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threw itself at the feet of a young inca- Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not pable and treacherous libertine. The
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate one
jot glorious leaders of the Puritan faith
Of heart or hope ; but still bear up and were condemned, executed, cut down alive from the gallows, quartered amidst Right onward. What supports me, dost thor insults; others, whom death had saved
The conscience, friend, to have lozt them from the hangman, were dug up and
overplied exposed on the gibbet; others, exiles In liberty's defence, my noble task; in foreign lands, lived, threatened and Of which all Europe rings from side to zide. attacked by royalist bullies; others
This thought might lead me through there
world's vain mask again, more unfortunate, had sold their
Content though blind, had I 16 the cause for money and titles, and sat amid
guide." the executioners of their former friends. That thought was indeed his guide ; he The most pious and austere citizens of
was England filled the prisons, or wandered breastplate of diamond” t which had
“armed in himself,” and that about in poverty and shame ; and gross protected him in his prime against the vice, impudently seated on the throne wounds in battle, protected him in his tallied around it a herd of unbridled old age against the temptations and lusts and sensualities. Milton himself doubts of defeat and adversity. had been constrained to hide ; his books had been burned by the hand of the
IV. hangman; even after the general act of indemnity he was imprisoned; when Milton lived in a small house in Lonset at liberty, he lived in the expecta don, or in the country, at Horton, in tion of being assassinated, for private Buckinghamshire, published his Histofanaticism might seize the weapon re-ry of Britain, his Logic, a Treatise on linquished by public revenge. Other True Religion and Heresy, meditated smaller misfortunes came to aggravate his great Treatise on Christian Doctrine. by their stings the great wounds which Of all consolations, work is the most afflicted him. Confiscations, a bank- fortifying and the most healthy, because ruptcy, finally, the great fire of London, it solaces a man not by bringing him had robbed him of three-fourths of his ease, but by requiring him to exert fortune;* his daughters neither esteem- himself. Every morning he had a chaped nor respected him; he sold his ter of the Bible read to him in Hebrew, books, knowing that his family could and remained for some time in silence, not profit by them after his death ; and grave, in order to meditate on what he amidst so many private and public mis- had neard. He never went to a place eries, he continued calm. Instead of of worship. Independent in religion repudiating what he had done, he glo- as in all else, he was sufficient to him. ried in it: instead of being cast down, self ; finding in no sect the marks of he increased in firmness. He says, in the true church, he prayed to God alone, his 22d sonnet:
without needing others' help. He stud. Cyriack, this three years day these eyes,
ied till mid-day; then, after an hour's though clear,
exercise, he played the organ or the bass To outward view, of blemish or of spot, violin. Then he resumed his studies Bereft of sight, their seeing have forgot ; Nor to their idle orbs doth day appear
till six, and in the even'ng enjoyed the Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the society of his friends. When any on:
came to visit him, he was usually
found in a room hung with old greea * A scrivener caused him to lose £2000. At hangings, seated in an arm-chair, and the Restoration he was refused payment of £200 which he had put
into the Excise
Office, dressed neatly in black; his complex and deprived of an estate of £50 a year, bought ion was pale, says one of his visitors, by him from the property of the Chapter of but not sallow; his hands and feet Westminster. His house in Bread Street was burnt in the great fire. When he died he is
were gouty; his hair, of a light brown said to have left about £1500 in money (equiva- was parted in the midst and fell in long lent to about £5000 now), besides household curls ; his eyes, gray and clear, showed goods. [I am indebted to the mindness of Professor Masson for the collation of this * Milton's Portican Works, Mitford, i. Son wote.---Tr.)
no sign of blindness. He had been very | artists' tool, whose square brows and
civilization, we see the battles of the
theologians, who, armed with syllo V.
gisms, bristling with texts, covered one I have before me the formidable vol. another with filth, and labored to de
vour each other. ume in which some time after Milton's
Milton fought in the front rank, predeath, his prose works were collected.* ordained to barbarism and greatness
X What a book! The chairs creak when you place it upon them, and a man who by his individual nature and the manhad turned its leaves over for an hour, in high prominence the logic, style, and
ners of the time, capable of displaying would have less pain in his head than As the book, so were the life which trims men into shape: the
spirit of his age. in his arm.
