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terials; and that which has reasonably been doubted, or directly refuted, still maintains its ground, as an arena, in which the writer may unfold the charms of his eloquence; or the critics may display their controversial skill. It is however to be hoped, that, in all future biographies, what is neither pertinent nor true will be omitted; that we shall not again read long disputations on the nature of Milton's punishment at College; that the foolish and romantic story of the sleeping boy and the Italian lady will be forgotten, or be found only among the reveries of Miss Seward; that the supposed residence at Forest Hill (a daydream of Sir William Jones) will be given up; that we shall not hear of Milton's keeping school at Greenwich;13 that the insertion of the prayer into the Eikon Basilike from the Arcadia will be considered as set at rest; that the story of Sir John Denham (the account of a person, not a member, being permitted to instruct and entertain the House of Commons with the history of a new poem wet from the press) may be heard no more; and that Salmasius may be permitted to die in his old age without disgrace, or without the death-blow having been given by Milton's hand. The notes also of the commentators have swelled to a useless and disproportionate size; a great part of them is unnecessary and inconvenient; and a future edition of Milton, if one on a more elaborate plan than the present is required, might be contracted into a smaller compass than Newton's, without any omission of useful or elegant information.
After a patient, and, in the leisure which I possess, a not unwilling perusal of the writings of Milton and Salmasius, I could wish to have exhibited to my readers a fuller account of
13 See Newton's Life, p. xlii.
the controversy, and to have afforded adequate examples of the comparative skill and talents of the writers; but the contracted limits of my humble plan precluded any lengthened or copious detail; nor could this subject be permitted to occupy more than its proportionate share without injury to others of equal or greater importance. I found it also difficult to select what was valuable and interesting from much reasoning that was sophistical and distorted; much that was trifling and minute; some that rested on the support of obsolete and forgotten authorities; some that was wasted in the discussion of the remotest theories and the most abstract principles; and all intermingled with personal altercation, angry invective, and the intemperate ebullitions of a carnal wrath. I found, too, that it would be difficult, except perhaps to the curiosity of a few inquisitive scholars, to direct or detain the attention on the discussion of a subject which once held all Europe in suspense; the progress of which, under the skill of the combatants, was watched with the most intense anxiety; which employed the most powerful minds, and included the most important interests; but which long since has passed away from the disputed possession of party writers, to remain under the graver and more impartial protection of history.
A few original notes attached to this edition, are the gradual result of the Editor's reading, and were written in the margin of the copy which he used. Some have been selected from the different commentators, whose observations have been diligently collected by Mr. Todd; and, for a few, the editor has been indebted to his amiable and most accomplished friend, the Rev. Alexander Dyce, to whose industry and talents, all who are interested in our early poetry must feel great obligations; and
from whose classical knowledge, sound judgment, and refined taste, that curious information which he is able to bestow, will be given with a precision, a temperance, and an elegance, except perhaps in the case of the learned and lamented Tyrwhitt, hitherto unknown among the editors of our elder poets.
Benhall, 20th Nov. 1831.
THE LIFE OF MILTON.
BY THE REVEREND JOHN MITFORD.
JOHN MILTON, magnum et venerabile nomen, the son of John Milton and Sarah Castor, a woman of incomparable virtue and goodness, and exemplary for her liberality to the poor, was born in London on the 9th of December, 1608. His father was an eminent scrivener, and lived at the sign of the Spread Eagle (the armorial ensign of the family) in Bread Street. He was educated at Christ Church, Oxford, embraced the doctrines of the reformed church, and in consequence was disinherited by his father, who was a bigoted papist. The profession, however, which he chose was so successful, as to enable him to give his children a liberal education ;3 and to allow him to pass his latter years in the leisure and tranquillity of a country life.
The grandfather of the poet was keeper of the forest of Shotover, in Oxfordshire, and his family had been long settled
1 Baptized the xx Dec. 1608, according to the Register of Allhallows, Bread Street. 2 This house, wherein he was born, and which strangers used to visit before the fire, was part of his estate as long as he lived. v. Toland's Life, p. 148, on his mother's family. See Birch's Life of Milton, p. 11. The family of the Castors originally derived from Wales, as Philips tells us; but Wood asserts that she was of the ancient family of the Bradshaws, and a still later account informs us that she was a Haughton, of Haughton Tower, in Lancashire, as appeared by her own arms, &c. Both Toland and Philips date his birth in 1606, but erroneously, for the inscription under his print in the Logic says that, in 1671, he was 63 years of age. Milton's armorial bearings were argent, an eagle displayed with two heads gules, legged and beaked sable. A small silver seal, with these arms, with which he was accustomed to seal his letters, was in the possession of the late Dr. Disney.
3 He died about 1647, and was buried in Cripplegate Church. See T. Warton's note on Carmen ad Patrem, ver. 66, p. 523, ed. second. Aubrey says he read without spectacles at 84.
at Milton, in that neighbourhood. They took, however, the unfortunate side in the civil wars, their estate was sequestrated, and their rank and opulence consequently destroyed.
Milton's father was a person of a superior and accomplished mind, and was greatly distinguished for his musical talents; indeed, in science, he is said to have been equal to the very first musicians of the age. He saw the early promises of genius in his son, and encouraged them by a careful and liberal education. Milton was at first placed under the domestic tuition of Thomas Young, a puritan minister, and native of Essex; to whom he was in after life much attached, and to whom his fourth elegy, and the first of his Latin Epistles, are inscribed. A portrait of him, by Cornelius Jansen,6 when only ten years old, shows the affection of the parents for their handsome and accomplished child, who, even at that early age, was expanding the first flower of his youthful genius; and whose vernal promise was ripening fast into works of finished and exquisite beauty.
Young7 quitted England in 1623, and it is probable that in
4 There have been some doubts about the situation of the village of Milton. See Todd's Life, p. 2, and the note. Wood's Fasti Oxon. vol. i. art. 262.
5 On a work called "A Sixefold Politician, together with a Sixefold Precept of Policy, 1609," attributed to him, see Mr. I. P. Collier's Poetical Decameron, vol. ii. p. 305. Philips says, 'That as I have been told, and I take it by our author himself, that his father composed an Il Domine of forty parts, for which he was rewarded with a gold medal and chain, by a Polish prince, to whom he presented it, and that some of his songs are to be seen in old Whitby's set of airs, besides some compositions of his in Ravenscroft's Psalms.' v. p. xli. ed. Pickering. Some beautiful lines in Milton's Poem 'ad Patrem' allude to his father's skill in music.
'Ipse volens Phoebus se dispertire duobus,
Altera dona mihi, dedit altera dona parenti,
See Burney's Hist. of Music, vol. iii. p. 134. In a little book which I possess, the
6 This picture was in the possession of T. Hollis, Esq. and is engraven by Cipriani, in his Memoirs, p. 96. It represents the youthful poet in a richly worked collar and striped jacket. It was purchased by Mr. Hollis at C. Stanhope's sale, who bought it for twenty guineas of the executors of Milton's widow. The picture of Milton when about twenty, was in the possession of the Right Honourable Arthur Onslow.
7 In Mr. Fellowes's translation of Milton's Letters printed in Dr. Symmons's edition, 1806, why is the direction of Milton's Letters to Young translated to Thomas Jure? For an account of T. Young, see Todd's Milton, vol. vi. p. 199, 207. Young returned