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" to his memory.” It is evident that it was not erected to his memory, and that the sexton was mistaken. For Mr. Toland in his account of the life of Milton says, that he was buried in the chancel of St. Giles's Church, “ where the piety of his .! admirers will shortly erect a monument becom“ ing his worth and the encouragement of letters in " King William's reign.” This plainly implies that no monument was erected to him at that time, and this was written in 1698: and Mr. Fenton's account was first published, I think, in 1725; so that not above twenty seven years intervened from the one account to the other; and consequently the sexton, who it is said had been possessed of his office about forty years, must have been mistaken, and the monument must have been designed for some other person, and not for Milton. A monument indeed has been erected to his memory in Westminster Abbey by Auditor Benson in the year 1737; but the best monument of him is his writings.
In his youth he was esteemed extremely handsome, fo that while he was a student at Cambridge, he was called the Lady of Christ's College. He had a very fine skin and fresh complexion; his hair was of a light brown, and parted on the foretop hung down in curls waving upon his shoulders; his features were exact and regular ; his voice agreeable and musical ; his habit clean and neat; his deportment erect and manly. He was middle-lized and well proportioned, neither tall nor Ahort, neither too lean nor too corpulent, strong and active in his younger years, and though afflicted with frequent head-akes, blindness, and gout, was yet a comely
and well-looking man to the last. His eyes were of a light blue color, and from the first are said to have been none of the brightest; but after he lost the fight of them, (which happened about the 430 year of his age) they still appeared without spot or blemish, and at first view and at a little distance it was not easy to know that he was blind. Mr. Richardson had an account of him from an ancient clergyman in Dorsetshire, Dr. Wright, who found him in a small house, which had (he thinks) but one room on a floor; in that, up one pair of stairs, which was hung with a rusty green, he faw John Milton sitting in an elbow chair, with black ch and neat enough, pale but not cadaverous, his hands and fingers gouty, and with chalk stones; among other discourse he expressed himself to this purpose, that was he free from the pain of the gout, his blindness would be tolerable. But there is the less need to be particular in the description of his person, as the idea of his face and countenance is pretty well known from the numerous prints, pictures, busts, medals, and other representations which have been made of him. There are two pictures of greater value than the rest, as they are undoubted originals, and were in the poffeffion of Milton's widow: the first was drawn when he was about twenty one, and is at present in the collection of the Right Honorable Arthur Onflow Efq; Speaker of the House of Commons; the other in crayons was drawn when he was about fixty two, and was in the collection of Mr. Richardson, but has since been purchased by Mr. Tonson. Several prints have been made from both these pictures; and there is a
print done, when he was about fixty two or fixty three, after the life by Faithorn, which tho' not fo handsome, may yet perhaps be as true a resemblance, as any of them. It is prefixed to some of our author's pieces, and to the folio edition of his profe works in three volumes printed in 1698.
In his way of living he was an example of sobriety and temperance. He was very sparing in the use of wine or strong liquors of any kind. Let meaner poets make use of such expedients to raise their fancy and kindle their imagination. He wanted not any artificial spirits ; he had a natural fire, and poetic warmth enough of his own. He was likewife very abstemious in his diet, not faitidiously nice or delicate in the choice of his dishes, but content with any thing that was most in seafon, or easiest to be procured, eating and drinking, (according to the diftinction of the philosopher) that he might live, and not living that he might eat and drink. So that probably his gout descended by inheritance from one or other of his parents; or if it was of his own acquiring, it must have been owing to his studious and sedentary life. And yet he delighted sometimes in walking and using exercise, but we hear nothing of his riding or hunting; and having early learned to fence, he was such a master of his sword, that he was not afraid of resenting an affront from any man; and before he lost his light, his principal recreation was the exercise of his arms; but after he was confined by age and blindness, he had a machine to fwing in for the preservation of his health, In his youth he was accustomed to sit up late at his ftudies, and feldom went to bed before midnight;
but afterwards, finding it to be the ruin of his eyes, and looking on this custom as very pernicious to health at any time, he used to go to rest early, seldom later than nine, and would be stirring in the summer at four, and in the winter at five in the morning ; but if he was not disposed to rise at his usual hours, he still did not lie sleeping, but had some body or other by his bed side to read to him, At his.firit rising he had usually a chapter read to him out of the Hebrew Bible, and he commonly ftudied all the morning till twelve, then used some exercise for an hour, afterwards dined, and after dinner played on the organ, and either sung himself or made his wife fing, who (he faid) had a good voice but no ear; and then he went up to study again till six, when his friends came to visit him and fat with him perhaps till eight; then he went down to fupper, which was usually olives or some light thing; and after supper he smoked his pipe, and drank a glass of water, and went to bed. He loved the country, and commends it, as poets usually do ; but after his return from his travels, he was very little there, except during the time of the plague in London. The civil war might at first de. tain him in town; and the pleasures of the country were in a great measure loft to him, as they depend mostly upon sight, whereas a blind man wanteth company and conversation, which is to be had better in populous cities. But he was led out sometimes for the benefit of the fresh air, and in warm funny weather he used to sit at the door of his house near Bunhill Fields, and there as well as in the house received the visits of persons of
quality and distinction; for he was no less visited to the last both by his own countrymen and foreigners, than he had been in his florishing condition before the Restoration.
Some objections indeed have been made to his temper; and I remember there was a tradition in the university of Cambridge, that he and Mr. King (whose death he laments in his Lycidas) were competitors for a fellowship, and when they were both equal in point of learning, Mr. King was preferred by the college for his character of good nature, which was wanting in the other; and this was by Milton grievously resented. But the difference of their ages, Milton being at least four years elder, renders this story not very probable; and befides Mr. King was not elected by the college, but was made fellow by a royal mandate, so that there can be no truth in the tradition; but if there was any, it is no sign of Milton's resentment, but a proof of his generosity, that he could live in such friendship with a successful rival, and afterwards so passionately lament his decease. His method of writing con troversy is urged as another argument of his want of temper : but some allowance must be made for the customs and manners of the time. Controversy, as well as war, was rougher and more barbarous in those days, than it is in these. And it is to be confidered too, that his adversaries first began the attack; they loaded him with much more personal abuse, only they had not the advantage of so much wit to season it. If he had engaged with more candid and ingenuous disputants, he would have preferred civility and fair argument to wit and satir: