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and exactly pronouncing of all the languages of for you put it in my head by the question you whatever book he should, at one time or other, put to me at Chalfont, which otherwise I had think fit to peruse; viz. the Hebrew (and, I not thought of.” think, the Syriac,) the Greek, the Latin, the His last poetical offspring was his favourite. Italian, Spanish, and French. All which sorts He could not, as Elwood relates, endure to hear of books to be confined to read, without under- “ Paradise Lost” preferred to “ Paradise Restanding one word, must needs be a trial of pa- gained.” Many causes may vitiate a writer's tience almost beyond endurance. Yet it was judgment of his own works. On that which endured by both for a long time, though the has cost him much labour he sets a high value, irksomeness of this employment could not be because he is unwilling to think that he has been always concealed, but broke out more and more diligent in vain; what has been produced withinto expressions of uneasiness ; so that at length out toilsome efforts is considered with delight, as they were all, even the eldest also, sent out a proof of vigorous faculties and fertile inven. to learn some curious and ingenious sorts of tion; and the last work, whatever it be, has nemanufacture, that are proper for women to cessarily most of the grace of novelty. Milton, learn, particularly embroideries in gold or sil- however it happened, had this prejudice, and
had it to himself. In the scene of misery which this mode of in- To that multiplicity of attainments, and extellectual labour sets before our eyes, it is hard to tent of comprehension, that entitled this great determine whether the daughters or the father author to our veneration, may be added a kind are most to be lamented. A language not un- of humble dignity, which did not disdain the derstood can never be so read as to give pleasure, meanest services to literature. The epic poet, and very seldom so as to convey meaning. If the controvertist, the politician, having already few men would have had resolution to write descended to accommodate children with a books with such embarrassments, few likewise book of rudiments, now, in the last years of would have wanted ability to find some better his life, composed a book of logic for the iniexpedient.
tiation of students in philosophy; and pubThree years after his “ Paradise Lost” (1667) lished (1672,) Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio he published his “ History of England,” com- ad Petri Rami Methodum concinnata ; that is prising the whole fable of Geoffrey of Mon- " A new Scheme of Logic, according to the mouth, and continued to the Norman Invasion. Method of Ramus." I know not whether, even Why he should have ven the first part, which in this book, he did not intend an act of hostility he seems not to believe, and which is universally against the Universities ; for Ramus was one of rejected, it is difficult to conjecture. The style the first oppugners of the old philosophy, who is harsh; but it has something of rough vigour, disturbed with innovations the quiet of the which perhaps may often strike, though it can- schools. not please.
His polemical disposition again revived. He On this history the licenser again fixed his had now been safe so long, that he forgot his claws, and before he would transmit it to the fears, and published a “ Treatise of true Relipress tore out several parts. Some censures of gion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and the best the Saxon monks - were taken away, lest they Means to prevent the Growth of Popery." should be applied to the modern clergy; and a But this little tract is modestly written, with character of the Long Parliament and Assembly respectful mention of the Church of England, of Divines was excluded; of which the author and an appeal to the Thirty-nine Articles. His gave a copy to the Earl of Anglesey, and which, principle of toleration is, agreement in the sufbeing afterwards published, has been since in- ficiency of the Scriptures; and he extends it to serted in its proper place.
all who, whatever their opinions are, profess to The same year were printed, “ Paradise Re- derive them from the Sacred Books. The papists gained” and “ Samson Agonistes," a tragedy appeal to other testimonies, and are therefore, in written in imitation of the ancients, and never his opinion, not to be permitted the liberty of designed by the author for the stage. As these either public or private worship; for though poems were published by another bookseller, it they plead conscience, “ we have no warrant," has been asked whether Simmons was discour- he says, “to regard conscience which is not aged from receiving them by the slow sale of the grounded in Scripture." former. Why a writer changed his bookseller Those who are not convinced by his reasons, a hundred years ago, I am far from hoping to may be perhaps delighted with his wit. The discover. Certainly, he, who in two years sells term Roman Catholic is, he says, “one of the thirteen hundred copies of a volume in quarto, Pope's bulls; it is particular universal, or cabought for two payments of five pounds each, tholic schismatic.” has no reason to repent his purchase.
