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it; after this to write from his dictation some part of a system of divinity, which he had collected from all the ablest divines ancient and modern.” The spare diet of himself and pupils was in perfect keeping with their hard labour from an early hour till near midnight. Only now and then, once in three weeks or a month, he made a "gaudy day" (in which his pupils participated) with some gentlemen of his acquaintance, two of whom, Alphrey and Miller, of Gray's Inn, were the greatest beaux of the time. Be it remembered that these classical books were to be studied in addition to the long course of the ordinary classics ; to the oriental languages ; mathematics, and astronomy. Though he instructed these young gentlemen in these works partially, his great aim, as his eyes were weakened by continued study before, was to imbibe the essence of all their knowledge and beauties, for the pupils read the different passages in the various works alternately aloud. Thus while he communicated, he received instruction.

But he soon embarked in other and more arduous undertakings. In 1641 a loud clamour was raised against episcopacy: in this he joined with all his energies, and published his treatise

Of Reformation,” to help the Dissenters, who, as he says in his “Defensio Secunda,” were inferior to the Episcopalians in learning and eloquence. Five ministers wrote an answer, under the title "Smectymnuus," (a word formed from the first letters of their names,) to the “Humble Remonstrance in favour of Episcopacy” by the eloquent Bishop Hall, of Norwich. Of this the famous Archbishop Usher published a " Confutation." Milton having now found an antagonist worthy of his prowess, boldly entered the lists of controversy against him, and published his treatise of “ Prelatical Episcopacy.” This he soon followed up more at large by his “ Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty,” in two books : and Bishop Hall having published " A Defence of the Humble Remonstrance," Milton replied in his “ Animadversions." All these he published in one year, 1641. In 1642 he published the “ Apology for Smectymnuus," in answer to a “Confutation of the Animadversions." Yet though clearly actuated by a conscientious feeling of duty in these works,

mas.

ever.

he avows his repugnance to the task, for he says in his introduction to the Second Book of his “ Reason of Church Government,” _“In this manner of writing, wherein knowing myself inferior to myself, led by the genial powers of nature to another task, I have the use, as I may account it, but of my left hand.”

In 1643, during the Whitsuntide vacation, he made a journey to the country for a month, and on his return surprised his pupils and family by introducing his wife, Miss Mary Powell, the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, of Forest Hill, near Shotover, in Oxfordshire, a justice of the peace, and a gentleman of considerable respectability in that county. In about a month she obtained his permission to visit her family, promising to return at Michael

Meantime the hard reading went on as unceasingly as

Michaelmas came, but not his wife: he wrote to her, and received no answer : he wrote again and again with increasing anxiety ; but got no answer. At last he despatched a messenger with a peremptory order for her return : this order was met with a determined and contemptuous refusal. Milton was never the man to brook indignity or ill-treatment. This was too grievous a wrong to be endured : he therefore resolved to repudiate her for ever, and emancipate himself. In order to justify this course, he published successively, in 1644 and 1645, “ The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce ;" “ The Judgment of Martin Bucer concerning Divorce ;" “ Tetrachordon," or exposition of the four chief passages in Scripture which treat of marriage or nullities of marriage, - Gen. i. 27, 28, (with ii. 18, 23, 24 ;) Deut. xxiv. 1, 2; Matt. v. 31, 32, (with xix. 3-11;) 1 Cor. vii. 10—16 ; and “ Colasterion” (or the torture); being a bitter reply to some attacks made on his former treatises : the design of all which was to prove, that “ indisposition, unfitness, or contrariety of mind, proceeding from any unchangeable cause in nature, hindering and ever likely to hinder the main benefits of conjugal society, which are solace and peace, are greater reasons for divorce than adultery or natural frigidity, especially if there be no children, and there be mutual consent for separation.” At this time he also published his letter on education to Mr. Samuel Hartlib; and his "Areopagitica," or speech for the liberty of

unlicensed printing, addressed to the parliament of England, which is considered one of the most eloquent, vigorous, and argumentative of all his prose compositions, and the most powerful vindication of the liberty of the press on record. This doctrine of divorce raised up for him some advocates, but more enemies. The Presbyterians took up the subject with particular animosity, and had him summoned before the Lords ; but he was speedily discharged. This caused a lasting rupture between him and his former allies the Presbyterians. There have been various reasons alleged for Mrs. Milton's separation from her husband, and much inconclusive argument wasted on each of them; some maintain, that because Powell was a zealous royalist, (while Milton was a zealous, and more effective and distinguished, anti-royalist) because the king's head-quarters were at that time near Oxford, and the royal cause had fairer prospects of success, the wife's family wishing to make a merit of breaking off all connexion with him, influenced her decision ; others, that she herself sincerely disliked his religious and political principles, and therefore refused to cohabit with him : others, that being a joyous, lively girl, used to much society and freedom in her father's house, she could not endure the gloom and solitude of Milton's : others (from the discovery some years ago of documents, by which it

