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cadence, and scan without articulating, rather nice and humorous in what was tolerable, than patient to read every drawling versifier.' 1


'O what a multitude of thoughts at once Awaken'd in me swarm, while I consider What from within I feel myself.

When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be public good; myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth,
All righteous things: therefore above my years
The law of God I read, and found it sweet,


Made it my whole delight.' 3

'Hail native language, that by sinews weak Did'st move my first endeavouring tongue to speak; And mad'st imperfect words with childish trips,

Half unpronounc'd, slide through my infant lips;


Apology for Smectymnuus, vol. iii. p. 140.

The five preceding lines were placed by the engraver under Cornelius Jansen's portrait of Milton, æt. 10, seriousness being the characteristic of his childhood and indeed of his whole life.

Paradise Regained, book i. 196–208.

Driving dumb silence from the portal door,
Where he had mutely sat two years before.

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I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out;
And weary of their place do only stay

Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array ;
Yet I had rather, if I were to choose,
Thy service in some graver subject use;

Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound:
Such where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles; and at heav'n's door
Look in, and see each blissful deity

How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings

To th' touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire :

Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,
And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow and lofts of piled thunder,
May tell at length how green-ey'd Neptune raves,
In heav'n's defiance mustering all his waves ;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When beldame Nature in her cradle was;
And last, of kings and queens and heroes old;
Such as the wise Demodocus once told

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In solemn songs at king Alcinöus' feast,
While sad Ulysses' soul, and all the rest
Are held with his melodious harmony

In willing chains and sweet captivity.' 1

'His growth now to youth's full flower, displaying All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve

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'Why was my breeding order'd and prescrib'd As of a person separate to God,

Design'd for great exploits; if I must die
Betray'd, captiv'd, and both my eyes put out,
Made of my enemies the scorn and gaze.' 3

'High are thy thoughts,

O son, but nourish them, and let them soar
To what height sacred virtue and true worth
Can raise them, though above example high.'4

1 Vacation Exercise, anno ætatis 19.
2 Paradise Regained, book i. 67–69.
3 Samson Agonistes, 30-34.
Paradise Regained, book i. 229-232.



A.D. 1625—I638. A. ÆT, I730.

AFTER I had acquired a proficiency in various languages, and had made a considerable progress in philosophy, my father sent me to the University of Cambridge. Here I passed seven years in the usual course of instruction and study, with the approbation of the good, and without any stain upon my character, till I took the degree of Master of Arts. After this I did not, as this miscreant (Salmasius) feigns, run away into Italy, but of my own accord retired to my father's house, whither I was accompanied by the regrets of most of the fellows of the College, who showed me no common marks of friendship and esteem. On my father's estate, where he had determined to pass the remainder of



his days, I enjoyed an interval of uninterrupted leisure, which I entirely devoted to the perusal of the Greek and Latin classics, though I occasionally visited the metropolis, either for the sake of purchasing books, or of learning something new in mathematics or in music, in which I, at that time, found a source of pleasure and amusement. this manner I spent five years till my mother's death.'


'Though you pretend to hate the tender Muses, I think that you do not really hate them; for neither, my father, did you order me to go where the broad beaten path lies open, where as a merchant I might hope to amass wealth; nor do you hurry me to the laws and ill-kept ordinances, where as a lawyer my ears would have been filled with senseless clamours, but desiring rather to enrich my mind, you suffered me to go far from the noise of the city, and buried in deep retreats, the joyful companion of Apollo. Go, now, gather wealth ye who will-what greater wealth could my father have

1 The Second Defence, vol. i. p. 254. Sara Milton, the poet's mother, died April 3, 1637, and is buried in the chancel of Horton Church. In the Register may be found, ‘Sara, uxor Johñis Milton, generosi, Aprilis 6to: obiit 3°.'

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