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she was travelling, not in her bed, but in the desarts of Arabia.**
What provoked our reformer the more, was, that beings, thus 'tutored' and 'dieted,' should get paid for doing nothing; and he inveighs, with his last effort of violence, against the system of ecclesiastical finance. It was not, he says, "the effect of just policy or wholesome laws, but of the superstitious devotion of princes and great men that knew no better, or of the base importunity of begging friars, haunting and harrassing the death-beds of men departing this life in a blind and wretched condition of hope to merit heaven for the building of churches, cloysters, and convents; the black revenues of purgatory, the price of abused and murdered souls, the damned simony of tentals, and the hire of indulgences to commit mortal sin.'t These bolts are aimed more particularly at the origin of the system. A part of its abominations were crushed under the hand of Henry VIII.; but the change, for the most part, was only that of a pope for a king.
The bishops are taken to task, by the schoolmaster of Aldersgate-street, after the following manner: "There be such in the world, (says he,) and I among those, who nothing admire the idol of a bishopric; and hold, that it wants so much to be a blessing, as that I deem it the merest, the falsest, the most infortunate gift of fortune: and were the punishment and misery of being a bishop terminated only in the person, and did not extend to the affliction of the whole diocess, if I would wish any thing in the bitterness of my sould to an enemy, I should wish him the biggist and fatest bishoprick.'+ "If Milton had been such a saint (adds one of his biographers) as never mist of a favourable answer to his prayers, I question not but at this rate more would covet to be his enemies than his friends.'§
Apolog. † Animady. + Apolog. § Tol. p, 37.
The following simile is another mark of his kindness towards the prelates. A bishop's foot,' says he, that has all its toes (maugre the gout) and a linen sock over it, is the aptest emblem of the prelate himself; who, being a pluralist, may under one surplice hide four benefices, besides the great metropolitan."*
Usher opposed his own learning to Milton's logic; and had, in his Remonstrance and Defence, referred particularly to the Fathers as conclusive authorities. Whatsoever (says Milton) either time, or the heedless hand of blind chance, has drawn down to this present in her huge drag net, whether fish or seaweed, shells or shrubs, unpicked, unchosen, these are the FATHERS,** In another place, he calls them 'those more ancient and trusty fathers, whom custom and fond opinion, weak principles, and the neglect of sounder knowledge, have exalted so high, as to have gained them a blind reverence; whose bocks in bigness and number endless and immeasurable, I cannot think, that either God or nature, either divine or human wisdom, did ever mean should be a rule or reliance to us in the decision of any weighty and positive doctrines: for certainly every rule and instrument of necessary knowledge that God has given us, ought to be so in proportion as may be wielded and managed in the life of man.' And what man could ever think of wielding and managing the endless number of ponderous tomes, which go under the name of The Fathers ?‡
Milton now engaged in an adventure, which turned his speculations into a different channel. About Whitsuntide it was, or a little after, (says his nephew,) that he took a journey into the country; nobody about him certainly knowing the reason, or that it was any more than a journey of recreation: after a month's stay, home he returns a married
+ Prelat. Episc.
His wife was
iman, that went out a bachelor."* Mary, daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, a justice of Sandford, about three miles from Forresthill,+ near Shotover in Oxfordshire. How or when Milton first became acquainted with his bride, or what had induced him to marry her thus slyly, his biographers seem not to have the curiosity to inquire. Sandford was in the vicinity of Oxford. Milton must have frequently passed through the place, if we can suppose him to have visited his grandfather, at Shotover. It is not an unheard of thing, that a scholar should make vows of marriage, while at college; and, when we add to the charms of the lady, the attractions of a round thousand pounds, which were promised as her dowry,§ perhaps there will be little mystery in this stolen expedition. Whether Milton wanted a wife or not, there can be little doubt, that he stood in need of a thousand pounds.
It was an ill-omened match. The lady was a Catholic and a cavalier; Milton, a Presbyterian and a republican; and two opinions in religion and politics, says Aubrey, 'do not well on the same boulster.' She had been accustomed to a great house, a great deal of company, and a great deal of noise. Milton carried her to a confined tenement, which
Ph. ap. Godw. p. 366.
