Imagens das páginas

Another sort there be, who when they hear, that all things shall be order'd, all things regulated and settl'd; nothing writt'n but what passes through the custom-house of certain Publicans that have the tunaging and the poundaging of all free spok'n Truth'; will strait give themselvs up into your hands, mak'em and cut'em out what Religion ye please: there be delights, there be recreations and jolly pastimes, that will fetch the day about from sun to sun, and rock the tedious year as in a delightfull dream? What need they torture their heads with

· Through the custom house of certain Publicans that have the tunaging and the poundaging of all free spok’n Truth.] Johnson explains a Publican to be a toll-gatherer. If he had said a collector of Taxes, he would have been more correct: “ Iu all “places Men that are grieved with payments to the Public, “ discharge their anger opon the Publicans ; that is to say, Far

mers, Collectors, and other Officers of the Public Revenue.. Hobbes; Works ; p. 140. fol. 1651.

The levying of Tunnage and Poundage on merchandize by royal authority alone was a Grievance which had been condemned at the moment of their Dissolution by a tumultuary Vote of the House of Commons who sate for a short time in 1629.

* There be delights, there be recreations and jolly pustimes, that will fetch the day about from sun to sun, and rock the tedious year as in a delightfull dream.] After the industry with which political enmity has widely propagated that Milton felt no sympathy in the affections of social life, it behoves his admirers to remove this aspersion on his memory. The more so, since Johnson has given currency to the persuasion that he was of vnamiable manners and a recluse; "an acrimonious and surly Republican," who was destitute of, the milder virtues. San.

that which others have tak’n so strictly, and so unalterably into their own pourveying? These are

guine, not to say enthusiastic, in his complexional temperament, it is not reasonable to believe that MILTON was of as austere or repulsive demeanour; and he possessed by far too much native dignity, to be Pharisaical. With all his eager appetite for Knowlege, and habitudes of severe Study, he did not keep entirely aloof from the festal board. This was no part of his doctrine; neither was it his practice to sequester himself altogether from the world. Far otherwise :

He taught,

“For other things mild Heav'n a time ordains,
And disapproves that Care, tho' wise in show,
“That with superfluous burden loads the day,
“ And when GOD sends a chearful hour refrains.”

So he says in the Sonnet on his own loss of sight; and this is not the tone of a man who regarded the intercourses of society with sourness or disdain ; nor the language of one who held back from it as incompatible with the close application of a devoted Scholar.

None of bis Vindicators have dwelt on this traite of character, which Edward Philipps attests very quaintly: "Once in three “ weeks or a month, he would drop into the society of some "young Sparks of his acquaintance, the chief whereof were “Mr. Alphry, and Mr. Miller, two Gentlemen of Grays Inn, “ the Beau's of those times, but nothing near so bad as those

now-a-days; with these Gentlemen he would so far make bold " with his Body, as now and then to keep a Gaudy-day." Life prefixed to the Transl. of Letters of State; p. 20, 1694.

By this transient glimpse which his Nephew and Pupil, his only Biographer who had a personal knowlege of him, affords us of the immortal Bard in his hours of convivial indulgence, we view him in a new and pleasing light; while it makes clear, that the forcible and eloquent language in the text was a spontaneous and unexaggerated sally, not a feigned effusion to suit the

the fruits which a dull ease and cessation of our knowledge will bring forth among the People. How goodly, and how to be wisht were such an obedient unanimity as this? what a fine conformity would it starch us all into ? doubtles a stanch and

occasion of the argument.-Who among the Lyric Poets has given a warmer colouring to festive delights ?

At the same time, this passage helps to show that the late T. Warton imputed“ a natural severity of mind” to Milton unjustly, if he made use of this phrase in a sense distinct from that of the elder Richardson, who had before observed that the Poet“ had a gravity in his temper, not melancholy, or not till “ the latter part of his Life, not sour, morose, or ill-natur’d; “ but a certain severity of Mind, a Mind not condescending to “ little things.” Life prefix'd to Notes and Remarks on Par. Lost. p. 15. 800. 1734.–Still I should have preferred in both these instances, because it would have been unequivocal, to have characterized the Authour of Paradise Lost as endowed with an elevation of Thought which could but ill stoop to levities. Milton's self-control and temperate habits enhance his merit in a high degree; as they were the result of a resolution, formed soon after he arrived at manhood, to “ spend “his years in the search of civil and religious knowlege."--Pr. W. I. 135. ed. 1738.

