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THE Life of Milton has been al
I ready written in so many forms, with such minute enquiry, that I might perhaps more properly have contented myself with the addition of a few notes to Mr. Fenton's elegant Abridgement, but that a new narrative was thought necessary to the uniformity of this edition.
JOHN MILTON was by birth a gentleman, descended from the pro
prietors of Milton near Thame in Oxfordshire, one of whom forfeited his estate in the times of York and Lancaster. Which fide he took I know not; his descendant inherited no veneration for the White Rose. .
His grandfather John was keeper of the forest of Shotover, a zealous papist, who disinherited his son, because he had forsaken the religion of his ancestors.
His father, John, who was the son disinherited, had recourse for his support to the profession of a scrivener. He was a man eminent for his skill in musick, many of his compositions being still to be found; and his reputation in his profession was such, that he grewrich, and retired to an estate. He had pro
bably more than common literature, as his son addresses him in one of his moft elaborate Latin poems. He married a gentlewoman of the name of Cafton, a Welsh family, by whom he had two fons, John the poet, and Christopher who studied the law, and adhered, as the law taught him, to the king's party, for which he was awhile persecuted, but having, by his brother's interest, obtained permission to live in quiet, he supported himself by chamber.prac. tice, till, foon after the accession of king James, he was knighted and made a judge ; but, his constitution being too weak for business, he retired before any disreputable compliances became necefsary. bja
He had likewise a daughter Anne, whom he married with a considerable fortune to Edward Philips, who came from Shrewsbury, and rose in the Crownoffice to be secondary: by him she had two sons, John and Edward, who were educated by the poet, and from whom is derived the only authentick account of his domestick manners.
John, the poet, was born in his father's house, at the Spread-Eagle in Bread-street, Dec. 9, 1608, between fix and seven in the morning. His father appears to have been very solicitous about his education ; for he was instructed at first by private tuition under the care of Thomas Young, who was afterwards chaplain to the English mer