Page images

quitting Cambridge on the 31st of March, when the Lent Term ended, and returning by the 19th of April, when the Easter Term began? The languago and tone of various parts of the epistle seem to render this explanation insufficient. In short, taking all that seems positive in the statements of the elegy, along with all that seems authentic in the passage from Aubrey, the facts assume this form: Towards the close of the Lent Term of 1625—6, Milton and his tutor, Chappell, had a disagreement; the disagreement was of such a kind that Bainbrigge, as Master of the College, had to interfere; the consequence was that Milton withdrew or was sent from College in circumstances equivalent to "rustication;" his absence extended probably over the whole of the Easter vacation and part of the Easter Term; but at length an arrangement was made which permitted him to return in time to save that term, and to exchange the tutorship of Chappell for that of Tovey.

The system of study at Cambridge in Milton's time was very different from what it is at present. The avatar of Mathematics had not beguu. Newton was not born till ten years after Milton had left Cambridge; nor was there then, nor for thirty years afterwards, any public chair of Mathematics in the University. Milton's connection with Cambridge, therefore, belongs to the closing age of an older system of education, the aim of which was to turn out scholars, according to the meaning of that term once general over Europe. This system had been founded very much on the mediæval notion of what constituted the totum scibile. According to this notion there were "Seven Liberal Arts," apart from and subordinate to Philosophy proper and Theology—to wit, Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, forming together what was called the Trivium; and Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music, forming together what was called the Quadrivium. Assuming some rudiments of these arts as having been acquired in school, the Universities undertook the rest; paying most attention, however, to the studies of the Trivium, and to Philosophy as their sequel.

By the Elizabethan Statutes of 1561, the following was the seven years' course of study prescribed at Cambridge prior to the degree of Master of Arts:

"1. The Quadriennium of the Undergraduateship: First year, Rhetoric; second and third, Logic; fourth, Philosophy ;—these studies to be carried on both in College and by attendance on the University lectures (domi forisque); and the proficiency of the student to be tested by two disputations in the public schools and two respondents in his own College.

2. The Triennium of Bachelorship: Attendance during the whole time on the public lectures in Philosophy as before, and also on those in Astronomy, Perspective, and Greek; together with a continuance of the private or College stud. ies, so as to complete what had been begun;-moreover, a regular attendance at all the disputations of the Masters of Arts for the purpose of general improve. ment; three personal responsions in the public schools to a Master of Arts opposing, two College exercises of the same kind, and one College declamation."

In Trinity College, the arrangements for the collegiate education of the pupils seem to have been very complete. Under one head lecturer, or general superintendent, there were eight special lecturers or teachers, each of whom taught and examined an hour or an hour and a half daily—the lector Humanitatis, sive linguæ Latino, who also gave weekly lectures on Rhetoric; the lector Græcæ grammaticce; the lector linguæ Græcce; the lector mathematicus ; and four sublectores, under whom the students advanced gradually from elementary Logic to the higher parts of Logic, and to Metaphysics.

In St. John's College, the next in magnitude after Trinity, the instruction-il we may judge from the accounts given by Sir Simonds D'Ewes of his studies there in 1618 and 1619—does not seem to have been so systematic. For this reason it may be taken as the standard of what was usual in other colleges, such as Christ's.

D'Ewes, being a pious youth, was in the habit, of his own accord, and while yet but a freshman, of attending at the Divinity professor's lectures, and also at the Divinity Acts in the schools. He also attended the public lectures of old Downes, in Greek, (Demosthenes' De Coronâ being the subject,) and of Herbert, the poet, in Rhetoric. This was voluntary work, however, undertaken all the more readily thât the lectures were gratis, and when Downes, who was a fellow St. John's, offered to form a private Greek class for the benefit of D'Ewes and a few others, D'Ewes was alarmed, and sheered off. “My small stipend my father allowed me,” he says, “affording me no sufficient remuneration to bestow on him, I excused myself from it, telling him," etc., and keeping out of his way afterward as much as possible. All the education which D'Ewes received in his College, during the two years he was there, consisted—first, in attendance on the problems, sophisms, disputations, declamations, catechisings, and other exercises which were regularly held in the College chapel; secondly, in the daily lessons he received in Logic, Latin, and every thing else, from his tutor, Mr. Holdsworth; and, thirdly, in his additional readings in his own room, suggested by his tutor or undertaken by himself. Here, in his own words, under each of these beads, is an exact inventory of his two years' work:

