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was in good tending and there were honeysuckles about it, the summer air in its tiny rooms, with the lattices open, may have been pleasant. The old lattices, with their lozenges of glass set in lead, still remained when I was there ; but the cottage was empty and to let. A few pounds, I suppose, would buy it altogether.
Back in London in 1666, Milton may have been prevented from publishing his Paradise Lost in that
Annus Mirabilis” by the Great Fire. It did not reach indeed to his neighbourhood; but it left a vast space of the city in ruins, with his native Bread Street in the very heart of the space. From that date there could be no more visits of admiring foreigners to the old “Spread Eagle” where he had been born; but all his other London residences remained. In 1667, the year after the Fire, the due licence having been obtained and other arrangements made (see Introd. to Par. Lost, Section I.), the epic was published. The publication must have been an event of some consequence to Milton personally. It threw between him and all that past part of his life which lay under public obloquy the atonement of a great Poem. Whatever he had been, was he not now the author of Paradise Lost? Gradually, as the poem was read, though here and there some of the poorer creatures put in their sarcasms, this was the feeling among all the abler leaders of the Restoration Literature itself. “This man cuts us all out, and the ancients too,” is reported to have been Dryden's immediate criticism; and it was probably after Dryden had read the poem, and said this, that he first sought out Milton. Indeed, it was probably after the fame of Paradise Lost was established that the straggling of admiring visitors, especially foreigners, to Milton's house which had followed him ever since the Restoration swelled into that conflux of the learned about him, “much more than he did desire," of which Aubrey speaks. Certain it is that Dryden, not nearly yet at his best in the world, but the manliest and greatest figure already in the whole society of the Restoration wits, had contracted a profound reverence for the blind Republican, from which he never swerved, and to which on every possible occasion he gave the most generous expression. As Dryden was appointed to the Laureateship in 1670, in succession to Davenant, who had died in 1668, it was
odd fact, at which Dryden would have been the first to smile, that he could count Milton for a time among his literary subjects. The last four or five years of Milton's life were the first four or five of Dryden's Laureateship, and they include the following interesting series of publications by Milton : his History of Britain to the Conquest, with his portrait by Faithorne prefixed, 1670; his Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes together, 1671 (see Introductions to these poems); his Latin treatise on Logic, according to the system of Ramus, entitled “ Artis Logice Plenior Institutio, ad Petri Rami Methodum Concinnata," 1672 (probably an old performance lying among his MSS.); his English tract“ Of true Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and what best means may be used against the growth of Popery," 1673; the Second edition of his Minor Poems, 1673 (see General Introd. to Minor Poems); the Second edition of Paradise Lost, 1674 (see Introd. to Par. Lost, Section I.); a translation of Letters Patent for the Election of John III. [Sobieski], King of Poland, 1674; his Epistole Familiares, with his juvenile Prolusiones Oratoriæ at Cambridge added, 1674 (see Introd. to At a Vac. Ex.). There is evidence in the number of these publications, and in the nature of some of them, that Milton's name prefixed to a book was again of some value.
To complete our formal chronology of the Poems we have now only to extricate from among the productions of the ten years in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields, the following separately :
PARADISE Lost. 1667. Re-edited 1674.
mouth in History of Britain (annexed now to the
Minor English Poems). 1670. PARADISE REGAINED. 1671. SAMSON AGONISTES. 1671.
