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mons; the other in crayons was drawn when he was about sixty-two, and was in the collection of Mr. Richardson, but has since been purchased by Mr. Tonson. Several prints have been made from both these pictures; and there is a print done, when he was about sixty-two or sixty-three, after the life by Faithorn, which though not so handsome, may yet perhaps be as true a resemblance, as any of them. It is prefixed to some of our author's pieces, and to the folio edition of his prose works in three volumes printed in 16988. In his
way of living he was an example of sobriety and temperance. He was very sparing in the use of wine or strong liquors of any kind. Let meaner poets make use of such expedients to raise their fancy and kindle their imagination. He wanted not any artificial spirits; he had a natural fire, and poetic warmth enough of his own. He was likewise very abstemious in his diet, not fastidiously nice or delicate in the choice of his dishes, but content with any thing that was most in season, or easiest to be procured, eating and drinking (according to the distinction of the philosopher) that he might live, and not living that he might eat and drink. So that probably his gout descended by inheritance from one or other of his parents; or if it was of his own acquiring, it must have been owing to his studious and sedentary life. And yet he delighted sometimes in walking and using exercise, but we hear nothing of his riding or hunting; and having early learned to fence, he was such a master
* See Mr. Warton's account of note t, In Effigiei Ejus Sculpto. the pictures and prints of Milton,
of his sword, that he was not afraid of resenting an affront from any man; and before he lost his sight, his principal recreation was the exercise of his arms; but after he was confined by age and blindness, he had a machine to swing in for the preservation of his health. In his youth he was accustomed to sit up late at his studies, and seldom went to bed before midnight; but afterwards, finding it to be the ruin of his eyes, and looking on this custom as very pernicious to health at any time, he used to go to rest early, seldom later than
nine, and would be stirring in the summer at four, and bi in the winter at five in the morning; but if he was not
disposed to rise at his usual hours, he still did not lie of sleeping, but had somebody or other by his bed side
to read to him. At his first rising he had usually a chapter read to him out of the Hebrew Bible', and he commonly studied all the morning till twelve, then used some exercise for an hour, afterwards dined, and after dinner played on the organ, and either sung
himself or made his wife sing, who (he said) had a good
See Mr. Warton's note on “ them to be read, till the atten. El. v. 6. Milton in the defence tion be weary, or memory have of his own character in the in “ its full fraught: then with usetroduction to his Apology for “ ful and generous labours, preSmectymnuus gives this account serving the body's health and of himself at an earlier period of “hardiness, to render lightsome, his life. “Those morning haunts “ clear, and not lumpish obedi"are where they should be, at “ence to the mind, to the cause
home; not sleeping, or con “ of religion, and our country's
Aubrey adds, that, when this any bell awake men to labour portion of the Bible had been " op to devotion; in summer, read to him, he commonly spent
as oft with the bird that first an hour or two in contemplation, roulses, or not much tardier, to and then at seven his man came "read good authors, or cause again to read to him. E.
voice but no ear; and then he went up to study again till six, when his friends came to visit him and sat with him perhaps till eight; then he went down to supper, which was usually olives or some light thing; and after supper he smoked his pipe, and drank a glass of water, and went to bed. He loved the country, and commends it, as poets usually do; but after his return from his travels, he was very little there, except during the time of the plague in London. The civil war might at first detain him in town; and the pleasures of the country were in a great measure lost to him, as they depend mostly upon sight, whereas a blind man wanteth company and conversation, which is to be had better in populous cities. But he was led out somea times for the benefit of the fresh air, and in warm sunny
weather he used to sit at the door of his house near Bunhill Fields, and there as well as in the house, received the visits of persons of quality and distinction; for he was no less visited to the last both by his own countrymen and foreigners, than he had been in his flourishing condition before the Restoration.
