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in many years, the citizens of London såw upon the pride and unbridled ambition of the bearded capuchins in their streets. Mass was Episcopal prelate. regularly celebrated in the apartments of St. Before setting out from Ludlow Castle, he James's, and even the foundations of a Catho- took leave of all its inmates with studied lic Church were laid in the neighborhood of courtesy and kindness. The Earl of Bridgethe royal palace. The people contented them- water expressed great surprise and regret at selves with manifesting their disapproval by his sudden departure. low murmurs. Relying on the protection and “I am exceedingly sorry," he said, politely, growing influence of the young queen, the Cath " that you leave us so soon, as I intended to olic party raised its head once more, in the be converse with you yet on many important subginning timidly and hesitatingly, but afterwardjects.” more openly and haughtily. Public and secret “I hope to return very speedily, and profit conversions were no longer rare occurrences, once more by your kind hospitality. Pressing and the relentless Star-Chamber suddenly dis- business unfortunately compels me now to go played much lenity and forbearance in this to London.” respect.
“As you are going to see his majesty, you The Church of England, to which the king may render me an important service." was earnestly devoted, was by no means às “Speak, and I will gladly do all I can for hostile to and different from Catholicism as
house." the other reformed sects.' It had retained “In the first place, I desire you to present many ancient rites, and outwardly differed but to his majesty
assurance of my unalterable little from it. Laud, the primate of the king- loyalty and attachment, and likewise to the dom, manifested even a surprising inclination queen, your august patroness and protectoward Rome and its tenets. The more the tress.” people became imbued with Puritan principles, "Do you wish to ask a favor of their mathe more determined was the stand which the jesties? government and court took in the opposite “Indeed I do, and yet I scarcely venture to direction. The Jesuits profited by these fa- ask for it myself, as so many proofs of the vorable circumstances, with their usual shrewd royal favor have been lavished on me that ness and energy. Their agents, one of whom any additional demand on my part would look was Sir Kenelm Digby, displayed the greatest like an abuse of the great kindness of their activity. They were everywhere secretly at majesties. I have a son, with whom you are work; they had succeeded in converting many acquainted." eminent persons, and if the offer of a cardi "Lord Brackley ? ” nal's hat should bring about the defection of
"I do not refer to him, but to his younger the ambitious Laud, no insurmountable ob- brother Thomas. He has enjoyed an excellent stacles would prevent them from restoring education, and is a young man of noble gifts, England to the bosom of Catholicism. both of the mind and body. Nevertheless, I
For years past Digby had devoted his whole have reason not to be entirely satisfied with energy to this great task. Now he had been him. He does not profit by his fine accomcommissioned to enter into negotiations with plishments, but squanders his talents in dethe primate, and gain him over by holding out plorable idleness. Latterly, especially, I have to him so rich a prize. Sir Kenelm did not noticed a by no means favorable change in his shrink from this adventure, counting as he did | bearing and conduct. Instead of devoting
himself to his studies, he roams about for days (tion that they will receive your son most grawithout any apparent purpose. He is absent- ciously, and assign him at once a suitable posiminded, inattentive, and shuns society. The tion. On my part, good advice shall not be greater was my surprise, on seeing him so withheld from bim, although I may resemble soon on excellent terms with you, and I looked certain preachers whose words are excellent, upon this as a hint given me by Fate.” while their deeds are any thing but praise
“And I am glad that the youth, who is so worthy. However, I have the advantage of amiable, despite your charges, bad confidence being very familiar with the temptations of in me and became immediately attached to me.”
court life; hence, I am able to caution the “I build my plan on this very fact, and hope youth against the sirens, and protect him from that you will lend me your assistance. Already the Charybdis to whose dangers I was likewise for a long time past it was my intention to send
exposed." my son to the royal court. As a younger “Then be a wise Mentor to him on his lifebrother, he must strive in time to secure him- path. In the mean time I will prepare him self a position there. Hence, I am very anx for his new career, and when you return in the ious to see him become a member of the house
course of a few weeks, as you have promised, hold of the king or queen.”
you may take with you your pupil, whom I “I believe you will meet with no obstacles would not intrust to any man more willingly in obtaining such a position for him, although than to you.” a great many younger sons are flocking to court
It was with intense joy that Digby took upon for the same purpose.”
himself this task, which could not but draw “ The more necessary is it that some one closer the bonds connecting him with the earl's should intercede in his behalf. You are an family. In doing so, he would, as it were, intimate friend of her majesty, and I request bold in his hands a pledge that would poweryou, therefore, to speak favorably of him to the fully promote his schemes. For this reason queen.”
he promised the earl solemnly that he would “What little influence I am possessed of watch with the utmost solicitude over his son shall be used in his behalf; however, my inter-Thomas. The countess renewed her former cession is unnecessary. The son of the Lord invitation to him. Alice treated him with less President of Wales is sure of meeting with a reserve when he took leave of her. favorable reception."
