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And why the subtle fox, while in death's wounds is lying,
Hallo my fancy, whither wilt thou go?
At least make essay,
And lambs know beasts of prey:
I'm rapt with admiration,
When I do ruminate,
Men of an occupation,
How each one calls him brother,
Yet each envieth other,
And say I am profane.
I preached with a weaver ;
He quoted Dod and Clever; I nothing got,
He got a cloak and beaver:
Turn Jew or Atheist,
In Scotland; shall I thither?
And Finch, to see if either
But if the house be swept,
Is meat that's easily chew'd;
HE productions of this period, in the department of prose, bear a high character. Possessing much of the nervous force and originality of the preceding era, they make a nearer approach to that elegance in the choice and arrangement of words, which has since been attained in English composition. The chief writers in philosophical and political dissertation are Milton and Cowley (already introduced as poets), Sidney, Temple, Thomas Burnet, and Locke; in history, the Earl of Clarendon, and Bishop Burnet; in divinity, Barrow, Tillotson, Stillingfleet, Sherlock, South, Calamy, Baxter, and Barclay; in miscellaneous literature, Fuller, Walton, L'Estrange, Dryden, and Tom Brown. Bunyan, author of the Pilgrim's Progress,' stands in a class by himself. Physical science, or a knowledge of nature, was at the same time cultivated with great success by the Honourable Robert Boyle, Dr Barrow, Sir Isaac Newton, and some others, whose writings, however, were chiefly in Latin. An association of men devoted to the study of nature, which included these persons, was formed in 1662, under the appellation of the Royal Society -a proof that this branch of knowledge was beginning to attract a due share of attention.
the service of his party, even to the defence of that boldest of their measures, the execution of the king. His stern and inflexible principles, both in regard to religion and to civil government, are displayed in these essays; some of which were composed in Latin, in order that they might be read in foreign countries as well as in his own. Milton wrote a history of England, down to the time of the Norman Conquest, which does not possess much merit, and in which he has inserted the fables of the old chroniclers, as use ful to poets and orators, and possibly containing in them many footsteps and relics of something true; an eloquent and vigorous discourse, entitled Areopagitica-a Speech for the Liberty of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parliament of England; A Tractate of Education, addressed to his friend Master Samuel Hartlib, and containing some highly rational and advanced views on that subject; and Å Treatise on Christian Doctrine, which lay undiscovered in manuscript till 1823, two years after which an English translation was published by Mr Sumner. The subject of divorce was also discussed by Milton at great length, in three publications, namely, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce; The Judgment of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce; and Tetrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief places in Scripture which treat of Marriage. Of these, the first two were printed in 1644, and the last in 1645. The occasion which drew them forth was the desertion of his first wife, as already related. Another celebrated work of Milton is a reply which he published to the 'Ikon Basiliké,' under the title of Iconoclastes,* a production to which we have already alluded in speaking of Dr Gauden. Subsequently, he engaged in a Latin controversy with Salmasius, a professor of Leyden, who had published a defence of Charles I.; and the war on both sides was carried on with a degree of virulent abuse and personality which, though common in the age of the disputants, is calculated to strike a modern reader with astonishment. Salmasius triumphantly ascribes the loss of Milton's sight to the fatigues of the controversy; while Milton, on the other hand, is said to have boasted that his severities had tended to shorten the life of Salmasius.
MILTON began, at the commencement of the civil war, to write pamphlets against the established Episcopal church, and continued through the whole of the ensuing troublous period to devote his pen to
Milton's prose style is lofty, clear, vigorous, expressive, and frequently adorned with profuse and glowing imagery. Like many other productions the age, it is, however, deficient in simplicity and smoothness-qualities whose occasional absence is in some degree attributable to his fondness for the Latin idiom in the construction of his sentences. It is to be regretted,' says a modern critic, that the prose writings of Milton should, in our time, be so little read. As compositions, they deserve the attention of every man who wishes to become ac quainted with the full power of the English language. They abound with passages, compared with which the finest declamations of Burke sink into insignificance. They are a perfect field of cloth of gold. The style is stiff with gorgeous embroidery. Not even in the earlier books of the Paradise Lost has he ever risen higher than in those parts of his controversial works in which his feelings, excited by conflict, find a vent in bursts of devotional and lyric rapture. It is, to borrow his own majestic language, "a sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies."'+
The following extracts are taken respectively from Milton's work called 'The Reason of Church Government urged against Prelacy' (1642), his Tractate of Education' (1644), and theAreopagitica' (1644), The first of them is peculiarly interesting, as an
* Ikon Basilike, signifies in Greek, The Royal Image or Portraiture; Iconoclastes, The Image-breaker.
