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Or to one who has seen her lover in this autumn glade:

• What said he? how looked he? Wherein went he? Did he ask for me! Where remains he? How parted he with thee? and when shalt thou see him again? ... Do you not know that I am a woman? When I think, I must speak. Sweet, say on.''

Eve is Milton's ideal. With her he would have been happy. There would have been no friction. He would administer the scientific draughts required, and she would reply becomingly, gratefully, as he wished:

*My ... Disposer, what thou bidst,
Unargued, I obey; so God ordains;
God is thy law, thon mine; to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.
With thee conversing I forget all time;

All seasons and their change, all please alike.' As for Adam, no mortal woman could love him, however she might admire him,- least of all Mary Powel.

Milton could not divorce himself from dialectics. His Jehovah is too much of an advocate. He expounds and enforces theology like an Oxford divine. The highest art is only indirectly didactic. The most exquisite can produce no illusion when it is employed to represent the transcendent and absolute. Spiritual agents cannot be poetically expressed with metaphysical accuracy. They must be clothed in material forms,— must have a sphere and mode of agency not wholly superhuman.”

Character.-He was born for great ideas and great service. At ten he had a learned tutor, and at twelve he worked until midnight. It is Milton's childhood that is described in Paradise Regined, where Christ is made to say:

•While I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do,
What might be public good; myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth,

All righteous things.' No man ever conceived a loftier ideal, or a firmer resolve to unfold it. Amid the licentious gallantries of the South he perfected himself by study, without soiling himself by contagion:

1 As You Like Il.

M. Taine demands of the poet what is altogether impossible, - that God and Messiah should act and feel in conformity with their essential natures. To reconcile the spiritual properties supernatural beings with the human modes of existene

it is necessary to ascribe to them, is it difficulty too great for the human mind to overcome. The infinite cannot be made to enter finise limits without jar and collision. It may be justly insisted, of course, that the Deity shall not be bound to a precise formula.

'I call the Deity to witness that in all those places in which vice meets with so little discouragement, and is practised with so little shame, I never once deviated from the paths of integrity and virtue, and perpetually reflected that, though my conduct might escape the notice of men, it could not elude the inspection of God.'

The idea of a purer existence than any he saw around him, regulated all his toil:

He who would aspire to write well in laudable things, ought himself to be a true poem; ... not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men or famous cities unless he have in himself ihe experience and the practice of all that which is praiseworthy.'

Not art, but life, was the end of his effort, - to identify himself and others with all select and holy images. Comus is but a hymn to chastity. Two noble passages attest the conviction which fired him, the purpose which no temptation could shake, and which gives such authority to his strain:

• Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
By her own radiant light, though sun and moon

Were in the flat sea sunk.'
And:

• This I hold firm :-
Virtue may be assail'd, but never hurt,--
Surpris'd by unjust force, but not enthrall'd;
Yea, even that, which mischief meant most harm,
Shall in the happy trial prove most glory:
But evil on itself shall back recoil,
And mix no more with goodness: when at last
Guther'd like scum, and setiled to itsell,
Il shall be in eternal restless change,
Self-fed, and self-consumed; if this fail,
The pillar'd firmament is rottenness,

And earth's base built on stubble.' The mind thus consecrated to moral beauty, is stamped with the superscription of the Most High. Like the Puritans, his eve was fixed continually on an Almighty Judge. This was the light that irradiated his darkness, and, early and late, on all sides round,

As one great furnace flamed.' This was the idea, strengthened by vast knowledge and solitary meditation, that absorbed all the rest of his being, and made him the sublimest of men. Hence the poems that rise like temples, and the rhythms that flow like organ chants. Hence the contempt of external circumstances, the purpose that will not bend to opposition nor yield to seduction, the courage to perform a perilous duty and to co at for what is true or sacred. Hence the calm, conscious energy which no subject, howsoever

vast or terrific, can repel or intimidate, which no emotion or accident can transform or disturb, which no suffering can render sullen or fretful. Hence the larger conception of perpetual growth, the consequent reverence for human nature, hatred of the institutions which fetter the mind, devotion to freedom above all, freedom of speech, of conscience and worship. Parents and friends had destined him for the ministry, but,

Coming to some maturity of years, and perceiving what tyranny had invaded the church, that he who would take orders must subscribe slave, and take an oath withal, which unless he took with a conscience that would retch, he must either straight perjure, or split his faith; I thought it better to prefer a blameless silence before the sacred office of speaking, bought and begun with servitude and forswearing.' Hence, too,— from the endurance of the God-idea, from the fixed determination to live nobly and act grandly,- he preserved his moral ardor intact from the withering and polluting influences of polities, which generally extinguish sentiment and imagination in a sordid and calculating selfishness.

