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My quarrel, therefore, with Milton, should not have been for taking assistance in composing his poem, which was absolutely necessary, nay, highly commendable, but for using unfair practices to accomplish his political purposes, which was highly criminal and unjust.
As for the interpolations, I hope I have it in my power to replace them twenty-fold, which I am resolved shortly to do, to the conviction, I trust, of all persons of judgment, candour, and learning :-others, it is impossible.
Thus have I told you sincerely, the true motive which induced me to interpolate a few lines into some authors, quoted by me in my late Essay on Milton, which has made as great a noise almost as if I had denied the divinity of our Saviour, ridiculed his miracles, or declared open war against Heaven and earth: and yet not more than about twenty or thirty lines, at most, of Milton, were affected by them, which I hope I have in my power amply to replace.
So, after this honest confession of the truth, if you will be pleased to pardon my offence (occasioned rather by an imprudent zeal to vindicate the character of two great and good men, when unjustly attacked, than from any malicious design of imposing upon the public), also to favour me with your best advice at this critical juncture, now that matters are on the mending hand,
and as his Grace has been pleased to set a good example to others, I promise always to retain á grateful sense of your civility and friendship, and to requite it to the utmost of my power. .
I send you a copy of my Apology, addressed to his Grace, which has been attended with such good success ; so ample is his Grace's placability and clemency! Your liberality, I hope, will be
Your much obliged,
I cannot forbear transcribing these lines from Ramsay:
Adcumulare bonis inopes, succurrere lapsis,
Vale, et fac similiter.
THE CRIPPLE OF BETHESDA.
BY THE ,REV. ALEXANDER MONTGOMERY,
MR. Montgomery was born in the towni of Enniskillen, in the north of Ireland; a town long famed in the annals of that country,
as the fruitful mother of arts and arms. Having learned to read and write at an English school, he was placed under the instruction of the cele. brated Doctor Dunkin, who at the time presided over the free school of Enniskillen, which may well be called the Eton of the sister kingdom. The Doctor paid the greatest attention to our young pupil, as he soon found that he was not born under the “ laggard orb of Saturn." Having acquitted himself to the satisfaction of a teacher, “ zealous for desert,” he was removed from this seminary to Trinity College, Dublin, where he was entered as a pensioner.
It does not appear that he wasted a great deal of the midnight oil in the prosecution of the studies prescribed by the statutes of that university; he seems to have been content with the ordinary acquisition of them. If his academic exercises, however, did not sparkle with genius, they shone with solidity. His prospects in life having been clouded by the death of a friend, he graduated, and entered into holy orders, and matrimony, within a few months of each other. He married Miss Hughes, daughter of the Rev. Mr. Hughes, a beneficed clergyman. As she was an only child, the father spared no pains on her education; so that she was considered as one of the most accomplished young women in that part of the country; where, it is but justice to
say, the cultivation of the female mind is properly considered as an object of the first importance. When the writer of this knew Mr. Montgomery first (in the year 1780), he was curate of the parish of Scrabby, near Granard, in the county of Longford. Disappointments, the prospect of a family, &c. seemed to have depressed his spirits,' for he was naturally of a cheerfal disposition, communicative, and could discourse on any subject almost, with facility and felicity.
If he is living, I hope he will excuse the liberty I have taken, by introducing him to public notice; perhaps, the very last thing in the world Kis modest diffidence would submit to: if he is dead, it is a debt I owe to the living, not to withhold from them so fine a specimen of chaste and pathetic poetry. The following lines would seem to have been written at a period when his sensibility had been roused by being overlooked in the humble and necessitous situation of a curate, Indeed, ingenious and susceptible minds must needs be hurt by reflecting, that they who do all the work nearly in the Christian vineyard, have scarcely daily bread for their painsscarcely the crumbs that fall from their masters' table, whilst others of their brethren roll in chariots, and riot in periodic luxury.
At fam'd Bethesda's pool, near Salem's gate,
Still crowds of cripples in arrangement lay,
The blest Redeemer at the pool appear'd,