Margaret Fuller, Critic: Writings from the New-York Tribune, 1844-1846

By Judith Mattson Bean; Joel Myerson | Go to book overview

[Review of The Prose Works of John Milton]

The noble lines of Wordsworth, quoted by Mr. Griswold on his title-page, would be the best and a sufficient advertisement of each reprint:

“Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour. Return to us again, And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power. Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart; Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the Sea: Pure as the naked Heavens, majestic, free: So didst thou travel on Life's common way In cheerful Godliness, and yet thy heart The lowliest duties on herself did lay.”1

One should have climbed to as high a point as Wordsworth to be able to review Milton, or even to view in part his high places. From the hill-top we still strain our eyes looking up to the mountain-peak—

“Itself Earth's Rosy Star.”

We rejoice to see that there is again a call for an edition of Milton's Prose Works. There could not be a surer sign that there is still pure blood in the nation than a call for these. The print and paper are tolerably good; if not worthy of the matter, yet they are, we suppose, as good as can be afforded and make the book cheap enough for general circulation. We wish there had been three volumes, instead of two clumsy ones, with that detestably narrow inner margin of which we have heretofore complained. But we trust the work is in such a shape that it will lie on the table of all poor students who are ever to be

____________________
1
“Milton! thou should'st be living at this hour,” ll. 7–14, by William Wordsworth.

-245-

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