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« At my first fitting to read to him, observing that I used the English pronunciation, he told me, if I would have the benefit of the Latin tongue, not only to read and understand Latin authors, but to converse with foreigners, either abroad or at home, I must learn the foreign pronunciation; to this I consenting, he instructed me how to found the vowels : this change of pronunciation proved a new difficulty to me; but,
Labor omnia vincit
And so did I, which made my reading the more acceptable to my master. He, on the other hand, perceiving with what earnest desire I pursued learning, gave me not only all the encouragement, but all the help he could; for having a curious ear, he understood by my tone when I understood what I read, and when I did not, and accordingly would stop me, examine me, and open the most difficult passages to me.'
The clearness and fimplicity of Ellwood's narrative brings us, as it were, into the company of Milton, and shews, in a very agreeable point of view, the native courtesy and sweetness of a temper, that has been strangely misrepresented as morose and austere.
Johnson, with his accustomed asperity to Milton, discovers an inclination to censure him for his mode of teaching Latin to Ellwood; but Milton, who was instructing an indigent young man, had pro
bably very friendly reasons for wishing him to acquire immediately the foreign pronunciation; and assuredly the patience, good nature, and success, with which he condescended to teach this singular attendant, do credit both to the disciple and the preceptor.
Declining health foon interrupted the studies of Ellwood, and obliged him to retire to the house of a friend and physician in the country. Here, after great suffering from fickness, he revived, and returned again to London.
“ I was very kindly received by my master (continues the interesting quaker) who had conceived fo good an opinion of me, that my conversation, I found, was acceptable, and he seemed heartily glad of my recovery and return, and into our old method of study we fell again, I reading to him, and he explaining to me, as occasion required.”
But learning (as poor Ellwood obferves) was almost a forbidden fruit to him. His intercourse with Milton was again interrupted by a second calamity; a party of soldiers rushed into a meeting of quakers, that included this unfortunate scholar, and he was hurried, with his friends, from prison to prison. Though ten-pence was all the money he possessed, his honest pride prevented his applying to Milton for relief in this exigence, and he contrived to support himself by his industry, in confinement, with admirable fortitude. .
Moderate prosperity, however, visited at last this honest and devout man, affording him an agreeable
opportunity of being useful to the great poet, who had deigned to be his preceptor.
An affluent quaker, who resided at Chalfont, in Buckinghamshire, settled Ellwood in his family, to instruct his children, and in 1665, when the pestilence raged in London, Milton requested his friendly disciple to find a refuge for him in his neighbourhood.
“ I took a pretty box for him," says this affectionate friend, “ in Giles Chalfont, a mile from me, of which I gave him notice, and intended to have waited on him, and seen him well fettled in it, but was prevented by imprisonment.
This was a second captivity that the unfortunate young man had to sustain ; for in consequence of a recent and most iniquitous perfecution of the qua. kers, he was apprehended at the funeral of a friend, and confined in the gaol of Aylesbury.
“ But being now released,” continues Ellwood, " I soon made a visit to him, to welcome him into the country."
-66 After fome common discourses had passed bea tween us, he called for a manuscript of his, which, being brought, he delivered to me, bidding me take it home with me, and read it at my leisure, and when I had so done, return it to him, with my judgment thereupon.
“ When I came home, and set myself to read it, I found it was that excellent poem, which he entitled Paradise Lost.
“ After I had, with the best attention, read it through, I made hiin another visit, and returned
him his book, with due acknowledgment of the favour he had done me in communicating it to me. He asked me how I liked it, and what I thought of it? which I modestly and freely told him ; and, after some farther discourse about it, I pleasantly faid to him, Thou hast said much here of Paradise loft, but what halt thou to say of Paradise found.' He made me no answer, but fat some time in a mufe, then brake off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.
66 After the fickness was over, and the city well cleansed, and become safely habitable again, he returned thither; and when afterwards I went to wait on him there (which I seldom failed of doing, whenever my occasions led me to London) he fhew. ed me his second poem, called Paradise Regain'd, and in a pleasant tone said to me,“ This is owing
for you put it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of'.”
The personal regard of this ingenious quaker for Milton, and his giving birth to a composition of such magnitude and merit as Paradise Regain'd, entitle him to distinction in a life of his great poetical friend, and I have therefore rather transcribed than abridged his relation.
his relation. My reader, I doubt not, will join with me in wishing that we had more sketches of the venerable bard, thus minutely delineated from the life, in the colours of fidelity and affection.
The last of Milton's familiar letters in Latin re. lates to this period; it speaks with devotional gra
titude of the safe asylum from the plague, which he had found in the country; it speaks also with so much feeling of his past political adventures, and of the present inconvenience which he suffered from the loss of fight, that I apprehend an entire tranllation of it can hardly fail of being acceptable to the English reader. It is dated from London, August 15, 1666, and addressed to Heimbach, an accomplished German, who is stiled counsellor to the elector of Brandenburgh. An expression in a former letter to the same correspondent seems to intimate, that this learned foreigner, who visited England in his youth, had resided with Milton, perhaps in the character of a disciple-But here is the interesting letter :
*« If among so many funerals of my countrymen,
so full of pestilence and forrow, you
in a year
* Ornatiffimo Viro Petro Heimbachio,
Electoris Brandenburgici Confiliario. Si inter tot funera popularium meorum, anno tam gravi ac peftilenti, abreptum me quoque, ut scribis, ex rumore præfertim aliquo credidifti, mirum non eft ; atque ille rumor apud vestros, ut videtur, homines, fi ex eo quod de salute meo foliciti efsent, increbuit, non displicet ; indicium enim fuæ erga me benevolentiæ fuiffe existimo. Sed Dei benignitate, qui tutum mihi receptum in agris paraverat, et vivo adhuc et valeo ; utinam ne inutilis, quicquid muneris in hac vita restat mihi peragendum. Tibi vero tam longo intervallo venisse in mentem mei, pergratum eft ; quamquam prout rem verbis exornas, præbere aliquem fufpicionem videris, oblitum mei te potius effe, qui tot virtutum diverfarum conjugium in me, ut fcribis, admirere. Ego certe ex tot conjugiis numerosam nimis prolem expavescerem, nifi