He has, however, something better. As the When Milton showed “ Paradise Regained”, best preservative against popery, he recommends to Elwood, “ This,” said he, “is owing to you;, the diligent perusal of the Scriptures, a duty,
from which he warns the busy part of mankind | strong drink of any kind, and fed without excess not to think themselves excused.
in quantity, and in his earlier years without deliHe now reprinted his juvenile poems, with cacy of choice. In his youth he studied late at some additions.
night; but afterwards changed his hours, and In the last year of his life he sent to the press, rested in bed from nine to four in the summer, seeming to take delight in publication, a collec- and five in the winter. The course of his day tion of Familiar Epistles in Latin ; to which, was best known after he was blind. When he first being too few to make a volume, he added some rose, he heard a chapter in the Hebrew Bible, academical exercises, which perhaps he perused and then studied till twelve ; then took some with pleasure, as they recalled to his memory exercise for an hour; then dined, then played the da;s of youth, but for which nothing but on the organ, and sang, or heard another sing, veneration for his name could now procure a then studied till six; then entertained his visitreader.
ors till eight; then supped, and, after a pipe of When he bad attained his sixty-sixth year, the tobacco and a glass of water, went to bed. gout, with which he had been long tormented, So is his life described : but this even tenor apprevailed over the enfeebled powers of nature. pears attainable only in colleges. He that lives He died by a quiet and silent expiration, about in the world will sometimes have the succession the 10th of November, 1674, at his house in of his practice broken and confused. Visitors, Bunhill-fields; and was buried next his father of whom Milton is represented to have had great in the chancel of St. Giles, at Cripplegate. His numbers, will come and stay unseasonably; bufuneral was very splendidly and numerously at- siness, of which every man has some, must be tended.
done when others will do it. Upon his grave there is supposed to have been
When he did not care to rise early, he had no memorial ; but in our time a monument has something read to him by his bedside ; perhaps been erected in Westminster Abbey “ To the at this time his daughters were employed. He Author of Paradise Lost,” by Mr. Benson, composed much in the morning, and dictated in who has in the inscription bestowed more words the day, sitting obliquely in an elbow-chair, with upon himself than upon Milton.
his leg thrown over the arm. When the inscription for the monument of
Fortune appears not to have had much of his Philips, in which he was said to be soli Miltono
In the civil wars he lent his personal essecundus, was exhibited to Dr. Sprat, then dean
tate to the parliament; but when after the conof Westminster, he refused to admit it; the test was decided, he solicited repayment, he met name of Milton was, in his opinion, too detest- not only with neglect, but sharp rebuke; and, able to be read on the wall of a building dedicat- having tired both himself and his friends, was ed to devotion. Atterbury, who succeeded him, given up to poverty and hopeless indignation, being author of the inscription, permitted its re- till he showed how able he was to do greater ception. “ And such has been the change of service. He was then made Latin secretary, public opinion,” said Dr. Gregory, from whom with two hundred pounds a year; and had a I heard this account, “ that I have seen erected thousand pounds for his “ Defence of the Peoin the church a statue of that man, whose name ple.” His widow, who, after his death, retirI once knew considered as a pollution of itsed to Namptwich, in Cheshire, and died about walls."
1729, is said to have reported that he lost two Milton has the reputation of having been in thousand pounds by entrusting it to a scrivener ; his youth eminently beautiful, so as to have and that, in the general depredation upon the been called the lady of his college. His hair, church, he had grasped an estate of about sixty which was of a light brown, parted at the fore-pounds a year belonging to Westminster Abbey, top, and hung down upon his shoulders, accord- which, like other sharers of the plunder of rebeling to the picture which he has given of Adam. lion, he was afterwards obliged to return. Two He was, however, not of the heroic stature, but thousand pounds, which he had placed in the rather below the middle size, according to Mr. Excise-office, were also lost. There is yet no Richardson, who mentions him as having nar- reason to believe that he was ever reduced to rowly escaped fronı being short and thick. He indigence. His wants, being few, were comwas vigorous and active, and delighted in the petently supplied. He sold his library before exercise of the sword, in which he is related to his death, and left his family fifteen hundred have been eminently skilful. His weapon was, pounds, on which his widow laid hold and only I believe, not the rapier, but the back-sword, of gave one hundred to each of his daughters. which he recommends the use in his book on His literature was unquestionably great. He education.
read all the languages which are considered His eyes are said never to have been bright; either as learned or polite ; Hebrew with its but, if he was a dexterous fencer, they must two dialects, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, have been once quick.
