Imágenes de páginas

countrymen. It has been said of the Puritans, that, like the victorious lion, they were depicted by their opponents. And so it has fared with Milton. His most eminent biographers, as members of the Church of England, have had no sympathy with their illustrious subject in the grandest phase which his character and his writings present.

Milton, unequalled as a poet, and memorable and exemplary as a statesman, was most especially a Nonconformist, an advocate of religious freedom, unshackled by secular and political interference ;-in a word, a Puritan, in all but those excesses of untempered zeal which historians and satirists have combined to exaggerate, in order to dim the historic lustre they cannot hide, and to throw contempt on a cause which must rise proportionately with the elevation and advancement of mankind.

It is the purpose of the following pages to present Milton afresh to the public as the champion of political, and especially of religious liberty; and, while delineating the few incidents of his life, to present such passages writings, especially on ecclesiastical subjects, as may invite the attention of the public to the whole of those muchneglected but immortal productions.

All the circumstances of the present times, and particularly the events which, in the religious world, have of late been thickening around us, compel the attention of society to those fundamental principles which Milton so sublimely developed and illustrated.

To assist in guiding this movement of the popular mind to the study of the works of Milton, is the earnest aim of this biography: and if it should subserve this end, its author will be content that his own labours should be disregarded or forgotten.

from his prose

June, 1851.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »