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samson Agonistes. . . . . . . . . . 117
Comus, - - - - - - - - - 124
poems on several, OCCASIONS.
On the death of a fair Infant, - - - - 144
At a Vacation Exercise in the College, - - 145
On the morning of Christ's Nativity, - • 146
The Passion, - - - - - - - 148
On Time, . - - - - - - • 149
Upon the Circumcision, - - - - - ib.
At a solemn Music, - - - - - - - ib.
An Epitaph on the Marchioness of Winchester, 150
Song on May Morning. - - - - - ib.
on Shakspeare. - - - ib.
I T is agreed among all writers, that the family of Milton came originally from Milton in Oxfordshire; but from which of the Miltons is not altogether so certain. Some say, ainl particularly Mr. Philips, that the family was of Milton near Abinglon, in Oxfordshire, where it had been a long time seated, as np|iears by the monuments still to be seen in Milton-church. But that Milton is not in Oxfordshire, but in Berkshire; and upon inquiry 1 find, that there are no such monuments in that church, nor any remains of them. It is more probable, therefore, that the family came, as Mr. Wood says, from Milton near Halton and Thame tn Oxfordshire: where it flourished several years, till at last the estate was sequestered, one of the family having taken the unfortunate side in the civil wars between the houses of York and Lancaster. John Milton, the poet's grand-father, was, aceording to Mr. Wood, an under-ranger or keeper of the forest of Shotover, near Halton, in Oxfordshire; he was of the religion of Rome, and such a bigot that he disinherited his son only for being a protestant. Upon this, the son, the poet's father, named likewise John Milton, settled in London, and became a serivener by the advice of a friend eminent in that profession: but he was not so de•.oted to gain and to business, as to lose all taste of the politer arts, and was particularly skilled in mudie, in which he was not only a fine performer, but is also celebrated for several pieces of his composition: and ret, on the other hand, he was not m fond of his music and amusements, as in the least to neglect his business, but by his diligence and economy acquired a competent estate, which enabled him afterwards to retire, and live in the country. He was, by all aceounts, a very worthy man; and married an excellent woman, Sarah, of the ancient family of the Bradshaws, says Mr. Wood; but Mr. Philips, our author's nephew, who was more likely to know, says, of the family of the Castons derived originally from Wales. Whosver she was, she is said to have been a woman of incomparable virtue and goodness; and by her husband had two sons and a daughter. ** .'
The elder of the sons was our famous poet, Who was born in the year of our Lord 1608, on the 9th of December, in the morning between six and seven o'clock, in Bread-street, London, where his father lived at the sign of the spread eagle, which was
also the coat of arms of the family. He was named John, as his father and grand-father had been before him; and from the beginning discovering the marks of an uncommon genius, he was designed for a scholar, and had his education partly under private tutors, and partly at a public school. It has been often controverted whether a public or private education is best, but young Milton wu so happy as to share the advantages of both. It appears from the fourth of his Latin elegies, and from the first and fourth of his familiar epistles, that Mr. Thomas Young, who was ,.,i. ,.,-.,. nI pastor of the company of English merchants residing at Hamburg, was one of his private preceptors: and when he had made good progress in his studios at home, he was sent to St. Paul's school to be fitted for the university under the care of Mr. Gill, who was the master at that time, and to whose son are addressed oome of his familiar epistles. In this early time of his life such was his love of learning, and so great was his ambition to surpass his equals, that from his twelfth year he commonly continued his studies till midnight, which (as he says himself in his second Defence) was the first ruin of his eyes, to whose natural debility too were added frequent headaches: but all could not extinguish or abate his laudable passiun for letters. It is very seldom seen, that such application and such a genius meet in the same person. The force of cither is great, but both together must perform wonders.
He was now in the seventeenth year of his aga, and was a very good classical scholar and master of several languages, when he was sent to the university of Cambridge, and admitted at Christ's College (as appears from the register) on the l'2th of February, 1624-5, under the tuition of Mr. William Chappel, afterwards bishop of Cork and Ross, in Ireland. He continued above seven yean at the university, and took two degrees, that of Bachelor of Arts in 1628-9, and that of Master in 1632. It is somewhat remarkable, that though the, merits of bdth our universities are perhaps eqfiajiy great, and >hough poetical exercises are rather more encouriged at Oxford, yet most of om greatest poets have "been bred at Cambridge. as Spenser, Cowley, Waller, Dryden, Prior, not to mention any of the leaser ones, when there is a greater than all, Milton. He had given earls