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under a magnificent usurpation, betrayed to his power that liberty which he had defended. Nothing can be more just, than that he who had justified the murder of his king should now sell his services and his flatteries to a tyrant."
As to returning to hunger, it is not at all likely that Milton was ever in want, or that he accepted any office; from his difficulty in. procuring bread, Johnson had starved (had honourably and nobly starved) for years, and escaped from the possibilities of hunger by accepting a pension from King George III., whom he believed to be a usurper or a descendant of one; the representative of a family he hated. Milton received very little honey; the i?1000 with which he was to have been rewarded for writing the "Defence," it appears certain he never received; the salary he received as secretary was small, but the post was probably congenial to his taste ; and republican, as he was, he had doubtless sense to perceive that Cromwell's so called "usurpation" was the only course open for him to take to save himself from the consequences of a worse despotism; Milton's life is an abundant refutation to the charge of desiring "the money of public employment." It rests on good grounds that Milton was offered the post of Latin Secretary to Charles II., on the restoration or soon after; why not? Monk the traitor rose high to power; South, the renegade, became a king's chaplain; Waller, the renegade, a hanger on at Court. Chajles loved to receive these convertites, but the honey of public employment could not tempt Milton; and while his wife pressed his'compliance'he said, "Thou art in the right; you as other women, would ride in your coach; for me, my aim is to live and to die an honest man." Johnson must laud the Stewarts; "The king upon his restoration " says he, "with a lenity of which the world has had perhaps no other example, declined to be the avenger of his father's wrongs." Monstrous and most audacious falsehood; the land reeked for years with violence and blood, as a expiatory holocaust to the memory of the departed King;" but if the king were so lenient, why does Johnson sneer at Milton for skulking from the presence of the king. Oh! but this is excellent; while the doctor forgets that Charles had been for years skulking in a life of dissipated recklessness and uncleanness, accepting the pay of a foreign despot, the enemy to England, whether beneath a monarchy or a protectorate.—It is needless to pursue this topic further; it was an
evil hour in which Johnson undertook to write the life of Milton, or to criticise his poems; he could not understand the first, it was a virtue heyond his reach; so " high he could not attain to it," and no man ever believed in the existence of a virtue in another too lofty for his own attainment; as to poetry he was utterly unfitted to be a critic of it: a large heavy scrofulous body, short-sighted, narrow-minded, without enthusiasim or cheerfulness, what should he know of it? We love the old man in many of his moods, but the position in which we least like to see him, in which indeed we cannot tolerate him, is sitting down to write the Life of Milton.
MILTON S SATAN.
If we would read the mental and moral life of great poets, we should carefully study the leading character of their writings. We shall be sure to find their history written there. All poets in their writings sketch themselves,—it cannot bo otherwiso; their mightiest characters do as they would do; of course, it needs not to be said, that the character sketched most entirely, by Milton, is Satan; the power associated with that being is terrible; he is the prime actor in " Paradise Lost," and he moves with fearful energy. Where he moves through the poem, the human characters are passive to his power; the angelic are only foils to set off that power, and there is an indistinctness in the impersonation of the divine beings most grateful to our feelings, but at the same time unfavourable to the due balancing of that tremendous lordship which Satan asserts over our imaginations throughout the whole of the book. But the character of Satan,—does this harmonise with our moral feelings of what such a character should be 2 Our readers will remember a passage in one of Burns's letters: "I have bought a pocket Milton, which I carry perpetually about with me, in order to study the sentiments, the dauntless magnanimity, the intrepid, unyielding independence, the desperate daring, and noble defiance of hardship, in that great personage Satan." Unquestionably this is the predominant impression produced on the mind; throughout the poem, Satan fascinates us irresistibly; as soon as he speaks, he declares himself; although struck down, yet unconquered.
"What though the field be lost!
He bears up, although racked with deep despairT and answers the fears of more timid comrades:
"Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable
And when the sulphurous hail had laid the fiery surge, and the thunder, winged with red lightning, ceases to bellow through the vast and boundless deep, and the revelation of the world to which he is consigned is made—
"Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace And rest can never dwell; hope never comes, That comes to all, but torture without end;"
while the flames, on each side, slope their pointing spires, and, rolling in billows, leave in the midst a horrid vale. In the midst of this mournful gloom ho continues still undaunted, —he casts his last look on heaven and all its