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LIFE OF JOHN MILTON.
FROM a family and town of his name in Oxford other cities of Italy, he contracted a familiarity with shire, our author derived his descent; but he was those who were of highest reputation for wit and born at London, in the year 1608. His father, learning, several of whom gave him very obliging John Milton, by profession a scrivener, lived in a tesümonies of their friendship and esteem. reputable manner on a competent estate, entirely his own acquisition, having been early disinherited Returning from his travels, he found England on by his parents for renouncing the communion of the point of being involved in blood and confusion. the church of Rome, to which they were zealously He retired to lodgings provided for him in the city; devoted.
which being commodious for the reception of his
sister's sons, and some other young gentlemen, he Our author was the favourite of his father's hopes, | undertook their education. who, to cultivate the great genius which early displayed itself, was at the expense of a domestic In this philosophical course he continued, without tutor; whose care and capacity his pupil hath a wife, till the year 1643; when he married Mary, gratefully celebrated in an excellent Latin elegy. the daughter of Richard Powel, of Forest-hill in Ox. At his initiation he is said to have applied himself fordshire, a gentleman of estate and reputation in to letters with such. indefatigable industry, that that county, and of principles so very opposite to he rarely was prevailed upon to quit his studies his son-in-law, that the marriage is more to be won. before midnight: which not only made him fre- dered at, than the separation which ensued, in little quently subject to severe pains in his head, but more than a month after she had cohabited with likewise occasioned that weakness in his eyes, which him in London. Her desertion provoked him both terminated in a total privation of sight. From a to write several treatises concerning the doctrine domestic education he was removed to St. Paul's and discipline of divorce, and also to pay his ad. School, to complete his acquaintance with the dresses to a young lady of great wit and beauty ; classics, under the care of Dr. Gill; and after a but before he had engaged her affections to con. short stay there, was transplanted to Christ College
clude the marriage treaty, in a visit at one of his in Cambridge, where he distinguished himself in relations, he found his wife prostrate before him, all kinds of academical exercises. Of this society imploring forgiveness and reconciliation. It is not he continued a member till he commenced Master to be doubted but an interview of that nature, so of Ar
and then, aving the university, he re- little expected, must wonderfully affect him; and turned to his father, who had quitted the town perhaps the impressions it made on his imagination, and lived at Horton in Buckinghamshire, where contributed much to the painting of that pathetic he pursued his studies with unparalleled assiduity scene in Paradise Lost, in which Eve addresseth and success.
herself to Adam for pardon and peace. At the in
tercession of his friends, who were present, after a After some years spent in this studious retirement, short reluctance, he generously, sacrificed all his his mother died, and then he prevailed with his resentment to her tears father to igratify an inclination he had long entertained of seeing foreign countries. Sir Henry Wot.
« Soon his heart relented ton, at that time provost of Eton College, gave him Towards her, his life so late and sole delight, a letter of advice for the direction of his travels.
Now at his feet submissive in distress." Having employed his curiosity about two years in France and Italy, on the news of a civil war break. And after this re-union, so far was he from retaining out in England, he returned, without taking aing any unkind memory of the provocations which survey of Greece and Sicily, as at his setting out he had received from her ill conduct, that when the the scheme was projected. At Paris the Lord Vis- king's cause was entirely suppressed, and her father, count Scudamore, ambassador from King Charles I. who had been active in his loyalty, was exposed to at the court of France, introduced him to the ac.
sequestrations, Milton, received both him and his quaintance of Grotius, who at that time was hon- family to protection, and free entertainment, in his oured with the same character there hy Christiana, Queen of Sweden. In Rome, Genoa, Florence, and
• Book X.
LIFE OF JOHN MILTON.
originally intended for the scene : but whatever truth
there may be in this report, it is certain that he did
ceeded him have ever esteemed it a merit to relish
About two years after, he published Paradise Re
gained; but, oh! what a falling off was there !
as men of letters and retirement usually leave to
by Cripplegate, where it lies interred in the chancel;
and a neat monument has lately been erected to
His judgment, when disengaged from religious and
political speculations was just and penetrating, his
he read, his reading only not so extensive as his excursions into the ideal world, when, in compos genius, for that was universal. And having trea- ing his divine work, he was tempted to range sured up such immense store of science, perhaps the faculties of his soul grew more vigorous after he was
“Beyond the visible diurnal sphere." deprived of sight; and his imagination (naturally With so many accomplishments, not to have had sublime and enlarged by reading romances, of some faults and misfortnnes to be laid in the balance which he was much enamoured in his youth,) with the fame and felicity of writing Paradise Lost, when it was wholly abstracted from material ob would have been too great a portion for humanity. jects, was more at liberty to make such amazing
Or, if a work so infinite he spann'd,
Well might'st thou scorn thy readers to allure
Pardon me, mighty Poet, nor despise