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answer,-which answer was his Eiconoclastes, or the Image-breaker. Then came his great Defence of the People of England, against Salmasius. This work was received, both at home and abroad, with the greatest excitement, abuse, and applause, as the different parties were affected at Paris and Toulouse, it was burnt; at home, Milton was complimented on his performance of his task, by the visits or invitations of all the foreign ministers in London; his own government presented him with a thousand pounds, as a testimony of their approbation of the manner in which he had acquitted himself; and even Queen Christina of Sweden, the patron of Salmasius, could not avoid applauding it, and soon after dismissed Salmasius from her court. The work itself, and the effect it produced, are said to have shortened the life of Salmasius, who died about two years afterwards, without having finished his reply, upon which he was labouring.
On being made Latin Secretary, Milton quitted Holborn, and took lodgings in Scotland-yard, near Whitehall. Here he lost his infant son; and his own health being impaired, he removed to a more airy situation; that is, into one of his favourite garden-houses, situated in Petty-France, Westminster, which opened into St. James's Park, in which he continued till within a few weeks of the Restoration. In this house some of the greatest domestic events of his life occurred. Here he lost the entire use of his eyes; his left eye having become quite dark in 1651,-the year in which he published his Defensio Populi,—the second in 1653. His enemies triumphed in his blindness as a judgment from Heaven upon his writing against the king; he only replied by asking them, if it were a judgment upon him to lose his eyes, what sort of judgment was that upon the king, which cost him his head and by adding that he had charity enough to forgive them. We have seen that he laid the foundation of this deprivation in his youth, by unremitted and nocturnal study; and, when writing the Defence of the People, the physicians announced to him that he must desist, or lose his sight: he believed his duty required him to go on, and he went on, knowing the sacrifice he made.
In this house he lost, too, his first wife, Mary Powell; their infant son was dead, but she left him three daughters, the only children that survived him. He afterwards married Catherine, the daughter of Captain Woodcock, of Hackney, who died in childbed within a year of their marriage. Of the beautiful character of this excellent woman, he has left us this testimony, his twentysecond sonnet :
"Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Brought to me, like Alcestis from the grave,
And such as yet once more I trust to have
Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear, as in no face with more delight.
But, oh! as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked, she fled, and day brought back my night."
Here Milton wrote his Second Defence of the People against the attack made in a book called Regii Sanguinis clamor ad Cælum adversus parricidas Anglicanos; written by one Peter du Moulin, afterwards Prebendary of Canterbury; with other things in the same controversy. As he was now blind, he had the excellent Andrew Marvell associated with him, as assistant-secretary. His industry continued at writing, as if he had full use of his eyes. He published now his Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Cases, and The Means of Removing Hirelings out of the Church; collected the Original Letters and Papers addressed to Oliver Cromwell concerning the affairs of Great Britain, from 1649 to 1658, with other things.
This memorable dwelling is yet standing. It no longer opens into St. James's Park. The ancient front is now its back, and overlooks the fine old but house-surrounded garden of Jeremy Bentham. Near the top of this ancient front is a stone, bearing this inscription"SACRED TO MILTON, THE PRINCE OF POETS." This was placed there by Jeremy Bentham, and William Hazlitt rented the house some years, purely because it was Milton's. Bentham, when he was conducting people round his garden, used to make them sometimes go down on their knees to this house. The house is tall and narrow, and has nothing striking about it. No doubt, when it opened into St. James's Park, it was pleasant; now it fronts into York-street, which runs in a direct line from the west end of Westminster Abbey. It is number 19, and is occupied by a cutler. The back, its former front, is closed in by a wall, leaving but a very narrow court; but above this wall, as already said, it looks into the pleasant garden of the late venerable philosopher.
