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Milton was allowed by the Parliament a weekly table for the entertainment of foreign ministers and persons of learning, such especially as came from Protestant states, which allowance was also continued by Cromwell. Hollis's Note; see Newton's Life, p. lvi.
P. lxxvi. There has not one great poet appeared in France since the beginning of Cardinal Richelieu's ministry, but he has been protected and encouraged, and his merit as fast as it could spread has been generally acknowledged. I wish I could as truly affirm the same thing of England. The great qualities of Milton were not generally known among his countrymen till the Paradise Lost had been published more than thirty years; but when that admirable poet was among the Italians, the greatness of his genius was known to them in the very bloom of his youth, even thirty years before that incomparable poem was written. Dennis's Letters, p. 78.
More people comprehend the excellency of Homer, and Virgil, and Milton, than the beauties of Martial and Cowley, though perhaps there are not ten persons living who know all the merit of Virgil; and Milton's Paradise Lost had been printed forty years before it was known to the greatest part of England that there barely was such a book. Dennis's Letters, p. 173.
P. lxxvii. Nor can I believe that several who pretend to be passionate admirers of Milton would treat him if living in any other manner, for the following reasons.
Because they are so fond of nothing as of that soft and effeminate rhyme, which makes the very reverse of the harmony, and of the manly and powerful and noble enthusiasm of Milton.
Because the generality of poets and wits his contemporaries did not esteem him, though they were by no means inferior in understanding to his pretended living admirers. Willmott, Earl of Rochester, never so much as mentioned him in his Imitation of the Tenth Satire of the First Book of Horace. When he came to imitate that passage, Forte epos acer ut nemo Varius ducit,' instead of Milton he names Waller; and when that noble peer was some years afterwards asked by Dr. Burnet, since Bishop of Salisbury, for which of the modern poets he had most esteem, he answered without the least hesitation, for Boileau among the French, and Cowley among the English poets. Mr. Rymer, in his First Book of Criticism, treated the Paradise Lost with contempt, and the generality of the readers of poetry, for twenty years after it was published, knew no more of that exalted poem than if it had been written in Arabic. Mr. Dryden, in his Preface before the State of Innocence, appears to have been the first, those gentlemen excepted whose verses are before Milton's poem, who discovered in so public a manner an extraordinary opinion of Milton's extraordinary merit. And yet Mr. Dryden, at that time, knew not half the extent of his excellence, as, more than twenty years after
wards, he confessed to me, as is pretty plain from his writing the State of Innocence; for Mr. Dryden in that poem, which is founded on the Paradise Lost, falls so infinitely short of those wonderful qualities, by which Milton has distinguished that noble poem from all other poems, that one of these two things must be granted; either that Mr. Dryden knew not the extent of Milton's great qualities, or that he designed to be a foil to him. But they who knew Mr. Dryden know very well that he was not of a temper to design to be a foil to any one. Dennis's Letters, p. 76.
P. lxxxi. For my part I have no notion, that a suffering Hero can be proper for epic poetry. Milton could make but very little even of a suffering God, who makes quite another impression with his lightning and his thunder in Paradise Lost, than with his meekness and his stoicism in Paradise Regained. That great spirit which heroic poetry requires, flows from great passions, and from great actions. If the suffering Hero remains insensible, the generality of readers will not be much concerned for one who is so little concerned for himself. Dennis's Letters, p. 11.
P. lxxxix. The estate which his father left him was but indifferent; yet by his frugality he made it serve him and his. Out of his secretary's salary he had saved two thousand pounds, which being lodged in the excise, and that bank failing at his majesty's restoration, he utterly lost that sum. By the great fire which happened in London in the beginning of September, 1666, he had a house in Bread Street burnt, which was all the real estate he had then left. Wood's Ath. Ox. vol. ii. col. 486.
To what does Fielding allude when he says, 'It is to be hoped heedless people will be more cautious what they burn, or use to other vile purposes, especially when they consider the fate which had like to have befallen the divine Milton'? v. Journ. to the Next World, p. 331.
'Mr. Milton's Agreement with Mr. Symons for Paradise Lost, dated 27th April, 1667.'
