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which had prompted the king in his defection | republics. Every religious reformation is acfrom Rome, the people, instead of the earthly companied by a similar movement in the riches for which the crown had principally sphere of politics. Hence, the crown was longed, sought for the eternal boons of toler- threatened with a twofold danger; not only its ation and freedom of conscience. From the spiritual prerogatives, but even its political rich inheritance of the Roman Catholic clergy, privileges, were disputed by the people. In from the treasuries of the convents, they chose, opposition to the Episcopal Church, which in place of the golden vessels, the precious was based upon the authority of the king and trinkets, and the estates of the Church, nothing the delegated power exercised by the bishops, but the Bible, which had hitherto been with the popular religious party demanded the free held from them. From the Word of God they election of their clergymen and superintendderived an exuberance of information and an ents, who were called presbyters or elders, entirely novel view of the government of the whence their adherents were afterward styled world. The Bible became, in the hands of the Presbyterians. The people demanded the people, the powerful weapon with wbich they right of regulating their own religious affairs, achieved their ultimate victory over tyranny, and in justification quoted the precepts of the and conquered, at length, religious and po- Bible and the example of the first Christian litical freedom. From this time on arose the congregations. Besides, most of the Presbystruggle against the king's authority, which terians rejected all the rites and usages of the bad so arbitrarily arrogated the place of that Catholic service, which the Episcopal Church of the pope. The successors of Henry VIII. had partially retained, and which reminded acted more or less in the same spirit. His them of hateful Rome. Hence, they were great daughter, Queen Elizabeth, established called Puritans. This sectarian spirit had the Church of England npon that firmer footing made especial headway in Scotland, where which it has retained to the present day, and many of Calvin's disciples preached their dogleft its supervision in the hands of the bishops mas and enlisted the liveliest sympathies of and archbishops. By virtue of this arrange the people. ment, the sovereigns always remained the The religious parties were soon arrayed in head of the Church and exercised supreme open hostility against each other. The persepower in it; their power in this respect was cutions of the government aroused the resistsupported by the bishops, who seconded the ance of the people. The greater the pressure king's authority on these conditions by all became on one side, the more intense grew means at their command. Thus originated the zeal on the other, soon bursting into the the so-called Anglican or Episcopal Church. devouring flames of irresistible fanaticism. At The king had taken the place of the pope, and the head of the Episcopal Church stood the the bishops were only dependent officers of well-known Laud, Bishop of London, who exunlimited authority in all clerical affairs. erted a most deplorable influence over the Such a system could not possibly satisfy the king. He was the soul of those relentless pernewly-awakened religious cravings of the peo- secutions, and the dreaded Star-Chamber, ple, and it met at the very outset with deter- which tried all religious offenders, proceeded, mined opposition. The doctrines of the great under his leadership, with inexorable severity Swiss reformer, Calvin, kad penetrated from and cruelty against the dissenters. But neither Geneva to England, and with them the liberal the most exorbitant fines, nor long imprisonpolitical views which usually prevail in small / ment, nor the whole host of penalties of every
description, were able to set bounds to the re the arrogance and intolerance of the Episcopal ligious zeal and enthusiasm of the people. The Church, and he would not have been a poet sufferers were extolled as martyrs by the peo- had he not taken sides with the more liberal ple, and their examples were constantly imi- faith, and approved of the position taken by tated by others. With admirable courage its adherents. All these reflections which they braved the most cruel persecutions, ready arose in his soul imparted to his surroundings and willing to give up their lives rather than a different and much gloomier color. The their convictions.
