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me to the world, becomes a pattern for me byterian clergymen in their black Genevan gowns, her piety, helps me to bear my grievous mis- dinned his ears; all sects tried to gain access fortunes, and, by her sympathy and refined to him, and either to fathom the intentions of judgment, encourages me in writing my epic, the general or to lead them into a special chanwhich, but for her advice, would perhaps never nel. The fickleness and want of principle of have been finished. Such a woman restores the multitude became more and more apparent; to me my lost paradise, and I praise the good and while Milton was waiting in the anteroom, ness of the Lord, who, even though so late, has he could not but notice that his old friends and had mercy upon me, and revealed to me the acquaintances anxiously shunned him now that true and exalted nature of woman.”
he had lost his former influence, and the curThe blind poet felt a gentle, chaste kiss on rent of public opinion was favorable to the his lips; but before he was able to return it, Stuarts. his muse had disappeared.
At last he was admitted. The general received him with the coldness and imperturbable equanimity which always give a shrewd, calculating mind the advantage over a fervent en
thusiast. CHAPTER IX.
“What do you want of me?" asked Monk, THE RESTORATION-MILTON'S CONCEALMENT.
with his characteristic bluntness. ALTHOUGH Milton was thus restored to “Solicitude for the welfare of the country poetry, his heart was still ardently devoted to leads me to you; the fate of England is in the liberties of his country, which at this junc- your hands. At no time, perhaps, has so much ture were more seriously threatened than ever been intrusted to a single man as to you, genbefore. General Monk, who, as we have said, eral. On your decision depends the weal or was master of the situation, hesitated, it is woe of England. A whole people looks up to true, to take the last decisive step; but all you and holds you responsible for its fate. symptoms indicated the speedy overthrow of History, with uplifted pencil, stands ready to the republic. With profound affliction Milton engrave your name on her tablets, either as saw his fondest ideals ruthlessly swept away, the benefactor or the worst enemy of your and he beheld the rapid return to power of country.” a reactionary party, which, in anticipation of “Come to the point. Who sent you to me? its overwhelming triumph, already exulted at “Who sent me to you? My love of liberty, the humiliation of its republican adversaries. general, and the voice of the Spirit. As the As yet, however, he thought the cause that was Lord of old raised up prophets in Israel when so dear and sacred to him was not irretrievably His people was in danger, so He calls forth Jost; and as he had once spoken to Cromwell, to-day also men that will fearlessly proclaim so he resolved now to go to Monk and remind the truth.” him of his duty. The blind poet caused him “ The time of miracles is past,” replied the self to be conducted to the general, whom he general, sneeringly. found surrounded by the leading men of the “And yet the events of the last fifteen years different parties. All thronged about Monk prove the falsehood of that adage. Has not to exercise a decisive influence over his reso a miracle happened under our own eyes ? A lutions. The haughty cavaliers in their rich throne fell before the mighty will of a nation, costumes of silk and velvet, and the Presby- and the anointed head of a king was laid on
the block. A man of lowly descent became | whole people who themselves know not what ruler of England, and at the very moment when law, what reason, what right and wrong, what he was stretching out his hand for the crown, crooked and straight, what licit and illicit death overtook him. Is it not a miracle, too, mean? who think that all power consists in that you yourself have reached a position outrage, all dignity in the parade of insolence? where you may decide upon the future of three who neglect every other consideration for the kingdoms ? "
corrupt gratification of their friendships, or the “ And what are your views, your wishes ? prosecution of their resentments ? who disWhat do you advise me to do ?”
perse their own relations and creatures through “To preserve the republic and protect it the provinces, for the sake of levying taxes against its enemies; to save to the nation and confiscating goods ? men, for the greater those liberties which it has purchased with part, the most profligate and vile, who in a rivers of precious blood."
moment emerge from penury and rags to a “Pray ask the people whether they want state of splendor and wealth ? Who could freedom; and ask yourself whether the multi- believe that the masters and patrons of bantude is ripe for it."
ditti could be the proper guardians of liberty?" “In my opinion, freedom is not a gift of Monk was silent, and his cold features did mercy, which must be solicited and humbly not betray the slightest symptom of sympathy; obtained, but it is the birthright of individuals yet Milton continued to defend liberty in the as well as nations. I will not deny that it may most enthusiastic manner. To save the rebe abused and degenerate into anarchy; hence, public, no sacrifice seemed to him too great. I demand wise laws and institutions to pre- He anticipated all possible objections, and even vent such abuse of freedom."
congented to concessions at which the mem" And who is to enact these laws ?”
bers of his party took deep umbrage, and for “An assembly of the best men, to be freely which he was bitterly denounced by a great elected by the people.”
many. We have seen that he gave up univer“In that case we shall have another Parlia- sal suffrage; the members of the senate (the ment such as that of the miserable Barebone,” Parliament which he advocated) were to be said Monk, shrugging his shoulders.
