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was owing to Elwood the Quaker. When Milton had lent him the manuscript of Paradise Lost at St. Giles Chalfont, and he returned it, Milton asked him how he liked it, and what he thought of it? “ Which I “ modestly, but freely told him," says Elwood; "and “ after some further discourse about it, I pleasantly ** said to him, Thou hast said much of Paradise Lost, " but what haft thou said of Paradise Found? He * made me no answer, but fat soine time in a muse; “! then broke off that difcourse, and fell upon another " subject.” When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton showed him his Paradise Re. gain'd, and in a pleasant tone said to him, “ This is
owing to you, for you put it into my head by the
question you put me at Chalfont, which before I “ had not thought of.” This poem has also been translated into French, together with some other pieces -of Milton, Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il Penseroso, and the Ode on Chrift's nativity:. In 1732 was printed a critical dissertation with notes upon Paradile Regain’d, : pointing out the beauties of it, written by Mr. Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester: And the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added some obfervations upon this work at the end of his excellent remarks upon Spenser; published in 1734: And indeed this poem of Milton, to be more adınired, needs only to be : better known. His Samson Agonistes is the only tragedy that he has finished, though he has sketched out the plans of several, and proposed the subjects of more,. in his manuscript preserved in Trinity-college library. We may fuppofe that he was determined to the choice of this particular subject by the fimilitude of his own. circumstances to those of Samson, blind and among the Philistines; and it seems to be the last of his poetical pieces. It has been brought upon the stage in the form of an oratorio; and Mr. Handel's music is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adap:ed to Milton's words. That great artist has done equal justice to our Author's L’Allegro and Il Penserofo, as if the same spirit poffeffed both masters, and as if the god of mufic and of verfe was fill one and the same; C6
There are also some other pieces of Milton, for he” continued publishing to the last. In 1672 he published Artis logicæ plenior inftitutio ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata, An institution of logic after the me thod of Petrus Ramus; and the year following, A treatise of true religion, and the best means to prevent the growth of Popery, which had greatly increased through the connivance of the King, and the more open encouragement of the Duke of York; and the faine year his poems, which had been printed in 1645, were reprinted with the addition of several others. His familiar epistles and fome academical exercises, Epiftola. rum familiarum, lib. i & prolufiones quædam oratoria in collegio Chrifti habite, were printed in 1674; as was also his tranflation out of Latin into English of the Poles declaration concerning the election of their King John III. fetting forth the virtues and merits of that prince. He wrote also a brief history of Muscovy, col. lecied from the relations of several travellers ; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewise his state-letters transcribed at the request of the Danish refident; but neither were they printed till after his death in 1676, and were translated into EngJish in 1694. To that translation a Life of Milton was prefixed by his nephew Mr. Edward Philips ; and at ihe end of that Life his excellent sonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner on his blindness, were first printed. Besides these works which were published, he wrote a system of divinity, which Mr. Toland says was in the hands of his friend Cyriac Skinner ; but where at present is uncertain. And Mr. Philips fays, that he had prepared for the press an answer to some little scribbling quack in London, who had written a scurrilous libel against him: But whether by the diffuation of friends, as thinking him a fellow not worth his notice, or for what other cause Mr. Philips knoweth not, this answer was never published. And indeed the best vindicator of him and his writings hath been Time. Posterity hath univer, fally paid that honour to his merits, which was denied him by great part of his contemporaries,
After a life thus spent in study and labours for the public, be died of the gout at his house in BunhillRow, on or about the oth of November 1674, when he had within a month completed the fixty sixth year of his age. It is not known when he was first attack, ed by the gout; but he was grievously afflicted with it several of the last years of his life, and was weaken. ed to such a degree, that he died without a groan, and thuse in the room perceived not when he expired. His body was decently interred near that of his father, who had died very aged about the year 1647, in the chancel of the church of St.Giles's, Cripplegate; and all his great and learned friends in London, not with out a friendly concourse of the common people, paid their last respects in attending it to the grave. It does not appear that any monument was erected to his memory
1737, in which one was erected in Westeminster-abbey by Auditor Benson. But the best.mom nument of him is his writings.
