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Title: Milton's England
Author: Mead, Lucia Ames
Language: English
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Milton's England


  Dickens' London BY FRANCIS MILTOUN

  Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top           $2.00
  The Same, 3/4 levant morocco             5.00

  Milton's England BY LUCIA AMES MEAD

  Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top            2.00
  The Same, 3/4 levant morocco             5.00


  Library 12mo, cloth, gilt top      _net_ 1.60
                                _postpaid_ 1.75
  The Same, 3/4 levant morocco       _net_ 4.00
                                _postpaid_ 4.15

  New England Building
  Boston, Mass.

[Illustration: _JOHN MILTON_

_From the miniature painted in 1667 by William Faithorne_]

  Milton's England

  By Lucia Ames Mead

  _Author of "Great Thoughts for Little Thinkers,"
  "Memoirs of a Millionaire," "To Whom Much Is Given"_



  _Copyright, 1902_

  _All rights reserved_

  Fifth Impression, April, 1908

  Electrotyped and Printed by C. H. Simonds & Co.
  Boston, U. S. A._



Milton's Residences in London

   1. Bread Street, 1608-1624.
   2. St. Bride's Churchyard, in 1639 or 1640.
   3. Aldersgate Street, 1640-1645.
   4. The Barbican, 1645-1647.
   5. Holborn, near Lincoln's Inn, 1647-1649.
   6. Charing Cross, opening into Spring Gardens, seven months in 1649.
   7. Whitehall, by Scotland Yard, 1649-1652.
   8. Petty France, now York Street, 1652-1660.
   9. Bartholomew Close, and a prison, 1660.
  10. Holborn, near Red Lion Square, in 1660.
  11. Jewin Street, 1661-1663 or 1664.
  12. Artillery Walk, by Bunhill Fields Cemetery, 1664-1665, and from 1666
      to November, 1674.

[Illustration: MAP OF MILTON'S LONDON]

Map of Milton's London

   1. Clarendon House.
   2. St. James's Field.
   3. St. James's Palace.
   4. The New River.
   5. St. James's Park.
   6. Westminster Abbey.
   7. Pall Mall.
   8. Whitehall.
   9. Scotland Yard.
  10. Charing Cross.
  11. St. Martin's Field.
  12. The Temple.
  13. Lincoln Inn Fields.
  14. Gray's Inn Fields.
  15. Holborn.
  16. Hatton Garden.
  17. St. John's Gate.
  18. Smithfield.
  19. Charterhouse Yard.
  20. Barbican.
  21. Jewin Street.
  22. St. Giles's Cripplegate.
  23. St. Paul.
  24. Bread Street.
  25. City Wall.
  26. Austin Friars.
  27. St. Ethelburga.
  28. St. Helen's.
  29. Crosby Hall.
  30. Bishopsgate Street.
  31. Aldgate.
  32. Whitechapel Street.
  33. St. Olave.
  34. The Minories.
  35. Custom House.
  36. St. Saviour's.
  37. Bedlam.
  38. Moorfields.
  39. Artillery Yard.
  40. Aldersgate Street.
  41. Cheapside.
  42. Lambeth Palace.
  43. Petty France.
  44. Birdcage Walk.


  CHAPTER                                                      PAGE

     I. THE LONDON INTO WHICH MILTON WAS BORN                    11

    II. MILTON'S LIFE ON BREAD STREET                            42

   III. MILTON AT CAMBRIDGE                                      57

    IV. MILTON AT HORTON                                         78

        BARBICAN.--HOLBORN.--SPRING GARDENS                      85

        STREET.--ARTILLERY WALK                                 110

   VII. CHALFONT ST. GILES.--ARTILLERY WALK                     112

  VIII. THE TOWER.--TOWER HILL                                  126

        CREE'S.--ST. ANDREW UNDERSHAFT                          143

        GILES'S, CRIPPLEGATE                                    164

        SEPULCHRE'S                                             184

        BARTHOLOMEW'S.--SMITHFIELD                              202

        GARDEN.--SOMERSET HOUSE                                 221

   XIV. WHITEHALL.--WESTMINSTER ABBEY                           240

        ST. MARGARET'S                                          264



List of Illustrations


  JOHN MILTON                                        _Frontispiece_

  OLD ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL                                       47

  CHRIST'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE                                    62

  PART OF WHITEHALL                                             101

  IN MILTON'S HOUSE AT CHALFONT ST. GILES                       113

  ST. CATHERINE CREE CHURCH IN 1736                             157

  CHURCH OF ST. ANDREW UNDERSHAFT IN 1737                       163

  CHURCH OF ST. GILES CRIPPLEGATE IN 1737                       178

  THE CHARTERHOUSE                                              203

  ST. JOHN'S GATE, CLERKENWELL                                  209

  SOMERSET HOUSE                                                239

  WESTMINSTER ABBEY AS MILTON KNEW IT                           250

  WESTMINSTER HALL                                              274

  IN LAMBETH PALACE                                             280

  THE ROYAL EXCHANGE                                            295

  BOW STEEPLE, CHEAPSIDE                                        304

Milton's England



To every well-read man whose mother tongue is English, whether he be born
in America or Australia or within sound of Bow Bells, the little dot upon
the map, marked "London," has an interest which surpasses that of any spot
on earth. Though in his school-days he was taught nothing of the city's
topography and little of its local history, while he has laboriously
learned outlandish names on every continent, nevertheless, in his mind's
eye, Westminster Abbey looms larger than Chimborazo, and a half-dozen
miles of the tidal Thames have more of meaning to him than as many
thousand of the Amazon, the Oxus, and the Ganges. To know London--its
mighty, historic past and its complex, stupendous present--is to know the
religion, the art, the science, the politics,--the development, in short,
of the Anglo-Saxon race.

Perhaps there is no better method of coming to know what is most
interesting in this centre of all English life than studying one of the
supremely important periods of its long history, when it was touched by
the spiritual genius of one of England's most noble sons.

Three periods of a hundred years each stand out above all others since the
Christian era in their significance and richness of accomplishment.

The third period began about 1790 with the birth of the American Republic
and the outbreak of the French Revolution. The first was that one hundred
years which from 1450 to 1550 included the beginning of the general use of
gunpowder, which made the pigmy with a pistol more than the match for
giant with spear and battleaxe. Then it was that

  "Gutenberg made thought cosmopolite
  And stretched electric wires from mind to mind."

In this period Italian art made its most splendid achievements, and
Luther, Calvin, and Columbus gave man new freedom and new possibilities.

The middle period--the one in which England made her greatest contribution
to human advancement--is the one that we are to consider. Milton's life
covered sixty-six of its one hundred years. It began with the destruction
of the Spanish Armada in 1588, and included the brilliant period of
exploration and adventure just before Milton's birth, in which Hawkins,
Drake, and Raleigh, and other ambitious and not too scrupulous sea-rovers
sought, like Cecil Rhodes, jewels and gold, empire, expansion, and renown.

It covered the chief work of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Lord Bacon, Milton,
Bunyan, Defoe, Dryden, and fifty other men still read to-day. It included
all of Milton's great Puritan contemporaries, who, fighting for the rights
of Englishmen, fought the world's battle for freedom. It ended in 1688
with the downfall of the house of Stuart and the final triumph of those
principles for which Vane and Milton had struggled and died without seeing
the fruit of their labours. Since 1688 no monarch has sat upon the English
throne by any outworn theory of "divine right of kings," but only,
explicitly and emphatically, by the will of the English people.

For all believers in the people, for all who honour Washington and
Jefferson and Lincoln, Robert Burns, John Bright and Gladstone, the
century that knew Cromwell and Milton, Sir Harry Vane and Sir John Eliot,
John Hampden, John Winthrop and William Bradford must, more than most
others, have significance.

John Milton was born in London in 1608; and it is chiefly the London of
the twenty years that intervened between the Spanish Armada and his birth
which we are to consider in this chapter.

As neither man nor anything that he has made can be well understood except
as they are related to their origins, so to understand the names, the
customs, and the daily sights that the boy Milton knew in this city, where
for nearly two millenniums before his day history had been making, one
must go back and take a brief survey.

