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happiness of the hall, the grange, and the cottage. He had also beheld one who in his person had utterly eclipsed all that the most magnificent hero of ancient story had performed, and who carried with him into his seat of power the more humble and domestic virtues of the little homestead of Huntingdonshire.
Milton beheld all this; he lived on terms of intimacy and friendship with this illustrious man; did his form rise to his imagination when he first conceived, and invested with the splendour of his genius, him, who "seemed no less than archangel ruined?" Then came those other days—days we can never recall without a sigh —the days when the nation relapsed again to all its old licentiousness, and to more than all its old persecution, despotism, and blood-shedding; England's darkest and most disgraceful days; when a traitor, in the pay of France, sat on the throne of England; when the Dutchman mocked the British flag at Sheerness, and threatened to pour his fiery forces along the Thames; when Vane was borne to the scaffold, to be murdered, and Hugh Peters was yet more horridly slaughtered; when ship after ship drifted over the seas, with brave hearts, flying from the exterminating knife and rope of bigotry, yet finding themselves fronted even
there, by the pursuing demon; the days when ignominy was not confined to the living, but wreaked, with a pitiful ferocity, on the dead. Milton lived through these days: of the first portion of these times his prose works are the best exposition; to the second, many allusions are contained in his poems. He saw human nature in its meanest and its most magnificent forms; he saw a state sinking, weakened in all her limbs, by the enervating influence of slavery and despotism; he saw the venom of priestcraft poisoning the waters of the fountain of life; he saw the noblest and the best men in the kingdom fined, imprisoned, and persecuted, for conscience' sake; he saw what freedom could do for a people—how righteousness could exalt a nation—how confidence might be restored to the heart at home, and to its fame abroad. As he saw these things clearly, he spoke of them earnestly. He blew a triumphal trumpet over the ruins of despotic sway in England; and when the land relapsed, and needed his services no more,—when the work, which his conscience told him to do, was done, he retired out of sight, sat still, and in the silence of his soul pondered over those times—(mourning as he saw the Shaftesburys and the Hydes, the reptiles that fatten upon the corruption of courts),—over the
times of the high-minded Hampden, the scholastic Selden, and the shrewd Pym; hut, unrepining, undespairing, invoked to his meditations the memories of old studies, and commended his spirit confidently to the future, for fame, for usefulness, and reward.
MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE.
When Milton was thirty-five years of age, about Whitsuntide, or a little after, he took a journey into the country, nobody knowing, certainly, about the object of his journey; but attributing it to a desire for recreation. After about a month's absence he returned, a married man; he had, in the interim, married Mary, the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, a justice of the peace, of Forest Hill, near Shotover, in Oxfordshire. This Justice Powell was, undoubtedly, a roistering cavalier, a man of reckless and expensive habits; at Shotover their life had been passed in noise and merriment, singing
"Hey! for cavaliers, ho! for cavaliers,"
and other wild royalist ditties of the time; frequently enough they had a banquet at the Hall, and danced away merrily, to the strains of the timbrel and the rebeck. This would at once condemn the unsuitableness of the marriage; added to which, Anthony Wood relates, that Milton courted, married, and brought his wife to London in one month's time. He appears to have been fascinated by the lady's beauty; but it seems probable, that both John Milton and Mary Powell were, in some measure, compelled to the match. Powell was greatly in debt to the elder Milton. It appears that when Milton was a student at Cambridge, his father advanced to Powell £500, on mortgage, for his son's use; this settlement may have been made as a provision for the poet; this debt, probably, was never paid, nor £1000 which should have been paid as a dower with his wife. Powell was a distressed and ruined man, and it seems probable that he sacrificed his daughter to escape from his monetary liabilities.
Our author's sentiments concerning marriage are worthy of him, worthy of woman, and worthy of the divine institution itself; the reader may gather them from the following
"Marriage is a covenant, the very being whereof consists not in a forced cohabitation, and counterfeit performance of duties, but in unfeigned love and peace. And of matrimonial love, no doubt but that was chiefly meant, which by the ancient sages was thus parabled; that Love, if he be not twin-born, yet hath a brother, wondrous like him, called Anteros; whom while he seeks all about, his chance is to meet with many false and feigning desires, that wander singly up and down in his likeness. By them in their borrowed garb, Love, though not wholly blind, as poets wrong him, yet having but one eye, as being born an archer aiming, and that eye not the quickest in this dark region here below, which is not Love's proper sphere, partly out of the simplicity and credulity which is native to him, often deceived, embraces and consorts him with these obvious and suborned striplings, as if they were his mother's own sons; for so he thinks them, while they subtlely keep themselves most on his blind side. But after a while, as his manner is, when soaring up into the high tower of his apogeum, above the shadow of the earth, he darts out the direct rays of his then most