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had been a witness to the whole sacrilegious transaction. He related the event nearly in the following manner :—

"The church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, being in a somewhat dilapidated state, the parish resolved to commence repairing it, and this was deemed a favourable opportunity to raise a subscription for the purpose of erecting a monument to the memory of our immortal bard, Milton, who, it was known, had been buried in this church. The parish register book bore the following entry: 12 November, 1674, John Milton, gentleman, consump con, chancell.' Mr. Ascough, whose grandfather died in 1759, aged 84, had been often heard to say, that Milton was buried under the desk in the chancel. Messrs. Strong, Cole, and other parishioners, determined to search for the remains; and orders were given to the workmen, on the first of this month, to dig for the coffin. On the third, in the afternoon, it was discovered: the soil in which it had been deposited was of a calcareous nature, and it rested upon another coffin, which, there can be no doubt, was that of Milton's father, report having stated that the poet was buried, at his request, near the remains of his parent; and the same register book contained the entry,' John Milton, gentleman, 15th March, 1646.' No other coffin being found in the chancel, which was entirely dug over, there can be no uncertainty as to their identity. Messrs. Strong and Cole having carefully cleansed the coffin with a brush and wet sponge, they ascertained that the exterior wooden case, in which the leaden one had been enclosed, was entirely mouldered away, and the leaden coffin contained no inscription or date. At the period when Milton died, it was customary to paint the name, age, &c. of the deceased, on the wooden covering, no plates or inscription being then in use; but all had long since crumbled into dust. The leaden coffin was much corroded: its length was five feet ten inches. The above gentlemen, satisfied as to the identity of the precious remains, and having drawn up a statement to that effect, gave orders, on Tuesday, the 3d, to the workmen to fill up the grave; but they neglected to do so, intending to perform that labour on the Saturday following. On the next day, the 4th, a party of parishioners, Messrs. Cole, Laming, Taylor, and Holmes, having met to dine at the residence of Mr. Fountain, the overseer, the discovery of Milton's remains became the subject of conversation; and it was agreed upon that they should disinter the body, and examine it more minutely. At eight o'clock at night, heated with drink, and accompanied by a man named Hawkesworth, who carried a flambeau, they sallied forth, and proceeded to the church. The sacrilegious work now commences. The coffin is dragged from its gloomy resting-place. Holmes made use of a mallet and chisel, and cut open the coffin slantways from the head to the breast. The lead being doubled up, the corpse became visible it was enveloped in a thick white shroud; the ribs were standing


up regularly; but the instant the shroud was removed, they fell. The features of the countenance could not be traced, but the hair was in an astonishingly perfect state; its colour a light brown, its length six inches and a half, and, although somewhat clotted, it appeared, after having been well washed, as strong as the hair of a living being. The short locks growing towards the forehead, and the long ones flowing from the same place down the sides of the face, it became obvious that these were most certainly the remains of Milton. The 4to. print of the poet, by Faithorne, taken from life in 1670, four years before he died, represents Fountain said he him as wearing his hair exactly in the above manner.

was determined to have two of the teeth; but, as they resisted the pressure of his fingers, he struck the jaw with a paving-stone, and several teeth then fell out. There were only five in the upper jaw, and these were taken by Fountain; the four that were in the lower jaw were seized upon The hair, which had by Taylor, Hawkesworth, and the sexton's man. been carefully combed and tied together before the interment, was forcibly pulled off the skull by Taylor and another; but Ellis the player, who had now joined the party, told the former, that, being a good hairworker, if he would let him have it, he would pay a guinea bowl of punch; adding, that such a relic would be of great service, by bringing his name into notice. Ellis, therefore, became possessed of all the hair he likewise took a part of the shroud, and a bit of the skin of the skull indeed, he was only prevented carrying off the head by the sextons, Hoppy and Grant, who said that they intended to exhibit the remains, which was afterwards done, each person paying 6d. to view the body. These fellows, I am told, gained near 1001. by the exhibition. Laming put one of the leg bones in his pocket. My informant assured me, continued Mr. Thornton, that, while the work of profanation was proceeding, the gibes and jokes of these vulgar fellows made his heart sick, and he retreated from the scene, feeling as if he had witnessed the repast of a vampire. Viscount C., who sat near me, said to Sir G., "This reminds me of the words of one of the fathers of the church,' And little boys have played with the bones of great kings.'"-London Monthly Magazine, August, 1833.