-“ all his study bent
“ To worship God aright, and know his works
« Not bid, nor those things last, which might preserve
« Freedom and Peace to Men."

P. L. XI. 577. Let me add, that he probably shadowed his own regulated forbearance in the closing couplet of another poetical address. He is inviting a Friend to appoint a place where they might sometimes meet and pass a winter's day together in colloquial enjoyment, and elegant festivity, when he concludes,

“ He, who of those delights can judge, and spare
" To interpose them oft, is not unwise."

solid peece of frame-work, as any January could freeze together.

Nor much better will be the consequence ev'n

3 How goodly, and how to be wish't were such an obedient una. nimity us this, what a fine conformity would it starch us all into ! doubtless a stanch und solid peece of frame-work, as any January could freeze together. ] I wish we could read frost work. It is not easy 10 explicate a satisfactory meaning out of “ frame work," as it stands here.

There is in his Tract against “ Prelaty," a splendid amplification of this reasoning from the dead repose of a forced Conformity. For nervous imagery and the masculine elegance of its style, it has not often been surpassed. “Do they [the Pre“ lates) kerp away Schism ? if to bring a numb and chill stupidity “ of Soul, an unactive blindness of Mind upon the People by “ their leaden Doctrine, or no Doctrine at all; if to persecute “all knowing and zealous Christians by the violence of their “ Courts, be to keep away Schism, they keep away

Scbism “ indeed : and by this kind of Discipline all Italy and Spain is “as purely and politically kept from Sehism as England hath “ been by them. With as good a plea might the dead palsy “ boast 10 a man, 'tis I that free you from stitches and pains, “ and the troublesome feeling of cold and heat, of wounds and strokes; if I were gone, all these would molest you. The “ winter might as well vaunt itself against the Spring, I destroy “ ali noisome and rank weeds, I keep down all pestilent va

pours ; yes, and all wholesome herbs, and all fresh dews, by

your violent and hide-bound frost: but when the gentle west “ winds shall open the fruitful bosom of the Earth, thus over“ girded by your imprisonment, then the flowers put forth and spring, and then the Sun shall scatter the mists, and the “ manuring hand of the tiller shall root up all that burdens the “ suil without thank to your bondage. But far worse than any “frozen captivity is the bondage of Prelates ; for that other, if “it kept down any thing which is good within the Earth, so doth “it likewise that which is ill; but these let out freely the ill, “and keep down the good, or else keep down the lesser ill, and " let out the greatest.

B. 1. ch. 6.

among the Clergy themselvs: it is no new thing never heard of before, for a parochiall Minister, who has his reward, and is at his Hercules pillars in a warm benefice, to be easily inclinable, if he have nothing else that may rouse up his studies, to finish his circuit in an English Concordance and a topic folio, the gatherings and savings of a sober graduatship', a Harmony and a Catena, treading the constant round of certain common doctrinall heads, attended with their uses, motives, marks and means; out of which, as out of an alphabet or sol fa’, by forming and transforming, joyning and

* To finish his circuit in an English Concordance and a topic folio, the gatherings and savings of a sober graduatship, &c.] A topic folio comprehended more than we now express by a folio Common-place. In his Artis Logicæ plenior institutio, &c. our Authour explains the phrase : “ Argumentorum itaque inventio

Topica Græcè nominatur; quia Toties continet, i. e. locos unde

argumenta sumuntur, viámque docet et rationem argumenta “ bene inveniendi, suo nimirum ordine collocata ; unde vel ad “genesin expromantur, vel in analysi explorentur, invento“rumque simul vim atque usum exponit.”- Cap. 2.

While resident at the University, when only not a boy, he vented a complaint similar to that he is stating above: “Sane

apud nos, quod sciam, vix unus atque alter est, qui non Phi“ lologiæ, pariter & Philosopbiæ, prope rudis et profanus, ad “ Theologiam devolet implumis; eam quoque leviter admodum “ attingere contentus, quantum forte sufficiat conciupculæ quo. " quo modo conglutinandæ, & tanquam tritis aliunde pannis “ consuendæ : adeo ut verendum sit ne sensim ingruat in Clerum “ nostrum sacerdotalis illa superioris sæculi Ignorantia."- Epist. Fam. III.

* Sol fa-] The name of two Notes in the Gammut, which was given them by Guido Aretino, the inventor of this musical notation; from the initial Syllables of two verses in a Latin Hymn.


« AnteriorContinuar »