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nuscript remarks on this Narrative and Postscript, that the disinterred corpse was supposed to be that of a female, and that the minutest examination of the fragments could not disprove, if it did not confirm, the supposition. Mr. Lofft, noticing the burial of the poet in - St. Giles's church, has eloquently censured “t the sordid mischief committed in it, and the market made of the eagerness with which curiosity or admiration prompted persons to possess themselves of his supposed remains, which, however, there is reason to believe, far from being Milton's, were the bones of a person not of the same age or sex. It were to be wished that neither superstition, affectation, idle curiosity, or avarice, were so frequently invading the silence of the grave. Far from honouring the illustrious dead, it is rather outraging the common condition of humanity, and last melancholy state in which our present existence terminates. Dust and ashes have no intelligence to give, whether beauty, genius, or virtue, informed the animated clay. A tooth of Homer or Milton will not be distinguished from one of a common mortal ; nor a bone of Alexander acquaint us with more of his character than one of Bucephalus. Though the dead be unconcerned, the living are neither benefited nor improved : decency is violated, and a kind of instinctive sympathy infringed, which, though it ought not to overpower reason, ought not without it, and to no pur
• Preface to his edition of the first book of Paradise Lost, 1792, p. xxx.
pose, to be superseded. But whether the remains of that body which once was Milton's, or those of any other person were thus exposed and set to sale, death and dissolution have had their empire over these. The spirit of his immortal works survives invulnerable, and must survive. These are his best image, these the reliques which a rational admiration may cherish and revere!"
i It has been observed that the original stone, laid: on the grave of Milton, was removed not many years after his interment. Nor were his remains honoured by any other memorial in Cripplegate church, till the year 1793; when, by the munificence of the late Mr. Whitbread, an animated marble bust, the sculpture of Bacon, under which is a plain tablet, recording the dates of the poet's birth and death, and of his father's decease, was erected in the middle aisle. To the Author of Paradise Lost a similar tribute of respect had been paid, in 1737, by Mr. Benson; who procured his bust to be admitted, where once his name had been deemed a profanation, into Westminster Abbey. And the reception of the monument into this venerable edifice became immediately the theme of the muses".
.." Dr. George, provost of King's College, Cambridge, and Vincent Bourne, Usher of Westminster School, have written upon this occasion some Latin hexameters, which have been much admired for their spirit and their elegance.
· SECTION V.
Of political and other Publications ascribed to Milton ; with reference to his genuine Prose-Works, and their general character.
While the pen of Milton has been needlessly questioned in regard to part of his history of England, and to the translation of the Polish document; anonymous publications, on the other hand, have been ascribed to him. Most of them appeared while he was living. And perhaps to his political rather than his literary character we owe these assumptions. Of such it may gratify curiosity to give an account.
On very slender grounds Peck attributed to him the translation of Buchanan's Baptistes, which appeared in 1641, with the following title: “ Tyrannical Government anatomized, or, A Discourse concerning evil Counselors : being the Life and Death of John the Baptist, and presented to the King's most excellent Majesty by the author.” Aubrey and Wood, from different motives, would not have forborne to notice so remarkable a production, if it had proceeded from the pen of Milton. This translation has been supposed, with great probability, to have been intended as a hint to Charles the first, of the danger he then incurred from the counsels of some about him : and the history of the Baptist, who lost his head by the instigation of Herodias, seems figuratively to glance at the death of lord Strafford, and at the influence of the queen. Peck, however, might have noticed a political pamphlet, published in the following year, “ by J. M;" of which the royal counsellors are the principal theme. From numerous examples I will cite one : “ It is the king's crown that is aimed at, and not onely so, but even the very dethroning of him, and his whole posterity; and in truth so it is, but by his Majesties evill Councellors ; who, to magnifie themselves, intend the ruin of the Commonwealth : And is not that in effect a dethroning of his Majesty? All that I shall say is but this : No government more blest or happie, if not abused by the advice of vile and malignant Counsellours," p. 3. From the following passage some readers might suspect J. M., the author of this pamphlet, to be Milton: “ Freedome, as it is a great mercy, so it ought of temporal blessings, next to our lives, to receive the greatest estimate; the
* See before, pp. 210. 217.
Biograph. Dramat. vol. ii. p. 387. . • Entitled, “ A Reply to the Answer (printed by his Majesties command at Oxford) to a printed Booke intituled • Observations upon some of his Majesties late Answers and Expresses.' By J. M. London, printed for M. Walbancke, 1642.” 4o.
slavery of the body is the usher to the thraldome of conscience; and if we foolishly surrender up this, the .other will not be long after !" p. 12. But, in p. 20, there is sufficient proof, that Milton could not have written it. " What have we to do with Aristocracy, or Democracy ? God be blessed, we nor know, nor desire, any other government than that of Monarchy !” Peck, therefore, if he had seen this pamphlet, would find that, notwithstanding it harmonized in a considerable degree with the subject of the poetical translation, it could not be rendered subservient to his hypothesis. Milton, in the account he gives of himself, appears indeed to have been no friend to translations: “d I never could delight in long citations, much less in whole traductions; whether it be natural disposition or education in me, or that my mother bore me a speaker of what God made mine own, and not a translator.” He is said indeed to have declined translating Homer.
In 1642 was published “ An Argument, or Debate in Law, of the great Question concerning the Militia; as it is now settled by Ordinance of both the Houses of Parliament. By J. M. London, 1642." 4'. On the title-page of this pamphlet, (now in the possession of the Marquis of Stafford,) Milton's elder Brother in Comus, the second Earl of Bridgewater, has written the name of the poet as the author. At the end of Phillips's Life of Milton
« Prose-Works, vol. i. p. 407, ed. 1698.