« VorigeDoorgaan »
For example : “ But the reputation “ and price of the copy still advanced, “ till the Revolution put an end to the “ secresy of love, and Paradise Lost broke « 'into open view with fufficient security “ of kind reception *.”
Many inore instances might be given from this new narrative, where the quaintness of the antithesis, as here, Borders upon the burlesque; and we are too often put in mind, by Dr. Johnson's style, of what we remember a worthy Oxford tutor said to his pupils of the Ityle of Seed's Sermons : “ Boys will imi“ tàte'it; and boys will be spoiled by imi“ tating it.”
Let Dr. Johnson however enjoy his reputation of fine writing, and the praises of his admirers even to adulation, but let him and them remember and remark, that no sublimity of style, no accuracy of expression, can ennoble the meanness, or atone for the virulent malignity of his political resentment against Milton, exhibited in this NEW NARRATIVE.
· A certain foreign antiquary, having occasion to describe a medal of Milton among those of other learned men, gives the following character of the man and his writings :
JOANNEs Milton Anglus Londinensis, ejus nominis patre catholico natus, anno 1608. ab cujus pietate, ac fide quam longiffime recefsit, fectas omnes æternæ consequendæ falutis aptas putans, excepta Catholica Romana, ut aperte afferuit in impio fuo de vera religione libro; optimis litteris doctrinaque imbutus, iis abusus est plerumque detestabilia feditiofaque scribendo, violenterque, atque inurbane prorsus, quæ semel conscripserat adversus meliora sentientes defensando; absolutam, nullisque divinis, vel humanis legibus circumscriptam libertatem in votis habuiffe passim deprehenditur; malus christianus, malus civis, bonus tamen poeta fuit, carminibus Anglicis, Latinis et Italicis feliciter ufus ; ejus Poema, cui titulum fecit Il Paradiso per: duto, quodque Thufco nostro soluto verfu transtulit Rollius, ingenti Eruditorum plausu exceptum est, proque eo elegans numisma cum effigie Miltoni cusit Joannes Daffierius, habens ab oppofito proto. parentum seductionem, ac expulsionem, cum epigraphe :
DIRA DVLCE CANIT ALTER HOMERVS. Nemo pejus unquam adversus regiain poteftatem majestatemque calamum acuit.
Dr. Johnson's motives for characterising Milton in his new narrative feem to have been much of a sort with those of
E CANIT ALTER HOMERVS.
* Museum Mozzuchellianum feu Numisinata virorum doctrina præstantium-a Petro Antonio de comitibus gaetanis Brixiano Prefbytero illustrata. 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 censure 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