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copies by degrees, and advancing towards å better practice, as he gains more confidence in hinsself.
In his translation of Virgil, written when he was about twenty-one years old, may be ftill found the old manner of continuing the sense ungracefully from verse to verse.
« Then all those
“ Did and deserv'd no less, my fate to find.”
This passage exhibits one of those triplets which are not infrequent in this first efsay, but which it is to be supposed his maturer judgement disapproved, since in his latter works he has totally forborn them.
His rhymes are such as seem found without difficulty, by following the sense; and are for the most part as
exact at least as those of other poets, though now
"O how transfo: m'd!
“ Clad in Achilles' spoils ! And again :
“ From thence a thousand lesser poets sprung,
“ Like petty princes from the fall of Rome.”
“ Troy confounded falls
Deprest thus low, it cannot reach my faith.”
Tydides nor Achilles could prevail,
Most of these petty faults are in his first productions,
Μ Ι L Τ ο Ν.
T T O
HE Life of Milton has been already written in
so many forms, and with such minute enquiry, that I might perhaps more properly have contented myself with the addition of a few notes to Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgement, but that a new narrative was thought necessary to the uniformity of this edition.
JOHN MILTON was by birth a gentleman, descended from the proprietors of Milton ncar Thame in Oxfordshire, one of whom forfeited his estate in the times of York and Lancaster. Which fide he took I know not; his descendant inherited no veneration for the White Rose.
His grandfather John was keeper of the forest of Shotover, a zealous papist, who disinherited · his son, because he had forsaken the religion of his ancestors.
His father, John, who was the son disinherited, had recourse for his support to the profession of a scrivener.
He was a man eminent for his skill in musick *, many of his compositions being still to be found; and his reputation in his profession was such, that he grew rich,
, and retired to an estate. He had probably more than common literature, as his son addresses him in one of his most elaborate Latin poems. He married a gentlewoman of the name of Caston, a Welsh family, by whom he had two sons, John the poet, and Christopher who studied the law, and adhered, as the law taught him, to the King's party, for which he was awhile perfecuted; but having, by his brother's interest, obtained permission to live in quiet, he supported himself so honourably by chamber-practice, that soon after the acceffion of King James, he was knighted and made a Judge; but, his constitution being too weak for business, he retired before any disreputable compliances became neceffary of
He had likewise a daughter Anne, whom he married with a considerable fortune to Edward Philips, who came from Shrewsbury, and rose in the Crown-office to be secondary: by him she had two sons, John and Edward I, who were educated by the poet, and froin
* Indeed fo eminent as to rank among the first practical com. posers in his time. Philips, mentioned in the next page, says, that for a composition of his he was presented by a Polish prince with a gold medal and chain. An anthem of his composing may be seen in " The General History of the Science and Practice of “ Music, 4to." 1776, vol. III. page 369.
+ As a judge he was not eminent; not a single dictum of his is recorded in any report book of his time; nor does his name appear, fave among those of the other judges to the allowance of Carter's, and another volume or two of contemporary reports.
It is from the latter of these two persons alone, that we derive the particulars of Milton's domestic manners, and these are exG2
whom is derived the only authentick account of his domestic manners.
John, the poet, was born in his father's house, at the Spread-Eagle in Bread-street, Dec. 9, 1608, between fix and seven in the morning.
His father appears to have been very solicitous about his education ; for he was instructed at first by private tuition under the care of Thomas Young, who was afterwards chaplain to the English merchants at Hamburgh; and of whom we have reason to think well, since his scholar considered him as worthy of an epistolary Elegy.
He was then sent to St. Paul's Scóol, under the care of Mr. Gill; and removed, in the beginning of his
hibited in a life of him prefixed to a translation of his “State Let" ters, 1694, 12mo.” The two persons abovementioned were men of literature, and are noticed by Wood. Edward, after having been a student of Magdalen hall, Oxford, became tutor to the fon of Mr. John Evelyn, of Say's court, and after that to the fons of sundry persons of quality, and also to Ifabella, the daughter of lord Arlington, afterwards duchess of Grafton ; but at length he took up the trade of a writer and translator of books for a livelihood. Among other works he compiled a Dictionary, entitled, “A “ new World of Words,” which, till the publication of Bailey's, might be deemed the best in our language : he was also the continuator of “ Sir Richard Baker's Chronicle" to the restoration of Charles II. and, having the use of the duke of Albemarle's papers, has related the occurrences of that great event, but in a way that gave great offence to bifhop Nicolson, who, with his usual asperity, afferts that ambition and flattery carried him beyond truth and his copy. He appears to have been a friend to the royal caule ; but his brother John inherited the political, though not the religious principles of his uncle: he wrote “ Maronides, or two s books of Virgil translated into burlesque verse,” pamphlets, and 'fundry things of fmall account at this day, and is thus defcribed by Wood: “A man of very loose principles, atheistical, forsakes " his wife and children, makes no provision for them.” Athen. Oxon, 2d edit. vol. II. 1116, et seg.