It is drawing-room men ; from the mere outsides we might gather some notion of the controver- society of ladies, the lack of serious insialists and theologians whose doctrines needed to bring men to elegance, urban
terests, idleness, vanity, security, are they contain. Yet we must conclude ity, fine and light humor, to teach the that the author was eminently learned, desire to please, the fear to become digant, travelled, philosophic, and a wearisome, a perfect clearness, a Snishman of the world for his age. Weed precision, the art of graduai transi hin's involuntarily of the portraits of tions and delicate tact, a taste for suithe theologians of those days, severe able images, continual ease, and choice Faczı engraved on metal by the hard diversity. Seek nothing like this in
*3 culs. folio, 1697-8. The titles of Milo Milton. The old scholastic system ton's unief writings in prose are these :- 0 was not far off ; it still weighed on Reformation in England; The Reason of those who were destroying it. Under Church Government urged against Prelaty; Animadversions upon the Remonstrants. De this secular armor discussion proceeded fence ; Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ; pedantically, with measured steps. Tetr z hor don ; Tractate on Education ; Areopagitica , Tenure of Kings and Magis. thesis ; and Milton writes, in largo
The first ching, was to propound a terales ; Eikonoklastes; History of Britain; characters, at the head of his Treation Defence of the People of England
en Dizorce, “that indisposition, unfit- I apostle, can catch nothing ; see what ness, or contrariety of mind, arising you can catch with Simon Magus ; foi from a cause in nature unchangeable, all his hooks and fishing implements hindering, and ever likely to hinder he bequeathed among you.” Here a the main benefits of conjugal society, great savage laugh would break out. which are solace and peace, is a greater The spectators saw a charm in this way reason of divorce than natural frigidity, of insinuating that his adversary was especially if there be no children, and simoniacal. A little before, the latter that there be mutual consent.” And says : “Tell me, is this liturgy good or then follow, legion after legion, the evil ?" Answer: “ It is evil : repair disciplined army of the arguments. the acheloian horn of your dilemma, Battalion after battalion they pass by, how you can, against the next push numbered very distinctly. There is a The doctors wondered at the fine dozen of them together, each with its mythological simile, and rejoiced to see title in clear characters, and the little the adversary so neatly compaied to brigade of subdivisions which it com- an ox, a beaten ox, a pagan ox, On mands. Sacred texts hold the post of the next page the Remonstrant said, honor. Every word of them is dis- by way of a spiritual and mocking recussed, the substantive after the adjec- proach : “ Truly, brethren, you have tive, the verb after the substantive, the not well taken the heighth of the pole." preposition after the verb; interpreta- Answer: "No marvel; there be many tions, authorities, illustrations, are sum- more that do not take well the height moned up, and ranged between pali- of your pole, but will take better the sades of new divisions. And yet there declination of your altitude.” Three is a lack of order, the question is not quips of the same savor follow one upon reduced to a single idea ; we cannot the other; all this looked pretty. Elsesee our way; proofs succeed proofs where, Salmasius exclaiming " that the without logical sequence; we are rather sun itself never beheld a more outragetired out than convinced. We remem- ous action " than the murder of the king, ber that the author speaks to Oxford Milton cleverly answers,
“ The sun has men, lay or cleric, trained in pretended beheld many things that blind Bernard discussions, capable of obstinate atten- never saw. But we are content you tion, accustomed to digest indigestible should mention the sun over and over. books. They are at home in this And it will be a piece of prudence in thorny thicket of scholastic brambles; you so to do. For though our wickedthey beat a path through, somewhat at does not require it, the coldness hazard, hardened against the hurts of the defence that you are making which repulse us, and not having the does.”* The marvellous heaviness of smallest idea of the daylight which we these conceits betrays minds yet enrequire everywhere now.
tangled in the swaddling-clothes of With such ponderous reasoners, you learning. The Reformation was the must not look for wit. Wit is the inauguration of free thought, but oniy nimbleness of victorious reason ; here, the inauguration. Criticism was yet because every thing is powerful, all is unborn; authority, still presses with a heavy. When Milton wishes to joke, full half of its weight upon the freest ke looks like one of Cromwell's pike- and boldest minds. Milton, to prove men, who, entering a room to dance, that it was lawful to put a king to shou d fall upon the floor, and that death, quotes Orestes, the laws of with the extra weight of his armor. Publicola, and the death of Nero. His Few things could be more stupid than History of Britain is a farrago of all his Animadversions upon the Remon- the traditions and fables. Under strants' Defence. At the end of an argu- every circumstance he adduces a text ment his adversary concludes with this of Scripture for proof; his boldness specimen of theological wit: “In the consists in showing himself a bold meanwhile see, brethren, how you have grammarian, a valorous commentator with Simon fished all night, and caught He is blindly Protestant as others were nothing.” And Milton boastfully re
* A Defence of the People &f England, Mis plies : “ If we, fishing with Simon the I ford, vi. 31.
