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ceedeth out should not cac the refexion, 1 sight not from guidance and preme being.
eye, in turning itself round, admits, as through selfast, as if
as I lay down in bed and turned upon either side, brilliant flashes of light used to issue from
closed eyes; and afterwards, upon the gradual failure of my powers of vision, colours, proportionably dim and faint, seemed to rush out with a degree of vehemence, and a kind of inward noise. These have now faded into uniform blackness such as ensues on the extinction of a candle; or blackness varied only and intermingled with a dunnish grey. The constant darkness, however, in which I live day and night, inclines more to a whitish than to a blackish tinge; and the a narrow chink, a very small portion of light. But this, though it may perhaps offer a similar glimpse of hope to the physician, does not prevent me from making up my mind to my case, as one evidently beyond the reach of cure: and I often reflect that, as many days of darkness, according to the wise "man, are allotted to us all, mine, which, by the singular favour of the Deity, are divided between leisure and study, are recreated by the conversation and intercourse of my friends, are far more agreeable than those deadly shades of which Solomon is speaking. But,
provides for na
about, as it we paths of life, faculty of visi pleasure: and,
My Philaras, fi
Amidst thet the Defence was gratulatec
Milton's immt of State, wouls lent. The haud pounds, 1 Ioland to ha service, is ex
a Eccles, xi. 8.
if, as it is written, “ Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God," why should not cach of us likewise acquiesce in the reflexion, that he derives the benefits of sight not from his eyes alone, but from the guidance and providence of the same supreme being. Whilst He looks out, and provides for me, as he does, and leads me about, as it were with his hand, through the paths of life, I willingly surrender my own faculty of vision in conformity to his good pleasure: and, with a heart as strong and as stedfast, as if I were a Lynceus, I bid you, my Philaras, farewel!
Westminster, Sept. 28, 1654.
Amidst the thunder of applause, with which the “ Defence of the People of England" was gratulated, it cannot be supposed that Milton's immediate employers, the Council of State, would suffer their approbation to be silent. The donation, however, of a thousand pounds, with which they are said by Toland to have testified their sense of the service, is exposed to some doubt by the following passage in the author's “ Second
of my fait those da
* Matt. iv. 4.
Defence." “ Tuque scito illas” “" opimitates" atque “ opes;" quas mihi exprobas, non attigisse, neque eo nomine, quo maxime accusas, obolo factum ditiorem.' “ Be assured that I have not attained to that affluence of good things, and to that wealth with which you upbraid me: and that, on that particular account, which forms the principal subject of your accusation, I have not been made one penny the richer.” But the munificence of the Council might have been posterior to the date of this writing; or the testimony of the passage may be regarded as not sufficiently explicit to be admitted against the positive assertion of Toland, coinciding with the general character of the republican government.
But Milton experienced a reward of much higher value in his estimation than any pecuniary remuneration. While his opponent's production lingered on the vender's shelves or crept languidly through a very
confined circulation, his own passed rapidly through a variety of impressions, and occupied a large space in the public mind. It made its author, says Bayle, the subject of conversation over the world; and the distinction, with which it was branded at Paris
reflicting to the
the interests o!
kweted, now! was suppressed
the States Gent nous sovereign Mely entertain
* Prose Works, vol. i. 221,
and Thoulouse, in which cities it was burnt by the common hangman, contributed to increase rather than to lessen the extent of its fame.
Proportioned to the triumph of Milton were the humiliation and chagrin of his adversary. Elated and inflamed by habitual superiority, his arrogant and assuming spirit was ill formed to acquiesce in defeat; and in defeat by a man with whose name, till the moment of the encounter, he was probably unacquainted. The result, indeed, of this unfortunate contest was peculiarly afflicting to the feelings, and unpropitious to the interests of Salmasius. The numerous enemies, whom his want of moderation had excited, now exulted on his fall; his work was suppressed in Holland by an order of the States General, and Christina, the capricious sovereign of Sweden, who had previously entertained him with the most honour
y May it be noticed as remarkable that in his “ Eloge funebre,” which I have already mentioned, (p. 299 in the note) the Dutch Professor studiously avoids every allusion to this memorable controversy? By no process of art or strain of ingenuity could it be forced to yield any materials adapted to his friendly purposes. To convert the basest mineral into gold would be as easy an exploit as to form the dirty substance of the “Defensio Regia," and the posthumous "Responsio" into a wreath of glory for the brow of Salmasius.
ded at Plus
able distinction and in whose court he was residing when Milton's reply reached Stockholm, now averted her countenance and treated him with studied neglect. She had almost compelled his visit by the importunity of her invitations; and her attentions to him had been of so marked and peculiar a nature as to awaken, according to common report, the jealousies of Madame de Saumaise. On the discovery, however, of his inferiority, as a writer, to his English antagonist, the Queen is stated, in some of the newspapers' of that day, to have“ cashiered him her favour as a pernicious parasite and a promoter of tyranny.”. She certainly mortified him by her liberal praises of Milton's composition, and discovered in her manner a degree of coldness of which he was acutely sensible. It has been asserted that the various afflictions of his pride on this occasion proved eventually fatal to his life; and it
when he had ju leply to sting if
Jis successful at degreatšalmas with happy mal loration and ded | Fas of a charai
Whasse our po was epithet
cabulary could quisition of c
Islam not pi
2 When he was indisposed, or confined to his room by the cold of the climate, the Queen would visit him in his chamber, and, locking the door, would light his fire, make his breakfast, and stay with him for some hours. This was the report of the day, and if it be true, we cannot reasonably be surprised at his wife's jealousy.
a The expressions, which I have copied, are from Nedham's - Mercurius Politicus." But Nedham was a great crony, as Wood tells us, of Milton's, and might therefore be suspected of exaggerating the fact in question.