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type of worldliness and hypocrisy, without the least true pattern of virtue, righteousness, or self-denial in their whole practice. I attribute it next to the factious inclination of most men divided from the public by several ends and humours of their own. At first no man less beloved, no man more generally condemned, than was the King; from the time that it became his custom to break parliaments at home, and either wilfully or weakly to betray protestants abroad to the beginning of these combustions. All men inveighed against him; all men, except court-vassals, opposed him and his tyrannical proceedings; the cry was universal; and this full parliament was at first unanimous in their dislike and protestation against his evil government: but when they who sought themselves and not the public, began to doubt, that all of them could not by one and the same way attain to their ambitious purposes, then was the King, or his name at least, as a fit property first made use of, his doings made the best of, and by degrees justified; which begot him such a party, as, after many wiles and strugglings with his inward fears, emboldened him at length to set up his standard against the parliament: when as before that time, all his adherents, consisting most of dissolute swordsmen and suburb-roysters, hardly amounted to the making up of one ragged regiment strong enough to assault the unarmed house of commons. After which attempt, seconded by a tedious and bloody war on his subjects, wherein he hath so far exceeded those his arbitrary violences in time of peace, they who before hated him for his high misgovernment, nay, fought against him with displayed banners in the field, now applaud him and extol him for the wisest and most religious Prince that lived. By so strange a method amongst the mad multitude is a sudden reputation won, of wisdom by wilfulness and subtile shifts, of goodness by multiplying evil, of piety by endeavouring to root out true religion.

"But it is evident that the chief of his adherents never loved him, never honoured either him or his cause, but as they took him to set a face upon their own malignant designs; nor bemoan his loss at all, but the loss of their own aspiring hopes: like those captive women, whom the poet notes in his Iliad, to have bewailed the death of Patroelus in outward show, but indeed their own condition :-

Πάτροκλον πρόφασιν σφῶν δ' αὐτῶν κήδε' ἑκάστη.”

I do not by this insertion mean that my consent should be implied to Milton's prin. ciples and arguments in this extraordinary production, but to exhibit it as a proof of a gigantic mind. The style is hard and Latinized; but after a few pages, when the ear is familiarized to it, it strikes by its extraordinary force, precision, and originality; by the copiousness of its learning, and the unexpected subtlety of its arguments.

Milton now entered into the famous controversy with Salmasius. By the order of the state he wrote "Defensio pro Populo Anglicano contra Claudii Anonymi, alias Salmasii Defensionem Regiam," 1651, afterwards translated into English by Washington. Salmasius (Claude de Saumaise) had the reputation of one of the greatest scholars of the age. In some respects this dispute was disgraced by the grossest personalities on both sides: many think that Milton destroyed Salmasius's title to classicality: Mitford's opinion is otherwise; and he has discussed the question with much erudition, research, and taste.

This book raised the reputation of Milton upon the Continent. He says, "I am about to discourse of matters, neither inconsiderable nor common; but how a most potent king, after he had trampled upon the laws of the nation, and given a shock to its religion, and begun to rule at his own will and pleasure, was at last subdued in the field by his own subjects, who had undergone a long slavery under him; how afterwards he was cast into prison; and when he gave no ground, either by words or actions, to hope better things of him, he was finally by the supreme council of the kingdom condemned to die, and beheaded before the very gates of the royal palace. I shall likewise relate (which will much conduce to the easing men's minds of a great superstition) by what right, especially according to our law, this judgment was given, and all these matters transacted; and shall easily defend my valiant and worthy countrymen (who have extremely well deserved of all subjects and nations in the world) from the most wicked calumnies both of domestic and foreign railers, and especially from the

From the translation by Washington.

