« ZurückWeiter »
JOHN MILTON, the justly celebrated Anthor of the following Poems, was born December 9th, 1608, in Bread Street, London. His grandfather was so rigid a Papist, that he, in consequence of dif ference of religious opinions, disinherited his son, (the father of our Poet,) who was compelled to follow the profession of a scrivener. He married a lady of the name of Caston, by whom he had three children, John, the Poet, Christopher, and Anne. Milton received the rudiments of his education from Mr. Thomas Young, afterwards Chaplain to the resident English Merchants at Hamburgh: on leaving this gentleman, he went to St. Paul's School, then under the superintendence of Mr. Gill; from whence he removed to Christ's College, Cambridge, where he was admitted as a pensioner, in February, 1624. He soon exhibited his accurate knowledge of Latin, and is considered to have been the first Englishman wi... wrote with classic elegance and taste in that lan guage. In 1628 he obtained the degree of Bachelor and in 1632 that of Master of Arts. He appea to have taken great antipathy to the University, account of some imagined severity towards him. Certain it is, he determined to quit it, and, at the same time, he resigned all idea of entering the church, which at one time he intended. Upon his leaving College, he returned to his father's house at
Horton, in Buckinghamshire, where he remained about five years, studying the Greek and Roman authors, and occasionally exercising himself in Poetry.
In the year 1634, he produced Comus,' a plask; and three years after, "Lycidas,' which was written upon the death of a son of Sir J. King, secretary for Ireland; and about this time he wrote tis "Arcades."
'Ipon the death of his mother, he obtained his feiner onsent to travel, and in 1638 he left Engand fo Paris, when he was introduced to the celeorated Grotius, who was then ambassador from the court of Sweden. He prosecuted his journey as far as Italy, and returned to his native country, after an absence of fifteen months.
England at this period was the scene of civil disturbance, and Milton being hostile to monarchical principles, wrote boldly and ably in support of the republican party. On his return to his native country, he hired a house in Aldersgate Street, where he took pupils, amongst whom were two sons of his sister, Phillips. The religious controversies of the time had their effect on our Author, who pub. lished his Treatise on the Reformation, in favour of the Puritans, in 1641.
About the thirty-fifth year of his age he married a daughter of Mr. Powel, of Forest Hill, Oxfordshire-a justice of the peace, and an inflexible Royalist. This marriage, to the daughter of a ma whose political principles were diametrically op posite to his own, is a circumstance far more re markable, than the separation which took place about a month after their union. The desertion of his wife so greatly irritated him, that he is sait to have sought a divorce: and, in consequence o this event, he published his three treatises on that subject, in order to justify the step he had in con templation. His wife, nowever, sought an oppos 15