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proofs of his poetic genius before he went to the times to learn something new in the mathematics
university, and there he excelled more and more, or music, with which he was extremely delighted. and distinguished himself by several copies of His retirement, therefore, was a learned retireverses upon occasional subjects, as well as by all ment, and it was not long before the world reaped his academical exercises, many of which are print- the fruits of it. It was in the year 1634 that his ed among his other works, and show him to have Mask was presented at Ludlow-Castle. There had a capacity above his years: and by his oblig-was formerly a president of Wales, and a sort of a ing behaviour, added to his great learning and in- court kept at Ludlow, which has since been abogenuity, he deservedly gained the affection of many, lished; and the president at that time was the Earl and admiration of all. We do not find, however, of Bridgewater, before whom Milton's Mask was that he obtained any preferment in the university, presented on Michaelmas night, and the principal or a fellowship in his own college; which seems parts, those of the two brothers, were performed by the more extraordinary, as that society has always his Lordship's sons, the Lord Brackly, and Mr. encouraged learning and learned men, had the Thomas Egerton, and that of the lady by his most excellent Mr. Mede, at that time a fellow, Lordship's daughter, the Lady Alice Egerton. and afterwards boasts the great names of Cud- The occasion of this poem seems to have been worth, and Burnet, author of the Theory of the merely an accident of the two brothers and the Earth, and several others. And this, together lady having lost one another on their way to the with some Latin verses of his to a friend, reflect-castle: and it is written very much in imitation of ing upon the university seemingly on this account, Shakspeare's Tempest, and the Faithful Shepmight probably have given occasion to the re- herdess of Beaumont and Fletcher; and though proach which was afterwards cast upon him by one of the first, is yet one of the most beautiful of his adversaries, that he was expelled from the uni- Milton's compositions. It was for some time versity for irregularities committed there, and handed about only in manuscript; but afterwards forced to fly to Italy: but he sufficiently refutes to satisfy the importunity of friends, and to save this calumny in more places than one of his works; the trouble of transcribing, it was printed at Lonand indeed it is no wonder, that a person so en-don, though without the author's name, in 1637, gaged in religious and political controversies as he with a dedication to the Lord Brackly by Mr. H. was, should be calumniated and abused by the con- Lawes, who composed the music, and played the trary party.
part of the attendant Spirit. It was printed likeHe was designed by his parents for holy orders; wise at Oxford at the end of Mr. R.'s poems, as we and among the manuscripts of Trinity College, in learn from a letter of Sir Henry Wotton to our Cambridge, there are two draughts in Milton's author; but who that Mr. R. was, whether Ranown hand, of a letter to a friend, who had impor- dolph, the poet, or who else, is uncertain. It has tuned him to take orders, when he had attained lately, though with additions and alterations, been the age of twenty-three: but the truth is, he had exhibited on the stage several times. conceived early prejudices against the doctrine and In 1637, he wrote another excellent piece, his discipline of the church, and subscribing to the Lycidas, wherein he laments the untimely fate of a articles was in his opinion subscribing slave. friend, who was unfortunately drowned that same This, no doubt, was a disappointment to his year in the month of August, on the Irish seas, in friends, who, though in comfortable, were yet by his passage from Chester. This friend was Mr. no means in great circumstances: and neither does Edward King, son of Sir John King, Secretary he seem to have had any inclination to any other of Ireland under Queen Elizabeth, King James I. profession; he had too free a spirit to be limited and Charles I.; and was a fellow of Christ's Coland confined; and was for comprehending all lege, and was so well beloved and esteemed at sciences, but professing none. And therefore after Cambridge, that some of the greatest names in the he had left the university in 1632, he retired to his University have united in celebrating his obsefather's house in the country; for his father had quies, and published a collection of poems, Greek by this time quitted business, and lived at an estate and Latin and English, sacred to his memory. which he had purchased at Horton, near Colc- The Greek by H. More, &c.; the Latin by T. brooke, in Buckinghamshire. Here he resided Farnaby, J. Pearson, &c.; the English by H. with his parents for the space of five years, and, King, J. Beaumont, J. Cleaveland, with several as he tumself has informed us, (in his second De- others; and judiciously the last of all as the best fence, and the seventh of his familiar Epistles) of all, is Milton's Lycidas. "On such sacrifices read over all the Greek and Latin authors, parti- the Gods themselves strow incense;" and one would cularly the historians; but now and then made an almost wish so to have died, for the sake of having excursion to London, sometimes to buy books, or been so lamented. But this poem is not all made to meet his friends from Cambridge, and at other up of sorrow and tenderness; there is a mixtur♦
of satire and indignation; for in part of it the poet | Mr. R. in the very close of the late R.'s poems, takes occasion to inveigh against the corruptions printed at Oxford; whereunto it is added, as I of the clergy, and seems to have first discovered now suppose, that the accessory might help out his acrimony against Archbishop Laud, and to the principal, according to the art of stationers, have threatened him with the loss of his head, and leave the reader con la bocca dolce. which afterwards happened to him through the fury of his enemies. At least I can think of no sense so proper to be given to the following verses in Lycidas.
