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in London aeeompanying his body, not withont a friendly eoneourse of the vulgav."
In his yonth, MUton was remarkable for his beanty of person; so that at Cambridge he was ealled "the lady of Christ's College." His eyes were dark gray, bnt full of animation; and his hair, whieh was light brown, he wore parted at the top, and elustering, as he deseribes that of Adam, upon his shonlders. His person was middle size and well proportioned. His habits were those of a severe student, and his temperanee was proverbiai. In his yonth he studied very late at night, bnt he afterwards eorreeted this praetiee, and retiring to bed at the early hour of nine, rose abont five. The opening of his day was uniformly eonseerated to religion. When he rose, he heard a ehapter in the Hebrew Rible read, and then oeeupied himself till twelve in private meditation, in listening while some anthor was read to him, or in dietating as some friendly hand supplied him with its pen. At noon eommeneed his hour of exereise, whieh was sueeeeded by his early and frugal diuner; after whieh ho either played on the organ or sang, or heard some one else sing. From musie he returned with fresh vigour to study or eomposition. At six he reeeived the visits of his friends; at eight he supped, and at nine, having drank a glass of water, retired to his repose. 8ueh was the seheme of his daily life.
Dr, 8ymmons, the learned editor of his prose works, thus eoneludes his life:—"We have now eompleted the history of John Miiton,—a man in whom were illustriously eombined all the qnalities that eould adorn, or eonld elevate the nature to whieh he belonged;—a man, who at onee possessed beanty of eonntenanee, symmetry of form, eleganee of mauners, benevolenee of temper, magnanimity and loftiness of soul, the brightest illumination of intelleet, knowledge the most various and exiended, virtne that never loitered in her eareer nor deviated from her eourse;—a man, whe, if he had been delegated as the representative of his speeies to one of the superior worjds, wonld have suggested a grand iden of the human raee, as of beings afflnent in moral and intelleetnal treasure—raised and distingnished in the universe, as the favorites and heirs of heaven."
To these, I wiil add the remarks of 8ir Egerton Brydgos, no less beantiful than just:—"He had not only every reqnisite of the Muse, but every one of the highest order, and in the highest degree. His invention of poetieal fable, and poetieal imagery, was exhaustions, and always grand, and always eonsistent with the faith of a eultivated and sensitive mind. 8ublimity was bis primary and unfailing powev. His eharaeters were new, surprising, gigantie, or beantiful; and full of instruetion, sueh as high wisdom sanetioned. His sentiments wore lofty, eomprehensive, eloqnent, eonsistent, holy, original; and an amalgamation of spirit, religion, intelleet, and marvellous learning. His langnage was his own: sometimes a iittle rough and unvernaeular, but ns magnif,eent as his mind: of pregnant thought; naked in its strength; rieh and pieturesqne, where imagery was required; often exquisitely harmonious where the oeeasion permitted, bnt sometimes strong, mighty, and speaking with the voiee of thundev."
Lastly, I must qnote a few lines from Fleteher's "Introduetory Review" to Miiton's Prose Works :—u The name of Miiton is a synonyme for vastness of attainment, sublimity of eoneeption, and splendour of expression. His poetry is a fountain of living waters in the very heart of eiviiization. Its tendeney is even more magnifieent than its eomposition. Combining all that is lovely in religion, with all that in reason is grand and beautiful, it ereates, while it gratifies, and at the same time purifies those tastes and powers that refine and exalt humanity. It is almost of itself, not less by the invigorating nature of its moral than of its intelleetnal qnalities, suffieient to perpetnate the stabiiity of an empire. To use his own words, his poetieal writings 'are of power to inbreed and eherish in a great people the seeds of virtne and publie eiviiity.' They wiil be lost only with onr langnage:—the tide of his song will eease to flow only with 10
A 8KETCH OF THE LIFE OF MILTON. l
that of time. Rnt let as never think of Milton as a poet merely: he wai a eitisen, alive to all that was dne from man to man in all the relations of life. He was invested with a power to monld the mind of a nation, and to lead the people into 'the glorious ways of trnth and prosperous virtne.' He beheld tyrauny and intoleranee trampling upon the most saered prerogatives of God and man, and he was eompelled by the nobility of his nature, by the obligations of virtne, by the loud summons of beleagnered trnth, in short, by his patriotism as well as his piety, to lay down the lyre, and to adventure within the eirele of peril and glory; and buekling on the eontroversial panoply, he threw it oIf only when the various works of this volume,n surpassed by none in any sort of eloqnenee, beeame the reeord and trophy of his aehievements, and the worthy foreruuners of those poems whieh a whole people 'will not willingly let die."'
