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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
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL PASSAGES FROM MILTON'S POETRY REFERABLE TO THIS PERIOD OF HIS LIFE.
'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
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,
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
Till thou hast deck'd them in thy best array ;
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
To th' touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Then passing through the spheres of watchful fire,
In solemn songs at king Alcinöus' feast,
In willing chains and sweet captivity.' 1
'His growth now to youth's full flower, displaying All virtue, grace, and wisdom to achieve
'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
'High are thy thoughts,
O son, but nourish them, and let them soar
1 Vacation Exercise, anno ætatis 19.
CAMBRIDGE CAREER, SEVEN YEARS-RESIDENCE AT HORTON, FIVE YEARS.
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
LETTER TO HIS FATHER.
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°.'