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had gathered from · the “ Animadversions;" and Milton says, “ He blunders at me for the
Nor always do I lose, 'mid walls and streets,
· Apol. for Smectymnus, P.W. v.i. 213.
rest, and flings out stray' crimes at a venture, which he could never, though he be a serpent, suck from any thing that I have written.”
Notwithstanding this strong assertion, the hostility of the present generation has again brought the evidence of Milton to convict Milton, and to establish the charges of his calumniator. In opposition to this pretended evidence stand the register of our author's college, and his own positive assertions. By the first of these we are satisfied that Milton lost no term, having been entered in 1624-5, and having taken his bachelor's degree in 1628; and by the latter we are assured, that he was not only exempted from punishment at the University,
Hither, 'tis thought, came wafted by her doves,
From the “ Animadversions" no suspicion of a charge against their writer could by any process be extracted.
but, in that seat of learning, was an object
• P.W. y. i. 219.
the honest and laudable courses, of whichi they apprehended I had given good proof.”
The evidence now before us seems to be conclusive; for I know not to what tribunal an appeal can be carried from the authority of a college register, and from that of assertions, publicly made and uncontradicted at a time when their falsehood would be jealously watched and might easily be detected. What interpretation then are we to assign to those expressions in the elegy to Deodati, which certainly refer to some compulsive absence of the young student from his college, and which discover no fondness in the poet for the society or the country of Cambridge? As we find, from some lines in the conclusion of the same elegy, that it was his intention to return to his college, we may fairly, as I think, impute the banishment, of which he speaks, to the want of pecuniary supplies for his maintenance at the University; and the example of Gray may instract us, that it is possible for a man of genius and of taste to
The slander was repeated, with some additional circumstaness, by Du Moulin in bis "Clamor Regii sanguinis ad calum," " Aiunt hominem Cantabrigiensi academia ob fagitia pulsum, dedecus et flagitium fugisse, et in Italiam commigrasse," &c. This is the vague and baseless echo of the author of the “ Modest Confutation.” We may soon have occasion to site our author's reply to this revived calumng.
dislike the conversation of a college, or the naked vicinity of the Cam, without being impelled to that dislike by unpopularity or injurious treatment.
The absurd story of the corporal punishment, which Milton is asserted to have suffered, may be regarded as undeserving of notice. It was told, as we are informed, with the pretence that it came from himself or from some of his near relations, by Aubrey to Wood; but with Wood, ill-disposed as he is known to have been to the fame of Milton, it obtained so little credit as not to find admission into his page. Can the authority, then, of Aubrey be received in this instance as possessing any weight? On the value of that confirmation of this tale, which Mr. Warton, with dry positiveness, and Dr. Johnson, with the insult of affected concern, have pretended to discover in that expression of the last cited verses,
" Cæteraque," &c.
and other things besides threats, I shall leave to the reader to determine; suggesting only that Dr. Johnson, for the purpose of concealing the weakness of his inference, has intimated a false translation of the
# Warton's Life of Dean Bathurst.