Page images


iv Sword that My Informer remembers, though Probably he did, at least 'twas his Custom not long before to wear one with a Small Silver-Hilt, and in Cold Weather a Grey Camblet Coat. his Band was Usually not of the Sort as That in the Print I have given, That is, as my Original is, but like What are in the Common Prints of him, the Band usually wore at That time; to have a more Exact Idea of his Figure, let it be remembred that the Fashion of the Coat Then was not Much Unlike what the Quakers Wear Now.

I have heard many Years Since that he Usd to Sit in a Grey Coarse Cloath Coat at the Door of his House, near Bun-hill Fields Without Moor-gate, in Warm Sunny Weather to Eạjoy the Fresh Air, and So, as well as in his Room, receiv'd the Visits of People of Distinguish'd Parts, as well as Quality. and very Lately I had the Good Fortune to have Another Picture of him from an Ancient Clergy-man in 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 Cloaths, and Neat enough, Pale, but not Cadaverous, his Hands and Fingers Gouty, and with Chalk Stones. among Other Discourse He exprest Himself to This Purpose; that was he Free from


the Pain This gave him, his Blindness would be Tolerable.

Sufficient Care had not been taken of This Body, he had a Partiality for his Mind; but All that Temperance, Chastity, and every Wholefom Vertue could do, was done ; Nor did he forbear Sometimes to Walk and Use Exercise, as himself says, Eleg. I. 50. VII. 51. and in a Passage in his Apol. for Smečtymnuus which will be Quoted Anon on Another Occasion. but This was not Enough to Support him Under that Intense Study and Application which he took to be his Portion in This Life. He lov'd the Country, but was little There. nor do we hear any thing of his Riding, Hunting, Dancing, &c. When he was Young he learnt to Fence, probably as a Gentlemanly Accomplishment, and that he might be Able to do Himself Right in Case of an Affront, which he wanted not Courage nor Will for, as Himself intimates, though it does not appear he ever made This Use of his Skill. after he was Blind he us’d a Swing for Exercise.

Musick he Lov'd Extreamly, and Understood Well. ʼtis said he Compos'd, though nothing of That has been brought down to Us. he diverted Himself with Performing, which they say he did Well on the Organ and Bas-Viol. and This was a great Relief to him after he had lost his Sight.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]


in relation to his Love of Musick, 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 lov'd to talk of Milton,
as hé Often Did. Milton hearing a Lady Sing
Finely, now will I Swear (says he) This Lady
is Handsom. his Ears Now were Eyes to

This little Hint puts me in Mind to Con-

sider Him as a Lover, which might have been

Overlook'd for any thing that is said of Him

in the Accounts we have ; Only that he Mar-

ry'd Three times; And (as he says Himself

somewhere) he had a particular Fancy, for

which however I don't remember he gives any

Reason, he would never think of taking a

Widow ; 'tis certain he did not, none of the

Three Wedded by him were Such. Nor is

it Observ'd he was in Love (as the Phrase is)

with any of These; on the Other Hand no-

thing is said to his Disadvantage with regard

to Tenderness as a Husband. Once indeed,

it appears by a Latin Poem of his (Eleg. VII.

written when he was about 19) he fell in
Love for the First time ; He met the Lady
upon Some Walks at London, Loft Sight of
her, Never knew who the was, nor Saw her
More, but Resolv'd Love should Thencefor-
ward give him no farther Trouble.

but he was Mistaken, as appears by three

fine Latin Copies of Verses to Leonora, a

Young Lady who Sung Admirably at Rome ;



and five Italian Sonnets, and a Canzona that seem to be for the fame Lady. He was not Insensible of Beauty ; See his First Latin Elegy. but let it be remember'd This was when he was a Young Man. We hear nothing of This After his return from Italy.

When he was a Youth he Sometimes read Romances; and, as Good Minds Naturally will, turn'd All to his Advantage

So that even Those Books, which to Many Others have been the Fuel of Wantonness, and Loole Living, I cannot think how, Unless by Divine Indulgence, prov'd to Me so many Incitements, as you have heard, to the Love and steadfast Observation of That Vertue which abhors the Society of Bordelloes. Apol. for Smečtymnuus.

in This Spring of Life he also Sometimes saw a Play, and visited Publick Walks, and Such Kind of Diversions. He was a Chearfull Companion ; but no Joker : his Conversätion was Lively, but with Dignity. and as he was whilst Young, he Continu'd to be in his more Advanc'd Age. in a Latin Letter (his 2 ist, in the Year 1656) he thus Writes to Emeric Bigot. It was extreamly Gratefull to Me that

you thought Me Worthy to be visited preferably to Others when you came into England, and tis still more gratefull that you Now Salute me with Letters : for you came to me perhaps only led ty the Opinion of the World, bilt your Returning by Letter is the result of your Own Judgmeilt,



or at least Benevolence. of which I find that I bave great reason to Congratulate my Self; for Many that have been very Conhderable in their Writings, have had nothing but what was Low and Vulgar in their Private Conversation. for Me, if I can obtain, that having Written fomthing perhaps Tolerable

, I may not appear

to be Unequal in my Mind and Manners, I mall add a Weight to my Writings, and fall gain fill more Honour and Praise from Them, (if indeed they do Deserve Any,) when it shall be seen that it has been drawn, not more from the Most Celebrated Authors, than, Pure, and Sincere from the Intimate Sense of my Own Mind, and very Soul.

He had a Competent Knowledge in the Mathematicks; but doubtless he never defign'd to persue That Science through All its Branches, nor to their Utmost Extent.

Whatever he Undertook was Dispatch'd as soon as possible. He was Always in Hast. Cosa Fatta Capo is an old Florentine Proverb. a thing Done has a Head; the Finish

. ing Stroke is the principal One, the Work is Nothing without it. For Me, (says he in a Letter to Diodatus, Ep. 6. 1637) Such is the Impetuofity of My Temper, that no Delay, no Quiet, no Different Care and Thought of Almoft Any thing Else, can stop me 'till I come to my Fourrey's End, and finish the Present Study to the Utmost I am Able. This Last Clause


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »