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Coarse complexions, * And cheeks of sorry grain, will serve to ply • The sampler, and to tease the huswife's wool: • What need a vermeil-tinctur'd lip for that, • Love-darting eyes, and tresses like the morn?'_"
- He returned by the way of Rome, though some mercantile friends had acquainted him that the Jesuits: there were forming plots against him, for the liberty of his conversation upon matters of religion. He paid little attention to the advice of his friend Sir Henry Wotton,“ to keep his thoughts close, and his countenance open.” Nor did the liberal and polished Manso omit to acquaint him, at his departure, that he would have shown him more considerable favours, if his conduct had been less unguarded. He is supposed to have given offence by having visited Galileo. And he had been with difficulty restrained from publickly asserting, within the verge of the Vatican, the cause of Protestantism. While Milton, however, defended his principles without hypocrisy, he appears not to have courted contest. When he was questioned as to his faith, he was too honest to conceal his sentiments, and too dauntless to relinquish them. He staid at Rome two months more without fear, and indeed without molestation. From Rome he proceeded to Florence, where he was received with the most lively marks of affection by his friends, and made a second residence of two months. From Florence he visited Lucca: Then crossing the Apennine, he passed by the way of Bologna and Ferrara to Venice, in which city he spent a month. From
Venice he took his course through Verona, Milan, and along the lake Leman, to Geneva. After spending some time in this city, where he became acquainted with Giovanni Deodati, and Frederick Spanheim, he returned through France, and came home after an absence of fifteen months. Mr. Hayley has forcibly observed, that, “ in the relation which Milton himself gives of his return, the name of Geneva recalling to his mind one of the most slanderous of his political adversaries, he animates his narrative by a solemn appeal to Heaven on his unspotted integrity; he protests that, during his residence in foreign scenes, where licentiousness was universal, his own conduct was perfectly irreproachable. I dwell the more zealously on whatever may elucidate the moral character of Milton ; because, even among those who love and revere him, the splendour of the poet has in some measure eclipsed the merit of the man; but in proportion as the particulars of his life are studied with intelligence and candour, his virtue will become, as it ought to be, the friendly rival of his genius, and receive its due share of admiration and esteem."
His return happened about the time of the King's second expedition against the Scots, in which his forces under lord Conway were defeated by general Lesley, in the month of August 1639. In a Bible, ! said to have been once in his possession, (probably
.? Gentleman's Magazine, July 1792, p. 615. And in 1809 I
the constant companion of his travels,) is a manuscript remark, dated 1639 at Canterbury city, which may serve to show the powerful impression made on his mind, (admitting the authenticity of the remark,) by this eventful period. “ This year of very dreadful commotion, and I weene will ensue murderous times of conflicting fight.” The date of the year and place may lead us to suppose that, having landed at Dover, he was on his return from his travels to London. The gentleman, who communicated the intelligence of this Bible to the publick, and had been indulged with a sight of it, selected other marginal observations which appeared to him remarkable; among which is the following poetical note on I. Maccab. xiv. 16. “ Now when it was heard at Rome, and as far as Sparta, that Jonathan was dead, they were very sorry :"
“ When that day of death shall come,
The authenticity of the remarks, and of the Bible having belonged to Milton, has indeed been questioned; but has been defended not without considerable force, by the communicator himself, and by
was informed, by the obliging information of Mr. Nichols, that this Bible was then in the possession of the Rev. Mr. Blackburn, son of the late Archdeacon Blackburn who wrote the Remarks on Dr. Johnson's Life of Milton, 12mo, Lond. 1780.
other writers in the valuable miscellany, in which the information has been given; to the demonstrations and conjectures of whom I refer the reader".
Before we attend to the busier scenes of life, in which Milton, now returned to his native country, became engaged ; let me be permitted to lament that he never executed the scheme, which he once proposed to himself in his animated lines to Manso, of " “ embellishing original tales of chivalry, of clothing the fabulous achievements of the early British kings and champions in the gorgeous trappings of epick attire.”. The delight which he had derived from the military tales of Italy now perhaps sunk into neglect; though never into forgetfulness. In his latest poems he seems to look back, not without an eye of fond regard, to the more distinguished compositions of this kind; and certainly with ample testimony of the attention, with which he had studied (to use his own words) “ those lofty fables and romances that recount in solemn cantos the deeds of knighthood."
· At his return he heard of the death of his beloved friend and schoolfellow, Charles Deodati. And he lamented his loss in that elegant eclogue, the Epi
m Gent. Mag. Sept. 1792, p. 789. Oct. 1792, p. 900. Feb. 1793, p. 106. And March 1800, p. 199. .. See Mr. Warton's Preface to the Smaller Poems of Milton. ::: • See particularly Par. Lost, B. i. 579, &c. Par. Reg. B. iii. 336, &c.
taphium Damonis, which Mr. Warton has súca cessfully defended against the cold remark of Dr. Johnson.
He now hired a lodging in St. Bride's Churchyard, Fleet-street; where he undertook the education of his sister's sons, John and Edward Phillips, p. “ the first ten, the other nine years of age; and in a year's time made them capable of interpreting a Latin author at sight.” Finding his house not sufficiently large for his library and furniture, he took a handsome. 9 garden-house in Aldersgate-street, situated at the end of an entry, that he might avoid the noise and disturbance of the street. Here he received into his house a few more pupils, the sons of his most intimate friends; and he proceeded, with cheerfulness, in the noblest employment of mankind, that of instructing others in knowledge and virtue. “As he was severe on one hand,” Aubrey says, “ SO he was most familiar and free in his conversation to
P Aubrey's Life of Milton.
9 From the Note signed H. in Dr. Johnson's Life of Milton, Lives of the Poets, ed. 1794, vol. i. p. 130, it appears, that there were many of these garden houses, i. e. houses situated in a garden, especially in the north suburbs of London; and that the term is technical, frequently occurring in Wood's Athen. and Fast. Oxon. The annotator adds, that the meaning may be collected from the article Thomas Farnabe, the famous schoolmaster; of whom the author says, that he taught in Goldsmith's-rents, in Cripplegate parish, behind Redcross-street, where were large gardens and handsome houses : Milton's house in Jewin-street was also a garden-house, as were indeed most of his dwellings after his settlement in London.