The Project Gutenberg EBook of Life of John Milton, by Richard Garnett
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Title: Life of John Milton
Author: Richard Garnett
Release Date: September 26, 2005 [EBook #16757]
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PROFESSOR ERIC S. ROBERTSON, M.A.
* * * * *
_LIFE OF MILTON._
RICHARD GARNETT, LL.D.
WALTER SCOTT, 24, WARWICK LANE
(_All rights reserved._)
The number of miniature "Lives" of Milton is great; great also is the
merit of some of them. With one exception, nevertheless, they are all
dismissed to the shelf by the publication of Professor Masson's
monumental and authoritative biography, without perpetual reference to
which no satisfactory memoir can henceforth be composed. One recent
biography has enjoyed this advantage. Its author, the late Mark
Pattison, wanted neither this nor any other qualification except a
keener sense of the importance of the religious and political
controversies of Milton's time. His indifference to matters so momentous
in Milton's own estimation has, in our opinion, vitiated his conception
of his hero, who is represented as persistently yielding to party what
was meant for mankind. We think, on the contrary, that such a mere man
of letters as Pattison wishes that Milton had been, could never have
produced a "Paradise Lost." If this view is well-founded, there is not
only room but need for yet another miniature "Life of Milton,"
notwithstanding the intellectual subtlety and scholarly refinement
which render Pattison's memorable. It should be noted that the recent
German biography by Stern, if adding little to Professor Masson's facts,
contributes much valuable literary illustration; and that Keighley's
analysis of Milton's opinions occupies a position of its own, of which
no subsequent biographical discoveries can deprive it. The present
writer has further to express his deep obligations to Professor Masson
for his great kindness in reading and remarking upon the proofs--not
thereby rendering himself responsible for anything in these pages; and
also to the helpful friend who has provided him with an index.
CHAPTER I. 11
Milton born in Bread Street, Cheapside, December 9, 1608;
condition of English literature at his birth; part in its
development assigned to him; materials available for his
biography; his ancestry; his father; influences that surrounded
his boyhood; enters St. Paul's School, 1620; distinguished for
compositions in prose and verse; matriculates at Cambridge, 1625;
condition of the University at the period; his misunderstandings
with his tutor; graduates B.A., 1629, M.A., 1632; his relations
with the University; declines to take orders or follow a
profession; his first poems; retires to Horton, in
Buckinghamshire, where his father had settled, 1632
CHAPTER II. 35
Horton, its scenery and associations with Milton; Milton's studies
and poetical aspirations; exceptional nature of his poetical
development; his Latin poems; "Arcades" and "Comus" composed and
represented at the instance of Henry Lawes, 1633 and 1634; "Comus"
printed in 1637; Sir Henry Wootton's opinion of it; "Lycidas"
written in the same year, on occasion of the death of Edward King;
published in 1638; criticism on "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso,"
"Lycidas" and "Comus"; Milton's departure for Italy, April, 1638.
CHAPTER III. 57
State of Italy at the period of Milton's visit; his acquaintance
with Italian literati at Florence; visit to Galileo; at Rome and
Naples; returns to England, July, 1639; settles in St. Bride's
Churchyard, and devotes himself to the education of his nephews;
his elegy on his friend Diodati; removes to Aldersgate Street,
1640; his pamphlets on ecclesiastical affairs, 1641 and 1642; his
tract on Education his "Areopagitica," November, 1644; attacks the
CHAPTER IV. 83
Milton as a Parliamentarian; his sonnet, "When the Assault was
intended to the City," November, 1642; goes on a visit to the
Powell family in Oxfordshire, and returns with Mary Powell as his
wife, May and June, 1643; his domestic unhappiness; Mary Milton
leaves him, and refuses to return, July to September, 1643;
publication of his "Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce," August,
1643, and February, 1644; his father comes to live with him; he
takes additional pupils; his system of education; he courts the
daughter of Dr. Davis; his wife, alarmed, returns, and is
reconciled to him, August, 1645; he removes to the Barbican,
September, 1645; publication of his collected poems, January,
1646; he receives his wife's relatives under his roof; death of
his father, March, 1647; he writes "The Tenure of Kings and
Magistrates," February, 1649; becomes Latin Secretary to the
Commonwealth, March, 1649.
CHAPTER V. 104
Milton's duties as Latin Secretary; he drafts manifesto on the
state of Ireland; occasionally employed as licenser of the press;
commissioned to answer "Eikon Basilike"; controversy on the
authorship of this work; Milton's "Eikonoklastes" published,
October, 1649; Salmasius and his "Defensio Regia pro Carolo I.";
Milton undertakes to answer Salmasius, February, 1650; publication
of his "Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio," March, 1651; character and
complete controversial success of this work; Milton becomes
totally blind, March, 1652; his wife dies, leaving him three
daughters, May, 1652; his controversy with Morus and other
defenders of Salmasius, 1652-1655; his characters of the eminent
men of the Commonwealth; adheres to Cromwell; his views on
politics; general character of his official writings: his marriage
to Elizabeth Woodcock, and death of his wife, November,
1656-March, 1658; his nephews; his friends and recreations.
CHAPTER VI. 128
Milton's poetical projects after his return from Italy; drafts of
"Paradise Lost" among them; the poem originally designed as a
masque or miracle-play; commenced as an epic in 1658; its
composition speedily interrupted by ecclesiastical and political
controversies; Milton's "Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical
Causes," and "Considerations on the likeliest means to remove
Hirelings out of the Church"; Royalist reaction in the winter of
1659-60; Milton writes his "Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free
Commonwealth"; conceals himself in anticipation of the
Restoration, May 7, 1660; his writings ordered to be burned by the
hangman, June 16; escapes proscription, nevertheless; arrested by
the Serjeant-at-Arms, but released by order of the Commons,
December 15; removes to Holborn; his pecuniary losses and
misfortunes; the undutiful behaviour of his daughters; marries
Elizabeth Minshull, February, 1663; lives successively in Jewin
Street and in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields; particulars of his
private life; "Paradise Lost" completed in or about 1663;
agreement for its publication with Samuel Symmons; difficulties
with the licenser; poem published in August, 1667.
CHAPTER VII. 152
Place of "Paradise Lost" among the great epics of the world; not
rendered obsolete by changes in belief; the inevitable defects of
its plan compensated by the poet's vital relation to the religion
of his age; Milton's conception of the physical universe; his
theology; magnificence of his poetry; his similes; his
descriptions of Paradise; inevitable falling off of the later
books; minor critical objections mostly groundless; his diction;
his indebtedness to other poets for thoughts as well as phrases;
this is not plagiarism; his versification; his Satan compared with
Calderon's Lucifer; plan of his epic, whether in any way suggested
by Andreini, Vondel, or Ochino; his majestic and unique position
in English poetry.
CHAPTER VIII. 173
Milton's migration to Chalfont St. Giles to escape the plague in
London, July, 1665; subject of "Paradise Regained" suggested to
him by the Quaker Ellwood; his losses by the Great Fire, 1666;
first edition of "Paradise Lost" entirely sold by April, 1669;
"Paradise Regained" and "Samson Agonistes" published, 1671;
criticism on these poems; Samson partly a personification of
Milton himself, partly of the English people; Milton's life in
Bunhill Fields; his daughters live apart from him; Dryden adapts
"Paradise Lost" as an opera; Milton's "History of Britain," 1670;
second editions of his poems, 1673, and of "Paradise Lost," 1674;
his "Treatise on Christian Doctrine"; fate of the manuscript;
Milton's mature religious opinions; his death and burial, 1674;
subsequent history of his widow and descendants; his personal
LIFE OF MILTON.
John Milton was born on December 9, 1608, when Shakespeare had lately
produced "Antony and Cleopatra," when Bacon was writing his "Wisdom of
the Ancients" and Ralegh his "History of the World," when the English
Bible was hastening into print; when, nevertheless, in the opinion of
most foreigners and many natives, England was intellectually unpolished,
and her literature almost barbarous.
The preposterousness of this judgment as a whole must not blind us to
the fragment of truth which it included. England's literature was, in
many respects, very imperfect and chaotic. Her "singing masons" had
already built her "roofs of gold"; Hooker and one or two other great
prose-writers stood like towers: but the less exalted portions of the
edifice were still half hewn. Some literatures, like the Latin and the
French, rise gradually to the crest of their perfection; others, like
the Greek and the English, place themselves almost from the first on
their loftiest pinnacle, leaving vast gaps to be subsequently filled in.
Homer was not less the supreme poet because history was for him
literally an old song, because he would have lacked understanding for
Plato and relish for Aristophanes. Nor were Shakespeare and the
translators of the Bible less at the head of European literature because
they must have failed as conspicuously as Homer would have failed in all
things save those to which they had a call, which chanced to be the
greatest. Literature, however, cannot remain isolated at such altitudes,
it must expand or perish. As Homer's epic passed through Pindar and the
lyrical poets into drama history and philosophy, continually fitting
itself more and more to become an instrument in the ordinary affairs of
life, so it was needful that English lettered discourse should become
popular and pliant, a power in the State as well as in the study. The
magnitude of the change, from the time when the palm of popularity
decorated Sidney's "Arcadia" to that when it adorned Defoe and Bunyan,
would impress us even more powerfully if the interval were not engrossed
by a colossal figure, the last of the old school in the erudite
magnificence of his style in prose and verse; the first of the new,
inasmuch as English poetry, hitherto romantic, became in his hands
classical. This "splendid bridge from the old world to the new," as
Gibbon has been called in a different connection, was John Milton: whose
character and life-work, carefully analyzed, resolve themselves into
pairs of equally vivid contrasts. A stern Puritan, he is none the less a
freethinker in the highest and best sense of the term. The recipient of
direct poetical inspiration in a measure vouchsafed to few, he
notwithstanding studies to make himself a poet; writes little until no
other occupation than writing remains to him; and, in general, while
exhibiting even more than the usual confidence, shows less than the
usual exultation and affluence of conscious genius. Professing to
recognize his life's work in poetry, he nevertheless suffers himself to
be diverted for many a long year into political and theological
controversy, to the scandal and compassion of one of his most competent
and attached biographers. Whether this biographer is right or wrong, is
a most interesting subject for discussion. We deem him wrong, and shall
not cease to reiterate that Milton would not have been Milton if he
could have forgotten the citizen in the man of letters. Happy, at all
events, it is that this and similar problems occupy in Milton's life the
space which too frequently has to be spent upon the removal of
misconception, or the refutation of calumny. Little of a sordid sort
disturbs the sentiment of solemn reverence with which, more even than
Shakespeare's, his life is approached by his countrymen; a feeling
doubtless mainly due to the sacred nature of his principal theme, but
equally merited by the religious consecration of his whole existence. It
is the easier for the biographer to maintain this reverential attitude,
inasmuch as the prayer of Agur has been fulfilled in him, he has been
given neither poverty nor riches. He is not called upon to deal with an
enormous mass of material, too extensive to arrange, yet too important
to neglect. Nor is he, like Shakespeare's biographer, reduced to choose
between the starvation of nescience and the windy diet of conjecture. If
a humbling thought intrudes, it is how largely he is indebted to a
devoted diligence he never could have emulated; how painfully Professor
Masson's successors must resemble the Turk who builds his cabin out of
Grecian or Roman ruins.
Milton's genealogy has taxed the zeal and acumen of many investigators.
He himself merely claims a respectable ancestry (_ex genere honesto_).
His nephew Phillips professed to have come upon the root of the family
tree at Great Milton, in Oxfordshire, where tombs attested the residence
of the clan, and tradition its proscription and impoverishment in the
Wars of the Roses. Monuments, station, and confiscation have vanished
before the scrutiny of the Rev. Joseph Hunter; it can only be safely
concluded that Milton's ancestors dwelt in or near the village of
Holton, by Shotover Forest, in Oxfordshire, and that their rank in life
was probably that of yeomen. Notwithstanding Aubrey's statement that
Milton's grandfather's name was John, Mr. Hyde Clarke's researches in
the registers of the Scriveners' Company have proved that Mr. Hunter and
Professor Masson were right in identifying him with Richard Milton, of
Stanton St. John, near Holton; and Professor Masson has traced the
family a generation further back to Henry Milton, whose will, dated
November 21, 1558, attests a condition of plain comfort, nearer poverty
than riches. Henry Milton's goods at his death were inventoried at £6
19s.; when his widow's will is proved, two years afterwards, the
estimate is £7 4s. 4d. Richard, his son, is stated, but not proved, to
have been an under-ranger of Shotover Forest. He appears to have married
a widow named Jeffrey, whose maiden name had been Haughton, and who had
some connection with a Cheshire family of station. He would also seem to
have improved his circumstances by the match, which may account for the
superior education of his son John, whose birth is fixed by an affidavit
to 1562 or 1563. Aubrey, indeed, next to Phillips and Milton himself,
the chief contemporary authority, says that he was for a time at Christ
Church, Oxford--a statement in itself improbable, but slightly confirmed
by his apparent acquaintance with Latin, and the family tradition that
his course of life was diverted by a quarrel with his father. Queen
Mary's stakes and faggots had not affected Richard Milton as they
affected most Englishmen. Though churchwarden in 1582, he must have
continued to adhere to the ancient faith, for he was twice fined for
recusancy in 1601, which lends credit to the statement that his son was
cast off by him for Protestantism. "Found him reading the Bible in his
chamber," says Aubrey, who adds that the younger Milton never was a
scrivener's apprentice; but this is shown to be an error by Mr. Hyde
Clarke's discovery of his admission to the Scriveners' Company in 1599,
where he is stated to have been apprentice to James Colborn. Colborn
himself had been only four years in business, instead of the seven which
would usually be required for an apprentice to serve out his
indenture--which suggests that some formalities may have been dispensed
with on account of John Milton's age. A scrivener was a kind of cross
between an attorney and a law stationer, whose principal business was
the preparation of deeds, "to be well and truly done after my learning,
skill, and science," and with due regard to the interests of more
exalted personages. "Neither for haste nor covetousness I shall take
upon me to make any deed whereof I have not cunning, without good advice
and information of counsel." Such a calling offered excellent
opportunities for investments; and John Milton, a man of strict
integrity and frugality, came to possess a "plentiful estate." Among his
possessions was the house in Bread Street destroyed in the Great Fire.
The tenement where the poet was born, being a shop, required a sign, for
which he chose The Spread Eagle, either from the crest of such among the
Miltons as had a right to bear arms, among whom he may have reckoned
himself; or as the device of the Scriveners' Company. He had been
married about 1600 to a lady whose name has been but lately ascertained
to have been Sarah Jeffrey. John Milton the younger was the third of six
children, only three of whom survived infancy. He grew up between a
sister, Anne, several years older, and a brother, Christopher, seven
years younger than himself.
Milton's birth and nurture were thus in the centre of London; but the
London of that day had not half the population of the Liverpool of ours.
Even now the fragrance of the hay in far-off meadows may be inhaled in
Bread Street on a balmy summer's night; then the meadows were near the
doors, and the undefiled sky was reflected by an unpolluted stream.
There seems no reason to conclude that Milton, in his early boyhood,
enjoyed any further opportunities of resort to rural scenery than the
vicinity of London could afford; but if the city is his native element,
natural beauty never appeals to him in vain. Yet the influences which
moulded his childhood must have been rather moral and intellectual than
"The starlight smile of children, the sweet looks
Of women, the fair breast from which I fed,"
played a greater part in the education of this poet than
"The murmur of the unreposing brooks,
And the green light which, shifting overhead,
Some tangled bower of vines around me shed,
The shells on the sea-sand, and the wild flowers."
Paramount to all other influences must have been the character of his
father, a "mute" but by no means an "inglorious" Milton, the preface and
foreshadowing of the son. His great step in life had set the son the
example from which the latter never swerved, and from him the younger
Milton derived not only the independence of thought which was to lead
him into moral and social heresy, and the fidelity to principle which
was to make him the Abdiel of the Commonwealth, but no mean share of his
poetical faculty also. His mastery of verbal harmony was but a new phase
of his father's mastery of music, which he himself recognizes as the
complement of his own poetical gift:--
"Ipse volens Phoebus se dispertire duobus,
Altera dona mihi, dedit altera dona parenti."
As a composer, the circumspect, and, as many no doubt thought prosaic
scrivener, took rank among the best of his day. One of his
compositions, now lost, was rewarded with a gold medal by a Polish
prince (Aubrey says the Landgrave of Hesse), and he appears among the
contributors to _The Triumphs of Oriana_, a set of twenty-five madrigals
composed in honour of Queen Elizabeth. "The Teares and Lamentations of a
Sorrowful Soule"--dolorous sacred songs, Professor Masson calls
them--were, according to their editor, the production of "famous
artists," among whom Byrd, Bull, Dowland, Orlando Gibbons, certainly
figure, and three of them were composed by the elder Milton. He also
harmonized the Norwich and York psalm tunes, which were adapted to six
of the Psalms in Ravenscroft's Collection. Such performance bespeaks not
only musical accomplishment, but a refined nature; and we may well
believe that Milton's love of learning, as well as his love of music,
was hereditary in its origin, and fostered by his contact with his
father. Aubrey distinctly affirms that Milton's skill on the organ was
directly imparted to him by his father, and there would be nothing
surprising if the first rudiments of knowledge were also instilled by
him. Poetry he may have taught by precept, but the one extant specimen
of his Muse is enough to prove that he could never have taught it by
We have therefore to picture Milton growing up in a narrow street amid a
strict Puritan household, but not secluded from the influences of nature
or uncheered by melodious recreations; and tenderly watched over by
exemplary parents--a mother noted, he tells us, for her charities among
her neighbours, and a father who had discerned his promise from the very
first. Given this perception in the head of a religious household, it
almost followed in that age that the future poet should receive the
education of a divine. Happily, the sacerdotal caste had ceased to
exist, and the education of a clergyman meant not that of a priest, but
that of a scholar. Milton was instructed daily, he says, both at grammar
schools and under private masters, "as my age would suffer," he adds, in
acknowledgment of his father's considerateness. Like Disraeli two
centuries afterwards (perhaps the single point of resemblance), he went
for schooling to a Nonconformist in Essex, "who," says Aubrey, "cut his
hair short." His own hair? or his pupil's? queries Biography. We boldly
reply, Both. Undoubtedly Milton's hair is short in the miniature painted
of him at the age of ten by, as is believed, Cornelius Jansen. A
thoughtful little face, that of a well-nurtured, towardly boy; lacking
the poetry and spirituality of the portrait of eleven years later, where
the long hair flows down upon the ruff.
After leaving his Essex pedagogue, Milton came under the private tuition
of Thomas Young, a Scotchman from St. Andrews, who afterwards rose to be
master of Jesus College, Cambridge. It would appear from the elegies
subsequently addressed to him by his pupil that he first taught Milton
to write Latin verse. This instruction was no doubt intended to be
preliminary to the youth's entrance at St. Paul's School, where he must
have been admitted by 1620 at the latest.
At the time of Milton's entry, St. Paul's stood high among the schools
of the metropolis, competing with Merchant Taylors', Westminster, and
the now extinct St. Anthony's. The headmaster, Dr. Gill, was an
admirable scholar, though, as Aubrey records, "he had his whipping
fits." His fitful severity was probably more tolerable than the
systematic cruelty of his predecessor Mulcaster (Spenser's schoolmaster
when he presided over Merchant Taylors'), of whom Fuller approvingly
records: "Atropos might be persuaded to pity as soon as he to pardon
where he found just fault. The prayers of cockering mothers prevailed
with him as much as the requests of indulgent fathers, rather increasing
than mitigating his severity on their offending children." Milton's
father, though by no means "cockering," would not have tolerated such
discipline, and the passionate ardour with which Milton threw himself
into the studious life of the school is the best proof that he was
exempt from tyranny. "From the twelfth year of my age," he says, "I
scarcely ever went from my lessons to bed before midnight." The ordinary
school tasks cannot have exacted so much time from so gifted a boy: he
must have read largely outside the regular curriculum, and probably he
practised himself diligently in Latin verse. For this he would have the
prompting, and perhaps the aid, of the younger Gill, assistant to his
father, who, while at the University, had especially distinguished
himself by his skill in versification. Gill must also have been a man of
letters, affable and communicative, for Milton in after-years reminds
him of their "almost constant conversations," and declares that he had
never left his company without a manifest accession of literary
knowledge. The Latin school exercises have perished, but two English
productions of the period, paraphrases of Psalms executed at fifteen,
remain to attest the boy's proficiency in contemporary English
literature. Some of the unconscious borrowings attributed to him are
probably mere coincidences, but there is still enough to evince
acquaintance with "Sylvester, Spenser, Drummond, Drayton, Chaucer,
Fairfax, and Buchanan." The literary merit of these versions seems to us
to have been underrated. There may be no individual phrase beyond the
compass of an apt and sensitive boy with a turn for verse-making; but
the general tone is masculine and emphatic. There is not much to say,
but what is said is delivered with a "large utterance," prophetic of the
"os magna soniturum," and justifying his own report of his youthful
promise:--"It was found that whether aught was imposed me by them that
had the overlooking, or betaken to of mine own choice, in English or
other tongue, prosing or versing, but chiefly by this latter, the style,
by certain vital signs it had, was likely to live."
Among the incidents of Milton's life at St. Paul's School should not be
forgotten his friendship with Charles Diodati, the son of a Genevese
physician settled in England, whose father had been exiled from Italy
for his Protestantism. A friendship memorable not only as Milton's
tenderest and his first, but as one which quickened his instinctive love
of Italian literature, enhanced the pleasure, if it did not suggest the
undertaking, of his Italian pilgrimage, and doubtless helped to inspire
the execration which he launched in after years against the slayers of
the Vaudois. The Italian language is named by him among three which,
about the time of his migration to the University, he had added to the
classical and the vernacular, the other two being French and Hebrew. It
has been remarked, however, that his use of "Penseroso," incorrect both
in orthography and signification, shows that prior to his visit to Italy
he was unacquainted with the niceties of the language. He entered as "a
lesser pensioner" at Christ's College, Cambridge, on February 12, 1625;
the greatest poetic name in an University roll already including
Spenser, and destined to include Dryden, Gray, Wordsworth, Coleridge,
Byron, and Tennyson. Why Oxford was not preferred has been much debated.
The father may have taken advice from the younger Gill, whose Liberalism
had got him into trouble at that University. He may also have been
unwilling to place his son in the neighbourhood of his estranged
relatives. Shortly before Milton's matriculation his sister had married
Mr. Edward Phillips, of the office of the Clerk of the Crown, now
abolished, then charged with the issue of Parliamentary and judicial
writs. From this marriage were to spring the young men who were to find
an instructor in Milton, as he in one of them a biographer.
The external aspect of Milton's Cambridge is probably not ill
represented by Lyne's coloured map of half a century earlier, now
exhibited in the King's Library at the British Museum. Piles of stately
architecture, from King's College Chapel downward, tower all about, over
narrow, tortuous, pebble-paved streets, bordered with diminutive,
white-fronted, red-tiled dwellings, mere dolls' houses in comparison. So
modest, however, is the chartographer's standard, that a flowery Latin
inscription assures the men of Cambridge they need but divert
Trumpington Brook into Clare Ditch to render their town as elegant as
any in the universe. Sheep and swine perambulate the environs, and green
spaces are interspersed among the colleges, sparsely set with trees, so
pollarded as to justify Milton's taunt when in an ill-humour with his
"Nuda nec arva placent, umbrasque negantia molles,
Quam male Phoebicolis convenit ille locus!"
His own college stands conspicuous at the meeting of three ways, aptly
suggestive of Hecate and infernal things. Its spiritual and intellectual
physiognomy, and that of the university in general, must be learned from
the exhaustive pages of Professor Masson. A book unpublished when he
wrote, Ball's life of Dr. John Preston, Master of Emmanuel, vestige of
an entire continent of submerged Puritanism, also contributes much to
the appreciation of the place and time. We can here but briefly
characterize the University as an institution undergoing modification,
rather by the decay of the old than by the intrusion of the new. The
revolution by which mathematics became the principal instrument of
culture was still to be deferred forty years. Milton, who tells us that
he delighted in mathematics, might have been nearly ignorant of that
subject if he pleased, and hardly could become proficient in it by the
help of his Alma Mater. The scholastic philosophy, however, still
reigned. But even here tradition was shaky and undermined; and in
matters of discipline the rigid code which nominally governed the
University was practically much relaxed. The teaching staff was
respectable in character and ability, including many future bishops. But
while the academical credentials of the tutors were unimpeachable,
perhaps not one among them all could show a commission from the Spirit.
No one then at Cambridge seems to have been in the least degree capable
of arousing enthusiasm. It might not indeed have been easy for a Newman
or a Green to captivate the independent soul of Milton, even at this
susceptible period of his life; failing any approach to such external
influence, he would be likely to leave Cambridge the same man as he
entered it. Ere, indeed, he had completed a year's residence, his
studies were interrupted by a temporary rupture with the University,
probably attributable to his having been at first placed under an
uncongenial tutor. William Chappell was an Arminian and a tool of Laud,
who afterwards procured him preferment in Ireland, and, as Professor
Masson judges from his treatise on homiletics, "a man of dry, meagre
nature." His relations with such a pupil could not well be harmonious;
and Aubrey charges him with unkindness, a vague accusation rendered
tangible by the interlined gloss, "Whipt him." Hence the legend, so dear
to Johnson, that Milton was the last man to be flogged at college. But
Aubrey can hardly mean anything more than that Chappell on some occasion
struck or beat his pupil, and this interpretation is supported by
Milton's verses to Diodati, written in the spring of 1626, in which,
while acknowledging that he had been directed to withdraw from Cambridge
("_nec dudum vetiti me laris angit amor_") he expresses his intention
of speedily returning:--
"Stat quoque juncosas Cami remeare paludes,
Atque iterum raucae murmur adire scholae."
A short rustication would be just the notice the University would be
likely to take of the conduct of a pupil who had been engaged in a
scuffle with his tutor, in which the fault was not wholly or chiefly
his. Formal corporal punishment would have rendered rustication
unnecessary. That Milton was not thought wholly in the wrong appears
from his not having been mulcted of a term's residence, his absence
notwithstanding, and from the still more significant fact that Chappell
lost his pupil. His successor was Nathaniel Tovey, in whom his
patroness, the Countess of Bedford, had discerned "excellent talent."
What Milton thought of him there is nothing to show.
This temporary interruption of the smoothness of Milton's University
life occurred, as has been seen, quite early in its course. Had it
indeed implied a stigma upon him or the University, the blot would in
either case have been effaced by the perfect regularity of his
subsequent career. He went steadily through the academic course, which
to attain the degree of Master of Arts, then required seven years'
residence. He graduated as Bachelor at the proper time, March, 1629, and
proceeded Master in July, 1632. His general relations with the
University during the period may be gathered partly from his own account
in after years, when perhaps he in some degree "confounded the present
feelings with the past," partly from a remarkable passage in one of his
academical exercises, fortunately preserved to us, the importance of
which was first discerned by his editor and biographer Mitford.
Professor Masson, however, ascertained the date, which is all important.
We must picture Milton "affable, erect, and manly," as Wood describes
him, speaking from a low pulpit in the hall of Christ's College, to an
audience of various standing, from grave doctors to skittish
undergraduates, with most of whom he was in daily intercourse. The term
is the summer of 1628, about nine months before his graduation; the
words were Latin, but we resort to the version of Professor Masson:--
"Then also there drew and invited me, in no ordinary degree, to
undertake this part your very recently discovered graciousness to
me. For when, some few months ago, I was about to perform an
oratorical office before you, and was under the impression that
any lucubrations whatsoever of mine would be the reverse of
agreeable to you, and would have more merciful judges in Aeacus
and Minos than almost any of you would prove, truly, beyond my
fancy, beyond my hope if I had any, they were, as I heard, nay, as
I myself felt, received with the not ordinary applause of
all--yea, of those who at other times were, on account of
disagreements in our studies, altogether of an angry and
unfriendly spirit towards me. A generous mode of exercising
rivalry this, and not unworthy of a royal breast, if, when
friendship itself is wont often to misconstrue much that is
blamelessly done, yet then sharp and hostile enmity did not grudge
to interpret much that was perchance erroneous, and not a little,
doubtless, that was unskilfully said, more clemently than I
It is sufficiently manifest from this that after two years' residence
Milton had incurred much anger and unpopularity "on account of
disagreements in our studies," which can scarcely mean anything else
than his disapprobation of the University system. Notwithstanding this
he had been received on a former occasion with unexpected favour, and on
the present is able to say, "I triumph as one placed among the stars
that so many men, eminent for erudition, and nearly the whole University
have flocked hither." We have thus a miniature history of Milton's
connection with his Alma Mater. We see him giving offence by the freedom
of his strictures on the established practices, and misliking them so
much as to write in 1642, "Which [University] as in the time of her
better health and mine own younger judgment, I never greatly admired, so
now much less." But, on the other hand, we see his intellectual revolt
overlooked on account of his unimpeachable conduct and his brilliant
talents, and himself selected to represent his college on an occasion
when an able representative was indispensable. Cambridge had all
imaginable complacency in the scholar, it was towards the reformer that
she assumed, as afterwards towards Wordsworth, the attitude of
"Blind Authority beating with his staff
The child that would have led him."
The University and Milton made a practical covenant like Frederick the
Great and his subjects: she did what she pleased, and he thought what he
pleased. In sharp contrast with his failure to influence her educational
methods is "that more than ordinary respect which I found above any of
my equals at the hands of those courteous and learned men, the Fellows
of that College wherein I spent seven years; who, at my parting, after I
had taken two degrees, as the manner is, signified many ways how much
better it would content them that I would stay; as by many letters full
of kindness and loving respect, both before that time and long after, I
was assured of their singular good affection toward me." It may be added
here that his comeliness and his chastity gained him the appellation of
"Lady" from his fellow collegians: and the rooms at Christ's alleged to
have been his are still pointed out as deserving the veneration of poets
in any event; for whether Milton sacrificed to Apollo in them or not, it
is certain that in them Wordsworth sacrificed to Bacchus.
For Milton's own sake and ours his departure from the University was the
best thing that could have happened to him. It saved him from wasting
his time in instructing others when he ought to be instructing himself.
From the point of view of advantage to the University, it is perhaps the
most signal instance of the mischief of strictly clerical fellowships,
now happily things of the past. Only one fellowship at Christ's was
tenable by a layman: to continue in academical society, therefore, he
must have taken orders. Such had been his intention when he first
repaired to Cambridge, but the young man of twenty-three saw many
things differently from the boy of sixteen. The service of God was still
as much as ever the aim of his existence, but he now thought that not
all service was church service. How far he had become consciously
alienated from the Church's creed it is difficult to say. He was able,
at all events, to subscribe the Articles on taking his degree, and no
trace of Arianism appears in his writings for many years. As late as
1641 he speaks of "the tri-personal Deity." Curiously enough, indeed,
the ecclesiastical freethought of the day was then almost entirely
confined to moderate Royalists, Hales, Chillingworth, Falkland. But he
must have disapproved of the Church's discipline, for he disapproved of
all discipline. He would not put himself in the position of those Irish
clergymen whom Strafford frightened out of their conscientious
convictions by reminding them of their canonical obedience. This was
undoubtedly what he meant when he afterwards wrote: "Perceiving that he
who would take orders must subscribe slave." Speaking of himself a
little further on as "Church-outed by the prelates," he implies that he
would not have refused orders if he could have had them on his own
terms. As regarded Milton personally this attitude was reasonable, he
had a right to feel himself above the restraints of mere formularies;
but he spoke unadvisedly if he meant to contend that a priest should be
invested with the freedom of a Prophet. His words, however, must be
taken in connection with the peculiar circumstances of the time. It was
an era of High Church reaction, which was fast becoming a shameful
persecution. The two moderate prelates, Abbot and Williams, had for
years been in disgrace, and the Church was ruled by the well-meaning,
but sour, despotic, meddlesome bigot whom wise King James long refused
to make a bishop because "he could not see when matters were well." But
if Laud was infatuated as a statesman, he was astute as a manager; he
had the Church completely under his control, he was fast filling it with
his partisans and creatures, he was working it for every end which
Milton most abhorred, and was, in particular, allying it with a king who
in 1632 had governed three years without a Parliament. The mere thought
that he must call this hierarch his Father in God, the mere foresight
that he might probably come into collision with him, and that if he did
his must be the fate of the earthen vessel, would alone have sufficed to
deter Milton from entering the Church.
Even so resolute a spirit as Milton's could hardly contemplate the
relinquishment of every definite calling in life without misgiving, and
his friends could hardly let it pass without remonstrance. There exists
in his hand the draft of a letter of reply to the verbal admonition of
some well-wisher, to whom he evidently feels that he owes deference. His
friend seems to have thought that he was yielding to the allurements of
aimless study, neglecting to return as service what he had absorbed as
knowledge. Milton pleads that his motive must be higher than the love of
lettered ease, for that alone could never overcome the incentives that
urge him to action. "Why should not all the hopes that forward youth and
vanity are afledge with, together with gain, pride, and ambition, call
me forward more powerfully than a poor, regardless, and unprofitable
sin of curiosity should be able to withhold?" And what of the "desire of
honour and repute and immortal fame seated in the breast of every true
scholar?" That his correspondent may the better understand him, he
encloses a "Petrarchean sonnet," recently composed, on his twenty-third
birthday, not one of his best, but precious as the first of his frequent
reckonings with himself:--
"How soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,
Stolen on his wing my three-and-twentieth year!
My hasting days fly on with full career;
But my late spring no bud or blossom shew'th.
Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,
Than some more timely-happy spirits indu'th.
Yet be it less or more, or soon or slow,
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
Towards which Time leads me, and the Will of Heaven.
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Taskmaster's eye."
The poetical temperament is especially liable to misgiving and
despondency, and from this Milton evidently was not exempt. Yet he is
the same Milton who proclaimed a quarter of a century afterwards--
"I argue not
Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot
Of heart or hope; but still bear up and steer
There is something very fine in the steady resolution with which, after
so fully admitting to himself that his promise is yet unfulfilled, and
that appearances are against him, he recurs to his purpose, frankly
owning the while that the gift he craves is Heaven's, and his only the
application. He had received a lesson against over-confidence in the
failure of his solitary effort up to this time to achieve a work on a
large scale. To the eighth and last stanza of his poem, "The Passion of
Christ," is appended the note: "This subject the author finding to be
above the years he had when he wrote it, and nothing satisfied with what
was begun, left it unfinished." It nevertheless begins nobly, but soon
deviates into conceits, bespeaking a fatigued imagination. The "Hymn on
the Nativity," on the other hand, begins with two stanzas of far-fetched
prettiness, and goes on ringing and thundering through strophes of
ever-increasing grandeur, until the sweetness of Virgin and Child seem
in danger of being swallowed up in the glory of Christianity; when
suddenly, by an exquisite turn, the poet sinks back into his original
key, and finally harmonizes his strain by the divine repose of
concluding picture worthy of Correggio:--
"But see, the Virgin blest
Hath laid the Babe to rest;
Time is our tedious song should here have ending;
Heaven's youngest-teemed star
Hath fixed her polished car,
Her sleeping Lord with handmaid lamp attending;
And all about the courtly stable
Bright harnessed Angels sit in order serviceable."
In some degree this magnificent composition loses force in our day from
its discordance with modern sentiment. We look upon religions as
members of the same family, and are more interested in their
resemblances than their antagonisms. Moloch and Dagon themselves appear
no longer as incarnate fiends, but as the spiritual counterparts of
antediluvian monsters; and Milton's treatment of the Olympian deities
jars upon us who remember his obligations to them. If the most Hebrew of
modern poets, he still owed more to Greece than to Palestine. How living
a thing Greek mythology was to him from his earliest years appears from
his college vacation exercise of 1628, where there are lines which, if
one did not know to be Milton's, one would declare to be Keats's. Among
his other compositions by the time of his quitting Cambridge are to be
named the superb verses, "At a Solemn Music," perhaps the most perfect
expression of his ideal of song; the pretty but over fanciful lines, "On
a fair Infant dying of a cough;" and the famous panegyric of
Shakespeare, a fancy made impressive by dignity and sonority of
With such earnest of a true vocation, Milton betook himself to
retirement at Horton, a village between Colnbrook and Datchet, in the
south-eastern corner of Buckinghamshire, county of nightingales, where
his father had settled himself on his retirement from business. This
retreat of the elder Milton may be supposed to have taken place in 1632,
for in that year he took his clerk into partnership, probably devolving
the larger part of the business upon him. But it may have been earlier,
for in 1626 Milton tells Diodati--
"Nos quoque lucus habet vicina consitus ulmo,
Atque suburbani nobilis umbra loci."
And in a college declamation, which cannot have been later than 1632, he
"calls to witness the groves and rivers, and the beloved village elms,
under which in the last past summer I remember having had supreme
delight with the Muses, when I too, among rural scenes and remote
forests, seemed as if I could have grown and vegetated through a hidden
Doctor Johnson deemed "the knowledge of nature half the task of a poet,"
but not until he had written all his poetry did he repair to the
Highlands. Milton allows natural science and the observation of the
picturesque no place among the elements of a poetical self-education,
and his practice differs entirely from that which would in our day be
adopted by an aspirant happy in equal leisure. Such an one would
probably have seen no inconsiderable portion of the globe ere he could
resolve to bury himself in a tiny hamlet for five years. The poems which
Milton composed at Horton owe so much of their beauty to his country
residence as to convict him of error in attaching no more importance to
the influences of scenery. But this very excellence suggests that the
spell of scenery need not be exactly proportioned to its grandeur.
The beauties of Horton are characterized by Professor Masson as those of
"rich, teeming, verdurous flat, charming by its appearance of plenty,
and by the goodly show of wood along the fields and pastures, in the
nooks where the houses nestle, and everywhere in all directions to the
sky-bound verge of the landscape." He also notices "the canal-like
abundance and distribution of water. There are rivulets brimming through
the meadows among rushes and water-plants; and by the very sides of the
ways, in lieu of ditches, there are slow runnels, in which one can see
the minnows swimming." The distant keep of Windsor, "bosomed high in
tufted trees," is the only visible object that appeals to the
imagination, or speaks of anything outside of rural peace and
contentment. Milton's house, as Todd was informed by the vicar of the
parish, stood till about 1798. If so, however, it is very remarkable
that the writer of an account of Horton in the _Gentleman's Magazine_
for August, 1791, who speaks of Milton with veneration, and transcribes
his mother's epitaph, does not allude to the existence of his house. Its
site is traditionally identified with that of Berkyn Manor, near the
church, and an old pigeon-house is asserted to be a remnant of the
original building. The elder Milton was no doubt merely the tenant; his
landlord is said to have been the Earl of Bridgewater, but as there is
no evidence of the Earl having possessed property in Horton, the
statement may be merely an inference from Milton's poetical connection
with the family. If not Bridgewater, the landlord was probably
Bulstrode, the lord of the manor, and chief personage in the village.
The Miltons still kept a footing in the metropolis. Christopher Milton,
on his admission to the Inner Temple in September, 1632, is described as
second son of John Milton of London, and subsequent legal proceedings
disclose that the father, with the aid of his partner, was still doing
business as a scrivener in 1637. It may be guessed that the veteran cit
would not be sorry to find himself occasionally back in town. What with
social exclusiveness, political and religious controversy, and
uncongeniality of tastes, the Miltons' country circle of acquaintance
was probably narrow. After five years of country life the younger Milton
at all events thought seriously of taking refuge in an Inn of Court,
"wherever there is a pleasant and shady walk," and tells Diodati, "Where
I am now I live obscurely and in a cramped manner." He had only just
made the acquaintance of his distinguished neighbour, Sir Henry Wotton,
Provost of Eton, by the beginning of 1638, though it appears that he was
previously acquainted with John Hales.
Milton's five years at Horton were nevertheless the happiest of his
life. It must have been an unspeakable relief to him to be at length
emancipated from compulsory exercises, and to build up his mind without
nod or beck from any quarter. For these blessings he was chiefly
indebted to his father, whose industry and prudence had procured his
independence and his rural retirement, and whose tender indulgence and
noble confidence dispensed him from what most would have deemed the
reasonable condition that he should at least earn his own living. "I
will not," he exclaims to his father, "praise thee for thy fulfilment of
the ordinary duties of a parent, my debt is heavier (_me poscunt
majora_). Thou hast neither made me a merchant nor a barrister":--
"Neque enim, pater, ire jubebas
Qua via lata patet, qua pronior area lucri,
Certaque condendi fulget spes aurea nummi:
Nec rapis ad leges, male custoditaque gentis
Jura, nec insulsis damnas clamoribus aures."
The stroke at the subserviency of the lawyers to the Crown (_male
custodita jura gentis_) would be appreciated by the elder Milton, nor
can we doubt that the old Puritan fully approved his son's resilience
from a church denied by Arminianism and prelacy. He would not so easily
understand the dedication of a life to poetry, and the poem from which
the above citation is taken seems to have been partly composed to smooth
his repugnance away. He was soon to have stronger proofs that his son
had not mistaken his vocation: it would be pleasant to be assured that
the old man was capable of valuing "Comus" and "Lycidas" at their worth.
The circumstances under which "Comus" was produced, and its subsequent
publication with the extorted consent of the author, show that Milton
did not wholly want encouragement and sympathy. The insertion of his
lines on Shakespeare in the Second Folio (1632) also denotes some
reputation as a wit. In the main, however, remote from urban circles and
literary cliques, with few correspondents and no second self in
sweetheart or friend, he must have led a solitary intellectual life,
alone with his great ambition, and probably pitied by his acquaintance.
"The world," says Emerson to the Poet, "is full of renunciations and
apprenticeships, and this is thine; thou must pass for a fool and a
churl for a long season. This is the screen and sheath in which Pan has
protected his well-beloved flower." The special nature of Milton's
studies cannot now be exactly ascertained. Of his manner of studying he
informs Diodati, "No delay, no rest, no care or thought almost of
anything holds me aside until I reach the end I am making for, and round
off, as it were, some great period of my studies." Of his object he
says: "God has instilled into me, at all events, a vehement love of the
beautiful. Not with so much labour is Ceres said to have sought
Proserpine as I am wont day and night to seek for the idea of the
beautiful through all the forms and faces of things, and to follow it
leading me on as with certain assured traces." We may be sure that he
read the classics of all the languages which he understood. His copies
of Euripides, Pindar, Aratus, and Lycophron, are, or have been recently,
extant, with marginal notes, proving that he weighed what he read. A
commonplace book contains copious extracts from historians, and he tells
Diodati that he has read Greek history to the fall of Constantinople. He
speaks of having occasionally repaired to London for instruction in
mathematics and music. His own programme, promulgated eight years later,
but without doubt perfectly appropriate to his Horton period, names
before all else--"Devout prayer to the Holy Spirit, that can enrich with
all utterance and knowledge, and send out His Seraphim with the hallowed
fire of His altar, to touch and purify the lips of whom He pleases. To
this must be added select reading, steady observation, and insight into
all seemly and generous arts and affairs, till which in some measure be
compassed, I refuse not to sustain this expectation." This is not the
ideal of a mere scholar, as Mark Paulson thinks he at one time was, and
would wish him to have remained. "Affairs" are placed fully on a level
with "arts." Milton was kept from politics in his youth, not by any
notion of their incompatibility with poetry; but by the more cogent
arguments at their command "under whose inquisitious and tyrannical
duncery no free and splendid wit can flourish."
Milton's poetical development is, in many respects, exceptional. Most
poets would no doubt, in theory, agree with Landor, "febriculis non
indicari vires, impatientiam ab ignorantia non differre," but their
faith will not be proved by lack of works, as Landor's precept and
example require. He, who like Milton lisps in numbers usually sings
freely in adolescence; he who is really visited by a true inspiration
generally depends on mood rather than on circumstance. Milton, on the
other hand, until fairly embarked on his great epic, was comparatively
an unproductive, and literally an occasional poet. Most of his pieces,
whether English or Latin, owe their existence to some impulse from
without: "Comus" to the solicitation of a patron, "Lycidas" to the death
of a friend. The "Allegro" and the "Penseroso" seem almost the only two
written at the urgency of an internal impulse; and perhaps, if we knew
their history, we should discover that they too were prompted by
extraneous suggestion or provoked into being by accident. Such is the
way with Court poets like Dryden and Claudian; it is unlike the usual
procedure of Milton's spiritual kindred. Byron, Shelley, Tennyson, write
incessantly; whatever care they may bestow upon composition, the
impulse to produce is never absent. With Milton it is commonly dormant
or ineffectual; he is always studying, but the fertility of his mind
bears no apparent proportion to the pains devoted to its cultivation. He
is not, like Wordsworth, labouring at a great work whose secret progress
fills him with a majestic confidence; or, like Coleridge, dreaming of
works which he lacks the energy to undertake; or, save once, does he
seem to have felt with Keats:--
"Fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before that books, in high piled charactery,
Hold in rich garners the full ripened grain."
He neither writes nor wishes to write; he simply studies, piling up the
wood on the altar, and conscious of the power to call down fire from
Heaven when he will. There is something sublime in this assured
confidence; yet its wisdom is less evident than its grandeur. "No man,"
says Shelley, "can say, 'I will compose poetry.'" If he cannot say this
of himself to-day, still less can he say it of himself to-morrow. He
cannot tell whether the illusions of youth will forsake him wholly;
whether the joy of creation will cease to thrill; what unpropitious
blight he may encounter in an enemy or a creditor, or harbour in an
uncongenial mate. Milton, no doubt, entirely meant what he said when he
told Diodati: "I am letting my wings grow and preparing to fly, but my
Pegasus has not yet feathers enough to soar aloft in the fields of air."
