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reference to the execution of the following work that my calamities or my weaknesses can be of consequence to the public. If any passages, then, in the present life of Milton, should be noticed by the reader for peculiar deficiency in composition or in spirit, he
pronounces their merited condemnation let him be told that they were written by a father, who with a daughter, the delight and, alas! perhaps too much, the pride of his heart, has lost the great endearment of existence; the exhilaration of his cheerful and the solace of his melancholy hour.
Candour now requires me to speak of the literary assistance of which I have availed myself. If any vanity yet lingered in my bosom, in which every animating passion is nearly extinct, I might abundantly gratify the weakness by enumerating among my friends or acquaintance some of the first scholars and 'geniuses of the age: but of those, whose ability, if circumstances had permitted me to solicit its co-operation, would have imparted ornament and value to my production, my
obligations for effective aid are limited to one. By the reverend FRANCIS WRANGHAM, with whose talents and various erudition the public is already acquainted, I have been favoured with translations of my author's sixth elegy, of the greater part of his ode to Rouse, of more than one of his familiar epistles, and of many portions of his controversial pieces. These translations the reader would easily discover not to be mine; but to prevent his enquiry for the superior hand, from which they came, he will find them either acknowledged in their places, or specified at the foot of the present page." Two smaller translations, also, by the same elegant pen, will be found inserted in my ap
a The second letter to Deodati. The conclusion of the “ De. fence of the People of England:” “ Hactenus quod initio institueram,” &c.
The two letters to Leo. Philaras, with exception to the quotation in the second of them from Apollonius, for the version of which I am accountable..
The address to Cromwell from the “ Second Defence:" “ Tu igitur Cromuelle,” &c.
The conclusion of the “ Second Defence:" “ Ad me quod attinet," &c.
The letter to Peter Heimbach after the plague in London.
pendix, and I am bound to profess myself indebted to this accomplished scholar and excellent friend for several hints of minute information by which I have considerably profited.
The name of WILLIAM GIFFORD, so associated with praise in the conversation of the world, I have already taken occasion to introduce into the body of my volume; but I must not omit the present opportunity of mentioning that many of my last sheels, as they passed through the press, have been improved by the revision of this accurate critic, and most friendly man.
On the plan and the execution of my work, I will not assume to influence the determination of the reader. It has been my object to present to him as complete a view of the subject, of which I have undertaken to treat, as was admitted by my materials or my powers; and to communicate to my pages all the variety and entertainment, of which they were susceptible, I have interspersed them with small pieces of criticism, with translations and extracts from my author, and with occasional, though short views of the great contemporary occurrences in the
For the political sentiments discoverable in my work I am neither inclined, nor, indeed, able to offer an apology. They flow directly from those principles which I imbibed with
my first efforts of reflexion, which have derived force from my subsequent reading and observation, which have “
grown with my growth, and strengthened with my strength.” If they should, therefore, unhappily be erroneous, my misfortune, as I fear, is hopelessly irremediable, for they are now so vitally blended with my thought and my feelings, that with them they must exist or must perish. The nature of these principles will be obviously and immediately apparent to my readers; for I have made too explicit an avowal of my political creed, with reference to the civil and the ecclesiastical system, of which I am fortunately a member, to be under any apprehensions of suffering by misconstruction. If any man should affect to see more deeply into my bosom than I profess to see myself; or to detect an ambush of mischief which I have been studious to cover from observation, that man will be the object, not of my resentment, but of my pity. I shall be assured that he suffers the infliction of a perverted head or a corrupt heart, and to that I shall contentedly resign him after expressing a simple perhaps, but certainly a sincere wish for his relief from what may justly be considered as the severest of human evils.
I belong to a fallible species, and am, probably, to be numbered with the most fallible of its individuals: but I am superior to fraud, and am too proud for concealment. Truth, religious, moral, and political, is what alone, I profess to pursue; and if I fancied that I discerned this prime object of my regard by the side of the Mufti or the grand Lama,of the wild demagogues of Athens or the ferocious tribunes of Rome, I would instantly recognise and embrace her. As I find her,