« PreviousContinue »
for private ones, are such convincing evidences, that it will be needless to say any more to it.
“I must now acquaint you, that, by my lord treasurer's advice, I have made a considerable retrenchment upon my expenses in candles and charcoal, and do not intend to stop, but will, with your help, look into the late embezzlements of my dripping-pans and kitchen-stuff; of which, by the way, upon my conscience, neither my lord treasurer, nor my lord Lauderdale, are guilty. I tell you my opinion; but if you should find them dabbling in that business, I tell you plainly, I leave them to you; for, I would have the world to know, I am not a man to be cheated.”
“ My Lords and Gentlemen,
“ I desire you to believe me as you have found me; and I do solemnly promise you, that whatsoever you give me shall be specially managed with the same conduct, trust, sincerity, and prudence, that I have ever practised, since my happy restoration."
The friendship between Milton and Marvell is one of the most interesting subjects in the biography of two of the most noble characters this country has produced.
The encomiastic verses, by Marvell, extracted in our last number, which were prefixed to the second edition of “Paradise I. !t," are extremely interesting, and prove not only the admiraSon of Marvell for the “ mighty Poet,” but that, long before the
arl of Dorset and Dryden, Marvell discovered and appreciated the incomparable Epic. Barrow, the physician, also shares in the glory of contributing, according to the custom of the times,
an introductory Ode, to the author," in the same edition. From the year 1657, when Marvell was associated with Milton, in the office of Latin Secretary, the intimate friendship of these two great men commenced, which terminated only with their lives. Edward Philips, Milton's nephew, in the life of his uncle, prefixed to Milton's “ Letters of State," 1694, writes that Marvell, with other friends, visited the Bard when secreted from the threats of the restored Governments, in the private retirement, " where he lived till the act of oblivion proved as favourable to him as could be hoped or expected, through the intercession of some that stood his friends, both in Council and Parliament; particularly Mr. Andrew Marvell
, a member for Hull, acted vigorously in his behalf, and made a considerable party for him.
It is not improbable, that the humour of Marvell also contrived the premature and mock funeral of Milton, which is reported, for a time, to have duped his enemies into the belief of his real death: and to this manly friendship is the world probably indebted for the great poems which were long subsequently completed and published. We have also omitted to mention, that Milton's "Second Defence" of the people, with a compliment from its author, was presented
VOL. XI. PART I.
to Cromwell, by Andrew Marvell, who afterwards wrote to Milton, on the subject of its reception : (See Birch's Life, and Symmons, second edition, p. 455). In this letter, Marvell says to the author of that extraordinary tract—"when I consider how equally it turns, and rises with so many figures, it seems to me a Trajan's column, in whose winding ascent we see embossed the several monuments of your learned victories.” It concludes with the following interesting passage:
“I have an affectionate curiosity to know what becomes of Colonel Overton's business, and am exceeding glad to think that Mr. Skinner has got near you; the happiness which I at the same time congratulate to him, and envy, there being none who doth, if I may so say, more jealously honoured you than, honoured sir, your most affectionate, humble servant, Andrew Marvell.”—Eton, June 2, 1654.
“ For my most honoured friend, John Milton, Esq., Secretary for the Foreign Affairs, at his house, in Petty France, Westminster.”
Marvell's watchful and tender friendship for our great bard is also affectingly displayed in the “Rehearsal Transposed,” Part xi. p. 377, where Marvell tells his antagonist, Parker," that he had not seen John Milton of two years before he composed his first volume of the work just mentioned.” he, “ after I undertook writing, I did more carefully avoid either visiting or sending to him, lest it should any away involve him in my consequences. Had he took you in hand, you would have had cause to repent the occasion, and not escaped so easily as you did under my “ Transposed.”
Afterwards, he thus characterises Milton :
“ John Milton was, and is, a man of as great learning, and sharpness of wit, as any man. It was his misfortune, living in a tumultuous time, to be tossed on the wrong side; and he wrote, flagrante bello, certain dangerous treatises. At his Majesty's happy return, John Milton did partake, even as you did yourself, for all your buffing, of his regal clemency, and has ever since expiated himself in a retired silence. It was after that, I well remember it, that being one day at his house, I there first met you, and accidentally. Then it was, when you, as I told you, wandered up and down Moorfields, astrologising upon the duration of his Majesty's government, that you frequented John Milton's incessantly, and haunted his house day by day. What discourse you there used, he is too generous to remember.
But he, never having in the least provoked you, for you to insult thus over his old age, to traduce him by your scaramuccios, and in your own person, as a school-master, who was born and hath lived much more ingenuously and liberally than yourself; to have done all this, and lay, at last, my simple book to his charge, without ever taking care to inform yourself better, which you had so easy opportunity to do; it is inhumanly and inhospitably done, and will, I hope, be a warning to all others, as it is to me, to avoid (I will not say such a Judas, but) a man that creeps into all companies, to jeer, trepan, and betray them.”
We must now reluctantly close our extracts from Marvell. His volumes, like the prose works of Milton's, will one day attract the attention which, as part of the standard literature and history of our country, they so justly merit; and that day is not very far distant.
In our preceding article we gave a brief biographical memoir of Marvell, the Roman virtues of whose public and private character were alike distinguished; and it was one of his great maxims, that a man dishonest in private life would not honestly serve his country as a public servant.
The following imitation, by Marvell, from Seneca, (Traged. ex Thyeste, Chor. 2,) is highly characteristic of his own mind and private virtues :
“ Climb at Court for me that will
Death to him's a strange surprise.” In his person, Mr. Marvell is described as of a very dark complexion, with long flowing black hair, black bright eyes, his nose not small, but altogether a handsome man, with an expressive countenance: he was about 5 feet 7, of a strong constitution and active temperate habits; of reserved disposition amongst strangers, but familiar, entertaining, and facetious with his friends.
The late Mr. Hollis had an admirable portrait of Marvell, and we believe there is one in the town-hall of Hull. The prints are severally noticed in Granger; an octagon one before his folio poems of 1681; a second, 2mo. copied from the above; and a third, drawn and etched by J. B. Cipriani, from Mr. Hollis's picture, 4to. prefixed to his works in 1776.
END OF VOL. XI. PART I.
Vol. XI. PAR'r II.
ART. 1.-The Holy Bible.
It is not our intention, in this article, to touch upon any
doctrinal points; nor to discuss, in fact, any question of theology. Our object is, simply to consider the Bible as a literary work ; and should we, in doing this, venture to contemplate for a moment the aspect of Christianity, it will be merely in reference to the literature to which it has given birth, and so far only as it approximates to imagination and poetry.
Amongst the many religions which have from time to time prevailed in the world, it would not be very easy for an indifferent person to determine the order of precedence. The advocates of each would probably decline to cede the priority to the others; for-however the stricter rites of the old superstitions might now be explained away or disregarded—the Egyptianthe Scandinavian--the Greek - the Chinese-the Hindoo, and the rest, would, we suspect, (were their respective creeds all at present existing) maintain, at least, their own antiquity. It is a sort of national privilege which never lapses by disuse, nor is broken down by the ravages of time. Perhaps, indeed, after all, these religions may be traced to the same vast source; although the innovations which have curtailed some, and the evident degeneracy of others, create some doubt as to their common origin. The mere fact of all nations having some unknown Deity, and worshipping a power greater than themselves, may in itself be sufficient to induce a supposition that the most dissimilar creeds must, at some very early period, have been the same; or, at least, that the idea of a God-of a futurity-of
VOL. XI. PART II.