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printer, resided in the same street, and from him he is likely to have obtained the works of Spenser, and Sylvester's translation of Du Bartas. The reputation of this now almost forgotten writer was then, as it continued for some years later, widely diffused. Bishop Hall styled him his worthy friend, and commended his muse, " drenched in the sacred spring of Sion;" Drayton speaks of his hallowed labours; Drummond of Hawthornden notices his "happy translations ;" and Wood informs us that Queen Elizabeth had a respect for him, James a greater, and Prince Henry a greater than all. His influence upon Milton was at least salutary. Poetical genius is of uncertain growth, but the verdure of its spring has commonly foretold the fertility of its maturer years. "I will endeavour that my youth may be studious, and flowered over with the blossoms of learning and observation," was the remark of Bishop Hall. Cowley, we are informed by Spratt, gave proofs of poetical power in early childhood; Pope, we know, lisped in numbers, and began an epic when only twelve years old; Schiller in his fourteenth year wrote a poem on Moses; Klopstock commenced his Messiah at seventeen; Tasso, before he was nineteen, produced Rinaldo, and sketched the three first cantos of Jerusalem Delivered; and, not to multiply instances which crowd upon the memory, Boccacio composed little stories in his ninth year, and the amusement of the infant Bentham was Rapin's History of England. But a genius so young as Milton's, naturally desired to lean upon some one. The epithets in the translations from the Psalms, regarded by Dr. Symmons as "the shootings of the infant oak which in later times was to overshadow the forest," were principally borrowed from Sylvester; the paraphrase of the 136th Psalm, written when he was
fifteen, is a very animated and surprising composition, and heightened by epithets of peculiar felicity and force.
Hayley thinks that the portrait of Milton in his tenth year by Cornelius Jansen was intended to stimulate him to greater exertion. It certainly shows the affectionate pride with which the beautiful and promising child was regarded by his parents, for Jansen was rising into eminence, and his price for a portrait was "five broad pieces."
In 1623 Young quitted England, and Milton is supposed to have been shortly after admitted into St. Paul's School, under Alexander Gill, to whose son three of his Familiar Letters are addressed. His passion for study continued to increase. We gather from Aubrey "that he sat up very late, commonly till twelve or one o'clock, and that his father ordered the maid to sit up for him." He did not, however, remain long at St. Paul's, for on the 12th of February, 1624-5, he was entered a Pensioner of Christ's College, Cambridge. That his academical career was attended with some annoyances we learn from a passage in his first Elegy, but that he underwent corporal punishment is highly improbable, although we possess no conclusive contradiction of the report. The anecdote originally came from Aubrey, on whose authority alone it depends, and Wood, who had access to the Aubrey Papers, and was actuated by no friendly feeling towards Milton, has not introduced it into his life of the poet. Yet it should not be forgotten that Aubrey derived his information from the poet's brother. Milton, with his glowing and enthusiastic feelings was likely to view with aversion the system of collegiate instruction as it then prevailed. The painful frivolities of an intricate sophistry could not fail to displease one who looked upon moral and religious virtue as the great objects of all learning. That his
contempt was openly avowed we cannot doubt, or that such an example of insubordination was severely rebuked by the Master, Dr. Bainbridge, a very rigid disciplinarian. I have ventured to offer in another place a probable solution of the disagreement in a very curious passage from the Apology for Smectymnuus:-"There," he says, alluding to the academic performances, "while they acted and overacted, among other scholars I was a spectator; they thought themselves gallant men, and I thought them fools; they made sport, and I laughed; they mispronounced, and I misliked; and, to make up the Atticism, they were out, and I hissed." The passage is paraphrased very closely from the oration of Demosthenes, De Corona. Mr. Mitford conjectures that he may have suffered a temporary rustication, but it is certain that he did not lose a term, which in that case he could hardly have avoided. His anger seems to have been confined to the Master, for he subsequently acknowledged with allgrateful mind that more than ordinary favour and respect" which he experienced above any of his equals, "at the hands of those courteous and learned men," the fellows of his college; to oblige whom he wrote in 1628 some verses upon the subject, "Naturam non pati senium," full of fancy and grace, and marked by an elevation of sentiment very uncommon at such an age.
Having taken his Master's degree, in 1632 he left the university, without animosity, yet with no sentiments of esteem; and many years after, in the ripeness of his judgment, he still remembered with execration the "intellectual abstractions of logic and metaphysics," and the "fathomless depths of controversy." With what different feelings did Cowley contemplate the same scenes! With him Cambridge was the favourite haunt of the Pierian
birds; he dwelt with affectionate interest upon its delightful ease and its "learned quiet;" while Milton saw only naked fields without a shadow, and heard only voices "cracked with metaphysical gargarisms."
He had already begun to entertain those objections to the established form of the church and her discipline which in later years broke forth with such melancholy violence. His parents designed him for the church, and his reasons for disappointing their expectations may be given in his own words :-"By the intentions of my parents and friends I was destined of a child to the service of the church, and in mine own resolutions. Till coming to some maturity of years, and perceiving what tyranny had invaded the church, that he who would take orders must subscribe slave, and take an oath withal, which, unless he took with a conscience that he would relish, he must either straight perjure, or split his faith; I thought better to prefer a blameless silence before the sacred office of speaking, bought and begun with servitude and forswearing." That he was sincere in his scruples no person can doubt who reads the sonnet written in his twentythird year, in which he expresses his resolution to walk conscious of the never-sleeping watchfulness of his "great Task-master's eye."
The beautiful elegy addressed to his father displays the ardour of his filial affection, and the extent and variety of his attainments; nor is it less interesting from the allusions it contains to his father's disapproval of his poetical studies :
Nec tu perge, precor, sacras contemnere Musas,
Nor thou persist, I pray thee, still to slight,
And useless powers, by whom inspired, thyself
and then, in a very charming transition, he exclaims,
Te tamen, ut simules teneras odisse Camoenas,
No, howsoe'er the semblance thou assume
Of hate, thou hatest not the gentle Muse,
He proceeds with affectionate gratitude and enthusiasm to enumerate the instances of his parent's love; that instead of urging his feet into the open and broad path (via lata) which led to wealth and preferment, or devoting him to the "insipid clamours of the bar," he had desired rather to cultivate and enrich his mind; conducting him from the busy tumult of life into the gardens of Attic philosophy, and by the pleasant banks of Aonian streams; and he particularly attributes to his advice the acquisition of the French, Italian, and Hebrew languages. By such a benevolent heart he was welcomed to Horton in Buckinghamshire, where his father was enjoying the fruit of his honourable exertions.
In this pleasant retirement, occasionally enlivened by a visit to London, to see his friends and make himself acquainted with anything new in mathematics or music, Milton passed five years. During this period he is reported to have read through all the Greek and Latin writers; an account which Johnson is inclined to receive with limitations. That he read them with any view to verbal or minute criticism, we are not to imagine; but as his principal object was doubtless to imbue his mind with