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About the time that the army was new-modelled, (1645,) he removed to a smaller house in Holborn, which opened backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields. He is not known to have published any thing afterwards till the King's death, when, finding his murderers condemned by the presbyterians, he wrote a treatise to justify it, and to compose the minds of the people.
no settlement; if every murmurer at government | be not much mistaken, somebody at some time may diffuse discontent, there can be no peace; designed him for a soldier. and if every sceptic in theology may teach his follies, there can be no religion. The remedy against these evils is to punish the authors; for it is yet allowed that every society may punish, though not prevent, the publication of opinions which that society shall think pernicious; but this punishment, though it may crush the author, promotes the book; and it seems not more reasonable to leave the right of printing unrestrained because writers may be afterwards censured, than it would be to sleep with doors unbolted because by our laws we can hang a thief. But, whatever were his engagements, civil or domestic, poetry was never long out of his thoughts.
About this time (1645) a collection of his Latin and English poems appeared, in which the "Allegro" and "Penseroso," with some others, were first published.
He had taken a larger house in Barbican for the reception of scholars; but the numerous rclations of his wife, to whom he generously granted refuge for a while, occupied his rooms. In time however, they went away: "and the house again," says Philips, " now looked like a house of the muses only, though the accession of scholars was not great. Possibly his having proceeded so far in the education of youth may have been the occasion of his adversaries calling him pedagogue and schoolmaster; whereas it is well known he never set up for a public school, to teach all the young fry of a parish; but only was willing to impart his learning and knowledge to his relations, and the sons of gentlemen who were his intimate friends, and that neither his writings nor his way of teaching ever savoured in the least of pedantry."
Thus laboriously does his nephew extenuate what cannot be denied, and what might be confessed without disgrace. Milton was not a man who could become mean by a mean employment. This, however, his warmest friends seem not to have found; they therefore shift and palliate. He did not sell literature to all comers at an open shop; he was a chambermilliner, and measured his commodities only to his friends.
Philips, evidently impatient of viewing him in this state of degradation, tells us that it was not long continued: and, to raise his character again, has a mind to invest him with military splendour: "He is much mistaken," he says, "if there was not about this time a design of making him an adjutant-general in Sir William Waller's army. But the new-modelling of the army proved an obstruction to the design." An event cannot be set at a much greater distance than by having been only designed about some time, if a man be not much mistaken. Milton hall be a pedagogue no longer: for, if l'hilips
He made some "Remarks on the Articles of Peace between Ormond and the Irish Rebels." While he contented himself to write, he perhaps did only what his conscience dictated; and if he did not very vigilantly watch the influence of his own passions, and the gradual prevalence of opinions, first willingly admitted, and then habitually indulged; if objections, by being overlooked, were forgotten, and desire superinduced conviction; he yet shared only the common weakness of mankind, and might be no less sincere than his opponents. But as faction seldom leaves a man honest, however it might find him, Milton is suspected of having interpolated the book called "Icon Basilike," which the council of state, to whom he was now made Latin secretary, employed him to censure, by inserting a prayer taken from Sidney's " Arcadia," and imputing it to the King; whom he charges, in his "Iconoclastes," with the use of this prayer, as with a heavy crime, in the indecent language with which prosperity had emboldened the advocates for rebellion to insult all that is venerable or great: "Who would have imagined so little fear in him of the true all-seeing Deity-as, immediately before his death, to pop into the hands of the grave bishop that attended him, as a special relic of his saintly exercises, a prayer stolen word for word from the mouth of a heathen woman praying to a heathen god ?"
The papers which the King gave to Dr. Juxon on the scaffold the regicides took away, so that they were at least the publishers of this prayer; and Dr. Birch, who had examined the question with great care, was inclined to think them the forgers. The use of it by adaptation was innocent; and they who could so noisily censure it, with a little extension of their malice, could contrive what they wanted to
King Charles the Second, being now sheltered in Holland, employed Salmasius, professor of polite learning at Leyden, to write a defence of his father and of monarchy; and, to excite his industry, gave him, as was reported, a hundred Jacobuses. Salmasius was a man of skill in languages, knowledge of antiquity, and sagacity of emendatory criticism, almost exceeding all hope of human attainment; and having, by excessive praises, been confirmed in great confidence of himself, though he probably had not
Inuch considered the principles of society, or the rights of government, undertook the employment without distrust of his own qualifications; and, as his expedition in writing was wonderful, in 1649 published "Defensio Regis."
is said, commended the Defence of the People, her purpose must be to torment Salmasius, who was then at 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 despotic.