† Edinburgh Review, vol. xlii. p. 345, 195
announcement of the author's intention to publish verse in our climate, or the fate of this age, it haply his immortal poem.
would be no rashness, from an equal diligence and inclination, to present the like offer in our own ancient stories. Or whether those dramatic constitutions, wherein Sophocles and Euripides reign, shall be found more doctrinal and exemplary to a nation. The Scripture also affords us a fine pastoral drama in the Song of Solomon, consisting of two persons, and a double chorus, as Origen rightly judges; and the Apocalypse of St John is the majestic image of a high and stately tragedy, shutting up and intermingling her solemn scenes and acts with a seven-fold chorus of hallelujahs and harping symphonies. And this my opinion, the grave authority of Pareus, commenting that book, is sufficient to confirm. Or if occasion shall lead, to imitate those magnific odes and hymns, wherein Pindarus and Callimachus are in most things worthy, some others in their frame judicious, in their matter most, and end faulty. But those frequent songs throughout the law and prophets, beyond all these, not in their divine argument alone, but in the very critical art of composition, may be easily made appear, over all the kinds of lyric poesy, to be incomparable. These abilities, wheresoever they be found, are the inspired gift of God, rarely bestowed, but yet to some (though most abuse) in every nation: and are of power, besides the office of a pulpit, to inbreed and cherish in a great people the seeds of virtue and public civility; to allay the perturbations of the mind, and set the affections in right tune; to celebrate in glorious and lofty hymns the throne and equipage of God's almightiness, and what he suffers to be wrought with high providence in his church; to sing victorious agonies of martyrs and saints, the deeds and triumphs of just and pious nations, doing valiantly through faith against the enemies of Christ; to deplore the general relapses of kingdoms and states from justice and God's true worship. Lastly, whatsoever in religion is holy and sublime, in virtue amiable or grave, whatsoever hath passion or admiration in all the changes of that which is called fortune from without, or the wily subtleties and refluxes of man's thoughts from within; all these things, with a solid and treatable smoothness, to paint out and describe. Teaching over the whole book of sanctity and virtue, through all the instances of example, with such delight to those, especially of soft and delicious temper, who will not so much as look upon truth herself, unless they see her elegantly dressed; that whereas the paths of honesty and good life appear now rugged and difficult, though they be indeed easy and pleasant, they would then appear to all men both easy and pleasant, though they were rugged and difficult indeed. And what a benefit would this be to our youth and gentry, may be soon guessed by what we know of the corruption and bane which they suck in daily from the writings and interludes of libidinous and ignorant poetasters, who having scarce ever heard of that which is the main consistence of a true poem, the choice of such persons as they ought to introduce, and what is moral and decent to each one, do for the most part lay up vicious principles in sweet pills, to be swallowed down, and make the taste of virtuous documents harsh and sour. But because the spirit of man cannot demean itself lively in this body without some repeating intermission of labour and serious things, it were happy for the commonwealth if our magistrates, as in those famous governments of old, would take into their care not only the deciding of our contentious law cases and brawls, but the managing of our public sports and festival pastimes, that they might be, not such as were authorised awhile since, the provocations of drunkenness and lust, but such as may inure and harden our bodies, by martial exercises, to all warlike skill and performances; and may civilise, adorn, and make discreet our minds, by the learned and affable meet
[Milton's Literary Musings.]
