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shape of Verse we have from Milton, through the time of Cromwell's rule, the following : Eight of the Psalms (Psalms 1.–VIII.) done into Verse.
Aug. 1653. The Fifth Ode of Horace, Lib. I., translated. De Moro (Scrap from the Defensio Secunda, now appended
to Elegiarum Liber) 1654. In Salmasium (another scrap from the Defensio Secunda,
now appended to the Sylvæ). 1654. Ad Christinam, Suecorum Reginam, nomine Cromwelli.
(appended to the Elegiarum Liber, as attributed to
Milton). 1654. Sonnet, « On the late Massacre in Piedmont” (Sonnet
XVIII.) 1655. Sonnet on his Blindness (Sonnet xix.). Sonnet to Mr. Lawrence (Sonnet xx.). Sonnet to Cyriack Skinner (Sonnet XXI.). Sonnet to the Same (Sonnet XXII.). 1655. Sonnet to the Memory of his Second Wife (Sonnet XXIII.).
1658. A fact of special interest, for which there is very good authority, is that the actual composition of Paradise Lost was begun in the last year of Cromwell's Protectorate, i.e. in 1658, about the date of the last of Milton's Sonnets. In resuming the subject, first projected in 1639 or 1640, Milton abandoned the Dramatic form then contemplated, and settled on the Epic.
PROTECTORATE OF RICHARD CROMWELL, AND ANARCHY PRECEDING THE RESTORATION (Sept. 1658– May 1660) :-Eleven printed Letters by Milton in the name of the Protector Richard, and two written by him for the restored Rump Parliament after Richard's abdication (April 1659), attest the continuance of Milton's Secretaryship into this wretched period. Indeed as late as October 1659 he and Andrew Marvell are found in receipt of their salaries of 2001. a year each as colleagues in the office. But “ a little before the King's coming over,” Phillips informs us, he was sequestered
from his office and “the salary thereunto belonging." O how Milton struggled to the last to avert that catastrophe, as he regarded it, of "the King's coming over"!
A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes" ; “ Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of the Church"; “ A Letter to a Friend concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth” : such are the titles of three short pamphlets addressed by Milton in 1659 to his perplexed and bewildered countrymen. They were followed in the beginning of 1660 by three more—“ The Present Means and Brief Delineation of a Free Commonwealth, easy to be put in practice and without delay : in a Letter to General Monk”; “ The Ready and Easy Way to establish a Free Commonwealth”; Brief Notes upon a late Sermon [a Royalist Sermons preached and since published by Matthew Griffith, D.D." All in vain ! No Blind Guides” was the title of a Reply by the Royalist Roger L'Estrange to the last pamphlet. The Restoration of Charles II. had come to be generally desired throughout England, Scotland, and Ireland, as the only escape from anarchy ; Monk managed it ; and on the 29th of May, 1660, Charles made his triumphant entry into London.--No piece of verse came from Milton in this period ; but it contains three of his Latin Familiar Letters.
IN HIDING AND IN CUSTODY.
1660 : ætat. 52. The wonder is that, at the Restoration, Milton was not hanged. At a time when they brought to the scaffold all the chief living Regicides and their accomplices that were within reach, including even Hugh Peters, and when they dug up Cromwell's body and hanged it at Tyburn, and tore also from the earth at Westminster the body of Cromwell's mother and other “ Cromwellian bodies" that had been buried there with honour, the
escape of Milton, the supreme defender of the Regicide through the press, the man who had attacked the memory of Charles I. with a ferocity which even some of the actual Regicides must have thought unnecessary and outrageous, is all but inexplicable. He was for some time in real danger. Quitting his house in Petty France, his nephew tells us, he lay concealed in “ friend's house in Bartholomew Close,” near Smithfield, till the Act of general Oblivion and Indemnity came forth (August 1660); and there is a story, on more vague authority, that his friends, while he was in hiding, spread a report that he was dead, and even arranged a mock-funeral, to stop search for him. Meanwhile his Eikonoklastes and his Defensio pro Populo Anglicano had been condemned by Parliament and burnt by the hands of the hangman. Even after the Act of Indemnity Milton was not safe. He was in custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms for some time, but was finally released December 15. There had been, doubtless, powerful intercession in his behalf; and the tradition is that among those who exerted themselves for him was Sir William Davenant, now the restored Poet-laureate of the new reign, for whom Milton had done a like good service under the Commonwealth. However his pardon was effected, the spirit in which it was granted was exactly as if, in some meeting of Charles's Council, when the propriety of bringing Milton to trial was discussed, the conclusion had been " It is not worth while : let the blind blackguard live.”