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Stands ready to smite once, and smite no more.
"Now, Sir, concerning your travels, wherein I may challenge a little more privilege of discourse with you; I suppose, you will not blanch Paris in your way. Therefore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. as his governor; and you may surely receive from him good directions for shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice some time for the king, after mine own recess from Venice.
About this time, as we learn from some of his familiar epistles, he had some thoughts of taking thambers at one of the Inns of Court, for he was "I should think that your best line will be not very well pleased with living so obscurely in through the whole length of France to Marseilles, the country but his mother dying, he prevailed and thence by sea to Genoa, whence the passage with his father to let him indulge a desire, which into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge. ne had long entertained, of seeing foreign coun-I hasten, as you do, to Florence or Sienna, the tries, and particularly Italy: and having commu- rather to tell you a short story, from the interest dicated his design to Sir Henry Wotton, who had you have given me in your safety. formerly been ambassador at Venice, and was "At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one then Provost of Eton College, and having also Alberto Scipione, an old Roman courtier, in dansent him his Mask, of which he had not yet pub-gerous times, having been steward to the Duca di licly acknowledged himself the author, he received Pagliano, who with all his family were strangled, from him the following friendly letter dated from the College the 10th of April, 1738.
save this only man, that escaped by foresight of the tempest. With him I had often much chat of those affairs; into which he took pleasure to look back from his native harbour; and at my de"It was a special favour, when you lately parture toward Rome, which had been the centre bestowed upon me here the first taste of your ac- of his experience, I had won confidence enough to quaintance, though no longer than to make me beg his advice, how I might carry myself securely know, that I wanted more time to value it, and to there, without offence of others, or of my own conenjoy it rightly. And in truth, if I could then science: Signor Arrigo meo, says he, i pensieri have imagined your farther stay in these parts, stretti, il viso sciolto, that is, your thoughts which I understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would close, and your countenance loose, will go safely have been bold, in our vulgar phrase, to mend my over the whole world. Of which Delphian oracle draught, for you left me with an extreme thirst, (for so I found it) your judgment doth need no and to have begged your conversation again joint- commentary; and therefore, Sir, I will commit ly with your said learned friend, at a poor meal or you with it to the best of all securities, God's dear two, that we might have banded together some love, remaining your friend, as much at command good authors of the ancient time, among which I as any of longer date. observed you to have been familiar.
"Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for a very kind letter from "P. S. Sir, I have expressly sent this by my you, dated the sixth of this month, and for a footboy to prevent your departure, without some dainty piece of entertainment, that came there- acknowledgment from me of the receipt of your with; wherein I should much commend the tra- obliging letter, having myself through some busigical part, if the lyrical did not ravish with a cer-ness, I know not how, neglected the ordinary contain doric delicacy in your songs and odes, where- veyance. In any part where I shall understand in I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing you fixed, I shall be glad and diligent to enterparallel in our language, ipsa mollities. But I tain you with home-novelties, even for some fomust not omit to tell you, that I now only owe you mentation of our friendship, too soon interrupted thanks for intimating unto me, how modestly so- in the cradle."