beautiful landscape lost its charms in his eyes, All these facts stood before Milton's soul, and the magnificent castle no longer excited after he had listened to the conversation be- bis enthusiasm. His vivid imagination contween the Episcopal chaplain and the earl's veyed him to the lowly cottages of the people, steward. He himself was an adherent of re where poor peasants were worshipping behind ligious freedom, although he was entirely desti- locked doors. He saw Henderson, the actute of fanaticism and zealotry. From the cused, torn from his bed, loaded with chains, example set him by his own father, he had and standing tremblingly before his stern learned to appreciate toleration and modera-judge. The splendid edifice, which had filled tion. Old Mr. Milton had embraced the Prot- him a few minutes ago with heart-felt admiraestant faith, and been disinherited by his tion, seemed now transformed into a vast bigoted Catholic parent. The poet knew of prison, in whose deepest dungeons the torno greater boon than freedom of conscience. mented dissenters were groaning. He felt an This was the sole reason why he had given up | irrepressible desire to become their defender, the study of theology, and renounced the and to speak a great word and perform a deed clerical career, which offered to him at that of deliverance for the freedom of religion and time, on account of his talents and industry, the rights of the oppressed people. the most brilliant prospects. “ On perceiving,” Such ideas had already arisen from time to he wrote in his own justification, “ that the time in the poet's soul, but bis love of the scidespotism to which the Church laws compel ences, and his occupation with the ideal creahim who takes orders to subscribe his own tions of antiquity and with poetry, had siservitude, and moreover impose on him an lenced them, and the splendor of the past oath which only men of easy conscience can had made him forget the sufferings and troutake, I preferred a blameless silence to what I bles of the present. As yet the time bad not considered servitude and forswearing." come for him to take the active part in the
These considerations had induced Milton, political and religious struggles of his coundespite his father's earnest wishes, to give up try which he did at a later period of his life. the study of theology and choose another at this moment, too, his thoughts were soon
He had replaced the Fathers of the led into a different channel. Church by the poets and prose writers of clas A beautiful girl stepped from a side-gate sical antiquity, but, nevertheless, he took the leading into the garden. He recognized Alice liveliest interest in the religious struggles of immediately, although she wore an entirely his times; and, whenever he was reminded of different costume. She had exchanged her them, he sided with the oppressed and perse- splendid riding-dress of gold-embroidered green cuted.
velvet for a light white morning-gown, which The conversation to which he had just lis- floated like a silver wave round her charming tened filled him anew with intense aversion to figure in the gentle morning breeze. Instead
of the handsome barret-cap, with the waving, the share allotted to it, swallowed it, and then plume, a veil surrounded her youthful head, withdrew, moving its wings disdainfully from concealing only partially the luxuriant exube the company so unworthy of the proud bird's rance of her golden ringlets. By her side presence. Alice treated with especial liberalstood a lady's maid, bearing a basket filled ity her favorites; the hen, with its little ones, with all sorts of grain. From time to time and the doves, which were flitting caressingly Alice plunged her white hands into it and around her. The white roe was much better strewed a part of its contents on the ground, off than any of the others, for it was permituttering at the same time a sweet, gentle ted to take its breakfast from its mistress's call. It was not long before the spot where hands, which it kissed gratefully. Soon the she was standing was filled with the feathered ample contents of the basket were emptied, tribe, and even the quadrupeds of the court and Alice handed it back to her maid. She yard. Voracious chickens, headed by the then clapped her hands, and the whole flock stately rooster, and ducks of all sorts, gath- dispersed. The doves rose like a silver cloud ered round their benefactress. From the sun from the ground, and rocked to and fro in ny height of the roof and the pinnacles, coo the air, until they disappeared. Only the ing doves fitted down, and the proud peacock white roe followed with its wonted fidelity the strutted about amidst all this poultry, display- kind mistress, who went into the garden to ing its magnificent tail, and uttering its dis- pay her daily morning visit to her flowers. agreeable notes. A tame white roe hastened likewise to its mistress, and plucked her gown to remind her not to forget it. The poet watched this charming scene with
