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s her company the remaining part of the 66 summer; which was granted, upon a pro" mise of her return at Michaelmas.”
Milton was too busy to much miss his wife : he pursued his studies; and now and then visited the Lady Margaret Leigh, whom he has mentioned in one of his sonnets. At last Michaelmas arrived; but the Lady had no inclination to return to the fullen gloom of her husband's habitation, and therefore very willingly forgot her promise. He sent her a letter, but had no answer; he sent more with the same success. It could be alledged that letters miscarry; he therefore dispatched a messenger, being by this time too angry to go himself. His messenger was sent back with some contempt. The family of the Lady were Cavaliers.
In a man whose opinion of his own merit was like Milton's, less provocation than this might have raised violent resentment. Milton foon determined to repudiate her for disobedience; and, being one of those who could easily find arguments to justify inclination, published (in 1644) The Doctrine and L 4
Discipline of Divorce ; which was followed by “I be Judgement of Martin Bucer, concerning Divorce; and the next year, his Tetrachor. don, Expositions upon the four chief Places of Scripture which treat of Marriage.
This innovation was opposed, as might be expected, by the clergy, who, then holding their famous assembly at Westminster, procured that the author should be called before the Lords ; “ but that House,” says Wood, “ whether approving the doctrine, or not “ favouring his accusers, did foon dismiss 66 him.”
There seems not to have been much written against him, nor any thing by any writer of eminence. The antagonist that appeared is styled by him, a Serving Man turned Solicitor. Howel in his letters mentions the new doctrine with contempt; and it was, I suppose, thought more worthy of derision than of confutation. He complains of this neglect in two sonnets, of which the first is contemptible, and the second not excellent.
From this time it is observed that he became an enemy to the Prefbyteria:s, whom he had favoured before. He that changes his party by his humour is not more virtuous than he that changes it by his interest; he loves himnfelf rather than truth.
His wife and her relations now found that Milton was not an unresisting sufferer of injuries; and perceiving that he had begun to put his doctrine in practice, by courting a young woman of great accomplishments, the daughter of one Doctor Davis, who was however not ready to comply, they resolved to endeavour a re-union. He went fometimes to the house of one Blackborough, his relation, in the lane of St. Martin's-le-Grand, and at one of his usual visits was surprised to see his wife come from another room, and implore forgiveness on her knees. He resisted her intreaties for a while : s6 but partly,” says Philips, « his own generous nature, more os inclinable to reconciliation than to perseve“ rance in anger or revenge, and partly the
strong intercession of friends on both sides, “ foon brought him to an act of oblivion and
66 a firm
“ a firm league of peace.” It were injurious to omit, that Milton afterwards received her father and her brothers in his own house, wlien they were distretsed, with other Royalifts.
He published about the same time his Areopagitica, a Speich of Mr. John Milton for the liberty of unlicensed Printing. The danger of such unbounded liberty, and the danger of bounding it, have produced a problem in the science of Government, which luman understanding seems liitherto unable to solve. If nothing may be published but what civil authority fhail have previously approved, power must always be the standard of truth; if every dreamer of innovations may propagate his projects, there can be no settlement; if every murmurer at government may diffufe discontent, there can be no peace; and if
every sceptick in thcology may teach his follies, there can be 10 religion. The remedy against these evils is to punish the authors; for it is yet allowed that every society may punish, though not prevent, the publication of opinions, which that fociety shall think pernicious; but this punishment,
though it may crush the author, promotes the book; and it seems not more reasonable to leave the right of printing unrestrained because writers may be afterwards censured, than it would be to sleep with doors unbolted, because by our laws we can hang a thief.
But whatever were his engagements, civil or domestic, poetry was never long out of his thoughts.
About this time (1645) a collection of his Latin and English poems appeared, in which the Allegro and Penferoso, with fome others, were first published.
He had taken a larger house in Barbican for the reception of scholars; but the numerous relations of his wife, to whom he generously granted refuge for a while, occupied his rooms. In time, however, they went away;
6 and the house again,” says Philips, “ now looked like a house of the Muses only,
though the accession of scholars was not
great. Possibly his having proceeded so far 4 in the education of youth may have been so the occasion of his adversaries calling him