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in most of his other works, more plain and simple, less figurative and metaphorical, and better suited to the nature of history, has enough of the Latin turn and idiom to give it an air of antiquity, and sometimes rises to a surprising dignity and majesty.
In 1670 likewise his Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes were licensed together, but were not published till the year following'. It is somewhat remarkable, that these two poems were not printed by Simmons, the same who printed the Paradise Lost, but by J. M. for one Starkey in Fleet-street: and what could induce Milton to have recourse to another printer? was it because the former was not enough encouraged by the sale of Paradise Lost to become a purchaser of the other copies ? The first thought of Paradise Regained was owing to Elwood the quaker, as he himself relates the occasion in the history of his life. When Milton had lent him the manuscript of Paradise Lost at St. Giles Chalfont, as we said before, and he returned it, Milton asked him how he liked it, and what he thought of it: “ Which I modestly, but “ freely told him, says Elwood; and after some further “ discourse about it, I pleasantly said to him, Thou " hast said much of Paradise Lost, but what hast thou “ to say of Paradise Found? He made me no answer, "but sat some time in a muse; then broke off that “ discourse, and fell upon another subject.” When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton showed him his Paradise Regained, and in a pleasant tone said to him, “ This is owing to you, for you put
* At the price, bound, of two Catalogue, 1675. Todd. shillings and sixpence, Clavel's
“it into my head by the question you put me at
Chalfont, which before I had not thought oft.” It is commonly reported, that Milton himself preferred this poem to the Paradise Lost; but all that we can assert upon good authority is, that he could not endure to hear this poem cried down so much as it was, in comparison with the other". For certainly it is very worthy of the author, and contrary to what Mr. Taland relates, Milton may be seen in Paradise Regaiped as well as in Paradise Lost; if it is inferior in poetry, I know not whether it is not superior in sentiment; if it is less descriptive, it is more argumentative; if it doth not sometimes rise so high, neither doth it ever sink so tow; and it has not met with the approbation it deserves, only because it has not been more read and considered. His subject indeed is confined, and he has a narrow foundation to build upon; but he has raised as noble a superstructure, as such little room and such scanty materials would allow. The great beauty of it is the contrast between the two characters of the Tempter and our Saviour, the artful sophistry and specious insinuations of the one refuted by the strong sense and manly eloquence of the other. This poem has also been translated into French together with some other pieces of Milton, Lycidas, L'Allegro, Il
. It seems probable that the Life of Milton, p. 513. ed. 2d. Paradise Regained was both be- E. gun and concluded, or very
u Philips says, the Paradise Renearly so, during Milton's resi- gained is generally censured dence at Chalfont, a period of to be much inferior to the about ten months, from June or “ other, though he could not July, 1665, to the following “hear with patience any such March or April
. See Mr. Dun thing when related to him.” ster's Addition to his edit. of E. Par. Reg. and Dr. Symmons's
Penseroso, and the Ode on Christ's nativity: and in 1732 was printed a Critical Dissertation with notes upon Paradise Regained, pointing out the beauties of it, and written by Mr. Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester: and the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added some observations upon this work at the end of his excellent Remarks .upon Spenser, published in 1734: and indeed this poem of Milton, to be more admired, needs only to be better known. His Samson Agonistes is the only tragedy that he has finished, though he has sketched out the plans of several, and proposed the subjects of more, in his manuscript preserved in Trinity College library: and we may suppose that he was determined to the choice of this particular subject by the similitude of his own circumstances to those of Sainson blind and among the Philistines. This I conceive to be the last of his poetical pieces; and it is written in the very spirit of the ancients, and equals, if not exceeds, any of the most perfect tragedies, which were ever exhibited on the Athenian stage, when Greece was in its glory. As this work was never intended for the stage, the division into acts and scenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Mr. Pope to divide it into acts and scenes, and of having it acted by the King's Scholars at Westminster: but his commitment to the Tower put an end to that design. It has since been brought upon the stage in the form of an Oratorio; and Mr. Handel's music is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Milton's words. That great artist has done equal justice to our author's L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, as if the same spirit possessed both masters, and
as if the God of music and of verse was still one and
There are also some other pieces of Milton, for he continued publishing to the last. In 1672 he published Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio ad Petri Rami metho! dum concinnata, an Institution of Logic after the method of Petrus Ramus*; and the year following, a treatise of true Religion and the best means to prevent the growth of popery, which had greatly increased through the connivance of the King, and the more open encouragement of the Duke of York; and the same year his poems, which had been printed in 1645, were reprinted with the addition of several others' His familiar epistles and some academical exercises, Epistolarum familiarum Lib. I. et Prolusiones quædam Oratoriæ in Collegio Christi habitæ, were printed in 1674; as was also his translation out of Latin into English of the Poles' Declaration concerning the election of their King John III, setting forth the virtues and merits of that prince?. He wrote also a brief History
"Of his book on Logic there worship. As the best preservwas a second edition in the fol. ative against popery, he recomTodd.