Windly Catholic. He leaves in its | trated rancor and a fierce obstinacy bondage the higher reason, the mother The bishops and the king then sufof principles; ħe has but emancipated fered for eleven years of despotism. a subordinate reason, an interpreter of Each man recalled the banishments, cexts. Like the vast half shapeless confiscations, punishments, the law creatures, the birth of early times, he violated systematically and relentlessis vet but half man and half mud. ly, the liberty of the subject attacked
Can we expect urbanity here? Ur- by a well-laid plot, Episcopa itlolatry banity is the elegant dignity which imposed on Christian consciences, the answers insult by calm irony, and re- faithful preachers driven into the wilde spects man whilst piercing a dogma. of America, or given up to the execu Milton coarsely knocks his adversary tioner and the stocks. Such ren in sown. A bristling pedant, born from iscences arising in powerful minds a Greek lexicon and a Syriac grammar, stamped them with inexpiable hatred, Salmasius had disgorged upon the and the writings of Milton bear witness English people a vocabulary of insults and a folio of quotations.
* I copy from Neal's History as the Puri plies to him in the same style ; calling tans, ü: ch. vii. 367, one of these sorrows and him a buffoon, a mountebank,“ pro- the reader can judge of the intensity of the
complaints. By the greatness of the outrage fessor triobolaris," a hired pedant, a hatred : nobody, a rogue, a heartless being, a “The humble prtition of (Dr.) Alexander wretch, an idiot, sacrilegious, a slave Leighton, Prisoner in the Fleet,-Humbly
Sheweth, worthy of rods and pitchfork. A “ That on Feh. 17, 1630, he was apprehended dictionary of big Latin words passed coming from. sermon by a high commission wa: between them. “You, who know so rant, and dragged along the street with bille and many tongues, who read so many Newgate being sent for, clapt him in irons, and
staves to London-house. That the gaoler of books, who write so much about carried him with a strong power into a loath: them, you are yet but an ass.” Find- some and ruinoue dog had, full of rats and ing the epithet good, he repeats and mice, and that had no fight but a prie grate, sanctifies it. “Oh most drivelling of rain beat in upon him, having no teuaing, nor
and the roof being uncovered, the snow and asses, you come ridden by a woman, place to make a fire, but the ruins of an old with the cured heads of bishops whom smoaky chimney. In this woeful lace he was you had wounded, a little image of the shut u: for fifteen weeks, nvoody being suffered
to come near him, tiii at length his wife only great beast of the Apocalypse !” He was admitted. That the fourth day after his ends by calling him savage beast, apos- commitment the persuivant, with a mighty mul. tate and devil. “ Doubt not that you titude, came to his house to search for jesuits are reserved for the same end as Judas, books, and used his wife in such a barbarous
and in human manner as he is ashamed to ex. and that, driven by despair rather than press; that they rifled every person and place, repentance, self-disgusted, you must holding a pistol to the breast of a child of five one day hang yourself, and like your discover the tooks that they broke : pen
years old, threatening to kill him if he did not rival, burst asunder in your belly.”
chests, presses, boxes, and carried away every We fancy we are listening to the bel thing, even household stuff, apparel, arms, and lowing of two bulls.
other things; that at the end of fifteen weeks They had all a bull's ferocity. Mil- he was served with a subpçena, on an inbon was a good hater. He fought with formation laid against him by Sir Robert
Heath, attorney-general, whose dealing with bis pen, as the Ironsides with the him was full of cruelty and deceit; but he was sword, inch by inch, with a concen- then sick, and, in the opinion of four physicians
thought to be poisoned, because all his hair and Mitford, vi. 250. Salmasius said of the skin came off ; that in the height of this sick. death of the king : “ Horribilis nuntius aures ness the cruel sentence was passed upon him oostias atroci vulnere, sed magis mentes per- mentioned in the year 1630, and executed Nov. Culit.”. Milton replied: "Profecto nuntius iste 26 following, when he received thirty-six stripes horribilis aut gladium multo longiorem eo quem upon his naked back with a threefold cord, his strinxit Petrus habuerit oportet, aut aures istæ hands being tied to a stake, and then stood alauritissimæ fuerint, quas tam longinquo vulnere most two hours in the pillory in the frost and perculerit."