“Do not forget Comus,” she added, play“That is not all I ask for. The inexperi- fully," and do not keep us waiting too long." enced youth, besides, needs some one to watch “Never fear, noble lady; I shall be here in over and guide him. If your friendship for time, and play my part as well as the best him and myself should induce you to take upon actor.” yourself the arduous task of guiding his first “I never doubted it," she replied, arcbly. steps on the slippery ground which he is about On account of his Jesuit companions Digby to enter, you would place me under the greatest rejected the offer of the two brothers, who proobligations."
posed to accompany him on horseback beyond “Your confidence does me so much honor the boundaries of Ludlow. After his departthat I will try to deserve it to the best of my ure the whole family concurred in extolling power. I shall mention the subject to the king their well-bred and accomplished guest, and and my august protectress immediately after all were delighted that he would return in the my return to London. It is my firm convic- 1 course of a few weeks. Alice alone was silent
and thoughtful. She alone felt an inexplicable , so he took care that his room should always aversion to him whom the others eulogized so present a most attractive aspect. The Latin enthusiastically. Innocence possesses as a and Greek classics, poets, and philosophers, shield a presentiment surpassing by far the stood or lay in old-fashioned cases and on sagacity and experience of the children of the quaintly-carved shelves; and among the repworld. Moreover, another and worthier love resentatives of antiquity were to be seen also protected her heart from the snares of the large folio editions of the fathers of the Church courtier. She loved the poet.
and the most renowned theologians. Thus there were here in contact the opposite elements from which that period derived its
learning and culture; classical antiquity and CHAPTER XIII.
Christian theology occupied the same shelves.
On the plain table lay an open Hebrew Bible, MILTON'S CHOSEN VOCATION.
always the favorite book of the poet, who Milton's father had relinquished business drew his principal inspiration from its sacred several years ago, and purchased a small pages. property at Horton, in Buckinghamshire. Milton had passed here many a sleepless Here he lived in moderately comfortable cir- night in arduous study and profound meditacumstances, which enabled him to educate his tion: for to him poetry was not the easy talented son with great care. He was dis- pastime of a versatile and vivid imagination, tinguished as a musical composer, and devoted the passing trance of momentary and fasthimself in his leisure hours, which were not vanishing enthusiasm, but the grave task of wanting to him, to this delightful and soothing his whole life, and the quintessence of the art. Milton's mother was a gentle, quiet lady, highest and noblest creations of human genius. distinguished for her piety and rare benevo- He intended to enter the temple of the godlence. An elder brother of the poet, and a dess only after passing through the Propylæa married sister, completed the family circle; of Science. He was fully alive to the great and, notwithstanding their conflicting views on difficulties of this arduous task. some subjects, all were warmly attached to Since his return to Ludlow Castle he had each other. The dwelling was one of those laid aside his scientific studies, and occupied old houses with a gable-roof, of modest ap- himself exclusively. with the mask which he pearance outside, but well furnished, com- had promised to write. The plan was quickly fortable, and cozy within. Despite the limited arranged, and the poet went at once to work size of the building, the poet had a study of upon it with his usual energy. He rapidly his own, opening upon the neighboring garden. wrote down several scenes and sketches of the The small window was fringed with vines and leading persons. One day his father, who rehoneysuckle; when he opened it, the sweet peatedly inquired after the occupations of his odor of flowers penetrated into the room. The son, surprised him while he was thus employed. walls of the study contained no other orna Milton concealed nothing from his indulgent ments than a large library neatly arranged parent, but informed him frankly of the object and always kept in good order; for the and scope of his poem, and told him all about slovenly habits of some literary men were ut- the adventure in Haywood Forest and his soterly distasteful to Milton. As he was scru- journ at Ludlow Castle. The enthusiastic depulously neat and even elegant in his dress, I scription he gave him of the family of the Earl
of Bridgewater, and especially of Alice's grace hindered or disapproved your predilection for and loveliness, made his tender father thought poetry. I always rejoiced in your talents, and ful and anxious.
received your first works with paternal pride. “You know full well,” he said, in a more Nevertheless, I am not desirous that you serious tone than usual, “that I have hitherto should devote yourself exclusively to the never interfered with your doings. Other pa- Muses, for in such a career you will never obrents would probably have insisted that a son tain a competence and prominent position in of your age should at length choose a definite life. Most of the poets with whom I have vocation and think of gaining a lucrative posi- been acquainted have had to struggle with care tion. I have thus far refrained from urging and want; their occupation gains them someyou to do so."