But the danger of this protracted preparation was shown by his narrow
escape from poetical shipwreck when the duty of the patriot became
paramount to that of the poet. The Civil War confounded his
anticipations of leisurely composition, and but for the disguised
blessing of his blindness, the mountain of his attainment might have
been Pisgah rather than Parnassus.
It is in keeping with the infrequency of Milton's moods of overmastering
inspiration, and the strength of will which enabled him to write
steadily or abstain from writing at all, that his early compositions
should be, in general, so much more correct than those of other English
poets of the first rank. The childish bombast of "Titus Andronicus," the
commonplace of Wordsworth, the frequent inanity of the youthful
Coleridge and the youthful Byron, Shelley's extravagance, Keats's
cockneyism, Tennyson's mawkishness, find no counterpart in Milton's
early compositions. All these great writers, though the span of some of
them was but short, lived long enough to blush for much of what they had
in the days of their ignorance taken for poetry. The mature Milton had
no cause to be ashamed of anything written by the immature Milton,
reasonable allowance being made for the inevitable infection of
contemporary false taste. As a general rule, the youthful exuberance of
a Shakespeare would be a better sign; faults, no less than beauties,
often indicate the richness of the soil. But Milton was born to confute
established opinions. Among other divergencies from usage, he was at
this time a rare example of an English poet whose faculty was, in large
measure, to be estimated by his essays in Latin verse. England had up to
this time produced no distinguished Latin poet, though Scotland had:
and had Milton's Latin poems been accessible, they would certainly have
occupied a larger place in the estimation of his contemporaries than his
English compositions. Even now they contribute no trifling addition to
his fame, though they cannot, even as exercises, be placed in the
highest rank. There are two roads to excellence in Latin verse--to write
it as a scholar, or to write it as a Roman. England has once, and only
once, produced a poet so entirely imbued with the Roman spirit that
Latin seemed to come to him like the language of some prior state of
existence, rather remembered than learned. Landor's Latin verse is hence
greatly superior to Milton's, not, perhaps, in scholarly elegance, but
in absolute vitality. It would be poor praise to commend it for fidelity
to the antique, for it is the antique. Milton stands at the head of the
numerous class who, not being actually born Romans, have all but made
themselves so. "With a great sum obtained I this freedom." His Latin
compositions are delightful, but precisely from the qualities least
characteristic of his genius as an English poet. Sublimity and
imagination are infrequent; what we have most commonly to admire are
grace, ease, polish, and felicitous phrases rather concise in expression
than weighty with matter. Of these merits the elegies to his friend
Diodati, and the lines addressed to his father and to Manso, are
admirable examples. The "Epitaphium Damonis" is in a higher strain, and
we shall have to recur to it.
Except for his formal incorporation with the University of Oxford, by
proceeding M.A. there in 1635, and the death of his mother on April 3,
1637, Milton's life during his residence at Horton, as known to us, is
entirely in his writings. These comprise the "Sonnet to the
Nightingale," "L'Allegro," "Il Penseroso," all probably written in 1633;
"Arcades," probably, and "Comus" certainly written in 1634; "Lycidas" in
1637. The first three only are, or seem to be, spontaneous overflowings
of the poetic mind: the others are composed in response to external
invitations, and in two instances it is these which stand highest in
poetic desert. Before entering on any criticism, it will be convenient
to state the originating circumstances of each piece.
"Arcades" and "Comus" both owe their existence to the musician Henry
Lawes, unless the elder Milton's tenancy of his house from the Earl of
Bridgewater can be accepted as a fact. Both were written for the
Bridgewater family, and if Milton felt no special devotion to this
house, his only motive could have been to aid the musical performance of
his friend Henry Lawes, whose music is discommended by Burney, but who,
"First taught our English music how to span
Words with just note and accent."
Masques were then the order of the day, especially after the splendid
exhibition of the Inns of Court in honour of the King and Queen,
February, 1634. Lawes, as a Court musician, took a leading part in this
representation, and became in request on similar occasions. The person
intended to be honoured by the "Arcades" was the dowager Countess of
Derby, mother-in-law of the Earl of Bridgewater, whose father, Lord
Keeper Egerton, she had married in 1600. The aged lady, to whom more
than forty years before Spenser had dedicated his "Teares of the Muses,"
and who had ever since been an object of poetic flattery and homage,
lived at Harefield, about four miles from Uxbridge; and there the
"Arcades" were exhibited, probably in 1634. Milton's melodious verses
were only one feature in a more ample entertainment. That they pleased
we may be sure, for we find him shortly afterwards engaged on a similar
undertaking of much greater importance, commissioned by the Bridgewater
family. In those days Milton had no more of the Puritanic aversion to
"Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild,"
than to the pomps and solemnities of cathedral ritual:--
"But let my due feet never fail
To walk the studious cloisters pale,
And love the high-embowed roof,
With antique pillars massy proof,
And storied windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light:
There let the pealing organ blow,
To the full-voic'd quire below,
In service high and anthems clear,
As may with sweetness through mine ear
Dissolve me into ecstacies,
And bring all heaven before mine eyes."
He therefore readily fell in with Lawes's proposal to write a masque to
celebrate Lord Bridgewater's assumption of the Lord Presidency of the
Welsh Marches. The Earl had entered upon the office in October, 1633,
and "Comus" was written some time between this and the following
September. Singular coincidences frequently linked Milton's fate with
the north-west Midlands, from which his grandmother's family and his
brother-in-law and his third wife sprung, whither the latter retired,
where his friend Diodati lived, and his friend King died, and where now
the greatest of his early works was to be represented in the
time-hallowed precincts of Ludlow Castle, where it was performed on
Michaelmas night, in 1634. If, as we should like to think, he was
himself present, the scene must have enriched his memory and his mind.
The castle--in which Prince Arthur had spent with his Spanish bride the
six months of life which alone remained to him, in which eighteen years
before the performance Charles the First had been installed Prince of
Wales with extraordinary magnificence, and which, curiously enough, was
to be the residence of the Cavalier poet, Butler--would be a place of
resort for English tourists, if it adorned any country but their own.
The dismantled keep is still an imposing object, lowering from a steep
hill around whose base the curving Teme alternately boils and gushes
with tumultuous speed. The scene within must have realized the lines in
the "Allegro ":
"Pomp, and feast, and revelry,
Mask and antique pageantry,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Lawes himself acted the attendant Spirit, the Lady and the Brothers
were performed by Lord Bridgewater's youthful children, whose own
nocturnal bewilderment in Haywood Forest, could we trust a tradition,
doubted by the critics, but supported by the choice of the neighbourhood
of Severn as the scene of the drama, had suggested his theme to Milton.
He is evidently indebted for many incidents and ideas to Peele's "Old
Wives' Tale," and the "Comus" of Erycius Puteanus; but there is little
morality in the former production and little fancy in the latter. The
peculiar blending of the highest morality with the noblest imagination
is as much Milton's own as the incomparable diction. "I," wrote Sir
Henry Wootton on receiving a copy of the anonymous edition printed by
Lawes in 1637, "should much commend the tragical part if the lyrical did
not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your songs and odes,
whereunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in
our language." "Although not openly acknowledged by the author," says
Lawes in his apology for printing prefixed to the poem, "it is a
legitimate offspring, so lovely and so much desired that the often
copying of it hath tired my pen to give my several friends satisfaction,
and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the public view." The
publication is anonymous, and bears no mark of Milton's participation
except a motto, which none but the author could have selected,
intimating a fear that publication is premature. The title is simply "A
Maske presented at Ludlow Castle," nor did the piece receive the name of
"Comus" until after Milton's death.
It has been remarked that one of the most characteristic traits of
Milton's genius, until he laid hand to "Paradise Lost," is the
dependence of his activity upon promptings from without. "Comus" once
off his mind, he gives no sign of poetical life for three years, nor
would have given any then but for the inaccurate chart or unskilful
seamanship which proved fatal to his friend Edward King, August 10,
1637. King, a Fellow of Milton's college, had left Chester, on a voyage
to Ireland, in the stillest summer weather:--
"The air was calm, and on the level brine
Sleek Panope and all her sisters played."
Suddenly the vessel struck on a rock, foundered, and all on board
perished except some few who escaped in a boat. Of King it was reported
that he refused to save himself, and sank to the abyss with hands folded
in prayer. Great sympathy was excited among his friends at Cambridge,
enough at least to evoke a volume of thirty-six elegies in various
languages, but not enough to inspire any of the contributors, except
Milton, with a poetical thought, while many are so ridiculous that
quotation would be an affront to King's memory. But the thirty-sixth is
"Lycidas." The original manuscript remains, and is dated in November. Of
the elegy's relation to Milton's biography it may be said that it sums
up the two influences which had been chiefly moulding his mind of late
years, the natural influences of which he had been the passive recipient
during his residence at Horton, and the political and theological
passion with which he was becoming more and more inspired by the
circumstances of the time. By 1637 the country had been eight years
without a parliament, and the persecution of Puritans had attained its
acme. In that year Laud's new Episcopalian service book was forced, or
rather was attempted to be forced, upon Scotland; Prynne lost his ears;
and Bishop Williams was fined eighteen thousand pounds and ordered to be
imprisoned during the King's pleasure. Hence the striking, if
incongruous, introduction of "The pilot of the Galilean lake," to
bewail, in the character of a shepherd, the drowned swain in conjunction
with Triton, Hippotades, and Camus. "The author," wrote Milton
afterwards, "by occasion, foretells the ruin of the corrupted clergy,
then in their height." It was a Parthian dart, for the volume was
printed at the University Press in 1638, probably a little before his
departure for Italy.
The "Penseroso" and the "Allegro," notwithstanding that each piece is
the antithesis of the other, are complementary rather than contrary, and
may be, in a sense, regarded as one poem, whose theme is the praise of
the reasonable life. It resembles one of those pictures in which the
effect is gained by contrasted masses of light and shade, but each is
more nicely mellowed and interfused with the qualities of the other than
it lies within the resources of pictorial skill to effect. Mirth has an
undertone of gravity, and melancholy of cheerfulness. There is no
antagonism between the states of mind depicted; and no rational lover,
whether of contemplation or of recreation, would find any difficulty in
combining the two. The limpidity of the diction is even more striking
than its beauty. Never were ideas of such dignity embodied in verse so
easy and familiar, and with such apparent absence of effort. The
landscape-painting is that of the seventeenth century, absolutely true
in broad effects, sometimes ill-defined and even inaccurate in minute
details. Some of these blemishes are terrible in nineteenth-century
eyes, accustomed to the photography of our Brownings and Patmores.
Milton would probably have made light of them, and perhaps we owe him
some thanks for thus practically refuting the heresy that inspiration
implies infallibility. Yet the poetry of his blindness abounds with
proof that he had made excellent use of his eyes while he had them, and
no part of his poetry wants instances of subtle and delicate observation
worthy of the most scrutinizing modern:--
"Thee, chantress, oft the woods among,
I woo, to hear thy evensong;
And, missing thee, I walk unseen
On the dry, smooth-shaven green."
"The song of the nightingale," remarks Peacock, "ceases about the time
the grass is mown." The charm, however, is less in such detached
beauties, however exquisite, than in the condensed opulence--"every
epithet a text for a canto," says Macaulay--and in the general
impression of "plain living and high thinking," pursued in the midst of
every charm of nature and every refinement of culture, combining the
ideal of Horton with the ideal of Cambridge.
"Lycidas" is far more boldly conventional, not merely in the treatment
of landscape, but in the general conception and machinery. An initial
effort of the imagination is required to feel with the poet; it is not
wonderful that no such wing bore up the solid Johnson. Talk of Milton
and his fellow-collegian as shepherds! "We know that they never drove
afield, and that they had no flocks to batten." There is, in fact,
according to Johnson, neither nature nor truth nor art nor pathos in the
poem, for all these things are inconsistent with the introduction of a
shepherd of souls in the character of a shepherd of sheep. A
nineteenth-century reader, it may be hoped, finds no more difficulty in
idealizing Edward King as a shepherd than in personifying the ocean calm
as "sleek Panope and all her sisters," which, to be sure, may have been
a trouble to Johnson. If, however, Johnson is deplorably prosaic,
neither can we agree with Pattison that "in 'Lycidas' we have reached
the high-water mark of English Poesy and of Milton's own production."
Its innumerable beauties are rather exquisite than magnificent. It is an
elegy, and cannot, therefore, rank as high as an equally consummate
example of epic, lyric, or dramatic art. Even as elegy it is surpassed
by the other great English masterpiece, "Adonais," in fire and grandeur.
There is no incongruity in "Adonais" like the introduction of "the pilot
of the Galilean lake"; its invective and indignation pour naturally out
of the subject; their expression is not, as in "Lycidas," a splendid
excrescence. There is no such example of sustained eloquence in
"Lycidas" as the seven concluding stanzas of "Adonais" beginning, "Go
thou to Rome." But the balance is redressed by the fact that the
beauties of "Adonais" are the inimitable. Shelley's eloquence is even
too splendid for elegy. It wants the dainty thrills and tremors of
subtle versification, and the witcheries of verbal magic in which
"Lycidas" is so rich--"the opening eyelids of the morn;" "smooth-sliding
Mincius, crowned with vocal reeds;" Camus's garment, "inwrought with
figures dim;" "the great vision of the guarded mount;" "the tender stops
of various quills;" "with eager thought warbling his Doric lay." It will
be noticed that these exquisite phrases have little to do with Lycidas
himself, and it is a fact not to be ignored, that though Milton and
Shelley doubtless felt more deeply than Dryden when he composed his
scarcely inferior threnody on Anne Killegrew, whom he had never seen,
both might have found subjects of grief that touched them more nearly.
Shelley tells us frankly that "in another's woe he wept his own." We
cannot doubt of whom Milton was thinking when he wrote:
"Fame is the spur that the clear spirit doth raise,
(That last infirmity of noble mind)
To scorn delights, and live laborious days;
But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,
And think to burst out into sudden blaze,
Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred shears,
And slits the thin-spun life. 'But not the praise,'
Phoebus replied, and touched my trembling ears;
'Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil,
Nor in the glistering foil
Set off to the world, nor in broad rumour lies;
But lives and spreads aloft by those pure eyes,
And perfect witness of all-judging Jove;
As he pronounces lastly on each deed,
much fame in heaven expect thy meed.'"
"Comus," the richest fruit of Milton's early genius, is the epitome of
the man at the age at which he wrote it. It bespeaks the scholar and
idealist, whose sacred enthusiasm is in some danger of contracting a
taint of pedantry for want of acquaintance with men and affairs. The
Elder Brother is a prig, and his dialogues with his junior reveal the
same solemn insensibility to the humorous which characterizes the
kindred genius of Wordsworth, and would have provoked the kindly smile
of Shakespeare. It is singular to find the inevitable flaw of "Paradise
Lost" prefigured here, and the wicked enchanter made the real hero of
the piece. These defects are interesting, because they represent the
nature of Milton as it was then, noble and disinterested to the height
of imagination, but self-assertive, unmellowed, angular. They disappear
entirely when he expatiates in the regions of exalted fancy, as in the
introductory discourse of the Spirit, and the invocation to Sabrina.
They recur when he moralizes; and his morality is too interwoven with
the texture of his piece to be other than obtrusive. He fatigues with
virtue, as Lucan fatigues with liberty; in both instances the scarcely
avoidable error of a young preacher. What glorious morality it is no one
need be told; nor is there any poem in the language where beauties of
thought, diction, and description spring up more thickly than in
"Comus." No drama out of Shakespeare has furnished such a number of the
noblest familiar quotations. It is, indeed, true that many of these
jewels are fetched from the mines of other poets: great as Milton's
obligations, to Nature were, his obligations to books were greater. But
he has made all his own by the alchemy of his genius, and borrows little
but to improve. The most remarkable coincidence is with a piece
certainly unknown to him--Calderon's "Magico Prodigioso," which was
first acted in 1637, the year of the publication of "Comus," a great
year in the history of the drama, for the "Cid" appeared in it also. The
similarity of the situations of Justina tempted by the Demon, and the
Lady in the power of Comus, has naturally begotten a like train of
thought in both poets.
"_Comus._ Nay, Lady, sit; if I but wave this wand,
Your nerves are all chained up in alabaster,
And you a statue, or, as Daphne was,
Root-bound, that fled Apollo.
_Lady._ Fool, do not boast
Thou can'st not touch the freedom of my mind
With all thy charms, although this corporal rind
Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good."
"_Justina._ Thought is not in my power, but action is.
I will not move my foot to follow thee.
_Demon._ But a far mightier wisdom than thine own
Exerts itself within thee, with such power
Compelling thee to that which it inclines
That it shall force thy step; how wilt thou then
_Justina._ By my free will.
Must force thy will.
_Justina._ It is invincible.
It were not free if thou had'st power upon it."
It must be admitted that where the Spaniard and the Englishman come
directly into competition the former excels. The dispute between the
Lady and Comus may be, as Johnson says it is, "the most animating and
affecting scene in the drama;" but, tried by the dramatic test which
Calderon bears so well, it is below the exigencies and the possibilities
of the subject. Nor does the poetry here, quite so abundantly as in the
other scenes in this unrivalled "suite of speeches," atone for the
deficiencies of the play.
It is a just remark of Pattison's that "in a mind of the consistent
texture of Milton's, motives are secretly influential before they emerge
in consciousness." In September, 1637, Milton had complained to Diodati
of his cramped situation in the country, and talked of taking chambers
in London. Within a few months we find this vague project matured into a
settled scheme of foreign travel. One tie to home had been severed by
the death of his mother in the preceding April; and his father was to
find another prop of his old age in his second son, Christopher, about
to marry and reside with him. "Lycidas" had appeared meanwhile, or was
to appear, and its bold denunciation of the Romanizing clergy might well
offend the ruling powers. The atmosphere at home was, at all events,
difficult breathing for an impotent patriot; and Milton may have come to
see what we so clearly see in "Comus," that his asperities and
limitations needed contact with the world. Why speak of the charms of
Italy, in themselves sufficient allurement to a poet and scholar? His
father, trustful and unselfish as of old, found the considerable sum
requisite for a prolonged foreign tour; and in April, 1638, Milton,
provided with excellent introductions from Sir Henry Wootton and others,
seeks the enrichment and renovation of his genius in Italy:--
"And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky."
Four times has a great English poet taken up his abode in "the paradise
of exiles," and remained there until deeply imbued with the spirit of
the land. The Italian residence of Byron and Shelley, of Landor and
Browning, has infused into English literature a new element which has
mingled with its inmost essence. Milton's brief visit could not be of
equal moment. Italian letters had already done their utmost for him; and
he did not stay long enough to master the secret of Italian life. A real
enthusiasm for Italy's classical associations is indicated by his
original purpose of extending his travels to Greece, an enterprise at
that period requiring no little disdain of hardship and peril. But it
would have been an anachronism if he could have contemplated the
comprehensive and scientific scheme of self-culture by Italian
influences of every kind which, a hundred and fifty years later, was
conceived and executed by Goethe. At the time of Milton's visit Italian
letters and arts sloped midway in their descent from the Renaissance to
the hideous but humorous rococo so graphically described by Vernon Lee.
Free thought had perished along with free institutions in the preceding
century, and as a consequence, though the physical sciences still
numbered successful cultivators, originality of mind was all but
extinct. Things, nevertheless, wore a gayer aspect than of late. The
very completeness of the triumph of secular and spiritual despotism had
made them less suspicious, surly, and austere. Spanish power was visibly
decaying. The long line of _zelanti_ Popes had come to an end; and it
was thought that if the bosom of the actual incumbent could be
scrutinized, no little complacency in Swedish victories over the Faith's
defenders would be found. An atmosphere of toleration was diffusing
itself, bigotry was imperceptibly getting old-fashioned, the most
illustrious victim of the Inquisition was to be well-nigh the last. If
the noble and the serious could not be permitted, there was no ban upon
the amiable and the frivolous: never had the land been so full of petty
rhymesters, antiquarian triflers, and gregarious literati, banded to
play at authorship in academies, like the seven Swabians leagued to kill
the hare. For the rest, the Italy of Milton's day, its superstition and
its scepticism, and the sophistry that strove to make the two as one;
its monks and its bravoes; its processions and its pantomimes; its cult
of the Passion and its cult of Paganism; the opulence of its past and
the impotence of its present; will be found depicted by sympathetic
genius in the second volume of "John Inglesant."
Milton arrived in Paris about the end of April or beginning of May. Of
his short stay there it is only known that he was received with
distinction by the English Ambassador, Lord Scudamore, and owed to him
an introduction to one of the greatest men in Europe, Hugo Grotius, then
residing at Paris as envoy from Christina of Sweden. Travelling by way
of Nice, Genoa, Leghorn, and Pisa, he arrived about the beginning of
August at Florence; where, probably by the aid of good recommendations,
he "immediately contracted the acquaintance of many noble and learned,"
and doubtless found, with the author of "John Inglesant," that "nothing
can be more delightful than the first few days of life in Italy in the
company of polished and congenial men." The Florentine academies, he
implies answered one of the purposes of modern clubs, and enabled the
traveller to multiply one good introduction into many. He especially
mentions Gaddi, Dati, Frescobaldi, Coltellini, Bonmattei, Chimentelli,
and Francini, of all of whom a full account will be found in Masson. Two
of them, Dati and Francini, have linked their names with Milton's by
their encomiums on him inserted in his works. The key-note of these
surprising productions is struck by Francini when he remarks that the
heroes of England are accounted in Italy superhuman. If this is so, Dati
may be justified in comparing a young man on his first and last foreign
tour to the travelled Ulysses; and Francini in declaring that Thames
rivals Helicon in virtue of Milton's Latin poems, which alone the
panegyrist could read. Truly, as Smollett says, Italian is the language
of compliments. If ludicrous, however, the flattery is not nauseous, for
it is not wholly insincere. Amid all conventional exaggerations there is
an under-note of genuine feeling, showing that the writers really had
received a deep impression from Milton, deeper than they could well
explain or understand. The bow drawn at a venture did not miss the mark,
but it is a curious reflection that those of his performances which
would really have justified their utmost enthusiasm were hieroglyphical
to them. Such of his literary exercises as they could understand
consisted, he says, of "some trifles which I had in memory composed at
under twenty or thereabout; and other things which I had shifted, in
scarcity of books and conveniences, to patch up among them." The former
class of compositions may no doubt be partly identified with his college
declamations and Latin verses. What the "things patched up among them"
may have been is unknown. It is curious enough that his acquaintance
with the Italian literati should have been the means of preserving one
of their own compositions, the "Tina" of Antonio Malatesti, a series of
fifty sonnets on a mistress, sent to him in manuscript by the author,
with a dedication to the _illustrissimo signore et padrone
osservatissimo_. The pieces were not of a kind to be approved by the
laureate of chastity, and annoyance at the implied slur upon his morals
may account for his omission of Malatesti from the list of his Italian
acquaintance. He carried the MS. home, nevertheless, and a copy of it,
finding its way back to Italy in the eighteenth century, restored
Malatesti's fifty indiscretions to the Italian Parnassus. That his
intercourse with men of culture involved freedom of another sort we
learn from himself. "I have sate among their learned men," he says, "and
been counted happy to be born in such a place of philosophic freedom as
they supposed England was, while they themselves did nothing but bemoan
the servile condition into which learning amongst them was brought, that
this was it which had damped the glory of Italian wits; that nothing had
been written there now these many years but flattery and fustian." Italy
had never acquiesced in her degradation, though for a century and a half
to come she could only protest in such conventicles as those frequented
The very type and emblem of the free spirit of Italy, crushed but not
conquered, then inhabited Florence in the person of "the starry
Galileo," lately released from confinement at Arcetri, and allowed to
dwell in the city under such severe restraint of the Inquisition that no
Protestant should have been able to gain access to him. It may not have
been until Milton's second visit in March, 1639, when Galileo had
returned to his villa, that the English stranger stood unseen before
him. The meeting between the two great blind men of their century is one
of the most picturesque in history; it would have been more pathetic
still if Galileo could have known that his name would be written in
"Paradise Lost," or Milton could have foreseen that within thirteen
years he too would see only with the inner eye, but that the calamity
which disabled the astronomer would restore inspiration to the poet. How
deeply he was impressed appears, not merely from the famous comparison
of Satan's shield to the moon enlarged in "the Tuscan artist's optic
glass," but by the ventilation in the fourth and eighth books of
"Paradise Lost," of the points at issue between Ptolemy and
"Whether the sun predominant in heaven
Rise on the earth, or earth rise on the sun,
He from the east his flaming road begin,
Or she from west her silent course advance
With inoffensive pace, that spinning sleeps
On her soft axle, while she paces even,
And bears thee soft with the smooth air along."
It would be interesting to know if Milton's Florentine acquaintance
included that romantic adventurer, Robert Dudley, strange prototype of
Shelley in face and fortune, whom Lord Herbert of Cherbury and Dean
Bargrave encountered at Florence, but whom Milton does not mention. The
next stage in his pilgrimage was the Eternal City, by this time resigned
to live upon its past. The revenues of which Protestant revolt had
deprived it were compensated by the voluntary contributions of the
lovers of antiquity and art; and it had become under Paul V. one of the
centres of European finance. Recent Popes had added splendid
architectural embellishments, and the tendency to secular display was
well represented by Urban VIII., a great gatherer and a great dispenser
of wealth, an accomplished amateur in many arts, and surrounded by a
tribe of nephews, inordinately enriched by their indulgent uncle. Milton
arrived early in October. The most vivid trace of his visit is his
presence at a magnificent concert given by Cardinal Barberini, who,
"himself waiting at the doors, and seeking me out in so great a crowd,
nay, almost laying hold of me by the hand, admitted me within in a truly
most honourable manner." There he heard the singer, Leonora Baroni, to
whom he inscribed three Latin epigrams, omitted from the fifty-six
compositions in honour of her published in the following year. But we
may see her as he saw her in the frontispiece, reproduced in Ademollo's
monograph upon her. The face is full of sensibility, but not handsome.
She lived to be a great lady, and if any one spoke of her artist days
she would say, _Chi le ricercava queste memorie?_ Next to hers, the name
most entwined with Milton's Roman residence is that of Lucas Holstenius,
a librarian of the Vatican. Milton can have had little respect for a man
who had changed his religion to become the dependant of Cardinal
Barberini, but Holstenius's obliging reception of him extorted his
gratitude, expressed in an eloquent letter. Of the venerable ruins and
masterpieces of ancient and modern art which have inspired so many
immortal compositions, Milton tells us nothing, and but one allusion to
them is discoverable in his writings. The study of antiquity, as
distinguished from that of classical authors, was not yet a living
element in European culture: there is also truth in Coleridge's
observation that music always had a greater attraction for Milton than
After two months' stay in Rome, Milton proceeded to Naples, whence,
after two months' residence, he was recalled by tidings of the impending
troubles at home, just as he was about to extend his travels to Sicily
and Greece. The only name associated with his at Naples is that of the
Marquis Manso, then passing his seventy-ninth year with the halo of
reverence due to a veteran who fifty years ago had soothed and shielded
Tasso, and since had protected Marini. He now entertained Milton with
equal kindness, little dreaming that in return for hospitality he was
receiving immortality. Milton celebrated his desert as the friend of
poets, in a Latin poem of singular elegance, praying for a like guardian
of his own fame, in lines which should never be absent from the memory
of his biographers. He also unfolded the project which he then cherished
of an epic on King Arthur, and assured Manso that Britain was not wholly
barbarous, for the Druids were really very considerable poets. He is
silent on Chaucer and Shakespeare. Manso requited the eulogium with an
epigram and two richly-wrought cups, and told Milton that he would have
shown him more observance still if he could have abstained from
religious controversy. Milton had not acted on Sir Henry Wootton's
advice to him, _il volto sciolto, i pensieri stretti_. "I had made this
resolution with myself," he says, "not of my own accord to introduce
conversation about religion; but, if interrogated respecting the faith,
whatsoever I should suffer, to dissemble nothing." To this resolution he
adhered, he says, during his second two months' visit to Rome,
notwithstanding threats of Jesuit molestation, which probably were not
serious. At Florence his friends received him with no less warmth than
if they had been his countrymen, and with them he spent another two
months. His way to Venice lay through Bologna and Ferrara, and if his
sonnets in the Italian language were written in Italy, and all addressed
to the same person, it was probably at Bologna, since the lady is spoken
of as an inhabitant of "Reno's grassy vale," and the Reno is a river
between Bologna and Ferrara. But there are many difficulties in the way
of this theory, and, on the whole, it seems most reasonable to conclude
that the sonnets were composed in England, and that their
autobiographical character is at least doubtful. That nominally
inscribed to Diodati, however, would well suit Leonora Baroni. Diodati
had been buried in Blackfriars on August 27, 1638, but Milton certainly
did not learn the fact until after his visit to Naples, and possibly not
until he came to pass some time at Geneva with Diodati's uncle. He had
come to Geneva from Venice, where he had made some stay, shipping off to
England a cargo of books collected in Italy, among which were many of
"immortal notes and Tuscan air." These, we may assume, he found awaiting
him when he again set foot on his native soil, about the end of July,
Milton's conduct on his return justifies Wordsworth's commendation:--
The lowliest duties on herself did lay."
Full, as his notebooks of the period attest, of magnificent aspiration
for "flights above the Aonian mount," he yet quietly sat down to educate
his nephews, and lament his friend. His brother-in-law Phillips had been
dead eight years, leaving two boys, Edward and John, now about nine and
eight respectively. Mrs. Phillips's second marriage had added two
daughters to the family, and from whatever cause, it was thought best
that the education of the sons should be conducted by their uncle. So it
came to pass that "he took him a lodging in St. Bride's Churchyard, at
the house of one Russel, a tailor;" Christopher Milton continuing to
live with his father.
We may well believe that when the first cares of resettlement were over,
Milton found no more urgent duty than the bestowal of a funeral tribute
upon his friend Diodati. The "Epitaphium Damonis" is the finest of his
Latin poems, marvellously picturesque in expression, and inspired by
true manly grief. In Diodati he had lost perhaps the only friend whom,
in the most sacred sense of the term, he had ever possessed; lost him
when far away and unsuspicious of the already accomplished stroke; lost
him when returning to his side with aspirations to be imparted, and
intellectual treasures to be shared. _Bis ille miser qui serus amavit._
All this is expressed with earnest emotion in truth and tenderness,
surpassing "Lycidas," though void of the varied music and exquisite
felicities which could not well be present in the conventionalized idiom
of a modern Latin poet. The most pathetic passage is that in which he
contrasts the general complacency of animals in their kind with man's
dependence for sympathy on a single breast; the most biographically
interesting where he speaks of his plans for an epic on the story of
Arthur, which he seems about to undertake in earnest. But the impulses
from without which generally directed the course of this seemingly
autocratic, but really susceptible, nature, urged him in quite a
different direction: for some time yet he was to live, not make a poem.
The tidings which, arriving at Naples about Christmas, 1638, prevailed
upon Milton to abandon his projected visit to Sicily and Greece, were no
doubt those of the revolt of Scotland, and Charles's resolution to
quell it by force of arms. Ere he had yet quitted Italy, the King's
impotence had been sufficiently demonstrated, and about a month ere he
stood on English soil the royal army had "disbanded like the break-up of
a school." Milton may possibly have regretted his hasty return, but
before many months had passed it was plain that the revolution was only
beginning. Charles's ineffable infatuation brought on a second Scottish
war, ten times more ridiculously disastrous than the first, and its
result left him no alternative but the convocation (November, 1640) of
the Long Parliament, which sent Laud to the Tower and Strafford to the
block, cleared away servile judges and corrupt ministers, and made the
persecuted Puritans persecutors in their turn. Not a member of this
grave assemblage, perhaps, but would have laughed if told that not its
least memorable feat was to have prevented a young schoolmaster from
writing an epic.
Milton had by this time found the lodgings in St. Bride's Churchyard
insufficient for him, and had taken a house in Aldersgate Street, beyond
the City wall, and suburban enough to allow him a garden. "This street,"
writes Howell, in 1657, "resembleth an Italian street more than any
other in London, by reason of the spaciousness and uniformity of the
buildings and straightness thereof, with the convenient distance of the
houses." He did not at this time contemplate mixing actively in
political or religious controversy.
"I looked about to see if I could get any place that would hold
myself and my books, and so I took a house of sufficient size in
the city; and there with no small delight I resumed my intermitted
studies; cheerfully leaving the event of public affairs, first to
God, and then to those to whom the people had committed that
But this was before the convocation of the Long Parliament. When it had
"Perceiving that the true way to liberty followed on from these
beginnings, inasmuch also as I had so prepared myself from my
youth that, above all things, I could not be ignorant what is of
Divine and what of human right, I resolved, though I was then
meditating certain other matters, to transfer into this struggle
all my genius and all the strength of my industry."
Milton's note-books, to be referred to in another place, prove that he
did not even then cease to meditate themes for poetry, but practically
he for eighteen years ceased to be a poet.
There is no doubt something grating and unwelcome in the descent of the
scholar from regions of serene culture to fierce political and religious
broils. But to regret with Pattison that Milton should, at this crisis
of the State, have turned aside from poetry to controversy is to regret
that "Paradise Lost" should exist. Such a work could not have proceeded
from one indifferent to the public weal, and if Milton had been capable
of forgetting the citizen in the man of letters we may be sure that "a
little grain of conscience" would ere long have "made him sour." It is
sheer literary fanaticism to speak with Pattison of "the prostitution of
genius to political party." Milton is as much the idealist in his prose
as in his verse; and although in his pamphlets he sides entirely with
one of the two great parties in the State, it is not as its instrument,
but as its prophet and monitor. He himself tells us that controversy is
highly repugnant to him.
"I trust to make it manifest with what small willingness I endure
to interrupt the pursuit of no less hopes than these, and leave a
calm and pleasing solitariness, fed with cheerful and confident
thoughts, to embark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse
disputes, put from beholding the bright countenance of truth in
the quiet and still air of delightful studies, to come in to the
dim reflection of hollow antiquities sold by the seeming bulk."
But he felt that if he allowed such motives to prevail with him, it
would be said to him:
"Timorous and ungrateful, the Church of God is now again at the
foot of her insulting enemies, and thou bewailest, What matters it
for thee or thy bewailing? When time was, thou would'st not find a
syllable of all that thou hast read or studied to utter on her
behalf. Yet ease and leisure was given thee for thy retired
thoughts, but of the sweat of other men. Thou hast the diligence,
the parts, the language of a man, if a vain subject were to be
adorned or beautified; but when the cause of God and His Church
was to be pleaded, for which purpose that tongue was given thee
which thou hast, God listened if He could hear thy voice among His
zealous servants, but thou wert dumb as a beast; from henceforward
be that which thine own brutish silence hath made thee."
A man with "Paradise Lost" in him must needs so think and act, and, much
as it would have been to have had another "Comus" or "Lycidas," were not
even such well exchanged for a hymn like this, the high-water mark of
English impassioned prose ere Milton's mantle fell upon Ruskin?
"Thou, therefore, that sittest in light and glory unapproachable.
Parent of angels and men! next, Thee I implore, Omnipotent King,
Redeemer of that lost remnant whose nature Thou didst assume,
ineffable and everlasting Love! And Thou, the third subsistence of
Divine Infinitude, illuminating Spirit, the joy and solace of
created things! one Tri-personal godhead! look upon this Thy poor
and almost spent and expiring Church, leave her not thus a prey to
these importunate wolves, that wait and think long till they
devour Thy tender flock; these wild boars that have broke into Thy
vineyard, and left the print of their polluting hoofs on the souls
of Thy servants. O let them not bring about their damned designs
that stand now at the entrance of the bottomless pit, expecting
the watchword to open and let out those dreadful locusts and
scorpions to reinvolve us in that pitchy cloud of infernal
darkness, where we shall never more see the sun of Thy truth
again, never hope for the cheerful dawn, never more hear the bird
of morning sing. Be moved with pity at the afflicted state of this
our shaken monarchy, that now lies labouring under her throes, and
struggling against the grudges of more dreaded calamities.
"O Thou, that, after the impetuous rage of five bloody
inundations, and the succeeding sword of intestine war, soaking
the land in her own gore, didst pity the sad and ceaseless
revolution of our swift and thick-coming sorrows; when we were
quite breathless of Thy free grace didst motion peace and terms of
covenant with us; and, having first well-nigh freed us from
anti-Christian thraldom, didst build up this Britannic Empire to a
glorious and enviable height, with all her daughter-islands about
her; stay us in this felicity, let not the obstinacy of our
half-obedience and will-worship bring forth that viper of
sedition, that for these fourscore years hath been breeding to eat
through the entrails of our peace; but let her cast her abortive
spawn without the danger of this travailing and throbbing kingdom:
that we may still remember in our solemn thanksgivings, how, for
us, the northern ocean, even to the frozen Thule, was scattered
with the proud shipwrecks of the Spanish Armada, and the very maw
of Hell ransacked, and made to give up her concealed destruction,
ere she could vent it in that horrible and damned blast.
"O how much more glorious will those former deliverances appear,
when we shall know them not only to have saved us from greatest
miseries past, but to have reserved us for greatest happiness to
come? Hitherto Thou hast but freed us, and that not fully, from
the unjust and tyrannous claim of Thy foes, now unite us entirely
and appropriate us to Thyself, tie us everlastingly in willing
homage to the prerogative of Thy eternal throne.
"And now we know, O Thou, our most certain hope and defence, that
Thine enemies have been consulting all the sorceries of the great
whore, and have joined their plots with that sad, intelligencing
tyrant that mischiefs the world with his mines of Ophir, and lies
thirsting to revenge his naval ruins that have larded our seas:
but let them all take counsel together, and let it come to nought;
let them decree, and do Thou cancel it; let them gather
themselves, and be scattered; let them embattle themselves, and be
broken; let them embattle, and be broken, for Thou art with us.
"Then amidst the hymns and hallelujahs of saints, some one may
perhaps be heard offering at high strains in new and lofty
measures, to sing and celebrate Thy Divine mercies and marvellous
judgments in this land throughout all ages; whereby this great and
warlike nation, instructed and inured to the fervent and continual
practice of truth and righteousness, and casting far from her the
rags of her old vices, may press on hard to that high and happy
emulation to be found the soberest, wisest, and most Christian
people at that day, when Thou, the Eternal and shortly-expected
King, shalt open the clouds to judge the several kingdoms of the
world, and distributing national honours and rewards to religious
and just commonwealths, shall put an end to all earthly tyrannies,
proclaiming Thy universal and mild monarchy through heaven and
earth; where they undoubtedly, that by their labours, counsels,
and prayers, have been earnest for the common good of religion,
and their country, shall receive above the inferior orders of the
blessed, the regal addition of principalities, legions, and
thrones into their glorious titles, and in supereminence of
beatific vision, progressing the dateless and irrevoluble circle
of eternity, shall clasp inseparable hands with joy and bliss, in
over-measure for ever.
"But they contrary, that by the impairing and diminution of the
true faith, the distresses and servitude of their country, aspire
to high dignity, rule and promotion here, after a shameful end in
this life (which God grant them), shall be thrown down eternally
into the darkest and deepest gulf of Hell, where, under the
despiteful control, the trample and spurn of all the other damned,
that in the anguish of their torture, shall have no other ease
than to exercise a raving and bestial tyranny over them as their
slaves and negroes, they shall remain in that plight for ever, the
basest, the lowermost, the most dejected, most underfoot, and
down-trodden vassals of perdition."
The five pamphlets in which Milton enunciated his views on Church
Government fall into two well-marked chronological divisions. Three--"Of
Reformation touching Church Discipline in England," "Of Prelatical
Episcopacy," "Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's Defence against
Smectymnuus"--which appeared almost simultaneously, belong to the
middle of 1641, when the question of episcopacy was fiercely agitated.
Two--"The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelacy," and "The
Apology for Smectymnuus," belong to the early part of 1642, when the
bishops had just been excluded from the House of Lords. To be just to
Milton we must put ourselves in his position. At the present day forms
of church government are usually debated on the ground of expediency,
and even those to whom they seem important cannot regard them as they
were regarded by Milton's contemporaries. Many may protest against
Episcopacy receiving especial recognition from the State, but no one
dreams of abolishing it, or of endowing another form of ecclesiastical
administration in its room. It is no longer contended that the national
religion should be changed, the contention is that no religion should be
national, but that all should be placed on an impartial footing. But
Milton at this time desired a theocracy, and nothing doubted that he
could produce a pattern agreeable in every respect to the Divine will if
only Prelacy could be hurled after Popery. The controversy, therefore,
assumed far grander proportions than would be possible in our day, when
it is three-fourths a protest against the airs of superiority which the
alleged successors of the Apostles think it becoming to assume towards
teachers whose education and circumstances approach more closely than
their own to the Apostolic model. What would seem exaggerated now was
then perfectly in place. Milton, in his own estimation, had a theme for
which the cloven tongues of Pentecost were none too fiery, or the
tongues of angels too melodious. As bursts of impassioned prose-poetry
the finest passages in these writings have never been surpassed, nor
ever will be equalled so long as short sentences prevail, and the
interminable period must not unfold itself in heights and hollows like
the incoming tide of ocean, nor peal forth melodious thunder like a
mighty organ. But, considered as argumentative compositions, they are
exceedingly weak. No masculine head could be affected by them; but a
manly heart may easily imbibe the generous contagion of their noble
enthusiastic idealism. No man with a single fibre of ideality or
enthusiasm can help confessing that Milton has risen to a transcendent
height, and he may imagine that it has been attained by the ladder of
reason rather than the pinion of poetry. Such an one may easily find
reasons for agreeing with Milton in many inspired outbursts of eloquence
simulating the logic that is in fact lacking to them. The following
splendid passage, for instance, and there are very many like it, merely
proves that a seat in the House of Lords is not essential to the
episcopal office, which no one ever denied. It would have considerable
force if the question involved the nineteenth century one of the Pope's
"Certainly there is no employment more honourable, more worthy to
take up a great spirit, more requiring a generous and free
nurture, than to be the messenger and herald of heavenly truth
from God to man, and by the faithful work of holy doctrine to
procreate a number of faithful men, making a kind of creation like
to God's by infusing his spirit and likeness into them, to their
salvation, as God did into him; arising to what climate soever he
turn him, like that Sun of Righteousness that sent him, with
healing in his wings, and new light to break in upon the chill and
gloomy hearts of his hearers, raising out of darksome barrenness a
delicious and fragrant spring of saving knowledge and good works.
Can a man thus employed find himself discontented or dishonoured
for want of admittance to have a pragmatical voice at sessions and
jail deliveries? or because he may not as a judge sit out the
wrangling noise of litigious courts to shrive the purses of
unconfessing and unmortified sinners, and not their souls, or be
discouraged though men call him not lord, whereas the due
performance of his office would gain him, even from lords and
princes, the voluntary title of father?"
When it was said of Robespierre, _cet homme ira bien loin, car il croit
tout ce qu'il dit_, it was probably meant that he would attain the chief
place in the State. It might have been said of Milton in the literal
sense. The idealist was about to apply his principles of church polity
to family life, to the horror of many nominal allies. His treatise on
Divorce was the next of his publications in chronological order, but is
so entwined with his domestic life that it will be best to postpone it
until we again take up the thread of his personal history, and to pass
on for the present to his next considerable writings, his tracts on
education and on the freedom of the press.
Milton's tract on Education, like so many of his performances, was the
fruit of an impulse from without. "Though it be one of the greatest and
noblest designs that can be thought on, and for want of which this
nation perishes, I had not at this time been induced but by your earnest
entreaties and serious conjurements." The efficient cause thus referred
to existed in the person of Samuel Hartlib, philanthropist and
polypragmatist, precursor of the Franklins and Rumfords of the
succeeding century. The son of a Polish exile of German extraction,
Hartlib had settled in England about 1627. He found the country
behindhand both economically and socially, and with benign fervour
applied himself to its regeneration. Agriculture was his principal
hobby, and he effected much towards its improvement in England, rather
however by editing the unpublished treatises of Weston and Child than by
any direct contributions of his own. Next among the undertakings to
which he devoted himself were two of no less moment than the union of
British and foreign Protestants, and the reform of English education by
the introduction of the methods of Comenius. This Moravian pastor, the
Pestalozzi of his age, had first of men grasped the idea that the
ordinary school methods were better adapted to instil a knowledge of
words than a knowledge of things. He was, in a word, the inventor of
object lessons. He also strove to organize education as a connected
whole from the infant school to the last touch of polish from foreign
travel. Milton alludes almost scornfully to Comenius in his preface to
Hartlib, but his tract is nevertheless imbued with the Moravian's
principles. His aim, like Comenius's, is to provide for the instruction
of all, "before the years of puberty, in all things belonging to the
present and future life." His view is as strictly utilitarian as
Comenius's. "Language is but the instrument conveying to us things
useful to be known." Of the study of language as intellectual discipline
he says nothing, and his whole course of instruction is governed by the
desire of imparting useful knowledge. Whatever we may think of the
system of teaching which in our day allows a youth to leave school
disgracefully ignorant of physical and political geography, of history
and foreign languages, it cannot be denied that Milton goes into the
opposite extreme, and would overload the young mind with more
information than it could possibly digest. His scheme is further
vitiated by a fault which we should not have looked for in him,
indiscriminate reverence for the classical writers, extending to
subjects in which they were but children compared with the moderns. It
moves something more than a smile to find ingenuous youth referred to
Pliny and Solinus for instruction in physical science; and one wonders
what the agricultural Hartlib thought of the proposed course of "Cato,
Varro, and Columella," whose precepts are adapted for the climate of
Italy. Another error, obvious to any dunce, was concealed from Milton by
his own intellectual greatness. He legislates for a college of Miltons.
