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should be in watching the influence of any hostile prejudice. Milton himself may be also urged as an example to enforce the same caution; for though he was certainly no impostor in imputing the prayer in question to the king, yet his considering the king's use ofitasan offence against heaven is a pitiable absurdity as glaring as it would be to affirm, that the divine poet is himself profane in assigning to a speech of the Almighty, in his poem, the two following verses:
Son of my bosom, son who art alone
My word, my wisdom, and effectual might—
Because they are partly borrowed from a line in Virgil, addressed by a heathen goddess to her child:
Nate, meae vires, mea magna potentia solus."
The heat of political animosity could thus throw a mist over the bright intellects of Milton; yet his Iconoclastes, taken altogether, is a noble effort of manly reason; it tage than glory itself, ought to be more eligible in the estimation of every man; I resolved therefore to make what short use I might yet have of my eyes as conducive as possible to public utility: you see what I preferred, and what I lost, with the principle on which 1 acted; let slanderers therefore cease to talk irreverently on" the judgment of God, and to make me the subject of their fictions; let them know that I am far from considering my lot with sorrow or repentance; that I persist immovable in my sentiment; that I neither fancy nor feel the anger of God, but, on the contrary, experience and acknowledge his paternal clemency and kindness in my most important concerns, in this especially, that, by the comfort and confirmation, which he himself infuses into my spirit, I acquiesce in his divine pleasure, continually considering rather what he has bestowed upon me, than what he has denied. Finally, that I would not exchange the consciousness of my own conduct for their merit, whatever it may be, or part with a remembrance, which is to my own mind a perpetual source of tranquility and satisfaction."
Whenever he is induced to mention himself, the purity and vigor of Milton's mind, appear in full lustre, whether he speaks in verse or in prose: the preceding passage from his Second Defence, is consonant to the sonnet on his blindness, addressed to Cyriac Skinner, which, though different critics have denied the author to excel in this minute species of composition, has hardly been surpassed; it deserves double praise for energy of expression and heroism of sentiment.
Cyriac, this three-years day these eyes, tho' clear
Or sun, or moon, or star throughout the year,
Of which all Europe talks from side to side:
This thought might lead me thro' the world's vain
Content, tho' blind, had I no better guide."
The ambition of Milton was as pure as his genius was sublime; his first object on every occasion was to merit the approbation of his conscience and his God; when this most important point was secured, he seems to have indulged the predominant passion of great minds, and to have exulted, with a triumph proportioned to his toil, in the celebrity he acquired: he must have been insensible indeed to public applause, had he not felt elated by the signal honors which were paid to his name in various countries, as the eloquent defender of the English nation. "*This I can truly affirm," (says Milton, in mentioning the reception of his great political performance) "that as soon as
* Hoc etiam vere possum dicere, "quo primura tempore nostra defensio est edita, et legentium studia incaluere, nullum vel principis vel civitatis legatum in urbe tum fuisse, qui non vel forte obvio mihi gratularetur, vel conventum apud se cuperet vel domi inviseret.—Prose Works, vol. 2. p. 394.
my defence of the people was published, and read with avidity, there was not, in our metropolis, any ambassador from any state or sovereign, who did not either congratulate me if we met by chance, or express a desire to receive me at his house, or visit me at mine."
Toland relates, that he received from the parliament a present ofathousand pounds for the defence. The author does not include this circumstance among the many particulars he mentions of himself; and if such a reward was ever bestowed upon him, it must have been after the publication of his Second Defence, in which he affirms, that he was content with having discharged what he considered as an honorable public duty, without aiming at a pecuniary recompence; and that instead of having acquired the opulence with which his adversary reproached him, he received not the slightest gratuity for that production.* Yet he appears to
* Contcntus qua; honesta factu sunt, ca propter se solum appetisse, et gratis pqrsequi: id alii viderint tuqu«