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ACTONS, ME

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tinually find such work, as should keep them from being ever brought to that Terrible Stand of laying down their authority for lack of new business, or not drawing it out to any length of time, though upon the ruin of a whole nation.

e land and would

And if the state were in this plight, religion was not in much better; to reform which, a certain number of divines were called, neither chosen by any rule or custom ecclesiastical, nor eminent for either pisty or

each member of parliament in his private fancy thought fit, so elected one by one. The most part of them were such as had preached and cried down, with great show of zeal, the avarice and pluralities of bishops and prelates; that one cure of souls was a full employment for one spiritual pastor how able soever, if not a charge rather above human strength. Yet these conscientious men (ere any part of the work done for which they came together, and that on the public salary) wanted not boldness, to the ignominy and scandal of their pastor-like profession and especially of their boasted reformation, to seize into their hands, or not unwillingly to accept (besides one, sometimes two or more of the best livings) collegiate master

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tors of the Cambridge dictionary," to whom they were probably given by Philips. This work, for the execution of which his state of blindness must have peculiarly disqualified him, seems to have formed, till the hour of his death, a part of that change of literary exercise in which he delighted; and if we reflect upon the circumstance, we must certainly be astonished at the mind, which could thus instantaneously pass, with all its energy; from invention to compilation, from the luxurious sports of fancy to the dry and barren drudgeries of verbal recollection.

Of the third object, on which our author's powers were at this period exerted, his immortal epic, I shall forbear to speak till the time of its completion and publication. Some great production in the highest region of poetry had been, as we have observed, in his contemplation from the commencement nearly of his literary life. The idea accompanied him to Italy, where, with a more defined object, it acquired a more certain shape from the example of Tasso, and the conversation of Tasso's friend, the accom plished Marquis of Villa. From this moment it seems to have been immoveably fastened in his mind; and, though for a season

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1657 And

LIFE OF MILTON.

405

oppressed and overwhelmed by the incumbent duties of controversy, its root was full of life and pregnant with stately vegetaculiarly dis tion. At the time, of which we are speakmed, ill the bing, (the end of 1653 and the beginning of Lat change of le 1654) the mighty work, according to Philips, Highted; and if was seriously undertaken; and it is curious to reflect on the steadiness of its growth stance, we must he mind, whiches under a complication of adverse circumstances; and to see it, like a pine on the rocks of Norway, ascending to its majestic elevation beneath the inclemency of a dreary sky, and assailed, in the same moment, by the fury of the ocean at its feet, and the power of the tempest above its head.

In this variety of strong and effective intellectual exertion did Milton pass his hours during the usurpation of Cromwell, discharging, of course, the duties of his secretaryship, but neither engaging in controversy nor addressing the public on any topic of political disquisition. In 1655 he published with the title of "The Cabinet Council" a manuscript of Sir Walter Raleigh's, consisting of aphorisms on the art of government; and in the same year, he composed, in a strain of peculiar elegance, the manifesto issued by the Protector to justify his war with Spain. In 1657 Andrew Marvell, a man of whom I shall

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b Andrew Marvell is a character of too much importance in the history of Milton and in that of man to be passed over without some particular attention. He was born in 1620, in the town of Hull, of which his father was the minister. Making an early discovery of talents, and a rapid proficiency in learning, he was sent at the age of thirteen to Trinity College, Cambridge. On acquiring a considerable increase of fortune by the liberality of a Lady, in attending on whose only daughter his father had lost his life as he was crossing the Humber, young Marvell travelled through various parts of Europe, visited Rome, and resided for some time at Constantinople in the character of Secretary to the British Embassy. Soon after his return to England in 1653 he was appointed by Cromwell to be tutor to a Mr. Dalton; and in 1657 was associated, by the same powerful patron, in the office of Latin Secretary with Milton. In the Parliament, which was summoned just before the event of the Restoration, he was elected as the representative of his native town, and so entirely did his public conduct obtain the appro. bation of his constituents that they continued him, with a liberal pension, in his seat to the hour of his death, Though it does not appear that he possessed the power of eloquence, or spoke frequently in the house, it is certain that his influence in Par liament was considerable; and that he preserved the respect, the Court, even when he was the most determined in his hostility to its measures. Charles, indeed, is said to have been much pleased with his conversation, and to have used every mean, though without effect, to gain him to the Court party, or to relax the vigour of his opposition. Of his writings, in prose and yerse, which are numerous and respectable, one of the most considerable is, "The Rehearsal transposed," a satirical piece, named after the Duke of Buckingham's famous Rehearsal, and directed against the noted Dr. Parker, whose flexibility eventually raised him to the Episcopal bench, and who, with abilityand learning, but faithless in friendship, and des titute of principle, might be regarded as the H of his age. The poetry of Marvell is strong, manly, and full of thought,

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and to have c him to the Coc 27. Of his wri and respe sal transposed, 19 Backingham has ed Dr. Parker Episcopal dext a friendly

the Ha and fell of th

ton in the office of Latin Secretary, and that

and his lines, which were prefixed to the second edition of the
Paradise Lost, are as reputable to his judgment and poetic ta-
lent, as they are to his friendship. He died in 1678 in his
58th
year, when his constitution was yet entire and vigorous.
From this circumstance, and from his obnoxiousness to the
Court, as a member of the country party, his death has been
imputed to the effect of poison. He was buried in the church
of St. Giles in the Fields: and on his tomb, with the strictest
adherence to truth might have been inscribed, "Here lies a
truly valuable man, the scholar, the wit, the firm and zealous
friend, the disinterested, aad incorruptible patriot."

I am tempted to lengthen this long note by adding to it, from the Biographia Britannica, an interesting narrative respecting the death of this estimable man's father.

.

"Andrew Marvell, M. A. was vicar of Kingston-upon-Hull, in Yorkshire, in the 17th century. Some time before the beginning of the civil wars, he was unfortunately drowned in crossing the Humber. On that shore of the Humber opposite to Kingston, lived a Lady, whose virtue and good sense recommended her to the esteem of Mr. Marvell, as his piety and understanding obliged her to take a particular notice of him. This lady had an only daughter, whose duty, ingenuity, devotion, and general exemplary behaviour, had endeared her to all who knew her, and rendered her the darling of her mother; so that, she could scarce bear to let her child be ever out of her sight.

Mr. Marvell, desirous to increase the amity between the two families, asked her to let her beloved daughter to come over to Kingston, to stand god-mother to one of his children, which she consented to. The young lady came over to Kingston, and the ceremony was performed. The next day, when she came down to the water side, in order to return home, she found the wind very high, and the water so rough, as to render the passage dangerous, so that the waterman earnestly dissuaded her from all thoughts of crossing: but she, who from her birth had

*Article, Marvell.

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