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And this is the substance of his first section, till we come to the devout of it, modelled into the form of a private psalter. Which they who so much admire, either for the matter or the manner, may as well admire the archbishop's late breviary, and many other as good manuals and handmaids of devotion, the lip-work of every prelatical liturgist, clapped together and quilted out of Scripture phrase, with as much ease and as little need of Christian. diligence or judgment, as belongs to the compiling of any ordinary and saleable piece of English divinity, that the shops value. But he who from such a kind of psalmistry, or any other verbal devotion, without the pledge and earnest of suitable deeds, can be persuaded of a zeal and true righteousness in the person, hath much yet to learn; and knows not that the deepest policy of a tyrant hath been ever to counterfeit religious. And Aristotle, in his Politics, hath mentioned that special craft among twelve other tyrannical sophisms. Neither want we examples: Andronicus Comnenus, the Byzantine emperor, though a most cruel tyrant, is reported by Nicetas to have been a constant reader of Saint Paul's Epistles; and by continual study had so incorporated the phrase and style of that transcendent apostle into all his familiar letters, that the imitation seemed to vie with the original. Yet this availed not to deceive the people of that empire, who, notwithstanding his saint's vizard, tore him to pieces for his tyranny.
* Of this tyrant Gibbon gives the following curious account :-" Andronicus, grandson of Alexius Comnenus, is one of the most conspicuous characters of the age; and his genuine adventures might form the subject of a very singular romance. To justify the choice of three ladies of royal birth, it is incumbent on me to observe, that their fortunate lover was cast in the best proportions of strength and beauty; and that the want of the softer graces was supplied by a manly countenance, a lofty stature, athletic muscles, and the air and deportment of a soldier. The preservation, in his old age, of health and vigour, was the reward of temperance and exercise. A piece of bread and a draught of water was often his sole and evening repast; and if he tasted of a wild boar, or a stag, which he had roasted with his own hands, it was the well-earned fruit of a laborious chase. Dexterous in arms, he was ignorant of fear. His persuasive eloquence could bend to every situation and character of life; his style though not his practice, was fashioned by the example of St. Paul; and, in every deed of mischief, he had a heart to resolve, a head to contrive, and a hand to execute." (Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. ix. p. 93.) The rest of his character, and his adventures, must be read in the history itself, where they are developed with the hand of a master.-ED.
From stories of this nature both ancient and modern which abound, the poets also, and some English, have been in this point so mindful of decorum, as to put never more pious words in the mouth of any person, than of a tyrant. I shall not instance an abstruse author, wherein the king might be less conversant, but one whom we well know was the closest companion of these his solitudes, William Shakspeare;* who
*To the advocates of arbitrary power, and the admirers, for there are still such, of the fallen Stuarts, whatever Milton writes, whether on politics or literature, supplies matter of calumny. His mention, in this place, of Shakspeare, whom we well know he regarded with enthusiastic admiration, has been converted, by these industrious writers, into a handle for vituperation. The absurdity has, however, already been pointed out by Dr. Symmons, who treats the paltry malignity of Warton with deserved contempt. "In a note on Milton's first elegy, Mr. Warton observes, His warmest poetical predilections were at last totally obliterated by civil and religious enthusiasm. Seduced by the gentle eloquence of fanaticism,’—make of it, gentle reader! what sense you can,' he listened no longer to the wild and native woodnotes of fancy's sweetest child. In his Eikonoklastes he censures King Charles for studying one whom we know was the closest companion of his solitudes, William Shakspeare. This remonstrance, which not only resulted from his abhorrence of a king, but from his disapprobation of plays, would have come with more propriety from Prynne or Hugh Peters.' To talk of the poetical predilections' of the future author of Paradise Lost as totally obliterated, or to impute an abhorrence of plays to the man, who not only wrote Samson Agonistes, but who has left behind him a variety of subjects for the drama selected, at a period subsequent to the publication of the Eikonoklastes, from profane history, among which is the story of Macbeth, is abundantly strange, if we must not call it absurd. But to enter into a serious contest with the perverse imbecility of this note of Mr. Warton's, would be to the last degree idle." (Life of Milton, p. 331, 332.) He then quotes the whole of this, and a portion of the preceding section, to prove that Milton intended not to censure Charles I. for the study of Shakspeare. is true; but, to a man who professed, at least in his supposed book, to pique himself on his constant prayers and monkish devotions, he might, not altogether without a sneer, object the reading of such works as Shakspeare's, which, in our own age, have not been thought fit, without numerous expurgations, to be read in families at all. It looked something like St. Chrysostom's partiality for Aristophanes. Without any "abhorrence of kings," or "disapprobation of plays," therefore, he may have reproached a superstitious Trappist, such as Dr. Gauden's Charles I. appears to be, with the reading, "in his solitude and sufferings," of any comic writer whatever; and so much, I think, he intended to do; not blaming the reading of Shakspeare, but exposing the inconsistency of his adversary. Sir Walter Scott, (Life of Dryden, p. 18,) having revived the charge, Dr. Symmons thus angrily remarks upon it:-"But this repeated refutation of the injurious falsehood has not prevented its revival,-with the aggravation of making Milton contemptuously call Shakspeare a player,—by Mr. Walter Scott, in his newly published Life of Dryden. Are we hence to conclude that this slander of Milton is to be
introduces the person of Richard the Third, speaking in as
"I do not know that Englishman alive,
Other stuff of this sort may be read throughout the whole tragedy, wherein the poet used not much licence in departing from the truth of history, which delivers him a deep dissembler, not of his affections only, but of religion.