Into the mooted question of the origin of the name of London we need not
enter. Suffice to say that when we first hear of London it was a little
hamlet on a hill of perhaps one hundred feet in height, lying between two
ranges of higher hills. At the north rose what we now call Highgate and
Hampstead, about 450 feet high, and to the south, beyond the marshes and
the Thames and a broad shallow lagoon, whose little islands once marked
the site of Southwark, rose the Surrey hills, from one of which in our day
the Crystal Palace gleams. Men with stone weapons slew antlered deer upon
the little marshy island of Thorney, now Westminster. What is now St.
James's Park was then an estuary. Streams flowed down the valleys between
the wooded hills. Only their names remain to-day to tell us, among the
present stony streets, where rivers and brooks once flowed. West Bourn, Ty
Bourn, Hole Bourne, the southern part of which was called the "Fleet,"
flowed from the hills in the northwest in a southeasterly direction into
the Thames. Just east of the last named was the little brook called
"Wallbrook," by whose banks, on the present Cornhill, the first settlement
was made. All these names, of course, belong to a time long subsequent to
the first rude settlements made in unknown antiquity before the Christian
era. The Tyburn at its mouth divided, enclosing the island Thorney, upon
which in later times arose Westminster. Hole Bourne was so named because
of its running through a deep hollow. The lower part of the river--the
Fleet--was tidal, and formed the western bulwark of London for centuries.
It emptied into the Thames where now is Blackfriars Bridge.

Far eastward from the Wallbrook, through broad marshes, flowed the river
Lea down from the country known to us as Essex and Hertfordshire. It
emptied into the Thames east of the Isle of Dogs, which is now covered
with huge docks for the shipping of the great modern city. The Lea still
flows as in the time of the Romans and Saxons, though its marshes have
largely disappeared. But the other smaller streams are now obliterated,
though in Milton's time their course could still partly be discerned, and
their degradation into drains was not complete.

Through Bread Street, on which Milton was born, passed Watling Street, the
old Roman road, named later by the Saxons, which with the Roman wall
around the city alone left traces of the Roman occupation in the poet's
day. The mosaic floors, the coins, bronze weapons and scanty remains of
the Roman period, before the fourth century A. D., are better known to us
than to the Londoners of his time. The Roman city spread itself along the
river from the Fleet on the west to the site of the present Tower of
London on the east, and then gradually crept northward. By the time the
Roman wall was built in about 360 A. D., the circumference of the city,
counting the river front, was two miles and three quarters. Here stood the
town, not in an area of fertile fields, but surrounded by forests on the
north, and on all other sides by wide-spreading marshes. The enclosed
space was originally 380 acres, to which later additions were made upon
the north and east. The wall was built of layers of thin red brick and
stone about twenty feet high, and was finished by bastions and additional
defences at the angles. Though scant traces of any of the original
construction now remain, much of the Roman wall, and, at all events, a
complete wall of mingled Roman and mediæval work, encircled the site of
the ancient city limits in Milton's day, and its gates were nightly locked
until long after his death.

At first, two land gates had sufficed, but in 1600 there were seven; on
the east, Aldgate; further north was Bishopsgate; further west, upon the
northern wall, were Moorgate and Cripplegate; upon the west, Aldersgate,
protected by the Barbican, one of the gateway towers; and south of this,
Newgate and Ludgate. Upon the waterside, Dowgate, at the mouth of the
ancient Wallbrook, now covered by the narrow street of the same name, and
Billingsgate, further east toward the Tower of London, gave access to the

In Roman days the whole enclosure was crossed by two great
streets,--Watling Street, which came from the northwest and entered near
Newgate, and Ermyn Street, which came from the northeast. Where these two
met was later the market or _chepe_, from the Saxon word meaning _sale_.

Of the Saxon period, which followed the sudden and mysterious abandonment
of their city by the Romans after their occupation of it for three
centuries, we have to-day a thousand traces in London names. Evidently the
early Anglo-Saxon, like his descendants, had a marked love of privacy and
seclusion. His sense of the sacred nature of property was as marked in him
as it has always been in his posterity. The idea of inclosure or
protection is made prominent in the constantly recurring terminations of
_ton_, _ham_, _worth_, _stoke_, _stow_, _fold_, _garth_, _park_, _hay_,
_burgh_, _bury_, _brough_, _borrow_. Philologic study of continental terms
displays no such marked emphasis upon the idea of property and demarkation
lines. Says the learned Taylor: "It may indeed be said, without
exaggeration, that the universal prevalence throughout England of names
containing this word, _Homes_ [viz., _ham_, _ton_, etc.], gives us the
clue to the real strength of the national character of the Anglo-Saxon
race." Kensington, Brompton, Paddington, Islington, are but a few of the
local names which illustrate in their suffix the origin of the word
town--originally a little hedged enclosure. [German _zaun_ or hedge.] The
most important remnant of the Saxon influence is to be found in the
syllable _ing_ which occurs in thousands of London names. This was the
usual Anglo-Saxon patronymic, and occurs most often in the middle
syllable, as in Buckingham, the home of Buck's son; Wellington, the
village of Wells's son, or the Wells clan. Family settlements are
traceable by this syllable _ing_.

_Chipping_ or _chepe_ was the old English term for market-place, and
Westcheap and Eastcheap were the old London markets of Saxon days. When
the word _market_ takes the place in England of the old Anglo-Saxon
_chipping_, we may assume the place to be of later origin.

The Saxons, unlike the Romans, were not road-makers, and when they applied
the English word _street_, corrupted from the Latin _strata_, as in the
case of Watling Street--the ancient road which they renamed--we shall
usually find that it marks a work of Roman origin.

Clerkenwell, Bridewell, Holywell, and names with similar suffixes indicate
the site of wells from which it would seem that the ancient Londoners
derived their water supply when it was not taken from the Thames, the
Holborn, or the Tyburn. _Hithe_, which means landing-place, has in later
times largely disappeared, except at Rotherhithe near Greenwich.

With the conversion of the Saxons in the seventh century appear the names
of Saxon saints. Among the notable ones to whom churches were built was
holy St. Ethelburga, the wife of Sebert, the first Christian king, whose
church to-day stands on the site of its Saxon predecessor beside
Bishopsgate, on the very spot where stood the Roman gate. Another was St.
Osyth, queen and martyr, whose name also survives in Sise, or St. Osyth's
Lane, and whose black and grimy churchyard was doubtless green in Milton's
day. To these must be added St. Dunstan, St. Swithin, St. Edmund the
Martyr, and St. Botolph, to whom no less than four churches were erected.

The devastating fire of 1135 swept London from end to end, and not a Saxon
structure remained, though the new ones that replaced them were built in
similar fashion. With the coming of the Danes were built churches to their
patrons, St. Olaf and St. Magnus; and in the centre of the Strand, St.
Clement's, Danes, is said to mark the spot where tradition assigns a
settlement of Danes.

As of the Saxons, so of the Danes, the most permanent record of their
influence on London and the Danish district of England was in their
suffixes to words which still survive. _By_, meaning first a farm and
later a village, is one which occurs some six hundred times. To this day
our common term, a _by-law_, recalls the Dane.

The names of the street on which Milton was born and of those in the near
neighbourhood to the booths that once surrounded Cheap indicate the
products formerly sold there, or the trades carried on within them. To the
north the streets were called: Wood, Milk, Iron, Honey, Poultry; to the
south they were named after Bread, Candles, Soap, Fish, Money-Changing.
Friday Street was one on which fish and food for fast days were sold.

Of Saxon and Danish London there remains in the old city proper not one
stone. Of Norman London, we have to-day the great White Tower, the crypt
of Bow Church, from whose round arches it received its name, the crypt of
St. John's Priory outside the city, part of the church of St.
Bartholomew's the Great, and part of St. Ethelburga's, Bishopsgate. Much
more existed before the Great Fire of 1666. The chief characteristics of
the English Norman work are the half-circular Roman arch, seen in all
Romanesque work: massive walls unsupported by great buttresses and not
pierced by the large windows which appear in the later Gothic style;
square towers without spires; barrel vaulting over nave and aisles in the
churches; massive piers; the use of colour upon ornaments and wall
surfaces instead of in the windows as in Gothic buildings; small
interlacing round arches in wall surfaces; zigzag and "dog tooth"
decoration; "pleated" capitals; carvings, more or less grotesque, of human
or animal forms. English Norman, like English Gothic, never equalled the
French work in both these styles.

In Milton's boyhood the impress of Plantagenet London was everywhere
visible. Throughout the centuries, from the earliest to the latest
Plantagenet, the influence of the Church reigned supreme. It has been
estimated that then at least one-fourth of the area of all London was in
some way connected with the Church, or the extensive conventual
establishments belonging to it. Their Gothic towers and steeples rose
clean and pure to the soft blue of the London sky, unfouled with coal
smoke. Their lofty walls, over which English ivy crept and roses bloomed,
shut from the narrow streets of the old town stretches of soft greensward
and shady walks. Among these rose dormitories, refectories, cloisters, and
the more prosaic offices. At every hour bells pealed and constantly
reminded the citizens of prayer and service.

