صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

terage," etc. A petition for such a charter, drawn up in the names of William Todd, the Master, and Francis Kemp and Robert Griffiths the Wardens of the Company, was presented to the King; and the charter was granted. By this charter (1616) the Scriveners or Writers of the Court-Letter of the City of London, being, as the preamble declares, an ancient and highly honorable society and fraternity, and then more numerous than ever and engaged in affairs of great moment and trust, are constituted into a regular corporation, and power is vested in William Todd, Master, Francis Kemp, and Robert Griffiths, Wardens, and twenty-four liverymen named, to perform all acts necessary and to transmit the same right to their successors. In pursuance of the powers thus granted, the Scriveners prepared a revised set of regulations for the government of their craft, which (January 1618-19) received the sanction of Lord Chancellor Bacon and the Chief Justices.

It is worthy of notice that, though the poet's father was one of the most prosperous men in his profession, his name does not occur in the list of twenty-seven scriveners who are named in the Charter of 1616 as the first office-bearers of the Company in its new shape. It is possible that he stood aloof from the movement for incorporation. That he must have complied, however, with the new regulations, is evident from the fact that he continued in the practice of his craft. He was in active business as late as May 1623, on the 26th day of which month "Thomas Bower and John Hutton, servants to John Milton, Scrivener," set their names as witnesses to an indenture, connected with the conveyance of a messuage and some lands near Boston in Lincolnshire, from an Edward Copinger, of Nottinghamshire, gentleman, to two persons named Randolph, both "gentlemen," and both of London. The original is in the State Paper Office- a very neat, carefully penned, and carefully drawn parchment, highly creditable to the "shop" whence it issued. The scrivener had then been at least twenty-two years in business.





ALTHOUGH nothing has been yet said respecting that part of Milton's early education which consisted in his gradual training in the knowledge of books, the reader will have taken it for granted that this was not neglected that the child was duly taught his letters; that as he grew up, he was farther and more formally instructed; and that he was provided with books to his desire, and with other means of turning his accomplishments to account.

[ocr errors]

To all this let it now be added, that Milton was from the very first the pride of his parents, and the object of their most sedulous care. There is evidence that, in quite a different sense from the ordinary one of compliment, he was a child of "unusual promise," and that his father's fondness for him was more than the common feeling of rather late paternity. "Anno Domini 1619," says Aubrey, "he was ten years old, as by his picture; and he was then a poet." That is to say, according to the information given by Christopher Milton, his brother John was, even in his eleventh year, a prodigy in the household, and a writer of verses. What more natural than that such a boy should have every advantage of education, in order that he might one day be an ornament of the Church? "The Church to whose service, by the intentions of my parents and friends, I was destined of a child," is one of his own sayings in later life; and there can be little doubt that the intention existed as early as the time under notice.

The circumstance mentioned by Aubrey, that the scrivener had his son's portrait when he was but ten years old, is worth noting. The facts are these: About the year 1618 Cornelius Jansen, a young Dutch painter, came over from his native city of Amsterdam, with the hope of finding employment in England. He took up his residence in Blackfriars, London; and, being really an able artist, — very clear and natural in his coloring," say the connoisseurs," and


1 The Reason of Church Government, Book II. Works, III. 150.


equal to Vandyck in all except freedom of hand and grace," soon had as much work as he could do, in painting portraits at five broad pieces a head. He painted usually on small panel with black draperies. Among his works that survive are several portraits of James I. and his children, and not a few of noblemen and ladies of the Courts of James and Charles I. But one of his first works in England, if the connoisseurs are right in pronouncing it his, was a portrait of the scrivener's son of Bread-street, painted in 1618. The portrait still exists, conveying a far more life-like image of little Johnny Milton, as he used to look in his neat lace frill and with his black braided dress fitting close around his little chest and arms, than any of the ideal portraits of the poetic child. The face is, indeed, that of as nice a boy as one would wish to see. The head, from the hair being cut close all round it (and here the reader must supplement what hardly appears in the engraving and imagine the hair a light auburn, and the complexion a delicate pink or clear white and red), has a look of fine solidity, very different from those fantastic representations, all aërial and wind-blown, offered as the heads of embryo-poets. In fact, the portrait is that of a very grave and intelligent little Puritan boy with auburn hair. The prevailing expression in the face is a lovable seriousness; and, in looking at it, one can well fancy that those lines from "Paradise Regained," which the first engraver ventured to inscribe under the portrait, were really written by the poet with some reference to his own recollections of himself as a child: :

