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TII E

LIFE OF JOIN MILTON.

CILAPTER I.

ANCESTRY AND KIND RED.

John Milton was born in his father's house, in Bread-street, in Ahe City of London, on Friday, the 9th of December, 1608, at halfpast six in the morning. The year of his birth was the sixth of the reign of the Scottish king, James I, in England.

Milton's father, who was also named John, was by profession a " serirener.” He was settled, in the exercise of that profession, in Bread-street, at least as early as 1603. In a manuscript volume in the British Museum, containing miscellaneous notes relating to the affairs of one John Sanderson, a Turkey merchant of that day, there is a copy of a bond, dated the 4th of March, 1602–3, whereby two persons, styled “ Thomas Heigheham of Bethnal-green in the county of Middlesex Esquire, and Richard Sparrow, citizen and goldsmith of London," engage to pay to Sanderson a sum of money on the 5th of May following, the payment to be made " at the new shop of John Milton, scrivener, in Bread-street, London.” The name “Jo. Milton, Scriyor” is appended as that of the witness in whose

1 Aubrey and Wood. In Aubrey's MS. the circumstance is entered in a manner which vouches for its autuenticity. Aubrey bad first left the date blank thus:-“He was born Ao Dai — the day of about — o'clock in the

--;" adding a sittle farther on in the MS. these words: “Q. Mr. Chi Milton to see the date of his bro. birth.” Then, farther on still, at the top of a new sheet of smaller size than the rest, there are written in a clear hand, which is certainly not Aubrey's, these words: "John Milton was born the 9th of December, 1008, die Veneris, half an hour after six in tbe morning." It is to be concluded that Aubrey had, in the interval, seen Christopher Milton, and procured from him the

date he wanted. Possibly, indeed, Christopher wrote down the words himself. They seem as if they had been taken from the family Bible. Wood in his Fasti makes the time of Milton's birth “between six and seven o'clock in the morning;” but in a MS. of his which I have seen, containing brief notes for biographies of eminent persons (Ashm. 8519), he adheres to the more exact statement - half an hour after çix." The note about Milton in this MS. contains nothing but the dates and places of his birth and death.

2 Lansdowne MS. 241, f. 58; first cited, I believe, by Mr. Hunter, in his Milton Gleanings, p. 10.

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