Imatges de pÓgina
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tunity of humbling herself to him, and finally effect ed a cordial reconciliation, not only for herself, bu also for her family, who, at the time, when the Royalists were hard pressed, found refuge and sucCour in the house of Milton.

In the year 1645, he published a collection of Latin and English Poems, in which the " Allegro," and "Penseroso," were included. Shortly after the execution of Charles the First, Cromwell appointed him Latin secretary to himself and the parliament, which office he held until the Restoration. He lived with his family for some time in Whitehall; but he was compelled to take lodgings in St. James' Park, in consequence of ill health. While residing here, he lost his wife in child-bed, who left him three daughters: this affliction was speedily followed by another-the loss of sight. Under these distressing circumstances, he gained the affections of a Miss Hancock, of Hackney, whom he married, ana whose loss he had to deplore in less than twelve months, from a similar cause to that which had occasioned the death of his former wife. This deprivation the Poet beautifully alludes to in his eighteenth sonnet.

Being now at the age of forty-seven, freed from external interruption, through his loss of sight, he determined to prosecute the design he had long formed of three works-The History of his Country-A Latin Dictionary-and an Epic l'oem. His Latin Dictionary he never finished: but the three folio volumes which he left behind, were of the greatest use to the compilers of the " Cambridge Dictionary." The wonder is, not that he did no complete it, but that, with the disadvantages under which he laboured, of using the sight of others for the purpose of reference, he completed so large ‘a portion. To this circumstance may also be atti buted the small progress he made in his History, which only reached the period of the Conquest. The

subject which he at length chose for his Epic wi "Paradise Lost."

Upon the Restoration, Milton being apprehensive of the vengeance of the Royalists, concealed himselt In Bartholomew Close, where he remained until after the passing of the act of oblivion. About this period he married for the third time, but this event was productive of any thing but comfort and consolation to him. He had a house in Jewin Street for some time, from whence he removed to Artillery Walk, near Bunhill Fields, where he resided dur. ing the remainder of his life.

Upon quitting the office of Latin secretary, his time became free for the cultivation of his literary pursuits; and he then in good earnest applied the fruitful resources of his elegant and accomplished mind to composition. The "Paradise Lost” was written at different times, and was sold on the 27th of April, 1667, to Samuel Simmons, for five pounds, with an agreement for the same sum when fifteen hundred copies should be disposed of; and again five pounds when the same number should be sold of a second edition, and another five pounds after a similar sale of the third. All the editions were limited to fifteen hundred copies. The third was published in 1678; and the widow, to whom the copyright then devolved, sold all her right in the work to Simmons for eight pounds: whence it appears that twenty-eight pounds was the reinne eration received for a work which immortalized the poet, and the nation which gave him birth!

In the year 1671, four years after the publication of the "Paradise Lost," he produced his " Paradise Regained," and "Samson Agonistes." Some years after he printed his "Familiar Epistles," in Latin, to which, in order to form a voluine, he added some Latin Exercises.

Like Homer, Milton appears not to have formed a just opinion of his own writings. As the former

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preferred the Odyssey, so the latter considered th "Paradise Regained" to be his best production An extraordinary fact, which shows how highl gifted soever an author may be, and however com petent to judge on other matters, that he is not on the subject of his own compositions.

Towards the close of his life he was greatly troubled with the gout, which, in the year 1674, caused his death. He died on the 10th of November, in the most quiet and placid manner, in his 66th year, and was buried in the chancel of St. Giles', Cripplegate, next to the grave of his father. Although his funeral appears to have been splendid, and the followers numerous, it is remarkable that no stone marked the spot where his remains were deposited. A monument was however raised to his memory in Westminster Abbey ;-but he left one behind him in his works, far more durable thap any that human art could erect: and by no on ran the line of Horace be more properly or justly claimed:

"Exegi Monumentum Are perennius.

Milton when young was exceedingly handsome His complexion was fair and ruddy, with every appearance of health; light brown flowing hair, blue eyes, of marked expression; long eyelashes arched eyebrows; and a beautifully formed forehead. The portrait which has been chosen for the present volume is considered one of the most faithful likenesses which were taken of him, at an advanced period of his life.

In his habits he was strict, and in his diet particularly abstemious: he scrupulously avoided spistous liquors, being convinced of their destructive tendency to individuals of sedentary occupations. His health having suffered by night studies in his youth, he was accustomed to retire early (seldom ater than nine) to bed, and rose generally at five

in summer, and six in winter. When blindnes prevented his taking other exercises, he had a ma. chine to swing on, and amused himself with playing on an organ. His deportment was erect, open, and aftable; his conversation easy, cheerful, and instruc tive; his wit was always at command, facetious grave, or satirical, as the subject required. His judgment was just, his apprehension quick, and his memory peculiarly retentive. Of the English poets he preferred Spenser, Shakspeare, and Cowley. On his "Paradise Lost" too much praise cannot be bestowed, and as Dr. Johnson justly observes, the purpose of the poem was the most useful and arduous that could be chosen "to vindicate the works of God to man. His subject is the fate of worlds, the revolution of heaven and earth; rebellion against the supreme King, raised by the highest order of created beings; the overthrow of their host, and the punishment of their enemies; the creation of a new race of reasonable creatures; their original happiness and innocence; their forfeiture of immortality; and their restoration to hope and peace. Here is a full display of the united force of study and genius, of a greater accumulation of materials, with judgment to digest and fancy to combine them. His large works were performed under discountenance, and in blindness; but difficul. ties vanish at his touch: he was born for whatever is arduous, and his work is not the greatest of heroic poems only because it is not the first."

Great as is this praise bestowed by the elegan tritic above named, it does not go beyond the just bounds of truth and justice. Milton with Shaks peare will descend to ages yet to come, as star who have brightened and adorned the literatus of of their country.

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On his being arrived at the Age of Twenty-three
When the Assault was intended to the City

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To Mr. H. Lawes, on the publishing his Airs

On the religious Memory of Mrs. Catharine Thomson
To the Lord General Fairfax

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ib.
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