He never suspects that the course he is prescribing would be beyond the
abilities of nine hundred and ninety-nine scholars in a thousand, and
that the thousandth would die of it. If a difficulty occurs he
contemptuously puts it aside. He has not provided for Italian, but can
it not "be easily learned at any odd hour"? "Ere this time the Hebrew
tongue" (of which we have not hitherto heard a syllable), "might have
been gained, whereto it would be no impossibility to add the Chaldee and
the Syrian dialect." This sublime confidence in the resources of the
human intellect is grand, but it marks out Milton as an idealist, whose
mission it was rather to animate mankind by the greatness of his
thoughts than to devise practical schemes for human improvement. As an
ode or poem on education, Milton's tract, doubtless, has delivered many
a teacher and scholar from bondage to routine; and no man's aims are so
high or his thoughts so generous that he might not be further profited
and stimulated by reading it. As a practical treatise it is only
valuable for its emphatic denunciation of the folly of teasing youth,
whose element is the concrete, with grammatical abstractions, and the
advice to proceed to translation as soon as possible, and to keep it up
steadily throughout the whole course. Neglect of this precept is the
principal reason why so many youths not wanting in capacity, and
assiduously taught, leave school with hardly any knowledge of
languages. Milton's scheme is also remarkable for its bold dealing with
day schools and universities, which it would have entirely superseded.
The next publication of Milton's is another instance of the dependence
of his intellectual workings upon the course of events outside him. We
owe the "Areopagitica," not to the lonely overflowings of his soul, or
even to the disinterested observation of public affairs, but to the real
jeopardy he had incurred by his neglect to get his books licensed. The
Long Parliament had found itself, in 1643, with respect to the Press,
very much in the position of Lord Canning's government in India at the
time of the Mutiny. It marks the progress of public opinion that,
whereas the Indian Government only ventured to take power to prevent
inopportune publication with many apologies, and as a temporary measure,
the Parliament assumed it as self-evident that "forged, scandalous,
seditious, libellous, and unlicensed papers, pamphlets, and books" had
no right to exist, and should be nipped in the bud by the appointment of
licensers. Twelve London ministers, therefore, were nominated to license
books in divinity, which was equivalent to enacting that nothing
contrary to Presbyterian orthodoxy should be published in England.
Other departments, not forgetting poetry and fiction, were similarly
provided for. The ordinance is dated June 14, 1643. Milton had always
contemned the licensing regulations previously existing, and within a
month his brain was busy with speculations which no reverend licenser
could have been expected to confirm with an imprimatur. About August 1st
the "Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce" appeared, with no recognition
of or from a licenser; and the second edition, published in the
following February, equally infringed the Parliamentary ordinance. No
notice appears to have been taken until the election of a new Master of
the Stationers' Company, about the middle of 1644. The Company had an
interest in the enforcement of the ordinance, which was aimed at piracy
as well as sedition and heresy; and whether for this reason, or at the
instigation of Milton's adversaries, they (August 24th) petitioned
Parliament to call him to account. The matter was referred to a
committee, but more urgent business thrust it out of sight. Milton,
nevertheless, had received his marching orders, and on November 24,
1644, appeared "Areopagitica; a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed
Printing": itself unlicensed.
The "Areopagitica" is by far the best known of Milton's prose writings,
being the only one whose topic is not obsolete. It is also composed with
more care and art than the others. Elsewhere he seeks to overwhelm, but
here to persuade. He could without insincerity profess veneration for
the Lords and Commons to whom his discourse is addressed, and he spares
no pains to give them a favourable opinion both of his dutifulness and
his reasonableness. More than anywhere else he affects the character of
a practical man, pressing home arguments addressed to the understanding
rather than to the pure reason. He points out sensibly, and for him
calmly, that the censorship is a Papal invention, contrary to the
precedents of antiquity; that while it cannot prevent the circulation of
bad books, it is a grievous hindrance to good ones; that it destroys the
sense of independence and responsibility essential to a manly and
fruitful literature. We hear less than might have been expected about
first principles, of the sacredness of conscience, of the obligation on
every man to manifest the truth as it is within him. He does not dispute
that the magistrate may suppress opinions esteemed dangerous to society
after they have been published; what he maintains is that publication
must not be prevented by a board of licensers. He strikes at the censor,
not at the Attorney-General. This judicious caution cramped Milton's
eloquence; for while the "Areopagitica" is the best example he has given
us of his ability as an advocate, the diction is less magnificent than
usual. Yet nothing penned by him in prose is better known than the
passage beginning, "Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant
nation;" and none of his writings contain so many seminal sentences,
pithy embodiments of vital truths. "Revolutions of ages do not oft
recover the loss of a rejected truth." "A dram of well-doing should be
preferred before many times as much the forcible hindrance of evil
doing. For God more esteems the growth and completing of one virtuous
person than the restraint of ten vicious." "Opinion in good men is but
knowledge in the making." "A man maybe a heretic in the truth." Towards
the end the argument takes a wider sweep, and Milton, again the poet and
the seer, hails with exultation the approach of the time he thinks he
discerns when all the Lord's people shall be prophets. "Behold now this
vast city, a city of refuge, the mansion house of liberty, encompassed
and surrounded with His protection; the shop of war hath not there more
anvils and hammers working to fashion out the plates and instruments of
armed justice in defence of beleaguered truth, than there be pens and
heads there, sitting by their studious lamps, musing, searching,
revolving new notions and ideas wherewith to present, as with their
homage and their fealty, the approaching reformation." He clearly
indicates that he regards the licensing ordinance as not really the
offspring of an honest though mistaken concern for religion and
morality, but as a device of Presbyterianism to restrain this outpouring
of the spirit and silence Independents as well as Royalists.
Presbyterianism had indeed been weighed in the balance and found
wanting, and Milton's pamphlet was the handwriting on the wall. The fine
gold must have become very dim ere a Puritan pen could bring itself to
indite that scathing satire on the "factor to whose care and credit the
wealthy man may commit the whole managing of his religious affairs; some
divine of note and estimation that must be. To him he adheres; resigns
the whole warehouse of his religion, with all the locks and keys into
his custody; and, indeed, makes the very person of that man his
religion--esteems his associating with him a sufficient evidence and
commendation of his own piety. So that a man may say his religion is now
no more within himself, but is become a dividual movable, and goes and
comes near him according as that good man frequents the house. He
entertains him, gives him gifts, feasts him, lodges him, his religion
comes home at night, prays, is liberally supped and sumptuously laid to
sleep, rises, is saluted; and after the malmsey or some well-spiced
brewage, and better breakfasted than He whose morning appetite would
have gladly fed on green figs between Bethany and Jerusalem, his
religion walks abroad at eight, and leaves his kind entertainer in the
shop, trading all day without his religion." This is a startling
passage. We should have pronounced hitherto that Milton's one hopeless,
congenital, irremediable want, alike in literature and in life, was
humour. And now, surely as ever Saul was among the prophets, behold
Milton among the wits.
Ranging with Milton's spirit over the "fresh woods and pastures new,"
foreshadowed in the closing verse of "Lycidas," we have left his mortal
part in its suburban dwelling in Aldersgate Street, which he seems to
have first inhabited shortly before the convocation of the Long
Parliament in November, 1640. His visible occupations are study and the
instruction of his nephews; by and by he becomes involved in the
revolutionary tempest that rages around; and, while living like a
pedagogue, is writing like a prophet. He is none the less cherishing
lofty projects for epic and drama; and we also learn from Phillips that
his society included "some young sparks," and may assume that he then,
"Disapproved that care, though wise in show,
That with superfluous burden loads the day,
And, when God sends a cheerful hour, refrains."
There is eloquent testimony of his interest in public affairs in his
subscription of four pounds, a large sum in those days, for the relief
of the homeless Protestants of Ulster. The progress of events must have
filled him with exultation, and when at length civil war broke out in
September, 1642, Parliament had no more zealous champion. His zeal,
however, did not carry him into the ranks, for which some biographers
blame him. But if he thought that he could serve his cause better with a
pamphlet than with a musket, surely he had good reason for what he
thought. It should seem, moreover, that if Milton detested the enemy's
principles, he respected his pikes and guns:--
WHEN THE ASSAULT WAS INTENDED TO THE CITY [NOVEMBER, 1642.]
Captain, or Colonel, or Knight in arms,
Whose chance on these defenceless doors may seize,
If deed of honour did thee ever please,
Guard them, and him within protect from harms.
He can requite thee, for he knows the charms
That call fame on such gentle acts as these,
And he can spread thy name o'er lands and seas,
Whatever clime the sun's bright circle warms.
Lift not thy spear against the Muse's bower:
The great Emathian conqueror bid spare
The house of Pindarus, when temple and tower
Went to the ground; and the repeated air
Of sad Electra's poet had the power
To save the Athenian walls from ruin bare.
If this strain seems deficient in the fierceness befitting a besieged
patriot, let it be remembered that Milton's doors were literally
defenceless, being outside the rampart of the City.
We now approach the most curious episode of Milton's life, and the most
irreconcilable with the conventional opinion of him. Up to this time
this heroic existence must have seemed dull to many, for it has been a
life without love. He has indeed, in his beautiful Sonnet to the
Nightingale (about 1632), professed himself a follower of Love: but if
so, he has hitherto followed at a most respectful distance. Yet he had
not erred, when in the Italian sonnet, so finely rendered in Professor
Masson's biography, he declared the heart his vulnerable point:--
"Young, gentle-natured, and a simple wooer,
Since from myself I stand in doubt to fly,
Lady, to thee my heart's poor gift would I
Offer devoutly; and by tokens sure
I know it faithful, fearless, constant, pure,
In its conceptions graceful, good, and high.
When the world roars, and flames the startled sky;
In its own adamant it rests secure;
As free from chance and malice ever found,
And fears and hopes that vulgar minds confuse,
As it is loyal to each manly thing
And to the sounding lyre and to the Muse.
Only in that part is it not so sound
Where Love hath set in it his cureless sting."
It is highly probable that the very reaction from party strife turned
the young man's fancies to thoughts of love in the spring of 1643.
Escorted, we must fear, by a chorus of mocking cuckoos, Milton, about
May 21st, rode into the country on a mysterious errand. It is a ghoulish
and ogreish idea, but it really seems as if the elder Milton quartered
his progeny upon his debtors, as the ichneumon fly quarters hers upon
caterpillars. Milton had, at all events for the last sixteen years, been
regularly drawing interest from an Oxfordshire squire, Richard Powell
of Forest Hill, who owed him £500, which must have been originally
advanced by the elder Milton. The Civil War had no doubt interfered with
Mr. Powell's ability to pay interest, but, on the other hand, must have
equally impaired Milton's ability to exact it; for the Powells were
Cavaliers, and the Parliament's writ would run but lamely in loyal
Oxfordshire. Whether Milton went down on this eventful Whitsuntide in
the capacity of a creditor cannot now be known; and a like uncertainty
envelops the precise manner of the metamorphosis of Mary Powell into
Mary Milton. The maiden of seventeen may have charmed him by her
contrast to the damsels of the metropolis, she may have shielded him
from some peril, such as might easily beset him within five miles of the
Royalist headquarters, she may have won his heart while pleading for her
harassed father; he may have fancied hers a mind he could mould to
perfect symmetry and deck with every accomplishment, as the Gods
fashioned and decorated Pandora. Milton also seems to imply that his, or
his bride's, better judgment was partly overcome by "the persuasion of
friends, that acquaintance, as it increases, will amend all." It is
possible, too, that he had long been intimate with his debtor's family,
and that Mary had previously made an impression upon him. If not, his
was the most preposterously precipitate of poets' marriages; for a month
after leaving home he presented a mistress to his astounded nephews and
housekeeper. The newly-wedded pair were accompanied or quickly followed
by a bevy of the bride's friends and relatives, who danced and sang and
feasted for a week in the quiet Puritan house, then departed--and after
a few weeks Milton finds himself moved to compose his tract on the
"Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce."
How many weeks? The story seemed a straightforward one until Professor
Masson remarked what had before escaped attention. According to
Phillips, an inmate of the house at the period--"By that time she had
for a month, or thereabouts, led a philosophical life (after having been
used to a great house, and much company and joviality), her friends,
possibly incited by her own desire, made earnest suit by letter to have
her company the remaining part of the summer, which was granted, on
condition of her return at the time appointed, Michaelmas or thereabout.
Michaelmas being come, and no news of his wife's return, he sent for her
by letter, and receiving no answer sent several other letters, which
were also unanswered, so that at last he dispatched down a
foot-messenger; but the messenger came back without an answer. He
thought it would be dishonourable ever to receive her again after such a
repulse, and accordingly wrote two treatises," &c. Here we are
distinctly assured that Mary Milton's desertion of her husband, about
Michaelmas, was the occasion of his treatise on divorce. It follows
that Milton's tract must have been written after Michaelmas. But the
copy in the British Museum belonged to the bookseller Thomason, who
always inscribed the date of publication on every tract in his
collection, when it was known to him, and his date, as Professor Masson
discovered, is August 1. Must we believe that Phillips's account is a
misrepresentation? Must we, in Pattison's words, "suppose that Milton
was occupying himself with a vehement and impassioned argument in favour
of divorce for incompatibility of temper, during the honeymoon"? It
would certainly seem so, and if Milton is to be vindicated it can only
be by attention to traits in his character, invisible on its surface,
but plainly discoverable in his actions.
The grandeur of Milton's poetry, and the dignity and austerity of his
private life, naturally incline us to regard him as a man of iron will,
living by rule and reason, and exempt from the sway of passionate
impulse. The incident of his marriage, and not this incident alone,
refutes this conception of his character; his nature was as lyrical and
mobile as a poet's should be. We have seen "Comus" and "Lycidas" arise
at another's bidding, we shall see a casual remark beget "Paradise
Regained." He never attempts to utter his deepest religious convictions
until caught by the contagious enthusiasm of a revolution. If any
incident in his life could ever have compelled him to speak or die it
must have been the humiliating issue of his matrimonial adventure. To be
cast off after a month's trial like an unsatisfactory servant, to
forfeit the hope of sympathy and companionship which had allured him
into the married state, to forfeit it, unless the law could be altered,
for ever! The feelings of any sensitive man must find some sort of
expression in such an emergency. At another period what Milton learned
in suffering would no doubt have been taught in song. But pamphlets were
then the order of the day, and Milton's "Doctrine and Discipline of
Divorce," in its first edition, is as much the outpouring of an
overburdened heart as any poem could have been. It bears every mark of a
hasty composition, such as may well have been written and printed within
the last days of July, following Mary Milton's departure. It is short.
It deals with the most obvious aspects of the question. It is meagre in
references and citations; two authors only are somewhat vaguely alleged,
Grotius and Beza. It does not contain the least allusion to his domestic
circumstances, nor anything unless the thesis itself, that could hinder
his wife's return. Everything betokens that it was composed in the
bitterness of wounded feeling upon the incompatibility becoming
manifest; but that he had not yet arrived at the point of demanding the
application of his general principle to his own special case. That point
would be reached when Mary Milton deliberately refused to return, and
the chronology of the greatly enlarged second edition, published in the
following February, entirely confirms Phillips's account. In one point
only he must be wrong. Mary Milton's return to her father's house cannot
have been a voluntary concession on Milton's part, but must have been
wrung from him after bitter contentions. Could we look into the
household during those weeks of wretchedness, we should probably find
Milton exceedingly deficient in consideration for the inexperienced girl
of half his age, brought from a gay circle of friends and kindred to a
grave, studious house. But it could not well have been otherwise. Milton
was constitutionally unfit "to soothe and fondle," and his theories
cannot have contributed to correct his practice. His "He for God only,
she for God in him," condenses every fallacy about woman's true relation
to her husband and her Maker. In his Tractate on Education there is not
a word on the education of girls, and yet he wanted an intellectual
female companion. Where should the woman be found at once submissive
enough and learned enough to meet such inconsistent exigencies? It might
have been said to him as afterwards to Byron: "You talk like a
Rosicrucian, who will love nothing but a sylph, who does not believe in
the existence of a sylph, and who yet quarrels with the whole universe
for not containing a sylph."
If Milton's first tract on divorce had not been a mere impromptu,
extorted by the misery of finding "an image of earth and phlegm" in her
"with whom he looked to be the co-partner of a sweet and gladsome
society," he would certainly have rendered his argument more cogent and
elaborate. The tract, in its inspired portions, is a fine impassioned
poem, fitter for the Parliament of Love than the Parliament at
Westminster. The second edition is far more satisfactory as regards that
class of arguments which alone were likely to impress the men of his
generation, those derived from the authority of the Scriptures and of
divines. In one of his principal points all Protestants and philosophers
will confess him to be right, his reference of the matter to Scripture
and reason, and repudiation of the mediĉval canon law. It is not here,
nevertheless, that Milton is most at home. The strength of his position
is his lofty idealism, his magnificent conception of the institution he
discusses, and his disdain for whatever degrades it to conventionality
or mere expediency. "His ideal of true and perfect marriage," says Mr.
Ernest Myers, "appeared to him so sacred that he could not admit that
considerations of expediency might justify the law in maintaining sacred
any meaner kind, or at least any kind in which the vital element of
spiritual harmony was not." Here he is impregnable and above criticism,
but his handling of the more sublunary departments of the subject must
be unsatisfactory to legislators, who have usually deemed his sublime
idealism fitter for the societies of the blest than for the imperfect
communities of mankind. When his "doctrine and discipline" shall have
been sanctioned by lawgivers, we may be sure that the world is already
much better, or much worse.
As the girl-wife vanishes from Milton's household her place is taken by
the venerable figure of his father. The aged man had removed with his
son Christopher to Reading, probably before August, 1641, when the birth
of a child of his name--Christopher's offspring as it should
seem--appears in the Reading register. Christopher was to exemplify the
law of reversion to a primitive type. Though not yet a Roman Catholic
like his grandfather, he had retrograded into Royalism, without becoming
on that account estranged from his elder brother. The surrender of
Reading to the Parliamentary forces in April, 1643, involved his
"dissettlement," and the migration of his father to the house of John,
with whom he was moreover better in accord in religion and politics.
Little external change resulted, "the old gentleman," says Phillips,
"being wholly retired to his rest and devotion, with the least trouble
imaginable." About the same time the household received other additions
in the shape of pupils, admitted, Phillips is careful to assure us, by
way of favour, as M. Jourdain selected stuffs for his friends. Milton's
pamphlet was perhaps not yet published, or not generally known to be
his, or his friends were indifferent to public sentiment. Opinion was
unquestionably against Milton, nor can he have profited much by the
support, however practical, of a certain Mrs. Attaway, who thought that
"she, for her part, would look more into it, for she had an unsanctified
husband, that did not walk in the way of Sion, nor speak the language of
Canaan," and by and by actually did what Milton only talked of doing. We
have already seen that he had incurred danger of prosecution from the
Stationers' Company, and in July, 1644, he was denounced by name from
the pulpit by a divine of much note, Herbert Palmer, author of a book
long attributed to Bacon. But, if criticised, he was read. By 1645 his
Divorce tract was in the third edition, and he had added three more
pamphlets--one to prove that the revered Martin Bucer had agreed with
him; two, the "Tetrachordon" and "Colasterion," directed against his
principal opponents, Palmer, Featley, Caryl, Prynne, and an anonymous
pamphleteer, who seems to have been a somewhat contemptible person, a
serving-man turned attorney, but whose production contains some not
unwelcome hints on the personal aspects of Milton's controversy. "We
believe you count no woman to due conversation accessible, as to you,
except she can speak Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and French, and dispute
against the canon law as well as you." Milton's later tracts are not
specially interesting, except for the reiteration of his fine and bold
idealism on the institution of marriage, qualified only by his no less
strenuous insistance on the subjection of woman. He allows, however,
that "it is no small glory to man that a creature so like him should be
made subject to him," and that "particular exceptions may have place, if
she exceed her husband in prudence and dexterity, and he contentedly
yield; for then a superior and more natural law comes in, that the wiser
should govern the less wise, whether male or female."
Milton's seminary, meanwhile, was prospering to such a degree as to
compel him to take a more commodious house. Was it necessity or
enthusiasm that kept him to a task so little compatible with the repose
he must have needed even for such intellectual exercise as the
"Areopagitica," much more for the high designs he had not ceased to
meditate in verse? Enthusiasm, one would certainly say, only that it is
impossible to tell to what extent his father's income, chiefly derived
from money out at interest, may have been impaired by the confusion of
the times. Whether he had done rightly or wrongly in taking the duties
of a preceptor upon himself, his nephew's account attests the
self-sacrificing zeal with which he discharged them: we groan as we read
of hours which should have been devoted to lonely musing or noble
composition passed in "increasing as it were by proxy" his knowledge of
"Frontinus his Stratagems, with the two egregious poets Lucretius and
Manilius." He might also have been better employed than in dictating "A
tractate he thought fit to collect from the ablest of divines who have
written on that subject of atheism, Amesius, Wollebius," &c. Here should
be comfort for those who fear with Pattison that Milton's addiction to
politics deprived us of unnumbered "Comuses." The excerpter of Amesius
and Wollebius, as we have so often insisted, needed great stimulus for
great achievements. Such stimulus would probably have come
superabundantly if he could at this time have had his way, for the most
moral of men was bent on assuming a direct antagonism to conventional
morality. He had maintained that marriage ought to be dissolved for mere
incompatibility; his case must have seemed much stronger now that
incompatibility had produced desertion. He was not the man to shrink
from acting on his opinion when the fit season seemed to him to have
arrived; and in the summer of 1645 he was openly paying his addresses to
"a very handsome and witty gentlewoman, one of Dr. Davis's daughters."
Considering the consequences to the female partner to the contract, it
is clear that Miss Davis could not be expected to entertain Milton's
proposals unless her affection for him was very strong indeed. It is
equally clear that he cannot be acquitted of selfishness in urging his
suit unless he was quite sure of this, and his own heart also was deeply
interested. An event was about to occur which seems to prove that these
conditions were wanting.
Nearly two years have passed since we have heard of Mary Milton, who has
been living with her parents in Oxfordshire. Her position as a nominal
wife must have been most uncomfortable, but there is no indication of
any effort on her part to alter it, until the Civil War was virtually
terminated by the Battle of Naseby, June, 1645. Obstinate malignants had
then nothing to expect but fine and forfeiture, and their son-in-law's
Puritanism may have presented itself to the Powells in the light of a
merciful dispensation. Rumours of Milton's suit to Miss Davis may also
have reached them; and they would know that an illegal tie would be as
fatal to all hopes of reconciliation as a legal one. So, one day in July
or August, 1645, Milton, paying his usual call on a kinsman named
Blackborough, not otherwise mentioned in his life, who lived in St.
Martin's-le-Grand Lane, where the General Post Office now stands, "was
surprised to see one whom he thought to have never seen more, making
submission and begging pardon on her knees before him." There are two
similar scenes in his writings, of which this may have formed the
groundwork, Dalila's visit to her betrayed husband in "Samson
Agonistes," and Eve's repentance in the tenth book of "Paradise Lost."
Samson replies, "Out, out, hyĉna!" Eve's "lowly plight"
"in Adam wrought
As one disarmed, his anger all he lost,
And thus with peaceful words upraised her soon."
Phillips appears to intimate that the penitent's reception began like
Dalila's and ended like Eve's. "He might probably at first make some
show of aversion and rejection; but partly his own generous nature, more
inclinable to reconciliation than to perseverance in anger and revenge,
and partly the strong intercession of friends on both sides, soon
brought him to an act of oblivion, and a firm league of peace for the
future." With a man of his magnanimous temper, conscious no doubt that
he had himself been far from blameless, such a result was to be
expected. But it was certainly well that he had made no deeper
impression than he seems to have done upon "the handsome and witty
gentlewoman." One would like to know whether she and Mistress Milton
ever met, and what they said to and thought of each other. For the
present, Mary Milton dwelt with Christopher's mother-in-law, and about
September joined her husband in the more commodious house in the
Barbican whither he was migrating at the time of the reconciliation. It
stood till 1864, when it was destroyed by a railway company.
Soon after removing to the Barbican, Milton set his Muse's house in
order, by publishing such poems, English and Latin, as he deemed worthy
of presentation. It is a remarkable proof both of his habitual
cunctativeness and his dependence on the suggestions of others, that he
should so long have allowed such pieces to remain uncollected, and
should only have collected them at all at the solicitation of the
publisher, Humphrey Moseley. The transaction is most honourable to the
latter. "It is not any private respect of gain," he affirms; "for the
slightest pamphlet is nowadays more vendible than the works of
learnedest men, but it is the love I bear to our own language.... I know
not thy palate, how it relishes such dainties, nor how harmonious thy
soul is: perhaps more trivial airs may please better.... Let the event
guide itself which way it will, I shall deserve of the age by bringing
forth into the light as true a birth as the Muses have brought forth
since our famous Spenser wrote." The volume was published on Jan. 2,
1646. It is divided into two parts, with separate title-pages, the first
containing the English poems, the second the Latin. They were probably
sold separately. The frontispiece, engraved by Marshall, is
unfortunately a sour and silly countenance, passing as Milton's, but
against which he protests in four lines of Greek appended, which the
worthy Marshall seems to have engraved without understanding them. The
British Museum copy in the King's Library contains an additional MS.
poem of considerable merit, in a hand which some have thought like
Milton's, but few now believe it to have been either written or
transcribed by him. It is dated 1647, but for which circumstance one
might indulge the fancy that the copy had been a gift from him to some
Italian friend, for the binding is Italian, and the book must have seen
Milton was now to learn what he afterwards taught, that "they also serve
who only stand and wait." He had challenged obloquy in vindication of
what he deemed right: the cross actually laid upon him was to fill his
house with inimical and uncongenial dependants on his bounty and
protection. The overthrow of the Royalist cause was utterly ruinous to
the Powells. All went to wreck on the surrender of Oxford in June, 1646.
The family estate was only saved from sequestration by a friendly
neighbour taking possession of it under cover of his rights as creditor;
the family mansion was occupied by the Parliamentarians, and the
household stuff sold to the harpies that followed in their train; the
"malignant's" timber went to rebuild the good town of Banbury. It was
impossible for the Powells to remain in Oxfordshire, and Milton opened
his doors to them as freely as though there had never been any
estrangement. Father, mother, several sons and daughters came to dwell
in a house already full of pupils, with what inconvenience from want of
room and disquiet from clashing opinions may be conjectured. "Those whom
the mere necessity of neighbourhood, or something else of a useless
kind," he says to Dati, "has closely conjoined with me, whether by
accident or the tie of law, they are the persons who sit daily in my
company, weary me, nay, by heaven, almost plague me to death whenever
they are jointly in the humour for it." Milton's readiness to receive
the mother, deemed the chief instigator of her daughter's "frowardness,"
may have been partly due to the situation of the latter, who gave him a
daughter on July 29, 1646. In January, 1647, Mr. Powell died, leaving
his affairs in dire confusion. Two months afterwards Milton's father
followed him at the age of eighty-four, partly cognisant, we will hope,
of the gift he had bestowed on his country in his son. It was probably
owing to the consequent improvement in Milton's circumstances that he
about this time gave up his pupils, except his nephews, and removed to a
smaller house in High Holborn, not since identified; the Powells also
removing to another dwelling. "No one," he says of himself at this
period, "ever saw me going about, no one ever saw me asking anything
among my friends, or stationed at the doors of the Court with a
petitioner's face. I kept myself almost entirely at home, managing on my
own resources, though in this civil tumult they were often in great part
kept from me, and contriving, though burdened with taxes in the main
rather oppressive, to lead my frugal life." The traces of his literary
activity at this time are few--preparations for a history of England,
published long afterwards, an ode, a sonnet, correspondence with Dati,
some not very successful versions of the Psalms. He seems to have been
partly engaged in preparing the treatise on Christian Doctrine, which
was fortunately reserved for a serener day. In undertaking it at this
period he was missing a great opportunity. He might have been the
apostle of toleration in England, as Roger Williams had been in America.
The moment was most favourable. Presbyterianism had got itself
established, but could not pretend to represent the majority of the
nation. It had been branded by Milton himself in the memorable line:
"New Presbyter is but old Priest writ large." The Independents were for
toleration, the Episcopalians had been for the time humbled by
adversity, the best minds in the nation, including Cromwell, were
Seekers or Latitude men, or sceptics. Here was invitation enough for a
work as much greater than the "Areopagitica" as the principle of freedom
of thought is greater than the most august particular application of it.
Milton might have added the better half of Locke's fame to his own, and
compelled the French philosophers to sit at the feet of a Bible-loving
Englishman. But unfortunately no external impulse stirred him to action,
as in the case of the "Areopagitica." Presbyterians growled at him
occasionally; they did not fine or imprison him, or put him out of the
synagogue. Thus his pen slumbered, and we are in danger of forgetting
that he was, in the ordinary sense of that much-abused term, no Puritan,
but a most free and independent thinker, the vast sweep of whose thought
happened to coincide for a while with the narrow orbit of so-called
Impulse to work of another sort was at hand. On January 30, 1649,
Charles the First's head rolled on the scaffold. On February 13th was
published a pamphlet from Milton's hand, which cannot have been begun
before the King's trial, another proof of his feverish impetuosity when
possessed by an overmastering idea. The title propounds two theses with
very different titles to acceptance. "The Tenure of Kings and
Magistrates proving that it is lawful, and hath been held so through all
ages, for any who have the power to call to account a tyrant or wicked
king, and after due conviction to depose and put him to death: if the
ordinary magistrate have neglected or denied to do it." That kings have
no more immunity than others from the consequences of evil doing is a
proposition which seemed monstrous to many in Milton's day, but which
will command general assent in ours. But to lay it down that "any who
has the power" may interpose to correct what he chooses to consider the
laches of the lawful magistrate is to hand over the administration of
the law to Judge Lynch--rather too high a price to pay for the
satisfaction of bringing even a bad king to the block. Milton's sneer at
"vulgar and irrational men, contesting for privileges, customs, forms,
and that old entanglement of iniquity, their gibberish laws," is
equivalent to an admission that his party had put itself beyond the pale
of the law. The only defence would be to show that it had acted under
great and overwhelming necessity; but this he takes for granted, though
knowing well that it was denied by more than half the nation. His
argument, therefore, is inconclusive, except that portion of it which
modern opinion allows to pass without argument. He seems indeed to admit
in his "Defensio Secunda" that the tract was written less to vindicate
the King's execution than to saddle the protesting Presbyterians with a
share of the responsibility. The diction, though robust and spirited, is
not his best, and, on the whole, the most admirable feature in his
pamphlet is his courage in writing it. He was to speak yet again on this
theme as the mouthpiece of the Commonwealth, thus earning honour and
reward; it was well to have shown first that he did not need this
incentive to expose himself to Royalist vengeance, but had prompting
enough in the intensity of his private convictions.
He had flung himself into a perilous breach. "Eikon Basilike"--most
timely of manifestoes--had been published only four days before the
appearance of "The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates." Between its
literary seduction and the horror generally excited by the King's
execution, the tide of public opinion was turning fast. Milton no doubt
felt that no claim upon him could be equal to that which the State had a
right to prefer. He accepted the office of "Secretary for Foreign
Tongues" to the Committee of Foreign Affairs, a delegation from the
Council of State of forty-one members, by which the country was at that
time governed. Vane, Whitelocke, and Marten were among the members of
the committee. The specified duties of the post were the preparation and
translation of despatches from and to foreign governments. These were
always in Latin,--the Council, says that sturdy Briton, Edward Phillips,
"scorning to carry on their affairs in the wheedling, lisping jargon of
the cringing French." But it must have been understood that Milton's pen
would also be at the service of the Government outside the narrow range
of official correspondence. The salary was handsome for the time--£288,
equivalent to about £900 of our money. It was an honourable post, on the
manner of whose discharge the credit of England abroad somewhat
depended; the foreign chanceries were full of accomplished Latinists,
and when Blake's cannon was not to be the mouthpiece, the Commonwealth's
message needed a silver trumpet. It was also as likely as any employment
to make a scholar a statesman. If in some respects it opposed new
obstacles to the fulfilment of Milton's aspirations as a poet, he might
still feel that it would help him to the experience which he had
declared to be essential: "He who would not be frustrate of his hope to
write well hereafter in laudable things, ought himself to be a true
poem, that is, a composition and pattern of the best and honourablest
things, not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men or famous
cities, unless he have within himself the experience and the practice of
all that which is praiseworthy." Up to this time Milton's experience of
public affairs had been slight; he does not seem to have enjoyed the
intimate acquaintance of any man then active in the making of history.
In our day he would probably have entered Parliament, but that was
impossible under a dispensation which allowed a Parliament to sit till a
Protector turned it out of doors. He was, therefore, only acting upon
his own theory, and he seems to us to have been acting wisely as well as
courageously, when he consented to become a humble but necessary wheel
of the machinery of administration, the Orpheus among the Argonauts of
Milton was appointed Secretary for Foreign Tongues on March 15, 1649. He
removed from High Holborn to Spring Gardens to be near the scene of his
labours, and was soon afterwards provided with an official residence in
Whitehall Palace, a huge intricacy of passages and chambers, of which
but a fragment now remains. His first performance was in some measure a
false start; for the epistle offering amity to the Senate of Hamburg,
clothed in his best Latin, was so unamiably regarded by that body that
the English envoy never formally delivered it. An epistle to the Dutch
on the murder of the Commonwealth's ambassador, Dorislaus, by refugee
Cavaliers, had a better reception; and Milton was soon engaged in
drafting, not merely translating, a State paper designed for the
press--observations on the peace concluded by Ormond, the Royalist
commander in Ireland, with the confederated Catholics in that country,
and on the protest against the execution of Charles I. volunteered by
the Presbytery of Belfast. The commentary was published in May, along
with the documents. It is a spirited manifesto, cogent in enforcing the
necessity of the campaign about to be undertaken by Cromwell. Ireland
had at the moment exactly as many factions as provinces; and never,
perhaps, since the days of Strongbow had been in a state of such utter
confusion. Employed in work like this, Milton did not cease to be "an
eagle towering in his pride of place," but he may seem to have
degenerated into the "mousing owl" when he pounced upon newswriters and
ferreted unlicensed pamphlets for sedition. True, there was nothing in
this occupation formally inconsistent with anything he had written in
the "Areopagitica"; yet one wishes that the Council of State had
provided otherwise for this particular department of the public service.
Nothing but a sense of duty can have reconciled him to a task so
invidious; and there is some evidence of what might well have been
believed without evidence--that he mitigated the severity of the
censorship as far as in him lay. He was not to want for better
occupation, for the Council of State was about to devolve upon him the
charge of answering the great Royalist manifesto, "Eikon Basilike."
The controversy respecting the authorship of the "Eikon Basilike" is a
remarkable instance of the degree in which literary judgment may be
biassed by political prepossession. In the absence of other testimony
one might almost stamp a writer as Royalist or Parliamentarian according
as his verdict inclined to Charles I. or Bishop Gauden. In fact, it is
no easy matter to balance the respective claims of two entirely
different kinds of testimony. The external evidence of Charles's
authorship is worth nothing. It is almost confined to the assertions,
forty years after the publication, of a few aged Cavaliers, who were
all morally certain that Charles wrote the book, and to whom a fiction
supplying the accidental lack of external testimony would have seemed
laudable and pious. The only wonder is that such legends are not far
more numerous. On the other hand, the internal evidence seems at first
sight to make for the king. The style is not dissimilar to that of the
reputed royal author; the sentiments are such as would have well become
him; the assumed character is supported throughout with consistency; and
there are none of the slips which a fabricator might have been thought
hardly able to avoid. The supposed personator of the King was
unquestionably an unprincipled time-server. Is it not an axiom that a
worthy book can only proceed from a worthy mind?
"If this fail,
The pillared firmament is rottenness,
And earth's base built on stubble!"
Against such considerations we have to set the stubborn facts that
Bishop Gauden did actually claim the authorship that he preferred his
claim to the very persons who had the strongest interest in exploding
it; that he invoked the testimony of those who must have known the
truth, and could most easily have crushed the lie; that he convinced not
only Clarendon, but Charles's own children, and received a substantial
reward. In the face of these undeniable facts, the numerous
circumstances used with skill and ingenuity by Dr. Wordsworth to
invalidate his claim, are of little weight. The stronger the apparent
objections, the more certain that the proofs in Gauden's hands must have
been overwhelming, and the greater the presumption that he was merely
urging what had always been known to several persons about the late
king. When, with this conviction, we recur to the "Eikon," and examine
it in connection with Gauden's acknowledged writings, the internal
testimony against him no longer seems so absolutely conclusive. Gauden's
style is by no means so bad as Hume represents it. Many remarkable
parallels between it and the diction of the "Eikon" have been pointed
out by Todd, and the most searching modern investigator, Doble. We may
also discover one marked intellectual resemblance. Nothing is more
characteristic in the "Eikon" than its indirectness. The writer is full
of qualifications, limitations, allowances; he fences and guards
himself, and seems always on the point of taking back what he has said,
but never does; and veers and tacks, tacks and veers, until he has
worked himself into port. The like peculiarity is very observable in
Gauden, especially in his once-popular "Companion to the Altar." There
is also a strong internal argument against Charles's authorship in the
preponderance of the theological element. That this should occupy an
important place in the writings of a martyr for the Church of England
was certainly to be expected, but the theology of the "Eikon" has an
unmistakably professional flavour. Let any man read it with an unbiassed
mind, and then say whether he has been listening to a king or to a
chaplain. "One of _us_," pithily comments Archbishop Herring. "I write
rather like a divine than a prince," the assumed author acknowledges, or
is made to acknowledge. When to these considerations is added that any
scrap of the "Eikon" in the King's handwriting would have been
treasured as an inestimable relic, and that no scrap was ever produced,
there can be little question as to the verdict of criticism. For all
practical purposes, nevertheless, the "Eikon" in Milton's time was the
King's book, for everybody thought it so. Milton hints some vague
suspicions, but refrains from impugning it seriously, and indeed the
defenders of its authenticity will be quite justified in asserting that
if Gauden had been dumb, Criticism would have been blind.
According to Selden's biographer, Cromwell was at first anxious that the
"Eikon" should be answered by that consummate jurist, and it was only on
his declining the task that it came into Milton's hands. That he also
would have declined it but for his official position may be inferred
from his own words: "I take it on me as a work assigned, rather than by
me chosen or affected." His distaste may further be gauged by his
tardiness; while "The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates" had been written
in little more than a week, his "Eikonoklastes," a reply to a book
published in February, did not appear until October 6th. His reluctance
may be partly explained by his feeling that "to descant on the
misfortunes of a person fallen from so high a dignity, who hath also
paid his final debt both to nature and his faults, is neither of itself
a thing commendable, nor the intention of this discourse." The intention
it may not have been, but it was necessarily the performance. The scheme
of the "Eikon" required the respondent to take up the case article by
article, a thing impossible to be done without abundant "descant" of the
kind which Milton deprecates. He is compelled to fight the adversary on
the latter's chosen ground, and the eloquence which might have swept all
before it in a discussion of general principles is frittered away in
tiresome wrangling over a multitude of minutiĉ. His vigorous blows avail
but little against the impalpable ideal with which he is contending; his
arguments might frequently convince a court of justice, but could do
nothing to dispel the sorcery which enthralled the popular imagination.
Milton's "Eikonoklastes" had only three editions, including a
translation, within the year; the "Eikon Basilike" is said to have had
Milton's reputation as a political controversialist, however, was not to
rest upon "Eikonoklastes," or to be determined by a merely English
public. The Royalists had felt the necessity of appealing to the general
verdict of Europe, and had entrusted their cause to the most eminent
classical scholar of the age. To us the idea of commissioning a
political manifesto from a philologist seems eccentric; but erudition
and the erudite were never so highly prized as in the seventeenth
century. Men's minds were still enchained by authority, and the
precedents of Agis, or Brutus, or Nehemiah, weighed like dicta of
Solomon or Justinian. The man of Greek, or Latin, or Hebrew learning
was, therefore, a person of much greater consequence than he is now, and
so much the more if he enjoyed a high reputation and wrote good Latin.
All these qualifications were combined in Claudius Salmasius, a
Frenchman, who had laid scholars under an eternal obligation by his
discovery of the Palatine MS. of the Anthology at Heidelberg, and who,
having embraced Protestantism from conviction, lived in splendid style
at Leyden, where the mere light of his countenance--for he did not
teach--was valued by the University at three thousand livres a year. It
seems marvellous that a man should become dictator of the republic of
letters by editing "Solinus" and "The Augustan History," however ably;
but an achievement like this, not a "Paradise Lost" or a "Werther" was
the _sic itur ad astra_ of the time. On the strength of such Salmasius
had pronounced _ex cathedra_ on a multiplicity of topics, from
episcopacy to hair-powder, and there was no bishop and no perfumer
between the Black Sea and the Irish who would not rather have the
scholar for him than against him. A man, too, to be named with respect;
no mere annotator, but a most sagacious critic; peevish, it might be,
but had he not seven grievous disorders at once? One who had shown such
independence and integrity in various transactions of his life, that we
may be very sure that Charles II.'s hundred Jacobuses, if ever given or
even promised, were the very least of the inducements that called him
into the field against the executioners of Charles I.
Whether, however, the hundred Jacobuses were forthcoming or not,
Salmasius's undertaking was none the less a commission from Charles II.,
and the circumstance put him into a false position, and increased the
difficulty of his task. Human feeling is not easily reconciled to the
execution of a bad magistrate, unless he has also been a bad man.
Charles I. was by no means a bad man, only a mistaken one. He had been
guilty of many usurpations and much perfidy: but he had honestly
believed his usurpations within the limits of his prerogative; and his
breaches of faith were committed against insurgents whom he regarded as
seamen look upon pirates, or shepherds upon wolves. Salmasius, however,
pleading by commission from Charles's son, can urge no such mitigating
plea. He is compelled to maintain the inviolability even of wicked
sovereigns, and spends two-thirds of his treatise in supporting a
proposition to state which is to refute it in the nineteenth century. In
the latter part he is on stronger ground. Charles had unquestionably
been tried and condemned by a tribunal destitute of legal authority, and
executed contrary to the wish and will of the great majority of his
subjects. But this was a theme for an Englishman to handle. Salmasius
cannot think himself into it, nor had he sufficient imagination to be
inspired by Charles as Burke (who, nevertheless, has borrowed from him)
was to be inspired by Marie Antoinette.
His book--entitled "Defensio Regia pro Carolo I."--appeared in October
or November, 1649. On January 8, 1650, it was ordered by the Council of
State "that Mr. Milton do prepare something in answer to the Book of
Salmasius, and when he hath done it bring it to the Council." There were
many reasons why he should be entrusted with this commission, and only
one why he should not; but one which would have seemed conclusive to
most men. His sight had long been failing. He had already lost the use
of one eye, and was warned that if he imposed this additional strain
upon his sight, that of the other would follow. He had seen the greatest
astronomer of the age condemned to inactivity and helplessness, and
could measure his own by the misery of Galileo. He calmly accepted his
duty along with its penalty, without complaint or reluctance. If he
could have performed his task in the spirit with which he undertook it,
he would have produced a work more sublime than "Paradise Lost."
This, of course, was not possible. The efficiency of a controversialist
in the seventeenth century was almost estimated in the ratio of his
scurrility, especially when he wrote Latin. From this point of view
Milton had got his opponent at a tremendous disadvantage. With the best
will in the world, Salmasius had come short in personal abuse, for, as
the initiator of the dispute, he had no personal antagonist. In
denouncing the general herd of regicides and parricides he had hurt
nobody in particular, while concentrating all Milton's lightnings on his
own unlucky head. They seared and scathed a literary dictator whom
jealous enemies had long sighed to behold insulted and humiliated, while
surprise equalled delight at seeing the blow dealt from a quarter so
utterly unexpected. There is no comparison between the invective of
Milton and of Salmasius; not so much from Milton's superiority as a
controversialist, though this is very evident, as because he writes
under the inspiration of a true passion. His scorn of the presumptuous
intermeddler who has dared to libel the people of England is ten
thousand times more real than Salmasius's official indignation at the
execution of Charles. His contempt for Salmasius's pedantry is quite
genuine; and he revels in ecstasies of savage glee when taunting the
apologist of tyranny with his own notorious subjection to a tyrannical
wife. But the reviler in Milton is too far ahead of the reasoner. He
seems to set more store by his personalities than by his principles. On
the question of the legality of Charles's execution he has indeed little
argument to offer; and his views on the wider question of the general
responsibility of kings, sound and noble in themselves, suffer from the
mass of irrelevant quotation with which it was in that age necessary to
prop them up. The great success of his reply ("Pro Populo Anglicano
Defensio") arose mainly from the general satisfaction that Salmasius
should at length have met with his match. The book, published in or
about March, 1651, instantly won over European public opinion, so far as
the question was a literary one. Every distinguished foreigner then
resident in London, Milton says, either called upon him to congratulate
him, or took the opportunity of a casual meeting. By May, says Heinsius,
five editions were printed or printing in Holland, and two translations.
