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Christopher that he wished to dictate to him the distribution of his property. He died by a quiet and silent expiration, on Sunday the 8th of November,38 at his house in Bunhill Fields, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He was buried next his father in the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate, attended, as Toland informs us, “by all his learned and great friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the vulgar.'
The original stone laid upon the grave of Milton was removed not many years after his interment; and no memorial of the Poet's fame existed in the church in which he was buried,89 till by Mr. Whitbread's munificence, a marble bust, and tablet, recording the date of his birth and death were erected in the middle aisle. To the author of Paradise Lost a similar tribute of respect was paid in 1737, by Mr. Auditor Benson; and his monument, adorned with a bust, was placed at the expense of that gentleman in Westminster Abbey. Thus was Milton's wish, though late, fulfilled :
"Ille meos artus liventi morte solutos
Mansus, ver. 90. When the inscription, written by Atterbury, to the memory of John Philips, was exhibited to Dr. Spratt, then Dean of Westminster, he refused to admit it, because the Poet was said to be soli Miltono secundus. This anecdote was related to Johnson by Dr. Gregory.
Such has been the 38 Johnson says, about the 10th of November, and Mr. Hayley on the 15th; but Mr. Todd has ascertained the exact date from a reference to the register of St. Giles's, Cripplegate.
39 On the disinterment of the supposed coffin and corpse of Milton in August, 1790, see the Pamphlet of P. Neve, Esq. and Todd's Life, p. 139. See also Appendix. VOL. I.
change of opinion, he added, that I have seen erected in the church the statue of that man, whose name I once knew considered as a pollution of its walls.
Milton, in his youth, is said to have been eminently handsome. He was called the Lady of his college.40 His complexion was fresh and fair.41 His hair, which was of a light brown, was parted in front, and hung down upon his shoulders. He was of a moderate stature, or rather below the middle size. His eyes were of a grayish colour; and when he was totally deprived of sight, he says that they did not betray the loss. His voice
40 Salmasius says "Tu quem olim Itali pro foeminâ habuerunt.' Salmas. Resp. p. 23, in his Prolusiones Acad. p. 132, he says of himself, “A quibusdam audivi,
nuper domina,' &c. 41 On the portraits of Milton consult Todd's Life (second ed.), p. 235-240 ; to which I add, that I once saw a portrait of Milton at Lord Braybrooke's, Audley-End, in the galley (with a beard); that I also saw one of him, when young, at Lord Townshend's at Rainham, but many years (such years !!) have passed, and I cannot recollect any particulars. Charles Lamb, Esq. possesses an original portrait, left by his brother, and accidently bought in London. Could a portrait of Milton be in worthier hands ?--Consult also T. Warton's Milton, p. 331. As regards his portrait by W. Marshall, prefixed to his Poems (and which Salmasius did not dislike), he says, in his Defensio contra Morum, Tu effigiem mihi dissimilimam præfixam Poematibus vidisti. Ego vero si impulsu et ambitione librarii, me imperito Sculptori, proptereà quod in urbe alius eo tempore belli non erat, in fabri scalpendum permisi, id me neglexisse potius eam rem arguebat, cujus tu mihi nimium cultum objicis.' v. Prose Works, v. p. 303; but Morus had drawn a different conclusion. 'An deformitatem tibi vitio verterem, qui bellum etiam credidi maxime, postquam, tuis præfixam Poematibus comptulam iconem illam vidi?' Salmasius reproaches him with the loss of his beauty. “Malo isto magnam partem tuæ pulchritudinis deperiisse, pro eo ac debeo, doleo: nam in oculis maxime viget ac valet formædecus, quid Itali nunc dicerent, si te viderent cum ista tua fæda lippitudine. Salmas. Resp. p. 15. I have heard that an original portrait of Milton (about thirty years of age) has been discovered by Mr. R. Lemon of the State Paper Office.