Hardly a street but had its monastery or convent garden. Most of these
were just within or just without the city wall, as they were founded when
the city had already become of a considerable size, and they were
therefore located in the more open parts. The enormous size of the
equipment of these religious establishments before the Reformation, in
the century when Milton's grandfather was young, can scarcely be conceived
to-day when the adjuncts of the Church have shrunk almost to nothingness.
In Milton's boyhood, it must have been an easy task among the recent ruins
and traditions of these great establishments to reconstruct them to the
imagination in their entirety. Sir Walter Besant in his graphic book on
"London" details the numbers supported in this earlier period by St.
Paul's alone. The cathedral body included the bishop, dean, the four
archdeacons, the treasurer, the precentor, the chancellor, thirty greater
canons, twelve lesser canons, about fifty chaplains or chantry priests,
and thirty vicars. Of lower rank were the sacrist and three vergers, the
servitors, the surveyor, the twelve scribes, the book transcriber, the
bookbinder, the chamberlain, the rent-collector, the baker, the brewer,
the singing men and choir boys, of whom priests were made, the bedesmen
and the poor folk. In addition to these were the servants and assistants
of all these officers; the sextons, gravediggers, gardeners, bell ringers,
makers and menders of the ecclesiastical robes, cleaners and sweepers,
carpenters, masons, painters, carvers, and gilders.

A similar body, though somewhat smaller, was required in every other
religious foundation. No wonder that not only one-fourth of the area but
also one-fourth of the whole city population was needed to supply these

From Norman London there remained, besides St. Paul's vast monastic house,
the priory of St. Bartholomew's, the house of St. Mary Overie's, the
hospital of St. Katharine's, and the priory of the Holy Trinity. In
Plantagenet London, we find the priory of Crutched--that is,
Crossed--Friars, who wore a red cross upon their back and carried an iron
cross in their hands. Farther north upon the other side of Aldgate stood
the great monastery of Holy Trinity, the richest and most magnificent in
the city; and the priory of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate, whose noble ruins
had not disappeared more than a century after Milton's death. Farther west
and north of Broad Street stood the splendid house of Austin Friars; still
farther west was St. Martin's le Grand, and just beyond, the foundation of
the Gray Friars or Franciscans. Christ's Hospital, which lies chiefly on
the site of this old monastery, we shall consider in a later chapter. In
the southwest corner of the London wall dwelt the Black Friars--the
Dominicans--whose name to-day is perpetuated in Blackfriars Bridge.

Outside the walls were other establishments as rich and splendid as these
that were within them. Farther west than the house of the Black Friars
was the monastery of White Friars or Carmelites, and beyond these the
ancient site of the Knights Templar, whose Temple church, in Milton's day,
as well as ours, alone remained. North of the Norman St. Bartholomew's was
the house of the Carthusians, whose long history, ending in the
Charterhouse, must be reserved to a later chapter. Northwest from the
Norman house of St. Bartholomew's stood the Norman priory of St. John's of
Jerusalem. Adjacent to it lay the twin foundation--the priory of Black

South of the Thames lay two great establishments, Bermondsey and St.
Thomas's Hospital, while of the hospitals situated among the priories and
monasteries to the north were the hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem and
the great hospital of St. Mary Spital, both of which were originally
planned for religious houses. This is but a dry, brief catalogue, not of
all the great religious houses, but only of those whose walls, more or
less transformed or ruined, were within walking distance and most familiar
to the boy Milton in his rambles around the city of his birth.

Milton must have seen several "colleges" as well as monasteries; among
these were St. Michael's College on Crooked Lane, and Jesus Commons, and a
"college" for poor and aged priests, called the "Papey." A portion of the
"college" of Whittington still remained, and on the site of the present
Mercers' Chapel stood a college for the education of priests, whose
splendid church remained until the Great Fire.

Every lover of the beautiful must fondly dwell upon the glorious period of
Gothic architecture during which these structures rose. Though London in
the Tudor period eclipsed in wealth and magnificence the city of earlier
times, the Elizabethan age had no power in its development of
pseudo-classic forms to equal the dignity and beauty of the Norman and
Gothic work. Then the unknown reverent artist wrought not for fame or
earthly glory, but dedicated his labour to the God of Nature, whose laws
and principles were his chief guide. These were the days when vine and
tendril and the subtle curves of leaf and flower or supple animal form
suggested the enrichment of capital and corbel. No cheap and servile
imitation of lute and drum, of spear and sword and ribbon, of casque and
crown and plume, displayed a paucity of inventive genius and abandonment
of nature's teaching for that of milliner and armourer. Let John Ruskin,
in many ways the spiritual son of the beauty-loving Puritan, John Milton,
interpret to us the meaning of those poems reared in stone, which Milton's
age was fast displacing:

"You have in the earlier Gothic less wonderful construction, less careful
masonry, far less expression of harmony of parts in the balance of the
building. Earlier work always has more or less of the character of a good,
solid wall with irregular holes in it, well carved wherever there was
room. But the last phase of Gothic has no room to spare; it rises as high
as it can on narrowest foundations, stands in perfect strength with the
least possible substance in its bars; connects niche with niche and line
with line in an exquisite harmony from which no stone can be removed, and
to which you can add not a pinnacle; and yet introduces in rich, though
now more calculated profusion, the living elements of its sculpture,
sculpture in quatrefoils, gargoyles, niches, in the ridges and hollows of
its mouldings--not a shadow without meaning and not a line without life.
But with this very perfection of his work came the unhappy pride of the
builder in what he had done. As long as he had been merely raising clumsy
walls and carving them, like a child, in waywardness of fancy, his delight
was in the things he thought of as he carved; but when he had once reached
this pitch of constructive science, he began to think only how cleverly he
could put the stones together. The question was not now with him, What can
I represent? but, How high can I build--how wonderfully can I hang this
arch in air? and the catastrophe was instant--architecture became in
France a mere web of woven lines,--in England a mere grating of
perpendicular ones. Redundance was substituted for invention, and geometry
for passion." ("The Two Paths.")

It is in this later Gothic, for example the much admired Chapel of Henry
VII. at Westminster, that we find this redundancy of motive and poverty of
invention, as, for instance, in the repetition of the portcullis--the
Tudor heraldic ornament. Ruskin would teach us that heraldic signs, though
suited for a few conspicuous places, as proclaiming the name or rank or
office of the owner, become impertinent when blazoned everywhere, and are
wholly devoid of beauty when they reproduce by the hundred some instrument
of prosaic use.

Plantagenet London, and its many remnants of domestic architecture, in
Milton's day, illustrated fully Ruskin's dictum that "Gothic is not an art
for knights and nobles; it is an art for the people; it is not an art
[merely] for churches and sanctuaries; it is an art for houses and
homes.... When Gothic was invented houses were Gothic as well as
churches.... Good Gothic has always been the work of the commonalty, _not_
of the churches.... Gothic was formed in the baron's castle and the
burgher's street. It was formed by the thoughts and hands and powers of
labouring citizens and warrior kings." ("Crown of Wild Olive.")

In a memorable passage in his lectures on Architecture in Edinburgh,
Ruskin recalls the power with which the Gothic forms appeal to the
imagination when embodied in poetry and romance. He asks what would result
were the words _tower_ and _turret_, and the mental pictures that they
conjure up, removed. Suppose Walter Scott had written, instead of "the old
clock struck two from a turret adjoining my bedchamber," "the old clock
struck two from the landing at the top of the stair." "What," he asks,
"would have become of the passage?" "That strange and thrilling interest
with which such words strike you as are in any wise connected with Gothic
architecture, as for instance, vault, arch, spire, pinnacle, battlement,
barbican, porch,--words everlastingly poetical and powerful,--is a most
true and sure index that the things themselves are delightful to you." As
to stylobates, and pediments, and triglyphs, and all the classic forms,
even when pure and unvulgarised by decadent Renaissance work, how utterly
they fail to satisfy the poetic instinct of the man of English lineage is
well expressed by James Russell Lowell, as he stood within the portals of
Chartres Minster:

  "The Grecian gluts me with its perfectness
  Unanswerable as Euclid, self-contained,
  The one thing finished in this hasty world.
    But ah! this other, this that never ends,
  Still climbing, luring fancy still to climb,
  As full of morals, half divined, as life,
  Graceful, grotesque, with ever new surprise
  Of hazardous caprices, sure to please,
  Heavy as nightmare, airy light as fern,
  Imagination's very self in stone!"

