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Nor consecrated mitre, from the same
Ill fate could save; my country's funeral flame
And Troy's cold ashes I attest, and call
To witness for myself, that in their fall
No foes, or death, nor danger I declin'd,
Did and deserv'd no less, my fate to find."

From this kind of concatenated metre he afterwards refrained, and taught his followers the art of concluding their sense in couplets, which has perhaps been with rather too much constancy pursued.

This passage exhibits one of those triplets which are not infrequent in this first essay, but which it is to be supposed his maturer judgment disapproved, since in his latter works he has totally forborne them.

His rhymes are such as seem found without difficulty by following the sense, and are for the most part as exact at least as those of other poets, though now and then the reader is shifted off with what he can get.

“O how transform'd!
How much unlike that Hector who return'd
Clad in Achilles' spoils !”

And again

“ From thence a thousand lesser poets sprung

Like petty princes from the fall of Rome.

Sometimes the weight of rhyme is laid upon a word too feeble to sustain it:

“Troy confounded falls
From all her glories : if it might have stood
By any power, by this right hand it shou'd.
- And though my outward state misfortune hath
Deprest thus low, it cannot reach my faith."

“ — Thus, by his fraud and our own faith o'ercome,

A feigned tear destroys us, against whom
Tydides nor Achilles could prevail,

Nor ten years' conflict, nor a thousand sail.” He is not very careful to vary the ends of his verses : in one passage the word die rhymes three couplets in six.

Most of these petty faults are in his first productions, when he was less skilful, or at least less dexterous in the use of words; and though they had been more frequent, they could only have lessened the grace, not the strength of his composition. He is one of the writers that improved our taste, and advanced our language, and whom we ought therefore to read with gratitude, though, having done much, he left much to do. 22

22 There is no one of our poets of that class (holiday-writers] that was more judicious than Sir John Denham.—Pope: Spence by Singer, p. 281.

This poem (Cooper's Hill] was first printed without the author's name in 1643. In that edition a great number of verses are to be found, since entirely omitted, and very many others since corrected and improved. Some few the author afterwards added; and in particular the four celebrated lines on the Thames:

O could I flow like thee, &c. All with admirable judgment, and the whole read together is a very strong proof of what Mr. Waller says:

Poets lose half the praise they should have got,
Could it be known what they discreetly blot.

POPE (Note in his copy of Denham):

Spence by Singer, p. 281.




Born in London — Educated at St. Paul's and at Cambridge — Writes

• Comus' and 'Lycidas' - Visits Italy -- Sees Grotius and Galileo Returns to London - His School'-Marries — Publishes his Poems Writes on Divorce — Sides with the Parliament against Charles I. Made Secretary of the Latin Tongue to the Parliament and Cromwell - Prints a Reply to Salmasius — Becomes Blind - Loses his Secretaryship — Is in Danger at the Restoration - Receives a Pardon - Publishes Paradise Lost' and · Paradise Regained ' - His Three Wives - His Children and Nephews - Dies in London, and is buried in St. Giles', Cripplegate — His Works and Character. The Life of Milton has been already written in so many forms, and with such minute inquiry, that I might perhaps more properly have contented myself with the addition of a few notes to Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgment, 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. Which side he took I know not : bis descendant inherited no veneration for the White Rose.

His grandfather, John (Richard ?], was keeper of the forest of Shotover, 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 for his support to the profession of a scrivener. He was å man eminent for his skill in music (many of his compositions being still to be found ?), and his reputation in his profession was such

1 Under-ranger only. When Milton's grandfather lived, the office of keeper was held almost invariably by a nobleman. The grandfather lived at Halton, five miles east of Oxford, as Aubrey had heard, or rather of Stanton St. John, as Mr. Hunter's researches would lead us to believe (Hilton: A Sheaf of Gleanings, 1850, p. 5).

? Milton's father has a madrigal for six voices among the numerous contriVOL. I.

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