ever, the true artificer. For the work itself I had
viewed some good while before with singular de- Soon after this he set out upon his travels, being light, having received it from our common friend of an age to make the proper improvements, and
not barely to see sights and to learn the languages, sign, and advising him to add some observations like most of our modern travellers, who go out concerning the true pronunciation of that language boys, and return such as we see, but such as I do for the use of foreigners. not choose to name. He was attended by only one So much good acquaintance would probably servant, who accompanied him through all his tra- have detained him longer at Florence, if he had vels; and he went first to France, where he had re- not been going to Rome, which to a curious travelcommendations to the Lord Scudamore, the English ler is certainly the place the most worth seeing of ambassador there at that time; and as soon as he any in the world. And so he took leave of his came to Paris, he waited upon his Lordship, and friends at Florence, and went from thence to Sienwas received with wonderful civility; and having na, and from Sienna to Rome, where he stayed an earnest desire to visit the learned Hugo Gro-much about the same time that he had continued tius, he was by his Lordship's means introduced at Florence, feasting both his eyes and his mind, to that great man, who was then ambassador at the French court from the famous Christina Queen of Sweden; and the visit was to their mutual satisfaction; they were each of them pleased to see a person, of whom they had heard such commendations. But at Paris he stayed not long; his thoughts and his wishes hastened into Italy; and so after a few days he took leave of the Lord Scudamore, who very kindly gave him letters to the English merchants, in the several places through which he was to travel, requesting them to do him all the good offices which lay in their power.
and delighted with the fine paintings and sculp tures, and other rarities and antiquities of the city, as well as with the conversation of several learned and ingenious men, and particularly of Lucas Holstenius, keeper of the Vatican library, who received him with the greatest humanity, and showed him all the Greek authors, whether in print or in manuscript, which had passed through his correction; and also presented him to Cardinal Barberini, who at an entertainment of music, performed at his own expense, waited for him at the door, and taking him by the hand brought him into the assembly. The next morning he waited upon the Cardinal to return him thanks for his civilities, and by the means of Holstenius was again introduced to his Eminence, and spent some time in conversation with him. It seems that Holstenius had studied three years at Oxford, and this might dispose him to be more friendly to the English, but he took a particular liking and affection to Milton; and Milton, to thank him for all his favours, wrote to him afterwards from Florence the ninth of his familiar epistles. At Rome too Selvaggi made a Latin distich in honour of Milton, and Salfilli a Latin tetrastich, celebrating him for his Greek and Latin and Italian poetry; and he in return presented to Salfilli in his sickness those fine Scazons, or Iambic verses having a spondee in the last foot, which are inserted among his juvenile poems.
From Paris he went directly to Nice, where he took shipping for Genoa, from whence he went to Leghorn, and thence to Pisa, and so to Florence, in which city he found sufficient inducements to make a stay of two months. For besides the curiosities and other beauties of the place, he took great delight in the company and conversation there, and frequented their academies as they are called, the meetings of the most polite and ingenious persons, which they have in this, as well as in the other principal cities of Italy, for the exercise and improvement of wit and learning among them. And in these conversations he bore so good a part, and produced so many excellent compositions, that he was soon taken notice of, and was very much courted and caressed by several of the nobility and prime wits of Florence. For the manner is, as he says himself in the preface to his second book of From Rome he went to Naples, in company the Reason of Church-government, that every one with a certain hermit; and by his means was inmust give some proof of his wit and reading there, troduced to the acquaintance of Giovanni Baptista and his productions were received with written en- Manso, Marquis of Villa, a Neapolitan nobleman, comiums which the Italian is not forward to bestow of singular merit and virtue, to whom Tasso adon men of this side the Alps. Jacomo Gaddi, An- dresses his dialogue of friendship, and whom he tonio Francini, Carlo Dati, Beneditto Bonmatthei, mentions likewise in his Gierusalemme Liberata Cultellino, Frescobaldi, Clementilli, are reckoned with great honour. This nobleman was particuamong his particular friends. At Gaddi's house larly civil to Milton, frequently visited him at his the academies were held, which he constantly frequented. Antonio Francini composed an Italian ode in his commendation. Carlo Dati wrote a Latin eulogium of him, and corresponded with him after his return to England. Bonmatthei was at that time about publishing an Italiar. grammar; and the eighth of our author's familiar epistles, dated at Florence, September 10, 1638, is addressed to hun upon that occasion, commending his de
lodgings, and went with him to show him the Viceroy's palace, and whatever was curious or worth notice in the city; and moreover he honoured him so far as to make a Latin distich in his praise, which is printed before our author's Latin poems, as is likewise the other of Selvaggi, and the Latin tetrastich of Salfilli together with the Italian ode and the Latin eulogium before mentioned. We may suppose that Milton was not a little pleased
with the honours conferred upon him by so many came to Venice, in which city he spent a month; persons of distinction, and especially by one of such quality and eminence as the Marquis of Villa; and as a testimony of his gratitude he presented to the Marquis at his departure from Naples his eclogue intitled Mansus, which is well worth reading among his Latin poems. So that it may be reckoned a peculiar felicity of the Marquis of Villa's life, to have been celebrated both by Tasso and Milton, the one the greatest modern poet of own, and the other the greatest of foreign na
and having shipped off the books which he had collected during his travels, and particularly a chest or two of choice music books of the best masters flourishing about that time in Italy, he took his course through Verona, Milan, and along the lake Leman to Geneva. In this city he tarried some time, meeting here with people of his own principles, and contracted an intimate friendship with Giovanni Deodati, the most learned professor of divinity, whose annotations upon the Bible are published in English. And from thence returning through France, the same way that he had gone before, he arrived safe in England, after a peregrination of one year and about three months, having seen more, and learned more, and conversed with more famous men, and made more real improvements, than most others in double the time.