reproaches of this most vain and empty sophister, who sets up for a captain and ringleader to all the rest. For what king's majesty sitting upon an exalted throne, ever shone so brightly, as that of the people of England then did, when shaking off that old superstition, which had prevailed a long time, they gave judgment upon the king himself, or rather upon an enemy who had been their king, caught as it were in a net by his own laws (who alone of all mortals challenged to himself impunity by a divine right), and scrupled not to inflict the same punishment upon him, being guilty, which he would have inflicted upon any other? But why do I mention these things as performed by the people, which almost open their voice themselves, and testify the presence of God throughout? who, as often as it seems good to his infinite wisdom, uses to throw down proud and unruly kings, exalting themselves above the condition of human nature, and utterly to extirpate them and all their family. By his manifest impulse being set on work to recover our almost lost liberty, following him as our guide, and adoring the impresses of his divine power manifested upon all occasions, we went on in no obscure, but an illustrious passage, pointed out and made plain to us by God himself. Which things, if I should so much as hope by any diligence or ability of mine, such as it is, to discourse of as I ought to do, and to commit them so to writing, as that perhaps all nations and all ages may read them, it would be a very vain thing in me: for what style can be august and magnificent enough, what man has parts sufficient to undertake so great a task? Since we find by experience, that in so many ages as are 1 gone over the world, there has been but here and there a man found, who has been able worthily to recount the actions of great heroes and potent states; can any man have so good an opinion of his own talents, as to think himself capable to reach these glorious and wonderful works of Almighty God, by any language, by any style of his? Which enterprise, though some of the most eminent persons in our commonwealth have prevailed upon me by their authority to undertake, and would have it be my business to vindicate with my pen against envy and calumny (which are proof against arms) those glorious performances of theirs (whose opinion of me I take as a very great honour, that they should pitch upon me before others to be serviceable in this kind of those most valiant deliverers of my native country; and true it is, that from my very youth I have been bent extremely upon such sort of studies, as inclined me, if not to do great things myself, at least to celebrate those that did), yet as having no confidence in any such advantages, I have recourse to the divine assistance; and invoke the great and holy God, the giver of all good gifts, that I may as substantially, and as truly, discourse and refute the sauciness and lies of this foreign declamator, as our noble generals piously and successfully by force of arms broke the King's pride and his unruly domineering, and afterwards put an end to both by inflicting a memorable punishment upon himself, and as thoroughly as a single person did with ease, but of late confute and confound the king himself, rising as it were from the grave, and recommending himself to the people in a book published after his death, with new artifices and allurements of words and expressions. Which antagonist of mine, though he be a foreigner, and though he deny it a thousand times over, but a poor grammarian: yet not contented with a salary due to him in that capacity, chose to turn a pragmatical coxcomb, and not only to intrude in state affairs, but into the affairs of a foreign state: though he brings along with him neither modesty, nor understanding, nor any other qualification requisite in so great an arbitrator, but sauciness, and a little grammar only. Indeed, if he had published here, and in English, the same things as he has now wrote in Latin, such as it is, I think no man would have thought it worth while to return an answer to them, but would partly despise them as common, and exploded over and over already; and partly abhor them as sordid and tyrannical maxims, not to be endured even by the most abject of slaves: nay, men that have sided with the King, would have had these thoughts of his book. But since he has swoln it to a considerable buik, and dispersed it amongst foreigners, who are altogether ignorant of our affairs and constitution, it is fit that they who mistake them should be better informed; and that he who is so very forward to speak ill of others, should be treated in his own kind. If it be asked, why we did not then attack him sooner, why we suf fered him to triumph so long, and pride himself in our silence? for others I am not to answer; for myself I can boldly say, that I had neither words nor arguments long to

seek for the defence of so good a cause, if I had enjoyed such a measure of health as would have endured the fatigue of writing: and being but weak in body, I am forced to write by piecemeal, and break off almost every hour, though the subject be such as requires an unintermitted study and intenseness of mind. But though this bodily indisposition may be a hindrance to me in setting forth the just praises of my most worthy countrymen, who have been the saviours of their native country, and whose exploits, worthy of immortality, are already famous all the world over; yet I hope it will be no difficult matter for me to defend them from the insolence of this silly little scholar, and from that saucy tongue of his at least. Nature and laws would be in an ill case, if slavery should find what to say for itself, and liberty be mute; and if tyrants should find men to plead for them, and they that can master and vanquish tyrants should not be able to find advocates: and it were a deplorable thing indeed, if the reason mankind is endued withal, and which is the gift of God, should not furnish more arguments for men's preservation, for their deliverance, and, as much as the nature of the thing will bear, for making them equal to one another, than for their oppression and for their utter ruin under the domineering power of one single person. Let me therefore enter upon this noble cause with a cheerfulness, grounded upon this assurance, that my adversary's cause is maintained by nothing but fraud, fallacy, ignorance, and barbarity; whereas mine has light, truth, reason, the practice and the learning of the best ages of the world, of its side."

