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and support to her parents and to their numerous family at the very crisis of their ruin, in consequence of the battle of Naseby, so fatal to the royal cause. In this year also he published his "Treatise on Education," and his "Areopagitica," in defence of the freedom of the press. In 1647 he lost his father, who expired in his arms.
In 1649, he was appointed Latin Secretary by the Council of State, at whose instigation he undertook to counteract the apprehended effects of the "ICON BASILIKE," by his "ICONOCLASTES;" and in 1651, he produced his celebrated " Defence of the People of England," which made its author the subject of conversation both at home and abroad. His total loss of sight, of which he had been forewarned by his physicians, succeeded these exertions in 1652. Early in the same year his wife died in childbed of his third daughter, Deborah. It is not exactly ascertained when he married his second wife, Catharine, the daughter of Captain Woodcock, of Hackney, who also died in childbed, within the first year of their marriage: but it was in 1662 that he married his third wife, Elizabeth Minshull, the daughter of a gentleman of Cheshire.
While engaged in the above controversies, three great works engaged his attention at intervals, and formed that change of literary exercise in which he delighted. These were, a History of England, a Thesaurus of the Latin language, and an Epic Poem. In 1667, the first edition of PARADISE LOST was given to the world. If any thing could enhance the surpassing merits of this noblest achievement of poetry, it would be the circumstances under which its execution was completed: blind, reduced in his fortunes," encompassed with dangers as well as with darkness," his mind had lost none of its energy; the spirit of the man and the Christian was unbroken by the annihilation of the patriot's hopes: in the night which enveloped his visual sense, the heaven of intellect was revealed with the more distinctness to that gaze which was thenceforward to be fixed on the realities of eternity.
In the progress of his studies, the blindness of Milton was assisted by the recitations of his two youngest daughters, who, extraordinary as the fact may appear, were taught to read at least six different languages, without understanding any of them; a circumstance which, placed in connexion with the composition of Paradise Lost, has recently employed the pencils of several of our painters. Their father, however, dispensed with their assistance, on their complaining of the irksomeness of the occupation, and dismissed them to tasks better adapted to their inclinations and their sex.
"Paradise Regained" was composed during his temporary residence at Chalfont St. Giles's, in Buckinghamshire, at the time that the plague was raging in the capital. It was not published till 1670, when it appeared with "Samson Agonistes." A few subsequent publications in English and Latin prose, closed his literary labours. An attack of the gout, a disease which had for many years afflicted him, terminated his life on the 8th of November, 1674. His body was deposited by the side of that of his father, in the upper part of the chancel of St. Giles's, Cripplegate, where a marble bust by Bacon has recently been erected to his memory.
By his first wife he left three daughters, of whom (but more certainly of the elder two) it is painful to record, that their conduct was the reverse of that of filial love and duty; to them he left their mother's portion, which had never been paid to him: his other property, amounting, notwithstanding his heavy losses, to about fifteen hundred pounds, he bequeathed to his widow; but from the unfortunate omission of some material forms in the will, which was only nuncupative or declaratory, the daughters were enabled successfully to contest its validity. The person of Milton was of the middle height, compact and muscular." His harmonical and ingenuous soul," says one of his early biographers, " dwelt in a beautiful and well-proportioned body." At Cambridge, the fineness of his complexion occasioned him to be called "the lady of Christ's College;" his eyes were dark grey, and retained, even after the total extinction of vision, a peculiar vividness; his light brown hair, parted at the top, fell "clustering" upon his shoulders. His voice was delicately sweet and harmonious, and his ear excellent. In his habits he was remarkably frugal and regular, rising in summer at four, and in winter at five. A chapter of the Hebrew Scriptures being read to him as soon as he was up, he passed the subsequent interval till seven, in private meditation; after which study, exercise, and the recreation of music, of which he was particularly fond, divided the day till six, when he admitted the visits of his friends; he took his abstemious supper at eight, and at nine he retired. His manners were affable and graceful; his temper grave without melancholy; his affections ardent. Such was John Milton, in whom were combined all the rarer qualities which dignify our nature, and of whom it constitutes the noblest panegyric, that his works are not less the just expression of his character, than the monuments of his genius.
The first Book proposes, first in brief, the whole subject, Man's disobedience, and the loss thereupon of Paradise wherein he was placed: Then touches the prime cause of his Fall, the Serpent, or rather Satan in the Serpent; who, revolting from God, and drawing to his side many legions of Angels, was, by the command of God, driven out of Heaven, with all his crew, into the great deep. Which action passed over, the Poem hastens into the midst of things, presenting Satan with his Ángels now falling into Hell described here, not in the centre (for Heaven and Earth may be supposed as yet not made, certainly not yet accursed), but in a place of utter darkness, fitliest called Chaos: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning lake, thunderstruck and astonished, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in order and dignity lay by him: They confer of their miserable fall; Satan awakens all his legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded. They rise; their numbers; array of battle; their chief leaders named, according to the idols known afterwards in Canaan and the countries adjoining. To these Satan directs his speech, comforts them with hope yet of regaining Heaven, but tells them lastly of a new world and new kind of creature to be created, according to an ancient prophecy or report in Heaven; for, that Angels were long before this visible creation, was the opinion of many ancient Fathers. To find out the truth of this prophecy, and what to determine thereon, he refers to a full council. What his associates thence attempt. Pandemonium, the palace of Satan, rises, suddenly built out of the deep: The infernal peers there sit in council.
Or Man's first disobedience, and the fruit