صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the limits of his own house for the fous , tain, from which the living influence w: s derived. Great must have been that sense if religious duty, and considerable that degree of theological knowledge, which could indui e the father to abjure those errors, in which le had been educated, sanctioned as they were by paternal authority, and powerfully enforced by the persuasion of temporal interest. The important concessions, which he was compelled to make to religious principle, would necessarily attach it the more closely to his heart; and he would naturally be solicitous to stamp upon the tender bosom of his son that conviction and feeling of duty, which were impressed so deeply on his own. He intended, indeed, to consecrate his son to the ministry of the church, and for this rcason also he would be the more anxions decidedly to incline him with the biass of devotion. The sentiments and the warmth, thus communicated to the mind of the

young Milton, would, no doubt, be strengthened by the lessons and the example of his preceplor Young; in whom religion seems to have been exalted to enthusiasm, and who submitted, as we know, to some very trying privations on the imperious requisition of his consci

But from whatever source the fervid


spirit proceeded, in its action on our author's mind it seems to have increased the power as well as to have given the direction; to have invigorated the strong, enlarged the capacious, and elevated the lofty. We are unquestionably indebted to it, not merely for the subject, but for a great part also of the sublimity of the Paradise Lost.

On the 12th of february 1624-5, he was entered a pensioner at Christ's college, Cambridge; and was committed to the tuition of Mr. William Chappel, the reputed author of the “Whole of Duty of Man,"and, afterwards, in succession, provost of Trinity college, Dublin, dean of Cassels, and bishop of Cork and Ross. The conduct of the young Milton had, hitherto, been exempted from censure: distinguished, indeed, as it was, by zeal for study and contempt of pleasure, by obedience to his masters, and by piety to his parents, it might be regarded as not open to attack, and in no way to be made the subject of malevolence: it was indebted, however, for its immunity to other circumstances, perhaps, than to those of its innocence and excellence. It continued, as we have the strongest reasons to believe, equally pure and exemplary throughout the subsequent stages of his life; but no sooner did he tread the threshold

of manhood, and begin to offend by the exhibition of novel opinions and strong censures, than he became the object of that enmity, which, pursuing him with detraction to his grave, has, in later times, disturbed his ashes, and endeavoured to fix deformity on his memory

Of his conduct, and the treatment which he experienced in his college, much has been asserted, and much been made the subject of dispute. His enemies in his own days, (a son of bishop Hall is supposed to have been the immediate advancer of the charge,) accused him of liaving been vomited, after an inordinate and riotous youth, out of the University; and his adversaries in the present age, inflamed with all the hate of their

predecessors, have pretended to prove, from some vague expressions in one of his own poems, that the slander, though completely overthrown at the time of its first production, was not altogether unsupported by truth. The lines, supposed to contain the proof in question, are the following, which have been so frequently cited from the first of his elegies to his friend, C. Deodati:

Jam nec arundiferum mihi cura revisere Camum;

Nec dudum vetiti me laris angit amor :
Nuda nec arva placent, umbrasque negantia molles :

Quàm malè Phæbicolis convenit ille locus!

Nec duri libet usque minas perferre magistri ;

Cæterague ingenio non subeunda meo.
Si sit hoc exilium patrios adiisse penates

Et vacuum curis otia grata sequi:
Non ego vel profugi nomen sortemque recuso

Lætus et exilii conditione fruor.
No love of late forbidden scenes now pains,
Cam's sedgy banks and Granta's cloister'd fanes.
I like not fields that gasp in vain for shades,
Fields most unfriendly to the Aonian maids.
Jll too my soul a master's threats can bear,
With all the fretting of the pedant's war.
If this be banishment-all cares aloof-
To live my own beneath a father's roof-
Still, let an idle world candemn or not,
Mine be a truant's name,-an exile's lot,

• Our author seems in this place to be guilty of a false quantity, and to begin his hexameter very unwarrantably with a cretic. Terentianus Maurus accuses Virgil of the same inaccuracy in the line “Sölus hic inflexit sensus," &c. affirming with the old grammarians, that hic and boc were formerly written with two c's, hicc, hocc being contracted from hicce and hocce, and were always long. Vossius on the contrary asserts that these pronouns were long only when they were written with the double cc.-“ Ad quantitatem hujus pronominis quod attinet, pro. ducebant et hic et hoc veteres quando per duplex c scribebant hicc vel hocc, abjecto, e; corripiebant cum c simplex scripsere. Art. Gram. 29. Of a short học more than one instance may be produced, “ Hic vir hic est, tibi quem promitti sæpius audis;" but not one, as far as my recollection is accurate, of a short hoc. · Höc illud, germana, fuit.” “ Hic labor hoc opus est." “ Hóc erat, alma parens.”—“ Hoc erar experto frustra Varrone." “Höc erat in votis."-Salmasius in his abusive reply to our author, accuses his latin poetry of false quantities ; but excepting in this instance, and in one, which shall be noticed in its proper place, in the first line of the Damon, I have not been able to detect any of these crimes against prosody. In the few spe

On this passage, which probably would not have been published had it referred to

cimens, which he has given us of his Greek poetry, he has more frequently fallen into error, as Dr. C. Burney has very acutely and learnedly demonstrated. On Milton's Greek composition I have purposely foreborne to offer any remarks, the accomplished scholar and very acute critic, whom I have just mentioned, having completely exhausted the subject. When the almost in. finite niceties of the Greek language are considered, and it is recollected that even Dawes, the most accurate Grecian, perhaps, whom this Island, till the present day, has ever produced, and the great sir William Jones have not, in every instance, been able to observe them, the lapses in Milton's Greek composition will possibly be regarded as venial, and not to be admitted in diminution of the fame of his Greek erudition.

1 It may be proper to give a literal translation of these lines, that the English reader may form his own judgment on the extent of their testimony. “Now neither am I anxious to revisit reedy Cam, nor does the love of my lately forbidden college give me uneasiness. Fields naked and destitute of soft shades do not please me. How ill-suited to the worshippers of Phæbus is such a place! Neither do I like always to bear the threats of a hard master, and other things, which are not to be submitted to by a mind and temper like mine. If it be banishment to return to a father's house, and there, exempt from cares, to possess delightful leisure, I will not refuse even the name and the lot of a fugitive, but exultingly enjoy the condition of an exile." As it may amuse some of my readers to see the entire elegy, I will transcribe it in its complete state, with a translation very inferior to the merits of the original.


Tandem, chare, tuæ mihi pervenere tabellæ,

Pertulit et voces nuncia charta tuas :
Pertulit occiduâ Devæ Cestrensis ab orâ,

Vergivium prono quà petit amne salum.

« السابقةمتابعة »