« PreviousContinue »
JOIN MILTON, the justiy 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 dif. ference 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 lane guage. In 1628 he obtained the degree of Bachelor and if 1632 that of Master of Arts.
He appe: s to have taken great antipathy to the University, oli, account of some imagined severity towards himice Certain it is, he de ermined to quit it, and, at the same time, he resigned all idea of entering thchurch, which at one time he intended. Upon luis kaving College, he returned to his father's house as
orton, în 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 nlask; and three years after, “ lycidas," which was wricter upon the death of a son of Sir J. King, secretary for Ireland ; and about this time he wroie Sis “ Arcades.”
*]pon the death of his mother, he obtained his Eriner' onsent to travel, and in 1638 he left Engand fü Paris, when he was introduced to the celebrated 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 bired a house in Aldersgate Street, where he took ls, amongst whom were two sons of his sister, Phillips. The religious controversies of the time had their effect on our Author, who pubi ļished 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 m8“ whose political principles were diametrically op posite to his own, is a circumstance far more le markable, than the separation which took place about a month after their union. The desertion of his wife so greatly irritated him, that he is saie to have sought a diygrce : and, in consequence of chis event, he published his three treatises on that nibject, in order to justify the step he had in cine templation. wife, nowever, songhe an oppos