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it by repudiation. In 1644 he published a work however, suffered no eclipse from this loss of his on "The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce;" sensitive faculties; and he pursued, without interand, in the next year, it was followed by "Te- mission, both his official and his controversial occutrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief pations. Cromwell, about this time, having assumed Places in Scripture which treat of Marriage." He the supreme power, with the title of Protector, further reduced his doctrine into practice, by pay- Milton acted with a subservience towards this ing his addresses to a young lady of great accom- usurper which is the part of his conduct that it is plishments; but, as he was paying a visit to a neigh- the most difficult to justify. It might have been bor and kinsman, he was surprised with the sud- expected, that when the wisest and most conscienden entrance of his wife, who threw herself at tious of the republicans had become sensible of his his feet, and implored forgiveness. After a short arts, and opposed his ambitious projects, the mind struggle of resentment, he took her to his bosom; of Milton would neither have been blinded by his and he sealed the reconciliation by opening his hypocrisy, nor overawed by his power. Possibly house to her father and brothers, when they had the real cause of his predilection for Cromwell, was been driven from home by the triumph of the re- that he saw no refuge from the intolerance of the publican arms. Presbyterians, but in the moderation of the Pro
In the progress of Milton's prose works, it will tector. And, in fact, the very passage in which he be right to mention his "Areopagitica; a Speech of addresses him with the loftiest encomium, contains Mr. John Milton, for the Liberty of Unlicensed a free and noble exhortation to him to respect Printing,' '—a work, published in 1644, written with that public liberty, of which he appeared to be the equal spirit and ability, and which, when reprinted guardian.
in 1738, was affirmed by the editor to be the best
Cromwell at length died; and so zealous and sandefence that had ever then appeared of that essen-guine was Milton, to the very last, that one of his tial article of public liberty. In the following year latest political productions was, "A ready and easy he took care that his poetical character should not Way to establish a free Commonwealth." It was in be lost to the world, and published his juvenile vain, however, to contend, by pamphlets, with the poems, Latin and English. national inclination; and Charles II. returned in Milton's principles of the origin and end of triumph. Milton was discharged from his office, government carried him to a full approbation of the and lay for some time concealed in the house of a trial and execution of the king; and, in order to friend. The House of Commons desired that his conciliate the minds of the people to that act, he Majesty would issue a proclamation to call in Milpublished, early in 1649, a work entitled, "The ton's Defences of the People, and Iconoclastes, toTenure of Kings and Magistrates; proving that it gether with a book of Goodwyn's. The books were is lawful, and hath been so held through all ages, accordingly burnt by the common hangman; but the for any who have the power, to call to account authors were returned as having absconded; nor, in a tyrant or wicked king; and, after due convic- the act of indemnity, did the name of Milton appear tion, to depose and put him to death, if the ordinary among those of the excepted persons. magistrate have neglected or denied to do it." | He now, in reduced circumstances, and under Certainly, it would not be easy to express, in the discountenance of power, removed to a private stronger terms, an author's resolution to leave no habitation near his former residence. He had doubts concerning his opinion on this important buried his first wife; and a second, the daughter of topic. His appointment to the Latin Secretaryship a Captain Woodcock, in Hackney, died in childbed. to the Council of State was, probably, the conse- To solace his forlorn condition, he desired his friend, quence of his decision. Dr. Paget, to look out a third wife for him, who
The learned Frenchman, Salmasius, or Saumaise, recommended a relation of his own, named Elizahaving been hired by Charles II., while in Holland, beth Minshull, of a good family in Cheshire. His to write a work in favor of the royal cause, which powerful mind, now centered in itself, and unhe entitled, "Defensio Regia," Milton was employed disturbed by contentions and temporary topics, to answer it; which he did in 1651, by his celebrated opened to those great ideas which were continually "Defensio pro Populo Anglicano," in which he filling it, and the result was, Paradise Lost. Much exercised all his powers of Latin rhetoric, both to discussion has taken place concerning the original justify the republican party, and to confound and conception of this grand performance; but whatvilify the famous scholar against whom he took up ever hint may have suggested the rude outline, it the pen. By this piece he acquired a high reputa- is certain that all the creative powers of a strong tation, both at home and abroad; and he received imagination, and all the accumulated stores of a a present of a thousand pounds from the English life devoted to learning, were expended in its comgovernment. His book went through several edi- pletion. Though he appears, at an early age, to tions; while, on the other hand, the work of Sal- have thought of some subject in the heroic times of masius was suppressed by the States of Holland, in English history, as peculiarly calculated for English whose service he lived as a professor at Leyden. verse, yet his religious turn, and assiduous study of Milton's intense application to study had, for the Hebrew Scriptures, produced a final preference some years preceding, brought on an affection of of a story derived from the Sacred Writings, and the eyes, which gradually impaired his sight; and, giving scope to the introduction of his theological before he wrote his "Defensio," he was warned by system. It would be superfluous, at this time, to his physicians that the effort would probably end in weigh the merits of Milton's great work, which total blindness. This opinion was soon after justi- stands so much beyond competition; but it may be fied by a gutta serena, which seized both his eyes, affirmed, that whatever his other poems can exhibit and subjected the remainder of his life to those pri- of beauty in some parts, or of grandeur in others, vations which he has so feelingly described in some may all be referred to Paradise Lost as the mos: passages of his poems. His intellectual powers, perfect model of both.
