milton, with Life, by Edward Phillips, 1694; Life, by John Toland, 1698; Explanatory Notes, &c., on Paradise Lost, with Life, by Jonathan Richardson, 1734; Milton's Prose Works, with Life, by Thomas Birch, 1738; Milton's Poems, with Life, by Thomas Newton, Bishop of Bristol, 1749-52.

Johnson might also have seen Francis Peck's New Memoirs of Milton, 1740, and Biog. Brit. p. 3106. On Aubrey's Brief Lives, ii. 60, Wood's account was based, whose Life of Milton, writes T. Warton, 'is the groundwork of all the Lives.' Milton's Poems, ed. T. Warton, 1791, p. 422.

3 Post, FENTON, 14.

'The arms that John Milton did use and seal his letters with were, Argent a spread eagle with two heads gules, legg'd and beak'd sable.' WOOD, Fasti Oxon. i. 480 n.

5 Johnson's authorities are Phillips (Milton's Letters of State, with Life, p. 5), and Wood (Fasti Oxon. i. 480), whose informant was Aubrey, who had his account from Milton and his relations. Milton's grandfather, writes Wood, 'was descended from

Which side he took I know not; his descendant inherited no veneration for the White Rose.

His grandfather John was keeper of the forest of Shotover, 3 a zealous papist who disinherited his son, because he had forsaken the religion of his ancestors.

His father, John, who was the son disinherited, had recourse 4 for his support to the profession of a scrivener. He was a man eminent for his skill in musick, many of his compositions being still to be found; and his reputation in his profession was such that he grew rich, and retired to an estate. He had probably more than common literature, as his son addresses him in one of his most elaborate Latin poems". He married a gentlewoman of the name of Caston 3, a Welsh family, by whom he had two sons, John the poet, and Christopher who studied the law, and adhered, as the law taught him, to the King's party, for which he was awhile persecuted; but having, by his brother's interest, obtained permission to live in quiet, he supported himself so honourably by chamberpractice, that soon after the accession of King James, he was knighted and made a Judge 5; but his constitution being too weak for business, he retired before any disreputable compliances became necessary.

He had likewise a daughter Anne, whom he married with 5

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pound for his property now sequestered in turn... His case was protracted for five years.' Ib. iii. 485, 632.

5 Phillips' Milton, p. 6. June 2, 1686. New judges, among which was Milton, a Papist (brother to that Milton who wrote for the Regicides), who presumed to take his place without passing the Test.' EVELYN, Diary, ií. 265.

He was appointed in April 1686, on the dismissal of four judges, ‘all violent Tories,' for refusing to support the King's pretensions to the dispensing power. [Post, RowE, 1.] 'It does not appear that he was ever formally reconciled to the Church of Rome.' MACAULAY, History, ii. 337.

Not a single dictum of his is recorded in any report book of his time.' HAWKINS, Johnson's Works, 1787, i. 83. See also post, MILTON, 172.

a considerable fortune to Edward Philips, who came from Shrewsbury, and rose in the Crown-office to be secondary1; by him she had two sons, John and Edward, who were educated by the poet', and from whom is derived the only authentick account of his domestick manners 3.

6 John, the poet, was born in his father's house, at the SpreadEagle in Bread-street Dec. 9, 1608, between six and seven in the morning. His father appears to have been very solicitous about his education5; for he was instructed at first by private tuition under the care of Thomas Young, who was afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburgh, and of whom we have reason to think well, since his scholar considered him as worthy of an epistolary Elegy ".


He was then sent to St. Paul's School, under the care of Mr. Gill", and removed, in the beginning of his sixteenth year, to Christ's College in Cambridge, where he entered a sizar, Feb. 12, 16248.

'Phillips' Milton, p. 7. He was in the Crown Office of the Court of Chancery. Johnson's Works, 1787, ii. 144. He died in 1631. Masson's Milton, i. 104; ii. 98. For her second husband see post, MILTON, 171.

2 Post, MILTON, 35, 42, 171. 3 See Appendix J.

4 Wood's Fasti Oxon. i. 480; Aubrey's Brief Lives, ii. 62. For a description of Bread Street see Masson's Milton, i. 41.

Milton's Bible, with the entries, mostly in his own hand, of the birth of himself and others of his family, &c., is in the British Museum (Add. MS. 32,310). N. & Q. 7 S. vi. 253.

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5 After I had for my first years, by the ceaseless diligence and care of my father (whom God recompense), been exercised to the tongues and some sciences, as my age would suffer,' &c. MILTON, Works, i. 118. 'Pater me puerulum humaniorum literarum studiis destinavit.' Ib. v. 230.

"When I was yet a child, no childish play

To me was pleasing: all my mind

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'First led by him through sweet Aonian shade,

Each sacred haunt of Pindus I

And, favoured by the Muse whom
I implored,

Thrice on my lip the hallowed
stream I poured.'

Southey's Cowper, x. 138. See also Masson's Milton, i. 68; post, MILTON, 46 n.


7 Alexander Gill, 'a noted Latinist, I critic and divine.' Ath. Oxon. ii. 597. For 'his whipping-fitts' see Aubrey's Brief Lives, i. 262. 1628 his son, an usher in the school, for saying in Oxford, among other things, 'that our King was fitter tó stand in a Cheapside shop, with an apron before him, and say What lack you ? than to govern the kingdom,' was sentenced in the Star Chamber 'to lose one ear at London, and the other at Oxford, and to be fined at 2,000 lib.' On the father's petition the fine was mitigated, and the ears spared. Ath. Oxon. iii. 43. For Milton's praise of the son's 'carmina sane grandia' see Works, vi. 110. See also Masson's Milton, i. 78–85.

8 Feb. 12, 1625 N.S. A sizar at Cambridge, like a servitor at Oxford, was supported and educated in return

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He was at this time eminently skilled in the Latin tongue; 8 and he himself by annexing the dates to his first compositions, a boast of which the learned Politian had given him an example, seems to commend the earliness of his own proficiency to the notice of posterity'; but the products of his vernal fertility have been surpassed by many, and particularly by his contemporary Cowley. Of the powers of the mind. it is difficult to form an estimate; many have excelled Milton in their first essays who never rose to works like Paradise Lost.

At fifteen, a date which he uses till he is sixteen, he translated 9 or versified two Psalms, 114 and 1363, which he thought worthy of the publick eye, but they raise no great expectations; they would in any numerous school have obtained praise, but not excited wonder.

Many of his elegies appear to have been written in his 10 eighteenth year, by which it appears that he had then read the Roman authors with very nice discernment. I once heard Mr. Hampton, the translator of Polybius, remark, what I think is true, that Milton was the first Englishman who, after the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses with classick elegance". If any exceptions can be made they are very few; Haddon" and Ascham, the pride of Elizabeth's reign, however they may have succeeded in prose, no sooner attempt verses than they provoke derision. If we produced anything worthy of


for menial services. 'There is nothing of eminent and illustrious,' wrote Cowley, 'to be expected from low, sordid and hospital-like education. Eng. Poets, ix. 148. See also Boswell's Johnson, v. 122, and John. Misc. ii. 88.

Milton was not a sizar. He went, at his owne chardge only, to Christ's College.' Aubrey's Brief Lives, ii. 63. He entered as 'pensionarius minor'-a commoner. Pensionarius

maior was a fellow commoner. See Masson's Milton, i. 111; post, HALIFAX, 4 n.


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Post, MILTON, 153.

Ante, COWLEY, 6; post, POPE,

3 Metrical psalmody was much cultivated in this age of fanaticism.' T. Warton's Milton's Poems, p. 370.

Of Milton's version of Psalm 136

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