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But at whatever period Young retired to the continent or resigned his charge in Mr. Milton's house, it is certain that before his removal to the University the youthful Milton passed some interval of stụdy at St. Paul's school, under the direction at that time of Mr. Alexander Gill. Three of our author's familiar letters are addressed to Alexander Gill, his master's son and assistant in the school, with whom he seems to have contracted a warm and lasting friendship. Their correspondence principally respects the communication of some pieces of composition, and strongly attests the mutual respect of the parties, founded, as we cannot reasonably doubt, on their mutual conviction of great literary attainments.
A powerful intellect, exerted with unwearied industry and undiverted attention, must necessarily possess itself of its object; and we know thąt our author, when he left this school in his seventeenth year for the University, was already an accomplished scholar. Ardent in his love of knowledge, he was regardless, as we have observed, of pleasure and even of health when they came into competition with the prevailing passion of his soul, and we are consequently not much surprised by the extraordinary and brilliant result which soon flashed upon the world.
p Alexander Gill was Usher to bis father, and afterwards promoted to the place of upper master. He was so rigid a disciplinarian that he was removed for extreme severity from his office. He wrote both in verse and prose with considerable taste; and Mr. Warton mentions a Latin epitaph from his pen, which bears testimony to the uncommon purity of his Latin composition. Having exposed himself, by means of which we are now ignorant, to the resentment of B. Jonson, he was made by that coarse writer the subject of a virulent and brutal satire.
It was at this early period of his life, as we may confidently conjecture, that he imbibed that spirit of devotion which actuated his bosom to his latest moment upon earth : and we need not extend our search beyond the limits of his own house for the fountain from which the living influence was derived. Great must have been that sense of religious duty, and considerable that degree of theological knowledge which could induce the father to abjure those errors in which he had been educated, sanctioned as they were by paternal authority and powerfully enforced by the persuasion of temporal interest. The important concessions which he was compelled to make to religious principle would necessarily attach it the more closely to his heart; and he would naturally be solicitous to stamp upon the tender bosom of his son that conviction and feeling of duty which were impressed so deeply on his own. He intended indeed to consecrate his son to the ministry of the church, and for this reason also he would be the more anxious decidedly to incline him with the bias of devotion. The sentiments and the warmth, thus communicated to the mind of the young Milton, would, no doubt, be strengthened by the lessons and the example of his preceptor, Young; in whom religion seems to have been exalted to enthusiasm, and who submitted, as we know, to some very trying privations on the imperious requisition of his conscience. But from whatever source the fervid spirit proceeded, it seems in its action on our author's mind to have increased the power as well as to have given the direction; to have invigorated the strong, enlarged the capacious, and elevated the lofty. unquestionably indebted to it not merely for the subject but for a great part also of the sublimity of the Paradise Lost.
On the 12th of February 1624-5, he was entered a pensioner at Christ's college," Cam
9 The entry of Milton's admission, in Christ's College, is in the following words: “ Johannes Milton; Londinensis, filius Johannis, institutus fuit in literarum elementis sub M° Gill, Gymnasii Paulini præfecto. Admissus est Pensionarius minor, Feb. 12, 1624, sub Mo Chappell, solvitque pro ingressu 10s."
bridge; and was committed to the tuition of Mr. William Chappell, the reputed author of the “ Whole Duty of Man;" and afterwards, in succession, provost of Trinity college, Dublin, dean of Cashel, and bishop of Cork and Ross.'
The conduct of the young Milton had hitherto been exempted from censure. Distinguished indeed, as it was, by zeal for
For this and for other information on my subject I am indebted to my friend, the Reverend G. Borlase, B.D. the liberal and most respectable registrer of the University of Cambridge.
This celebrated devotional work has been attributed to various hands: but of the numerous claimants to the honour of its production, it seems with the greatest probability to be assigned to Dorothy, daughter of Thomas, Lord Coventry, and wife of Sir John Pakington, Bart. in the reigns of James the first and of the two Charles's,
s As a respectable writer, (with the signature of S. C. in the Gentleman's Magazine * for July, 1806,) expresses surprise at my having omitted to mention the name of a subsequent tutor of Milton's, a Mr. Tovey, who is noticed by Aubrey, I will now transcribe from Aubrey's MS. the passage in which this second tutoř is mentioned, and, with a few remarks on it, will show the little credit to which it is entitled, and consequently the propriety withi which it was formerly disregarded by A. Wood and lately, by myself. Aubrey professes to have gained his information from that old dotard, Sir Christopher Milton, the brother of the poet. “ His” (our author's) first tutor there," (at Cambridge)" was Mr. Chappell, from whom receiving some unkindness, (whipt him, he was afterwards, though it seemed against the rules of the college, transferred to the tuition of one Mr. Tovell," (not Tovey); who died parson of Lutterworth." Now the records of Milton's college notice the name of a Mr. Nathaniel Tovey as one of its fellows: but give no intimation of his having succeeded to the rectory of Lutterworth, or of Milton's having been transferred to
* Vol. LXXVI. 595.
his tuition from that of Mr. Chappell's. With respect to the whipping, which is assigned as the cause of Milton's change of tutors, the alleged tact may be rejected on the most satisfactory evidence. Not to observe that this punishment is asserted by some of Milton's enemies to have been inflicted on him by the hand of Dr. Bainbridge himself, the master of the college, who is said to have been a stern disciplinarian; this species of correction was always inflicted by the deans of the college and neither by the tutors nor the master, nd, what is more immediately and directly to our purpose, was restricted by the University statutes altogether to boys, as they are distinguished from young men; or, in other words, to those who had not attained the
of berty. The words of the penal statute in question are, “ Mulctelur, &c. si adultus : alioquin virgâ corrigatur;" and whether Milton, who was in his seventeenth year when he entered at the University, could be regarded on any construction of this statute as liable to the punishment of the rod, shall be submitted to my readers to determine. I must believe that they who drew up the University statutes, and they who were to enforce them were too accurate in their learning not to employ their language with precision when they wrote, or not to understand it with correctness when they read: adultus, according to Stephens, whose explanation of the word is supported by the most unquestionable authorities, is, qui adolevit, i.e. crevit ad ætatem quæ adolescentia dicitur; and adolescentia is afterwards defined to be prima ætas hominis post pueritiam.-Adolescens in jure dicitur, Qui inter annum decimum quartum et vicesimum quintum ætatem agit. Adultus, therefore, is a young man between the ages of fourteen and five and twenty. In Milton's time, and before it, it was usual to send boys under the age of puberty to the University; and that these boys should be still subjected to the common mode of discipline in the subordinate schools cannot be a cause of wonder of reasoriable censure. Dr. Johnson's concern and shame therefore, on the occasion of Milton's supposed punishment, might on every account very properly have been spared.