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ger who turns north ward from Chiswell Street towards St. Luke's Hospital and Peerless Pool.” It was opposite to the wall of the Artillery Ground, or exercising-place of the old London Trained Bands; and hence the name. Bunhill Fields Burying Ground, long the place of sepulture for London Dissenters, and where people now go to see the tombs of Bunyan, Defoe, and others, did not exist when Milton domiciled himself in the neighbourhood. The street in which he lived was less a street than a single row of houses, with gardens behind them, lining a passage which led, by the side of the Artillery Ground Wall, from the denser northern outskirts of the city to the open Bunhill Fields and the country towards Newington. On the whole, the remove, though it did not take him far from his former residence, was into greater privacy and obscurity. The three daughters still accompanied him, better managed now that the third wife had the charge of the housekeeping, but naturally in warfare with her.
Before Milton had been two years in the house in Artillery Walk, Paradise Lost had been completed. For, when the Great Plague broke out in London in 1665, and Milton (perhaps driven from his house by the fact that Bunhill Fields had been chosen as a “pest-field” where the dead could be buried in pits) went to spend the summer in a cottage which Ellwood had taken for him at Chalfont-St.-Giles, Buckinghamshire, he took the finished manuscript with him. See the proof in the Introduction to Par. Lost, Section II. That country-cottage, therefore, has to be remembered, in this exact place, and with this interesting association, as one of Milton's residences. It still exists, a very small cottage indeed, with a very small garden, standing on the slope of the public road at one end of the quiet old village of Chalfont, about twenty-three miles from London ; and, when it was in good tending and there were honeysuckles about it, the summer air in its tiny rooms, with the lattices open, may have been pleasant. The old lattices, with their lozenges of glass set in lead, still remained when I was last there, and there were other relics of its original condition. When I first saw it, the cottage, or at least its main portion, was empty and to let, but in my last visit I found it again tenanted.
Back in London in 1666, Milton may have been prevented
from publishing his Paradise Lost in that “annus mirabilis” by the Great Fire. The fire did not reach indeed so far north as his purlieu ; but it left a vast space of the city in ruins, with his native Bread Street in the very heart of the burnt space. From that date there could be no more visits of admiring foreigners to the old “Spread Eagle” where he had been born; but all his other London residences remained. In 1667, the year after the Fire, the due license having been obtained and other arrangements made (see the particulars in the Introduction to Par. Lost, Section I.), the epic was published. The publication was an event of some consequence to Milton personally and socially. It threw between him and all that past part of his life which lay under public obloquy the atonement of a great Poem. Whatever he had been, was he not now the author of Paradise Lost? Gradually, as the poem was read, though here and there some of the meaner critics persisted in jeers and sarcasms, this was the feeling among all the abler leaders of the Restoration Literature itself. “This man cuts us all out, and the ancients too,” is reported to have been Dryden's criticism ; and it was probably after Dryden had read the poem and said this that he first sought out Milton,-unless, indeed, Dryden had known Milton already from as far back as 1657, when there is proof that Dryden was doing work of some clerkly kind for Oliver's secretary and Milton's brother-official, Thurloe, and receiving payment for the same. It was probably after the fame of Paradise Lost was established that the straggling of admiring visitors, especially of foreigners, to Milton's house, which even the Restoration had not quite stopped, swelled out again into that conflux of the learned about him, “much more than he did desire," of which we hear from Aubrey. Certain it is that Dryden, not nearly yet at his best in the world, but the manliest and greatest figure already in the whole society of the Restoration wits, had contracted a profound reverence for the blind Republican, from which he never swerved, and to which on every possible occasion he gave the most generous expression. Dryden's brother-in-law, Sir Robert Howard, was another of Milton's frequent literary visitors after his Paradise Lost had made him again a famous personage ; and it is probably from the same time that we are to date the intimacy between Milton and so eminent a Restoration statesman as the Earl of Anglesey. We hear more vaguely from Phillips of still 6 others of the nobility” who used now to pay their respects to the blind poet in his house in Bunhill, and were probably less welcome there than such homelier friends of older date as Dr. Nathan Paget, Cyriack Skinner, and the ever-faithful Andrew Marvell.
