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and in that therefore we should principally endeavour to excel.
Milton, soon after his return, had taken a lodging at one Russel's, a taylor in St. Bride's Church-yard ; but he continued not long there, having not sufficient room for his library and furniture; and there. fore determined to také a house, and accordingly took a handsome garden-house in Aldersgate-street, situated at the end of an entry, which was' the more agreeable to a studious man for its privacy and freedom from noise and disturbance. And in this house he continued several years, and his sister's two sons were put to board with him, first the younger and afterwards the elder: and some other of his intimate friends requested of him the same favour for their sons, especially since there was little more trouble in instructing half a dozen than two or three: and he, who could not easily deny any thing to his friends, and who knew that the greatest men in all ages had delighted in teaching others the principles of knowledge and virtue, undertook the office, not out of any sordid and mercenary views, but merely from a benevolent disposition, and a desire to do good.And his method of education was as much above the pedantry and jargon of the common schools, as his genius was superior to that of a common schoolmaster. One of his nephews has given us an account of the many authors both Latin and Greek, which (besides those usually read in the schools) through his excellent judgment and way of teaching,
were run over within no greater compass of time, than from ten to fifteen or sixteen years of age. Of the Latin, the four authors concerning husbandıy, Cato, Varro, Columella, and Palladius; Cornelius Celsus the physician, a great part of Pliny's Natural History, the Architecture of Vitruvius, the Stratagems of Frontinus, and the philosophical poets Lucretius and Manilius. Of the Greek, Hesiod, Aratus's Phänomena and Diosemeia, Dionisius Afer de Situ Orbis, Oppian's Cynegetics and Halieutics, Quintus Calaber's poeni of the Trojan war continued from Homer, Apollonius Rhodius's Argonautics; and in prose Plutarch's Placita Philosophorum, and of the Education of Children, Xenophon’s Cyropædia and Anabasis, 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, so far as to go through the Pentateuch or five books of Moses in Hebrew, to make a good entrance into the Targum or Chaldee paraphrase, and to understand several chapters of St. Matthew in the Syriac Testament; besides the modern lang uages, Italian and French, and a competent knowledge of the ma. thematics and astronomy. The Sunday's exercise for his pupils was for the most part to read a chapter of the Greek Testament, and to hear his learned exposition of it. The next work after this was to write from his dictation some part of a system of divinity, which he had collected from the ablese di
vines, who had written upon that subject. Such were his academic institutions; and thus by teaching others he in some manner enlarged his own knowledge; and having the reading of so many authors as it were by proxy, he miglit possibly have preserved his sight, if he had not moreover been perpetually busied in reading or writing something himself. It was certainly a very recluse and studious life that both he and his pupils led; but the young men of that age were of a different turn from those of the present; and he himself gave an example to those under him of hard study and spare diet; only now and then, once in three weeks or a month, he made a gaudy day with some young gentlemen of his acquaintance, the chief of whom, says 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 so fond of this academical life, as to be an indifferent spectator of what was acted upon the public stage of the world. The nation was now in a great ferment, in 1641, and the clamour ran high against the bishops, when he joined loudly in the cry, to help the puritan ministers, (as he says himself in his second Defense) they being inferior to the bishops in learning and eloquence ; and published his two books of Reformation in England, written to a friend. About the same time certain ministers hav. ing published a treatise against episcopacy, in answer to the Humble Remonstrance of Dr. Joseph Hall, Bishop of Norwich, under the title of Smectymnuus, a
word consisting of the initial letters of their names, Stephen Marshall, Edmund Calamy, Thomas Young, Matthew Newcomen, and William Spurstow; and Archbishop Usher having published at Oxford a refutation of Smectymnuus, in a tract concerning the original of bishops and metropolitans, Milton wrote his little piece Of Prelatical Episcopacy, in opposition chiefly to Usher, for he was for contending with the most powerful adversary; there would be either less disgrace in the defeat, or more glory in the victory. He handled the subject more at large in his next performance, which was the Reason of Church Government urged against Prelaty, in two books. And Bishop Hall having published a Defence of the Humble Remonstrance, he wrote Animadversions upon it. All these treaties he published within the course of one year, 1641, which show how very diligent he was in the cause he had undertaken. And the next year he set forth his Apology for Smectymnuus, in answer to the Confutation of his Animad. versions, written as he thought himself by Bishop Hall or his son. And here he 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 suitable to his own genius and inclination; but he thought all this while that he was vindicating ecclesiastical liberty.
In the year 1643, and the 35th of his age, he married; and indeed his family was now growing so numerous, that it wanted a mistress at the head of
it. His father, who had lived with his younger son at Reading, was, upon the taking of that place by the forces under the Earl of Essex, necessitated to come and live in London with this his elder son, with whom he continued in tranquility 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 Whitsuntide vacation, and after a month's abe sence returned with a wife, Mary the eldest daughter of Mr. Richard Powell, of Foresthill near Shotover in Oxfordshire, a justice of the peace, and a gentleman of good repute and figure in that county. But she had not cohabited with her husband above a month, before she was earn
ernestly solicited by her relations to come and spend the remaining part of the summer with thein 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 she obtained her husband's consent upon a promise of returning at Michaelmas. In the mean while his studies went on very vigorously ; and his chief diversion, after the business of the day, was now and then in an evening to visit the Lady Margaret Lee, daughter of the Earl of Marlborough, Lord High Treasurer of England, and President of the Privy Council to King James I. This lady, being a woman of excellent wit and understanding, had a particular honour for our author, and took great delight in his conversation; as likewise did her hus.