"I had expected nothing of such quality from the Englishman," writes
Vossius. The Diet of Ratisbon ordered "that all the books of Miltonius
should be searched for and confiscated." Parisian magistrates burned it
on their own responsibility. Salmasius himself was then at Stockholm,
where Queen Christina, who did not, like Catherine II., recognize the
necessity of "standing by her order," could not help letting him see
that she regarded Milton as the victor. Vexation, some thought,
contributed as much as climate to determine his return to Holland. He
died in September, 1653, at Spa, as, remote from books, but making his
memory his library, he was penning his answer. This unfinished
production, edited by his son, appeared after the Restoration, when the
very embers of the controversy had grown cold, and the palm of literary
victory had been irrevocably adjudged to Milton.
Milton could hear the plaudits, he could not see the wreaths. The total
loss of his sight may be dated from March, 1652, a year after the
publication of his reply. It was then necessary to provide him with an
assistant--that no change should have been made in his position or
salary shows either the value attached to his services or the feeling
that special consideration was due to one who had voluntarily given his
eyes for his country. "The choice lay before me," he writes, "between
dereliction of a supreme duty and loss of eyesight; in such a case I
could not listen to the physician, not if Ĉsculapius himself had spoken
from his sanctuary; I could not but obey that inward monitor, I know not
what, that spoke to me from heaven." In September, 1654, he described
the symptoms of his infirmity to his friend, the Greek Philaras, who had
flattered him with hopes of cure from the dexterity of the French
oculist Thevenot. He tells him how his sight began to fail about ten
years before; how in the morning he felt his eyes shrinking from the
effort to read anything; how the light of a candle appeared like a
spectrum of various colours; how, little by little, darkness crept over
the left eye; and objects beheld by the right seemed to waver to and
fro; how this was accompanied by a kind of dizziness and heaviness which
weighed upon him throughout the afternoon. "Yet the darkness which is
perpetually before me seems always nearer to a whitish than to a
blackish, and such that, when the eye rolls itself, there is admitted,
as through a small chink, a certain little trifle of light." Elsewhere
he says that his eyes are not disfigured:
To outward view of blemish or of spot."
These symptoms have been pronounced to resemble those of glaucoma.
Milton himself, in "Paradise Lost," hesitates between amaurosis ("drop
serene") and cataract ("suffusion"). Nothing is said of his having been
recommended to use glasses or other precautionary contrivances.
Cheselden was not yet, and the oculist's art was probably not well
understood. The sufferer himself, while not repining or despairing of
medical assistance, evidently has little hope from it. "Whatever ray of
hope may be for me from your famous physician, all the same, as in a
case quite incurable, I prepare and compose myself accordingly. My
darkness hitherto, by the singular kindness of God, amid rest and
studies, and the voices and greetings of friends, has been much easier
to bear than that deathly one. But if, as is written, 'Man doth not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of
God,' what should prevent me from resting in the belief that eyesight
lies not in eyes alone, but enough for all purposes in God's leading and
providence? Verily, while only He looks out for me, and provides for me,
as He doth; teaching me and leading me forth with His hand through my
whole life, I shall willingly, since it hath seemed good to Him, have
given my eyes their long holiday. And to you I now bid farewell, with a
mind not less brave and steadfast than if I were Lynceus himself for
keenness of sight." Religion and philosophy, of which no brighter
example was ever given, did not, in this sore trial, disdain the support
of a manly pride:--
"What supports me, dost thou ask?
The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied
In liberty's defence, my noble task,
O! which all Europe rings from side to side;
This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask,
Content though blind, had I no better guide."
Noble words, and Milton might well triumph in his victory in the field
of intellectual combat. But if his pamphlet could have put Charles the
First's head on again, then, and then only, could it have been of real
political service to his party.
Milton's loss of sight was accompanied by domestic sorrow, though
perhaps not felt with special acuteness. Since the birth of his eldest
daughter in 1646, his wife had given him three more children--a
daughter, born in October, 1648; a son, born in March, 1650, who died
shortly afterwards; and another daughter, born in May, 1652. The birth
of this child may have been connected with the death of the mother in
the same or the following month. The household had apparently been
peaceful, but it is unlikely that Mary Milton can have been a companion
to her husband, or sympathized with such fraction of his mind as it was
given her to understand. She must have become considerably emancipated
from the creeds of her girlhood if his later writings could have been
anything but detestable to her; and, on the whole, much as one pities
her probably wasted life, her disappearance from the scene, if tragic
in her ignorance to the last of the destiny that might have been hers,
is not unaccompanied with a sense of relief. Great, nevertheless, must
have been the blind poet's embarrassment as the father of three little
daughters. Much evil, it is to be feared, had already been sown; and his
temperament, his affliction, and his circumstances alike nurtured the
evil yet to come. He was then living in Petty France, Westminster,
having been obliged, either by the necessities of his health or of the
public service, to give up his apartments in Whitehall. The house stood
till 1877, a forlorn tenement in these latter years; far different,
probably, when the neighbourhood was fashionable and the back windows
looked on St. James's Park. It is associated with other celebrated
names, having been owned by Bentham and occupied by Hazlitt.
The controversy with Salmasius had an epilogue, chiefly memorable in so
far as it occasioned Milton to indulge in autobiography, and to record
his estimate of some of the heroes of the Commonwealth. Among various
replies to his "Defensio," not deserving of notice here, appeared one of
especial acrimony, "Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Coelum," published about
August, 1652. It was a prodigy of scurrilous invective, bettering the
bad example which Milton had set (but which hundreds in that age had set
him) of ridiculing Salmasius's foibles when he should have been
answering his arguments. Having been in Italy, he was taxed with Italian
vices: he would have been accused of cannibalism had his path lain
towards the Caribee Islands. A fulsome dedication to Salmasius tended
to fix the suspicion of authorship upon Alexander Morus, a Frenchman of
Scotch extraction, Professor of Sacred History at Amsterdam, and pastor
of the Walloon Church, then an inmate of Salmasius's house, who actually
had written the dedication and corrected the proof. The real author,
however, was Peter Du Moulin, ex-rector of Wheldrake, in Yorkshire. The
dedicatory ink was hardly dry ere Morus was involved in a desperate
quarrel with Salmasius through the latter's imperious wife, who accused
Morus of having been over-attentive to her English waiting-maid, whose
patronymic is lost to history under the Latinized form of Bontia.
Failing to make Morus marry the damsel, she sought to deprive him of his
ecclesiastical and professorial dignities. The correspondence of
Heinsius and Vossius shows what intense amusement the affair occasioned
to such among the scholars of the period as were unkindly affected
towards Salmasius. Morus was ultimately acquitted, but his position in
Holland had become uncomfortable, and he was glad to accept an
invitation from the congregation at Charenton, celebrated for its
lunatics. Understanding, meanwhile, that Milton was preparing a reply,
and being naturally unwilling to brave invective in the cause of a book
which he had not written, and of a patron who had cast him off, he
protested his innocence of the authorship, and sought to ward off the
coming storm by every means short of disclosing the writer. Milton,
however, esteeming his Latin of much more importance than Morus's
character, and justly considering with Voltaire, "que cet Habacuc était
capable de tout," persisted in exhibiting himself as the blind Cyclop
dealing blows amiss. His reply appeared in May, 1654, and a rejoinder by
Morus produced a final retort in August, 1655. Both are full of
personalities, including a spirited description of the scratching of
Morus's face by the injured Bontia. These may sink into oblivion, while
we may be grateful for the occasion which led Milton to express himself
with such fortitude and dignity on his affliction and its
alleviations:--"Let the calumniators of God's judgments cease to revile
me, and to forge their superstitious dreams about me. Let them be
assured that I neither regret my lot nor am ashamed of it, that I remain
unmoved and fixed in my opinion, that I neither believe nor feel myself
an object of God's anger, but actually experience and acknowledge His
fatherly mercy and kindness to me in all matters of greatest
moment--especially in that I am able, through His consolation and His
strengthening of my spirit, to acquiesce in His divine will, thinking
oftener of what He has bestowed upon me than of what He has withheld:
finally, that I would not exchange the consciousness of what I have done
with that of any deed of theirs, however righteous, or part with my
always pleasant and tranquil recollection of the same." He adds that his
friends cherish him, study his wants, favour him with their society more
assiduously even than before, and that the Commonwealth treats him with
as much honour as if, according to the customs of the Athenians of old,
it had decreed him public support for his life in the Prytaneum.
Milton's tract is also interesting for its pen-portraits of some of the
worthies of the Commonwealth, and its indications of his own views on
the politics of his troubled times. Bradshaw is eulogized with great
elegance and equal truth for his manly courage and strict consistency.
"Always equal to himself, and like a consul re-elected for another year,
so that you would say he not only judged the King from his tribunal, but
is judging him all his life." This was matter of notoriety: one may hope
that Milton had equal reason for his praise of Bradshaw's affability,
munificence, and placability. The comparison of Fairfax to the elder
Scipio Africanus is more accurate than is always or often the case with
historical parallels, and by a dexterous turn, surprising if we have
forgotten the scholar in the controversialist, Fairfax's failure in
statesmanship, as Milton deemed it, is not only extenuated, but is made
to usher in the more commanding personality of Cromwell. Cĉsar, says
Johnson, had not more elegant flattery than Cromwell received from
Milton: nor Augustus, he might have added, encomiums more heartfelt and
sincere. Milton was one of the innumerable proofs that a man may be very
much of a Republican without being anything of a Liberal. He was as firm
a believer in right divine as any Cavalier, save that in his view such
right was vested in the worthiest; that is, practically, the strongest.
An admirable doctrine for 1653,--how unfit for 1660 remained to be
discovered by him. Under its influence he had successively swallowed
Pride's Purge, the execution of Charles I. by a self-constituted
tribunal, and Cromwell's expulsion of the scanty remnant of what had
once seemed the more than Roman senate of 1641. There is great reason
to believe with Professor Masson that a tract vindicating this violence
was actually taken down from his lips. It is impossible to say that he
was wrong. Cromwell really was standing between England and anarchy. But
Milton might have been expected to manifest some compunction at the
disappointment of his own brilliant hopes, and some alarm at the
condition of the vessel of the State reduced to her last plank.
Authority actually had come into the hands of the kingliest man in
England, valiant and prudent, magnanimous and merciful. But Cromwell's
life was precarious, and what after Cromwell? Was the ancient
constitution, with its halo of antiquity, its settled methods, and its
substantial safeguards, wisely exchanged for one life, already the mark
for a thousand bullets? Milton did not reflect, or he kept his
reflections to himself. The one point on which he does seem nervous is
lest his hero should call himself what he is. The name of Protector even
is a stumbling-block, though one _can_ get over it. "You have, by
assuming a title likest that of Father of your Country, allowed yourself
to be, one cannot say elevated, but rather brought down so many stages
from your real sublimity, and as it were forced into rank for the public
convenience." But there must be no question of a higher title:--
"You have, in your far higher majesty, scorned the title of King.
And surely with justice: for if in your present greatness you were
to be taken with that name which you were able when a private man
to reduce and bring to nothing, it would be almost as if, when by
the help of the true God you had subdued some idolatrous nation,
you were to worship the gods you had yourself overcome."
This warning, occurring in the midst of a magnificent panegyric,
sufficiently vindicates Milton against the charge of servile flattery.
The frank advice which he gives Cromwell on questions of policy is less
conclusive evidence: for, except on the point of disestablishment, it
was such as Cromwell had already given himself. Professor Masson's
excellent summary of it may be further condensed thus--1. Reliance on a
council of well-selected associates. 2. Absolute voluntaryism in
religion. 3. Legislation not to be meddlesome or over-puritanical. 4.
University and scholastic endowments to be made the rewards of approved
merit. 5. Entire liberty of publication at the risk of the publisher. 6.
Constant inclination towards the generous view of things. The advice of
an enthusiastic idealist, Puritan by the accident of his times, but
whose true affinities were with Mill and Shelley and Rousseau.
An interesting question arises in connection with Milton's official
duties: had he any real influence on the counsels of Government? or was
he a mere secretary? It would be pleasing to conceive of him as Vizier
to the only Englishman of the day whose greatness can be compared with
his; to imagine him playing Aristotle to Cromwell's Alexander. We have
seen him freely tendering Cromwell what might have been unpalatable
advice, and learn from Du Moulin's lampoon that he was accused of having
behaved to the Protector with something of dictatorial rudeness. But it
seems impossible to point to any direct influence of his mind in the
administration; and his own department of Foreign Affairs was neither
one which he was peculiarly qualified to direct, nor one in which he was
likely to differ from the ruling powers. "A spirited foreign policy" was
then the motto of all the leading men of England. Before Milton's loss
of sight his duties included attendance upon foreign envoys on State
occasions, of which he must afterwards have been to a considerable
extent relieved. The collection of his official correspondence published
in 1676 is less remarkable for the quantity of work than the quality.
The letters are not very numerous, but are mostly written on occasions
requiring a choice dignity of expression. "The uniformly Miltonic style
of the greater letters," says Professor Masson, "utterly precludes the
idea that Milton was only the translator of drafts furnished him." We
seem to see him sitting down to dictate, weighing out the fine gold of
his Latin sentences to the stately accompaniment, it may be, of his
chamber-organ. War is declared against the Dutch; the Spanish ambassador
is reproved for his protraction of business; the Grand Duke of Tuscany
is warmly thanked for protecting English ships in the harbour of
Leghorn; the French king is admonished to indemnify English merchants
for wrongful seizure; the Protestant Swiss cantons are encouraged to
fight for their religion; the King of Sweden is felicitated on the birth
of a son and heir, and on the Treaty of Roeskilde; the King of Portugal
is pressed to use more diligence in investigating the attempted
assassination of the English minister; an ambassador is accredited to
Russia; Mazarin is congratulated on the capture of Dunkirk. Of all his
letters, none can have stirred Milton's personal feelings so deeply as
the epistle of remonstrance to the Duke of Savoy on the atrocious
massacre of the Vaudois Protestants (1655); but the document is
dignified and measured in tone. His emotion found relief in his greatest
sonnet; blending, as Wordsworth implies, trumpet notes with his habitual
organ-music; the most memorable example in our language of the fire and
passion which may inspire a poetical form which some have deemed only
fit to celebrate a "mistress's eyebrow":--
"Avenge, O Lord, Thy slaughtered saints, whose bones
Lie scattered on the Alpine mountains cold;
Even them who kept Thy truth so pure of old,
When all our fathers worshipped stocks and stones.
Forget not: in Thy book record their groans
Who were Thy sheep, and in their ancient fold
Slain by the bloody Piemontese that rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks. Their moans
The vales redoubled to the hills, and they
To Heaven. Their martyred blood and ashes sow
O'er all the Italian fields, where still doth sway
The triple tyrant; that from these may grow
A hundredfold, who, having learned Thy way,
Early may fly the Babylonian woe."
This is what Johnson calls "carving heads upon cherry-stones!"
Milton's calamity had, of course, required special assistance. He had
first had Weckherlin as coadjutor, then Philip Meadows, finally Andrew
Marvell. His emoluments had been reduced, in April, 1655, from £288 to
£150 a year, but the diminished allowance was made perpetual instead of
annual, and seems to have been intended as a retiring pension. He
nevertheless continued to work, drawing salary at the rate of £200 a
year, and his pen was never more active than during the last months of
Oliver's Protectorate. He continued to serve under Richard, writing
eleven letters between September, 1658, and February, 1659. With two
letters for the restored Parliament after Richard's abdication, written
in May, 1659, Milton, though his formal supersession was yet to come,
virtually bade adieu to the Civil Service:--
"God doth not need
Either man's work, or his own gifts; who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best: His state
Is kingly; thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."
The principal domestic events in Milton's life, meanwhile, had been his
marriage with Katherine, daughter of an unidentified Captain Woodcock,
in November, 1656; and the successive loss of her and an infant daughter
in February and March, 1658. It is probable that Milton literally never
saw his wife, whose worth and the consequent happiness of the fifteen
months of their too brief union, are sufficiently attested by his sonnet
on the dream in which he fancied her restored to him, with the striking
conclusion, "Day brought back my night." Of his daughters at the time,
much may be conjectured, but nothing is known; his nephews, whose
education had cost him such anxious care, though not undutiful in their
personal relations with him, were sources of uneasiness from their own
misadventures, and might have been even more so as sinister omens of the
ways in which the rising generation was to walk. The fruits of their
bringing up upon the egregious Lucretius and Manilius were apparently
"Satyr against Hypocrites," _i.e._, Puritans; "Mysteries of Love and
Eloquence;" "Sportive Wit or Muses' Merriment," which last brought the
Council down upon John Phillips as a propagator of immorality. In his
nephews Milton might have seen, though we may be sure he did not see,
how fatally the austerity of the Commonwealth had alienated those who
would soon determine whether the Commonwealth should exist. Unconscious
of the "engine at the door," he could spend happy social hours with
attached friends--Andrew Marvell, his assistant in the secretaryship and
poetical satellite; his old pupil Cyriack Skinner; Lady Ranelagh;
Oldenburg, the Bremen envoy, destined to fame as Secretary of the Royal
Society and the correspondent of Spinoza; and a choice band of
"enthusiastic young men who accounted it a privilege to read to him, or
act as his amanuenses, or hear him talk." A sonnet inscribed to one of
these, Henry Lawrence, gives a pleasing picture of the British Homer in
his Horatian hour:--
"Lawrence, of virtuous father virtuous son,
Now that the fields are dank, and ways are mire,
Where shall we sometimes meet, and by the fire
Help waste a sullen day, what may be won
From the hard season gaining? Time will run
On smoother, till Favonius re-inspire
The frozen earth, and clothe in fresh attire
The lily and rose, that neither sowed nor spun.
What neat repast shall feast us, light and choice,
Of Attic taste, with wine, whence we may rise
To hear the lute well touched, or artful voice
Warble immortal notes and Tuscan air?
He who of those delights can judge, and spare
To interpose them oft, is not unwise."
"Thought by thought in heaven-defying minds
As flake by flake is piled, till some great truth
Is loosened, and the nations echo round."
These lines, slightly altered from Shelley, are more applicable to the
slow growth and sudden apparition of "Paradise Lost" than to most of
those births of genius whose maturity has required a long gestation. In
most such instances the work, however obstructed, has not seemed asleep.
In Milton's case the germ slumbered in the soil seventeen or eighteen
years before the appearance of a blade, save one of the minutest. After
two or three years he ceased, so far as external indications evince, to
consciously occupy himself with the idea of "Paradise Lost." His country
might well claim the best part of his energies, but even the intervals
of literary leisure were given to Amesius and Wollebius rather than
Thamyris and Mĉonides. Yet the material of his immortal poem must have
gone on accumulating, or inspiration, when it came at last, could not so
soon have been transmuted into song. It can hardly be doubted that his
cruel affliction was, in truth, the crowning blessing of his life.
Remanded thus to solemn meditation, he would gradually rise to the
height of his great argument; he would reflect with alarm how little, in
comparison with his powers, he had yet done to "sustain the expectation
he had not refused:" and he would come little by little to the point
when he could unfold his wings upon his own impulse, instead of needing,
as always hitherto, the impulse of others. We cannot tell what influence
finally launched this high-piled avalanche of thrice-sifted snow. The
time is better ascertained. Aubrey refers it to 1658, the last year of
Oliver's Protectorate. As Cromwell's death virtually closed Milton's
official labours, a Genie, overshadowing land and sea, arose from the
shattered vase of the Latin Secretaryship.
Nothing is more interesting than to observe the first gropings of genius
in pursuit of its aim. Ample insight, as regards Milton, is afforded by
the precious manuscripts given to Trinity College, Cambridge, by Sir
Henry Newton Puckering (we know not how he got them), and preserved by
the pious care of Charles Mason and Sir Thomas Clarke. By the portion of
the MSS. relating to Milton's drafts of projected poems, which date
about 1640-1642, we see that the form of his work was to have been
dramatic, and that, in respect of subject, the swift mind was divided
between Scripture and British History. No fewer than ninety-nine
possible themes--sixty-one Scriptural, and thirty-eight historical or
legendary--are jotted down by him. Four of these relate to "Paradise
Lost." Among the most remarkable of the other subjects are "Sodom" (the
plan is detailed at considerable length, and, though evidently
impracticable, is interesting as a counterpart of "Comus"), "Samson
Marrying," "Ahab," "John the Baptist," "Christus Patiens," "Vortigern,"
"Alfred the Great," "Harold," "Athirco" (a very striking subject from a
Scotch legend), and "Macbeth," where Duncan's ghost was to have appeared
instead of Banquo's, and seemingly taken a share in the action.
"Arthur," so much in his mind when he wrote the "Epitaphium Damonis,"
does not appear at all. Two of the drafts of "Paradise Lost" are mere
lists of _dramatis personĉ_, but the others indicate the shape which the
conception had then assumed in Milton's mind as the nucleus of a
religious drama on the pattern of the mediĉval mystery or miracle play.
Could he have had any vague knowledge of the autos of Calderon? In the
second and more complete draft Gabriel speaks the prologue. Lucifer
bemoans his fall and altercates with the Chorus of Angels. Eve's
temptation apparently takes place off the stage, an arrangement which
Milton would probably have reconsidered. The plan would have given scope
for much splendid poetry, especially where, before Adam's expulsion,
"the Angel causes to pass before his eyes a masque of all the evils of
this life and world," a conception traceable in the eleventh book of
"Paradise Lost." But it is grievously cramped in comparison with the
freedom of the epic, as Milton must soon have discovered. That he worked
upon it appears from the extremely interesting fact, preserved by
Phillips, that Satan's address to the Sun is part of a dramatic speech
which, according to Milton's plan in 1642 or 1643, would have formed the
exordium of his tragedy. Of the literary sources which may have
originated or enriched the conception of "Paradise Lost" in Milton's
mind we shall speak hereafter. It must suffice for the present to remark
that his purpose had from the first been didactic. This is particularly
visible in the notes of alternative subjects in his manuscripts, many of
which palpably allude to the ecclesiastical and political incidents of
his time, while one is strikingly prophetic of his own defence of the
execution of Charles I. "The contention between the father of Zimri and
Eleazar whether he ought to have slain his son without law; next the
ambassadors of the Moabites expostulating about Cosbi, a stranger and a
noblewoman, slain by Phineas. It may be argued about reformation and
punishment illegal, and, as it were, by tumult. After all arguments
driven home, then the word of the Lord may be brought, acquitting and
approving Phineas." It was his earnest aim at all events to compose
something "doctrinal and exemplary to a nation." "Whatsoever," he says
in 1641, "whatsoever in religion is holy and sublime, in virtue amiable
or grave, whatsoever hath passion or admiration in all the changes of
that which is called fortune from without, or the wily subtleties and
refluxes of man's thoughts from within--all these things with a solid
and treatable smoothness to paint out and describe; teaching over the
whole book of sanctity and virtue, through all the instances of example,
with much delight, to those especially of soft and delicious temper who
will not so much as look upon Truth herself unless they see her
elegantly drest, that, whereas the paths of honesty and good life appear
more rugged and difficult, though they be indeed easy and pleasant,
they would then appear to all men easy and pleasant though they were
rugged and difficult in deed." An easier task than that of "justifying
the ways of God to man" by the cosmogony and anthropology of "Paradise
If it is true--and the fact seems well attested--that Milton's poetical
vein flowed only from the autumnal equinox to the vernal, he cannot
well have commenced "Paradise Lost" before the death of Cromwell, or
have made very great progress with it ere his conception of his duty
called him away to questions of ecclesiastical policy. The one point on
which he had irreconcilably differed from Cromwell was that of a State
Church; Cromwell, the practical man, perceiving its necessity, and
Milton, the idealist, seeing only its want of logic. Unfortunately, this
inconsequence existed only for the few thinkers who could in that age
rise to the acceptance of Milton's premises. In his "Treatise of Civil
Power in Ecclesiastical Causes," published in February, 1659, he
emphatically insists that the civil magistrate has neither the right nor
the power to interfere in matters of religion, and concludes: "The
defence only of the Church belongs to the magistrate. Had he once learnt
not further to concern himself with Church affairs, half his labour
might be spared and the commonwealth better tended." It is to be
regretted that he had not entered upon this great subject at an earlier
period. The little tract, addressed to the Republican members of
Parliament, is designedly homely in style, and the magnificence of
Milton's diction is still further tamed down by the necessity of
resorting to dictation. It is nevertheless a powerful piece of argument,
in its own sphere of abstract reason unanswerable, and only questionable
in that lower sphere of expediency which Milton disdained. In the
following August appeared a sequel with the sarcastic title,
"Considerations on the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of the
Church." The recipe is simple and efficacious--cease to hire them, and
they will cease to be hirelings. Suppress all ecclesiastical endowments,
and let the clergyman be supported by free-will offerings. The fact that
this would have consigned about half the established clergy to beggary
does not trouble him; nor were they likely to be greatly troubled by a
proposal so sublimely impracticable. Vested interests can only be
over-ridden in times of revolution, and 1659, in outward appearance a
year of anarchy, was in truth a year of reaction. For the rest, it is to
be remarked that Milton scarcely allowed the ministry to be followed as
a profession, and that his views on ecclesiastical organization had come
to coincide very nearly with those now held by the Plymouth Brethren.
There is much plausibility in Pattison's comparison of the men of the
Commonwealth disputing about matters of this sort on the eve of the
Restoration, to the Greeks of Constantinople contending about the
Azymite controversy while the Turks were breaching their walls. In fact,
however, this blindness was not confined to one party. Anthony Wood, a
Royalist, writing thirty years afterwards, speaks of the Restoration as
an event which no man expected in September, 1659. The Commonwealth was
no doubt dead as a Republic. "Pride's Purge," the execution of Charles,
and Cromwell's expulsion of the remnant of the Commons, had long ago
given it mortal wounds. It was not necessarily defunct as a
Protectorate, or a renovated Monarchy: the history of England might have
been very different if Oliver had bequeathed his power to Henry instead
of to Richard. No such vigorous hand taking the helm, and the vessel of
the State drifting more and more into anarchy, the great mass of
Englishmen, to the frustration of many generous ideals, but to the
credit of their practical good sense, pronounced for the restoration of
Charles the Second. It is impossible to think without anger and grief of
the declension which was to ensue, from Cromwell enforcing toleration
for Protestants to Charles selling himself to France for a pension, from
Blake at Tunis to the Dutch at Chatham. But the Restoration was no
national apostasy. The people as a body did not decline from Milton's
standard, for they had never attained to it; they did not accept the
turpitudes of the new government, for they did not anticipate them. So
far as sentiment inspired them, it was not love of license, but
compassion for the misfortunes of an innocent prince. Common sense,
however, had much more to do with prompting their action, and common
sense plainly informed them that they had no choice between a restored
king and a military despot. They would not have had even that if the
leading military chief had not been a man of homely sense and vulgar
aims; such an one as Milton afterwards drew in--
"Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell
From heaven, for even in heaven his looks and thoughts
Were always downward bent, admiring more
The riches of heaven's pavement, trodden gold."
In the field, or on the quarter-deck, George Monk was the stout soldier,
acquitting himself of his military duty most punctually. In his
political conduct he laid himself out for titles and money, as little of
the ambitious usurper as of the self-denying patriot. Such are they for
whom more generous spirits, imprudently forward in revolutions, usually
find that they have laboured. "Great things," said Edward Gibbon
Wakefield, "are begun by men with great souls and little
breeches-pockets, and ended by men with great breeches-pockets and
Milton would not have been Milton if he could have acquiesced in an ever
so needful Henry Cromwell or Charles Stuart. Never quick to detect the
course of public opinion, he was now still further disabled by his
blindness. There is great pathos in the thought of the sightless patriot
hungering for tidings, "as the Red Sea for ghosts," and swayed hither
and thither by the narratives and comments of passionate or interested
reporters. At last something occurred which none could misunderstand or
misrepresent. On February 11th, about ten at night, Mr. Samuel Pepys,
being in Cheapside, heard "all the bells in all the churches a-ringing.
But the common joy that was everywhere to be seen! The number of
bonfires, there being fourteen between St. Dunstan's and Temple Bar, and
at Strand Bridge I could at one view tell thirty-one fires. In King
Street, seven or eight; and all around burning, roasting, and drinking
for rumps. There being rumps tied upon sticks and carried up and down.
The butchers at the May Pole in the Strand rang a merry peal with their
knives when they were going to sacrifice their rump. On Ludgate Hill
there was one turning of the spit that had a rump tied upon it, and
another basting of it. Indeed, it was past imagination, both the
greatness and the suddenness of it. At one end of the street you would
think there was a whole lane of fire, and so hot that we were fain to
keep on the further side." This burning of the Rump meant that the
attempt of a miserable minority to pose as King, Lords, and Commons, had
broken down, and that the restoration of Charles, for good or ill, was
the decree of the people. A modern Republican might without disgrace
have bowed to the gale, for such an one, unless hopelessly fanatical,
denies the divine right of republics equally with that of kings, and
allows no other title than that of the consent of the majority of
citizens. But Milton had never admitted the rights of the majority: and
in his supreme effort for the Republic, "The Ready and Easy Way to
establish a free Commonwealth," he ignores the Royalist plurality, and
assumes that the virtuous part of the nation, to whom alone he allows a
voice, is as desirous as himself of the establishment of a Republic, and
only needs to be shown the way. As this was by no means the case, the
whole pamphlet rests upon sand: though in days when public opinion was
guided not from the press but from the rostrum, many might have been won
by the eloquence of Milton's invectives against the inhuman pride and
hollow ceremonial of kingship, and his encomiums of the simple order
when the ruler's main distinction from the ruled is the severity of his
toil. "Whereas they who are the greatest are perpetual servants and
drudges to the public at their own cost and charges, neglect their own
affairs, yet are not elevated above their brethren; live soberly in
their families, walk the street as other men, may be spoken to freely,
familiarly, friendly without adoration." Whatever generous glow for
equality such words might kindle, was only too likely to be quenched
when the reader came to learn on what conditions Milton thought it
attainable. His panacea was a permanent Parliament or Council of State,
self-elected for life, or renewable at most only in definite
proportions, at stated times. The whole history of England for the last
twelve years was a commentary on the impotence of a Parliament that had
outlived its mandate, and every line of the lesson had been lost upon
Milton. He does indeed, near the end, betray a suspicion that the people
may object to hand over the whole business of legislation to a
self-elected and irresponsible body, and is led to make a remarkable
suggestion, prefiguring the federal constitution of the United States,
and in a measure the Home Rule and Communal agitations of our own day.
He would make every county independent in so far as regards the
execution of justice between man and man. The districts might make their
own laws in this department, subject only to a moderate amount of
control from the supreme council. This must have seemed to Milton's
contemporaries the official enthronement of anarchy, and, in fact, his
proposal, thrown off at a heat with the feverish impetuosity that
characterizes the whole pamphlet, is only valuable as an aid to
reflection. Yet, in proclaiming the superiority of healthy municipal
life to a centralized administration, he has anticipated the judgment of
the wisest publicists of our day, and shown a greater insight than was
possessed by the more scientific statesmen of the eighteenth century.
One quality of Milton's pamphlet claims the highest admiration, its
audacious courage. On the very eve of the Restoration, and with full
though tardy recognition of its probable imminence, he protests as
loudly as ever the righteousness of Charles's execution, and of the
perpetual exclusion of his family from the throne. When all was lost, it
was no disgrace to quit the field. His pamphlet appeared on March 3,
1660; a second edition, with considerable alterations, was for the time
suppressed. On March 28th the publisher was imprisoned for vending
treasonable books, among which the pamphlet was no doubt included. Every
ensuing day added something to the discomfiture of the Republicans,
until on May 1st, "the happiest May-day," says that ardent Royalist _du
lendemain_, Pepys, "that hath been many a year to England," Charles
II.'s letter was read to a Parliament that none could deny to have been
freely chosen, and acclaimed, "without so much as one No." On May 7th,
as is conjectured by the date of an assignment made to Cyriack Skinner
as security for a loan, Milton quitted his house, and concealed himself
in Bartholomew Close, Smithfield. Charles re-entered his kingdom on May
29th, and the hue and cry after regicides and their abettors began. The
King had wisely left the business to Parliament, and, when the
circumstances of the times, and the sincere horror in which good men
held what they called regicide and sacrilege are duly considered, it
must be owned that Parliament acted with humanity and moderation. Still,
in the nature of things, proscription on a small scale was inevitable.
Besides the regicides proper, twenty persons were to be named for
imprisonment and permanent incapacitation for office then, and liable to
prosecution and possibly capital punishment hereafter. It seemed almost
inevitable that Milton should be included. On June 16th his writings
against Charles I. were ordered to be burned by the hangman, which
sentence was performed on August 27th. A Government proclamation
enjoining their destruction had been issued on August 13th, and may now
be read in the King's Library at the British Museum. He had not, then,
escaped notice, and how he escaped proscription it is hard to say.
Interest was certainly made for him. Andrew Marvell, Secretary Morrice,
and Sir Thomas Clarges, Monk's brother-in-law, are named as active on
his behalf; his brother and his nephew both belonged to the Royalist
party, and there is a romantic story of Sir William Davenant having
requited a like obligation under which he lay to Milton himself. More to
his honour this than to have been the offspring of Shakespeare, but one
tale is no better authenticated than the other. The simplest explanation
is that twenty people were found more hated than Milton: it may also
have seemed invidious to persecute a blind man. It is certainly
remarkable that the authorities should have failed to find the
hiding-place of so recognizable a person, if they really looked for it.
Whether by his own adroitness or their connivance, he avoided arrest
until the amnesty resolution of August 29th restored him to the world
without even being incapacitated from office. He still had to run the
gauntlet of the Serjeant-at-Arms, who at some period unknown arrested
him as obnoxious to the resolution of June 16th, and detained him,
charging exorbitant fees, until compelled to abate his demands by the
Commons' resolution of December 15th. Milton relinquished his house in
Westminster, and formed a temporary refuge on the north side of Holborn.
His nerves were shaken; he started in his broken sleep with the
apprehension and bewilderment natural to one for whom, physically and
politically, all had become darkness.
His condition, in sooth, was one of well-nigh unmitigated misfortune,
and his bearing up against it is not more of a proof of stoic fortitude
than of innate cheerfulness. His cause lost, his ideals in the dust, his
enemies triumphant, his friends dead on the scaffold, or exiled, or
imprisoned, his name infamous, his principles execrated, his property
seriously impaired by the vicissitudes of the times. He had been
deprived of his appointment and salary as Latin Secretary, even before
the Restoration: and he was now fleeced of two thousand pounds, invested
in some kind of Government security, which was repudiated in spite of
powerful intercession. Another "great sum" is said by Phillips to have
been lost "by mismanagement and want of good advice," whether at this
precise time is uncertain. The Dean and Chapter of Westminster
reclaimed a considerable property which had passed out of their hands in
the Civil War. The Serjeant-at-Arms had no doubt made all out of his
captive that the Commons would let him. On the whole, Milton appears to
have saved about £1500 from the wreck of his fortunes, and to have
possessed about £200 income from the interest of this fund and other
sources, destined to be yet further reduced within a few years. The
value of money being then about three and a half times as great as now,
this modest income was still a fair competence for one of his frugal
habits, even when burdened with the care of three daughters. The history
of his relations with these daughters is the saddest page of his life.
"I looked that my vineyard should bring forth grapes, and it brought
forth wild grapes." If any lot on earth could have seemed enviable to an
imaginative mind and an affectionate heart, it would have been that of
an Antigone or a Romola to a Milton. Milton's daughters chose to reject
the fair repute that the simple fulfilment of evident duty would have
brought them, and to be damned to everlasting fame, not merely as
neglectful of their father, but as embittering his existence. The
shocking speech attributed to one of them is, we may hope, not a fact;
and it may not be true to the letter that they conspired to rob him, and
sold his books to the ragpickers. The course of events down to his
death, nevertheless, is sufficient evidence of the unhappiness of his
household. Writing "Samson Agonistes" in calmer days, he lets us see how
deep the iron had entered into his soul:
"I dark in light exposed
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors, or without, still as a fool
In power of others, never in my own."
He probably never understood how greatly he was himself to blame. He
had, in the first place, neglected to give his daughters the education
which might have qualified them in some measure to appreciate him. The
eldest, Anne, could not even write her name; and it is but a poor excuse
to say that, though good-looking, she was deformed, and afflicted with
an impediment in her speech. The second, Mary, who resembled her mother,
and the third, Deborah, the most like her father, were better taught;
but still not to the degree that could make them intelligent doers of
the work they had to perform for him. They were so drilled in foreign
languages, including Greek and Latin (Hebrew and Syriac are also
mentioned, but this is difficult of belief), that they could read aloud
to him without any comprehension of the meaning of the text. Sixty years
afterwards, passages of Homer and Ovid were found lingering as melodious
sounds in the memory of the youngest. Such a task, inexpressibly
delightful to affection, must have been intolerably repulsive to dislike
or indifference: we can scarcely wonder that two of these children (of
the youngest we have a better report), abhorred the father who exacted
so much and imparted so little. Yet, before visiting any of the parties
with inexorable condemnation, we should consider the strong probability
that much of the misery grew out of an antecedent state of things, for
which none of them were responsible. The infant minds of two of the
daughters, and the two chiefly named as undutiful, had been formed by
their mother. Mistress Milton cannot have greatly cherished her husband,
and what she wanted in love must have been made up in fear. She must
have abhorred his principles and his writings, and probably gave free
course to her feelings whenever she could have speech with a
sympathizer, without caring whether the girls were within hearing.
Milton himself, we know, was cheerful in congenial society, but he were
no poet if he had not been reserved with the uncongenial. To them the
silent, abstracted, often irritable, and finally sightless father would
seem awful and forbidding. It is impossible to exaggerate the
susceptibility of young minds to first impressions. The probability is
that ere Mistress Milton departed this life, she had intentionally or
unintentionally avenged all the injuries she could imagine herself to
have received from her husband, and furnished him with a stronger
argument than any that had found a place in the "Doctrine and Discipline
It is something in favour of the Milton girls that they were at least
not calculating in their undutifulness. Had they reflected, they must
have seen that their behaviour was little to their interest. If they
brought a stepmother upon themselves, the blame was theirs. Something
must certainly be done to keep Milton's library from the rag-women; and
in February, 1663, by the advice of his excellent physician Dr. Paget,
he married Elizabeth Minshull, daughter of a yeoman of Wistaston in
Cheshire, a distant relation of Dr. Paget's own, and exactly thirty
years younger than Milton. "A genteel person, a peaceful and agreeable
woman," says Aubrey, who knew her, and refutes by anticipation
Richardson's anonymous informant, perhaps Deborah Clarke, who libelled
her as "a termagant." She was pretty, and had golden hair, which one
connects pleasantly with the late sunshine she brought into Milton's
life. She sang to his accompaniment on the organ and bass-viol, but is
not recorded to have read or written for him; the only direct testimony
we have of her care of him is his verbal acknowledgment of her attention
to his creature comforts. Yet Aubrey's memoranda show that she could
talk with her husband about Hobbes, and she treasured the letters he had
received from distinguished foreigners. At the time of their marriage
Milton was living in Jewin Street, Aldersgate, from which he soon
afterwards removed to Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields, his last
residence. He lodged in the interim with Millington, the book
auctioneer, a man of superior ability, whom an informant of Richardson's
had often met in the streets leading his inmate by the hand.
It is at this era of Milton's history that we obtain the fullest details
of his daily life, as being nearer to the recollection of those from
whom information was sought after his death. His household was larger
than might have been expected in his reduced circumstances; he had a
man-servant, Greene, and a maid, named Fisher. That true
hero-worshipper, Aubrey, tells us that he generally rose at four, and
was even then attended by his "man" who read to him out of the Hebrew
Bible. Such erudition in a serving-man almost surpasses credibility: the
English Bible probably sufficed both. It is easier to believe that some
one read to him or wrote for him from seven till dinner time: if,
however, "the writing was nearly as much as the reading," much that
Milton dictated must have been lost. His recreations were walking in his
garden, never wanting to any of his residences, where he would continue
for three or four hours at a time; swinging in a chair when weather
prevented open-air exercise; and music, that blissful resource of
blindness. His instrument was usually the organ, the counterpart of the
stately harmony of his own verse. To these relaxations must be added the
society of faithful friends, among whom Andrew Marvell, Dr. Paget, and
Cyriack Skinner are particularly named. Nor did Edward Phillips neglect
his uncle, finding him, as Aubrey implies, "most familiar and free in
his conversation to those to whom most sour in his way of education."
Milton had made him "a songster," and we can imagine the "sober, silent,
and most harmless person" (Evelyn) opening his lips to accompany his
uncle's music. Of Milton's manner Aubrey says, "Extreme pleasant in his
conversation, and at dinner, supper, etc., but satirical." Visitors
usually came from six till eight, if at all, and the day concluded with
a light supper, sometimes of olives, which we may well imagine fraught
for him with Tuscan memories, a pipe, and a glass of water. This picture
of plain living and high thinking is confirmed by the testimony of the
Quaker Thomas Ellwood, who for a short time read to him, and who
describes the kindness of his demeanour, and the pains he took to teach
the foreign method of pronouncing Latin. Even more; "having a curious
ear, he understood by my tone when I understood what I read and when I
did not, and accordingly would stop me, examine me, and open the most
difficult passages to me." Milton must have felt a special tenderness
for the Quakers, whose religious opinions, divested of the shell of
eccentricity which the vulgar have always mistaken for the kernel, had
become substantially his own. He had outgrown Independency as formerly
Presbyterianism. His blindness served to excuse his absence from public
worship; to which, so long at least as Clarendon's intolerance prevailed
in the councils of Charles the Second, might be added the difficulty of
finding edification in the pulpit, had he needed it. But these reasons,
though not imaginary, were not those which really actuated him. He had
ceased to value rites and forms of any kind, and, had his religious
views been known, he would have been "equalled in fate" with his
contemporary Spinoza. Yet he was writing a book which orthodox
Protestantism has accepted as but a little lower than the Scriptures.
"The kingdom of heaven cometh not with observation." We know but little
of the history of the greatest works of genius. That something more than
usual should be known of "Paradise Lost" must be ascribed to the
author's blindness, and consequent dependence upon amanuenses. When
inspiration came upon him any one at hand would be called upon to
preserve the precious verses, hence the progress of the poem was known
to many, and Phillips can speak of "parcels of ten, twenty, or thirty
verses at a time." We have already heard from him that Milton's season
of inspiration lasted from the autumnal equinox to the vernal: the
remainder of the year doubtless contributed much to the matter of his
poem, if nothing to the form. His habits of composition appear to be
shadowed forth by himself in the induction to the Third Book:--
"Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath
That wash thy hallowed feet, and warbling flow,
Nightly I visit--"
"Then feed on thoughts that voluntary move
Harmonious numbers; as the wakeful bird
Sings darkling, and in shadiest covert hid
Tunes her nocturnal note."
This is something more precise than a mere poetical allusion to his
blindness, and the inference is strengthened by the anecdote that when
"his celestial patroness" "Deigned nightly visitation unimplored," his
daughters were frequently called at night to take down the verses, not
one of which the whole world could have replaced. This was as it should
be. Grand indeed is the thought of the unequalled strain poured forth
when every other voice was hushed in the mighty city, to no meaner
accompaniment than the music of the spheres. Respecting the date of
composition, we may trust Aubrey's statement that the poem was commenced
in 1658, and when the rapidity of Milton's composition is considered
("Easy my unpremeditated verse") it may, notwithstanding the terrible
hindrances of the years 1659 and 1660, have been, as Aubrey thinks,
completed by 1663. It would still require mature revision, which we know
from Ellwood that it had received by the summer of 1665. Internal
evidence of the chronology of the poem is very scanty. Professor Masson
thinks that the first two books were probably written before the
Restoration. In support of this view it may be urged that lines 500-505
of Book i. wear the appearance of an insertion after the Restoration,
and that in the invocation to the Third Book Milton may be thought to
allude to the dangers his life and liberty had afterwards encountered,
figured by the regions of nether darkness which he had traversed as a
"Hail holy Light!...
Thee I revisit now with bolder wing,
Escaped the Stygian pool, though long detained
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
Through utter and through middle darkness borne."
The only other passage important in this respect is the famous one from
the invocation to the Seventh Book, manifestly describing the poet's
condition under the Restoration:--
"Standing on earth, not rapt above the pole,
More safe I sing with mortal voice, unchanged
To hoarse or mute, though fallen on evil days,
On evil days though fallen and evil tongues;
In darkness, and with dangers compassed round,
And solitude; yet not alone, while thou
Visitest my slumbers nightly, or when morn
Purples the east. Still govern thou my song,
Urania, and fit audience find, though few.
But drive far off the barbarous dissonance
Of Bacchus and his revellers, the race
Of that wild rout that tore the Thracian bard."
This allusion to the licentiousness of the Restoration literature could
hardly have been made until its tendencies had been plainly developed.
At this time "Paradise Lost" was half finished. ("Half yet remains
unsung.") The remark permits us to conclude that Milton conceived and
executed his poem as a whole, going steadily through it, and not leaving
gaps to be supplied at higher or lower levels of inspiration. There is
no evidence of any resort to older material, except in the case of
Satan's address to the Sun.