In 1654 Milton published his "Defensio secunda contra Infamem Libellum Anonymum, cui titulus, Regi Sanguinis Clamor ad Coelum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos.”* This commences with another magnificent passage regarding himself:"Jam videor mihi, ingressus iter, transmarinos tractus et porrectas late regiones, sublimis perlustrare; vultus innumeros atque ignotos, animi sensus mecum conjunctissimos: hinc Germanorum virile et infestum servituti robur, inde Francorum vividi dignique nomine liberales impetus, hine Hispanorum consulta virtus, Italorum inde sedata suique compos magnanimitas ob oculos versatur. Quicquid uspiam liberorum pectorum, quicquid ingenui, quicquid magnanimi aut prudens latet aut se palam profitetur, alii tacite favere, alii aperte suffragari, accurrere alii et plausu accipere, alii tandem vero victi, dedititios se tradere. Videor jam mihi, tantis circumseptus copiis, ab Herculeis usque columnis ad extremos Liberi patris terminos, libertatem diu pulsam atque exulem, longo intervallo domum ubique gentium reducere: et, quod Triptolemus olim fertur, sed longe nobiliorem Cereali illa frugem ex civitate mea gentibus importare; restitutum nempe civilem liberumque vitæ cultum, per urbes, per regna, perque nationes disseminare, &c.

"I seem to survey, as from a towering height, the far-extended tracts of sea and land, and innumerable crowds of spectators, betraying in their looks the liveliest interest, and sensations the most congenial with my own: here I behold the stout and manly prowess of the German, disdaining servitude; there the generous and lively impetuosity of the French; on this side the calm and stately valour of the Spaniard; on that the composed and varied magnanimity of the Italian. Of all the lovers of liberty and virtue, the magnanimous and the wise, in whatever quarter they may be found, some secretly favour, others openly approve; some greet me with congratulations and applause; others, who had long been proof against conviction, at last yield themselves captive to the force of truth. Surrounded by congregated multitudes, I now imagine, that, from the columns of Hercules to the Indian ocean, I behold the nations of the earth recovering that liberty which they so long had lost; and that the people of this island are transporting to other countries a plant of more beneficial qualities, and more noble growth, than that which Triptolemus is reported to have carried from region to region; that they are disseminating the blessings of civilization and freedom among cities, kingdoms, and nations. Nor shall I approach unknown, nor perhaps unloved, if it be told that I am the same person, who engaged in single combat that fierce advocate of despotism, till then reputed invincible in the opinion of many, and in his own conceit, who insolently challenged us and our armies to the combat; but The author of this book was Peter de Moulin, afterwards Prebendary of Canterbury. See an "Account of Alexander Morus," among the Literati of Geneva, where he published many books. See Senebier's "Histoire Littéraire."

whom, while I repelled his virulence, I silenced with his own weapons; and over whom, if I may trust to the opinion of impartial judges, I gained a complete and glorious victory."

In 1654 Milton published his "Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, showing that it is not lawful for any Power on earth to compel in matters of religion."

The same year he published "Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of the Church; wherein is also discoursed of Tithes, Church-fees, and Church-revenues; and whether any Maintenance of Ministers can be settled by law."

He wrote also "A Letter to a Friend concerning the Ruptures of the Commonwealth;" and, "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."

In 1660 he published "The ready and easy way to establish a free Commonwealth, and the excellence thereof compared with the inconveniences and dangers of re-admitting Kingship in the realm."


In the same year he published "Brief Notes upon a late Sermon, titled the Fear of God, preached and since published by Matthew Griffith, D. D., and Chaplain to the late King, wherein many notorious wrestlings of Scripture, and other falsities, are observed." I cannot help lamenting that Milton spent so many years in these bitter political and sectarian squabbles: coarser minds" would have done for that work. He was always powerful-sometimes splendid; but here his passions were human, and too often mingled with earthly dross. That magnificent and stupendous imagination must have often slept: his faculties duly employed might have produced other epic poems equal to “Paradise Lost:" he might even have gained something more of facility and softness: other gardens of Eden might have been described, and human passions of balf-etherial sublimity might have been embodied: his youthful purpose of some romantic tale of chivalry might also have been executed.

Perhaps he would never have attained to the rich profusion of Spenser; but he would have been far more nervous, gigantic, and heaven-exalted in his characters and descriptions: he would have painted castles and battles and enchantments with a darker, more awful, and more prophet-like power: he would have given, by a few mighty strokes, what Spenser somewhat weakens by the expanded multiplicity of his touches. With the collected sternness of Dante, and the gloomy touches of his inspired vein, he would have filled the imagination with something of superhuman exaltation of visionary grandeur.

What themes for a creative mind did the superstitions, manners, and traditionary tales of chivalry offer! Milton's memory was stored with this branch of literature, and delighted in it; and his faculty of sublime fiction could have added to it any ornaments he chose: but mighty as was his imagery, the spiritual part of his power was still mightier: magnificence of thought and sentiment is his prime characteristic. It is his force of reflection and comment, which overcomes and electrifies us; the vast extent of his views; his comprehension, and stupendous grasp: and, while he speaks as a poct, he speaks also as a sage, and a philosopher.

