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On his return, he took a houfe in Alderfgate Street, where he fuperintended the education of nephew by his fifter, and also received other young gentlemen to be boarded and instructed.

In his 35th year, he married Mary the daughter of Richard Powel, Efq; but a 'paration, or rather desertion on the wife's part, took place in a month after the ceremony. On her refufing to return, in defiance of repeated requifitions, Milton was fo provoked, that he was induced to publish feveral Treatifes on the doctrine of Divorce; and alfo to pay his addreffes to a young lady of great wit and beauty. A reconciliation was the confequence; for his wife, in an unexpected interview, throwing herself at his feet, implored and obtained forgiveness. Impreffed with this event, he is faid to have conceived the pathetic scene in Paradife Loft, in which Eve addreffeth herself to Adam for pardon and peace. From this period to the restoration, our Author was fo deeply engaged in the controverfies of the times, that he found no leifure for polite learning. The Allegro and Penferofo however appeared in a collection of Latin and English Poems published in 1645. Thefe delightful picces are undoubtedly the two beft defcriptive poems that ever were written. Had he left no other monuments but Comus, Lycidas, and this matchlefs pair, yet would they alone be fufficient to render his name immortal. They were however little noticed on their publication, and remained for near a century difregarded, or at least scarcely known, while his Polemical Tracts, now only in their titles remembered, made their Author's fortane, and fpread his fame over Europe. Of thefe, the most celebrated is his D.ferfio pro Populo Anglicano, in anfwer to Salmafius, Profeffor of Polite Learning at Leyden, who was employedby Charles II. when in exile, to write the Defenfio Regis. Milton's piece was fo fevere, and fo much admired, that it is faid to have killed his antagonist with vexation. For this Tract, he was rewarded with a thousand pounds, a fum twenty times greater than he made by all his poetical works put together! and was also promoted to be Latin Secretary to the Protector. But for his intellectual acquifitions he paid dear; a gutta ferena for some time affected his fight, and he now became totally blind. At this period too, he loft his wife in child-bed, who left him three daughters. He foon, however, married again, Catharine daughter of a Captain Woodcock; but he alfo died in child-bed, within a year after they were married.

On the Restoration, he was obliged to quit his houfe, together with his employment, and to fecrete himself in an obfcure abode in Bartholomew Clofe. His friends had fome difficulty to prevent him from being excepted in the act of oblivion; to lull refearch, and to gain time, they used the expedient of a mock funeral. By the act of oblivion he was at length freed from danger; his Polemical writings only were burnt by the hands of the common hangman.

From Bartholomew Close he removed to Jewrio Street, and married a third wife, Elizabeth Minftur, of a gentleman's family in Cheshire.

He was now in his 52d year, blind, infirm, and poor; for he loft his paternal property by the civil wars, and his acquired by the Restoration. But neither his infirmities, nor the viciffitudes of Fortune, could deprefs the vigour of his mind, or prevent him from executing a design he had long conceived, of writing an Heroic Poem.

The great work of Paradife Loft was finished in 1665, at Chalfont in Bucks, where the Author had taken refuge from the plague, and published in 1667, when he returned to London. He fold the copy to Samuel Simmons for Five Pounds in hand, Five Pounds more when 1300 should be fold, and the fame fum on the publication of the fecond and third Editions, for each edition. Of this agreement Milton received in all Fifteen Pounds; and his widow afterwards fold her claims for Eight.

Such was the first reception of a Work that conftitutes the glory and boast of English Literature ;—— a Work that, notwithstanding the feverity of criticifm, may be ranked among the nobleft efforts of human genius; for though in variety of character and choice of fubject, it may yield to fome, yet in grandeur and fublimity it is confeffedly fuperior to all. The measure of this Divine Poem is blank verfe; between which and rhyme there are endless disputes for pre-eminence: but furely the effential qualities of Poetry can no more depend on either, than those of a man on the fashion of his clothes. Doctor Johnson, who could not endure blank verfe, yet confeffes, that "He could not prevail on "himself to wish that Milton had been a rhymer."

Paradife Loft, however, is not without faults; perfection in this life is unattainable. The at tempt of the Author to give language and fentiments to the Deity, is where he feems to have mo

failed in the execution: But in fuch an attempt, what mortal could have fucceeded? Other exceptions it has alfo endured in paffing the fiery ordeal of Dr. Johnson's criticism, who seems to have extended his abfurd diflike of the man to his writings. Yet every reader capable of relifhing true Poetry will agree with him in concluding, "That this Work is net the greatest of Heroic Poems, only because it is not the firft."

Three years after the publication of Paradife Loft, the author published Samplon Agoniftes, a Tragedy, in the purest stile of the Greek Drama, and Paradife Regained, which he is faid to have preferred to his great work, but in which preference he remains alone.

Paradife Regained hath suffered much in the comparison; it is obfcured by the splendour of Paradife Loft, as the luftre of the morning ftar is abforbed in the meridian blaze; but had any other than Milton been the author, it would have claimed and received univerfal praise.

Our great author, now quite worn out with the gout, paid the debt of nature on the 10th of November 1674, in his 66th year, at his house in Bunhill-Fields, and was buried in St. Giles's, Cripplegate; his funeral was splendidly and numerously attended. He left 1500l. to his family; a proof, notwithstanding his great laffes, that he never was in indigence.

A fmali monument, with his bust, has been erected, not long fince, to his memory, in Westminster Abbey.

