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ments, were indeed fair game for the laughers. with hands: their diadems crowns cf glory But it is not írom the laughers alone that the which should never fade away! On the rich philosophy of history is to be learnt. And he and the eloquert, on nobles and priests, they who approaches this subject should carefully looked down with contempt: for they esteemed guard against the influence of that potent ridi-themselves rich in a more precious treasure, evle, which has already misled so inany excel- and eloquent in a more sublime language, lent writers.

nobles by the right of an earlier creation, and “Ecco il fonte del riso, ed ecco il rio

priests by the imposition of a mightier hand. Che mortali perigli in se contiene:

The very meanest of them was a being to
Hor qui tener a fren nostro a desio,
Ed eeser cauti molto a noi conviene "*

whose fate a mysterious and terrible importThose who roused the people to resistance

ance belonged-on whose slightest actions the who directed their measures through a long anxious interest—who had been destined, be

spirits of light and darkness looked with series of eventful years—who formed, out of the most unpromising materials, the finest fore heaven and earth were created, to enjoy army that Europe had ever seen—who tram

a felicity which should continue when heaven pled down King, Church, and Aristocracy, which short-sighted politicians ascribed to

and earth should have passed away. Events who, in the short intervals of domestic sedition and rebellion, made the name of England ter- earthly causes had been ordained on his acrible to every nation on the face of the earth, nourished, and decayed. For his sake the

For his sake empires had risen, and were no vulgar fanatics. Most of their absurdities were mere external badges, like the of the evangelist and the harp of the prophet

Almighty had proclaimed his will by the pen signs of freemasonry or the dresses of friars. He had been rescued by no common deliverer We regret that these badges were not more from the grasp of no common foe. He had attractive. We regret that a body, to whose courage and talents mankind has owed inesti- been ransomed by the sweat of no vulgar mable obligations, had not the lofty elegance it was for him that the sun had been darkened,

agony, by the blood of no earthly sacrifice. which distinguished some of the adherents of Charles I., or the easy good breeding for which that the rocks had been rent, that the dead had the court of Charles II. was celebrated. But, arisen, that all nature had shuddered at the sufif we must make our choice, we shall, like ferings of her expiring God! Bassanio in the play, turn from the specious ent men, the one all self-abasement, penitence,

Thus the Puritan was made up of two differcaskets which contain only the Death's head and the Fool's head, and fix our choice on the gratitude, passion; the other proud, calm, inplain leaden chest which conceals the treasure, the dust before his Maker; but he set his foot

flexible, sagacious. He prostrated himself in The Puritans were men whose minds had derived a peculiar character from the daily tirement, he prayed with convulsions, and

on the neck of his king. In his devotional recontemplation of superior beings and external interests. Not con•ent with acknowledging, in groans, and tears. He was half maddened by general terms, an overruling Providence, they glorious or terrible illusions. He heard the habitually ascribed every event to the will of lyres of angels or the tempting whispers of the Great Being, for whose power nothing was Vision, or woke screaming from dreams of

fiends. He caught a gleam of the Beatific too va:1, for whose inspection nothing was too To know him, to serve him, to enjoy self intrusted with the sceptre of the millennial

everlasting fire. minute

Like Vane, he thought him. him, was with them the great end of existence. They rejected with contempt the ceremonious year. Like Fleetwood, he cried in the bitter. homage which other sects substituted for the ness of his soul that God had hid his face from

him. But when he took his seat in the coun pure worship of the soul. Instead of catching cil, or girt on his sword for war, these tem. occasional glimpses of the Deity through an obscuring veil, they aspired to gaze full on the pestuous workings of the soul had left no intolerable brightness, and to commune with perceptible trace behind them. People who him face to face. Hence originated their con

saw nothing of the godly but their uncouth tempt for terrestrial distinctions. The differ visages, and heard noihing from them but their ence between the greatest and meanest of man groans and their whining hymns, might laugh kind seemed to vanish, when compared with who encountered them in the hall of debate or

at them. But those had little reason to laugh, the boundless interval which separated the in the field of battle. These fanatics brought whole race from him on whom their own eyes to civil and military affairs a coolness of judge were constantly fixed. They recognised no

ment and an immutability of purpose which title to superiority but his favour; and, confident of that favour, they despised all the ac- their religious zeal, but which were in fact the

some writers have thought inconsistent with complishments and all the dignities of the world. If they were unacquainted with the feelings on one subject made them tranquil on

necessary effects of it. The intensity of their works of philosophers and poets, they were deeply read in the oracles of God. ir their every other. One overpowering sentiment had names were not found in the registers of her and fear. Death had lust its terrors and plea.

