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66 thought woman made only for obes “dience, and man only for rebel66 lion *."
In the first member of this.quaint antithesis the Doctor perhaps did:not guess far amiss at Milton's thought. He seems to have been of St. Paul's opinion, that “ women were made for obedience.” But Paul and Milton had different ideas of rebellion from those of Dr. Johnson. That Prynne, Burton, and Bastwick, were rebels in Dr. Johnson's scale, no one can doubt. And yet they had certainly an equal right to insist upon the privileges of Englishmen against Dr. Laud and his assessors, as Paul had to plead those of a Roman citizen against
* Life, p. 144. .
the chief captain Lyfias; and even to require that the said Archbishop should repair to the several prisons of these sufferers to ask their pardon, and to conduct them in person and with honour out of their confinement; as was done in the case of Paul and Silas, by the magistrates of Philippi; who (however the Biographer may stomach the idea of such a humiliation of this magnanimous prelate) seem to have, understood the honour due to the laws of their country, and the rights of free citizens, something better than either Abp. Laud or Dr. Johnson. .
But, after all, would Dr. Johnfon lead us to the converse of the fentiment he ascribes to Milton, as a tenet of his
own orthodoxy? What his family-connexions with females may be we profess not to know; but we cannot believe that he is fo far in love with petticoatgovernment, as to subscribe to the proposition, that “men are made only for sobedience, and women only for rebel66. lion."
: But here we take our leave of his new narrative ; leaving his ftrictures on Milton's poetry to the examination of critics by profeflion; all of whom, we are persuaded, will not approve them merely because they came from Dr. Johnson. They will observe that they are tainted throughout with the effects of an inveterate hatred to Milton's politics, with which, as the Biographer of a Poet the
-author of Paradise Lost, the Critic had very little to do.
His comparison of Shakespeare and Milton, in his poetical scale, is with respect to their capital performances contemptibly childish. Homer did not, perhaps could not, write like Ariftophanes : what then? does that detract from the merit of Homer in his peculiar walk? w But Shakespeare could have wrote “. [lege written] like Milton.” Perhaps not. At least it is more than Dr. Johnfon knew, or could prove, for want of instances whereon to found his comparison. · There is a line indeed in which they may be compared; they both wrote fonRets, and little detached pieces of paetry.
Few of Milton's escape without some mark of Dr. Johnson's scorn or execration. Might not a like-minded critic or caviller carp at some of Shakespeare's performances of this class with equal justice and equal malignity? And where does all this end? Why Shakespeare was the abler and more gentleman-like punster of the two. . com
We should perhaps be degraded into the class of such cavillers should we express our dislike of Dr. Johnson's style; but candor itself must allow, that there are periods in it which require to be translated into intelligible English, even where the sentiment is trivial enough for the conception of an honest John Trot.