and Spanish. In Latin his skill was such as His domestic habits, so far as they are known, places him in the first rank of writers and were those of a severe student. He drank little critics; and he appears to have cultivated Italian
with uncommon diligence. The books in which probably a fault for which he condemned him. his daughter, who used to read to him, repre- self, and which he intended to correct, but that sented him as most delighting, after Homer, death, as too often happens, intercepted his which he could almost repeat, were Ovid's Me- reformation. tamorphoses and Euripides. His Euripides is His political notions were those of an acri. by Mr. Cradock's kindness, now in my hands : monious and surly republican, for which it is the margin is sometimes noted; but I have not known that he gave any better reason than found nothing remarkable.
that “a popular government was the most fruOf the English poets he set most value upon gal; for the trappings of a monarchy would set Spenser, Shakspeare, and Cowley. Spenser up an ordinary commonwealth.” It is surely was apparently his favourite; Shakspeare he very shallow policy that supposes money to be may easily be supposed to like, with every other the chief good : and even this, without considskilful reader; but I should not have expected ering that the support and expense of a court that Cowley, whose ideas of excellence were so is, for the most part, only a particular kind different from his own, would have had much of traffic, for which money is circulated withof his approbation. His character of Dryden, out any national impoverishment. who sometimes visited him, was, that he was Milton's republicanism was, I am afraid, a good rhymist, but no poet.
founded in an envious hatred of greatness, and His theological opinions are said to have been a sullen desire of independence; in petulance first Calvinistical ; and afterwards, perhaps impatient of control, and pride disdainful of suwhen he began to hate the presbyterians, to periority. He hated monarchs in the state, have tended towards Arminianism. In the and prclates in the church; for he hated all mixed questions of theology and government whom he was required to obey. It is to be he never thinks that he can recede far enough suspected, that his predominant desire was to from popery or prelacy: but what Baudius says destroy rather than establish, and that he felt of Erasmus seems applicable to him, magis habuit not so much the love of liberty as repugnance quod fugeret, quam quod sequeretur. He had de- to authority. termined rather what to condemn, than what It has been observed, that they who most to approve. He has not associated himself with loudly clamour for liberty do not most liberally any denomination of protestants; we know grant it. What we know of Milton's character, rather what he was not, than what he was. in domestic relations, is, that he was severe and He was not of the church of Rome; he was arbitrary. His family consisted of women; not of the church of England.
and there appears in his books something like a To be of no church is dangerous. Religion, Turkish contempt of females, as subordinate of which the rewards are distant, and which is and inferior beings. That his own daughters animated only by faith and hope, will glide by might not break the ranks, he suffered them to degrees out of the mind, unless it be invigorated be depressed by a mean and penurious education. and reimpressed by external ordinances, by He thought women made only for obedience, stated calls to worship, and the salutary influ- and man only for rebellion. ence of example. Milton, who appears to have had full conviction of the truth of Christianity, Of his family some account may be expected. and to have regarded the Holy Scriptures with His sister first married to Mr. Philips, after. the profoundest veneration, and to have been wards married to Mr. Agar, a friend of her untainted by any heretical peculiarity of opinion, first husband, who succeeded him in the and to have lived in a confirmed belief of the Crown-office. She had, by her first husband, immediate and occasional agency of Providence, Edward and John, the two nephews whom yet grew old without any visible worship. In Milton educated; and, by her second, two the distribution of his hours, there was no daughters. hour of prayer, either solitary, or with his His brother, Sir Christopher, had two daughhousehold; omitting public prayers, he omitted ters, Mary, and Catharine ;* and a son, all.
Thomas, who succeeded Agar in the CrownOf this omission the reason has been sought upon a supposition which ought never to be made, that men live with their own approba- • Both these persons were living at Holloway, tion, and justify their conduct to themselves. about the year 1734, and at that time possessed such Prayer certainly was not thought superfluous a degree of health and strength as enabled them on by him, who represents our first parents as
Sundays and prayer-days to walk a mile up a steep
hill to Highgate Chapel. One of them was ninetypraying acceptably in the state of innocence, and efficaciously after their fall. That he lived known to few, and their names were corrupted into
two at the time of her death. Their parentage was without prayer can hardly be affirmed; bis
Melton. By the Crown-office, mentioned in the two studies and meditations were an habitual last paragraphs, we are to understand the Crown. prayer. The neglect of it in his family was office of the Court of Chancery.-H.
office, and left a daughter living, in 1749, in the author's descendants; and to this he who Grosvenor-street.