subjected to itself pity and hatred, ambition ralds, they felt assured that they were recorded sure its charms. They had their smiles and in the Book of Life. If their steps were not their tears, their raptures and their sorrows, accompanied by a splendid train of menials, but not for the things of this world. Enthusiasm legions of ministering angels had charge over had made them stoics, had cleared their minds them Their palaces were houses not made from every vulgar passion and prejudice, and • Gerusalemme Liberata, xv. 57.

raised them above the infuencont danger and

vi corruption. It sometimes might lead them machines for destruction dressed up in unito pursue unwise ends, but never to choose un- forms, caned into skill, intoxicated into valour, wise means. They went through the world defending without love, destroying without like Sir Artegale's iron man Talus with his hatred. There was a freedom in their subser. fail, crushing and trampling down oppressors, viency, a nobleness in their very degradation. mingling with human beings, but having nei- The sentiment of individual independence was ther part nor lot in human infirmities; insensi- strong within them. They were indeed mis. ble to fatigue, io pleasure, and to pain; not to led, but by no base or selfish motive. Combe pierced by any weapon, not to be withstood passion and romantic honour, the prejudices by any barrier.

of childhood, and the venerable names of his. Such we believe to have been the character tory, threw over them a spell potent as that of of the Puritans. We perceive the absurdity of Duessa; and, like the Red-Cross Knight, they their manners. We dislike the sullen gloom thought that they were doing battle for an inof their domestic habits. We acknowledge jured beauty, while they defended a false and that the tone of their minds was often injured loathsome sorceress. In truth, they scarcely by straining after things too high for mortal entered at all into the merits of the political reach. And we know that, in spite of their question. It was not for a treacherous king hatred of Popery, they too often fell into the or an intolerant church that they fought; but worst vices of that bad system, intolerance and for the old banner which had waved in su extravagant austerity—that they had their an- many battles over the heads of their fathers, chorites and their crusades, their Dunstans and and for the altars at which they had received their De Montforts, their Dominics and their the hands of their brides. Though nothing Escobars. Yet when all circumstances are could be more erroneous than their political taken into consideration, we do not hesitate to opinions, they possessed, in a far greater depronounce them a brave, a wise, an honest, and gree than their adversaries, those qualities a useful body.

which are the grace of private life. With The Puritans esponsed the cause of civil many of the vices of the Round Table, they "iberty, mainly because it was the cause of re- had also many of its virtues, courtesy, gene'igion. There was another party, by no means rosity, veracity, tenderness, and respect for woaumerous, but distinguished by learning and man. They had far more both of profound and ability, which co-operated with them on very of polite learning than the Puritans. Their different principles. We speak of those whom manners were more engaging, their tempers Cromwell was accustomed to call the Heathens, more amiable, their tastes more elegant, and men who were, in the phraseology of that time, their households more cheerful. doubting Thomases or careless Gallios with Milton did not strictly belong to any of the regard to religious subjects, but passionate classes which we have described. He was not worshippers of freedom. Heated by the study a Puritan. He was not a Freeininker. He of ancient literature, they set up their country was not a Cavalier. In his character the noas their idol, and proposed to themselves the blest qualities of every party were combined heroes of Plutarch as their examples. They in harmonious union. From the parliament seem to have borne some resemblance to the and from the court, from the conventicle and Brissotines of the French Revolution. But it from the Gothic cloister, from the gloomy and is not very easy to draw the line of distinction sepulchral circles of the Roundheads and from between them and their devout associates, the Christmas revel of the hospitable Cavalier, whose tone and manner they sometimes found his nature selected and drew to itself whatever it convenient to affect, and sometimes, it is was great and good, while it rejected all the probable, imperceptibly adopted.

