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objections, by being overlooked, were forgotten, and desire superinduced convictions; he yet shared only the common weakness of mankind, and might be no less sincere than his opponents. But, as faction seldom leaves a man honest, however it might find him, Milton is suspected of having interpolated the book called Icon Basilike, which the council of state, to whom he was now made Latin secretary, employed him to censure, by inserting a prayer taken from Sidney's Arcadia, and imputing it to the king; whom he charges, in his Iconoclastes, with the use of this prayer, as with a heavy crime, in the indecent language with which prosperity had emboldened the advocates for rebellion to insult all that is venerable or great:“Who would have imagined so little fear in him of the true all-seeing deity, as, immediately before his death, to pop into the hands of the grave bishop that attended him, as a special relique of his saintly exercises, a prayer, stolen word for word, from the mouth of a heathen woman, praying to a heathen god ?” The papers
papers which the king gave to Dr. Juxon, on the scaffold, the regicides took away, so that they were, at least, the publishers of this prayer; and Dr. Birch, who had examined the question with great care, was inclined to think them the forgers. The use ofit, by adaptation, was innocent; and they who could so noisily censure it, with a little extension of their malice, could contrive what they wanted to accuse".
n This charge, as far as regards Milton, is examined by Dr. Symons with more moderation than usually characterizes his high-sounding and wordy panegyrics. See Life of Milton. Ed.
King Charles the second, being now sheltered in Holland, employed Salmasius, professor of polite learning at Leyden, to write a defence of his father and of monarchy; and, to excite his industry, gave him, as was reported, a hundred Jacobuses. Salmasius was a man of skill in languages, knowledge of antiquity, and sagacity of emendatory criticism, almost exceeding all hope of human attainment; and having, by excessive praises, been confirmed in great confidence of himself, though he probably had not much considered the principals of society, or the rights of government, undertook the employment without distrust of his own qualifications; and, as his expedition in writing was wonderful, in 1649, published Defensio Regis.
To this Milton was required to write a sufficient answer; which he performed (1651) in such a manner, that Hobbes declared himself unable to decide whose language was best, or whose arguments were worst. In my opinion, Milton's periods are smoother, neater, and more pointed; but he delights himself with teasing his adversary, as much as with confuting him. He makes a foolish allusion of Salmasius, whose doctrine he considers as servile and unmanly, to the stream of Salmacis, which, whoever entered, left half his virility behind him. Salmasius was a Frenchman, and was unhappily married to a scold: “Tu es Gallus,” says Milton,“et, ut aiunt, nimium gallinaceus.” But his supreme pleasure is to tax his adversary, so renowned for criticism, with vitious Latin. He opens his book with telling that he has
used persona, which, according to Milton, signifies only a mask, in a sense not known to the Romans, by applying it as we apply person. But, as Nemesis is always on the watch, it is memorable that he has enforced the charge of a solecism by an expression in itself grossly solecistical, when, for one of those supposed blunders, he says, as Ker, and, I think, some one before him, has remarked, “propino te grammatistis tuis vapulandumo.” From vapulo, which has a passive sense, vapulandus can never be derived. No man forgets his original trade: the rights of nations, and of kings, sink into questions of grammar, if grammarians discuss them.
Milton, when he undertook this answer, was weak of body and dim of sight; but his will was forward, and what was wanting of health was supplied by zeal. He was rewarded with a thousand pounds, and his book was much read; for paradox, recommended by spirit and elegance, easily gains attention; and he, who told every man that he was equal to his king, could hardly want an audience.
That the performance of Salmasius was not dispersed with equal rapidity, or read with equal eagerness, is very credible. He taught only the stale doctrine of authority, and the unpleasing duty of submission; and he had been so long not only the monarch, but the tyrant, of literature, that almost all mankind were delighted to find him defied and
• The work here referred to is Selectarum de Lingua Latina Observationum Libri duo. Ductu et cura Joannis Ker, 1719. Ker observes, that vapulandum is pinguis solæcismus. J. B.
insulted by a new name, not yet considered as any one's rival. If Christina, as is said, commended the Defence of the People, her purpose must be to torment Salmasius, who was then at court; for neither her civil station, nor her natural character, could dispose her to favour the doctrine, who was by birth a queen, and by temper despotick.
That Salmasius was, from the appearance of Milton's book, treated with neglect, there is not much proof; but to a man, so long accustomed to admiration, a little praise of his antagonist would be sufficiently offensive, and might incline him to leave Sweden, from which, however, he was dismissed, not with any mark of contempt, but with a train of attendance scarcely less than regal.
He prepared a reply, which, left as it was imperfect, was published by his son in the year of the restoration. In the beginning, being probably most in pain for his Latinity, he endeavours to defend his use of the word persona ; but, if I remember right, he misses a better authority than any that he has found, that of Juvenal in his fourth satire:
Quid agas, cum dira et fodior omni
As Salmasius reproached Milton with losing his eyes in the quarrel, Milton delighted himself with the belief that he had shortened Salmasius's life, and both, perhaps, with more malignity than reason. Salmasius died at the spa, Sept. 3, 1653; and, as controvertists are commonly said to be killed by
their last dispute, Milton was flattered with the credit of destroying him.
Cromwell had now dismissed the parliament by the authority of which he had destroyed monarchy, and commenced monarch himself, under the title of protector, but with kingly, and more than kingly, power. That his authority was lawful, never was pretended: he himself founded his right only in necessity; but Milton, having now tasted the honey of publick employment, would not return to hunger and phylosophy, but, continuing to exercise his office, under a manifest usurpation, betrayed to his power that liberty which he had defended. Nothing can be more just than that rebellion should end in slavery; that he, who had justified the murder of his king, for some acts which seemed to him unlawful, should now sell his services, and his flatteries, to a tyrant, of whom it was evident that he could do nothing lawful.
He had now been blind for some years; but his vigour of intellect was such, that he was not disabled to discharge his office of Latin secretary, or continue his controversies. His mind was too eager to be diverted, and too strong to be subdued.
About this time his first wife died in childbed, having left him three daughters. As he probably did not much love her, he did not long continue the appearance of lamenting her; but, after a short time, married Catherine, the daughter of one captain Woodcock, of Hackney; a woman, doubtless, educated in opinions like his own. She died, within a