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Milton and His England

Milton and His England

Don M. Wolfe
Copyright Date: 1971
Pages: 145
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt13x0s9b
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    Milton and His England
    Book Description:

    In narrative and some 120 pictures, Don M. Wolfe traces Milton's life in the context of the public events and common scenes of his time. His illustrations and vignettes, supported by passages from the history of the period as well as the poet's own writings, bring to life the people, politics, and society of seventeenth-century England: maidens carrying fresh cream and cheese on their heads, men with hats and caps to sell; the Long Parliament of 1640; Charles I's summary trial and execution; Cromwell's Protectorate; the London Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666; the publication ofParadise Lost.

    The principal figure is, of course, John Milton, seen first as a boy of ten, sober and confident, even "then a poet." He is seen also as a traveler to the continent in 1638-1639, when he filled his mind with scenes and places that he would use inParadise Lost: the sulphuric Phlegraean Fields outside Naples; Galileo, the "Tuscan artist" with optic glass. Milton the revolutionary is described, the libertarian pamphleteer whose passionate cry that every man had the right "to know, to utter, to argue freely" was realized around the campfires of the New Model Army. Throughout, Milton is depicted also as the poet aspiring to "leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let it die"-his creative genius coming forth at last inParadise Lostand his final major work,Samson Agonistes.

    Originally published in 1971.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7186-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. None)
  2. Preface
    (pp. None)
    DON M. WOLFE
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. None)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. None)
    Don M. Wolfe
  5. Portraits of Milton
    (pp. None)

    When Milton was only ten, his portrait was painted by Cornelius Janssen. The boy Milton looks out at us, sober and confident, with short blond hair and wide-spaced gray eyes. At that time, writes John Aubrey, Milton’s private schoolmaster was “a Puritan, in Essex, who cutt his [Milton’s] haire short.” This master was Thomas Young, to whom Milton was singularly devoted; later he wrote to Young: “I call God to witness how much in the light of a Father I regard you.” At age ten Milton was already a student at St. Paul’s, having entered probably in 1615. At age...

  6. Boyhood Years in London
    (pp. None)

    Milton was born in his father’s home in Bread Street, London, December 9, 1608. Both the church of St. Mary Le Bow, where he was baptized, and St. Giles Cripplegate, where he was buried, were only a few minutes’ walk away. The spire of St. Paul’s towered over the neighborhood, St. Paul’s School in its shadow. Only a few blocks away from Milton’s home, Shakespeare, now forty-four, had acted in his own plays at the second Blackfriars Theatre. In 1608 Bacon was forty-seven, Ben Jonson thirty-five, John Donne thirty-six, William Harvey thirty, Henry Lawes a boy of twelve, Oliver Cromwell...

  7. Milton at Cambridge
    (pp. None)

    Milton was admitted to Christ’s College on February 12, 1625, two months after his seventeenth birthday. After enrolling his name in the college books, choosing his rooms (with perhaps the concurrence of a roommate), and staying on a week or two, he apparently returned home for a holiday, as was the custom. He was a free man now, at least free in the afternoons from academic requirements, though never free from his stern creative conscience; free to meet and talk with brilliant contemporaries, not only at his own college but at fifteen other colleges as well, graced with beautiful libraries,...

  8. The Years at Horton: 1632-1638
    (pp. None)

    After receiving his M.A. and signing the graduation book (July 3, 1632), Milton began six years of fruitful leisure at his father’s house, first at Hammersmith (until 1635), then at Horton, a village seventeen miles west of London and one mile from Colnbrook. Here Milton read “in the order of time,” beginning with the Greek and Roman classics, digging deep into the church fathers, and so century by century up to his own age, unraveling the history and concepts of western Europe in chronological clarification. Although Milton had probably started theCommonplace Bookin his Cambridge years, his most numerous...

  9. Milton’s Continental Tour: 1638-1639
    (pp. None)

    “I then became anxious to visit foreign parts,” wrote Milton inSecond Defence, “and particularly Italy. My father gave me his permission, and I left home with one servant. On my departure, the celebrated Henry Wotton, who had long been King James’s ambassador at Venice, gave me a signal proof of his regard, in an elegant letter which he wrote [dated at Eton April 13, 1638], breathing not only the warmest friendship, but containing some maxims of conduct which I found very useful in my travels. The noble Thomas Scudamore, King Charles’s ambassador, to whom I carried letters of recommendation,...

  10. Milton as Revolutionary: Prelude to Civil War
    (pp. None)

    In the months that followed his return to England, Milton had drawn up some ninety-nine possible topics for a tragedy, about two-thirds of them Scriptural and one-third historical. But the agitation against Bishop Hall’sEpiscopacy by Divine Right(April, 1640) and the fiery debates that accompanied the meeting of the Long Parliament (November, 1640) injected Milton into a political struggle that in him was bone-deep: a struggle that was to bring Charles I to the block and continue for twenty years, meanwhile destroying kingship and sending twenty thousand more Englishmen to sanctuary in the wilds of America. “The vigour of...

  11. The First Civil War
    (pp. None)

    On July 2, 1644, in a three-hour battle seven miles west of York, the Parliamentary forces met and routed the royalist army under the command of Prince Rupert. Over four thousand men lost their lives, the royalists suffering more heavily than their enemies. Three days after the battle, Cromwell, now lieutenant general and second in command to Essex, wrote to his brother-in-law, “The left wing, which I commanded, being our own horse, saving a few Scots in our rear, beat all the Prince’s horse. God gave them as stubble to our swords. We charged their regiments of foot with our...

  12. The Second Civil War: Milton and King Charles
    (pp. None)

    Despite Charles’s rejection of the Four Bills, he still commanded the loyalty of the citizens at large; it was impossible for the average subject to conceive of a settlement that would not include a return of Charles to the throne. In the House of Commons, as in the country at large, Presbyterian sentiment was dominantly royalist. In the months of May through August, 1648, it was not hard for Charles and his Scottish allies to organize a series of uprisings. Many royalist exiles returned to England from abroad. In greater or less degree, men wanted to limit the king’s power;...

  13. Milton Under the Protectorate
    (pp. None)

    On April 20, 1653, hearing from General Thomas Harrison that the Rump Parliament was hurrying through a bill of election that would have continued the existing members in office, Cromwell summoned a guard of soldiers and caused them to be stationed at the doors of the House of Commons. Entering the House, Cromwell took his seat and waited: the bill was still under discussion. Fifty-three members were present, among them great personalities of the Commonwealth: Sir Henry Vane, Sir Peter Wentworth, Algernon Sidney, Bulstrode Whitelocke, Henry Marten, Colonel John Hutchinson. Finally Cromwell said to Harrison: “This is the time: I...

  14. Milton in the Restoration
    (pp. None)

    On April 24, 1655, in two Piedmontese valleys of the Alps west of Turin, where the Vaudois inhabitants had been dissenters since the thirteenth century, some 150 women and children were tortured and killed by soldiers under the command of the Marquis of Pianezza. The news of the persecution spread like wildfire throughout England, uniting for the moment all Protestant sects from Anglican to Baptist and Quaker. A day of fasting and prayer was appointed for May 30 in London and June 14 in the cồuntry at large. Unprecedented collections of ₤38,000 were made to relieve the suffering of the...

  15. Index
    (pp. None)