Milton, not exhausted by this great effort, fol
With this work his poetical account closes; and a lowed it in 1670 by "Paradise Regained," written few pieces in prose can scarcely claim particular upon a suggestion of the Quaker Elwood's, and ap- notice. He sunk tranquilly under an exhaustion of parently regarded as the theological completion of the vital powers, in November, 1674, when he had the Paradise Lost. Although, in point of inven- nearly completed his 66th year. His remains were tion, its inferiority is plainly apparent, yet modern carried from his house in Bunhill-Fields to the criticism has pronounced that there are passages in church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, with a numerous it by no means unworthy of the genius of Milton, and splendid attendance. No monument marked allowance being made for the small compass of the the tomb of this great man; but his memory was subject, and his purpose in writing, it. Together honored with a tomb, in 1737, in Westminster with it appeared his tragedy of "Sampson Ago- Abbey, at the expense of Auditor Benson. The nistes," composed upon the model of antiquity, and only family whom he left were daughters. never intended for the stage.
HENCE, loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
Then to come, in spite of sorrow,
[holy! While the cock, with lively din,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights un- Scatters the rear of Darkness thin, Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous And the night-raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
The frolic wind, that breathes the spring,
Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee
Quips, and Cranks, and wanton Wiles,
[wings, And to the stack, or the barn-door
Sometimes with secure delight
Till the livelong day-light fail:
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
And ever, against eating cares,
The hidden soul of harmony;
Of heap'd Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
These delights if thou canst give,
HENCE, vain deluding Joys,
The brood of Folly, without father bred! How little you bested,
Or fill the fixed mind with all your toys!
Dwell in some idle brain,
And fancies fond with gaudy shapes possess, As thick and numberless
As the gay notes that people the sunbeams; Or likest hovering dreams,
The fickle pensioners of Morpheus' train.
Whose saintly visage is too bright
Prince Memnon's sister might beseem,
The sea-nymphs, and their powers offended:
His daughter she; in Saturn's reign,
Aye round about Jove's altar sing:
In her sweetest saddest plight,
Smoothing the rugged brow of Night,
Sweet bird, that shunn'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy!
Thee, chantress, oft, the woods among,
I woo, to hear thy even-song;
I hear the far-off Curfeu sound,
Over some wide-water'd shore,
What worlds or what vast regions hold
But, O sad virgin, that thy power
That own'd the virtuous ring and glass;
Not trick'd and frounc'd as she was wont
With such consort as they keep,
Entice the dewy feather'd Sleep;
And, as I wake, sweet music breathe
Sent by some spirit to mortal good,
But let my due feet never fail
In service high and anthems clear,
And bring all Heaven before mine eyes.
And may at last my weary age
These pleasures, Melancholy, give,
YET once more, O ye laurels, and once more, Ye myrtles brown, with ivy never-sere,
I come to pluck your berries harsh and crude: And, with forc'd fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year:
With lucky words favor my destin'd urn;
And bid fair peace be to my sable shroud.
For we were nurs'd upon the self-same hill, Fed the same flock, by fountain, shade, and rill. Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd Under the opening eye-lids of the Morn, We drove afield, and both together heard What time the grey-fly winds her sultry horn, Battening our flocks with the fresh dews of night, Oft till the star, that rose, at evening bright, 30 Toward Heaven's descent had slop'd his westering wheel.
Meanwhile the rural ditties were not mute, Temper'd to the oaten flute;
Rough Satyrs danc'd, and Fawns with cloven heel From the glad sound would not be absent long; And old Damætas lov'd to hear our song.
But, O the heavy change, now thou art gone,
The willows, and the hazel copses green,
Fanning their joyous leaves to thy soft lays.
Or taint-worm to the weanling herds that graze,
Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas?
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream:
It was that fatal and perfidious bark,
Next Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow, His mantle hairy, and his bonnet sedge, Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe. "Ah! who hath reft" (quoth he) "my dearest pledge?"
Last came, and last did go,
The pilot of the Galilean lake;
Two massy keys he bore of metals twain, (The golden opes, the iron shuts amain.)
He shook his miter'd locks, and stern bespake: How well could I have spared for thee, young swain,
Enow of such, as for their bellies' sake Creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold? Of other care they little reckoning make, Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast, 51 And shove away the worthy bidden guest; Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
Had ye been there-for what could that have done?
What could the Muse herself that Orpheus bore,
To sport with Amaryllis in the shade,
Or with the tangles of Neæra's hair?
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread :
The musk-rose, and the well-attired woodbine,
Let our frail thoughts dally with false surmise;