Some objections have indeed been made to his temper; and I remember there was a tradition in the university of Cambridge, that he and Mr. King (whose death he laments in his Lycidas) were competitors for a Fellowship, and when they were both equal in point of learning, Mr. King was preferred by the college for his character of good nature, which was wanting in the other; and this was by Milton grievously resented. But the difference of their ages, Milton being at least four years elder, renders this story not very probable; and besides Mr. King was not elected by the college,
but was made Fellow by a royal mandate, so that there can be no truth in the tradition; but if there was any, it is no sign of Milton's resentment, but a proof of his generosity, that he could live in such friendship with a successful rival, and afterwards so passionately lament his decease. His method of writing controversy is urged as another argument of his want of temper: but some allowance must be made for the customs and manners of the time. Controversy, as well as war, was rougher and more barbarous in those days, than it is in these. And it is to be considered too, that his adversaries first began the attack; they loaded him with much more personal abuse, only they had not the advantage of so much wit to season it. If he had engaged with more candid and ingenuous disputants, he would have preferred civility and fair argument to wit and satire: “to do so was my choice, and to have done "thus was my chance," as he expresses himself in the conclusion of one of his controversial pieces. All who have written any accounts of his life agree, that he was affable and instructive in conversation, of an equal and cheerful temper; and yet I can easily believe, that he had a sufficient sense of his own merits, and contempt enough for his adversariesk.
* Richardson says, (p. xv.) that humour, cheerful even in sick"he had a gravity in his tem ness: and though he was severe "per, not melancholy, or not till to his pupils in his way of edu. " the latter part of his life, not cation, yet otherwise he was
sour, morose, or ill-natured; most familiar and free in his "but a certain severity of mind, conversation with them. E. "a mind not condescending to His youngest daughter Debo" little things.” According to rah, (Mrs. Clarke,) when speakAubrey he was extremely plea- ing of him, many years after his sant in his conversation, but sa- death, to the numerous inquirers: tirical; and of a very cheerful whom his fame brought to her,
His merits indeed were singular; for he was a man not only of wonderful genius, but of immense learning and erudition; not only an incomparable poet, but a great mathematician, logician, historian, and divine. He was a master not only of the Greek and Latin, but likewise of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, as well as of the modern languages, Italian, French, and Spanish. He was particularly skilled in the Italian, which he always preferred to the French language, as all the men of letters did at that time in England; and he not only wrote elegantly in it, but is highly commended for his writings by the most learned of the Italians themselves, and especially by the members of that celebrated academy called Della Crusca, which was established at Florence for the refining and perfecting of the Tuscan language'. He had read almost all
affirmed, that" he was delightful profitetur Scribonium acerbe in. “ company; the life of the con sectandi, quam quod ille et viros. “ versation, not only on account è maximis celeberrimisque mul" of his flow of subject, but of tos nihil benignius exceperit, et “ his unaffected cheerfulness and quod in universam Anglorum “civility.” (Richardson, Re- gentem convitiis atrocissimis inmarks, p. xxxvi.) Isaac Vossius, jurius valde fuerit. (Burm. Syll. in a letter to N. Heinsius, dated iii. 276.) Salmasius is the person June 8, 1651, (Burm. Syll. iii. designated in this correspondence 618.) describes Milton as co- by the name of Scribonius. In "mém, affabilem, multisque aliis Milton's whole deportment, how“ præditum virtutibus," and this ever, there was visible a certain on the authority of his uncle, dignity of mind; and a someFrancis Junius, the writer of thing of conscious superiority, “De Pictura Veterum," who was which could not at all times be intimate with our author. And suppressed or wholly withdrawn N. Heinsius, in a letter to Gro- from observation. Symmons. novius, dated Aug. 14, 1651, See Algarotti's ingenious crimentions the general report of ticism on his works. Opere del his being a man of a mild and Conte Algarotti, Ven. 1794. tom. courteous disposition. Virum esse x. p. 39, &c. Todd. miti comique ingenio aiunt, qui See also the note on v. 83 of que aliam non habuisse se causam the verses Ad Patrem. E.