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it by repudiation. In 1644 he published a work however, suffered no eclipse from this loss of his
“ The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ;" sensitive faculties; and he pursued, without interand, in the next year, it was followed by “ Te mission, both his official and his controversial occutrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief pations. Cromwell, about this time, having assumed Places in Scripture which treat of Marriage.” He the supreme power, with the title of Protector, further reduced his doctrine into practice, by pay- Milton acted with a subservience towards this ing his addresses to a young lady of great accom- usurper which is the part of his conduct that it is plishments; but, as he was paying a visit to a neigh- the most difficult to justify. It might have been bor and kinsman, he was surprised with the sud- expected, that when the wisest and most conscienden entrance of his wife, who threw herself at tious of the republicans had become sensible of his his feet, and implored forgiveness. After a short arts, and opposed his ambitious projects, the mind struggle of resentment, he took her to his bosom; of Milton would neither have been blinded by his and he sealed the reconciliation by opening his hypocrisy, nor overawed by his power. Possibly house to her father and brothers, when they had the real cause of his predilection for Cromwell, was been driven from home by the triumph of the re- that he saw no refuge from the intolerance of the publican arms.
Presbyterians, but in the moderation of the ProIn the progress of Milton's prose works, it will tector. And, in fact, the very passage in which he be right to mention his “ Areopagitica; a Speech of addresses him with the loftiest encomium, contains Mr. John Milton, for the Liberty of Unlicensed a free and noble exhortation to him to respect Printing,”—a work, published in 1644, written with that public liberty, of which he appeared to be the equal spirit and ability, and which, when reprinted guardian. in 1738, was affirmed by the editor to be the best Cromwell at length died; and so zealous and sandefence that had ever then appeared of that essen- guine was Milton, to the very last, that one of his tial article of public liberty. In the following year latest political productions was, “A ready and easy he look care that his poetical character should not Way to establish a free Commonwealth.” It was in be lost to the world, and published his juvenile vain, however, to contend, by pamphlets, with the poems, Latin and English.
national inclination; and Charles II. returned in Milton's principles of the origin and end of triumph. Milton was discharged from his office, government carried him to a full approbation of the and lay for some time concealed in the house of a trial and execution of the king; and, in order to friend. The House of Commons desired that his conciliate the minds of the people to that act, he Majesty would issue a proclamation to call in Mil. published, early in 1649, a work entitled, “The ton's Defences of the People, and Iconoclastes, toTenure of Kings and Magistrates; proving that it gether with a book of Goodwyn's. The books were is lawful, and hath been so held through all ages, accordingly burnt by the common hangman; but the for any who have the power, to call to account authors were returned as having absconded ; nor, in a tyrant or wicked king; and, after due convic- the act of indemnity, did the name of Milton appear tion, to depose and put him to death, if the ordinary among those of the excepted persons. magistrate have neglected or denied to do it." He now, in reduced circumstances, and under Certainly, it would not be easy to express, in the discountenance of power, removed to a private stronger terms, an author's resolution to leave no habitation near his former residence. He had doubls concerning his opinion on this important buried his first wise; and a second, the daughter of topic. His appointment to the Latin Secretaryship a Captain Woodcock, in Hackney, died in childbed. to the Council of State was, probably, the conse- To solace his forlorn condition, he desired his friend, quence of his decision.
Dr. Paget, to look out a third wife for him, who The learned Frenchman, Salmasius, or Saumaise, recommended a relation of his own, named Eliza. having been hired by Charles II., while in Holland, beth Minshull, of a good family in Cheshire. His to write a work in favor of the royal cause, which powerful mind, now centered in itself, and unhe entitled, * Defensio Regia,” Milton was employed disturbed by contentions and temporary topics, to answer it; which he did in 1651, by his celebrated opened to those great ideas which were continually • Defensio pro Populo Anglicano,” in which he filling it, and the result was, Paradise Lost. Much exercised all his powers of Latin rhetoric, both to discussion has taken place concerning the original justify the republican party, and to confound and conception of this grand performance; but whatvilify the famous scholar against whom he took up ever hint may have suggested the rude outline, it the pen. By this piece he acquired a high reputa. is certain that all the creative powers of a strong tation, both at home and abroad ; and he received imagination, and all the accumulated stores of a a present of a thousand pounds from the English life devoted to learning, were expended in its comgovernment. His book went through several edi- pletion. Though he appears, at an early age, to tions; while, on the other hand, the work of Sal. have thought of some subject in the heroic times of masius was suppressed by the States of Holland, in English history, as peculiarly calculated for English whose service he lived as a professor at Leyden. verse, yet his religious turn, and assiduous study of
Milton's intense application to study had, for the Hebrew Scriptures, produced a final preference some years preceding, brought on an affection of of a story derived from the Sacred Writings, and the eyes, which gradually impaired his sight; and, giving scope to the introduction of his theological before he wrote his “ Defensio," he was warned by system. It would be superfluous, at this time, to his physicians that the effort would probably end in weigh the merits of Milton's great work, which total blindness. This opinion was soon after justi- stands so much beyond competition ; but it may be fied by a gutta serena, which seized both his eyes, affirmed, that whatever his other poems can exhibit and subjected the reinainder of his life to those pri- of beauty in some parts, or of grandeur in others, vations which he has so feelingly described in some may all be referred to Paradise Lost as the mosi passages of his poems. Ilis intellectual powers, (perfect model of both.