In praying, therefore, and in the outward work of devotion, this king we see hath not at all exceeded the worst of kings before him. But herein the worst of kings, professing Christianism, have by far exceeded him. They, for aught we know, have still prayed their own, or at least borrowed from fit authors. But this king, not content with that which, although in a thing holy, is no holy theft, to attribute to his own making other men's whole prayers, hath as it were unhallowed and unchristened the very duty of prayer itself, by borrowing to a Christian use prayers offered to a heathen god. Who would have imagined so little fear in him of the true all-seeing Deity, so little reverence of the Holy Ghost, whose office is to dictate and present our Christian prayers, so little care of truth in his last words, or honour to himself, or to his friends, or sense of his afflictions, or of that sad hour which was upon him, as immediately before his death to pop into the hand of that grave bishop who attended him, for a special relique of his saintly exercises, a prayer stolen word for word from the mouth of a heathen woman praying to a heathen god; and that in no serious book, but the vain employed, as a commonplace, by every writer who may be attached to the despicable Stuarts, and who can force it into his page?" (Life, &c. p. 333, note.) From the mistake of Sir Walter Scott, in introducing the word player, as Milton's, there can be little doubt that he used some old quotation as his authority, without consulting the work of Milton itself; but, though such a practice is not to be commended, the reader will probably smile at the Doctor's overstrained indignation.-ED.
* The king's partisans seem to have been ashamed of this prayer, though,
amatorious poem of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia; a book in that kind full of worth and wit, but among religious thoughts and duties not worthy to be named; nor to be read at any time without good caution, much less in time of trouble and affliction to be a Christian's prayer-book?
They who are yet incredulous of what I tell them for a truth, that this philippic prayer is no part of the king's goods, may satisfy their own eyes at leisure in the third book of Sir Philip's Arcadia, p. 248, comparing Pamela's prayer with the first prayer of his majesty, delivered to Dr. Juxon immediately before his death, and entitled a Prayer in Time of Captivity, printed in all the best editions of his book. And since there be a crew of lurking railers, who in their libels, and their fits of railing up and down, as I hear from others, take it so currishly, that I should dare to tell abroad the secrets of their Ægyptian Apis; to gratify their gall in some measure yet more, which to them will be a kind of alms, (for it is the weekly vomit of their gall, which to most of them is the sole means of their feeding,) that they may not starve for me, I shall gorge them once more with this digression some
what larger than before: nothing troubled or offended at the working upward of their sale-venom thereupon, though it happen to asperse me; being, it seems, their best livelihood, and the only use or good digestion that their sick and perishing minds can make of truth charitably told them.
However, to the benefit of others much more worth the gainwhether the king or the bishop is to be thought accountable for it, there was no great harm in borrowing a good passage out of a novel,-for in succeeding editions it was omitted; and the author of "Vindicia Carolinæ," observes (p. 27, 28.)-" It seems improbable that he to whom, as Solomon says of himself, God had given to speak as he would, and conceive as is meet for the things to be spoken of,' should be guilty of so open a borrowing without some acknowledgment at least to the author. I said erewhile, that I saw and read a part of the king's book, the very morning after that execrable murder; to which I add this now,-and with that regard as if it were my last !-that it was not many days before I bought it myself, and frequently read it with the best attention I was capable of; nor do I remember" (no wonder-he was now writing forty-two years after the circumstances took place) "to have met it in that quarto impression. And I have an octavo of a later edition now before me, in which it is not." Its existence in the first edition having, however, been proved, it was next attempted to be shown that the opposite party had maliciously inserted it; but this absurd accusation is now generally abandoned, and there would, therefore, be no use in any longer insisting on the point.-ED.
ing, I shall proceed in my assertion; that if only but to taste wittingly of meat or drink offered to an idol be in the doctrine of St. Paul judged a pollution, much more must be his sin who takes a prayer so dedicated into his mouth, and offers it to God. Yet hardly it can be thought upon (though how sad a thing!) without some kind of laughter at the manner and solemn transaction of so gross a cozenage, that he, who had trampled over us so stately and so tragically, should leave the world at last so ridiculously in his exit, as to bequeath among his deifying friends that stood about him such a precious piece of mockery to be published by them, as must needs cover both his and their heads with shame, if they have any left. Certainly, they that will may now see at length how much they were deceived in him, and were ever like to be hereafter, who cared not, so near the minute of his death, to deceive his best and dearest friends with the trumpery of such a prayer, not more secretly than shamefully purloined; yet given them as the royal issue of his own proper zeal. And sure it was the hand of God to let them fall, and be taken in such a foolish trap, as hath exposed them to all derision; if for nothing else, to throw contempt and disgrace in the sight of all men upon this his idolized book, and the whole rosary of his prayers; thereby testifying how little he accepted them from those who thought no better of the living God than of a buzzard idol, fit to be so served and worshipped in reversion, with the polluted orts and refuse of Arcadias and romances, without being able to discern the affront rather than the worship of such an ethnic prayer.
But leaving what might justly be offensive to God, it was a trespass also more than usual against human right, which commands, that every author should have the property of his own work reserved to him after death, as well as living. Many princes have been rigorous in laying taxes on their subjects by the head; but of any king heretofore that made a levy upon their wit, and seized it as his own legitimate, I have not whom besides to instance. True it is, I looked rather to have found him gleaning out of books written purposely to help devotion. And if in likelihood he have borrowed much more out of prayer-books than out of pastorals, then are these painted feathers, that set him off so gay among the people, to be thought few or none of them