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of fight. From a domestic education He was remov'd to St. Paul's School, to complete his acquaintance with the Classics un, der the care of Dr. Gill: and after a short stay there, was transplanted to: Christ's College in Cambridge, An. Ætat. 157 where He distinguish’d himself in all kinds of Academical Exercises. Of this Society He continued a Member. 'till He commenc'd Master of Arts : and then leaving the University, He return'd to his father; who had quitted the town, and liv'd at Horton in An. Ætat. 23i Buckinghamshire; where He pursu'd his studies with unparallel'd assiduity and success.
After some years spent in this studious retirement, his mother dy'd : and then he prevail'd with his father to gratify an inclination He had long entertain'd of seeing foreign countries. Sir Henry Wotton , at that time Provost of Eaton College, gave him a letter of ad- An. Ætat. 30. vice for the dire&tion of his travels : but by not observing * an excellent Maxim in it, He incurr'd great danger by difputing againft the fuperftition of the Church of Rome, within the verge of the
* 1 pensieri strecei, ed il viso Sciolag.
Vatican. Having employ'd his curiosity about (a) two years in France and Italy , on the news of a civil war breaking out in England, He return'd; without taking a survey of Greece and Sicily, as at his setting out the scheme was projected. (6) At Paris the Lord Viscount Scudamore, Ambassador from King Charles I. at the Court of Frantce, introduc'd him to the acquaintance of Grotius ; who at that time was honor'd with the same character there by Chriftiana 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: feveral of whom gave him very obliging testimonies of their friendship, and esteem, which are printed before his Latin Poems, The firft of them was written by Manso Marquis of Villa, a great patron of Taso, by whom he is celebrated in his (€) Poem
(a) Et jam bis viridi furgebat culmus arista,
Et toridem flavas numerabant horrea meses, die
Epitaphe Dam, (b) Defenfio Secunda. Pag. 96. Fol. (c) Fra Cavalier' magnanimi, e cortesi,
Resplende il Manso . . . . Lib. 20a
on the Conqueft of Jerusalem. It is highly probable that to his conversation with this noble Neapolitan we owe the first design which Milton conceiv'd of writing an Epic Poem : and it appears by fome Latin verses address'd to the Marquis with the title of Manfus, that He intended to fix on King Arthur for his heroe : but Arthur was referv'd to another destiny !
Returning from his travels Ar. Ærat. 321 He found England on the point of being involv'd in blood and confus fion. It seems wonderful that one of fo warm, and daring a fpirit, as his certainly was, shou'd be reftrain'd from the camp in those unnatural commotions. I fuppose 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 res ception of his sister's sons, and fome other young Gentlemen, He undertook their edua cation : and is said to have form'd them on the same plan which He afterwards publish'd, in a short tractate infcrib'd to his friend Mr. Hartlib.
In this philosophical course He continued without a wife to the year 1643 ; when He marry'd Mary the Daugh-> ter of Richard Powell of Fo- An. Etat. 35.
rest-hill in Oxfordshire : a Gentleman of estas
after a short relu&ance He generously sacrific'd all his resentment to her tears.
Soon his heart relented Tow'rds her, his life so late, and sole delight:
Now, at his feet submisive in distress. ! And after this 're-unión, fo far was. He from retaining an unkind memory of the provocations which He had receiv'd from her ill conduct, that when the King's cause was entirely oppress’d, and her father, who had been active in his loyalty, was exposid co fequeftration; MILÍ Ni Feceiy d 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 faction. c For He was now grown famous by his polemical An. Etat. 41. writtings of various kinds , and held in great favor , and esteem, by, those who had power to dispose of all preferments in the State. Tis in vain to dif femble , and far be it from me to defend ; his engaging with a Party combin'd in the deftru&ion of our Church and Monarchy, Vet, leaving the justification of a misguided fincerity to be debated in the Schools may I presume to observe in his favor, that his zeal, distemper'd and furious as it was , does not appear to have been inspirited by felf-interefted yiews : For it is affirm'd