But the time of the Restoration was approaching, and Milton began to retrace his steps towards the city, by much the same regular stages as he had left it. After secreting himself in Bartholomewclose till the storm had blown over, and his pardon was signed, he once more took a house in Holborn, near Red-Lion-Fields; and thence removed to Jewin-street, near Aldersgate. All these places have been rebuilt, and no house of Milton is now to be found in these thickly-populated parts. People have often wondered why Milton always showed such a preference for the city. There were many reasons. In the first place, he was born and brought up till his seventeenth year in it: the associations of youth form strong attractions. In the second, as Dr. Johnson considerately tells us, Aldersgate-street and the like were not then so much out of the world as now. Besides this, after the Restoration, it would be far more agreeable to Milton to be at some distance from the West-end, where cavaliers and courtiers were now flaunting with newly-revived insolence; and nothing but taunts, insults, and the hearing of strange and most odious doings could have awaited him. Here Milton married his third and last wife, Elizabeth Minshull, of a good
family in Cheshire, with whom he seems to have lived in great affection, so much so, that he wished to leave her all that was left him of his property.
From Jewin-street, he made his last remove, as to his London residences, into Artillery-walk, Bunhill-fields. Bunhill-fields were, probably, in those days, open, and airy, and quiet; at present, with the exception of the Artillery-ground itself, and the thickly-populated burial-ground, which contains the bones of Bunyan and De Foe, the whole of that neighbourhood is covered with a dense mass of modern houses. Artillery-walk, Bunhill-fields, is no longer to be found. The nearest approach that you get, even to the name, is Artillery-place, Bunhill-row, which is merely a row of new houses adjoining the Artillery-ground, and a new church which has been erected in that busy, ordinary, and dingy street, still called Bunhill-row. Besides an Art of Logic, his Treatise of True Religion, Heresie, and Schism, Toleration, and what best means may be used against the growth of Popery; his Familiar Letters in Latin; and a translation of a Latin Declaration of the Poles in favour of John III., their heroic sovereign-the two last published in the last year of his life; his residence in Bunhill-fields was made remarkable by the publication of Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. He left, moreover, in manuscript, a Brief History of Muscovy, and of other less known Countries lying eastward of Russia as far as Cathay, which was published in 1682, and his System of Theology, which was long supposed to have perished, but has been recovered and published of late years, much to the scandal of the orthodox.
Thus to the last did this wonderful man live and labour. There is something singularly interesting and impressive in our idea of him, as he calmly passed his latter days in his quiet habitation in Bunhill-fields. He had outlived the great battle of king and people, in which extraordinary men and as extraordinary events had arisen, and shaken the whole civilized world. Charles I., Laud, and Strafford, had fallen in their blood; the monarchy and the church had fallen. Pym, Hampden, Marvell, Vane, and the dictator Cromwell, had not only pulled down the greatest throne in Europe, but had made all others seem to reel by the terrific precedent. All these stern agents, with the generals Ireton, Harrison, Lambert, Fleetwood, and their compeers, who had risen from the people to fight for the people, were gone, like the actors in an awful tragedy who had played their rôle. Some had perished in their blood, others had been torn from their graves; the monarchy and the church, the peerage and all the old practices and maxims, were again in the ascendant, and had taken bloody vengeance; yet this one man, he who had incited and applauded, who had defended and made glorious through his eloquence and his learning, the whole republican cause, was left untouched. As if some especial guardianship of Providence had shielded him, or as if the very foes who pulled the dreaded Cromwell from his grave, feared the imprecations of posterity, and shrunk from the touch of that sacred head,-there sat the sublime old man at his door, feeling with grateful enjoyment the genial sunshine fall
on him. There he sat, erect, serene, calm, and trusting in God the Father of mankind. He had lived even to fulfil that long-deferred task of poetic glory; the vision of Paradise Lost passed before him, and had been sung forth in the most majestic strains that had ever made classical the English tongue. His trust in Providence had been justified; he had served his country, and had yet not missed his immortality. The great and the wise came from every quarter to converse with him; and the wonderful passages through which he and his nation had lived, were food for the musings of the longest day or the most solitary moments.