Milton, not exhausted by this great effort, fol- With this work his poetical account closes; and a lowed it in 1670 by “ Paradise Regained,” written few pieces in prose can scarcely claim particular upon a suggestion of the Quaker Elwood's, and ap- notice. He sunk tranquilly under an exhaustion of parentıy regarded as the theological completion of the vital powers, in November, 1674, when he had the Paradise Lost. Although, in point of inven- nearly completed his 66th year. His remains were tion, its inferiority is plainly apparent, yet modern carried from his house in Bunhill-Fields to the criticism has pronounced that there are passages in church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, with a numerous it by no means unworthy of the genius of Milton, and splendid attendance. No monument marked allowance being made for the small compass of the the tomb of this great man; but his memory was subject, and his purpose in writing it. Together honored with a tomb, in 1737, in Westminster with it appeared his tragedy of “Sampson Ago- Abbey, at the expense of Auditor Benson. The nistes," composed upon the model of antiquity, and only family whom he left were daughters. never intended for the stage.
Then to come, in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet-brier, or the vine,
(holy! While the cock, with lively din, 'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights un- Scatters the rear of Darkness thin, Find out some uncouth cell,
(wings, And to the stack, or the barn-door Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous Stoutly struts his dames before ; And the night-raven sings;
Oft listening how the hounds and horn There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks, Cheerly rouse the slumbering Morn, As ragged as thy locks,
From the side of some hoar hill, In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
Through the high wood echoing shrill : But come, thou goddess fair and free,
Some time walking, not unseen, In Heaven yclep'd Euphrosyne,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green, And by men, heart-easing Mirth;
Right against the eastern-gate Whom lovely Venus, at a birth,
Where the great Sun begins his state, With two sister Graces more,
Rob’d in flames, and amber light, To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore :
The clouds in thousand liveries dight; Or whether (as some sager sing)
While the plowman, near at hand, The frolic wind, that breathes the spring,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land, Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe, As he met her once a-maying;
And the mower whets his sithe, There on beds of violets blue,
And every shepherd tells his tale And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Under the hawthorn in the dale. Fill'd her with thee a daughter fair,
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures, So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Whilst the landscape round it measures ;
Where the nibbling flocks do stray ;
Mountains, on whose barren breast, Nods, and Becks, and wreathed Smiles.
The laboring clouds do often rest; Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
Meadows trim with daisies pied, And love to live in dimple sleek;
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide: Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
Towers and battlements it sees And Laughter holding both his sides.
Bosom'd high in tufted trees, Come, and trip it, as you go,
Where perhaps some beauty lies, On the light fantastic toe;
The Cynosure of neighboring eyes. And in thy right hand lead with thee
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes, The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty ;
From betwixt two aged oaks, And, if I give thee honor due,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met, Mirth, admit me of thy crew,
Are at their savory dinner set, To live with her, and live with thee.
Of herbs and other country messes, In unreproved pleasures free.
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses; To hear the lark begin his flight,
And then in haste her bower she leaves, And singing startle the dull Night,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves; From his watch-tower in the skies,
Or, if the earlier season lead, Till the dappled Dawn doth rise ;
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
And ever, against eating cares,
These delights if thou canst give, Mirth, with thee I mean to live
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless As the gay notes that people the sunbeams; Or likest hovering dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
He met her, and in secret shades
There, held in holy passion still,
IL PENSEROSO. HENCE, vain deluding Joys, The brood of Folly, without father bred! How little you bested,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys !
With such consort as they keep,
But let my due feet never fail
There let the pealing organ blow,
And may at last my weary age
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
But, O sad virgin, that thy power
Thus, Night, oft see me in thy pale career,
Yet once more, O ye laurels, and once more,
Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,
20 And, as he passes, turn And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd Under the opening eye-lids of the Morn, We drove afield, and both together heard What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn, Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the star, that rose, at evening bright,
30 Toward Heaven's descent had slop'd his westering
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, It was that fatal and perfidious bark,
100 Temper'd to the oaten flute;
Built in the eclipse, and rigg'd with curses dark,
His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge,
40 Last came, and last did go,
The pilot of the Galilean lake;
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, 110
He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake :
" How well could I have spared for thee, young Or frost to flowers, that their gay wardrobe wear,
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake
Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold? Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless of other care they little reckoning make, deep
Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas ? 51 And shove away the worthy bidden guest; For neither were ye playing on the steep,
Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to Where your old bards, the famous Druids, lie,
hold Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
A sheep-hook, or have learn’d aught else the least Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream: That to the faithful herdman's art belongs ! 121 Ay me! I fondly dream!
What recks it them? What need they? They are Had ye been there--for what could that have
And, when they list, their lean and fashy songs
60 But, swoln with wind and the rank mist they When, by the rout that made the hideous roar,
Alas! what boots it with incessant care Daily devours apace, and nothing sed :
Return, Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams; return, Sicilian Muse,
And call the vales, and bid them hither cast Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise Their bells, and flowerets of a thousand hues. (That last infirmity of noble mind)
71 Ye valleys low, where the mild whispers use
Throw hither all your quaint enamell'd eyes,
The white pink, and the pansy freak’d with jet,
And every flower that sad embroidery wears :
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise ;
Ay me! whilst thee the shores and sounding scas
90 Wash far away, where'er thy bones are hurl'd.
Sleep'st by the fable of Bellerus old,
And, O ye dolphins, waft the hapless youth