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ters, whom he trained to read to him not merely in English, but in Latin, Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, and Hebrew, though they did not understand a word of what they read. What little we know of their relations to their father is not pleasant. They seem to have been rebellious and undutiful, though doubtless there was much provocation. In 1663 Milton took a third wife, Elizabeth Minshull, who did much to give ease and comfort to his last years, and who long survived him.
The retirement in which he lived during this third period, when public affairs seemed to him to have gone all wrong, was not absolutely solitary. The harshness that appears in his controversial writings, and the somewhat unsympathetic austerity that seems to be indicated by his relations with his first wife and his children, are to be counterbalanced in our minds by the impression of companionableness that we derive from the picture of the old blind poet, sought out by many who not merely admired his greatness, but found pleasure in his society, and counted it a privilege to talk with him and read to him. Stern and sad he could hardly fail to be, but his old age was peaceful and not bitter. He died on November 8, 1674, and was buried in the Church of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London.
In spite of Milton's association with the Puritan party in the political struggles of his time, the common habit of referring to him as “the Puritan poet” is seriously misleading. The Puritans of the generation of Milton's father were indeed often men of culture and love of the arts, but the Puritans of the Civil War, the Puritans whom we think of to-day in our ordinary use of the term, were in general men who had not only no interest in art, but who regarded beauty itself as a temptation of the evil one. Even a slight study of Milton's works wil. convince the reader that to this class Milton could never have belonged. Side by side with his love of liberty and his enthusiasm for moral purity qualities in which even then the Puritans had no monopolye Milton was passionately devoted to beauty; and the reason why his work survives to-day is not because part of it expresses the Puritan theology, but because of its artistic qualities-above all because it is at once more faultless and more nobly sustained in music than that of any other English poet.
THE POEMS OF JOHN MILTON
WRITTEN AT SCHOOL AND COLLEGE
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY
Wherein the Son of Heaven's eternal King,
Of wedded maid and Virgin Mother born,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
our deadlines once diabove di
That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
Forsook the Courts of everlasting Day,
Say, Heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Hath took no print of the approaching light, And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?
And join thy voice unto the Angel Quire,
It was the winter wild,
Nature, in awe to him,
Had doffed her gaudy trim,
Only with speeches fair
She woos the gentle air
And on her naked shame,
Pollute with sinful blame,
But he, her fears to cease,
Sent down the meek-eyed Peace:
Down through the turning sphere,
His ready Harbinger, With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And, waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.
The hooked chariot stood,
But peaceful was the night
The winds, with wonder whist,
Smoothly the waters kissed, Whispering new joys to the mild Ocean, Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed wave.
And will not take their flight,
For all the morning light,
And hid his head for shame, As his inferior flame The new-enlightened world no more should need: He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright Throne or burning axletree could bear.
Or ere the point of dawn,
Full little thought they than
That the mighty Pan
When such music sweet
Their hearts and ears did greet
Answering the stringèd noise,
Nature, that heard such sound
Beneath the hollow round
To think her part was done,
At last surrounds their sight