That Salmasius was, from the appearance of Milton's book, 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 scarcely less than regal.
To this Milton was required to write a sufficient answer; which he performed (1651) in such a manner, that Hobbes declared himself unable to decide whose language was best, or whose arguments were worst. In my opinion, Milton's periods are smoother, neater, 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 un- He prepared a reply, which, left as it was inmanly, to the stream of Salmasius, which, who- perfect, was published by his son in the year of ever entered, left half his virility behind him. the Restoration. In the beginning, being proSalmasius was a Frenchman, and was unhappi-bably most in pain for his Latinity, he endealy married to a scold. Tu es Gallus, says Mil-vours to defend his use of the word persona; but, ton, et, ut aiunt, nimium gallinaceus. But his if I remember right, he misses a better authority supreme pleasure is to tax his adversary, so re-than any that he has found, that of Juvenal in nowned for criticisms, with vicious Latin. He his fourth satire : opens his book with telling that he has used persona, which according to Milton, signfies 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 va-monly said to be killed by their last dispute, Milpuladum.* From vapulo, which has a passive ton was flattered with the credit of destroying sense, vapulandus can never be derived. No him. man forgets his original trade; the rights of nations, and of kings, sink into questions of grammar, if grammarians discuss them.
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, 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.
-Quid agas, cum dira et fœdior omni
As Salmasius reproached Milton with losing his eyes in the 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, 1653; and as controvertists are com
Cromwell had now dismissed the parliament by the authority of which he had destroyed monarchy, and commenced monarch himself, under the title of Protector, but with kingly and more 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 public 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 That the performance of Salmasius was not more just than that rebellion should end in sladispersed with equal rapidity, or read with equal very; that he who had justified the murder of eagerness, is very credible. He taught only the his king, for some acts which seemed to him unstale doctrine of authority, and the unpleasing lawful, should now sell his services and his flatduty of submission, and he had been so long notteries, to a tyrant, of whom it was evident that 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 Christiana, as
he could do nothing lawful.
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.
About this time his first wife died in child
bed, having left him three daughters. As he probably did not much love her, he did not long
continue the appearance of lamenting her; but after a short time married Catharine, the daughter of one Captain Woodcock, of Hackney; a woman doubtless educated in opinions like his own. She died, within a year, of child-birth, or some distemper that followed it; and her husband honoured her memory with a poor
mer government," We were left," says Milton, " to ourselves: the whole national interest fell into your hands, and subsists only in your abilities. To your virtue, overpowering and resistless, every man gives way, except some who, without equal qualifications, aspire to equal honours, who envy the distinctions of merit greater than their own, or who have yet to learn, that The first reply to Milton's "Defensio Populi" in the coalition of human society nothing is was published in 1651, called "Apologia pro more pleasing to God, or more agreeable to Rege et Populo Anglicano, contra Johannis Poly-reason, than that the highest mind should have pragmatici (alias Miltoni) defensionem destruc- the sovereign power. Such, Sir, are you by tivam Regis et Populi." 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, imputed it to Bramhal; 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 Cœlum." Of this the author was Peter du Moulin, who was afterwards prebendary of Canterbury; but Morus, or More, a French minister, 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. Du Moulin was now in great danger but Milton's pride operated against his malignity; and both he and his friends were more willing that Du Moulin should escape than that he should be convicted of mistake.
In this second defence he shows that his eloquence is not merely satirical; the rudeness of his invective is equalled by the grossness of his flattery. "Deserimer, Cromuelle, tu solus superes, ad te summa nostrarum rerum rediit, in te solo consistit, insuperabili tuæ virtuti cedimus cuncti, nemine vel obloquente, nisi qui a quales inæqualis ipse honores sibi quærit, aut digniori concessos invidet, aut non intelligit nihil esse in societate hominum magis vel Deo gratum, vel rationi consentaneum, esse in civitate nihil æquius, nihil utilius, quam potiri rerum dignissimum. Eum te agnoscunt omnes, Cromuelle, ea tu civis maximus et gloriosissimus,* dux publici consilii, exercituum fortissimorum imperator, pater patriæ gessisti. Sic tu spontanea bonorum omnium et animitus missa voce salutaris." Cæsar when he assumed the perpetual dictatorship, had not more servile or more elegant flattery. A translation may show its servility; but its elegance is less attainable. Having exposed the unskilfulness or selfishness of the for
* It may be doubted whether gloriosissimus be here used with Milton's boasted purity. Res glorio su is an illustrious thing; ut vir gloriosus is com monly a braggart, as in miles gloriosus.-Dr. J.
general confession; such are the things achieved by you, the greatest and most glorious of our countrymen, the director of our public councils, the leader of unconquered armies, the father of your country; for by that title does every good man hail you with sincere and voluntary praise."
