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for that, too simple is the answerer, if he think to obtain with me. Of small practice were the physician who could not judge, by what she and her sister have of long time vomited, that the worser stuff she strongly keeps in her stomach, but the better she is ever kecking at, and is queasy: she vomits now out of sickness; but before it be well with her, she must vomit by strong physick.-The university, in the time of her better health, and my
younger judgement, I never greatly admired, but now 10 much less."
This is surely the language of a man who thinks that he has been injured. He proceeds to describe the course of his conduct, and the train of his thoughts; and, because he has been suspected of incontinence, gives an account of his own purity: “ That if I be justly charged,” says he, “ with this crime, it may come upon me with tenfold shame."
The style of his piece is rough, and such perhaps was that of his antagonist. This roughness he justifies, by 20 great examples, in a long digression. Sometimes he tries
to be humorous: “Lest I should take him for some chaplain in hand, some squire of the body to his prelate, one who serves not at the altar only but at the Court-cupboard, he will bestow on us a pretty model of himself; and sets me out half a dozen ptisical mottos, wherever he had them, hopping short in the measure of convulsion fits; in which labour the agony of his wit having scaped narrowly, instead of well-sized periods, he greets us with a
quantity of thumbring posies.—And thus ends this section, 30 or rather dissection of himself.” Such is the controversial
merriment of Milton; his gloomy seriousness is yet more offensive. Such is his malignity, that hell grows darker at his frown.
His father, after Reading was taken by Essex, came to reside in his house; and his school increased. At Whit
suntide, in his thirty-fifth year, 'he married Mary, the daughter of Mr. Powel, a justice of the Peace in Oxford. shire. He brought her to town with him, and expected all the advantages of a conjugal life. The lady, however, seems not much to have delighted in the pleasures of spare diet and hard study; for, as Philips relates, “ having for a month led a philosophical life, after having been used at home to a great house, and much company and joviality, her friends, possibly by her own desire, made earnest suit to have her company the remaining part of the 10 summer; which was granted, upon a promise of her return at Michaelmas."
Milton was too busy to much miss his wife: he pursued his studies; and now and then visited the Lady Margaret Leigh, whom he has mentioned in one of his sonnets. At last Michaelmas arrived; but the Lady had no inclination to return to the sullen gloom of her husband's habitation, and therefore very willingly forgot her promise. He sent her a letter, but had no answer; he sent more with the same success. It could be alleged that letters miscarry; 20 he therefore dispatched a messenger, being by this time too angry to go himself. His messenger was sent back with some contempt. The family of the Lady were Cavaliers.
In a man whose opinion of his own merit was like Milton's, less provocation than this might have raised violent resentment. Milton soon determined to repudiate her for disobedience; and, being one of those who could easily find arguments to justify inclination, published (in 1644) “The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ;” which was followed by “ The Judgement of Martin Bucer, con- 30 cerning Divorce; ” and the next year, his “ Tetrachordon, Expositions upon the four chief Places of Scripture which treat of Marriage.”
This innovation was opposed, as might be expected, by the clergy ; who, then holding their famous assembly at
Westminster, procured that the author should be called before the Lords; “but that House,” says Wood, “whether approving the doctrine, or not favouring his accusers, did soon dismiss him.”
There seems not to have been much written against him, nor any thing by any writer of eminence. The antagonist that appeared is styled by him, “ A Serving man turned Solicitor.” Howel in his letters mentions the new doctrine
with contempt; and it was, I suppose, thought more 10 worthy of derision than of confutation. He complains of
this neglect in two sonnets, of which the first is contemptible, and the second not excellent.
From this time it is observed that he became an enemy to the Presbyterians, whom he had favoured before. He that changes his party by his humour, is not more virtuous than he that changes it by his interest; he loves himself rather than truth.
His wife and her relations now found that Milton was not an unresisting sufferer of injuries; and perceiving that 20 he had begun to put his doctrine in practice, by courting a
young woman of great accomplishments, the daughter of one Doctor Davis, who was however not ready to comply, they resolved to endeavour a re-union. He went sometimes to the house of one Blackborough, his relation, in the lane of St. Martin's-le-Grand, and at one of his usual visits was surprised to see his wife come from another room, and implore forgiveness on her knees. He resisted her intreaties for a while; “but partly,” says Philips, “his own generous
nature, more inclinable to reconciliation than to perse30 verance in anger or revenge, and partly the strong inter
cession of friends on both sides, soon brought him to an act of oblivion and a firm league of peace.” It were injurious to omit, that Milton afterwards received her father and her brothers in his own house, when they were distressed, with other Royalists.
He published about the same time his “ Areopagitica, a Speech of Mr. John Milton for the liberty of unlicensed Printing.” The danger of such unbounded liberty, and the danger of bounding it, have produced a problem in the science of Government, which human understanding seems hitherto unable to solve. If nothing may be published but what civil authority shall have previously approved, power must always be the standard of truth; if every dreamer of innovations may propagate his projects, there can be no settlement; if every murmurer at government 10 may diffuse discontent, there can be no peace; and if every
sceptick in theology may teach his follies, there can be no dreligion. The remedy against these evils is to punish the authors ; for it is yet allowed that every society may punish, though not prevent, the publication of opinions, which that society shall think pernicious; but this punishment, though it may crush the author, promotes the book; and it seems not more reasonable to leave the right of printing unrestrained, because writers may be afterwards censured, than it would be to sleep with doors unbolted, 20 because by our laws we can hang a thief.
But whatever were his engagements, civil or domestick, poetry was never long out of his thoughts. About this time (1645) a collection of his Latin and English poems appeared, in which the “ Allegro ” and “Penseroso,' with some others, were first published.
He had taken a larger house in Barbican for the reception of scholars; but the numerous relations of his wife, to whom he generously granted refuge for a while, occupied his rooms. In time, however, they went away; "and the 30 house again,” says Philips, “now looked like a house of the Muses only, though the accession of scholars was not great. Possibly his having proceeded so far in the education of youth, may have been the occasion of his adversaries calling him pedagogue and school-master ; whereas it is
well known he never set up for a publick school, to teach all the young fry of a parish; but only was willing to impart his learning and knowledge to relations, and the sons of gentlemen who were his intimate friends; and that neither his writings nor his way of teaching ever savoured in the least of pedantry.”
Thus laboriously does his nephew extenuate what cannot be denied, and what might be confessed without disgrace.
Milton was not a man who could become mean by a mean 10 employment. This, however, his warmest friends seem not
to have found; they therefore shift and palliate. He did not sell literature to all comers at an open shop; he was a chamber-milliner, and measured his commodities only to his friends.
Philips, evidently impatient of viewing him in this state of degradation, tells us that it was not long continued ; and, to raise his character again, has a mind to invest him with military splendour: “He is much mistaken," he says,
“if there was not about this time a design of making him 20 an adjutant-general in Sir William Waller's army. But
the new modelling of the army proved an obstruction to the design.” An event cannot be set at a much greater distance than by having been only designed, about some time, if a man be not much mistaken. Milton shall be a pedagogue no longer; for, if Philips be not much mistaken, somebody at some time designed him for a soldier.
About the time that the army was new-modelled (1645) he removed to a smaller house in Holbourn, which opened
backward into Lincoln's-Inn-Fields. He is not known to 30 have published any thing afterwards till the King's death,
when, finding his murderers condemned by the Presbyterians, he wrote a treatise to justify it, and to compose the minds of the people.
He made some “Remarks on the Articles of Peace between Ormond and the Irish Rebels.” While he contented