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requiring a freer accession of air, He was oblig'd to remove from thence to lodgings which opened into St. James's Park. Not long after his settlement there, his Wife died in child-bed ; and much about the time of her death, a Gutta Serena, which had for several years been gradually increasing, totally extinguish'd his fight. In this melancholic condition he was easily prevail'd with to think of taking another wife ; who was Catharine the daughter of Captain Woodcock of Hackney: and the too, in less than a year after their marriage, dy'd in the fame unfortunate manner as the former had done ; and in his twenty third Sonnet He does honour to her memory. An. Ætat. 52. heightened by the different figure he

These private calamities were much was likely to make in the new scene of affairs, which was going to be acted in the State. For, all things now conspiring to promote the King's Restoration, He was too conscious of his own activity during the Usurpation, to expect any favour from the Crown; and therefore He prudently absconded till the Act of Oblivion was publish'd ; by which he was only render'd incapable of bearing any office in the Nation. Many had a very just esteem of his admirable

parts and learning, who detefted his principles, by whose intercession his Pardon pass’d the Seals: and I with the laws of Civil History could have extended the benefit of that oblivion to the memory of his guilt, which was indulged to his person! tanti facinoris immanitas aut extitife, aut non vindicata fuise, videatur.

Having thus gain'd a full protection from the Governa ment, (which was in truth more than He could have reafonably hoped) he appeared as much in publick as he formerly us’d to do; and employing his friend Dr. Paget to make choice of a third confort, on his Recommendation he married Elizabeth the Daughter of Mr. Minspul a Cheshire Gentleman, by whom he had no issue. Three daughters by his first wife were then living ; . the two ela der of whom are said to have been very serviceable to him in his studies. For,, having been instructed to pronounce not only the Modern, but also the Latin, Greek, and Hebrcw languages; they read in their respective originals

what

+29.

whatever Authors he wanted to consult; though they underitood none but their mother-tongue. This employment, however, was too unpleasant to be continued for any long process of time; and therefore he dismissed them to receive an education more agreeable to their sex, and temper.

We come now to take a survey of him in that point of view, in which he will be look'd on by all succeeding ages with equal delight, and admiration. An interval of above twenty years had elaps'd since he wrote the Mask of * Comus, L'Allegro, Il Penforo;o, and

26. + Lycidas ; all in such an exquisite strain! An. Æt. that though He had left no other monuments of his Genius behind him, his name had been immortal. But, neither the infirmities of age and constitution, nor the vicissitudes of fortune, could depress the vigor of his mind; or divert it from executing a design He had I long conceiv'd of writing an Heroick Poem. The Fall of Man was a subject which He had some years before fix'd on for a Tragedy, which he intended to form by the models of Antiquity: and some, not without praba ility, say the Play open’d with thar Speech in the fourth Book of Paradise Lost, ver. 32, which is address'd by Satan to the Sun. Were it material, I believe I could produce other paffiges which more plainly appear to have been originally intended for the scene. But whatever truth there may be in this report, 'tis certain that he did not begin to mold his Subject in the form which it bears row, be!ore He had concluded his controver'y with Solnak.is and More ; when He had wholly lost the use of his eyes; and was forc'd to employ in the office of an Amajucrisis any friend who accidentally paid him a vifit. Yet, under all these discouragements, and various in

An. Ætat.61. terrup:ions, in the * Year 1669. He pub

| Par. Loft. B. ix. ver. 26. * Milton's Contra&t with his Bookfeller S. Simmons for the Copy bears Date April 27, 1667.

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lidhi'd

Hih'd his Paradise Lost; the noblest Poem, next to viole of Homer and Virgil, that ever the wit of man produc’h in any age or nation. Need I mention any other evidence of its inestimable worth, than that the finest Genius's who have succeeded him have ever esteem'd it a merit to relish, and illustrate its beauties? Whilft the Critic who gaz’d, with so much wanton malice, on the nakedness of Shakespear when he slept, after having + forsnally declar'd war against it, wanted courage to make his attack; fluth'd though he was with his conquefts over Fulius Casar, and The Moor: which insolence his Muse, like the other affalines of Cafar, * feverely reveng'd on herself; and not long after her triumph, became her own executioner. Nor is it unworthy our observation, that though, perhaps, no one of our English Poets hath excited so

many admirers to imitate his Manner, yet I think never any was known to aspire to emulation: even the late ingenious Mr. Philips, who, in the colours of style, came the nearest of all the Copiers to resemble the great Original, made his diftant advances with a filial reverence; and restrain'd his ambition within the same bounds which Lucretius, prescribid to his own imitation,

Non ita certandi cupidus, quàm propter amorem
Qyòd TE imitari aveo : quid enim contendathirundo
Cycnis ?

