wanted elbow-room; and he wanted a great deal.
Did Mary Powell
, the cavalier's daughter, find the abode of a roundhead schoolmaster incompatible
and leave it, forthwith the cry of the universe was for an easier dissolution of the marriage covenant.
is blind, it is with excess of light, it is a divine partiality, an overshadowing with angels' wings.
are admitted among the prophets because they, too, had lost their sight, and the blindness of Homer
is of more account than his Iliad.
After writing in rhyme till he was past fifty, he finds it unsuitable for his epic, and it at once becomes ‘the invention of a barbarous age to set off wretched matter and lame metre.’
If the structure of his
mind be undramatic, why, then, the English
drama is naught, learned Jonson
, sweetest Shakespeare
, and the rest notwithstanding, and he will compose a tragedy on a Greek model with the blinded Samson
for its hero, and he will compose it partly in rhyme.
Plainly he belongs to the intenser kind of men whose yesterdays are in no way responsible for their to-morrows.
And this makes him perennially interesting even to those who hate his politics, despise his Socinianism, and find his greatest poem a bore.
A new edition of his poems is always welcome, for, as he is really great, he presents a fresh side to each new student, and Mr. Masson
, in his three handsome volumes, has given us, with much that is superfluous and even erroneous, much more that is a solid and permanent acquisition to our knowledge.
It results from the almost scornful withdrawal of Milton
into the fortress of his absolute personality that no great poet is so uniformly self-conscious as he. We should say of Shakespeare
that he had the power of transforming himself into everything; of Milton
, that he had that of transforming everything into himself.
is individual rather than self-conscious, and he,