Page images
PDF
EPUB

were his aversion. Being too fadly convinc'd how much his health had suffer'd by nightftudies in his younger years, He used to go early (seldom later than Nine) to rest; and rose commonly before Five in the morning. It is reported, (and there is a passage in one of his Latin Elegies to countenance the tradition) that his fancy made the happiest flights in the Spring: but one of his Nephews used to deliver it as Milton's own observation, that his Invention was in its highest perfection from September to the Vernal Æquinox: however it was, the great inequalities to be found in his composures are incontestable proofs, that in some seasons He was but one of the people. When blindness restrain'd him from other exercises, He had a machine to swing in, for the preservation of his health ; and diverted himself in his chamber with playing on an Organ. His Deportment was erect, open, affable; his Conversation easy, chearful, instructive ; his Wit on all occasions at command, facetious, grave, or fatirical, as the subject requir'd. His Judgment, when dif-engag'd from religious and political speculations, was just and penetrating; his Apprehension, quick; his Memory, tenacious of what He read; his Read. ing, only not so extensive as his Genius, for

That

That was universal. And having treasur'd up such immense stores of science, perhaps the faculties of his soul grew more vigorous after He was depriy'd of his fight: and his Imagination (naturally sublime, and inlarg'd by reading Romances, * of which He was much inamor'd in his youth,) when it was wholly abftracted from material objects, was more at liberty to make such amazing excurfions into the Ideal world, when in composing his Divine Work He was tempted to range

[ocr errors]

Beyond the visible diurnal sphere.

With so many accomplishments, not to have had some faults, and misfortunes, to be laid in the balance with the fame, and felicity, of writing PARADISE Lost, wou'd have been too great a portion for humanity.

* His Apology for Smectymnus, p. 177. Fol.

ELIJAH FENTON.

a

POSTSCRIPT.

T

HE works of inferior Geniuses have

tions of strength and beauty, in the several Impressions they undergo whilst their authors live: but the following Poem came into the world, like the Persons whom it celebrates, in a state of maturity. However, though in the first Edition it was difpos’d into Ten Books only, MILTON thought proper in the Second to make a new division of it into Twelve: not, I suppose, with respect to the Æneis (for He was, in both fenses of the phrase, above Imitation) but more probably, because the length of the Seventh and Tenth requir’d. a Pause in the Narration, He divided them, each into Two: on which distribution, to the beginning of those Books which are now the Eighth and Twelfth, He added the following Verses, which were necessary to make a connection.

Book VIII. ver. 1.

The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear
So charming left bis voice, that he a-while

Thought bim fill speaking; fill food fix'd to

bear: Tben, as new wak'd, thus gratefully reply'd. The latter half of the verse was taken from this in the firft Edition.

To whom thus Adam gratefully reply'd.

Book XII. ver. 1.

As one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent en speed: so here tl'Arcb-Angel

pausid,
Betwixt the world destroy'd, and world restor’d;
If Adam ought perhaps might interpose:
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.

At the same time the Author made some few additions in other places of the Poem, which are here inserted for the satisfaction of the curious.

Book V. ver. 637. " They eat, they drink, and with refection sweet " Are fill'd, before th’all-bounteous King, &c.

were thus enlarg'd in the Second Edition.

They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Quaff immortality, and joy, (secure
Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds
Excess) before th'all-bounteous King, &c.

Book XI. ver. 484. after, “ Inteftine stone, and ulcer, cholic-pangs,

these three verses were added.

Demoniac phrenzy, moaping melancholy,
And moon-struck madness, pining atropby;
Marafmus, and wide wasting peftilence.

And ver. 551. of the same Book (which was originally thus,

“Of rend'ring up. Michael to him reply'd)

receiv'd this addition,

Of rend'ring up, and patiently attend
My dissolution. Michael reply'd.

To what I have said in the Life, of our Author's having no Monument, it may not be improper to add ; that I desir'd a Friend

« PreviousContinue »