elected for life, except some who were to lose “ It is true, if the right of unrestrained suf- their seats from time to time, and in whose frage were adopted, not wisdom and authority, places new members were to be elected. In but turbulence and greed would prevail, and return, he demanded freedom of conscience for would soon exalt the vilest miscreants from all those who recognized the Bible as the founour towns and villages to the rank and dignity dation of their faith. He rejected emphatically of senators. Should the management of the the House of Lords, pointing to the influence republic be intrusted to persons to whom no of the large landed proprietors, an evil of the one would willingly intrust the management English constitution by which the country is of his private concerns; and the treasury of injuriously affected even at the present time. the state be left to the care of those who lav- Thus he strove to render good service to the ished their own fortunes in an infamous prod | republic, not as a mere enthusiast, but as a igality ? Should they have the charge of the practical statesman, even at the moment when public purse, which they would soon empty it was expiring, and when its adherents were into private ones by their unprincipled pecula- exposed to grave dangers. tions ? Are they fit to be the legislators of a “If we return to kingship,” he exclaimed at
the end of the conversation, “and soon repent | tively decorated. Charles rode by the side of (as undoubtedly we shall, when we begin to his gloomy brother, the Duke of York. He find the old encroachments coming on by little kindly greeted the same populace which a few and little upon our consciences, which must years before had hailed his father's execution, necessarily proceed from king and bishop and had wished the same fate to be inflicted united inseparably in one interest), we may be upon him. The merry, jovial king, jested and forced, perhaps, to fight over again all that we laughed with his companions and friends, have fought, and spend over again all that we among whom the licentious Buckingham renhave spent, but are never like to attain thus dered himself most noticeable by his coarse far as we are now advanced to the recovery jests and his handsome appearance. Thus of our freedom, never to have it in possession Charles repaired to the palace, surrounded by as we now have it, never to be vouchsafed a brilliant suite and an innumerable multitude, hereafter the like mercies and signal assist- which set no bounds to its rejoicings. His ances from Heaven in our cause, if by our un adherents now flocked to him from all quarters grateful backsliding we make these fruitless; and rallied around him; and many of his former flying now to regal concessions from His di- adversaries deserted their party and passed vine condescensions, and gracious answers to over to him. Now commenced that disgusting our once importuning prayers against the tyr- spectacle which is never wanting to a restoraanny which we then groaned under; making tion. Many partisans of the republic, many vain and viler than dirt the blood of so many Puritans dropped their masks, which they had thousand faithful and valiant Englishmen, who worn only while they were benefited by so doleft us in this liberty, bought with their lives." | ing, and joined the court. The very noisiest
The general turned a deaf ear to these elo-democrats suddenly became the most enthuquent appeals; he was unable to discern the siastic adherents of the king, and persecuted requirements and struggles of the future, and their former friends and associates. Not only his sober mind did not rise above the questions fellows like Billy Green, but men that had with which he had to deal at the present mo- filled the most distinguished positions, gave
Milton's words made no impression the most unmistakable proofs of their venality upon him, and he dismissed the blind poet and want of principle. Edmund Waller, the without revealing his intentions to him. poet, who had celebrated Cromwell's death in
A few days afterward the general and the one of his most vigorous and impressive poems, Parliament declared for Charles II. The peo- presented a congratulatory address to Charles ple received this intelligence approvingly, nay, II. The royal offering was considered inferior with manifestations of exultation. Tired of to the panegyric on Cromwell, and the king civil
war, of military rule, and of the arrogance himself told him of the disparity. of the generals, they looked upon the restora “Poets, sire," replied the witty, self-postion of the Stuarts as their only salvation, and as sessed, and unprincipled Waller, “succeed the safest road to the reëstablishment of law, better in fiction than in truth.” order, and tranquillity. The change which Charles smiled, and from that hour forward public opinion had undergone became strik- Waller was admitted to the circle of those disingly manifest at Charles II.'s solemn entrance solute courtiers who, by their vices and iminto London. The most jubilant acclamations morality, have gained a lasting though most greeted him on all sides; the streets were unenviable name in the annals of English hisstrewed with flowers, and all the houses fes-tory. In a short time St. James's palace was
converted into a rendezvous of indescribable y not hope to escape from the vindictiveness of licentiousness and corruption. Here were cele- the royalists. His friends were afraid lest brated the orgies to which none but the sentence of death should be passed upon him, intimate friends of the king were admitted. and advised him to conceal himself until the Frivolous women, such as the adventurous first storm had blown over. To mislead the niece of Cardinal Mazarin, Barbara Villiers persecutors, they even circulated the rumor (Mrs. Palmer), afterward Duchess of Cleveland, that he was dead. While he found a quiet and the accomplished but frail actress Nell | and safe asylum at Lady Carbury's house, a Gwynn, played the most prominent parts on coffin, attended by a small number of mournthese occasions; the most notorious reprobates ers, was carried from his own dwelling to the vied with them. Here reigned a tone and cemetery. This stratagem saved him, at least, manners that defied the dictates of