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nor so destitute of other hopes and means, better and more certain to attain it: for kings have gained glorious titles from their favourers by writing against private men, as Henry VIII did against Luther; but no man ever gained much honour by writing against a king, as not usually meeting with that force of argument in such courtly antagonists which to convince might add to his reputation. Kings most commonly, though. strong in legions, are but weak at arguments;
they who ever have been accustomed from their cradle to use their will only as their right hand, their reason always as their left. Whence, unexpectedly constrained to that kind of combat, they prove but weak and puny adversaries. Nevertheless, for their sakes who, through custom, simplicity, or want of better teaching, have not more seriously considered kings than in the gaudy name of majesty, and admire them and their doings as if they breathed not the same breath with other mortal men, I shall make no scruple to take up, (for it seems to be the challenge of him and all his party,) to take up this gauntlet, though a king's, in the behalf of liberty and the commonwealth.”
1 P.W. vol. ii. 391.
It would be endless to extract all the instances, which occur in this work, of strong argument, keen satire, and brilliant composition. I will content myself, therefore, with transcribing the following short and spirited paragraph.
But what needed that? They knew his chiefest arms left him were those only which the ancient Christians were wont to use against their persecutors, prayers and tears. O sacred reverence of God! respect and shame of men! whither were ye fled when these hypocrisies were uttered? Was the kingdom, then, at all that cost of blood to remove from him none but prayers and
tears? What were those thousands of blase pheming cavaliers about him, whose mouths
let fly oaths and curses by the volley; were those the prayers? and those carouses drunk to the confusion of all things good or holy, did those minister the tears? Were they prayers and tears, which were listed at York, mustered on Heworth Moor, and laid siege to Hull for the guard of his person? Were * prayers and tears at so high a rate in Holland that nothing could purchase them but the crown-jewels? Yet they in Holland (such word was sent us) sold them for guns, cara
P.W. vol. ii. p. 469.
the Icon Basilike, to bring discredit.on that publication by interpolating it with this prayer from the Arcadia. If a moment's credit were due to so idle a tale, we might confidently'affirm that never before did men descend so low from such heights of character for an object so contemptibly minute: an eagle stooping from its proudest wing to seize upon an earthworm would inadequately represent the folly of Milton and Bradshaw in their condescension to forge, for the purpose of casting a mere atom into the heavily charged scale of the departed king. Fortunately, however, we possess the most satisfactory evidence of their exemption from the imputed meanness.' By Royston, who was reported to have received the inanuscript from the King, and not by Du Gard, the printer to the Parliament, was that edition of the Icon printed in which the controverted prayer was originally inserted; and Royston's press was remote from the suspicion of any contact with Milton or his sup
I have now in my possession the first edition of the Icon Basilike printed in 1649 (for R. Royston at the Angel in Ivy. lane) to which this prayer, called “ A Prayer in time of Captivity,” is attached. Let us not then again be told by Milton's enemies of his forgery in this instance, or be soothed by his friends with their hopes and their belief that he was incapable of committing it.
dit on la posed accomplice. Notwithstanding this with i full though short confutation, which was first MODEL: adduced by Toland, of the testimony of the we my unprincipled Hills, his calumny has been
revived by the infamous Lauder, admitted i den by Lauder's friend and coadjutor, Dr. John
son,' and only faintly and timidly denied by
the last compiler of our author's life, Mr. deput Todd."
* As I have seldom, from the commencement of the present work, adverted to this libeller of Milton, my readers will, perhaps, pardon me, if I dedicate this note to his honour. Dr. Johnson tells us that “ the papers, which the King gave to Dr. Juxon on the scaffold, the regicides took away, so that they were at least the publishers of this prayer; and Dr. Birch, who examined the question with great care, was inclined to think them the forgers." Fuller, who must have known and who would not have concealed the truth, shall refute the former part of this egregious paragraph; and Dr. Birch himself the latter. · But “ faction, Dr. Johnson! seldom leaves a man honest, however it might find him."Fuller in his Church History says, “ His Majesty being upon the scaffold, held in his hand a small piece of paper, some four inches square, containing heads whereon in his speech be intended to dilate; and a tall soldier, looking over the King's shoulders, read it as the King held it in his band. His speech ended, he gave that small paper to the bishop of London. After his death, the officers demanded the paper of the bishop, who, because of the depth of his pocket, smallness of the paper, and the mixture of others therewith, could not so soon produce it as was required. At last he brought it forth; but therewith the others were unsatisfied, jealousy is quick of growth) as not the same which his Majesty delivered to him. When pre.
" See Account of the Life of Milton, by Todd, p. 74.
Of the Iconoclastes it only remains to be
sently the soldier, whose rudeness had formerly overinspected it in the King's hand, attested this the very same paper, and prevented farther suspicions, which might have terminated to the bishop's trouble.” (Fuller's Church History of Britain, book xi. 236. ed. 1655.) So much for the King's papers taken from Dr. Juxon on the scaffold by the regicides! Let us noiv attend to Dr. Bircb. [Life of Milton, p. xxxiii. 4to ed.] "In the course of the controversy about the book, Milton's charge upon the King of borrowing the prayer of Pamela from sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, inserted in some editions of the Etxwr was retorted upon himself, as if this prayer had been added by his contrivance who, in conjunction' with serjeant Bradshaw, had prevailed upon Du Gard the printer to insert it, in order to cast a disgrace upon the King and blast the reputation of the Icon. This supposed fact was advanced chiefly upon the authority of Henry Hills the printer, who had frequently asserted it to Dr. Gill and Dr. Bernard, his physicians, as they testified. But Hills was not himself the printer who was dealt with in this manner; and consequently he could have the story only from hearsay; and though he was Cromwell's printer, yet afterwards he turned papist in the reign of James IId. in order to be that king's printer; and it was at that time he used to relate this story. Besides which, it is highly improbable that Milton and Bradshaw should make him their confident unnecessarily in such an affair, and laugh in his presence at their imposing such a cheat upon the world; or that he should conceal it during the life of the former, who survived the restoration so many years. So that such a testimony from such a person is not to be admitted against a man, who, as his learned and ingenious editor (Bishop Newton) observes, had a soul above being guilty of so mean an action!"
I must be permitted to prolong this note by remarking on an attack which has been made on another passage of the Iconoclastes. In a note on Milton's first elegy, Mr.Warton observes «His (Milton's) warmest poetical predilections were at last totally obliterated by civil and religious enthusiasm. Seduced