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not yet attained the higher distinction of the Homer of his country; yet he had strung his lyre to the celebration of Cromwell; and his English and Latin poems, which were published in 1645, had received "" the highest commendations and applause of the most learned academicks, both domestick and foreign;" and with « • Mr. Waller's late choice pieces these ever-green and not to be blasted laurels" had been named. So that Milton perhaps might read the praise of his contemporary not without some wonder, that to such mention of his “P chief of men," and of " the virtuous professors of poetry,” his own name was not joined.
From his entrance into office to nearly the present period, Milton had collected a variety of StatePapers ; probably with a view to use them in some particular or general history of the times. They were unpublished till the year 1743, in which they appeared with the title of “ Original Letters and Papers of State, addressed to Oliver Cromwell, concerning the Affairs of Great Britain, from the year 1649 to 1658. Found among the Political Collections of Mr. John Milton. Now first published from the Originals by John Nickolls, Jun. Member of the Society of Antiquaries, London.” By Milton they had been long preserved, and at length came into
* Moseley’s Pref. to Milton's Poems, ed. 1645.
• Ibid. " P So Milton calls Cromwell in the Sonnet he addressed to
the possession of his friend, Thomas · Elwood. The volume abounds with whining addresses to Cromwell and other supporters of the Usurpation, not without occasional deviations into the very 'travesty as it were of sober sadness. Two letters in it, written by Milton's friend, Colonel Overton; and a character drawn by Captain Bishope of Bradshawe, harmonizing with Milton's own eloquent eulogy of the regicide; may claim the distinction of important contents. But the State-Letters which, within this period and before it, Milton had written in the name of the Parliament, and of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, are interesting throughout. These he caused to be transcribed at the request of the Danish resident. But they were not permitted to be published till after his death in 1676; and then they were given not accurately. For of these a transcript has been lately s discovered in the same press, which contained the Body of Divinity already mentioned; and the text appears to differ, in many instances, from that of our present editions. From a printed Latin advertisement, * found in the same parcel, it has been justly presumed, that the collection had been carefully revised by the author or his friends in order to publication, and intended to have been committed to the press in Holland. The letters are stated in this advertisement to have been published by a dishonest bookseller, from a surreptitious copy, in their incorrect shape. In 1690 they were announced to the publick at Leipsic and Frankfort with a preface by the celebrated J. G. " Pritius, or Pritz; and a dedication to F. B. Carpzovius. That they had not been suffered to issue from the press while Milton was living, this learned editor apparently * laments; and that they exhibit all the graces of composition,
9 Pref, to the Collection, p. iv. . . As in p. 161, where Colonel R. Overton is thus addressed : “ Sir, your friends beseech you to be much in the mount with God, who is the best counseler, and will ther be seen : This is no time to consult with flesh and blood :” and then follows, “ Sir, there is one Miss Dawson presents her service to you. To-morrow is kept a very solom day among som here, fasting and praiers ; sum devills are no other way cast out!” In p. 99, it is proposed to the Parliament, “ that the stone churches should have noe outward adornements, but the walls to be coullered black, to putt men in minde of that blacknesse and darknesse that is within them !"
s- See Dr. Sumner's Introduction to his Translation of Milton's De Doctrina Christiańá, p. xvii..
miliar Lehtological critica at Leipsic, ar
* See Dr. Sumner's Introduction to his Translation of Milton's De Doctrina Christianá, p. xvii.
• Pritius was professor of divinity at Leipsic, and distinguished himself greatly as a theological critick. He proposed also to reprint the Familiar Letters and Prolusions of Milton. The present publication he entitled “ Literæ nomine Senatûs Anglicani, &c. exaratæ à Joanne Miltono, quas nunc primum in Germania recudi fecit M. Jo. Georg. Pritius.” 12mo.
8“ Illud autem lectorem ignorare non patiemur, post mortem demum auctoris emissum fuisse opusculum. Quanquam enim cum vivente actum esset, ut ipsemet epistolas suas, quas reipublicæ nomine scripserat, prelo subjiceret, nec ille adeò abnueret; ab illis tamen, per quos solos licebat, permissum id ei non est ; usque dum, post fata auctoris, claustra, quibus indignè continebantur, perrumperent; non addito quidem editionis loco, quem tamen in Angliâ quærendum esse, characterum typus indicium facit.” Pref.
y “ Puras tibi exhibemus epistolas, faciles, jucundas, et amoenissimas veneres ubique spirantes,” &c. Ibid.
he testifies with the ablest criticks of his own and succeeding times. In 1694 they were translated into English, and published; and to that translation was prefixed the Life of Milton by his nephew, Edward Phillips; at the end of which were added his Sonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Vane, and Cyriack Skinner. Of these letters in their original language, from the corrected manuscript, a new edition is much to be desired.
From the Restoration of King Charles the Second to the
Death of Milton.
Milton at the Restoration withdrew, for a time, to a friend's house in Bartholomew-Close. By this precaution he probably escaped the particular prosecution which was at first directed against him. Mr. Warton was • told by Mr. Tyers from good authority, that when Milton was under prosecution with Goodwin, his friends, to gain time, made a mock-funeral for him; and that when matters were settled in his favour, and the affair was known, the King laughed heartily at the trick. This circumstance has been also related by an historian lately brought to light; who says that Milton“ pretended to be dead, and had a publick funeral procession," and that “ the King applauded his policy in escaping the punishment of death, by a seasonable shew of dying.” His Iconoclastes and Defensio pro Populo Anglicano were, however, consigned to the most
? See his Second Edition of Milton's Smaller Poems, p. 358. + Cunningham's Hist. of Great Britain, vol. i. p. 14.