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were sacred, he not only disdains to wear the opprobrious shac«les of authority, but even the decent vestments of custom.71 Safe in his own inflexible integrity, in the great purity of his heart, and singleness of purpose, what his conscience dictates, his courage proclaims. Impe tuous, fearless, and uncompromising, he pushes on his inquiries, till they end in a defence of the death of the monarch, and the substitution of a visionary republic, in politics; in a denial of the eternal existence of the Son, in theology; and in the defence of a plurality of wives, in morals. Yet it must be remembered, that he lived in an age when men were busy pulling down and building up; a fermentation was spreading over the surface, and dissolving the materials of society. Old faith was gone; old institutions were crumbling away. Long, splendid vistas of ideal perfection opened before men's eyes, dazzling their senses and confounding their judgments.72 Gray

71 See T. Warton's Summary of Milton's Political Opinions, in Todd's Milton, vol. vi. p. 391. 'In point of doc. tine they are calculated to annihilate the very foundations of our civil and religious establishment, as it now subsists. They are subversive of our legislature and our species of government. In condemning tyranny, he strikes at the bare existence of kings; in combating superstition, he strikes at all public religion. These discourses hold forth a system of politics at present as unconstitutional, and almost as obsolete, as the nonsense of passive obedience; and in this view he might just as well think of republishing the pernicious theories of the kingly bigot James, as of the republican usurper Oliver Cromwell. This might have been spared. Milton's political speculations are not applicable to our times; and, as it has been justly said, his theological opinions would have been different, had he survived to read the works of Waterland and Bull ; so, we may say, his political theories would have been more wise and moderate, had he lived in the days of Somers and of Locke. 72 See the Areopagitica, p. 317, ed. Burnet. · Behold now


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headed men, men grown old in the business of life, and in the pursuit of practical wisdom, yielded to the syren influence. It pervaded the senate, the city, and the camp. What wonder then, if the Poet, the visionary by his profession, the dreaming theorist, the man dwelling in ideal worlds and abstract notions, should be led astray.

Such are some of the singular opinions advanced in this curious, and late discovered document of Milton's faith,73 they serve to show us that its author is everywhere the same, the same severe and uncompromising investigator of truth, the same fearless and independent judge of its reality. In the honesty of his opinions uninfluenced, in the sanctity of his morals unblemished, in the fervour of his piety unquestioned. But there was both in his political and religious opinions, a visionary attempt at perfection, a grasping after the ideal and the abstract, a lofty aspiration after the most exalted means, that while they supplied his imagination as a poet, in its boldest and most extended flights, unqualified him for the more cautious and practical character of the theologian and the statesman. In Milton was united for the first and perhaps for the last

this vast city, &c. There be pens and heads there sitting by their studious lamps ; musing, searching, revolving new notions and ideas wherewith to present, as with their homage and fealty, the approaching reformation ; others as fast reading, trying all things, assenting to the force of reason and convincement,' &c.

73 It has been more than once remarked, that little mention is made of Milton by his contemporaries. His name does not occur in the pages of Clarendon. Thurloe speaks of him only as a blind old man, who wrote Latin letters. Sir W. Temple does not name him, and R. Baxter passes uver him in silence. Whitelocke mentions him only once, and that casually.

time, the imagination of the poet and the belief of the puritan: of materials so opposite was his exalted character composed; yet both were perhaps equally necessary for the erection of the costly fabric of his fame. Had he not been a poet, he would not have been distinguished above other men of like persuasion with himself; men of vigorous minds and unquestioned integrity, the Vanes, the Sydneys, the Fleetwoods of the age. As a scholar, perhaps he would have still stood eminently distinguished and alone, but Harrington excelled him in political wisdom, and Hall and other prelates in theological learning. Had he not been imbued with the austere feelings, the solemn and severe religion of the puritans, we should indeed still have possessed from his genius creations of surpassing beauty; but they would have been altogether of a different kind. We should have had the enchantments of Comus, the sounds of revelry, and Circe's cup; but we should have wanted the songs of a higher mood, the voice of woe, the sorrows and the pride of the Hebrew captive. We should not have been carried back, as it were by vision, into the dark and austere learning of the Sanhedrim, and had the teraphim, and the ephod, pall and mitre, and “the old Flamen's vestry" brought before our eyes. We should still have possessed the noblest Epic of modern days, but its argument would not have been the talk of angels, the sullen despair, or the haughty resolves of rebellious spirits, the contrition of fallen man, or the decrees of eternal wisdom. We should have had tales of chivalrous emprize, of gentle knights that pricked

