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in it, he incurred great danger by disputing against the superstition of the Church of Rome, within the verge 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 survey of Greece and Sicily, as, at his setting out, the scheme was projected. At Paris the 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 * Et jam bis viridi surgebat culmus arista, Et totidem flavas numerabant horrea meffes, -Nec dum aderat Thyrsis : paftorem scilicet illum Dulcis amor Mufae Thufcâ retinebat in urbe.
Epitaph, Dam. + Defenfio Secunda. Pag. 96. Fol.
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 Manso marquis of Villa, a great patron of Tasso, by whom he is celebrated in his * Poem on the Conquest of Jerusalem. It is highly probable that to his conversation with this noble Neapolitan we owe the first design which MILTON conceived, of writing an epic Poem': and it appears by some Latin verses addressed to the marquis with the title of Mansus, 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 An. Ætat. 32. involved in blood and confufon. It seems wonderful that one of so
warm, * Fra Cavalier magnanimi, e cortesi, Refplende il Manso.
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 de. ference he paid to paternal authority, that he retired to lodgings provided for him in the city : which being commodious for the reception of his sister's sons, and some other young gentlemen, he undertook their education; and is said to have formed them on the fame plan which he afterwards published, in a short tractate inscribed to his friend Mr. HARTLIB.
In this philosophical course he continued without a wife to the year 1643; when he married Mary the daugh
An. Ætat. 35. ter of Richard Powell of Fo. rest-hill in Oxfordshire; a Gentleman of estate and reputation in that county; and of principles so very opposite to his son-inlaw, that the marriage is more to be won
at, than the separation which ensued; in little more than a month after she had cohabited with him in London. Her de: sertion provoked him both to write several 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 visit at one of his relations he found his wife prostrate before him, inploring forgiveness, and reconciliation. It is not to be doubted but an interview of that nature, so little expected, must wonderfully affect him : and perhaps the impresfions it made on his imagination contributed much to the painting of that pathetic scene in * PARADISE LOST, in which Eve addresseth herself to Adam for pardon, and peace. At the intercession of his
* Book X. ver. 909.
friends who were present, after a short reluctance, he generously sacrificed all his resentment to her tears.
Soon his heart relented Tow'rds her, his life so late, and sole delight, Now, at his feet submissive in distress!
And after this re-union, so far was he from retaining an unkind memory of the provocations which he had received from her ill conduct, that when the king's cause was entirely oppressed, and her father, who had been active in his loyalty, was exposed to sequestration ; MILTON re. ceived both him and his family to protection, and free entertainment, in his own house, 'till their affairs were accommodated by his interest in the victorious fation.