Billeder på siden

him, then possessed of youth, and beauty of person, sitting in the village church with his parents, with that appearance of a sedate student, for which he was said to be remarkable.

We were shown the house in which Milton resided. It is of course much altered, and probably but little of the original tenement remains. The garden contains the stump of an old apple tree, still called “Milton's tree," and under the shade of which he is said to have sat. The habits of his life and studies he has himself described while living at Horton; and I may finish my observations on the subject by quoting a passage from my friend Mr. Mitford's introductory poem to his edition of Parnell :


Once to these silent woods young Milton came,
(The site, the spot, now consecrate to fame),
Time holds not in his hand a more immortal name.

“ The five years of study which Milton passed at his father's house in Buckinghamshire, laid the massive foundation of his immense and wellarranged learning, and fed his youthful genius with the richest and most select stores of poetry. Italy certainly beheld with astonishment, but without envy, the accomplished scholar and poet, from whose lips she heard the language of Tiber and Arno as musically and correctly as from her Buckinghamshire was again to have the poet as an inhabitant, but her “ hedgerow elms on hillocks green” could afford him no delight; he could no longer say,


Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
Whilst the landscape round it measures,

for he had long since exclaimed to his friend Skinner,

Cyriac, this three years day, these eyes, though clear,
To outward view, of blemish or of spot,
Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot;
Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear
Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year,
Or man, or woman.

About two miles from Agmondesham, or Amersham, on the road to Uxbridge, is the pretty village of Chalfont St. Giles, celebrated as being the spot in which Milton resided during the continuance of the plague in London. From the turnpike road you drop down a lane to the right, and find yourself in a small sequestered hamlet, shaded with trees, amongst houses irregularly built, and sheltered with surrounding gardens and orchards. On the left stands the church; and a

l little further, on the opposite side, a fine elm tree, projecting over the road, throws a picturesque character on the scene. Passing the vicarage, a modest structure, in harmony with the rest of the village, and approaching the very outskirts of the place, you come to the small humble tenement where the immortal author of Paradise Lost was contented to reside, and which is now inhabited by one who obtains his livelihood by measuring yards of cloth, instead of feet of verse. In short, Milton's house is now the residence of a tailor. Those persons who have seen drawings of it, taken a few years ago, will not easily recognise it at first sight; for the porch, its distinguishing feature, has been taken down, and with it much of the character of the ancient dwellings of that time is lost. The house, in size, is somewhat between the farm-house and cottage, probably once the residence of a small yeoman. In the interior it appears to have received little or no alteration. On entering the passage, you see a long low room to the left, which was a kitchen, and opposite to it one rather smaller, which Milton in all probability occupied. Over these are bed chambers, to which you ascend by an old oaken staircase. The room over the sitting room is comparatively lofty, and is supposed to have been the bed-room of the poet. Behind this is a small chamber, and

, these form the entire little domicile. In all probility, the interior of the house is at the present time very little different from what it was in Milton's; who, we are told by his biographers, was so humble in his manners, and partook so

[ocr errors]


« ForrigeFortsæt »