« VorigeDoorgaan »
ing for liberty at home. He resolved therefore to return by the way of Rome, tho' he was advised to the contrary by the merchants, who had received intelligence from their correspondents, that the English Jefuits there were forming plots against him, in case he should return thither, by reason of the great free. dom which he had used in all his discourses of religion. For he had by no means observed the rule, recommended to him by Sir Henry Wotton, of keeping his thoughts close and his countenance open : He had visited Galileo, a prisoner to the Inquisition, for afferting the motion of the earth, and thinking otherwise in astronomy than the Dominicans and Franciscans thought: And tha’ the Marquis of Villa had shown him such distinguishing marks of favor at Naples, yet he told him at his departure that he would have shown him much greater, if he had been more reserved in matters of religion. But he had a foul above diffimulation and disguise ; he was neither afraid, nor ashamed to vindicate the truth, and if any man had, he had in him the spirit of an old martyr. He was so prudent indeed, that he would not of his own accord begin any discourse of religion; but at the same time he was so honest, that if he was questioned at all about his faith, he would not diffemble his sentiments, whatever was the con
ce. And with this resolution he went to Rome the second time, and stayed there two months more, neither concealing his name, nor declining openly to defend the truth, if any thought proper to attack him; and yet, God's good providence protecting him, he came fafe to his kind friends at Florence, where he was received with as much
joy and affection, as if he had returned into his own country. .. · Here likewise he stayed two months, as he had done before, excepting only an excursion of a few days to Lucca : and then crossing the Apennine, and passing thro' Bologna and Ferrara, he came to Venice, in which city he spent a month; and having shipped off the books, which he had collected in his travels, and particularly a chest or two of choice music books of the best masters florishing about that time in Italy, he took his course thro’ Verona, Milan, and along the lake Leman to Geneva. In this city he tarried fome time, meeting here with people of his own principles, and contracted an intimate friendship with Giovanni Deodati, the most learned professor of divinity, whose annotations upon the Bible are published in English. And from thence returning thro' France, the same way that he had gone before, he arrived safe in England, after al peregrination of one year and about three months, having seen more, and learned more, and conversed with more famous men, and made more real improvements, than most others in double the time. -
His first business after his return was to pay his duty to his father, and to visit his other friends, but this pleasure was much diminished by the loss of his dear friend and schoolfellow Charles Deodati in his absence. While he was abroad, he heard it reported that he was dead; and upon his coming home he found it but too true, and lamented his death in an excellent Latin eclogue intitled Epitaphium Damonis. This Deodati had a father originally of Lucca, but his mother was English, and he was born and bred
in England, and studied phyfic, and was an ada nirable scholar, and no less remarkable for his fobriety and other virtues than for his great learning ind ingenuity. One or two of Milton's familiar epistles are addressed to him ; and Mr. Tolánd says, that he had in his hands two Greek letters of Deo dati to Milton, very handsomely written. It may be right for scholars now and then to exercise themselves in Greek and Latin; but we have much more frequent occafion to write letters in our own native language, and in that therefore we should principally endevor to excel.
isi is Milton, foon after his return, had taken a lodging at one Ruffel's, a taylor, in St. Bride's Church yard; but he continued not long there, having not sufficient room for his library, and furniture ; and therefore determined to take a house, and accordingly took a handsome garden-house in Aldersgate-street, situated at the end of an entry, which was the more agreeable to a studious man for its privacy and freedom from noise and disturbance. And in this house he continued several years, and his sister's two sons were put to board with him, first the younger and afterwards the elder: and some other of his intimate friends requested of him the fame favor for their fons, especially since there was little more trouble in instructing half a dozen than two or three: and he, who could not easily deny any thing to his friends, and who knew that the greatest men in all ages had delighted in teaching others the principles of knowledge and virtue, undertook the office, not out of any fordid and mercenary views, but merely from a benevolent disposition, and a desire to do good.
And his method of education was as much abové the pedantry and jargon of the common schools, as his genius was fuperior to that of a common schoolmaster. One of his nephews has given us an account of the many authors both Latin and Greek, which (besides those usually read in the schools) thro his excellent judgment and way of teaching were run over within no greater compafs of time, than from ten to fifteen or sixteen years of age. Of the Latin the four authors concerning husbandry, Cato; Varro, Columella, and Palladius, Cornelius Celfus the physician, a great part of Pliny's Natural History, the Architecture of Vitruvius, the Stratagems of Frontinus, and the philosophical poets Lucretius and Manilius. Of the Greek Hefiod, Aratus's Phänomena and Diofemeia, Dionyfius Afer de fitu orbis, Oppian's Cynegetics and Halieutics, Quintus Calais ber's poem of the Trojan war continued from Homer, Apollonius Rhodius's Argonautics, and in prose Plutarch's Placita philosophorum, and of the education of children, Xenophon's Cyropædia and Anabasis, Ælian's Tactics, and the Stratagems of Polyænus. Nor did this application to the Greek and Latin tongues hinder the attaining to the chief oriental languages, the Hebrew, Chaldee and Syriac, fo far as to go thro' the Pentateuch or five books of Moses in Hebrew, to make a good entrance into the Targum or Chaldee paraphrase, and to underftand several chapters of St. Matthew in the Syriaci Testament; besides the modern languages, Italian and French, and a competent knowledge of the mathematics and aftronomy. The Sunday's exercise for his pupils was for the most part to read a chapter
of the Greek Teftament, and to hear his learned exposition of it. The next work after this was to write from his dictation some part of a system of divinity, which he had collected from the ableft dir vines, who had written upon that subject. Such were his academic institutions; and thus by teaching others be in some measure inlarged his own knowledge; and having the reading of so many authors as it were by proxy, he might possibly have preferved his fight, if he had not morcover been perpetually busied in reading or writing something him felf. It was certainly a very recluse and ftudious life, that both he and his pupils led; but the young men of that age were of a different turn from those of the present; and he himself gave an example to those under him of hard study and spare diet; only now and then, once in three weeks or a month, he made a gawdy day with some young gentlemen of his acquaintance, the chief of whom, lays Mr. Phi lips, were Mr. Alphry and Mr. Miller, both of Gray's-Inn, and two of the greatest beaus of thọfe times.
But he was not fo fond of this academical life, as to be an indifferent spectator of what was acted upon the public stage of the world. The nation was now in a great ferment in 1641, and the clamor run high against the bishops, when he joined loudly in the cry, to help the puritan ministers, (as he says himself in his second Defense) they being inferior to the bishops in learning and eloquence; and published his two books, Of Reformation in England, written to a friend. About the same time certain ministers having publilhed a treatise against episcopacy,