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as 'wars of kites and crows, flocking and fighting in the air,' and the hiftorians as 'obfcure and blockish chroniclers, only fit to be read by those who take pleasure to be all their lifetime raking in the foundation of old abbeys and cathedrals.' You have quite enough of historian and antiquarian feeling to deem this herefy; or, as Dogberry fays, flat burglary as ever was committed.' He must have quite forgotten to love the high embowered roof.' Warburton has felected one of the very next paffages in the history for his particular praife. It is at the conclufion of the fecond book, where all the faults of Milton's profe ftyle are accumulated and concluded in about a dozen

creafed productiveness of the earth itfelf from the progrefs of focial life; a fact perhaps not fufficiently attended to by our ableft political œconomists. The foil,' fays he, is hungry and squalid, fcarcely producing a few starved oats, which bear for the moft part no grain, but only empty hufks. Such was in thofe days the neighbourhood of Exeter, to which Athelftane, we are told, gave a new face of profperity, by assuming to himself and to his people its fole poffeffion and government. This tranfaction happened in 926, nearly the firft of the two dates affigned by Gibbon, and almost 500 years after the arrival of Hengist in England. The Saxon Chronicle of that year ftates that Athelftane ⚫ then obtained (or exercised) an authority (or fuperiority gebylde) over all the things that were in this island, first Howel King of Weft Wales (Cornwall), and Constantine King of the Scots, and Owen King of Monmouth, and Aldrid the son of Eadulf of Bamburgh.' He feems to have exacted from them all some sort of fubmiffion, as to a paramount fovereign. But it is added, that they ratified this agreement with covenants and oaths, and then returned in peace.' He treated therefore with the British King of Cornwall on the fame footing as with the King of the Scots. He covenanted with all thefe Kings, as exercifing diftinct though poffibly fubordinate powers of government, and he appears to have left them in that state. From this account, therefore, as well as from what Malmfbury ftates, of the feparation of Exeter at this period from Cornwall, it is manifeft that the latter continued to be, till within lefs than a century and a half before the Norman Conquest, a separate state governed by its native rulers. How much longer it remained in this condition we know

A gentleman deeply verfed in our ancient hiftory has fuggefted to

lines. This is treasonable language, I confefs; but in proportion as I admire the poet, I can afford, by way of fet off, to cenfure the hiftorian.”

In 1671, Milton" published Paradife Regained and

the author of these trifles, a conjecture, in defect of positive evidence, that Cornwall was abforbed into the Saxon kingdom by gradual encroachments, not long after the time of Athelftan. He fupports this opinion by fome inftances of ecclefiaftical fuperiority exercised there by the English Kings before the Norman Conqueft. And we may obferve, that in Domesday book, a large proportion, perhaps the largest of the few Cornish landholders enumerated, seems to be of Saxon origin. But it is fingular that no distinct account should remain of so remarkable an event, as the final extinction of the fovereignty of the British princes in this their last refuge on English ground; nor any memorial of that decifive epock, when, in the words of our romantic poet,

Woe, and woe, and everlasting woe

Came to the Briton babe, that should be born

To live in thraldom of his father's foe!

Late King, now captive, late lord, now forlorn,
The world's reproach, the cruel victor's scorn.
Fairy Queen, c. iii. l. 44.

That the completion of this Revolution was deferred to a very late period, the evidence of language would indeed have fufficiently proved, had history been wholly filent. The local nomenclature of Cornwall is at this day almost entirely Celtic. In most other parts of England, the rivers and mountains have frequently retained their British appellations; but the names of the towns, villages, and parishes (with the exception of the Roman stations, or other accidental peculiarities) are in very large proportions of Teutonic origin. A circumftance which must be principally attributed (but not perhaps so exclufively as it has been by fome of our own historians) to the influence of the Saxon conqueft. Though even before the Roman Invasion, some confiderable portion of our island was occupied by Belgic tribes, wholly differing, as we are told (Cæfar, I. 1, and V. 10), from the Celts in language, as well as in laws and manners, and retaining in their new fettlements, like other colonists, ancient and modern, the appellations endeared to them by the recollections of their parent country.”

91 See Newton's Life, p. lxxviii. These Poems not printed by Simi

2

Samfon Agonistes.

his friend Elwood.