base and pernicious ingredients by which those We now come io the Royalists. We shall fine elements were defiled. Like the Puritans, attempt to speak of them, as we have spoken he lived of their antagonists, with perfect candour. We

“As ever in his great Taskmaster's eye." shall not charge upon a whole party the profligacy and baseness of the horseboys, gamblers, Like them, he kept his mind continually fixed and bravoes, whom the hope of license and on an Almighty Judge and an eternal reward. plunder attracted from all the dens of While. And hence he acquired their contempt of ex. friars to the standard of Charles, and who dis- ternal circumstances, their fortitude, their graced their associates by excesses which, tranquillity, their inflexible resolution. But under the stricter discipline of the Parliament- not the coolest sceptic or the most profane ary armies, were never tolerated. We will scoffer was more perfectly free from the conselect a more favourable specimen. Thinking, tagion of their frantic delusions, their savage as we do, that the cause of the king was the manners, their ludicrous jargon, their scorn oi cause of bigotry and tyranny, we yet cannot science, and their aversion to pleasure. Hating refrain from looking with complacency on the tyranny with a perfect hatred, he had nevercharacter of the honest old Cavaliers. We feel theless all the estimable and ornamental qualia national pr.Je in comparing them with the ties, which were almost entirely monopolized instruments which the despots of other coun- by the party of the tyrant. There was none tries are compelled to employ, with the mutes who had a stronger sense of the value of lite. who throng their antechambers, and the Janis. rature, a finer relish for every elegant amuse. saries who mount guard at their gates. Our ment, or a more chivalrous delicacy of honour royalist countrymen were not heartless, dan- and love. Though his opinions were demogling courtiers, bowing at every step, and sim- cratic, his tastes and his associates were such pering at every word. They were not mere, as harmonize best with monarchy and arisin

cracy. He was nnder the influence of all the Presbyterians—for this he forsook them. He feelings by which the gallant cavaliers were fought their perilous battle; but he turned misled. But of those feelings he was the mas- away with disdain from their insolent triumph. ter and not the slave. Like the hero of Homer, He saw that they, like those whom they had he enjoyed all the pleasures of fascination; vanquished, were hostile to the liberty of but he was not fascinated. He listened to the thought. He therefore joined the Independents, song of the Sirens; yet he glided by without and called upon Cromwell to break the secular being seduced to their fatal shore. He tasted chain, and to save free conscience from the the cup of Circe; but he bore about him a sure paw of the Presbyterian wolf.* With a view antidote against the effects of its bewitching to the same great object, he attacked the sweetness. The illusions which captivated licensing system in that sublime treatise which his imagination never impaired his reasoning every statesman should wear as a sign upon powers. The statesman was a proof against his hand, and as frontlets between his eyes. the splendour, the solemnity, and the romance His attacks were, in general, directed less which enchanted the poet. Any person who against particular abuses than against those will contrast the sentiments expressed in his deeply-seated errors on which almost all abuses Treatises on Prelacy, with the exquisite lines are founded, the servile worship of eminent on ecclesiastical architecture and music in the men and the irrational dread of innovation. Penseroso, which were published about the That he might shake the foundations of same time, will understand our meaning these debasing sentiments more effectually, he This is an inconsistency which, more than any always selected for himself the boldest literary thing else, raises his character in our estima- services. He never came up to the rear when tion ; because it shows how many private the outworks had been carried and the breach tastes and feelings he sacrificed, in order to do entered. He pressed into the forlorn hope. what he considered his duty to mankind. It is At the beginning of the changes, he wrote with the very struggle of the noble Othello. His incomparable energy and eloquence against heart relents; but his hand is firm. He does the bishops. But, when his opinion seemed naught in hate, but all in honour. He kisses likely to prevail

, he passed on to other subthe beautiful deceiver before he destroys her. jects, and abandoned prelacy to the crowd of

