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delled, (1645,) he removed to a smaller house in Holborn, which opened backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields. He is not known to have published any thing afterward till the King's death, when, finding his murderers condemned by the presbyterians, he wrote a treatise to justify it, and to compose the minds of the people.
whose doctrine he considers as servile and unmanly, to the stream of Salmasius, which, whoever entered, left half his virility behind him. Salmasius was a Frenchman, and was unhappily married to a scold. Tu es Gallus, says Mil ton, et, ut aiunt, nimium gallinaceus. But his supreme pleasure is to tax his adversary, so reHe made some "Remarks on the Articles of nowned for criticisms, with vicious Latin. He Peace between Ormond and the Irish Rebels." opens his book with telling that he has used perWhile he contented himself to write, he per-sona, which according to Milton, signfies only haps did only what his conscience dictated; a mask, in a sense not known to the Romans, and if he did not very vigilantly watch the in- by applying it as we apply person. But as Nefluence of his own passions, and the gradual mesis is always on the watch, it is memorable prevalence of opinions, first willingly admitted, that he has enforced the charge of a solecism and then habitually indulged; if objections, by by an expression in itself grossly solecistical, being overlooked, were forgotten, and desire su- when for one of those supposed blunders, he perinduced conviction; he yet shared only the says, as Ker, and I think some one before him, Common weakness of mankind, and might be has remarked, propino te grammatistis tuis vano less sincere than his opponents. But as fac-puladum.* From vapulo, which has a passivo tion seldom leaves a man honest, however it sense, vapulandus can never be derived. No might find him, Milton is suspected of having man forgets his original trade; the rights of nainterpolated the book called " Icon Basilike," tions, and of kings, sink into questions of gramwhich the council of state, to whom he was mar, if grammarians discuss them. now made Latin secretary, employed him to censure, by inserting a prayer taken from Sid-weak of body and dim of sight; but his will ney's "Arcadia," and imputing it to the King; whom he charges, in his "Iconoclastes," with the use of this prayer, as with a heavy crime, in the indecent language with which prosperity had imboldened the advocates for rebellion to insult all that is venerable or great; "Who would have imagined so little fear in him of the true all-seeing Deity-as, immediately before his death, to pop into the hands of the grave bishop that attended him, as a special relic of his saintly exercises, a prayer stolen word for word from the mouth of a heathen woman praying to a heathen god?"
Milton, when he undertook this answer, was
was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention; and he, who told every man that he was equal to his King, could hardly want an audience.
That the performance of Salmasius was not dispersed with equal rapidity, or read with equal eagerness, is very credible. He taught only the stale doctrine of authority, and the unpleasing duty of submission, and he had been so long not only the monarch but the tyrant of literature, that almost all mankind were delighted to find him defied and insulted by a new name, not yet considered as any one's rival. If Christina, as is said, commended the Defence of the People, her purpose must be to torment Salmasius, who was then at court; for neither her civil station, nor her natural character, could dispose her to fa vour the doctrine, who was by birth a queen and by temper despotic.
That Salmasius was, from the appearance of Milton's book, treated with neglect, there is not much proof; but to a man so long accustomed to admiration a little praise of his antagonist would be sufficiently offensive, and might incline him to leave Sweden, from which however he was dismissed, not with any mark of contempt, but with a train of attendants scarcely less than regal.
