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regard to his political writing of the republican usurper Oliver at large, even after the pre- Cromwell. Their style is perjudices of party have subsided, plexed, pedantic, poetical, and Milton, I believe, has found unnatural: abounding in enthuno great share of favour, of siastic effusions, which have
, applause, or even of candour, been mistaken for eloquence and from distant generations. His imagination. In the midst of Si quid meremur, in the sense the most solemn rhapsodies, here belonging to the words, which would have shone in a has been too fully ascertained fast-sermon before Cromwell, he by the
mature determination of sometimes indulges a vein of time. Toland, about thirty years jocularity; but his witticisms after the Restoration, thought are as aukward as they are Milton's Prose Works of sufficient unsuitable, and Milton never excellence and importance to be more misunderstands the nature collected and printed in one and bias of his genius, than body. But they were neglected when he affects to be arch either and soon forgotten. Of late in prose or verse. His want of years, some attempts have been deference to superiors teaches made to revive them, with as him to write without good little success.
At present, they manners: and when we consider are almost unknown. "If they his familiar acquaintance with the are ever inspected, it is perhaps elegancies of antiquity, with the occasionally by the commentator orators and historians of Greece on Milton's verse as affording' and Rome, few writers will be materials for comparative criti- found to have made so slender a cism, or from inotives of curiosity sacrifice to the Graces. From only as the productions of the some of these strictures, I must writer of Comus and Paradise except the Tractate on EducaLost, and not so much for any tion, and the Areopagitica, which independent value of their own. are written with a tolerable In point of doctrine, they are degree of facility, simplicity, calculated to annihilate the very purity, and perspicuity; and the foundations of our civil and latter, some tedious historical religious establishment, as it digressions, and
little now subsists: they are subver- sophistry excepted, is the most sive of our legislature, and our close, conclusive comprehensive, species of government. In con- and decisive vindication of the demning tyranny, he strikes at liberty of the press that has yet the bare existence of kings; in appeared, on a subject on which combating superstition, he de- it is difficult to decide, between cries all public religion. These the licentiousness of scepticism discourses hold forth a system of and sedition, and the arbitrary politics, at present as
exertions of authority. In the stitutional, and almost as obso- mean time, Milton's Prose Works, lete, as the nonsense of passive I suspect, were never popular : obedience: and in this view, we he deeply engaged in most of might just as well think of re- the ecclesiastical disputes of his publishing the pernicious theories' times, yet he is seldom quoted of the kingly bigot James, as or mentioned by his contempora
ries, either of the presbyterian and which diffused his reputation or independent persuasion : even all over Europe, is remembered by Richard Baxter, pastor of Kidderminster, a judicious and Doctor Birch observes of this voluminous advocate on the side prophetic hope in the text, that of the presbyterians, who vehe- is the universal admiration with mently censures and opposes “ which his works are read, jusseveral of his coadjutors in the « tifies what he himself cause of church-independency, “his Ode to Rouse." Life, p. he is passed over in profound lxiii. But this hope, as we have silence. For his brethren the seen, our author here restricts to independents he seems to have his political speculations, to his been too learned and unintel- works on civil and religious subligible. In 1652, Sir Robert jects, which are still in expectaFilmer, in a general attack on tion of a reversionary fame, and the recent antimonarchical writ- still await the partial suffrages of ers, bestows but a very short a sana posteritas, and a cordatior and slight refutation on his ælas. The flattering anticipation politics. It appears from the of more propitious times, and Censure of the Rota, a pamphlet more equitable judges, at some published in 1660, said to be remote period, would have been fabricated by Harrington's club, justly applicable to his other that even his brother party- works; for in those, and those writers ridiculed the affectations only, it has been amply and conand absurdities of his style. spicuously verified. It is from [Oldys attributes this pamphlet the ultimi nepotes that justice has to Harrington, in his Catalogue been done to the genuine claims of the pamphlets in the Harleian of his poetical character. Nor Library.] Lord Monboddo is does any thing, indeed, more the only modern critic of note, strongly mark the improved criwho ranks Milton as a prose- 'tical discernment of the present writer with Hooker, Sprat, and age, than that it has atoned for Clarendon.
