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BIOGRAPHICAL PREFACE.

JOHN MILTON, the justly celebrated Anthor of the following Poems, was born December 9th, 1608, in Bread Street, London. His grandfather was so rigid a Papist, that he, in consequence of difference of religious opinions, disinherited his son, (the father of our Poet,) who was compelled to follow the profession of a scrivener. He married a lady of the name of Caston, by whom he had three children, John, the Poet, Christopher, and Anne. Milton received the rudiments of his education from Mr. Thomas Young, afterwards Chaplain to the resident English Merchants at Hamburgh : on leaving this gentleman, he went to St. Paul’s School, then under the superintendence of Mr. Gill ; from whence he removed to Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a pensioner, in February, 1624. He soon exhibited his accurate knowledge of Latin, and is considered to have been the first Englishman wi." wrote with classic elegance and taste in that language. In 1628 he obtained the degree of Bachelor and irr 1632 that of Master of Arts. He apped 3 to have taken great antipathy to the University, oi, account of some imagined severity towards him.– Certain it is, he determined to q’;it it, and, at the same time, he resigned all idea of entering the church, which at one time he intended. Upon his leaving College, he returned to his father's house at

Morton, in Buckinghamshire, where he remained
about five years, studying the Greek and Roman
authors, and occasionally exercising himself in
Poetry.
In the year 1634, he produced “Comus,” a
Mask ; and three years after, “Ilycidas,” which
was written upon the death of a son of Sir J. King,
secretary for Ireland ; and about this time he wrove
*is “Arcades.”
jpon the death of his mother, he obtained his
feiner' onsent to travel, and in 1638 he left Eng-
and sca Paris, when he was introduced to the cele-
orated Grotius, who was then ambassador from the
court of Sweden. He prosecuted his journey as
far as Italy, and returned to his native country,
after an absence of fifteen months.
England at this period was the scene of civil dis-
turbance, and Milton being hostile to monarchical
principles, wrote boldly and ably in support of the
republican party. On his return to his native coun-
try, he hired a house in Aldersgate Street, where
he took pupils, amongst whom were two sons of
his sister, Phillips. The religious controversies of
the time had their effect on our Author, who pub.
lished his Treatise on the Reformation, in favour
of the Puritans, in 1641.
About the thirty-fifth year of his age he married
a daughter of Mr. Powel, of Forest Hill, Oxford-
shire—a justice of the peace, and an inflexible
Royalist. This marriage, to the daughter of a ma"
whose political principles were diametrically of
posite to his own, is a circumstance far more re
markable, than the separation which took placa
about a month after their union. The desertion
of his wife so greatly irritated him, that he is sait
#0 have sought a divorce : and, in consequence of
this event, he p # three treatises on that
subject, in ordéotójústify the step he had in con-
templation. His wi, o, sought an oppos

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