The papers which the King gave to Dr. Juxon on the scaffold the regicides took away, so that they were at least the publishers of this prayer; and Dr. Birch, who had examined the question with great care, was inclined to think them the forgers. The use of it by adaptation was innocent; and they who could so noisily censure it, with a little extension, of their malice, could contrive what they wanted to accuse. King Charles the Second, being now sheltered in Holland, employed Salmasius, professor of polite learning at Leyden, to write a defence of his father and of monarchy; and, to excite his industry, gave him, as was reported, a hundred Jacobuses. Salmasius was a man of skill in languages, knowledge of antiquity, and sagacity of emendatory criticism, almost exceeding all hope of human attainment; and having, by excessive praises, been confirmed in great conHe prepared a reply, which, left as it was imfidence of himself, thought he probable had not perfect, was published by his son in the year of much considered the principles of society, or the Restoration. In the beginning, being prothe rights of government, undertook the em-bably most in pain for his Latinity, he endeaployment without distrust of his own quali-vours to defend his use of the word persona; but, fications; and, as his expedition in writing was if I remember right, he misses a better authority wonderful, in 1649 published "Defensio Regis." than any that he has found, that of Juvenal in To this Milton was required to write a suffi- his fourth satire: cient answer; which he performed (1651) in such a manner, that Hobbes declared himself unable to decide whose language was best, or whose arguments were worst. In my opinion, Milton's periods are smoother, neater, and more pointed; but he delights himself with teasing his adversary as much as with confuting him. He makes a foolish allusion of Salmasius
-Quid agas, cum dira et fædior omni
The work here referred to, is "Selectarum de linguâ Latina observationem libri duo. Ductu et cura is pinguis solecismus ;" and quotes Varassor and Joannis Ker. 1719." Ker observes, that vapulandum Crimius.-J. B.
As Salmasius reproached Milton with losing his eyes in the quarrel, Milton delighted himself with the belief that he had shortened Salmasius's life, and both perhaps with more malignity than reason. Salmasius died at the Spa, Sept. 3, 1653; and as controvertists are commonly said to be killed by their last dispute, Milton was flattered with the credit of destroying
quence is not merely satirical; the rudeness of his invective is equalled by the grossness of his flattery. "Deserimer, Cromuelle, tu solus superes, ad te summa nostrarum rerum rediit, in te solo consistit, insuperabili tuæ virtuti cedimus cuncti, nemine vel obloquente, nisi qui a quales inæqualis ipse honores sibi quærit, aut digniori concessos invidet, aut non intelligit nihil esse in societate hominum magis vel Deo gratum, vel Cromwell had now dismissed the parliament rationi consentaneum, esse in civitate nihil æquiby the authority of which he had destroyed mo- us, nihil_utilius, quam potiri rerum dignissinarchy, and commenced monarch himself, under mum. Eum te agnoscunt omnes, Cromuelle, ea the title of Protector, but with kingly and more tu civis maximus et gloriosissimus,* dux publici than kingly power. That his authority was consilii, exercituum fortissimorum imperator, lawful, never was pretended; he himself found- pater patrie gessisti. Sic tu spontanea bonoed his right only in necessity; but Milton, hav-rum omnium et animitus missa voce salutaris." ing now tasted the honey of public employment, Caesar, when he assumed the perpetual dictawould not return to hunger and philosophy; torship, had not more servile or more elegant but, continuing to exercise his office under a ma- flattery. A translation may show its servility; nifest usurpation, betrayed to his power that li- but its elegance is less attainable. Having exberty which he had defended. Nothing can be posed the unskilfulness or selfishness of the formore just than that rebellion should end in sla- mer government, "We were left," say Milton, very; that he who had justified the murder of "to ourselves: the whole national interest fell his king, for some acts which seemed to him un- into your hands, and subsists only in your abililawful, should now sell his services and his flat-ties. To your virtue, overpowering and resistteries to a tyrant, of whom it was evident that he could do nothing lawful.
He had now been blind for some years; but his vigour of intellect was such, that he was not disabled to discharge his office of Latin secretary, or continue his controversies. His mind was too eager to be diverted, and too strong to be subdued.
less, every man gives way, except some who, without equal qualifications, aspire to equal honours, who envy the distinctions of merit greater than their own, or who have yet to learn, that in the coalition of human society nothing is more pleasing to God, or more agreeable to reason, than that the highest mind should have the sovereign power. Such, sir, are you by About this time his first wife died in child-general confession; such are the things achievbed, having left him three daughters. As he ed by you, the greatest and most glorious of our probably did not much love her, he did not long countrymen, the director of our public councils, continue the appearance of lamenting her; but after a short time married Catharine, the daughter of one Captain Woodcock, of Hackney; a wonan doubtless educated in opinions like his own. She died, within a year, of child-birth, or soine distemper that followed it; and her husband honoured her memory with a poor
The first reply to Milton's "Defensio Populi" was published in 1651, called "Apologia pro Rege et Populo Anglicano, contra Johannis Polypragmatici (alias Miltoni) defensionem destructivam Regis et Populi." Of this the author, was not known: but Milton, and his nephew Philips, under whose name he published an answer so much corrected by him that it might be ralled his own, imputed it to Bramhal; and, knowing him no friend to regicides, thought themselves at liberty to treat him as if they had known what they only suspected.
