John Milton was born in London in 1608 (Merriman). His grandfather was a Roman Catholic who had disowned Milton's father when he turned Protestant (Merriman). The boy was sent to St. Paul's school, and he learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and began to try to write poetry (Merriman). In 1625 he enrolled at Christ's College, Cambridge, clashed with his tutor the following year and was suspended, returned and was given another tutor, and graduated on schedule (Merriman). The University in those days still undertook to teach largely by repeat memorization, and Milton thought his training there of little value (Merriman). He undertook to give himself a liberal education by wide reading (Merriman). His father had hoped to make a lawyer of him, but took it very well when his son announced that he intended to make the writing of poetry his life's work (Merriman). In 1629 at the age of 21 years old he wrote a short poem, "On the morning of Christ's Nativity," his first memorable work, still widely read at Christmas (Merriman). Between 1641 and 1660, Milton wrote almost no poetry (Merriman). This was the time when the English Puritans were planning to overthrow the English monarchy on the grounds that it was making taxes unlawfully (and was, moreover, in league with the wicked English Church (Merriman). Milton believed wholeheartedly in the Puritan cause, and set aside his poetry to write pamphlets in defense of various aspects of liberty as he saw it (Merriman). In 1642, at the age of 33, Milton married Mary Powell, who was 16. In a few months, she went home to her family (Merriman). In 1645 friends brought about the reconciling of their differences, and Mary returned to her husband (Merriman). Mary bore John three daughters, and died i...
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...n’s reputation as a poet becomes quite complex (Johnson). Milton fell into disrepute because of T. S. Eliot‘s adverse comments decrying the lack of originality of his verse (Johnson). Even through disrepute, he is recognized as one of the greatest English poets of all time and compared to Shakespeare.
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