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And his method of education was as much above the pedantry and jargon of the common fchools, as his genius was fuperior to that of a common schoolmafter. One of his nephews has given us an account of the many authors both Latin and Greek, which (befides thofe ufually read in the fchools) thro' his excellent judgment and way of teaching were run over within no greater compass of time, than from ten to fifteen or fixteen years of age. Of the Latin the four authors concerning husbandry, Cato, Varro, Columella, and Palladius, Cornelius Celfus the physician, a great part of Pliny's Natural History, the Architecture of Vitruvius, the Stratagems of Frontinus, and the philofophical poets Lucretius and Manilius. Of the Greek Hefiod, Aratus's Phænomena and Diofemeia, Dionyfius Afer de fitu orbis, Oppian's Cynegetics and Halieutics, Quintus Calaber's poem of the Trojan war continued from Homer, Apollonius Rhodius's Argonautics, and in profe Plutarch's Placita philofophorum, and of the education of children, Xenophon's Cyropædia and Ana¬ bafis, Elian's Tactics, and the Stratagems of Polyænus. Nor did this application to the Greek and Latin tongues hinder the attaining to the chief oriental languages, the Hebrew, Chaldee and Syriac, fo far as to go thro' the Pentateuch or five books of Mofes in Hebrew, to make a good entrance into the Targum or Chaldee paraphrase, and to understand several chapters of St. Matthew in the Syriac Teftament; besides the modern languages, Italian and French, and a competent knowledge of the ma¬ thematics and aftronomy. The Sunday's exercise for his pupils was for the most part to read a chapter of
of the Greek Teftament, and to hear his learned expofition of it. The next work after this was to write from his dictation fome part of a system of divinity, which he had collected from the ableft divines, who had written upon that fubject. Such were his academic inftitutions; and thus by teaching others he in fome measure inlarged his own knowledge; and having the reading of fo many authors as it were by proxy, he might poffibly have preferved his fight, if he had not moreover been perpetually bufied in reading or writing fomething himfelf. It was certainly a very reclufe and ftudious life, that both he and his pupils led; but the young men of that age were of a different turn from those of the prefent; and he himself gave an example to thofe under him of hard ftudy and fpare diet; only now and then, once in three weeks or a month, he made a gawdy day with fome young gentlemen of his acquaintance, the chief of whom, fays Mr. Philips, were Mr. Alphry and Mr. Miller, both of Gray's-Inn, and two of the greatest beaus of those times.
But he was not fo fond of this academical life, as to be an indifferent fpectator of what was acted upon the public ftage of the world. The nation was now in a great ferment in 1641, and the clamor run high against the bishops, when he joined loudly in the cry, to help the puritan minifters, (as he fays himself in his fecond Defenfe) they being inferior to the bishops in learning and eloquence; and publifhed his two books, Of Reformation in England, written to a friend. About the fame time certain ministers having published a treatise against episcopacy,
in answer to the Humble Remonftrance of Dr. Joseph Hall Bishop of Norwich, under the title of Smectymnuus, a word confifting of the initial letters of their names, Stephen Marfhal, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurftow; and Archbishop Ufher having published at Oxford a refutation of Smectymnuus, in a tra& concerning the Original of Bifhops and Metropolitans; Milton wrote his little piece Of Prelatical Epifcopacy, in oppofition chiefly to Ufher, for he was for contending with the moft powerful adverfary; there would be either lefs difgrace in the defeat, or more glory in the victory. He handled the fubject more at large in his next performance, which was the Reafon of Church Government urged against Prelaty, in two books. And Bishop Hall having published a Defense of the Humble Remonftrance, he wrote Animadverfions upon it. All these treatises he published within the course of one year, 1641, which show how very diligent he was in the cause that he had undertaken. And the next year he fet forth his Apology for Smectymnuus, in anfwer to the Confutation of his Animadverfions, written as he thought himself by Bishop Hall or his fon. And here very luckily ended a controversy, which detained him from greater and better writings which he was meditating, more useful to the public, as well as more fuitable to his own genius and inclination but he thought all this while that he was vindicating ecclefiaftical liberty.
In the year 1643, and the 35th of his age, he married; and indeed his family was now growing fo numerous, that it wanted a mistress at the head of
it. His father, who had lived with his younger fon at Reading, was, upon the taking of that place by the forces under the Earl of Effex, neceffitated to come and live in London with this his elder fon, with whom he continued in tranquillity and devotion to his dying day. Some addition too was to be made to the number of his pupils. But before his father or his new pupils were come, he took a journey in the Whitfuntide vacation, and after a month's abfence returned with a wife, Mary the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, of Forefthill near Shotover in Oxfordshire, a juftice of the peace, and a gentleman of good repute and figure in that country. But she had not cohabited with her husband above a month, before he was earnestly folicited by her relations to come and spend the remaining part of the fummer with them in the country. If it was not at her instigation that her friends made this request, yet at least it was agreeable to her inclination; and the obtained her husband's confent upon a promise of returning at Michaelmas. And in the mean while his ftudies went on very vigorously; and his chief diverfion, after the bufinefs of the day, was now and then in an evening to vifit the Lady Margaret Lee, daughter of the Earl of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer of England, and Prefident of the Privy Council to King James I. This Lady, being a woman of excellent wit and understanding, had a particular honor for our author, and took great delight in his converfation; as likewife did her husband Captain Hobfon, a very accomplished gentleman. And what a regard Milton again had for her, he has left upon
record in a fonnet to her praife, extant among his
-Michaelmas was now come, but he heard nothing of his wife's return. He wrote to her, but received no anfwer. He wrote again letter after letter, but received no answer to any of them. He then difpatched a meffenger with a letter, defiring her to return; but the pofitively refufed, and difmiffed the meffenger with contempt. Whether it was, that fhe had conceived any diflike to her husband's per~ fon or humor; or whether the could not conform to his retired and philofophical manner of life, having been accustomed to a houfe of much gaiety and company; or whether being of a family strongly attached to the royal caufe, fhe could not bear her husband's republican principles; or whether the was overperfuaded by her relations, who poffibly might repent of having matched the eldest daughter of the family to a man fo distinguished for taking the contrary party, the King's head-quarters being in their neighbourhood at Oxford, and his Majesty having now fome fairer profpect of fuccefs; whether any or all of these were the reasons of this extraordinary behaviour; however it was, it fo highly incenfed her husband, that he thought it would be dif honorable ever to receive her again after fuch a repulfe, and he determined to repudiate her as the had in effect repudiated him, and to confider her no Longer as his wife. And to fortify this his refolu tion, and at the fame time to juftify it to the world, he wrote the Doctrin and Difciplin of Divorce, wherein he endevors to prove, that indifpofition, unfitness, or contrariety of mind, proceeding from any unchangeable