Next year, having defended all that wanted defence, he found leisure to defend himself. He undertook his own vindication against More, whom he declares in his title to be justly called the author of the "Regii Sanguinis Clamor." In this there is no want of vehemence or eloquence, nor does he forget his wonted wit. "Morus es? an Momus? an uterque idem est ?" He then remembers that Morus is Latin for a mulberry-tree, and hints at the known transformation :
-Poma alba ferebat
Quæ post nigra tulit Morus.
With this piece ended his controversies; and he from this time gave himself up to his private studies and his civil employment.
As secretary to the Protector, he is supposed to have written the declaration of the reasons
for a war with Spain. His agency was considered as of great importance; for, when a treaty with Sweden was artfully suspended, the delay was publicly imputed to Mr. Milton's indisposition; and the Swedish agent was prevoked to express his wonder, that only one man in England could write Latin, and that man
Being now forty-seven years old, and seeing himself' disencumbered from external interruptions, he seems to have recollected his former purposes, and to have resumed three great works which he had planned for his future employment; an epic poem, the history of his country, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue
To collect a dictionary, seems a work of all others least practicable in a state of blindness, because it depends upon perpetual and minute inspection and collation. Nor would Milton probably have begun it after he had lost his eyes; but, having had it always before him, he continued it, says Philips, "almost to his dying day; but the papers were so discomposed and deficient, that they could not be fitted for the
press." The compilers of the Latin dictionary | Lucifer.
To compile a history from various authors, when they can only be consulted by other eyes, is not easy, nor possible, but with more skilful and attentive help than can be commonly obtained; and it was probably the difficulty of consulting and comparing that stopped Milton's narrative at the Conquest; a period at which affairs were not very intricate, nor authors very nu
For the subject of his epic poem, after much deliberation, long choosing, and beginning late, he fixed upon "Paradise Lost;" a design so comprehensive, that it could be justified only by success. He had once designed to celebrate King Arthur, as he hints in his verses to Mansus; but "Arthur was reserved," says Fenton, "to another destiny."+
It appears, by some sketches of poetical projects left in manuscript, and to be seen in a library at Cambridge, that he had digested his thoughts on this subject into one of those wild dramas which were anciently called Mysteries: S and Philips had seen what he terms part of a tragedy, beginning with the first ten lines of Satan's address to the sun. These mysteries consist of allegorical persons; such as Justice, Mercy, Faith. Of the tragedy or mystery of "Paradise Lost" there are two plans:
The Evening Star, Hes
with the Serpent. Chorus of Angels.
Chorus sings the marriage-song, and describes Paradise.
* The "Cambridge Dictionary," published in 4to. 1693, is no other than a copy, with some small additions, of that of Dr. Adam Littleton in 1685, by sundry persons, of whom, though their names are conrealed, there is great reason to conjecture that Milton's nephew, Edward Philips, is one; for it is expressly said by Wood, Fasti, vol. I. p. 266, that "Milton's Thesaurus" came to his hands; and it is asserted, in the preface thereto, that the editors thereof had the use of three large folios in manuscript, collected and digested into alphabetical order by Mr. John Milton.
It has been remarked, that the additions, together with the preface abovementioned, and a large part of the title of the "Cambridge Dictionary," have been incorporated and printed with the subsequent editions of "Littleton's Dictionary," till that of 1735. Vid. Biog. Brit. 2985, in not.-So that, for aught that appears to the contrary, Philips was the last possessor of Milton's MS.-H.
+ Id est, to be the subject of an heroic poem, written by Sir Richard Blackmore.-H.
Such was his first design, which could have produced only an allegory, or mystery. following sketch seems to have attained mor maturity.
