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Multum, crede, juvat terras aluisse remotas 5
Alexander Gill here mentioned, Milton's friend, seems to be sometimes confounded with his father, whose name was also Alexander, who was also Master of Saint Paul's, and whose Logonomia, published in 1621, an ingenious but futile scheme to reform and fix the English language, is well known to our critical lexicographers. 4. Vergivium] Drayton has “ these rough Vergivian seas,” Polyolb. s. i. p. 656, vol. ii. The Irish sea. Again, “ Vergivian “deepe.” Ibid. s. vi. vol. ii. p. 766. And in other places. Camden's Britannia has lately familiarized the Latin name. 9. Me tenet urbs reflua quam Thamesis alluit unda,J To have pointed out London by only calling it the city washed by the Thames, would have been a general and a trite allusion. But this allusion by being combined with the peculiar circumstance of the reflux of the tide, becomes new, poetical, and appropriated. The adjective reflua is at once descriptive and distinctive. Ovid has “refluum mare.” Met.vii. 267.
Et quas oceani refluum mare lavit arenas.
12. Nec dudum vetiti me laris angit amor.] The words vetiti laris, and afterwards exilium, will not suffer us to determine otherwise, than that Milton was sentenced to undergo a temporary removal or rustication from Cambridge. I will not suppose for any immoral irregularity. Dr. Bainbridge, the master, is reported to have been a very active disciplinarian: and this lover of liberty, we may presume, was as little disposed to submission and conformity in a college as in a state. When reprimanded and admonished, the pride of his temper, impatient of any sort of reproof, naturally broke forth into expressions of contumely and contempt against his governor. Hence he was punished. See the next note. He appears to have lived in friendship with the Fellows of the College. See Apol. Smectymn. Prose Works, vol. i. 108. Milton, in his prose, takes frequent opportunities of depreciating the conduct and customs of the academical life. In one place he pleases himself with ridiculing the ceremonies of a College-audit.
Quam male Phoebicolis convenit ille locus :
Nec duri libet usque minas perferre Magistri,
Caeteraque ingenio non subeundameo.
15. Nec duri libet usque minas perferre Magistri, Caeteraque ingenio non subeunda meo.]
Milton is said to have been whipped at Cambridge. See Life of Bathurst, p. 153. This has been reprobated and discredited, as a most extraordinary and improbable piece of severity. But in those days of simplicity and subordination, of roughness and rigour, this sort of punishment was much more common, and consequently by no means so disgraceful and unseemly for a young man at the University, as it would be thought at present. We learn from Wood, that Henry Stubbe, a Student of Christ Church, Oxford, afterwards a partisan of Sir Henry Vane, “shewing himself too for“ward, pragmatical, and con“ceited,” was publicly whipped by the Censor in the College-hall. Ath. Oxon. ii. p. 560. See also Life of Bathurst, p. 202. I learn from some manuscript papers of Aubrey the antiquary, who was a student of Trinity College, Oxford, four years from 1642, that “at Oxford and, I “believe, at Cambridge, the rod “ was frequently used by the “tutors and deans: and Dr. Pot“ter, while a tutor of Trinity Col“ lege, I knew right well, whip“ped his pupil with his sword “ by his side, when he came to “take his leave of him to go to “ the Inns of Court.” In the Statutes of the said College, given in 1556, the Scholars of the
foundation are ordered to be
whipped by the Deans, or Cen
sors, even to their twentieth year. In the University Statutes at Oxford, compiled in 1635, ten years after Milton's admission at Cambridge, corporal punishment is to be inflicted on boys under sixteen. We are to recollect, that Milton, when he went to Cambridge, was only a boy of fifteen. The author of an old pamphlet, Regicides no Saints nor Martyrs, says, that Hugh Peters, while at Trinity College, Cambridge, was publicly and officially whipped in the Regent Walk for his insolence, p. 81. 8vo. The anecdote of Milton's whipping at Cambridge, is told by Aubrey. MS. Mus. Ashm. Oxon. Num. x. P. iii. From which, by the way, Wood's life of Milton in the Fasti Oxonienses, the first and the ground-work of all the lives of Milton, was compiled. Wood says, that he draws his account of Milton “from his “ own mouth to my friend, who “was well acquainted with and “ had from him, and from his “ relations after his death, most “ of this account of his life and “writingsfollowing.” Ath. Oxon. i., F. p. 262. This friend is Aubrey; whom Wood, in another place, calls credulous, “roving and magotie-headed, “ and sometimes little better than “ crased.” Life of A. Wood, p. 577. edit. Hearne, Th. Caii Vind. &c. vol. ii. This was after a quarrel. I know not that Aubrey is ever fantastical, except on the subjects of chemistry and ghosts. Nor do I remember that his veracity was ever impeached. I believe he had much less credulity than Wood. Aubrey's Monumenta Britannica is a very solid and rational work, and its judicious conjectures and observations have been approved and adopted by the best modern antiquaries. But let us examine if the context will admit