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ardice of doing wrong. They must be also these constant exercises at home, there is practised in all the locks and gripes of wrestling, another opportunity of gaining experience to wherein Englishmen were wont to excel, as be won from pleasure itself abroad: in those need may often be in fight to tug, to grapple, vernal seasons of the year, when the air is and to close. And this, perhaps, will be enough 5 calm and pleasant, it were an injury and wherein to prove and heat their single strength. sullenness against nature not to go out and see The interim of unsweating themselves regularly, her riches and partake in her rejoicing with and convenient rest before meat, may both heaven and earth. I should not, therefore, be a with profit and delight be taken up in recreating persuader to them of studying much then, and composing their travailed spirits with the 10 after two or three years that they have well solemn and divine harmonies of music heard or laid their grounds, but to ride out in companies learned, either whilst the skilful organist plies with prudent and staid guides to all the quarters his grave and fancied descant in lofty fugues, or of the land, learning and observing all places of the whole symphony with artful and un- strength, all commodities of building and of imaginable touches adorn and grace the well- 15 soil for towns and tillage, harbours, and ports studied chords of some choice composer; some- for trade. Sometimes taking sea as far as to our times the lute or soft organ-stop, waiting on navy, to learn there also what they can in the elegant voices either to religious, martial, or practical knowledge of sailing and of sea-fight. civil ditties, which, if wise men and prophets be These ways would try all their peculiar gifts of not extremely out, have a great power over 20 nature, and if there were any secret excellence dispositions and manners to smooth and make among them, would fetch it out and give it them gentle from rustic harshness and dis- fair opportunities to advance itself by, which tempered passions. The like also would not be could not but mightily redound to the good of unexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish this nation, and bring into fashion again those nature in her first concoction, and send their 25 old admired virtues and excellencies with far minds back to study in good tune and satisfac- more knowledge now in this purity of Christian tion. Where having followed it close under knowledge. Nor shall we then need the monvigilant eyes until about two hours before sieurs of Paris to take our hopeful youth into supper, they are, by a sudden alarum or their slight and prodigal custodies, and send watchword, to be called out to their military 30 them over back again transformed into mimics, motions, under sky or covert, according to the apes, and kekshose.23 But if they desire to see season, as was the Roman wont; first on foot, other countries at three or four and twenty then, as their age permits, on horseback, to all years of age, not to learn principles, but to the art of cavalry; that having in sport, but enlarge experience and make wise observation, with much exactness and daily muster, served 35 they will by that time be such as shall deserve out the rudiments of their soldiership in all the the regard and honour of all men where they skill of embattling, marching, encamping, pass, and the society and friendship of those in fortifying, besieging, and battering, with all the all places who are best and most eminent. And helps of ancient and modern strategems, perhaps then other nations will be glad to visit tactics, and warlike maxims, they may, as it 40 us for their breeding, or else to imitate us in were out of a long war, come forth renowned their own country. and perfect commanders in the service of their Now, lastly, for their diet there cannot be country. They would not then, if they were much to say, save only that it would be best trusted with fair and hopeful armies, suffer in the same house; for much time else would be them for want of just and wise discipline to shed 45 lost abroad, and many ill habits got; and that it away from about them like sick feathers, should be plain, healthful, and moderate, I supthough they be never so oft supplied; they pose is out of controversy. would not suffer their empty and unrecruitable Thus, Mr. Hartlib, you have a general view colonels of twenty men in a company to quaff in writing, as your desire was, of that which at out or convey into secret hoards the wages of a 50 several times I had discoursed with you condelusive list and miserable remnant; yet in the cerning the best and noblest way of education; meanwhile to be overmastered with a score or not beginning, as some have done, from the two of drunkards, the only soldiery left about cradle, which yet might be worth many conthem, or else to comply with all rapines and siderations, if brevity had not been my scope. violences. No, certainly, if they knew aught of 55 Many other circumstances also I could have that knowledge that belongs to good men or mentioned, but this, to such as have the good governors they would not suffer these worth in them to make trial, for light and things.