Next year appeared "Regii Sanguinis clamor ud Celum." Of this the author was Peter du Moulin, who was afterwards prebendary of Canterbury; but Morus, or More, a French minister, having the care of its publication, was treated as the writer by Milton in his "Defensio Secunda," and overwhelmed by such violence of invective, that he began to shrink under the tempest, and gave his persecutors the means of knowing the true author. Du Moulin was now in great danger; but Milton's pride operated against his malignity; and both he and ts friends were more willing that Du Moulin should escape than that he should be convicted of mistake.
In this second defence he shows that his
the leader of unconquered armies, the father of your country; for by that title does every good man hail you with sincere and voluntary praise."
Next year, having defended all that wanted defence, he found leisure to defend himself. He undertook his own vindication against More, whom he declares in his title to be justly called the author of the "Regii Sanguinis Clamor." In this there is no want of vehemence or eloquence, nor does he forget his wonted wit. "Morus es? an Momus? an uterque idem est?" He then remembers that Morus is Latin for a mulberry-tree, and hints at the known transformation:
-Poma alba ferebat
Quæ post nigra tulit Morus.
he from this time gave himself up to his private With this piece ended his controversies; and studies and his civil employment.
to have written the declaration of the reasons As secretary to the Protector, he is supposed for a war with Spain. His agency was considered as of great importance; for, when a treaty with Sweden was artfully suspended, the delay was publicly imputed to Mr. Milton's in voked to express his wonder, that only one man disposition; and the Swedish agent was pro in England could write Latin, and that man
Being now forty-seven years old, and seeing
It may be doubted whether gloriosissimus be here used with Milton's boasted purity. Res gloriosa is an elo-illustrious thing; but vir gloriosus is commonly a brag. gart, as is miles gloriaans.-Dr J
himself disencumbered from external interruption, he seems to have recollected his former purposes, and to have resumed three great works which he had planned for his future employment; ar epic poem, the history of his country, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue.
To collect a dictionary, seems a work of all others least practicable in a state of blindness, because it depends upon perpetual and minute inspection and collation. Nor would Milton probably have begun it after he had lost his eyes; but, having had it always before him, he continued it, says Philips, "almost to his dying day; but the papers were so discomposed and deficient, that they could not be fitted for the press." The compilers of the Latin dictionary printed at Cambridge, had the use of those collections in three folios; but what was there fate afterwards is not known.*
To compile a history from various authors, when they can only be consulted by other eyes, is not easy, nor possible, but with more skilful and attentive help than can be commonly obtained; and it was probably the difficulty of consulting and comparing that stopped Milton's narrative at the Conquest; a period at which affairs were not very intricate, nor authors very
For the subject of his epic poem, after much deliberation, long choosing, and beginning late, he fixed upon "Paradise Lost ;" a design so comprehensive, that it could be justified only by success. He had once designed to celebrate King Arthur, as he hints in his verses to Mansus; but "Arthur was reserved," says Fenton, "to another destiny."
It appears, by some sketches of poetical projects left in manuscript, and to be seen in a library at Cambridge, that he had digested his thoughts on this subject into one of those wild dramas which were anciently called Mysteries:§ and Philips had seen what he terms part of a tragedy, beginning with the first ten lines of Satan's address to the sun. These mysteries consist of allegorical persons; such as Justice, Mercy, Faith. Of the tragedy or mystery of "Paradise Lost" there are two plans:
The Cambridge Dictionary," published in 4to. 1603, is no other than a copy, with some small additions, of that of Dr. Adam Littleton in 1635, by sundry persons, of whom, though their names are concealed, there is great reason to conjecture that Milton's nephew, Edward Philips, is one; for it is expressly said by Wood, Fasti, vol. i. p. 256. that "Milton's Thesaurus" came to his hands; and it is asserted, in the preface thereto, that the editors thereof had the use of three large folios in manuscript, collected and digested into alphabetical order by Mr. John Milton.
It has been remarked, that the additions, together with the preface above mentioned, and a large part of the title of the "Cambridge Dictionary," have been incorporated and printed with the subsequent editions of Littleton's Dictionary," till that of 1735. Vid. Biog. Brit. 295, in not.-So that, for aught that appears to the contrary, Philips was the last possessor of Milton's
Id est, to be the subject of an heroic poem, written by Sir Richard Blackmore.-H.
The dramas in which Justice, Mercy, Faith, &c. ware introduced, were Moralities, not Mysteries.
Conscience cites them to God's examination.
Adam and Eve driven out of Paradise.
To whom he gives their names.
Heat, Tempest, &c.
comfort him and instruct him
Chorus briefly concludes.
Such was his first design, which could have produced only an allegory, or mystery. The following sketch seems to have attained more maturity,
The angel Gabriel, either descending or enterfrequency as much on earth as in heaven: deing; showing, since this globe was created, his scribes Paradise. Next the Chorus, showing the reason of his coming to keep his watch in Paradise, after Lucifer's rebellion, by command from God: and withal expressing his desire to see and know more concerning this excellent new creature, man. The angel Gabriel, as by his name signifying a prince of power, tracing Paradise with a more free office, passes by the station of the Chorus, and, desired by them, relates what he knew of man: as the creation of Eve, with then
The obstinate enthusiasm of the commonwealth-men was very remarkable. When the King was apparently returning, Harrington, with a few associates as fanatical as himself, used to meet, with all the gravity of political importance, to settle an equal government by rotation; and Milton, kicking when he could strike no longer, was foolish enough to publish, a few weeks before the Restoration, "Notes upon a sermon preached by one Griffiths, entitled The Fear of God and the King." To these notes an answer was written by L'Estrange, in a pamphlet petulantly called "No Blind Guides."
Love and marriage. After this, Lucifer appears; | friends to the new commonwealth; and even in after his overthrow, bemoans himself, and seeks the year of the Restoration he bated no jot of revenge on man. The Chorus prepares resistance heart or hope, but was fantastical enough to on his first approach. At last, after discourse of think that the nation, agitated as it was, night be enmity on either side, he departs: whereat the settled by a pamphlet, called "A ready and easy Chorus sings of the battle and victory in heaven, Way to establish a free Commonwealth;" which against him and his accomplices: as before, after was, however, enough considered to be both sethe first act, was sung a hymn of the creation. riously and ludicrously answered. Here again may appear Lucifer, relating and exulting in what he had done to the destruction of man. Man next, and Eve, having by this time been seduced by the Serpent, appears confusedly covered with leaves. Conscience in a shape accuses him; Justice cites him to a place whither Jehovah called for him. In the mean while, the Chorus entertains the stage, and is informed by some angel the manner of the fall. Here the Chorus bewails Adam's fall. Adam then and Eve return: accuse one another; but especially Adam lays the blame to his wife; is stubborn in his offence. Justice appears, reasons with him, convinces him. The Chorus admonisheth Adam, and bids him beware Lucifer's example of impenitence. The angel is sent to banish them out of Paradise: but before causes to pass before his eyes, in shapes, a mask of all the evils of this life and world. He is humble, relents, despairs; at last appears Mercy, comforts him, promises the Messiah; then calls in Faith, Hope, and Charity; instructs him; he repents, gives God the glory, submits to his penalty. The Chorus briefly concludes. Compare this with the former draught.
These are very imperfect rudiments of "Paradise Lost;" but it is pleasant to see great works in their seminal state, pregnant with latent possibilities of excellence; nor could there be any more delightful entertainment than to trace their gradual growth and expansion, and to observe how they are sometimes suddenly improved by accidental hints, and sometimes slowly improved by steady meditation.
Invention is almost the only literary labour which blindness cannot obstruct, and therefore he naturally solaced his solitude by the indulgence of his fancy, and the melody of his numbers. He had done what he knew to be necessarily previous to political excellence; he had made himself acquainted with seemly arts and affairs: his comprehension was extended by various knowledge, and his memory stored with intellectual treasures. He was skilful in many languages, and had by reading and composition attained the full mastery of his own. He would have wanted little help from books, had he retained the power of perusing them.
