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together with some other pieces of Milton, Lycidas, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, and the Ode on Christ's Nativity: and in 1732 was printed a Critical Dissertation with notes upon Paradise Regained, pointing out the beauties of it, written by Mr. Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester: and the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added some observations upon this work at the end of his excellent Remarks upon Spenser, published in 1734 : indeed this poem of Milton, to be more admired, needs only to be better known.
His Samson Agonistes is the only tragedy that he has finished, though he has sketched out the plans of several, and proposed the subjects of more, in his manuscript preserved in Trinity College Library : and we may suppose that he was determined to the choice of this particular subject by the similitude of his own circumstances to those of Samson, blind and among the Philistines. This I conceive to be the last of his poetical pieces; and it is written in the very spirit of the ancients, and equals, if not exceeds, any of the most perfect tragedies, which were ever exhibited on the Athenian stage, when Greece was in its glory. As this work was never intended for the stage, the division into acts and scenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Mr. Pope to divide it into acts and scenes, and of having it acted by the King's Scholars at Westminster: but his commitment to the Tower put an end to that design. It has since been brought upon the stage
in form of an Oratorio; and Mr. Handel's music is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Milton's words. That great artist has done equal justice to our author's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, as if the same spirit possessed both masters, and as if the God of music and of verse was still one and the same.
There are also some other pieces of Milton, for he continued publishing to the last. In 1672 lie pub. lished Artis Logicæ plenior Institutio ad Petri Rami Methodum concinnata, an Institution of Logic after the method of Petrus Ramus; and the year following, a treatise of True Religion and the best means to prevent the Growth of Popery, which had greatly increased through the conniyance of the King, and the more open encouragement of the Duke of York; and the same year his poems, which had been print. ed in 1645, were reprinted with the addition of se. veral others. His familiar epistles and some academical exercises, Epistolarum Familiarum, Lib. I. et Prolusiones quædam Oratoriæ in Collegio Christi habitæ, were printed in 1674; as was also his translation out of Latin into English of the Poles Declaration concerning the Election of their King John III. setting forth the virtues and merits of that Prince. He wrote also a brief History of Muscovy, collected from the relations of several travellers; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewise his state letters transcribed at the request of the Danish resident, but neither were they printed till
after his death, in 1576, and were translated into English in 1694 ; and to that translation a Life of Miiton was prefixed by his nephew, Mr. Edward Philips; and at the end of that life his excellent sonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner, on his blindness, were first printed. Besides these works, which were published, he wrote his system of divinity, which Mr. Toland says was in the hands of his friend Cyriac Skinner, but where at present is uncertain. And Mr. Philips says, that he had prepared for the press an answer to some little scribbling quack in London, who had written a scurrilous libel against him; but whether by the dissuasion of friends, as thinking him a fellow not worth his notice, or for what other cause Mr. Philips kaoweth not, this answer was never published. Indeed the best vindicator of him and his writings hath bern Time. Posterity liath universally paid that hojour to his merits, which was denied him by great part of his contemporaries.
After a life thus spent in study and labours for the public, he died of the gout at his house in Bunhill Row, on or about the roth of November 1674, when he had within a month completed the sixty-sixth year of his age. It is not known when he was first attacked by the gout, but he was grievously afilieted with it several of the last years of his life, and was weakened to such a degree, that he died without a groan, and those in the room perceived not when he expired. His body was decently interred near that
of his father (who had died very aged about the year 1647) in the chancel of the church of St. Giles's Cripplegate; and all his great and learned friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the common people, paid their last respects in attending it to the grave.
Mr. on, in his short but elegant account of the Life of Milton, speaking of our author's having no monument, says, that “ he desired a friend to inquire at St. Giles's Church, where the sexton showed him a small monument, which he said was supposed to be Milton's; but the inscription had never been legible since he was employed in that office, which he has possessed about forty years. This sure could never have happened in so short a space of time, unless the epitaph had been industriously erased: and that supposition, says Mr. Fenton, carries with it so much inhumanity, that I think we ought to believe it was not erected to his memory." It is evident that it was not erected to his memory, and that the sexton was mistaken. For Mr. Toland in his account of the Life of Milton says, that he was buried in the chancel of St. Giles's Church, "' where the piety of his admirers will shortly erect a monument becoming his worth and the encouragement of letters in King Willian's reign." This plainly implies that no monument was erected to him at that time, and this was written in 16,8: and Mr. Fenton's account was first published, I think, in 2725; so that not above twenty-seven years inter
He had a very
vened from the one account to the other; and consequently the sexton, who it is said had been possessed of his office about forty years, must have been mistaken, and the monument must liave been designed for some other person, and not for Milton. A monument indeed has been erected to his memory in Westininster Abbey by Auditor Benson in the year 1737; but the best monument of him is his writings.
In his youth he was esteemed extremely handsome, so that while he was a student at Cambridge, he was called the Lady of Christ's College. fine skin and fresh complexion ; his hair was of a light brown, and parted on the foretop, hung down in curls waving upon his shoulders ; his features were exact and regular; his voice agreeable and mugical; his liabit clean and ncat; his deportment erect and manly. He was middle-sized and well proportioned, neither tall nor short, neither too lean nor too corpulent, strong, and active in his younger years, and though afflicted with frequent head-akes, blindness, and gout, was yet a comely and well looking man to the last. His eyes were of a liglit blue colour, and fron the first are said to have been none of the brightest; but after he lost the sight of them (which happened about the forty-third year of his age) they still appeared without spot or blemish, and at first view, and at a little distance, it was not easy to know that he was blind.
Mr. Richardson had an account of him from an