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He had been associated with Milton in the office of Latin secretary in 1657, and cultivated his friendthip by a tender and respectful attachment. As he probably owed to that friendship the improvement of his own talents and virtues, it is highly pleas. ing to find, that he exerted them on different occasions in establishing the security, and in celebrat. ing the genius of his incomparable friend. His efforts of regard on the present emergency are liberally described in the preceding expression of Philips; and his friendly verses on the publication of the Paradise Loft deserve no common applause; for the records of literature hardly exhibit a more just, a more spirited, or a more generous compliment paid by one poet to another.
But the friendship of Marvel, vigilant, active, and beneficial as it was, could not secure Milton from being seized and hurried into confinement. It appears from the minutes of the House of Commons, that he was prisoner to their serjeant on the 15th of December. The particulars of his imprisonment are involved in darkness; but Dr. Birch (whose copious life of Milton is equally full of intelligence and candour) conjectures, with great probability, that on his appearing in public after the act of indemnity, and adjournment of Parliament, on the ? zih of September, he was seized in consequence of the order formerly given by the Commons for his prosecution.
The exact time of his continuing in custody no. rescarches have ascertained. The records of Parliameat only prove, that on the 15th of December the
House ordered his release ; but the same upright
younger days a resolute opposer of injustice and
In this fortunate escape from the grasp of triumphant and vindi&tive power, Milton may be confidered as terminating his political life: commence ing from his return to the continent, it had extended to a period of twenty years; in three of these he had been affli&ted with partial' but increasing blindness, and in fix he had been utterly blind. His exertions in this period of his life had exposed him to infinite obloquy, but his generous and enlightened country, whatever may be the state of her politica! opinions, will remember, with becoming equity and pride, that the sublimelt of her poets, though deceived as he certainly was by extraordinary pretenders to public virtue, and subject to great illusion in his ideas of government, is entitled to the first of encomiums, the praise of being truly an honest man : since it was assuredly his constant aim to be the steady disinterested adherent and encomiait of truth and justice; hence we find him continually
displaying those internal blessings, which have been happily called," the clear witnesses of a benign nature," an innocent conscience, and a satisfied under: standing.
Such is the imperfection of human existence, that mistaken notions and principles are perfectly compatible with elevation, integrity, and satisfaction of mind. The writer must be a Nave of prejudice, or
fycophant to power, who would represent Milton as deficient in any of these noble endowments. Even Addison seems to lose his rare Christian candour, and Ilume his philosophical precision, when these two celebrated though very different authors fpeak harshly of Milton's political character, without paying due acknowledgment to the rectitude of his heart. I trust, the probity of a very ardent but uncorrupted enthusiast is in some measure vindicated in the course of these pages, happy if they promote the completion of his own manly wish to be perfectly known, if they impress a just and candid estimate of his merits and mistakes on the teniperate mind of his country.
IND OF THE SECOND PART.
DRITTO EI TENEVA IN VERSO IL CIEL IL VOLTO.
In beginning to contemplate the latter years of
convert even declining life, though embittered by a variety of afflictions, and darkened by personal calamity.
On regaining his liberty, he took a house in Holborn, near Red Lion Fields, but soon removed to Jewin-street, and there married, in his 54th year, his third wife, Elizabeth Minshall, the daughter of a gentleman in Cheshire. As the misfortune of blindness seems particularly to require a female companion, and yet almost precludes the unhappy sufferer from selecting such as might suit him, Milton is said to have formed this attachment on the reconimendation of his friend Dr. Paget, an eminent physician of the city, to whom the lady was related.
Some biographers have spoken harshly of her tempek and conduct; but let me observe, in justice to her memory, that the manuscript of Aubrey, to whom she was probably known, mentions her as a gentle person, of a peaceful and agreeable humour. That she was particularly attentive to her husband, and treated his infirmities with tenderness, is candidly remarked by Mr. Warton, in a posthumous note to the testamentary papers relating to Milton, which his indefatigable researches at length discovered, and committed to the press, a few months before his own various and valuable labours were terminated by death. These very curious and interesting påpers afford information respelling the latter days of the poet, which his late biographers were so far from poffefsing, that they could not believe it existed. Indeed, Mr. Warton himself had concluded, that all farther enquiries for the will must be fruitless, as he had failed in a tedious and intricate fearch. At last, however, he was enabled, by the friendship of Sir William Scott, to rescue from oblivion a curiosity fo precious to poetical antiquarians. He found in the prerogative register the will of Milton, which, though made by his brother Christopher, a lawyer by profession, was set aside from a deficiency in point of form—the litigation of this will produced a collection of evidence relating to the teftator, which renders the discovery of those long forgotten papers peculiarly interesting ; they shew very forcibly, and in new points of view, his domestic infelicity, and his amiable disposition. The tender and sublime poet, whose sensibility and