decorum for the time being. and decency; obscene witticisms were levelled “I would,” said the poet, during this sham at the most sacred things, and the more vi- funeral, “ I were really dead and buried ! cious a man was, the more he was courted as a Life has no longer any value for me since I boon companion. At that time appeared first have to lament the subversion of liberty, those frivolous roués who boasted of their this fearful demoralization prevailing every. vices, and lauded meanness and infamy as where." praiseworthy qualities. The very literature “Why so gloomy ? " replied Alice, who was of that time was demoralized, and pandered to seated at his side. “Resurrection succeeds to the basest lust. The most vicious plays were death. To-day they inter only Milton the performed on the stage, and more lascivious politician, while Milton the poet celebrates his utterances fell from the lips of the actresses resurrection. You possess the greatest conthan from those of the actors. This immoder- solation in your poetical genius, which raises ate thirst for amusements and dissipation did you above all earthly troubles. You should not exclude the most vindictive spirit of per- never have bid farewell to your Muse, never secution. The resentment of victorious reac have plunged into the whirlpool of party-life ; tionists knew no bounds. The king himself was you would suffer less at this juncture." not very bloodthirsty, but his courtiers urged “No, no! I followed only the dictates of bim to commit a number of actions entirely at my own conscience, and never shall I regret variance with his originally careless and indif- having courageously raised my voice in favor ferent nature. Sentence of death was passed of freedom of conscience and thought. The upon the judges of his father, and they were true poet must not stand aloof from the world executed amid the most excruciating tortures. and its aspirations; be must not turn a deaf The very grave did not shield the deceased re ear to the claims which life and his country publicans from the cavaliers, whose revenge make upon him. He is, at the same time, a extended beyond the bounds of death. The bard and a prophet, a seer and an exhorter, remains of Cromwell and Ireton, and even the enlisted in the service of truth. Life and corpse of the noble and magnanimous Lady | art must commingle in him, and only if he Claypole, were torn from their coffins and serves humanity, takes part in its struggles, hanged on the gallows. Death, imprisonment, fearlessly enters upon the solution of great or exile, menaced all the partisans of the com- public questions, and undauntedly professes monwealth. Milton had occupied so prom- his principles and convictions, does he deserve inent a position among them, that he could | the name of a poet.”
ARREST AND PARDON OF MILTON.
servants to disturb him. In vain the noble CHAPTER X.
lady mentioned her devotion to the Stuarts and the great sacrifices she had made to their
cause; the chamberlain was ordered not to Milton, therefore, was believed to be dead; admit her. Charles II. was utterly forgetful but in his soul, as Alice had predicted to him, of the faithful services which his, adherents he celebrated the resurrection of poetry. In had rendered to him, and they had often his safe retreat he worked at his “Paradise enough cause to charge him with ingratitude. Lost,” the great struggle of light with dark- Alice, however, was firmly determined not to ness, of truth with falsehood. Only from leave the palace until she had seen the king time to time his friends informed him of the himself and prevailed upon him to pardon events of the day. Parliament caused his Milton. While she was waiting in the ante“ Defence of the People of England” to be room, the poet Davenant came in on his way burned by the public executioner. This act to the apartments of the king, with whom he of baseness and resentment grieved him pro was on the most intimate terms. Without foundly. His health began to give way under knowing him, Alice hastened to meet him. so many mournful impressions, and his volun- On seeing her, Davenant involuntarily stood tary loneliness produced a most injurious effect still. on his constitution. Gradually reassured in “Pardon me if I detain you, and ask you to regard to his personal security, he left his render me an important service." asylum after nightfall and wandered through “Ask of me all that you like, except the streets of the city. Whenever he took money." such walks a shadow was noticed dogging his “I must see the king, and you must procure steps and seemingly watching his movements. me an audience." He paid no attention to it, for life had lost all “I am afraid that that is altogether imposvalue in his eyes. He had long desired to see sible; for, when his majesty is at the dinnerhis daughters, and, contrary to Alice's advice, table with a full goblet before him, he does he went to his house in order to meet his chil- not allow himself to be disturbed, even though dren, who lived there under the care of his an angel should come from paradise to see sisters. After spending a short time in their him. Let me advise you to come back some midst, he left the house again to return to his other time.”
he was surrounded by armed men headed by to obtain the pardon of a noble, magnanimous Billy Green, who had been lurking for him.
man, who is, moreover, so unfortunate as to You are my prisoner ! ” cried Cromwell's be blind.” former spy, who was now in the service of the “I hope you do not refer to my friend Milgovernment,
ton ?” he asked eagerly. “If that is the case, The news of Milton's arrest spread like I will myself speak to the king, and I pledge wildfire, and his friends were in great trepida- you my word I will get him pardoned !” tion on his account. Alice hastened to the “Are you a friend of Milton ?" palace to intercede in behalf of the unfortu “Of course I am, although we bear no more nate poet. She vainly demanded admittance resemblance to one another than the eagle to the king; Charles II. was at dinner with does to the merry bullfinch. He is a repubhis favorites, and had strictly forbidden his lican, and I am a royalist; he is an enthu
safe asylum. On stepping out of the door, he “My business brooks no delay. I am here