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John Milton

      John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608. His father, in early life, had suffered for conscience sake, having been disinherited upon his abjuring the Catholic faith. He pursued the laborious profession of a scrivener, and having realized an ample fortune, retired into the country to enjoy it. Educated at Oxford, he gave his son the best education that the age afforded. At first young Milton had the benefit of a private tutor; from him he was removed to St. Paul's school; next he proceeded to Christ's College, Cambridge; and finally, after several years preparation by extensive reading, he pursued a course of continental travel. It is to be observed that his tutor, Thomas Young, was a Puritan, and there is reason to believe that Puritan politics prevailed among the fellows of his college.

      This must not be forgotten in speculating on Milton's public life, and his inexorable hostility to the established government in church and state; for it will thus appear probable that he was at no time withdrawn from the influence of Puritan connections.

      In 1632, having taken the degree of M.A., Milton finally quitted the University, leaving behind him a very brilliant reputation, and a general good-will in his own college. His father had now retired from London, and lived upon his own estate at Horton, in Buckinghamshire. In this rural solitude Milton passed the next five years, resorting to London only at rare intervals, for the purchase of books or music. His time was chie...

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