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ferred to the committee of privileges and elections to examine this business, and to call Mr. Milton and the Serjeant before them, and to determin what was fit to be given to the Serjeant for his fees in this cafe; fo courageous was he at all times in defense of liberty against all the encroachments of power, and tho' a prifoner, would yet be treated like a freeborn Englishman. This appears to be the matter of fact, as it may be collected partly from the Journals of the House of Commons, and partly from Kennet's Historical Regifter: and the clemency of the government was furely very great towards him, confidering the nature of his offenfes; for tho' he was not one of the King's judges and murderers, yet he contributed more to murder his character and reputation than any of them all: and to what therefore could it be owing, that he was treated with fuch lenity, and was fo eafily pardoned? It is certain, there was not wanting powerful interceffion for him both in Council and in Parlament. It is faid that Secretary Morrice and Sir Thomas Clargis greatly favored him, and exerted their interest in his behalf; and his old friend Andrew Marvel, member of Parlament for Hull, formed a confiderable party for him in the House of Commons; and neither was Charles the Second (as Toland says) such an enemy to the Muses, as to require his deftruction. But the principal inftrument in obtaining Milton's pardon was Sir William Davenant, out of gratitude for Milton's having procured his release, when he was taken prifoner in 1650. It was life for life. Davenant had been faved by Milton's intereft, and in return Milton was faved at Davenant's interceffion. This story Mr. Richardson relates upon the authority of Mr. Pope; and Mr. Pope had it from Betterton the famous actor, who was first brought upon the stage and patronized by Sir William Davenant, and might therefore derive the knowledge of this tranfaction from the fountain.
Milton having thus obtained his pardon, and being fet at liberty again, took a house in Holborn near Red Lion Fields; but he removed foon into Jewen Street near Alderfgate Street: and while he lived there, being in his 53d or 54th year, and blind and infirm, and wanting fome body better than fervants to tend and look after him, he employed his friend Dr. Paget to choose a proper confort for him; and at his recommendation married his third wife, Elizabeth Minfhul, of a gentleman's family in Cheshire, and related to Dr. Paget. It is faid that an offer was made to Milton, as well as to Thurloe, of holding the fame place of Secretary under the King, which he had discharged with fo much integrity and ability under Cromwell; but he persisted in refusing it, tho' the wife pressed his compliance; "Thou art in the right, says he; you, as other women, would ride in your coach; for
me, my aim is to live and die an honeft man.” What is more certain is, that in 1661 he published his Accedence commenced Grammar, and a tract of Sir Walter Raleigh intitled Aphorifms of State; as in 1658 he had published another piece of Sir Walter Raleigh intitled the Cabinet Council difcabinated, which he printed from a manuscript, that had lain many years in his hands, and was given him for a true copy by a learned man at his death, who had collected feveral fuch pieces: an evident fign, that he thought it no mean employment, nor unworthy of a man of genius, to be an editor of the works of great authors. It was while he lived in Jewen Street, that Elwood the quaker (as we learn from the history of his life written by his own hand) was firft introduced to read to him; for having wholly loft his fight, he kept always fome body or other to perform that office, and ufually the fon of fome gentleman of his acquaintance, whom he took in kindness, that he might at the fame time improve him in his learning. Elwood was recommended to him by Dr. Paget, and went to his houfe every afternoon ex
cept Sunday, and read to him fuch books in the Latin tongue, as Milton thought proper. And Milton told him, that if he would have the benefit of the Latin tongue, not only to read and understand Latin authors, but to converfe with foreigners either abroad or at home, he must learn the foreign pronunciation: and he inftructed him how to read accordingly. And having a curious ear, he understood by my tone, fays Elwood, when I understood what I read, and when I did not; and he would stop me, and examin me, and open the most difficult paffages to But it was not long after his third marriage, that he left Jewen Street, and removed to a house in the Artillery Walk leading to Bunhill Fields: and this was his laft ftage in this world; he continued longer in this house than he had done in any other, and lived here to his dying day: only when the plague began to rage in London in 1665, he removed to a small house at St Giles Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, which Elwood had taken for him and his family; and there he remained during that dreadful calamity; but after the sickness was over, and the city was cleanfed and made fafely habitable again, he returned to his house in London.