Of the type of architecture most favoured by Milton's contemporaries,
Ruskin says:

"Renaissance architecture is the school which has conducted men's
inventive and constructive faculties from the Grand Canal [in England, he
might have said, old Chester or old Canterbury] to Gower Street, from the
marble shaft and the lancet arch and the wreathed leafage ... to the
square cavity in the brick wall." This is a strong expression of a half
truth. But the baldness and blankness of Gower Street and a thousand other
streets is not so hopeless as the pretentious bastard Renaissance work
which modern London shows. The rich modern world can not plead poverty as
its excuse for ugliness. Even the village cottage of three centuries ago,
as well as the city streets, showed a popular love of beauty and a power
to attain it which few architects, or rather few of their patrons, permit
the modern world to see.

But let the lover of past beauty take new courage. Hundreds of signs
disclose the dawn of a revival of true taste in which England and America
bid fair to lead the world.

Though in most of its forms the Renaissance art that accompanied the new
age of discovery and expansion of commerce in the century before Milton
indicates a decadence of the love of beauty, exception must be made to
much delightful domestic architecture that has the Tudor stamp and is
distinctly English, and unknown on the Continent.

The introduction into the background of portraits of such classic outlines
as domes, arches, and marble pilasters, is a device used by painters when
they would flatter the vanity of their patrons and give them a courtly
setting. No Byzantine or Norman arch, or Gothic spire or portal, however
rich in decoration, can equal the severe but pompous lines of the
Renaissance in conveying a sense of pride. Says Ruskin: "There is in them
an expression of aristocracy in its worst characters: coldness,
perfectness of training, incapability of emotion, want of sympathy with
the weakness of lower men, blank, hopeless, haughty insufficiency. All
these characters are written in the Renaissance architecture as plainly as
if they were graven on it in words. For, observe, all other architectures
have something in them that common men can enjoy; some concession to the
simplicities of humanity, some daily bread for the hunger of the
multitude; quaint fancy, rich ornament, bright colour, something that
shows a sympathy with men of ordinary minds and hearts, and this wrought
out, at least in the Gothic, with a rudeness showing that the workman did
not mind exposing his own ignorance if he could please others. But the
Renaissance is exactly the contrary of this. It is rigid, cold, inhuman;
incapable of glowing, of stooping, of conceding, for an instant. Whatever
excellence it has is refined, high-trained, and deeply erudite, a kind
which the architect well knows no common mind can taste. He proclaims it
to you aloud.... All the pleasure you can have in anything I do is in its
proud breeding, its rigid formalism, its perfect finish, its cold
tranquillity.... And the instinct of the world felt this in a moment....
Princes delighted in it, and courtiers. The Gothic was good for God's
worship, but this was good for man's worship.... The proud princes and
lords rejoiced in it. It was full of insult to the poor in its every line.
It would not be built of materials at the poor man's hand.... It would be
of hewn stone; it would have its windows and its doors and its stairs and
its pillars in lordly order and of stately size."

To the novice, who is beginning to decipher the inner meaning of sermons
in stones in which the ages have recorded, all unconsciously, the life and
aspiration of the past, these words may sound harsh and fantastic.

With the memory of such rare geniuses as Michael Angelo and Wren, and
their awe-inspiring cathedrals, built in the Renaissance forms, one may
hesitate before completely accepting Ruskin's dictum. Ruskin himself has
done homage to their genius and the greatness of their work. "There were
of course," he says, "noble exceptions." Yet surely the devout Christian
must feel under their glorious domes not so much like praying and
reverencing his Maker as glorifying the work of men's hands. Under any
dome and architectural reminder of Roman thought and life, whether it be
Wren's mighty St. Paul's, or his small and exquisitely proportioned St.
Stephen's, Wallbrook, almost in its shadow, the worshipper must feel
something akin to Ruskin's sentiment. A meek and contrite heart feels
alien and uncomforted amid its perfection.

But Ruskin's word chiefly concerns the more perfect Gothic of the
Continent, and the manifestations there--worse than any in England--of
riotous and insolent excess in its Renaissance work. The most ostentatious
and offensive monument in Westminster Abbey, which is adorned with
meaningless mouldings, artificial garlands, and cherubs weeping hypocritic
tears, is not so odious as those which Venice, Rome, Antwerp, and a
hundred other cities reared upon the Continent. Those tasteless, costly
structures which modern Englishmen are but now learning to condemn
illustrate completely the pride and arrogance of a world drunk with new
wealth, in which fashion supplants beauty.

Yet to a large extent the England of the splendid Tudor period and the
England of the Stuarts substituted for the beautiful and sincere forms of
an earlier period a style of construction and decoration which showed
distinct decadence. Witness the carvings in the chapel and dining-hall of
the Charterhouse, new in Milton's boyhood, the carvings in the
dining-halls of the different Inns of Court, and mural tablets everywhere
with their obese cherubs and ghastly death's heads. In the quaint beam and
plaster front of Staple's Inn on Holborn still remains the ancient type of
domestic architecture which antedated and accompanied Milton's boyhood.
Hundreds of such cosy, homelike residences with their ample windows of
many leaded panes lined the city streets. The merchants who lived in them
sold their wares in the shops beneath, and, if they were artificers,
housed their apprentices within them. They were built solidly to last for
centuries. Strong beams upheld the broad, low-studded ceilings. Capacious
fireplaces opened into chimneys whose construction was often made a work
of art. Around the house-door were carvings of saints or devils, of
prophets, hobgoblins or grotesque dragons, of birds and bees, and any wild
or lovely fancy that the craftsman loved to perpetuate in wood or stone.
The home must be made beautiful as well as the sanctuary. In those days
the mania of migration had not yet destroyed the permanence and sacredness
of the homestead. Where the young man brought his bride, even in a city
home, there he hoped to dwell and dandle his grandchildren upon his knee.
It was Milton's fate to know many homes in London. Discoveries and travel
of the Elizabethan period had broken many traditions of the past, and the
old order in his day was yielding to the new. But half the architecture of
two hundred years before him still remained, and all the traditions of the
past were fresh. The dingy and mutilated relics of the time before the
Tudors which, outside the Gothic churches, alone remain to us, reveal but
little of what he saw.

With Henry VIII. and the widespread and thorough dissolution of religious
houses, London became a far more commercial and prosaic place. Green
convent gardens were sold for the erection of narrow wooden tenements;
ancient dormitories, refectories, and chapels were pulled down or
transformed for more secular purposes. Crutched Friars' Church became a
carpenter's shop and tennis court; Shakespeare and his friends erected a
playhouse on the site of the Black Friars' monastery. A tavern replaced
the church of St. Martin's le Grand, and far and wide traces of the
despoiler and rebuilder were manifest.

Stow had then but just written his invaluable chronicles, and little
antiquarian interest prevailed. For the first time in human history men
sailed around the globe. New worlds were opening to men's visions. Not
only dreams of wealth without labour, but golden actualities had dazzled
the imagination of thousands. Drake and Hawkins, Frobisher and Raleigh
were adding new lustre to an age hitherto unparalleled in prosperity and
enterprise. Emerson's description of the Englishman as having a
"telescopic appreciation of distant gain" was exemplified.

England was rich in poets, great even in Shakespeare's time. Of two
hundred and forty who published verses, forty are remembered to-day. Yet
of England's six million people, half could not read at all. Never was
there among people of privilege such a proportion of accomplished men.
Every man tried his hand at verses, and learned to sing a madrigal, and
tinkle the accompaniment with his own fingers. Gentlemen travelled to
Italy and brought back or made themselves translations of Boccaccio,
Ariosto, Tasso. Not only learned ladies like Queen Elizabeth, who had had
Roger Ascham for instructor, wrote Latin, but many others were
accomplished in those severer studies which ladies in a later age

Sir Walter Besant tells us that from Henry IV. to Henry VIII. herbs,
fruits, and roots were scarcely used. At this period, however, the poor
again began to consume melons, radishes, cucumbers, parsley, carrots,
turnips, salad herbs, and these things as well graced the tables of the
gentry. Potatoes were unknown until a much later time. Much meat was
eaten, and in different fashion from our own, _e. g._, honey was poured
over mutton. Tobacco cost eighteen shillings a pound, and King James
complained that there were those who "spent £300 a year upon this noxious
weed." No vital statistics existed to show the average of longevity. But
certain it is that, with modern sanitation and cleanliness, the great
modern London, which to-day houses about as many souls as did all England
then, has a much lower death-rate. When one remembers that, spite of
stupendous intellectual attainments, of exquisite taste in art and
literature, spite of wise statesmanship and all manly virtues, the wise
men of that day were children in their knowledge of chemistry and
medicine, we cannot wonder at the recurrence of the plague in almost every

In 1605 the bills of mortality included the ninety-seven parishes within
the walls, sixteen parishes without the walls, and six contiguous
outparishes in Middlesex and Surrey. During Milton's lifetime, they
included the city of Westminster and the parishes of Islington, Lambeth,
Stepney, Newington, Hackney, and Redriff. Scarlet fever was formerly
confounded with measles, and does not appear to be reported as a separate
disease until 1703.