22 1. e., Kickshaws (Fr. quelque chose) trifling, fantastio But to return to our own institute. Besides
direction may be enough. Only I believe that loth to own; next what is to be thought in this is not a bow for every man to shoot in, that general of reading, whatever sort the books be; counts himself a teacher, but will require sinews and that this Order avails nothing to the supalmost equal to those which Homer gave pressing of scandalous, seditious, and libellous Ulysses; yet I am withal persuaded that it 5 books, which were mainly intended to be may prove much more easy in the assay than it suppressed. Last, that it will be primely to now seems at distance, and much more illus- the discouragement of all learning, and the trious: howbeit, not more difficult than I stop of Truth, not only by the disexercising and imagine, and that imagination presents me with blunting our abilities in what we know already, nothing but very happy and very possible 10 but by hindering and cropping the discovery according to best wishes, if God have so decreed, that might be yet further made both in religious and this age have spirit and capacity enough to and civil Wisdom. apprehend.
I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth, to
15 have a vigilant eye how books demean themAREOPAGITICA1
selves as well as men; and thereafter to confine,
imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as (1644)
malefactors: For books are not absolutely dead (Selections)
things, but do contain a potency of life in them
20 to be as active as that soul was whose progeny If ye be thus resolved, as it were injury to they are; nay, they do preserve as in a vial the think ye were not, I know not what should purest efficacy and extraction of that living withhold me from presenting ye with a fit intellect that bred them. I know they are as instance wherein to show both that love of lively, and as vigorously productive, as those truth which ye eminently profess, and that 25 fabulous Dragon's teeth;5 and being sown up uprightness of your judgment which is not and down, may chance to spring up armed men. wont to be partial to yourselves; by judging And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be over again that Order which ye have or- used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good dained to regulate Printing: That no Book, book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creapamphlet, or paper shall be henceforth Printed, 30 ture, God's image; but he who destroys a good unless the same be first approved and licensed by book, kills reason itself, kills the image of such, or at least one of such as shall be thereto God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a appointed. For that part which preserves burden to the earth; but a good book is the justly every man's copy to himself, or provides precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed for the poor, I touch not, only wish they be not 35 and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond made pretences to abuse and persecute honest life. 'Tis true, no age can restore a life, whereof and painful men, who offend not in either of perhaps there is no great loss; and revolutions these particulars. But that other clause of of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected Licensing Books, which we thought had died truth, for the want of which whole nations fare with his brother quadragesimal' and matrimonial 40 the worse. We should be wary therefore what when the prelates expired, I shall now attend persecution we raise against the living labours with such a homily, as shall lay before ye, first of public men, how we spill that seasoned life of the inventors of it, to be those whom ye will be man, preserved and stored up in books; since we
see a kind of homicide may be thus comli. e., address to the Areopagus. By the Arcopagus Milton" means the English Parliament, which he thus 45 mitted, sometimes a martyrdom, and if it likens to the Greek Areopagus, the high council and court extend to the whole impression, a kind of of ancient Athens. One of the orations of Isocrates, the Attic orator, is known as Logos Areopagitikos, the Areop- massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the agilic Discourse. As Isocrates appealed to the ancient
slaying of an elemental life, but strikes at that Areopagus (the high court of Ares, " or Mars," Hill), so Milton appeals to the modern Areopagus, " the Lords and
ethereal and fifth essence, the breath of reason Commons of England" assembled in Parliament, and 50 itself, slays an immortality rather than a life. hence he calls his appeal an Areopagitic address.
? i. e., resolved to do what has just been urged by Milton 5 See the stories of Cadmus and of Jason. in the preceding passage; viz. to obey the voice of reason 6 God's image is reflected in a good book as the image of from whatever quarterit be heard speaking." and to repeal outward objects is on the retina of the eye. any Parliamentary act of your own as willingly as you 7 The whole edition; here, all the copies printed. would one passed by your predecessors in Parliament. 9 Aristotle holds that there are five elements, earth,
3 The ordinance of 1643, reestablishing a censorship of water, air, fire, ether; the last is the “ fisth element," or the press, which had been substantially free since 1610. quintessence (fifth essence), which is not subject to change.
• Pertaining to Lent, a season of forty days. Ecclesias- Hle who destroys all the copies of a book, does not merely tical rules for the observence of Lent, and ecclesiastical destroy a thing subject to change (like the first Tour views of marriage (which Milton regarded as a civil clements), he destroys part of a man's spirit preserved and contract and not as a sacrament) had “died when the stored up in a good book beyond the term of mortal life, prelates expired." but the censorship of the press (which he slays the fifth essence," the man's ethereal part, "an Milton calls their brother) is continued.
immortality rather than a life."