• along the plain,' the cruelty of inexorable beauty, and the achievements of unconquerable love. Its

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scenes would not have been laid in the bowers of paradise, or by the thunderous throne' of heaven, nor where the wings of the cherubim fan the mercy-seat; but amid royal halls, in the palaces of magicians, and islands of enchantment. Instead of the serpent, with hairy mane, and eye of carbuncle gliding ainong the myrtle thickets of Eden, we should have jousts and tournaments, the streaming of Gonfalons, the glitter of dancing plumes, the wailing of barbaric trumpets, and the sound of silver clarions : battles fiercer than that of Fontarabia, and fields more gorgeous than that of the cloth of gold. What crowds of pilgrims and of palmers should we not have beheld journeying to and fro with shell, and staff of ivory, filling the port of Joppa with their gallies ? What youthful warriors, the flowers of British chivalry, should we not have seen caparisoned, and in quest of the holy Sangreal ? The world of reality, and the world of vision, would have been equally exhausted to supply the materials. The odors would have been wafted from the “ weeping woods” of Araby: the dazzling mirrors would have been of solid diamond : and the flowers would have been amaranths, from the Land of Faëry. Every warrior would have been clothed in pyropus and in adamant. We should have watched in battle not the celestial sword of Michael, but the enchanted Caliburn; we should have had not the sorrows of Eve, and the fall of Adam, but the loves of Angelica, or the exploits of Arthur.

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P. ix. Life, Milton confines himself to praise of the fellows, but he makes not the slightest mention of the Master, Doctor Bainbridge, who is recorded to have been a most rigid disciplinarian, and that on those very points which Milton particularly disliked. He admits that his disposition could not brook the threats of a rigorous master, by whom it is most reasonable to suppose he meant Dr. Bainbridge, the head of his college. Walker's Lit. Anecdotes, p. 202.

P. xi. Gaddius (de Scriptoribus non Ecclesiasticis) mentions that I. Scaliger read the two poems of Homer in twentyone days; and the remainder of the Greek poets in four months.

P. xix. • That the manner and genius of that place (Paris) being not agreeable to his mind, he soon left it.' Wood's Fast. Or. vol. ii. 1635, col. 481.

P. xx. Leo Holsten, who received Milton kindly at Rome, had resided some time in England, making researches in the libraries. He maintained a friendly correspondence with N. Heinsius, to whom he had shown much civility when Heinsius was at Rome; I read through the collection of Holsten's letters, with the hope of finding some addressed to Milton, but in vain ; Milton did not maintain a correspondence with the scholars on the continent.

P. xxii. I have heard it confidently related that for his said resolutions, which out of policy and for his own safety might have been then shared, the English priests at Rome were highly disgusted, and it was questioned whether the Jesuits, bis countrymen there, did not design to do him mischief. Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. col. 481.

P. xxvii. Took a larger house, where the earl of Barrimore sent, by his aunt the lady Ranelagh, Sir Thomas Gardiner of Essex, to be there with others (besides his nephew) under his tuition, but whether it were that the tempers of our gentry would not bear the strictness of his discipline, or for what other reasons I cannot tell, he continued that course but a while. Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. col. 483.

P. xxxv. Wherefore though he sent divers pressing invi. tations, yet he could not prevail with her to come back, till about four years after, when the garrison of Oxford was surrendered (the nighness of her father's house to which having

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