'These Presents made the 27th day of Aprill 1667 between John Milton, gent. of the one part, and Samuel Symons, printer, of the other part, wittness That the said John Milton in consideration of five pounds to him now paid by the said Samuel Symons, and other the consideracons herein mentioned, hath given, granted and assigned, and by these pñts doth give, grant and assign unto the said Sam" Symons, his executors, and assignees, All that Booke, Copy, or Manuscript of a Poem intituled Paradise Lost, or by whatsoever other title or name the same is or shall be called or distinguished, now lately licensed to be printed, together with the full benefitt, profit, and advantage thereof, or wch shall or may arise thereby. And the said John Milton for him, his ex and adm", doth covenant with the said Sam Symons, his exts and asss that he and they shall at all times hereafter have, hold and enjoy the same and all impressions thereof accordingly, without the lett or hindrance of him the said John Milton, his ex or ass, or any person or persons by his or their consent or privity. And that he the said John Milton, his ex or adm's or any other by his or their meanes or consent, shall not print or cause to be printed, or sell, dispose or publish the said book or manuscript, or any other book or manuscript of the same tenor or subject, without the consent of the said Sam" Symons, his ex's or ass: In concideracon whereof the said Samell Symons him, his ex and adm's doth coven ht with the said John Milton, his ex, and asss well and truly to pay unto the said John Milton, his ex, and admTM the sum of five pounds of lawfull english money at the end of the first Impression, which the said Sam" Symons, his exrs or ass shall make and publish of the said copy or manuscript, which impression shall be accounted to be ended when thirteen hundred books of the said whole copy or manuscript imprinted, shall be sold and retailed off to particular reading customers. And shall also pay other five pounds, unto the said John Milton, or his ass at the end of the second impression to be accounted as aforesaid, And five pounds more at the end of the third impression, to be in like manner accounted. And that the said three first impressions shall not exceed fifteen hundred books or volumes of the said
whole copy or manuscript, a peice. And further, that he the said Samuel Symons, and his exTM, adm", and ass shall be ready to make oath before a Master in Chancery concerning his or their knowledge and belief of or concerning the truth of the disposing and selling the said books by retail, as aforesaid, whereby the said Mr. Milton is too be entitled to his said money from time to time, upon every reasonable request in that behalf, or in default thereof shall pay the said five pounds agreed to be paid upon every impression, as aforesaid, as if the same were due, and for and in lieu thereof. In witness whereof, the said parties have to this writing indented, interchangeably sett their hands and seales the day and yeare first above written.
JOHN MILTON. (Seal).
Sealed and delivered in John Fisher. the presence of us,
Benjamin Greene, serv' to Mr. Milton.
April 26. 1669.
Reed then of Samuel Simmons five pounds, being the Second five pounds to be paid-mentioned in the Covenant. I say reed by me,
Witness, Edmund Upton.
I do hereby acknowledge to have received of Samuel Symonds Cittizen and Statōner of London, the Sum of Eight pounds: which is in full payment for all my right, title, or interest, which I have or ever had in the Coppy of a Poem Intitled Paradise Lost in Twelve Bookes in 8vo -By John Milton, Gent. my late husband. Wittness my hand this 21st day of December 1680.
Wittness, William Yopp, Ann Yopp.
Know all men by these pssents that I Elizabeth Milton of London Widdow, late wife of John Milton of London Gent: deceased-have remissed released and for ever quitt claimed And by these pssents doe remise release & for ever quitt clayme unto Samuel Symonds of London, Printer-his heirs Excuts and Administrators All and all manner of Accon and Accons Cause and Causes of Accon Suites Bills Bonds writinges obligatorie Debts dues duties Accompts Summe and Sumes of money Judgments Executions Extents Quarrells either in Law or Equity Controversies and demands-And all & every other matter cause and thing whatsoever which against the said Samuel Symonds-I ever had
and which I my heires Executers or Administrators shall or may have clayme & challenge or demand for or by reason or means of any matters cause or thing whatsoever from the beginning of the World unto the day of these pssents. In witness whereof I have hereunto sett my hand and seale the twenty ninth-day of April in the thirty third Year of the Reigne of our Sovereign Lord Charles by the grace of God of England Scotland ffrance and Ireland King defender of the ffaith & Anno Dni, 1681.
Signed and delivered
in the pssence of
Jos. Leigh Wm Wilkins.
Alterations by Milton from the first edition in ten Books, for the
second edition twelve.
Book viii. V. 1.
'The Angel ended, and in Adam's ear,
So charming left his voice, that he a while
Thought him still speaking; still stood fix'd to hear:
Then, as new wak'd, thus gratefully reply'd.'
The latter part of the verse was taken from the line in the first edition
'To whom thus Adam gratefully reply'd.'
Book xii. V. 1.
'As one who in his journey bates at noon,
Though bent on speed: so here th' arch-angel paus'd,
If Adam ought perhaps might interpose:
Then, with transition sweet, new speech resumes.'
Some few additions were also made to the Poem, the notice of which will interest the critical reader.
Book v. V. 637.
'They eat, they drink, and with refection sweet
were thus enlarged in the second edition :
"They eat, they drink, and in communion sweet
Of surfeit, where full measure only bounds