That from which the public character of writers who now hastened to insult a falling Milton derives its great and peculiar splendour party. There is no more hazardous enterprise still remains to be mentioned. If he exerted than that of bearing the torch of truth into himself to overthrow a foresworn king and a those dark and infected recesses in which no persecuting hierarchy, he exerted himself in light has ever shone. But it was the choice conjunction with others. But the glory of the and the pleasure of Milton to penetrate the battle, which he fought for that species of free-noisome vapours and to brave the terrible ex dom which is the most valuable, and which plosion. Those who most disapprove of his was then the least understood, the freedom of opinions must respect the hardihood with the human mind, is all his own. Thousands which he maintained them. Hc, in general, and tens of thousands among his contempora- left to others the credit of expounding and de ries raised their voices against ship-money fending the popular parts of his religious and and the star-chamber. But there were few in- political creed. He took his own stand upon deed who discerned the more fearful evils of those which the great body of his countrymen moral and intellectual slavery, and the bene- reprobated as criminal, or derided as para. fits which would result from the liberty of the doxical. He stood up for divorce and regicide. press and the unfettered exercise of private He ridiculed the Eikon. He attacked the prejudgment. These were the objects which Mil-vailing systems of education. His radiant and ton justly conceived to be the most important. beneficent career resembled that of the god of He was desirous that the people should think light and fertility, for themselves as well as tax themselves, and “Nitor in adversum; nec me, qui cætera, vincit be emancipated from the dominion of preju- Impelus, et rapido contrarius evehor orbi." dice as well as from that of Charles. He It is to be regretted that the prose writings knew that those who, with the best intentions, of Milton should, in our time, be so little read. overlooked these schemes of reform, and con- As compositions, they deserve the attention of tented themselves with pulling down the king every man who wishes to become acquainted and imprisoning the malignants, acted like the with the full power of the English language. heedless brothers in his own poem, who, in They abound with passages compared with their eagerness to disperse the train of the sor- which the finest declamations of Burke sink into cerer, neglected the means of liberating the insignificance. They are a perfect field of cloth captive. They thought only of conquering of gold. The style is stiff, with gorgeous emwher, they should have thought of disenchant- broidery. Not even in the earlier books of the ing.

Paradise Lost has he ever risen higher than in * Ohi, yo mistook! You should have snatched the wand! those parts of his controversial works in which

Without the rod reversed, his feelings, excited by conflict, find a vent in And backward mutters of dissevering power, We cannot free the lady that sits here

bursts of devotional and lyric rapture. It is. Bound in strong setters fixed and motionless." to borrow his own majestic language, “a

To reverse the rod, to spell the charm back- sevenfold chorus of hallelujahs and harping ward, to break the lies which bound a stupe- symphonies.”+ hed people to the seat of enchantment, was the noble aim of Milton. To this all his public

• Sonnet in Cromwell.

+ The Reason of Church Gove-nment urged agains conduct was directed. For this he joined the Prelacy, Book II.


We had intended to look more closely at These are perhaps foolish feelings. Yet we their performances, to analyze the peculiari- cannot be ashamed of them; nor shall we be ties of their diction, to dwell at some length sorry if what we have written shall in any de. on the sublime wisdom of the Areopagitica, gree excite them in other minds. We are not and the nervous rhetoric of the Iconoclast, and much in the habit of idolizing either the living to point out some of those magnificent pas. or the dead. And we think that there is no sages which occur in the Treatise of Reforma- more certain indication of a weak and ill-regu. tion and the Animadversions on the Remon-lated intellect than that propensity which, for strant. But the length to which our remarks want of a better name, we will venture to have already extended renders this impossible. christen Boswellism. But there are a few cha