has now attempted to relate his life had the honMilton had children only by his first wife; our of contributing a prologue. Anne, Mary, and Deborah. Anne, though deformed, married a master-builder, and died In the examination of Milton's poetical works, of her first child. Mary died single. De- I shall pay so much regard to time as to begin borah married Abraham Clark, a weaver in with his juvenile productions. For his early Spitalfields, and lived seventy-six years, to pieces he seems so have had a degree of fondness August 1727. This is the daughter of whom not very laudable; what he has once written he public mention has been made. She could resolves to preserve, and gives to the public an repeat the first lines of Homer, the Metamor- unfinished poem, which he broke off because he phoses, and some of Euripides, by having of was “nothing satisfied with what he had done,” ten read them. Yet here incredulity is ready supposing his readers less nice than himself. to make a stand. Many repetitions are neces. These preludes to his future labours are in Itasary to fix in the memory lines not understood ; lian, Latin, and English. Of the Italian I canand why should Milton wish or want to hear not pretend to speak as a critic; but I have heard them so often? These lines were at the begin- them commended by a man well qualified to dening of the poems. Of a book written in a
cide their merit. The Latin pieces are lusciously language not understood, the beginning raises elegant; but the delight which they afford is no more attention than the end; and as those rather by the exquisite imitation of the ancient that understand it know commonly the begin- writers, by the purity of the diction, and the ning best, its rehearsal will seldom be necessary. harmony of the numbers, than by any power of It is not likely that Milton required any passage invention, or vigour of sentiment. They are to be so much repeated as that his daughter not all of equal value; the elegies excel the odes; could learn it; nor likely that be desired the and some of the exercises on Gunpowder Treainitial lines to be read at all; nor that the son might have been spared. daughter, weary of the drudgery of pronouncing
The English poems, though they make no unideal sounds, would voluntarily commit them promises of “ Paradise Lost, "* have this evito memory.
dence of genius, that they have a cast original To this gentlewoman Addison made a present, and unborrowed. But their peculiarity is not and promised some establishment, but died soon excellence; if they differ from the verses of after. Queen Caroline sent her fifty guineas. others, they differ for the worse; for they are She had seven sons and three daughters ; but too often distinguished by repulsive harshness ; none of them had any children, except her son
the combinations of words are new, but they are Caleb and her daughter Elizabeth. Caleb went not pleasing; the rhymes and epithets seem to to Fort St. George, in the East Indies, and had be laboriously sought, and violently applied. two sons, of whom nothing is now known. Eli- That in the early parts of his life he wrote zabeth married Thomas Foster, a weaver in Spit- with much care appears from his manuscripts, alfields; and bad seven children, who all died. happily preserved at Cambridge, in which many She kept a petty grocer's or chandler's shop, first of his smaller works are found as they were first at Holloway, and afterwards in Cock-lane near written, with the subsequent corrections. Such Shoreditch Church. She knew little of her relics show how excellence is acquired; what we grandfather, and that little was not good. She hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first told of his harshness to his daughters, and his re
to do with diligence. fusal to have them taught to write; and, in
Those who admire the beauties of this great opposition to other accounts, represented him as poet sometimes force their own judgment into delicate, though temperate, in his diet.
false approbation of his little pieces, and prevail In 1750, April 4, “ Comus" was played for upon themselves to think that admirable which her benefit. She had so little acquaintance with is only singular. All that short compositions diversion or gayety, that she did not know what can commonly attain is neatness and elegance. was intended when a benefit was offered her. Milton never learned the art of doing little The profits of the night were only one hundred things with grace ; he overlooked the milder exand thirty pounds, though Dr. Newton brought cellence of suavity and softness; he was a lion a large contribution; and twenty pounds were that had no skill in dangling the kid. given by Tonson, a man who is to be praised as One of the poems on which much praise has often as he is named. Of this sum, one hundred been bestowed, is “ Lycidas;" of which the pounds were placed in the stocks, after some de- diction is harsh, the rhymes uncertain, and the bate between her and her husband in whose numbers unpleasing. What beauty there is we name it should be entered ; and the rest augmented their little stoek, with which they re
• With the exception of “ Comus,” in which, Dr. moved to Islington. This was the greatest be- Johnson afterwards says, may very plainly be disa pefaction that “ Paradise Lost" ever procured covered the dawn of twilight of “ Paradise Lust."-C.
must therefore seek in the sentiments and im- that reads them, reads them with pleasure. The ages.
