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and fimple, less figurative and metaphorical, and better suited to the nature of history, has enough of the Latin turn and idiom to give it an air of antiquity, and sometimes rises to a surprising dignity and majesty.
In 1670 likewise his Paradise Regain’d and Samson Agonistes were licenced together, but were not published till the year following. It is somewhat remarkable, that these two poems were not printed by Simmons, the fame who printed the Paradise Loft, but by J. M. for one Starkey in Fleetstreet: and what could induce Milton to have recourse to another printer? was it because the former was not enough encouraged by the sale of Paradise Lost to become a purchaser of the other copies? The first thought of Paradise Regain’d was owing to Elwood the quaker, as he himfeif relates the occasion in the history of his life. When Milton had lent him the manuscript of Paradise Lost at St. Giles Chalfont, as we said before, and he returned it, Milton asked him how he liked it, and what he thought of it : " Which I modestly, but freely told him, says El“ wood; and after some further discourse about it, “ I pleasantly said to him, Thou hast said much of " Paradise Lost, but what hast thou to say of Paradise “ Found? He made me no answer, but sat some “ time in a muse; then broke off that discourse, “ and fell upon another subject.” When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton showed him his Paradise Regain'd, and in a pleasant tone said to him, “ This is owing to You, for You “ put it into my head by the question You put me " at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of.”
It is commonly reported, that Milton himself preferred this poem to the Paradise Lost: but all that we can affert upon good authority is, that he could not indure to hear this poem cried down so much as it was, in comparison with the other. For certainly it is very worthy of the author, and contrary to what Mr. Toland relates, Milton may be seen in Paradise Regain'd as well as in Paradise Loft; if it is inferior in poetry, I know not whether it is not superior in sentiment; if it is less descriptive, it is more argumentative; if it doth not sometimes rise so high, neither doth it ever sink so low; and it has not met with the approbation it deserves, only because it has not been more read and confidered. His subject indeed is confined, and he has a narrow foundation to build upon; but he has raised as noble a superstructure, as such little room and such scanty materials would allow. The great beauty of it is the contrast between the two characters of the Tempter and our Saviour, the artful fophiftry and specious insinuations of the one refuted by the strong sense and manly eloquence of the other. This poem has also been translated into French together with some other pieces of Milton, Lycidas, L’Allegro, Il Penseroso, and the Ode on Christ's nativity: and in 1732 was printed a Critical Differtation with notes upon Paradise Regain’d, pointing out the beauties of it, and written by Mr, Meadowcourt, Canon of Worcester : and the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added some observations upon this work at the end of his excellent Remarks upon Spenser, published in 1734: and indeed this poem of Milton, to be more admired, needs only to be
better known. His Samson Agonistes is the only tragedy that he has finished, tho' he has sketched out the plans of several, and proposed the subjects of more, in his manuscript preserved in Trinity College library : and we may suppose that he was determined to the choice of this particular subject by the similitude of his own circumstances to those of Samson blind and among the Philistins. This I conceive to be the last of his poetical pieces; and it is written in the very fpirit of the Ancients, and equals, if not exceeds, any of the moft perfect tragedies, which were ever exhibited on the Athenian itage, when Greece was in its glory. As this work was never intended for the stage, the division into acts and scenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Mr. Pope to divide it into acts and scenes, and of having it acted by the King's Scholars at Westminster : but his commitment to the Tower put an end to that design. It has since been brought upon the stage in the form of an Oratorio; and Mr. Handel's music is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Milton's words. That great artist has done equal justice to our author's L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, as if the fame fpirit poffeffed both masters, and as if the God of music and of verse was still one and the same.
There are also some other pieces of Milton, for he continued publishing to the last. In 1672 he published Artis Logicæ plenior Inftitutio ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata, an Institution of Logic after the method of Petrus Ramus; and the year following, a treatise of true Religion and the best means to prevent the growth of popery, which had
į greatly increased thro' the connivance of the King,
and the more open encouragement of the Duke of À York; and the same year his poems, which had · been printed in 1645, were reprinted with the addiį tion of several others. His familiar epistles and
some academical exercises, Epistolarum familiarium Lib. I. et Prolusiones quædam Oratoriæ in Collegio Christi habitæ, were printed in 1674; as was also his translation out of Latin into English of the Pole's Declaration concerning the election of their king John III, setting forth the virtues and merits of that prince. He wrote also a brief History of Mufcovy, collected from the relations of several travelers; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewise his state-letters transcribed at the request of the Danish resident, but neither were they printed till after his death in 1676, and were trandated into English in 1694; and to that tranllation a life of Milton was prefixed by his nephew Mr. Edward Philips, and at the end of that life his excellent fonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner on his blindness were first printed. Besides these works which were published,' he wrote a system of divinity, which Mr. Toland says was in the hands of his friend Cyriac Skinner, but where at present is uncertain, And Mr. Philips says, that he had prepared for the press an answer to fome little scribbling quack in London, who had written a scurrilous libel against him; but whether by the dissuasion of friends, as thinking him a fellow not worth his notice, or for what other cause Mr. Philips knoweth not, this an(wer was never published. And indeed the best
vindicator of him and his writings hath been Time. Posterity hath universally paid that honor to his merits, which was denied him by great part of his contemporaries.
After a life thus spent in study and labors for the public he died of the gout at his house in Bunhill Row on or about the roth of November 1674, when he had within a month completed the fixty fixth year of his age. It is not known when he was first attacked by the gout, but he was grievously afflicted with it several of the last years of his life, and was weakened to such a degree, that he died without a groan, and those in the room perceived not when he expired. His body was decently interred near that of his father (who had died very aged about the year 1647) in the chancel of the Church of St. Giles's Cripplegate ; and all his great and learned friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the common people, paid their last respects in attending it to the grave. Mr. Fenton in his short but elegant account of the life of Milton, speaking of our author's having no monument, fays that “he desired a friend to inquire at St. Giles's “ Church; where the sexton showed him a small “ monument, which he said was supposed to be “. Milton's; but the inscription had never been le“ gible since he was employed in that office, “ which he has poffeffed about forty years. This “ sure could never have happened in fo short a « space of time, unless the epitaph had been in“ dustriously erased: and that suppofition, says “ Mr. Fenton, carries with it so much inhumanity, " that I think we ought to believe it was not erected