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her husband, deserted him, and did not again
see him till the memorable period of their reconciliation, about the middle of 1645; that she was then lodged, in the first instance, at the house of a female relation, and was soon afterwards settled with her husband in his new mansion in Barbican; that under this protecting roof her parents and their family almost immediately sought an asylum, which they continued to enjoy till 1647; and that the Powells then returned to Forest-hill, unaccompanied, (as is evident from the negative testimony of the biographer,) by Milton; whose numerous and weighty occupations, indeed, must necessarily have exacted his town. We may be certain therefore that Milton never saw Forest-hill after his departure from it on his marriage, nor ever resided there longer than during the month of his courtship. In this interval indeed it is possible, though, as I think, not probable that he wrote L'Allegro and Il Penseroso, and if to the impression of Forest-hill and its scenery we are indebted for the production of these exquisite pieces, we may forgive it for its offence as the seat, and perhaps the birthplace of the proud and the paltry Powells. The letter, to which I refer, is so admirably written, and offers so much pleasure to the imagination, that every reader must lament with me the circumstances of its
being destitute of the requisite ground of fact. As no doubt can be entertained of the truth of the story as far as Sir W. Jones's immediate responsibility in it extends, we must account for the tradition, of which he speaks, by supposing that Milton's subsequent celebrity attached so much consequence to the house which he had casually inhabited for a month, as to consecrate it, in the neighbourhood, to fame. The discovery in the ruined mansion of papers in Milton's own hand,” is mentioned by Sir W. Jones only as a report : but, allowing the information to have been correct, the existence of papers a place, where the writer had certainly resided and which belonged to his immediate connexions, can easily be conceived without incurring the necessity of drawing from it any more extensive inference. To oppose such a circumstance to that direct and strong evidence, on which the leading events in the preceding narrative are recorded, would be idle and unjustifiable in the extreme.
Having had occasion more than once in the preceding pages to mention the name of Lauder, I conceive it to be proper to give some account of this unfortunate man's conduct as it is connected with the history of
Milton, and has justly stampt the character of this enemy of our great poet with indelible infamy.
In the year 1747, William Lauder, a teacher of the Latin tongue and a man certainly possessing both talents and learning, excited general attention by publishing in the Gentleman's Magazine, for the months of January, February, and March, a paper, signed with the initials W. L. which he called “ Milton's Use and Imitation of the Moderns;" intended to prove that our illustrious epic bard had been considerably indebted to some modern Latin poets of very inferior fame, from whose works extracts, in support of the alleged discovery, were produced. To this essay, of which the malevolence was discerrible through the moderation of its language, three answers were given in the same periodical pamphlet, and Milton was defended against the charge of plagiarism, without the intimation of any doubt respecting the authenticity of Lauder's quotations.
Emboldened by his escape from detection and now seemingly confident of ultimate success, the impostor in the beginning of the year 1750 published, under the same title, that larger essay which he had promised.
Though the intemperate language of this work would no longer suffer it to be a doubt, notwithstanding the strong assertion of probity in its concluding paragraph, whether malice or the love of truth was the writer's actuating motive, Mr. Samuel Johnson, who, from his known connexion at this period with Cave, the editor of the Gentleman's Magazine, may fairly be concluded not to have been unassociated with Lauder's former publication, did not scruple to ornament it with a preface and a postscript, and thus to make himself an accomplice in the malignity, if candour obliges us to admit his ignorance of the frauds of its author. This essay, the assertions of which, extending far beyond its
• To gratify the curiosity of my readers I will transcribe for them some of the passages from this malignant publication,premising that they are taken, without any very curious selection, from many others stampt with equal or with greater
P. 59.“ The case is exactly the same,” (says Lauder speaking of a passage, which he had himself fabricated for Grotius, and which, as he affirms, Milton “ borrowed without any intention of making an acknowledgment,)“ in a thousand other places, where much false incense has been offered on the wrong altar, and many lavish encomiums unjustly prostituted.”
P. 71.“ The State of Innocence or Fall of Man," is a proof how readily Milton's poem, which was founded on a tragedy, “ (the
pretended proofs, affected the entire over
Adamus exul of the juvenile Grotius,)” may be reduced to a tragedy again. But there is this remarkable difference between the two authors, that Dryden, though never reputed a man of the strictest morals, frankly acknowledged to whom he stood obliged, while Milton, notwithstanding his high pretensions to integrity, most industriously concealed his obligations."
P. 72, 73. “ He" (Grotius) “ has as much reason to complain of ungrateful usage at Milton's hand, as the prince of the Latin poets when he exclaimed with indignation, from a consciousness of injury done him by Bathyllus,
“ Hos ego versiculos feci,--tulit alter honores.”
P. 74. After ridiculing the honours, which had been paid to Milton on the false supposition of his originality, and of the truth with which he asserts that his song
pursues « Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme," Lauder
with reference to one of the vindicators of the great poet, “ But I must take the liberty to inform him that my notions of morality taught me quite another lesson than to bestow the praise due to ingenuity and integrity on persons of a dif. ferent character."
“ 'Tis true Ramsay's poem has been lately called a cento from Virgil; but I hope to shew (and I think I have partly done it already) that Milton stands infinitely more exposed to that censure, being compiled out of all authors, ancient or modern, sacred or profane, who had any thing in their works suitable to