Can we expect humor here? – Only at distant intervals, and then with strange slips into the grotesque, as in the heavy witticisms of the devils on the effect of their artillery. Thus Satan seeing the confusion of the angels, calls to his mates:

"O Friends, why come not on these victors proud?
Ere while they fierce were coming: and when we
To entertain them fair with open front
And breast (what could we more) propounded terms
of composition, straight they changed their minds,
Flew off, and into strange vagarics fell,
As they would dance; yet for a dance they seem'd

Somewhat extravagant and wild.'
And Belial answers:

Leader, the terms we sent were terms of weight,
or hard contents, and full of force urged home,
Such as we might perceive amused them all,
And stumbled many; who receives them right,

Had need from head to foot well understand.' Naturally, his habits of living were austere. He was an early riser, and abstemious in diet. The lyrist, he thought, might indulge in wine, and in a freer life; but he who would write an epic to the nations, must eat beans and drink water. His amusements consisted in gardening, in exercise with the sword, and in playing on the organ. Music, he insisted, should form part of a generous edu tion. His ear for was acute; and his voice, it is said, was sweet and harmonious. In youth, handsome to a

proverb, he was called the lady of his college. The simplicity of his later years accorded with his inner greatness. He listened every morning to a chapter from the Hebrew Bible; and, after meditating in silence on what he had heard, studied till mid-day; then, after an hour's exercise, he attuned himself to majesty and purity of thought with music, and resumed his studies till six.

The most devout man of his time, he frequented no place of worship. He was perhaps too dissatisfied with the clashing systems of the age to attach himself to any sect. Finding his ideal in none, he prayed to God alone :

"Thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer

Before all temples, the upright heart, and pure.'' The discovery, in 1823, of his Treatise on Christian Doctrine excited considerable amazement by its heterodox opinions. In this he avers himself an anti-Trinitarian, and teaches that the Son is distinct from the Father, inferior to Him, created by Him, and afterwards employed by Him to carry on the creative work. He is opposed, as were most of the ancient philosophers, to the doctrine of creation out of nothing; and maintains that, since there can be no act without a passive material on which the act was exerted, the world was formed out of a preëxistent substance. To the question, What and whence is this primary substance? he answers: It proceeded from God, an efflux of the Deity." He differs from the majority, again, in the rejection of infant baptism, and in the assertion that under the Gospel no time is appointed for public worship, but that the observance of the first day of the week rests wholly on expediency and general consent. On two other points he satisfies himself with the prevalent notions,- original sin, and redemption through Christ.

In the order of Providence, the highest and greatest must have more or less sympathy with their age. Hence his controversial asperity. Gentlemen now are expected to dispute with an elegant dignity. In those days, they sought to devour each other, or, failing in this, to cover each other with filth. Some of his offenders deserved no merey. Salmasius, a hired pedant, disgorges

i Paradise Lost: Invocation.

? Those who represent, with Macaulay, that Milton asserts the eternity of matter, are in error, as is evident from the following passage, than which nothing could be more ex. plicit: That matter, I way, should have existed from all eternity, is inconceivable. If, on the contrary, it did not exist from all cternity, it is dificult to understand from whence it derives its origin. There remains, therefore, but one solution of the difficulty, for which, moreover, we have the authority of Scripture, namely, that all things are of God.'

upon him a torrent of calumny, and he replies with a dictionary of epithets — rogue, wretch, idiot, ass:

Yon who know so many tongues, who read so many books, who write so much about them, you are yet but an ass.' Again:

'O most drivelling of asses, you come ridden by a woman, with the curled heads of bishops whom you had wounded,' And again:

"Doubt not that you are reserved for the same end as Judas, and that, driven by despair rather than repentance, self-disgusted, you must one day hang yourself, and like your rival burst asuinder in your belly."

Such passages every admirer of Milton must lament. When interests of infinite moment are at stake, the deeply moved soul will speak strongly. The general strain of his prose, however, must exalt him, notwithstanding its occasional violence; but in the more congenial sphere of poetry, he ever appears in the serene strength, the sedate patience, which was proper to him.

To the manners and spirit of his age, as well as to his severe sanctitude, is due his conception of female excellence and the relative position of the sexes:

• Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd:
For contemplation he and valour formid,
For softness she and sweet attractive grace;
He for God only, she for God in him.
His fair large front and eye sublime declared
Absolute rule; and hyacinthine locks
Round from his parted forclock manly hug
Clust'ring, but not beneath his shoulders broad:
She, as a veil down to the slender waist,
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
Dishevell d, but in wanton ringlets waved
As the vine curls her tendrils; which imply'd
Subjection, but required with gentle sway,
And by her yielded, by him best received:
Yielded with coy submission, modest pride,

And sweet reluctant amorous delay.') Milton's heart lived in a sublime solitude. Disappointed of a companionship there, he regarded the actual woman with some thing of condescension, and, incapable of those attentions which make companionship sweet, probably exacted a studious respect. As for sensibility and tenderness, it was essential to his perfectness that the nature should be quiet. A great mind is master of its enthusiasm,- the less perturbed, the closer its resemblance to

1 Paradise Lost, IV: Adam and Eve.

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