I. Public Exercises in the Chapel, etc. "Mine own exercises, performed during my stay here, were very few-replying only twice in two philosophical Acts; the one upon Mr. Richard Salstonall in the public schools, it being his Bachelor's Act, the other upon Mr. Nevill, a fellow-commoner and prime student of St. John's College, in the Chapel. My declamations, also, were very rarely performed—the first in my tutor's chamber, and the other in the College chapel."

II. Readings with his Tutor. “Mr. Richard Holdsworth, my tutor, read with me but one year and a half of that time, [i. e. of the whole two years;] in which he went over all Seton's Logic,* exactly, and part of Keckermanntand Molinæus. I of Ethics or Moral Philosophy he read to me Gelius and part of Pickolomineus;8 of Physics, part of Magirus ;l and of History, part of Florus."

III. Private Readings and Exercises. “Which [i. e. Florus] I afterward finished, transcribing historical abbreviations out of it in mine own privato

** Dialectica Joannis Setoni, Cantabrigiensis, annotationibus Petri Carteri, ut clarissimis, ita brevissimis explicata. Huic accessit, ob artium ingenuarum inter se cognationem, Gulielmi Buclæi arithmetica: Londoni, 1611." There were editions of this work, with ex. actly the same title, as early as 1572, from which time it seems to have been the favorite ele. mentary text-book in logic at Cambridge. The appended “ Arithmetic" of Buclæus (Buck. ley,) is a series of rules in addition, subtraction, etc., in memorial Latin verse—a curiosity ia

its way.

1 Keckermanni, Barthol. Systema Logicæ. 8vo. Hanov., 1600. Keckermann was also au. thor of “Præcognita Logica : Hanov., 1606;' and of other works.

1 Molinæus is Peter du Moulin, author, among other works, of an “Elementary Logic."

$Who this Gelius was, I do not know ; Pickolomineus was, doubtless, Alessandro Piccol omini, Archbishop of Patras, author, among other works, of one entitled “Della Institutione Morale: Venet., 1560," of which there may have been a Latin translation.

1 Joannes Magirus was author of " Anthropologia, hoc est Comment, in P. Melancthonis Libellum de Anima: Franc., 1603;" also of " Phy: iclogia Peripatetica: 1611."



study; in which also I perused most of the other authors [i. e. of those mentioned as read with his tutor,) and read over Gellius' Attick Nights and part of Macrobius' Saturnals.

My frequent Latin letters and more frequent English, being sometimes very elaborate, did much help to amend and perfect my style in either tongue; which letters I sent to several friends, and was often a considerable gainer by their answers—especially by my father's writing to me, whose English style was very sententious and lofty.

I spent the next month, (April, 1619,) very laboriously, very busied in the perusal of Aristotle's Physics, Ethics and Politics, [in Latin translations we presume;] and I read logic out of several authors. I gathered notes out of Florus' Roman History. At night also for my recreation I read (Henry] Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, and Spenser's Fairie Queen, being both of them in English. I had translated also some odes of Horace into English verse, and was now Englishing his book, "De Arte Poetica.” Nay, I began already to consider of employing my talents for the public good, not doubting, if God sent me life, but to leave somewhat to posterity. I penned, therefore, divers imperfect essays; began to gather collections and conjectures in imitation of Aulus Gellius, Fronto, and Cæsellius Vindex, with divers other materials for other writings.

