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And he who seem'd to lead this ravish'd race,
Was Heav'n's loved laureat, that in Jewry writ; Whose harp approach'd God's ear, though none his
face Durst see, and first made inspiration, wit.
And his attendants, such blest poets are,
As make unblemish'd love, courts' best delight; And sing the prosp'rous battels of just warre ;
By these the loving, love, the valiant, fight.
O hireless science ! and of all alone
The liberal; meanly the rest each state
(Gondibert, Book II., Canto V.)
[Born, 1608. Educated at St. Paul's School, London, and Christ's College, Cambridge. Graduated as B.A., 1629. At 21 wrote his Hymn “On the Morning of Christ's Nativity.” Took his degree of M.A., 1632, Studied at his father's country house at Horton from
1632 to 1637. Here he wrote L'Allegro,” “Il Penseroso," Arcades," " Comus,” “Lycidas," and other poems. Travelled in France and Italy, 1638—9. Defended the Parliament in its contest with Charles I., and the People of England against Salmasius after the execution of the King. Published his “ Areo. pagitica; a Speech of Mr. John Milton for the Liberty of Vnlicen’d Printing, to the Parliament of England," 1644. Appointed Foreign Secretary to the Commonwealth, 1649. Lost his sight, plied in liberty's defence," 1654. Published “Paradise Lost,” 1667, “Paradise Regained,” 1671. Died,
THE PRECIOUSNESS OF A GOOD BOOK.—I deny not, but that it is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth, to have a vigilant eye how Bookes demeane themselves as well as men; and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors : for Bookes are not absolutely dead things, but doe contain a potencie of Life in them to be as active as that Soule was whose progeny they are; nay, they do preserve as in a violl the purest efficacie and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down,
may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand unlesse warinesse be us'd, as good almost kill a man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, God's image ; but he who destroyes a good Booke, kills Reason itselfe, kills the Image of God as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth ; but a good Booke is the pretious life-blood of a master spirit, imbalm’d and treasur'd up on purpose to a Life beyond life. 'Tis true, no age can restore a Life, whereof perhaps there is no great losse ; and revolutions of ages doe not oft recover the losse of a rejected Truth, for the want of which whole Nations fare the worse. We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the living labours of publick men, how we spill that season'd Life of Man preserv'd and stor'd up in Books; since we see a kind of homicide may be thus committed, sometimes a martyrdome; and if it extend to the whole impression, a kinde of massacre, whereof the execution ends not in the slaying of an elementall Life, but strikes at that etheriall and fift essence, the breath of Reason itselfe, slaies an Immortality rather then a Life.
A BOOK THE MOST ENDURING MONUMENT.
What needs my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones
(On Shakespeare, 1630.)
[Born 1615. Educated at the Free School, Wroxeter, "Saints' Everlasting Rest,” published, 1653;
“ Cone fession of Faith,” 1655; “Reformed Pastor,” 1656 ; “Reasons of the Christian Religion,” 1667; “ Life of Faith,” 1670; “ Christian Directory,” 1675; “Catholiek Theologie,” 1675; “Poetical Fragments,” 1681 ; Died, 1691 ; “Reliquiæ Baxterianæ,” 1696.] *
BOOKS BETTER THAN PREACHERS. Because God hath made the excellent, holy writings of his servants, the singular blessing of this land and age; and many an one may have a good book, even any day or hour of the week, that cannot at all have a good preacher ; I advise all God's servants to be thankful for so great a mercy, and to make use of it, and be much in reading ; for reading with most doth more conduce to knowledge than hearing doth, because you may choose what subjects and the most excellent treatises you please; and may be often at it, and may peruse again and again what you forget, and may take time as you go to fix it on your mind : and with very many it doth more than hearing also to move the heart, though hear