21 Facts About John Milton

1. John Milton wrote the hymn Let us with a gladsome mind, a versification of Psalm 136.

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2. John Milton called in the Areopagitica for "the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties".

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3. John Milton had come to stand apart from all sects, though apparently finding the Quakers most congenial.

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4. John Milton had argued for an awkward position, in the Ready and Easy Way, because he wanted to invoke the Good Old Cause and gain the support of the republicans, but without offering a democratic solution of any kind.

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5. John Milton praised Oliver Cromwell as the Protectorate was set up; though subsequently he had major reservations.

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6. John Milton devised this position to avoid the mind-body dualism of Plato and Descartes as well as the mechanistic determinism of Hobbes.

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7. John Milton collected his work in 1645 Poems in the midst of the excitement attending the possibility of establishing a new English government.

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8. John Milton spent the remaining decade of his life living quietly in London, only retiring to a cottage during the Great Plague of London—Milton's Cottage in Chalfont St Giles, his only extant home.

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9. John Milton re-emerged after a general pardon was issued, but was nevertheless arrested and briefly imprisoned before influential friends intervened, such as Marvell, now an MP.

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10. John Milton held the appointment of Secretary for Foreign Tongues to the Commonwealth Council of State until 1660, although after he had become totally blind, most of the work was done by his deputies, Georg Rudolph Wecklein, then Philip Meadows, and from 1657 by the poet Andrew Marvell.

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11. John Milton worked more slowly than usual, given the European audience and the English Republic's desire to establish diplomatic and cultural legitimacy, as he drew on the learning marshalled by his years of study to compose a riposte.

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12. John Milton vigorously attacked the High-church party of the Church of England and their leader William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, with frequent passages of real eloquence lighting up the rough controversial style of the period, and deploying a wide knowledge of church history.

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13. John Milton was introduced to Cardinal Francesco Barberini who invited Milton to an opera hosted by the Cardinal.

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14. John Milton travelled south from Nice to Genoa, and then to Livorno and Pisa.

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15. John Milton contributed his pastoral elegy Lycidas to a memorial collection for one of his fellow-students at Cambridge.

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16. John Milton continued to write poetry during this period of study; his Arcades and Comus were both commissioned for masques composed for noble patrons, connections of the Egerton family, and performed in 1632 and 1634 respectively.

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17. John Milton lived at Horton, Berkshire, from 1635 and undertook six years of self-directed private study.

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18. John Milton was disdainful of the university curriculum, which consisted of stilted formal debates conducted in Latin on abstruse topics.

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19. John Milton was certainly at home in London in the Lent Term 1626; there he wrote his Elegia Prima, a first Latin elegy, to Charles Diodati, a friend from St Paul's.

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20. John Milton lived in and worked from a house on Bread Street, where the Mermaid Tavern was located in Cheapside.

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21. John Milton wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, written in blank verse.

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