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444

LIFE OF MILTON. your coach: my aim

aim is to live and die an honest man.”!

About the time tably a little before treatise, entitled,"

Grammar," intender

ity
, and regarding

species. In the
be public another
Baleigh's

, with the

9 The fact is mentioned by Richardson; and rests upon alı thority, which seems to be decisive. Richardson received it

step of the juveni from Henry Bendish (a grandson, I believe, of the Protector's) who was an intimate in Milton's house, and who had heard itable only for its exh mentioned by his family. No less doubtful testimony would

sooping in dignifi induce me to admit so strong an instance of the placability of Charles. To Thurloe, however, it is certain that a similar offer was made: and we can only infer from these, what we sing as low others may collect from other instances of his conduct

, that Charles de discharge of prudence could sometimes prevail over his revenge; or that bis inattention to business, in consequence of his unrestrained pursuit of pleasure, induced him to resign the management of these affairs into the hands of others, who were not actuated by his passions.

I am not surprised that Dr. Johnson should treat this cir. cumstance as an obscure story; and place it among tho

Jarge offers and sturdy rejections," which his own feelings taught him to consider as the visions of romance, and to be classed with " the most common topics of falsehood." Any other language would bave been inconsistent on the lips of the pensioned advocate of government, in some of its most unconstitutional and unfortunate measures. Dr. Johnson's admirers must forgive me, if, with considerable respect for his moral and intellectual character, I am tempted to observe that he actually wanted the power to comprehend the greatness and elevation of Milton's mind.

Mrs. Milton survived her husband, in a state of widowhood, nearly fifty-five years, dying at Namptwich, in her native Cheshire, about the year 1729. She related that her husband composed principally in the winter; and on his waking in the morning would make her write down sometimes twenty or thirty verses. On being asked whether he did not frequently read Honner and Virgil, she replied, that “ he stole from no.

By the public be works, and by

thange of govern his enemies were

twe, to insult speak of him as these topics of tl lines

, preserved ! only for their ma

fance:

body but the muse w quired, who the muse v and the Holy Spirit tha

e à toi. About the time of his marriage, or pro

bably a little before it, he published a short

treatise, entitled, “ Accidence commenced :: Grammar," intended to facilitate the first weak

step of the juvenile student; and remark

able only for its exhibition of a mighty mind, u i ukus stooping in dignified condescension to utilot

lity, and regarding nothing as high or no

thing as low otherwise than as it referred to As on the discharge of duty and the good of his

species. In the same year also he gave to the public another manuscript of the great Raleigh's, with the title of " Aphorisms of State."

By the publication of these inconsiderable works, and by his known losses from the change of government, it is probable that his enemies were encouraged, at this juncture, to insult over his poverty; and to speak of him as writing for his bread. Of these topics of their malignity the following lines,

preserved by Richardson and eminent only for their malice, may be cited as an in, stance:

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body but the muse who inspired him.” To a lady who enquired, who the muse was, she answered, “ it was God's grace and the Holy Spirit that visited him nightly.” Newton's Life of Milton.

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446

LIFE OF MILTON.

But the mode

dis Upon Joun Milton's not suffering for his traiterons kept him at a Book when the Tryers were executed, 1660.

ther, who could su “ That thou escapedst' that vengeance, which o'ertook,

must have been ill
Milton, thy regicides, and thy own book,
Was clemency in Charles beyond compare:
And yet thy doom doth prove more grievous far.

exquisite gratifica
Old, sickly, poor, stark blind, thou writest for bread:
So for to live thoud'st call Salmasius from the dead."

slations of consci

mind affluent in k gination which co toll

, through the

verse.

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t only my eyes, but he

"When Milton complains of evil tongues, Dr. Johnson says "the charge itself seems to be false, for it would be hard to recollect any reproach cast upon him, either serious or ludicrous, through the whole remaining part of bis life."-- Besides the lines, which I have here cited, it would be easy to produce many more effusions of malevolence, of which Milton was the object during his life time; and which fully justify his complaints, and our execration of the malignity of party.