times honor and fame, but rarely bread enough “And I thank you for it,” replied the poet, to feed them. I am willing to admit of poetry warmly, seizing his father's hand and pressing as an ornament of life, but it is well calit with filial reverence to his lips. “I thank culated to furnish a man with sufficient means you for your forbearance, although I am sorry to live upon. Therefore I deem myself in duty to say that my gratitude as yet is contined bound to recommend another course to you. only to empty words. You have granted me You refused to take orders, because you said rare freedom since my earliest youth, and al- you preferred a blameless silence to what you ways abstained from setting bounds to the considered servitude and false teaching. I course of my mind; nor would you allow me approved your decision at that time, but you to enter the beaten track, strive for filthy cannot refuse for the same reason to aspire to lucre, and hunt after vain and glittering a position upon the bench. The judiciary is splendor. You did not compel me to take one of our most respected classes. I will orders contrary to my conviction, and teach neither urge you to make up your mind at things against which my conscience rebelled; once, nor compel you to follow my advice, but on the contrary, you permitted me to enrich give you sufficient time for reflection. You my mind, which was thirsting for knowledge, may tell me frankly what you think of my and occupy myself in delightful solitude with proposition.” my favorite studies. But few parents would “I must acknowledge your kindness once have done so; therefore, I thank my fate, more," said Milton, after a short pause. which gave me the best and most sagacious you,
revere Poetry so highly as to be of fathers.”
unwilling to degrade her to a servile position “For this reason, I suppose you will listen and ask from her the daily bread of life. She the more readily to my well-meant words ? " bas nothing to do with our worldly affairs,
“Speak, and I shall obey you willingly, for and where she is used as a means of making I know that you will give me only the most money she loses her divine dignity. The life judicious advice.”
of man is a twofold one. The body demands As Milton saw that his interview with his its rights as well as the mind, and the material father would be longer than usual, he hastened world forces itself soon enough upon our atto fetch him a comfortable easy-chair, and tention. Hence, I deem your exhortation himself remained standing before him in the decidedly well-timed and judicious.
But I most respectful attitude. After a short pause should not like to aspire to a position on the his father said to him :
bench at this juncture. No one can have a “You will certainly admit that I have not more exalted opinion of the judicial position
than I, but my respect for it lasts only so long | in regard to this matter has been a truly melas the bench preserves its independence from ancholy one that I am determined to struggle external influence. When the despotism of against these abuses to the best of my power. a tyrannical government falsifies justice, vi- At present our schools are nothing but prisons olates the laws, and reduces judges by force both for the body and mind, and our universior persuasion to mere tools, the whole order ties only rob us of seven or eight of the finest sinks even below the level of executioners; years of our lives. They present their young and such is unfortunately the case in England unmatriculated novices at first coming with at this time. Your own experience has shown the most intellective abstractions of logic and you that I speak the truth. Would you ad- metaphysics; so that they, having but newly vise me, then, to become a judge, that is to left those grammatical flats and shallows say, a slave ? "
where they stuck unreasonably to learn a few God forbid !” replied his father, with a words with lamentable construction, and now gesture of horror. “You are right-we are on the sudden transported under another living in evil times. Yet I should like to have climate, to be tossed and turmoiled with their you choose a definite vocation."
unballasted wits in fathomless and unquiet “I am going to do so, for I am obliged to deeps of controversy, do for the most part acknowledge the justice of your wish; but grow into hatred and contempt of learning, neither theology nor the law would afford me mocked and deluded all this while with ragthat satisfaction which a man must find in his ged notions and babblements, while they exprofession if he is to be useful to himself and pected worthy and delightful knowledge; till others. There is still a third calling which, at poverty or youthful years call them importuthis juncture, I must prefer to any other pro- nately their several ways, and hasten them fession. Let me become a teacher of youth. with the sway of friends either to an ambitious It is only in this calling that I can be useful to and mercenary or ignorantly zealous divinity; the world and my native country. I know some allured to the trade of law, grounding well that it is not very lucrative, but if its out their purposes not on the prudent and heavenward reward is small, its inward one is great. I ly contemplation of justice and equity, which I have long been engrossed in this plan, and was never taught them, but on the promising it has always seemed to me that the reforming and pleasing thoughts of litigious terms, fat of education is one of the greatest and noblest contentions, and flowing fees; others betake designs that can be thought of. You smile them to state affairs, with souls 80
my enthusiasm, and think perhaps of our principled in virtue and true generous breedpoor schoolmasters who painfully instill the ing, that flattery and court shifts and tyrannous rudiments of science into the untutored minds aphorisms appear to them the highest points of ignorant children, or of our professors who of wisdom ; instilling their barren hearts with from their dusty treatises always repeat the a conscientious slavery, if, as I rather think, it same wisdom to their own disgust and that of be not feigned. Others, lastly, of a more deothers."
licious and airy spirit, retire themselves (know“It is true, I should not have expected that ing no better) to the enjoyments of ease and you would choose such a career, inasmuch as jollity, living out their days in feast and luxI am aware of your aversion to our present ury; which indeed is the wisest and the safest system of education and instruction."
course of all these, unless they were with “It is precisely because my own experience more integrity undertaken. And these are