It is not to be considered as the effusion Author's design is not, what Theobald has reof real passion; for passion runs not after re- marked, merely to show how objects derive their mote allusions and obscure opinions. Passion colours from the mind, by representing the operplucks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, nor ation of the same things upon the gay and the calls upon Arethuse and Mincius, nor tells of melancholy temper, or upon the same man as he rough satyrs and “ fauns with cloven heel.” is differently disposed: but rather how, among Where there is leisure for fiction there is little the successive variety of appearances, every disgrief.
position of mind takes hold on those by which it In this poem there is no nature, for there is may be gratified. po truth ; there is no art, for there is nothing The cheerful man hears the lark in the morn
Its form is that of a pastoral ; easy, vul- ing; the pensive man hears the nightingale in gar, and therefore disgusting ; whatever images the evening. The cheerful man sees the cock it can supply are long ago exhausted ; and its in- strut, and hears the horn and hounds echo in the herent improbability always forces dissatisfac- wood; then walks, not unseen, to observe the tion on the mind. When Cowley tells of Her- glory of the rising sun, or listen to the singing vey, that they studied together, it is easy to milk-maid, and view the labours of the ploughsuppose how much he must miss the companion man and the mower; then casts his eyes about of his labours, and the partner of his discoveries; him over scenes of smiling plenty, and looks up but what image of tenderness can be excited by to the distant tower, the residence of some fair these lines?
pursues real gayety through
a day of labour or of play, and delights himself We drove a field, and both together heard
at night with the fanciful narratives of superWhat time the grey fly winds her sultry horn,
stitious ignorance. Battening our flocks with the fresh dews at nigh."
The pensive man, at one time, walks unseen We know that they never drove a field, and to muse at midnight; and at another hears the that they had no flocks to batten ; and though it sullen curfew. If the weather drives him home, be allowed that the representation may be alle- he sits in a room lighted only by glowing emgorical, the true meaning is so uncertain and bers; or by a lonely lamp outwatches the north remote, that it is never sought, because it cannot star, to discover the habitation of separate souls,
and varies the shades of meditation, by contembe known when it is found.
plating the magnificent or pathetic scenes of traAmong the flocks, and copses, and flowers,
gic and epic poetry. When the morning comes, appear the heathen deities; Jove and Phæbus, Neptune and Æolus, with a long train of myth- into the dark trackless woods,* falls asleep by
a morning gloomy with rain and wind, he walks ological imagery, such as a college easily supplies. Nothing can less display knowledge, or enthusiasm expects some dream of prognostica
some murmuring water, and with melancholy less exercise invention, than to tell how a shep- tion, or some music played by aerial performers. herd has lost his companion, and must now feed
Both Mirth and Melancholy are solitary, silent his flocks alone, without any judge of his skill inhabitants of the breast, that neither receive nor in piping; and how one god asks another god transmit communication : no mention is therewhat has become of Lycidas, and how neither fore made of a philosophical friend, or a pleasant god can tell. He who thus grieves will excite
companion. The seriousness does not arise from no sympathy; he who thus praises will confer any participation of calamity, nor the gayety no honour.
from the pleasures of the bottle. This poem has yet a grosser fault. With
The man of cheerfulness, having exhausted the these trifling fictions are mingled the most awful and sacred truths, such as ought never to be pol- and mingles with scenes of splendour, gay as
country, tries what towered cities will afford, luted with such irreverent combinations. The shepherd likewise is now a feeder of sheep, and semblies, and nuptial festivities ; but he mingles
a mere spectator, as, when the learned comedier afterwards an ecclesiastical pastor, a superin- of Jonson, or the wild dramas of Shakspeare, tendent of a Christian flock. Such equivocations
are exhibited, he attends the theatre. are always unskilful ; but here they are indecent,
The pensive 'man never loses himself in and at least approach to impiety, of which, how- crowds, but walks the cloister, or frequents the ever, I believe the writer not to have been con- cathedral. Milton probably had not yet forscious.
saken the church. Such is the power of reputation justly acquired, that its blaze drives away the eye from nice examination. Surely no man could have * Here, as Warton justly observes, Johnson • has fancied that he read “Lycidas” with pleasure, confounded his description.” The melancholy man had he not known the Author.
does not go out while it rains, but waits till
the sun begins to fling Of the two pieces, “ L'Allegro" and "Il Pen
His flaming beams. seroso,” ! believe opinion is uniform ; every man
J. B G