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charitable are moved with the penned speech of a beggar. Finally, oh ye ministers, ye pluralists, whose lips preserve not knowledge, but the way ever open to your bellies, read here what work he makes among your wares, your gallipots, your balms and cordials, in print; and not only your sweet sippets in widows' houses, but the huge goblets wherewith he charges you to have devoured houses and all; the “houses of your brethren, your king, and your God.' Cry him up for a saint in your pulpits, while he cries you down for atheists into hell.”
But we must break off from these questions, from a book so worthy of the author, and the people whom he defended. It is straightforward in the highest degree, a masterpiece of controversial logic; the cogency is irresistible : the book is, as previously intimated, invaluable as history, whether Charles were the author or not. The pleas of the image of a king were in his mouth before his death, and have been in the mouths of all his adherents and apologists ever since; but as Milton unveils his characters before he deals those destructive blows, he stands before us as the man he was. There is no insult, no mockery, there is no exultation over fallen greatness ; there is not a time which does not display the author's love of justice, and love of truth, and love of country, love of piety: while the image of the king from the words uttered by him, and from his repeated actions, is the image of baseness and hypocrisy, duplicity and despotisin; while over the image Milton pours his resistless tide of eloquent exposition; withering every subterfuge, demolishing every argument, rectifying the false statemehts of the martyr. As we read the alternate pleas of Charles and the dignified replies of the poet-the martyr sinks to the driveller—the Latin secretary rises to the king.
MILTON AND SALMASIUS.
Ir will be known to most of our readers that Salmasius, a great northern critic, high in favour at the court of Christiana, Queen of Sweden, took upon himself to attack the people of England for their presumption in fighting with and killing their king. Milton, in his
reply to this attack, prophesies that “the very next age will bury his name in oblivion, unless this defence of the king may perhaps be beholden to the answers I give to it, for being looked into now and then ;” and thus indeed has it fallen out; no one would know any thing of Salmasius, but that his name is thus associated with Milton. There was little politeness lost between these disputants; the insults offered by Salmasius to the republic were disgraceful, and his abuse of Milton himself is most virulent. He speaks of Englishmen as those who “ toss the heads of kings about as so many tennis balls ; who play with crowns as if they were bowls ; and who look upon sceptres as if they were crooks.” He reproaches Milton as being but a puny piece of man, an homunculus, a dwarf, deprived of the human figure, a bloodless being, composed of nothing but skin and bone, a contemptible pedagogue fit only to flog boys. Subsequently, finding that Milton was of a very handsome person, he accused him of being guilty of unnatural crimes, and glories that he has lost his health and his eyes in answering the defence of the king.” He malignantly sympathises with him that he has lost that beauty which made him so great a favourite in Italy. His
malignity is almost incredible : he stands at nothing to blacken the austere virtue of his antagonist, and to induce a belief that be was guilty of crimes “too infamous to name."* Milton did not reply with this kind of abuse, but he did with abuse of a more direct kind. His language is frequently vituperative; he meets his antagonist immediately; and to every attempt at argument he replies with overwhelming invective tipped with fire. Thus, Salmasius having said that in undertaking the king's defence, he found himself to be encompassed and affrighted with so many monsters of novelty, that he was at a loss what to say first, what next, and what last of all-Milton replies, “I will tell you what the matter is with you. In the first place, you find yourself astonished aud affrighted at your own monstrous lies, and then you find that empty head of yours not encompassed, but carried round, with so many trifles and fooleries, that you not only now do not, but never did, know what was fit to be spoken, and in what method. ‘Among the many difficulties that you find in expressing the heinousness of so incredible a piece of impiety, this one offers itself, (you say, which is easily said), and must often be repeated ; to wit, that the sun itself never beheld a more outrageous action' (than the putting to death of the king). But by your good leave, sir, the sun has beheld many things that blind Bernard never saw. But we are content that you should mention the sun over and over. And it will be a piece of prudence in you so to do. For though our wickedness does not require it, the coldness of the defence that you are making does. The original of kings,' you say, “is as ancient as that of the sun. May the gods and goddesses, Damasippus, bless thee with an everlasting solstice ; that thou mayest always be warm, thou that canst not stir a foot without the sun. Perhaps you would avoid the imputation of being called a Doctor Umbraticus. But alas ! you are in perfect darkness, that make no difference between a paternal power and a regal, and that when you had called kings fathers of their country, could fancy that with that metaphor you had persuaded us, that whatever is applicable to a father, is so to a king. Alas ! there is a great difference betwixt them. Our fathers begot us. Our king made not us, but we him. Nature has given fathers to us all, but we ourselves appointed our own king. So that the people
* Cowper’s Life of Milton.