HOLBORN AGAIN (NEAR RED LION FIELDS) : JEWIN
1660-1664 : ætat. 52–56. For some little time after Milton's release and pardon he lived in Holborn, near what is now Red Lion Square, on the opposite side of the great Holborn thoroughfare from that which contained his former house in that neighbourhood. As soon as possible however, he removed to his old and favourite Aldersgate Street vicinity, having taken a house in Jewin Street, which goes off from Aldersgate Street on the same side as Barbican, but nearer to St. Martin's-leGrand than either Barbican or the site of Milton's former Aldersgate Street house. If this Jewin Street house exists, it has not been identified.
It was from those two houses, in Holborn and in Jewin Street, that Milton witnessed, or rather heard of, all those miscellaneous events and proceedings which were to undo, as far as was possible, the achievements of the preceding twenty years, and which are comprised now in English Histories in the single phrase The Restoration. What had been the united Commonwealth was again broken into its three parts, England, Scotland, and Ireland; and in each the partisans of the late system found themselves disgraced and degraded, and the regulation of affairs passed into the hands of Cavaliers returned from exile, and of such renegades or new men as these drew in their train. In England Episcopacy was restored, with the Liturgy, and all else that belonged to the old Anglican Church ; two thousand Presbyterian ministers were ejected from their livings by the Act of Uniformity ; and by other Acts civil penalties and disadvantages were attached to every profession of Dissent. In Scotland all Acts passed since 1633 were repealed ; the Kirk was forced back into Prelacy, with Archbishop Sharp at its head; and there began, under a ministry who were generally drunk, the ruthless barbarities against the Presbyterian's still remembered as “the Persecutions.” In Ireland there were measures to correspond. And, with this universal political reaction, what a change in public morals and manners! Round a Court which set an example of shamelessness, London and the general English world were whirled, by a rebound from the extreme Puritan strictness that had been in fashion, into an ostentatious revelry in Anti-Puritanism. Swearing, swaggering, and an affectation of profligacy, were the proofs of a proper abhorrence of the cant of the lately ruling Saints, and a proper loyalty to the existing powers
In the new Literature that sprang up, as well as in other forms of mental activity, the new social spirit was faithfully represented. Veterans like Hobbes and Izaak Walton, with Browne of Norwich, Clarendon, Jeremy Taylor, and others among the graver prose-writers who had survived from the reign of Charles I., and Shirley, Herrick, Waller, Davenant, Denham, Cowley, and others, surviving from among the poets of the same reign, were very much their former selves, only rejoicing in the restored Royalty ; the specific tendency to mathematical and physical science which had already grouped together such men as Wilkins, Wallis, Petty, Boyle, and Hooke, through the Commonwealth and Protectorate, now only displayed itself more 'signally in the institution of the Royal Society ; but the literature belonging properly to the Restoration itself had all the characteristics of its origin. To the core it was Anti-Puritan, reactionary, and unearnest. Never in English literary history had there been such a run of talent to the comic, the jocose, the witty. The revived drama of the re-opened theatres, to which people rushed now with an avidity all the keener for the disuse of that amusement for eighteen years, consisted chiefly of Comedies and Farces, in which wit was desirable, but indecency indispensable. New things called Tragedies there were, but of such a texture that Time has refused to remember them. For what of Tragedy was wanted, reproduction of Elizabethan pieces was best ; in the age itself, on the stage as elsewhere, the comic faculty was paramount. Off the stage it showed itself in songs, stories, satires, essays, character-sketches, and burlesques. Even the forms and mechanisms of English literature were changed. The cavaliers and courtiers had brought back from their exile acquired French tastes in literature, as in other matters. Experiments were made in the Tragedy of