« PreviousContinue »
Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise Found?' He made no answer, but sat some time in a muse, then broke off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.” When Ellwood subsequently 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 it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of.”
In the year 1672, his • Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata' made it's appearance in octavo. Upon the indulgence granted to Protestant Dissenters in 1673, he published in quarto a defence of universal toleration for sectaries of all denominations except Papists, in a discourse entitled, “Of true Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and what best Means may be used against the Growth of Popery. He printed likewise, the same year, “ Poems, &c. on several occasions, both English and Latin, composed at several Times, with a small Tractate on Education, dedicated to Mr. Hartlib, in octavo. In 1674, he published his · Epistola Familiares' with some Latin Academical Exercises, in octavo; and, in quarto, * A Declaration of the Poles concerning the Election of their King John III., translated from the Latin Copy
He was deemed also, as Wood informs us, the author of a piece called, · The Grand Case of Conscience, concerning the Engagement stated and resolved; or, a strict Survey of the solemn League and Covenant, in Reference to the present Engagement: though many are of opinion, that the stile and manner of writing do not in the least favour the suspicion. He left several pieces in manuscript ; among the rest, his · Brief History of Muscovy, and of other less known Countries lying eastward of Russia, as far as Cathay, printed in 1682, in octavo. His . Latin State-Letters' were first printed in 1676, in duodecimo, and an English version of them was published in 1694. In 1698 his Historical, Poetical, and Miscellaneous Works were printed in three volumes folio in London, though Amsterdam is mentioned in the title-page, with the Life of the Author by Mr. Toland; and a very complete and elegant edition of his Prose-Works was published in two volumes folio, in 1738, by the Rev. Dr. Birch, Secretary to the Royal Society. In this edition the several pieces are disposed according to the order in which they were printed, with the addition of a Latin tract (omitted by Toland) concerning the Reasons of the War with Spain in 1655, and several pages in the history of Great Britain expunged by the licensers of the press, and not to be met with in any former impressions.*
After a life of indefatigable study, and of incessant exertion in the cause of religious and civil liberty, for which he contended to the very last, Milton died of the gout in his stomach, November 8, 1674. Under this disorder he had languished for several years, and was indeed so reduced by that and other infirmities, that his dissolution was scarcely perceived by those who were in the room. His remains were decently interred, near the body
* Of this the booksellers of London have recently published a correct copy in six volumes octavo, to which is prefixed a most spirited and elegant Life of the Author from the very classical and energetic pen of the Rev. Charles Symmons, D.D.
of his father, in the chancel of the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate: and at a later period (in 1737) a neat monument was erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey, at the expense of William Benson, Esq.
By his first wife he had four children, a son and three daughters. The daughters survived the father. Anne, the eldest, married a master-builder, and with her first infant died in child-bed; Mary lived single; Deborah left her father when young, and went over with a lady to Ireland. She returned to England during the Irish troubles under James II., married Mr. Abraham Clark a weaver in Spitalfields, and died in 1727, in the seventy sixth year of her age.
This lady Dr. John Ward, Fellow of the Royal Society, and Professor of Rhetoric in Gresham College, saw at the house of one of her relations, not long before her death, 66 She informed me,”. he states, “ that she and her sisters used to read to their father in eight languages, which by practice they were capable of doing with great readiness and accuracy, though they understood no language but English'; and their father used often to say, in their hearing, one tongue was enough for a woman.'
None of them (he adds) were ever sent to school, but were all taught English at home by a mistress kept for that purpose : and Milton himself taught them to pronounce Greek and Latin. Homer and Ovid's Metamorphoses were books, which they were often called to read to their father; and, at my desire, she repeated a great number of verses from the beginning of both these poets with great readiness. I knew who she was, upon the first sight of her, by the similitude of her countenance with her father's picture ; and upon my telling her so, she informed me, that · Mr. Addison told her the same thing, on her going to wait on him :' for he, on hearing she was living, sent for her, and desired · if she had any papers of her father's, she would bring them with her, as an evidence of her being Milton's daughter;' but immediately on her being introduced to him, he said, “ Madam, you need no other voucher; your face is a sufficient testimony, whose daughter you are: and he then made her a handsome present of a purse of guineas, with a promise of procuring her an annual provision for life: but he dying soon afterward, she lost the benefit of his generous design. She appeared to be a woman of good sense and genteel behaviour, and to bear the inconveniences of a low fortune with decency and prudence.” Her late Majesty, Queen Caroline, sent her fifty pounds, and she received presents of money from several gentlemen not long before her death.
She had ten children, seven sons and three daughters: but of them only two left issue; Caleb, who went over to Fort St. George in the East Indies, where he married and had two sons, Abraham and Isaac;* and Elizabeth, her youngest daughter, who married Mr. Thomas Foster a weaver, and for some years before her husband's death kept a little chandler's shop at the lower end of Holloway, and afterward in Cock Lane, Shoreditch; where she was
* Of those Abraham, the elder, came to England with Governor Harrison, but returned again on the intelligence of his father's death. Whether any of his family are now living, is uncertain.
found by Dr. Birch, and subsequently visited by Dr. Newton. In 1750, the Masque of. Comus' was performed for her benefit at Drury Lane, and produced her a considerable sum. A pathetic prologue was written on the occasion by Dr. Johnson, and spoken by Mr. Garrick. Her children, three sons and four daughters, all died before her.
Milton had a brother Christopher, who was knighted and made one of the Barons of the Exchequer in the reign of James II.; but he does not appear to have been a man of any abilities. Of this gentleman there was lately alive a grand-daughter, married to Mr. George Lookup, Advocate in Edinburgh.
“ This lady,” says Theophilus Cibber, “ whom I have often seen, is extremely corpulent, has in her youth been very handsome, and is not destitute of poetical genius. She has written several copies of verses, published in the Edinburgh Magazines; and her face bears some resemblance to the picture of Milton.”
Of Milton's person Fenton has given us the following description:
“ He was of a moderate size, well-proportioned, and of a ruddy complexion, light-brown hair, and had handsome features; yet his eyes were none of the quickest. When he was a student at Cambridge, he was so fair and clear, that many called him. The Lady of Christ's College. His deportment was affable, and his gait erect and manly, bespeaking courage and undauntedness. While he had his sight, he wore a sword, and was well-skilled in using it. He had a delicate tunable voice, an excellent ear, could play on the organ, and bear a part in vocal and instrumental music.”