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make hast to by the readiest ways of publishing and divulging conceived merits, as well those that shall, as those that never shall obtain it. Nature therefore would præsently work the more prævalent way, if there were nothing but this inferior bent of herself to restraine her. Lastly, the love of learning, as it is the pursuit of something good, it wou'd sooner follow the more excellent and supream good known and presented, and so be quickly diverted from the emptie and fantastic chase of shadows and notions, to the solid good flowing from due and tymely obedience to that command in the gospell sett out by the terrible seasing of him, that hid the talent. It is more probable therefore, that not the endlesse delight of speculation, but this very consideration of that great commandment, does not presse forward, as soon as many do, to undergoe, but keeps off with a sacred reverence and religious advisement how best to undergoe; not taking thought of beeing late, so it give advantage to be more fit; for those, that were latest, lost nothing, when the maister of the vineyard came to give each one his hire. And
here I am come to a streame-head, copious bed enough to disburden itself like Nilus at seven mouthes into an ocean.
But then I should
also run into a reciprocall contradiction of ebbing and flowing at once, and do that, which I excuse myself for not doing, ' preach and not preach. Yet that you may see, that I am something suspicious of myselfe, and doe take notice of a certaine belatednesse in me, I am the bolder to send you some of my nightward thoughts some while since, because they come in not altogether unfitly, made
in a Petrarchian stanza, which I told you of.
" How soon hath time, the suttle theefe of youth,
Stolne on his wing my three and twentieth yeere !
late spring no bud or blossom shew'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceave the truth,
That I to manhood am arrived so neere,
That some more ty mely-happie spirits indu'th.
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however meane or high,
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
do By this I believe you may well repent of having made mention at all of this matter; for if I have not all this while won you to this, I have certainly wearied you of it. This therefore alone may be a súfficient reason for me to keepe me as I am, least having
thus tired you singly, I should deal worse with a whole congregation, and spoyle all the patience of a parish; for I myselfe doe not only see my own tediousnesse, but now grow offended with it, that has hindered me thus long from coming to the last and best period of my letter, and that which must now chiefely worke my pardon, that I am your true and unfained friend.”
On his taking the degree of master of arts in 1632, having taken that of bachelor, as we have already observed, in 1628, he left Cambridge to reside at Horton in Buckingham
f In a little
“ De Idea Platonica," written by our au. thor while he was at the University, there is a most striking personification of Eternity
Quæque in immenso procul
And the high structures of his glorious hand.
for ever fix'd. The poem which he wrote about this time, 1628, for one of the Fellows of his college, on the subject of the unimpaired vigour of nature, Naturam non pati senium, possesses the merit, in
a most uncommon degree, of poetic fancy, and of poetic diction. Vide Milton's letter to Alexander Gill, July 2, 1628.
The eternal pause
shire, where his father lived on a competent fortune, which he had acquired by his business. That Milton quitted the University without obtaining a fellowship has been suggested as a proof of the disapprobation of his college. But let it be recollected that, in his time, there was only one fellowship, in his college- tenable by a layman, and that, as he had now determined against entering into the church for reasons," which, hallowed by conscience, are entitled to our respect, the attainment of a common fellowship, to be held only for a very limited term, could not be among the objects of his life. The competence also of which he was assured from his father, would place him above the wish of any thing to be obtained by solicitation; and it is not impossible that, associating the idea of a fellow of a college, or of a governor of a community, with that of some duty to be discharged by residence, he would
Founded by Edward VI. Two other lay-fellowships have since been founded by sir John Finch, and sir Thomas Baines.
perceiving, that he who would take orders must subseribe slave, and take an oath withall, which unless he took with 2 conscience that could retch, he must either strain perforce or split his faith ; I thought it better to prefer a blameless silence before the office of speaking bought and begun with servitude and forswearing."
Reasons of Church Goy. P. W, v. i. p. 123.
prefer the range of the world to the confinement and circumscription of a college.
The five years, which he passed under his father's roof, may justly be regarded as the happiest of his life. In literary leisure, and the company of an intelligent and beloved father; with a select correspondence, and an occasional intercourse with the society, the sciences and the arts of the metropolis, the temperance of his enjoyment must have been completely satisfied; and the fruition of the tranquil present was not disturbed by any alarming prescience of the dark and stormy future. In a passage of his spirited poem to his father, written, as it is probable, about this time, he seems conscious of his high destiny, and magnanimously exults over those evils, which, he knew, by the experience of all ages, to be inseparably attached to it.
Este procul vigiles curæ! procul este querelæ,
* This house, as Mr. Todd says, on the authority of the rector of Horton, was pulled down about ten years ago. Paterno
rure, quo is transigendæ senectutis causâ concesserat, evolvendis Græcis Latinisque scriptoribus summum per otium totus vacavi; ità tamen ut nonnunquam rus urbe mutarem, aut cöemendorum gratiâ libroruin, aut novum quidpiam in Mathematicis vel in Musicîs, quibus tum oblectabar, addiscendi.
Defen. secund, P. W. v.v. p. 230.