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in his studies at home, he was sent to St. Paul's school, to be fitted for the university under the care of Mr. Gill, who was the master at that time, and to whose fon are addressed some of his familiar epiftles. In this early time of his life such was his love of learning, and so great was his ambition to surpass his equals, that from his twelfth year he commonly continued his studies till midnight, which (as he says himself in his second Defense) was the firft ruin of his eyes, to whose natural debility were added too frequent head-akes : but all could not extinguish or abate his laudable passion for letters. It is very feldom seen, that such application and such a genius meet in the same person. The force of either is great, but both together must perform wonders.
He was now in the 17th year of his age, and was a very good claffical scholar and master of several languages, when he was sent to the university of Cambridge, and admitted at Christ's College (as appears from the regifter) on the 12th of February 7624-5, under the tuition of Mr. William Chappel, afterwards Bishop of Cork and Ross in Ireland. He continued above feven years at the university, and took two degrees, that of Bachelor of Arts in 1628-9, and that of Master in 1632. It is fomewhat remarkable, that tho' the merits of both our universities are perhaps equally great, and tho' poetical exercises are rather more encouraged at Oxford, yet most of our greatest poets have been bred at Cambridge, as Spenser, Cowley, Waller, Dryden, Prior, not to mention any of the leffer ones, when there is a greater than all, Milton. He had given early proofs of his poetic genius before he went to the university,
the Lord Brackly and Mr. Thomas Egerton, and that of the lady by his Lordship's daughter the Lady Alice Egerton. The occasion of this poem seemeth to have been merely an accident of the two brothers, and the lady having lost one another in their way to the castle: and it is written very much in imitation of Shakespear's Tempest, and the Faithful Shepherdefs of Beaumont and Fletcher; and though one of the first, is yet one of the most beautiful of Milton's composítions. It was for some time handed about only in manuscript; but afterwards to satisfy the importunity of friends and to save the trouble of transcribing, it was printed at London, though without the author's name, in 1637, with a dedication to the Lord Brackly by Mr. H. Lawes, who compos'd the music, and played the part of the attendent Spirit. It was printed likewife at Oxford at the end of Mr. R's poems, as we learn from a letter of Sir Henry Wotton to our author; but who that Mr. R. was, whether Randolph the poet or who else, is uncertain. It has lately, tho' with additions and alterations, been exhibited on the stage several times; and we hope the fine poetry and morality have recommended it to the audience, and not barely the authority of Milton's name; and we wish for the honor of the nation, that the like good taste prevailed in every thing.
In 1637 he wrote another excellent piece, his Lycidas, wherein he laments the untimely fate of a friend, who was unfortunately drowned that same year in the month of August, on the Irish seas, in his passage from Chester. This friend was Mr. Edward King, son of Sir John King, Secretary of
Ireland under Queen Elizabeth, King James I, and King Charles I; and was a fellow of Christ's College, and was so well beloved and efteemed at Cambridge, that some of the greatest names in the university have united in celebrating his obsequies, and published a collection of poems, Greek and. Latin and English, facred to his memory. The Greek by H. More &c; the Latin by T. Farnaby, J. Peara son &c; the English by H. King, J. Beaumont, J. Cleaveland with several others; and judicioully the last of all, as the best of all, is Milton's Lycidas. « On such sacrifices the Gods themselves ftrow in« cense;" and one would almost wish fo to have died, for the sake of having been fo lamented. But this poem is not all made up of sorrow and tenderness; there is a mixture of satir and indignation; for in part of it the poet taketh occasion to inveigh against the corruptions of the clergy, and seemeth to have first discovered his acrimony against Archbishop Laud, and to have threaten'd him with the loss of his head, which afterwards happened to him thro? the fury of his enemies. At least I can think of no sense so proper to be given to the following verses in Lycidas,
Besides what the grim wolf with privy paw
About this time, as we learn from one of his familiar epistles, he had some thoughts of taking chambers at one of the Inns of Court, for he was
not very well pleafed with living fo obscurely in the Country: but his mother dying, he prevailed with his father to let him indulge a defire, which he had long entertained, of seeing foreign countries, and particularly Italy: and having communicated his defign to Sir Henry Wotton, who had formerly been embaffador at Venice, and was then Provost of Eton College, and having also sent him his Mask of which he had not yet publicly acknowledged himself the author, he received from him the following friendly letter dated from the College the roth of April 1638.
S I R
“ It was a special favor, when You lately bestowed « upon me here the first taste of Your acquaintance, " tho' no longer than to make me know, that I “ wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it “ rightly. And in truth, if I could then have ima“ gined'Your farther stay in these parts, which I “ understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would have “ been bold, in our vulgar phrase, to mend my “ draught, for You left me with an extreme thirst, “ and to have begged your conversation again jointly “ with Your faid learned friend, at a poor meal or “ two, that we might have banded together some “ good authors of the ancient time, among which I
observed You to have been familiar.
" Since Your going, You have charged me with “ new obligations, both for a very kind letter from “ You, dated the sixth of this month, and for a “ dainty piece of entertainment, that came there« with; wherein I should much commend the tra“ gical part, if the lyrical did not ravilh with a
certain Doric delicacy in Your songs and odes, “ wherein I must plainly confess to have seen yet " nothing parallel' in our language, Ipfa mollities. “ But I must not omit to tell You, that I now only “ Owe You thanks for intimating unto me, how ” modestly foever, the true artificer. For the work “ itself I had view'd some good while before with “ fingular delight, having received it from our com“ mon friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late “ R's poems printed at Oxford; whereunto it is " added, as I now suppose, that the accessory might “ help out the principal, according to the art of “ stationers, and leave the reader con la bocca dolce.
“ Now, Sir, concerning Your travels, wherein I “ may challenge a little more privilege of discourse “ with You; I suppose, You will not blanch Paris “ in Your way. Therefore I have been bold to « trouble You with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom “ You shall easily find attending the young Lord S. “ as his governor'; and You may surely receive from “ him good directions for shaping of Your farther « journey into Italy, where he did reside by my į choice some time for the king, after mine own re“ cefs from Venice.
“I should think, that Your best line will be ir thro' the whole length of France to Marseilles, " and thence by sea to Genoa, whence the paffage “ into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge. I i haften, as You do, to Florence or Sienna, the ra“ther to tell you a short story, from the interest " You have given me in Your safety. .
“At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one Alberto “ Scipione, an old Roman courtier in dangerous