His great work of Paradise Loft had principally engaged his thoughts for fome years past, and was now completed. It is probable, that his firft defign of writing an epic poem was owing to his converfations at Naples with the Marquis of Villa about Taffo and his famous poem of the delivery of Jerufalem; and in a copy of verfes prefented to that nobleman before he left Naples, he intimated his intention of fixing upon King Arthur for his hero. And in an eclogue, made foon after his return to England upon the death of his friend and schoolfellow Deodati, he proposed the same design and the same subject, and declared his ambition of writing fomething in his native language, which might render his name illuftrious in these ilands, though he should be obscure
and inglorious to the reft of the world. And in other parts of his works, after he had engaged in the controverfies of the times, he still promised to produce fome noble poem or other at a fitter season; but it doth not appear that he had then determined upon the subject, and King Arthur had another fate, being referved for the pen of Sir Richard Blackmore. The first hint of Paradife Loft is faid to have been taken from an Italian tragedy; and it is certain, that he first designed it a tragedy himself, and there are several plans of it in the form of a tragedy still to be seen in the author's own manufcript preferved in the library of Trinity College Cambridge. And it is probable that he did not barely sketch out the plans, but also wrote fome parts of the drama itself. His nephew Philips informs us, that fome of the verses at the beginning of Satan's speech, addreffed to the fun in the fourth book, were shown to him and some others as defigned for the beginnnig of the tragedy, several years before the poem was begun: and many other paffages might be produced, which plainly appear to have been originally intended for the scene, and are not fo properly of the epic, as of the tragic ftrain. It was not till after he was difengaged from the Salmafian controversy, which ended in 1655, that he began to mold the Paradife Loft in its prefent form; but, after the Restoration, when he was difmiffed from public business, and freed from controverfy of every kind, he profecuted the work with closer application. Mr. Phillips relates a very remarkable circumftance in the composure of this poem, which he says he had reason to remember, as it was told him by Milton himself, that his vein never happily flowed but from the autumnal equinox to the vernal, and that what he attempted at other times was not to his fatisfaction, tho' he courted his fancy never fo much. Mr. Toland imagins that Philips might be mistaken as to the time, because our author, in his Latin elegy, written in his twentieth year, upon the ap
proach of the spring, feemeth to fay juft the contrary, as if he could not make any verses to his fatisfaction till the fpring begun: and he says farther that a judicious friend of Milton's informed him, that he could never compofe well but in fpring and autumn: But Mr. Richardfon cannot comprehend, that either of thefe accounts is exactly true, or that a man with fuch a work in his head can fufpend it for fix months together, or only for one; it may go on more flowly, but it must go on: and this laying it afide is contrary to that eagerness to finish what was begun, which he fays was his temper in his epiftle to Deodati dated Sept. 2. 1637. After all Mr. Philips, who had the perufal of the poem from the beginning, by twenty or thirty verfes at a time, as it was compofed, and having not been shown any for a confiderable while as the fummer came on, inquired of the author the reafon of it, could hardly be miftaken with regard to the time: and it is easy to conceive, that the poem might go on much more flowly in fummer than in other parts of the year; for notwithstanding all that poets may say of the pleasures of that season, I imagin most persons find by experience, that they can compose better at any other time, with more facility and with more spirit, than during the heat and languor of fummer. Whenever the poem was wrote, it was finished in 1665, and as Elwood fays was shown to him that fame year at St. Giles Chalfont, whither Milton had retired to avoid the plague, and it was lent to him to peruse it and give his judgment of it: and confidering the difficulties which the author lay under, his uneafinefs on account of the public affairs and his own, his age and infirmities, his gout and blindness, his not being in circumftances to maintain an amanuenfis, but obliged to make use of any hand that came next to write his verses as he made them, it is really wonderful, that he should have the spirit to undertake such a work, and much more, that he fhould ever bring it to