페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

6

An. Etat. 67

recorded, that in the year 1674 the Gout put a period to his life at Bunhill near London; from whence his body was convey'd to St. Giles's Church by Cripplegate, where it lyes inter'd in the chancel; but neither has, nor wants a monument to perpetuate his memory.

In his youth he is faid to have been extremely handfome the color of his hair was a light brown; the fymetry of his features exact; enliven'd with an agreeable air, & a beautiful mixture of fair & ruddy: which occafion'd the Marquis of Villa to give his * Epigram the fame turn of thought, which Gregory Arch-Deacon of Rome had employ'd above a thoufand years before, in praifing the amiable complexions of fome English Youths, before their converfion to Chriftianity. His flature († as we find it meafur'd by himfelf) did not exceed the middle-fize; neither too lean, nor corpulent: his limbs well-proportion'd, nervous, and active; ferviceable in all refpects to his exercising the Sword, in which he much delighted; & wanted neither skill nor courage to refent an affront, from men of the most athletic conftitutions. In his diet he was abftemious; not delicate in the choice of his dishes; and ftrong liquors of all kinds were his averfion. Being too fadly convinc'd how much his health. had fuffer'd by night-ftudies in his younger years, he ufed to go early (feldom later than nine) to rest; and rofe commonly before five in the morning. It is reported, and there is a paffage in one of his Latin Elegies to countenance the tradition) that his fancy made the happiest flights in the fpring: but one of his Nephews used to deliver it as MILTON's own obfervation, that his Invention was in its highest perfection from September to the vernal Equinox: however it was, the great inequalities to be found in his

* Ut mens, forma, decor, facies, mos, fi pietas fic, Non Anglus, verùm hercle Angelus ipfe fores. Defenfio fecunda. p. 87. Fol.

[ocr errors]

his compofures are inconteftable proofs, that in fome feafons he was but one of the people. When blindness reftrain'd him from other exercises, he had a machine to fwing in, for the prefervation of his health; and diverted himself in his chamber with playing on an Organ. His deportment was erect, open, affable; his converfation easy, chearful, inftructive; his wit on all occafions at command, facetious, grave, or fatirical, as the fubject requir'd. His judgement, when dis-engag'd from religious and political speculations, was juft and penetrating; his apprehenfion, quick; his memory, tenacious of what he read; his reading, only not fo extenfive as his genius, for that was univerfal. And having treafur'd up fuch immense ftores of Science, perhaps the faculties of his Soul grew more vigorous after he was depriv'd of his fight: and his imagination (naturally fublime, and inlarg'd by reading Romances, of which he was much inamor'd in his youth.) when it was wholly abftracted from material objects, was more at liberty to make fuch amazing excurfions into the ideal world, when in compofing his divine work he was tempted to range

*

Beyond the vifible diurnal sphere.

And with fo many accomplishments, not to have had fome faults, & misfortunes, to be laid in the balance with the fame, and felicity, of writing PARADISE Lost, wou'd have been too great a portion for humanity.

* His Apology for Smetymnus, p. 177. Fola

[ocr errors][merged small]

Xiv

POSTSCRIPT.

T

HE works of inferior Geniuses have their infancy, and often receive additions of ftrength and beauty, in the feveral Impreffions they undergo whilft their Authors live: but the following Poem came into the world, like the Perfons whom it celebrates, in a state of maturity. However, though in the first Edition it was difpos'd into Ten Books only, MILTON thought proper in the Second to make a new divifion of it into Twelve: not, I fuppofe, with refpect to the Aneis (for he was, in both fenfes of the phrafe, above imitation) but more probably because the lenth of the Seventh and Tenth requir'd a pause in the narration, he divided them, each into two: on which diftribution, to the beginning of those books which are now the Eighth and Twelfth, he added the following verfes, which were neceffary to make a connection.

Book VIII. ver. 1.

The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left his voice, that he a-while
Thought him fill fpeaking; ftill flood fix'd to hear s
Then, as new wak'd, thus gratefully reply'd.

The latter half of the verfe was taken from this in the firft Edition.

To whom thus Adam gratefully reply'd.
Book XII. ver. 1.

As one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on Speed: fo here th' Arch-Angel paus'd;
Betwixt the world deftroy'd, and world reftor'd;
If Adam ought perhaps might interpofe:
Then, with transition fweet, new speech refumes.

At the fame time the Author made fome few additions in other places of the Poem, which are here inferted for the fatisfaction of the curious.

Book

« 이전계속 »