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full history of the civil wars in England, abuse of past and cotemporary critics, together with appendixes of dissertation and biography,-a volume of this size could not be easily manufactured.
Dr. Johnson has often been arraigned for his sneer at the wonder-working academy;* and his accusers do not seem to be so much out of patience, because he restricts its products to a single insignificant work on poetry; but because he says that work was composed in Latin; when, if he meant, as they will have it, the Theatrum Poetarum, all but these two first words of the title page is written in English. But an Enumeratio Poetarum, in Latin, by the same author, was published in 1669; and, as Dr. Johnson gives no specific reference to either work, Mr. Todd thinks it is more candid to believe that he alluded to the latter.f Mr. Godwin cannot imitate this candour. It is extremely improbable,' he thinks,
that Johnson, who evidently knew nothing of what he was talking about, should ever have met with this scarce volume of Buchlerus, (to which the Enumeratio was appended,) and still more so, that he should have remarked the modest, and in that sense obscure, treatise printed at the end, and its author. Whereas we know that he had Jacob and Cibber lying by his side when he wrote his Lives of the Poets, and that the name of Phillips' Theatrum Poetarum must repeatedly have struck him.'•
If we attend critically to the language of Dr. Johnson, the candour of Mr. Todd will not be found misplaced. First, then, he speaks of the only genuine product.' It was long ago suspected, that Milton bore a hand in the composition of the Theatrum Poetarum ; § but no attempt has been made to
* Gent. Mag. 1789, p. 416. + Todd, vol. i. p. 135.
Godw, Phh. pp. 160, 161. .Ş Mr. Wharton was the first to lake formal notice of the suspición; and he thinks, that Milton composed, at all events, the article on Shakspeare. Mr. Godwin is of a different opinion; but the only
rob Phillips of originality in the Enumeratio. Dr. Johnson, too, may have seen some of the voluminous translations of John Phillips : he would hardly fail, at any rate, of finding the World of Words, a dictionary, by Edward; but as none of these productions was original, they could not be called genuine. In the next place, Dr. Johnson suggests a doubt by interj ting the words 'I believe.' If he had actually seen the Enumeratio Poetarum, and the Theatrum Poetarum had only struck his eye in Jacob and Cibber, he might well believe,' from the identity of the author, and the similarity of titles, that the only difference in the two works, was, that, as we have just said, the latter was somewhat indebted to the hand of Milton. Again, he calls it a small history.' The Theatrum was large enough to be published in a separate volume. The Enumeratio, styled, in the title page, Compendiosa, was, in Mr. Godwin's own language, “a little essay,' appended to an edition of the Phrasium Poeticorum Thesaurus, by Buchlerus.* This was the seventeentht edition of the Thesaurus ; and yet Mr. Godwin talks of its being “a scarce volume.' It was a Dictionary of Poetical Phrases ; and yet Mr. Godwin supposes, that the compiler of our own Dictionary would not have been sufficient. ly interested to see what the volume contained. In the third place, Dr. Johnson calls it, in the most general terms, a ‘History of Poetry.' The Theatrum
reason he can possibly find, is, that the book “is not worthy of Mil
Pp. 172. 328. Aristarchus (says Cicero) Homeri versum negat, quem non probat.' Ad. Fam. 1. 3. ep. ii. We can only say, that there is so evident a correspondence of language in L’silegro and the article on Shakspeare, that either Milton wrote the latter, or Phillips imitat d Milton. In the close of Shakspeare's character, he is said to please with a certain wild and native elegance.' Theat. Poet. Milton says,
Sweetest Shakspeare, Fancy's child,
of Ibid. p. 142,
was confined solely to the English poets; the Enumeratio extended to the poets of all countries: nempe Italorum, Germanorum, Anglorum, &c. If Dr. Johnson 'is known to have had Jacob and Cib. ber,' so is he known to have had Wood, "lying by his side;' and it could not have escaped him, that in the life of Phillips, not only the title-page of the Enumeratio is given at full length in the latter,but the work itself is said to have been added to the seventeenth edition of Joh. Buclerus his book, entit. Sacrarum profanarumque phrasium poeticorum Thesaurus, &c. 1669.'* Finally, since the Theatrum was mentioned frequently in Jacob and Cibber, two of the most popular biographers, Dr. Johnson would hardly have suggested, that his readers knew nothing about it; but, as the Enumeratio was thrust into the corner of a Thesaurus, which, however popular at first, had been completely superseded by the Gradus ad Parnassumt-and as so obscure a work was only mentioned in Wood, who was seldom read except by authors,—Dr. Johnson might well say, that perhaps none of his readers had ever heard' of it.
