Page images
PDF
EPUB

for the most part of the mean time hindered any communications between them); she of her own accord returned, and submitted to him, pleading that her mother had been the chief promoter of her forwardness. Wood's Ath. 01. vol. ii. col. 481.

P. xlviii. Bishop Gauden addressed three letters, Jan. 25, Feb. 20, March 6, 1661, to Lord Clarendon, in which he lays claim for services in the royal cause ; in one of his letters he says, ' Nor do I doubt but I shall, by yt Lordship’s favor, find the fruits as to something extraordinary, since the service was soe; not as to what was known to the world under my name, in order to vindicate the crowne and the church. But what goes under the late blessed king's name, the Elkwy, or protracture of hys majesty in hys solitudes and sufferings. This work and figure was wholly and only my invention, making and designe ; in order to vindicate the King's wisdome, honor, and piety. My wife indeed was conscious to it, and had an hand in Disguising the letters of that Copy which I sent to the King in the Isle of Wight. By favour of the late Marquise of Hertford,' &c. In answer to which, Lord Clarendon writes, March, 13, 1661. • I do assure you I am more afflicted with you, and for you, than I can expresse ; and the more sensibly, that it is the only charge of that kind is laid upon me, which in truth I do not think I do deceive. The particular which you often renewed, I do confesse was imparted to me under secrecy, and of which I did not take myself to be at liberty to take notice ; and truly when it ceases to be a secret, I know nobody will be gladd of it but Mr. Milton; I have very often wished I had never been trusted with it.' Edinh. Rev. vol. xliv. art. 1.

P. liv. It was the usual practice of Marchmont Nedham, a great crony of Milton, to abuse Salmasius in his public Mercury, called Politicus (as Milton had done before him in his Defensio), by saying, among other things, that Christiana, Queen of Sweden, had cashiered him her favour, by understanding that he was a pernicious parasite and promoter of tyranny. Wood's Ath. Or. vol. ï. col. 484.

P. Ixv. Mrs. Katharine Milton, wife to John Milton, Esq. was buried in St. Margaret's Church, in Westminster, Feb. 10, 1657. Reg. Book. Milton then lived in a new house in Petty France, when Mr. Harvey, son of Dr. Harvey, of Petty_ France, Westminster, told me, Nov. 14, 1770, that old Mr. Lownde assured him, that when Mr. Milton buried his wife, he had the coffin shut down with twelve several locks, 'hat had twelve several keys, and that he gave the keys to • velve several friends, and desired the coffin might not be opened till they all met together. Kennet. Wcod's Ath. 01. vol. ii. col. 486.

P. lxvi. The late Reverend Mr. Thomas Bradbury, an eminent dissenting minister, used to say, that Jer. White, who had been chaplain to O. Cromwell, and whom he personally knew, had often told him that Milton was allowed by the Parliament a weekly table for the entertainment of foreign ministers and persons of learning, such especially as came from Protestant states, which allowance was also continued by Cromwell. Hollis's Note, see Newton's Life, p. lvi.

P. Ixxvi. There has not one great poet appeared in France since the beginning of Cardinal Richelieu's ministry, but he has been protected and encouraged, and his merit as fast as it could spread has been generally acknowledged. I wish I could as truly affirm the same thing of England. The great qualities of Milton were not_generally known among his countrymen till the Paradise Lost had been published more than thirty years; but when that admirable poet was among the Italians, the greatness of his genius was known to them in the very bloom of his youth, even thirty years before that incomparable poem was written. Dennis's Letters, p. 78.

More people comprehend the excellency of Homer, and Virgil, and Milton, than the beauties of Martial and Cowley, though perhaps there are not ten persons living who know all the merit of Virgil ; and Milton's Paradise Lost had been printed forty years before it was known to the greatest part of England that there barely was such a book. Dennis's Letters, p. 173.

P. lxxvii. Nor can I believe that several who pretend to be passionate admirers of Milton would treat him if living in any other manner, for the following reasons.

Because they are so fond of nothing as of that soft and effeminate rhyme which makes the very reverse of the har. mony, and of the manly and powerful and noble enthusiasm of Milton.

Because the generality of poets and wits his contemporaries did not esteem him, though they were by no means inferior in understanding to his pretended living admirers. Willmott, Earl of Rochester, never so much as mentioned him in his Imitation of the Tenth Satire of the First Book of Horace. When he came to imitate that passage, ' Forte epos acer ut nemo Varius ducit,' instead of Milton he names Waller ; and when that noble peer was some years afterwards asked by Dr. Burnet, since Bishop of Salisbury, for which of the modern poets he had most esteem, he answered without the least hesitation, for Boileau among the French,

one.

and Cowley among the English poets. Mr. Rymer, in his First Book of Criticism, treated the Paradise Lost with contempt, and the generality of the readers of poetry, for tweaty years after it was published, knew no more of that exalted poem that if it had been written in Arabic. Mr, Dryden, in his Preface before the State of Innocence, appears to have been the first, those gentlemen excepted whose verses are before Milton's poem, who discovered in so public a manner an extraordinary opinion of Milton's extraordinary merit. And yet Mr. Dryden at that time knew not half the extent of his excellence, as inore than twenty years afterwards he confessed to me, as is pretty plain from his writing the State of Innocence ; for Mr. Dryden in that poem, which is founded on the Paradise Lost, falls so infinitely short of those won. derful qualities, by which Milton has distinguished that nuble poem from all other poems, that one of these two things must be granted ; either that Mr. Dryden knew not the extent of Milton's great qualities, or that he designed to be a foil to him. But they who knew Mr. Dryden know very well that he was not of a temper to design to be a foil to any

Dennis's Letters, p. 76. P. lxxxii. For my part I have no notion, that a suffering Hero can be proper for epic poetry. Milton could make but very little even of a suffering god, who makes quite another impression with his lightning and his thunder in Paradise Lost, than with his meekness and his stoicism in Paradise Regained. That great spirit which heroic poetry requires, flows from great passions, and from great actions. If the suffering Hero remains insensible, the generality of readers will not be much concerned for one who is so little concerned for myself. Dennis's Letters, p. 11,

P. xcii. The estate which his father left him was but indifferent; yet by his frugality he made it serve him and his. Out of his secretary's salary he had saved two thousand pounds, which being lodged in the excise, and that bank failing at his majesty's restoration, he utterly lost that sum. By the great fire which happened in London in the beginning of September, 1666, he had a house in Bread Street burnt, which was all the real estate he had then left. Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. col. 486.

To what does Fielding allude when he says, 'It is to be hoped heedless people will be more cautious what they burn, or use to other vile purposes, especially when they consider the fate which had like to have befallen the divine Milton.'

v. Journ, to the Next World, p. 331.

APFENDIX.

Mr. Milton's Agreement with Mr. Symons for Para

dise Lost. dated 27th April, 1667.'

• These Presents made the 27th day of Aprill 1667 between John Milton, gent. of the one part, and Samuel Symons, printer, of the other part, wittness That the said John Milton in consideration of five pounds to him now paid by the said Samuel Symõns, and other the consideracons herein mentioned, hath given, granted and assigned, and by these pñts doth give, grant and assign unto the said Sam" Symõns, his executors, and assignees, All that Booke, Copy, or Manuscript of a Poem intituled Paradise Lost, or by whatsoever other title or name the same is or shall be called or distinguished, now lately licensed to be printed, together with the full benefitt, profit, and advantage thereof, or wch shall or may arise thereby. And the said John Milton for him, his exrs and adm", doth covenant wth the said Sam" Symons, his exi and ass that he and they shall at all times hereafter have, hold and enjoy the same and all impressions thereof accordingly, without the lett or hindrance of him the said John Milton, his expo or ass®, or any person or persons by his or their consent or privity. And that he the said Jolin Milton, his ex's or adm" or any other by his or their meanes or consent, shall not print or cause to be printed, or sell, dispose or publish the said book or manuscript, or any other book or manuscript of the same tenor or subject, without the consent of the said Sam" Symons, his ex® ass : In concideracon whereof the said Samell Symõns for him, his ex" and adm" doth covenant with the said John Milton, his exrs, and ass® well and truly to pay unto the said John Milton, his ex's, and adm" the sum of five pounds of lawfull english money at the end of the first Impression, which the said Sam" Symõns, his exrs, or ass shall make and publish of the said copy or manuscript, which impression shall be accounted to be ended when thirteen hundred books of the said whole copy or manuscript imprinted, shall be sold and retailed off' to particular reading customers. And shall also pay other five pounds,

unto the said John Milton, or his ass at the end of the second impression to be accounted as aforesaid, And five pounds more at the end of the third impression, to be in like manner accounted. And that the said three first impressions shall not exceed fifteen hundred books or volumes of the said whole copy or manuscript, a peice. And further, that he the said Samuel Symons, and his exis, adm", and ass shall be ready to make oath before a Master in Chancery concerning his or their knowledge and belief of or concerning the truth of the disposing and selling the said books by retail, as aforesaid, whereby the said Mr. Milton is too be entitled to his said money from time to time, upon every reasonable request in that behalf, or in default thereof shall pay the said five pounds agreed to be paid upon every impression, as aforesaid, as if the same were due, and for and in lieu thereof. In witness whereof, the said parties have to this writing indented, interchangeably sett their hands and seales the day and yeare first above written.

John Milton. (Seal).

John Fisher. Sealed and delivered in the presence of us,

Benjamin Greene, serve to Mr.

Milton.

April 26. 1669. Recd then of Samuel Simmons five pounds, being the Second

five pounds to be paid-mentioned in the Covenant. I say recd by me,

JOHN MILTON. Witness, Edmund Upton.

[ocr errors]

I do hereby acknowledge to have received of Samuel Sy.

mõnds Cittizen and Statóner of London, the Sum of Eight pounds : which is in full payment for all my right, title, or interest, which I have or ever had in the Coppy of a Poem Intitled Paradise Lost in Twelve Bookes in 8voBy John Milton, Gent. my late husband. Wittness my hand this 21st day of December 1680.

ELIZABETH MILTON. Wittness, William Yopp, Ann Yopp.

Know all men by these pssents that I Elizabeth Milton of

London Widdow, late wife of John Milton of London Gent : deceased-have remissed released and for ever quitt claimed And by these pssents doe remise release &

« PreviousContinue »