Imatges de pÓgina
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1641. Of Reformation in England.

1641. Of Prelatical Episcopacy.

1641. The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty. Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence.

1641.

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1650. The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates.

1650. The History of Britain to the Norman Conquest. First Four

1651.

Books.

Iconoclastes.

1651. A Defence of the People of England. In Latin.

1654. The Second Defence. In Latin.

1655. Authoris pro se Defensio.

1655. Authoris ad Alexandri Mori Supplementum Responsio. 1655. A Manifesto of the Lord Protector.

1659. Considerations to remove Hirelings out of the Church. 1659. Of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes.

1659. Letter on the Ruptures of the Commonwealth.

1649-1659. Letters of State.

1660. Mode of Establishing a Commonwealth.

1660.

Brief Notes on Dr. Griffith's Sermon.

1625-1666. Familiar Letters. In Latin. 1670. Remainder of the History of Britain.

1672. Artis Logicæ Plenior Institutio.

1673. Of True Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration.

Posthumous Treatise on the Christian Doctrine. In Two Books. In Latin. Discovered, in 1823, by Mr. Lemon, deputy keeper of the state papers, among the presses of his office, and translated by C. R. Sumner, late Bishop of Winchester.

With regard to the chronology of Milton's great Poems, it may be interesting to bear in mind that he wrote his Ode on the Nativity at twenty-one, his Comus at twenty-six, his Lycidas at twenty-nine, his

Paradise Lost at fifty-seven, his Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes at sixty-one.

Milton's three marriages took place in his thirtyfifth, fiftieth, and fifty-fourth year. He also fell in love when he was nineteen. See his seventh elegy, and Cowper's beautiful translation. It was love at first sight. That is the one face for me. He saw, but never spoke to the beloved object.

"She was gone, and vanish'd, to appear no more."

He proceeded to solace himself with his Latin Muse.

The one face that was for Milton was Catharine Woodcock's, whom he married and lost in childbed within the year. If his sonnets mean anything, and are faithful records of the feelings of the poet, he was and would have been happy with her. Witness the eighteenth, like that on the Martyrs of Piedmont, a 'collect in verse."

66

Methought I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,
Rescued from death by force, though pale and faint.
Mine, as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint
Purification in the old law did save,

And such as yet once more I trust to have
Full sight of her in heaven without restraint,
Came vested all in white, pure as her mind:
Her face was veil'd; yet to my fancied sight
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear as in no face with more delight.

But, O! as to embrace me she inclined

I waked; she fled; and day brought back my night!"

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INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.

HE Prose Works of Milton seem at first sight to be a very confused and miscellaneous series of compositions; but they admit of an easy and simple classification, the key to which is seen at a glance in the Second Defence. In the highly interesting autobiography which he there gives, he mentions the origin and occasion of his most important works, the reasons which induced him to undertake them, and the aim and object which he had in view.

The passage itself will be quoted at length in its proper place, when we come to our selections from that portion of his productions. All his writings are in defence of that thing which he called Liberty-a subject on which he and some of his contemporaries literally went mad. He divides liberty into three species, essential to the happiness of social life-religious, domestic, and civil. On the first we have five great Treatises, four of which were published in 1641, viz., The Treatises of Reformation, of Prelatical Episcopacy, The Reason of Church Government, and

some Animadversions; and in the following year he produced the fifth, his Apology. In the cause of domestic liberty, involving, as it does, three material questions, marriage, education, and the free publication of thought, he wrote three great Treatises, on Divorce (for all on that subject we class as one), on Education, and his Areopagitica, which deals with the freedom of the human mind, the most valuable but at that time least valued liberty of all. These eight Treatises he wrote without fee or reward, presenting gratuitously these fruits of his private studies to the Church and to the State. And lastly, in the cause of civil liberty, at the bidding and in the pay of Parliament, he penned the Iconoclastes, and his two, or rather three, Defences.

The origin of these several works was briefly this: In the course of his travels he had arrived at Rome, and was intending to visit Greece, when tidings of the civil commotions in his native country reached his ears. He determined at once to return and fight in the ranks of Liberty. Accordingly, he boldly throws himself into the breach, and wields his powerful pen, in those eight treatises we have mentioned, in the cause of religious and domestic liberty, leaving the third, as he says, to the care of the magistrates. It was then about the year 1650, and he expected an interval of literary ease, and began writing his History of England, from the earliest times to the period

in which he was living. But ease and quietude were not to be his lot. A command from the Council of State bade him compose an answer to the Icon Basilike, which had just appeared. To this we owe the Iconoclastes, in which he declares how far his thoughts were from insulting fallen majesty, only professing to prefer Queen Truth to King Charles. follows his battle with Salmasius and Alexander More.

Then

We have now mentioned the chief of his works, putting aside some minor and unimportant short pamphlets, and his voluminous but worthless posthumous work on Christian Doctrine. So, after all, they form a connected whole, consisting of twelve principal compositions-five in defence of what may be called religious liberty, three of domestic liberty, and four pre-eminently political and polemical.

The characteristic of the first series is his inveterate and implacable hatred to Prelatical Episcopacy-this is their sum and substance. His sentiments on the subject of Divorce and on Education are untenable, and simply absurd; and with those on the Great Rebellion, and on the execution of Charles, it is impossible to have any sympathy. His wretched squabbles with Salmasius and More excite our pity and contempt. We cannot but regret that circumstances should have led him to descant on such unfortunate and unpromising themes; but on these circumstances,

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