Having seen the finest parts of Italy, Milton was now thinking of passing over into Sicily and Greece, when he was diverted from his purpose by the news from England, that things were tending to a civil war between the King and Parliament: for he thought it unworthy of himself to be taking his pleasure abroad, while his countrymen were contending for liberty at home. He resolved therefore to return by the way of Rome, though he was advised to the contrary by the merchants, who had received intelligence from their correspondents, that the English Jesuits there were forming plots against him, in case he should return thither, by reason of the great freedom which he had used in all his discourses of religion. For he had by no means observed the rule, recommended to him by Sir Henry Wotton, of keeping his thoughts close and his countenance open. He had visited Galileo, a prisoner to the Inquisition, for asserting the motion of the earth, and thinking otherwise in as-remarkable for his sobriety and other virtues than tronomy than the Dominicans and Franciscans thought. And though the Marquis of Villa had shown him such distinguishing marks of favour at Naples, yet he told him at his departure that he would have shown him much greater, if he had been more reserved in matters of religion. But he had a soul above dissimulation and disguise; he was neither afraid nor ashamed to vindicate the truth; and if any man had, he had in him the spirit of an old martyr. He was so prudent indeed, that he would not of his own accord begin any discourse of religion; but at the same time he was so honest, that if he was questioned at all about his faith, he would not dissemble his sentiments, whatever was the consequence. And with this esolution he went to Rome the second time, and dayed there two months more, neither concealing his name, nor declining openly to defend the truth, if any thought proper to attack him: and yet, God's good providence protecting him, he came safe to his kind friends at Florence, where he was received with as much joy and affection as if he had returned into his own country.
His first business after his return was to pay his duty to his father, and to visit his other friends; but this pleasure was much diminished by the loss of his dear friend and schoolfellow Charles Deodati in his absence. While he was abroad, he heard it reported that he was dead; and upon his coming home he found it but too true, and lamented his death in an excellent Latin eclogue entitled Epitaphium Damonis. This Deodati had a father originally of Lucca, but his mother was English, and he was born and bred in England, and studied physic, and was an admirable scholar, and no less
for his great learning and ingenuity. One or two of Milton's familiar epistles are addressed to him; and Mr. Toland says that he had in his hands two Greek letters of Deodati to Milton, very handsomely written. It may be right for scholars now and then to exercise themselves in Greek and Latin; but we have much more frequent occasion to write letters in our own native language, and in that therefore we should principally endeavour to excel.
Milton soon after his return, had taken a lodging at one Russel's, a taylor, in St. Bride's Churchyard; but he continued not long there, having not sufficient room for his library and furniture; and therefore determined to take a house, and accordingly took a handsome garden-house in Aldersgate street, situate at the end of an entry, which was the more agreeable to a studious man for its privacy and freedom from noise and disturbance. And in this house he continued several years, and his sister's two sons were put to board with him, first the younger and afterwards the elder: and some other of his intimate friends requested of him the Here likewise he stayed two months, as he had same favour for their sons, especially since there done before, excepting only an excursion of a few was little more trouble in instructing half a dozen days to Lucea; and then crossing the Appenine, than two or three: and he, who could not easily and passing through Bologna and Ferrara, he deny any thing to his friends, and who knew that
the greatest men in all ages had delighted in teach- Mr. Alphry and Mr. Miller, both of Gray's Inn,
and two of the greatest beaus of those times.
