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travellers; but it was not printed till after his death in 1682. He had likewise his state letters transcribed at the request of the Danish resident, but neither were they printed till after his death in 1676, and were translated into English in 1694; and to that translation a life of Milton was prefixed by his nephew Mr. Edward Philips, and at the end of that life his excellent sonnets to Fairfax, Cromwell, Sir Henry Vane, and Cyriac Skinner on his blindness were first printed. Besides these works which were published, he wrote his system 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 an answer to some little scribbling quack in London, who had written a scurrilous libel against him; but whether by the dissuasion 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 beft vindicator of him and his writings hath been Time. Polterity hath universally 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 house in Bunhill Row on or about the 10th of November 1674, when he had within a month completed the fixty fixth year 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 last
years of his life, and was weakened to such 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 a. bout 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
grave. Mr. Fenton in his short but elegant account of the life of Milton, speaking of our author's having no monument, says that “he desired a friend to inquire at St. “ Giles's Church; where the sexton showed him a small “ monument, which he said was supposed to be Milon's; “ but the inscription had never been legible since he was
employed in that office, which he has possessed about “ forty years. This fure could never have happened in “ so short a space of time, unless the epitaph had been " industriously erased: and that supposition, says Mr. “ Fenton, carries with it so much inhumanity, that I think “ we ought to believe it was not erected to his memory." It is evident that it was not erected to his memory, and that the sexton was mistaken. For Mr. Toland in his account of the life of Milton says, that he was buried in the chancel of St. Giles's church, “where the piety of “ his admirers will shortly erect a monument becoming “ his worth and the encouragement of letters in King “ William's reign." This plainly implies that no monument was erected to him at that time, and this was written in 1698: and Mr. Fenton's account was first published, I think, in 1725; so that not above twenty seven years intervened from the one account to the other; and consequently the sexton, who it is said had been possessed of his office about forty years, must have been mistaken, and the monument must have been designed for some other person, and not for Milton. A monument indeed has been erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey by Auditor Benson in the year 1737; but the best monument of him is his writings.
In his youth he was esteemed extremely handsome, so that while he was a student at Cambridge, he was called the Lady of Christ's College. He had a very fine skin and fresh complexion; his hair was of a light brown, and parted on the foretop hung down in curls waving upon his shoulders; his features were exact and regular; his
voice agreeable and musical; his habit clean and neat; his deportment erect and manly. He was middle fized and well proportioned, neither tall nor short, neither too lean nor too corpulent, strong and active in his younger years, and though afflicted with fre quent head-akes, blindness, and gout, was yet a comely and well-looking man to the last. His eyes were of a light blue color, and from the first are faid to have been none of the brightest; but after he lost the fight of them, (which happened about the 430 year of his age) they still appeared without spot or blemish, and at first view and at a little distance it was not easy to know that he was blind. Mr. Richardson had an account of him from an ancient ! clergyman in Dorsetshire, Dr. Wright, who found him in a small house, which had (he thinks) but one room on a floor; in that, up one pair of stairs, which was hung with a rusty green, he saw John Milton sitting in an elbow chair, with black clothes, and neat enough, pale but not cadaverous, his hands and fingers gouty, and with chalk stones; among other discourse he expressed himself to this purpose, that was he free from the pain of the gout, his blindness would be tolerable. But there is the less need to be particular in the description of his person, as the idea of his face and countenance is pretty well known from the numerous prints, pictures, busts, medals, and other representations which have been made of him. There are two pictures of greater value than the rest, as they are undoubted originals, and were in the possession of Milton's widow: the first was drawn when he was about twenty one, and is at present in the collection of the Right Honorable Arthur Onslow Esq; Speaker of the House of Commons; the other in crayons was drawn when he was about sixty two, and was in the collection of Mr. Richardson, but has since been purchased by Mr. Tonson. Several prints have been made from both these pictures; and there is a print done, when he was
about fixty two or fixty three, after the life by Faithorn, which tho' not so handfome, may yet perhaps be as true a resemblance, as any of them. It is prefixed to some of our author's pieces, and to the folio edition of his prose works in three volumes printed in 1698.
In his way of living he was an example of sobriety and temperance. He was very sparing in the use of wine or strong liquors of any kind. Let meaner poets make use of such expedients to raise their fancy and kindle their imagination. He wanted not any artificial spirits; he had a natural fire, and poetic warmth enough of his own. He was likewise very abstemious in his diet, not fastidiously nice or delicate in the choice of his dishes, but content with any thing that was most in season, or easiest to be procured, eating and drinking, (according to the distinction of the philosopher) that he might live, and not living that he might eat and drink. So that probably his gout descended by inheritance from one or other of his parents; or if it was of his own acquiring, it must have been owing to his studious and sedentary life. And yet he delighted sometimes in walking and using exercise, but we hear nothing of his riding or hunting; and having early learned to fence, he was such a master of his sword, that he was not afraid of resenting an affront from any man; and before he lost his sight, his principal recreation was the exercise of his arms; but after he was confined by age and blindness, he had a machine to swing in for the preservation of his health. In his youth he was accustomed to fit up late at his studies, and seldom went to bed before midnight; but afterwards, finding it to be the ruin of his eyes, and looking on this custom as very pernicious to health at any time, he used to go to rest early, seldom later than nine, and would be stirring in the summer at four, and in the winter at five in the morning; but if he was not disposed to rise at his usual hours, he still did not lie sleeping, but
had some body or other by his bed fide to read to him,
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 (whose 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 resented. But the difference of their ages, Milton being at least four years elder, ren