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Four of them have great autobiographic value as an indirect commentary, written from Milton’s coign of seclusion, upon the moral crisis through which English life and thought were passing, the clash between the careless hedonism of the Cavalier world and the deepening openly “foretells the ruine” of the Established Church.

The poet’s father had been educated at an Oxford school, possibly as a chorister in one of the College choir-schools, and imbibing Anglican sympathies had conformed to the Established Church.

For this he was disinherited by his Roman Catholic father.

Milton went to Christ’s College, Cambridge, in the Easter term of 1625, took his B. Writing in 1642, he takes the opportunity “to acknowledge publicly with all grateful mind, that more than ordinary favour and respect, which I found above any of my equals at the hands of those courteous and learned men, the fellows of that college wherein I spent some years: who at my parting, after I had taken two degrees, as the manner is, signified many ways how much better it would content them that I would stay; as by many letters full of kindness and loving respect, both before that time, and long after, I was assured of their singular good affection towards me.” And if we look into those uncomplimentary allusions to Cambridge which date from the controversial period of his life we see that the feeling they represent is hardly more than a phase of his theological bias.

He detested ecclesiasticism, and for him the two Universities (there is a fine impartiality in his diatribes) are the strongholds of what he detested: “nurseries of superstition”—“not yet well recovered from the scholastic grossness of barbarous ages”—given up to “monkish and miserable sophistry,” and unprogressive in their educational methods.

It was Milton’s constant resolve to achieve something that should vindicate the ways of God to men, something great that should justify his own possession of unique powers—powers of which, with no trace of egotism, he proclaims himself proudly conscious.

The feeling finds repeated expression in his prose; it is the guiding-star that shines clear and steadfast even through the mists of politics.An edition based upon Sir Richard Jebb’s lectures at Cambridge in 1872, with extensive notes and commentaries on this famous work: Milton’s famous defense of freedom of speech.It was a protest against Parliament’s ordinance to further restrict the freedom of print.John Milton was born on December 9, 1608, in London.He came, in his own words, A family of Miltons had been settled in Oxfordshire since the reign of Elizabeth.True, Milton gave more than one earnest of his future fame.

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