« EdellinenJatka »
restored to her dower, most wrongfully detained from her: that your Honours will seriously consider this, and those other great pressures (represented in a former petition, now depending before you), under which your pet', being a mother of seven fatherless children,_since one of them, Capt. William Powell, Capt.-Lieut. to Lieut.-Gen. Monk, was some few days past slain in Scotland, in the service of Parliament, hath for a long time groaned, by the most injurious violation of her Articles; and that you will speedily proceed to give her such relief in this and her other grievances by her Articles, and otherwise in justice she makes suit
(Signed) ANNE Powell. (Signed) TRACEY PAUNCEFoTE, Reg'.
Mr. Todd enters at great length into this subject in a note, in his Life of Milton. The following are the most important particulars which it contains.
Milton's portrait was painted in 1618, when he was a boy of ten years of age, by Cornelius Jansen. It is a half-length, with a lace ruff. It belonged to Milton's widow, and, after her death, was purchased by Mr. Charles Stanhope, for twenty guineas; at whose death, in 1760, it was purchased by Mr. Thomas Hollis, for thirty-one guineas; who, on Lord Harrington's expressing a wish to have it returned, replied, that “his Lordship's whole estate should not repurchase it;” and when his lodgings in Covent Garden took fire, he walked calmly out of the house with this picture in his hand, bestowing no thought on anything else. At the close of the last century it was supposed to be in the possession of Mr. Brand Hollis. It was engraved by J. B. Cipriani in 1760, and may be seen in Hollis's Memoirs.
There is another portrait, which had belonged to Milton's widow, in the possession of the Onslow family, but which is suspected by some not to be a portrait of Milton. Vertue, who engraved it in 1723, said the age it represented was twenty-one. It was also engraved by Houbraken and by Cipriani. The probability seems to be that it is not genuine.
To the edition of the Poems in 1645 was prefixed a portrait by Marshall, under which the poet caused to be engraved some Greek lines expressive of his opinion of its utter faithlessness. In fact, as Mr. Mitford observes, it transforms Milton, who was then only thirty-six, and who always looked younger than he was, “into a puritanical gentleman of fifty.” There is a circumstance in this for which we cannot account. Though we are to suppose that it was drawn in 1645, it says, anno attatis vigesimo primo. In 1670, prefixed to Milton's History of Britain was a portrait engraved by Faithorn, from a crayon-drawing by himself, with this legend, “Gul. Faithorn ad vivum delin. et sculpsit. Johannis Miltoni effigies. AEtat. 62. 1670.” This engraving has been often copied,” but as it was not in Faithorn's best manner, a new copy was made for the first edition of Todd's Milton, from the original crayon-drawing in the possession of William Baker, Esq. This drawing had passed through the hands of the Richardsons and Tonsons to those of Mr. Baker. It was at the sight of this, when shown to her by Vertue the engraver, among other paintings and engravings, that Deborah Clarke made the exclamation above related. All the best portraits of Milton are taken from it. There is said to have been a cast in plaster, of Milton, executed when he was about fifty, by one Pierce, who did the marble bust of Sir Christopher Wren in the Bodleian Library, or by Abraham Simon. It belonged to Vertue, from whom it was bought by Mr. Hollis. The busts prefixed to Milton's Prose Works by Birch, 1738, and by Bacon, 1753, were engraved by Vertue from a bad drawing made from this cast by J. Richardson. In 1784, Sir Joshua Reynolds gave one hundred guineas for a miniature, said to be that of Milton. The portrait is dressed in black, and the painter's mark and date are “S. C., 1653.” On the back was written, “This picture belonged to Deborah Milton, who was her father's amanuensis; at her death, was sold to Sir W. Davenant's family. It was painted by Mr. Samuel Cooper, who was painter to Oliver Cromwell, at the time Milton was Latin Secretary to the Protector. The painter and poet were near of the same age: Milton was born in 1608, and died in 1674; and Cooper was born in 1609, and died in 1672; and were companions and friends till death parted them. Several encouragers and lovers of the fine arts at that time wanted this picture, particularly Lord Dorset, Lord Somers, esquire (sic), Sir Robert Howard, Dryden, Atterbury, Dr. Aldrich, and Sir John Denham.” This portrait—an engraving from which may be seen in Bohn's edition of Milton's Prose Works—is totally unlike all other portraits of Milton. “I have now,” says Sir Joshua, and well he might, “a different idea of the countenance of Milton, which cannot be got from any of the other pictures that I have seen.” In fact, let any one look at the portrait (however unlike) done by Marshall when Milton was thirty-six, and this by Cooper when he was forty-two, and say is it possible they could ever have been taken from the same original. Could Deborah Clarke have ever supposed that this and Faithorn's drawing could both have been intended for her father? As this miniature is said strongly to resemble Vandyke's picture of John Selden, many suppose it was done for him by Cooper.” Sir Joshua however died in the belief that it was Milton, for in his will he left The miniature of Milton, by Cooper, to the Rev. William Mason.
