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ton not many hours. But the original, so brief and at the same time so formal, could hardly call forth any distinctive graces of his pen. Yet we may trace his hand, I think, in the use of interreign not a common word, which is found in this Declaration and in his History of England; and in the rudiments of warfare, which, while it is a classical expression, his Paradise Regained, as well as the present translation, exhibits. But he delighted not, he has told us, in translations. Yet in the cause of this popular sovereign, who was the patron too of men of letters, he stooped, I can believe, with pleasure. Sobieski also was a king to Milton's mind: he might be deposed by his subjects.
Milton had now been long a sufferer by the gout; and in July, considering his end to be approaching, he informed his brother Christopher, who was then a bencher in the Inner Temple, that he wished to dictate to him the disposition of his property. And the discovery of this Nuncupative Will has illustrated the domestick manners of the poet. He died on Sunday the 8th of November follow
See the remark in the next section, p. 223.
Mr. Hayley says, on Sunday the 15th of November. But it appears, by the Register of St. Giles's Cripplegate, that he was buried on the 12th. "L. John Melton, gentleman. Consumption, Chancell. 12. Nov. 1674." Melton has been altered, in fresher ink, to Milton. L. denotes the liberty of the parish. Mr. Steevens supposed the entry to have been made by the undertaker, who knew nothing more of Milton than that he was
ing. His death was so easy, that the time of his expiration was unperceived by the attendants in his
The remains of Milton were attended to the grave by all his learned and great friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the vulgar." He was buried next his father in the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate. In August, 1790, the spot, where his body had been deposited, was opened; and a corpse, hastily supposed to be his, was exposed to publick view. A Narrative of the disinterment of the coffin, and of the treatment of the corpse, was published by Philip Neve, Esq. The Narrative was immediately and ably answered in the St. James's Chronicle, in Nine Reasons why it is improbable that the coffin, lately dug up in the Parish Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, should contain the reliques of Milton. Mr. Neve added a Postscript to his Narrative. But all his labour appears to have been employed in an imaginary cause. The late Mr. Steevens, who particularly lamented the indignity which the nominal ashes of the poet sustained, has intimated in his ma
dead. Aubrey says, "He was buried at the upper end in St. Gyles Cripple-gate chancell," and that, "when the two steppes to the Communion Table were raysed, (in 1679) his Stone was removed."
Toland's Life of Milton, prefixed to the edition of Milton's Prose-Works, printed (not at Amsterdam as asserted in the titlepage,) but at London, in 1698, fol. p. 46.
Formerly in the possession of the late James Bindley, Esq.; by whom I was favoured with the perusal of them.
nuscript remarks on this Narrative and Postscript, that the disinterred corpse was supposed to be that of a female, and that the minutest examination of the fragments could not disprove, if it did not confirm, the supposition. Mr. Lofft, noticing the burial of the poet in St. Giles's church, has eloquently censured "the sordid mischief committed in it, and the market made of the eagerness with which curiosity or admiration prompted persons to possess themselves of his supposed remains, which, however, there is reason to believe, far from being Milton's, were the bones of a person not of the same age or sex. It were to be wished that neither superstition, affectation, idle curiosity, or avarice, were so frequently invading the silence of the grave. Far from honouring the illustrious dead, it is rather outraging the common condition of humanity, and last melancholy state in which our present existence terminates. Dust and ashes have no intelligence to give, whether beauty, genius, or virtue, informed the animated clay. A tooth of Homer or Milton will not be distinguished from one of a common mortal; nor a bone of Alexander acquaint us with more of his character than one of Bucephalus. Though the dead be unconcerned, the living are neither benefited nor improved: decency is violated, and a kind of instinctive sympathy infringed, which, though it ought not to overpower reason, ought not without it, and to no pur
Preface to his edition of the first book of Paradise Lost, 1792, p. xxx.
pose, to be superseded. But whether the remains of that body which once was Milton's, or those of any other person were thus exposed and set to sale, death and dissolution have had their empire over these. The spirit of his immortal works survives invulnerable, and must survive. These are his best image, these the reliques which a rational admiration may cherish and revere !"
It has been observed that the original stone, laid on the grave of Milton, was removed not many years after his interment. Nor were his remains honoured by any other memorial in Cripplegate church, till the year 1793; when, by the munificence of the late Mr. Whitbread, an animated marble bust, the sculpture of Bacon, under which is a plain tablet, recording the dates of the poet's birth and death, and of his father's decease, was erected in the middle aisle. To the Author of Paradise Lost a similar tribute of respect had been paid, in 1737, by Mr. Benson; who procured his bust to be admitted, where once his name had been deemed a profanation, into Westminster Abbey. And the reception of the monument into this venerable edifice became immediately the theme of the muses ".
" Dr. George, provost of King's College, Cambridge, and Vincent Bourne, Usher of Westminster School, have written upon this occasion some Latin hexameters, which have been much admired for their spirit and their elegance.
Of political and other Publications ascribed to Milton; with reference to his genuine Prose-Works, and their general character.
WHILE the of Milton has been needlessly quespen tioned in regard to part of his history of England, and to the translation of the Polish document; anonymous publications, on the other hand, have been ascribed to him. Most of them appeared while he was living. And perhaps to his political rather than his literary character we owe these assumptions. Of such it may gratify curiosity to give an account.
On very slender grounds Peck attributed to him the translation of Buchanan's Baptistes, which appeared in 1641, with the following title: "Tyrannical Government anatomized, or, A Discourse concerning evil Counselors: being the Life and Death of John the Baptist, and presented to the King's most excellent Majesty by the author." Aubrey and Wood, from different motives, would not have
a See before, pp. 210. 217.