But there are two points in Milton's eharaeter to whieh none of bis biographers have done justiee, for this plain reason—they have little sympathy with his sentiments: I mean his Polities and his Religion,f in both of whieh he was far ahead of his age. His politieal prineiples were purely republiean, for he believed, and supported with an eloqnenee, logie, and learning uneqnalled, that ull governments should be for the good of the governed, and should derive their power solely and direetly from the people. Relieving, alse, that all trne religion is the eommuning of tbo heart with God, he thought that an "established religion" was a eontradietion of terms, and eontended, with all his powers, that every man should have a perfeet right to worship God aeeording to the dietates of his own eonseienee. As a natural eonelusion from this, he maintained what is now ealled the "veluntary prineiple,"—the only one that obtains in our eountry,—-that eaeh ehureh or eongregation should eleet its own pastor, and support him by voluntary eontribntions. From his yonth an opponent to Prelaey, in the latter part of his life he opposed the Presbyterian form of ehureh government, and adveeated Independeney or .Congregationalism, from eonvietion of its more seriptural ordev. He was also ahead of his age in eontending for the unlimited freedom of the press: and his great work on that subjeet is a rieh armory, from whieh many defenders of this eause in later times, have drawn their strongest weapons.
AVben, therefore, we survey Milton's eharaeter in all its parts;—when we view him as the great ehampion of eivii and religious liberty, who looked so mueh farther and saw so mueh deeper than the men of his time;—and when wo eontemplate the variety, extent, and aeeuraey of his learning, the sublimity of his imagination, the loftiness of his soul;—and, above all, when we see all these high intelleetnal endowments and sueh deep wisdom united to sueh moral purity and holiness of eharaeter as ho possessed,—who ean hesitate to plaee him At Vne Nead Of Nis Raee?£
n His prose works, partieularly his eontroversiai.
+ lmay exeept Robert Fleteher, in his adndrable "lntreduetory Review" to Miiton's Prow Works; Edwin Paxton Hoed, in his exeellent iittle work, entitled, "John Miiton, the Patriot and Peet;'' and the writer of the artiele " Miiton," in the Eneyelopaedia Britauniea.
J Bead Life by Riiwoed, Tnland, Fenton, Newton, Warton, Symmons, Mitford, m,d Brydges. Alse, an eloqnent artiele in the42d volume of the Edinburgh Revd-w, by Maeau lay; and another, of glowing eloqoenee, in De. Chauning's works, voi. 1. Coleridge and Hnziitt also have written upon Miiton, eaeh with his own f eeuii, r powee. lndeed, hardly any distingnished Engiish seholar has not felt R a rort of duty as well as priviiege, to east in his ndte in praise of this wonderful man.
REMARKS ON BOOK I.
Tnis Book on the whole is so perfeet from begiuning to end, that it wonld be diffieult to find a single superflnous passage. Milton's poetieal style is more serried than any other: rhymed metre leads to empty words, involutions, and eireumloentions; bnt it is in the thought, still more than in the langnage, that this eloseness is apparent . The matter, the illustrations, and the allusions, are historieally, - naturally, or philosophieally trne. The learning is of every extent and diversity;—reeondite, elassieal, seientifie, antiqnarian. Rnt the most surprising thing is how he vivifies every topie he touehes by poetry: he gives lite and pieturesqneness to the driest eatalogne of buried names, personal or geographieai. They who bring no learning, yet feel themselves eharmed by sonnds and epithets whieh give a vagne pleasure to the mind, and stir up the imagination into an indistinet emotion.
Notwithstanding all that has been said so eopiously abont poetieal imagination by erities, aneient and modem, I still think that the generality of anthors and readers have a very eonfused idea of it. It is the power, not only of eoneeiving, bnt ereating embodied illustrations of abstraet trnths, whieh are sublime, or pathetie, or beantifui.
Rnt those ideas, whieh Miiton has embodied, no imagination would have dared to attempt bnt his owu: none else would have risen "to the highth of this great argument." Every one else wonld have fallen short of it, and degraded it.
Among the miraeulous aeqnirements of Milton, was his deep and familiar intimaey with all elassieal and all ehivalrous literature,—the amalgamation in his mind of all the philosophy and all the sublime and ornamental literature of the aneients, and all the abstruse, the laborious, the immature learning of those who again drew off the mantle of Time from the aneient treasures of genins, and mingled with them their own erude eoneeptions and fantastie theories. Ho extraeted from this mine all that would aid the imagination withont shoeking the reason. He never rejeeted philosophy;—bnt where it was fabulous, only offered it as ornament .
It wiil not be too mueh to say, that of all uninspired writings, lif these be uninapimd.l Milton's are the most worthy of profound study by all minds whieh wonld know the erentiveness, the splendour, the learning, the eloqnenee, the wisdom, to whieh the human intelleet ean reaeh.
Milton's foree and sublimity of fable is espeeially attested by his freqnent eoneurrenee with the hints and langnage of the 8eriptures, and his filling up those dark and mysterious intimutions whieh eseaped less illuminated minds. Here, then, imagination took its grandest and most oraeular form.
