Milton - PR3550 D77 1777 M2

386 THE LIFE of MILTON. to his friends, who though in comfortable were yet by no means in great citcumflances ; and neither doth he feem to have had any in- clination to any other profeffion ; he had too free a fpirit to be limit. ed and confined ; and was for comprehending all fciences, but pro- felling none. And therefore after he had left the univerfity in 163z, he retired to his father's houfe in the country ; for his father had by, this time quitted bufinefs, and lived at an eflate which he had pu chafed at Horton near Colebrooke in Buckinghamfhire. Here he refilled with his parents for the fpace of five years, and, as he him- felf has informed us; (in his fecond Defenfe, and the 7th of his fami- liar epiftles) read over all the Greek and Latin authors, particularly the hiftorians ; but now and then made an excurfion to London, fometimes to buy books or to meet his friends from Cambridge, and at other times to learn fomething new in the mathematics or mufic, with which he was extreamly delighted. His retirement therefore was a learned retirement, and it was not long before the world reaped the fruits of it. It was in the year 5634 that his snack was prefented at Ludlow Cattle. There was formerly a prefident of Wales, and a fort of a court kept at Ludlow, which has fince been abolifhed : and the prefident at that time was the Earl ofBridgewater, before whomMilton's mail: was prefented on Michaelmas night, and the principal pasts, thole of the two brothers were performed by his Lordfhip's foes the Lord Brackley and Mr. Thomas Egerton, and that of the lady by his Lordfhip's daughter the Lady Alice Egerton. The occafion of this poem feemeth to have been merely an accident of the two brothers and the lady having loft one another in their way to the caftle : and it is written very much in imitation of Shakefpear's Tempeft, and the Faithful Shepherdefs ofBeaumont and Fletcher ; and though one of the &ft, is yet one of the moft beatr4ful of Milton's compofitions. It was for forne time handed about only in tranufcript ; but afterwards to fatisfy the im- portunity of friends and to lave the trouble of tranfcribing, it was printed at London, though without the author's name, in 1637, with ti a dedication to the Lord Brackley by Mr. H. Lawes, who compos'd the mufic, and played the part of the attendees fpirit. It was printed jiletwife at Oxford at the end of Mr. R's poems, as we learn from a letter