But lest I should be condemned of introducing learned men reputed in this land, Mr. Selden, license, while I oppose licensing, I refuse not whose volume of natural and national laws the pains to be so much historical, as will serve proves, not only by great authorities brought to show what hath been done by ancient and together, but by exquisite reasons and theorems famous commonwealths, against this disorder, 5 almost mathematically demonstrative, that all till the very time that this project of licensing opinions, yea errors, known, read, and collated, crept out of the Inquisition, was catched up by are of main service and assistance toward the our prelates, and hath caught some of our speedy attainment of what is truest. I conpresbyters.
ceive, therefore, that when God did enlarge the (An historical survey here follows, showing 10 universal diet of man's body, saving ever the the position of the authorities in Athens, rules of temperance, He then also, as before, Lacedæmon, and Rome, in regard to the left arbitrary the dieting and repasting of our question at issue. Continuing the history minds; as wherein every mature man might through early Christian times, Milton finally have to exercise his own leading capacity. How contends that the system of press censorship, 15 great a virtue is temperance, how much of which he condemned, was “engendered” by moment through the whole life of man! yet the Council of Trent (1546) and the Spanish God commits the managing so great a trust, Inquisition.)
without particular law or prescription, wholly Dionysius Alexandrinus was about the to the demeanour of every grown man. And year 240, a person of great name in the Church 20 therefore when He Himself tabled the Jews for piety and learning, who had wont to avail from heaven, that omer, which was every himself much against heretics by being con- man's daily portion of manna, is computed to versant in their books; until a certain presbyter have been more than might have well sufficed laid it scrupulously to his conscience, how he the heartiest feeder thrice as many meals. For durst venture himself among those defiling 25 those actions which enter into a man, rather volumes. The worthy man, loth to give than issue out of him, and therefore defile not, offence, fell into a new debate with himself God uses not to captivate under a perpetual what was to be thought; when suddenly a childhood of prescription, but trusts him with vision sent from God (it is his own epistle that the gift of reason to be his own chooser; ther so avers it) confirmed him in these words: 30 were but little work left for preaching, if law Read any books whatever come to thy hands, and compulsion should grow so fast upon those for thou art sufficient both to judge aright, and things which heretofore were governed only to examine each matter. To this revelation he by exhortation. Solomon informs us, that assented the sooner, as he confesses, because it much reading is a weariness to the flesh; but was answerable to that of the Apostle to the 35 neither he nor other inspired author tells us Thessalonians: Prove all things, hold fast that that such, or such reading is unlawful: yet which is good. And he might have added an- certainly had God thought good to limit us other remarkable saying of the same author: herein, it had been much more expedient to To the pure, all things are pure; not only have told us what was unlawful, than what meats and drinks, but all kind of knowledge 40 was wearisome. As for the burning of those whether of good or evil; the knowledge cannot Ephesian books by St. Paul's converts;10 'tis defile, nor consequently the books, if the will replied the books were magic, the Syriac so and conscience be not defiled. For books are as renders them. It was a private act, a voluntary meats and viands are; some of good, some of act, and leaves us to a voluntary imitation: the evil substance; and yet God in that unapocry- 45 men in remorse burnt those books which were phal vision, said without exception: Rise, Peter, their own; the magistrate by this example is kill and eat, leaving the choice to each man's not appointed: these men practised the books, discretion. Wholesome meats to a vitiated another might perhaps have read them in some stomach differ little or nothing from unwhole- sort usefully. Good and evil we know in the some; and best books to a naughty mind are 50 field of this world grow up together almost not unappliable to occasions of evil. Bad inseparably; and the knowledge of good is so meats will scarce breed good nourishment in involved and interwoven with the knowledge of the healthiest concoction; but herein the evil, and in so many cunning resemblances difference is of bad books, that they to a dis- hardly to be discerned, that those confused creet and judicious reader serve in many re-55 9 John Selden (1584-1654), jurist, antiquary, and spects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, and
author. He was member of the Long Parliament (1640)
and one of the Committee which impeached Archbishop to illustrate. Whereof what better witness
Laud. Ag an author, he is chiefly remembered by his can ye expect I should produce, than one of Table-Talk. Milton here refers to Selden's treatise De
Jure Naturali et Gentium, etc., 1640. your own now sitting in Parliament, the chief of 10 Acts, xix., 19.