How would he have described the Crusades, above all other poets! what endless diversity of scenery, heroism, customs, incidents, moral and intellectual character; observation, learning, opinion, reasoning, principles, would he have supplied! This would have been far superior to the story of "King Arthur," in which, perhaps, there is some mixture of childishness, unbecoming the lofty bard's austere grandeur.

While Milton's mind was immersed for twenty years in all those mean contests of human ambition or bigotry, in which intrigue, artifice, and selfish passions pervert and darken the heart and the head, he must have stifled those radiant visions of spiritual purity, which were his natural food and delight. A suppressed fire often turns to poison; and perhaps it gave some embitterment to the poet's feelings: but the fire now and then blazed unexpectedly in a glorious flame amid endless pages of subtle or heavy prose.

Perhaps he would not have lost his eye-sight, if he had pored less over these controversial mysteries, dry as the dust of the barren desert. The dreams of imagination give rest to the eyes, and are brightest when the outward view is closed.

The vexatious humours with which the poet had to contend must have added to the

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irritable temperament of his fraine. He was naturally "a choleric man," according to the report of Mrs. Powell, the mother of his first wife; and he had a scorn of mean intellects and unlearned persons. Loftiness was a prime ingredient in his disposition, as well as in his mental faculties: detraction and contumely enraged him: his opinions were strong and fixed-he would bend to no man. As he never deviated from the paths of duty he had chalked out, so opposition embittered his temper, or excited his scorn: he was not one, therefore, who could buffet in troubled waters without a great wear of his frame. He himself says, that he lost his sight "overplied in liberty's defence." This was, no doubt, true:-the sour humours of the body might, by a natural effect, disease the eyes: they were tender even in his youth.

The cause of liberty, pursued from the purest motives, if it could be separated from the constant participation of the great body who were actuated by a love of licentionsness, and an envious desire to overturn and plunder the great and the rich, would become such a mind as Milton's: but the large mass of the active movers of that celebrated contest was of a temper, and passion, and principle utterly unfitted to the bard's holy spirit. He was blinded by his zeal in a cause in which his heart and his convictions were embarked, and he reaped the fruit of the food he sought in bitterness and sorrow: he found thorns and brambles and weeds without end, wherever he applied his sickle.

Opinions differ concerning the character of the sovereign, against whom he lifted his voice and his hand. That unhappy monarch was so placed by birth and circumstances, that perhaps the wisest man and the greatest hero could not have escaped safe, much less victorious. He had some weaknesses, of which a leading one was ductility: he was a man of elegant taste, numerous accomplishments, varied learning, with a sensitive, generous heart, and undoubted piety: he entertained some notions of kingly power, which in these days would be generally condemned; but in the times in which he imbibed and persevered in them, it would have been truly extraordinary if he had thought otherwise. The most plausible charge laid against his character is insincerity: this arose from want of firmness. He was sometimes led into momentary concessions contrary to his conviction.

The trust he put in Buckingham cannot be entirely excused, because that minister was deficient in almost every quality necessary to a statesman: his want of high talents, his profligacy, his profusion, his deficiency in all the grand principles of a sound government, his corruption, his reckless indiscretions, offered a mark for the revolutionary passions of the age, which they could not miss. But the system of favouritism was then the general fault of monarchs; and Charles had a warm and friendly heart, which could not easily give up an attachment. On the contrary, the unfortunate prince has been blamed for sacrificing Strafford: for that afflicting charge nothing less than extreme duresse can be an excuse.

When once the sword of civil contest is drawn, neither party thinks itself safe till it has destroyed the other; this is the excuse the parliamentarians plead for putting Charles to death. I shall never cease to consider it a bloodthirsty and unpardonable act. All my veneration for Milton, and all the power of argument of his mighty mind, will not alter that opinion.

The opposition to the rule of kings had been secretly brooding and fomenting through Europe for near a century, but had been kept down in England by the magnanimous and prudent spirit of Queen Elizabeth: but the Puritans had been constantly at work against her throne, while the Jesuits beset it on other principles, and with other views. At Milton's birth, the imbecility of King James had encouraged that spirit in the former growing sect, which struck at the root of all ancient institutions. Milton probably drank in these schisms with his earliest breath; but for a time his classical and romantic studies, the glories of his poetical imagination, his neighbourhood to the feudal hospitalities of Harefield, the smiles of Spenser's patroness, the noble and splendid pageantry of Ludlow Castle, and his travels among the seats of the ancient arts, the heroic fablings of Tasso, and the glowing recollections of the Marquis Manso in the Elysian scenery of the sunny bay of Naples, suspended, and nearly expelled them.

But when the discordant trumpet of open civil strife was once sounded, and by an

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