"When I was yet a child, no childish play
To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
What might be public good: myself I thought
Born to that end, born to promote all truth
And righteous things."

Writing in 1641, while his father was still alive, Milton describes his early scholastic education in these words: "I had, from my first

1 It is now in the possession of Edgar Disney, Esq., at the Hyde, Ingatestone, Essex, to whom it has descended from Mr. Thomas Hollis (see former note, p. 3). Mr. Hollis purchased it on the 3rd of June, 1760, for thirty-one guineas, at the sale of the effects of Charles Stanhope, Esq., then deceased. He had seen the picture at Mr. Stanhope's about two months before, when that gentleman told him that he had bought it of the

executors of Milton's widow for twenty guineas." (Memoirs of Thomas Hollis, Esq., London, 1780.) This authenticates the picture as having been one of those which belonged to the widow, and are mentioned in the inventory of her effects, at Nantwich, in 1727. It is consequently the one referred to by Aubrey. Lord Harrington, Mr. Stanhope's relative, wishing to have the lot retained after the sale, was told by Hollis that "his Lord

years, by the ceaseless diligence and care of my father (whom God recompense), been exercised to the tongues and some sciences, as my age would suffer, by sundry masters and teachers both at home and the schools." And again, in another publication after his father was dead:- "My father destined me, while yet a little child, for the study of humane letters... Both at the grammar-school and under other masters at home he caused me to be instructed daily." These sentences describe summarily the whole of Milton's literary education prior to his seventeenth year, when he went to the University; and it is not so easy to distribute the process into its separate parts.

[ocr errors]

Immediately after the statement, "Anno Domini 1619, he was ten years old, as by his picture; and was then a poet," Aubrey adds, "His schoolmaster then was a Puritan in Essex who cut his hair short." 3 This would seem to imply that the schoolmaster lived in Essex, and that the boy was sent to him there. Except from Aubrey, however, we hear nothing of such a schoolmaster in Essex. The only teacher of Milton of whom we have a distinct account from himself as one of his masters before he went to a regular grammar-school, or who taught him privately while he was attending such a school, was a different person. This was Thomas Young, afterwards a Puritan minister, not in Essex but in Suffolk, and well known in his later life as a prominent divine of the Puritan party. Respecting the earlier life of this not uninteresting man I have been able to recover a few particulars.

ship's whole estate should not re-purchase it;"
and once, when Mr. Hollis's lodgings in Cov-
ent Garden were on fire, he "walked calmly
out of the house with this picture by Jansen
in his hand, neglecting to secure any other
portable article of value." (Todd's Life of
Milton, edit. 1809, p. 142.) Mr. Hollis had
the portrait engraved by Cypriani in 1760;
and a copy of this engraving is given among
the illustrations in Dr. Hollis's Memoirs, 1780.
There is another engraving by Gardiner, pub-
lished by Boydell in 1794. Neither does jus-
tice to the original, which is a very interest-
ing picture-about 27 inches by 20 in size,
with the frame; the portrait set in a dark
and with the words, "John Milton,
ætatis suæ 10, Anno 1618," inscribed on the
paint in contemporary characters, but no
painter's name.