The former poem he showed to "This," faid he, "is owing to you, for you put it into my head, by the questions you put to me at Chalfont, which otherwife, I had not thought of." When it was accounted inferior to the Paradise Loft,93 Philips fays, "he could not hear with patience any fuch thing when related to him." It appears to me, that these poems are fo diffimilar in their structure and purpose, that no comparison can be usefully or justly inftituted between them. That the Paradise Loft excels in variety of invention, in splendour of imagery, in magnificent thoughts and delineations, and in grandeur and fublimity of description, no doubt can be entertained; but the latter poem is finished with equal care, and as perfect in another style. The reasoning clear, the argument close and weighty, the expreffion most select and chofen, the verfification harmonious, differing in structure from that of the former poem, but admirably in unifon with the fubject. The language, as in the poetry of Lucretius, always moves closely with the argument; plain and fimple, where plain fense and simple sentiments only were required; while there are not wanting paffages rifing into the greatest beauty, and adorned with the richest fancy, that it would be diffi

mons but by I. M. for Starkey in Fleet Street, at the price of 2s. 6d. bound.

92 Langbaine obferves, that Dryden has transferred several thoughts from Samfon Agoniftes to his Aurengzebe. See Dram. Poets, pp. 157. 376.

93 Perhaps it was the confcioufnefs of having thus laboured to improve the defcriptive parts of Paradife Regained, which made him prefer that poem to Paradife Loft. See C. Smith's Poems, p. 164. He compares Paradife Regained, iii. 330, with Paradife Loft, i. 675. Pope in one of his Letters calls it "his worst work." v. vol. viii. p. 110, ed. Warton.

94 See Rogers's Italy, p. 237, note P. 2.

1. 15.

cult to surpass even in Paradise Loft. There is a fevere and noble beauty in the ftructure and expreffion of the dialogue, which has always appeared to me to have imbibed the spirit of the Grecian ftage, as felt in the most perfect and finished of its productions; where the boldest conceptions, and the most refined beauties, are seen in ftrict harmony with the progreffive developement of the plan, all contributing to the neceffary uniformity of impreffion, and all obedient to the control of the poetic mind that created them. On the name given to this poem which is a relation of the Temptation, a learned writer obferves, "Whatever may be thought of the manner or correctness with which this high matter has been handled by our eminent but most misguided poet, he spoke not in that unfair authority when he referred to this event, -the Temptation-the Paradife regained for us the second Adam, which had been loft by the successful temptation of our first Progenitor. This tranfaction symbolizing the whole victory of the Saviour of mankind over the Deftroyer." 95 It is supposed that it was written while Milton was at Chalfont, though not published till five years' after.96 Of the Samfon Agonistes it must be observed, that the plot is not skilfully arranged, and that many of the lyrical meafures are totally deftitute of any intelligible rhythm, but it muft ever be confidered as one of the nobleft dramas in our language. Its moral fentiment, its pathetic feeling, its noble and dignified thoughts, its wife and weighty maxims, its fevere religious contemplations clothed in

95 See Mills's Five Sermons, p. 15. See also his objection to our Lord being rapt thro' the air and taken to fome eastern mountain, p. 103. 96 See Niceron Mém. des Hommes Ill. tom. x. p. ii. p. 110. It was the doctrine of Peter Lombard, and the old divines, that the immediate confequence of Chrift's victory over the temptation in the wilderness, was the diminution of the fpiritual power, and the previously allowed dominion of Satan on the earth.

rich and select language, and adorned with metaphor and figure, give a furprising elevation to the whole. Warburton confidered it as a perfect piece, and as an imitation of the antients, having, as it were, a certain gloominess intermixed with the fublime (the fubject not very different, the fall of two heroes by a woman) which shows more ferenely in his Paradife Loft. It is creditable to the taste and judgment of Pope, that he did not adopt Atterbury's fuggeftion of reviewing and polishing this piece.97 Samfon would have been twice fhorn of his locks, and funk into a modern fon of Ifrael; and Pope would have failed on the fame ground, where his Master Dryden had fallen before him.98

To that multiplicity of attainments, and extent of comprehenfion (fays Johnson), that entitled this great author to our veneration, may be added a kind of humble dignity which did not difdain the meaneft fervice in literature. The epic poet, the controvertist, the politician having already defcended to accommodate children with a book of rudiments, now in the last year of his life, compofed a book of logic for the inftruction of students in philosophy and published "Artis Logicæ plenior inftitutio ad Petri Rami Methodum Concinnata," of this book there was a fecond edition called for in the following year it has never been tranflated, and is the only production of Milton, that I confess I have never had the leisure or the curiofity to read.

:

In 1673 his "Treatife of true Religion, Herefie, Schifm, Toleration, and what beft means may be used

97 On Milton's Defence of Tragedy, prefixed to Samson Agonistes. See Warton on Spenser, vol. ii. p. 357. See alfo Philological Museum, vol. vi. p. 536.

98 See Pope's Letters, vol. viii. p. 116, ed. Newton. See Armstrong's Works, vol. ii. p. 242. This amended play must have been acted by the King's Scholars at Westminster. See Birch's Life, p. lxix.

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