ing others the principles of knowledge and virtue, undertook the office, not out of any sordid and But he was not so fond of this academical life, mercenary views, but more from a benevolent dis- as to be an indifferent spectator of what was acted position, and a desire to do good. And his method upon the public stage of the world. The nation of education was as much above the pedantry and was now in a great ferment in 1641, and the clajargon of the common schools, as his genius was mour run high against the bishops, when he joined superior to that of a common school-master. One loudly in the cry, to help the puritan ministers, (as of his nephews has given us an account of the he says himself in his second Defence) they being many authors both Latin and Greek, which (be- inferior to the bishops in learning and eloquence; sides those usually read in the schools) through and published his two books, Of Reformation in his excellent judgment and way of teaching were England, written to a friend. About the same run over within no greater compass of time, than time certain ministers having published a treatise from ten to fifteen or sixteen years of age. Of against episcopacy, in answer to the Humble Rethe Latin the four authors concerning husbandry, monstrance of Dr. Joseph Hall, Bishop of NorCato, Varro, Columella, and Palladius, Cornelius wich, under the title of Smectymnuus, a word Celsus the physician, a great part of Pliny's Na- consisting of the initial letters of their names, Stetural History, the Architecture of Vitruvius, the phen Marshal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Stratagems of Frontinus, and the philosophical Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow; poets Lucretius and Manilius. Of the Greek He- and Archbishop Usher having published at Oxsiod, Aratus' Phænomena and Diosemeia, Diony- ford a refutation of Smectymnuus, in a tract consius Afer de situ orbis, Oppian's Cynegetics and cerning the original of Bishops and Metropolitans; Halieutics, Quintus Calaber's poem of the Trojan Milton wrote his little piece Of Prelatical Episcowar continued from Homer, Apollonius Rhodius' pacy, in opposition chiefly to Usher, for he was for Argonautics, and in prose, Plutarch's Placita phi- contending with the most powerful adversary; losophorum, and of the education of children, Xe- there would be either less disgrace in the defeat, nophon's Cyropædia and Anabasis, Ælian's Tac- or more glory in the victory. He handled the tics, and the stratagems of Polyænus. Nor did subject more at large in his next performance this application to the Greek and Latin tongues which was the Reason of Church Governmen hinder the attaining to the chief oriental languages, urged against Prelacy, in two books. And Bishop the Hebrew, Chaldee and Syriac, so far as to go Hall having published a Defence of the Humble through the Pentateuch or five books of Moses in Remonstrance, he wrote Animadversions upon it. Hebrew, to make a good entrance into the Tar- All these treatises he published within the course gum or Chaldee paraphrase, and to understand of one year, 1641, which show how very diligent several chapters of St. Matthew in the Syriac he was in the cause that he had undertaken. And Testament; besides the modern languages, Italian the next year he set forth his Apology for Smecand French, and a competent knowledge of the tymnuus, in answer to the Confutation of his Animathematics and astronomy. The Sunday's ex-madversions, written as he thought himself by ercise for his pupils was for the most part to read Bishop Hall, or his son. And here very luckily
a chapter of Greek Testament, and to hear his ended a controversy, which detained him from learned exposition of it. The next work after greater and better writings which he was medithis was to write from his dictation some part of a tating, more useful to the public, as well as more system of divinity, which he had collected from suitable to his own genius and inclination: but he the ablest divines, who had written upon that sub-thought all this while that he was vindicating Ject. Such were his academic institutions; and ecclesiastical liberty. thus by teaching others he in some measure en- In the year 1643, and the thirty-fifth year of his larged his own knowledge; and having the read- age, he married; and indeed his family was now ing of so many authors as it were by proxy, he growing so numerous, that it wanted a mistress might possibly have preserved his sight, if he had at the head of it. His father, who had lived with not moreover been perpetually busied in reading his younger son at Reading, was, upon the taking or writing something himself. It was certainly a of that place by the forces under the Earl of Esvery recluse and studious life, that both he and his sex, necessitated to come and live in London with Dupils led; but the young men of that age were this his elder son, with whom he continued in of a different turn from those of the present; and tranquillity and devotion to his dying day. Some he himself gave an example to those under him addition too was to be made to the number of his of hard study and spare diet; only now and then, pupils. But before his father or his new pupils once in three weeks or a month, he made a gaudy were come, he took a journey in the Whitsuntide day with some young gentlemen of his acquaint-vacation, and after a month's absence returned unce the chief of whom, says Mr. Philips, were with a wife, Mary the eldest daughter of Mr.