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In this second Defence he thews that his eloquence is not merely fatirical; the rudeness of his inve&tive is equalled by the groftness of his fartery. “ Deferimur, “ Cromuelle, tu solis superes, ad te suinma nostrarum “'rerum rediit, in te folo confiftit, insuperabili tuæ “ virtuti cedimus cuncti, nemine vel obloquente, niti “ qui æquales inæqualis ipfe honores fibi quærit, aut
digniori concellos invidet, aut non intelligit nihil “ efle in focietate hominuin magis vel Deo gratum, * vel rationi consentaneum, efle in civitate nihil æquius, " utilius, quam potiri rerum digniffimum. Eum te
agnoscunt omnes, Cromuelle, ea tu civis maximus “ et * gloriofiflimus, dux publici confilii, exercitum “ fortissimorum imperator, pater patriæ geflifti. Sic
tu spontanea bonorum omnium et animitus miila voce falutaris.”
Cæfar, when he assumed the perpetual dictatorship, had not more servile or more elegant flattery. A translation
may thew its servility; but its clegance is less attainable. Having exposed the unthilfulness or selfishness of the former government, “ We were left," fays Milton, “ to ourselves : “ the whole national in“ terest fell into your hands. and subsists only in your “ abilities. To your virtue, overpowering and relift“ less, every man gives way, except fome who, without “equal qualifications, aspire to equal honours, who
envy the distinctions of merit greater than their own,
or who have yet to learn, that in the coalition of “human society nothing is more pleating to God, or “ more agreeable to reason, than that the highest mind
* It may be doubted whether gloriofiffimus be here used with Milton's boaited purity. Res gloriofa is an illufirious thing ; but vir klerious is commonly a brazzurl, as in miles glorious. Orig. Edit.
“ should have the sovereign power. Such, Sir, arc
you by general confeffion; such are the things at“chieved by you, the greatest and most glorious of our
countrymen, the director of our publick councils, " the leader of unconquered armies, the father of your
country; for by that title does every good man -“ hail you, with sincere and voluntary praise.”
Next year, having defended all that wanted defence, he found leisure to defend himself. He undertook his own vindication against More, whom he declares in his title to be justly called the author of the Regii Sanguinis clamor. In this there is no want of vehemence or cloquence, nor does he forget his wonted wit. “ Morus es? an Momus ? an uterque idem eft?" He then remembers that Morus is Latin for a Mulberrytree, and hints at the known transformation :
-Poma alba ferebat Quæ post nigra tulit Morus. With this piece ended his controversies : and he from this time gave himself up to his private studies and his civil employment.
As secretary to the Protector he is supposed to have written the Declaration of the reasons for a war with Spain. His agency was considered as of
importance; for when a treaty with Sweden was artfully suspended, the delay was publickly imputed to Mr. Milton's indisposition; and the Swedish agent was provoked to express his wonder, that only one man in England could write Latin, and that man blind.
Being now forty-seven years old, and seeing himself disencumbered from external interruptions, he seems to have recollected his former purposes, and to have resumed three great works which he had planned
for his future employment : an epick poem, the hiltory
of his country, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue.
To collect a dictionary, seems a work of all others least practicable in a state of blindness, because it depends upon perpetual and minute inspection and collation. Nor would Milton probably have begun it, after he had lost his eyes; but, having had it always before him, he continued it, says Philips, almost to his dying-day; but the papers were so discomposed and deficient, that they could not be fitted for the press. The compilers of the Latin dictionary, printed at Cambridge, had the use of those collections in three folios; but what was their fate afterwards is not known *.
To compile a history from various authors, when they can only be consulted by other eyes, is not easy, nor possible, but with more skilful and attentive help than can be commonly obtained ; and it was probably the difficulty of consulting and comparing that stopped Milton's narrative at the Conquest; a period at which
* The Cambridge Dictionary, publisied in 4to. 1693, is no other than a copy, with some small additions, of that of Dr. Adam Littleton in 1685, by fundry persons, of whom, though their names are concealed, there is great reason to conjecture that Milton's nephew, Edward Philips, is one ; for it is expressly said by Wood, Fasti, vol. I. fo 266, that Milton's “ Thesaurus" came to his hands, and it is asserted in the preface thereto, that the editors thereof had the use of three large folios in manuscript, collected and digested into alphabetical order by Mr. John Milton.
It has been remarked, that the additions, together with the preface abovementioned, and a large part of the title of the “ Cam“bridge Dictionary,” have been incorporated and printed with the fubfequens editions of “ Littleton's Dictionary," till that of 1735. Vid. Biogr. Brit. 298; in not. So that for aught that appears to the contrary, Philips was the last pofleflor of Milton's MS. I
affairs were not yet very intricate, nor authors very nu
Theo Cambria olios;
For the subject of his epick poem, after much deliberation, long chusing, and beginning late, he fixed upon Paradise Loft; a design so comprehensive, that it could be justified only by success. He had once designed to celebrate King Arthur, as he hints in his verses to Mansus; but Arthur was reserved, says Fenton, to another destiny *.
It appears, by fome sketches of poetical projects
Divine Justice, Wisdom,
The Evening Star, Hef-
* i. e. to be the subject of an heroic poem, written by Sir Richard Blackmore.
Sickness, with others;
The Persons. Moses, wporoyi?sı, recounting how he assumed his true body; that it corrupts not, because it is with God in the mount; declares the like with Enoch and Elijah ; besides the purity of the place, that certain pure winds, dews, and clouds, preserve it from corruption; whence exhorts to the sight of God; tells, they cannot see Adam in the state of innocence, by reason of their sin. Justice,
debating what should become of man, Mercy,
if he fall. Wisdom, Chorus of Angels singing a hymn of the Creation.
ACT II. Heavenly Love. Evening Star. Chorus sing the marriage-song, and describe Paradise.
ACT III. Lucifer contriving Adam's ruin. Chorus fears for Adam, and relates Lucifer's rebellion and fall,