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Time from his features long had wore away The rust of earth and Passion's gloomy frown, He would not stoop to grasp a falling crown, Nor bend the sceptre of the world to sway. Free from the vain desires that earth inthral, Free from vain terrors that mankind appal, Untouch'd by pain and unassail'd by fear To Truth alone he turn'd his mental ear, Alone to Nature tun'd and her sweet simple call.
These illustrations, with the observations connected with them have proceeded to a length so far beyond that which I expected; that I shall omit several passages; I had marked in other poets; and shall only further offer the following instances in prose.
“ 'Truth is compared in scriptures to a streaming fountain; if her waters flow not in perpetual progression, they sicken into a muddy pool of conformity and tradition.
« Truth came once into our world with her divine master, and was a perfect shape, most glorious to look on: but when he ascended, and his disciples after him were laid asleep, then strait arose a wicked race of deceivers, who, as that story goes of the Egyptian Typhon, with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, immitating the careful search that Isis made for the mangled body of Osiris, went up and down gathering up limb by limb, still as they could find them. Wehave not yet found them all lords and commons, nor ever shall do, till her master's second coming; he shall bring together every joint and members and shall mould them into an immortal feature of loveliness and perfection. Suffer not these licensing prohibitions to stand at every place of opportunity, forbidding and disturbing them that continue seeking, that continue to do our obsequies to the torn body of our martyred saint. We boast our light; but if we look not wisely on the sun itself it smites us into darkness. Who can discern those planets
that are oft comeust, and those stars of brightest magnitude, that rise and set with the sun, until the opposite motion of their orbs, bring them to such a place in the firmament, where they may be seen evening or morning?
“ Methinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation, rousing herself like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks: methinks I see her as an eagle muing her mighty young, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the full inid-day beam ; purging and unscaling her long abused sight at the fountain itself of heavenly radiance ; while the whole noise of timorous and flocking birds, with those also that love the twilight, flutter about amaz'd at what she means, and in their envious gabble, would prognosticate a year of sects and schisms.”
Milton's Speech for the Liberty of
“ Wisdom hath always a good conscience attending it, that purest delight and richest cordial of the soul; that brazen wall and impregnable for
• tress against both external assaults, and internal commotions.
“ If a fool prosper, the honour is attributed to propitious chance; if he miscarry to his own ill management: but the entire glory of happy undertakings, crowns the head of wisdom ; while the disgrace of unlucky events falls otherwhere. His light like that of the sun, cannot totally be eclipsed; it may be dimmed but never extinguished, and always maintains a day though oderclouded with misfortune. Who less esteems the famous African captain for being overthrown in that last famous battle, wherein he is said to have shewn the best skill, and yet endured the worst success? Who contemns Cato, and other the grave citizens of Rome, for embracing the just, but unprosperous cause of the commonwealth ? A wise man's circumstances may vary and Auctuate, like floods about a rock ; but he persists unmoveably the same, and his reputation unshaken: for he can always render a good account of his actions, and by reasonable apology, elude the assaults of reproach."
These passages which I have quoted, are selected from numbers in the same authors equally solid and lustrous. The expressions which appeared to me most striking, are designated by italics. The political and miscellaneous productions of the writer of Paradise Lost, are mines of intellectual gold; they contain perhaps as many burning thoughts of Genius as his poems. Barrow, the predecessor of the great Newton, in the mathematic chair of Cambridge, is justly entitled to a rank among the most copious and energetic divines of the Christian church. There is a remnant of antiquity in the stile and manner of both these original authors, which may displease the ear, attuned to the lulling harmony of the periods of the present day: but the strength and spirit of their figures, their boldness and elevation of thought, no one can mistake.
Let the reader of discernment and feeling examine particularly the prosaic works of Milton ....let him become familiarised with his manner.... let him learn to follow his vigorous and ascending wings....and he will probably say that he is not only the first poet, but one of the most eloquent