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dance no more'
COMUS, A MASK
Psalm II. Aug 8th, 1653. Terzette 497 Hamburgæ agentes, Pastoris
Psalm VII. Aug. 14, 1653 Upon Eleg. VII. Anno Ætatis is
PREFATORY MEMOIR OF MILTON.
The great epic Poet of England was born at a period of change and political agitation, which gave a variety of incident to his life not often found in those of students and writers.
John Milton was born December 9th, 1608, between six and seven in the morning, at the “Spread Eagle,” in Bread Street, Londonnot a tavern, as our non-antiquarian readers might suppose, but his father's own house, distinguished by the sign of his armorial bear. ings, as were the houses of even the nobility at that period, when dwellings were not numbered.
Milton was the son of John Milton, a gentleman by descent, whose ancestors had formerly possessed Milton, near Thame, in Oxfordshire; but this property they had forfeited during the Wars of the Roses, and the family had ceased to be Milton “ of that ilk for more than a hundred years.
Milton's grandfather (also a John Milton), keeper of the forest of Shotover, was a bigoted Papist. He sent his son John to Christ Church, Oxford, for education, but the youth there imbibed the principles of the Reformation, and was consequently disinherited by his father.
Compelled to work for his living, John Milton adopted the profession of a Scrivener, which he practised at the "Spread Eagle," in Bread Street. He was a man of great abilit.y, a classical scholar, and a good musician, and highly respected in his profession. He married Sarah Caston, the daughter of a Welsh gentleman. On December 9th, 1608, she became, as we have said, the mother of a son who was destined to immortalize the name of his parents.
We will here let Milton speak of his own childhood :-"My
1 Numbers to houses were very rare till 1756. It is said, that the first house numbered in London was No. 1, Strand, which still, we believe, stands next to Northumberland House.- Athenceum.
father,” he says in his “Second Defence," "destined me from my infancy to the study of polite literature, which I embraced with such avidity, that from the age of twelve, I hardly ever retired from my books before midnight. This proved the first source of injury to my eyes, whose natural weakness was attended with frequent pains in the head; but as all these disadvantages could not repress my ardour for learning, my father took care to have me instructed by various preceptors, both at home and at school.” 1
The precocious genius of the boy might well have incited his father to give him every advantage; Aubrey, who lived near the time of Milton, tells us that he wrote poetry at ten years old, and a beautiful portrait by Jansen, of the child at that age, exists to attest the paternal pride in him.
while T The tutor whom Mr. Milton engaged for his wondrous son was the Rev. Thomas Young -of Essex, for whom his pupil formed a sincere attachment. In 1623, when the lad was fifteen, Young quitted his native land on account of religious persecution, leaving a lively and tender remembrance of him in the mind of his pupil. Milton was then sent to St. Paul's School, where he worked hard under Alexander Gill. for a twelvemonth. At this time he translated the 114th and 136th Psalms. The following year, 1624, he was admitted a pensioner of Christ's College, Cambridge. During his residence there he composed most of his Latin poems, of which Dr. Johnson says, “I once heard Mr. Hampton, the translator of Polybius, say that Milton was the first Englishman who, after the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses with classical elegance." no
While at Cambridge he wrote his Elegy," Ad Thomam Junium præceptorem suum, apud mercatores Anglicos Hamburgæ agentes, Pastoris munere fungentem." -- (See page 535.). : Young returned to England, thus fulfilling the yoụng poet's earnestly expressed wishes, in . 1628, and was appointed to the Mastership of Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1644. Afterwards he became Vicar of Stow Market for thirty years.
At Cambridge, Milton formed a friendship for Edward King, whose death he laments in " Lycidas.” Another early and dearlyloved friend of his youth was Charles Diodati, the son of an Italian physician who had settled in England, and practised his profession there with great success. Charles Diodati's uncle,
شلیک شده می د ده له ده رکی
1 From the Literary Miscellany. Edition, 1812.
Giovanni (John) Diodati, was the translator of the Bible into Italian ; the family had adopted the principles of the Reformed faith, and Giovanni was a professor of theology at Geneva.
Milton was remarkable in his youth for his great personal beauty, which obtained him the name of the “ Lady” of his college. He was not tall, but graceful in person, and like Tasso"He of the sword and pen ”-he was a skilful swordsman and fond of the exercise. His long and light-brown hair was parted on his brow and fell to his shoulders; his eyes were dark grey, his complexion fair and delicate. In after-times, when time and sorrow were creeping on him, he still looked ten years younger than he vas; and his eyes did not betray by their appearance the sad secret of their blindness." "His harmonical and ingenuous sonl,” says Aubrey, "dwelt in a beautiful and well-proportioned body.”.
He passed seven years at Cambridge, with the exception of a brief term of absence, when, for some slight fault, he is said to have been rusticated, and took his degree of B.A. in 1628, and M.A. in 1632. He had designed, when he first went to Cambridge, to enter holy orders, but could not bring himself to sign the Articles of the Church or submit to its discipline. He determined, therefore, to return to his home, and lead the life of a student.
His father had, by this time, made a competence, retired from business, and taken a house at Hoxton, in Buckinghamshire. Thither Milton repaired from Cambridge, his indulgent parent being ever ready to yield to his wishes.
During his residence, at the University he had written all the earlier poems, amongst them the magnificent “Hymn to the Nativity," but it had not yet won him fame, or even general notice.
In the lovely seclusion of his country home he read, it is said, all the Greek and Latin authors, and also wrote some of his most charming poems. He was, like his father, an accomplished musician, and counted amongst his friends the great lutanist of the time, Henry Lawes, who taught music in the family of the Earl of Bridgewater. In the year 1634, Lord Bridgewater was President of Wales, and held his court at Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire. On a journey thither to join their father, his two sons, Lord Brackly, and I'r. Egerton and his daughter, Lady Alice Egerton, were benighted in Haywood Forest, in Herefordshire, and the young lady for a short time was lost., At Lawes's request, Milton commemorated the incident in the exquisite.“ Mask of Comus,” which