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"Vous avez en A
Todd hias notic a letter from il 1658
, in which
physicians was now hastening to its fatal accomplishment. His sight, naturally weak and impaired by incessant study from the earliest periods of his life, had for several years been sensibly declining, and, when he engaged in his last great work, had discovered, as we have remarked, symptoms of approaching extinction. In the course of that honourable labour he entirely lost the vision of one eye; and, that of the other closing soon afterwards, he was resigned to total darkness, and, “ for the book of knowledge fair” he was
and it must not d the Regiis in 1652, upbrai an infliction of t for the motto of w the eyeless C
“ Presented with an universal blank
Of Nature's works."
the answer to Sa
The fortitui muself under mirably discove Crnac Skinnel
Of this completion of his misfortune the date is by no means accurately settled. All his biographers, with the exception of Mr. Togd, place the melancholy consummation in 1654; butitunquestionably happened in some antecedent period. In his letter to Philaras written in the autumn of 1654, Milton speaks of his loss of sight as of no very recent misfortune; and we know that when he was visited by his Athenian friend, at a time not greatly posterior to the publication of the Defence, he was then totally blind. Mr.
Lord Coke, of rith praise and could never for the profo
ale terom d'avoir b
ning to in at, naturali v
studs from a
, and what work, had &
Todd has noticed in Thurloe's State Papers a letter from the Hague, dated june 20th, 1653, in which Milton is mentioned as blind, and it must not be forgotten that the writer of the “ Regii sanguinis Clamor,” published in 1652, upbraids him with his blindness as an infliction of the Divine wrath, and selects, for the motto of his work, Virgil's description of the eyeless Cyclops
Monstrum horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen ademptum.
in book of hot
s misfortuner che settled
We must conclude, therefore, that his total loss of sight soon followed the publication of his answer to Salmasius, and happened early în 1652.
The fortitude, with which he supported himself under this afflicting privation, is admirably discovered in that sonnet to his friend Cyriac Skinner, the grandson of the great Lord Coke, of which I have already spoken with praise and which I shall now transcribe. I could never read it without paying to its author the profound homage of my respect.
sunimatie ppenedini ter to Polisi
17 recent en he was a
Vous avez en Angleterre un aveugle, nomme Milton, qui a le renom d'avoir bien escrit.my.i.
mitterem, nihi miltus
, non medic
TO CYRIAC SKINNER.
CYRIAC, this three years day, these eyes, though clear
To outward view of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Or man or woman :- yet I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
Of which all Europe rings from side to side:
Content, though blind, had I no better guide.
tendan, aut sui currebantque
He was forewarned, as we have observed, of the contingent calamity, and, in the alternative of evils, he preferred the loss of sight to the dereliction of duty. The magnanimity of Achilles to which he alludes in the following interesting passage in his s Second Defence,” can scarcely be considered as superior to his own.
“ Adeò ut cùm datum mihi publicè esset illud in defensionem regiam negotium, eo-. demque tempore et adversâ simul valetudine, et oculo jam penè altero amisso, conflictarer, prædicerentque disertè medici, si hunc laborem suscepissem, fore ut utrumque brevi.
to malo prop
mod ut ipsa
He igitur tam maxima quivi
amitterem, nihil istâ præmonitione deterritus, non medici, nè Æsculapii quidem Epidaurii ex adyto vocem, sed divinioris cujusdam intus monitoris viderer mihi audire; duasque sortes, fatali quodam natu, jam mihi propositas, hinc cæcitatem inde officium; aut oculorum jacturam necessarið faciendam, aut summum officium deserendum: occurrebantque animo bina illa fata, quæ retulisse Delphis consulentem de se matrem narrat Thetidis filius.
Διχθαδίας κήρας φερέμες θανάτοιο τέλοσδε. .
Unde sic mecum reputabam, multos graviore malo minus bonum, morte gloriam, redemisse; mihi contrà majus bonum minore cum malo proponi: ut possem cum cæcitate solâ vel honestissimum officii munus implere; quod ut ipsa gloria per se est solidius, ità cuique optatius atque antiquius debet esse. Hâc igitur tam brevi luminum usurâ, quantâ maximâ quivi cum utilitate publicâ, quoad liceret, fruendum esse statui. Videtis quid prætulerim, quid amiserim, quà inductus ra
indeed, the sufferings of Morus m had induced him to give up the author of that publication, for which he had exposed himself to such unpleasant consequences, and Du Moulin, who was, at that time, in England, felt himself to be in danger: but he was saved, as he says, by the pride of Milton, who, refusing to acknowledge himself in an error and persisting in his attack upon Morus, induced the government to suffer the real author of the offence to escape without notice. This, however, is not an accurate statement of the case. Early in the controversy Milton had been
Moselin; and, 1 Teatves in a bon istified in call of the two foi
averse from in other than the stainly be me Doxious writer Ilar. Du Mou whatever ca was certain passage inserte
ń The caution of “audi alteram partem” is never more necessary to be observed than when we are reading, in the pages of an ab'e writer, the character of his adversary. The morals of Morus were certainly not unimpeachable; but he passed through life with numerous friends among the religious, the learned, and the great. His preaching drew crowded audiences; and obtained him a numerous following. Though in more than one instance he was made the subject of a legal prosecution, the result was uniformly in his favour; and his life, which was neyer depressed by disgrace, was concluded by a religious and exemplary death. He might, therefore, have been a little irregular, and deviating, in consequence of human frailty, from the strict line of Christian morality: but we cannot conceive that his conduct was flagitious or stained with deep crimes. He died at the house of the duchess of Rohan in Paris, in 1670. By one of his contemporaries and friends, he is represented as ambitious, restless, changeable, bold, and presumptuous : he is stated also to have been a profound and extensive scholar, accurately acquainted with the Greek; and with the oriental languages,--Hebrew and Arabic.
See Bayle - Article Morus.