John Milton, 1608-1674

[Mentioned in Science and Health, p. 372]

John Milton, one of England's great poets, was eleven when the Pilgrims sailed for America. His father, disinherited for becoming a Protestant, made a sufficiently good living as a scrivener to provide his son with a fine education: a tutor in his early years, St. Paul's school. and seven years at Christ's College. Cambridge. An expert musician— both a composer and a performer —the father taught his son to sing and to play the organ.

At Cambridge, Milton decided not to take Holy Orders, but to be a poet. He was a diligent student of the classics and was always interested in mathematics and music. For five years after leaving Cambridge, he continued his study of Greek and Latin writers, and by the time he was thirty he had written almost all of his minor poems. "Comus" was written at I lie request of a popular composer of the clay and was performed at Ludlow Castle in 1634.

A trip to Italy in 1638 increased Milton's classical knowledge, and a visit in Florence with the imprisoned Galileo intensified his love of liberty. News of civil war in England brought Milton home, where for the next twenty years he put poetry aside and entered wholeheartedly into political and theological controversies, writing countless pamphlets against all abuses of freedom. During the first years of his return he also taught his sister's sons, and in a letter to Samuel Hartlib set forth his views on education, stressing especially naturalness, practicalness, and nobleness. Cromwell appointed Milton Secretary of State for Foreign Tongues. While serving thus he became totally blind, but he continued at his post until the Restoration. Then he was forced into hiding until his friends succeeded in having him included in a general amnesty.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

Signs of the Times
June 9, 1956

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.