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We are not told, and it would be idle to conjecture what sum was raised by the sale of his books; a measure which was taken
previously to his decease, and to which he was probably induced by the persuasion that his executrix would be less likely than himself to obtain their just value. In his days the purchasers of books were few, when compared with those in our's; and the number of the affluent, who expended large sums in literary curiosities, was still perhaps proportionably less. The sale in the present times of such a library, as Milton's may reasonably be supposed to have been, would alone produce a large part, if not the whole of the property which he bequeathed. Of this collection, an Euripides is now in the possession of Mr. Cradock, of Gumley in Leicestershire; and a Lycophron, (as Mr. Todd, on the authority of Mr. Walker, informs us,) is preserved in the library of the Earl of Charlemont. The margin of the Euripides is inscribed with many observations and corrections by Milton's pen; among which Dr. Johnson, who was not deep in Grecian literature, affirms that he found nothing remarkable; but of which some have been adopted in Barnes's edition, and others inserted in Mr. Jodrell's illustratrations of this Athenian dramatist.
The concurring voices of all his early bio
graphers, who were personally acquainted with him, will not allow us to doubt that the harmony of Milton's features and form seemed to make his body a suitable residence for his superior soul. At Cambridge, the fineness of his complexion occasioned him to be called “ the lady of Christ's college;" and the ruddiness, which lingered on his cheek till the middle of life, gave to him at that period an appearance of remarkable juvenility. His eyes were dark grey; and their lustre, .which was peculiarly vivid, did not fade even when their vision was extinguished. His hair, which was light brown, he wore parted at the top, and “ clustering,” as he describes that of Adam, upon his shoulders. His per
b I borrow the expression and the thought from Aubrey. “ His barmonical and ingenuous soul," (says this biographer) dwelt in a beautiful and well-proportioned body."
The personal beauty of Milton has given occasion to a little romantic story, which is pleasing to the imagination. As the youthful bard was asleep under a tree, an Italian lady, accidentally passing near the place, was struck with his charms, and alighted from her carriage to contemplate them. After gratifying her curiosity and feeding her love with the spectacle, she dropped a paper, intimating the occurrence and professing her passion, and then, withdrawing without awaking him, she proceeded on her journey. This event, as the story further relates, determined him to cross the Alps, for the purpose of discovering the fugitive fair one among the beauties of Italy. It is unneces sary to say that his search was unsuccessful: but in the voice and the charms of Leonora Baroni, he found an ample compensation for the loss of his imaginary mistress.
son was of the middle height, not fat or corpulent, but muscular and compact. deportment,” (I use the words of Wood, from whom nothing but a respect for truth could have extorted any favourable account of his great contemporary,)“ his deportment was affable, and his gait erect and manly, bespeaking courage and undauntedness.”
In his earlier life, he was fond of robust exercises; and, excelling in the management of the sword, he wanted neither strength nor resolution to repel the insults of any adversary, however eminent for his skill or his bodily force. When blindness, and the gout, with which he was early afflicted, confined him in a great degree to his house, he contrived a swing for the purposes of exercise; and to exercise in one form or other, as the essential preservative of health, he regularly allotted one hour in the day.
Having injured his constitution in his youth by night studies, whence immediately proceeded those pains in his head of which we have before spoken, and that weakness in his eyes which terminated in the loss of
• Doctor Johnson thinks that Milton's weapon was not the rapier, but the broad sword. It was the weapon bowever, as Milton tells us himself, which he commonly carried by his side; and I suspect that gentlemen, who were not of the military profession, very seldom, (if ever,) wore any weapon but the small sword.
sight, he corrected this erroneous practice as he advanced in years, and retired to his bed at the early hour of nine. The moments however which he gave to sleep in the beginning of the night, he took from the drowsy power in the morning, rising in summer generally at four o'clock and in winter at five. When, contrary to his usual custom, he indulged himself with longer rest, he employed a person to read to him from the time of his awaking to that of his rising.
The opening of his day was uniformly consecrated to religion. A chapter of the Hebrew scriptures being read to him as soon as he was up, he passed the subsequent interval till seven o'clock in private meditation. From seven till twelve, he either listened while soine author was read to him, or dictated as some friendly hand supplied him
At twelve commenced his hour of exercise, which before his blindness was commonly passed in walking, and afterward for the most part in the swing. His early and frugal dinner succeeded; and when it was finished he resigned himself to the recreation of music, by which he found his
with its pen.
d“ In relation to his love of music," says Richardson, " and the effect it had upon his mind, I remember a story I had from a friend, I was happy in for many years; and who loved to talk of Milton, as he often did. Milton hearing a lady sing finely,
mind at once gratified and restored. Of music he was particularly fond, and both with its science and its practice he was more than superficially acquainted. He could compose, as Richardson says that it was reported; and with his voice, which was delicately sweet and harmonious,' he would frequently accompany the instruments on which he played, the bass viol or the organ. His musical taste had, beyond question, been fostered by his father; and the great author's love of this delightful art is discovered in every part of his writings, where its intimation can in any way be made compatible with his subject.
From his music he returned, with fresh
Now will I swear,' says he, this lady is handsome.' His ears were now eyes to him.” Rich. Remarks on Milton, p. vi.
In his Tractate on Education, as we have seen, Milton advises for the students this recreation of music after meals, as peculiarly salutary to the mind: and it may be remarked that the same indulgence has been recommended by Sir William Jones from his own experience, as favourable to mental exertion, and producing the good effects without any of the disadvantages of sleep.
I feel gratified by any opportunity of bringing forward the name of the admirable Sir William Jones; whose life, like that of Milton, was one continued and ardent struggle for the acquisition of knowledge; and who sought to advance all his species to that perfection, after which he himself was perpetually straining.
e“ He (Milton) had a delicate tuneable voice," says Wood, “ an excellent ear, could play on the organ,” &c. Fast, Oxon.