But while his greater designs were advancing, having now, like many other authors, caught the love of publication, he amused himself, as he could, with little productions. He sent to the press (1658) a manuscript of Raleigh, called "The Cabinet Council;" and next year gratified his malevolence to the clergy, by a "Treatise of Civil power in Ecclesiastical Cases, and the Means of removing Hirelings out of the Church."
But whatever Milton could write, or men of greater activity could do, the King was now about to be restored, with the irresistible approbation of the people. He was therefore no longer secretary, and was consequently obliged to quit the house, which he held by his office; and, proportioning his sense of danger to his opinion of the importance of his writings, thought it convenient to seek some shelter, and hid himself for a time in Bartholomew-close, by West Smithfield.
I cannot but remark a kind of respect, perhaps unconsciously, paid to this great man by his biographers: every house in which he resided is historically mentioned, as if it were an injury to neglect naming any place that he honoured by his presence.
The King, with a lenity of which the world has had perhaps no other example, declined to be the judge or avenger of his own or his father's wrongs; and promised to admit into the Act of Oblivion all, except those whom the parliament should except; and the parliament doomed none to capital punishment but the wretches who had immediately co-operated in the murder of the King. Milton was certainly not one of them; he had only justified what they had done.
This justification was indeed sufficiently offensive, and (June 16) an order was issued to seize Milton's "Defence," and Goodwin's "Obstructors of Justice," another book of the same tendency, and burn them by the common hangman. The attorney-general was ordered to prosecute the authors; but Milton was not seized, nor perhaps very diligently pursued.
Not long after (August 19) the flutter of innumerable bosoms was stilled by an act, which the King, that his mercy might want no recommendation of elegance, rather called an Act of Oblivion than of Grace. Goodwin was named, with nineteen more, as incapacitated for any public trust; but of Milton there was no exception.*
Of this tenderness shown to Milton, the curi osity of mankind has not forborne to inquire the
Oliver was now dead, Richard was constrained to resign: the system of extemporary govern-disqualified from bearing any office: but Toland says, ment, which had been held together only by force, naturally feil into fragments when that force was taken away; and Milton saw himself and his cause in equal danger. But he had still hope of doing something. He wrote letters, which Toland has published, to such men as he thought
Philips says expressly, that Milton was excepted and he was not excepted at all, and consequently excinded in the General Pardon, or Act of Indemnity, passed the 29th of August, 1660. Toland is right; for I find Goodwin and Ph. Nye, the minister, excepted in the Act, but Milton not named. However, he obtained a special par don in December, 1650, which passed the privy-seal, but not the great seal.—Malone
reason. Burnet thinks he was forgotten; but | tendant; and therefore, by the recommendation this is another instance which may confirm Dal- of Dr. Paget, married Elizabeth Minshul, of a rymple's observation, who says, that "whenever gentleman's family in Cheshire, probably without Burnet's narrations are examined, he appears to be mistaken."
Forgotten he was not; for his prosecution was ordered; it must be therefore by design that he was included in the general oblivion. He is said to have had friends in the House, such as Marvel, Morrice, and Sir Thomas Clarges: and, undoubtedly, a man like him must have had influence. A very particular story of his escape is told by Richardson,* in his Memoirs, which he received from Pope, as delivered by Betterton, who might have heard it from Davenant. In the war between the King and parliament, Davenant was made prisoner, and condemned to die; but was spared at the request of Milton. When the turn of success brought Milton into the like danger, Davenant repaid the benefit by appearing in his favour. Here is a reciprocation of generosity and gratitude so pleasing, that the tale makes its own way to credit. But, if help were wanted, I know not where to find it. The danger of Davenant is certain from its own relation; but of his escape there is no account. Betterton's narration can be traced no higher; it is not known that he had it from Davenant. We are told that the benefit exchanged was life for life; but it seems not certain that Milton's life ever was in danger. Goodwin, who had committed the same kind of crime, escaped with incapacitation; and, as exclusion from public trust is a punishment which the power of government can commonly inflict without the help of a particular law, it required no great interest to exempt Milton from a censure little more than verbal. Something may be reasonably ascribed to veneration and compassion-to veneration of his abilities, and compassion for his distresses, which made it fit to forgive his malice for his learning. He was row poor and blind: and who could pursue with violence an illustrious enemy, depressed by fortune, and disarmed by nature ?