Qui legis Amissam Paradisum, grandia magni
Carmina Miltoni, quid nisi cuncta legis?
Res cunctas, et cunctarum primordia rerum,
Et fata, et fines continet iste liber.
Intima panduntur magni penetralia mundi;
Scribitur et toto quicquid in orbe latet;
Terræque, tractusque maris, cœlumque profundum
Sulphureumque Erebi flammivomumque specus;
Quæque colunt terras, portumque et Tartara cæca,
Quæque colunt summi lucida regna poli;
Et quodcunque ullis conclusum est finibus usquam,
Et sine fine Chaos, et sine fine Deus;
Et sine fine magis, si quid magis est sine fine,
In Christo erga homines conciliatus amor.
Hæc qui speraret quis crederet esse futurum?
Et tamen hæc hodie terra Britanna legit.
O quantos in bella duces! quæ protulit arma!
Quæ canit, et quanta, prælia dira tuba.
Cœlestes acies! atque in certamine cœlum!
Et quæ cœlestes pugna deceret agros!
Quantus in ætheriis tollit se Lucifer armis,
Atque ipso graditur vix Michaele minor!
Quantis, et quam funestis concurritur iris

Dum ferus hic stellas protegit, ille rapit!
Dum vulsos montes ceu tela reciproca torquent,
Et non mortali desuper igne pluunt:
Stat dubius cui se parti concedat Olympus,
Et metuit pugnæ non superesse suæ,
At simul in cœlis Messiæ insignia fulgent,
Et currus animes, armaque digna Deo,
Horrendumque rota strident, et sæva rotarum
Erumpunt torvis fulgura luminibus,
Et flammæ vibrant, et vera tonitrua rauco
Admistis flammis insonuere Polo,

Excidit attonitis mens omnis, et impetus omnis
Et cassis dextris irrita tela cadunt.

Ad pœnas fugiunt, et ceu foret Orcus asylum
Infernis certant condere se tenebris.
Cedite Romani scriptores, cedite Graii

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



WHEN I beheld the poet blind, yet bold,
In slender book his vast design unfold,
Messiah crown'd, God's reconcil'd decree,
Rebelling angels, the forbidden tree,
Heav'n, hell, earth, chaos, all; the argument
Held me awhile misdoubting his intent,
That he would ruine (for I saw him strong)
The sacred truths to Fable and old song:
(So Sampson grop'd the temple's posts in spite)
The world o'erwhelming to revenge his sight.
Yet as I read, soon growing less severe,

I lik'd his project, the success did fear;
Through that wide field how he his way should find
O'er which lame faith leads understanding blind;
Lest he perplex'd the things he would explain,
And what was easy he should render vain.
Or if a work so infinite he spann'd,

Jealous I was that some less skilful hand
(Such as disquiet always what is well,
And by ill imitating would excel)

Might hence presume the whole creation's day
To change in scenes, and show it in a play.
Pardon me, mighty poet, nor despise

My causeless, yet not impious, surmise.
But I am now convinc'd, and none will dare
Within thy labours to pretend a share.

Thou hast not miss'd one thought that could be fit,

And all that was improper dost omit :

So that no room is here for writers left,

But to detect their ignorance or theft.

That majesty which through thy work doth reign
Draws the devout, deterring the profane.

And things divine thou treat'st of in such state

As them preserves, and thee, inviolate.

At once delight and horror on us seize,
Thou sing'st with so much gravity and ease,
And above human flight dost soar aloft
With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft.
The bird nam'd from that paradise you sing
So never flags, but always keeps on wing.

Where could'st thou words of such a compass find?
Whence furnish such a vast expanse of mind?
Just heav'n thee like Tiresias to requite

Rewards with prophecy thy loss of sight.

Well mightest thou scorn thy readers to allure
With tinkling rhyme, of thy own sense secure ;
While the town-bayes writes all the while and spells,
And like a pack-horse tires without his bells:
Their fancies like our bushy points appear,

The poets tag them, we for fashion wear.

I too, transported by the mode, offend,

And while I meant to praise thee, must commend.1
Thy verse created like thy theme sublime,

In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.



1 See note in Life, p. lxxvii


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