1 The Reason of Church Government, Book II. Works, III. 144.

2 Defensio Secunda: Works, VI. 286, 287.

3 These words, I think, have been usually understood to mean that the Puritan school

master of Essex wore his own hair shortthat is, was a Puritan of the most rigid sect. Todd even remarks on it as strange that Milton, though educated by such a master, should have all his life kept his clustering locks, and so avoided one outward sign of Puritanism. But as we have just seen, Milton did not always wear his hair long. In Jansen's portrait he is a boy with light hair cut very short. May not Aubrey's words then have been meant by him to tell not that the schoolmaster wore his own hair short, but that he it was who cut his pupil's hair short, as seen in the picture? In fact, from the close conjunction of the two sentences-the one referring to the portrait, and the other to the Puritan schoolmasterit is likely that the one suggested the other, and that Aubrey, with Jansen's portrait in his mind's eye (and he took much interest in Milton's portraits), brought in the reference to the Puritan schoolmaster at that point precisely to explain how it was that, in that portrait, the poet was made into such a sweet little Roundhead.


He was a Scotchman by birth. In one of his subsequent publications, at a time when it was not convenient for a Puritan minister of Suffolk to announce his name in full, he signed himself " Theophilus Philo-Kuriaces, Loncardiensis," which may be translated "Theophilus Kirklover, native of Loncardy." The disguise was effectual enough, for it might have puzzled his readers to find where Loncardy was. There is, however, a place of that name in Britain -Loncardy, more frequently written Loncarty, or Luncarty, in Perthshire. The place is celebrated in Scottish history, as the scene of a great battle early in the eleventh century between the Scots and the Danes. According to the legend, the Danes were conquering and the Scots were flying, when a husbandman named Hay and his two sons, who were ploughing in a field near, rallied their countrymen by drawing their ploughs and other implements across the narrow passage where the fugitives were thickest, at the same time cheering and thrashing them back to renew the fight. The Scots, thus rallied, gained the battle; Scotland was freed from the Danes; and the peasant Hay and his sons were ennobled by king Kenneth, had lands given them, and became the progenitors of the noble family of Errol and the other Scotch Hays. In the place made famous by their exploits there was settled, I find, in the year 1612, as parson of the parish of Loncardy, but doing duty also in the adjoining parishes of Pitcairne and Redgorton, a Mr. William Young, whom I take to have been the father or brother of our Thomas Young. At all events Thomas Young was born at Loncardy, in 1587 or 1588. He was sent thence to the University of St. Andrew's, where his name is found among the matriculations at St. Leonard's College in 1602.5 After completing his education in

1 The work was a treatise on the Sabbath, entitled, Dies Dominica, published in 1639, place not named. See Warton's notes to Milton's 4th Latin elegy (Todd, VII. 202).

2 Buchanan's Scottish History, Book VI. chap. 32.

* Selections from the minutes of the Synod of Fife from 1611 to 1687, published by the Abbotsford Club, 1837, pp. 43-52; where an account is given of proceedings of the Synod in April, 1612, relative to the "hinderance to the gospel brought be the pluralitie of kirks servet by ane persone," and Young is mentioned, with many others, as in the condition of a man overworked by having two parishes besides his own, in his care.

4 This date is ascertained from his epitaph, which states that he died in 1655, aged 68.

5 As Young became afterwards master of Jesus College, Cambridge, it occurred to me

to look for his name in an alphabetical list of Cambridge incorporations from 1500 to 1744, preserved among the Cole MSS. in the British Museum (Add. MS. 5884). Here I found "Younge Tho." among those incorporated in 1644, and opposite his name the words "St. Andr." to designate St. Andrew's as the University whence he had been incorporated. Through the kindness of Mr. Romilly, Registrar of Cambridge University, I have since seen the record of the grace, dated April 12, 1644, for Young's incorporation into the same degree at Cambridge - that of M. A.- as he had attained "apud St. Andrianos." An application to Professor Day of St. Andrew's led to a search of the University Records there by the Rev. James M'Bean, the University Librarian, to whom I owe the date of Young's matriculation and a fac-simile of his signature.

« السابقةمتابعة »