In 1682 Sir William Petty, speaking of the five plagues that had visited
London in the preceding hundred years, remarks: "It is to be remembered
the plagues of London do commonly kill one-fifth of the inhabitants, and
are the chief impediment against the growth of the city."

In Milton's boyhood common folk were crowded into such narrow, wooden
tenements as one may still see within the enclosure of St. Giles's Church,
Cripplegate,--almost the only ones that still remain within the city.
There were no sewers and no adequate pavement until 1616. House refuse was
not infrequently thrown into the street, and sometimes upon the heads of
passers-by, though ancient laws enjoined each man to keep the front of his
house clean and to throw no refuse into the gutter. In short, ideas on
sanitation in London were much like those in Havana before the summer of

It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics of the population of London,
but Loftie estimates that in 1636 seven hundred thousand people lived
"within its liberties."

Where now lofty, gray stone buildings of pretentious and nondescript
architecture shelter banks and offices, gabled buildings with overlapping
stories darkened the streets. The city was not dependent on the suburbs or
upon other towns for aught but food and raw material. Wool and silk and
linen, leather and all metals were wrought close to the shops where they
were sold. The odours of glue and dyestuffs tainted the fresh air. The
sound of tools and hammers, and of the simple looms and machinery of the
day, worked by foot or hand power, were heard.

New objects of luxury began to be manufactured--fans, ladies' wigs, fine
knives, pins, needles, earthen fire-pots, silk and crystal buttons,
shoe-buckles, glassware, nails, and paper. New products from foreign lands
were introduced and naturalised--among them, turkeys, hops, and apricots.
Forks had not yet appeared as a necessary table furnishing. Kissing was a
universal custom, and a guest kissed his hostess and all ladies present.

Though in the time of Milton's father the amenities of life had much
increased, cruelty and severe punishments were more frequent than in an
earlier age. Three-fourths of all the heretics burned at the stake in
England suffered in those five years of the bloody queen who, with her
Spanish husband at her court, ruled from 1553 to 1558 over unhappy
England. Many a time must the boy Milton have heard blood-curdling tales
from aged men of these ghastly days when Ridley, Cranmer, Hooper, and John
Rogers withered in the flames. His own father may have seen the later
martyrdoms of Roman Catholics in Elizabeth's reign, or of that Unitarian
in 1585 who suffered at the stake for the denial of the divinity of
Christ--a theological view with which Milton himself is shown to have had
much sympathy.

The historian tells us of men boiled and women burned for poisoning; of
ears nailed to the pillory and sliced off for libellous and incendiary
language. We read of frightful floggings through the streets and of an
enormous number of men hanged. Many rogues escaped punishment altogether,
for, though punishment when it came was terrifically out of proportion to
the offence, and in its publicity incited by suggestion to more crime, the
law was often laxly administered.

All periods are more or less transitional, but the England into which
Milton came in the first years of the seventeenth century was peculiarly
in a state of transformation and unsettlement. As in the beginning of the
twentieth century, men's minds were receiving radical, new impressions,
and had not yet assimilated or comprehended them. The doctrines of
religious and political freedom were the dreams of prophets, and were yet
to be conceived a possibility by the masses, who through dumb centuries
had toiled and laughed and wept, and then stretched themselves in mother
earth and slept among their fathers. The tender, growing shoots which in
the days of Wiclif had sprung from the seed, small as a mustard seed,
which he had planted, had grown. Birds now lodged among its branches. The
time was ripening when, with the axe and hammer of Milton and his mighty
compeers, some of its timbers should help rear a new structure for church
and state; and others should be driven deep under the foundations of the
temple which men of English blood should in the future rear to democracy.



Directly under the shadow of St. Mary le Bow Church, and almost within
bowshot of old St. Paul's, in a little court off Bread Street, three doors
from Cheapside, John Milton, the son of John Milton, scrivener, was born,
December 9th in 1608. The house was marked by the sign of a spread eagle,
probably adopted from the armorial bearings of the family, which appear on
the original agreement for the publication of "Paradise Lost." John
Milton, scrivener, whose business was much like that of the modern
attorney, was the son of a well-to-do Catholic yeoman of Oxfordshire, and
is said to have studied for a time at Christ Church, Oxford. Certain it is
that he turned Protestant, was cast off by his father, and in Elizabeth's
reign settled in London; by 1600, when he married his wife Sarah, the
worldly goods with which he her endowed in the church of All Hallows,
Bread Street, included two houses on that street, besides others

We know little of Milton's mother, except that she was a woman of a warm
heart and generous hand, and had weak eyes which compelled her to wear
spectacles before she was thirty, while her husband read without them at
the age of eighty-four. Three of their six little ones died in babyhood,
but the little John's elder sister, Anne, and younger brother,
Christopher, grew with him to middle life.

It was a musical household; an organ and other instruments were part of
the possessions most highly prized in the Bread Street home. The little
lad must have looked with pride at the gold chain and medal presented to
his father by a Polish prince for a composition in forty parts which the
former had written for him. Many chimes in country churches played the
psalm tunes that he had harmonised. To this day a madrigal and other songs
of his are known to music lovers. No wonder that the boy reared in this
home was ever a lover of sweet sounds, and learned to evoke them with his
own little fingers upon the organ keyboard.

The Bread Street of Milton's day, though swept over by the Great Fire, was
not obliterated, and still covers its old site. Just at the head of it, on
Cheapside, stood the "Standard in Cheap"--an ancient monument in hexagonal
shape, with sculptures on each side, and on the top the figure of a man
blowing a horn. Here Wat Tyler and Jack Cade had beheaded prisoners. A
little west was the Gothic Cross in Cheap, one of the nine crosses erected
in memory of Queen Eleanor, somewhat similar to the modern one at Charing

Only a few steps from his father's house the little John found himself in
the thickest traffic and bustle of the city. Here were mercers' and
goldsmiths' shops, and much coming and going of carts, and occasionally
coaches, which, as the antiquarian Stow declared, "were running on wheels
with many whose parents had been glad to go on foot," for coaches were but
newly come into fashion. As the little lad stood at the street corner
looking east and west along Cheapside,--the ancient market-place,--his eye
fell on well-built houses three and four stories high; they were turned
gable end to the street, were built of timber, brick, and plaster, and had
projecting upper stories of woodwork. Stow describes a row built by Thomas
Wood, goldsmith, of "fair large houses, for the most part possessed of
mercers," and westward, beginning at Bread Street, "the most beautiful
frame of fair houses and shops that be within the walls of London or
elsewhere in England. It containeth in number ten fair dwelling-houses and
fourteen shops, all in one frame, uniformly builded, four stories high,
beautified toward the street with the goldsmiths' arms and the likeness of
woodmen, in memory of his name, riding on monstrous beasts; all of which
is cast in lead, richly painted over and gilt."

The modern visitor, as he turns from the jostling crowds of Cheapside into
Bread Street, which is scarcely wider than a good sidewalk, will find no
trace of aught that Milton saw. The present mercantile establishment, at
numbers 58-63, that covers the site of his house, covers as well the whole
Spread Eagle Court, in which it stood. It bears no inscription, but, if
one enters, the courteous proprietor may conduct him to the second story
where a bust of Milton is placed over the spot where he was born.

A little farther south, on the corner of Watling Street, is the site of
All Hallows Church, where Milton was baptised, and which is marked by a
gray stone bust of the poet and the inscription:


The register of his baptism referred to him as "John, sonne of John
Mylton, Scrivener."

