Imagens das páginas


he says, ' ætatis duodecimo vix unquam ante mediam noctem à lucubrationibus cubitum discederem;' and Aubrey adds, that when Milton went to school, he studied very hard, and fate up very late, commonly till twelve or one o'clock, and his father ordered the maid to sitt up for him.' In a letter to his preceptor, dated not long after his time, he says— Hæc fcripsi Londini, inter urbana diverticula, non libris, ut foleo circumseptus.'

Thus early and deep were laid the foundation of his future fame. His studies were in a great measure poetical. Humphrey Lownes, the printer, who lived in the same street, supplied him with Spenser and Sylvester's translation of Du Bartas: his admiration of the former is known to all; the attention which he paid to the more obscure, and now almost forgotten poet, was pointed out more fully than before, by my late ingenious friend Mr. Charles Dunster, in a little work which he called Milton's Early Reading, or the Prima Stamina of Paradise Loft.12

Aubrey says, Milton was a poet when only ten years old. Those who are interested in watching the early dawning of genius as it opens on the youthful mind; and in comparing the different periods in which great talents have displayed both the promise, and the direction of their future power; will not be displeased at my recalling to their memory the passage in that elegant biography of Cowley, which Sprat addressed to their mutual friend Martin Clifford, and in which he mentions the age


12 That Milton read and borrowed from Sylvester in his early poems, no one who reads Mr. Dunster's book can reasonably doubt. Sylvester had the jewels, and Milton set them beautifully. See what Mr. Campbell says on Milton's obligations to Sylvester, in his Specimens of the British Poets, vol. i. p. 182, &c. Du Bartas's fame is now in full blossom in Germany, and has received the praise of Goethe himself. He is considered at Dresden and at Weimar as one of the greatest poets that ever appeared, and so once he was esteemed in England -“Who is there,

[merged small][ocr errors]

Vr. Trivsra, at n IN D:71117115, real Einge snce cun ei visus prue; se ve arata ir Lins, ad vien is Pies were smiliei no rur agige, se Firme Bunt aced secre I."

> Birch was gren sie jares si se rerince of Can's eriet Frems:

1533. Pans.
1526 Latin Creta ne Deci rze Luri Chance.ct.
151-. Tie at Lacn Eegres.
1513. Paciachical Veres.
1537 On Chrit' Nacirr.

1530. On Scakepeare. Tre zriet nNTED Priorg er 21, 15;:, W. Hunter, re dhe cines sa Shakespeare. See Me 3:27 13:0. On dieezes fee Hui': C302, 1. 168: “Aza, in is vousgerirs, dans tension, feng sarh numbers, a4 210 errifice. See is Prea on grace scare; but de rigoureus genus or pertaps s cuere er Lite, enabled in s break sega seciremgi vicis nie."

* Aarhcam Wsce and Teiazd zert at he was sent to Carerige in ais fitreeach year, but errcneca. See B.-2: Liga

1624." He was there early distinguished for the elegance of his versification, and his unusual skill in the Latin tongue. A well known passage in his first Elegy certainly betrays some displeasure which he felt, or alludes to some indignities which he suffered from the severity of Collegiate discipline : this was probably occasioned by the freedom of his censures on the established system of education, 16 and his reluctance to conform to it. In his Reason of Church Government, he says, 'their honest and ingenuous nature coming to the Universities to store themselves with good and solid learning, are there unfortunately fed with nothing else but the scragged and thorny lectures of monkish and miserable sophistry; were sent home again with such a scholastical bur in their throats, as hath stopped and hindered all true and generous philosophy from entering; cracked their voices for ever with metaphysical gargarisms, hath made them admire a sort of formal outside men, prelatically addicted, whose unchastened and over wrought minds were never yet initiated, nor subdued under the true love of moral or religious virtue, which two are the best, and greatest points of learning: but either Nightly trained up in a kind of hypocritical and hackney coure of literature to get their livrg hr, and dazzle the ignorart, or eite fondit over taced in uteles controversies, except scie wlica shey uie, wich ail the ipacious and delusive füttery diey are abie, to detend their preiascal Spara'-lic in kis tocicgy for Smectares, he tavs,- That fuburb wherein I wel shall be in my accouns a r.cre dcrcuricie piace, sans University; which is in te cre of her becar kearch, and mine na yungo juinent, I never 22 13mirei, fo acw much as; - ind in his shir: 'eter to his friend and sutar Lexander Ghi, be expresies se tice ofirion, concerning the fuper-cial and imartering leaning of the Univery and of the marrer z wizica che clergy erzige with 717, and ensutrediens in the ftudy of thecicgy, parching togetier a termen wich pilfered icraps, wisdout any acquiance with crication or phiiciophy; agir, ir kis trirajvertors or se Ramonitrar.t's Deter.ce, ke lays, -« Wraz hocd I tail you how the univerficies that men lock thocbe be founders of learning and krowledge, have been pozored and acked under

