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An. Etat. 12.
But John, the subject of the present Essay, was the favourite of his father's hopes, who, to cultivate the great genius which early displayed itself, was at the expense of a domestic tutor; whose care and capacity his pupil hath gratefully celebrated in an excellent Latin elegy. At his initiation he is faid to have applied himself to letters, with fuch indefatigable industry, that he rarely was prevailed with to quit his studies before midnight; which not only made him frequently fubject to fevere pains in his head, but likewife occafioned that weakness in his eyes which terminated in a total privation of fight. From a domestic 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 short stay there was An. Etat. 15. transplanted to Christ's College in Cambridge, where he distinguished himself in all kinds of academical exercises. Of this fociety he continued a member till he commenced Master of Arts; and then leaving the University, he returned to his father, who had quitted the Town, and lived at Horton in Buckinghamshire, where he pursued his studies with unparalleled affiduity and fuccefs.
An. Etat. 23.
After fome years spent in this ftudious retirement his mother died; and then he prevailed with his father to gratify an inclination he had long entertained An. Etat. 30. of feeing foreign countries. Sir Henry Wotton, at that time Provost of Eton College, gave
him a letter of advice vels; but by not observing an excellent maxim in it, he incurred great danger, by disputing against the superstition of the Church of Rome within the verge
for the direction of his tra
Eton College, 10th April, 1638. "It was a fpecial favour when you lately bestowed upon "me here the first taste of your acquaintance, though 66 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 thefe "parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H, I would "have been bold, in our vulgar phrafe, to mend my draught, "for you left me with an extreme thirft, and to have beg "ged your converfation again, jointly with your faid learn"ed 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 obli"gations, both for a very kind letter from you, dated the "6th of this month, and for a dainty piece of entertainment "that came therewith; wherein I fhould much commend "the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish with a "certain Doric delicacy in your Songs and Odes, wherein "I must plainly confefs to have feen yet nothing parallel "in our language, ipfa mollities. But I mult 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 fin "gular 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 itationers, and leave the reader con la bocca "dolce.
"Now, Sir,concerningyourtravels, wherein I maychallenge "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 easily find attending the young Lord S. 66 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 receis from Venice.
"I fhould think that your beft line will be through the "whole length of France to Marfeilles, and thence by fea
of the Vatican. Having employed his curiosity about two years in France and 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 scheme was projected. At Paris the
to Genoa, whence the paffage into Tufcany is as diurnal "as a Gravefend barge. I haften, as you do, to Florence 65 or Sienna, the rather to tell you a fhort story, from the "intereft you have given me in your fafety.
"At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one Alberto "Scipione, an old Roman courtier in dangerous times, "having been steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with "all his family were ftrangled, fave this only man, that "efcaped by forefight of the tempeft. With him I had "often much chat of thofe affairs; into which he took pleasure to look back from his native harbour; and at my departure toward Rome, which had been the center "of his experience, I had won confidence enough to beg "his advice how I might carry myself fecurely there, with "out offence of others, or of my own confcience. Signer "Arrigo meo, fays he, I penfieri stretti, et il viso sciolto,
that is, "Your thoughts clofe, and your countenance "loofe, will go fafely over the whole world." Of which "Delphian oracle (for fo I have found it) your judgment "doth need no commentary; and therefore, Sir, I will "commit you with it to the belt of all fecurities, God's "dear love, remaining your friend, as much at command "as any of longer date, "H. WOTTON.
P. S. "Sir, I have exprefsly fent this by my foot-boy, to prevent your departure without fome acknowledge. "ment from me of the receipt of your obliging letter, ha"ving myfelf, through fome bufinefs, I know not how, "neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where " fhall understand you fixed, I fhall be glad and diligent to entertain you with home novelties, even for fome "fomentation of our friendship, too foon interrupted in the "cradle."
Et jam bis viridi furgebat culmus arifta,
Lord Viscount Scudamore, ambassador from King Charles I. at the court of France, introduced him to the acquaintance of Grotius *, who, at that time, was honoured with the same character there by Christina Queen of Sweden. In Rome, Genoa, Florence, and other cities of Italy, he contracted a familiarity with those who were of highest reputation for wit and learning; several of whom gave him very obliging testimonies of their friendship and esteem, 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 conquest of Jerufalem +. It is highly probable that to his conversation with this noble Neapolitan we owe the first defign which Milton conceived of writing 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 to another destiny!
Returning from his travels, he found England on the point of being involved in blood and An. Ætat. 32. confufion. It seems wonderful that one of fo warm and daring a spirit as his certainly was, should be restrained from the camp in those unnatural commotions. I suppose we may impute it wholly to the great deference he paid to paternal authority, that he re* Defenfio Secunda, p. 96. Fol.
+"Fra Cavalier' magnanimi, e cortefi "Refplende il Manfo.'
tired 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 short tractate infcribed to his friend Mr. Hartlib.
In this philofophical courfe he continued without a An. Etat. 35. wife to the year 1643; when he married Mary the daughter of Richard Powell of Forest-hill in Oxfordshire; a gentleman of estate and reputation in that county, and of principles so very opposite to his fon-in-law, that the marriage is more to be wondered at than the feparation which enfued in little more than a month after she had cohabited with him in London. Her desertion provoked him both to write feveral treatises concerning the doctrine and discipline of divorce, and also to make his addresses to a young lady of great wit and beauty; but before he had engaged her affections to conclude the marriage-treaty. in a vifit at one of his relations he found his wife proftrate before him, imploring forgiveness and reconciliation. It is not to be doubted but an interview of this nature, fo little expected, must wonderfully affect him; and perhaps the impreffions it made on his imaginations contributed much to the painting of that pathetic scene in Paradife Loft*, in which Eve addreffeth herself to Adam for pardon and peace. At
*Book X. ver. 909.