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in manuscript by the learned Abbè Salvini, the fame who tranflated Addison's Cato into Italian. One William Hog or Hogaus tranflated Paradise Loft, Paradife Regain'd, and Samfon Agonistes into Latin verse in 1690; but this verfion is very unworthy of the originals. There is a better tranflation of the Paradise Loft by Mr. Thomas Power Fellow of Trinity College in Cambridge, the first book of which was printed in 1691, and the rest in manuscript is in the library of that College. The learned Dr. Trap has also published a tranflation into Latin verfe; and the world is in expectation of another, that will furpass all the reft, by Mr. William Dobson of New College in Oxford. So that by one means or other Milton is now confidered as an English claffic; and the Paradife Loft is generally esteemed the nobleft and moft fublime of modern poems, and equal at least to the best of the ancient; the honor of this country, and the envy and admiration of all other!
In 1670 he published his Hiftory of Britain, that part efpecially now called England. He began it above twenty years before, but was frequently interrupted by other avocations; and he defigned to have brought it down to his own times, but stopped at the Norman conqueft; for indeed he was not well able to purfue it any farther by reafon of his blindness, and he was engaged in other more delightful studies; having a genius turned for poetry rather than history. When his History was printed, it was not printed perfect and entire; for the licenser expunged several paffages, which reflecting upon the pride and fuperftition of the Monks in the Saxon times, were underflood as a concealed fatir upon the Bishops in Charles the fecond's reign. But the author himself gave a copy of his unlicenced papers to the Earl of Anglefea, who, as well as feveral of the nobility and gentry, conftantly vifited him: and in 1681 a confiderable paffage which had been fuppreffed at the beginning of the third
book, was published, containing a character of the Long Parlament and Affembly of Divines in 1641, which was inferted in its proper place in the last edition of 1738. Bishop Kennet begins his Complete History of England with this work of Milton, as being the beft draught, the clearest and most authentic account of those early times: and his ftile is freer and easier than in most of his other works, more plain and fimple, lefs figurative and metaphorical, and better fuited to the nature of history, has enough of the Latin turn and idiom to give it an air of antiquity, and sometimes rifes to a furprising dignity and majefty.
In 1670 likewise his Paradife Regain'd and Samfon Agonistes were licenced together, but were not published till the year following. It is fomewhat remarkable, that these two poems were not printed by Simmons, the fame who printed the Paradise Loft, but by J. M. for one Starkey in Fleetstreet: and what could induce Milton to have recourse to another printer? was it because the former was not enough encouraged by the Sale of Paradife Loft to become a purchaser of the other copies? The first thought of Paradife Regain'd was owing to Elwood the quaker, as he himself relates the occafion in the hiftory of his life. When Milton had lent him the manufcript of Paradise Loft at St. Giles Chalfont, as we faid before, and he returned it, Milton asked him how he liked it, and what he thought of it: "Which I modeftly, but free
ly told him, fays Elwood; and after fome further dif"course about it, I pleasantly said to him, Thou hast "faid much of Paradife Loft, but what haft thou to say "of paradife Found? He made me no anfwer, but fat some time in a mufe; then broke off that discourse, and "fell upon another fubject." When Elwood afterwards waited upon him in London, Milton showed him his Paradise Regain' d, and in a pleasant tone said to him, “This " is owing to You, for You put it into my head by the question You put me at Chalfont, which before I had
"not thought of." It is commonly reported, that Milton himself preferred this poem to the Paradise Loft; but all that we can affert upon good authority is, that he could not endure to hear this poem cried down so much as it was, in comparison with the other. For certainly it is very worthy of the author, and contrary to what Mr. Toland relates, Milton may be seen in Paradife Regain'd as well as in Paradife Loft; if it is inferior in poetry, I know not whether it is not fuperior in fentiment; if it is less descriptive, it is more argumentative; if it doth not fometimes rife fo high, neither doth it ever fink fo low; and it has not met with the approbation it deferves, only because it has not been more read and confidered. His fubject indeed is confined, and he has a narrow foundation to build upon; but he has raised as noble a fuperftructure, as fuch little room and fuch fcanty materials would allow. The great beauty of it is the contraft between the