During the last four or five years of Milton's life his three daughters had ceased to reside with him. about 1669, the eldest being then twenty-three years of age and the youngest seventeen, they had all, by what seems to have been a really judicious arrangement of their step-mother, been sent out, at their father's expense, “to learn some curious and ingenious sorts of manu“facture that are proper for women to learn, parti“cularly embroideries in gold and silver.” From that time, therefore, Milton and his wife Elizabeth had been by themselves in the house near Bunhill Fields, with one maid-servant. It was probably the calinest time in Milton's life for many a day. Our best glimpse of him in those closing years is from the Notes of the painter Richardson. An aged clergyman of Dorsetshire,"
“ found John Milton in a small chamber hung “ with rusty green, sitting in an elbow chair, and dressed “ neatly in black; pale, but not cadaverous ; his hands “and fingers gouty, and with chalk-stones. He used “also to sit in a grey coarse cloth coat at the door of “his house near Bunhill Fields in warm sunny weather, “and so, as well as in his house, received the visits of “people of distinguished parts as well as quality.” A day soon came when the slight figure in coarse grey was no more to be seen by the inhabitants of the obscure neighbourhood. He died peacefully, of what was called
gout struck in," on Sunday, Nov. 8, 1674, aged sixtyfive years and eleven months; and he was buried, Nov. 12, beside his father, in the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, attended to the grave by “ all his learned and great friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the vulgar.” Andrew Marvell, who may have been among the mourners, promised Aubrey to write some
account of Milton to be sent to Anthony Wood for his Fasti Oxonienses; but, Marvell having died in 1678, without having fulfilled the promise, Aubrey himself collected what information he could from Milton's widow, his brother, the elder Phillips, and others.
Milton, before his death, estimated his estate at about 1,000l. in money, besides household goods. Actually about gool. in money (worth about 2,700l. now) was the sum at once realized. It was the subject of litigation between the widow and the three daughters. A few months before his death, Milton, in a conversation with his brother Christopher, then a bencher of the Inner Temple, had signified his intentions as to the disposition of his property thus : “The portion “due to me from Mr. Powell, my former (first) wife's “father, I leave to the unkind children I had by her, “having received no part of it; but my meaning is that they shall have no other benefit of my estate than
the said portion and what I have besides done for then, they having been very undutiful to me. All
the rest of my estate I leave to the disposal of “Elizabeth, my loving wife.” For the right understanding of this, it is to be explained that there was due to Milton's estate a promised marriage-portion of 1,000l. with his first wife, and arrears of interest on the same since 1643, and that, though there had been little prospect of a recovery of the money at Mr. Powell's death in 1647, the Powell family were now in circumstances to bear the debt, and were under obligation to do so by Mr. Powell's will. Milton's meaning, therefore, was that his daughters should have a claim on their relatives, the Powells, for the 1,000l. and arrears of their grandfather's money, while his widow should have the whole of his own actual estate. The daughters, however, probably with the Powells urging them (their grandmother, Mrs. Powell, was still alive), disputed the “nuncupative” or word-of
mouth will of their father, alleging that they had been and were
great frequenters of the church and good livers"; and insinuating that their uncle Christopher had an interest in upholding the will, inasmuch as there was a private understanding that the widow should hand over to his children, according to a desire which the deceased had expressed, any overplus that the estate might yield above 1,000l. The result was that, though there was perfect evidence of the facts, it was decided (Feb. 1674-5) on technical grounds that the widow should have two-thirds and the daughters one-third among them. The widow acquiesced, and punctually paid to the three daughters about 100l. each, having about 600l, left for herself. She was then thirty-seven years of age, and the money would yield her a meagre annuity.
The widow, after remaining in London for some years, retired to Nantwich in her native Cheshire, where she lived to as late as 1727, a pious member of a Baptist congregation, having survived her husband nearly fifty-three years. The inventory of her effects at her death has been recovered, and shows that she retained to the last some trinkets that had belonged to Milton, and two juvenile portraits of him.-Milton's eldest daughter, Anne, “lame, and with a defect in her speech, but with a very handsome face,” married “a master-builder,” and died in her first childbirth, the child dying also. Mary, the second daughter, never married, and was dead before 1694. Deborah, the youngest and the best, and “very like her father," had gone to Dublin, as companion to a lady, before her father's death, and married there an Abraham Clarke, described as a weaver or silk-mercer. They came to London about 1687, and settled in the weaving business in Spitalfields. She lived till 1727, and was visited in her later years by Addison and others, who were much pleased with her, and whom she surprised by repeating stray lines she remembered from Homer,