The publication of the Act of Oblivion put him in the same condition with his fellow-subjects. He was, however, upon some pretence now not known, in the custody of the sergeant in December; and when he was released, upon his refusal of the fees demanded, he and the sergeant were called before the House. He was now safe within the shade of oblivion, and knew himself to be as much out of the power of a griping officer as any other man. How the question was determined is not known. Milton would hardly have contended, but that he knew himself to have right on his side.
a fortune. All his wives were virgins; for he has declared that he thought it gross and indelicate to be a second husband: upon what other prin ciples his choice was made cannot now be known: but marriage afforded not much of his happiness. The first wife left him in disgust, and was brought back only by terror; the second, indeed, seems to have been more a favourite, but her life wasshort. The third, as Philips relates, oppressed his children in his lifetime, and cheated them at his death.
Soon after his marriage, according to an obscure story, he was offered the continuance of his employment, and, being pressed by his wife to accept it, answered, "You, like other women, want to ride in your coach; my wish is to live and die an honest man." If he considered the Latin secretary as exercising any of the powers of government, he that had shared authority, either with the parliament or Cromwell, might have forborne to talk very loudly of his honesty; and if he thought the office purely ministerial, he certainly might have honestly retained it under the King. But this tale has too little evidence to deserve a disquisition; large offers and sturdy rejections are among the most common topics of falsehood.
He had so much either of prudence or gratitude, that he forbore to disturb the new settlement with any of his political or ecclesiastical opinions, and from this time devoted himself to poetry and literature. Of his zeal for learning in all its parts, he gave a proof by publishing, the next year, (1661,)" Accidence commenced Grammar;" a little book, which has nothing remarkable, but that its author, who had been lately defending the supreme powers of his country, and was then writing "Paradise Lost," could descend from his elevation to rescue children from the perplexity of grammatical confusion, and the trouble of lessons unnecessarily repeated.*
About this time, Elwood, the quaker, being recommended to him as one who would read Latin to him for the advantage of his conversation, attended him every afternoon except on Sundays. Milton, who, in his letter to Hartlib, had declared, that "to read Latin with an English mouth is as ill a hearing as Law French," required that El wood should learn and practise the Italian pro nunciation, which, he said, was necessary, if he would talk with foreigners. This seems to have been a task troublesome without use. There is little reason for preferring the Italian pronunciation to our own, except that it is more general; and to teach it to an Englishman is only to make him a foreigner at home. He who travels, if he at-speaks Latin, may so soon learn the sounds which every native gives it, that he need make no provision before his journey; and if strangers visit to our modes as they expect from us in their own us, it is their business to practise such conformity countries. Elwood complied with the directions, relates, that Milton, having a curtous ear, knew and improved himself by his attendance; for he
He then removed to Jewin-street, near Aldersgate-street; and, being blind and by no means wealthy, wanted a domestic companion and
It was told before by A. Wood, in Ath. Oxon, vol. ii. p. 412, 2d edit.-C.
That Milton saved Davenant is attested by Aubrey and by Wood from him; but none of them say that Davenant saved Milton. This is Richardson's assertion merely. Malone.
A different account of the means by which Milton secured himself is given by an historian lately brought to light. "Milton, Latin secretary to Cromwell, dis. tinguished by his writings in favour of the rights and liberties of the people, pretended to be dead, and had a public funeral procession. The King applauded his policy in escaping the punishment of death, by a seasonable show of dying."-Cunningham's History of Great Britain, vol. i. p. 14.-R.
* Yelden, in his continuation of Langbaine's account of the Dramatic Poets, 8vo. 1693, says, that he had been told that Milton, after the Restoration, kept a school at that period gives some countenance to this tradition.or near Greenwich. The publication of an Accidence at Malone.