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early prejudices against the doctrin and difciplin of the Church, and fubfcribing to the articles was in his opinion fubfcribing flave. This no doubt was a difappointment to his friends, who though in comfortable were yet by no means in great circumftances; and neither doth he seem to have had any inclination to any other profeffion; he had too free a spirit to be limited and confined; and was for comprehending all fciences, but profefling none. And therefore after he had left the univerfity in 1632, he retired to his father's house in the country; for his father had by this time quitted bufinefs, and lived at an estate which he had purchased at Horton near Colebrooke in Buckinghamshire. Here he refided with his parents for the fpace of five years, and, as he himself has informed us, (in his fecond Defense, and the 7th of his familiar epiftles) read over all the Greek and Latin authors, particularly the hiftorians; but now and then made an excurfion to London, fometimes to buy books or to meet his friends from Cambridge, and at other times to learn fomething new in the mathematics or mufic, with which he was extreamly delighted.

His retirement therefore was a learned retirement, and it was not long before the world reaped the fruits of it. It was in the year 1634 that his mafk was prefented at Ludlow Caftle. There was formerly a prefident of Wales, and a fort of a court kept at Ludlow, which has fince been abolished: and the prefident at that time was the Earl of Bridgwater, before whom Milton's Mak was prefented on Michaelmas night, and the principal parts, thofe of the two brothers were performed by his Lordship's fons


the Lord Brackley and Mr. Thomas Egerton, and that of the lady by his Lordship's daughter the Lady Alice Egerton. The occafion of this poem feemeth to have been merely an accident of the two brothers and the lady having loft one another in their way to the caftle and it is written very much in imitation of Shakespear's Tempeft, and the Faithful Shepherdefs of Beaumont and Fletcher; and though one of the first, is yet one of the most beautiful of Milton's compofitions. It was for fome time handed about only in manufcript; but afterwards to fatisfy the importunity of friends and to fave the trouble of tranfcribing, it was printed at London, though without the author's name, in 1637, with a dedication to the Lord Brackley by Mr. H. Lawes, who compos'd the mufic, 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 elfe, is uncertain. It has lately, tho' with additions and alterations, been exhibited on the ftage feveral 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 tafte 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 fame year in the month of Auguft on the Irish feas, in his paffage from Chefter. This friend was Mr. Edward King, fon 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 fo well beloved and efteemed at Cambridge, that fome of the greatest names in the university have united in celebrating his obfequies, 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. Pearfon &c; the English by H. King, J. Beaumont, J. Cleaveland with feveral others; and judiciously the laft of all as the best of all, is Milton's Lycidas. "On fuch facrifices the Gods themfelves ftrow in

cenfe;" and one would almoft with fo to have died, for the fake of having been fo lamented. But this poem is not all made up of forrow and tendernefs; there is a mixture of fatire and indignation; for in part of it the poet taketh occafion to inveigh against the corruptions of the clergy, and feemeth to have first discovered his acrimony against Archbishop Laud, and to have threatened him with the lofs of his head, which afterwards happen'd to him thro' the fury of his enemies. At least I can think of no fenfe fo proper to be given to the following verfes in Lycidas.

Befides what the grim wolf with privy paw
Daily devours apace, and nothing faid;
But that two-handed engin at the door
Stands ready to fmite once, and fmite no more.

About this time, as we learn from one of his familiar epiftles, he had fome thoughts of taking chambers at one of the Inns of Court, for he was


not very well pleased with living fo obfcurely in the country but his mother dying, he prevailed with his father to let him indulge a defire, which he had long entertained, of feeing 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 alfo fent him his Mafk of which he had not yet publicly acknowledged himself the author, he received from him the following friendly letter dated from the College the 10th of April 1638.



"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 imagined Your farther ftay in these parts, which I "understood afterwards by Mr. H., I would have "been bold, in our vulgar phrafe, to mend my

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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 fome good authors of the ancient time, among which


"I obferved 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 fixth of this month, and for a dainty piece of entertainment, that came there"with; wherein I fhould much commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish with a


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certain Doric delicacy in Your fongs and odes, "wherein I muft plainly confefs to have feen 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 "modeftly foever, the true artificer. For the work " itself I had viewed fome good while before with fingular delight, having received it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very clofe of the late "R's poems printed at Oxford; whereunto it is added, as I now fuppofe, that the acceffory might help out the principal, according to the art of fta"tioners, and leave the reader con la bocca dolce. "Now, Sir, concerning Your travels, wherein I may challenge a little more privilege of difcourfe "with you; I fuppofe, 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 fhall eafily find attending the young Lord S.



as his governor; and You may furely receive from "him good directions for fhaping of Your farther journey into Italy, where he did refide by my "choice fome time for the king, after mine own re"cefs from Venice.

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"I fhould think, that Your beft line will be thro' "the whole length of France to Marseilles, and "thence by fea to Genoa, whence the paffage into "Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravefend barge. I "haften, as You do, to Florence or Sienna, the ra"ther to tell You a fhort ftory, from the intereft "You have given me in Your fafety.

"At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one Al"berto Scipione, an old Roman courtier in dangerVOL. I.


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