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light of the gospel which is, and is to be, and after all this continual - preaching, they should still be frequented with such an unprincipled, unedifyed, and laic rabble, as that the whif of every new pamphlet should stagger them out of their catechism. This may have much reason to discourage the ministers, when such a low conceit is had of all their exhortations and the benefiting of their hearers, that they are not thought fit to be turned loose to three sheets of paper without a licenser.'. The treatise, of which this passage is a part, begins to command more attention, in England, than it has hitherto done; and a Mr. Knight has lately written a book concerning Dr. Johnson's criticism on Milton's versification, chiefly to introduce extracts from the Areopagitica.
Milton had not always been so zealous a stickler for typographical freedom; and, when he shook the Rod over the Solicitor, who answered his book on divorce, he did not omit to chastise Mr. Carryl, the licenser, for suffering the answer to be published. Mr. Licenser,' says he, ‘you are reputed a man discrete enough, religious enough, honest enough, that is, to an ordinary competence in all these: but now your turn is to hear what your own hand has earned you, that when you suffered this nameless hangman to cast into public such a spiteful contumely upon a name and person deserving of the church and state equally to yourself, and one who. has done more to the present advancement of your own tribe, (the Presbyterians,) than you, or many of them have done for themselves. Whatever the state might do concerning it, supposing it were a matter to expect evil from it, I should not doubt to meet among them with wise, and honourable know. ing men. But as to this brute libel, so much the more impudent and lawless for the abused authority which it bears, I say again, I abominate the censure
of rascals and their licensers.'* This is the champion of unlicensed printing. So enraged was he, indeed, because this Presbyterian licenser imposed no restraint upon the press, that, though he had favoured the tribe' before, he never afterwards forgave them.t
It has been usual to refer the composition of Allegro and Penseroso to the period, of which we are now speaking. They appear, for the first time, in a collection of Milton's poems, published by-Moseley, in 1645; but it has been conjectured, with some plausibility of evidence, that they were written while the author resided with his father at Horton. When Milton presented the volume to his friend Rouse, he says,
manus attulit juvenalis olim:' the two poems were inserted before Lycidas and Comus ; and, as Moseley tells the reader, that the author's peculiar excellency in his studies was too well known to conceal his papers, or to keep me from attempting to solicit them,' Mr. Todd concludes, that the manuscript had been heretofore suppressed, and was only drawn forth now, by the importunity of his bookseller. The arrangement of the poems we consider as an accidental circumstance: the concealment of the author's papers does not necessarily make them a dozen years old; and, as more than three-fourths of the edition were occupied with what are known to be his early productions, he probably made no account of Allegro and Penseroso ; and, in speaking of the whole volume, might very properly say, quem manus attulit juvenalis.
Sir William Jones has given another conjecture, which seems to be supported upon foundations equally slender. The villagers of Forest Hill have a tradition, that Milton once lived in that place; and we learn, from at least two different sources, that
+ Joh. Life.
* Todd, vol. i. p. 24. vol. vi. p. 73.
2 chamar be, inde osed no i faroe is forg
some papers, in his own hand writing, were found in a house near the church, which is pointed out as his residence.* That he occasionally resided at Forest Hill, after his first marriage, we find no diffi. culty in believing; but that he wrote Allegro and Penseroso there, because the scenery of the place corresponds, in some respects, with the descriptions in the poems, we are not quite so ready to admit. Sir William Jones takes the following lines from the Allegro to be a picture of the beauties about Milton's retreat:
Sometime walking, not unseen,
merr Sur per old; геrе Oro 777
Three out of this long catalogue of beauties, Sir
* Lord Teignmouth's Life of Sir W. Jones, 8vo. p. 84. Let. to Lady Spencer, Oxford, Sept. 7, 1769.
+ L'Alleg. vv. 57-82.
when he visited Forest Hill. "We were saluted, on our approach to the village,' says he, with the music of the mower and his sythe; we saw the plowman intent upon his labour, and the milk maid returning from her country employment:' and, as if such things were peculiar to Forest Hill, the writer thinks this concurrence of circumstances is one proof, that the poem must have been written in that place. He seems, indeed, to be aware, that the coincidence was much too partial to warrant such a conclusion; and he would account for the deficiency, by observing, that it was neither the proper season of the year, nor time of day, to hear all the rural sounds, and see all the objects mentioned in the description. But surely no season of the year, or hour of the day, could hide from his eyes the 'barren mountains,' the 'shallow brooks, the 'wide rivers,' the towers and battlements,' and 'the cottage amidst the oaks.'
Again, nightingales are described in the Penseroso; and the groves near this village are famous for nightingales.' But are there not nightingales enough in other places? Or did ever a poet visit a region, where he could not hear Philomel? Milton talks of sweetbriars, vines, and eglantines.
Sir William saw briars and vines in abundance: the eglantines were not to be found; but, as he discovered some honeysuckles, it is evident,' he says, “that the poet meant a sort of honeysuckle by the eglantine.' Indeed, had the correspondence been ever so perfect, it would have been no proof, that these poems were composed during the author's residence at Forest Hill. A man seldom sits down to write a poem, as he does to sketch a landscape; and Milton might have described the country five years after he had seen it, just as well as when he was upon the spot. Mr. Todd maintains, that the poems were composed at Horton; that the scenery was evidently
taken from Harefield; and that, when the author mentions towers and battlements, bosomed in high trees, where a beauty resides, a cynosure to neighbouring eyes, he can only allude to the countess dowager of Derby.*
From the publication of these poems till the year 1647, Milton seems to have passed his time in quiet and study. As his course of education was completed in five or six years,t the first class must have gone from his hands some time in 1645; and, as the studies of the remaining scholars had grown easy by use, our author was relieved in part from his pedagogical duties, and found leisure to collect the materials, and begin the composition, of an English History. The earl of Bridgewater's estates in the country were seized by the republicans in June, 1646; and, as those in the city must have shared the same fate, in the following year, Milton, who is supposed to have been a tenant of the earl, was turned out of his house, and obliged to take refuge in a smaller mansion, which looked into Lincoln's Inn Fields. Toland says, he removed ' a little after Fairfax and Cromwell marched through the city with the whole army to quell the insurrection of the people against the parliament;/ and this event, as we learn from a more recent publication, took place early in the month of August, 1647.1 Milton
• Todd, vol. i. pp. 18, 19. + Ph. ap. Godw. p. 362. Defens. Secund.
$ Todd, vol. vi. p. 191, note. | Tol. p. 59.
Cromwelliana. Fol. pp. 196. Lond. 1810. p. 34. This work consists of excerpts from upwards of one hundred and ten news. papers, printed between 1642 and 1651. We extract, as a specimen, one or two paragraphs, which relate to our present subject.
His excellency (the general) Sir Thomas Fairfax drew, this day, most of his forces into Hyde Parke, marched through the city of London with all the horse and foot, and train of artillery, with drums and trumpets, and colours flying. First part of the horse marched in, then his excellency, with his life guard after him, (coroner Joyce, and some six or seven more, bare headed, encompassing;) then the foot, led by major general Skippon. Presently after the train of artillery. Lieutenant general Cromwell brought