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judicio transferendi et modo imitandi consecutus est, ut quod apud illum legerimus alienum, aut illius esse malimus, aut melius hic quam ubi natum est, sonare miremur.'

An anecdote had long been current, which originally came from Richardson, that Sir John Denham came into the House of Commons with a sheet of Paradise Lost, wet from the press, in his hand, and being asked what it was, replied, “ Part of the noblest poem that was ever written in any age or language.'27 Such is the facility with which anecdotes that amuse or surprise, pass current from mouth to mouth, that they need but a slender foundation to ensure belief. On examination, it was discovered that Denham was never in Parliament; and consequently the whole story is an ingenious fiction. I shall conclude my remarks on the publication of the poem, by mentioning that in an original edition, belonging to some gentleman who communicated the fact to the public, some rhyming lines were written apparently by a female hand, with these words at the conclusion, dictated by J. M. Mr. Todd withholds his decision as to their authenticity, chiefly on account of the rhyme; but Doctor Symmons, a less cautious critic, has no doubt of their being the production of Milton. The subject is ‘Daybreak, and a short extract will be sufficient to enable the admirers of Milton to form their opinion.

Isaac Redeemed,' A. D. 1597, which Milton is supposed to have seen.

v. Hollis's Memoirs, p. 528. 26 v. Macrobii Saturn. lib. vi. C. 1.

27 I possess a curious book, called a New Version of Paradise Lost, or Milton paraphrased, in which the measure and versification are corrected and harmonized, the obscurities elucidated, and the faults removed, by a gentleman of Oxford (Mr. Green), in 1706. It is one of the most ludicrously absurd books that I ever read. He says that he has introduced a novelty in this version, by bracing those lines that read best together, in imitation of the triplets in rhyme. His notes are not less curious than the text. My copy belonged to some person as eccentric as the author, as appears by his MSS. notes in the margin. He has had the book lettered—“Milton travestied surely."

• Whose pale-faced Regent, Cynthia, paler grows,
To see herself pursued by conquering foes,
Yet daring stays behind to guard the rear
Of her black armies, whither without fear
They may retreat, till her alternate course
Bring her about again with rallied force.
Hark! how the Lion's terror loud proclaims
The gladsome tidings of day's gentle beams,
And, long kept silence, breaking, rudely wakes
The feather'd train, which soon their concert makes,' &c.27

Three years after Paradise Lost was given to the world, Milton published the History of England,28 comprising the tale of Geoffrey of Monmouth, continued only as far as the Norman invasion. The first copies were mutilated by the licenser, who expunged all the passages that reflected on the conduct of the long parliament, and of the new church government. Toland has egregiously misrepresented the facts connected with this suppression. He called it an exposure of the superstition, pride, and cunning of the Popish monks in the Saxon times, and stated that it was suppressed by the licensers, because they thought what was said of the monks was meant to apply to Charles the Second's bishops, though it related solely to the republican assembly of divines ; but, as the Bishop of Salisbury29 observes, Toland very ill digested such an account of the liberty and religion of his favourite republic. Milton gave a copy of these remarks to the Earl of Anglesea, which were published in 1661, with a preface, and have since been inserted in their proper place. The six books which Milton executed appeared in 1670. Of the passages then suppressed, but since 1738 always accompanying the History, it appears that some learned persons have doubted the authenticity. This work has received, as is well known, the praise of Warburton, who said • It is written with great simplicity, contrary to his custom in his prose writings, and is the better for it. But he sometimes rises into a surprising grandeur in the sentiments and expressions, as at the conclusion of the second book; I never saw any thing equal to this, but the conclusion of Sir

27 See Todd's Life, first ed. p. 91, for some lines called Lavinia walking in a frosty morning, p. 104; for a sonnet written at Chalfont, which the critics are willing to attribute to Milton. The epigram in Fenton's collection must have come from a very different inkstand. (Extempore on a Faggot, p. 286.)

28 Milton, in his History of England, seems to have used Spenser's Chronicle of the British Kings, as a kind of clue to direct him through so dark and perplexed a subject. He plainly copies Spenser's order and disposition, whom he quotes; and almost transcribes from him the story of Lear, of much however as the difference between prose and verse will admit. Milton's history is an admirable comment on this part of Spenser, which is taken from the first part of Hardyng's Chronicle. y. Warton on Spenser, ii. p. 242.

29 See · Protestant Union,' by T. Burgess, Bishop of Salisbury, p. xlii. Richardson says the castrated part was a sort of digression, and was expurged to avoid giving offence to a party quite subdued, and whose faults the government was then willing to have forgotten.' See Life, p. xlvi. Mr. Hollis's biographer (Archd. Blackburne) is as unwilling as Toland to admit this passage in its real sense; and most absurdly turns it against the Popish clergy. v. Mem. p. 494.

30 See Todd's Life of Milton, p. 210; and Dibdin's Library Companion, p. 201 (1824).


Walter Raleigh's History of the World.'31 The third book opens with a comparison drawn between the unsettled state of the Britons, after the desertion of the Romans, and the condition of the country under Cromwell and the Presbyterian government. The parallel is forced into its place by the indignation of the writer; and severely has he chastised the hypocrisy, the selfishness, the rapacity, the ignorance of the leaders, and the injustice and weakness of the government. He follows up his first blow at the statists,' by an equally powerful attack on the unprincipled greediness and baseness of the Presbyterian clergy, “who execute their places like children of the devil, unfaithfully, unjustly, unmercifully, and, where not corruptly, stupidly. The whole passage is written with eloquence,-facit indignatio versum. In one part, he evidently alludes to himself,—“They who were ever faithfullest to their cause, and freely aided them in person and with their substance, when they durst not compel either, slighted and bereaved after their just debts, by greedy sequestrations, were tossed up and down after miserable attendance from one committee to another, with petitions in their hands, yet either missed the obtaining of their suit, or though it were at length granted (more shame and reason ofttimes extorting from them at least a show of justice), yet, by their sequestrators and subcommittees abroad, men for the most part of insatiable bounds and noted disloyalty, these orders were commonly disobeyed,' &c. This is part of the passage that was suppressed by the licenser in 1670, and was first separately printed in 1681.

In 1671, Milton published Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes.82 The former poem he showed to his friend Elwood. “This,' said he, “is owing to you, for you put it into my head, by the questions you put to me at Chalfont, which otherwise I had not thought of. When it was accounted inferior to the Paradise Lost, Philips says, ' he could not hear with patience any such thing when related to him.' It appears to me, that these poems are so dissimilar in their structure and purpose, that no comparison can be usefully or justly instituted between them. That the Paradise Lost excels in variety of invention, in splendour of imagery, in magnificent thoughts and delineations, and in grandeur and sublimity of description, no doubt can be entertained; but the latter poem is finished with equal care, and as perfect in another style; the reasoning clear, the argument close and weighty, the expression most select and chosen, the versification harmonious, differing in structure from that of the former poem, but admirably in unison with the subject. The language, as in the poetry of Lucretius, always moves closely with the argument, and waits attentively upon it; plain and simple, where plain sense and simple sentiments only were required; while there are not wanting passages that, rising into the greatest beauty, and adorned with the richest fancy, it would be difficult to surpass even in Paradise Lost. There is a severe and noble beauty in the structure and expression of the dialogue, that has always appeared to me to have imbibed the spirit of the Grecian stage, as felt in the most perfect and finished of its productions; where the boldest conceptions, and the most re

31 See Birch's Life, p. lxviii.

32 Langbaine observes, that Dryden has transferred several thoughts from Samson Agonistes to his Aurengzebe. See Dram. Poets, p. 157. 376.

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