Of Milton's habits, in his house near Bunhill Fields, through the last ten years of his life, we have pretty distinct accounts from various persons, as follows :– He used to get up very early, generally at four o'clock in summer and five in winter. After having a chapter or two of the Hebrew Bible read to him, he worked, first in meditation by himself, and then, after breakfast, by dictation to his amanuensis for the time being, interspersed with farther readings to him from the books he wanted to consult, till near his mid-day dinner. A good part of the afternoon was then given to walking in the garden (and a garden of some kind had been always a requisite with him), or to playing on the organ, and singing, or hearing his wife sing, within doors. His wife, he said, had a good voice, but no ear. Later in the afternoon he resumed work; but about six o'clock he was ready to receive evening visitors, and to talk with them till about eight, when there was a supper of "olives or some light thing.” He was very temperate at meals, drinking very little “wine or strong liquors of any kind”; but his conversation at dinner and supper was very pleasant and cheerful, with a tendency to the satirical. This humour for satire was connected by some of his hearers with his strong way of pronouncing the letter r : “ litera canina, the dogletter, the certain sign of a satirical wit,” as Dryden said to Aubrey when they were talking of this personal trait of Milton. After supper, when left to himself, he smoked his pipe and drank a glass of water before going to bed ; which was usually at nine o'clock. He attended no church, and belonged to no communion ; nor had he any regular prayers in his family, having some principle of his own on that subject which his friends did not understand. His favourite attitude in dictating was sitting somewhat aslant in an elbow-chair, with his leg thrown over one of the arms. He would dictate his verses, thirty or forty at a time, to any one that happened to be at hand; but his two younger daughters, Mary and Deborah, whom he had by this time perfected in the art of reading to him in all languages without understanding what they read, had more than their share in such daily drudgery with him over his books. His poetical vein, Phillips tells us, flowed most happily “from the autumnal equinox to the vernal,” i.e. from the end of September to the end of March,—so that, with all his exertions through the other half of the year, he was never so well satisfied with the results. His poor health, and frequent headaches and other pains, were another interference with his work, but less than might have been supposed. Gout was his most confirmed ailment, and it had begun to stiffen his hands.
As Dryden was appointed to the Laureateship in 1670, in succession to Davenant, who had died in 1668, it was an odd fact, at which Dryden would have been the first to smile, that he could count Milton for a time among his literary subjects. The last four or five years of Milton's life were the first four or five of Dryden's Laureateship, and they include the following interesting series of publications by Milton :- Accedence Commenc'd Grammar, a small Compendium of Latin Grammar in English, 1669 ; History of Britain to the Conquest, with his portrait by Faithorne prefixed, 1670; Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes together, 1671; Latin treatise on Logic, according to the system of Ramus, entitled “ Artis Logicæ Plenior Institutio, ad Petri Rami Methodum Concinnata,” 1672 (probably an old performance lying among his MSS.); an English tract “ Of true Religion, Heresy, Schism, Toleration, and what best means may be used against the growth of Popery,” 1673 (a very mild tract put forth in the midst of a “No Popery" excitement, when Milton thought he might again be heard on a political topic); the Second Edition of his Minor Poems, 1673; the Second Edition of Paradise Lost, 1674; a translation of Letters Patent for the Election of Fohu III. [Sobieski], King of Poland, 1674 ; his Epistolæ Familiares, with his juvenile Prolusiones Oratoria at Cambridge added, 1674. There is evidence in the number of these publications, and in the nature of some of them, that Milton's name prefixed to a book was again in some request.
To complete our formal chronology of the Poems, we have now only to extricate from among the productions of the ten years in Artillery Walk the following separ. ately : PARADISE LOST, 1667. Re-edited 1674. Two Scraps of translated Verse from Geoffrey of Monmouth in History
of Britain (annexed now to the Minor English Poems). 1670. PARADISE REGAINED. 1671. SAMSON AGONISTES. 1671.
During the last four or five years of Milton's life his three daughters had ceased to reside with him. In or about 1669, the eldest being then twenty-three years of age and the youngest seventeen, they had all, by what seems to have been a really judicious arrangement of their stepmother, been sent out, at their father's expense, “to learn some curious and ingenious sorts of manufacture that are proper for women to learn, particularly embroideries in gold and silver.” From that time, therefore, Milton and his wife Elizabeth had been by themselves in the house near Bunhill Fields, with one maid-servant. It was probably the calmest time in Milton's life for many a day. Our best glimpse of him in those closing years is from the Notes of the painter Jonathan Richardson, published in 1734. “I have heard many years since,” says Richardson, “ that he used to sit in a grey coarse cloth coat at the door of his house near Bunhill Fields, without Moorgate, in warm sunny weather, to enjoy the fresh air, and so, as well as in his room, received the visits of people of distinguished parts as well as quality ; and very lately I had the good fortune to have another picture of him from an aged clergyman of Dorsetshire, Dr. Wright. He found him in a small house, he thinks but one room on a floor. In that up one pair of stairs, which was hung with a rusty green, he found John Milton sitting in an elbow chair, black clothes, 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 this gave him, his blindness would be tolerable.” A day soon came when the slight figure in coarse grey was no more to be seen by the inhabitants of the obscure neighbourhood. He died peacefully, of what was called “gout struck in,” on Sunday, Nov. 8, 1674, aged sixty-five years and eleven months ; and he was buried, Nov. 12, beside his father, in the church