Imatges de pàgina

personal prejudice affect the most excellent performances!

About two years after, together with Samson Agom An. Æt. 63. nistes, (a tragedy not unworthy the Grecian stage when Athens was in her glory) he publishcd Paradise Regain's *. But, Oh! what a falling off was there! Of which I shall say no more, than that there is scarcely a more remarkable instance of the frailty of human reason than our Author



pre, ferring this Poem to Paradise Loft; nor a more ins structive caution to the best writers, to be very diffident in deciding the merit of their own productions.

And thus, having attended him to the sixty-sixth year of his age, as closely as such imperfect lights as men of letters and retirement usually leave to guide our inquiry would allow, it now only remains to be An. Ætat. 66-67. recorded, that, in the year 1674, the gout put a period to his life at Bunhill near London; fron: whence his body was conveyed to St. Giles's church by Cripplegate, where it lies interred in the chancel; but neither has nor wants a monument to perpetuate his memory.

In his youth he is said to have been extremely handsome: the colour of his hair was a light-brown; the fymmetry of his features exact, enlivened with an agreeable air, and a beautiful mixture of fair and

* They were licensed July 2, 1670, but nos printed here the year enfuins.

ruddy; which occasioned the Marquis of Villa to give his Epigram the fame turn of thought which Gregory, Arch-deacon of Rome, had employed above a thousand years before, in prailing the amiable com, plexions of some English youths before their converfion to Christianity *. His stature (as we find it meafurod by himself+) did not exceed the middle fize; neither too lean, nor corpulent; his limbs well proportioned, nervous, and active; serviceable in all respects to his exercising the sword, in which he much delighted, and wanted neither kill nor courage to refent an affront from men of the most athletic constitutions. In his diet he was abftemious; not delicate in the choice of his dishes; and strong liquors of all kinds were his arerfion. Being too fadly convinced how much his health had fuffered by night-studies in his younger years, he used to go early (feldom later than nine) to rest, and rose commonly before five in the morning. It is reported, (and there is a passage in one of his Latin Elegies to countenance the tradizion) that his fancy made the happiest fights in the Spring: but one of his nephews used to deliver it as Milton's own observation, that his invention was in its higheft perfection from September to the Vernal Aquinox: however it was, the great inequalities to be found in his composares are incontestible proofs that,

* Ut mens, forma, decor, facies, mos, fi pietas fic Non Anglus, verum herche Angelus ipfe cprcs.

t Defensio Secunda, p. 87. Fol.

in some seafons, he was but one of the people. When blindness restrained him from other exercises, he had a machine to swing in for the preservation of his health; and diverted himself in his chamber with playing on an organ. His deportment was erect, open, affable; his conversation easy, cheerful, instructive; his wit on all occasions at command, facetious, grave, or satirical, as the subject required. His judgment, when disengaged from religious and political speculations, was just and penetrating; his apprehension quick; his memory tenacious of what he read; his reading only not so extensive as his genius, for that was universal. And having treasured up such immense stores of science, perhaps the faculties of his soul

grew more vigorous after he was deprived of his fight; and his imagina 1 tion (naturally sublime, and enlarged by reading romances *, of which he was much inamoured in his youth) when it was wholly abstracted from material objects, was more at liberty to make such amazing excursions into the ideal world, when, in composing his Divine Work, he was tempted to range

Beyond the visible diurnal sphere. With so many accomplishments, not to have had fome faults and misfortunes, to be laid in the balance with the fame and felicity of writing Paradise Lost, would have been too great a portion for humanity.

ELIJAU FENTON. * flis Apology for Smectym nuus, p. 177. Fol.

To this account of Milton it may be proper to add Something concerning his family. We faid before, that he bad a younger brother and a lifter. His brother, Christopher Milton, was a man of totally oppolite principles; was a strong Royalist, and after the Civil war made his composition through his brother's intereft; had been entered young a student in the InDer Temple, of which house be lived to be an ancient bencher; and being a professed Papist, was, in the reign of James ll. made a judge and knighted; but foon obtained his quietus by reason of his age and infirmities, and retired to Ipswich, where he lived all the latter part of his life. His sister, Anne Milton, had a considerable fortune given her by her father in marriage with Mr. Edward Philips, (son of Mr. Edward Philips of Shrewsbury) who coming young to London, was bred up in the Crown-office in Chancery, and at length became fecondary of the office under Mr. Bembo. By him lhe had, besides other children who died infants, two sons, Edward and John. Among our Author's juvenile poems there is a copy of verses on the Death of a fair Infant dying of a coagh; and this being written in his 17th year, as it is said in the title, it may be naturally inferred that Mrs. Philips was elder than either of her brothers. She had likewise two daughters, Mary, who died very young, and Anne, who was living in 1694, by a second

husband, Mr. Thomas Agar, who succeeded his intimate friend Mr. Philips in his place in the Crownoffice, which he enjoyed many years, and left to Mr. Thomas Milton, son of Sir Christopher before mentioned.

Our Author, by his first wife, had four children; a fon, who died an infant, and three daughters, who survived him. By his second wife he had only one daughter, who died soon after her mother, who died in childbed; and by his last wife he had no children at all. His daughters were not sent to school, but were instructed by a mistress kept at home for that purpose; and he himself, excusing the eldest on account of an impediment in her fpeech, taught the two others to read and pronounce Greek and Latin, and several other languages, without understanding any but Eng. lish, for he used to say that one tongue was enough for a woman; but this employment was very irksome to them, and this, together with the sharpness and severity of their mother-in-law, made them very uneasy at home; and therefore they were all sent abroad to learn things more proper for them, and particularly embroidery in gold and silver. As Milton, at his death, left his affairs very much in the power of his widow, tho' Mhe acknowledged that he died worth one thousand five hundred pounds, yet the allowed but one hundred pounds to each of his three daughters. Anne, the eldest, was decrepit and deformed, but had a ve

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