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THE following pages contain an account of the Milton Window in St. Margaret's Church, and two or three other matters connected with Milton which have not appeared in
of his life or works.
I here desire to thank Dr. Garnett and Messrs. Wilson and Anderson, of the British Museum, for their kindly help; and the Rev. P. W. Phipps, Rector of Chalfont St. Giles, for his attention on my visit to the Milton Cottage.
The Milton Window, St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
In the "Life of Milton " prefixed to Vol. I. allusion is made to the Milton Window in St. Margaret's Church, Westminster; a fuller account would have been out of place in the
Life," but it is fitting that this noble monument should be better known, and a description of it recorded in an edition of the Poet's works. Full details of this and the other gifts which Mr. George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, has "in a spirit of international brotherhood, as a representative American, presented to England and the English people," will be found in "The
Story of the Memorial Fountain to Shakspeare at Stratford-upon-Avon; also Accounts of the Herbert and Cowper Window, Westminster Abbey; the Milton Window, St. Margaret's Church, Westminster; and the Bishop Andrewes and Ken Reredos, St. Thomas's Church, Winchester, England,-Gifts of Geo. W. Childs. Edited by L. Clarke Davis. 1890."
This book, however, was 'privately printed,' at the Riverside Press, Cambridge, U.S.A.; but, through the kindness of Archdeacon Farrar, I am able to make use of it for the following account of the Milton Window.
This gift was inspired by a letter to Mr. Childs from the Ven. Archdeacon Farrar, Rector of St. Margaret's, in which he wrote (Nov., 1886):
There are, perhaps, fewer memorials of Milton than of any Englishman of the same transcendent greatness. I am extremely desirous to erect a worthy Window in his honour in the Church of St. Margaret's, close beside the Abbey. Our register contains the record of his marriage to Catherine Woodcock, his second wife, in 1656, and also records, in the following year, her death and that of her daughter. It was to her that he addressed the noble sonnet which begins
'Methought I saw my late espoused saint
Milton's connection with the Church of St. Margaret's was therefore very close, and if any of his American admirers are willing to assist me in my design, I shall, on public grounds, most heartily welcome their munificence. They have already beautified this fine old historic church by their splendid gift of a Window in honour of Sir Walter Raleigh, whose headless body lies under the altar. Milton has even higher claims on their gratitude and admiration."
In reply Mr. Childs offered to erect such a memorial as the Archdeacon should design, to
'appropriately commemorate the virtues and genius of Milton, whose works are held in as great esteem, and whose memory is as profoundly reverenced in this country as in that in which he was born." In acknowledging this munificent offer, the Archdeacon wrote:
. . . It is to me a most touching and significant fact that a Memorial to Milton in the Church of the House of Commons, for which he so greatly laboured, should now be given by a descendant of the Pilgrim Fathers after I had tried in vain to get it from Englishmen. . . . Mr. J. R. Lowell wrote the lines under the Raleigh Window in my church, and Lord Tennyson those under the Caxton Window. I would get some great poet to write the lines under the inscription which would record, to all future time, your honour of the illustrious dead.
“P.S. Immediately after writing this letter I went to read prayers, and the lesson was the message to the Angel of the Church of Philadelphia.”
Within a twelvemonth the Window was in its place, and on the 18th February, 1888, the ceremony of unveiling took place in the presence of Archdeacon Farrar, Mr. Matthew Arnold, Mr. Robert Browning, Mr. Lewis Morris, Mr. Lecky, and other distinguished persons. An address* was read in the vestry by Mr. Matthew Arnold on Milton, which for loftiness of thought and happiness of illustration is not surpassed by any similar work of his. It was worthy of the theme and of the historic occasion; and a further interest attaches to it, it was his last. Writing to Mr. Childs, Dr. Farrar thus alludes to it ::
"I felt Mr. Matthew Arnold's death deeply. He died on a Sunday, [15 April], and only the Friday before he had been talking to me here at the Athenæum in the
*It will be found in the "Century Magazine" for May, 1888, and in Mr. Davis's book.
highest spirits. He had alluded to the Milton Article (which has since appeared as a posthumous work). It will be interesting to you to know that it was called forth by your noble gift, and that it was the last thing which came from that brilliant intellect. I took part in his funeral at the quiet little village church of Laleham, where we had laid him beside his three boys-two of them had been my pupils at Harrow.”
The Window is at the north-west end of the church, at the door under the clock-tower. is a beautiful work of art, and remarkable for its richness of colour and fullness of detail. It is divided by its stone-work into four lights with tracery openings, and is of fifteenth century character, known as the 'perpendicular,' which is that of the church generally. design of the stained glass is planned on three lines of panel in horizontal order, the middle tier being somewhat longer than the other two. In the two divisions of the central portions of the whole, four panels depict scenes in the personal history of the poet. The two upper combine to make one central subject representing Milton dictating "Paradise Lost to two of his daughters. Below, the boy Milton is shown at St. Paul's School among four of his schoolfellows, their tutor, Gill, lecturing them; and in the panel to the right is depicted Milton's visit to Galileo, the latter is seated with his hand on a globe and Milton raising his hat as he enters. The remaining eight panels contain scenes from " Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained." At the sides are:Satan awakening his legions; Adam and Eve praying, Satan looking on; Eve plucking the Fruit and handing it to Adam; The Expulsion from the Garden. Under each there is an inscription, viz. :-"The hollow deep of hell