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Thomas Young, as we have seen, was engaged by the elder Milton to instruct his son in private. Aubrey's account of him is, that he was “a Puritan in Essex, who cut his hair short.” Warton tells us, from a manuscript history of Jesus College, Cambridge, of which Young was Master, that he was a native of Scotland, apparently of Perthshire. In 1623 he was invited by the English merchants settled at Hamburg to assume the office of their spiritual pastor. He accepted the invitation; and during his residence there his former pupil wrote him a Latin epistle, dated London, March 26, 1625, and his fourth Latin Elegy in 1627. Young, as there is reason to suppose, returned to England in this or early in the following year, and settled at Stowmarket, in the county of Suffolk; whence he appears to have written to Milton, inviting him to go and spend some time with him. In his answer, dated Cambridge, July 21, 1628, Milton promises to visit him in the following Spring, in order to enjoy the charms of the season and of his conversation, away from the din and bustle of the town.
He speaks of his Suffolk Stoa as vying with that of Zeno or Cicero's Tusculum, where, like another Serranus or Curius, in his moderate circumstances he gently ruled with a royal mind in his little farm. Whether this language is figurative, or that Young had in reality become the occupier of a small farm, is not certain. The latter seems the more probable supposition; and probably to his charge of a Puritan congregation he united-according to the plan afterwards proposed by his pupil—the occupation of an agriculturist.
Young was one of those whose initials went to the formation of the name Smectymnuus. He was also a member of the Assembly of Divines. In 1644 he was made Master of Jesus College, Cambridge, by the Parliament. On his refusing to take the Engagement, he was ejected in 1662 ; and he retired to his former residence at Stowmarket, where he died and was buried, having, as Warton says, held the vicarage of that place for thirty years.
Beside his share in Smectymnuus, Warton supposes Young to have published in 1639 a learned work in Latin, on the observation of Sunday, and entitled Dies Dominica. He also preached a sermon, entitled Hope's Incouragement, before the House of Commons, on a fastday, February 20, 1644-5, which was printed by order of the House. In the Dedication he subscribes himself, “Thomas Young, Sancti Evangelii in comitatu Suffolciensi Minister.” Yet, if Warton be correct in his statement, he was at that time Master of Jesus College ; for he says that he was admitted to his office there by the Earl of Manchester in person, April 12, 1644. Warton also tells us, from Neale's History of the Puritans, that at the time of his appointment he held a London preachership in Duke's Place.
In his Life by Clarke the Calvinist it is stated of
Young that he was “a man of great learning, of much prudence and piety, and of great ability and fidelity in the work of the ministry.”
When Milton was at St. Paul's School it was kept by Alexander Gill, a man of considerable learning, who published in 1621 a work entitled Logonomia, the object of which was that most futile of all objects, to fix and reform the English language ; and in 1635, another, called the Sacred Philosophie of the Holy Scripture. His son of the same name, the subject of the present notice, was at that time one of the assistants in the school; and being a lover of learning and an admirer of genius, he was naturally attracted by the future author of Paradise Lost, and intimacy and friendship was the result.
Alexander Gill the younger was probably born in 1597, for he was fifteen when he was admitted a Commoner of Trinity College, Oxford, in 1612. He had two brothers, named George and Nathaniel, who were also of that College, and on the foundation. Alexander presented the library of his College with the old folio edition of Spenser's Faerie Queene, Drayton's Polyolbion by Selden, and Bourdelotius' Lucian, in all of which were poetic mottoes from the classics in his own handwriting. It would seem that when he had graduated he became assistant to his father, on whose death, in 1635,* he was appointed Master. He was at that time a Doctor of Divinity, having taken that degree at Oxford in 1629. His rule at St. Paul's lasted, we are told, only five years ; for he was removed on account of his excessive severity. As he is said also to have been an assistant in the school of the celebrated Thomas Farnaby, who left London in 1636, we must suppose that he had not been continuously attached to St. Paul's. His death occurred in 1642, in his forty-fifth or forty
* It must have been he therefore, and not his father, who was Milton's neighbour in Aldersgate-street. See above, p. 24.
Gill was distinguished as a writer of Latin poetry. Wood says “he was accounted one of the best Latin poets in the nation.” But there is higher testimony than Wood's. Three of Milton's Latin epistles are addressed to Gill; and in the first of them, dated from Cambridge, May 20, 1628, acknowledging the receipt of a Latin poem of his on the capture of some town by Henry of Nassau, he terms his verses “carmina sane grandia, et majestatem vere poeticam Virgilianumque ubique ingenium redolentia,” to which he adds other highly laudatory expressions. In his third letter to him, written at Horton, December 4, 1634, he returns him his thanks for a copy of Hendecasyllabics, more precious, he says, than gold; and, with great modesty, sends him in return his Greek version of the 114th Psalm, which, as the strain of an inspired writer, he adds, exceeds his poem as much in the subject, as he excels the translator in poetic skill. Gill had published a selection of his Latin poetry in 1632, in a small duodecimo volume, under the title of Poetici Conatus.
Charles Diodati was the schoolfellow and most intimate friend of Milton. He was son to Dr. Theodore
Diodati, an eminent physician, a native of Geneva, of an Italian family settled in that city, who came young to England, where he married a lady of good fortune and family. He was physician to Prince Henry and the Princess Elizabeth, in the reign of James I. His son Charles appears to have been born in 1607, the year before Milton. He was educated at St. Paul's School, whence he was sent to Trinity College, Oxford, where he was entered as a Gentleman Commoner, February 7, 1621-2. He remained there till 1628, when he left it, after having taken his Master's degree. He seems to have spent a part of his time in Cheshire, where probably his mother's family resided. We also find that he had a younger brother; and it would appear that after his father's death, he had, in 1637, some difficulty in arranging matters with his stepmother. He died in the Spring of the following year, while his friend Milton was at Florence. From some passages in one of Milton's letters to him, it would appear that he had adopted his father's profession.
Diodati, as may be inferred from Milton's affection for him, was a inan of learning and talent; but there are none of his literary productions remaining, except a copy of Alcaics, in an Oxford collection, on the death of Camden, called Camdeni Insignia, printed in 1624, and consequently written when he was sixteen; and two Greek epistles to Milton, without dates, formerly in the possession of Toland, and now in the British Museum. * In the first of these,-evidently written when they were both in London, probably in vacation time at the Universities,—he complains of the badness of the weather, which had prevented some proposed walk of theirs, into
* Mr. Mitford has printed them at the end of his Life of Milton.