Page images
PDF
EPUB

POETICAL WORKS

OT

MILTON, YOUNG, GRAY, BEATTIE,

AND COLLINS.

COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME.

STEREOTYPED BY J. CRISSY AND G. GOODMAN.

PHILADELPHIA:

JOHN GRIGG, No. 9. NORTH FOURTH STREET.

1831.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]

Contents.

Page.

[ocr errors]

• 157

.

.

73

[ocr errors]

The Life of John Milton.

It is agreed among all writers, that the family also the coat of arms of the family. He was named of Milton came originally from Milton in Oxford- John, as his father and grand-father had been beshire; but from which of the Miltons is not alto-fore him; and from the beginning discovering the gether so certain. Some say, and particularly Mr.marks of an uncommon genius, he was designed Philips, that the family was of Milton near Abing- for a scholar, and had his education partly under ton, in Oxfordshire, where it had been a long time private tutors, and partly at a public school. It seated, as appears by the monuments still to be has been often controverted whether a public or seen in Milton-church. But that Milton is not in private education is best, but young Milton was Oxfordshire, but in Berkshire; and upon inquiry so happy as to share the advantages of both. It I find, that there are no such monuments in that appears from the fourth of his Latin elegies, and church, nor any remains of them. It is more pro- from the first and fourth of his familiar epistles, bable, therefore, that the family came, as Mr. that Mr. Thomas Young, who was afterwards Wood says, from Milton near Halton and Thame paster of the company of English merchants rein Oxfordshire; where it flourished several years, siding at Hamburg, was one of his private preceptill at last the estate was sequestered, one of the tors: and when he had made good progress in his family having taken the unfortunate side in the studies at home, he was sent to St. Paul's school civil wars between the houses of York and Lan- to be fitted for the university under the care of Mr. caster. John Milton, the poet's grand-father, was, Gill

, who was the master at that time, and to according to Mr. Wood, an under-ranger or keeper whose son are addressed some of his familiar episof the forest of Shotover, near Halton, in Oxford-tles. In this early time of his life such was his shire; he was of the religion of Rome, and such a love of learning, and so great was his ambition to bigot that he disinherited his son only for being a surpass his equals, that from his twelfth year he protestant. Upon this, the son, the poet's father, commonly continued his studies till midnight, named likewise John Milton, settled in London, which (as he says himself in his second Defence) and became a scrivener by the advice of a friend was the first ruin of his eyes, to whose natural deeminent in that profession : but he was not so de- bility too were added frequent headaches: but all voted to gain and to business, as to lose all taste of could not extinguish or abate his laudable passion the politer arts, and was particularly skilled in for letters. It is very seldom seen, that such apmusic, in which he was not only a fine performer, plication and such a genius meet in the same perbut is also celebrated for several pieces of his com- son. The force of either is great, but both togeposition: and yet, on he other hand, he was not ther must perform wonders. so fond of his music and amusements, as in the He was now in the seventeenth year of his age, least to neglect his business, but by his diligence and was a very good classical scholar and master and economy acquired a competent estate, which of several languages, when he was sent to the unienabled him afterwards to retire, and live in the versity of Cambridge, and admitted at Christ's country. He was, by all accounts, a very worthy College (as appears from the register) on the 12th man; and married an excellent woman, Sarah, of jof February, 1624-5, under the tuition of Mr. the ancient family of the Bradshaws, says Mr. William Chappel, afterwards bishop of Cork and Wood; but Mr. Philips, our author's nephew, who Ross, in Ireland. He continued above seven years was more likely to know, says, of the family of the at the university, and took two degrees, that of Castons derived originally from Wales. Who- Bachelor of Arts in 1628–9, and that of Master in ever she was, she is said to have been a woman of 1632. It is somewhat remarkable, that though incomparable virtue and goodness; and by her the merits of both our universities are perhaps husband had two sons and a daughter.

equally great, and though poetical exercises are The elder of the sons was our famous poet, who rather more encouraged at Oxford, yet most of our was born in the year of our Lord 1608, on the 9th greatest poets have been bred at Cambridge, as of December, in the morning between six and seven Spenser, Cowley, Waller, Dryden, Prior, not to o'clock, in Bread-street, London, where his father mention any of the lesser ones, when there is a lived at the sign of the spread eagle, which was greater than all, Milton. He had given early

« PreviousContinue »