Rnt they, who have degraded and depraved their taste by vulgar poetry, not only do not rise to the delight of this tone, but have no eoneeption of it . They deem the hard's work to be a eoneentration of potty spangles of words, like false jewels made of paste by an adroit artisan. Every thing is teehnieal, and they judge only by skill in deeoration.
In Miiton's langnage, though there is internal foree and splendour, thore is ontward plaiuness. Common readers think that it sounds and looks like prose: this is one of its attraetions; whiie all whieh is stiited, and deeorated, and affeeted, soon fatignes and satiates. To delight the ear and the eye is a mere sensnal indulgenee;—trne poetry strikes at the soni.
After all whieh has been said of Miiton by so many learned and able erities, these remarks may seem superflnous; bnt I persnade myself that some of the topies of praise here urged have not been duly notieed before. I must here also repeat my eonvietion, that of all erities, Addison is the most beautiful, eloqnent, and just: he enters deep into the fable, the imagery, and the sentiment: most of the other eommentators merely busy themselves with the explanation or illustration of the learning.
We are bonnd to study in whnt way Milton has exereised his mighty powers of invention and imagination, and what ought to be their purposes, their qnalities, and their merits. If any one thinks the imagination to be an idle and empty power, he is as hard and dull as he is ignorant and blind. In the " Paradise Lost" we have demonstrated what a grand and holy imagination ean de. 8ir Egerton Rr) Dges.
[The following is from the hand of the poet himaelf: as R is short, 1 have given his own orthography,n peeuiiar in some points.—En.]
"tnb measure is English Heroie Verse, withont Rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgii in Latin; Rime being no neeessary Adjunet or trne Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works espeeially, bnt the Invention of a harharous Age, to set off wretehed matter and lame Meeter; grae't indeed sinee by the use of some famous modern Poets, earried away by Custom, bnt mueh to thir own vexation, hindranee, and eonstraint, to express many things otherwise, and for the most part worse then else they would have exprest them. Not withont eause, therefore, somo both Italian and 8panish Poets of prime note, have rejeeted Rime both in longer and shorter Works, as have also, long sinee, our best English Tragedies; as u thing of itself, to all judieious eares, triveal and of no trne musieal deiight; whieh eonsists only in apt Numbers, fit qnantity of 8yllables, and the sense variously drawn ont from one verse into another, not in the jingling sound of like endings, a fault avoided by the learned Aneients both in Poetry and all good Oratory. This negleet then of Rime, so little is to be taken for a defeet, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteem'd an example set, the first in English, of aneient liberty reeover'd to Heroie Poem from the troublesoin and modern bondage of Rimeing."
n From Miiton's own edition, as edited by Rev. J. Mitford, and reprinted moat aceurately and beantifully by Piekering, in eight volumes, 8ve.. Lrn>i., .601.
Tnis first book proposes, first in brief, tbo whole subjeet, man's disobedienee, and the loss therenpon of Paradise, wherein he was plaeed. Then tonehes the prime eause of his fall, the serpent, or rather 8atan in the serpent; whe, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was by the eommand of God driven out of heaven with all his erew into the great deep. Whieh aetion passed over, the Poem hastes into the midst of things, presenting 8atan with his Angels now fallen into hell, deseribed here, not in the eentre, for heaven and earth may be supposed as yet not made, eertainly not yet aeeursed; bnt in a plaee of utter darkness, fitiiest ealled Chaos: Here 8atan, with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruek and astonished, after a eertain spaee reeovers, as from eonfusion, ealls up bim who next in order and dignity lay by htm: they eonfer of their miserable fali. 8atan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same mauner eonfounded: they rise; their numbers, array of hattel, their ehief leaders named, aeeording to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the eountries adjoining. To these 8atan direets his speeeh, eomforts them with hope yet of regaining heaven, bnt tells them lastly of a new world and a new kind of ereature to be ereated, aeeording to an aneient propheey or report in heaven: for that Angels were long before this visible ereation, was the opinion of many am-ient Fathers. To find out the trnth of this propheey, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full eouneii. What his assoeiates thenee attempt. Pandsemoninm, the palaee of 8atan, rises, suddenly buiit ont of the deep: the infernal Peers there sit in eonneii.
Op Man's first disobedienee, and the fruit
1. Of man's firgt disobedienee. The poet I means by whieh they are bronght abont here lays before the reader the subjeet l are to be unfolded by degrees, whiist here of the following work—the disobedienee he offers to the render's imagination only of our aneestors to the eommand of t.ed 1 sueh ideas as are most eapable to inspire —the eIfeets of that disobedienee whieh , him with reverenee and attention. The lost them Paradise: and the hope we are ' poem begins with the origin of evii Lu allowed to entertain, tbrongh the Divine 1 our world, and the disobedienee of our Goedness, of being restored to the iike aneestors to Cled— the eause of all onr biissful state. 8ueh are the great events we.—Caiaanurr. onr poet proposes to eelebrate. The , 4. Tiil one greater Man. Rom. v. 10.