In his youth he was esteemed extremely handsome;: so that while he was a student at Cambridge, he was called the lady of Christ's college. He had a very fine skin and fresh complexion; his hair was of a light brown, and parted on the foretop hung down in curls waving upon his shoulders; his features were exact and regular; his voice agreeable and musical; his habit clean and neat; his deportment erect and manly. He was middle-fized and well proportioned, neither talt nor short, neither too lean nor too corpulent, strong and active in his younger years; and though afflicted with frequent headachs, blindness, and gout, was yet a comely and well-looking man to the last. His eyes were of a light-blue colour, and from the first are said to have been none of the brightest; but after he lost the fight of them, (which happened about the 43d year of his age), they still appeared without spot or blemilh, and at first view, and at a little distance, it was not easy to know that he was blind. But there is the less need to be particular in the description of his person, as the idea of his face and countenance is pret, fy well known from the numerous prints, pictures, busts, medals, and other representations which have been made of him.
In his way of living he was an example of fobriety and temperance. He was very sparing in the use of wine or itrong liquors of any kind. Let meaner poetsmake use of luch expedients to raise their fancy, and kindle their imagination. He wanted not any artifi-. cial spirits; he had a natural fire, and poetic warmth' enough of his own. He was likewise very abstemious in his diet, not faftidiously nice or delicate in the choice: of his dithes, but content with any thing that was most in reason; or easiest to be procured, eating and drinking (according to the diflinction of the philofopher) that he might live, and not living that he might eat and drink. So that probably his gout descended by inheritance from one or other of his parents; or if it was of his own acquiring, it must have been owing® to his studious and sedentary life: And yet he delighted sometimes in walking and using exercise, but wel hear nothing of his riding or hunting. Having learned to fence, he was such a master of his sword, that he was not afraid of resenting an affront from any man.'. Before he lost his light, his principal-recreation was the exercise of his arms; but after he was confined by: age and blindness, he had a machine to swing in for the preservation of his health. In his youth he wass accustomed to fit up late at his studies, and feldom went to bed before midnight; but afterwards, finding it to be the ruin of his eyes, and looking on this cula. toin as very pernicious to health at any time, he used: to go to rest early, feldom later than nine; and would be stirring in the summer at four, and in the winter at five in the morning; but if he was not disposed to rise at his usual hours, he still did not lie fleeping, but had. fome body or other by his bedside to read to him. At. his firit rising he had usually a chapter read to him out of the Hebrew Bible; and he commonly studied all the morning till twelve, then used some exercise for an hour, afterwards dined, and after dinner played on the organ, and either sung himself or made his wife fing, who (he said) had a good voice but no ear: then
he went up to study again till six, when his friends came to visit him, and fat with him perhaps till eight; then he went down to supper, which was usually olives, or fome light thing; and after supper he smoaked his pipe, drank a glafs of water, and went to bed. He loved the country, and commends it, as poets usually do; but after his return from his travels, he was very little there, except during the time of the plague in London. The civil war might at first detain him in town; and the pleasures of the country were in a great measure lost to him, as they depend mostly upon fight; whereas a blind man wanteth company and converfation, which is to be had better in populous cities. But he was led out sometimes for the benefit of the fresh air, and in warm sunny weather he used to fit at the door of his house near Bunhill-Fields, and there, as well as in the house, received the vilits of persons of quality and distinction; for he was no less visited to the last, both by his own countrymen and foreigners, than he had been in his flourishing condition before the Restoration.
Some objections indeed have been made to his temper; and there was a tradition in the university of Cambridge, that he and Mr. King (whose death be Jaments in his Lycidas) were competitors for a fellowship, and when they were both equal in point of learning, Mr. King was preferred by the college for his character of good nature, which was wanting in the other; and this was by Milton grievously resented. But the difference of their ages, Milton being at least four years elder, renders this story not very probable; and, besides, Mr. King was not elected by the college, but was made a fellow by a royal mandate: So that there can be no truth in the tradition; but if there was any, it was no sign of Milton's refentment, but a proof of his generosity, that he could live in such friendship with a successful rival, and afterwards so passionately lament his decease. His method of writing controversy is urged as another argument of his want of temper. But some allowance must be made for the cuf. toms and manners of the time. Controversy, as well