some other interpretation. Caeleraque, the most indefinite and comprehensive of descriptions, may be thought to mean literary tasks called impositions, or frequent compulsive attendances on tedious and unimproving exercises in a Collegehall. But cattera follows minas, and perferre seems to imply somewhat more than these inconveniences, something that was sufjered, and severely felt. It has been suggested, that his father's economy prevented his constant residence at Cambridge; and that this made the College Lar dudum vetitus, and his absence from the University an exilium. But it was no unpleasing or involuntary banishment. He hated the place. He was not only offended at the College discipline, but had even conceived a dislike to the face of the country, the fields about Cambridge. He peevishly complains, that the fields have no soft shades to attract the Muse; and there is something pointed in his exclamation, that Cambridge was a place quite incompatible with the votaries of Phoebus. Here
Sisit hoc exilium patrios adiisse penates, Et vacuum curis otia grata sequi,
a father's prohibition had nothing to do. He resolves, however, to forget all these disagreeable circumstances, and to return in due time. The dismission, if any, was not to be perpetual. In these lines, ingenium is to be rendered temper, nature, disposition, rather than genius, Aubrey says, from the information of our author's brother Christopher, that Milton's “first “tutor there [at Christ's College] “ was Mr. Chapell, from whom “receiving some unkindnesse, “ (he whipt him,) he was after“wards, though it seemed against “ the rules of the College, trans“ferred to the tuition of one “Mr. Tovell, who dyed parson “ of Lutterworth.” MS. Mus. Ashm. ut supr. This information, which stands detached from the body of Aubrey's narrative, seems to have been communicated to Aubrey, after Wood had seen his papers; it therefore does not appear in Wood, who never would otherwise have suppressed an anecdote which contributed in the least degree to expose the character of Milton. I must here observe, that Mr. Chappell, from his original Letters, many of which I have seen, written while he was a Fellow and Tutor of Christ's College, and while Milton was there, and which are now in the possession of Mr. Moreton of Westerhoe in Kent, appears to have been a man of uncommon mildness and liberality of manners. Probably Mr. Tovell, here mentioned as Milton's second tutor, ought to be Tovey. Nathaniel Tovey signs his name in an Audit-Book at Christ's College, under the year 1633. He was originally of Sidney College, and there B.A. 1615, and M. A. 1619. It does not appear when he migrated to Christ's. Again, Lutternorth should here perhaps be Kegworth, likewise in Leicestershire, which (and not Lutterworth) is a benefice in the patronage of Christ's College. 15. See Dr. Symmons's Life of Milton, p. 55–77. and the Preface, p. 4–7. Ed. 2. for a detailed examination of the questions treated of in the two preceding notes, which I have given at full length, on account of the degree of attention which, however unnecessarily, these curious questions have excited. Whether Milton ever lost a Term by rustication, cannot be ascertained by the account of the Terms he kept : the allusion to Ovid's banishment, which immediately follows the words noticed by Warton, seems to confirm the idea, that his temporary absence from Cambridge was compulsory. Whether he received any other kind of punishment at College, it is neither very easy nor very important to determine. Warton is inaccurate as to his age; he
Non ego vel profugi nomen sortemve recuso,
Laetus et exilii conditione fruor.
was more than sixteen when he.
was admitted at Cambridge. But in answer to the charges brought against him by his adversaries, that “ after an inordinate and “ riotous youth spent at the “ University, he had at length “ been vomited out thence,” we have his own positive assertions, published at a time when they
might have been contradicted, (which they do not appear to have been,) if they had been untrue. The charge, he says, Apol. for Smectymnuus, Pr.W. i. 115. ed. 1753. “ hath given me “an apt occasion 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 part“ing, after I had taken two de“grees, as the manner is, signi“fied 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 as“sured of their singular good “ affection towards me. Which “being likewise propense to all “ such as were for their studious “ and civil life worthy of esteem, “I could not wrong their judg“ments and upright intentions “so much as to think I had that “regard from them for other “cause than that I might be still “encouraged to proceed in the “ honest and laudable courses of “which they apprehended I had “given good proof.” The whole defence of himself from p. 114. to p. 119. is well worth consulting. And again in his Defensio Secunda, Pr. W. ii. 383. speaking of Cambridge, he says, “Illic “disciplinis atque artibus tradi “solitis septennium studui; pro“cul omni flagitio, bonis omni“bus probatus, usquedum ma
O utinam vates nunquam graviora tulisset
“gistri, quem vocant, gradum
before a word beginning with
See our author below, El. vi. 19.
The theatre seems to have been a favourite amusement of Milton's youth.