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tions which prevailed in England , through the dillerences which subsisted between Charles I. and the Parliament, he considered himself as called upon by his duty to hasten home, judging it criminal to indulge in foreign amusements or remain indifferent , while his countrymen were contending for their constitutional rights.

On his return to London, he undertook the education of his sister's sons; and received other young persons into his house to be boarded and instructed. In his thirty-first year he married Mary, the daughter of Richard Powell, Esq. a man of respectability in the county of Oxford; but he did not long enjoy the pleasures of a conjugal life, as a separation, or rather desertion, on the part of the wife , took place in the course of a month after the ceremony of the nuptials. He sent hier many letters, soliciting her return, but without the least effect: he then dispatched a messenger, whose mission was treated with the utmost indifference. He was induced by her refractory behaviour, to publish several Treatises on « The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce His wife soon afterwards returned to him.

From the time at which the last mentioned event took place, to the period of the Restoration, Milton was chiefly occupied in political and polemical disquisition. The Allegro and Penseroso, however, appeared in a Collection of Latin and Enghlish poems, published in 1645.

It is natural to suppose, from the complexion of the times, in which an ardent love of liberty prevailed, that our author derived much more emolument from his political productions, than from any efforts in the higher departments of literature. This appears evident from the great success which attended the publication

si venivano suscitando, in Inghilterra per le differenze che ognidì più si avvigorivano tra Carlo I e il Parlamento, si crede richiamato dal suo dovere ad affrettarsi in patria , giudicando fatto colpevole conceders i a forestieri passatempi , o restare indifferente mentre che i suoi concittadini si contendeano pei loro diritti costituzionali.

Tornato a Londra egli si diede ad educare i figliuoli di sua sorella ; e ricevè altri giovani in sua casa in pensione ed a scuola. Di anni trentuno sposò Maria figlia di Riccardo Powell, gentiluomo onorevole nella contea di Oxford; ma non potè godere a lungo i piaceri della vita coniugale , avvenuta la separazione o meglio diserzione per parte della moglie, un mese appena dopo finita la cerimonia delle nozze. Le scrisse più lettere sollecitandola a ritornare, ma tutto fu nulla ad ottenerne il benchè menomo effetto. Egli allora spedi un messo la cui missione fu accolta colla massima indifferenza. Dalla ostinata condotta della sua donna fu indotto a pubblicare alcuni trattati sulla = Dottrina e disciplina del Divorzio = La sua sposa poco tempo dopo tornò a lui.

Dal tempo in cui preser piede gli avvenimenti testė nominati fino al periodo della Ristorazione, Milton fu principalmente occupato in politiche e polemiche disquisizioni. Nondimeno in una raccolta di poemetti Latini e Inglesi da lui pubblicata nel 1645 fe' comparire i due l'Allegro e il pensieroso.

È cosa naturale a supporre dal complesso de' tempi in cui dominava un caldo amore di libertà, che il nostro autore traca più emolumento dalle sue politiche produzioni , che da alcuni sforzi nelle più alte regioni della letteratura. Ciò apparve chiaro dal gran successo che accolse la pubblicazione della sua == Difesa del

of his « Defence of the People of England, » in answer to Salmasius, professor of the belles lettres at Leyden, a man well versed in languages and antiquity, who was employed by Charles II. when in exile to write a defence of his father and monarchy, under the title of a Defensio Regis. Milton for his defence, etc. was rewarded with a thousand pounds; a sum to which the profits 'resulting from all his poetical publications put together bore no degree of proportion. His allusions in this tract were so poignant, that, according to the report of his partizans, they killed his antagonist with vexation: but the loss of his sight, from a gulla serena, which had affected his eyes for some time, afforded the partizans of his antagonist ample scope for retort.

But a more important advantage accrued to our author, from his controversial writing, than an immediate pecuniary gratification, for though he had been blind a considerable time, he was appointed Latin Secretary to the Protector; and as his mind was too eager to be diverted, and too strong to be subdued, he discharged his office with the greatest ability. Soon after his appointment to this office he lost his wife, who left him three daughters; but he does not seem to have been much affected by that incident; for within a short time from her demise he espoused another, who did not long survive the former. To the memory of the last he inscribed a few elegiac verses.

As we avow, and wish, upon every occasion, to observe the most inviolable impartiality, we cite the following passage, translated from his second « Defence of the People of England,

originally written in Latin, from which Johnson ipfers, with the greatest propriety , that « Cesar, when he assumed the perpetual dictatorship, had not more servile or more elegant

popolo d'Inghilterra , = in risposta a Salmasio, professore di belle lettere a Leyden, uomo assai perito nelle lingue e nell'antichità, il quale ebbe incarico da Carlo II, allora esule, di scrivere a difesa di suo padre e della monarchia sotto il titolo di « Defensio Regis. ; Milton per la sua Difesa ecc. fu retribuito di mille lire sterline; somma verso di cui eran nulla i guadagni posti tutti insieme che ritraea dalle sue poetiche pubblicazioni. Le sue allusioni in questo trattato erano sì pungenti , che, al dire de' suoi partiggiani, trafiggeano crudelmente i suoi nemici. Ma la perdita che egli fece della vista per una gulta serena che da qualche tempo gli aveva affetto gli occhi diede ampia materia ai fautori del suo avversario di ricattarsi.

Ma più rilevante utilità provenne al nostro autore da cotesto scritto controversista, che non è una immediata gratificazione di pecunia; poichè sebbene egli fosse stato cieco un notevole tempo, fu nominato segretario di lettere latine del Protettore; e come avea mente troppo difficile a distrarsi e ad invilire , così disbrigò il suo incarico con grandissima abilità. Subito dopo la sua nomina a questo ufficio, perdè la moglie che gli lasciò tre figlie ; ma egli non dovè sentir molta allizione per avvenimento siffatto ; poichè poco dopo tale perdita ne sposò un'altra che non sopravvisse lungo tempo alla prima. Alla memoria dell'ultima egli inscrisse pochi versi elegiaci.

Siccome noi ci gloriamo e bramiamo in ogni oceasione, serbare la più inviolabile imparzialità , citiamo il seguente passo tradotto dalla sua seconda = Difesa del popolo d' Inghilterra originalmente scritta in latino, dalla quale Johnson argomenta colla massima proprietà che « Cesare quando assunse la perpetua dittatura non avea più servile ed elegante cortigianeria

Hattery than was bestowed on the Protector. Having exposed the unskilfulness or selfishness of the former government, npon monarchical principles, "We were left, ' » says Milton, addressing himself to Oliver Cromwell, « to ourselves: the whole national interest fell into your hands, and subsists only in your abilities. To your virtue overpowerful and resistless, every man gives way, except some, who, without equal qualifications, aspire to equal honours; who envy the distinctions of merit greater than their own; or who have yet to learn, that, in the coalition of human society, nothing is more pleasing to God, or more agreable to reason, than that the highest mind should have the sovereign power. Such, Sir, are you by general confession ; such are the things achieved by you, the greatest and most glorious of our countrymen, the director of our public councils, the leader of unconquered armies, the father of your country; for by that title does every good man hail you, with sincere and volontary praise.

The agency of Milton, as secretary to the Protector, was considered as of the highest importance by all the states of Europe. The generality of contemporary politicians ascribed to his pen, the < Declarations of the Reasons for a war with Spain: » and when a treaty with Sweden was, for private causes , suspended , the Swedish agent, incensed at the delay , contemptuously espressed his wonder that only one man in England conld write Latin, and that man blind.

Being now forly seven years old, and seeing himself disencumbered from 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 Epic Poem, the history of his Country, and a Dictionary of the Latin Language.

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