mends the diligent perusal of the His little tract Of true Re- Scriptures, a duty from which he ligion, &c. is modestly written, warns the busy part of mankind with respectful mention of the not to think themselves excused. Church of England, and an ap..
Johnson. peal to the Thirty-nine Articles. Notwithstanding his public His principle of toleration is, opposition to popery, the inagreement in the sufficiency of famous Titus Oates ventured to the Scriptures, and he extends assert, not long afterwards, that it to all who, whatever their opi “ Milton was a known frequenter nions are, profess to derive them “ of a popish club." See “Defrom the sacred books. The "dication prefixed to the true Papists appeal to other testi “ Narrative of the Horrid Plot, monies, and are therefore, in his “ &c. by T. Oates, D.D.” fol. opinion, not to be permitted the Lond. 1679. liberty of either public or private
* His familiar letters are posVOL. I.
of Muscovy, collected from the relations of several travellers; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewise his state-letters transcribed at the request of the Danish resident, but neither were they printed till after his death in 1676, and were translated into English in 1694; and to that translation a life of Milton was prefixed by his nephew Mr. Edward Philips, and at the end of that life his excel. lent sonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner on his blindness, were first printed. Besides these works which were published, he wrote his system of divinity, which Mr. Toland says was in the hands of his friend Cyriac Skinner, but where at present is uncertain". And Mr. Philips says, that he
sessed of peculiar interest, and closed with some documents recontain many characters of an- lative to the Popish, and the cient and modern, of foreign and Rye-house Plots, in an envelope domestic authors, which are wor- addressed " To Mr. Skinner, thy to be read and understood. Mercht." The title of the book His college exercises are valu- is, “ De Doctrinâ Christianâ ex able chiefly for their exhibition “ sacris duntaxat libris petitâ of early power and proficiency.. “ disquisitionum Libri duo po
I must profess myself to be “ sthumi." The first Book, De doubtful of the fact of his having Doctrind Christiand, consists of translated the Poles’ Declaration; thirty-three chapters; the sethe Latin document could arrive cond, De Dei cullu, of sevenin England only a very short teen chapters. The whole MS. time before Milton's death, and consists of 735 closely written the translation bears no resemblance to his character of com The work, with a translation position. Symmons.
of it, is at present in the press, Aubrey states, that Milton's under the care of the Rev. Charles widow had “ a great many letters R. Sumner, who favoured me " by her from learned men, his with the preceding particulars " acquaintance, both of England, respecting it. No doubt appears “ and beyond sea." E.
to be entertained of its genuineIn 1823, Mr. Lemon, sen. ness, but with the proofs of this Deputy Keeper of His Majesty's point I am at present unacState Papers, discovered this quainted. According to Wood, work in the Old State-paper- Milton began framing a body of Office, Whitehall. It was en- divinity out of the Bible, about,