OHAPTER VII. indescribable delight. He thought he had never beheld a sweeter spectacle. Amidst this crowing, chirping, and cooing crowd stood The human heart, and especially that of a the lovely girl, like a goddess distributing poet, is a wonderful thing. It sways to and their daily bread with blessed hands among all fro like a reed in the breeze, moved by the these creatures. A cheerful smile of content slightest gust of air. A glance from two played round her lips, and she often burst into beautiful eyes, a word from sweet lips, the a peal of laughter when one of the animals, waving of a blond ringlet, the springing step in its too great eagerness, fell down, or of a slender form, and all our resolutions and when the grains intended for it were snatched purposes are gone, and we see the world in a away by another right under its nose. At different light. Where a dark cloud stood a the next moment, however, she indemnified moment ago, beams now the most radiant the sufferers by liberal offerings. No one sunshine; where we saw only sharp thorns, was allowed to depart hungry from her ban we behold now a wealth of blooming roses. quet. Even from the melancholy turkey she What a magician is our imagination! what drew those deep, guttural notes, by which it a foolish thing the human heart, which is indicates its satisfaction and gratitude; nay, it guided by it ! forgot its pride and ill-humor so far as to min This is what happened to Milton, whom gle, at her call, among the common rabble of Alice's appearance suddenly withdrew from all barn-yard fowls, to which, however, it did not bis former thoughts. All at once he was vouchsafe a glance. It pounced hastily upon | again a poet, intoxicated with the charming
ALICE AND MILTON.
spectacle which he had just enjoyed. After | been his meeting with her; he would have the lovely girl had disappeared in the direc- scarcely ventured to address her! Here in tion of the garden, he suddenly felt an irre- the garden he lacked neither courage nor de pressible desire to enjoy the beautiful morning sire to do so. A considerable while elapsed, in the open air. Now, nowhere did Nature however, before he was able to attain bis obseem to him lovelier, the air balmier, or the ject. The carefully-kept gravel-walks led in sun brighter," than in the garden, where he the most various directions, of which Alice knew Alice was. He was about carrying his could have taken only one. Hence, Milton resolution into effect, but at the last moment traversed a labyrinth of flower-beds, cozy bosan inexplicable embarrassment seized him. quets, and shady alleys, before he succeeded He felt as though he were about to commit a in finding the beautifnl girl. The garden was crime. For a few moments he was as unde- laid out in accordance with, the taste of that cided as Hercules at the cross-roads, but finally time; it was of vast dimensions, and divided he succumbed to the temptation. He cast a into several sections. As yet the French style glance on his friend, who was still fast asleep, of landscape gardening was in its infancy in and then left the room. He descended the France itself, and its stiff forms had not been broad staircase of sandstone very slowly, con- adopted in England. By far more prevalent sidering at every step whether it was becom was the Italian style, adapted to the peculiariing in him to follow the fair magician who ties of the country, in the gardens of the arisdrew him after her so irresistibly. His way tocracy. A special portion of the grounds led him through a long gallery, whose walls was allotted as a kitchen-garden, another for were adorned with the portraits of the ances the culture of the most important medicinal tors of the house. Casting a fugitive glance plants, and then followed the pleasure-garden. on the fine-looking men and richly-attired la- Several steps led up to it, as it ascended in dies, among whom were the highest dignitaries terraces the hill on which the castle was sitand greatest beauties of the country, he felt uated. Long lines of orange and lemon trees, for the first time the almost impassable gulf then far more rare than they are now, borseparating him from the descendant of these dered the main avenue. Between the trees august persons. He seemed to read a decided stood some statues, made by English sculptors disapproval of his steps in the proud features after Greek models, and hearing witness that of these noble lords and pious prelates, some this branch of art, hitherto neglected, was now of whose portraits were masterpieces of illus- cultivated with much zeal and success. To trious Dutch painters. Only when he had be sure, the flower-beds could not bear a comwalked through the gallery, and stood at the parison with the highly-developed culture of open gate leading into the garden, did this the present time, as they were mostly confined embarrassment, mixed as it was with a feeling to domestic plants, and were destitute of the of awe, wear off.