* There is one by Cipriani in Hollis's Memoirs.
The following evident sport of imagination appeared in some newspaper toward the end of the last centuryt:— “Believing that the following real circumstance has been but little noticed, we submit the particulars of it as not uninteresting, to the attention of our readers. “It is well known that in the bloom of youth, and when he pursued his studies at Cambridge, this poet was extremely beautiful. Wandering one day, during the summer, far beyond the precincts of the University into the country, he became so heated and fatigued that, reclining himself at the foot of a tree to rest, he shortly fell asleep. Before he awoke, two ladies, who were foreigners, passed by in a carriage. Agreeably astonished at the loveliness of his appearance, they alighted, and having admired him, as they thought unperceived, for some time, the youngest, who was very handsome, drew a pencil from her pocket, and having written some lines upon a piece of paper, put it with her trembling hand into his own. Immediately afterwards they proceeded on their jour* But as Selden died in 1654, aged seventy, how is this possible P t See Todd's Milton, i. p. 19.
ney. Some of his acquaintances, who were in search of him, had observed this silent adventure, but at too great a distance to discover that the highly favoured party in it was our illustrious bard. Approaching nearer, they saw their friend, to whom, being awakened, they mentioned what had happened. Milton opened the paper, and with surprise read these verses from Guarini:
Occhi, stelle mortali,
Ministri de' miei mali !
Aperti che farete P Eager from this moment to find out the fair incognita, Milton travelled, but in vain, through every part of Italy. His poetic fervour became incessantly more and more heated by the idea which he had formed of his unknown admirer; and it is in some degree to her that his own times, the present times, and the latest posterity must feel themselves indebted for several of the most impassioned and charming compositions of the Paradise Lost.”
Remarks on this palpable fiction would be superfluous. As a pendent to it we give the following day-dream, as it has justly been termed, of the amiable, the learned, the ingenious, but not profound, Sir William Jones:– “The necessary trouble of correcting the first printed sheets of
my history prevented me today from paying a proper respect to the memory of Shakspeare, by attending his jubilee. But I was resolved to do all the honour in my power to as great a poet; and set out in the morning in company with a friend to visit a place where Milton spent some part of his life, and where, in all probability, he composed several of his earliest productions. It is a small village on a pleasant hill, about three miles from Oxford, called Forest Hill, because it formerly lay contiguous to a forest, which has since been cut down. The poet chose this place of retirement after his first marriage, and he describes the beauties of his retreat in that fine passage of his L'Allegro:
Sometime walking, not unseen,
“It was neither the proper season of the year, nor time of the day, to hear all the rural sounds, and see all the objects mentioned in this description; but, by a pleasing concurrence of circumstances, we were saluted, on our approach to the village, with the musick of the mower and his scythe ; we saw the ploughman intent upon his labour, and the milkmaid returning from her country employment. “As we ascended the hill, the variety of beautiful objects, the agreeable stillness and natural simplicity of the whole scene, gave us the highest pleasure. We at length reached the spot whence Milton undoubtedly took most of his images; it is on the top of the hill, from which there is a most extensive prospect on all sides: the distant mountains that seemed to support the clouds, the villages and turrets, partly shaded with trees of the finest verdure, and partly raised above the groves that surrounded them, the dark plains and meadows of a greyish colour, where the sheep were feeding at large; in short, the view of the streams and rivers convinced us that there was not a single useless or idle word in the above-mentioned description, but that it was a most exact and lively representation of nature. Thus will this fine passage, which has always been admired for its elegance, receive an additional beauty from its exactness. After we had walked, with a kind of poetical enthusiasm, over this enchanted ground, we returned to the village. “The poet's house was close to the church; the greatest part of it has been pulled down; and what remains belongs to an adjacent farm. I am informed that several papers in Milton's own hand were found by the gentleman who was last in possession of the estate. The tradition of his having lived there is current among the villagers: one of them showed us a ruinous wall that made part of his chamber, and I was much pleased with another who had forgotten the name of Milton, but recollected him by the title of The Poet. “It must not be omitted, that the groves near this village are famous for nightingales, which are so elegantly described in the Penseroso. Most of the cottage windows are overgrown with sweet-briars, vines, and honeysuckles; and, that Milton's habitation had the same rustic ornament, we may conclude from his description of the lark bidding him good-morrow, Through the sweet-briar or the vine Or the twisted eglantine; for it is evident that he meant a sort of honeysuckle by the eglantine; though that word is commonly used for the sweet-briar, which he could not mention twice in the same couplet.