appears

that Milton's father lent Powell 5001., a large sum at that time, for the poet's use, which Powell was then unable to pay) imagine, that without feeling any affection for Milton, she consented to the marriage to please her father, and quitted him to please herself. Perhaps the true cause may be found in a combination of all these—that the marriage was one of family interest on her sidethat she felt dissatisfied with the seclusion of his mode of life (she is represented as then very young and heedless, whereas Milton, who from his youth was grave and reserved, was now thirty-five years old, and centered his chief happiness in his books), and that her dissatisfaction was embittered by political causes. But whatever may have been the cause, Milton pursued his resolution in earnest ; for he commenced putting his doctrine into practice by paying his addresses to one of the daughters of Dr. Davis, il lady of great wit and beauty. This having come to the know

ledge of the Powells, whose fortunes now began to sink with the declining cause of the king, and his own friends too, for many reasons, being opposed to his second marriage, it was determined by both parties to contrive a reconciliation; which was thus effected. He used to visit a relation of the name of Blackborough, residing in St. Martin's-le-Grand Lane.

One day while sitting conversing with some particular friends who met him there as if by accident, his wife, to his amazement, unexpectedly fell on her knees at his feet, imploring his forgiveness with tears. He seemed bewildered, and at first showed signs of aversion ; but her apparent penitence, her earnest entreaties, and the intercession of his friends, soon worked upon

his

generous nature, and procured a happy and lasting reconciliation. It has been said that he had this scene in view when he so pathetically described the reconciliation of Adam and Eve. (P. L. X. 910 and 940.) His pupils becoming now more numerous, and his father having before this (when the Royalists were masters of Reading, where he had been living with his younger son) come to reside with him, he took a larger house in Barbican. Soon after, the affairs of Powell being entirely ruined by the discomfiture of the royal party, he generously took him and his numerous family to reside with him, until, through his interest with the ascendant party, their affairs were improved. In 1646, July 29th, his eldest child, Anne, was born.

CHAPTER IV.

JUSTIFIES THE KING'S EXECUTION-APPOINTED FOREIGN SECRETARY OF STATE

-HIS WORK “DEFENSIO POPULI'-HIS ACCOUNT OF HIS BLINDNESS-CROMWELL'S GOVERNMENT.

His father died 1647, in his house in Barbican, at an advanced age. This event afflicted him deeply. Milton was a man of the warmest affections, most sensitive of kindness, and most alive to the calls of gratitude and duty; and if ever there was a father

who had claims on a son for all these, Milton's father was that man, laying aside the ties of nature. His fortune, and his life, seemed to have been devoted to the advancement and comfort of his son ; and the son in his works has often affectionately acknowledged the debt. After this time, the number of his pupils was reduced to a few, (I suppose because he had not cheerfulness or energy enough to pursue the usual course of instruction with many,) and he removed to a small house in High Holborn, which opened backwards into Lincoln's Inn Fields, where he remained privately, still immersed in indefatigable study, till the king's trial and death. The Presbyterians, the old enemies of royalty, raised an outcry against the enormity and illegality of the act. This shook Milton's grief away for a time, and made him act again his old encounters ; and he speedily published, in the beginning of 1649, his treatise on the "Tenure of Kings and Magistrates,” for the purpose, as he says, of “ satisfying and composing the minds of the people," and to show that, as the king violated his duty, the act was justifiable, and that the Presbyterians, having first been the most inveterate enemies of the royal prerogative, and of Charles, were now inconsistent in denouncing an act which they encouraged. “The king's person is sacred," said the Presbyterians. "No," said Milton, " becauso he turned tyrant, and the people have judged it so." But, in his treatise “ Of True Religion,” written twenty-four years afterwards, he ascribes the downfal of the king and parliament to the intrigues of popery, in working on the fears and prejudices of the Dissenters, and representing the king and the archbishop as Papists in disguise. Cardinal Rosetti, who passed in England as a layman, under the title of Count Rosetti, was the chief agent in this plot. (See Dr. Bargrave's Memoirs.) Soon after this, , he published in 1649 his “Observations on the Articles of Peace between the Earl of Ormond and the Irish Rebels," and " Animadversions on the Scotch Presbytery of Belfast.” Bishop Newton makes a most liberal and excellent remark: “In these, and all his writings, whatever others of different parties may think, Milton thought himself an advocate for true liberty-for ecclesiastical liberty in his treatises against the bishops-for

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