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The great Englishman has condensed and intensified the expression of the concise and earnest Roman. This is one of those delightful obligations which repay themselves : Milton has more than returned the favor of the borrowed thought by lending it a heightened expression.
Warton's edition of the Minor Poems of Milton, with its formidable array of parallel passages from other and elder poets, furnishes an abounding example of a prevailing characteristic of Milton's mind, that of reflecting (perhaps unconsciously) the axioms and bright sayings of all ages of literature, stored in his capacious brain-treasury.
No writer of the same rank in genius has, perhaps, to a greater extent re-fused the sentences of other authors which were worth preserving. Warton, it is said, produced his edition in no friendly spirit towards the old republican, whom he hated for his politics, but to manifest the abundance of the poet's obligations to his predecessors. There is no question that Milton “borrowed," and unscrupulously; but it was not an Israelitish" borrowing ” of the Egyptians; he returned the thoughts he had appropriated with added lustre, or, to preserve the image in its integrity, with compound interest.
Leigh Hunt, speaking on this very subject, acknowledged in his fanciful and humorous vein of language :-"Oh, yes! Milton borrowed' other poets' thoughts, but he did not' borrow' as gipsies borrow children, spoiling their features that they may not be recognized. No, he returned them improved. Had he' borrowed' your coat, he would have restored it, with a new nap
The following epigram is written in a fly-leaf of a copy of the Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum, published at Frankfort, 1624:
Ut Rhadamantheum stetit ante tribunal Erasmus,
Ante jocos scribens serio damnor, ait
Anglicè. T. CORBETT.
HERMITS, ORNAMENTAL AND EXPERIMENTAL.
Keeping a poet is a luxury enjoyed by many, from the Queen down to Messrs. Moses, Hyam & Co.; but the refinement of keeping a hermit would appear to be a more recherché and less ordinary appendage of wealth and taste.
Here is an advertisement for, and two actual instances of going a hermiting :
A young man, who wishes to retire from the world and live as an hermit in some convenient spot in England, is willing to engage with any nobleman or gentleman who may be desirous of having one. Any letter directed to S. Lawrence (post-paid) to be left at Mr. Otton's, No. 6. Colman's Lane, Plymouth, mentioning what gratuity will be given, and all other particulars, will be duly attended to.-Courier, Jan. 11th, 1810.
It is not probable that this retiring young man was engaged in the above capacity, for soon after an advertisement appeared in the papers which there are reasons for thinking was by the same hand.
Wants a situation in a pious regular family, in a place where the Gospel is preached, a young man of serious mind, who can wait at table and milk a
The immortal Dr. Busby asks
When energising objects men pursue,
Whether it is because going a hermiting does not come under the Doctor's "energising objects" is uncertain; but this is clear, that the two following instances proved unsuccessful :
M. Hamilton, once the proprietor of Payne's Hill, near Cobham, Surrey, advertised for a person who was willing to become a hermit in that beautiful retreat of his. The conditions were, that he was to continue in the hermitage seven years, where he should be provided with a Bible, optical glasses, a mat for his bed, a hassock for his pillow, an hour-glass for his timepiece, water for his beverage, food from the house, but never to exchange a syllable with the servant. He was to wear a camlet robe, never to cut his beard or nails, nor ever to stray beyond the limits of the grounds. If he lived there, under all these restrictions, till the end of the term, he was to receive seven hundred guineas. But on breach of any of them, or if he quitted the place any time previous to that term, the whole was to be forfeited. One person attempted it, but a three weeks' trial cured him.
Mr. Powyss, of Marcham, near Preston, Lancashire, was more successful in this singularity: he advertised a reward of 501. a-year for life, to any man who would undertake to live seven years under ground, without seeing any thing human: and to let his toe and finger nails grow, with his hair and beard, during the whole time. Apartments were prepared under ground, very commodious, with a cold bath, a chamber organ, as many books as the occupier pleased, and provisions served from his own table. Whenever the recluse wanted any convenience, he was to ring a bell, and it was provided for him. Singular as this residence may appear, an oocupier offered himself, and actually stayed in it, observing the required conditions for four years. ,
CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD.
There is a passage in Longinus (ch. xxii.) which indicates that the fact of the circulation of the blood was well established in the days of Plato. The father of critics, to exemplify, and illustrate the use and value of trope in writing, has garbled from the Timæus a number of sentences descriptive of the anatomy of the human body, where the circulation of the blood is pointed at in terms singularly graphic. The exact extent of professional knowledge arrived at in the time of the great philosopher is by no means clearly defined. He speaks of the fact, however, not with a view to prove what was contested or chimerical, but avails himself of it to figure out the surpassing wisdom of the gods in constructing the human frame. The venerable Bede, in a tract De Minutione Sanguinis sive de Phlebotomia (which occurs in the folio editions, Basle, vol. i. p. 472; Colon., vol. i. p. 898), in the enumeration of the veins from which blood may be taken, says :
De brachio tres, qui per totum corpus reddunt sanguinem, capitanea linea, matricia, capsale.
The subject of bleeding is again referred to in Eccl. Hist., vol. iii., but not to the purpose.
Wine and water, it is said, first received the name of Negus from Colonel Francis Negus, who was commissioner for executing the office of Master of the Horse during the reign of George I. Among other anecdotes related of him, one is, that party spirit running high at that period between Whigs and Tories, winebibbing was resorted to as an excitement. On one occasion some leading Whigs and Tories having, par accident, got over their cups together, and Mr. Negus being present, and high words ensuing, he recommended them in future to dilute their wine, as he did, which suggestion fortunately directed their attention from an argument which probably would have ended seriously, to one on the merits of wine and water, which concluded by their nicknaming it Negus. A correspondent in the Gentleman's Mag. for Feb. 1799, p. 119, farther states," that Negus is a family name, and that the said liquor took its name from an individual of that family, the following relation (on the veracity of which you may depend) will, I think, ascertain : “It is now nearly thirty years ago, that being on a visit to a friend at Frome, in Somersetshire, I accompanied my friend to the house of a clergyman of the name of Potter. The house was decorated with many paintings, chiefly family portraits, amongst which I was particularly pleased with that of a gentleman in a military dress, which appeared, by the style, to have been taken in or about the reign of Queen Anne. In answer to my inquiries concerning the original of the portrait, Mrs. Potter informed me it was a Colonel Negus, an uncle of her husband's; that from this gentleman the liquor usually so called had its name, it being his usual beverage. When in company with his junior officers, he used to invite them to join him by saying, Come, boys, join with me; taste my liquor!' Hence it soon became fashionable in the regiment, and the officers, in compliment to their colonel, called it Negus."