Sayfadaki görseller

“How much unlike that Hector, who return'd

« O how transform’d! “ Clad in Achilles' spoils !



And again :


• From thence a thousand lefser poets sprung “ Like pretty princes from the fall of Rome."

Sometimes the weight of rhyme is laid upon a word too feeble to sustain it:

Troy confounded falls From all her glories: if it might have stood “ By any power, by this right hand it floud. - And though my outward state misfortune

66 bath

Deprest thus low, it cannot reach my faith." - Thus, by his fraud and our own faith o'er

come, " A feigned tear destroys us, against whom Tydides nor Achilles could prevail, “ Nor ten years conflict, nor a thousand fail."

He is not very careful to vary the ends of his verses: in one passage the word die rhimes three couplets in fix.


Most of these petty faults are in his first productions, when he was less skilful, or at least less dexterous in the use of words; and though they had been more frequent they could only have lessened the grace, not the strength of his composition. He is one of the writers that improved our taste, and advanced our language, and whom we ought therefore to read with gratitude, though, having done much, he left much to do.


HE Life of Milton has been already THI

written in so many forms, and with such minute enquiry, that I might perhaps more properly have contented myself with the addition of a few notes to Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgement, but that a new narra. rative was thought necessary to the uniformity of this edition.

JOHN MILTON was by birth a gentleman, descended from the proprietors of Mild ton near Thame in Oxfordshire, one of whom forfeited his estate in the times of York and Lancaster. Which side he took I know not; his descendant inherited no veneration for the White Rose.

His grandfather John was keeper of the forest of Shotover, a zealous papist, who disinherited his son, because he had forsaken the religion of his ancestors,

His father, John, who was the son disinherited, had recourse for his support to the profession of a scrivener.

He was a man eminent for his skill in musick, many of his compositions being still to be found; and his reputation in his profession was such, that he grew rich, and retired to an estate. He had probably more than common literature, as his son addresses him in one of his most elaborate Latin poems.

He married a gentlewoman of the name of Caston, a Wellh family, by whom he had two sons, John the poet, and Christopher who studied the law, and adhered, as the law taught him, to the King's party, for which he was awhile persecuted; but having, by his brother's interest, obtained permission to live in quiet, he supported himself so honourably by chamberpractice, that, soon after the accession of King James, he was knighted and made a Judge; but, his constitution being too weak

for business, he retired before any disreputable compliances became necessary.

He had likewise a daughter Anne, whom he married with a confiderable fortune to Edward Philips, who came from Shrewsbury, and rose in the Crown office to be secondary : by him she had two sons, John and Edward, who were educated by the poet, and from whom is derived the only authentic account of his domestic manners.

John, the Poet, was born in his father's house, at the Spread-Eagle in Bread-street, Dec. 9, 1608, between fix and seven in the morning. His father appears to have been very solicitous about his education; for he was instructed at first by private tuition under the care of Thomas Young, who was afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburgh, and of whom we have reason to think well, fince his scholar considered him as worthy of an epistolary elegy.

He was then sent to St. Paul's School, under the care of Mr. Gill; and removed, in the beginning of his fixteenth year, to


« ÖncekiDevam »