The publication of "Paradise Lost" was impeded like the birth of
Hercules. In 1665 London was a city of the dying and the dead; in 1666
the better part of it was laid in ashes. One remarkable incident of the
calamity was the destruction of the stocks of the booksellers, which had
been brought into the vaults of St. Paul's for safety, and perished with
the cathedral. "Paradise Lost" might have easily, like its hero--
"In the singing smoke
Uplifted spurned the ground."
but the negotiations for its publication were not complete until April
27, 1667, on which day John Milton, "in consideration of five pounds to
him now paid by Samuel Symmons, and other the considerations herein
mentioned," assigned to the said Symmons, "all that book, copy, or
manuscript of a poem intituled 'Paradise Lost,' or by whatsoever ether
title or name the same is or shall be called or distinguished, now
lately licensed to be printed." The other considerations were the
payment of the like sum of five pounds upon the entire sale of each of
the first three impressions, each impression to consist of thirteen
hundred copies. "According to the present value of money," says
Professor Masson, "it was as if Milton had received £17 10s. down, and
was to expect £70 in all. That was on the supposition of a sale of 3,900
copies." He lived to receive ten pounds altogether; and his widow in
1680 parted with all her interest in the copyright for eight pounds,
Symmons shortly afterwards reselling it for twenty-five. He is not,
therefore, to be enumerated among those publishers who have fattened
upon their authors, and when the size of the book and the
unfashionableness of the writer are considered, his enterprise may
perhaps appear the most remarkable feature of the transaction. As for
Milton, we may almost rejoice that he should have reaped no meaner
reward than immortality.
It will have been observed that in the contract with Symmons "Paradise
Lost" is said to have been "lately licensed to be printed." The
censorship named in "Areopagitica" still prevailed, with the difference
that prelates now sat in judgment upon Puritans. The Archbishop gave or
refused license through his chaplains, and could not be ignored as
Milton had ignored the little Presbyterian Popes; Geneva in his person
must repair to Lambeth. Chaplain Tomkyns, who took cognisance of
"Paradise Lost," was fortunately a broad-minded man, disposed to live
and let live, though scrupling somewhat when he found "perplexity" and
"fear of change" imputed to "monarchs." His objections were overcome,
and on August 20, 1667--three weeks after the death of Cowley, and eight
days after Pepys had heard the deceased extolled as the greatest of
English poets--John Milton came forth clad as with adamantine mail in
the approbation of Thomas Tomkyns. The moment beseemed the event, it
was a crisis in English history, when heaven's "golden scales" for
weighing evil against good were hung--
"Betwixt Astrea and the Scorpion sign,"
one weighted with a consuming fleet, the other with a falling minister.
The Dutch had just burned the English navy at Chatham; on the other
hand, the reign of respectable bigotry was about to pass away with
Clarendon. Far less reputable men were to succeed, but men whose laxity
of principle at least excluded intolerance. The people were on the move,
if not, as Milton would have wished, "a noble and puissant nation
rousing herself like a strong man after sleep," at least a faint and
weary nation creeping slowly--Tomkyns and all--towards an era of liberty
and reason when Tomkyns's imprimatur would be accounted Tomkyns's
The world's great epics group themselves in two divisions, which may be
roughly defined as the natural and the artificial. The spontaneous or
self-created epic is a confluence of traditions, reduced to symmetry by
the hand of a master. Such are the Iliad, the Odyssey, the great Indian
and Persian epics, the Nibelungen Lied. In such instances it may be
fairly said that the theme has chosen the poet, rather than the poet the
theme. When the epic is a work of reflection, the poet has deliberately
selected his subject, and has not, in general, relied so much upon the
wealth of pre-existing materials as upon the capabilities of a single
circumstance. Such are the epics of Virgil, Camoens, Tasso, Milton;
Dante, perhaps, standing alone as the one epic poet (for we cannot rank
Ariosto and Spenser in this class) who owes everything but his creed to
his own invention. The traditional epic, created by the people and only
moulded by the minstrel, is so infinitely the more important for the
history of culture, that, since this new field of investigation has
become one of paramount interest, the literary epic has been in danger
of neglect. Yet it must be allowed that to evolve an epic out of a
single incident is a greater intellectual achievement than to weave one
out of a host of ballads. We must also admit that, leaving the unique
Dante out of account, Milton essayed a more arduous enterprise than any
of his predecessors, and in this point of view may claim to stand above
them all. We are so accustomed to regard the existence of "Paradise
Lost" as an ultimate fact, that we but imperfectly realize the gigantic
difficulty and audacity of the undertaking. To paint the bloom of
Paradise with the same brush that has depicted the flames and blackness
of the nether world; to make the Enemy of Mankind, while preserving this
character, an heroic figure, not without claims on sympathy and
admiration; to lend fit speech to the father and mother of humanity, to
angels and archangels, and even Deity itself;--these achievements
required a Michael Angelo shorn of his strength in every other province
of art, that all might be concentrated in song.
It is easy to represent "Paradise Lost" as obsolete by pointing out that
its demonology and angelology have for us become mere mythology. This
criticism is more formidable in appearance than in reality. The vital
question for the poet is his own belief, not the belief of his readers.
If the Iliad has survived not merely the decay of faith in the Olympian
divinities, but the criticism which has pulverized Achilles as a
historical personage, "Paradise Lost" need not be much affected by
general disbelief in the personality of Satan, and universal disbelief
in that of Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. A far more vulnerable point is
the failure of the purpose so ostentatiously proclaimed, "To justify the
ways of God to men." This problem was absolutely insoluble on Milton's
data, except by denying the divine foreknowledge, a course not open to
him. The conduct of the Deity who allows his adversary to ruin his
innocent creature from the purely malignant motive
"That with reiterated crimes he might
Heap on himself damnation,"
without further interposition than a warning which he foresees will be
fruitless, implies a grievous deficiency either in wisdom or in
goodness, or at best falsifies the declaration:
"Necessity and chance
Approach me not, and what I will is fate."
The like flaw runs through the entire poem, where Satan alone is
resolute and rational. Nothing can exceed the imbecility of the angelic
guard to which Man's defence is entrusted. Uriel, after threatening to
drag Satan in chains back to Tartarus, and learning by a celestial
portent that he actually has the power to fulfil his threat,
considerately draws the fiend's attention to the circumstance, and
advises him to take himself off, which Satan judiciously does, with the
intention of returning as soon as convenient. The angels take all
possible pains to prevent his gaining an entrance into Paradise, but
omit to keep Adam and Eve themselves in sight, notwithstanding the
strong hint they have received by finding the intruder
"Squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve,
Assaying by his devilish art to reach
The organs of her fancy, and with them forge
Illusions as he list, phantasms and dreams."
If anything more infatuated can be imagined, it is the simplicity of the
All-Wise Himself in entrusting the wardership of the gate of Hell, and
consequently the charge of keeping Satan _in_, to the beings in the
universe most interested in letting him _out_. The sole but sufficient
excuse is that these faults are inherent in the subject. If Milton had
not thought that he could justify the ways of Jehovah to man he would
not have written at all; common sense on the part of the angels would
have paralysed the action of the poem; we should, if conscious of our
loss, have lamented the irrefragable criticism that should have stifled
the magnificent allegory of Sin and Death. Another critical thrust is
equally impossible to parry. It is true that the Evil One is the hero of
the epic. Attempts have been made to invest Adam with this character. He
is, indeed, a great figure to contemplate, and such as might represent
the ideal of humanity till summoned to act and suffer. When, indeed, he
partakes of the forbidden fruit in disobedience to his Maker, but in
compassion to his mate, he does seem for a moment to fulfil the canon
which decrees that the hero shall not always be faultless, but always
shall be noble. The moment, however, that he begins to wrangle with Eve
about their respective shares of blame, he forfeits his estate of
heroism more irretrievably than his estate of holiness--a fact of which
Milton cannot have been unaware, but he had no liberty to forsake the
Scripture narrative. Satan remains, therefore, the only possible hero,
and it is one of the inevitable blemishes of the poem that he should
disappear almost entirely from the latter books.
These defects, and many more which might be adduced, are abundantly
compensated by the poet's vital relation to the religion of his age. No
poet whose fame is co-extensive with the civilised world, except
Shakespeare and Goethe, has ever been greatly in advance of his times.
Had Milton been so, he might have avoided many faults, but he would not
have been a representative poet; nor could Shelley have classed him with
Homer and Dante, and above Virgil, as "the third epic poet; that is, the
third poet the series of whose creations bore a defined and intelligible
relation to the knowledge and sentiment and religion of the age in which
he lived, and of the ages which followed it, developing itself in
correspondence with their development." Hence it is that in the
"Adonais," Shelley calls Milton "the third among the sons of light."
A clear conception of the universe as Milton's inner eye beheld it, and
of his religious and philosophical opinions in so far as they appear in
the poem, is indispensable for a correct understanding of "Paradise
Lost." The best service to be rendered to the reader within such limits
as ours is to direct him to Professor Masson's discussion of Milton's
cosmology in his "Life of Milton," and also in his edition of the
Poetical Works. Generally speaking, it may be said that Milton's
conception of the universe is Ptolemaic, that for him sun and moon and
planets revolve around the central earth, rapt by the revolution of the
crystal spheres in which, sphere enveloping sphere, they are
successively located. But the light which had broken in upon him from
the discoveries of Galileo has led him to introduce features not
irreconcilable with the solar centre and ethereal infinity of
Copernicus; so that "the poet would expect the effective permanence of
his work in the imagination of the world, whether Ptolemy or Copernicus
should prevail." So Professor Masson, who finely and justly adds that
Milton's blindness helped him "by having already converted all external
space in his own sensations into an infinite of circumambient blackness
through which he could flash brilliance at his pleasure." His
inclination as a thinker is evidently towards the Copernican theory, but
he saw that the Ptolemaic, however inferior in sublimity, was better
adapted to the purpose of a poem requiring a definite theatre of action.
For rapturous contemplation of the glory of God in nature, the
Copernican system is immeasurably the more stimulating to the spirit,
but when made the theatre of an action the universe fatigues with its
"Millions have meaning; after this
Cyphers forget the integer."
An infinite sidereal universe would have stultified the noble
description how Satan--
"In the emptier waste, resembling air,
Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to behold
Far off the empyreal heaven, extended wide
In circuit, undetermined square or round,
With opal towers and battlements adorned
Of living sapphire, once his native seat;
And fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
This pendant world, in bigness as a star
Of smallest magnitude close by the moon."
This pendant world, observe, is not the earth, as Addison understood it,
but the entire sidereal universe, depicted not as the infinity we now
know it to be, but as a definite object, so insulated in the vastness of
space as to be perceptible to the distant Fiend as a minute star, and no
larger in comparison with the courts of Heaven--themselves not wholly
seen--than such a twinkler matched with the full-orbed moon. Such a
representation, if it diminishes the grandeur of the universe accessible
to sense, exalts that of the supersensual and extramundane regions where
the action takes its birth, and where Milton's gigantic imagination is
most perfectly at home.
There is no such compromise between religious creeds in Milton's mind as
he saw good to make between Ptolemy and Copernicus. The matter was, in
his estimation, far too serious. Never was there a more unaccountable
misstatement than Ruskin's, that "Paradise Lost" is a poem in which
every artifice of invention is consciously employed--not a single fact
being conceived as tenable by any living faith. Milton undoubtedly
believed most fully in the actual existence of all his chief personages,
natural and supernatural, and was sure that, however he might have
indulged his imagination in the invention of incidents, he had
represented character with the fidelity of a conscientious historian.
His religious views, moreover, are such as he could never have thought
it right to publish if he had not been intimately convinced of their
truth. He has strayed far from the creed of Puritanism. He is an Arian;
his Son of God, though an unspeakably exalted being, is dependent,
inferior, not self-existent, and could be merged in the Father's person
or obliterated entirely without the least diminution of Almighty
perfection. He is, moreover, no longer a Calvinist: Satan and Adam both
possess free will, and neither need have fallen. The reader must accept
these views, as well as Milton's conception of the materiality of the
spiritual world, if he is to read to good purpose. "If his imagination,"
says Pattison, pithily, "is not active enough to assist the poet, he
must at least not resist him."
This is excellent advice as respects the general plan of "Paradise
Lost," the materiality of its spiritual personages, and its system of
philosophy and theology. Its poetical beauties can only be resisted
where they are not perceived. They have repeated the miracles of Orpheus
and Amphion, metamorphosing one most bitterly obnoxious, of whom so late
as 1687 a royalist wrote that "his fame is gone out like a candle in a
snuff, and his memory will always stink," into an object of universal
veneration. From the first instant of perusal the imagination is led in
captivity, and for the first four books at least stroke upon stroke of
sublimity follows with such continuous and undeviating regularity that
sublimity seems this Creation's first law, and we feel like pigmies
transported to a world of giants. There is nothing forced or affected
in this grandeur, no visible effort, no barbaric profusion, everything
proceeds with a severe and majestic order, controlled by the strength
that called it into being. The similes and other poetical ornaments,
though inexpressibly magnificent, seem no more so than the greatness of
the general conception demands. Grant that Satan in his fall is not
"less than archangel ruined," and it is no exaggeration but the simplest
truth to depict his mien--
"As when the sun, new risen,
Looks through the horizontal misty air,
Shorn of his beams; or from behind the moon,
In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight sheds
On half the nations."
When such a being voyages through space it is no hyperbole to compare
him to a whole fleet, judiciously shown at such distance as to suppress
every minute detail that could diminish the grandeur of the image--
"As when far off at sea a fleet descried
Hangs in the clouds, by equinoctial winds
Close sailing from Bengala, or the isles
Of Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bring
Their spicy drugs: they on the trading flood,
Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,
Ply stemming nightly towards the pole: so seemed
Far off the flying Fiend."
These similes, and an infinity of others, are grander than anything in
Homer, who would, however, have equalled them with an equal subject.
Dante's treatment is altogether different; the microscopic intensity of
perception in which he so far surpasses Homer and Milton affords, in
our opinion, no adequate compensation for his inferiority in
magnificence. That the theme of "Paradise Lost" should have evoked such
grandeur is a sufficient compensation for its incurable flaws and the
utter breakdown of its ostensible moral purpose. There is yet another
department of the poem where Milton writes as he could have written on
nothing else. The elements of his under-world are comparatively simple,
fire and darkness, fallen angels now huddled thick as leaves in
"A forest huge of spears and thronging helms,"
charming their painful steps over the burning marl by
"The Dorian mood
Of flutes and soft recorders;"
the dazzling magnificence of Pandemonium; the ineffable welter of Chaos;
proudly eminent over all like a tower, the colossal personality of
Satan. The description of Paradise and the story of Creation, if making
less demand on the poet's creative power, required greater resources of
knowledge, and more consummate skill in combination. Nature must yield
up her treasures, whatever of fair and stately the animal and vegetable
kingdoms can afford must be brought together, blended in gorgeous masses
or marshalled in infinite procession. Here Milton is as profuse as he
has hitherto been severe, and with good cause; it is possible to make
Hell too repulsive for art, it is not possible to make Eden too
enchanting. In his descriptions of the former the effect is produced by
a perpetual succession of isolated images of awful majesty; in his
Paradise and Creation the universal landscape is bathed in a general
atmosphere of lustrous splendour. This portion of his work is
accordingly less great in detached passages, but is little inferior in
general greatness. No less an authority than Tennyson, indeed, expresses
a preference for the "bowery loneliness" of Eden over the "Titan angels"
of the "deep-domed Empyrean." If this only means that Milton's Eden is
finer than his war in heaven, we must concur; but if a wider application
be intended, it does seem to us that his Pandemonium exalts him to a
greater height above every other poet than his Paradise exalts him above
his predecessor, and in some measure, his exemplar, Spenser.
To remain at such an elevation was impossible. Milton compares
unfavourably with Homer in this; his epic begins at its zenith, and
after a while visibly and continually declines. His genius is
unimpaired, but his skill transcends his stuff. The fall of man and its
consequences could not by any device be made as interesting as the fall
of Satan, of which it is itself but a consequence. It was, moreover,
absolutely inevitable that Adam's fall, the proper catastrophe of the
poem, should occur some time before the conclusion, otherwise there
would have been no space for the unfolding of the scheme of Redemption,
equally essential from the point of view of orthodoxy and of art. The
effect is the same as in the case of Shakespeare's "Julius Cĉsar,"
which, having proceeded with matchless vigour up to the flight of the
conspirators after Antony's speech, becomes comparatively tame and
languid, and cannot be revived even by such a masterpiece as the
contention between Brutus and Cassius. It is to be regretted that
Milton's extreme devotion to the letter of Scripture has not permitted
him to enrich his latter books with any corresponding episode. It is not
until the very end that he is again truly himself--
"They, looking back, all the eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand; the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms.
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon.
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide.
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way."
Some minor objections may be briefly noticed. The materiality of
Milton's celestial warfare has been censured by every one from the days
of Sir Samuel Morland, a splenetic critic, who had incurred Milton's
contempt by his treachery to Cromwell and Thurloe. Warfare, however,
there must be: war cannot be made without weapons; and Milton's only
fault is that he has rather exaggerated than minimized the difficulties
of his subject. A sense of humour would have spiked his celestial
artillery, but a lively perception of the ridiculous is scarcely to be
demanded from a Milton. After all, he was borrowing from good poets,
whose thought in itself is correct, and even profound; it is only when
artillery antedates humanity that the ascription of its invention to the
Tempter seems out of place. The metamorphosis of the demons into
serpents has been censured as grotesque; but it was imperatively
necessary to manifest by some unmistakable outward sign that victory did
not after all remain with Satan, and the critics may be challenged to
find one more appropriate. The bridge built by Sin and Death is equally
essential. Satan's progeny must not be dismissed without some exploit
worthy of their parentage. The one passage where Milton's taste seems to
us entirely at fault is the description of the Paradise of Fools (iii.,
481-497), where his scorn of--
Indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls,"
has tempted him to chequer the sublime with the ludicrous.
No subject but a Biblical one would have insured Milton universal
popularity among his countrymen, for his style is that of an ancient
classic transplanted, like Aladdin's palace set down with all its
magnificence in the heart of Africa; and his diction, the delight of the
educated, is the despair of the ignorant man. Not that this diction is
in any respect affected or pedantic. Milton was the darling poet of our
greatest modern master of unadorned Saxon speech, John Bright. But it
is freighted with classic allusion--not alone from the ancient
classics--and comes to us rich with gathered sweets, like a wind laden
with the scent of many flowers. "It is," says Pattison, "the elaborated
outcome of all the best words of all antecedent poetry--the language of
one who lives in the companionship of the great and the wise of past
time." "Words," the same writer reminds us, "over and above their
dictionary signification, connote all the feeling which has gathered
round them by reason of their employment through a hundred generations
of song." So it is, every word seems instinct with its own peculiar
beauty, and fraught with its own peculiar association, and yet each
detail is strictly subordinate to the general effect. No poet of
Milton's rank, probably, has been equally indebted to his predecessors,
not only for his vocabulary, but for his thoughts. Reminiscences throng
upon him, and he takes all that comes, knowing that he can make it
lawfully his own. The comparison of Satan's shield to the moon, for
instance, is borrowed from the similar comparison of the shield of
Achilles in the Iliad, but what goes in Homer comes out Milton. Homer
merely says that the huge and massy shield emitted a lustre like that of
the moon in heaven. Milton heightens the resemblance by giving the
shield shape, calls in the telescope to endow it with what would seem
preternatural dimensions to the naked eye, and enlarges even these by
the suggestion of more than the telescope can disclose--
"His ponderous shield,
Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orb
Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views
At evening, from the top of Fesole,
Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,
Rivers or mountains in her spotty globe."
Thus does Milton appropriate the wealth of past literature, secure of
being able to recoin it with his own image and superscription. The
accumulated learning which might have choked the native fire of a
feebler spirit was but nourishment to his. The polished stones and
shining jewels of his superb mosaic are often borrowed, but its plan and
pattern are his own.
One of the greatest charms of "Paradise Lost" is the incomparable metre,
which, after Coleridge and Tennyson have done their utmost, remains
without equal in our language for the combination of majesty and music.
It is true that this majesty is to a certain extent inherent in the
subject, and that the poet who could rival it would scarcely be well
advised to exert his power to the full unless his theme also rivalled
the magnificence of Milton's. Milton, on his part, would have been quite
content to have written such blank verse as Wordsworth's "Yew Trees," or
as the exordium of "Alastor," or as most of Coleridge's idylls, had his
subject been less than epical. The organ-like solemnity of his verbal
music is obtained partly by extreme attention to variety of pause, but
chiefly, as Wordsworth told Klopstock, and as Mr. Addington Symonds
points out more at length, by the period, not the individual line, being
made the metrical unit, "so that each line in a period shall carry its
proper burden of sound, but the burden shall be differently distributed
in the successive verses." Hence lines which taken singly seem almost
unmetrical, in combination with their associates appear indispensable
parts of the general harmony. Mr. Symonds gives some striking instances.
Milton's versification is that of a learned poet, profound in thought
and burdened with the further care of ordering his thoughts: it is
therefore only suited to sublimity of a solemn or meditative cast, and
most unsuitable to render the unstudied sublimity of Homer. Perhaps no
passage is better adapted to display its dignity, complicated artifice,
perpetual retarding movement, concerted harmony, and grave but ravishing
sweetness than the description of the coming on of Night in the Fourth
"Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests,
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires; Hesperus that led
The stary host rose brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw."
How exquisite the indication of the pauseless continuity of the
nightingale's song by the transition from short sentences, cut up by
commas and semicolons, to the "linked sweetness long drawn out" of "She
all night long her amorous descant sung"! The poem is full of similar
felicities, none perhaps more noteworthy than the sequence of
monosyllables that paints the enormous bulk of the prostrate Satan:--
"So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay."
It is a most interesting subject for inquiry from what sources, other
than the Scriptures, Milton drew aid in the composition of "Paradise
Lost." The most striking counterpart is Calderon, to whom he owed as
little as Calderon can have owed to him. "El Magico Prodigioso," already
cited as affording a remarkable parallel to "Comus," though performed in
1637, was not printed until 1663, when "Paradise Lost" was already
completed. The two great religious poets have naturally conceived the
Evil One much in the same manner, and Calderon's Lucifer,
"Like the red outline of beginning Adam,"
might well have passed as the original draft of Milton's Satan:--
"In myself I am
A world of happiness and misery;
This I have lost, and that I must lament
For ever. In my attributes I stood
So high and so heroically great,
In lineage so supreme, and with a genius
Which penetrated with a glance the world
Beneath my feet, that, won by my high merit,
A King--whom I may call the King of Kings,
Because all others tremble in their pride
Before the terrors of his countenance--
In his high palace, roofed with brightest gems
Of living light--call them the stars of heaven--
Named me his counsellor. But the high praise
Stung me with pride and envy, and I rose
In mighty competition, to ascend
His seat, and place my foot triumphantly
Upon his subject thrones. Chastised, I know
The depth to which ambition falls. For mad
Was the attempt; and yet more mad were now
Repentance of the irrevocable deed.
Therefore I chose this ruin with the glory
Of not to be subdued, before the shame
Of reconciling me with him who reigns
By coward cession. Nor was I alone,
Nor am I now, nor shall I be, alone.
And there was hope, and there may still be hope;
For many suffrages among his vassals
Hailed me their lord and king, and many still
Are mine, and many more perchance shall be."
A striking proof that resemblance does not necessarily imply plagiarism.
Milton's affinity to Calderon has been overlooked by his commentators;
but four luminaries have been named from which he is alleged to have
drawn, however sparingly, in his golden urn--Caedmon, the Adamus Exul of
Grotius, the Adamo of the Italian dramatist Andreini, and the Lucifer of
the Dutch poet Vondel. Caedmon, first printed in 1655, it is but barely
possible that he should have known, and ere he could have known him the
conception of "Paradise Lost" was firmly implanted in his mind. External
evidence proves his acquaintance with Grotius, internal evidence his
knowledge of Andreini: and small as are his direct obligations to the
Italian drama, we can easily believe with Hayley that "his fancy caught
fire from that spirited, though irregular and fantastic composition."
Vondel's Lucifer--whose subject is not the fall of Adam, but the fall of
Satan--was acted and published in 1654, when Milton is known to have
been studying Dutch, but when the plan of "Paradise Lost" must have been
substantially formed. There can, nevertheless, be no question of the
frequent verbal correspondences, not merely between Vondel's Lucifer and
"Paradise Lost," but between his Samson and "Samson Agonistes." Milton's
indebtedness, so long ago as 1829, attracted the attention of an English
poet of genius, Thomas Lovell Beddoes, who pointed out that his
lightning-speech, "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven," was a
thunderbolt condensed from a brace of Vondel's clumsy Alexandrines,
which Beddoes renders thus:--
"And rather the first prince at an inferior court
Than in the blessed light the second or still less."
Mr. Gosse followed up the inquiry, which eventually became the subject
of a monograph by Mr. George Edmundson ("Milton and Vondel," 1885). That
Milton should have had, as he must have had, Vondel's works translated
aloud to him, is a most interesting proof, alike of his ardour in the
enrichment of his own mind, and of his esteem for the Dutch poet.
Although, however, his obligations to predecessors are not to be
overlooked, they are in general only for the most obvious ideas and
expressions, lying right in the path of any poet treating the subject.
_Je l'aurais bien pris sans toi._ When, as in the instance above quoted,
he borrows anything more recondite, he so exalts and transforms it that
it passes from the original author to him like an angel the former has
entertained unawares. This may not entirely apply to the Italian
reformer, Bernardino Ochino, to whom, rather than to Tasso, Milton seems
indebted for the conception of his diabolical council. Ochino, in many
respects a kindred spirit to Milton, must have been well known to him as
the first who had dared to ventilate the perilous question of the
lawfulness of polygamy. In Ochino's "Divine Tragedy," which he may have
read either in the Latin original or in the nervous translation of
Bishop Poynet, Milton would find a hint for his infernal senate. "The
introduction to the first dialogue," says Ochino's biographer Benrath,
"is highly dramatic, and reminds us of Job and Faust." Ochino's
arch-fiend, like Milton's, announces a masterstroke of genius. "God sent
His Son into the world, and I will send my son." Antichrist accordingly
comes to light in the shape of the Pope, and works infinite havoc until
Henry VIII. is divinely commissioned for his discomfiture. It is a
token, not only of Milton's, but of Vondel's, indebtedness, that, with
Ochino as with them, Beelzebub holds the second place in the council,
and even admonishes his leader. "I fear me," he remarks, "lest when
Antichrist shall die, and come down hither to hell, that as he passeth
us in wickedness, so he will be above us in dignity." Prescience worthy
of him who
"In his rising seemed
A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
Deliberation sat, and public care;
And princely counsel in his face yet shone."
Milton's borrowings, nevertheless, nowise impair his greatness. The
obligation is rather theirs, of whose stores he has condescended to
avail himself. He may be compared to his native country, which, fertile
originally in little but enterprise, has made the riches of the earth
her own. He has given her a national epic, inferior to no other, and
unlike most others, founded on no merely local circumstance, but such as
must find access to every nation acquainted with the most
widely-circulated Book in the world. He has further enriched his native
literature with an imperishable monument of majestic diction, an example
potent to counteract that wasting agency of familiar usage by which
language is reduced to vulgarity, as sea-water wears cliffs to shingle.
He has reconciled, as no other poet has ever done, the Hellenic spirit
with the Hebraic, the Bible with the Renaissance. And, finally, as we
began by saying, his poem is the mighty bridge--
"Bound with Gorgonian rigour not to move,"
across which the spirit of ancient poetry has travelled to modern times,
and by which the continuity of great English literature has remained
In recording the publication of "Paradise Lost" in 1667, we have passed
over the interval of Milton's life immediately subsequent to the
completion of the poem in 1663. The first incident of any importance is
his migration to Chalfont St. Giles, near Beaconsfield, in
Buckinghamshire, about July, 1665, to escape the plague then devastating
London. Ell wood, whose family lived in the neighbourhood of Chalfont,
had at his request taken for him "a pretty box" in that village; and we
are, says Professor Masson, "to imagine Milton's house in Artillery Walk
shuttered up, and a coach and a large waggon brought to the door, and
the blind man helped in, and the wife and the three daughters following,
with a servant to look after the books and other things they have taken
with them, and the whole party driven away towards Giles-Chalfont."
According to the same authority, Chalfont well deserves the name of
Sleepy Hollow, lying at the bottom of a leafy dell. Milton's cottage,
alone of his residences, still exists, though divided into two
tenements. It is a two-storey dwelling, with a garden, is built of
brick, with wooden beams, musters nine rooms--though a question arises
whether some of them ought not rather to be described as closets; the
porch in which Milton may have breathed the summer air is gone, but the
parlour retains the latticed casement at which he sat, though through it
he could not see. His infirmity rendered the confined situation less of
a drawback, and there are abundance of pleasant lanes, along which he
could be conducted in his sightless strolls:--
"As one who long in populous city pent,
Where houses thick and sewers annoy the air,
Forth issuing on a summer's morn to breathe
Among the pleasant villages and farms
Adjoined, from each new thing conceives delight,
The smell of grain, or tedded grass, or kine,
Or dairy, each rural sight, each rural sound."
Milton was probably no stranger to the neighbourhood, having lived
within thirteen miles of it when he dwelt at Horton. Ellwood could not
welcome him on his arrival, being in prison on account of an affray at
what should have been the paragon of decorous solemnities--a Quaker
funeral. When released, about the end of August or the beginning of
September, he waited upon Milton, who, "after some discourses, called
for a manuscript of his; which he delivered to me, bidding me take it
home with me and read it at my leisure. When I set myself to read it, I
found it was that excellent poem which he entitled 'Paradise Lost.'"
Professor Masson justly remarks that Milton would not have trusted the
worthy Quaker adolescent with the only copy of his epic; we may be sure,
therefore, that other copies existed, and that the poem was at this
date virtually completed and ready for press. When the manuscript was
returned, Ellwood, after "modestly, but freely, imparting his judgment,"
observed, "Thou hast said much here of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou
to say of Paradise Found? He made no answer, but sat some time in a
muse; then brake off that discourse, and fell on another subject." The
plague was then at its height, and did not abate sufficiently for Milton
to return to town with safety until about February in the following
year, leaving, it has been asserted, a record of himself at Chalfont in
the shape of a sonnet on the pestilence regarded as a judgment for the
sins of the King, written with a diamond on a window-pane--as if the
blind poet could write even with a pen! The verses, nevertheless, may
not impossibly be genuine: they are almost too Miltonic for an imitator
between 1665 and 1738, when they were first published.
The public calamity of 1666 affected Milton more nearly than that of
1665. The Great Fire came within a quarter of a mile of his house, and
though he happily escaped the fate of Shirley, and did not make one of
the helpless crowd of the homeless and destitute, his means were
seriously abridged by the destruction of the house in Bread Street where
he had first seen the light, and which he had retained through all the
vicissitudes of his fortunes. He could not, probably, have published
"Paradise Lost" without the co-operation of Samuel Symmons. Symmons's
endeavours to push the sale of the book make the bibliographical history
of the first edition unusually interesting. There were at least nine
different issues, as fresh batches were successively bound up, with
frequent alterations of title-page as reasonable cause became apparent
to the strategic Symmons. First Milton's name is given in full, then he
is reduced to initials, then restored; Symmons's own name, at first
suppressed, by and by appears; his agents are frequently changed; and
the title is altered to suit the year of issue, that the book may seem a
novelty. The most important of all these alterations is one in which the
author must have actively participated--the introduction of the Argument
which, a hundred and forty years afterwards, was to cause Harriet
Martineau to take up "Paradise Lost" at the age of seven, and of the
Note on the metre conveying "a reason of that which stumbled many, why
this poem rimes not." Partly, perhaps, by help of these devices,
certainly without any aid from advertising or reviewing, the impression
of thirteen hundred copies was disposed of within twenty months, as
attested by Milton's receipt for his second five pounds, April 26,
1669--two years, less one day, since the signature of the original
contract. The first printed notice appeared after the edition had been
entirely sold. It was by Milton's nephew, Edward Phillips, and was
contained in a little Latin essay appended to Buchlerus's "Treasury of
"John Milton, in addition to other most elegant writings of his,
both in English and Latin, has recently published 'Paradise Lost,'
a poem which, whether we regard the sublimity of the subject, or
the combined pleasantness and majesty of the style, or the
sublimity of the invention, or the beauty of its images and
descriptions of nature, will, if I mistake not, receive the name
of truly heroic, inasmuch as by the suffrages of many not
unqualified to judge, it is reputed to have reached the perfection
of this kind of poetry."
The "many not unqualified" undoubtedly included the first critic of the
age, Dryden. Lord Buckhurst is also named as an admirer--pleasing
anecdotes respecting the practical expression of his admiration, and of
Sir John Denham's, seem apocryphal.
While "Paradise Lost" was thus slowly upbearing its author to the
highest heaven of fame, Milton was achieving other titles to renown, one
of which he deemed nothing inferior. We shall remember Ellwood's hint
that he might find something to say about Paradise Found, and the "muse"
into which it cast him. When, says the Quaker, he waited upon Milton
after the latter's return to London, Milton "showed me his second poem,
called 'Paradise Regained,' and in a pleasant tone said to me, 'This is
owing to you; for you put it into my head by the question you put to me
at Chalfont; which before I had not thought of.'" Ellwood does not tell
us the date of this visit, and Phillips may be right in believing that
"Paradise Regained" was entirely composed after the publication of
"Paradise Lost"; but it seems unlikely that the conception should have
slumbered so long in Milton's mind, and the most probable date is
between Michaelmas, 1665, and Lady-day, 1666. Phillips records that
Milton could never hear with patience "Paradise Regained" "censured to
be much inferior" to "Paradise Lost." "The most judicious," he adds,
agreed with him, while allowing that "the subject might not afford such
variety of invention," which was probably all that the injudicious
meant. There is no external evidence of the date of his next and last
poem, "Samson Agonistes," but its development of Miltonic mannerisms
would incline us to assign it to the latest period possible. The poems
were licensed by Milton's old friend, Thomas Tomkyns, July 2, 1670, but
did not appear until 1671. They were published in the same volume, but
with distinct title-pages and paginations; the publisher was John
Starkey; the printer an anonymous "J.M.," who was far from equalling
Symmons in elegance and correctness.
"Paradise Regained" is in one point of view the confutation of a
celebrated but eccentric definition of poetry as a "criticism of life."
If this were true it would be a greater work than "Paradise Lost," which
must be violently strained to admit a definition not wholly inapplicable
to the minor poem. If, again, Wordsworth and Coleridge are right in
pronouncing "Paradise Regained" the most perfect of Milton's works in
point of execution, the proof is afforded that perfect execution is not
the chief test of poetic excellence. Whatever these great men may have
propounded in theory, it cannot be believed that they would not have
rather written the first two books of "Paradise Lost" than ten such
poems as "Paradise Regained," and yet they affirm that Milton's power is
even more advantageously exhibited in the latter work than in the other.
There can be no solution except that greatness in poetry depends mainly
upon the subject, and that the subject of "Paradise Lost" is infinitely
the finer. Perhaps this should not be. Perhaps to "the visual nerve
purged with euphrasy and rue" the spectacle of the human soul
successfully resisting supernatural temptation would be more impressive
than the material sublimities of "Paradise Lost," but ordinary vision
sees otherwise. Satan "floating many a rood" on the sulphurous lake, or
"up to the fiery concave towering high," or confronting Death at the
gate of Hell, kindles the imagination with quite other fire than the
sage circumspection and the meek fortitude of the Son of God. "The
reason," says Blake, "why Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of
Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he
was a true Poet, and of the Devil's party without knowing it." The
passages in "Paradise Regained" which most nearly approach the
magnificence of "Paradise Lost," are those least closely connected with
the proper action of the poem, the episodes with which Milton's
consummate art and opulent fancy have veiled the bareness of his
subject. The description of the Parthian military expedition; the
picture, equally gorgeous and accurate, of the Roman Empire at the
zenith of its greatness; the condensation into a single speech of all
that has made Greece dear to humanity--these are the shining peaks of
the regained "Paradise," marvels of art and eloquence, yet, unlike
"Paradise Lost," beautiful rather than awful. The faults inherent in the
theme cannot be imputed to the poet. No human skill could make the
second Adam as great an object of sympathy as the first: it is enough,
and it is wonderful, that spotless virtue should be so entirely exempt
from formality and dulness. The baffled Satan, beaten at his own
weapons, is necessarily a much less interesting personage than the
heroic adventurer of "Paradise Lost." Milton has done what can be done
by softening Satan's reprobate mood with exquisite strokes of pathos:--
"Though I have lost
Much lustre of my native brightness, lost
To be beloved of God, I have not lost
To love, at least contemplate and admire
What I see excellent in good or fair,
Or virtuous; I should so have lost all sense."
These words, though spoken with a deceitful intention, express a truth.
Milton's Satan is a long way from Goethe's Mephistopheles. Profound,
too, is the pathos of--
"I would be at the worst, worst is my best,
My harbour, and my ultimate repose."
The general sobriety of the style of "Paradise Regained" is a fertile
theme for the critics. It is, indeed, carried to the verge of baldness;
frigidity, used by Pattison, is too strong a word. This does not seem to
be any token of a decay of poetical power. As writers advance in life
their characteristics usually grow upon them, and develop into
mannerisms. In "Paradise Regained," and yet more markedly in "Samson
Agonistes," Milton seems to have prided himself on showing how
independent he could be of the ordinary poetical stock-in-trade. Except
in his splendid episodical descriptions he seeks to impress by the massy
substance of his verse. It is a great proof of the essentially poetical
quality of his mind that though he thus often becomes jejune, he is
never prosaic. He is ever unmistakably the poet, even when his beauties
are rather those of the orator or the moralist. The following sound
remark, for instance, would not have been poetry in Pope; it is poetry
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not
A spirit and judgment equal or superior
(And what he brings what need he elsewhere seek?)
Uncertain and unsettled still remains?
Deep versed in books and shallow in himself."
Perhaps, too, the sparse flowers of pure poetry are more exquisite from
their contrast with the general austerity:--
"The field, all iron, cast a gleaming brown."
Came forth with pilgrim steps in amice gray."
Poetic magic these, and Milton is still Milton.
"I have lately read his Samson, which has more of the antique spirit
than any production of any other modern poet. He is very great." Thus
Goethe to Eckermann, in his old age. The period of life is noticeable,
for "Samson Agonistes" is an old man's poem as respects author and
reader alike. There is much to repel, little to attract a young reader;
no wonder that Macaulay, fresh from college, put it so far below
"Comus," to which the more mature taste is disposed to equal it. It is
related to the earlier work as sculpture is to painting, but sculpture
of the severest school, all sinewy strength; studious, above all, of
impressive truth. "Beyond these an ancient fisherman and a rock are
fashioned, a rugged rock, whereon with might and main the old man drags
a great net from his cast, as one that labours stoutly. Thou wouldest
say that he is fishing with all the might of his limbs, so big the
sinews swell all about his neck, grey-haired though he is, but his
strength is as the strength of youth." Behold here the Milton of
"Samson Agonistes," a work whose beauty is of metal rather than of
marble, hard, bright, and receptive of an ineffaceable die. The great
fault is the frequent harshness of the style, principally in the
choruses, where some strophes are almost uncouth. In the blank verse
speeches perfect grace is often united to perfect dignity: as in the
farewell of Dalila:--
"Fame if not double-faced is double-mouthed,
And with contrary blast proclaims most deeds;
On both his wings, one black, the other white,
Bears greatest names in his wild aery flights.
My name perhaps among the circumcised,
In Dan, in Judah, and the bordering tribes,
To all posterity may stand defamed,
With malediction mentioned, and the blot
Of falsehood most unconjugal traduced.
But in my country where I most desire,
In Ecron, Gaza, Asdod, and in Gath,
I shall be named among the famousest
Of women, sung at solemn festivals,
Living and dead recorded, who to save
Her country from a fierce destroyer, chose
Above the faith of wedlock-bands; my tomb
With odours visited and annual flowers."
The scheme of "Samson Agonistes" is that of the Greek drama, the only
one appropriate to an action of such extreme simplicity, admitting so
few personages, and these only as foils to the hero. It is, but for its
Miltonisms of style and autobiographic and political allusion, just such
a drama as Sophocles or Euripides would have written on the subject, and
has all that depth of patriotic and religious sentiment which made the
Greek drama so inexpressibly significant to Greeks. Consummate art is
shown in the invention of the Philistine giant, Harapha, who not only
enriches the meagre action, and brings out strong features in the
character of Samson, but also prepares the reader for the catastrophe.
We must say reader, for though the drama might conceivably be acted with
effect on a Court or University stage, the real living theatre has been
no place for it since the days of Greece. Milton confesses as much when
in his preface he assails "the poet's error of intermixing comic stuff
with tragic sadness and gravity; or introducing trivial and vulgar
persons, which by all judicious hath been counted absurd; and brought in
without discretion, corruptly to gratify the people." In his view
tragedy should be eclectic; in Shakespeare's it should be all embracing.
Shelley, perhaps, judged more rightly than either when he said: "The
modern practice of blending comedy with tragedy is undoubtedly an
extension of the dramatic circle; but the comedy should be as in 'King
Lear,' universal, ideal, and sublime." On the whole, "Samson Agonistes"
is a noble example of a style which we may hope will in no generation be
entirely lacking to our literature, but which must always be exotic,
from its want of harmony with the more essential characteristics of our
tumultous, undisciplined, irrepressible national life.
In one point of view, however, "Samson Agonistes" deserves to be
esteemed a national poem, pregnant with a deeper allusiveness than has
always been recognized. Samson's impersonation of the author himself can
escape no one. Old, blind, captive, helpless, mocked, decried, miserable
in the failure of all his ideals, upheld only by faith and his own
unconquerable spirit, Milton is the counterpart of his hero. Particular
references to the circumstances of his life are not wanting: his bitter
self-condemnation for having chosen his first wife in the camp of the
enemy, and his surprise that near the close of an austere life he should
be afflicted by the malady appointed to chastise intemperance. But, as
in the Hebrew prophets Israel sometimes denotes a person, sometimes a
nation, Samson seems no less the representative of the English people in
the age of Charles the Second. His heaviest burden is his remorse, a
remorse which could not weigh on Milton:--
"I do acknowledge and confess
That I this honour, I this pomp have brought
To Dagon, and advanced his praises high
Among the heathen round; to God have brought
Dishonour, obloquy, and oped the mouths
Of idolists and atheists; have brought scandal
To Israel, diffidence of God, and doubt
In feeble hearts, propense enough before
To waver, to fall off, and join with idols;
Which is my chief affliction, shame, and sorrow,
The anguish of my soul, that suffers not
My eye to harbour sleep, or thoughts to rest."
Milton might reproach himself for having taken a Philistine wife, but
not with having suffered her to shear him. But the same could not be
said of the English nation, which had in his view most foully
apostatized from its pure creed, and most perfidiously betrayed the high
commission it had received from Heaven. "This extolled and magnified
nation, regardless both of honour won, or deliverances vouchsafed, to
fall back, or rather to creep back, so poorly as it seems the multitude
would, to their once abjured and detested thraldom of kingship! To be
ourselves the slanderers of our own just and religious deeds! To verify
all the bitter predictions of our triumphing enemies, who will now think
they wisely discerned and justly censured us and all our actions as
rash, rebellious, hypocritical, and impious!" These things, which Milton
refused to contemplate as possible when he wrote his "Ready Way to
establish a Free Commonwealth," had actually come to pass. The English
nation is to him the enslaved and erring Samson--a Samson, however, yet
to burst his bonds, and bring down ruin upon Philistia. "Samson
Agonistes" is thus a prophetic drama, the English counterpart of the
world-drama of "Prometheus Bound."
Goethe says that our final impression of any one is derived from the
last circumstances in which we have beheld him. Let us, therefore,
endeavour to behold Milton as he appeared about the time of the
publication of his last poems, to which period of his life the
descriptions we possess seem to apply. Richardson heard of his sitting
habitually "in a grey coarse cloth coat at the door of his house near
Bunhill Fields, in warm sunny weather to enjoy the fresh air"--a
suggestive picture. What thoughts must have been travelling through his
mind, undisturbed by external things! How many of the passers knew that
they flitted past the greatest glory of the age of Newton, Locke, and
Wren? For one who would reverence the author of "Paradise Lost," there
were probably twenty who would have been ready with a curse for the
apologist of the killing of the King. In-doors he was seen by Dr.
Wright, in Richardson's time an aged clergyman in Dorsetshire, who found
him up one pair of stairs, in a room hung with rusty green "sitting in
an elbow chair, black clothes, and neat enough, pale but not cadaverous;
his hands and fingers gouty and with chalk-stones." Gout was the enemy
of Milton's latter days; we have seen that he had begun to suffer from
it before he wrote "Samson Agonistes." Without it, he said, he could
find blindness tolerable. Yet even in the fit he would be cheerful, and
would sing. It is grievous to write that, about 1670, the departure of
his daughters promoted the comfort of his household. They were sent out
to learn embroidery as a means of future support--a proper step in
itself, and one which would appear to have entailed considerable expense
upon Milton. But they might perfectly well have remained inmates of the
family, and the inference is that domestic discord had at length grown
unbearable to all. Friends, or at least visitors, were, on the other
hand, more numerous than of late years. The most interesting were the
"subtle, cunning, and reserved" Earl of Anglesey, who must have "coveted
Milton's society and converse" very much if, as Phillips reports, he
often came all the way to Bunhill Fields to enjoy it; and Dryden, whose
generous admiration does not seem to have been affected by Milton's
over-hasty sentence upon him as "a good rhymester, but no poet." One of
Dryden's visits is famous in literary history, when he came with the
modest request that Milton would let him turn his epic into an opera.