the contemptible taste, the blindI have hitherto been speaking ness and the neglect, of the last, of Milton's Prose Works in Eng- in recovering and exalting the lish. I cannot allow, that his poetry of Milton to its due deLatin performances in prose are gree of cultivation and esteem: formed on any one chaste Roman and we may safely prognosticate, model. They consist of a mo- that the posterities are yet undern factitious mode of Latinity, born, which will bear testimony a compound of phraseology to the beauties of his calmer gleaned from a general imitation imagery, and the magnificence of various styles, commodious of his more sublime descriptions, enough for the author's purpose. to the dignity of his sentiments, His Defensio pro populo Angli- and the vigour of his language. cano against Salmasius, so libe- Undoubtedly the Paradise Lost rally rewarded by the presby- had always its readers, and perterian administration, the best haps more numerous and devoted apology that ever was offered admirers even at the infancy of for bringing kings to the block, its publication, than our biogra
phers have commonly supposed. “ in his opinion, too detestable Yet, in its silent progression, even “ to be read on the wall of a after it had been recommended “ building dedicated to devoby the popular papers of Addi- “ tion." Yet when more enlarged son, and had acquired the dis- principles had taken place, and tinction of an English classic, his bust was erected where once many years elapsed before any his name had been deemed symptoms appeared, that it had profanation, Doctor George, Proinfluenced the national taste, or vost of King's College, Camthat it had wrought a change in bridge, who was solicited for an our versification, and our modes epitaph on the occasion, forbearof poetical thinking. The re- ing to draw his topics of reconmark might be still farther ex- ciliation from a better source, tended, and more forcibly di- thought it expedient to apologize rected and brought home, to the for the reception of the monapieces which compose the pre- ment of Milton the republican sent volume.
into that venerable repository of Among other proofs of our kings and prelates, in the followreverence for Milton, we have ing hexameters; which recal our seen a monument given to his attention to the text, and on acmemory in Westminster Abbey. count of their spirited simplicity, But this splendid memorial did and nervous elegance, deserve to not appear, till we had over- be brought forward, and to be looked the author of Reformation more universally circulated. in England, and the Defensio : in other words, till our rising re
Augusti regum cineres, sanctæque
favillæ gard for Milton the poet had
Heroum, vosque 0, venerandi notaught us to forget Milton the
minis, umbræ ! politician. Not long before, Parcite, quod vestris, infensum regiabout the year 1710, when At
bus olim, terbury's inscription for the mo
Sedibus infertur nomen; liceatque
supremis nument of John Philips, in which Funeribus finire odia, et mors obruat he was said to bé soli Miltono se
iras. cundus, was shewn to Doctor Nunc sub fæderibus coeant felicibus, Sprat then Dean of Westminster, he refused it admittance into the
Libertas, et jus sacri inviolabile sce
ptri. church; the name of Milton as
Rege sub Augusto fas sit laudare Doctor Johnson observes, who Catonem. first relates this anecdote," being
P. R. stands for Paradise Regained, S. A. Samson Agonistes, P. Poems, and S. Sonnets.
The numerals i. ii. &c. denote the books, poems, or sonnets; the figures 1, 2, &c.
Besprent, P. xvi. 542.
65. xvi. 55.
Dappled, P. xiii. 44.
Captív'd, S. A. 33, 694.
Favonius, S. xx. 6.
Lars, P. iii. 191.
Leas, P. xvi. 965.
Lemures, P. iii. 191.
Magnetic, P. R. ii. 168.
Massy proof, P. xiv. 158.
Medicínal, S. A. 627.
Meed, P. xvii. 14, 84.
Melesigenes, P. R. iv. 259.
Mincing, P. xvi. 964.
Mummers, S. A. 1325.
Myrrhine, P. R. iv. 119.