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mined, and it is the opinion of many both learned and judicious persons,) either of the ancients or moderns, either of our own or whatever nation else; from whose education as he hath receiv'd a judicious command of style both in prose and verse, so from his own natural ingenuity he hath his vein of burlesque and facetious poetry, which product the Satyr against Hypocrites,” &c. Edward and John Phillips are indeed the authors of various publications; although Dr. Johnson has hastily asserted the brief history of poetry to have been them only product of Milton's academy. Johnson is also censured by some ". writers for having affirmed the history to be written in Latin, which is, with a Latin title, written in English. But Wood informs us, that Phillips is the author of ° another work similar
m I have been favoured by John Nichols, Esq. with an Epitaph « On the excellently learned John Milton,” as it appeared in The Daily Gazetteer of Oct. 30, 1738, said to be written by an eminent author and one of Milton's pupils. This pupil, however, appears to have caught none of the Miltonick, taste or spirit; his verses being miserably tame and prosaick.
* The annotator on the Lives of the Poets, edit. 1794, and Mr. Hayley. See also the Gent. Mag. 1789, p. 416.
• Entitled, 1.“ Tractatulus de carmine dramatico poetarum, præsertim in choris tragicis, et veteris Comœdiæ.
2. “ Compendiosa enumeratio poetarum (saltem quorum fama maximè enituit) qui à tempore Dantis Aligerii usque ad hanc ætatem claruerunt; nempe Italorum, Germanorum, Anglorum, &c.”
These two things, Wood informs us, “ were added to the seventeenth edition of Joh. Buchlerus his book, entit. Sacrarums profanarúmque phrasium poeticarum Thesaurus, fc. 1669.” Ath. Ox. ut. supr., See a list of the two Phillips's publications,
to the Theatrum Poetarum already mentioned, and written in the language which Johnson has related, who indeed gives no specifick reference to either publication.
Let us now revert to the undisputed writings of Milton in prose.
There is in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, a volume of these, in the P underwritten order, which he had presented to the learned Patrick Young, Charles the first's librarian; to whom he has prefixed a brief address concluding with an expression similar to that in Paradise Lost, of finding fit audience, though few ;—“paucis hujusmodi
ibid. and p. 1119. To which, perhaps, may be added a copy of verses Upon the incomparable poems of Mr. William Drummond, afterwards prefixed to the works of that elegant author prin ted at Edinburgh in 1711, and signed Edw. Phillips. Phillips, in his Theatrum Poetarum, seems much interested in behalf of Drummond, and expresses his sorrow that in his time this charming poet should be so little noticed.
P 1. Of Reformation touching Church Discipline, &c. 2. Of Prelaticall Episcopacy. 3. The Reason of Church Government, &c. 4. Animadversions upon the Remonstrants Defence, &c. 5. An Apology against a Pamphlet, &c. 6. The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce. 7. The judgement of Martin Bucer. 8. Colasterion. 9. Tetrachordon. 10. Areopagitica.
9 The address is written on the margin of the first title-page in the volume, part of which has been cut off in the binding.
lectoribus contentus.” Whether Milton's avowal of content with a few readers, such as Young, may be thought to favour Mr. Warton's opinion that the prose-works of Milton were never popular, I leave to the reader's decision. But I do not believe that these writings experienced so much contemporary neglect, as some have been led to suppose. I find the diction, by which they are distinguished, thus concisely but strongly commended in 1650: “In truth it is very hard to write good English : and few have attained its height, in this last frie of books, but Mr. Milton.” Mr. Warton indeed has treated the prose of Milton, both English and Latin, with almost unrelenting severity; conceding only to the nervous $ Areopagitica, and the Tractate on Education,
Mr. Cooper Walker who communicated to me the notice of this curiosity, informed me also that, at the top of the page, is written the name of a former possessor, Matt. Pilkington, Stamford, 1693. "An Introduction to the Teutonick Philosophie, &c. By C. Hotham, Fellow of Peter House, Englished by D. F. 12mo. 1650. Preface.
s Certainly these two have obtained, among the numerous prose-works of Milton, more than ordinary distinction and applause. The Tractate on Education was republished in 1751 with a dedication to lord Harcourt, at that time governor to the Prince of Wales, (his late Majesty,) and Prince Edward ; “ it being thought necessary,” the editor says, “, at this juncture to reprint it, as the prosperity of ourselves and posterity depends, in a great measure, on the education of two princes, whose example in learning and virtue, it is hoped, will be a model for the youth of this nation.” It has since appeared, in a separate form, more than once; and also in French. The same may be said of the Areopagitica, in English ; and to that edition which was pubany tribute of praise. Yet in many of Milton's English treatises, besides the Tractate on Education and the Areopagitica ; and in his several Latin disquisitions; abundant examples of highest literary merit, deeply interesting in the subject as well as the composition, may surely be found. Perhaps indeed his English prose is, in general, too learned. The style of it at least is sometimes certainly recondite. Of his History of England Warburton has said, that “ it is written with great simplicity, contrary to his custom in his prose-works; and is the better for it. But he sometimes rises to a surprising grandeur in the sentiment and expression, as at the conclusion of the second book, Henceforth we are to steer, &c. I never saw any thing equal to this, but the conclusion of Sir Walter Ralegh's History of the World.”—That in his civil and religious speculations Milton is occasionally virulent, who will deny? His pen, when dipped in the gall of puritanism, hurries him into judgement without candour and condemnation without mercy. Hence the close of his Reformation in England is “t the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of his passion, without a temperance to give it smoothness;" while the preceding sentence is all loftiness of thought and elevation of language. But sometimes also, in his prose,
lished in 1738, Thomson the poet is said to have written the preface. It may be observed too, that of the Areopagitica, and the Tractate on Education, Milton himself, in his Second Defence, speaks with pleasure and a confidence of their value.
that abusive spirit and those grim expressions, which the turbulence of the times excited, are followed by a gentleness, which, like the beautiful calm that succeeds his own elemental commotion, presents him to us
_" u more fresh and green, “ After a night of storm so ruinous.”
Milton is * supposed to have been an admirer of the works of Jeremy Taylor ; to have even studied them; and to have borrowed from them ideas and expressions. With proofs of this description we are not yet supplied. But the energy of his prose has been allowed to equal, though not to surpass, that of the prelate. Perhaps the prose of Taylor is not very often of similar character to that of Milton. Nor is that of bishop Hall, another eloquent contemporary. But from this great triumvirate we gather abundantly the diversified arrangement and application of bright and majestick sentiments, of the most powerful and commanding words. Milton perhaps has never soared, in compositions of this kind, to a greater height, than when with romantick, and classical, and scriptural allusions, he hints at the future production of some noble poem; as in his Reason of Church Government y already cited ; where he also loftily tells of “ an inward prompting,
• Par. Regained, B. iv. 435.
* See the Life of bishop Taylor by archdeacon Bonney, and by bishop Heber.
» In p. 52, et seq.