"Aye," responded Milton, equal to the occasion, "tag my verses if you
will"--to tag being to put a shining metal point--compared in Milton's
fancy to a rhyme--at the end of a lace or cord. Dryden took him at his
word, and in due time "Paradise Lost" had become an opera under the
title of "The State of Innocence and Fall of Man," which may also be
interpreted as referring to the condition of the poem before Dryden laid
hands upon it and afterwards. It is a puzzling performance altogether;
one sees not any more than Sir Walter Scott could see how a drama
requiring paradisiacal costume could have been acted even in the age of
Nell Gwyn; and yet it is even more unlikely that Dryden should have
written a play not intended for the stage. The same contradiction
prevails in the piece itself; it would not be unfair to call it the most
absurd burlesque ever written without burlesque intention; and yet it
displays such intellectual resources, such vigour, bustle, adroitness,
and bright impudence, that admiration almost counterweighs derision.
Dryden could not have made such an exhibition of Milton and himself
twenty years afterwards, when he said that, much as he had always
admired Milton, he felt that he had not admired him half enough. The
reverence which he felt even in 1674 for "one of the greatest, most
noble, and most sublime poems which either this age or nation has
produced," contrasts finely with the ordinary Restoration estimate of
Milton conveyed in the complimentary verses by Lee, prefixed to "The
State of Innocence":--
"To the dead bard your fame a little owes,
For Milton did the wealthy mine disclose,
And rudely cast what you could well dispose.
He roughly drew, on an old-fashioned ground,
A chaos, for no perfect world was found,
Till through the heap your mighty genius shined;
He was the golden ore, which you refined."
These later years also produced several little publications of Milton's
own, mostly of manuscripts long lying by him, now slightly revised and
fitted for the press. Such were his miniature Latin grammar, published
in 1669; and his "Artis Logicae Plenior Institutio; or The Method of
Ramus," 1672. The first is insignificant; and the second even Professor
Masson pronounces, "as a digest of logic, disorderly and unedifying."
Both apparently belong to his school-keeping days: the little tract, "Of
True Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration," (1673) is, on the other
hand, contemporary with a period of great public excitement, when
Parliament (March, 1673) compelled the king to revoke his edict of
toleration autocratically promulgated in the preceding year, and to
assent to a severe Test Act against Roman Catholics. The good sense and
good nature which inclined Charles to toleration were unfortunately
alloyed with less creditable motives. Protestants justly suspected him
of insidiously aiming at the re-establishment of Roman Catholicism, and
even the persecuted Nonconformists patriotically joined with High
Churchmen to adjourn their own deliverance until the country should be
safe from the common enemy. The wisdom and necessity of this course were
abundantly evinced under the next reign, and while we must regret that
Milton contributed his superfluous aid to restrictions only defensible
on the ground of expediency, we must admit that he could not well avoid
making Roman Catholics an exception to the broad tolerance he claims for
all denominations of Protestants. And, after all, has not the Roman
Catholic Church's notion of tolerance always been that which Macaulay
imputes to Southey, that everybody should tolerate her, and that she
should tolerate nobody?
A more important work, though scarcely worthy of Milton's industry, was
his "History of Britain" (1670). This was a comparatively early labour,
four of the six books having been written before he entered upon the
Latin Secretaryship, and two under the Commonwealth. From its own point
of view, this is a meritorious performance, making no pretensions to the
character of a philosophical history, but a clear, easy narrative,
sometimes interrupted by sententious disquisition, of transactions down
to the Conquest. Like Grote, though not precisely for the same reason,
Milton hands down picturesque legendary matter as he finds it, and it is
to those who would see English history in its romantic aspect that, in
these days of exact research, his work is chiefly to be recommended. It
is also memorable for what he never saw himself, the engraved portrait,
after Faithorne's crayon sketch.
"No one," says Professor Masson, "can desire a more impressive and
authentic portrait of Milton in his later life. The face is such
as has been given to no other human being; it was and is uniquely
Milton's. Underneath the broad forehead and arched temples there
are the great rings of eye-socket, with the blind, unblemished
eyes in them, drawn straight upon you by your voice, and
speculating who and what you are; there is a severe composure in
the beautiful oval of the whole countenance, disturbed only by the
singular pouting of the rich mouth; and the entire expression is
that of English intrepidity mixed with unutterable sorrow."
Milton's care to set his house in order extended to his poetical
writings. In 1673 the poems published in 1645, both English and Latin,
appeared in a second edition, disclosing _novas frondes_ in one or two
of Milton's earliest unprinted poems, and such of the sonnets as
political considerations did not exclude; and _non sua poma_ in the
Tractate of Education, curiously grafted on at the end. An even more
important publication was the second edition of "Paradise Lost" (1674)
with the original ten books for the first time divided into twelve as we
now have them. Nor did this exhaust the list of Milton's literary
undertakings. He was desirous of giving to the world his correspondence
when Latin Secretary, and the "Treatise on Christian Doctrine" which had
employed so much of his thoughts at various periods of his life. The
Government, though allowing the publication of his familiar Latin
correspondence (1674), would not tolerate the letters he had written as
secretary to the Commonwealth, and the "Treatise on Christian Doctrine"
was still less likely to propitiate the licenser. Holland was in that
day the one secure asylum of free thought, and thither, in 1675, the
year following Milton's death, the manuscripts were taken or sent by
Daniel Skinner, a nephew of Cyriack's, to Daniel Elzevir, who agreed to
publish them. Before publication could take place, however, a
clandestine but correct edition of the State letters appeared in London,
probably by the agency of Edward Phillips. Skinner, in his vexation,
appealed to the authorities to suppress this edition: they took the
hint, and suppressed his instead. Elzevir delivered up the manuscripts,
which the Secretary of State pigeon-holed until their existence was
forgotten. At last, in 1823, Mr. Robert Lemon, rummaging in the State
Paper Office, came upon the identical parcel addressed by Elzevir to
Daniel Skinner's father which contained his son's transcript of the
State Letters and the "Treatise on Christian Doctrine." Times had
changed, and the heretical work was edited and translated by George the
Fourth's favourite chaplain, and published at his Majesty's expense.
The "Treatise on Christian Doctrine" is by far the most remarkable of
all Milton's later prose publications, and would have exerted a great
influence on opinion if it had appeared when the author designed.
Milton's name would have been a tower of strength to the liberal
eighteenth-century clergy inside and outside the Establishment. It
should indeed have been sufficiently manifest that "Paradise Lost" could
not have been written by a Trinitarian or a Calvinist; but theological
partisanship is even slower than secular partisanship to see what it
does not choose to see; and Milton's Arianism was not generally admitted
until it was here avouched under his own hand. The general principle of
the book is undoubting reliance on the authority of Scripture, with
which such an acquaintance is manifested as could only have been gained
by years of intense study. It is true that the doctrine of the inward
light as the interpreter of Scripture is asserted with equal conviction;
but practically this illumination seems seldom to have guided Milton to
any sense but the most obvious. Hence, with the intrepid consistency
that belongs to him, he is not only an Arian, but a tolerator of
polygamy, finding that practice nowhere condemned in Scripture, but even
recommended by respectable examples; an Anthropomorphist, who takes the
ascription of human passion to the Deity in the sense certainly intended
by those who made it; a believer in the materiality and natural
mortality of the soul, and in the suspension of consciousness between
death and the resurrection. Where less fettered by the literal Word he
thinks boldly; unable to conceive creation out of nothing, he regards
all existence as an emanation from the Deity, thus entitling himself to
the designation of Pantheist. He reiterates his doctrine of divorce; and
is as strong an Anti-Sabbatarian as Luther himself. On the Atonement and
Original Sin, however, he is entirely Evangelical; and he commends
public worship so long as it is not made a substitute for spiritual
religion. Liturgies are evil, and tithes abominable. His exposition of
social duty tempers Puritan strictness with Cavalier high-breeding, and
the urbanity of a man of the world. Of his motives for publication and
method of composition he says:--
"It is with a friendly and benignant feeling towards mankind that
I give as wide a circulation as possible to what I esteem my best
and richest possession.... And whereas the greater part of those
who have written most largely on these subjects have been wont to
fill whole pages with explanations of their own opinions,
thrusting into the margin the texts in support of their doctrines,
I have chosen, on the contrary, to fill my pages even to
redundance with quotations from Scripture, so that as little space
as possible might be left for my own words, even when they arise
from the context of revelation itself."
There is consequently little scope for eloquence in a treatise
consisting to so large an extent of quotations; but it is pervaded by a
moral sublimity, more easily felt than expressed. Particular opinions
will be diversely judged; but if anything could increase our reverence
for Milton it would be that his last years should have been devoted to a
labour so manifestly inspired by disinterested benevolence and hazardous
love of truth.
His life's work was now finished, and finished with entire success as
far as depended upon his own will and power. He had left nothing
unwritten, nothing undone, nor was he ignorant what manner of monument
he had raised for himself, It was only the condition of the State that
afflicted him, and this, looking forward, he saw in more gloomy colours
than it appears to us who look back. Had he attained his father's age
his apprehensions would have been dispelled by the Revolution: but he
had evidently for some time past been older in constitution than in
years. In July, 1674, he was anticipating death; but about the middle of
October, "he was very merry and seemed to be in good health of body."
Early in November "the gout struck in," and he died on November 8th,
late at night, "with so little pain that the time of his expiring was
not perceived by those in the room." On November 12th, "all his learned
and great friends in London, not without a concourse of the vulgar,
accompanied his body to the church of St. Giles, near Cripplegate, where
he was buried in the chancel." In 1864, the church was restored in
honour of the great enemy of religious establishments. "The animosities
die, but the humanities live for ever."
* * * * *
Milton's resources had been greatly impaired in his latter years by
losses, and the expense of providing for his daughters. He nevertheless
left, exclusive of household goods, about £900, which, by a nuncupative
will made in July, 1674, he had wholly bequeathed to his wife. His
daughters, he told his brother Christopher (now a Roman Catholic, and on
the road to become one of James the Second's judges, but always on
friendly terms with John), had been undutiful, and he thought that he
had done enough for them. They naturally thought otherwise, and
threatened litigation. The interrogatories administered on this occasion
afford the best clue to the condition of Milton's affairs and household.
At length the dispute was compromised, the nuncupative will, a kind of
document always regarded with suspicion, was given up, and the widow
received two-thirds of the estate instead of the whole, probably the
fairest settlement that could have been arrived at. After residing some
years in London she retired to Nantwich in her native county, where
divers glimpses reveal her as leading the decent existence of a poor but
comfortable gentlewoman as late as August or September, 1727. The
inventory of her effects, amounting to £38 8s. 4d., is preserved, and
includes: "Mr. Milton's pictures and coat of arms, valued at ten
guineas;" and "two Books of Paradise," valued at ten shillings. Of the
daughters, Anne married "a master-builder," and died in childbirth some
time before 1678; Mary was dead when Phillips wrote in 1694; and Deborah
survived until August 24, 1727, dying within a few days of her
stepmother. She had married Abraham Clarke, a weaver and mercer in
Dublin, who took refuge in England during the Irish troubles under James
the Second, and carried on his business in Spitalfields. She had several
children by him, one of whom lived to receive, in 1750, the proceeds of
a theatrical benefit promoted by Bishop Newton and Samuel Johnson.
Deborah herself was brought into notice by Addison, and was visited by
Professor Ward of Gresham College, who found her "bearing the
inconveniences of a low fortune with decency and prudence." Her last
days were made comfortable by the generosity of Princess Caroline and
others: it is more pleasant still to know that her affection for her
father had revived. When shown Faithorne's crayon portrait (not the one
engraved in Milton's lifetime, but one exceedingly like it) she
exclaimed, "in a transport, ''Tis my dear father, I see him, 'tis him!'
and then she put her hands to several parts of her face, ''Tis the very
man, here! here!'"
* * * * *
Milton's character is one of the things which "securus judicat orbis
terrarum." On one point only there seems to us, as we have frequently
implied, to be room for modification. In the popular conception of
Milton the poet and the man are imperfectly combined. We allow his
greatness as a poet, but deny him the poetical temperament which alone
could have enabled him to attain it. He is looked upon as a great, good,
reverend, austere, not very amiable, and not very sensitive man. The
author and the book are thus set at variance, and the attempt to
conceive the character as a whole results in confusion and
inconsistency. To us, on the contrary, Milton, with all his strength of
will and regularity of life, seems as perfect a representative as any of
his compeers of the sensitiveness and impulsive passion of the poetical
temperament. We appeal to his remarkable dependence upon external
prompting for his compositions; to the rapidity of his work under
excitement, and his long intervals of unproductiveness; to the heat and
fury of his polemics; to the simplicity with which, fortunately for us,
he inscribes small particulars of his own life side by side with
weightiest utterances on Church and State; to the amazing precipitancy
of his marriage and its rupture; to his sudden pliability upon appeal to
his generosity; to his romantic self-sacrifice when his country demanded
his eyes from him; above all, to his splendid ideals of regenerated
human life, such as poets alone either conceive or realize. To overlook
all this is to affirm that Milton wrote great poetry without being truly
a poet. One more remark may be added, though not required by thinking
readers. We must beware of confounding the essential with the accidental
Milton--the pure vital spirit with the casual vesture of the creeds and
circumstances of the era in which it became clothed with mortality:--
"They are still immortal
Who, through birth's orient portal
And death's dark chasm hurrying to and fro,
Clothe their unceasing flight
In the brief dust and light
Gathered around their chariots as they go.
New shapes they still may weave,
New gods, new laws, receive."
If we knew for certain which of the many causes that have enlisted noble
minds in our age would array Milton's spirit "in brief dust and light,"
supposing it returned to earth in this nineteenth century, we should
know which was the noblest of them all, but we should be as far as ever
from knowing a final and stereotyped Milton.
[Footnote 1: A famous Presbyterian tract of the day, so called from the
combined initials of the authors, one of whom was Milton's old
instructor, Thomas Young. The "Remonstrant" to whom Milton replied was
[Footnote 2: This principle admitted of general application. For
example, astrological books were to be licensed by John Booker, who
could by no means see his way to pass the prognostications of his rival
Lilly without "many impertinent obliterations," which made Lilly
[Footnote 3: Two persons of this uncommon name are mentioned in the
State Papers of Milton's time--one a merchant who imported a cargo of
timber; the other a leatherseller. The name also occurs once in Pepys.]
[Footnote 4: Rossetti's sonnet, "On the Refusal of Aid between Nations,"
is an almost equally remarkable instance.]
[Footnote 5: The same is recorded of Friedrich Hebbel, the most original
of modern German dramatists.]
[Footnote 6: In his "Urim of Conscience," 1695. This curious book
contains one of the first English accounts of Buddha, whom the author
calls Chacabout (Sakhya Buddha, apparently), and of the "Christians of
St. John" at Bassora.]
[Footnote 7: Ariosto and Marcellus Palingenius. Both these wrote before
Ronsard, to whom the thought is traced by Pattison, and Valvasone, to
whom Hayley deems Milton indebted for it.]
[Footnote 8: We cannot agree with Mr. Edmundson that Milton was in any
respect indebted to Vondel's "Adam's Banishment," published in 1664.]
[Footnote 9: Theocritus, Idyll I.; Lang's translation.]
Adam, not the hero of "Paradise Lost," 155
Adonais compared with Lycidas, 51
Aldersgate Street, Milton's home in, 67, 83
"Allegro, L.," 49-50
Andreini, his "Adamo" supposed to have suggested "Paradise Lost," 169
Anglesey, Earl of, visits Milton, 186
"Animadversions upon the Remonstrant," 72
"Apology for Smectymnuus," 72
"Areopagitica, the," 78;
argument of, 79-82
Arian opinions of Milton, 159, 191
Ariosto, Milton borrows from, 164
Artillery Walk, Milton's last house, 144
"At a Solemn Music," 33
Aubrey's biographical notices of Milton, 14, 15, 19, 24, 129, 144, 145
Ball's Life of Preston, 23
Barbican, Milton's house in the, 96
Baroni, Leonora, admired by Milton, 62
Beddoes, T.L., on Milton and Vondel, 170
Benrath on Ochino's "Divine Tragedy," 171
Blake on Milton, 179
Bradshaw, Milton's praise of, 120
Bread Street, Milton born in, 16
Bridgewater, Lord, "Comus" written in his honour, 45
Bright, John, his admiration for Milton, 164.
British Museum, copy of Milton's poems in, 97;
proclamation against Milton's books preserved in the, 139
Buckhurst, Lord, his admiration of "Paradise Lost," 177
Caedmon, question of Milton's indebtedness to, 169
Calderon's "Magico Prodigioso" compared with "Comus," 54;
with "Paradise Lost," 163
Cambridge in Milton's time, 22
Cardinal Barberini receives Milton, 62
Caroline, Princess, her kindness to Milton's daughter, 195
Chalfont St. Giles, Milton's residence at, 173
Chappell, W., Milton's college tutor, 24
Charles I., illegal government of, 30;
expedition against the Scots, 67;
execution of, 100;
alleged authorship of "Eikon Basilike," 105-107;
a bad king, but not a bad man, 110
Charles II., restoration of, 138;
favour to Roman Catholics, 188
Christ's College, Milton at, 22
"Christian Doctrine," Milton's treatise on, 99, 190-193
"Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes," 132
Clarke, Deborah, Milton's youngest daughter;
her reminiscences of her father, 195
Clarke, Mr. Hyde, his discoveries respecting Milton's ancestry, 14, 15
Clarke, Sir T., Milton's MSS. preserved by, 129
Coleridge, Milton compared with, 41;
on Milton's taste for music, 63;
on "Paradise Regained," 178
Comenius, educational method of, 76
Commonwealth, Milton's views of a free, 136
"Comus," production of, 38, 44, 46;
criticism on, 53-55
"Considerations on the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of the
Copernican theory only partly adopted in "Paradise Lost," 158
Cosmogony of Milton, 157
Cromwell, Milton's character of, 121;
Milton's advice to, 122
Dante and Milton compared, 160
Daughters, character of Milton's, 142
Davis, Miss, Milton's suit to, 94
Deity, imperfect conception of, in "Paradise Lost," 154
Denham, Sir J., his admiration of "Paradise Lost," 177
Diodati, Milton's friendship with, 21;
verses to, 25;
letters to, 39, 41, 55;
death of, 65;
Milton's elegy on, 43, 67
"Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce," 79, 87-91
Dryden, on "Paradise Lost," 177;
visits Milton, 187;
dramatizes "Paradise Lost," 187
Du Moulin, Peter, author of "Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Coelum," 118
Edmundson, Mr. G., on Milton and Vondel, 170
Education, Milton's tract on, 75-77
"Eikon Basilike," authorship of, 105-107
"Eikonoklastes," Milton's reply to "Eikon Basilike," 108
Ellwood, Thomas, the Quaker, reads to Milton, 145;
suggests "Paradise Regained," 175
Elzevir, Daniel, receives and gives up the MS. of "State Letters" and
the "Treatise on Christian Doctrine," 191
Fairfax, Milton's character of, 120
Faithorne's portrait of Milton, 189
Galileo, Milton's visit to, 61
Gauden, Bishop, author of "Eikon Basilike," 106
_Gentleman's Magazine_, account of Horton in, 36
Goethe on "Samson Agonistes," 181
Gill, Mr., Milton's master at St. Paul's school, 20
Gosse, Mr., on Milton and Vondel, 170
Greek, influence of, on Milton, 33, 39
Grotius, Hugo, Milton introduced to, 59;
Milton's study of, 169
Hartlib, S., Milton's tract on Education inspired by, 75
"History of Britain" by Milton, 99, 189
Holstenius, Lucas, librarian of the Vatican, 63
Homer and Shakespeare compared, 2;
and compared with Milton, 160, 165, 167
Horton, Milton retires to, 33;
poems written at, 44
Hunter, Rev. Joseph, on Milton's ancestors, 14
"Hymn on the Nativity," 32
Italian sonnets by Milton, 64
Italy, Milton's journey to, 56-65
Jansen, Cornelius, paints Milton's portrait, 19
Jeffrey, Sarah, Milton's mother, 16
Jewin Street, Milton's house in, 144
Johnson, Dr., on "Lycidas," 51;
benefits Milton's granddaughter, 195
Keats, Milton contrasted with, 41
King, Edward, "Lycidas," an elegy on his death, 48
Landor, his Latin verse compared with Milton's, 43
Latin grammar by Milton, 188
Latin Secretaryship to the Commonwealth, Milton's appointment to, 102
Laud, Archbishop, Church government of, 30;
Milton's veiled attack on, 49
Lawes, Henry, writes music to "Comus" and "Arcades," 44;
edits "Comus," 47
Lee, Nathaniel, his verses on Milton, 188
Lemon, Mr. Robert, discovers MS. of "State Letters" and the "Treatise
on Christian Doctrine," 191
Letters, Milton's official, 123
Logic, Milton's tract on, 188
Long Parliament, meeting of the, 68;
licensing of books by, 78
Lucifer, Vondel's, 170
Ludlow Castle, "Comus" first performed at, 46
"Lycidas," origin of, 40, 48;
analysis of, criticism on, 50, 52
Manso, Marquis, poem on, 64
Marshall, Milton's portrait engraved by, 97
Marriage, Milton's views on, 94
Martineau, Harriet, reads "Paradise Lost" at seven years of age, 176
Mason, C., Milton's MSS. preserved by, 129
Masson, Prof. David, his monumental biography of Milton, 14;
on Milton's ancestors, _ib._;
on Milton's college career, 23, 25;
on the scenery of Horton, 35;
on date of Divorce pamphlet, 87;
on date of "Paradise Lost," 147;
on money received for "Paradise Lost," 150;
on Milton's cosmogony, 156;
his description of Chalfont, 173;
on Milton's portrait, 189
Milton, Christopher, John Milton's younger brother, birth of, 16;
a Royalist, 91;
a Roman Catholic, and one of James the Second's judges, 194
Milton, John, the elder, birth, 15;
a scrivener by profession, _ib._;
musical compositions of, 18;
retirement to Horton, 33;
his noble confidence in his son, 37, 45;
comes to live with his son, 91;
Milton, John, birth, 11;
genealogy of, 14;
his father, 17;
his education, 18-27;
knowledge of Italian, 21;
at Cambridge, 22-28;
his degree, 1629; 25;
will not enter the church, 29;
early poems, 32;
writes "Comus," 38;
required incitement to write, 40, 48;
correctness of his early poems, 42;
his life at Horton, 44-55;
his "Comus" and "Arcades," 44-48;
his "Lycidas," 48;
his mother's death, 55;
goes to Italy, 56;
his Italian friends, 59;
visits Galileo, 61;
Italian sonnets, 64;
educates his nephews, 65;
elegy to Diodati, 67;
eighteen years' poetic silence, 68;
takes part with the Commonwealth, 68;
pamphlets on Church government, 72;
tract on Education, 75;
Italian sonnet, 85;
his first marriage, 86;
deserted by his wife, his treatise on Divorce, 87;
his pupils, 91;
return of his wife, 96;
his daughter born, 98;
becomes Secretary for Foreign Tongues, 102;
his State papers, 104;
licenses pamphlets, 105;
answers "Eikon Basilike," 108;
answers Salmasius, 111;
loses his sight, 114;
death of his wife, 116;
reply to Morus, 119;
his official duties 122;
his retirement and second marriage, 125;
projected ninety-nine themes preparatory to "Paradise Lost," 129;
wrote chiefly from autumn to spring, 132;
his views of a republic, 136;
escapes proscription at Restoration, 139;
unhappy relations with his daughters, 141;
third marriage, 143;
writing "Paradise Lost," 147-150;
analysis of his work, 152-172;
compared with modern poets, 166;
his indebtedness to earlier poets, 169;
retires to Chalfont to escape the plague, 173;
he suffers from the Great Fire, 175;
his "Paradise Regained," 177;
his "Samson Agonistes," 180-85;
his later life, 186;
his later tracts, 188, 190;
his "History of Britain," 189;
his Arian opinions, 192;
his death, 193;
his will, 194;
his widow and daughters, 195;
estimate of his character, 196
Milton, Richard, Milton's grandfather, 14, 15
Minshull, Elizabeth, Milton's third wife, 143;
Milton's will in favour of, 194;
Monk, General, character of, 135
Morland, Sir Samuel, on "Paradise Lost," 163
Morus, A., his controversy with Milton, 118-119
Myers, Mr. E., on Milton's views of marriage, 91
Newton, Bishop, benefits Milton's granddaughter, 195
Ochino, B., Milton's indebtedness to, 171
"On a fair Infant," 33
Paget, Dr., Milton's physician, 143, 145
Palingenius, Marcellus, Milton borrows from, 164
Pamphlets, Milton's, 72, 75, 78, 79, 87, 99, 100, 108, 113, 132, 133, 136-8
"Paradise Lost," 128;
four schemes for, 129;
first conceived as drama, 130;
manner of composition, 147;
dates of, 147-150;
critique of, 152-172;
successive publications of, 176
"Paradise Regained," 177;
criticism on, 178-180
"Passion of Christ," 32
Pattison, Mark, on "Lycidas," 51;
on Milton's political career, 68;
on fanaticism of Commonwealth, 133;
on "Paradise Lost," 159;
on Milton's diction, 165
"Penseroso, Il," 40, 49
Pepys, S., on Restoration, 135, 138
Petty France, Westminster, Milton's home in, 117
Philaras, Milton's Greek friend, 114
Phillips, E., Milton's brother-in-law, 22, 65
Phillips, Edward, Milton's nephew, on Milton's ancestry, 14;
educated by his uncle, 65;
his account of Milton's separation from his first wife, 87;
of their reconciliation, 96;
becomes a Royalist, 129;
his attention to his uncle, 145;
on "Paradise Lost," 176;
on "Paradise Regained," 177
"Pilot of the Galilean Lake," 49
"Plymouth Brethren," resemblance of Milton's views to, 133
Powell, Mary, Milton marries, 86;
she leaves him, 87;
returns to him, 95;
her family live with Milton, 98;
her death, 116;
probable bad influence on her daughters, 163
"Prelatical Episcopacy" pamphlet, 72
"Pro Populo" pamphlet, 113
Ptolemaic system followed by Milton in "Paradise Lost," 157
Puckering, Sir H., gave Milton's MSS. to the University of Cambridge, 129
Reading, surrender of to Parliamentary army, 91
"Ready way to establish a Commonwealth," 136
"Reason of Church Government" pamphlet, 72
"Reformation touching Church Discipline" pamphlet, 72
Restoration, consequences to Milton of the, 138-141
Richardson, J., on Milton's later life, 186
Rome, Milton in, 62
Rump, burning of the, 136
St. Bride's Churchyard, Milton lodges in, 65
St. Giles's Cripplegate, Milton's grave in, 194
St. Paul's school, Milton at, 19
Salmasius, Claudius, his character, 109;
author of "Defensio Regia," 111;
Milton's controversy with, 112, 114
Samson, Vondel's, 170
"Samson Agonistes," 141, 178;
criticism on, 180-185
Satan, the hero of "Paradise Lost," 155
Milton's panegyric on, 33, 38;
his view of tragedy compared with Milton's, 183
Shelley, on poetical inspiration, 41;
his estimate of Milton, 156;
on tragedy and comedy, 183;
quoted, 17, 197
Skinner, Cyriack, his loan to Milton, 138
Skinner, David, endeavours to publish "State Letters" and
"Treatise on Christian Doctrine," 191
Sonnet, "When the assault was intended to the City," 84;
from the Italian, 85;
on Vaudois Protestants, 124;
to his second wife, 125;
to Henry Lawrence, 126;
inscribed on a window-pane, 175
"State Letters," 191
Stationers' Company and Milton, 92
Symmons, S., publisher of "Paradise Lost," 149, 175
Symonds, Mr. J.A., on metre of "Paradise Lost," 166
Tennyson, on Milton's Eden, 162
"Tenure of Kings and Magistrates," 100
"Tina," by Antonio Malatesti, 68
Tomkyns, Thomas, licenses "Paradise Lost," 151;
and the poems, 178
Tovey, Nathaniel, Milton's college tutor, 25
Treatise on Christian Doctrine, 190
Ulster Protestants, Milton's subscription for, 83
Vernon Lee, 57
Vondel, Milton's indebtedness to, 170
Wakefield, E.G., on the champions of great causes, 135
Wood, Anthony, on Restoration, 133
Woodcock, Katherine, Milton's second wife, her marriage and death, 125
Wootton, Sir H., on "Comus," 47
Wordsworth, quoted, 27, 65;
Milton contrasted with, 41;
on "Paradise Regained," 178
Wright, Dr., reminiscence of his visit to Milton, 186
Young, Thomas, Milton's private tutor, 14
JOHN P. ANDERSON
* * * * *
II. POETICAL WORKS.
III. PROSE WORKS.
IV. SINGLE WORKS.
Biography, Criticism, etc.
Magazine Articles, etc.
VII. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF WORKS.
* * * * *
The Works of John Milton in verse and prose, printed from the original
editions, with a life of the author by J. Mitford. 8 vols. London, 1851,
II. POETICAL WORKS.
Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, compos'd at several
times. Printed by his true copies. London [January 2], 1645, 8vo.
First collective edition, and the first work bearing Milton's
---- Poems, etc., upon several occasions, both English and Latin, etc.,
composed at several times. With a small Tractate of Education to Mr.
Hartlib. 2 parts. London, 1673, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Containing Paradise Lost,
Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and his poems on several occasions.
Together with explanatory notes on each book of the Paradise Lost [by
P.H., _i.e._, Patrick Hume]. 5 parts. London, 1695, folio.
---- The Poetical Remains of Mr Milton, etc. By C. Gildon. London, 1698,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. 2 vols. London, 1707, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of Mr. John Milton. (Notes upon the twelve
books of Paradise Lost, by Mr. Addison. A small Tractate of Education to
Mr. Hartlib.) 2 vols. London, 1720, 4to.
---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1721, 12mo.
---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1727, 8vo.
---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1730, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. 2 vols. London, 1731, 8vo.
---- Another edition. 4 vols. London, 1746, 12mo.
---- Another edition, with notes of various authors, by Thomas Newton,
bishop of Bristol. 3 vols. London, 1749-52, 4to.
---- The Poetical Works of Milton, etc. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1762, 8vo.
---- Another edition, by Newton. 4 vols. London, 1763, 8vo.
---- Another edition. 4 vols. London, 1766, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of Milton. With prefatory characters of the
several pieces; the life of Milton, a glossary, etc. Edinburgh, 1767,
---- Another edition. 4 vols, London, 1770, 8vo.
---- Another edition. 4 vols. London, 1773, 8vo.
---- Poems on several occasions. (_British Poets_, vol. iv.) Edinburgh,
---- Another edition. 3 vols. London, 1775, 4to.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. From the text of Dr. Newton.
(_Bell's Poets of Great Britain_, vols. 35-38.) Edinburgh, 1776, 12mo.
---- The Poems of Milton. (_Johnson's Works of the English Poets_, vols.
3-5.) London, 1779, 8vo.
---- Poems upon several occasions, English, Italian, and Latin, with
translations: viz., Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, Arcades, Comus,
Odes, Sonnets, Miscellanies, English Psalms, Elegiarum Liber,
Epigrammatum Liber, Sylvarum Liber. With notes critical and explanatory,
and other illustrations, by T. Warton. London, 1785, 8vo.
---- Second edition, with many alterations, and large additions. London,
---- Poems. Another edition. (_Johnson's Works of the English Poets_,
vols. 10-12.) London, 1790, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. To which is prefixed the life of
the author. (_Anderson's Poets of Great Britain_, vol. v.) Edinburgh,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With a life of the author, by W.
Hayley [and engravings after Westall]. 3 vols. London, 1794-97, folio.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, from the text of Dr. Newton.
With the life of the author, and a critique on Paradise Lost, by J.
Addison. Cooke's edition. Embellished with engravings. 2 vols. London,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With the principal notes of
various commentators. To which are added illustrations, with some
account of the life of Milton. By H.J. Todd. (Mr. Addison's criticism on
the Paradise Lost. Dr. Johnson's Remarks on Milton's Versification. Dr.
C. Burney's observations on the Greek verses of Milton.) 6 vols. London,
---- Second edition, with considerable additions, and with a verbal
index to the whole of Milton's poetry, etc. 7 vols. London, 1809, 8vo.
---- Third edition, with other illustrations, etc. 6 vols. London, 1826,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With a preface, biographical and
critical, by J. Aikin. (Life of Milton by Dr. Johnson.) 3 vols. London,
Vols. xii.-xv. of an edition of "The Works of the English Poets.
With preface by Dr. Johnson."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With a preface, biographical and
critical, by S. Johnson. Re-edited, with new biographical and critical
matter, by J. Aikin, M.D. 3 vols. London, 1806, 12mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. 2 vols. London, 1806, 16mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. 4 vols. (_Park's Works of the
British Poets_, vols. i.-iii.) London, 1808, 16mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with the life of the author. By
S. Johnson. 3 vols. London, 1809, 16mo.
---- Cowper's Milton. [Edited, with a life of Milton, by W. Hayley.
Together with "Adam: a sacred drama, translated from the Italian of G.B.
Andreini," by W. Cowper and W. Hayley.] 4 vols. Chichester, 1810, 8vo.
The British Museum copy contains MS. notes by J. Mitford.
---- The Poems of John Milton. (_Chalmers' Works of the English Poets_,
vol. vii.) London, 1810, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With the life of the author, by
S. Johnson. (_Select British Poets_.) London, 1810, 8vo.
---- Poems on several occasions. Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso.
London, 1817, 12mo.
---- Another edition, with Fenton's life and Dr. Johnson's criticism. 2
vols. London, 1817, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton; to which is prefixed the life of
the author. London, 1818, 12mo.
This forms part of "Walker's British Classics."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with a life of the author, by E.
Sanford. (_Works of the British Poets_, vols. vii., viii.) 2 vols.
Philadelphia, 1819, 12mo.
---- The Poems of John Milton. (_British Poets_, vols. xvi.-xviii.)
Chiswick, 1822, 12mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with notes of various authors,
principally from the editions of T. Newton, C. Dunster, and T. Warton;
to which is prefixed Newton's life of Milton. By E. Hawkins. 4 vols.
Oxford, 1824, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. A new edition, with notes, critical and explanatory,
by J.D. Williams. (Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and Poems.) 2
vols. London, 1824, 12mo.
The British Museum copy contains copious MS. notes by the editor.
---- Poetical Works, with Cowper's Translations of the Latin and
Italian poems, and life of Milton by his nephew, E. Philips, etc. 3
vols. London, 1826, 8vo.
---- Poems on several occasions. [With Westall's plates.] London, 1827,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. [Edited by J. Mitford, with life
of Milton by the editor.] 3 vols. London, 1832, 8vo.
Part of the "Aldine Edition of the British Poets."
---- Another edition. 3 vols. London, 1866, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Printed from the text of Todd
and others. A new edition. With the poet's life by E. Philips. Leipzig,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Edited by Sir Egerton Brydges,
Bart. [With a life of Milton, by Sir E.B.] 6 vols. London, 1835, 8vo.
---- The Complete Poetical Works of John Milton: with explanatory notes
and a life of the author, by the Rev. H. Stebbing. To which is prefixed
Dr. Channing's essay on the poetical genius of Milton. London, 1839,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, J. Thomson, and E. Young. Edited
by H.F. Cary. With a biographical notice of each author. 3 pts. London,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with a memoir and critical
remarks on his genius and writings, by J. Montgomery, and one hundred
and twenty engravings from drawings by W. Harvey. 2 vols. London, 1843,
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton: with life and notes. Edinburgh
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. (_Tauchnitz Collection of
British Authors_, vol. 194.) Leipzig, 1850, 8vo.
---- Poetical Works. (_Cabinet Edition of the British Poets_, vol. i.)
London, 1851, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with notes and a life by the
Rev. H. Stebbing, etc. London, 1851, 12mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. (_Universal Library_. _Poetry_,
vol. i.) London, 1853, 8vo.
---- Milton's Poetical Works. With life, critical dissertation, and
notes by G. Gilfillan. 2 vols. Edinburgh, 1853, 8vo.
One of a series entitled, "Library Edition of the British Poets."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with life. London, 1853, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton: with a life of the author,
preliminary dissertations on each poem, notes critical and explanatory,
and a verbal index. Edited by C.D. Cleveland. Philadelphia, 1853, 12mo.
---- The Complete Poetical Works of John Milton, with life. Edinburgh
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With a life by J. Mitford. 3
vols. Boston [U.S.], 1856, 8vo.
---- The Poems of John Milton, with notes by T. Keightley. 2 vols.
London, 1859, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with a memoir and critical
remarks on his genius and writings, by J. Montgomery, and one hundred
and twenty engravings. New edition, etc. 2 vols. (_Bohn's Illustrated
Library_.) London, 1861, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With illustrations by C.H.
Corbould and J. Gilbert. London, 1864, 8vo.
---- English Poems by John Milton. Edited, with life, introduction, and
selected notes, by R.C. Browne. (_Clarendon Press Series_.) 2 vols.
Oxford, 1870, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Illustrated by F. Gilbert. [With
life of Milton.] London, 1870, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Edited, with a critical memoir,
by W.M. Rossetti. Illustrated by T. Seccombe. London , 8vo.
Reprinted in 1880 and 1881.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With life of the author, and an
appendix containing Addison's Critique upon the Paradise Lost, and Dr.
Channing's Essay on the poetical genius of Milton. With illustrations.
London , 8vo.
---- The Complete Poetical Works of Milton and Young. London , 8vo.
Part of "Blackwood's Universal Library of Standard Authors."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Reprinted from the Chandos
Poets. With memoir, explanatory notes, etc. (_Chandos Classics_.) London
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, printed from the original
editions, with a life of the author by A. Chalmers. London , 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With life, critical
dissertation, and explanatory notes [by G. Gilfillan], The text edited
by C.C. Clarke. 2 vols. London , 8vo.
Part of "Cassell's Library Edition of British Poets."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton: edited, with introductions,
notes, and an essay on Milton's English, by D. Masson. [With portraits.]
3 vols. London, 1874, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With introductions and notes by
D. Masson. 2 vols. London, 1874, 8vo.
Forming part of the "Golden Treasury Series."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Edited by Sir E. Brydges, Bart.
Illustrated. A new edition. London , 8vo.
---- The Globe edition. The Poetical Works of John Milton. With
introductions by D. Masson. London, 1877, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. London , 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Edited, with Notes, explanatory
and philological, by J. Bradshaw. 2 vols. London, 1878, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of Milton and Marvell. With a memoir of each
[that of Milton by D. Masson. With notes to the poems of Milton by J.
Mitford]. 4 vols. in 2. Boston, 1878, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. 2 vols. London, 1880, 16mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. A new edition revised from the
text of T. Newton [by T.A.W. Buckley]. London , 8vo.
Part of the "Excelsior Series."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With life, etc. Edinburgh
Part of "The Landscape Series of Poets."
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, printed from the original
editions. With a life of the author by A. Chalmers. With twelve
illustrations by R. Westall. London, 1881, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton; edited, with memoir,
introductions, notes, and an essay on Milton's English and
Versification, by D. Masson. 3 vols. London, 1882, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. With biographical notice. New
York , 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, edited by J. Bradshaw. Second
edition. 2 vols. London, 1885, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. 2 vols. London , 24mo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton, with biographical notice by J.
Bradshaw. London, 1887, 12mo.
One of the "Canterbury Poets" Series.
---- Poetical Works. 2 vols. London, 1887, 8vo.
---- The Poetical Works of John Milton. Edited by J. Bradshaw. Paradise
Regained. Minor Poems. London, 1888, 8vo.
One of the "Canterbury Poets" Series.
* * * * *
Paradise Lost, etc. The life of John Milton. [By E. Fenton.] Paradise
Regained.--Poems upon several occasions.--Sonnets.--Of Education. 2
vols. London, 1751, 12mo.
The copy in the British Museum Library contains MS. Notes by C.
Milton's Italian Poems, translated and addressed to a gentleman of
Italy. By Dr. Langhorne. London, 1776, 4to.
Milton's Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. With explanatory notes by
J. Edmondston. London, 1854, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1855, 16mo.
Paradise Lost, etc. (Paradise Regained: and other Poems.--The Life of
John Milton [by E. Fenton.]) 2 vols. London, 1855, 32mo.
Paradise Regained. To which is added Samson Agonistes: and poems upon
several occasions. A new edition. By T. Newton. London, 1777, 4to.
Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, and the Minor English Poems.
London, 1886, 16mo.
Part of the "Religious Tract Society Library."
Latin and Italian poems of Milton translated into English verse, and a
fragment of a commentary on Paradise Lost, by the late W. Cowper, with a
preface and notes by the Editor (W. Hayley), and notes of various
authors. Chichester, 1808, 4to.
The Latin and Italian Poems of Milton. Translated into English verse by
J.G. Strutt. London, 1814, 8vo.
Milton's Samson Agonistes and Lycidas. With illustrative notes by J.
Hunter. London, 1870, 8vo.
Milton's Earlier Poems, including the translations by William Cowper of
those written in Latin and Italian. (_Cassell's National Library_, vol.
xxxiv.) London, 1886, 8vo.
Miscellaneous Poems, Sonnets, and Psalms, etc. London , 8vo.
Part of "Ward, Lock, & Co.'s Popular Library of Literary
The Minor Poems of John Milton, Edited, with notes, by W.J. Rolfe. New
York, 1887, 8vo.
The Sonnets of John Milton. Edited by Mark Pattison. London, 1883, 8vo.
Part of the "Parchment Library."
L'Allegro, Il Penseroso [revised by C. Jennens], ed il Moderato [by C.
Jennens]. Set to musick by Mr. Handel. London, 1740, 4to.
The words only.
---- Another edition. London, 1740, 4to.
---- L'Allegro, Il Penseroso as set to musick. [London, 1750], 8vo.
---- L'Allegro ed Il Penseroso. [Arranged for music.] [London, 1779], 8vo.
L'Allegro ed Il Penseroso. And a song for St. Cecilia's day, by Dryden.
Set to musick by G.F. Handel. London, 1754, 4to.
The words without the music.
L'Allegro ed Il Penseroso. Another edition. London , 4to.
L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. Glasgow, 1751, 4to.
L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. With thirty illustrations designed expressly
for the Art Union of London [by G. Scharf, H. O'Neil, and others].
[London], 1848, 4to.
Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, illustrated with [Thirty] Etchings
on Steel by B. Foster. London, 1855, 8vo.
There is a copy in the British Museum Library which contains the
autographs and photographs of George Cruikshank and his wife.
L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, illustrated by engravings on steel after
designs by Birket Foster. London, 1860, 8vo.
L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, and other poems. Illustrated. Boston, 1877,
Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso. With notes by J. Aikin. Poona
L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, and the Hymn on the Nativity. Illustrated.
London, 1885, 8vo.
Milton's Comus, L'Allegro, and Il Penseroso. With numerous illustrative
notes adapted for use in training colleges. By John Hunter. London,
---- Revised edition. London , 8vo.
Comus, Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, and selected Sonnets. With
notes by H.R. Huckin. London, 1871, 16mo.
Milton's Arcades and Sonnets. With notes by J. Hunter. London, 1880,
The Lycidas and Epitaphium Damonis. Edited, with notes and introduction
(including a reprint of the rare Latin version of the Lycidas, by W.
Hogg, 1694), by C.S. Jarram. London, 1874, 8vo.
---- Second edition, revised. London, 1881, 8vo.
III. PROSE WORKS.
The Works of Mr. John Milton. [In English Prose.] [London], 1697, fol.
Not mentioned by Lowndes or Watt, but a copy is in the British
A Complete Collection of the Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous
Works of John Milton, both English and Latin. With some papers never
before publish'd. To which is prefixed the life of the author, etc. [By
J. Toland]. 3 vols. Amsterdam [London], 1698, fol.
A Complete Collection of Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous Works
of John Milton, correctly printed from the original editions, with an
account of the life and writings of the author (by T. Birch), containing
several original papers of his never before published. 2 vols. London,
The Works of John Milton, Historical, Political, and Miscellaneous. Now
more correctly printed from the originals than in any former edition,
and many passages restored which have been hitherto omitted. To which is
prefixed an account of his life and writings (by T. Birch). (Edited by
T. Birch and R. Barron?). London, 1753, 8vo.
The Prose Works of John Milton; with a life of the author, interspersed
with translations and critical remarks, by C. Symmons. 7 vols. London,
The Prose Works of John Milton. With an introductory review by R.
Fletcher. London, 1833, 8vo.
Select Prose Works of Milton. Account of his studies. Apology for his
early life and writings. Tractate on Education. Areopagitica. Tenure of
Kings. Eikonoclastes. Divisions of the Commonwealth. Delineation of a
Commonwealth. Mode of establishing a Commonwealth. Familiar Letters.