seeds which were imposed on Psychell as an examine all the lutes, the violins, and the guitars incessant labour to cull out, and sort asunder, in every house; they must not be suffered to were not more intermixed. It was from out prattle as they do, but must be licensed what the rind of one apple tasted, that the knowledge they may say. And who shall silence all the of good and evil, as two twins cleaving together, 5 airs and madrigals that whisper softness in leaped forth into the world. And perhaps this chambers? The windows also, and the balis that doom which Adam fell into of knowing conies must be thought on, there are shrewd good and evil, that is to say of knowing good by books, with dangerous frontispieces, set to . evil. As therefore the state of man now is; sale; who shall prohibit them, shall twenty what wisdom can there be to choose, what 10 licensers? The villages also must have their continuance to forbear without the knowledge visitors to inquire what lectures the bagpipe of evil? He that can apprehend and consider and the rebeck reads even to the ballatry, 14 vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and the gamut of every municipal fiddler, for and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet these are the countryman's Arcadias, and his prefer that which is truly better, he is the true 15 Monte Mayors.15 Next, what more national wayfaring Christian. I cannot praise a fugitive corruption, for which England hears ill abroad, and cloistered virtue, unexercised and un- than household gluttony: who shall be the breathed, that never sallies out and sees her rectors of our daily rioting? And what shall be adversary, but slinks out of the race, where done to inhibit the multitudes that frequent that immortal garland is to be run for, not 20 those houses where drunkenness is sold and without dust and heat. Assuredly we bring not harboured? Our garments also should be innocence into the world, we bring impurity referred to the licensing of some more sober much rather; that which purifies us is trial, and workmasters to see them cut into a less wanton trial is by what is contrary. That virtue garb. Who shall regulate all the mixed convertherefore which is but a youngling in the con- 25 sation of our youth, male and female together, templation of evil, and knows not the utmost as is the fashion of this country, who shall still that vice promises to her followers, and rejects appoint what shall be discoursed, what preit, is but a blank virtue, not a pure; her white- sumed, and no further? Lastly, who shall ness is but an excremental whiteness;12 which forbid and separate all idle resort, all evil comwas the reason why. our sage and serious poet 30 pany? These things will be, and must be; but Spenser, whom I dare be known to think a how they shall be least hurtful, how least better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas, de- enticing, herein consists the grave and governscribing true temperance under the person of ing wisdom of a state. To sequester out of Guion, 13 brings him in with his palmer through the world into Atlantic and Utopian polities, 16 the cave of Mammon, and the bower of earthly 35 which never can be drawn into use, will not bliss, that he might see and know, and yet mend our condition; but to ordain wisely as in abstain. Since therefore the knowledge and this world of evil, in the midst whereof God survey of vice is in the world so necessary to the hath placed us unavoidably. . . constituting of human virtue, and the scan- Lords and Commons of England, consider ning of error to the confirmation of truth, how 40 what Nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof can we more safely, and with less danger scout ye are the governors: a nation not slow and into the regions of sin and falsity than by dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing reading all manner of tractates and hearing spirit, acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to all manner of reason? And this is the benefit discourse, not beneath the reach of any point which may be had of books promiscuously 45 the highest that human capacity can soar to. read. ..
Therefore the studies of Learning in her deepest If we think to regulate printing, thereby to sciences have been so ancient, and so eminent rectify manners, we must regulate all recrea- among us, that writers of good antiquity, and tions and pastimes, all that is delightful to man. ablest judgment have been persuaded that even No music must be heard, no song be set or 50 the school of Pythagoras, and the Persian sung, but what is grave and Doric. There wisdom took beginning from the old philosophy must be licensing dancers, that no gesture, of this island. And that wise and civil Roman, motion, or deportment be taught our youth but Julius Agricola, who governed once here for what by their allowance shall be thought
14 Ballads, the popular songs. honest; for such Plato was provided of; it will 55 15 Jorge de Montemayor (c. 1520-1561), author of the ask more than the work of twenty licensers to Spanish pastoral drama Diana. Sidney's Arcadia is a
work of the same general character. 11 See the familiar story of Cupid and Psyche, told by 16 To withdraw (sequester) ourselves from the actual Apuleius.
world, into such ideal and visionary systems of govern12 i. e., only superficial, only "skin-deap."
ment as those pictured by Bacon in his New Atlantis, or 13 See Faerie Queene, Bk. II.
More in his Utopia, “will not mend" etc.