We must conclude. And yet we can scarce-racters which have stood the closest scrutiny ly tear ourselves away from the subject. The and the severest tests, which have been tried days immediately following the publication of in the furnace and have proved pure, which this relic of Milton appear to be peculiarly set have been weighed in the balance and have apart and consecrated to his memory. And not been found wanting, which have been de. we shall scarcely be censured if, on this his clared sterling by the general consent of manfestival, we be found lingering near his shrine, kind, and which are visibly stamped with the how worthless soever may be the offering image and superscription of the Most High. which we bring to it. While this book lies These great men we trust that we know how on our table, we seem to be contemporaries to prize; and of these was Milton. The sight of the great poet. We are transported a hun- of his books, the sound of his name, are redred and fifty years back. We can almost freshing to us. His thoughts resemble those fancy that we are visiting him in his small celestial fruits and flowers which the Virgin lodging; that we see him sitting at the old or- Martyr of Massinger sent down from the gargan beneath the faded green hangings; that dens of Paradise to the earth, distinguished we can catch the quick twinkle of his eyes, from the productions of other soils, not only rolling in vain to find the day; that we are by their superior bloom and sweetness, but by reading in the lines of his noble countenance their miraculous etficacy to invigorate and to the proud and mournful history of his glory heal. They are' powerful, not only to delight, and his affliction! We image to ourselves the but to elevate and purify. Nor do we envy breathless silence in which we should listen the man who can study either the life or the to his slightest word; the passionate venera- writings of the great Poet and Patriot without tion with which we should kneel to kiss his aspiring to emulate, not indeed the sublime hand and weep upon it; the earnestness with works with which his genius has enriched our which we should endeavour to console him, if literature, but the zeal with which he laboured indeed such a spirit could need consolation, for for the public good, the fortitude with which the neglect of an age unworthy of his talents he endured every private calamity, the lofty and his virtues; the eagerness with which we disdain with which he looked down on temprashould contest with his daughters, or with his tion and dangers, the deadly hatred which he Quaker friend, Elwood, the privilege of read- bore to bigots and tyrants, and the faith whicle ing Homer to him, or of taking down the im- he so sternly kept with his country and with mortal accents which flowed from his lips. his fame.


[EDINBURGH Review, 1827.]

Those who have attended to the practice of monly described would seem to import that he our literary tribunal are well aware that, by was the Tempter, the Evil Principle, the dismeans of certain legal fictions similar to those coverer of ambition and revenge, the original of Westminster Hall, we are frequently en- inventor of perjury; that, before the publica. abled to take cognisance of cases lying beyond tion of his fatal Prince, there had never been a the sphere of our original jurisdiction. We hypocrite, a tyrant, or a traitor, a simulated need hardly say, therefore, that, in the present virine or a convenient crime. One writer instance, M. Périer is merely a Richard Roe- gravely assures us, that Maurice of Saxony that his name is used for the sole purpose of learned all his fraudulent policy from that ex bringing Machiavelli into court-and that he ecrable volume. Another remarks, that since will not be mentioned in any subsequent stage it was translated into Turkish, the Sultans of the proceedings.

have been more addicted than formerly to the We doubt whether any name in literary his. custom of strangling their brothers. Our own tory be so generally odious as that of the man foolish Lord Lyttleton charges the poor Floren whose character and writings we now propose tine with the manifeld treasons of the House to consider. The terms in which he is com- of Guise, and the massacre of St. Bartholomew

Several authors have hinted that the Gunpov • nores complétes de Machiavel, traduites par J. v. der Plot is to be primarily attributed to his PERIER. Paris, 1825.

doctrines, and seem to think that his effigy


ought to be substituted for that of Guy Fawkes, covered-in his Comedies, designed for the in those processions by which the ingenuous entertainment of the militode-in his Com. youth or England annually commemorate the ments on Livy, intended for the perusal of :he preservation of the Three Estates. The Church most enthusiastic patriots of Florence-in his of Rome has pronounced his works accursed History, inscribed to one of the most amiable things. Nor have our own countrymen been and estimable of the Popes—in his Public backward in testifying their opinion of his Despatches-in his private Memoranda, the merits. Out of his surname they have coined same obliquity of moral principle for which an epithet for a knave—and out of his Chris- the Prince is so severely censured is more or tian name a synonyme for the Devil.*

