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With Life, Critical Dissertation, and
REV. GEORGE GIL FILLA N.
LONDON: JAMES NISBET AND CO.
DUBLIN: W. ROBERTSON.
938 1853 V. 2
GENIUS AND POETICAL WORKS OF JOHN MILTON.
We have already traced Milton's history. The history of his fame is equally curious and interesting, although it may be told in much briefer compass. Foreign countries heard of his name while it was yet obscure in his own land. His
progress through Italy was a procession of triumph, while in Britain his merits were known only to his personal friends. Returned to London, he subsided into a schoolmaster; nor did his works, for some time, dispel the mists which seemed to have gathered, early and dark, around his destiny. It was infamy which first made him famous in England—the infamy of advocating and acting on a new and heterodox theory of divorce, and it was his personal misery which drove him to support this obnoxious doctrine. So that thus Milton's, like man's, greatness had its root in his grief, if not partly also in his fault, and he served to exemplify the statement long afterwards made by another poet
“ Most wretched men Are cradled into poetry by wrong,
They learn in suffering what they teach in song." Milton, the elegant scholar, was permitted to battle on with his nephews as he best could; but Milton, the “ divorcist," awoke one morning and found himself (in) “famous." Το