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in the sentence, which the visitor, upon application, refused to expunge. ,
If therefore the Registers of Christ's College are filent with respect to the expulsion of John Milton, it is not plain that he was either expelled or rusticated, not to mention that the terms, vetiti laris et exilium, may refer to twenty causes besides that assigned by the new Biographer. If Milton's return to college was voluntary, it would be invidious to ascribe his absence to compulfion; unless you will suppose that the prohibition was the effect of his father's æconomy, which is by far most likely to have been the case.
Milton however was certainly out of humour with the universities (except
perhaps with a few of his ingenious and judicious friends in them); and Dr.Johnfon gives us our choice of two causes of it, the injudicious severity of his governors, : and Milton's captious perverseness *
Had Milton left us nothing upon the subject but rude and indiscriminate abuse of the universities, Dr. Johnson's alternative in affisting us to account for it had been liberal and gracious. But the single letter of Milton to Hartlib thews that his objections were of another sort, and took their rise neither from any resentment against his governors for their feverity, nor from any perverseness of his own temper. So far from blaming their
severity, he reproves the idle vacancies 1977 ľúbi., * Life, p. 10. " . Hata '?'1%9} 13. D 3 I given
given both to schools and universities, as; a detrimental and improper indulgence ; with respect to his own disposition, nothing appears here but a defire to melio4 rate the mode of education, in which Hartlib was as hearty as himfelf; and it appears by our late academical reformations, that the authors of them were no more in humour with the methods of their predecessors than Milton himfelf. -
It is true, Milton was zealous for Re. formation in the church, and who can say it was not wanted ? or who but Dr. Johns son will say it? Milton laid the errors and abuses in the church to the account of the bishops. The bishops countenanced and encouraged the universities ; and it was but natural for the universi
ties in their turn to inculcate that fort of learning which tended to uphold the episcopal authority, and consequently to prevent the reformation Milton wished for.
' '' . • “One of his.abjections," says the Doctor, 6 to academical education, as it was
then conducted, is, that men designed .- for orders in the church were per
« mitted to act plays, writhing and un.« boning their clergy limbs to all the antic :.6 and dishonest gestures of Trinculoes,
* buffoons, and bawds, prostituting the :"phame of that ministry, which ciiber they
* bad or were nigh having, to the eyes of " courtiers and court-ladies, with tleir * grooms and madamoiselles *, ie * Apology for Smeltymnus, p. 110. Birch's'èd. · D4
Num fingit, num mentitur! If Ignoramus was well acted at Trinity College, these ludicrous appearances must be exhibited to the spectators, who were perfons exactly answering the description here given of them; and if the characters were personated by clergymen, or candidates for orders, there is propriety as well as truth in Milton's reflection. But this is not the objection.. in
“This is fufficiently peevish,” savs the Doctor, “ in a man, who, when he ~ mentions his exile from the college, “ relates, with great luxuriance, the “ compensation which the pleasures of “ the theatre afford him. Plays were " therefore only criminal when they were « acted by academicks, *”. in 17. * Life, p. 12.