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former with the title of, “ Epistolarum Familiarium Liber unus;" and the latter with that of “ Prolusiones quædam oratoriæ in Collegio Christi habitæ.” These letters, of which we have offered to our readers more than one specimen and which are addressed principally to foreigners of literary eminence, are possessed of peculiar interest, and contain, as Morhoff justly remarks, many characters of ancient and modern, of foreign and domestic authors which are worthy to be read and understood. His college exercises are valuable chiefly for their exhibition of early power and proficiency.
Thenextexercise of his pen, asitisaffirmed, was to translate into English the declaration of the Poles, on their elevating the heroic, John Sobieski, to their elective throne; but I must profess niyself to be doubtful of the fact.' It is more certain that in some part of the same year, he wrote “A Brief History of Muscovy," which was published at a period of about eight years posterior to his death.
With this work terminated his literary
i The latin document could arrive in Englandi only a very short time before Milton's death, and the translation bears no resemblance to his character of composition. These circumstances induce me to express a doubt where none of Milton's preceding biographers, as far at least, as I know, have inti
on this occasic
in the course never replaced has, in our da by the erectic marble bust o of Bacon, and
labours," for the gout, which had for many years afflicted him, was now appointed to terminate his exemplary life. He was summoned to his final account, for which no one of his species, perhaps, had ever been better prepared, on the 'eighth of november (1674), when he expired without pain, and so quietly that they, who waited in his chamber, were unconscious of the moment of his departure. 6. The funeral was attended,” as Toland informs us, “ by all the author's learned and great friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the vulgar;" and his body was deposited, by the side of his father's, in the upper part of the chancel of St. Giles, Cripplegate.
In consequence of an alteration made in that part of the church, the stone, inscribed
In 1793. The
that the charities,
“When the in
k An answer to a libel on himself, and a system of Theology called, according to Wood," Idea Theologiæ," are compositions of Milton's which have been lost. The last was at one time in the hands of Cyriac Skinner, but what became of it afterwards has not been traced. Another work of our author's is mene tioned by Mr. Todd. It is entitled “ An Argument or Debate in Law of the great Question concerning the Militia, as it is now settled by Ordinance of Parliament, by J.M. (London 1642.)" In the copy of this work, which Mr. Todd saw in the collection of the late Duke of Bridgwater, the second Earl of Bridgwater, who had acted the elder Brother in Comus, has written the name of Milton as the author.
| Wood says, on the ninth or the tenth. The day of Milton's burial is ascertained, by the parish register, to have been the twelfth.
wall of a building ceeded him,
being tion!' I know of i but this of Dr. Jol to cover the other dishonour, The re it is brought to just and of prelatical as Vilton migat the name of one from the opening and ardent devoti be read on the w
on this occasion with his name, was, removed in the course of not many years, and was never replaced. But this unintended injury has, in our days, been amply compensated by the erection, in the same church, of a marble bust of the great poet, by the hand of Bacon, and the liberality of the late Mr.
m In 1793. The late Mr. Whitbread was a man whose virtues reflected honour on his species. I have been informed by a gentleman, whose opportunities of knowing the fact and whose high integrity of character render his authority unquestionable, that the charities, which this excellent man distributed with silent and sagacious beneficence, amounted annually to no less a sum than 10,0001.!-happy with the means of such extended good, and still happier with the heart to employ them. His virtues seem to have descended, with undiminished force and lustre, to his son, the present representative in parliament of the town of Bedford.
“When the inscription,” says Dr. Johnson, in his biographical libel on Milton, “ for the monument of Philips, in which he was said to be soli Miltono secundus, was exhibited to Dr. Sprat then dean of Westminster, he refused to admit it; the name of Milton was in his opinion too detestable to be read on the wall of a building dedicated to devotion. Atterbury, who succeeded him, being author of the inscription, permitted its reception." I know of no other testimony for the fact, in question, but this of Dr. Johnson. If it be authentic, it is of a nature to cover the otherwise respectable name of Sprat with eternal dishonour. The reason is not less unhappy than the act which it is brought to justify, was brutal. From the repository of regal and of prelatical ashes, the name of the republican and the puri. tan Milton might consistently be excluded: but it is strange that the name of one of the most religious of men, whose bosom, from the opening to the close of his life, glowed with the most pure and ardent devotion, should be regarded as “ too detestable to be read on the wall of a building dedicated to devotion."
A few mon time in the pre
Whitbread. The honourable example had
malice which been given by Mr. Benson, one of the audi against the nar tors of the imprest, who, in 1737, introduced a similar memorial of Milton into Westminster Abbey, to the walls of which venerable
quested the att building his very name had been consi
, and, in dered, only a few years before, as a species position of his of pollution. The lines," which Dr. George, the provost of King's college, Cambridge, wrote for the inscription on this monument, are elegant and nervous: but the apology, which they intimate, could derive its
propriety only from that illiberal and impotent
ration of his w which is called
tain precise ecclesiastical c
the cause, on a the daughters,
ton was found
Some of these verses I have inserted in my title-page, but I will here give them entire. They are by no means faultless, and they have certainly received their full share of praise.
Augusti regum cineres, sanctæque favillæ
• In august, 179 great poet, was opene to the public view. this occasion, discov time. The people bones; and happy mercenary spirit of sessor of
any portior of the ashes of the ill of the writers of the on the subject, the
Ashes of regal and of holy fame,
waspection, and pro showing that the com the uneasiness of hi tended itself to the once contributed to
malice which had previously been exerted against the name and memory of MILTON
A few months before his decease, someTip time in the preceding july, Milton had re
quested the attendance of his brother, Chris
topher, and, in his presence, had made a dishina
position of his property by a formal declaration of his will. This mode of testament, which is called nuncupative and, under certain precise regulations, is admitted by the ecclesiastical courts, was, in the present instance, ineffectual. After a full hearing of the cause, on a suit instituted against it by the daughters, the nuncupative will of Milton was found destitute of some of the essential requisites for the establishment of its va
• In august, 1790, the grave, as it was imagined, of the great poet, was opened; and his remains exposed for some time to the public view. The popular respect for Milton was, on this occasion, discovered to be approaching to religious veneration. The people pressed from all quarters for a sight of the bones, and happy was the man, who, availing himself of the mercenary spirit of the parish-officers, could become the possessor of any portion of the sacred reliques. This profanation of the ashes of the illustrious dead was warmly resented by some of the writers of the day; but; much curiosity having been excited on the subject, the skeleton was subjected to a very accurate inspection, and proved to be that of a female; a fact, which, showing that the coffin of Milton was yet unviolated, relieved the uneasiness of his admirers, whose fondness for the man extended itself to the smallest piece of dead matter, which had once contributed to form his mortal residence,