Todd, vol. i. p. 25. All the other biographers have followed Phillips in making his residence at Foresthill. Mr. Todd derived his information from an officer, who. as he was attached to the re cord commission, was more likely to be correct. He says, that Milton himself lived at Foresthill; and bis account is corroborated by the testimony of Sir William Jones. Ld. Teignm. Life, 8vo. p. 83. Foresthill was three miles from Oxford. Id. ibid.
Todd, ut sup. p. 25.
Nuncupative will of Milton, appended to the 2d Edition of his smaller Poems, by Wharton; and to his Life, by Todd. We shall afterwards endeavour to ascertain, how far this instrument is to be credited.
Aub. ap. Godw. p. 345.
Aub. and Ph. ap, Godw. pp. 344. 366.
he had taken at the end of an entry, in order to live in quiet. Almost the only company, which she saw, was her husband; and nearly all the noise, which she heard, was the flogging and cries of his nephews.* Philosophy, hard study, and spare diet,' had few charms for one who had been used to the most sumptuous living;† and, at the end of a month, the lady, through the entreaties of her friends, obtained permission to spend some time at her father's. Milton gave her till Michaelmas.
Michaelmas came; but no Mary. Milton wrote her a letter. She returned no answer. A second was sent; but she still remained silent. He tried a third, which met with the same fate; and, resolving to leave no room for mistake, in the blunders of the post, he at last had the patience to despatch a special messenger of his own. The messenger was treated uncivilly, and sent away. There was, therefore, no longer any doubt of his wife's contumacy; and he thought it high time, that the attention of mankind should be called to the question of divorce. He accordingly wrote two treatises, (says his nephew,) by which he undertook to maintain, that it was against reason, and the enjoyment of it not proveable by Scripture, for any married couple disagreeable in humour and temper, or having an aversion to each other, to be forced to live yoked together all their days.' The first was the Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, which appeared in 1644; the second, Tetrachordon, or Expositions upon the four principal places in Scripture which treat of
*Aub. ut sup, p. 344.
This part of the story is not in Phillips. +Todd, vol. i. p. 170. Justice Powell's house was seized by the rebels on the tenth of June, 1646. The original inventory of his effects was in the hands of Mr. Wharton; who says, that, by the number, order, and furniture of the rooms. he appears to have lived as a country gentleman, in a very extensive and liberal stylo of house keeping.'
Ph. ap. Godw. p. 368.
Marriage or Nullities of Marriage, publish in the same year. These were followed by ranslation of Martin Bucer's Judgement on the sale, in 1645. But the world did not s gent necessity of entering into these k One of Milton's sonnets com' and no author of celebrity ev answer to either of his treatis indeed, by an anonymous pamphlet, says, by a serving man turned selchor; and, between mortification at the litt notice, which was comparatively given to the que, ion nd anger, that so ignoble a foe should aspire to his equal, he replied in a truly pedagogica entitled the Colasterion, or a Rod of Cor pertinent, 1645.*
was attacked, written, as he
For a Saucy Im
The passage extracted tips will suffi ciently show the object of Mon these several publications. To use his uage, he supposed that Moses sanctions the d ce of a couple, who could not fadge together; whose 'tempers,' to adopt the more courtlyse of Mr. Godwin, were 'incompatible' with either. Christ gave no such permission; but, as he came not to destroy the law,' it is attempted to reconcile the supposed contradiction, by considering what Moses said, as the rule of conduct, and what Cht added, as matter of advice. The passage in Moses this: 'When a man hath taken a wife, and maher, and it come to pass that she find no fave a his
y speciations. sft apathy; lerto a formal
*Ph. ap. Godw. p. 368. His treatises made more nois generally imagined. The author was brought before the House of Lords, through the intercession of the clergy; but, says ood, 'whether approving his doctrines, or not favouring his assers, they did soon dismiss him.' One sermon, at least, was pr. hed against his books; and, not only were they noticed in many co temporary and subsequent authors,-but became the means of forming a sect, under the name of Divorcers, or Miltonists. Todd, vol. i. p. 53.56.
Godw. Pah. p. 9.