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David had the courage to undertake this great French Goliah, to whom he gave such a hit in the forehead, that he presently staggered, and soon after fell; for immediately upon the coming out of the answer, entitled, Defensio Populi Anglicani, contra Claudium Anonymum, &c. he that till then had been chief minister and superintendant in the court of the learned Christina, Queen of Sweden, dwindled in esteem to that degree, that he at last vouchsafed to speak to the meanest servant. In short, he was dismissed with so cold and slighting an adieu, that after a faint dying reply, he was glad to ilave recourse to death, the remedy of evils, and ender of controversies, and now I presume our author had some breathing space; but it was not long; for though Salmasius was departed, he left some stings behind, new enemies started up, barkers, though no great biters; who the first assertor of Salmasius's cause was, is not certainly known, but variously + conjectured at, some supposing it to be one Janus, a Law– yer of Gray’s-Inn, some Dr. Bramhal, made by King Charles the Second, after his restoration, Archbishop of Armagh in Ireland; but whoever the author was, the book was thought fit to be taken into correction, and our author not thinking it worth his own undertaking, to the disturbing the progress of whatever more chosen work he had then in hands, committed this task to the youngest of his nephews, but with such exact emendations before it went to the press, that it might have very well have passed for his, but that he was willing the person that took the pains to prepare it for his examination and polishment, should have the name and credit of being the author; so that it came forth under this title, Joannis Philippi Angli Defensio pro Populo Anglicano contra, &c. during the writing and publishing of this book, he lodged at one Thompson's, next door to the Bull-Head tavern at Charing Cross, opening into the Spring Garden, which seems to have been only a lodging taken, till his designed apartment in Scotland Yard was prepared for him; for hither he soon removed from the foresaid place; and here his third child, a son, was born, which through the ill usage, or bad constitution of an ill chosen nurse, died an infant; from this apartment, whether he thought it not healthy, or otherwise convenient for his use, or what
ever else was the reason, he soon after took a pretty garden-house in Petty France, in Westminster, next door to the Lord Scudamore's, and opening into St. James's Park; here he remained no less than eight years, namely, from the year 1652, till within a few weeks of King Charles the Second's restoration. In this house his first wife dying in childbed, he married a second, who after a year's time died in childbed also ; this second marriage was about two or three years after his being wholly deprived of sight, which was just going about the time of his ans— wering Salmasius; whereupon his adversaries gladly take occasion of imputing his blindness as a judgment upon him for his answering the king's book, &c. whereas it is most certainly known that his sight, what with his continual study, his being subject to a head–ache, and his perpetual tampering with physic to preserve it, had been decaying for above a dozen years before, and the sight of one for a long time clearly lost. Here he wrote, by his amanuensis, his two answers to Alexander More; who upon the last answer quitted the field. So that being now quiet from state-adversaries and public contests, he had leisure again for his own studies and private designs; which were his foresaid History of England, and a new Thesaurus Linguae Latinae, according to the manner of Stephanus; a work he had been long since collecting from his own reading, and still went on with it at times, even very near to his dying day; but the papers after his death were so discomposed and deficient, that it could not be made fit for the press; however, what there was of it, was made use of for another dictionary. But the height of his noble fancy and invention began now to be seriously and mainly employed in a subject worthy of such a Muse, viz. A heroic poem, entitled, Paradise Lost; the noblest in the general esteem of learned and judicious persons, of any yet written by any either ancient or modern; this subject was first designed a tragedy, and in the fourth book of the poem there are six verses, which several years before the poem was begun, were shewn to me, and some others, as designed for the very beginning of the said tragedy. The verses are these :
0 thou that with surpassing glory crown'd?
Warring in Heaven, against Heaven's glorious King.