After I had, from my first years, by the ceaseless diligence and care of my father, whom God recompense, been exercised to the tongues, and some sciences, as my age would suffer, by sundry masters and teachers, both at home and at the schools, it was found that whether aught was imposed me by them that had the overlooking, or betaken to of my own choice in English, or other tongue, prosing or versing, but chiefly the latter, the style, by certain vital signs it had, was likely to live. But much latelier, in the private academies of Italy, whither I was favoured to resort, perceiving that some trifles which I had in memory, composed at under twenty or thereabout (for the manner is, that every one must give some proof of his wit and reading there), met with acceptance above what was looked for; and other things which I had shifted, in scarcity of books and conveniences, to patch up among them, were received with written encomiums, which the Italian is not forward to bestow on men of this side the Alps, I began thus far to assent both to them and divers of my friends here at home; and not less to an inward prompting, which now grew daily upon me, that by labour and intent study (which I take to be my portion in this life), joined to the strong propensity of nature, I might perhaps leave something so written, to after times, as they should not willingly let it die. These thoughts at once possessed me, and these other, that if I were certain to write as men buy leases, for three lives and downward, there ought no regard be sooner had than to God's glory, by the honour and instruction of my country. For which cause, and not only for that I knew it would be hard to arrive at the second rank among the Latins, I applied myself to that resolution which Ariosto followed against the persuasions of Bembo, to fix all the industry and art I could unite to the adorning of my native tongue; not to make verbal curiosities the end, that were a toilsome vanity; but to be an interpreter, and relater of the best and safest things among mine own citizens throughout this island, in the mother dialect. That what the greatest and choicest wits of Athens, Rome, or modern Italy, and those Hebrews of old did for their country, I in my proportion, with this over and above, of being a Christian, might do for mine; not caring to be once named abroad, though perhaps I could attain to that, but content with these British islands as my world, whose fortune hath hitherto been, that if the Athenians, as some say, made their small deeds great and renowned by their eloquent writers, England hath had her noble achievements made small by the unskilful handling of monks and mechanics.
Time serves not now, and perhaps I might seem too profuse, to give any certain account of what the mind at home, in the spacious circuits of her musing, hath liberty to propose to herself, though of highest hope and hardest attempting. Whether that epic form, whereof the two poems of Homer, and those other two of Virgil and Tasso are a diffuse, and the book of Job a brief model; or whether the rules of Aristotle herein are strictly to be kept, or nature to be followed, which in them that know art, and use judgment, is no transgression, but an enriching of art. And lastly, what king or knight before the conquest might be chosen, in whom to lay the pattern of a Christian hero. And as Tasso gave to a prince of Italy his choice, whether he would command him to write of Godfrey's expedition against the infidels, or Belisarius against the Goths, or Charlemagne against the Lombards; if to the instinct of nature and the emboldening of art aught may be trusted, and that there be nothing ad
And that which casts our proficiency therein so much behind, is our time lost partly in too oft idle vacancies given both to schools and universities; partly in a preposterous exaction, forcing the empty wits of children to compose themes, verses, and orations, which are the acts of ripest judgment, and the final work of a head filled by long reading and observing, with elegant maxims and copious invention. These are not matters to be wrung from poor striplings, like blood out of the nose, or the plucking of untimely fruit; besides the ill habit which they get of wretched barbarising against the Latin and Greek idiom, with their untutored Anglicisms, odious to be read, yet not to be avoided without a well-continued and judicious conversing among pure authors digested, which they scarce taste; whereas, if after some preparatory grounds of speech by their certain forms got into memory, they were led to the praxis thereof in some chosen short book lessoned thoroughly to them, they might then forthwith proceed to learn the substance of good things and arts in due order, which would bring the whole language quickly into their power. This I take to be the most rational and most profitable way of learning languages, and whereby we may best hope to give account to God of our youth spent herein.
