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Walk, Bunbill Fields. Here, we are told, he used to sit, in a grey coarse cloth coat, at the door in warm summer weather, to enjoy the fresh air, and so, as well as in his own room, he received the visits of people of distinguished parts as well as quality. The same writer tells us that he had an original picture of Milton given him by Dr. Wright, an ancient clergyman. in Dorsetshire, who told him that Milton lived in a small house, but one room, as he thought, on a floor; where he found him up one pair of stairs, in a chamber hung with rusty green, sitting in an elbow chair ; black clothes, and neat enough; pale, but not cadaverous; his hands and fingers gouty, and with chalk stones; and that, among other discourse, he expressed himself to this purpose, that were he free from the pain this gave him, his blindness would be tolerable."*
He continued his literary exertions to the last moment of his existence; and the variety of his labours fills the mind with astonishment. He died November 8, 1674, and so quiet was his departure that they who waited in his chamber were ignorant of it till they found him a corpse. His remains were interred ncar his father's, in the upper part of the chancel of St. Giles's Church, Cripplegate, where the late Mr. Whitbread placed a bust of him, executed by Bacon.
* Richardson ut supra, p. 4.
In his youth, Milton was fond of robust exercises, and he excelled in fencing. When he was confined to his house by blindness and the gout, he had a swing made for the purpose of exercise. In his early years he injured his health and his eye-sight by night studies; but afterwards he corrected this practice, and usually retired to rest at nine, and rose at four or five.
The first thing in the morning was to have a chapter of the Scriptures, either in Hebrew or Greek read to him ; after this he spent some hours in private meditation. From seven to twelve he had a book read to him, or he dictated to an amanuensis. Then he indulged himself in walking or swinging. His dinner was at one, plain and frugal. After this he played on the bass viol, or the organ, accompanied by his voice, which was very musical.* From this recreation he returned again to his books or to composition. At six he admitted the visits of his
* “In relation to bis 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, “Now will I swear,' says lie, • this lady is handsome.'-His ears were now eyes to him.”—Remarks on Milton's Life, p. 6.
This puts one in mind of the blind Professor Saunderson's discovering the beauty of the lady he married, by feeling her eyelashes.
friends; bis supper, which was simple, he took at eight; he then smoked his pipe over a glass of water, and at nine retired to rest. Such was the
general distribution of the day with this great man, towards the close of his life, but when he was in a publick situation, this uniformity could not be preserved.
Of his literary character, we shall say nothing; for it comes not within the plan of our work; and if
any reader shall think that, in the preceding sketch, Milton has been treated with severity, let him consider whether the facts exhibited do not justify the remarks that have been made. It creates indignation to see writers studying panegyric instead of truth; and from their high admiration of genius making its very errors the subjects of praise. Biography thus perverted becomes dangerous, as tending to give the sanction of authority to bad principles ; and converting the just reverence entertained for the mental accomplishments of a man into an apology for the whole of his conduct.