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There is a murmur in the heath! the stormy winds ahate! I hear the voice of Fingal. Long has it been absent from mine ear! Come, Ossian, come away, he says. Fingal has received his fame. We passed away like flames that have shone for a season. Our departure was in renown. Though the plains of our battles are dark and silent; our fame is in the four gray stones. The voice of Ossian has been heard. The harp has been strung in Selma ; come, Ossian, come away, he says, come, fly with thy fathers on clouds. I come, I come, thou king of men ! The life of Ossian fails. I begin to vanish on Cona. My steps are not seen in Selma. Beside the stone of Mora I shall fall asleep. The winds whistling in my gray hair shall not awaken me. Depart on thy wings, O wind, thou canst not disturb the rest of the bard. The night is long, but his eyes are heavy. Depart, thou rustling blast.


“But Milton next, with high and haughty stalks,
Unfettered in majestic numbers walks ;
No vulgar hero can his muse engage,
Nor earth’s wide scene confine his hallowed rage.”

THERE is much in the long and eventful life of this great and good man, worthy of detail, and eminently calculated to interest the general reader. But so many excellent memoirs of him have been given to the public, in connection with his works, from pens eloquent with praise, and glowing with fervent admiration of his genius, that we purpose, in this article, to confine ourselves mainly to that period of his life subsequent to the loss of his sight. He was born, it appears, at London, in 1608; greatly impaired his sight by hard study in youth; took the degree of A. M. at Christ College, in his twenty-fourth year; zealously embarked in the political and religious controversies of the times, and, while engaged in writing his defense of the English people, again overtasked his eyes, and brought on a gutta serena, which ended in the total extinction of his sight, in the forty-fourth year of his age. Of this melancholy result he was, however, forewarned by his physician, but, in the alternative of evils, preferred, it seems, the loss of sight to the dereliction of his duty.

As clouds collect around them dark, floating vapors, and seem to convert into blackness the bright blue sky itself, so great afflictions accumulate sorrow, until every glad beam of hope and joy is shut out from the heart. Very much about this time, Milton was called to mourn the death of his wife, who left to his protection three orphan daughters. He did not, however, long remain in this friendless situation, but shortly after married Catharine, daughter of Captain Wood. cock, of Hackney, who seems to have been the object of his fondest affection, but who died within a year after their marriage.

This new accession of sorrow again brought back his helpless and forlorn condition, and no doubt cast a deeper gloom over his spirits than either of his former afflictions had done. It forms the subject of that beautiful and melting sonnet to his deceased wife. This sonnet is found in Milton's collected poems, and possibly lives in the reader's memory, as one of its brightest and purest images of thought. But as it brings out some valuable ideas in relation to the dreams of the blind, and offers us the welcome opportunity of drawing upon our own experience, we gladly give it room :

Methought I saw my late espoused saint

Brought to me, like Alcestis from the grave,
Whom Jove's great son to her glad husband gave,

Rescued from death by force, though pale and faints
Mine as whom wash'd from spot of child-bed taint

Purification in the old Law did save,
And such, as yet once more I trust to have

Full sight of her in Heaven without restraint;-
Came, vested all in white, pure as her mind:

Her face was veil'd; yet to my fancied sight

Love, sweetness, goodness, in her person shined
So clear, as in no face with more delight.

But, 0, as to embrace me she inclined,
I waked; she fled; and day brought back my night.

The sudden transit of the blind from a day of dreams to a night of realities, could not have been more happily or correctly described. Yet some coarse critics as ignorant of the true spirit of poetry as of the sensations of disappointment, experienced by the blind on awakening to a world of darkness, have presumed to pronounce the last line of this sonnet a conceit, and even faulty in construction. It may be interesting to those who would sometimes gladly close their eyes, and even memory, from the busy and active scenes of life, but who welcome with joy the first glad ray of morning, to know that to those who lose their sight late in life, night alone can restore a world of light and color, of bright eyes and happy familiar faces, of woods, streams, flowers, and merry sunshine. But what is more strange, we are able to recognize, in dreams, persons with whom we may have formed an acquaintance subsequent to blindness : sometimes by that peculiar expression of countenance with which fancy may have invested them, but more commonly by the familiar sound of their voices.

To those who have never seen light, (and hence are ignorant of darkness,) the world of dreams and that of realities are the same, except that in the latter, fancy is controlled by will and reason, and the senses are awake to external impressions. In dreams, the imagination presents to our fancied touch, strange or familiar objects, bearing marks of recognition, with smooth and rough surfaces, differing in form and dimension, and sometimes frightful scenes, such as buildings on fire, assassins in pursuit of their victims, armies in deadly strife, the boisterous ocean, flying clouds, and, in short, every phenomenon of which it is possible to gain a knowledge from description.

Milton, finding himself a second time a widower, employed Dr. Paget to aid him in making choice of a third consort, who was Elizabeth Minshul, of Cheshire. By the assistance of his three daughters, who, under his instruction, had become very serviceable, he was now able to prosecute his studies with nearly as much pleasure and profit, as when he depended upon his own resources for information. His two elder daughters are said to have been able to pronounce the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, and to read in their respective originals whatever authors he wished to consult, though they understood none but their mother tongue. But notwithstanding all these advantages, no one, perhaps, ever felt his loss of sight more deeply, or described it more pathetically, than Milton. In view of the ills that followed in its train, this affliction was no doubt to him a source of bitter regret; hut to the world, it will ever be regarded as a bless

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