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but afterwards, 'finding it to be the ruin of his eyes, and looking on this cuftom as very pernicious to health at any time, he used to go to reft early, fels dom later than nine, and would be stirring in the fummer at four, and in the winter at five in the morning; but if he was not difpofed to rife at his ufual hours, he still did not lie fleeping, but had fome body or other by his bed fide to read to him At his first rifing he had ufually a chapter read to him out of the Hebrew Bible, and he commonly ftudied all the morning till twelve, then used fome exercife for an hour, afterwards dined, and after dinner played on the organ, and either fung himself or made his wife fing, who (he faid) had a good voice but no ear; and then he went up to study again till fix, when his friends came to vifit him and fat with him perhaps till eight; then he went down to fupper, which was ufually olives or fome light thing; and after fupper he finoked his pipe, and drank a glafs of water, and went to bed. He loved the country, and commends it, as poets ufually do; but after his return from his travels, he was very little there, except during the time of the plague in London. The civil war might at firft detain him in town; and the pleasures of the country were in a great measure loft to him, as they de pend moftly upon fight, whereas a blind man wanteth company and converfation, which is to be had better in populous cities. But he was led out fometimes for the benefit of the fresh air, and in warm funny weather he used to fit at the door of his houfe near Bunhill Fields, and there as well as in the house received the vifits of perfons of


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quality and distinction; for he was no lefs vifited to the laft both by his own countrymen and foreigners, than he had been in his florishing condition before the Restoration.

Some objections indeed have been made to his temper; and I remember there was a tradition in the university of Cambridge, that he and Mr. King (whofe death he laments in his Lycidas) were competitors for a fellowship, and when they were both equal in point of learning, Mr. King was preferred by the college for his character of good nature, which was wanting in the other; and this was by Milton grievously refented. But the difference of their ages, Milton being at leaft four years elder, renders this story not very probable; and befides Mr. King was not elected by the college, but was made fellow by a royal mandate, fo that there can be no truth in the tradition; but if there was any, it is no fign of Milton's refentment, but a proof of his generofity, that he could live in fuch friendship with a successful rival, and afterwards fo paffionately lament his decease. His method of writing controverfy is urged as another argument of his want of temper: but fome allowance must be made for the customs and manners of the time. Controverfy, as well as war, was rougher and more barbarous in those days, than it is in thefe. And it is to be confidered too, that his adverfaries firft began the attack; they loaded him with much more perfonal abuse, only they had not the advantage of fo much wit to feafon it. If he had engaged with more candid and ingenuous, difputants, he would have preferred civility and fair argument to wit and fatir:


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to do fo was my choice, and to have done thus "was my chance," as he expreffes himself in the conclufion of one of his controverfial pieces. All who have written any accounts of his life agree, that he was affable and inftructive in converfation, of an equal and chearful temper; and yet I can eafily believe, that he had a fufficient fenfe of his own merits, and contempt enough for his adverfaries."


His merits indeed were fingular; for he was a man not only of wonderful genius, but of immenfe learning and erudition; not only an incomparable poet, but a great mathematician, logician, hiftorian, and divine. He was a mafter not only of the Greek and Latin, but likewife of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, as well as of the modern languages, Italian, French, and Spanish. He was particularly fkilled in the Italian, which he always preferred to the French language, as all the men of letters did at that time in England; and he not only wrote elegantly in it, but is highly commended for his writings by the most learned of the Italians themselves, and especially by the members of that celebrated academy called della Crufca, which was established at Florence for the refining and perfecting of the Tuscan language. He had read almoft all authors, and improved by all, even by romances, of which he had been fond in his younger years; and as the bee can extract honey out of weeds, fo (to ufe his own words in his Apology for Smectymnuus)

thofe books, which to many others have been the "fuel of wantonnefs and loofe living, proved to "him so many incitements to the love and ob"fervation of virtue." His favorite author after the


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the Holy Scriptures was Homer. Homer he could repeat almost all without book; and he was advised to undertake a tranflation of his works, which no doubt he would have executed to admiration. But (as he fays of himself in his postscript to the Judgment of Martin Bucer)" he never could delight in "long citations, much less in whole traductions.” And accordingly there are few things, and those of no great length, which he has ever tranflated. He was poffeffed too much of an original genius to be a mere copyer. "Whether it be natural difpofition,


fays he, or education in me, or that my mother "bore me a fpeaker of what God made my own, " and not a tranflator." And it is fomewhat remarkable, that there is scarce any author, who has written fo much, and upon fuch various fubjects, and yet quotes fo little from his contemporary authors, or fo feldom mentions any of them. He praifes Selden indeed in more places than one, but for the rest he appears difpofed to cenfure rather than commend. After his feverer ftudies, and after dinner as we observed before, he used to divert and unbend his mind with playing upon the organ or bafs-viol, which was a great relief to him after he had loft his fight; for he was a mafter of mufic as was his father, and he could perform both vocally and inftrumentally, and it is faid that he composed very well, tho' nothing of this kind is handed down to us. It is alfo faid that he had fome skill in painting as well as in mufic, and that fomewhere or other there is a head of Milton drawn by himfelf: but he was bleffed with so many real excelfo lences, that there is no want of fictitious ones to

raise and adorn his character. He had a quick ap prehenfion, a fublime imagination, a strong memory, a piercing judgment, a wit always ready, and facetious or grave as the occafion required: and I know not whether the lofs of his fight did not add vigor to the faculties of his mind. He at least thought fo, and often comforted himself with that reflection.

But his great parts and learning have scarcely gained him more admirers, than his political principles have raised him enemies. And yet the darling paffion of his foul was the love of liberty; this was his conftant aim and end, however he might be mistaken in the means. He was indeed very zealous in what was called the good old caufe, and with his fpirit and his refolution it is fomewhat wonderful, that he never ventured his perfon in the civil war; but tho' he was not in arms, he was not unactive, and thought, I fuppofe, that he could be of more fervice to the cause by his pen than by his fword. He was a thorough republican, and in this he thought like a Greek or Roman, as he was very converfant with their writings. And one day Sir Robert Howard, who was a friend to Milton as well as to the liberties of his country, and was one of his conftant visitors to the laft, inquired of him how he came to fide with the republicans. Milton anfwered among other reafons, because theirs was the moft frugal government, for the trappings of a monarchy might fet up an ordinary commonwealth. But then his attachment to Cromwell must be condemned, as being neither confiftent with his republican principles, nor with his love of liberty. And

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