less discernible. We doubt whether it would It is indeed scarcely possible for any person, be possible to find, in all the many volumes not well acquainted with the history and litera- of his compositions, a single expression indsture of Italy, to read, without horror and cating that dissimulation and treachery had amazement, the celebrated treatise which has ever struck him as discreditable. brought so much obloquy on the name of Ma- After this it may seem ridiculous to say, that chiavelli. Such a display of wickedness, naked, we are acquainted with few writings which yet not ashamed, such cool, judicious, scientific exhibii so much elevation of sentiment, so atrocity, seem rather to belong to a fiend than pure and warm a zeal for the public good, or to the most depraved of men. Principles so just a view of the duties and rights of citi which the most hardened ruffian would zens, as those of Machiavelli. Yet so it is. scarcely hint to his most trusted accomplice, And even from the Prince itself we could select or avow, without the disguise of some palliat- many passages in support of this remark. To ing sophism, even to his own mind, are pro- a reader of our age and country this inconfessed without the slightest circumlocution, sistency is, at first, perfectly bewildering. The and assumed as the fundamental axioms of all whole man seems to be an enigma--a gropolitical science.

tesque assemblage of incongruous qualities It is not strange that ordinary readers should selfishness and generosity, cruelty and benevoregard the author of such a book as the most ience, craft and simplicity, abject villany and depraved and shameless of 'human beings. romantic heroism. One sentence is such as a Wise men, however, have always been in- veteran diplomatist would scarcely write in clined to look with great suspicion on the an- cipher for the direction of his most confidengels and demons of the multitude; and in the tial spy: the next seems to be extracted from present instance, several circumstances have a theme composed by an ardent schoolboy on led even superficial observers to question the the death of Leonidas. An act of dexterous justice of the vulgar decision. It is notorious perfidy, and an act of patriotic self-devotion, that Machiavelli was, through life, a zealous call forth the same kind and the same degree republican. In the same year in which he of respectful admiration. The moral sensi composed his manual of Kingcraft, he suffered bility of the writer seems at once to be imprisonment and torture in the cause of morbidly obtuse and morbidly acute. Two public liberty. It seems inconceivable that characters altogether dissimilar are united in the martyr of freedom should have design. him. They are not merely joined, but inter edly acted as the apostle of tyranny. Several woven. They are the warp and the woof of eminent writers have, therefore, endeavoured his mind; and their combination, like that of to detect, in this unfortunate performance, the variegated threads in shot silk, gives to the some concealed meaning more consistent with whole texture a glancing and ever-changing the character and conduct of the author than appearance. The explanation might have that which appears at the first glance. been easy, if he had been a very weak or a

One hypothesis is, that Machiavelli intended very affected man. But he was evidently nei. to practice on the young Lorenzo de Medici a ther the one nor the other. His works prove fraud, similar to that which Sunderland is said beyond all contradiction, that his understand to have employed against our James the ing was strong, his taste pure, and his sense Second,—that he urged his pupil to violent and of the ridiculous exquisitely keen. perfidious measures, as the surest means of This is strangemand yet the strangest is beaccelerating the moment of deliverance and hind. There is no reason whatever to think, revenge. Another supposition, which Lord that those amongst whom he lived saw any Bacon seems to countenance, is, that the treathing shocking or incongruous in his writings. tise was merely a piece of grave irony, in- Abundant proofs remain of the high estimation tended to warn nations against the arts of in which both his works and his person were ambitious men. It would be easy to show that held by the most respectable among his conneither of these solutions is consistent with temporaries. Clement the Seventh patronised many passages in the Prince itself. But the the publication of those very books which the mosi decisive refutation is that which is fur council of Trent, in the following generation, nished by the other works of Machiavelli. In pronounced unfit for the perusal of Christians. all the writings which he gave to the public, Some members of the democratical party cen. and in all those which the research of editors sured the secretary for dedicating the Prince to a has, in the course of three centuries, dis- patron who bore the unpopular name of Medici.

But to those immoral doctrines, which have Nick Machiavel had ne'er a trick,

since called forth such severe reprehensions Tho' he gave his name to our Old Nick. Hudibras, Part III. Canto I.

no exception appears to have been taken. The But, we believe, there is a schism on this subject among cry against them was first raised beyond the the antiquaries.

Alps-and seems to have been heard with

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