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he was more obliged to that prince's forgetfulness than to his clemency."*
The king's pardon having been secured, MILTON again made his appearance, being resuscited, if not by a natural, yet by a political resurrection! Still he was not free from peril, as I find that, on some account or other, soon after this, he was in custody of the sergeant-atarms; for on Saturday, the 15th of December, it was ordered by the House of Commons, that "MR. MILTON, now in custody of the sergeantat-arms, be forthwith released, on paying his fees." And on Monday the 17th," a complaint being made that the sergeant-at-arms had demanded excessive fees for the imprisonment of Mr. MILTON, "it be referred to the committee of privileges, &c. to examine what is fit to be given to the sergeant for his fees in this case.
It is most likely that he was so much disgusted by the versatility which he had witnessed in men of all ranks, (clergy and laity having, with but few exceptions, abandoned all their avowed principles, and bowed to the rising sun,) that he now retired from public life, and never again interfered with politics. So far as appears, he strictly attended to the text of the court divine, Dr. Grif
* It is stated by Richardson, p. 89, that MILTON Owed his life to Sir William D'Avenant, who had himself been pardoned in 1650 at the intercession of MILTON.
fiths: " My son, fear thou GOD, and the KING,
and meddle not with them that are given to change!" It must afford much pleasure to the admirers of MILTON's character, that he now exemplified, in his own conduct, the features which he has drawn of Abdiel, "the fervent angel:"
"Faithful found among the faithless;
Nor numbers, nor example, with him wrought
For this was all thy care, to stand approv'd
He soon after again entered into the marriage state, with ELIZABETH, daughter of Mr. Minshal, of Cheshire; who was recommended to him by his distinguished friend, Dr. Paget. His family now consisted of his wife, and three daughters by his first wife: two of these he had taught to read and pronounce, with great exactness, the English, Italian, Spanish, French, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin languages. There was no book therefore in those languages, that he wished to use, but what either of them could read to him, though they did not understand any but their mother tongue. It is said, his daughters complained of this employment as drudgery, and that when he was made acquainted with it, he instantly dispensed with their assistance, and pro
cured for them the knowledge of some useful trades suited to their sex and taste.
This is the proper place to introduce the account given by Thomas Ellwood, the Quaker, of his becoming acquainted with MILTON. This plain but learned man says: "JOHN MILTON, a gentleman of great note for learning, throughout the learned world, for the accurate pieces he had written on various subjects and occasions. This person having filled a public station in former times, lived now a private and retired life in London; and having wholly lost his sight, kept always a man to read to him, which usually was the son of some gentleman of his acquaintance, whom in kindness he took to improve in learning. Thus, by the mediation of my friend Isaac Pennington with Dr. Paget, and of Dr. Paget with JOHN MILTON, was I admitted to come to him; not as a servant to him, (which at that time he needed not,) nor to be in the house with him; but only to have the liberty of coming to his house, at certain times when I would, and to read to him what books he should appoint me. Understanding that the mediation for my admittance with JOHN MILTON had succeeded so well that I might come when I would, I hastened to London, and in the first place went to wait upon him.
“He received me courteously, as well for the
sake of Dr. Paget, who introduced me, as of Isaac Pennington, who recommended me; to both whom he bore a good respect. And having enquired divers things of me, in respect to my former progression in learning, he dismist me, to provide myself such accommodations as might be most suitable to my future studies. I went therefore and took myself a lodging as near to his house (which was then in Jewen-street) as conveniently I could; and from thenceforward went every day in the afternoon, (except on the first day of the week,) and sitting by him in his dining-room, read to him in such books in the Latin tongue as he pleased to hear me read.
"At my first sitting to read to him, observing that I used the English pronunciation, he told me, If I would have the benefit of the Latin tongue, (not only to read and understand Latin authors, but) to converse with foreigners either abroad or at home, I must learn the foreign pronunciation.' To this I consenting, he instructed me how to sound the vowels. Perceiving with what earnest desire I pursued learning, he gave me not only all the encouragement, but all the help he could. For, having a curious ear, he understood by my tones, when I understood what I read, and when I did not.
"Some time before I went to Alesbury prison in 1665, I was desired by my quondam master,
MILTON, to take a house for him in the neighbourhood where I dwelt, that he might get out of the city, for the safety of himself and his family, the pestilence then growing hot in London. took a pretty Box for him in Giles Chalfont, a mile from me, of which I gave him notice; and intended to have waited on him, and seen him well settled in it, but was prevented by that imprisonment. But now being released, and returned home, I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country.
"After some common discourses had passed between us, he called for a manuscript of his; which being brought, he delivered to me, bidding me take it home with me, and read it at my leisure; and when I had so done to return it to him, with my judgment thereupon.
"When I came home, and had set myself to read it, I found it was that excellent poem, PARADISE LOST. After I had, with the best attention, read it through, I made him another visit, and returned him his book, with due acknowledgment of the favour he had done me, in communicating it to me. He asked me how I liked it, and what I thought of it; which I modestly but freely told him: and after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, ‘Thou hast said much here of Paradise lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise found?' He made