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ent so peculiarly his own that any observa. tions of his about Adam are interesting. • Many there be that complain of Divine Providence for suffering Adam to transgress. Foolish tongues ! When God gave him reason He gave him freedom to choose, for reason is but choosing; he had been ulse a mere artificial Adam. We ourselves esteem not of that obedience a love or gift which is of force. God therefore left him free, set before him a provoking object ever almost in his eyes; herein consisted his merit, herein the right of his reward, the praise of his abstinence.' So that according to Milton even Eden was a state of trial. As an author, Milton's protest has great force. • 'And what if the author shall be one so copious of fancy as to have many things well worth the adding come into his mind after licensing, while the book is yet under the press, which not seldom happens to the best and diligentest writers, and that perhaps a dozen times in Ine book. The printer dares not go beyond his licensed copy. So often then must the author trudge to his leave-giver that those his new insertions may be viewed, and many a jaunt will be made ere that licenser - for it must be the same man - can either be found, or found at leisure ; meanwhile either the press must stand still, which is no small damage, or the author lose his accuratest thoughts, and send forth the book worse than he made it, which to a diligent writer is the greatest melancholy and vexation that can befall.'
Milton would have had no licensers, Every book should bear the printer's name, and 'mischievous and libellous books' were to be burnt by the common hangman, not as an effectual remedy, but as the most effectual remedy man's prevention can use.'
The noblest pamphlet in our English, the language of men ever famous and foremost in the achievements of liberty,' accomplished nothing, and its author must already have thought himself fallen on evil days.
In the year 1645, the year of Naseby, as Mr. Pattison reminds us, appeared the first edition of Milton's Poems. Then, for the first time, were printed L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, the Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, and various of the sonnets. The little volume also contained Comus and Lycidas, which had been previously printed. With the exception of three sonnets and a few scraps of translation, Milton had written nothing but pamphlets since his return from Italy. At the beginning of the volume, which is a small octavo, was a portrait of the poet, most villainously executed. He was really thir. ty-seven, but flattered himself, as men of that age will, that he looked ten years younger ; he was therefore much chagrined to find himself represented as a grim-looking gentleman of at least fifty. The way he revenged himself upon the hapless artist is well known. The volume, with the portrait, is now very scarce, almost rare.
In 1647 Milton removed from the Barbican, both his father and his father-in-law being dead, to a smaller house in Holborn, backing upon Lincoln's Inn Fields, close to where the Inns of Court Hotel now stands, and not far from the spot which was destined to witness the terrible tragedy which was at once to darken and glorify
the life of one of Milton's most fervent lovers, Charles Lamb. About this time he is supposed to have abandoned pedagogy. The habit of pamphleteering stuck to him ; indeed, it is one seldom thrown off. It is much easier to throw off the pamphlets.
In 1649 Milton became a public servant, receiving the appointment of Latin Secretary to the Council of Foreign Affairs. He knew some member of the Committee, who obtained his nomination. His duties were purely clerkly. It was his business to translate English despatches into Latin, and foreign despatches into English. He had nothing whatever to do with the shaping of the foreign policy of the Commonwealth. He was not even employed in translating the most important of the State papers. There is no reason for supposing that he even knew the leading politicians of his time. There is a print one sees about, representing Oliver Cromwell dictating a foreign despatch to John Milton; but it is all imagination, nor is there anything to prove that Cromwell and Milton, the body and soul of English Republicanism, were ever in the same room together, or exchanged words with one another. Milton's name does not occur in the great history of Lord Clarendon. Whitelocke, who was the leading member of the Committee which Milton served, only mentions him once. Thurloe spoke of him as a blind man who wrote Latin letters. Richard Baxter, in his folio history of his Life and Times, never mentions Milton at all.* He was just a clerk in the service of the Commonwealth, of a scholarly bent, peculiar habit of thought, and somewhat of an odd temper. He was not the man to cultivate great acquaintances, or to fritter away his time waiting the convenience of other people. When once asked to use his influence to obtain for a friend an appointment, he replied he had no influence, 'propter paucissimas familiaritates meas cum gratiosis, qui domi fere, idque libenter, me contineo.' The busy great men of the day would have been more than astonished, they would have been disgusted, had they been told that posterity would refer to most of them compendiously, as having lived