Cæsar, preferred the natural wits of Britain, could a man require more from a Nation so before the laboured studies of the French. Nor pliant and so prone to seek after knowledge? is it for nothing that the grave and frugal What wants there to such a towardly and Transylvanian 7 sends out yearly from as far as pregnant soil, but wise and faithful labourers, the mountainous borders of Russia, and beyond 5 to make a knowing people, a Nation of Prophets, the Hercynian wilderness, 18 not their youth, but of Sages, and of Worthies? We reckon more their staid men, to learn our language, and our than five months yet to harvest; there need not theologic arts. Yet that which is above all this, be five weeks; had we but eyes to lift up, the the favour and the love of Heaven, we have fields are white already. Where there is much great argument to think in a peculiar manner 10 desire to learn, there of necessity will be much propitious and propending towards us. Why arguing, much writing, many opinions; for else was this Nation chosen before any other opinion in good men is but knowledge in the that out of her as out of Sion should be pro- making. Under these fantastic terrors of sect claimed and sounded forth the first tidings and and schism, we wrong the earnest and zealous trumpet of Reformation to all Europe? And 15 thirst after knowledge and understanding which had it not been the obstinate perverseness of our God hath stirred up in this city. What some prelates against the divine and admirable lament of, we rather should rejoice at, should spirit of Wickliff, to suppress him as a schis- rather praise this pious forwardness among matic and innovator, perhaps neither the men, to reassume the ill-reputed care of their Bohemian Huss and Jerome, 19 no nor the name 20 Religion into their own hands again. A little of Luther, or of Calvin had been ever known: generous prudence, a little forbearance of one the glory of reforming all our neighbours had another, and some grain of charity might win been completely ours. But now, as our ob- all these diligences to join, and unite in one durate clergy have with violence demeaned the general and brotherly search after Truth; matter, we are become hitherto the latest and 25 could we but forego this prelatical tradition of backwardest scholars, of whom God offered to crowding free consciences and Christian have made us the teachers. Now once again liberties into canons and precepts of men. I by all concurrence of signs, and by the general doubt not, if some great and worthy stranger instinct of holy and devout men, as they daily should come among us, wise to discern the and solemnly express their thoughts, God is 30 mould and temper of a people, and how to decreeing to begin some new and great period govern it, observing the high hopes and aims, in His Church, even to the reforming of Refor- the diligent alacrity of our extended thoughts mation itself. What does He then but reveal and reasonings in the pursuance of truth and Himself to His servants, and as His manner is, freedom, but that he would cry out as Pyrrhus 20 first to His Englishmen; I say as His manner is, 35 did, admiring the Roman docility and courage: first to us, though we mark not the method of If such were my Epirots, 21 I would not despair His counsels, and are unworthy. Behold now the greatest design that could be attempted to this vast City: a city of refuge, the mansion make a Church or Kingdom happy. Yet these house of liberty, encompassed and surrounded are the men cried out against for schismatics with His protection; the shop of war hath not 40 and sectaries; as if, while the temple of the there more anvils and hammers waking, to Lord was building, some cutting, some squaring fashion out the plates and instruments of the marble, others hewing the cedars, there armed Justice in defence of beleaguered truth, should be a sort 22 of irrational men who could than there be pens and heads there, sitting by not consider there must be many schisms and their studious lamps, musing, searching, re- 45 many dissections made in the quarry and in the volving new notions and ideas wherewith to timber, ere the house of God can be built. present, as with their homage and their fealty, And when every stone is laid artfully together, the approaching reformation: others as fast it cannot be united into a continuity, it can reading, trying all things, assenting to the but be contiguous in this world; neither can force of reason and convincement. What 50 every piece of the building be of one form;
nay rather the perfection consists in this: 17 Transylvania (the land beyond the Carpathian
that out of many moderate varieties and forests, trans-eylva), since 1868 a part of Hungary, was an independent principality in Milton's time.
brotherly dissimilitudes that are not vastly 19 The Hercynia silva of Pliny was a wild region of undefined limits south of the Caspian (or Hyrcane) Sea.
disproportional, arises the goodly and the But Milton, apparently, is thinking here of a remote 55 graceful symmetry that commends the whole district near Transylvania in the neighborhood of the Carpathian mountains.
20 Pyrrhus, king of Epirug. He is reported to bave 19 Jerome of Prague, a religious reformer of the four- made a remark similar to the one here attributed to him teenth and early fifteenth centuries, who was a follower after his hard-won victory over the Romans in the battle of John Huss. John Wyclif died in 1384; Huss was buracy of Heraclea, 280 B. C. for heresy in 1415, and Jerome in 1416.
21 Men of Epirus.
22 Group, company.