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lady of great wit and beauty: but before he had proceeded so far as to conclude the matrimonial treaty, his wife contrived to prostrate herself before him, penitently implored his forgiveness, and effected a cordial reconciliation. At a subsequent period, when the royalists were distressed, Milton received her father and brothers, with others of that party, into his house.

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In 1645, he published a collection of Latin and English poems, in which were included the Allegro' and' Penseroso.' Soon after the death of the king, he was advanced, by Cromwell, to the station of Latin secretary to himself and the parliament; and he continued to hold the latter office till the restoration of Charles II. In 1649, Salmasius, a professor of polite learning at Leyden, and a man of extraordinary literary attainments, produced his Defensio Regis;' to which Milton replied in so forcible a manner, that it became difficult to determine whose language was best, or whose arguments were worst. Our Author lived, for some time, with his family, in Whitehall; but his ill health obliged him to take lodgings, which opened into St. James's-park; where his wife died in childbed, shortly after his settlement, leaving him three daughters. This painful occurrence was soon succeeded by another, still more distressing-his own deprivation of sight. In these melancholy circumstances, he directed his attention to another object, and was married to the daughter of a Captain Woodcock, of Hackney. She died within a year, from the same cause as the former wife. Milton has honoured her memory in his eighteenth sonnet.

He had now reached his forty-seventh year; and, being free from external interruptions, applied himself to the consideration of three works, which had been long reserved for future exertion-an epic poem, the history of his country, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue. Impracticable as the labour of collecting a dictionary seems to be to a man in a state of blindness, we are told he prosecuted that design almost to his dying day: the compilers of the Cambridge Dictionary,' published in 1693, availed themselves of three

folios he left behind. His historical narrative did not proceed beyond the Conquest; from the difficulty, it is probable, of consulting a variety of authorities with the help of other eyes. For the subject of his epic poem, after much deliberation, he determined upon 'Paradise Lost;' a project which could only be justified by the success that attended it. At the Restoration, Milton, apprehensive of danger, concealed himself in Bartholomew-close, where he remained till the passing an act of oblivion, which secured his person and property, in common with others: the reason of his being treated with such indulgence, cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. About this time he removed to Jewin-street, and married a third wife, who contributed very little to his domestic comfort:-she oppressed his children in his lifetime, and cheated them at his death. From Jewin-street he went to reside in the Artillery-walk, near Bunhill-fields, the mention of which concludes the register of his removals.

While he continued to divide his time between state affairs and his private studies, it was hardly possible for him to accomplish any literary undertaking of great importance; but on quitting the office of Latin secretary, he was left to the free exercise of his mental energies, which could not be employed upon a subject better suited to the extensive range they were accustomed to take, than that he had chosen. The 'Paradise Lost,' is said to have been written at different times, and was sold on the 27th of April, 1667, to Samuel Simmons, for an immediate payment of five pounds; with a farther agreement for the same sum when fifteen hundred copies of the first edition should be disposed of; and again, five pounds when the same number should be sold of the second edition; and another five pounds after a similar sale of the third. An the editions were limited to fifteen hundred copies. The third edition was published in 1678; and the widow, to whom the copy then devolved, sold all her claims to Simmons for eight pounds: whence it will appear, that the sum of twenty-eight pounds constitutes the entire remuneration for a performance which, while it immortalized the name of the poet, conferred

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an honour equally imperishable upon the nation signalized for his birth.

Four years after his ' Paradise Lost' (1671), he published his Paradise Regained,' and Samson Agonistes.' 'Paradise Regained' was his favourite production-a preference which has ever been opposed to the opinion of the public. In the last year of his life, he printed a collection of Familiar Epistles,' in Latin: to these (being too few to form a volume) he added some academical exercises.

When in his sixty-sixth year, the gout, with which he had been long tormented, prevailed over the enfeebled powers of nature. On the 10th of November, 1674, he quietly departed this life, at his house in Bunhill-fields, and was buried next his father, in the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate. His funeral was very splendidly and numerously attended. No memorial marks the spot where he was interred, though a monument has been erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey. In his youth he was accounted extremely handsome: the colour of his hair was a light brown; the symmetry of his features exact, enlivened with an agreeable air, and a beautiful mixture of fair and ruddy. His stature was about the middle size, neither too lean nor corpulent; his limbs were wellproportioned, nervous, and active. In his diet he was abstemious; and strong liquors of all kinds were his aversion. Being convinced how much his health had suffered by night-studies, in his younger years, he was accustomed to retire early (seldom later than nine) to bed; and rose commonly before five in the summer, and six in the winter. When blindness restrained him from other exercises, he had a machine to swing in, and amused himself in his chamber with playing on an organ. His deportment was erect, open, affable; his conversation easy, cheerful, instructive, his wit, on all occasions, at command, facetious, grave, or satirical, as the subject required. His judgment was just and penetrating, his apprehension quick, and his memory tenacious of what he read. Of the English poets, he set most value upon Spenser, Shakspeare, and Cowley.

In farther noticing Milton's poetical writings, we can only subjoin a few general remarks, of a very brief description. For his juvenile productions (which are in Latin, Italian, and English) he cherished a peculiar fondness: the Latin pieces, both on account of the purity of the diction and the harmony of the numbers, are lusciously elegant; the Italian have been greatly commended: the elegies excel the odes. His English poems possess a cast original and unborrowed; but are too often distinguished by harshness: the combinations of words, though new, are not always pleasing. He has been styled a lion, that had no skill in dangling a kid. Of his 'Paradise Lost,' Dr. Johnson observes, that the poet's purpose was the most useful and arduous- to vindicate the ways of God to man. His subject is the fate of worlds, the revolutions of heaven and of earth; rebellion against the supreme King, raised by the highest order of created beings; the overthrow of their host, and the punishment of their crime; the creation of a new race of reasonable creatures; their original happiness and innocence; their forfeiture of immortality, and their restoration to hope and peace.-Here is a full display of the united force of study and genius; of a great accumulation of materials, with judgment to digest, and fancy to combine them.' His large works (says the same judicious critic) were performed under discountenance, and in blindness; but difficulties vanished at his touch: he was born for whatever is arduous; and his work is not the greatest of heroic poems, only because it is not the first.'




The First Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's dis. obedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise, wherein he was placed then touches the prime cause of his fall, the serpent, or rather Satan in the serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of angels, was, by the com mand of God, driven out of heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan, with his angels, now fallen into bell, described here, not in the centre (for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed), but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: here Satan, with his angels, lying on the burning lake, thunder-struck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: they confer of their miserable fall: Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterward in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world, and a new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy, or report, in heaven; for, that the angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: the infernal peers there sit in council.

Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,

Sing, heavenly muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire

That shepherd, who first taught the chosen seed,
In the beginning how the heavens and earth
Rose out of chaos: or, if Sion hill

Delight thee more, and Siloa's brook that flow'd
Fast by the oracle of God; I thence
Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song,
That with no middle flight intends to soar

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