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driven from his opinion; and one item of his will gives to the Rev. William Mason, the miniature of Milton by Cooper.'
The domestic habits of Milton have been ascertained with sufficient minuteness. He rose at four, in the morning; had some one to read the Hebrew Bible to him for about half an hour; contemplated till seven; read and wrote until dinner; walked or swung, and played music, three or four hours; entertained visiters until eight; took a light supper; smoked his pipe; drank a glass of water; and went to bed. He was a great lover of music; and not only sang and played on the organ or bass-viol himself, but impressed his wife and nephews into the service. He did not regard music as merely an amusement, designed to please the ear, or to compose the soul. He made its influence extend to the body; and seems to have considered it as peculiarly fitted to aid nature in the process of digestion. Thus, in his treatise on Education, he not only thinks, boys should recreate and compose their travailed spirits,' before dinner, with the solemn and divine harmonies of music;' but adds, that the like also would not be inexpedient after meat, to assist and cherish nature in her first concoction, and send their minds back to study in good tune and satisfaction.'
He never drank strong liquors; and seldom drank any at all, between meals. He is said to have been extremely pleasant in his conversation; though somewhat given to satire. Dryden told Aubrey, that he pronounced the letter R very hard; and added, that it was a certain sign of a satirical wit.* He seems always to look upon females with contempt; and, though he was a loud advocate for free. dom in commonwealths, he never showed any dislike of despotism in families. He dictated to his amanuensis, sitting obliquely in an elbow-chair, with
* Aub. ap. Godw. p. 338.
one leg over the arm; and Richardson says, he used to sit in a grey coarse cloth coat, at the door of his house in Bunhill-fields, in warm sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh air; and so, as well as in his room, received the visits of people of distinguished parts and quality.'
He took no great care of his pecuniary concerns. He lent his personal estate to the parliament during the civil wars; and, when the contest was over, he asked for repayment, and met with rebuke. His appointment to the Latin secretaryship was doubt. less considered a part of his reward. He had two hundred pounds a year for that office; and received a thousand pounds for his Defence of the People. His widow said, he was defrauded of 2000 pounds, which he had intrusted to a scrivener; and of 2000 more, which had been placed in the excise office. An estate of sixty pounds is said to have been his share in the spoils of the church; but he was equally unfortunate, whether he gave or received; for this was, of course, taken from him at the restoration. “There is yet no reason to believe,' says Dr. Johnson, that he was ever reduced to indigence.' If he intended to have us believe this, he should not have subjoined, immediately after, that Milton“ sold his library before his death. It is true, that he left 1500 pounds to his family; but perhaps it is quite as unquestionable, that the greater part of the sum resulted from the sale of his books.
His library was probably numerous; for it is agreed by all, that his literature was great. He informs us himself, that his life was a 'ceaseless round of study and reading;' and his works every where proclaim, that he did not become master of the Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish languages, merely for the sake of the accomplishment. He would repeat almost the whole of Homer; and, after him,
* Rich, Life, p. 4.
Ovid and Euripides were his favourites, in the learned languages. “Of the latter,' says Mr. Todd, 'he is said to have been a reader, not only with the taste of a poet, but with the minuteness of a Greek critic. His Euripides, in two volumes, Paul Steven's quarto edition of 1602, with many marginal emendations in his own hand, is now the property of Mr. Cradock, of Grunly, in Leicestershire. Of these notes, some have been adopted by Joshua Barnes, and some have been lately printed by Mr. Jodrell.'* Dr. Johnson inspected the same book; but he does not seem to have considered it as such a 'treasure.' • His Euripides,' says the latter, ‘is, by Mr. Cradock's kindness, now in my hands: the margin is sometimes noted; but I have found nothing remarkable.'
Among the English poets, Spencer, Shakspeare, and Cowley are said to have been the most frequently in Milton's hands. Spencer,' says Dr. Johnson,
was apparently his favourite; Shakspeare he may easily be supposed to like, with every other skilful reader; but I should not have expected that Cowley, whose ideas of excellence were so different from his own, would have had much of his approbation.' An attentive reader of the two poets will make a different discovery. The minds of Cowley and Milton were alike, in many respects; and the earlier poems of the latter, more particularly, are marked with not a little of the metaphysics and conceit, which Dr. Johnson has so well described in the life of the former. Milton was fond of giving names to certain classes of writers. Thus, declamatory authors were styled Fustianists; and Dryden merited his contempt, because he herded with what Milton had nicknamed the Rhymists.
He had a capacious memory; and was much more inclined to give his own experience and reflection to the world, than to waste his time in translating
* Todd, vol. i. pp. 152-3.
the experience and reflection of others. "I never,' says he, 'could delight in long citations, much less in whole traductions; whether it be natural disposition or education in me, or that my mother bore me a speaker of what God made mine own, and not a translator.' According to Richardson, his poetical faculty rushed suddenly upon him, with an impetus or oestrum, and his daughter was immediately called to secure what came. 'That, in his intellectual hour,' says Johnson, Milton called for his daughter to secure what came, may be questioned; for it unluckily happened to be known, that his daughters were never taught to write; nor would he have been obliged, as is universally confessed, to have employed any casual visiter in disburthening his memory, if his daughter could have performed the office. Now, it unluckily happens to be known, that, in addition to the direct testimony of Aubrey, Richardson, and others, the manuscript of Milton, in Trinity College, Cambridge, is written in different female hands; and that, in August, 1786, a gentleman published some lines, evidently Milton's, which were written, in a female hand, on two blank leaves prefixed to a copy of the original edition of Paradise Lost, and subscribed with the words. Dictated by J. M.'*
* Gent. Mag. Aug. 1786, p. 698.
o Thou, who sometimes by most sacred voice,
Biographers have been considerably puzzled to find what name should be given to Milton's piety. He was not ostensibly a member of any particular church; and, though he so frequently represents our first parents in prayer, he never was detected in praying himself. Some call him a presbyterian; others, a Brownist. He is now a quietist; and now, a quaker. In this dilemma, Dr. Johnson consoles himself with reflecting, that, “to belong to no church, is dangerous;' but others are not contented, till they have discovered, in his writings, some conformity with a known denomination of Christian doctrines. Elwood, a quaker, was his most intimate friend; and the following passage, from a cotemporary gazette, will show, that Milton livet, for a time, in the vicinity of the quakers' meeting-house:
• August 31, 1657. Mr. John Lilburne, (commonly known by the name of Lieut. Col. Lilburne,) dying on Saturday at Eltham, was this morning removed thence to London, and his corpse conveyed to the house called the Mouth, at ALDERSGATE, which is the usual meeting-place of the people called quakers, to whom it seems he had lately joined in opinion. At this place, that afternoon, assembled a medley of people, among whom the quakers were
Let thy essential brightness, with quick glance,
The glorious splendours of thy Majesty!