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JOHN MILTON, the son of a father of both names, who was a scrivener in the city of London, was born in Bread-street, December 9, 1608. His early education was superintended by a private tutor, and pursued at St. Paul's school, until he arrived at his sixteenth year, when he was entered of Christ's College, Cambridge, as a sizar. He was at this time eminently skilled in the Latin tongue, and was one of the first Englishmen who, after the revival of letters, wrote Latin verses with classic elegance. But although he took his bachelor's degree in 1628, and his master's in 1632, he became impatient to leave the university, and dissatisfied with the usual plan of education. It is certain that he relinquished the design he once entertained of enter ing into the church, and, when he left college, resided for five years with his father at Horton, in Buckinghamshire, devoting his time to the study of the Greek and Roman writers; but not so entirely as not to cultivate his native muse. In 1634, he produced the mask of Comus,' and, in 1637, his Lycidas.'

In 1638, he began his travels to France and Italy, where his abilities procured him the respect of the learned and great; and returned, after a year and three months, to England, which he found a prey to eivil discord. Milton, it is well known, took part against the monarchy and hierarchy, and proved a

very able writer in favour of the republican party; although his writings on such a subject cannot be supposed to create much interest in our times. Immediately on his return he hired a lodging in St. Bride's Church-yard, where he undertook the education of his two nephews, John and Edward Phillips; and being induced to extend his plan, he hired a house in Aldersgate-street, and admitted more boys to be boarded and instructed. It is supposed he adopted a new plan in education, and more successful than had hitherto been practised; but what that was is not known, In 1641, however, he emerged from this comparative obscurity, by commencing a writer against the church and government; and continued supporting the republicans by his pen as long as they could afford him protection. One of his most singular attempts was in favour of divorces, which was occasioned by a circumstance that happened to himself. He had married, in his thirty-fifth year, the daughter of Mr. Powel, a justice of peace in Oxfordshire. Her family were loyalists; and after a time she left his house, and refused to return. On this he wrote three pamphlets on the subject of divorce, and was so persuaded of his own doctrine, that he began to court another lady, which-coming to the ears of his wife, she returned to him with every appearance of pènitence; and he forgave her cordially; and was ever after a friend to her relations, by screening them from the violence of his party.

About the year 1645, he published a collection of his Latin and English smaller poems, including the 'Allegro' and 'Penseroso.' After the king's death he was made Latin Secretary to the Council of State; and with what facility he could convey the bitterness of controversial language into elegant Latin, appears sufficiently from his vindication of the king's murder, in answer to Salmasius, one of the Leyden professors, who wrote, in 1649, his 'Defensio Regis.' Soon after this, Milton became

blind: but such was his vigour of intellect, that neither his office of secretary, nor his private studies were interrupted by a calamity which would have rendered other men useless. On one occasion a treaty with Sweden was suspended owing to his indisposition, when the Swedish agent expressed his wonder that only one man in England could write Latin, and that man blind.

When in his forty-seventh year, he projected three works on which he had long meditated; an epic poem, the history of England, and a dictionary of the Latin tongue. What he collected for his dictionary is supposed to have been added to the Cambridge dictionary, published in 1693. With his history he proceeded no further than the Conquest, probably from the difficulty of consulting authori ties, which he could not always perform with the help of other eyes. But in his epic poem he evinced himself independent of all aid but the pure inspi ration of genius. After much deliberation, he fixed upon the subject of Paradise Lost,' and employed his leisure hours upon it from time to time. On the Restoration, whether from compassion for his distresses, or respect for his talents, or from some powerful interest which cannot now be traced, he was included in the act of oblivion, and secured in his person and property, in common with his fellowsubjects. Soon after this event, he removed to a house in Jewin-street, and married a third wife, who added very little to his happiness.

The Paradise Lost' appears to have been written at various times, and being at length completed, was sold, in 1667, to Samuel Simmons, for an im mediate payment of five pounds; with a stipulation to receive five pounds more when thirteen hundred should be sold of the first edition; and again, five pounds after the sale of the same number of the se cond edition; and another five pounds after the same sale of the third. None of the three editions were to be executed beyond fifteen hundred copies.

There is nothing in the whole history of literature more wonderful than the price of this copyright. Milton could only receive twenty pounds in all, and he lived to receive only fifteen, for writing a poem which has immortalized his name, and bestowed one of its greatest honours upon his country.

In 1671, he published his Paradise Regained,' and 'Samson Agonistes.' Paradise Regained' was his favourite, probably because his last, poetical offspring; but the opinion of the world has not sanctioned this preference.

In the last year of his life he sent to the press a collection of 'Familiar Epistles,' in Latin, with some academical exercises. As he had now gained a poetic name, his friends were probably desirous that he should profit by it; for these compositions add nothing to the author of Paradise Lost,' by which he will be known to distant ages and distant nations, when the rest of his works are forgotten. When he had attained his sixty-fourth year, his constitution was undermined by frequent attacks of the gout; and he died at his house in Bunhill-fields, on the 10th of November, 1674. His funeral, which was numerously and splendidly honoured, took place in the parish-church of St. Giles, Cripplegate.

Of his moral, or purpose, in the Paradise Lost,' Dr. Johnson has remarked, that it was at once the most useful and the most arduous; to vindicate the ways of God to man; to show the reasonableness of religion, and the necessity of obedience to the divine law. To convey this moral, there must be a fable, a narration artfully constructed, so as to excite curiosity, and surprise expectation. In this part of his work, Milton must be confessed to have equalled every other poet.' Great events,' says the same judicious critic, can be hastened or retarded only by persons of elevated dignity. Before the greatness displayed in Milton's poem, all other greatness shrinks away; and of the other agents, the chief are such as it is irreverence to name on slight

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