15 He was admitted Pensionarius minor, under Mr. William Chappell, afterwards provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and Dean of Cassels, and ac last bishop of Cork, to whom among others, the celebrated treatise of the Whole Duty of Man has been imputed. See Birch's Life, p. 111. Henry More calls Chappell a learned, vigilant, skilful, pious, and prudent Tutor. v. Biog. Britannica, note. Lightfoot. Milton took his first degree in Jan. 1628-9, and that of Master of Arts, in 1632. See Symmons's Pref. to Life, p. 5–7. He was transferred from Mr. Chappell, (though contrary to the rules of the college), to Mr. Tovell. (Tovey) v. Aubrey Lett. iii. p. 445, he was admitted A. M. at Oxford, in 1635, v. Wood's Fasti, i. p. 262.

16 The author of • A modest confutation against a slanderous and scurrilous libel' first charged him with being vomited out of the university, after an inordinate and riotous youth spent there, and the author of

your governance Eror's natural genius, cuisined by se care of those excellent scholars, who had coccucted as education, and erricked by his own indertagable study, baš doubelets manie

great advances in thote branches of krowiedze a

Regit S.stas Ciumar, receased the calamat. * Luas hominem Cantabrigiendi academia codigosa , dedecus, et çariam gite et in liian commigratie' *T:e former sid, en fris in iis 430og se, was reported to be written by the son of Bibop Hair

* See his tractare ca E iz:an, where be reiks against the preposterus ezactica ci compctisg Tremes and Oracces, and se il habit they got of wretched barbaring against the Greek aed Latin woms and des karog rey ler gammatica 15 as Bacws, to be paziented wáte mot inzet abtractices et ogie and petPrici, so se totie: zi tracted in the jeeps of contro

once congenial to his mind, and conducive to its improvement; and he might feel unwilling to be diverted from them, into the barren and unprofitable pursuits, which the old system of collegiate education too often required ;18

versy, to be deluded with ragged notions and brabblements, to be dragged to an asinine feast of low-thistles and brambles.'— With these opinions, when called upon by the college for Latin themes on logical and metaphysical subjects (see his Prolusiones) cannot we easily conceive the rebellion or discontent, the out-breaks and flashes of his fiery mind?

18 The following passage in Milton's Prolusiones has been overlooked, which throws some light on the subject of his discussion with the college, and his renewed union. (v. p. 115.) He disliked some parts of their studies, probably their logical and metaphysical Theses (specimens of which may be seen in Cleaveland's Works, p. 132), and expressed his opinion too freely, or perhaps did not perform the talks that were required. I feel convinced that the whole ground of offence, so much disputed, is to be found in this point.

• Tum nec mediocriter me pellexit, et invitavit ad has partes subeundas vestra, (vos qui ejufdem estis mecum Collegii) in me nuperrime comperta facilitas, cum enim ante præteritos menses, aliquam multos oratorio apud vos munere perfuncturus essem, putaremque lucubrationes meas qualescunque etiam ingratas propemodum futuras, et mitiores habituras judices Æacum et Minoa, quam e vobis fere quemlibet, sane præter opinionem meam, præter meam fi quid, erat speculæ, non vulgari ficuti ego accepi, imo ipse sensi omnium plausu exceptæ sunt immo eorum qui in me alias propter studiorum dissidia elent prorsus infenso, et inimico animo ; generofum utique fimultatis exercendæ genus, et regio pectore non indignum, fiquidem cum ipsa amicitia plerumque multa inculpate facta detorquere soleat, tunc profeftio acris et infefta inimicitia errata forhtan multa, et baud pauca sine dubio indiferte difta, leniter et clementius quam meum erat meritum interpretari non gravabatur. Jam femel unico hoc exemplo vel ipfa demens ira mentis compos fuiffe videbatur, et hoc facto furoris infamiam abluisse. At vero summopere oblector, et mirum in modum voluptate perfundor, cum videam tantâ doctissimorum hominum frequentiâ circumfusum me, et undique ftipatum,' &c. Consult also on this subject Glanville's Ne plus ultra, p. 119, and on Aristotle, p. 78, and Epiftola obscurorum virorum, p. 108, ed. 1757, and on the scholastic studies then in vogue, and the subtleties of the Dialectic Art, Knox's Life by Macrie, p. 7. Even so late as the time of Swift, it is said in his Life, that he passed his time in reading books of history

« AnteriorContinuar »