With a preliminary discourse and notes by J.A. St. John. (_Masterpieces
of English Prose Literature._) 2 vols. London, 1836, 8vo.
Extracts from the Prose Works of John Milton, containing the whole of
his writings on the church question. Now first published separately.
Edinburgh, 1836, 12mo.
The Prose Works of John Milton. With a biographical introduction by R.W.
Griswold. 2 vols. New York, 1847, 8vo.
The Prose Works of John Milton, with a preface, preliminary remarks, and
notes by J.A. St. John. 5 vols. (_Bohn's Standard Library._) London,
Areopagitica, Letter on Education, Sonnets and Psalms. (_Cassell's
National Library_, vol. cxxi.) London, 1888, 8vo.
IV. SINGLE WORKS.
Accedence commenc't Grammar, supply'd with sufficient rules, for the use
of such as are desirous to attain the Latin tongue with little teaching
and their own industry. London, 1669, 12mo.
An account of an original autograph sonnet by John Milton, contained in
a copy of Mel Heliconium written by Alexander Rosse, 1642, etc. London,
L'Allegro, illustrated by the Etching Club. London, 1849, fol.
---- L'Allegro. [With illustrations engraved by W.J. Linton.] London,
---- L'Allegro. [With illustrations.] London , 8vo.
Forming part of "The Choice Series."
---- Milton's L'Allegro. Edited, with interpretation, notes, and
derivations, by F. Main. London, 1877, 8vo.
Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's defence [_i.e._, the defence of J.
Hall, Bishop of Norwich?] against Smectymnuus. London, 1641, 4to.
Apographum literarum serenissimi protectoris, etc. [Leyden?] 1656, 4to.
An apology against a Pamphlet [by J. Hall?] called A Modest Confutation
of the Animadversions upon the Remonstrant against Smectymnuus. London,
Areopagitica; a Speech of Mr. John Milton for the liberty of Unlicenc'd
Printing, to the Parliament of England. London, 1644, 4to.
---- Areopagitica Another edition. With a preface by another hand.
London, 1738, 8vo.
---- Another edition, with prefatory remarks, copious notes, and
excursive illustrations, by T. Holt White, etc. London, 1819, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1772, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1780, 12mo.
---- Another edition, edited by James Losh. London, 1791, 8vo.
---- Areopagitica. (_Occasional Essays_, etc.) London, 1809, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London , 8vo.
---- Areopagitica, etc. London, 1840, 8vo.
_Tracts for the People_, No. 10.
---- English Reprints. John Milton. Areopagitica. Carefully edited by
Edward Arber. London, 1868, 18mo.
---- English Reprints. John Milton. Areopagitica. Carefully edited by
Edward Arber. London, 1869, 8vo.
---- A Modern Version of Milton's Areopagitica: with notes, appendix,
and tables. By S. Lobb. Calcutta, 1872, 12mo.
---- Milton, Areopagitica. Edited, with introduction and notes, by J.W.
Hales. Oxford, 1874, 8vo.
---- Milton's Areopagitica. (_Morley's Universal Library_, vol. 43.)
London, 1886, 8vo.
Autobiography of John Milton: or Milton's Life in his own words. Edited
by J.J.G. Graham. London, 1872, 8vo.
A brief history of Moscovia; and other less known countries lying
eastward of Russia as far as Cathay. Gather'd from the writings of
several eye-witnesses. London, 1682, 8vo.
The Cabinet-Council; containing the Chief Arts of Empire, and Mysteries
of State discabineted. By Sir Walter Raleigh, published by John Milton.
London, 1658, 8vo.
---- Another edition. The Arts of Empire and Mysteries of State
discabineted. By Sir Walter Raleigh, published by John Milton. London,
Colasterion, a reply to a nameles [_sic_] answer against "The Doctrine
and Discipline of Divorce." By the former author, J[ohn] M[ilton].
[London] 1645, 4to.
A Common-Place Book of John Milton, and a Latin essay and Latin verses
presumed to be by Milton. Edited from the original MSS. in the
possession of Sir F.W. Graham, Bart., by A.J. Horwood. London, 1876, 4to.
Printed for the Camden Society.
---- Revised edition. London, 1877, 4to.
A Maske [Comus] presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634: on Michaelmasse night,
before the right honorable John, Earle of Bridgewater, Viscount Brackly,
Lord President of Wales. [Edited by H. Lawes.] London, 1637, 4to.
The first edition of Comus.
---- Comus: a mask, etc. Glasgow, 1747, 12mo.
---- Comus, a mask presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, before the Earl of
Bridgewater, with notes critical and explanations by various
commentators, and with preliminary illustrations; to which is added a
copy of the mask from a manuscript belonging to his Grace the Duke of
Bridgewater; by H.J. Todd. Canterbury, 1798, 8vo.
---- Comus, a mask; presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634. To which are
added, L'Allegro and Il Penseroso; and Mr. Warton's account of the
origin of Comus. London, 1799, 8vo.
---- Comus: a mask. With annotations. London, 1808, 8vo.
---- Comus: a masque. (_Cumberland's British Theatre_, vol. 32.) London
---- Comus. A mask with thirty illustrations by Pickersgill, B. Foster,
H. Weir, etc. London, 1858, 4to.
---- Milton's Comus. Published under the direction of the Committee
appointed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. London
---- Comus: a mask. With explanatory notes. Published under the
direction of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. London
---- Milton's Comus. With notes [by W. Wallace]. London, 1871, 16mo.
---- The Mask of Comus. Edited, with copious notes, by H.B. Sprague. New
York, 1876, 8vo.
---- Milton's "Comus" annotated, with a glossary and notes. With three
introductory essays upon the masque proper, and upon the origin and
history of the poem. By B.M. Ranking and D.F. Ranking. London, 1878, 8vo.
---- Milton's Comus, with introduction and notes. London, 1884, 8vo.
Forming part of "Chambers's Reprints of English Classics."
---- Milton's Comus. Edited, with introduction and notes, by A.M.
Williams. London, 1888, 8vo.
---- ---- Songs, Duets, Choruses, etc., in Milton's Comus: a masque in
two acts, with additions from the author's poem "L'Allegro," and from
Dryden's opera of "King Arthur." London , 8vo.
Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove Hirelings out of
the Church. Wherein is also discourc'd of Tithes, Church-Fees,
Church-Revenues, and whether any maintenance of ministers can be settl'd
by law. The author J. M[ilton]. London, 1659, 12mo.
---- Another edition. London, 1717, 12mo.
Another edition. London, 1723, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London , 8vo.
A Declaration, or Letters Patents of the Election of this present King
of Poland, John the Third. Translated [by John Milton]. London, 1674,
The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce restor'd to the good of both
sexes from the Bondage of Canon Law and other mistakes to Christian
freedom, guided by the rule of charity, etc. London, 1643, 4to.
---- The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. Now the second time revis'd
and much augmented. London, 1644, 4to.
---- Another edition. London, 1645, 4to.
Eikonoklastes, in answer to a book intitl'd Eikon Basilike, the
Portrature of his Sacred Majesty in his solitudes and sufferings. [By J.
Gauden, Bishop of Exeter?] The author J[ohn] M[ilton]. London, 1649,
---- Eikonoklastes. Published now the second time, and much enlarg'd.
London, 1650, 4to.
---- Eikonoklastes in answer to a book entitled Eikon Basilike, the
Portraiture of his sacred majesty King Charles the first in his
solitudes and sufferings. Amsterdam, 1690, 8vo.
---- Eikonoklastes: in answer to a book intitled Eikon Basilikon, the
portraiture of his sacred majesty in his solitudes and sufferings. Now
first published from the author's second edition, printed in 1650; with
many enlargements, by R. Baron. With a preface shewing the transcendent
excellency of Milton's prose works. To which is added an original Letter
[from J. Wall] to Milton, never before published. London, 1756, 4to.
---- A new edition, corrected by the late Reverend R. Baron. London,
The History of Britain, that part especially now call'd England, from
the first traditional beginning, continu'd to the Norman Conquest.
Collected out of the antientest and best authors by John Milton. London,
The History of Britain. Another edition. London, 1677, 8vo.
---- Second edition. London, 1678, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1695, 8vo.
Il Penseroso. With designs by J.E.G.; etched by J.E.G. and H.P.G. on
India paper. London, 1844, folio.
---- Milton. Il Penseroso. (_Clarendon Press Series_.) Oxford, 1874,
Joannis Miltoni Angli, Artis Logicĉ Plenior Institutio, ad Petri Rami
Methodum concinnata. Adjecta est Praxis Analytica and P. Rami vita.
Londini, 1672, 12mo.
Joannis Miltoni Angli de Doctrina Christiana libri duo posthumi, quos ex
schedis manuscriptis deprompsit, et typis mandari primus curavit C.R.
Sumner. Cantabrigiĉ, 1825, 4to.
---- Another edition. Brunsvigae, 1827, 8vo.
---- A Treatise of Christian Doctrine, compiled from the Holy Scriptures
alone. Translated from the original by C.R. Sumner. Cambridge, 1825, 4to.
---- John Milton's last thoughts on the Trinity. Extracted from his
Treatise on Christian Doctrine. London, 1828, 12mo.
---- New edition. London, 1859, 8vo.
Joannis Miltonii Angli Epistolarum familiarium liber unus: quibus
accesserunt ejusdem jam olim in collegio adolescentis prolusiones quĉdam
oratoriĉ. Londini, 1674, 12mo.
---- Milton's familiar letters. Translated from the Latin, with notes,
by J. Hall. Philadelphia, 1829, 8vo.
Joannis Miltoni Angli pro populo Anglicano defensio, contra Claudii
Anonymi, aliàs Salmasii, defensionem regiam. Cum indice. Londini, 1651,
---- Another edition. Londini, 1651, 4to.
---- Another edition. Londini, 1651, 12mo.
---- Editio emendatior. Londini, 1651, folio.
---- Another edition. Londini, 1652, 12mo.
---- Editio correctior et auctior, ab autore denuo recognita. Londini,
---- A Defense of the People of England in answer to Salmasius's defence
of the king. [Translated from the Latin by Mr. Washington, of the
Temple.] [London?] 1692, 8vo.
Joannis Miltoni pro populo Anglicano defensio secunda. Contra infamem
libellum anonymum [by P. Du Moulin] cui titulus, Regii sanguinis clamor
ad coelum adversus parricidas Anglicanos. Londini, 1654, 8vo.
---- Another edition. [With preface by G. Crantzius.] 2 parts. Hagĉ
Comitum, 1654, 12mo.
---- Milton's Second Defence of the People of England [translated by
Archdeacon Wrangham]. London, 1816, 8vo.
Included in _Scraps_ by the Rev. Francis Wrangham.
Joanni Miltoni pro se defensio contra Alexandrum Morum Ecclesiastes [or
rather P. Du Moulin] Libelli famosi, cui titulus, Regii sanguinis clamor
ad coelum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos, authorem recte dictum.
Londini, 1655, 8vo.
The judgement of Martin Bucer concerning divorce, now Englisht [by John
Milton]. Wherein a late book [by John Milton] restoring the doctrine and
discipline of divorce is heer confirm'd, etc. London, 1644, 4to.
A Letter written to a Gentleman in the Country, touching the dissolution
of the late Parliament, and the reasons thereof. [By John Milton, signed
N. Ll.] London [May 26], 1653, 4to.
Literĉ ab Olivario protectore ad sacram regiam majestem Sueciĉ.
[Leyden?] 1656, 4to.
Literĉ Pseudo-Senatus Anglicani, Cromwellii, reliquorumque Perduellium
nomine ac jussu conscriptĉ a Joanne Miltono. [London] 1676, 12mo.
---- Another edition. Literĉ nomine Senatus Anglicani Cromwellii
Richardique ad diversos in Europa principes et Respublicas exaratĉ a
Joanne Miltono, quas nunc primum in Germania recudi fecit J.G. Pritius.
Lipsiĉ Francofurti, 1690, 12mo.
---- Milton's Republican-Letters, or a collection of such as were
written by Comand of the late Commonwealth of England, etc. [Amsterdam?]
---- Letters of State written by Mr. John Milton to most of the
Sovereign princes and Republicks of Europe, from the year 1649 till
1659. To which is added an Account of his Life [by E. Phillips],
together with several of his poems, etc. London, 1694, 12mo.
The "several poems" consist of four sonnets only.
---- Oliver Cromwell's Letters to Foreign Princes and States for
strengthening and preserving the Protestant Religion, etc. [Translated
from the Latin of John Milton.] London, 1700, 4to.
Lycidas. [First edition.] (_Justa Edouardo King naufrago, ab Amicis
moerentibus_, etc.) 2 pts. Cantabrigiĉ, 1638, 4to.
Part II., "Obsequies to the Memorie of Mr. Edward King," has a
distinct title-page and pagination, and contains the first edition
---- Milton's Lycidas, with notes, critical, explanatory, and
grammatical, by a Graduate. Melbourne, 1869, 8vo.
---- Lycidas. Reprinted from the first edition of 1638, and collated
with the autograph copy in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge.
With a version in Latin hexameters. By F.A. Paley. London, 1874, 8vo.
---- Milton. Lycidas. With introduction and notes. By T.D. Hall.
Manchester , 8vo.
---- Second edition. London , 8vo.
---- Milton's Lycidas. Edited, with interpretation and notes, by F.
Main, etc. London, 1876, 8vo.
---- Second edition. London, 1876, 8vo.
Mr. John Milton's character of the Long Parliament and Assembly of
Divines, in 1641. Omitted in his other works, and never printed. [Edited
by J. Tyrrell? or by Arthur, Earl of Anglesey?] London, 1681, 4to.
Milton's Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity. Illustrated by
eminent artists. London, 1868, 8vo.
Mr. John Milton's Satyre against hypocrites. Written whilst he was Latin
secretary to Oliver Cromwell. [By John Phillips?] London, 1710, 8vo.
Milton's unpublished Poem, corrected by J.E. Wall from a defective copy
found by Mr. Morley in the British Museum. Epitaph on a Rose Tree
confined in a Garden Tub. [London, 1873?] s. sh. 8vo.
The original is in the King's Library, British Museum, and is
written on the last leaf of a copy of "Poems of Mr. John Milton,"
Observations upon the Articles of Peace with the Irish Rebels, on the
Letter of Ormond to Col. Jones, and the Representation of the Presbytery
at Belfast. (_Articles of Peace made and concluded with the Irish
Rebels, by James Earle of Ormond, etc._) London, 1649, 4to.
Of Education. To Master S. Hartlib. [London, 1644] 4to.
---- Milton's Tractate on Education. A facsimile reprint from the
edition of 1673. Edited by Oscar Browning. (_Pitt Press Series_.)
Cambridge, 1883, 8vo.
Original Letters and Papers of State, addressed to Oliver Cromwell,
concerning the affairs of Great Britain from 1649 to 1658, found among
the political collections of John Milton, published from the originals.
By John Nickolls. London, 1743, folio.
Of Prelatical Episcopacy, and whether it may be deduc'd from the
Apostolical times by vertue of those Testimonies which are alledg'd to
that purpose in some late Treatises of James, Archbishop of Armagh.
London, 1641, 4to.
Of Reformation touching Church-Discipline in England: and the causes
that hitherto have hindred it. London, 1641, 4to.
Of True Religion, Hĉresie, Schism, Toleration, and what best means may
be used against the growth of Popery. The author J[ohn] M[ilton].
London, 1673, 4to.
---- New edition, with preface by Bp. Burgess. London, 1826, 8vo.
Paradise Lost. A poem written in ten books by John Milton. Licensed and
entred according to order. London, 1667, 4to.
First edition. Without argument or preface. There are nine
distinct variations of the title and preliminary pages.
---- Paradise Lost. A poem in ten books. The author J. Milton. (The
argument. The verse.) London, 1668, 4to.
The same edition as the preceding, with a new title-page, and with
the addition of the argument.
---- Paradise Lost. A poem in ten books. The author John Milton. London,
The same edition as the two preceding, with a new title-page and
some slight alterations in the text. There is another copy in the
British Museum which differs slightly. It has also the title-page
dated 1668, and Marvell's commendatory verses in MS.
---- Paradise Lost. A poem, in twelve books. The author John Milton.
Second edition, revised and augmented by the same author. London,
To this edition are prefixed the commendatory verses of Barrow and
Marvell. In another copy in the British Museum conjectural
emendations from the quarto edition, 1749, and the octavo
edition, 1674, corrected by the quarto edition, 1668, printed on
two leaves, have been inserted.
---- The third edition. Revised and augmented by the same author.
London, 1678, 8vo.
---- The fourth edition. Adorn'd with sculptures. London, 1688, folio.
The first illustrated edition.
---- Another edition [with cuts]. London, 1692, folio.
---- Another edition. With copious and learned notes by P[atrick]
H[ume]. London, 1695, folio.
---- Seventh edition. Adorn'd with sculptures. London, 1705, 8vo.
---- Eighth edition. Adorn'd with sculptures. 2 vols. London, 1707, 8vo.
---- Ninth edition. Adorn'd with sculptures. London, 1711, 12mo.
The British Museum copy is said to be the only one on thick paper.
---- Tenth edition. With sculptures. London, 1719, 12mo.
---- Another edition. Dublin, 1724, 8vo.
---- Twelfth edition. To which is prefixed an account of his life [by E.
Fenton]. London, 1725, 12mo.
---- Thirteenth edition. To which is prefixed an account of his life [by
E. Fenton]. London, 1727, 8vo.
---- Fourteenth edition. To which is prefixed an account of his life [by
E. Fenton]. London, 1730, 8vo.
---- New edition [with notes and proposed emendations] by R. Bentley.
London, 1732, 4to.
One of the copies in the British Museum contains MS. notes by B.
Stillingfleet, and another MS. notes by W. Cole. A third copy has
inserted plates, a pencil sketch of Milton's house at Chalfont St.
Giles, and a cutting from the _Literary Gazette_, May 29th, 1830,
relating to Bentley.
---- Another edition. London, 1737, 8vo.
---- Another edition [with life by E. Fenton]. London, 1738, 8vo.
---- Another edition. (The life of John Milton by E. Fenton.) 2 vols.
London, 1746, 1747, 12mo.
---- Another edition. Dublin, 1747, 8vo.
---- Another edition. Compared and revised by John Hawkey. Dublin,
---- New edition. With notes of various authors, by T. Newton. (The life
of Milton [by the editor]. A critique on Paradise Lost. By Mr. Addison.)
2 vols. London, 1749, 4to.
---- Another edition. According to the author's last edition, in the
year 1672. Glasgow, 1750, 8vo.
---- Second edition. With notes of various authors, by T. Newton. 2
vols. London, 1750, 8vo.
---- Third edition. With notes of various authors, by T. Newton. 2 vols.
London, 1754, 4to.
Paradise Lost. Another edition. With notes, etymological, critical,
classical, and explanatory; collected from Dr. Bentley, Dr. Pearce,
Richardson and Son, Addison, Paterson, Newton, and other authors. By J.
Marchant. London, 1751, 12mo.
---- Another edition. 2 vols. London, 1752, 51, 12mo.
Vol. ii. is a duplicate of the corresponding vol. of the previous
---- Another edition. [To which is prefixed the life of Milton, by E.
Fenton.] London, 1753, 12mo.
---- Another edition. [With the life of Milton, by E. Fenton, and a
glossary.] 2 vols. Paris, 1754, 16mo.
---- Another edition [in prose]. With historical, critical, and
explanatory notes. From Raymond de St. Maur. London, 1755, 8vo.
---- Another edition. From the text of T. Newton. Birmingham, 1758, 4to.
---- Another edition. From the text of T. Newton. Birmingham, 1759, 4to.
---- Another edition. (The life of Milton [by T. Newton]). London,
---- Another edition. [With the life of John Milton, by E. Fenton.
Illustrated.] London, 1761, 8vo.
---- Sixth edition. With notes of various authors, by T. Newton. 2 vols.
London, 1763, 8vo.
---- Seventh edition. With notes of various authors, by T. Newton. 2
vols. London, 1770, 8vo.
---- New edition. To which is added the life of the author, by E.
Fenton. Edinburgh, 1765, 12mo.
---- New edition. To which is added historical, philosophical, and
explanatory notes, translated from the French of Raymond de St. Maur.
[Edited by John Wood, and preceded by a life of Milton by E. Fenton.]
Edinburgh, 1765, 12mo.
---- Another edition [in prose]. With historical, philosophical,
critical, and explanatory notes, from Raymond de St. Maur. Embellished
with fourteen copper-plates. London, 1767, 8vo.
---- Second edition, adorned with copper-plates. London , 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost, a poem. The author, John Milton. Glasgow, 1770,
The copy in the British Museum was presented to George III. by the
binder, J. Scott.
---- Paradise Lost. (The life of Milton, by Dr. Newton.) London, 1770,
---- Paradise Lost, a poem in twelve books. 2 vols. Glasgow, 1771, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. (_British Poets_, vols. i.-ii.) Edinburgh, 1773, 8vo.
---- New edition. 2 vols. London, 1775, 12mo.
---- Another edition, from the text of T. Newton. London, 1777, 12mo.
---- Eighth edition, with notes of various authors, by T. Newton. 2
vols. London, 1778, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. (The Life of Milton, by Dr. Newton.) London, 1778,
---- Paradise Lost. With a biographical and critical account of the
author and his writings [by E. Fenton]. Kilmarnock, 1785, 12mo.
---- Another edition, illustrated with texts of Scripture by J. Gillies.
[With life by E. Fenton.] London, 1788, 12mo.
---- Ninth edition, with notes of various authors, by T. Newton [and a
portrait of Milton], 2 vols. London, 1790, 8vo.
---- Another edition. Printed from the first and second editions
collated. The original system of orthography restored, the punctuation
corrected and extended. With various readings; and notes, chiefly
rythmical. By Capel Lofft. [Book i.] Bury St. Edmunds, 1792, 4to.
---- Paradise Lost. Books i.-iv. [London, 1792-95], 4to.
The British Museum copy contains the first four books only. With
illustrations after Stothard, engraved by Bartolozzi. Without
---- Milton's Paradise Lost, illustrated with texts of Scripture by J.
Gillies. Second edition. [With life by E. Fenton.] London, 1793, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost; a poem, in twelve books. [With engravings.] London,
---- Milton's Paradise Lost. (The Life of John Milton [by E. Fenton].
Criticism on Paradise Lost by S. Johnson.) London, 1795, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. Printed from the text of Tonson's edition of 1711.
With notes and the life of the author by T. Newton and others. [Edited
by C.M.] 3 vols. London, 1795, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost, with notes selected from Newton and others. With a
critical dissertation on the poetical works of Milton by S. Johnson. 2
vols. London, 1796, 8vo.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost, with a life of the author [by J. Evans]. To
which is prefixed the celebrated critique by S. Johnson. London,
---- Milton's Paradise Lost. A new edition. Adorned with plates
[engraved chiefly by F. Bartolozzi, from designs by W. Hamilton and H.
Fuseli.] 2 vols. London, 1802, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost, with a life of the author [by E. Fenton], and a
critique on the poem [by S. Johnson]. A new edition. London, 1802, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. A new edition. London, 1803, 12mo.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost, illustrated with texts of Scripture, by J.
Gillies. Third edition, with additions. [Life of Milton, by E. Fenton.]
London, 1804, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. A poem. Printed from the text of Tonson's correct
edition of 1711. London, 1804, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. Printed from the text of Tonson's edition of 1711. A
new edition, with plates, etc. London, 1808, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost, a poem, etc. (The life of Milton [by E. Fenton].)
London, 1805, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost, a poem. (The life of Milton [by E. Fenton].) London,
---- Another edition. To which is prefixed the life of the author [by E.
Fenton]. London, 1813, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost, a poem in twelve books. [With the life of John
Milton by E. Fenton, and "A critique upon the Paradise Lost" by J.
Addison.] Romsey, 1816, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. To which are prefixed the life of the author [by E.
Fenton]; and a criticism on the poem by S. Johnson. London, 1817, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. London, 1817, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. [With engravings from the designs of R. Westall.] 2
vols. London, 1817, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. To which is prefixed a life of the author [by E.
Fenton]. London, 1818, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. To which is prefixed the life of the author [by E.
Fenton]. London, 1820, 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. [With a life of the author, by E. Fenton.] Boston,
---- Paradise Lost. To which are prefixed the life of the author by E.
Fenton, and a criticism of the poem by Dr. Johnson. London, 1821, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost, etc. 2 vols. London, 1825, 12mo.
---- The Paradise Lost of Milton, with illustrations designed and
engraved by J. Martin. 2 vols. London, 1827, folio.
---- Paradise Lost, etc. [With the life of J. Milton, by E. Fenton.]
London , 16mo.
---- Paradise Lost. With a memoir of the author [by E. Fenton]. New
edition. London, 1833, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost: with copious notes, also a memoir of his life by J.
Prendeville. London, 1840, 8vo.
---- [Paradise Lost. Edited by A.J. Ellis? Phonetically printed.]
[London], 1846, 16mo.
---- The Paradise Lost, with notes explanatory and critical. Edited by
J.R. Boyd. New York, 1851, 12mo.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost, with notes, critical and explanatory,
original and selected, by J.R. Major. London, 1853, 8vo.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost. Published under the direction of the
Committee of General Literature and Education [appointed by the Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge]. London , 8vo.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost. In twelve books. London, 1861, 16mo.
One of "Bell & Daldy's Pocket Volumes."
---- Paradise Lost. To which is prefixed a life of the author, and Dr.
Channing's Essay on the poetical genius of Milton. London, 1862, 12mo.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost. Illustrated by Gustave Doré. Edited, with
notes and a life of Milton, by R. Vaughan. London , folio.
A re-issue appeared in 1871-72.
---- Paradise Lost, in ten books. The text exactly reproduced from the
first edition of 1667. With an appendix containing the additions made in
later issues and a monograph on the original publication of the poem.
[By R.H.S., _i.e._, R.H. Shepherd?] London, 1873, 4to.
---- Paradise Lost, as originally published, being a fac-simile of the
first edition. With an introduction by D. Masson. London, 1877 ,
---- Paradise Lost. Illustrated by thirty-eight designs in outline by F.
Thrupp. [Containing only fragments of the text.] London, 1879, obl.
---- Milton's Paradise Lost. Illustrated by Gustave Doré. Edited, with
notes and a life of Milton, by R. Vaughan. London, 1882, 4to.
Re-issued in 1888.
---- Paradise Lost. The text emended, with notes and preface by M.
Hull. London, 1884, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. London, 1887, 16 mo.
Part of "Routledge's Pocket Library."
---- Paradise Lost. (_Cassell's National Library_, vols. 162, 163.)
London, 1889, 8vo.
---- ---- The Story of our first Parents; selected from Milton's
Paradise Lost: for the use of young persons. By Mrs. Siddons. London,
Paradise Regain'd. A Poem in four books. To which is added Samson
Agonistes. The author, J. Milton. 2 pts. London, 1671, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd. To which is added Samson Agonistes. London,
---- Another edition. London, 1688, folio.
---- Paradise Regained. Samson Agonistes, and the smaller poems. Sixth
edition. London, 1695, folio.
---- Paradise Regain'd. To which is added Samson Agonistes, and poems
upon several occasions, compos'd at several times. Fourth edition.
London, 1705, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd. To which is added Samson Agonistes, etc. The
fifth edition. London, 1707, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd. To which is added Samson Agonistes, etc. Fifth
edition. Adorned with cuts. London, 1713, 12mo.
---- Sixth edition, corrected. London, 1725, 8vo.
---- Seventh edition, corrected. 3 pts. London, 1727, 8vo.
---- Seventh edition, corrected. London, 1730, 12mo.
---- Eighth edition. London, 1743, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. London, 1747, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. Glasgow, 1747, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. A new edition. With notes of various
authors, by T. Newton. London, 1752, 4to.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. Glasgow, 1752, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. The second edition, with notes of various
authors, by T. Newton. 2 vols. London, 1753, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. London, 1753, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. London, 1756, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regained, etc. Birmingham, 1758, 4to.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. London, 1760, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regain'd (_British Poets_, vol. iii.). Edinburgh, 1773, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. 2 vols. Glasgow, 1772, 12mo.
---- A new edition. 2 vols. London, 1773, 8vo.
---- A new edition. By T. Newton. London, 1777, 4to.
---- A new edition, with notes of various authors, by T. Newton. 2 vols.
London, 1785, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. London, 1779, 12mo.
---- Paradise Regain'd, etc. Alnwick, 1793, 12mo.
---- A new edition, with notes of various authors, by C. Dunster.
London. 1795. 4to.
---- Another edition. London , 4to.
---- Milton's Paradise Regained; with select notes subjoined: to which
is added a complete collection of his Miscellaneous Poems, both English
and Latin. London, 1796, 8vo.
---- Paradise Regained. With select notes subjoined, etc. London,
---- Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, Comus, and Arcades. London,
---- Paradise Regained, and other poems. London, 1823, 16mo.
---- Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes, Comus, and Arcades. [With
Westall's plates.] London, 1827, 16mo.
---- Paradise Regained; and other poems. London, 1832, 16mo.
---- Milton's Paradise Regained, and other poems. London, 1861, 16mo.
One of "Bell & Daldy's Pocket Volumes."
The readie and easie way to establish a free Commonwealth, and the
excellence thereof, compar'd with the inconveniences and dangers of
re-admitting Kingship in this nation. The author J[ohn] M[ilton].
London, 1660, 4to.
The Reason of Church-Government urg'd against Prelaty. In two books.
London, 1641, 4to.
Samson Agonistes. London, 1688, folio.
First appeared with the Paradise Regained in 1671.
---- Samson Agonistes. London, 1695, folio.
Reprinted from the preceding edition.
---- Samson Agonistes. (_Bell's British Theatre_, vol. 34.) London,
---- Samson Agonistes. London , 8vo.
---- Milton. Samson Agonistes. Edited by John Churton Collins.
(_Clarendon Press Series_.) Oxford, 1883, 8vo.
Scriptum Dom. Protectoris contra Hispanos. [By John Milton.] Londini,
---- A Manifesto of the Lord Protector against the Depredations of the
Spaniards. Written in Latin by John Milton. London, 1738, 8vo.
---- A true Copy of Oliver Cromwell's Manifesto against Spain, dated
October 26, 1655 [written by John Milton]. London, 1741, 4to.
The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates; proving that it is lawfull, and
hath been held so through all ages, for any, who have the power, to call
to account a tyrant or wicked king, and after due conviction to depose
and put him to death, etc. The author J[ohn] M[ilton]. London, 1649,
---- Another edition, with additions. London, 1650, 4to.
Tetrachordon: expositions upon the foure chief places in Scripture which
treat of mariage, or nullities in manage, wherein the doctrine and
discipline of divorce, as was lately publish'd, is confirm'd. By the
former author J. M[ilton]. London, 1645 [1644 O.S.], 4to.
The author's name appears in full at the end of the address "To
A Treatise on Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes; shewing that it is
not lawfull for any power on earth to compell in matter of religion.
The author J[ohn] M[ilton]. London, 1659, 12mo.
---- A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. First printed
anno 1659. London, reprinted 1790, 8vo.
---- A Treatise on Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes, etc. London,
_Tracts for the People_, No. I.
---- On the Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes; and on the likeliest
means to remove Hirelings out of the Church. London, 1851, 8vo.
Part XI. of "Buried Treasures."
The Beauties of Milton, Thomson, and Young. Dublin, 1783, 12mo.
The Beauties of Milton; consisting of selections from his poetry and
prose, by A. Howard. London , 12mo.
The Poetry of Milton's Prose; selected from his various writings; with
notes, and an introductory essay [by C.]. London, 1827, 12mo.
Readings from Milton. With an introduction by Bishop H.W. Warren.
Boston, 1886, 8vo.
Part of the "Chatauqua Library--Garnet Series."
Selected Prose Writings of John Milton, with an introductory essay by E.
Myers. London, 1883, 8vo.
Fifty copies only printed.
Selections from the Prose Writings of John Milton. Edited, with memoir,
notes, and analyses, by S. Manning. London, 1862, 8vo.
Selections from the Prose Works of John Milton. With critical remarks
and elucidations. Edited by J.J.G. Graham. London, 1870, 8vo.
Shakespeare and Milton Reader; being scenes and other extracts from the
writings of Shakespeare and Milton, etc. London , 8vo.
BIOGRAPHY, CRITICISM, ETC.
Acton, Rev. Henry.--Religious opinions and examples of Milton, Locke,
and Newton. A lecture, with notes. London, 1833, 8vo.
Addison, Rt. Hon. Joseph.--Notes upon the twelve books of Paradise Lost.
Collected from the _Spectator_. London, 1719, 12mo.
Appeared originally in the _Spectator_, Dec. 31, 1711--May 3,
Ademollo, A.--La Leonora di Milton e di Clemente IX. Milano , 8vo.
Andrews, Samuel.--Our Great Writers; or, Popular chapters on some
leading authors. London, 1884, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 84-112.
Arnold, Matthew.--Mixed Essays. London, 1879, 8vo.
A French Critic on Milton, pp. 237-273.
---- Essays in Criticism. Second Series. London, 1888, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 56-68.
Bagehot, Walter.--Literary Studies. 2 vols. London, 1879, 8vo.
John Milton, vol. i., pp. 173-220.
---- Third edition. 2 vols. London, 1884, 8vo.
Balfour, Clara Lucas.--Sketches of English Literature, etc. London,
Milton and his Literary Contemporaries, pp. 151-173.
Barron, William.--Lectures on Belles Lettres and Logic. 2 vols. London,
Milton, vol. ii., pp. 281-300.
Baumgarten, Dr.--John Milton und das Verlorene Paradies. Coburg ,
Bayne, Peter.--The Chief Actors in the Puritan Revolution. London,
Milton, pp. 297-346.
Bentley, Richard.--Dr. Bentley's emendations on the twelve books of
Milton's Paradise Lost. London, 1732, 12mo.
Bickersteth, E.H.--Milton's Paradise Lost. (_The St. James's Lectures,
Second Series_.) London, 1876, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1877, 8vo.
Birrell, Augustine.--Obiter Dicta. Second series. London, 1887, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 1-50.
Blackburne, Francis.--Remarks on Johnson's Life of Milton. To which are
added Milton's Tractate of Education and Areopagitica. London, 1780, 16mo.
Blair, Hugh.--Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, etc. 2 vols.
London, 1783, 4to.
Paradise Lost, vol. ii., pp. 471-476.
Bodmer, J. Jacob.--J.J. Bodmer's critische Abhandlung, von dem
Wunderbaren in der Poesie in einer Vertheidigung des Gedichtes J.
Milton's von dem verlohrnen Paradiese, etc. Zürich, 1740, 8vo.
Bradburn, Eliza W.--The Story of Paradise Lost, for children. Portland,
Brooke, Stopford A.--Milton. [An account of his life and works.]
London, 1879, 8vo.
Part of the series entitled _Classical Writers_, ed. J.R. Green.
Bruce, Archibald.--A critical account of the life, character, and
discourses of Mr. Alexander Morus, in which the attack made upon him in
the writings of Milton is particularly considered. Edinburgh, 1813, 8vo.
Brydges, Sir Samuel Egerton.--The Life of John Milton. London , 8vo.
Bulwer Lytton, E.--The Siamese Twins, etc. London, 1831, 8vo.
Milton, a poem, pp. 315-362.
Burney, Charles.--Remarks on the Greek Verses of Milton. [London, 1790],
Buckland, Anna.--The Story of English Literature. London, 1882, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 230-296.
Callander, John.--Letter and Report respecting the Unpublished
Commentary on Milton's Paradise Lost, by the late John Callander, of
Craigforth, Esq., in the possession of the Society. (_Archĉologia
Scotica_, vol. iii., 1831, pp. 83-91.) Edinburgh, 1831, 4to.
Camerini, Eugenio.--Profili Letterari. Firenze, 1870, 8vo.
Milton e l'Italia, pp. 264-274.
Cann, Miss Christian.--A scriptural and allegorical glossary to
Milton's Paradise Lost. London , 8vo.
Carpenter, William.--The Life and Times of John Milton. London , 8vo.
Channing, William Ellery.--Remarks on the Character and Writings of John
Milton; occasioned by the publication of his lately discovered
"Treatise on Christian Doctrine." From the _Christian Examiner_, vol.
iii., No. 1. Boston, 1826, 8vo.
Charles I.--By the King. A Proclamation for calling in and suppressing
of two books written by John Milton: the one Intituled Johannis Miltoni
Angli pro Populo Anglicano defensio, etc., and the other, The
Pourtraicture of his Sacred Majesty, etc. London, 1660, s. sh. fol.
---- The Life and Reigne of King Charls; or, the Pseudo-Martyr
discovered, etc. London, 1651, 8vo.
In the Bodleian Catalogue this work is erroneously stated to be by
Chassang, A., and Marcou, F.L.--Les Chefs-d'Oeuvre Épiques de tous les
peuples. Paris, 1879, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 279-297.
Clarke, Samuel.--Some reflections on that part of a book called Amyntor,
or the defence of Milton's life, which relates to the writings of the
primitive fathers, etc. (_Letter to Mr. Dodwell_, etc., pp. 451-475.)
London, 1781, 8vo.
Cleveland, C.D.--A Complete Concordance to the Poetical Works of John
Milton. London, 1867, 8vo.
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor.--Seven lectures on Shakespeare and Milton,
etc. London, 1856, 8vo.
Darby, Samuel.--A letter to T. Warton, on his late edition of Milton's
Juvenile Poems [entitled "Poems upon several occasions, English,
Italian, and Latin."] London, 1785, 8vo.
Dawson, George.--Biographical Lectures. London, 1886, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 82-88.
De Morgan, J.--John Milton considered as a Politician. (_Men of the
Commonwealth_, No. 1.) [London, 1875], 16mo.
Dennis, John.--Heroes of Literature. English Poets. London, 1883, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 114-147.
De Quincey, T.--Works. 16 vols. London, 1853-60, 8vo.
Milton, vol. vi., pp. 311-325; Life of Milton, vol. x., pp. 79-98.
Des Essarts, E.--De Veterum poetarum tum Grĉciĉ tum Romĉ apud Miltonem
imitatione thesim proponebat E. Des Essarts. Parisiis, 1871, 8vo.
Diderot, Denis.--An Essay on Blindness, etc. Interspersed with several
anecdotes of Sanderson, Milton, and others. Translated from the French.
London , 12mo.
Dobson, W.T.--The Classic Poets, their lives and their times, etc.
London, 1879, 8vo.
Milton's Paradise Lost, pp. 394-446; Paradise Regained,
Donoughue, Edward Jones.--Milton: a lecture. London, 1843, 8vo.
Douglas, John.--Milton vindicated from the charge of plagiarism brought
against him by Mr. Lauder, etc. London, 1751, 8vo.
---- Milton no plagiary; or, a detection of the forgeries contained in
Lauder's essay, etc. Second edition. London, 1756, 8vo.
Dowden, Edward.--Transcripts and Studies. London, 1888, 8vo.
The Idealism of Milton, pp. 454-473.
Dowling, William.--Poets and Statesmen; their homes and haunts in the
neighbourhood of Eton and Windsor. London, 1857, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 1-39.
Dryden, John.--The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man; an opera, etc.
London, 1677, 4to.
Du Moulin, P.--Regii sanguinis clamor ad coelum adversus parricidas
Anglicanos. [A reply to Milton's "Defensio pro populo Anglicano."] Hagĉ
Comitum, 1652, 4to.
---- Editio secunda. Hagĉ Comitum, 1661, 12mo.
Dunster, C.--Considerations on Milton's early reading, and the prima
stamina of his Paradise Lost, etc. London, 1800, 8vo.
Edmonds, Cyrus R.--John Milton; a biography. Especially designed to
exhibit the ecclesiastical principles of that illustrious man. London,
Edmundson, George.--Milton and Vondel. A curiosity of literature.
London, 1885, 8vo.
Ellwood, Thomas.--Reflections of [Thomas Ellwood] with John Milton
(_Arber's English Garner_, vol. iii., pp. 473-486). London, 1880, 8vo.
English Poets.--Cursory remarks on some of the ancient English poets,
particularly Milton. [By P. Neve.] London, 1789, 8vo.
Epigoniad.--A critical essay on the Epigoniad, wherein the author's
abuse of Milton is examined. Edinburgh, 1757, 8vo.
Eyre, Charles.--The Fall of Adam, from Milton's Paradise Lost. London
Filmer, Sir Robert.--Observations concerning the originall of Government
upon Mr. Hobs Leviathan, Mr. Milton against Salmasius, H. Grotius De
Jure Belli. London, 1652, 4to.
---- The Free-holders grand inquest, etc. (Reflections concerning the
Original of Government upon Mr. Milton against Salmasius.) London, 1679,
Flatters, J.J.--The Paradise Lost of Milton, translated into fifty-four
designs, by J.J. Flatters, sculptor. London, 1843, folio.
Fry, Alfred A.--A lecture on the writings, prose and poetic, and the
character, public and personal, of John Milton. London, 1838, 8vo.
Geffroy, Mathieu A.--Étude sur les pamphlets politiques et religieux de
Milton. Paris, 1848, 8vo.
Gilfillan, George.--A Second Gallery of Literary Portraits. London,
John Milton, pp. 1-39.
---- Modern Christian Heroes, etc. London, 1869, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 81-118.
Giraud, Jane E.--Flowers of Milton. London, 1850, 4to.
Godwin, William.--Lives of E. and J. Philips, nephews and pupils of
Milton, to which are added: I. Collections for the life of Milton, by J.
Aubrey, printed from the manuscript copy in the Ashmolean Museum. II.
The Life of Milton, by E. Philips, printed 1694. London, 1815, 4to.
Goodwin, Thomas.--The Student's Practical Grammar of the English
Language; together with a commentary on the first book of Milton's
Paradise Lost. London, 1855, 12mo.
Greenwood, F.W.P.--The Miscellaneous Writings of F.W.P. Greenwood.
Boston, 1846, 8vo.
Milton's Prose Works, pp. 208-226.
Grotius, H. de.--The Adamus Exul of Grotius; or, the prototype of
Paradise Lost. Translated from the Latin, by Francis Barham. London,
Guerle, Edmond de.--Milton, sa vie et ses oeuvres. Paris, 1868, 8vo.
Güntzer, C.--Dissertationis ad quaedam loca Miltoni pars posterior.
Argentorati, 1657, 4to.
Hamilton, W. Douglas.--Original Papers, illustrative of the life and
writings of John Milton, including sixteen letters of State written by
him, now first published from MSS. in the State Paper Office, etc.
London, 1859, 4to.
Printed for the Camden Society.
Hamilton, Walter.--Parodies of the Works of English and American
Authors, collected and annotated by W. Hamilton. London, 1885, 4to.
John Milton, vol. ii., pp. 217-236.
Hare, Julius Charles.--Essays and Tales. 2 vols. London, 1848, 8vo.
Milton, vol. i., pp. 73-86.
Harrington, James.--The Censure of the Rota upon Mr. Milton's book,
entitled The Ready and Easie Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth.
[Signed J. H(arrington); a satire.] London, 1660, 4to.
Reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany.
Hayley, William.--The Life of Milton; to which are added conjectures on
the origin of Paradise Lost. (The second edition enlarged.) London,
This life appeared originally in 1794 in vol. i. of Milton's
Hillebrand, C.--De sacro apud Christianos carmine epico dissertationem
seu Dantis, Miltonis, Klopstockii poetarum collationem proponebat C.
Hillebrand, Parisiis, 1861, 8vo.
Hodgson, Shadworth H.--Outcast Essays, etc. London, 1881, 8vo.
The supernatural in English poetry; Shakespere; Milton; Wordsworth
Tennyson, pp. 99-180.
Holloway, Laura C.--The Mothers of Great Men and Women, etc. New York,
Milton's Wives, pp. 457-478.
Hood, Edwin Paxton.--John Milton: the Patriot and Poet. London, 1852,
Hopkins, J.--Milton's Paradise Lost, imitated in rhyme; in the fourth,
sixth, and ninth books, etc. London, 1699, 8vo.
Howitt, William.--Homes and Haunts of the most eminent British Poets.
Third edition. London, 1857, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 46-68.
Huet, C.B.--Litterarische Fantasien en Kritieken. Haarlem , 8vo.
Milton, 12th Deel, pp. 150-220.
Hunt, Theodore W.--Representative English Prose and Prose Writers. New
York, 1887, 8vo.
The prose style of John Milton, pp. 246-264.
Hutton, Laurence.--Literary Landmarks of London. London, 1885, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 210-216, etc.
Ivimey, Joseph.--John Milton; his life and times; religious and
political opinions; with an appendix, containing animadversions upon Dr.
Johnson's Life of Milton, etc. London, 1833, 8vo.
Jackson, W.--Lycidas: a musical entertainment. The words altered from
Milton. London, 1767, 8vo.
Jane, Joseph.--The Image Unbroaken a perspective of the Impudence,
Falshood, Vanitie, and Prophannes, in a Libell entitled Eikonoklastes.
[London], 1651, 4to.
Johnson, Samuel.--Prefaces to Milton and Butler. (_Prefaces to the Works
of the English Poets_, vol. ii.) London, 1779, 8vo.
---- Court and Country: a paraphrase upon Milton. [In a dialogue.] By
the author of Hurlothrumbo [_i.e._, Samuel Johnson]. London , 8vo.
