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Anglicano Defensio,' against the Defensio Regia of Salmasius; and, for this, he is said to have been rewarded by the Commonwealth with a present of a thousand pounds. He had, also, a considerable hand in correcting and improving a piece written by his nephew, Mr. John Philips, and printed in 1652 under the title of Joannis Philippi Angli Responsio ad Apologiam Anonymi cujusdam Tenebrionis pro Rege et Populo Anglicano infandissimam'. During the publishing of this work, he lodged at one Thompson's, next door to the Bull's Head Tavern, at Charing Cross; but he soon afterward removed to a garden-house in Petty France, next door to Lord Scudamore's, where he remained till within a few weeks of the Restoration. In this house, his first wife dying in child-bed in 1652, he married a second (Katharine, daughter of Captain Woodcock of Hackney) who died of the consequences of child-birth, after she had been brought to bed of a daughter. This second marriage was contracted subsequently to the total extinction of his sight; for his eyes, which had been gradually losing their power for nearly twelve of the preceding years, seem to have closed in entire darkness about the time of his completing the · Defence of the People of England,' or early in 1652. In 1654, he published his · Defensio Secunda, and the year following, his · Defensio pro Se.'
Being now at leisure from his state-adversaries and public controversies, he again prosecuted his private studies and projects, particularly his · History of England,' and his new Thesaurus Lingua Latinæ according to the method of Robert Stephens, the manuscript of which (contained in three large vo lumes, folio) was employed by the editors of the Cambridge Dictionary, printed in quarto, 1693. In 1658,
he published 'Sir Walter Ralegh's Cabinet-Council;' and, in 1659, A Treatise of the Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Courts, and considerations touching the likeliest Means to remove Hirelings out of the Church; wherein are also Discourses of Tythes, Church-fees, Church-revenues, and whether any Maintenance of Ministers can be settled in Law.'
Upon the dissolution of the parliament by the army, after Richard Cromwell had resigned the Protectorship Milton wrote a letter, in which he laid down the model of a Commonwealth ; not such as he judged the best, but such as might then be the most readily settled, to prevent the restoration of kingly government and the recurrence of domestic disorders. He drew up, likewise, another piece to the same purpose, which seems to have been addressed to General Monk; and in February, 1659, he published his · Ready and easy Way to establish a free Commonwealth. Soon after this, he printed in quarto his · Brief Notes upon a late Sermon entitled, The Fear of God and the King.' To these two last publications a sharp reply was made by Roger L'Estrange, in a piece called · No Blind Guides.'
Just before the Restoration he retired from his office of Latin Secretary, and by the advice of his friends concealed himself, till the event of public affairs should direct him what course to pursue. For this purpose, he withdrew to a friend's house in Bartholomew Close, near West Smithfield, where he remained till the General Amnesty made it's appearance.
At this alarming crisis of his fortunes, his friends are said to have propagated a report of his death and made a mock-funeral for him, in order to divert and deceive the attention of his enemies : but Milton was a man so well known, the contrivance was so unsuitable to his
character, and the story is so totally destitute of competent evidence, that it must be rejected as wholly unworthy of credit.
The Act of Oblivion, says Mr. Philips, proved as favourable to him, as could have been hoped or expected: and for this he was indebted to the exertions of his friends both in the Council and the parliament, particularly of Andrew Marvel the representative of Hull, who subsequently prefixed a copy of spirited verses to his Paradise Lost. But the chief promoter of his free pardon was Sir William Davenant, whose life Milton by his powerful interest had previously saved, when he was condemned as an active royalist in 1650.
Being now safe from his foes, he re-appeared in public, and removed to Jewin Street, where on the recommendation of his friend and relation Dr. Paget he married his third wife Elizabeth, the daughter of Mr. Minshul of Cheshire: but by her he had no children. Soon after the Restoration, he was offered the place of Latin Secretary to the King, which however, notwithstanding the importunities of his wife, he had the virtue to refuse. His answer to her entreaties was, “ You are in the right, my dear : you, as other women, would ride in your coach; for me, my aim is to live and die an honest man.” Soon after this third marriage, he removed to a house in the Artillery Walk leading to Bunhill Fields, where he continued till his death, except for a short term during the prevalence of the plague in 1665, when he retired with his family to St. Giles Chalfont in Buckinghamshire. At this time his · Paradise Lost' was finished, though not published till 1667. Mr. Richardson says, “ that when Milton dictated, VOL. III.
he used to sit leaning backward obliquely in an easy chair, with his legs flung over the elbows of it: that he frequently composed lying a-bed in a morning; and that when he could not sleep, but lay awake whole nights, he tried, but not one verse could he make: at other times flowed easy his unpremeditated verse, with a certain impetus, as himself used to believe; then, at what hour soever, he rung for his daughter to secure what came. I have been also told, he would dictate many (perhaps forty) lines in a breath, and then reduce them to half the number."
Mr. Philips, likewise, relates a remarkable circumstance respecting the composition of this sublime poem, communicated to him by Milton himself, that his poetical vein never flowed happily but from the autumnal equinox to the vernal, and that what he attempted at other times was not to his satisfaction.' After the work was ready for the press, it was near being suppressed by the ignorance or the malice of the licenser,* who : among other trivial objections suspected treason in the noble simile, I. 594:
As when the sun new-risen
This grand production of genius, which does honour to human nature, having at length surmounted these obstructions, was permitted to be printed; when the author sold it for only five
* Thomas Tomkyns, one of Archbishop Sheldon's chaplains.
pounds, on the condition * of receiving five pounds more after the sale of 1300 of the first impression; and five pounds after the sale of an equal number of the second and third editions respectively!
The first edition of · Paradise Lost,' in ten books, was printed in a small quarto; and, before it could be sold, it had three or more different title-pages in the years 1667, 1668, and 1669. So that two years elapsed before it's author was entitled to the second five pounds, for which his receipt is still in existence, dated April 26, 1669. And this was, probably, the whole amount of what he received; for he lived not to enjoy the benefits of the second edition,t which was published in 1674, the year of his death. Milton, it appears, bequeathed the copy-right to his widow : for she agreed with Simmons, the printer, to accept eight pounds in full of all demands; and her receipt for the money is dated December 21, 1680.
Most of the writers of Milton's Life have reflected upon the taste of the age, because this immortal production did not meet with the applause, which it : merited on it's first publication. But to those who consider how small was the number of readers at that era, and how few of these could discern the beauties of a new species of poetry, this being the first English poem of any note not in
* The original contract with Samuel Simmons the printer, still extant, is dated April 27, 1667, and serves to correct some mistakes of writers respecting the sale and the earlier editions of the work.
+ This second edition was printed in a small octavo, corrected by the author, and increased with the addition of some few verses (by dividing the seventh and tenth) to twelve books. The third edition was printed in 1678.