and ear were musical. He was vigorous and active, delighting in the exercise of the sword. Of his figure in his declining days, the following sketch has been left by Richardson.--An ancient clergyman of Dorsetshire, Dr. Wright, found John Milton in a small chamber hung with rusty green, sitting in an elbow chair, and dressed neatly in black; pale, but not cadaverous; his hands and fingers gouty, and with chalk-stones. He used also to sit in a gray coarse cloth coat, at the door of his house near Bunhill Fields, in warm sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh air. And so, as well as in his room, he received the visits of people of distinguished parts, as well as quality.42
His domestic habits were those of a severe and temperate student. He drank little wine, and fed without any luxurious delicacy of choice. In his youth, he studied till midnight; but warned by the early decay of sight, and his disordered health, he afterwards changed his hours, and rested in bed 43 from nine till four in summer, and five in the winter months. If at these hours he was not disposed to rise, he had a person by his bedside to read to him.44 When he had risen, he had a chapter in the Hebrew Bible read to him, and then studied till twelve. He then took some exercise for an hour in his garden, dined, played on the organ, and either sang himself, or made his wife sing, who had a good voice, though not a musical ear. He then again studied till six; entertained his visitors 45 till eight; and supped upon olives, or some light thing, 46 and after a pipe of tobacco, and a glass of water, went to bed. That Milton and his wife used to dine in the kitchen, as appears in the affidavit of their maid-servant, Mary Fisher, I suppose might be owing to the homely and simple custom of the times among plain people, and cannot be adduced as a mark of poverty or meanness.
42 Richardson's Life of Milton, 1734, p. iv.
43 The bed on which Milton died was given by Mr. Hollis to Akenside the poet, who was delighted with the present. See Hollis's Memoirs, p. 112.
44 Milton had taught his two younger daughters to pronounce exactly the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, and French, without understanding the meaning of the languages. This at length became so irksome, that, on their expressing their
uneasiness, they were sent out to learn embroidery, &c. Elwood, Ed. Philips, and Skinner read to him. He used to say, in his daughters' hearing that one tongue was enough for a woman. v. Philips' Life, p. 42.
He composed much in the night and morning, and dictated in the day, sitting obliquely in an elbow chair, with his leg thrown over the arm. Fortune, as Johnson observes, appears not to have had much of his care. He lost, by different casualties, about four thousand pounds : yet his wants were so few, and his habits of life so unexpensive, that he was never reduced to indigence. He sold his library before his death,47 and left his widow about fifteen hundred pounds. Fenton says, "Though he abode in the heritage of oppressors, and the spoils of the country lay at his feet, neither his conscience, nor his honour could stoop to gather them.'
45 · He was visited by the learned, much more than he did desire.' v. Aubrey Lett. iii. p. 443. Foreigners came much to see him, and admired him, and offered to him great preferments to come over to them; and the only inducement of several foreigners that came over, was to see 0. Protector and Mr, J. Milton: and would see the house and chamber where he was born. He was much more admired abroad than at home.'
46 It was when he was infirm and sick, that he addressed his wife, as Mary Fisher tells us she overheard, Who having provided something for deceased's dinner which he very well liked, he spake to his said wife, these or the like words, as near as this deponent can remember. “God have mercy,
, Betty, I see thou wilt perform according to thy promise, in providing me such dishes as I think fit while I live; and when I die, thou knowest I have left thee all."' ' Milton had two servant-maids, Mary and Elizabeth Fisher. See his Will. His man-servant was B. Green. See Milton's Agreement in the Appendix.
47 He is said to have borrowed fifty pounds of Jonathan
It has been agreed by all, that he was of an equal and cheerful temper, and pleasing and instructive in conversation. His daughter said, “her father was delightful company, the life of the conversation; and that, on account of a flow of subject, and an unaffected cheerfulness and civility. Richardson says, “that Milton had a gravity in his temper, not melancholy, or not till the latter part of his life; not sour, nor morose, or ill natured, but a certain serenity of mind, a mind not condescending to little things :' and Aubrey adds, that he was satirical.'
His literature was unquestionably immense ; his adversaries admitted that he was the most able and acute scholar living. With the Hebrew, and its two dialects, he was well acquainted ; in the Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish languages, he was eminently skilled. In Latin, his knowledge was such as to place him in the first rank of writers and critics. His Italian sonnets have been praised even by Italians. He himself relates that his round of study and Hartop of Aldborough in Yorkshire, who died in 1791, at the age of 138. He returned the loan with honour, though not without much difficulty, as his circumstances were very low. Mr. Hartop would have declined receiving it, but the pride of the Poet was equal to his genius, and he sent the money with an angry letter, which was found among the curious possessions of the venerable old man.' See Easton's Human Longevity, p. 241. Toland says, ' towards the latter part of his time he contracted his library, both because the heirs he left could not make a right use of it, and that he thought he might sell it more to their advantage than they could be able to do themselves.' v. Life, 142.