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fufferings were fo great, appears to have been almost as unfortunate in his daughters as the Lear of Shakespeare. A fervant declares in evidence, that her deceased master, a little before his last marriage, had lamented to her the ingratitude and cruelty of his children. He complained, that they combined to defraud him in the economy of his houfe, and sold several of his books in the bafest manner. His feelings on fuch an outrage, both as a parent and as a scholar, must have been fingularly painful; perhaps they suggested to him those very pathetic lines, where he seems to paint himself, in Sampfon Agonistes :

I dark in light, expos'd
To daily fraud, contempt, abuse, and wrong,
Within doors or without; still as a fool,
In power of others, never in my own,
Scarce half I feem to live, dead more than half.

Unfortunate as he had proved in matrimony, he was probably induced to venture once more into that state by the bitter want of a domestic protector against his inhuman daughters, under which defcription I include only the two eldest; and in palliation even of their conduct, detestable as it appears, we may observe, that they are entitled to pity, as having been educated without the inestimable guidance of maternal tenderness, under a father afflicted with loss of fight; they were also young : at the time of Milton's last marriage his eldest daughter had only reached the age of fifteen, and

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Deborah,

Deborah, his favourite, was still a child of nine years.

His new connection seems to have afforded him what he particularly fought; that degree of domeftic tranquillity and comfort essential to his perfeverance in study, which appears to have been, through all the viciffitudes of fortune, the prime object of his life ; and while all his labours were under the direction of religion or of philanthropy, there was nothing too arduous or too humble for his mind. In 1661 he published a little work, entitled, 66 Accidence commenced Grammar," benevolently calculated for the relief of children, by shortening their very

tedious and irksome progress in learning the elements of Latin. He published also, in the same

year, another brief composition of Sir Walter Raleigh's, containing (like the former work of that celebrated man, which the same editor had given to the public) a series of political maxims; one of these I am tempted to transcribe, by a persuasion that Milton regarded it with peculiar pleasure, from its tendency to justify the parliamentary contention with Charles the First. Had the misguided monarch observed the maxim of Raleigh, he would not, like that illustrious victim to the vices of his royal father, have perished on the scaffold.-The maxim is the seventeenth of the collection, and gives the following instruction to a prince for preserving an hereditary kingdom.

“ To be moderate in his taxes and impositions, and, when need doth require to use the subjects purse, to do it by parliament, and with their con

sent,

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fent, making the cause apparent to them, and shew-
ing his unwillingness in charging them. Finally,
fo to use it, that it may seem rather an offer from
his subjects, than an exaction by him.”

However vehement the enmity of various persons
against Milton might have been, during the tumult
of paffions on the recent restoration, there is great
reason to believe, that his extraordinary abilities
and probity so far triumphed over the prejudices
against him, that, with all his republican offences
upon his head, he might have been admitted to
royal favout had he been willing to accept it.
Richardson relates, on very good authority, that the
post of Latin secretary, in which he had obtained fo
much credit as a scholar, was again offered to him
after the Restoration; that he rejected it, and repli-
ed to his wife, who advised his acceptance of the ap-
pointment, “ You, as other women, would ride in
your coach ; for me, my aim is to live and die an
honest man.” Johnson discovers an inclination to
discredit this story, because it does honour to Mil.
ton, and seemed inconsistent with his own ideas of
probability. “ He that had shared authority, either
with the parliament or Cromwell,” says Johnson,
“ might have forborne to talk very loudly of his
honesty." How 'miserably narrow is the prejudice,
that cannot allow perfect honesty to many individuals
on both sides in a contest like that, which divided
the nation in the civil wars. Undoubtedly there were
men in each party, of great mental endowments, who
acted, during that calamitous contention, according
to the genuine dictates of conscience. Those who
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172 THE LIFE OF MILTON.
examine the conduct of Milton with impartiality
will be ready to allow, that he pofseffed not only one
of the most cultivated, but one of the most upright
minds, which the records of human nature have
taught us to revere. His retaining his employment
under Cromwell has, I trust, been so far justified,
that it can no more be represented as a blemish on
his integrity. His office, indeed, was of such a
nature, that he might, without a breach of honesty,
have resumed it under the king; but his return to
it, though not absolutely dishonourable, would have
ill accorded with that refined purity and elevation
of character, which, from his earliest youth, it was
the noblest ambition of Milton to acquire and sup-
port. He would have lost much of his title to the
reverence of mankind for his magnanimity, had he
accepted his former office under Charles the Second,
whom he must have particularly despised as a pro-
fligate and servile tyrant, as ready to betray the ho-
nour of the nation as he was careless of his own;
a personage whom Milton could never have beheld
without horror, on reflecting on his fingular bar-
barity to his celebrated friend, that eccentric but
interesting character, Sir Henry Vane. The king,
so extolled for his mercy, had granted the life of
Sir Henry to the joint petition of the Lords and
Commons; but, after promising to preserve him,
signed a warrant for his execution-one of the most
inhuman and detestable acts of duplicity that was
ever practised against a subject by his fovereign.
It is to the fate of Vane, with others of that party,
and to his own personal sufferings, that the great

poet

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poet alludes in the following admirable reflections, assigned to the chorus in his Sampson Agonistes :

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Many are the sayings of the wise
In antient and in modern books enrolld,
Extolling patience as the truest fortitude,
And to the bearing well of all calamities,
All chances incident to man's frail life,
Consolatories writ
With studied argument, and much persuasion sought,
Lenient of grief, and anxious thought ;
But with th' afflicted in his pangs their found
Little prevails, or rather seems a tune
Harsh and of diffonant mood from his complaint,
Unless he feel within
Some source of confolation from above,
Secret refreshings that repair his strength,
And fainting spirits uphold.
God of our fathers ! what is man?
That thou towards him with hand so various,
Or might I say, contrarious,
Temperest thy Providence through his short course;
Not evenly, as thou rullt
The angelic orders, and inferior creatures mute,
Irrational and brute.
Nor do I name of men the common rout,
That wand'ring loose about,
Grow up and perish as the summer fly,
Heads without name, no more remembered ;
But such as thou hast folemnly elected,
With gifts and graces eminently adora'd,
To some great work, thy glory,
And people's safety, which in part they effect ;
Yet toward these, thus dignified, thou oft
Amidst their heighth of noon

Changest

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