Imágenes de páginas

for such as may hereafter write the history of those times."

The government soon found a use for his Latin pen in another way; for about this time, 1649, there was published a work entitled “Eikon Basilike, or the Portraiture of his sacred Majesty in his solitudes and sufferings," and Milton soon after published, by the authority of Parliament, his “ Eiclonocastes, or the imagebreaker;"_" the purport of the book attributed to the late king, (but written by a clergyman named Dr. Gordon,) being in the opinion of MilTON, to catch the worthless approbation of an inconstant, irrational, and image doting rabble.” In this work, (which it was afterwards discovered was an imposture,) the king vindicates himself in distinct chapters against the charges made against him by the nation, of those acts of tyranny, which were the occasions of the civil war, or which had been committed against the people during its continuance. The effect of this work was so powerful upon the public mind, that Milton was commanded to prepare an answer which should counteract its baneful influence to the disadvantage of the Government. He cheerfully undertook this task so agreeable to his principles, and so congenial to his feelings : to combat a king as he appears to have thought, was of all other employments, that which called

forth the powerful energies of his mighty mind, and brought into full exercise the high-tried feelings of his intrepid heart.

He commences by saying, “Kings indeed have gained glorious titles from their flatterers or favourers, for writing against private men, as our Henry the Eighth was styled Defender of the Faith for having engaged Luther; yet no man can expect much honour by writing against a king, as not usually meeting with that force of argument in such courtly antagonists. Kings, , though strong in legions are most commonly but weak at arguments, as they who have ever been accustomed from their cradle to use their will only as their right hand, their reason always as their left: whence unexpectedly constrained to this kind of combat, they prove but weak and puny adversaries. Nevertheless, for their sakes, who through custom, simplicity, or want of better teaching, have not more sacredly considered kings than in the gaudy name of majesty, and admire them and their doings as if they breathed not the same breath with other mortal men, I shall make no scruple to take up this gauntlet, though a kings, in behalf of liberty and the commonwealth.'

“ Having thus accepted the challenge,” says Toland, “he fairly measures weapons, and answers all the allegations of that book beyond the possi

bility of a reply;" but every chapter of the Eikon Basilike being concluded with a devotional exercise, modelled into the form of a private psalter, he once for all gives his opinion of those political prayers in the following caustic remarks:—“They who so much admire the Archbishop's Breviary, and many other [formularies] as good manuals and handmaids of devotion, the lip-work of every prelatical Liturgist, clapt this together, and quilted it out of scripture phrase with as much ease and as little aid of christian diligence or judgment, as belongs to the compiling of any ordinary and saleable piece of English divinity that the shops value. But he, who from such a kind of psalmistry, or any other verbal devotion, without the pledge and earnest of suitable deeds, can be persuaded of a zeal and true righteousness in the person has much yet to learn; and knows not that the deepest policy of a tyrant has been ever to counterfeit religion : and Aristotle in his politics has mentioned that special craft among twelve other tyrannical sophisms. Neither want we examples. Andronicus Commenus the Beszantin Emperor, though a most cruel tyrant, is reported by Nicholas to have been a constant reader of St. Paul's Epistles : and by continual study had so incorporated the phrase and style of that Apostle into all his

familiar letters, that the imitations seemed to vie with the original."

Having mentioned our king Richard the Third, he discovers a piece of royal plagiarism, or, to be more charitable, of his chaplain's priestcraft; for one of the prayers composed by the late “martyr!” and styled “ A Prayer in the time of captivity,” said to have been delivered by the king to Dr. Juxon, and twice printed among his works in folio, is plainly stolen and taken from the mouth of PAMELA, an imaginary lady, to a heathen deity, in Sir Philip SIDNEY's Arcadia. This and other circumstances of a similar kind, its composition, style, and management, could not impose upon Milton, who considered it as being rather the production of some idle clergyman, than the composition of a distressed Prince, either in perpetual hurry, at the head of a retreating army, or being removed from prison to prison during his captivity, till his death


the scaffold. The following quotation is given by Mil

show it was compiled by some theologian, who did not hesitate in commenting without reverence upon the judgments of God. When the death of the HoThams was mentioned, who had opposed the king at Hull, it is said:—“That his [the father's] head was divided from the body, because his heart was divided from the king; and that two heads were cut off in one family, for affront

ing the head of the commonwealth; the eldest son being infected with the sin of the father against the father of his country.

” Many at the time suspected, from the internal evidence of the book itself, without any further light on the subject, that it was an imposture, and published for the purpose of proving that the late king of the Royalist party had been a wiser man and better Christian than Cromwell, the head of the Republicans, notwithstanding the reputation which he had obtained in the nation for his intellect and piety.*

* In the year 1686, this imposture was thus discovered. Mr. Millington had to sell the library of the late LORD ANGLESEY. Putting up an Eikon Basilike, notwithstanding it was in the reign of the supposed royal author's brother, there were but few bidders, and those very low in their biddings. Having thus leisure, while his hammer was suspended, to tum over the leaves, he read, with evident surprise, the following memorandum in LORD ANGLESEY's hand-writing :“ KING CHARLES the second and the Duke of York, did both (in the last sessions of Parliament, 1675, when I showed them, in the Lords' House, the written copy of this book, wherein are some corrections and alterations, written with the late king CHARLES the First's own hand,) assure me that this was none of the said king's compiling, but made by Dr. GAUDEN, Bishop of Exeter; which I here insert for the undeceiving of others in this point, hy attesting so much under my own hand.-Anglesey."

This curious circumstance coming to light at the end of forty years, led to much conversation; and several persons, who knew that Dr. Walker, an Essex clergyman, had de

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