Milton, in ftature, did not exceed the middle fize, but was formed with perfect symmetry, and was, moreover, in his youth, eminently beautiful; of which many portraits yet to be seen, as well as the following epigram of the Marquis of Villa, are inconteftible proofs:

Ut mens, forma, decor, facies, mos, fi Pietas fic;

Non Anglus, verum hercle Angelus ipfe fores.

Which (omitting the exception of his religion) may be thus rendered:

So perfect thou, in mind, in form and face;

Thou'rt not of English, but Angelic race.

Of his habits he was abftemious in his diet, and naturally difliked all ftrong liquors: In his youth he studied late, but afterwards reverfed his hours. His amusements confifted in the conversation of his friends, and in mufic, in which he was a proficient. After he became blind, he was affifted in his ftudies by his daughters, whom he taught to read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, without their underfanding any of them; and for transcribing, he employed any cafual acquaintance.

His literature was great; he was a perfect master of Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish; of the English Poets, he preferred Spencer, Shakespeare and Cowley. His political principles were republican, and his theological opinions tended to Arminianifm. His deportment was erect, open, affable; his converfation cafy, cheerful, and instructive; his wit, on all occafions, at command, facetious, grave, or fatirical, as the subject required; his judgment just and penetrating; his appreLenfion quick; his memory tenacious of what he read; his reading only not fo extensive as his gins, for that was univerfal. With fo many accomplishments, not to have faults and misfortunes to be laid in the balance, with the fame and felicity of writing Pamidife Loft, would have been too great a portion for humanity.





Qui legis Amiffam Paradifum, grandia magni
Carmina Miltoni, quid nifi cuncta legis?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,
Et fata, et fines continet ifte liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi,
Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet:
Terraque, tractufque maris, cœlumque profundum,
Sulphureumque Erebi, flammivomufque fpecus:
Quæque colunt terras, potumque et Tartara
Quæque colunt fummi lucida regna poli:
Et quodcunque ullis conclufum eft finibus ufquam,
Et fine fine Chaos, et fine fine Deus:
Et fine fine magis, fi quid magis eft fine fine,
In Chrifto erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui fperaret quis crederet effe futura?


Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit. O quantos in bella duces! quæ protulit arma! Quæ canit, et quanta prælia dira tuba' Calcites acies! atque in certamine cœlum! Et quæ cœleftes pugna deceret agros! Quantus in æthereis tollit fe Lucifer armis! Atque ipfo graditur vix Michaele minor!


Quantis, et quam funeftis concurritur iris,
Dum ferus hic ftellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulfos montes feu tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali defuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui fe parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non fupereffe fuæ.
At fimul in cœlis Meffiæ infignia fulgent,'

Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horendumque rotæ strident, et sæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitura rauco
Admiftis flammis infonuere poio :
Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis,
Et caffis dextris irrita tela cadunt;

Ad pœnas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum, Infernis certant condere se tenebris.

Cedite Romani fcriptores, cedite Graii,

Et quos fama recens vel celebravit annus. Hæc quicunque leget tantum ceciniffe putabit Mæonidem ranas, Virgilium culices.



WHEN I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In flender book his vaft defign unfold,
Meffiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Heav'n, hell, earth, chaos, all; the argument
Held me a while mifdoubting his intent,
That he would ruin (for I faw him strong)
The facred truths to fable and old fong;
So Sampfon grop'd the temple's posts in fpite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his fight.
Yet as I read, full growing lefs fevere,
Flik'd his project, the fuccefs did fear,
Through that wide field how he his way fhould

O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Left he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was eafy he should render vain.
Or if a work fo infinite he fpann'd,
Jealous I was, that fome lefs fkilful hand
(Such as difquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excel)
Might hence prefume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and fhew it in a play.
Pardon me, mighty poet! nor despise
My caufelefs, yet not impious, furmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a fhare.

Thou haft not mifs'd one thought that could be fit
And all that was improper doft gmit;

So that no room is here for writers left,
But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majefty which through thy work doth reign,
Draws the devout, deterring the profane :
And things divine thou treat'st of in such state
As them preferves, and thee, inviolate.
At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou fing'ft with fo much gravity and ease;
And above human flight does foar aloft;
With plume fo strong, so equal, and so soft;
The bird nam'd from that paradife you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where couldft thou words of fuch a compafs find? Whence furnish fuch a vast expanse of mind? Juft heaven thee, like Tirefias, to requite, Rewards with prophefy thy lofs of fight.

Well might'it thou fcorn thy readers to allure With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure; While the Town-Bays writes all the while and fpells,

And like a pack-horse tires without his bells:
There fancies, like our bushy points, appear,
The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.
I too, tranfported by the mode, commend,
And while I meant to praise thee, must offend.
Thy verfe, created, like thy theme, fublime,
In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.



THE meafure is English heroic verfe without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and Virgil in Latin z ryhme being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verfe, in longer works efpecially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to fet off wretched matter and lame metre; grac'd indeed fince by the use of Some famous modern poets, carried away by cuftom, but much to their own vexation, bindrance, and confiraint, to express many things otherwife, and for the most part, worse than elfe they would have expressed them. Not without caufe, therefore, fome both Italian and Spanifb poets of prime note, have rejected rhyme both in longer and forter works, as have alfo long fince our beft English tragedies, as a thing of itself, to all judiious ears, trivial, and of no true musical delight; which confifts only in apt numbers, fit quantity of fyllables, and the fenfe variously drawn out from one verfe into another, not in the jingling found of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned ancients both in poetry and all good oratory. This neglect, then, of rhyme, fa little is to be taken for a defect, though it may feem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be efleemed an example fet, the first in Englife, of ancient liberty recovered to beroic poem, from the troublesome and modern bondage of rhyming.

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