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for by that title does every good man hail you with sincere and voluntary praise.”
Next year, having defended all that wanted defence, he found leisure to defend himself. He undertook his own vindication against More, whom he declares in his title to be justly called the author of the Regii Sanguinis Clamor. In this there is no want of vehemence or eloquence, nor does he forget his wonted wit. “Morus est ? an Momus? an uterque idem est ?" He then remembers that Morus is Latin for a Mulberry-tree, and hints at the known transformation :
- Poma alba ferebat Quæ post nigra tulit Morus. With this piece ended his controversies ; and he from this time gave himself up to his private studies and his civil employment.
As secretary to the Protector, he is supposed to have written the declaration of the reasons for a war with Spain. His agency was considered as of great importance; for, when a treaty with Sweden was artfully suspended, the delay was publickly imputed to Mr. Milton's indisposition; and the Swedish agent was provoked to express his wonder, that only one man in England could write Latin, and that man blind.
Being now forty-seven years old, and seeing himself disencumbered from external interruptions, he seems to have recollected his former purposes, and , to have resumed three great works which he had planned for his future employment; an epick poem, the history of his country, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue.
To collect a dictionary, seems a work of all others least practicable in a state of blindness, because it depends upon perpetual and minute inspection and collation. Nor would Milton probably have begun it, after he had lost his eyes; but, having had it always before him, he continued it, says Philips, almost to his dying-day; but the papers were so discomposed and deficient, that they could not be fitted for the press. The compilers of the Latin dictionary, printed at Cambridge, had the use of those collections in three folios; but what was their fate afterwards is not known.*
To compile a history from various authors, when they can only be consulted by other eyes, is not easy, nor possible, but with more skilful and attentive help than can be commonly obtained; and it was probably the difficulty of consulting and comparing that stopped Milton's narrative at the Conquest; a period at which affairs were not yet very intricate, nor authors very numerous.
* The Cambridge Dictionary, published in 4to. 1693, is no other than a copy, with some small additions, of that of Dr. Adam Littleton in 1685, by sundry persons, of whom, though their names are concealed, there is great reason to conjecture that Milton's nephew, Edward Philips, is one: for it is expressly said by Wood, Fasti, vol. I. p. 266, that Milton's "Thesaurus" came to his hands; and it is asserted in the preface thereto, that the editors thereof had the use of three large folios in manuscript, collected and digested into alphabetical order by Mr. John Milton.
It has been remarked, that the additions, together with the preface above-mentioned, and a large part of the title of the “ Cam“ bridge Dictionary," have been incorporated and printed with the subsequent editions of“ Littleton's Dictionary,” till that of 1735. Vid. Biogr. Brit. 2985, in not. So that, for aught that appears to the contrary, Philips was the last possessor of Milton's MS. H.
For the subject of his epick poem, after much deliberation, long chusing, and beginning late, he fixed upon Paradise Lost; a design so comprehensive, that it could be justified only by success. He had once designed to celebrate King Arthur, as he hints
în his verses to Mansus; but Arthur was reserved, Lsays Fenton, to another destiny. *
It appears, by some sketches of poetical projects left in manuscript, and to be seen in a library f at Cambridge, that he had digested his thoughts on this subject into one of those wild dramas which were antiently called Mysteries † ; and Philips had seen what he terms part of a tragedy, beginning with the first ten lines of Satan's address to the Sun. These mysteries consist of allegorical persons; such as Justice, Mercy, Faith. Of the tragedy or mystery of “ Paradise Lost” there are two plans : The Persons.
The Persons. Michael.
Moses. Chorus of Angels. Divine Justice, Wisdom, Heavenly Love.
Heavenly Love. Lucifer.
The Evening Star, Hes
Adam, with the Se
with the Serpent. · perus.
“ Chorus of Angels. Conscience.
Adam. * Id est, to be the subject of an heroick poem, written by Sir Richard Blackmore. H. + Trinity College. R.
The dramas in which Justice, Mercy, Faith, &c. were introduced, were Moralities, not Mysteries. Malone.
The Persons. Moses a poloyilei, recounting how he assumed his true body; that it corrupts not, because it is with God in the mount: declares the like of Enoch and Elijah ; besides the purity of the place, that certain pure winds, dews, and clouds, preserve it from corruption; whence exhorts to the sight of God; tells they cannot see Adam in the state of innocence, by reason of their sin. Justice, da
(debating what should become of man Mercy,
if he fall.
Chorus of Angels singing a hymn of the Creation.
ACT III. Lucifer contriving Adam's ruin. Chorus fears for Adam, and relates Lucifer's rebel
lion and fall.
Conscience cites them to God's examination. Chorus bewails, and tells the good Adam has lost.
- presented by an angel with Labour, Grief, Hatred, Envy, War, Fa-) mine, Pestilence, Sickness, Discontent, Mutes.
Ignorance, Fear, Death,
Heat, Tempest, &c..
comfort him, and instruct him. Charity,
Chorus briefly concludes.
Such was his first design, which could have produced only an allegory, or mystery. The following sketch seems to have attained more maturity.
Adam unparadised : The angel Gabriel, either descending or entering; shewing, since this globe was created, his frequency