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[252]

Milton.

1 if the biographies of literary men are to assume the bulk which Mr. Masson is giving to that of Milton, their authors should send a phial of elixir vitoe with the first volume, that a purchaser might have some valid assurance of surviving to see the last. Mr. Masson has already occupied thirteen hundred and seventy-eight pages in getting Milton to his thirty-fifth year, and an interval of eleven years stretches between the dates of the first and second instalments of his published labors. As Milton's literary life properly begins at twenty-one, with the ‘Ode on the Nativity,’ and as by far the more important part of it lies between the year at which we are arrived and his death at the age of sixty-six, we might seem to have the terms given us by which to make a rough reckoning of how soon we are likely to see land. But when we recollect the baffling character of the winds and currents we have already encountered, and the eddies

1 The Life of John Milton: narrated in Connection with the Political, Ecclesiastical, and Literary History of his Time. By David Mas-son, M. D., Ll. D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh. Vols. I., II. 1638-1643. London and New York: Macmillan & Co. 1871. 8vo. pp. XII, 608.

The Poetical Works of John Milton, edited, with Introduction, Notes, and an Essay on Milton's English, by David Masson, M. A., Ll. D., Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature in the University of Edinburgh. 3 vols. 8vo. Macmillan & Co. 1874.

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