Here the Milton family sat every Sunday and listened to the sermons of
Reverend Richard Stocke, a zealous Puritan and most respected man, who is
said to have had the gift of influencing young people.

Further south, on the same side as All Hallows, were "six almshouses
builded for poor decayed brethren of the Salter's Company," and beyond
this the church of St. Mildred, the Virgin. Upon crossing Basing Lane,
Milton saw the most noted house upon the street, known as "Gerrard Hall."
This was an antique structure "built upon arched vaults and with arched
gates of stone brought from Caen in Normandy," as Stow relates. A giant is
said to have lived here, and the large fir pole in the high hall, which
reached to the roof, was said to have been his staff. Stow thought it
worth while to measure it, and declares it was fifteen inches in
circumference. Small boys in Bread Street may well have stood in awe of
such a cane.

Whether the famous "Mermaid" Tavern was in Bread or Friday Street or
between them seems doubtful, but Ben Jonson's lines plainly indicate Bread

  "At Bread-street's Mermaid having dined and merry,
  Proposed to go to Holborn in a wherry."


The two upper views show the porch by Inigo Jones. The two lower views
show the "Lesser Cloisters." Milton's school stood at the rear of the

_From an old engraving._]

As Milton was early destined for the Church, his unusually thoughtful
disposition and quick perception must have given promise of his
fulfillment of his father's hope. At the age of ten he was writing verses.
At this time, a Dutch painter, Jansen, reputed to be "equal to Van Dyck in
all except freedom of hand and grace," was employed to paint the
scrivener's little son, as well as James I. and his children and various

This portrait shows us a sweet-faced, sober little Puritan in
short-cropped auburn hair, wearing a broad lace frill about his neck, and
an elaborately braided jacket. This portrait is now in private hands, from
whence it is to be hoped that it will some day find its way to the
National Portrait Gallery, and be placed beside the striking and noble
likeness of the poet in middle life.

The lines which were written beneath the first engraving of it may have
been the poet's own:

  "When I was yet a child, no childish play
  To me was pleasing; all my mind was set
  Serious to learn and know, and thence to do
  What might be public good; myself I thought
  Born to that end, born to promote all truth
  And righteous things."

Milton appears to have been very fond of his preceptor, a Scotch Puritan
named Young. He seems to have well grounded the lad in Latin, aroused in
him a love of poetry, and set him to making English and Latin verses. But
the little John must go to school with other boys; and what more natural
than that the famous St. Paul's School, within five minutes' walk, should
have been selected?

When Milton went to school in 1620, St. Paul's Cathedral was become old
and much in need of restoration. It had been built on the site of an older
church and was in process of erection and alteration from about 1090 to
1512, when its new wooden steeple, covered with lead, was completed. Its
cross was estimated later by Wren to have been at least 460 feet from the
ground. This had disappeared in a fire in 1561, and none replaced it. What
Milton saw was a huge edifice, chiefly Gothic, with a central tower about
260 feet high. The classical porch by Inigo Jones was not added, neither
were certain buildings which abutted the nave torn down until after
Milton's school-days were over. On the east end, next his schoolhouse, was
a great window thirty-seven feet high, above which was a circular rose
window. The choir stretched westward 224 feet, which, with the nave, made
the entire length 580 feet. When Jones's portico was added, its whole
length was 620 feet. The area which it covered was 82,000 feet, and it was
by far the largest cathedral in all England. Upon the southwest corner
was a tower once used as a prison, and also as a bell and clock tower.
This was the real Lollards' tower, rather than the one at Lambeth which is
so called. The northwest tower was likewise a prison. The nave was of
transitional Norman design, of twelve bays in length, and with triforium
and clerestory. For many decades a large part of the cathedral was
desecrated by a throng of hucksters, idlers, and fops.

Ben Jonson makes constant allusion to "Paul's." Here he studied the
extravagant costumes of the day. According to Dekker, the tailors
frequented its aisles to catch the newest fashions: "If you determine to
enter into a new suit, warn your tailor to attend you in Paul's, who with
his hat in his hand, shall like a spy discover the stuff, colour, and
fashion of any doublet or hose that dare be seen there; and stepping
behind a pillar to fill his table-book with those notes, will presently
send you into the world an accomplished man."

Bishop Earle, writing when Milton was twenty years of age, describes St.
Paul's as follows: "It is a heap of stones and men with a vast confusion
of languages; and were the steeple not sanctified, nothing liker Babel.
The noise in it is like that of bees mixed of walking tongues and feet. It
is the exchange of all discourse, and no business whatsoever but is here
stirring and afoot. It is the market of young lecturers, whom you may
cheapen here at all rates and sizes. All inventions are emptied here, and
not few pockets. The best sign of a temple in it is that it is the
thieves' sanctuary."

Well may John Milton senior have cautioned his young son not to tarry in
"Duke Humphrey's Walk," as this scene of confusion was called, on his way
home from school, though he may well have taken him to inspect the lofty
tomb of Dean Colet or the monuments to John of Gaunt and Duke Humphrey and
the shrine of St. Erkenwald, which was behind the high altar. As a man, in
later years, Milton may have walked down from Aldersgate on a December in
1641 and attended the funeral of the great painter, Sir Anthony Van Dyck,
who for nine years had made his residence in England, and was buried here.

In a corner of the churchyard stood a covered pulpit surmounted by a
cross, where in ancient times the folkmote of the citizens was held. For
centuries before Milton, this was a famous spot for outdoor sermons and
proclamations. Here the captured flags from the Armada had waved above the
preacher. But in 1629, when Milton was in Cambridge, Oliver Cromwell, in
his maiden speech in Parliament, declared that flat popery was being
preached at Paul's Cross. When Cromwell's day of power was come, and the
cathedral during the war was sometimes used to stable horses, Paul's Cross
was swept away, and its leaden roof melted into bullets. Before that, in
1633, preaching had been removed from there into the choir.

Of the architecture of the bishop's palace, which stood at the northeast
of the cathedral, we know nothing, but we know that it existed in Milton's
school-days. Adjoining the palace was a "Haw," or small enclosure
surrounded by a cloister, filled with tombs, and upon the walls was a
grisly picture of the Dance of Death. Death was represented by a skeleton,
who led the Pope, and emperor, and a procession of men of all conditions.
In brief, the little "Haw" was a small edition of the Pisan Campo Santo.

At the east end of the churchyard stood the Bell Tower, surmounted by a
spire covered with lead and bearing a statue of St. Paul. The cloister of
the Chapter House or Convocation House hid the west wall of the south
transept and part of the nave. It was, unlike most structures of that
character, two stories in height, and formed a square of some ninety feet,
which was called the "Lesser Cloisters," doubtless to distinguish it from
the other cloisters in the "Haw." During his most impressionable years,
the city boy John Milton could not have stirred from home without being
confronted by majestic symbols of the Christian faith, and mighty
structures already venerable with age, and rich in treasures of a great
historic past. Religion and beauty played as large a part in the
influences that moulded the life of his young contemporaries as science
and athletics do in the life of every American boy to-day. Whatever faults
the methods of education in Milton's age may be accused of, it can not be
denied that they developed industry, reverence, and moral courage--three
qualities which with all our child study and pedagogical improvements are
perhaps less common to-day than they were then.

