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Poema, cui tituhumi fecit İl Paredijo per:
Dr. Johnson's motives for characterising Milton in his new narrative feem to have been much of a sort with those of
* Museum Mozzuchellianum seu Numifmata viroruin doctrina præftantium-a Tetro Anto. nio de comitibus gaetanis Brixiano Presbytero iHuftrata. 1763.
this Peter Anthony, with this difference, that the abuse bestowed upon the bard by the latter seems to have been more a matter of necessity.
A priest of the church of Rome would certainly consider, that an elogium upon Milton's poetical merit, delivered without a severe cenfure of his uncatholic opinions, might expose him to some untoward suspicions of his own heterodoxy among his superiors.
One would indeed imagine that a Protestant writer of the Life of Milton the Poet, could have no such temptation to deal out invectives against his speculative opinions. And yet we have instances where an inbred zeal for a particular opinion, would operate with an equal viru,
Tence upon a protestant as upon a popish bigot. For example, in the article of truth, it is just as credible, that Sir Chrif. topher Milton adhered to the party of Charles I. in obedience to the laws of his country, as that his brother John revolted from the piety and faith of his father.
On another hand, that Dr. Johnson was as much scandalized at the impiety of Milton's political sentiments, as Father Anthony was at his heretical pravity, cannot be doubted. Perhaps too the Đoctor had his fuperiors to please, as well as the priest; and they ought to do him the justice to acknowledge, that he hath done his duty in characterizing Milton, with a petulance and malignity K 4
that that would not have misbecome the fu. perstitious bigotry of a monk in a cloyster,.
The Doctor, in speculating upon Dryden's perverfion to popery, and (as one of the Reviewers of his prefaces expresses it)" attempting ingeniously to extenu“ ate it,” concludes that, Enquiries into the heart are not for man.
No truly, not when Dryden's apostacy is to be extenuated; but when poor Milton's fins are to be ingeniously aggravated, po Spanish Inquisitor more tharp-fighted to discern the devil playing his pranks in the heart of the poor culprit, or more ready to conduct him to an auto de fe.
In Dryden’s case, the presumption is, that “a comprehensive is likewise an
elevated soul, and that whoever is wise, « is likewise honest.”. But if it is natum ral to hope this, why not hope it of Milton as well as of Dryden? Where is the competent impartial judge who will admit, that Milton's soul was less. com prehensive or less elevated than the soul of Dryden? . . . - But what occafion for all this grimace in accounting for Dryden's tranfition from what he did or did not profess to the church of Rome? Dr. Johnson ought to have been satisfied with Dryden's own account in his tale of the Hind and the Panther; the rather, as he there seems to have verified by experience Dra. Johnson's maxim, that “ he that is of no “church can have no religion.” He