As a siory, which I have seen in print, (but by whom told, or on what authority, I know not,) is in perfect harmony with the point and spirit of these verses, it shall be inserted for the amusement of my readers. It bears some internal marks of authenticity, and exbibits very justly the gay and the gloomy malignity of the two royal brothers, Charles and James.

The Duke of York, as it is reported, expressed one day to the king his brother, a great desire to see old Milton, of whom he had heard so much. The King replied that he felt no objection to the Duke's satisfying his curiosity: and accordingly, soon afterwards James went privately to Milton's house, where, after an introduction, which explained to the old republican the rank of his guest, a free conversation ensued between these very dissimilar and discordant characters. In the course, however, of the conversation, the Duke asked Milton whether he did not regard the loss of his eye-sight as a judgment inflicted on him for what he had written against the late king. Milton's reply was to this effect;

" If your Highness thinks that the calami

you don't

Much discomposed L beave and went away. shich he spoke to the k h blame that "Why-what is the ma in a beat, What? hay the Dake, I have seen what condition did you and very poor." is be not?"-" the King," you are af nishment: to hang hin taking him out of his blind, he is miserable

Old
Yes, bli

Live!"

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But the moderation of his wants still kept him at a distance from poverty; and they, who could suppose him to be unhappy, must have been ill acquainted with the consolations of conscious rectitude, or with the exquisite gratification to be enjoyed by a mind affluent in knowledge, and by an imagination which could range, without controll, through the spacious walks of the uni

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verse.

Soon after Milton's establishment in Jewen Street, Ellwood the quaker was introduced to his acquaintance by Doctor Paget. Ell

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ties which befall us here are indications of the wrath of Heaven, in what manner are we to account for the fate of the king, your father? The displeasure of Heaven must, upon this supposition, have been much greater against him than against me--for I have lost only my eyes, but he lost his head."

Much discomposed by this answer, the Duke soon took his leave and went away. On his return to Court, the first words, which he spoke to the king were," Brother, you are greatly to blame that you don't have that old rogue Milton hanged." "Why--what is the matter, James,” said the King, “ you seem in a heat. What? have you seen Milton?" Yes," answered the Duke, I have seen him.” “ Well," said the King," in what condition did you find him?" “ Condition? why he is old and very poor.” “Old and poor! Well, and he is blind toois he not?"-"Yes, blind as a beetle." * Why then," observed the King, “ you are a fool, James, to have him hanged as a punishment: to hang him will be doing him a service; it will be taking him out of his miseries-No-if he is old, poor, and blind, he is miserable enough:--in all conscience, let him live!”

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his peculiar sect he united a strong passionatin, assigning, wood, who is one of the most considerable rould probably of the writers of his sect, has left behind himBuently supplied. a history of his life; and from his accidental

near to his new fri intercourse with the author of Paradise Lost, he is raised into an object of our particular sret

; and atten regard. He was the son of an Oxfordshire magistrate; and falling, at an early period of life, into the opinions of quakerism, he in-hearing

. curred the displeasure of his family, and exposed himself to a variety of distressful inci- lion was stud dents. To an ardent zeal for the tenets of for literature, which, having been removed prematurely from school by the economy of his father, he had hitherto been indulged with few opportunities of gratifying. With the hope of advancing himself in classical knowledge, he now solicited an introduction, in the character of a reader, to Milton; and in this great man, conciliated by the ingenuousness of his manners and by the goodness of his heart, Ellwood soon found a friend as well as an instructor. If the beneficial commerce, indeed, had not experienced frequent interruptions in consequence of those misfortunes, to which he was subjected as the member of a sect, at that juncture the object of particular and violent persecution, the defects of the young quaker's education

the impossibility
without this con
their ears. Whe
v the magnitude

I should be muc
t was not, of co
wwse persevera
able difficulty, F
meded in accon
wster's taste.
the classics his to
his ignorance

of
would then stor
which seemed
reciprocation
soon, however,
Wness whicho

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