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year, of childbirth, or some distemper that followed it; and her husband honoured her memory with a poor sonnet.
The first reply to Milton's Defensio Populi was published in 1651, called Apologia pro Rege et Populo Anglicano, contra Johannis Polypragmatici, alias Miltoni, Defensionem destructivam Regis et Populi. Of this the author was not known; but Milton and his nephew, Philips, under whose name he published an answer, so much corrected by him that it might be called his own, imputed it to Bramhal; and, knowing him no friend to regicides, thought themselves at liberty to treat him as if they had known what they only suspected.
Next year appeared Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Cælum. Of this the author was Peter du Moulin, who was afterwards prebendary of Canterbury; but Morus, or More, a French minister, having the care of its publication, was treated as the writer by Milton in his Defensio Secunda, and overwhelmed by such violence of invective, that he began to shrink under the tempest, and gave his persecutors the means of knowing the true author. Du Moulin was now in great danger; but Milton's pride operated against his malignity; and both he and his friends were more willing that Du Moulin should escape than that he should be convicted of mistake.
In this second defence he shows that his eloquence is not merely satirical; the rudeness of his invective is equalled by the grossness of his flattery. “Deserimur, Cromuelle, tu solus superes, ad te
summa nostrarum rerum rediit, in te solo consistit, insuperabili tuæ virtuti cedimus cuncti, nemine vel obloquente, nisi qui æquales inæqualis ipse honores sibi quærit, aut digniori concessos invidet, aut non intelligit nihil esse in societate hominum magis vel Deo gratum, vel rationi consentaneum, esse in civitate nihil æquius, nihil utilius, quam potiri rerum dignissimum. Eum te agnoscunt omnes, Cromuelle, ea tu civis maximus et gloriosissimus, dux publici consilii, exercituum fortissimorum imperator, pater patriæ gessisti. Sic tu spontanea bonorum omnium, et animitus missa voce salutaris.”
Cæsar, when he assumed the perpetual dictatorship, had not more servile or more elegant flattery. A translation may show its servility; but its elegance is less attainable. Having exposed the unskilfulness or selfishness of the former government, “We were left,” says Milton, “to ourselves: the whole national interest fell into your hands, and subsists only in your abilities. To your virtue, overpowering and resistless, every man gives way, except some who, without equal qualifications, aspire to equal honours, who envy the distinctions of merit, greater than their own, or who have yet to learn, that, in the coalition of human society, nothing is more pleasing to God, or more agreeable to reason, than that the highest mind should have the sovereign power. Such, sir, are you by general confession; such
DIt may be doubted whether gloriosissimus be here used with Milton's boasted purity. Res gloriosa is an illustrious thing; but vir gloriosus is commonly a braggart, as in miles gloriosus. Dr. J.
are the things achieved by you, the greatest and most glorious of our countrymen, the director of our publick councils, the leader of unconquered armies, the father of your country; for by that title does every good man hail you with sincere and voluntary
Next year, having defended all that wanted defence, he found leisure to defend himself. He undertook his own vindication against More, whom he declares, in his title, to be justly called the author of the Regii Sanguinis Clamor. In this there is no want of vehemence or eloquence, nor does he forget his wonted wit: “Morus est? an Momus? an uterque idem est ?" He then remembers that Morus is Latin for a mulberry-tree, and hints at the known transformation:
“Poma alba ferebat Quæ post nigra tulit Morus." With this piece ended his controversies; and he, from this time, gave himself up to his private studies and his civil employment.
As secretary to the protector, he is supposed to have written the declaration of the reasons for a war with Spain. His agency was considered as of great importance; for, when a treaty with Sweden was artfully suspended, the delay was publickly imputed to Mr. Milton's indisposition; and the Swedish agent was provoked to express his wonder, that only one man in England could write Latin, and that man blind. Being now forty-seven years old, and seeing him
self disencumbered from external interruptions, he seems to have recollected his former purposes, and to have resumed three great works, which he had planned for his future employment; an epick poem, the history of his country, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue.
To collect a dictionary, seems a work of all others least practicable in a state of blindness, because it depends upon perpetual and minute inspection and collation. Nor would Milton probably have begun it, after he had lost his eyes; but, having had it always before him, he continued it, says Philips, “almost to his dying-day; but the papers were so discomposed and deficient, that they could not be fitted for the press.” The compilers of the Latin dictionary, printed at Cambridge, had the use of those collections in three folios; but what was their fate afterwards is not known.
To compile a history from various authors, when they can only be consulted by other eyes, is not easy, nor possible, but with more skilful and attentive help than can be commonly obtained; and it was
a The Cambridge dictionary, published in 4to. 1693, is no other than a copy, with some small additions, of that of Dr. Adam Littleton in 1686, by sundry persons, of whom though their names are concealed, there is great reason to conjecture that Milton's nephew, Edward Philips, is one: for it is expressly said by Wood, Fasti, vol. i. p. 266, that Milton's Thesaurus came to his hands; and it is asserted in the preface thereto, that the editors thereof had the use of three large folios in manuscript, collected and digested into alphabetical order by Mr. John Milton.
It has been remarked, that the additions, together with the preface above mentioned, and a large part of the title of the Cambridge dictionary, have been incorporated and printed with the subsequent editions of Littleton's dictionary, till that of 1735. Vid. Biogr. Brit. 2985, in note. So that, for aught that appears to the contrary, Philips was the last possessor of Milton's manuscripts. H.
probably the difficulty of consulting and comparing that stopped Milton's narrative at the conquest; a period at which affairs were not yet very intricate, nor author's very numerous.
For the subject of his epick poem, after much deliberation, long choosing, and beginning late, he fixed upon Paradise Lost; a design so comprehensive, that it could be justified only by success. He had once designed to celebrate king Arthur, as he hints in his verses to Mansus; but “ Arthur was reserved,” says Fenton, “ to another destiny"."
It appears, by some sketches of poetical projects left in manuscript, and to be seen in a librarys at Cambridge, that he had digested his thoughts on this subject into one of those wild dramas which were anciently called Mysteries; and Philips had seen what he terms part of a tragedy, beginning with the first ten lines of Satan's address to the sun. These mysteries consist of allegorical persons; such as Justice, Mercy, Faith. Of the tragedy or mystery of Paradise Lost, there are two plans:
The Persons Michael.
Moses. Chorus of Angels. Divine Justice, Wisdom, Heavenly Love.
Heavenly Love. Lucifer.
The Evening Star,
Hesperus. Id est, to be the subject of an heroick poem, written by sir Richard Blackmore. H.
8 Trinity college. R.
+ The dramas in which Justice, Mercy, Faith, &c. were introduced, were moralities, not mysteries. MALONE.