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your coach: my aim is to live and die an honest man."
About the time
Fably a little before
beatise, entitled, Grammar," intended step of the juvenil
ble only for its exh stooping in dignifi ty, and regarding
thing as low othery
may collect from other instances of his conduct, that Charles's the discharge of
prudence could sometimes prevail over his revenge; or that his inattention to business, in consequence of his unrestrained pur
suit of pleasure, induced him to resign the management of these affairs into the hands of others, who were not actuated by his
1 The fact is mentioned by Richardson; and rests upon authority, which seems to be decisive. Richardson received it from Henry Bendish (a grandson, I believe, of the Protector's) who was an intimate in Milton's house, and who had heard it mentioned by his family. No less doubtful testimony would 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
I am not surprised that Dr. Johnson should treat this cir cumstance as an obscure story; and place it among those "large 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 have 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 Homer and Virgil, she replied, that " he stole from no.
Species. In the s
the public another
By the public le works, and by change of govern is enemies were ture, to insult speak of him as these topics of t lines, preserved only for their ma
About the time of his marriage, or probably 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 remarkable only for its exhibition of a mighty mind, stooping in dignified condescension to utility, and regarding nothing as high or nothing as low otherwise than as it referred to 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
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.
Upon JOIN MILTON's not suffering for his traiterous
"That thou escaped'st' that vengeance, which o'ertook,
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 his 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 story, which I have seen in priut, (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 exhibits 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
But the mode
kept him at a dis they, who could su must have been ill solations of consci exquisite gratifica mind affluent in k gination which c
troll, through the
Soon after Milt
to his acquaintan
hes which befall us here a in what manner are we to her? The displeasure have been much greater a lost only my eyes, but he Moch discomposed t leave and went away. which he spoke to the k to blame that you don' "Why-what is the ma in a heat. What? hav the Duke, I have seen what condition did you
and very poor."
is he not "Yes, bli the King, "you are a f nishment: to hang hin
taking him out of his blind, he is miserable
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 imaagination which could range, without controll, through the spacious walks of the uni
Soon after Milton's establishment in Jewen Street, Ellwood the quaker was introduced to his acquaintance by Doctor Paget. Ell
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 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!"
wood, who is one of the most considerable of the writers of his sect, has left behind him a history of his life; and from his accidental intercourse with the author of Paradise Lost, he is raised into an object of our particular regard. He was the son of an Oxfordshire magistrate; and falling, at an early period of life, into the opinions of quakerism, he incurred the displeasure of his family, and exposed himself to a variety of distressful inci-Milton was stud tongue to the for
In the commer
dents. To an ardent zeal for the tenets of
would probably fuently supplied.
near to his new fr self in a lodging street; and atter that of sunday e
man authors as 1
his peculiar sect he united a strong passion latin, assigning, a
for literature, which, having been removed prematurely from school by the œconomy 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 of the magnitude Ishould be muc
it was not, of co whose
persevera able difficulty, f ceeded in accom master's taste.
the classics his to his ignorance of would then stop
reciprocation o Soon, however, illness which o