ing of frequent academies, and the procurement of wise and artful recitations, sweetened with eloquent and graceful enticements to the love and practice of justice, temperance, and fortitude; instructing and bettering the nation at all opportunities, that the call of wisdom and virtue may be heard everywhere, as Solomon saith: 'She crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets, in the top of high places, in the chief concourse, and in the openings of the gates.' Whether this may be not only in pulpits, but after another persuasive method, at set and solemn paneguries, in theatres, porches, or what other place or way may win most upon the people, to receive at once both recreation and instruction, let them in authority consult. The thing which I had to say, and those intentions which have lived within me ever since I could conceive myself anything worth to my country, I return to crave excuse, that urgent reason hath plucked from me, by an abortive and fore-dated discovery. And the accomplishment of them lies not but in a power above man's to promise; but that none hath by more studious ways endeavoured, and with more unwearied spirit that none shall, that I dare almost aver of myself, as far as life and free leisure will extend; and that the land had once enfranchised herself from this impertinent yoke of prelacy, under whose inquisitorious and tyrannical duncery no free and splendid wit can flourish. Neither do I think it shame to covenant with any knowing reader, that for some few years yet I may go on trust with him toward the payment of what I am now indebted, as being a work not to be raised from the heat of youth or the vapours of wine; like that which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar amorist, or the trencher-fury of a rhyming parasite; nor to be obtained by the invocation of dame memory and her syren daughters; but by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit, who can enrich with all utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with the hallowed fire of his altar, to touch and And for the usual method of teaching arts, I deem purify the lips of whom he pleases. To this must be it to be an old error of universities, not yet well readded industrious and select reading, steady observa- covered from the scholastic grossness of barbarous tion, insight into all seemly arts and affairs; till ages, that instead of beginning with arts most easy which in some measure be compassed, at mine own (and those be such as are most obvious to the sense), peril and cost, I refuse not to sustain this expectation they present their young unmatriculated novices at from as many as are not loath to hazard so much cre- first coming with the most intellective abstractions of dulity upon the best pledges that I can give them. logic and metaphysics, so that they having but newly Although it nothing content me to have disclosed thus left those grammatic flats and shallows where they much beforehand, but that I trust hereby to make it stuck unreasonably to learn a few words with lamentmanifest with what small willingness I endure to in-able construction, and now on the sudden transported terrupt the pursuit of no less hopes than these, and under another climate, to be tossed and turmoiled leave a calm and pleasing solitariness, fed with cheer- with their unballasted wits in fathomless and unquiet ful and confident thoughts, to embark in a troubled deeps of controversy, do for the most part grow into sea of noises and hoarse disputes; from beholding the hatred and contempt of learning, mocked and deluded bright countenance of truth in the quiet and still air all this while with ragged notions and babblements, of delightful studies, to come into the dim reflection while they expected worthy and delightful knowledge; of hollow antiquities sold by the seeming bulk, and till poverty or youthful years call them importunately there be fain to club quotations with men whose learn- their several ways, and hasten them, with the sway ing and belief lies in marginal stuffings; who when of friends, either to an ambitious and mercenary, or they have, like good sumpters, laid you down their ignorantly zealous divinity; some allured to the horse-load of citations and fathers at your door, with a trade of law, grounding their purposes not on the rhapsody of who and who were bishops here or there, prudent and heavenly contemplation of justice and you may take off their pack-saddles, their day's work equity, which was never taught them, but on the prois done, and episcopacy, as they think, stoutly vindi- mising and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat cated. Let any gentle apprehension that can distin-contentions, and flowing fees; others betake them to guish learned pains from unlearned drudgery, imagine state affairs, with souls so unprincipled in virtue and what pleasure or profoundness can be in this, or what true generous breeding, that flattery and courtshifts, honour to deal against such adversaries. and tyrannous aphorisms, appear to them the highest points of wisdom; instilling their barren hearts with a conscientious slavery; if, as I rather think, it be not feigned. Others, lastly, of a more delicious and airy spirit, retire themselves (knowing no better) to the enjoyments of ease and luxury, living out their days in feasts and jollity; which, indeed, is the wisest and the safest course of all these, unless they were with more integrity undertaken. And these are the errors, and these are the fruits of mispending our
And seeing every nation affords not experience and tradition enough for all kind of learning, therefore we are chiefly taught the languages of those people who have at any time been most industrious after wisdom; so that language is but the instrument conveying to us things useful to be known. And though
a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet, if he have not studied the solid things in them, as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man, as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only. Hence appear the many mistakes which have made learning generally so unpleasing and so unsuccessful: first, we do amiss to spend seven or eight years merely in scraping together so much miserable Latin and Greek, as might be learned otherwise easily and delightfully in one year.