snow, before he was branded in the face, les “Oratorem tam insipidum et insulsum ut ne nose slit, and his ears cut off ; that after this ex lacrymis quidem ejus mica salis exiguissima he was carried by water to the Fleet, and shut rossit exprimi.”
up in such a room that he was never well, and “ Salmasius nova quadam metamorphosi sale after eight years was turned into the common macis factus est,
to a rancor which is now unknown. (in Milton, displayed in his opinions The impression left by his Eikonoklas- and his style, the sources of his belief tes * is oppressive. Phrase by phrase, and his talent. This proud reason asharshly, bitterly, the king is refuted pired to unfold itself without shackles; and accused to the last, without a min-it demanded that reason might unfold ute's respite of accusation, the accused itself without shackles. It claimed for being credited with not the slightest humanity what it coveted for itself, and good intention, the slightest excuse, championed every liberty in his every the least show of justice, the accuser work. From the first he attacked the never for an instant digressir.g to or corpulent bishops, scholastic upstarts, resting upon a general idea. I: is a persecutors of free discussion, pen. hand to hand fight, where every word sioned tyrants of Christian conscience.* takes effect, prolonged, obstinate, with Above the clamor of the Protestant out dash and without weakness, full of Revolution, his voice was heard thuna harsh and fixed hostility, where the dering against tradition and obedience. only thought is how to wound most He sourly railed at the pedantic theola severely and to kill surely. Against gians, devoted worshippers of old texts, the bishops, who were alive and pow. who mistook a mouldy martyrology for erful, his hatred flowed more violently a solid argument, and answered a destill, and the fierceness of his enven- | monstration with a quotation. He de omed mataphors hardly suffices to ex- clared that most of the Fathers were press it
. Milton points to them “ bask- turbulent and babbling intriguers, that ing in the sunny warmth of wealth and they were not worth more collectively promotion," like a brord of foul rep than individually, that their councils tiles. “ The sour leaven of human tra- were but a pack of underhand intrigues ditions, mixed in one putrified mass and vain disputes; he rejected their with the poisonous dregs of hypocrisie authority and their example, and set in the hearts of Prelates, ... is the up logic as the only interpreter of serpent's egg that will hatch an anti- Scripture.t A Puritan as against christ wheresoever, and ingender the bishops, an Independent as against same monster as big or little as the Presbyterians, he was always master of lump is which breeds him." +
his thought and the inventor of his So much coarseness and dulness own faith. No one better loved, pracwas as an outer breastplate, the mark tised, and praised the free and bold and the protection of the super-abun- use of reason. He exercised it even dant force and life which coursed in rashly and scandalously. He revolted those athletic limbs and chests. Now against custom, the illegitimate queen a-days, the mind being more refined of human belief, the born and relent. has become feebler; convictions, being less enemy of truth, raised his hand less stern, have become less strong. against marriage, and demanded diAttention, freed from the heavy scho- vorce in the case of incompatibility of lastic logic and scriptural tyranny, has temper. He declared that
error sup become more inert. Belief and the ports custom, custom countenances will, dissolved by universal tolerance error; and these two between them, and by the thousand opposing shocks .. with the numerous and vulgai of multiplied ideas, have engendered train of their followers, an exact and refined style, an instru- cry down the industry of free reasonment of con; ersation and pleasure, ing, under the terms of humor and in. and have expelled the poetic and rude novation.” I He showed that truth style, a weapon of war and enthusiasm. “never comes into the world, but like If we have effaced ferocity and dul- a bastard, to the ignominy of him that ness, we have diminished force and brought her forth; till Time, the midgreatness.
wife rather than the mother of truth, Force and greatness are manifested * Of Reformation in England.
† The loss of Cicero's works alorre, or those An answer to the Eikon Basilike, a work of Livy, could not be repaired by all he Father on the king's side, and attributed to the king. of the church. + Of Reformation in England, 4to, 1641, p. Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Mit
ford, ü. 4