Milton was now to teach other things, besides grammar; and other pupils, besides his two nephews and the sons of his friends. Some lines in Lycidas had already threatened the death of Laud, and the extermination of episcopacy. In 1641, the clamour against the bishops had become outrageous; and Milton, to use his own language, “thinking, that, from such beginnings, a way might be opened to true liberty, engaged heartily in the dispute.'+ In another work, he protests, that, should the church be brought under heavy oppression, and God have given me ability the while to reason against that man that should be the author of so foul a deed; or should she, by blessing from above on the industry
* Ath. Os. pp. 1118, 1119.
Godw. p. 142.
and courage of faithful men, change this her distracted state into better days, without the least furtherance or contribution of those few talents God at that present had lent me; I foresee what stories I should hear within myself, all my life after, of discourage and reproach.'*
This is not the reluctance of a man, who is dragged into controversy against his will; but rather seems the defiance of a forward disputant, eager to come at the man, who dares to oppose his opinions. Yet, in another place, he would fain persuade us, that it was 'with small willingness that he endured to interrupt his other pursuits, and leave a calm and pleasing solitariness, fed with cheerful and confident thoughts, to embark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse disputes.'t And, again, in a letter to Henry Oldenburgh, written in 1654, "Hoc cum libertatis adversariis inopinatum certamen, (he says,) deversis longè et amænioribus omninò me studiis intentum, ad se rapet invitum. He had, by this time, discovered, that a religious brawl is not a holiday pastime; and, being at length somewhat tired of the controversy, he easily believed, that he entered into it with reluctance.
He began to show his good will for churchmen and church government, by writing two books on Reformation, in 1641. In the same year, Bishop Hall published a Humble Remonstrance in favour of episcopacy; and was answered by five ministers, under the title of Smectymnuus ; a word composed of the initials of their several names,—Stephen Marshal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Milton's old master, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow. To this Answer, Archbishop Usher attempt
* Reason of Church Government, B. II.
+ Ibid. | Todd, vol. i. p. 45, note. The initial W. of Spurstow's Christian name was 'quainily divided (says our author) in order to produce this celebrated word !' And then, being, as we take it, a good churchman, Mr. Todd proceeds to call this one of the 'tricks of
ed a Confutation; and Milton first replied to the Confutation with a treatise on Prelatical Episcopacy; but, not thinking the replication complete, he brought up two more books on the Reason of Church Government. Bishop Hall had, in the mean time, published a Defence of his Remonstrance. Milton wrote Animadversions on his Defence; and, when the bishop or his son returned a Confutation of the Animadversions, Milton had the last word in an Apology for Smectymnuus, written in 1642.
The objects of his attack, in all these publica. tions, are the liturgy, the ecclesiastical revenues, the bishops, and the fathers. The liturgy is a mere device, he says, “to debar the ministers of God the use of their noblest talent, prayer in the congregation;' and why not ‘forbid all sermons and lectures too, but such as were ready made to their hands, like our homilies?' He then proceeds to satirize the contemptible necessity of being obliged to eke out a prayer by the adscititious aid of a written form ; and cries aloud that such wisdom and diligence be used in the education of those that should be ministers, and such a serious and strict examination to be undergone before admission, as St. Paul to Timothy sets down at large; and then they need not carry such an unworthy suspicion over the preachers of God's word, as to tutor their unsoundness with the A, B, C of a liturgy, or to diet their ignorance and want of care with the limitted draught of a mattin and even song drench.'* He afterwards attacks, in detail, some of the errors, tautologies, and impertinencies of the liturgy; and particularly lampoons the 'thanks in the woman's churching for her delivery from sunburning and moonblasting, as if
fanaticism. But he should have remembered, that a latinized to necessarily becomes uu; and that, in those days, this letter was often separated, and printed thus VV. The alphabetical fanaticistn of these divines, therefore, was not very extravagant,