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ment. Their brief fever over, the sobriety and good-nature of Englishmen were disgusted at the licence and the cruelty of Whitehall; and though the Puritan experiment, once so thoroughly tried, could not be repeated, the struggles and sufferings of the Puritans bore certain, if tardy fruit.
Milton died just half way between the Restoration and the Revolution. Fourteen years before his death the way to establish a free commonwealth had seemed to him ready and easy ;' but it was not found till the spirit of compromise and concession (which he abhorred, but which it seems must ever rule Englishmen when engaged in lasting works of reform) had been evoked by a great emergency, and had rendered it possible to establish a settled liberty under the old forms of the constitution, and to afford conflicting tendencies scope and verge enough for their mutual opposition without danger to the national interests.
Looking back, ‘in calm of mind, all passion spent,' at the great tragedy he had seen played out, Milton found no time or cause for lamentation. All is best, though we oft doubt.' A new acquisition of true experience had been gained, such as can be reaped even from the failures of true men.
The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. That would seem to be in brief the lesson of the great struggle of the seventeenth century. The elaborate machinery of government, readjusted and varied till its continual alteration produced and evinced the instability and anarchy it was intended to prevent; the attempt to attain exalted excellence by narrowing the idea of perfection; the continual self-conscious straining after a self-appointed rule of life; and the neglect or denial of those facts of life of which the rule took no account;- these were the failings and the errors of the Puritanic system.
But the unconquerable will to do right (according to the system); the patient endurance of suffering in what was, at least in its beginning, the cause of freedom; and the assurance that that cause, being of God, must stand fast for ever and ever-here was the virtue and the faith that gave lustre and dignity to the Puritanic character. And if the virtue was
sometimes marred by self-will, and the faith distorted by fanaticism, it was but as the light of the stedfast stars may be for awhile dimmed or hidden by the mists and vapours of this sin-worn mould. If we do not refuse to the memory of the Puritans the just tribute of our gratitude, we must acknowledge that to them it was owing that England did not sink to the level of the France or the Spain of that day. We have entered into the labours of their might: if we have received from them any traditions not of sound doctrine, the fault is ours if we allow the authority of their opinion—which was but 'knowledge in the making'-to prejudice us against the teaching and the warning of their example.
d. 1674 ; Thomas Fuller b., d. 1661; Sack baptized at Allhallows,
Sir Matthew Hale b., d. 1676; Sir J. Suckling
b., d. 1641 ; Publication of Shakespeare's
Sonnets. 1610 Henry IV of France assassinated, May 4. 1611
Authorised Version of the Bible, May 22;
James Harrington b., d. 1677.
10; Sir Thomas Overbury murdered, Sept. 24. |
Trial of the Earl and Countess of Somerset ; ||
demnation and reprieve of Somerset. mont d. (29); Publication of Jonson's Under-
woods, and Browne's Britannia's Pastorals. 1617 Book of Sports ; Episcopacy in Scotland ; Ra- Ralph Cudworth b., d. 1688.
leigh's Guiana expedition. 1618 Bacon, Lord Chancellor, Jan. 4; Execution of Joshua Sylvester, translator of Du Bartas, d.
Raleigh (66), Oct. 29.-- Thirty Years' War (55). begins, May. 1619
Samuel Daniel d. (57); William Harvey (1577
1657) discovers circulation of blood.
the Protest of the Commons, Dec. 18.-La Anatomy of Melancholy.
Fontaine 6., d. 1695.
Polyolbion, Second Part published.
Bacon's De Augmentis; First Folio of Shake
logy or Declaration of the Power and Pro
vidence of God.
confirmed, June 17; Laud, Bp. of London; 1688; Sir W. Temple b., d. 1699.
Buckingham killed, Aug. 23
B.A., March 29; Nativity Ode.
clamation against Parliaments.
Passion ; On Shakespear.
(58); John Dryden b., d. 1700.
and Marchioness of Winchester d., April ; Sonnet I.
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE (continued).
MILTON'S LIFE. 1632 Laud and Wentworth ; Till 1638 lasts the period John Locke b., d. 1704; Herbert d. (39); Earl M.A., Cambridge, July; Re
of Thorough.—Gustavus Adolphus killed at of Roscommon b., d. 1684; Prynne's His- tires to Horton for five years,
triomastix; Second Folio of Shakespeare; to which period are assigned
Il Penseroso, Arcades, and
Abp. of Canterbury, Sept. 19.-Release of
Galileo from imprisonment. 1634 First writ of ship-money, Oct. 20; Sir E. George Chapman d. (77); Thos, Randolph d. Comus acted at Ludlow, MiCoke d. (84).
(29); Inns Masque and Coelum Britannicum, chaelmas.
Feb.; Habington's Poems.
and Edward King, Aug. 11;
I H. Wotton d. (71); T. Ellwood b., d. 1713. dati.
Wycherley b., d. 1715; Thomas Shadwell b.,
Prelatical Episcopacy; Rea-
son of Church Government ; Vandyke d. (42) in London, Dec. 9.