« PreviousContinue »
BY JOHN MILTON,
Sylvester T. Goss, printer.
LIFE OF JOHN MILTON.
FROM a family and towa of his name in Oxfordshire, our Author derived his descent; but he was born at Londyn, in the year 1608. His father, John Mjiton, by profession a scrivener, lived in a reputable inanner on a competent estate, entirely his own acquisitioa, baving been early disinherited by his parents for renouncing the communion of the church of Rome, to which they were zealously devoted.
Our Author was the favourite of his father's hopes, who, to cultivate the great genius which early displayed itseif, was at the expence of a domestic tutor ; whose care arid Capacity his pupil hath gratefully celebrated in an excellent Latin elegy. At hi: initiation he is said to bave applied himself to letters with such indefotigable industry, that he rarely was prevailed upon to quit his studies before midnight: w ich not only made him free quently subject to severe pains in his head ; but likewise occasioned that weakness in his eyes, which terminated in a total privation of sight. From a domestic education he was removed to St. Paul's Schooi, to complete bis acquaintance with the classics, under the care of Dr. Gil; and after a short stay there was transplant. ed to Christ's College in Cambridge, where he distinguished himself in all kinds of academical exercises. of this society he continued a member till he commenced Master of Arts; and then leaving the university, he returned to his father, who had quitted the town, and lived at Horton in Buckinghamshire, where be pursued his studies with unparalieled assiduity and success.
After some years spent in this studious retirement his mother died, and then he prevailed with his father to gratify an inclination he had long entertained of seeing foreign countries. Sir Henry Wotton, at that time provost of Eton College, gave him a letter of advice for the direction of his travels. Having employed his curiosity about two years in France and Italy, on the news of a civil war breaking out in Eugland, he returned, without taking a survey of Greece and Sicily, as at his sitting out the scheme was projected. At Paris the Lord Visa count Scudermore, ambassador from King Charles I. at the court of France, introduced bim to the acquaintance of Grotius, who at that time was honoured with the same character there by Christiana, Queen of Sweden. In Rome, Genoa, Florence, and other cities of Italy, he contracted a familiarity with those who were of highest reputation for wit and learning, several of whom gave him rery obliging testimonies of their friendship and esteem.
Returning from his travels he found England on the point of being involved in blood and consusion. He retired to lodgings provided for him in the city ; which heing commodious for the reception of his sister's sons, and £oine other young gentlemen, he undertook their education,
In this philosophical course he continued, without a wise, till the year 1643; when he married Mary, the daughter of Richard Powel, of Foresthill, in Oxfordshire, a gentlemen of estate and reputation in that county, and of principles so very opposile to his son-in-law, that the marriage is nuore to be wondered at than the separation which ensued, in little more than a month after she had cohabited with him in London, Her desertion provoked him both to write several treatises concerning the doctrine and discipline of divorces, and also to pay his ad. dresses to a young lady of great wit and beauty ; but, before he had engaged her affections to conclude ihe marriage treaty, in a visit at one of his relations, he found his wile prostrate before him, imploring forgireness and reconciliation. It is not to be doubted but an interriew of that nature, so little expected, must wonderfully affect him ; and perhaps the impressions it made on his imagination, contributed much to the painting of that pas