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their operation, the noblest work which ever issued from uninspired man, is one of the most astonishing facts in the history of the human mind; for it was precisely in the years elapsing between the death of his second wife in 1655, and his entering again into the conjugal state in 1662, the most forlorn and wretched portion of his days, that the greater part of his Paradise Lost was written !

What a magnificent and sublime idea of mental energy and fortitude breaks in upon us. from this occurrence in the life of Milton! and how do the sufferings of Homer and of Ossian disappear when contrasted with those of our immortal countryman! The Grecian bard, though blind, and perhaps, poor, appears to have passed, notwithstanding, lightly and cheerily on his path, honoured and admired by the monarchs and the nobles of his land; and though Ossian had fallen from his high estate, and, sightless and in years, was left the sole surviving mourner of his princely house; yet had he enjoyed the love, and gloried in the celebrity of his children; yet was he still the object of a nation's praise, not only as the first of bards, but as among the first of heroes, and even to the tomb of his fathers was he accompanied by beauty and affection.

Whilst Milton who had voluntarily sacrificed his eye-sight on what he esteemed the altar of his country's good; whose mind was the chosen seat of all that is tender, holy, and sublime; and at the very period, too, when he was occupied in the construction of a work which has conferred an ever-during honour on the land which gave him birth, stood stript apparently of every human comfort, the mark of public outrage and of private wrong! and who, when he had but just escaped the sanguinary vengeance of triumphant party, had to feel at home, the spot to which he had once fondly looked for sympathy

and peace,

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is
To have a thankless child !


Yet even for Milton at this unhappy period of his life, and forsaken as he seemed to be by man, there was a consolation left beyond all human power to give or take away; for he felt

himself to be, and I have no doubt really was, under the especial care of Heaven. The shadow of his Creator's wings was around him, and though to outward view, he sate immured in gloom, a spectacle of suffering and of sorrow; yet did the light of hope and faith burn strong and bright within him,

And thence“ the nightly Visitant,” that came
To touch his bosom with her sacred flame.*

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Nor though political enmity, the most rancorous perhaps of all human prejudices, threw over the mighty name of Milton, whilst yet alive, a veil of hatred and of obloquy, were there wanting, even then, some great, and good, and liberal spirits, who loved and honoured and admired the man, and who beheld him in the storm that wrecked his peace, though not devoid

error, yet exhibiting the unconquerable mind and upright heart.

Yes, in the prophetic eye of genius and of generous freedom did Milton close his race in glory; and now, when the clouds of faction and licentiousness which perturbed the air he


* Mason's Ode to Memory.

breathed, are passed away, in what a lovely and endearing light appears the injured bard! To Homer, sightless and in years, to Ossian dark, and mournful and forlorn, the sigh of sympathy belongs; but for Milton, the divine and hallowed Milton, the sport of evil days and evil tongues, blind, and aged, and forsaken, persecuted by his country, and deserted by his children, an added tear must fall !

No. XXI.

In the worst inn's worst room, with mat half-hung, The floors of plaster, and the walls of dung, On once a flock-bed, but repaired with straw, With tape-ty'd curtains never meant to draw, The George and Garter dangling from that bed, Where tawdry yellow strove with dirty red, Great Villiers lies, - alas ! how changed from him, That life of pleasure, and that soul of whim! Gallant and gay in Cliefden's proud alcove, The bower of wanton Shrewsbury and love ; Or just as gay at council, in a ring Of mimic statesmen, and their merry King. No wit to flatter, left of all his store, No fool to laugh at, which he valued more. There, victor of his health, of fortune, friends, And fame, this lord of useless thousands ends.


MR. Walsingham found the once mighty and puissant Buckingham, the once gay and gallant

* In these celebrated lines, and in the comment upon them in many of the editions of the poet, there are some deviations

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