Life of John Milton (1608-74)

John Milton

John Milton, who towers over all his contemporaries, was born in London in a family with strict puritan leanings. His father was a man of culture and a classical scholar. He had him carefully schooled and tutored.  Thomas Young was his first instructor. In 1623 he was sent to St. Paul’s school. After that, he studied for seven years at Cambridge University. After his return from Cambridge University, he continued his studies for six years in his country house at Horton.

Here he produced a number of poems including Comus, L, Allegro, II Penseroso, and Lycidas. Finally, he was supplied with funds for a tour in Italy. He married on his return but his marriage proved a failure. He remarried twice but could not get domestic happiness.

In 1649 he became Latin Secretary to Oliver Cromwell. Here he wrote a number of pamphlets in defense of the Puritan Faith. In 1660 he retired from politics and engaged himself for the rest of his life in writing poetry. The great epic poems Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained were written in this period.

Literary work of John Milton

Some critics believe that Milton’s work reflects the high ambitions of a poet-priest. The early years of Milton’s life were spent in hard study. Then John Milton was involved in Political controversies of civil and religious liberty. Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonists were written in the last years of his age and they are fruit of his mature genius.

John Milton’s sense of beauty is better displayed in the early poems, in Allegro, II Pensroso, Comus, and Lycidas. These poems reveal “the lighter and fanciful side of Milton”.

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