There is another very remarkable passage in the composure of this poem, which I have a particular occasion to remember; for whereas I had the perusal of it from the very beginning : for some years as I went from time to time to visit him, in a parcel of ten, twenty, or thirty verses at a time, which being written by whatever hand came next, might possibly want correction as to the orthography and pointing; having as the summer came on, not been shewed any for a considerable while, and desiring the reason thereof, was answered, that his vein never happily flowed, but from the autumnal equinoctial to the vernal, and that whatever he attempted was never to his satisfaction, though he courted his fancy never so much; so that in all the years he was about this poem, he may be said to have spent but half his time therein. It was but a little before the king's restoration that he wrote and published his book in defence of a commonwealth; so undaunted he was in declaring his true sentiments to the world; and not long before, his power of the civil magistrate in ecclesiastical affairs; and his treatise against Hirelings, just upon the king's coming over; having a little before been sequestered from his office of Latin secretary, and the salary thereunto belonging, he was forced to leave his house also, in Petty France, where all the time of his abode there, which was eight years, as above-mentioned, he was frequently visited by persons of quality, particularly my Lady Ramala, whose son for some time he instructed; all learned foreigners of note, who could not part out of this city, without giving a visit to a person so eminent; and lastly, by particular friends that had a high esteem for him, viz. Mr. Andrew Marvel, young
Laurence, (the son of him that was president of Oliver's council) to whom there is a sonnet among the rest, in his printed poems; Mr. Marchamont. Needham, the writer of Politicus; but above all, Mr. Syriak Skinner, whom he honoured with two sonnets, one long since public among his poems; the other but newly printed. His next removal was, by the advice of those that wished him well, and had a concern for his preservation, into a place of retirement and abscondence, till such time as the current of affairs for the future should instruct him what farther course to take; it was a friend's house, in Bar...tholomew Close, where he lived till the act of olivion came forth, which it pleased God proved as favourable to him as could be hoped or expected, through the intercession of some that stood his friends both in council and parliament; particularly in the House of Commons, Mr. Andrew Marvel, a member for Hull, acted vigorously in his behalf, and made a considerable party for him; so that, together with John Goodwin, of Coleman Street, he was only so far excepted as not to bear any office in the commonwealth. Soon after appearing again in public, he took a house in Holborn, near Red-Lion Fields, where he stayed not long before his pardon having passed the seal, he removed to Jewin Street, there he lived when he married his third wife, recommended to him by his old friend Dr. Paget, in Coleman Street; but he stayed not long after his new marriage ere he removed to a house in the Artillery-walk, leading to Bunhill Fields. And this was his last stage in this world, but it was of many years continuance, more perhaps than he had had in any other place besides. Here he finished his noble poem, and published it in the year 1666; the first edition was printed in quarto, by one Simons, a printer, in Aldersgate Street; the other in a large octavo, by Starky, near Temple Bar, amended, enlarged, and differently disposed as to the
number of books, by his own hand — that is by his own
appointment; the last set forth many years since his death in a large folio, with cuts, added by Jacob Tonson. Here it was also that he finished and published his history of our nation till the conquest, all complete so far as he went, some passages only excepted, which being thought too sharp against the clergy, could not pass the hand of the licencer, were in the hands of the late Earl of Anglesey, while he lived, where at present is uncertain. It cannot certainly be concluded when he wrote his excellent tragedy entitled Samson Agonistes, but sure enough it is that it came forth after his publication of Paradise Lost, together with his other poem called Paradise Regained, which doubtless was begun and finished and printed after the other was published, and that in a wonderful short space, considering the sublimeness of it; however, it is generally censured to be much inferior to the other, though he could not hear with patience any such thing when related to him; possibly the subject may not afford such variety of invention, but it is thought by the most judicious to be little or nothing inferior to the other for style and decorum. The said Earl of Anglesey, whom he presented with a copy of the unlicensed papers of his history, came often here to visit him, as very much coveting his society and converse, as likewise others of the nobility, and many persons of eminent quality; nor were the visits of foreigners ever more frequent than in this place, almost to his dying day. His treatise of true Religion, Heresy, Schism and Toleration, &c. was doubtless the last thing of his writing that was published before his death. He had, as I remember, prepared for the press an answer to some little scribing quack in London, who had written a scurrilous libel against him, but whether by the dissuasion of friends, as thinking him a fellow no worth his notice, or for whatever cause I know not, this answer was never published. He died in the year 1673, towards the latter end of the summer, and had a very decent interment according / to his quality, in the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, being attended from his house to the church by several gentlemen then in town, his principal well-wishers and admirers. He had three daughters, who survived him many years, (and a son) all by his first wife, (of whom sufficient mention hath been made). Anne, his eldest, as abovesaid, and Mary, his second, who were both born at his house in Barbican; and Debora, the youngest, who is yet living, born at his house in Petty France, between whom and his second daughter, the son, named John, was born as abovementioned, at his apartment in Scotland Yard. By his second wife, Catharine, the daughter of