Many have thought that those melancholy lines in Samson Agonistes, commencing
"O loss of sight! of thee I most complain,"
were his own wretched cogitations. But Milton, unlike Samson, had no weak seductions from the path of his great duty to reproach himself with; and far likelier were it that the whole apostrophe to light, spoken in his own character in the opening of the third book of Paradise Lost, was the more usual expression of his feelings
"Thee I revisit safe,
And feel thy sov'ran, vital lamp; but thou
Such is the view that Richardson has given us of him in his declining days:-"An ancient clergyman of Dorsetshire, Dr. Wright, found John Milton in a small chamber hung with rusty green, sitting in an elbow chair, and dressed neatly in black; pale, but not cadaverous; his hands and fingers gouty, and with chalk stones. He used also to sit in a grey, coarse cloth coat, at the door of his house in Bunhill-fields, in warm sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh air; and so, as well as in his room, received the visits of people of distinguished parts as well as quality.'
There is an episode in the later life of Milton which we are made acquainted with by Thomas Elwood the Quaker, and which has something very pleasing and picturesque about it. It is that of his abode at Chalfont St. Giles, in Buckinghamshire. Elwood, who was the son of a country justice of peace, was one amongst the first converts to Quakerism, and has left us a most curious and amusing autobiography. In this he tells us that, while Milton lived in
Jewin-street, he was introduced to him as a reader, the recompence to Elwood being that of deriving the advantage of a better knowledge of the classics, and of the foreign pronunciation of Latin. A great regard sprung up between Milton and his reader, who was a man not only of great integrity of mind, but of a quaint humour and a poetical taste. On the breaking out of the plague in London, Milton, who was then living in Bunhill-fields, wrote to Elwood, who had found an asylum in the house of an affluent Quaker at Chalfont, to procure him a lodging there. He did so; but before Milton could take possession of his country retreat, Elwood, with numbers of other Quakers, was hurried off to Aylesbury gaol. The persecution of that sect subsiding for awhile, Elwood, on his liberation, paid Milton a visit, and received the MS. of Paradise Lost to take home and read. With this, Elwood had the sense to be greatly delighted, and, in returning it, said, “Thou hast said a great deal upon Paradise Lost: what hast thou to say upon Paradise Found?" Milton was silent a moment, as pondering on what he had heard, and then began to converse on other subjects. When, however, Elwood visited him afterwards in London, Milton showed him the Paradise Regained, saying, "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."
Thus, in this abode at Chalfont, we hear the first mention of Paradise Lost, and to it we owe Paradise Regained. It is supposed that Milton wrote the whole of the latter poem there, and that he must have done, or the greater part of it, from his being able so soon after his return to show it to Elwood.
It says much for the proprietors of the cottage at Chalfont, and for the feeling of the country in general, that this simple dwelling has been sacredly preserved to this time. You see that all the others near it are much more modern. This is of the old framed timber kind, and is known, not only to the whole village, but the whole country round, as Milton's house. Mr. Dunster, in the additions to his edition of Paradise Regained, says that the cottage at Chalfont " is not pleasantly situated; that the adjacent country is extremely pleasant; but the immediate spot is as little picturesque or pleasing as can be well imagined." He might have recollected, that it could signify very little to Milton whether the spot was picturesque or not, if it were quiet, and had a good air; for Milton was, and had been long quite blind. But, in fact, the situation, though not remarkably striking, is by no means unpleasing. It is the first cottage on the right hand as you descend the road from Beaconsfield, to Chalfont St. Giles.
Standing a little above the cottage, the view before you is very interesting. The quiet old agricultural village of Chalfont lies in the valley, amid woody uplands, which are seen all round. cottage stands facing you, with its gable turned to the road, and fronting into its little garden and field. A row of ordinary cottages is built at its back, and face the road below. To the right ascends the grass field mentioned; but this, with extensive old orchards