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from the “ Animadversions ;" and Milton says,
“ *He blunders at me for the rest, and
Nor always do I lose, 'mid walls and streets,
Apol. for Smectymnuus, P. W. 1. 213.
flings out stray' crimes at a venture, which he could never, though he be a serpent, suck from any thing that I have written.”
Notwithstanding this strong assertion, the hostility of the present generation has again brought the evidence of Milton to convict Milton, and to establish the charges
Hither, 'tis thought, came wafted by her dores,
As this translation was made during a period of peculiar solicitude, when my mind was fevered, or rather phrenzied with alternate hopes and fears respecting a life far dearer to ine than my own; and was written, only by scraps, in the few less agitated moments which it was then my fortune to enjoy, it is perhaps the worst of those versions which I have had the confidence to offer to the public. But I will not now either replace it with another, or even essentially alter it. With me it is consecrated by associated ideas; and if the reader, to whom it now belongs, cannot tolerate its imperfections, he may pass it over with a superficial glance; and may either condemn or pity me as his judgment or his sympathy may predominate.
y From the “ Animadversions" no suspicion of a charge against their writer could by any process be extracted.
of his calumniator. In opposition to this pretended evidence stand the records of our author's university, and the force of his own positive declarations. By the former of these, which prove
that he took his bachelor's degree as soon as it could be taken,' it is made highly probable, if not absolutely certain that he lost no term; and by the latter we are assured that he was not only exempted from punishment during his continuance at Cambridge, but in that seat of learning was an object of affection and respect. The passage, which I shall cite as worthy of the reader's attention, is in the Apology for Smectymnuus.”
After mentioning the charge which we have already noticed, our author proceeds: “ ? For which commodious lie, that he may be encouraged in the trade another time, I thank him: for it hath given me an apt occasion to acknowledge publickly with all grateful mind that more than ordinary favour and respect which I found above any
my equals at the hands of those courteous and learned men, the fellows of that college wherein I spent some years: who at my parting, after I had taken two degrees, as the manner is, signified many
y In Jan. 1628-9.
· P. W. i. 219.
ways how much better it would content them that I would stay: as by many letters full of kindness and loving respect, both before that time and long after, I was assured of their singular good atfection towards me. Which, being likewise propense to all such as were for their studious and civil life worthy of esteem, I could not wrong their judgments and upright intentions so much as to think I had that regard from them for other cause than that I might be still encouraged to proceed in the honest and laudable courses of which they apprehended I had given good proof.”
The evidence now before us seems to be conclusive; for I know not to what tribunal an appeal can be carried from the authority of the registers of an University, strengthened with assertions,“ publicly made and uncontradicted at a time when their falsehood would be jealously watched and might easily be detected. What interpretation then are we to assign to those expressions in the elegy to Deodati which certainly refer to some com
a The slander was repeated, with some additional circum- . stances, by Du Moulin in his “Regii sanguinis Clamor ad cælum.”
“ Aiunt hominem Cantabrigiensi academiâ ob flagitia pulsum, dedecus et flagitium fugisse et in Italiam commigrasse, p. 8. edit. printed 1652. This is the vague and baseless echo of the writer of the “ Modest Confutation." We shall soon have occasion to cite our author's reply to this revived calumny.
pulsive absence of the young student from his college, and which discover no fondness in the poet for the society or the country of Cambridge? As we find from some lines in the conclusion of the same elegy that it was his intention to return to his college, we may fairly, as I think, impute the banishment, of which he speaks, to the want of pecuniary supplies for his maintenance at the University; and the example of Gray may instruct us, that it is possible for a man of genius and of taste to dislike the conversation of a college or the naked vicinity of the Cam without being impelled to that dislike by unpopularity or injurious treatment.
The absurd story of the corporal punishment, which Milton is asserted to have suffered, may be regarded as undeserving of notice. It was communicated, as we are informed, with the pretence that it came from himself or from some of his near relations, by Aubrey to Wood; but with Wood, ill-disposed as he is known to have been to the fame of Milton, it obtained so little credit as not to find admission into his
page. Can the testimony then of Aubrey be received in this instance as possessing any weight? On the
- Warton's Life of Dean Bathurst.