And now perhaps it may pass for fiction, what with great veracity I affirm to be. fact, that MILTON, after having with much difficulty prevail'd to have this Divine i'oem licens’d for the Press, could sell the Copy for no more than Fifteen Pounds: the payment of which valuable confideration depended on the sale of three numerous im

+ The Tragedies of the last age confider'd, p. 143. * Hide EDGAR.

preffions.

pressions. So unreasonably may personal prejudice affect the most excellent performances! About *

two years after, together An. Ætat. 63.with SAMSON AGONISTES (a Tragedy not unworthy the Grecian Stage when Athens was in her glory) He publish'd PARADISE REGAIN'D. But, Ob! what a falling-off was there ! Of which I will say 10 more, than that there is scarcely a "mcre remarkable in{tance of the frailty of human reason, than cur Author gare in preferring this Poem to PARADISE LOST; nor a more initructive caution to the best writers, to be very

diffideix in deciding the merit of their own productions.

And thus having attended him to the Sixty Sixth year of his age, as closely as such imperfect lights as men of Letters, and retirement, usually leave to guide our inquiry, would allow; it now only remains to be recorded, that in the Year 1674 the Gout put a period

lin. Ætat. to his life at Bunhill near London ; from whence his body was convey'd to St. Giles's Church by Cripplegate, where it lies interrd in the Chancel; but neither has, nor wants a Monument to perpetuate his memory.

In his youth he is said to have been extremely handsom: the colour of his hair was a light-brown: the symmetry of his features exact; enliven'd with an agreeable air; and a beautiful mixture of fair and ruddy: which occasion'd the Marquiss of Villa to give his † Epigram the fame Turn of Thought, which Gregory Arch-Deacon of Rose had employed above a thousand years before, in praising the amiable complexions of some English Youths, before their conversion to Christianity. His ftature (I as we find it measur'd by himself) did not exceed the middle-lize;.

* They were Licensed July 2, 1670, but not printed before the year ensuing.

+ Ut mens, forma, decor, facies, mos, se pietas ficji Non Anglus, verùm herclè Angelus ipfe fores. Defenfio fecunda, p. 87. Fol.

neither

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neither too lean, nor corpulent: his limbs well proportion'd, nervous, and active; serviceable in all respects to his exercising the sword, in which He much delighted; and wanted neither skill, nor courage, to resent an affront from men of the most athletic conftitutions. In his diet He was abiemious; not delicate in the choice of his dishes; ani trong liquors of all kinds were his averfior, Being too fadly convinc'd how much his health had suffir'd by night-studies in his younger years, He used to go early (feldom later than Nine) to ref; and rose commonly besore Five in the morning. It is reported, (and there is a passage in one of his Latin Elegies to countenance the tradition) that his fancy made the happiett flights in the Spring: but one of his Nephews used to deliver it as Milton's own observation, 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 compofures, are incontestable proofs, that in some seasons Ile was but one of the people. When blindness restrain'd hinn from other exercises, He had a machine to swing in, for the preservation of his health; and diverted himself in his chamber with playing on an Organ. His Deportment was erect, open, affible; his. Conversation easy, chearful, instructive; his Wit on all occafions at cominand, facetious, grave, or satirical, as the subject requir'd. His Judgment, when dis-engag'd from religious and political speculations, was just and penetrating; his Apprehension, quick; his Memory, tenacious of what He read ; his Reading, only not fo extensive as his Genius, for That was universal. And having treasur'd up such immense stores of science, perhaps the faculties of his soul grew more vigorous after He was depriv'd of his fight: and his imagination (naturally sublime, and enlarg’d by reading Romances, I of which He was much

His Apology for Smectymnus, p. 177. Fol.

enamour'd

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