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258—262. In the conclusion of his Reply to an answer against the doctrine and discipline of Divorce, p. 339, 340, he accounts in some measure for his se'verity against a mean adversary, and declares his willingness to listen to any candid and serious objector. In the Defensio Secunda, vol. ii. p. 365—368, he gives reasons for his not having taken up arms with the republican party against the King, and glories in his writings in the cause of liberty; p. 373—377, (Veniamus nunc ad mea crimina-condonare) he describes his personal appearance, and states his reflections upon his blindness. From p. 383, to p. 386, (Nunc quoniam iste—ultrò nominarent,) we have a concise history of his life and works to the period of his reply to Salmasius; and p. 393, 394, (me interim-fecerit) an account of the reception which his Defensio pro Populo Anglicano met with abroad and at home. These passages, together with his Letters to his friends, particularly those to C. Deodati, H. Oldenburgh, P. Heimbach, and L. Philaras, exhibit almost all the materials for his personal history which his Prose Works contain.

And of these passages, as well as of a few hints of the same kind to be found in his poems, his biographers have made ample use ; but not always, it may

be observed, with sufficient discrimination. Where facts are concerned, Milton's reports of them may no doubt be safely followed, for he did not want enemies enough to detect a misstatement. But his biographers not unfrequently forget that the language of a poet, especially of a youthful poet, is not a very safe criterion of the sentiments of the man ; and forget, what is still more important, that the character and sentiments of a man who thinks for himself, as Milton assuredly did, by no means remain the same for sixty years, and must not be determined in a general way from the language even of his prose writings at some particular period. The interest, for example, of his System of Divinity, which Mr. Sumner is about to present to the world, will greatly depend upon the period of Milton's life to which it is to be assigned. (See note a, p. Ixxxii.)

Of the relative value and authority of the various Lives of Milton some idea may be formed from the following account; and it is given in a chronological order down to the period when any accession of original information concerning him ceased to be probable.

A. Wood, in 1691, laid the foundation of all the Lives of Milton in his Fasti Oxonienses for the year 1635; (fol. 880. ed. 1691. or part i. fol. 480. ed. Bliss, 1815.) Wood was evidently strongly prejudiced against Milton, but he gives a pretty accurate outline of his history, partly drawn, as it should seem, from the Defensio Secunda, partly from some sources of which I am not aware, and in part from the notes of his friend Aubrey, who derived his account from Milton's brother and nephew, and from his own personal acquaintance with the Poet. Aubrey's notes have lately been printed, from the original preserved in the Ashmolean collection, in the second volume of the Letters from the Bodleian, and in the Appendix to Godwin's Lives of E. and J. Philips. They will still be read as a literary curiosity; and they even supplied me with one or two additional particulars for this edition, but nearly every thing deserving of notice had been extracted from them before. I call Wood's the earliest Life of Milton; for E.

Philips's notice of Milton in his Theatrum Poetarum, 1675, is extremely slight and superficial, and Langbaine's account, written in 1691, is unworthy of notice. There is said to be a copy of Langbaine with MS. notes by Oldys preserved in the British Museum, to which reference is sometimes made; these notes I have not seen, but I made some slight use of some notes by Oldys in Malone's copy of Langbaine, which is now in the Bodleian Library. But in 1694, E. Philips, the eldest of Milton's nephews, prefixed an interesting account of his uncle's life to an English translation of Milton's State Letters. It was published indeed without the name of the author, but it appeared to be written by Philips according to a note in the copy which Dr. Birch made use of, and which Philips himself had given to a friend of his, and Mr. Godwin remarks that Toland ascribed it to the elder Philips whilst his brother was still living. This account of Milton's life, however, is often inaccurate, apparently from the carelessness of the writer, who was an author by profession ; and it does not afford so many particulars of Milton's private life as might have been expected from one who knew him so intimately. Bishop Newton has incorpo rated in his Life of Milton almost every thing that is most valuable in Philips, and usually in the very words of the author. Toland, in 1698, published Milton's Prose Works with a Life of the author, in which he attempted to do more ample justice to his subject than it had hitherto received. He professed to derive his information from Milton's own writings, from a person who had been his amanuensis, from his daughter, and a letter written by his widow, from the papers of one of his nephews, and conversation with the other, and with such of Milton's acquaintance as could then be discovered. Toland was the first who endeavoured to illustrate Milton's character and sentiments by extracts from his Prose Works. His own dislike of the Church and the Clergy, indeed, led him to select some passages against them and against the Liturgy, full of sophistry, coarseness, and spleen; but upon the whole Toland's Life was calculated to give a more just idea of Milton than had hitherto been published. And both this publication and that of Philips were rendered more valuable in the first instance by the insertion of some of Milton's Sonnets not before published. Toland's Life was reprinted separately in 1699; and again, by the care of Mr. T. Hollis, in 1761. Bayle in the first edition of his Historical and Critical Dictionary published a short, and caustic, but very inaccurate account of Milton's life; but this was enlarged in the second edition with a supplement and various notes taken professedly from Toland's Life of Milton, though there are a few satirical touches from the pen of Bayle, himself. There was also an abstract of Milton's life in the journal of M. de Beauval for Feb. 1699, but this I have not seen. Elijah Fenton, in 1725, published his well-known and elegant sketch of Milton's Life; it is clear, sensible, and candid, but is chiefly founded upon Toland, and adds little or nothing to the stock of information concerning Milton. In 1734, the elder Richardson published some interesting Remarks on the Life of Milton, passing rapidly over the facts, but dwelling minutely upon his character and manners, which he illustrated by all the anecdotes he could collect, and by numerous

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quotations from Milton's Prose Works. Toland for the most part selects passages to exhibit Milton's religious and political sentiments, Richardson to delineate his personal history and feelings, his private rather than his public character ; and together they exhibit almost all the passages of either description which appear in the later biographers. Rolli, in the following year, prefixed to his translation of the Paradise Lost into Italian verse a respectable account of Milton's Life. He drew upon no new resources indeed, and gave no new information, but his observations are his own, and some of them ingenious. And this Life as well as Bayle's derives an interest from the circumstance that the writer was a foreigner. Dr. Birch, however, who gave an account of Milton in the General Dictionary, and again with his edition of the Prose Works in 1738, added a little to the information already extant, from his own acquaintance with Milton's widow, and from Professor Ward's conversations with Milton's daughter, Mrs. Clarke. These Lives indeed I have not examined, because Dr. Birch afterwards published another with his second edition of the Prose Works in 1753, and this is one of the most complete and accurate accounts at present extant; it may not be written in a very engaging style perhaps, but it is sensible and impartial, and has the merit of specifying minutely his authority for every circumstance. Peck's New Life of Milton, in 1740, contains very little, if any, original information concerning Milton's life, being chiefly occupied with critiques upon his poems. It gives indeed some curious particulars about books, editions, pictures, &c. but Warton's notes contain every thing that

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