The names of the books mentioned by D'Ewes, bear witness to the fact otherwise known, that this was an age of transition at Cambridge, out of the rigid scholastic discipline of the previous century, into something different. The avatar of modern Mathematics, as superior co-regnant with Philology in the system of study, had not yet come; and that which reigned along with Philology, or held that place of supremacy by the side of Philology which Mathematics has since occupied, was ancient Logic or Dialectics.* Ancient Logic, we say; for Aristotle was still in great authority in this hemisphere, or rather twothirds of the sphere, of the academic world. Not only were his logical treatises and those of his commentators and expositors used as text-books, but the main part of the active intellectual discipline of the students consisted in the incessant practice, on all kinds of metaphysical and moral questions, of that art of dialectical disputation, which, under the name of the Aristotelian method, had been set up by the school-men as the means to universal truth. Already, however, there were symptoms of decided rebellion. (1.) Although the blow struck at Aristotle by Luther, and some of the other Reformers of the preceding century, in the express interest of Protestant doctrine, had been but partial in its effects, and Melancthon himself had tried to make peace between the Stagirite and the Reformed Theology, the supremacy of Aristotle had been otherwise shaken. In his own realm of Logic he had been assailed, and assailed furiously, by the Frenchman Ramus, (1515—1572;) and, though the Logic of Ramus, which he offered as a substitute for that of Aristotle, was not less scholastic, nor even essentially different, yet such had been the effect of the attack that Ramism and Aristotelianism now divided Europe. In Protestant countries Ramus had more followers than in Catholic, but in almost every University his “Logic" was known and studied. Introduced into Scotland by Andrew Melville, it became a text-book in the Universities of that country. In Oxford, it made little way;

* Speaking generally, the old system at Cambridge was philology in conjunction with logic, and the latter system has been philology in conjunction with mathematics. Philology, or at Jeast classic philology, bas been the permanent element; the others have alternated in power, as if the one must be out if the other was in.

but there is good evidence that in Cambridge, in the early part of the seventeenth century, Ramus had his adherents.* (2.) A still more momentous influence was at work, however, tending to modify the studies of the place, or at least the respect of the junior men for the studies enforced by the seniors. Bacon, indeed, had died only in 1626; and it cah hardly be supposed that the influence of his works in England was yet wide or deep. It was already felt, however, more particularly in Cambridge, where he himself had been educated, with which he had been intimately and officially connected during his life, and in the University library of which he had deposited, shortly before his death, a splendidly-bound copy of his Instauratio Magna, with a glorious dedication in his own hand. Descartes, still alive, and not yet forty years of age, can bave been but little more than heard of. But the new spirit, of which these men were the exponents, already existed by implication in the tendencies of the time, as exemplified in the prior scientific labors of such men as Cardan and Kepler and Galileo. How fast the new spirit worked, after Bacon and Descartes had given it systematic expression, may be inferred from the fact, that in 1653, there appeared a treatise on the system of English University studies, in which it was proposed to reform them on thoroughly Baconian and even modern utilitarian principles. The author quotes Bacon throughout; he attacks the Universities for their slavishness to antiquity, and their hesitations between Aristotle and Ramus, as if either were of the slightest consequence; he argues for the use of English instead of Latin as the vehicle of instruction; he presses for the introduction of more Mathematics, more Physics, and more of what he calls the "sublime and never-sufficiently-praised science of Pyrotechny or Chymistry," into the course of academic learning. "If we narrowly take a survey,” he says, " of the whole body of their scholastic theology, what is there else but a confuscd chaos of needless, frivolous, fruitless, trivial, vain, curious, impertinent, kuotty, ungodly, irreligious, thorny, and hell-hatched disputes, altercations, doubts, questions, and endless janglings, multiplied and spawned forth even to moustrosity and nauseousness ?''

