* in the place of acknowledging that " such particular paffages only were in “ terpolated, he gave up the whole effay

6 against Milton as delufion and misrea - “ presentation, and therefore imposed - « more grievously on the public than I

“ had done ; and that too in terms much “ more submiflive and abject than the « nature of the offence required *.” ::

The amanuenfis here gained two con+ fiderable points. 1. It was at his option to mention or not the assistance that Lauder had in composing his essay; and consequently to conceal in what degree the fraud was communicated to him from the beginning. 2. He effe&tually answered Mr.Douglas's expectation, who . * Vindication of King Charles I. p. 46 indi


would naturally conclude that Lauder had no accomplices in his villany, ex, cept the jesuits.

But they who read Lauder's complaints of this confidential friend in the pamphlet juft quoted, must fuperabound both in faith and charity, if they can believe that the composer of the letter to Mr. Douglas was unconscious of Lauder's forgery, previously to Dr. Douglas's detection of it. 7 .

A postscript to a second edition of Dr. Douglas's Vindication, dated May 17, 1756, finished the controversy., Lauder was disgraced with the public, and discarded by his amanuensis, who turned a deaf ear to all his reproaches, and aban, doned him to his fate, with a cool pbilo- ?


[ocr errors]

sophical apathy, void of all ambition to Thare with him the blushing honours himself had lo generously contributed to thicken upon Lauder's devoted head. I

The effects of his journey-work, in defaming Milton, being thus disappoint

ed by the laudable diligence of Dr.Doug-las, and the unmanageable petulance of

Lauder, common prudence suggested to our biographer the expedience of sup; preffing his impatience for another opportunity of leffening the public vene ration for Milton's merit. Accordingly he laid by his project for about two years, when he might reasonably hope his ma næuvres, under the hide' of Lauder, would be forgotten, or laid afleep by'a succession of that variety of edtertainment Ghich the prefs isalways providing for the public on call forts of fubjects.' cfi Fantiary: 1758 he released himself from his quarentine, and appeared in tke •Literāry Magazine for that month, hölding forth to the public his poeTICAL SCALE, the particulars of wlrich, fave what relates to-Milton; we feave to the critics by profeffion. This is what he says of Milton! :: i jskas bains 01". ***I am fenfible that in the calculations - I have here exhibited I have, in many

instances, strong prejudices againft me: ***The friends of Milton will not yield *t to Shakespeare the fuperiority of ge- nius, which, I think, lies on the side * of Shakespeare: Both of them have # faults. But the faults of Shakespeare

“ were

* were those of Genius; those of Milton “ of the MAN OF GENIUS. The former “ arises from imagination getting the “ better of judgment; the latter from, habit getting the better of imagination., * Shakespeare's faults were tlrose of a great poet, ;; those of Milton of a little. " pedant, When Shakespeare is execrable he is so exquisitely so, that he is:

inimitable in his blemishes as in his 5 beauties. The puns of Milton betray, " a narrownefs of education, and a dege. * neracy of babit.:. .: iis

Thus fari Dr. Johnson's exhibition of Milton in the scale of poetical merit, which perhaps at the bottom may amount to no more than that Milton could not make a faddle,, or, dance upon


[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »