John Milton Life and Works BA English

John Milton: He was born on 9 December 1608 in Cheapside, London along Bread Street, near St. Paul’s Cathedral. He was baptized at All Hallows Church on 20 December 1608. At the time of Milton’s birth, his father was 46 and his mother 36. He had one elder sister Anne; her date of birth is unknown. Milton had three younger siblings: Christopher, baptized 3 December 1615; Sara, baptized 15 July 1612 and died 6 August 1612; and Tabitha, baptized 30 January 1614 and died 3 August 1615.

John Milton Life

John Milton Life and Works BA English
John Milton’s life and works

Milton played a significant role in his contemporary world of poets. He was not only a passionate thinker but committed to his thoughts. He wrote more than he expressed in his life. Though his father was a moneylender and well do yet at times Milton faced a financial crunch, apart from the other grave situations in his life. As he always fought for people’s freedom, he was the victim of monarchy and he was forced to hide himself for a month or so to protect his life. The tragic state of affairs occurred when he became blind at the age of 45 years. Even before this, he felt problems with his eyesight. His refusal to accept any single Protestant school is the well-established concept of his individuality of thought and integrity of vision. He had a tough stand in his thinking. Milton’s conflicts started even in his schooling with his tutor at Cambridge. He opposed the autocracy of the church and defended the cause of people’s freedom. The mother of Milton died in 1637, and he was compelled to travel to Italy. His visit to Galileo, an eminent astronomer, created trouble for him and because of some political and civil reasons he was again forced to return to his home.

From 1641 to 1645 he wrote on church reforms, divorce and censorship. The matter was converted into the form of debate and became a cause of concern for him. The civil war erupted in England and it was Milton who wrote eighteen prose works to defend the Puritan cause. Milton always advocated the separation of religion from politics and he suggested a republican form of Government which became a controversial issue. He married Mary Powell in 1642 and conflicts arose just within six weeks. The marriage proved disastrous. His wife Marry was uneducated too, putting a cause of concern on Milton. Marry died in 1652, leaving three daughters behind her. Milton held that Church is responsible on account of oppressive laws laid down for the Institution of Marriage. Milton joined Cromwell in the capacity of a secretary during 1649 but became a victim of blindness in 1652 and at the same his wife also expired. In 1656, he married Katherine and had a daughter with her. He fought for the cause of the commonwealth form of Government on account of the return of the monarchy, he was forced to hide for months together. As he was considered blind and subsequently harmless, he was protected by his friends and relatives. At this stage, he again suffered from a financial crunch. He again married Elizabeth in 1663, who helped him in studying. He died on 8 November 1674, leaving a record of conflicts behind him.

John Milton Works

John Milton Prose

Most prose of Milton was written during the middle period of his life between 1640 to 1660 when he was busy with public affairs. In all, they were twenty-five templates; twenty-one are in English and four in Latin. Some of them are Of Education (1644), Areopagitica (1644), Eikonoklastes (1649) and The History of Britain (1670).

John Milton Poetry

The great bulk of Milton’s poetry was written during two periods separated from each other by twenty years: (a) the period of his university career and his stay at Harton from 1629 to 1640; and (b) the last years of his life from 1660 to 1674. During his graduation, Milton began to compose poems of remarkable maturity and promise. They include the fine and stately Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity (1629) and the poem On Shakespeare (1630) and On Arriving at the Age of Twenty-Three (1631). These poems marked Milton’s command of impressive diction and his high ideals both literary and religious.

Lycidas (1637) is an elegy on his friend Edward King, who was drowned on a voyage to Ireland. This elegy marked the best among the highest of Milton’s achievements. It is something quite new in English Poetry. In form it is pastoral but this artificial medium serves only to show the power of Milton’s grip, which can wring from intractable material the very essence of poetry.

During the period of 1660-74, Milton considered matured in poetry. The work of the middle years is composed of a few sonnets. The best of Milton’s sonnets are On his Blindness and On the Late Massacre in Piedmont. The great work of this time is Paradise Lost. In 1671, Miton issued his last volume of poetry which contained Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes.

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