Imatges de pàgina
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of the Vatican. Having employed his curiosity about two years in France and Italy *, on the news of a Civil war breaking out in England, he returned without taking a survey of Greece and Sicily, as, at his setting out, the scheme was projected. At Paris the "' to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as diurnal “ as a Gravesend barge.' I halten, as you do, to Florence or Sienna, the rather to tell you a hort story, from the “ interest you have given me in your safety..

“ At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one Alberto “ Scipione, an old Roman courtier in dangerous times, " having been steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with “ all his family were strangled, save this only man, that “ escaped by foresight of the tempest. With him I had “ often much chat of those affairs; into which he took “ pleasure to look back from his native harbour; and at

my departure toward Rome, which had been the center " of his experience, I had won confidence enough to beg his advice how I might carry myself securely there, with “ out offence of others, or of my own conscience. Signer Arrigo meo, says he, i pensieri Aretti, et il viso sciolto,

** Your thoughts close, and your countenance “ loose, will go safely over the whole world.” Of which " Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) your judgment " doth need no commentary; and therefore, Sir, I will " commit you with it to the belt of all securities, God's “ dear love, remaining your friend, as much at command “ as any of longer date,

" H. WOTTON. P.S. “ Sir, I have expressly sent this by my foo:-boy, "' to prevent your departure without some acknowledge, " ment from me of the receipt of your obliging letter, ha. “ ving myself, through some business, I know not how; « neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where “ I shall understand you fixed, I fhall be glad and diligent “ to entertain you with home novelties, even for fome “ fomentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted in the "cradle."

* Et jam bis viridi furgebat culmus arista,
Et tocidem flavas numerabant liorrea messes,
Nec dum aderat Thyrsis: paftorem fcilicet illum
Dulcis amor Murae Thufca retinebat in urbe.

Epitaph. Dan.

" that is

Lord Viscount Scudamore, ambassador from King Charles I. at the court of France, introduced him to the acquaintance of Grotius *, who, at that time, was honoured with the same character there by Christina Queen of Sweden. In Rome, Genoa, Florence, and other cities of Italy, he contracted a familiarity with those who were of highest reputation for wit and learning; several of whom gave him very obliging testimonies of their friendship and esteem, which are printed before his Latin poems. The first of them was written by Manso Marquis of Villa, a great patron of Tasso, by whom he is celebrated in his poem on the conquest of Jerusalem t. It is highly probable that to his conversation with this noble. Neapolitan we owe the first design which Milton conceived of writing an epic poem : and it appears, by fome Latin verses addressed to the Marquis with the title of Mansus, that he intended to fix on King Arthur for his hero: but Arthur was reserved to another destiny !

Returning from his travels, he found England on the point of being involved in blood and An. Ætat. 32. confusion. It seems wonderful that one of so warm and daring a spirit as his certainly was, should be restrained from the camp in those unnatural commotions. I suppose we may impute it wholly to the great deference he paid to paternal authority, that he re

* Defenlio Secunda, p. 96. Fol.
t“ Fra Cavalier' magnanimi, e cortesi
" Refplende il Manfö.'

Lib. 20.

tired to lodgings provided for him in the City; which being commodious for the reception of his Gister's sons, and some other young gentlemen, he undertook their education; and is faid to have formed them on the fame plan which he afterwards published in a short tractate inscribed to his friend Mr. Hartlib.

In this philosophical course he continued without a An. Etat. 35. wife to the year 1643 ; when he married Mary the daughter of Richard Powell of Forest-hill in Oxford hire; a gentleman of estate and reputation in that county, and of principles fo very oppolite to his son-in-law, that the marriage is more to be won. dered at than the separation which ensued in little more than a month after she had cohabited with him in London. Her defertion provoked him both to write several treatises concerning the doctrine and discipline of divorce, and also to make his addresses to a young lady of great wit and beauty; but before he had engaged her affections to conclude the marriage-treaty. in a visit at one of his relations he found his wife prostrate before him, imploring forgiveness and reconciliation. It is not to be doubted but an interview of this nature, fo little expected, must wonderfully affe&t him; and perhaps the impressions it made on his imaginations contributed much to the painting of that pathetic scene in Paradise Loft *, in which Eve addresleth herself to Adam for pardon and peace. At

* Book X. yer. 909.

the intercefsion of his friends who were present, after

a short reluctance, he generously facrificed all his reEr fentment to her tears.

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And after this re-union, fo far was he from retaining an unkind memory of the provocations which he had received from her ill conduct, that when the King's caufe was entirely oppressed, and her father, who had

been active in his loyalty, was exposed to fequestraetion, Milton received both him and his family to pro

tection and free entertainment in his own house, 'till their affairs were accommodated by his interest in the victorious faction.

For he was now grown famous by his Polemical writings of various kinds, and held in An. Ætats 41.

great favour and esteem by those who had power to i dispose of all preferments in the state. 'Tis in vain

to diffemble, and far be it from me to defend, his engaging with a party combined in the destructioni

of our Church and Monarchy. Yet, leaving the jufotification of a misguided sincerity to be debated in

the schools, may I presume to observe in his favour that his zeal, distempered and furious as it was, does not appear to have been inspirited by felf-interested views ; for it is affirmed, that though he lived always in a frugal retirement, and before his death had dif

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An. Ætat. 42.

posed of his ļibrary, (which we may suppose to have been a valuable collection) he left no more than fifteen hundred pounds behind him for the support of his family: and whoever considers the posts to which he was advanced, and the times in which he enjoyed them, will, I believe, confess he might have accumulated a much more plentiful fortune. In a dispassionate mind it will not require any extraordinary measure of candour to conclude, that though he abode in the heritage of oppressors, and the spoils of his country lay at his feet, neither his conscience nor his honour could stoop to gather them. A commission to constitute him Adjutant-general

to Sir William Waller was promised, but foon superseded by Waller's being laid aside, when his masters thought it proper to new-model their army. However, the keenness of his pen had fo cffectually recommended him to Cromwell's esteem, that when he took the reins of government into his own hand, he advanced him to be Latin secretary both to himself and the Parliament: the former of these preferments he enjoyed both under the Usurper and his son; the other'till King Charles II. was restored. For some time he had an apartment for his family in Whitehall; but his health requiring a freer acceflion of air, he was obliged to remove from thence to lodgings which opened into St. James's Park. Not long after his settlement there his wife died in child

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