Mutatis Mutandis, the course of Milton's actual education at Cambridge, may be inferred from that of D'Ewes. In passing from D'Ewes to Milton, however, the mutanda are, of course, considerable. In the first place, Milton had como to College unusually well prepared by his prior training. Chappell and Tovey, we should fancy, received in him a pupil whose previous acquisitions might be rather troublesome. We doubt not, however, that they did their duty by him. Chappell, to whose charge he was first committed, must have read Latin and Greek with him; and in Logic, Rhetoric, and Philosophy, where Chappell was greatest, Milton must have been more at his mercy. Tovey, also, was very much in the logical and scholastic line, as may be inferred from the fact of his having filled the office of College lecturer in Logic in 1621. Under him, wo should fancy, Latin and Greek for Milton would be very much ad libitum; and the former lessons in these tongues would be subservient to Logic. Whatever arrangements for collegiate instruction there were in Christ's, as distinct from

*** The Logic of Ramus," says Professor De Morgan, " was adopted by the University of Cambridge, probably in the sixteenth century. George Downame, or Downam, who died Bishop of Derry, in 1634, was prælector of logic at Cambridge, in 1590. His " Commentarii jo P. Rami Dialecticam, (Frankfort, 1616,) is an excellent work."

† Academiarum Examen; or the Examination of Academies, etc., by John Webster ; Loo don, 1653." It is dedicated to Major General Lambert,

the instruction of the students under their respective tutors, of these also Milton would avail himself to the utmost. He would be assiduous in his attendance at the “problems, catechisings, disputations, etc.," in the Chapel. There, as well as in casual intercourse, he would come in contact with Meade, Honeywood, Gell, and other fellows, and with Bainbrigge himself; nor, after a little while, would there be an unfriendly distance between Chappell and his former pupil. Adding all this together, we can see that Milton's education domi, or within the walls of his own College, must have been very miscellaneous. There still remains to be taken into account the contemporary education foris, or in the University schools. Of what this consisted in the statutory attendance at acts, disputations, etc., Milton had, of course, his full share. Seeing, however, that his father did not grudge expense, as D'Ewes's father had done, we may assume that from the very first, and more particularly during the triennium, he attended various courses of instruction out of his College. He may have added to his Greek, under Downes' successor, Creighton of Trinity. If there were any public lectures on Rhetoric, they were probably also by Creighton, who had succeeded Herbert as Public Orator in 1627. Bacon's intention at his death, of founding a Natural Philosophy professorship had not taken effect; but there must have been some means about the University of acquiring a little mathematics. A very little served; for, more than twenty years later, Seth Ward, when he betook himself in earnest to mathematics, had to start in that study on his own account, with a mere pocketful of College geometry to begin with. In Hebrew, the University was better off, a Hebrew Professorship having existed for nearly eighty years. It was now held by Metcalfe, of St. John's, whose lectures Milton may have attended. Had not Whelock's Arabic Lecture been founded only just as Milton was leaving Cambridge, he might have been tempted into that other oriental tongue. Davenant, the Margaret professor of Divinity, had been a Bishop since 1621; but excellent lectures were to be heard, if Milton chose, from Davenant's successor, Dr. Samuel Ward, as well as from the Regius professor of Divinity, Dr. Collins, Provost of King's. Lastly, to make a leap to the other extreme, we know it for a fact that Milton could fence, and in his own opinion, fence well.

Of the results of all these opportunities of instruction, we have already had means of judging. There was not in the whole University, I believe, a more expert, a more cultured, or a nobler Latinist than Milton, whether in prose or in verse. His knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew tongues can not at present be so directly tested; but there is evidence of his acquaintance with Greek authors, and of his having more than ventured on Hebrew. That in Logic and Philosophy he had fulfilled all that was to be expected of an assiduous student, might be taken for granted, even were certain proofs wanting, which we shall presently adduce. It seems not improbable that the votes from which, in afterlise, he compiled his summary of the Logic of Ramus, were prepared by him while he was a student at Cambridge. Lastly, in the matter of miscellaneous private reading, there is proof that we can hardly exaggerate what Milton accomplished during his seven academic years. Aulus Gellius, Macrobius, Stephens' Apology for Herodotus, and Spenser's Faerie Queene, are the chief authors on D'Ewes' list; but what a list of authors—English, Latin, French, and Italianwe should have before us if there survived an exact register of Milton's volune tary readings in his chamber during his seven years at Christ's!

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »