of his subject), give him an uneasy feeling that he must get Milton
in somehow or other at intervals, if it were only to remind the reader that he has a certain connection with the book.
He is eager even to discuss a mere hypothesis, though an untenable one, if it will only increase the number of pages devoted specially to Milton
, and thus lessen the apparent disproportion between the historical and the biographical matter.
tells us that his morning wont had been ‘to read good authors, or cause them to be read, till the attention be weary, or memory have his full fraught; then with useful and generous labors preserving the body's health and hardiness, to render lightsome, clear, and not lumpish obedience to the mind, to the cause of religion and our country's liberty when it shall require firm hearts in sound bodies to stand and cover their stations rather than see the ruin of our Protestantism and the enforcement of a slavish life.’
snatches at the hint: ‘This is interesting,’ he says; ‘Milton
, it seems, has for some time been practising drill!
Artillery Ground was near. . . . . Did Milton
among others make a habit of going there of mornings?
Of this more hereafter.’
When Mr. Masson
returns to the subject he speaks of Milton
's ‘all but positive statement . . . . that in the spring of 1642, or a few months before the breaking out of the Civil War
, he was in the habit of spending a part of each day in military exercise somewhere not far from his house in Aldersgate Street
What he puts by way of query on page 402 has become downright certainty seventy-nine pages further on. The passage from Milton
's tract makes no ‘statement’ of the kind it pleases Mr. Masson
It is merely a Miltonian way of saying that he took regular exercise, because he believed that moral no less than physical courage demanded a sound body.