About the year 1620, when William Bradford was writing his famous journal,
and John Carver and Edward Winslow were sailing with him in the
_Mayflower_, when Doctor Harvey had told London folk that man's blood
circulates, and many new things were being noised abroad, twelve-year-old
John Milton first went to school. His school had been founded in 1512 by
Dean Colet, whose great tomb, just mentioned, was but a stone's throw
distant. It was a famous school. Ben Jonson and the famous Camden had
studied there, and learned Latin and Greek, the catechism, and good
manners. There were 153 boys in all; the number prescribed had reference,
curiously, to the number of fishes in Simon Peter's miraculous draught.
Over the windows were inscribed the words in large capital letters:
"_Schola Catechizationis Puerorum In Christi Opt. Max. Fide Et Bonis
Literis_." On entering, the pupils were confronted by the motto painted on
each window: "_Aut Doce, Aut Disce, Aut Discede_"--either teach or learn
or leave the place. There were two rooms, one called the _vestibulum_, for
the little boys, where also instruction was given in Christian manners. In
the main schoolroom the master sat at the further end upon his imposing
chair of office called a _cathedra_, and under a bust of Colet said to
have been a work of "exquisite art." Stow tells us that somewhat before
Milton's time the master's wages were a mark a week and a livery gown of
four nobles delivered in cloth; his lodgings were free. The sub-master
received weekly six shillings, eight pence, and was given his gown.
Children of every nationality were eligible; on admission they passed an
examination in reading, writing, and the catechism, and paid four pence,
which went to the poor scholar who swept the school. The eight classes
included boys from eight to eighteen years of age, though the curriculum
of the school extended over only six years. Milton's master was Doctor
Alexander Gill, who from 1608-1635 held the mastership of St. Paul's
School. A progressive man was this same reverend gentleman--a great
believer in his native English and in spelling reform. Speaking of Latin,
this remarkable Latin master said: "We may have the same treasure in our
own tongue. I love Rome, but London better. I favour Italy, but England
more. I honour the Latin, but worship the English." He was also an
advocate of the retention of good old Saxon words as against the invasion
of Latinised ones. "But whither," he writes, "have you banished those
words which our forefathers used for these new-fangled ones? Are our words
to be exiled like our citizens? O ye Englishmen, retain what yet remains
of our native speech!" Under Mr. Gill's instruction, and that of his son,
who was usher, Milton spent about four years of strenuous study. So great
was his ambition for learning during the years when most boys find school
hours alone irksome enough that he says: "My father destined me when a
little boy for the study of humane letters, which I seized with such
eagerness that from the twelfth year of my age I scarcely ever went from
my lessons to bed before midnight; which indeed was the first cause of
injury to my eyes, to whose natural weakness there were also added
frequent headaches." Philips writes:

"He generally sat up half the night as well in voluntary improvements of
his own choice as the exact perfecting of his school exercises; so that at
the age of fifteen he was full ripe for academical training." During these
years the boy probably learned French and Italian, as well as made a
beginning in Hebrew.

It was in his last year at school that he paraphrased the ninety-fourth
Psalm, beginning:

  "When the blest seed of Terah's faithful son
  After long toil their liberty had won,
  And passed from Pharian fields to Canaan's land
  Led by the strength of the Almighty's hand,
  Jehovah's wonders were in Israel shown,
  His praise and glory were in Israel known."

Likewise Psalm one hundred and thirty-six, beginning:

  "Let us with a gladsome mind
  Praise the Lord, for he is kind:
  For his mercies aye endure,
  Ever faithful, ever sure."

The present St. Paul's School is now splendidly housed in a great
establishment in Hammersmith. But Milton's school and the one which arose
on its ashes after the Great Fire are remembered by the following
inscription: "On this site, A. D. 1512 to A. D. 1884, stood St. Paul's
School, founded by Dr. John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's." From the studio
of Mr. Hamo Thornycroft at Kensington, whence came the heroic figures of
Cromwell at Westminster and King Alfred at Winchester, St. Paul's School
is to receive a noble statue of the great scholar.



The schoolmate whom Milton most loved was a physician's son, Charles
Diodati, almost exactly his own age, who went to Cambridge a little in
advance of him.

After his sister, who was then eighteen years old, had been wooed and won
by Mr. Philips, and had made the first break in the home on Spread Eagle
Court, Milton, now sixteen years old, followed his friend to Cambridge.
Doubtless he rode on the coach, which every week the hale old stage-coach
driver--Hobson--drove from the Bull's Inn on Bishopsgate Street. A
well-to-do man was this worthy, who, in spite of eighty winters, still
cracked his whip behind his span, and kept forty horses in his livery
stable. Milton took a great fancy to him. He soon learned, as did every
young gentleman intent on hiring a nag, that "Hobson's choice" meant
taking the horse that stood nearest the stable door. Hobson is said to
have been the first man in England to let out hackney-coaches. The modern
visitor to the university town finds the old carrier honoured by a
memorial; for he became a public benefactor, and among many generous gifts
bequeathed a sum that to this day provides for a fine conduit and for the
runnels of sparkling water that flow along the streets and around the

Under the mastership of Doctor Thomas Bainbrigge, Milton became a "lesser
pensioner" in February, 1624, at Christ's College. Students were
classified according to social rank and ability to pay, and Milton stood
above the poorer students, called "sizars," who had inferior
accommodation; he probably paid about £50 a year for his maintenance.
Christ's College, as regards numbers, then stood nearly at the head of the
sixteen colleges and had one master, thirteen fellows, and fifty-five
scholars, which, together with students, made the number two hundred and
sixty, about the same that it has to-day. It stands between Sidney Sussex
College and Emmanuel. In the former, Cromwell studied, from April, 1616,
to July, 1617, and the room with its bay window and deep window-seats and
little bedroom opening out of it, which is said to have been his, may
still be seen in the second story of the building next to the street. The
window is modern. His portrait, painted in middle life, hangs in the
dining-hall. Doctor William Everett, in what is the best book on life in
Cambridge,--his "On the Cam,"--thus sums up his estimate of the Protector:
"Bigots may defame him, tyrants may insult him, but when the hosts of God
rise for their great review and the champions of liberty bear their scars,
there shall stand in the foremost rank, shining as the brightness of the
firmament, the majestic son of Cambridge, the avenger and protector,
Oliver Cromwell." A Royalist has written in a note that is appended to
Cromwell's name in the college books: "_Hic fuit grandis ille impostor
carnifex perditissimus_;" and it is as "impostor" and "butcher" that
two-thirds of Englishmen would have described him before Carlyle
resurrected the real man.

Emmanuel College is preëminently the Puritan college. It is dear to
Americans as the one where William Blackstone, the learned hermit of
Shawmut, John Harvard, the founder of Harvard College, and Henry Dunster,
its first president, Bradstreet, the colonial governor, and Hugh Peters,
the regicide, who lived in Boston, once studied. Here also Thomas Hooker,
the founder of Connecticut, was a student, and here John Cotton was a
fellow. This beloved preacher afterward left his ministry over St.
Botolph's Church in Boston, England, to go to the little settlement of
Winthrop's, which had changed its earlier names of "Shawmut" and
"Trimountaine" to "Boston" before his arrival. American tourists, who find
their way to the spacious grounds of Jesus College to see the Burne-Jones
and Morris windows in the chapel, will be glad to note that in these
stately halls John Eliot walked a student. Little he then dreamed of his
future life in wigwams, a guest of mugwumps, in the forests of Natick,
Massachusetts, and of the laborious years to be spent in turning Hebrew
poetry and history and gospel message into their barbarous tongue. Francis
Higginson, the minister to Salem, and the ancestor of Colonel Thomas W.
Higginson, studied here as well. John Winthrop, the governor of the
Massachusetts colony, and President Chauncy of Harvard College studied at
Trinity a generation before Wren erected its great library, and Isaac
Newton was a student there. John Norton, Cotton's successor at the First
Church, Boston, studied in Peterhouse, the oldest of all the colleges, and
Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, entered Pembroke College the
year before Milton entered Christ's. Whether the two, whose lives were to
touch so closely later, knew each other then or not is doubtful. William
Brewster was the only man who came in the _Mayflower_ who had a college
education. He too studied at Cambridge; and so did John Robinson, the
dearly loved pastor of the Pilgrims, who remained with the other English
refugees at Leyden.

It was these men, with Shepard, Saltonstall, and a score more of Oxford
and Cambridge men, who were the spiritual fathers of Samuel Adams, Warren,
Otis, Hancock; of Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Channing,
Beecher, and Phillips Brooks; of Lowell, Longfellow, Whittier, Bryant,
Holmes, and Hawthorne; of Garrison, Phillips, and Sumner; of Motley,
Bancroft, Prescott, and John Fiske. The Cambridge that Milton knew was the
mother and the grandmother of the founders of states and of the
architects of national constitutions and ideals.

Though most of the New England Puritan leaders came from Cambridge, Oxford
furnished several of the great Puritans who remained at home--Pym, Vane,
John Eliot, and Hampden.

It is estimated that nearly one hundred university men, between 1630 and
1647, left their comfortable homes and the allurements that Oxford,
Cambridge, and the picturesque England of their time presented, to undergo
the hardships of pioneers in the raw colony upon Massachusetts Bay. Of
these, two-thirds came from Cambridge, a particularly large proportion
from Emmanuel College. Of the forty or fifty Cambridge or Oxford men who
were in Massachusetts in 1639, one-half were within five miles of Boston
or Cambridge. It was this element of culture and character that determined
the history of New England, and forced its stony soil to bring forth such
a crop of men in the ages that were to come as made New England, in the
words of Maurice, "the realisation in plain prose of the dreams which
haunted Milton his whole life long."