The angel Gabriel, either descending or entering; showing, since this globe was created, his frequency as much on earth as in heaven: describes Paradise. Next the Chorus, showing the reason of his coming to keep his watch in Paradise, after Lucifer's rebellion, by command from God: and withal expressing his desire to see and know more concerning this excellent new creature, man. The angel Gabriel, as by his name signifying a prince of power, tracing Paradise with a more free office, passes by the station of the Chorus, and, desired by them, relates what he knew of man: as the creation of Eve, with their love and marriage. After this, Lucifer appears; after his overthrow, bemoans himself, seeks revenge on man. The Chorus prepare resistance on his first approach. At last, after discourse of enmity on either side, he departs: whereat the Chorus sings of the battle and victory in heaven, against him and his accomplices: as before, after the first act, was sung a hymn of the creation. Here again may appear Lucifer, relating and exulting in what he had done to the destruction of man. Man next, and Eve, having by this time been seduced by the Serpent, appears confusedly covered with leaves. science in a shape accuses him; Justice cites him to a place whither Jehovah called for him. In the meanwhile, the Chorus entertains the stage, and is informed by some angel the manner of the fall. Here the Chorus bewails Adam's fall. Adam then and Eve return: accuse one another; but especially Adam lays the blame to his wife; is stubborn in his offence. Justice appears, reasons with him, convinces him. The Chorus admonisheth Adam, and bids him beware Lucifer's example of impenitence. The angel is sent to banish them out of paradise: but before causes to pass before his eyes, in shapes, a mask of all the evils of this life and world. He is humble, relents, despairs; at last appears Mercy, comforts him, promises the Messiah; then calls in Faith, Hope, and Charity; instructs him; he repents, gives God the glory, submits to his penalty. The Chorus briefly concludes. Compare this with the former draught.
These are very imperfect rudiments of "Paradise Lost;" but it is pleasant to see great works in their seminal state, pregnant with latent possibilities of excellence; nor could there be any more delightful entertainment than to trace their gradual growth and expansion, and to observe how they are sometimes suddenly improved by accidental hints, and sometimes slowly improved by steady meditation.
ly previous to poetical excellence; he had made himself acquainted with seemly arts and affairs: his comprehension was extended by various knowledge, and his memory stored with intellectual treasures. He was skilful in many languages, and had by reading and composition attained the full mastery of his own. would have wanted little help from books, had he retained the power of perusing them.
But while his greater designs were advancing, having now, like many other authors, caught the love of publication, he amused himself, as he could, with little productions. He sent to the press (1658) a manuscript of Raleigh, called “The Cabinet Council;" and next year gratified his malevolence to the clergy, by a "Treatise of Civil power in Ecclesiastical Cases, and the Means of removing Hirelings out of the Church."
Oliver was now dead, Richard was constrained to resign: the system of extemporary government, which had been held together only by force, naturally fell into fragments when that force was taken away; and Milton saw himself and his cause in equal danger. But he had still hope of doing something. He wrote letters, which Toland has published, to such men as he thought friends to the new commonwealth; and even in the year of the Restoration he bated no jot of heart or hope, but was fantastical enough to think that the nation, agitated as it was, might be settled by a pamphlet, called, "A ready and easy Way to establish a free Commonwealth;" which was, however, enough considered to be both seriously and ludicrously answered.
The obstinate enthusiasm of the commonwealth-men was very remarkable. When the King was apparently returning, Harrington, with a few associates as fanatical as himself, used to meet, with all the gravity of political importance, to settle an equal government by rotation; and Milton, kicking when he could strike no longer, was foolish enough to publish, a few weeks before the Restoration, "Notes upon a sermon preached by one Griffiths, entitled The Fear of God and the King." To these notes an answer was written by L'Estrange, in a pamphlet petulantly called "No Blind Guides."
But whatever Milton could write, or men of greater activity could do, the King was now about to be restored, with the irresistible approbation of the people. He was therefore no longer secretary, and was consequently obliged to quit the house, which he held by his office; and, proportioning his sense of danger to his opinion of the importance of his writings, thought it convenient to seek some shelter, and hid himself for a time in Bartholomew-close, by West Smithfield.
Invention is almost the only literary labour which blindness cannot obstruct, and therefore I cannot but remark a kind of respect, perhe naturally solaced his solitude by the indul-haps unconsciously, paid to this great man by his gence of his fancy, and the melody of his num- biographers: every house in which he resided is bers. He had done what he knew to be necessari-historically mentioned, as if it were an injury to