two characters of the Tempter and our Saviour, the artful fophiftry and fpecious infinuations of the one refuted by the ftrong fenfe and manly eloquence of the other. This poem has also been tranflated into French together with fome other pieces of Milton, Lycidas, L' Allegro, Il Penferofo, and the Ode on Chrift's nativity: and in 1732 was printed a Critical Differtation with notes upon Paradife Regain'd, pointing out the beauties of it, and written by Mr. Meadawcourt, Canon of Worcester: and the very learned and ingenious Mr. Jortin has added some observations upon this work at the end of his excellent Remarks upon Spenfer, published in 1734: and indeed this poem of Milton, to be more admired, needs only to be better known. His Samfon Agoniftes is the only tragedy that he has finished, tho' he has fketched out the plans of feveral, and proposed the subjects of more, in his manuscript preferved in Trinity College library: and we may fuppofe that he was determined to the choice of this particular fubject by the fimilitude
of his own circumftancs to thofe of Samfon blind and among the Philiftines. This I conceive to be the last of his poetical pieces; and it is written in the very spirit of the Ancients, and equals, if not exceeds, any of the most perfect tragedies, which were ever exhibited on the Athenian stage, when Greece was in its glory. As this work was never intended for the ftage, the divifion into acts and scenes is omitted. Bishop Atterbury had an intention of getting Mr. Pope to divide it into acts and scenes, and of having it acted by the King's Scholars at Westminster: but his commitment to the tower put an end to that defign. It has fince been brought upon the ftage in the form of an Oratorio; and Mr. Handel's mufic is never employed to greater advantage, than when it is adapted to Milton's words. That great artist has done equal juftice to our author's L'Allegro and Il Penferofo, as if the fame spirit poffeffed both mafters, and as if the God of mufic and of verse was still one and the fame.
There are also some other pieces of Milton, for he continued publishing to the last. In 1672 he published Artis Logicæ plenior Inftitutio ad Petri Rami methodum concinnata, an Inftitution of Logic after the method of Petrus Ramus; and the year following, a treatise of true Religion and the beft means to prevent the growth of popery, which had greatly increased thro' the connivance of the King, and the more open encouragement of the Duke of York; and the fame year his poems, which had been printed in 1645, were reprinted with the addition of feveral others. His familiar epiftles and fome academical exercises, Epistolarum familiarium Lib. I. et Prolufiones quædam Oratoria in Collegio Chrifti habitæ, were printed in 1674; as was also his tranflation out of Latin into English of the Poles Declaration concerning the election of their King John III, setting forth the virtues and merits of that prince. He wrote also a brief History of Muscovy, collected from the relations of several
travellers; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewife his ftateletters transcribed at the request of the Danish refident, but neither were they printed till after his death in 1676, and were tranflated into English in 1694; and to that tranflation a life of Milton was prefixed by his nephew Mr. Edward Philips, and at the end of that life his excellent fonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner on his blindness were first printed. Befides thefe works which were published, he wrote his fyftem of divinity, which Mr. Toland says was in the hands of his friend Cyriac Skinner, but where at present is uncertain. And Mr. Philips says, that he had prepared for the press and anfwer to fome little fcribbling quack in London, who had written a fcurrilous libel against him; but whether by the diffuafion of friends, as thinking him a fellow not worth his notice, or for what other cause, Mr. Philips knoweth not, this answer was never published. And indeed the best vindicator of him and his writings hath been Time, Posterity hath univerfally paid that honor to his merits, which was denied him by great part of his contemporaries.
After a life thus spent in study and labors for the public he died of the gout at his houfe in Bunhill Row on or about the 10th of November 1674, when he had within a month completed the fixty fixth of his age. It is not known when he was first attacked by the gout, but he was grievously afflicted with it several of the laft years of his life, and was weakened to fuch a degree, that he died without a groan, and those in the room perceived not when he expired. His body was decently interred near that of his father (who had died very aged about the year 1647) in the chancel of the Church of St. Giles's Cripplegate; and all his great and learned friends in London, not without a friendly concourse of the common people, paid their last respects in attending it to the