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great genius which early displayed itself, was at the expence of a domestic tutor; whofe care and capacity his pupil hath gratefully celebrated in At his i
An. atat. 12. an excellent Latin elegy*.
nitiation he is faid to have applied himfelf to letters with fuch indefatigable industry, that he rarely was prevailed with to quit his ftudies before midnight; which not only made him frequently fubject to severe pains in his head, but likewife occafioned that weakness in his eyes, which terminated in a total privation of fight. From a domeftic education he was removed to St. Paul's school, to complete his acquaintance with the claffics under the care of Dr. Gill; and after a fhort ftay there, was tranfplantAn. atat. 15. ed to Chrift's College in Cambridge, where he diftinguifhed himself in all kinds of academical exercises. Of this fociety he continued a member till he commenced mafter of arts; and then, leaving the univerfity, he reAn. ætat. 23. turned to his father, who had quitted the town, and lived at Hornton in Buckinghamshire, where he purfued his ftudies with unparalleled affiduity and fuccefs.
After fome months spent in this ftudious retirement his mother died, and then he prevailed with his father to gratify an inclination he had long entertained of feeing foreign countries. Sir Henry An. atat. 30. Wotton, at that time provoft of Eaton college, gave him a letter of advice for the direction of his travels; but not obferving an excellent maxim in itt, he incurred great danger, by difputing against the fuperftition of the church of Rome, within the verge of the vatican. Having employed his curiofity about two yearst in France and
See the fourth in his collection of poems.
+ I penfieri ftretti, ed il vifo fciolto.
Et jam bis viridi furgebat camus arifta,
Italy, on the news of a civil war breaking out in England, he returned without taking a furvey of Greece and Sicily, as at his fetting out the fcheme was projected. At Paris* the Lord Viscount Scudamore, ambaffador from King Charles I. at the court of France, introduced him to the acquaintance of Grotius, who at that time was honoured with the fame character there by Christina, queen of Sweden. In Rome, Genoa, Florence, and other cities of Italy, he contracted a familiarity with thofe who were of highest reputation for wit and learning, feveral of whom gave him very o bliging teftimonies of their friendfhip and efteem, which are printed before his Latin poems. The first of them was written by Manfo, marquis of Villa, a great patron of Taffo, by whom he is celebrated in his poem on the conqueft of Jerufalemt. It is highly probable that to his converfation with this noble Neopolitan we owe the first defign which MILTON conceived, of writ. ing an epic poem; and it appears by fome Latin verfes addreffed to the Marquis, with the title of Manfus, that he intended to fix on King Arthur for his hero; but Arthur was reserved for another destiny.
Returning from his travels he found
England on the point of being involved An. ætat. 32. in blood and confufion. It feems won.
derful, that one of fo warm and daring a spirit, as his certainly was, fhould be reftrained from the camp in thofe unnatural commotions. I suppose we may impute it wholly to the great deference he paid to paternal authority, that he retired to lodgings provided for him in the city; which being commodious for the reception of his fifter's fons, and fome other young gentlemen, he undertook their education, and is faid to have formed them on the fame plan which he afterwards published, in a fhort tractate, infcribed to his friend Mr. Hartlib.
In this philofophical course he continued without a
Defenfio fecunda. Page 96. fol.
↑ Fra Cavalier, magnanimi, e cortefi, Refplende il Manfo
din, Aluetea was now grown famous by his polemiCal Writings of Vargas kinds, and had Am atat, 41, in grest favour and e lege by thode whɔ Lal power to dupore di si prefer melts
in the ftate. It is in vain to diffemble, and far be it from me to defend his engaging with a party com. bined in the deftruction of our church and monarchy. Yet, leaving the justification of a misguided fincerity to be debated in the schools, may I prefume to obferve in his favour, that his zeal, diftempered and furious as it was, does not appear to have been infpirited by felf-interested views. For it is affirmed, that though he lived always in a frugal retirement, and before his death had difpofed of his library (which we may fuppofe to have been a valuable collection), he left not more than fifteen hundred pounds behind him for the fupport of his family; and whoever confiders the posts to which he was advanced, and the times in which he enjoyed them, will, I believe, confefs he might have accumulated a much more plentiful fortune. In a difpaffionate mind it will not require any extraordinary measure of candour to conclude, that though he abode in the heritage of oppreffors, and the spoils of his country lay at his feet, neither his confcience nor his honour could ftoop to gather them.
A commiffion to constitute him ad
jutant-general to Sir William Waller An. atat. 42. was promised, but foon fuperfeded by
Waller's being laid afide, when his mafters thought it proper to new model their army. However, the keenness of his pen had fo effectually recommended him to Cromwell's efteem, that when he took the reins of government into his own hand, he advanced him to be Latin secretary, both to himself and the parlia ment; the former of these preferments he enjoyed both under the ufurper and his fon, the other till King Charles II. was reftored. For fome time he had an apartment for his family at Whitehall; but his health requiring a freer acceffion of air, he was obliged to remove from thence to lodgings which opened into St. James's park. Not long after his fettlement there, his wife died in child-bed, and much about the time of her death, a gutta ferena, which had for feveral years been gradually increafing, totally extinguished his fight. In this melancholic condition he was easily
prevailed with to think of taking another wife, who was Catherine, the daughter of Captain Woodcock of Hackney; and she too, in less than a year after their marriage, died in the fame unfortunate manner as the former had done; and in his twenty-third fonnet he does honour to her memory.
Thefe private calamities were much heightened by the different figure he was likely to make An. etat. 52. in the new scene of affairs which was going to be acted in the ftate. For all things now confpiring to promote the king's restoration, he was too confcious of his own inactivity during the ufurpation to expect any favour from the crown; and therefore he prudently abfconded till the act of oblivion was published, by which he was only rendered incapable of bearing any office in the nation. Many had a very just esteem of his admirable parts and learning, who detefted his principles, by whofe interceffion his pardon paffed the feals; and I wifh the laws of civil history could have extended the benefit of that oblivion to the memory of his guilt, which was indulged to his perfon; ne tanti facinoris immanitas extitiffe, aut non vindicato fuiffe, videatur.
Having thus gained a full protection from the government (which was in truth more than he could have reasonably hoped) he appeared as much in public as he formerly used to do; and employing his friend Dr. Paget to make choice of a third confort, on his recommendation he married Elizabeth, the daughter of Mr. Minfhul, a Chefhire gentleman, by whom he had no iffue. Three daughters by his first wife were then living, the two elder of whom are faid to have been very ferviceable to him in his ftudies: for having been instructed to pronounce not only the modern, but alfo the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, they read in their respective originals whatever authors he wanted to confult, tho' they understood none but their mother tongue. This employment, however, was too unpleasant to be continued for any long process of time; and therefore he difmiffed them to receive an education more agreeable to their fex and temper.