Milton - PR3550 D77 1777 M2

THE LIFE or MILTON'. 433 of good nature, which was wanting in the other ; and this was by Milton grievoufly relented. But the difference of their ages, Milton being at leaft four years elder, renders this Rory not very probable; and betides Mr. King was not elated by the college, bat was made fellow by a royal mandate, fo that there can be no truth in the tradi- tion ; but if there was any, it is no fign of Milton's refentment, but a proof of his generofity, that he could live in fuch friendfhip with a fuccefsful rival, and afterwards fo paffionately lament his deceafe. His method of writing controverfy is urged as another argument of his want of temper : but fome allowance muff be made for the cultoms and the manners of the time. Controverfy, as well as war, was rougher and more barbarous in thofe days, than it is in thefe. And it is to be confidered too, that his adverfaries firft began the attack ; they loaded him with much more perfonal abufe, only they had not the advantageof fo much wit to feafon it. If he had engaged with more candid and ingenuous difputants, he would have preferred civility and fair argument to wit and Cadre : " to do fa was my choice, and " to have done thus was my chance," as he expreffes himfelf in the conclufion of one of his controverfial pieces. All who have written any accounts of his life agree, that he was affable and inftrudive in converfation, of an equal and cheerful temper ; and yet I can eafily believe, that he had a fufficient fenfe of his own merits, and con- tempt enough for his adverfaries. His merits indeed were fingular ; for he was a man not only of wonderful genius, but of immenfe learning and erudition ; not only an incomparable poet, but a great mathematician, logician, hiltorian, and divine. He was a mailer not only of the Greek and Latin, but likewife of the Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac, as well as of the mo- dern languages, Italian, French, and Spanifh. He was particularly !killed in the Italian, which he always preferred to the French kn. guage, as all the men of letters did at that time in England ; and he not only wrote elegantly in it, but is highly commended for his writings by the ma learned of the Italians themfelves, and efpecially by the members of that celebrated academy called della Crufca, which was eftabliffied at Florence for the refining and pedaling of X x the