Jortin, John.--Remarks on Spenser's Poems. London, 1734, 8vo.
Remarks on Milton, pp. 171-186.
Keightley, Thomas.--An account of the Life, Opinions, and Writings of
John Milton. With an introduction to Paradise Lost. London, 1855, 8vo.
Keogh, Rt. Hon. William.--Milton's Prose. (_Afternoon Lectures on
Literature and Art, delivered in the Theatre of the Museum of Industry,
Dublin_, 1865, 3rd Series.) London, 1866, 8vo.
Lamartine, M.L.A. de.--Héloïse et Abélard [Biographies]. Paris, 1864, 12mo.
Includes a biography of Milton, pp. 113-215.
Lauder, William.--An essay on Milton's use and imitation of the moderns
in his Paradise Lost. [With a preface by Dr. Johnson.] London, 1750, 8vo.
---- A letter to the reverend Mr. Douglas, occasioned by his vindication
of Milton, etc. [Written by Dr. Johnson.] London, 1751, 4to.
---- An apology for Mr. Lauder [written by himself] in a letter most
humbly addressed to his grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. London,
---- Delectus auctorum sacrorum, Miltono facem prĉlucentium. 2 tom.
London, 1752, 8vo.
---- King Charles I. vindicated from the charge of plagiarism brought
against him by Milton, etc. To the whole is subjoined the Judgment of
several learned and impartial authors concerning Milton's political
writings. London, 1754, 8vo.
L'Estrange, R.--No Blind Guides, in answer to a seditious pamphlet of
Milton's, intituled Brief notes upon a late sermon titl'd The fear of
God and the King, preach'd and since publish'd. By M. Griffith, etc.
London, 1660, 4to.
Letters.--Letters concerning poetical translations and Virgil's and
Milton's Arts of Verse, etc. London, 1739, 8vo.
Liebert, Gustav.--Milton. Studien zur Geschichte des englischen Geistes.
Hamburg, 1860, 8vo.
Lotheissen, Ferdinand.--Studien über John Milton's poetische Werke.
Budingen, 1860, 4to.
Lowell, James Russell.--Among my Books. Second series. London, 1876, 8vo.
Milton, pp. 252-302.
M.J.A.--An introduction to the Study of Shakespeare and Milton. [By
J.A.M. With selections from their works.] London , 8vo.
Macaulay, Thomas Babington.--Critical and historical essays contributed
to the Edinburgh Review. 2 vols. London, 1854, 8vo.
Milton, vol. i., pp. 1-28.
---- The Miscellaneous Writings of Lord Macaulay. London, 1860, 8vo.
Conversation between Mr. Abraham Cowley and Mr. John Milton
touching the great Civil War, vol. i., pp. 101-124.
---- An Essay on the Life and Works of John Milton, together with the
imaginary conversation between him and H. Cowley. London, 1868, 8vo.
---- Milton's Essay on Milton. From the Edinburgh Review. With
introductory notice and notes. London, 1872, 16mo.
---- John Milton. [A biographical sketch.] Boston, 1877, 16mo.
---- Macaulay's Milton, edited to illustrate the laws of Rhetoric and
Composition, by Alexander Mackie. London, 1884, 8vo.
Maceuen, Malcolm.--Celebrities of the Past and Present. Philadelphia,
Milton and Poetry, pp. 195-202.
Mackenzie, Sir George.--Jus Regium: or, the just and solid foundations
of monarchy in general maintain'd against Buchanan, Dolman, Milton, etc.
Edinburgh, 1684, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1684, 8vo.
McNicoll, Thomas.--Essays on English Literature. London, 1861, 8vo.
Milton and Pollok, pp. 65-111.
Marquis, G.A.--Select Poetical Pieces, with a logical arrangement, or
practical commentary on Milton's Paradise Lost. Second edition enlarged.
Paris, 1842, 12mo.
Marsh, John F.--Papers connected with the affairs of Milton and his
family. Edited by J.F. Marsh. Manchester, 1851, 4to.
In vol. i. of the Chetham Miscellanies, published by the Chetham
---- Notice of the inventory of the effects of Mrs. Milton, widow of the
poet. Liverpool, 1855, 8vo.
Extracted from the proceedings of the Historic Society of
Lancashire and Cheshire.
---- On the engraved portrait and pretended portraits of Milton.
Extracted from the Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire
and Cheshire. Liverpool, 1860, 8vo.
Martyn, W. Carlos.--Life and Times of John Milton. [Published by the
"American Tract Society." With portrait.] New York , 12mo.
Mason, W.--Musĉus; a monody to the memory of Mr. Pope in imitation of
Milton's Lycidas. London, 1747, 4to.
Massey, William.--Remarks upon Milton's Paradise Lost, etc. London,
Masson, David.--Essays biographical and critical: chiefly on English
poets. Cambridge, 1856, 8vo.
Milton's Youth, pp. 37-52; The Three Devils: Luther's, Milton's,
and Goethe's, pp. 53-87.
---- The Three Devils: Luther's, Milton's, and Goethe's. London, 1874, 8vo.
---- The Life of John Milton; narrated in connexion with the political,
ecclesiastical, and literary history of his time. 6 vols. Cambridge,
---- New and revised edition. London, 1881, etc., 8vo.
---- John Milton. (_Encyclopĉdia Britannica_, vol. xvi., pp. 324-340.)
London, 1883, 4to.
Meadowcourt, Richard.--A critique on Milton's Paradise Regained. London,
---- A Critical Dissertation, with notes, on Milton's Paradise Regain'd.
The second edition corrected. London, 1748, 8vo.
Milton, John.--An answer to a book [by John Milton], intituled, The
Divorce and Discipline of Divorce, etc. London, 1644, 4to.
---- Carolus I. Britanniarum Rex, a Securi et Calamo Miltonii
vindicatus. Dublini, 1652, 12mo.
---- Areopagitica Secunda: or, speech of the shade of John Milton on Mr.
Sergeant Talfourd's Copyright Extension Bill. London, 1838, 8vo.
---- Comus, a mask: (now adapted to the stage) as alter'd [by J. Dalton]
from Milton's Mask. London, 1738, 8vo.
---- Second edition. London, 1738, 8vo.
---- Third edition. London, 1738, 8vo.
---- Another edition. Dublin, 1738, 8vo.
---- Sixth edition. London, 1741, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1750, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1759, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1760, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1762, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1777, 8vo.
---- Comus, a masque [altered by J. Dalton from John Milton], London,
In vol. i. of "Bell's Theatre."
---- Comus [altered from Milton by J. Dalton]. London, 1811, 8vo.
In the "Modern British Drama," vol. ii.
---- Comus: a mask, altered from Milton. [By J. Dalton.] London, 1815,
In vol. x. of Dibdin's "London Theatre."
---- Comus. [Adapted to the stage by J. Dalton.] London, 1826, 8vo.
In the "British Drama," vol. ii.
---- Comus: a masque [in two acts]. Altered from Milton [by G. Colman].
As performed at the Theatre-Royal in Covent Garden. The musick composed
by Dr. Arne. London, 1772, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1774, 8vo.
---- Comus: a masque. Altered by Mr. Colman. (_Bell's British Theatre_,
vol. ix.) London, 1777, 12mo.
---- Comus: a masque. Altered from Milton [by G. Colman]. Edinburgh,
Vol. iv. of the "British Stage."
---- Comus. Altered for the stage by Colman. (_Modern British Drama_,
vol. v.) London, 1811, 8vo.
---- Comus: a masque. Altered from Milton, by G. Colman. (_Inchbald's
Collection of Farces_, vol. vii.) London, 1815, 12mo.
---- Milton's Comus: a masque, in two acts [altered from Milton], as
revised at Covent Garden, April 28, 1815. London, 1815, 8vo.
There is a copy in the British Museum with the autograph of Sir
---- Comus: a masque. Altered from Milton [by G. Colman]. London ,
Vol. ii. of "The London Stage."
---- Comus. Altered from Milton. [By G. Colman, the elder.] London,
In the "British Drama," vol. xii.
---- Comus: a masque. Altered from Milton. (_Supplement to Bell's
British Theatre_, vol. iv.) London, 1784, 12mo.
---- Miltonis epistola ad Pollionem. Edidit et notis illustravit F.S.
Cantabrigiensis. Londini, 1738, folio.
---- Editio altera. Londini, 1738, folio.
---- Milton's Epistle to Pollio. Translated from the Latin, and
illustrated with notes. London, 1740, folio.
---- Milton restor'd and Bentley depos'd, containing, I. Some
observations on Dr. Bentley's preface. II. His various readings and
notes on Paradise Lost and Milton's text, set in opposite columns, with
remarks therein. III. Paradise Lost, attempted in rime. Book I., Numb.
I. From Dean Swift. London, 1732, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost: a poem attempted in Rhime. [Altered from Milton.]
London, 1740, 8vo.
---- Paradise Lost. An oratorio [in three acts and in verse] altered and
adapted to the stage from Milton [by B. Stillingfleet]. London, 1760, 4to.
---- Paradise Lost. An oratorio in four parts. The words selected from
the works of Milton by J.L. Ellerton. London , 12mo.
---- Paradise Lost. Oratorio in three parts, from the poem of Milton.
English version by J. Pittman. London , 8vo.
---- The State of Innocence and Fall of Man described in Milton's
Paradise Lost. Render'd into prose with notes from the French of Raymond
[or rather Nicolas Francois Dupré] de St. Maur. By a gentleman of Oxford
[George Smith Green?]. London, 1745, 8vo.
---- Another edition. Aberdeen, 1770, 12mo.
---- A verbal Index to Milton's Paradise Lost; adapted to every edition
but the first, etc. London, 1741, 12mo.
---- An essay upon Milton's imitations of the Ancients in his Paradise
Lost. With some observations on the Paradise Regain'd. London, 1741,
---- A new occasional Oratorio [on the suppression of the Rebellion],
the words taken from Milton, Spenser, etc., and set to musick by Mr.
Handel. London, 1746, 4to.
The words only.
---- The Progress of Envy, a poem occasioned by Lauder's attack on the
character of Milton. London, 1751, 4to.
---- A familiar explanation of the poetical works of Milton. To which is
prefixed Mr. Addison's criticism on Paradise Lost. With a preface by
Rev. Mr. Dodd. London, 1672, 12mo.
---- The Recovery of Man: or, Milton's Paradise Regained. In Prose.
After the manner of the Archbishop of Cambray. To which is prefixed the
life of the author. [London], 1771, 12mo.
---- Samson. An Oratorio [in three acts]. As it is performed at the
Theatres-royal. Altered from the Samson Agonistes of Milton [by N.
Hamilton]. Set to musick by Mr. Handel. London , 8vo.
The words only.
---- Another edition. London , 4to.
---- Another edition. London , 4to.
---- Another edition. London, 1743, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1751, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1759, 4to.
---- Samson: an oratorio [altered and adapted to the stage from the
Samson Agonistes by N. Hamilton]. [Oxford], 1749, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1762, 4to.
---- Samson. Set to musick by Mr. Handel. London, 1762, 4to.
---- Samson. An oratorio [altered from the Samson Agonistes, by N.
Hamilton]. Salisbury, 1765, 8vo.
---- Handel's oratorio, Samson. The words chiefly from Milton. [Compiled
by T. Morell.] London , 4to.
---- The Life of John Milton. Published under the direction of the
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. London , 8vo.
---- A Milton Memorial. A sketch of the life of John Milton, compiled
with reference to the proposed restoration of the Church of St. Giles,
Cripplegate (where he was buried). By Antiquitatis historicĉ studiosus.
London, 1862, 8vo.
Mirabeau, Count de.--Théorie de la Royauté d'après la Doctrine de
Milton. [Translated from the Defence of the People of England. With a
preliminary dissertation, "Sur Milton et ses ouvrages"; by H.G.
Riquetti, Comte de Mirabeau?] [Paris], 1789, 8vo.
Moers, F. Josephus.--De fontibus Paradisi Amissi Miltoniani. Dissertatio
philologica, etc. Bonnae , 8vo.
Morris, Joseph W.--John Milton: a vindication, specially from the charge
of Arianism. London , 8vo.
Mortimer, Charles Edward.--An historical memoir of the Political Life of
John Milton. London, 1805, 4to.
Morus, Alexander.--A. Mori Fides Publica, contra calumnias Joannis
Miltoni. Hagĉ-Comitum, 1654, 12mo.
Mouron, H.--Jean Milton. Conférence. Deuxième édition. Strasbourg, 1875,
Munkácsy, M.--Opinions of the Continental Press on M. Munkácsy and his
latest picture, "Milton dictating Paradise Lost to his daughters."
Paris, 1879, 8vo.
Neve, Philip.--A narrative of the disinterment of Milton's coffin in the
Parish Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, 4th August 1790; and of the
treatment of the corpse during that and the following day. London, 1790,
Nicoll, Henry J.--Landmarks of English Literature. London, 1883, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 112-125.
Paterson, James.--A complete commentary on Milton's Paradise Lost, etc.
London, 1744, 8vo.
Pattison, Mark.--Milton. [An account of his life and works.] London,
One of the "English Men of Letters" series.
Pauli, Reinhold.--Aufsätze zur Englischen Geschichte. Leipzig, 1869, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 348-391.
Pearce, Z., _Bishop of Rochester_.--A review of the text of Milton's
Paradise Lost; in which the chief of Dr. Bentley's Emendations are
consider'd; and several other emendations and observations are offer'd
to the public. London, 1732, 8vo.
---- Another edition. London, 1733, 8vo.
Peck, Francis.--New Memoirs of the Life and Poetical Works of Mr. John
Milton, etc. London, 1740, 4to.
---- Memoirs of the life and actions of Oliver Cromwell: as delivered in
three panegyrics of him. The first, as said, by Don Juan Rodriguez de
Saa Meneses; the second, as affirmed by a certain Jesuit; yet both, it
is thought, composed by Mr. John Milton, as was the third, etc. London,
Penn, John.--Critical, poetical, and dramatic works. 2 vols. London,
Samson Agonistes, vol. ii., pp. 213-263.
Philips, John.--Poems attempted in the style of Milton, etc. London,
Philo-Milton, _pseud._--Milton's Sublimity asserted: in a poem
occasion'd by a late piece entituled Cyder, a poem [by J. Philips]. In
blank verse. London, 1709, 4to.
---- A vindication of the Paradise Lost from the charge of exculpating
Lord Byron's "Cain, a Mystery." London, 1822, 8vo.
Plaint.--The Plaint of Freedom. (To the Memory of Milton. In verse.)
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1852, 4to.
Prendergast, G.L.--A complete concordance to the poetical works of
Milton. Madras, 1856-57, 4to.
Prodromus.--Verax Prodromus in Delirum. [An invective against John
Milton.] [Amsterdam? 1656?] 4to.
R * *--Lettres critiques à Mr. le comte * * * sur le Paradis perdu, et
reconquis, de Milton, par R * * [outh]. Paris, 1731, 8vo.
Reed, Henry.--Lectures on the British Poets. 2 vols. Philadelphia,
Milton, pp. 199-232.
Rice, Allen Thorndike.--Essays from the North American Review. New York,
John Milton, by Ralph Waldo Emerson, pp. 99-122.
Richardson, Jonathan.--Explanatory notes and remarks on Milton's
Paradise Lost. By J. Richardson, father and son. London, 1734, 8vo.
Richardson, Jonathan.--Zoilomastix; or, a vindication of Milton from
all the invidious charges of W. Lauder. With several new remarks on
Paradise Lost. London, 1747, 8vo.
Ring, Max.--John Milton und seine Zeit. Historischer Roman. Frankfurt a.
Main, 1857, 8vo.
---- John Milton and his times, a historical novel. Translated by J.
Jefferson. Manchester, 1889, 8vo.
Rolli, P.--Sabrina; an opera [in three acts and in verse. Founded on the
"Comus" of Milton]. _Ital._ and _Eng._ London, 1737, 8vo.
Rossetti, William Michael.--Lives of Famous Poets. London, 1878, 8vo.
John Milton, pp. 65-79.
Rowland, J.--Pro Rege et Populo Anglicano apologia, contra Joannis
Polypragmatici (alias Miltoni Angli) defensionem destructivam Regis et
Populi Anglicani. Antwerpiĉ, 1651, 12mo.
---- Another edition. Antwerpiĉ, 1652, 12mo.
S.G.--The dignity of Kingship asserted: in answer to Mr. Milton's Ready
and Easie way to establish a free Commonwealth. By G.S. (George
Searle?), a lover of loyalty. London, 1660, 8vo.
Saintsbury, George.--A History of Elizabethan Literature. London,
Milton, pp. 315-329.
Salmasius, Claudius de.--Claudii Salmasii ad Johannem Miltonum
Responsio. Opus posthumum. Londini, 1660, 12mo.
Say, Samuel.--Poems on several occasions: and two critical Essays--viz.,
the first on the harmony, variety, and power of numbers, whether in
prose or verse; the second, on the numbers of Paradise Lost. [With a
portrait of Milton, etched by J. Richardson.] London, 1745, 4to.
Scherer, Edmond.--Études sur la Littérature Contemporaine. Paris,
Milton et le _Paradis Perdu_, tom. vi., pp. 161-194.
Scolari, Filippo.--Saggio di Critica sul Paradiso Perduto, Poema di
Giovanni Milton, e sulle annotazioni a quello di Giuseppe Addison.
Aggiuntovi l'Adamo sacra rappresentazione di G.B. Andreini, etc.
Venezia, 1818, 8vo.
Scott, John.--Critical Essays on some of the poems of several English
poets, etc. London, 1785, 8vo.
On Milton's Lycidas, pp. 37-64.
Seeley, J.R.--Lectures and Essays. London, 1870, 8vo.
Milton's Political Opinions, pp. 89-119; Milton's Poetry,
Shenston, J.B.--The Authority of Jehovah asserted, ... with some remarks
on the article on Milton's Essay on the Sabbath and the Lord's Day,
which appeared in the Evangelical Review, 1826. London, 1826, 8vo.
Smectymnuus, _pseud._ [_i.e._, Stephen Marshall, Edmund Calamy etc.]--A
modest confutation of a slanderous and scurrilous libell, entituled,
Animadversions [by John Milton] upon the remonstrants' defense against
Smectymnuus. [London] 1642, 4to.
Sotheby, Samuel Leigh.--Ramblings in the elucidation of the Autograph
of Milton. [With plates.] London, 1861, 4to.
Steel, David.--Elements of Punctuation, and critical observations on
some passages in Milton. London, 1786, 8vo.
Stern, Alfred.--Milton und seine Zeit. 2 Thle. Leipzig, 1877-79, 8vo.
---- Milton und Cromwell. Berlin, 1875, 8vo.
Serie x., Hft. 236 of Virchow and Holtzendorff's "Sammlung
gemeinverständlicher wissenschaftlicher Vorträge, etc."
Symmons, Charles.--The Life of John Milton, etc. London, 1806, 8vo.
---- Second edition. London, 1810, 8vo.
---- Third edition. London, 1882, 8vo.
Taine, H.A.--Histoire de la Littérature Anglaise. 4 tom. Paris, 1863-4,
Milton, tom, ii., pp. 327-435.
---- History of English Literature. Translated by H. Van Laun. 4 vols.
Edinburgh, 1873-4, 8vo.
Milton, vol. ii., pp. 239-318.
Tasso, Torquato.--Il Tasso, a dialogue. The speakers, John Milton,
Torquato Tasso. London, 1762, 8vo.
Todd, Henry John.--Some account of the life and writings of John Milton.
Second edition, with additions, and with a verbal index to the whole of
Milton's poetry. London, 1809, 8vo.
This forms vol. i. of the 1809 edition of Todd's Milton; a certain
number of copies being printed off with a distinct title-page.
---- Some account of the life and writings of John Milton, derived
principally from documents in His Majesty's State-paper Office, now
first published. London, 1826, 8vo.
Toland, John.--The Life of John Milton, containing, besides the history
of his works, several extraordinary characters of men and books, sects,
parties, and opinions. [Signed J.T., _i.e._ J. Toland.] London, 1699, 8vo.
---- Amyntor; or, a Defence of Milton's Life, etc. London, 1699, 8vo.
---- The Life of John Milton; with Amyntor; or a Defence of Milton's
Life, etc. London, 1761, 8vo.
Tomlinson, John.--Three Household Poets--viz., Milton, Cowper, Burns,
etc. London, 1869, 8vo.
Tulloch, John.--English Puritanism and its leaders, Cromwell, Milton,
Baxter, Bunyan. Edinburgh, 1861, 8vo.
Vericour, Raymond de.--Milton et la poésie épique, etc. Paris, 1838, 8vo.
Ward, Thomas H.--The English Poets; selections, with critical
introductions, etc. 4 vols. London, 1880, 8vo.
John Milton, by Mark Pattison, vol. ii., pp. 293-379.
Warton, Thomas.--A Letter to T. Warton on his editon of Milton's
juvenile poems. [By S. Darby?] London, 1785, 8vo.
White, Thomas Holt.--A Review of Johnson's criticism on the style of
Milton's English Prose, etc. London, 1818, 8vo.
Wilson, J.--Vindiciĉ Carolinĉ; or a defence of Eikon Basilike, etc.
London, 1692, 8vo.
Yonge, Charles Duke.--Three Centuries of English Literature. London,
Milton, pp. 185-210.
Zicari da Paola, F.--Sulla scoverta dell' originale Italiano da cui
Milton trasse il suo poema del Paradiso Perduto. Napoli, 1844, 12mo.
Ziegler, C.--C. Ziegleri circa regicidium Anglorum exercitationes.
Accedit Jacobi Schalleri Dissertatio ad loca quĉdam Miltoni. Lugd.
Batavorum, 1653, 12mo.
MAGAZINE ARTICLES, ETC.
Milton, John.--Edinburgh Review, by T.B. Macaulay, vol. 42, 1825,
--Christian Examiner, by W.E. Channing, vol. 3, 1826, pp. 29-77;
same article, Pamphleteer, vol. 29, pp. 507-547.
--United States Literary Gazette, vol. 4, 1826, pp. 278-293.
--Quarterly Review, by J.J. Blunt, vol. 36, 1827, pp. 29-61.
--American Quarterly Review, vol. 5, 1829, pp. 301-310.
--American Quarterly Observer, vol. 1, 1833, pp. 115-125.
--Congregational Magazine, vol. 9, 1833, pp. 193-211.
--North American Review, by R.W. Emerson, vol. 47, 1838, pp. 56-73.
--Blackwood's Magazine, vol. 46, 1839, pp. 775-780.
--Penny Magazine, vol. 10, 1841, pp. 97-101.
--National Review, vol. 9, 1859, pp. 150-186.
--Chambers's Journal, vol. 11, 1859, pp. 117-119.
--Radical, by B.W. Wall, vol. 3, 1868, pp. 718-723.
--Contemporary Review, by P. Bayne, vol. 22, 1873, pp. 427-460;
same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 18 N.S., pp. 565-585;
Littell's Living Age, vol. 3, 5th ser., pp. 643-662.
--New Monthly Magazine, vol. 4 N.S., 1873, pp. 27-35.
--Congregationalist, by T.H. Gill, vol. 3, 1874, pp. 705-714.
--Macmillan's Magazine, by Mark Pattison, vol. 31, 1875, pp. 380-387;
same article, Littell's Living Age, vol. 10, 5th ser., pp. 323-329.
--Western, by H.H. Morgan, vol. 5, 1879, pp. 107-138.
--Modern Review, by H. New, vol. 2, 1881, pp. 103-128;
same article, Littell's Living Age, vol. 148, pp. 515-525.
---- _and the Commonwealth_. British Quarterly Review, vol. 10, 1849,
same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 18, pp. 346-362.
---- _and Dante_. St. James's Magazine, vol. 15, 1866, pp. 243-250.
---- _and Galileo_. Fraser's Magazine, by Sir Richard Owen, vol. 79,
1869, pp. 678-684.
---- _and his daughters_. People's Journal, by Mrs. Leman Gillies,
vol. 5, 1848, pp. 227, 228.
---- _and Homer contrasted_. Analectic Magazine, vol. 14, 1819,
---- _and Macaulay_. De Bow's Review, by G. Fitzhugh, vol. 28, 1860,
---- _and Masenius_. Month, vol. 8, 1868, pp. 542-550.
---- _and the Daughters of Eve_. St. Paul's, vol. 13, 1873, pp. 405-418.
---- _and Vondel_. Academy, by Edmund Gosse and G. Edmundson, vol. 28,
1885, pp. 265, 266, 293, 294, 342; and by J.R. Mac Ilraith, pp. 308, 309.
--Athenĉum, Nov. 7, 1885, pp. 599, 600.
--Nation, vol. 42, 1886, pp. 264, 265.
---- _and Wordsworth_. Temple Bar, vol. 60, 1880, pp. 106-115.
---- _Angels of_. New Englander, by John A. Himes, vol. 43, 1884,
---- _Areopagitica_. Retrospective Review, vol. 9, 1824, pp. 1-19.
---- _as a Reformer_. Methodist Quarterly Review, by F.H. Newhall,
vol. 39, 1857, pp. 542-559.
---- _At Cambridge_. American Journal of Education, vol. 28, 1878,
---- _Bibliographical account of his works_. Retrospective Review,
vol. 14, 1826, pp. 282-305.
---- _Blank Verse of_. Fortnightly Review, by J.A. Symonds, vol. 16
N.S., 1874, pp. 767-781.
---- _Blindness of_. Chambers's Journal, vol. 3 N.S., 1845, pp. 392-394.
---- _Byron and Southey_. De Bow's Review, by G. Fitzhugh, vol. 29,
1860, pp. 430-440.
---- _Channing on_. Edinburgh Review, by H. Brougham, vol. 69, 1839,
--Monthly Review, vol. 7 N.S., 1828, pp. 471-478.
--Fraser's Magazine, vol. 17, 1838, pp. 627-635.
---- _Christian Doctrine_. Quarterly Review, vol. 32, 1835, pp. 442-457.
--North American Review, by S. Willard, vol. 22, 1826, pp. 364-373.
--United States Literary Gazette, vol. 3, 1826, pp. 321-327.
--Monthly Review, vol. 107, 1825, pp. 273-294.
--Congregational Magazine, vol. 8, 1825, pp. 588-592.
--Eclectic Review, vol. 25 N.S., 1826, pp. 1-18, 114-141.
---- _Comus_. New Monthly Magazine, vol. 7, 1823, pp. 222-229.
---- _Comus_, _and Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess_. Manchester
Quarterly, by W.E.A. Axon, vol. 1, 1882, pp. 285-295.
---- _Dante and Ĉschylus_. Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 20 N.S.,
1853, pp. 513-525, 577-587, 641-650.
---- _De Vericour's Lectures on_. Monthly Review, vol. 2 N.S., 1838,
---- _Doctrinal Error of his later life_. Bibliotheca Sacra, by T. Hunt,
vol. 42, 1885, pp. 251-269.
---- _Doctrine of Divorce_. Monthly Review, vol. 93, 1820, pp. 144-158.
---- _Early Life_. Methodist Quarterly Review, by P. Church, vol. 48,
1866, pp. 580-595.
---- _Effigies of_. Historical Magazine, vol. 2, 1858, pp. 230-233.
---- _Familiar Letters_. Southern Review, vol. 6, 1830, pp. 198-206.
--American Quarterly Review, vol. 5, 1829, pp. 301-310.
---- _French Critic on_. Quarterly Review, vol. 143, 1877, pp. 186-204;
same article, Littell's Living Age, vol. 132, pp. 579-589.
---- _Genius of_. Tait's Edinburgh Magazine, by G. Gilfillan, vol. 15
N.S., 1848, pp. 511-522;
same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 15, pp. 196-212.
---- _History of England_. Retrospective Review, vol. 6, 1822,
---- _Hollis' Bust of_. Scribner's Monthly, by C. Cook, vol. 11, 1876,
---- _Home, School, and College Training of_. American Journal of
Education, vol. 14, 1864, pp. 159-190.
---- _Idealism of_. Contemporary Review, by E. Dowden, vol. 19, 1872,
same article, Littell's Living Age, vol. 112, 1872, pp. 408-414.
---- _in our Day_. Christian Examiner, by S. Good, vol. 57, 1854,
---- _Italian Element in_. Penn Monthly Magazine, by O.H. Kendall,
vol. 1, 1870, pp. 388-400.
---- _Keble's Estimate of_. Macmillan's Magazine, by J.C. Shairp,
vol. 31, 1875, pp. 554-560.
---- _Keightley's Life of_. North American Review, by H.A. Whitney, vol.
82, 1856, pp. 388-404. Littell's Living Age (from the _Saturday
Review_), vol. 63, 1859, pp. 226-229.
---- _Lamartine on_. Littell's Living Age (from the _Literary Gazette_),
vol. 44, 1855, pp. 497-499.
---- _Latin Poems of, Cowper's Translations_. Eclectic Review, Sept.
1808, pp. 780-791.
---- _Life of_. North British Review, by D. Masson, vol. 16, 1852,
same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 25, 1852, pp. 433-447.
--New Quarterly Review, vol. 8, 1859, pp. 40-54.
---- _Life and Poetry of_. Hogg's Instructor, vol. 1 N.S., 1853, pp.
same article, Eclectic Magazine, vol. 30, pp. 364-372.
---- _Lycidas_. American Monthly Magazine, vol. 5 N.S., 1838, pp. 341-353.
--Quarterly Review, vol. 158, 1884, pp. 162-183.
---- ---- _Language of Lycidas_. Sharpe's London Magazine, vol. 25 N.S.,
1864, pp. 293-296.
---- ---- _Notes on Lycidas_. Journal of Speculative Philosophy, by A.C.
Brackett, vol. 1, 1867, pp. 87-90.
---- _Masson's Life of_. British Quarterly Review, vol. 29, 1859, pp.
185-214; vol. 59, 1874, pp. 81-100.
--North British Review, vol. 30, 1859, pp. 281-308;
same article, Littell's Living Age, vol. 61, pp. 731-747.
--Dublin University Magazine, vol. 53, 1859, pp. 609-623.
--New Monthly Magazine, vol. 115, 1859, pp. 163-172.
--Eclectic Review, vol. 1 N.S., 1859, pp. 1-21.
--Christian Examiner, by G.E. Ellis, vol. 66, 1859, pp. 401-431.
--Old and New, vol. 4, 1871, pp. 704-708.
--Nation, by W.F. Allen, vol. 13, 1871, pp. 91, 92; vol. 17, 1873,
pp. 165, 166; vol. 31, 1880, pp. 15, 16.
--International Review, by H.C. Lodge, vol. 9, 1880, pp. 125-135.
--Quarterly Review, vol. 132, 1872, pp. 393-423.
--Presbyterian Quarterly, by E.H. Gillett, vol. 1, 1872, pp. 382-394.
--North American Review, by J.R. Lowell, vol. 114, 1872, pp. 204-218.
--Macmillan's Magazine, by G.B. Smith, vol. 28, 1873, pp. 536-547.
--Christian Observer, vol. 73, 1873, pp. 815-834.
--International Review, vol. 1, 1874, pp. 131-135.
--North American Review, vol. 126, 1878, pp. 537-542.
--Nation, by J.L. Dyman, vol. 26, 1878, pp. 342-344.
--Westminster Review, vol. 57 N.S., 1880, pp. 365-385.
---- _Minor Poems_. Dublin University Magazine, vol. 63, 1864,
---- _Mitford's Life of_. New Monthly Magazine, vol. 34, 1832,
pp. 581, 582.
---- _Nephews of_. Edinburgh Review, by Sir J. Mackintosh, vol. 25,
1815, pp. 485-501.
---- _Newly-discovered Prose Writings of_. Hours at Home, by E.H.
Gillett, vol. 9, 1869, pp. 532-536.
---- _Ode to_. Harper's New Monthly Magazine, by A.A. Lipscomb, vol. 20,
1860, pp. 771-778.
---- _On the Divinity of Christ_. Christian Examiner, vol. 2, 1825,
---- _Paradise Lost_. Journal of Sacred Literature, by F.A. Cox, vol. 1,
1848, pp. 236-257.
---- ---- _Chateaubriand's Translation of Paradise Lost_. Foreign
Quarterly Review, vol. 19, 1837, pp. 35-50.
---- ---- _Cosmology of Paradise Lost_. Lutheran Quarterly, by J.A.
Himes, vol. 6, p. 187, etc.
---- ---- _De Lille's Translation of Paradise Lost_. Edinburgh Review,
vol. 8, 1806, pp. 167-190.
---- ---- _First Edition of Paradise Lost_. Book-Lore, vol. 3, 1886, pp.
72-75. Leisure Hour, April 28, 1877, pp. 269, 270.
---- ---- _Moral Estimate of the Paradise Lost_. Christian Observer,
vol. 22, 1822, pp. 211-218, 278-284.
---- ---- _Mull's edition of Paradise Lost_. Spectator, December 6,
1884, pp. 1635, 1636.
--Saturday Review, vol. 58, pp. 570, 571.
---- ---- _Origin of the Paradise Lost_. North American Review, by L.E.
Dubois, vol. 91, 1860, pp. 539-555.
---- ---- _Plan of Paradise Lost_. New Englander, by Professor Himes,
vol. 42, 1883, pp. 196-211.
---- ---- _Prendeville's edition of Paradise Lost_. Blackwood's
Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 47, 1840, pp. 691-716.
---- ---- _Sorelli's Italian Translation of Paradise Lost_. Foreign
Quarterly Review, vol. 10, 1832, pp. 508-513.
---- ---- _Theism of the Paradise Lost_. Unitarian Review, by H.
Carpenter, vol. 5, pp. 302, etc.
---- _Poetry of_. Edinburgh Review, vol. 42, 1825, pp. 304-324.
--Selections from the Edinburgh Review, vol. 2, 1835, pp. 34-64.
--Macmillan's Magazine, by J.R. Seeley, vol. 17, 1868, pp. 299-311;
vol. 19, pp. 407-421.
--Temple Bar, vol. 39, 1873, pp. 458-473.
---- _Political Writings_. Nation, by Goldwin Smith, vol. 30, 1880,
---- _Prose Writings of_. New Monthly Magazine, vol. 40, 1834, pp. 39-50.
--Congregational Magazine, vol. 10 N.S., 1834, pp. 217-224.
--American Monthly Magazine, vol. 1 N.S., 1836, pp. 142-146.
--Eclectic Review, vol. 25 N.S., 1849, pp. 507-521.
--Spectator, Oct. 3, 1885, pp. 1317, 1318.
--Athenĉum, Sept. 20, 1884, pp. 359, 360.
---- _Public Conduct of_. Edinburgh Review, vol. 42, 1825, pp. 324-346.
--Selections from the Edinburgh Review, vol. 2, 1835, pp. 48-64.
---- _Relics of, at Cambridge_. Chambers's Journal, vol. 8, 1857, pp.
---- _Religious Life and Opinions of_. Bibliotheca Sacra, by A.D.
Barber, vol. 16, 1859, pp. 557-603; vol. 17, pp. 1-42.
---- _Rural Scenes of_. Fraser's Magazine, vol. 23, 1841, pp. 519-528.
---- _Satan of._ Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 1, 1817, pp. 140-142.
---- ---- _and Lucifer of Byron Compared._ Knickerbocker, vol. 30, 1847,
---- ---- _Satan of Paradise Lost._ Dublin University Magazine, vol. 88,
1876, pp. 707-714.
---- _Select Prose Works._ Boston Quarterly Review, vol. 5, 1842,
---- _Shadow of the Puritan War in._ Catholic Presbyterian, by A.
Macleod, vol. 9, 1883, pp. 169-176, 321-330.
---- _Sonnets of, Pattison's edition._ Academy, by J.A. Noble, vol. 24,
1883, pp. 57, 58.
--Saturday Review, vol. 56, 1883, pp. 252, 253.
--Spectator, Aug. 18, 1883, pp. 1062, 1063.
--Athenĉum, Sept. 1, 1883, pp. 263-265.
---- _Spenser, and Shakspere._ Victoria Magazine, vol. 25, 1875, pp.
856-868, 1059-1065; vol. 26, pp. 24-31, 108-117.
---- _State Papers relating to._ London Magazine, vol. 6 N.S., 1826,
---- _Theology of._ Boston Monthly Magazine, vol. 1, 1825, pp. 489-491.
---- _Todd's Life of._ Quarterly Review, vol. 36, 1827, pp. 29-61.
--Monthly Review, vol. 3 N.S., 1826, pp. 258-273.
--Museum of Foreign Literature, vol. 10, p. 67, etc.; vol. 11, pp. 114,
etc., 385, etc.
--Congregational Magazine, vol. 3, 1827, pp. 33-40.
---- _Treatise on Christian Doctrine._ Evangelical Magazine, vol. 4
N.S., 1826, pp. 371-375.
---- _versus Robert Montgomery._ Knickerbocker, vol. 3, 1834, pp.
---- _Works of._ American Church Review, by J.H. Hanson, vol. 2, pp.
---- _Youth of_. Edinburgh Review, vol. 111, 1860, pp. 312-347;
same article, Littell's Living Age, vol. 65, pp. 579-597.
--Argosy, vol. 6, 1868, pp. 267-273.
* * * * *
VII. CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF WORKS.
A Maske [Comus] 1637
(In _Justa Edouardo King Naufrago_)
Of Reformation touching Church-Discipline in England 1641
Of Prelatical Episcopacy 1641
Animadversions upon the Remonstrant's defence against Smectymnuus 1641
The Reason of Church-Government urg'd against Prelaty 1641
Apology against a Pamphlet called A Modest Confutation of the
Animadversions, etc. 1641
Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce 1643
Of Education. To Master S. Hartlib 1644
The Judgment of Martin Bucer, now Englisht 1644
Tenure of Kings and Magistrates 1649
Observations upon the Articles of Peace with the Irish Rebels
(_Articles of Peace_, etc.) 1649
Pro populo Anglicano defensio contra Salmasium 1651
A Letter touching the Dissolution of the late Parliament 1653
Pro populo Anglicano defensio secunda 1654
Scriptum Dom-Protectoris contra Hispanos 1655
Pro se defensio contra A. Morum 1655
Treatise on Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes 1659
Considerations touching the likeliest means to remove Hirelings
out of the Church 1659
Ready and easy way to establish a free Commonwealth 1660
Paradise Lost 1667
Accedence commenc't Grammar 1669
History of Britain 1670
Paradise Regained 1671
Samson Agonistes 1671
(_With preceding work_)
Artis Logicĉ plenior Institutio 1672
Of true Religion, Heresie, Schism, Toleration, and what best means
may be used against the growth of Popery 1673
Epistolarum familiarium liber 1674
Declaration or Letters Patents of the Election of this present
King of Poland, John the Third 1674
* * * * *
Literĉ Pseudo-Senatus Anglicani, Cromwellii, etc. 1676
Character of the Long Parliament and Assembly of Divines in 1641 1681
Brief History of Moscovia 1682
Works [in prose] 1697
Historical, political, and miscellaneous works 1698
Original Letters and Papers of State addressed to Oliver Cromwell 1743
De Doctrina Christiana 1825
Common Place Book 1876
_Printed by _WALTER SCOTT_, Felling, Newcastle-on-Tyne._
_Crown 8vo, Cloth. Price 3s. 6d. per Vol.; Hlf. Mor. 6s. 6d._
THE CONTEMPORARY SCIENCE SERIES.
EDITED BY HAVELOCK ELLIS.
_Most of the vols. will be illustrated, containing between 300 and 400
pp. The first vol. will be issued on Oct. 25, 1889. Others to follow at
* * * * *
The contemporary science series will bring within general reach of the
English-speaking public the best that is known and thought in all
departments of modern scientific research. The influence of the
scientific spirit is now rapidly spreading in every field of human
activity. Social progress, it is felt, must be guided and accompanied by
accurate knowledge,--knowledge which is, in many departments, not yet
open to the English reader. In the Contemporary Science Series all the
questions of modern life--the various social and politico-economical
problems of to-day, the most recent researches in the knowledge of man,
the past and present experiences of the race, and the nature of its
environment--will be frankly investigated and clearly presented.
* * * * *
The first volumes of the Series will be:--
THE EVOLUTION OF SEX. By Prof. PATRICK GEDDES and J. ARTHUR
THOMSON. With 90 Illustrations, and about 300 pages. [_Now Ready._
ELECTRICITY IN MODERN LIFE. By G.W. DE TUNZELMANN. With 88
Illustrations. [_Ready 25th November._
THE ORIGIN OF THE ARYANS. By Dr. ISAAC TAYLOR. With numerous
Illustrations. [_Ready 25th December._
The following Writers, among others, are preparing volumes for this
Prof. E.D. Cope, Prof. G.F. Fitzgerald, Prof. J. Geikie, G.L. Gomme,
E.C.K. Gonner, Prof. J. Jastrow (Wisconsin), E Sidney Hartland, Prof.
C.H. Herford, J. Bland Sutton, Dr. C. Mercier, Sidney Webb, Dr. Sims
Woodhead, Dr. C.M. Woodward (St. Louis, Mo.), etc.
* * * * *
LONDON: WALTER SCOTT, 24 Warwick Lane, Paternoster Row.
A NEW SERIES OF CRITICAL BIOGRAPHIES.
Edited by Professor ERIC S. ROBERTSON, M.A.
MONTHLY SHILLING VOLUMES.
_VOLUMES ALREADY ISSUED_--
LIFE OF LONGFELLOW. By Prof. Eric S. Robertson.
"A most readable little work."--_Liverpool Mercury._
LIFE OF COLERIDGE. By Hall Caine.
"Brief and vigorous, written throughout with spirit and great literary
LIFE OF DICKENS. By Frank T. Marzials.
"Notwithstanding the mass of matter that has been printed relating to
Dickens and his works ... we should, until we came across this volume,
have been at a loss to recommend any popular life of England's most
popular novelist as being really satisfactory. The difficulty is removed
by Mr. Marzials's little book."--_Athenĉum._
LIFE OF DANTE GABRIEL ROSSETTI By J. Knight.
"Mr. Knight's picture of the great poet and painter is the fullest and
best yet presented to the public."--_The Graphic._
LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON. By Colonel F. Grant.
"Colonel Grant has performed his task with diligence, sound judgment
good taste, and accuracy."--_Illustrated London News._
LIFE OF DARWIN. By G.T. Bettany.
"Mr. G.T. Bettany's _Life of Darwin_ is a sound and conscientious
LIFE OF CHARLOTTE BRONTË. By A. Birrell.
"Those who know much of Charlotte Brontë will learn more, and those who
know nothing about her will find all that is best worth learning in Mr.
Birrell's pleasant book."--_St. James' Gazette._
LIFE OF THOMAS CARLYLE. By R. Garnett, LL.D.
"This is an admirable book. Nothing could be more felicitous and fairer
than the way in which he takes us through Carlyle's life and
works."--_Pall Mall Gazette._
LIFE OF ADAM SMITH. By R.B. Haldane, M.P.
"Written with a perspicuity seldom exemplified when dealing with
LIFE OF KEATS. By W.M. Rossetti.
"Valuable for the ample information which it contains."--_Cambridge
LIFE OF SHELLEY. By William Sharp.
"The criticisms ... entitle this capital monograph to be ranked with the
best biographies of Shelley."--_Westminster Review._
LIFE OF SMOLLETT. By David Hannay.
"A capable record of a writer who still remains one of the great masters
of the English novel"--_Saturday Review._
LIFE OF GOLDSMITH. By Austin Dobson.
"The story of his literary and social life in London, with all its
humorous and pathetic vicissitudes, is here retold, as none could tell
it better."-_Daily News._
LIFE OF SCOTT. By Professor Yonge.
"For readers and lovers of the poems and novels of Sir Walter Scott,
this is a most enjoyable boot."--_Aberdeen Free Press._
LIFE OF BURNS. By Professor Blackie.
"The editor certainly made a hit when he persuaded Blackie to write
about Burns."--_Pall Mall Gazette._
LIFE OF VICTOR HUGO-By Frank T. Marzials.
"Mr. Marzials's volume presents to us, in a more handy form than any
English, or even French handbook gives, the summary of what, up to the
moment in which we write, is known or conjectured about the life of the
great poet."--_Saturday Review._
LIFE OF EMERSON. By Richard Garnett, LL.D.
"As to the larger section of the public, ... no record of Emerson's life
and work could be more desirable, both in breadth of treatment and
lucidity of style, than Dr. Garnett's."--_Saturday Review._
LIFE OF GOETHE. By James Sime.
"Mr. James Sime's competence as a biographer of Goethe, both in respect
of knowledge of his special subject, and of German literature generally,
is beyond question."--_Manchester Guardian._
LIFE OF CONGREVE. By Edmund Gosse.
"Mr. Gosse has written an admirable and most interesting biography of a
man of letters who is of particular interest to other men of
LIFE OF BUNYAN. By Canon Venables.
"A most intelligent, appreciative, and valuable memoir."--_Scotsman._
LIFE OF CRABBE. By T.E. Kebbel.
"No English poet since Shakespeare has observed certain aspects of
nature and of human life more closely; ... Mr. Kebbel's monograph is
worthy of the subject."--_Athenĉum._
LIFE OF HEINE. By William Sharp.
"This is an admirable monograph ... more fully written up to the level
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BY COUNT LEO TOLSTOÏ.
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO.
THE TWO PILGRIMS.
WHAT MEN LIVE BY.
Published originally in Russia, as tracts for the people, these little
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