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generals, who "behaved like bashaws." Such : of "Thorough as Strafford had scarcely drea e was now in active operation, and the people of England, in the midst of dazzling triumphs abroad, were being held down as sternly as those of Scotland. The iron had entered into their souls, and engendered a terror of military rule, which hampered our forces for over a century. Taxation was crushing, and our trade, so prosperous under Charles I, was badly hit by the Spanish War. Only such a man as Oliver Cromwell could have maintained the Protectorate at all, and under "Tumbledown Dick" everything fell to pieces like a card house. The last state of the realm seemed worse than the first; the supreme effort had been made, and had failed.
So at least might the situation have appeared to one who, like Milton, had his dearest hopes dashed successively to pieces-and saw the thing that he greatly feared come upon England. But even he could not see to the close. The experiment of a Commonwealth had been tried and failed, but the Puritan ideal had done its work. The nation had passed through the ordeal by fire, the inner and spiritual discipline, which was lacking to the Tudor system. The direct and garnered fruits of Puritanism were valuable enough. For the first time since the Hundred Years' War, England had produced an army equal, if not superior, to any Continental force. She had shown her capacity for carrying on a naval war on the grand scale, not by privately subscribed and more or less haphazard adventures, but with unwavering purpose and determination to win. We had gained Jamaica, and it was the Puritan emigrants who supplied the backbone to what might have been our American Empire. We had dealt a blow at our principal trade rival, which had gone far to start her upon her decline. We had risen from insignificance and isolation to the first rank of European powers. In the sphere of literature it is enough to mention
the name of Milton. Perhaps "Paradise Lost worth a revolution.
But the work of Puritanism did not end with its direct effects. Much of the bloom and graciousness of Tudor England had been lost, but that plant was already sick to death. In some respects the Cavalier reaction was more apparent than real. For all the talk of licentiousness, even such a simple step as to restore the old Sunday was not taken, and the Sabbatarian heresy was received into the bosom of the Church. The Cavalier Parliament built upon Roundhead foundations, and the work accomplished by the Long Parliament, during its first few stormy months, was never undone. In literature, too, the work accomplished was permanent. The new interest in biography, in the soul, was destined to develop finally, through Defoe and Richardson, into the art of fiction. To Puritan antecedents, though not to Milton, is to be traced the reform in prose, by which it becomes an instrument not for expressing gorgeous conceits, but capable of adjusting itself with subtle ease to the conveyance of any idea. In verse Milton, with a mighty hand, had arrested the decay of metre, which had been going on during the first half of the century. The new tyranny of the rhymed couplet, of which Waller and afterwards Dryden were the originators, did indeed produce results worse than the old license, but this was rather because the sources of inspiration were running dry, than because a movement was made in the direction of simplicity and sincerity.
But the most important change of all had been accomplished in the character of the nation. The Restoration license was only froth upon the surface; the old buoyant indiscipline was a thing of the past. The English temperament had taken on a gravity, an aptness for command and patience of subordination, which were necessary for the power which was to break Louis XIV
and Napoleon, and to govern a quarter of the human race. The spirit which sent the pikemen over the trenches at the Dunes, and created a Mr. Greatheart and a Mr. Valiant-for-Truth, has often burnt dim, but will never, we trust, be quite extinguished.