beautiful exotics which are to be found everyThe fra
odor of the flowers, and the where nowadays. But this defect was made up sweet notes of the birds, speedily dissipated for by the luxuriant bosquets, and several the poet's apprehensions. How differently groups of trees of extraordinary beauty. A and more freely throbbed his heart under the rivulet, bubbling from the rock, meandered rustling trees than in the high halls, whose im- through the whole garden, and spread everymense pile threatened to crush him! Had he where a refreshing coolness. It fell noisily found Alice there, how different would have into a pond, in the midst of which was to be
seen a group of bathing nymphs and swim- | ingly splendid tree, now a flower which she ming Tritons, blowing shells. Round the herself had planted, now the prospect of a ruin edge of the pond had been fixed benches of dating from the era of the Romans, or a desandstone, surrounded everywhere by shady cayed stronghold of the ancient Britons. At shrubbery. Those seated in this cozy nook times, such a sight excited her enthusiasm enjoyed at the same time a splendid view of again, and she interrupted the just started the castle, and the prospect of the fertile land- conversation more than once by exclaiming: scape, visible between the neighboring hills. “Oh, how magnificent! how charming !” MilThis spot was the favorite resort of Alice, and ton never failed to share her transports, and, here it was that the poet found her at length, with his refined and poetical spirit, did the after traversing the garden in all directions. fullest justice to the beauty of the landscape
Her delicate form in the white dress re- and the castle. Both always agreed in their minded him of the nymph of the spring. He appreciation of the scenery, and that which approached her timidly and with a hesitating carried her away was sure to delight the enstep. She rose from her seat, and a gentle thusiastic poet. Never before had he discovblush suffused her cheeks on meeting him so ered and enjoyed so many beauties of nature unexpectedly after the events of the previous as by the side of his lovely companion. Inday.
deed, the garden seemed to him a paradise, "Pardon me,” said Milton, bowing deeply, where he conferred in his mind the parts of "if I disturb you in your solitude. The splen- Adam and Eve upon himself and Alice. Thus did morning and the beauty of the garden they passed, as if in a dream, the fragrant tempted me, and, finding the gate open, I en-flower-beds, the white marble statues, and tered without permission. Do not be angry at walked through shady alleys formed by luxmy boldness. I will withdraw at once." uriant vine-leaves. They ascended slowly to
" You do not disturb me,” she replied, not the terrace, where, leaning against the baluswithout embarrassment. “As a guest of our trade of stone, they scanned thoughtfully the house, you are welcome everywhere, and I am varied scene. At their feet extended the sunny glad if you like our garden. I presume you valley, with its scattered houses and huts. have already looked around a little, but you The quiet river flowed amidst luxuriant meaddo not yet know the most beautiful points. I ows and waving cornfields. Driven by its will show them to you.”
waters, the mill-wheel revolved rapidly, and Before Milton could thank her, she was al- the spray dashed from its spokes sparkled in ready by his side. The tame roe, which had the bright morning light like strings of diahitherto lain at her feet, now leaped gracefully monds and pearls. A boat glided gently on by her side, and all three sauntered through the water, and the morning bells of the Cathe fragrant garden. At first their conversa thedral of Ludlow, which was concealed from tion was somewhat incoherent, but both soon their eyes, penetrated like distant spirit-voices surmounted the bashfulness so natural under to their ears. such circumstances. Alice was the first to re Here they enjoyed moments such as never cover her presence of mind. As hostess, she return in life, moments of the most unalloyed conducted her guest from one of her favorite happiness. What Alice said to Milton soundspots to another, and called his attention to ed to him like a revelation. The wondrously the numerous beauties of the landscape and beautiful surro
rroundings, the glorious May-day, the garden. Now he had to admire a surpass- I unlocked the innermost recesses of her soul.