A, Chapel; B, Library; C, Dining-Hall; D, Head Master's Rooms; E, Kitchen;
F, Master's Garden; H, Tennis Court.

_From an old engraving._]

Sidney Sussex, Christ's, and Emmanuel Colleges were erected during the
Tudor period, Christ's College, founded in 1505, being the earliest of the
three. The buildings of the latter now present a more commonplace
appearance than when the "Lady of Christ's," as the students called young
Milton, walked among them in his cap and gown. One still may climb the
narrow, shabby stairway to the room, with a tiny, irregular bedroom and
cupboard, where Milton lived, and which probably he shared with a
roommate. It has no inscription or special mark, and probably few
strangers seek it out. The visitor will note its two windows opposite each
other, whose heavy window-frames, with the wainscoting and cornice, bear
mark of age.

No one, however, fails to seek within the secluded inner garden the
decrepit mulberry-tree, which is said to have been planted by Milton. Its
trunk is muffled high in a mound of sod, and its aged limbs, which still
bear foliage and black berries, rest on supports. High, sheltering walls
shut in the exquisite green lawns around it, and birds, blossoms, and
trees make the spot seem a paradise regained.

Among the students of Christ's College, none in later years brought it
such renown as two men of widely differing types--the authors of
"Evidences of Christianity" and "The Origin of Species." William Paley in
1766, when he was but twenty-three years old, was elected a fellow, and
remained in Cambridge ten years. His famous work to-day forms part of the
subjects required for the "Little Go." Charles Robert Darwin, the
Copernicus of the nineteenth century, entered Christ's with the intention
of studying for the ministry. He left it to journey on the _Beagle_
through the southern seas, and to bring back results which, with his later
study, led to such a revolution in human thought as made it only second to
that wrought in the minds of men who lived a generation before Milton was

Masson tells us that in Milton's college days the daily routine was chapel
service at five o'clock in the morning, followed sometimes by a discourse
by one of the fellows, then breakfasts, probably served in the students'
own rooms, as they are to-day. This was followed by the daily college
lectures or university debates, which lasted until noon, when dinner was
served in the college dining-halls; there the young men, then as now, sat
upon the hard, backless benches, and drank their beer beneath painted
windows and portraits, perchance by Holbein, of the eminent men who had
been their predecessors.

After dinner, if they supped at seven, and attended evening service, they
could do much as they pleased otherwise. In Milton's day, the rule of an
earlier time, which prescribed that out of their chambers students should
converse in some dead language, had been much relaxed. Probably the
barbarous Latin and worse Greek and Hebrew, which this prescription must
have caused, finally rendered it a dead letter. Smoking was a universal
practice, and boxing matches, dancing, bear fights, and other forbidden
games were not unknown. Bathing in the sedgy little Cam was prohibited,
but was nevertheless a daily practice.

In many colleges the undergraduates wore "new fashioned gowns of any
colour whatsoever, blue or green, or red or mixt, without any uniformity
but in hanging sleeves; and their other garments light and gay, some with
boots and spurs, others with stockings of divers colours reversed one upon
another." Some had "fair roses upon the shoe, long frizzled hair upon the
head, broad spread bands upon their shoulders, and long, large merchants'
ruffs about their necks, with fair feminine cuffs at the wrist."

The portrait of Milton, which hangs in a spacious apartment used by the
dons at Christ's College, shows him a youth of rare beauty, in a rich and
tasteful costume with broad lace collar. He holds a gilt-edged volume in
his hand, and has the mien of a refined and elegant scholar, but not
effeminate withal, for he was used to daily sword practice.

Corporal punishment was then still in vogue, and delinquents under
eighteen years old were not infrequently chastised in public. In fact, at
Trinity College, "there was a regular service of corporal punishment in
the hall every Thursday evening at seven in the presence of all the
undergraduates." Masson discredits the story that Milton was once
subjected to corporal punishment.

In Milton's day the old order was changing, and we note that on Fridays
men ate meat, and that the clergy indulged in impromptu prayers, to the
scandal of the good churchmen. It was complained that "they lean or sit or
kneel at prayers, every man in a several posture as he pleases; at the
name of Jesus, few will bow, and when the Creed is repeated, many of the
boys, by men's directions, turn to the west door."

Milton seems to have attended plays at the university, and to have been a
critical observer. Toland quotes him as saying: "So many of the young
divines and those in next aptitude to Divinity have been seen so often on
the stage writhing and unboning their Clergy Lims to all the antic and
dishonest Gestures of Trinculos, Buffoons, and bands; prostituting the
shame of that ministry which either they had or were nigh having, to the
eyes of Courtiers and Court Ladies, with their grooms and Mademoiselles.
There where they acted and overacted among other young Scholars, I was a
Spectator; they thought themselves gallant Men and I thought them Fools;
they made sport, and I laughed; they mispronounced, and I misliked; and to
make up the Atticisms, they were out and I hist."

It is the boast of Cambridge that she educated Cranmer, Latimer, and
Ridley, the three martyrs whom Oxford burned. It must likewise be noted
that Erasmus, Spenser, Coke, Walsingham, and Burleigh were Cambridge men.

The Cambridge of Milton's time was but a small town of seven thousand
inhabitants, about one-sixth of its present size, but rich with a history
of nearly six hundred years. Its most beautiful building then as now was
King's College Chapel--in fact, the most beautiful building in either
Oxford or Cambridge, despite Mr Ruskin's just criticism upon it. No doubt,
it would look less like a dining-table bottom-side up, with its four legs
in air, were two of its pinnacles omitted; doubtless also the same
criticism on its monotonous decoration of the alternate rose and
portcullis, which we made in regard to the Chapel of Henry VII., is here
applicable. But its great length, its noble proportions, its rare rich
windows, its splendid organ-screen--old in Milton's college days--must
appeal to every lover of beauty. One loves to think of the young poet
musing here upon those well-known lines in "Il Penseroso" which this
stately building may have inspired.

  "But let my due feet never fail
  To walk the studious cloisters pale,
  And love the high, embowered roof,
  With antick pillars massy proof,
  And storied windows, richly dight,
  Casting a dim religious light.
  There let the pealing organ blow,
  To the full voiced Quire below,
  In service high and anthem clear,
  As may with sweetness through mine ear
  Dissolve me into ecstasies,
  And bring all heaven before mine eyes."

In King's Chapel Queen Elizabeth attended service several times, and
listened with delight to a Latin sermon from the text "Let every soul be
subject unto the higher powers." On the afternoon of the same Sunday she
returned to the antechapel and witnessed a play of Plautus.

Among many buildings which were very old even in Milton's time must be
mentioned the church of St. Benedict on Bene't Street, which was once the
chapel of Corpus Christi College. Its ancient tower is especially
noteworthy. Its little double windows are separated by a baluster-shaped
column. The tower is similar to one at Lincoln, and, with the whole
structure, antedates the Norman conquest.

A generation before Milton's time Robert Browne, the father of
Congregationalism, drew great crowds within this venerable edifice to
listen to his radical doctrine. At Cambridge, where he had studied, he
became impressed with the perfunctoriness and worldliness of the Church of
his time, and he resolved to "satisfy his conscience without any regard to
license or authority from a bishop."

When the Pilgrim Fathers fled from Austerfield and Scrooby in 1608, it was
as Brownists or Separatists that they went to Holland. They sought a
refuge where they might worship God according to the dictates of their own
conscience, without interference of bishop or presbyter. It was Browne's
doctrine, not only of the absolute separation of Church and state, but
also of the independence of each individual congregation, that laid the
foundation of church government in New England. Presbyterianism has gained
little root east of the Hudson. After Browne had suffered for his faith in
thirty of the dismal dungeons of that day, and, shattered in mind by his
suffering, had recanted and returned to Mother Church, his disciples
remained true to the light that he had shown them; the generation of
scholars with whom Milton talked at Cambridge were as familiar with
Browne's doctrine as the present generation is with that of Maurice and
Martineau, and Milton must have been much influenced by it.

Opposite St. John's Chapel is the little round church of the Holy
Sepulchre. This is the earliest of the four churches in England built by
the Templars which still remain. It is similar to the Temple church in
London, and was probably begun a little later than St. Benedict's, which
has just been mentioned. It is questionable whether the students of
Milton's college days appreciated the beauty of this beautiful remnant of
the Norman period that was in their midst. The taste of that day was
decidedly for architecture of the Renaissance type, of which Cambridge
boasts many examples.

In Milton's time the most beautiful quadrangle in Cambridge, and perhaps
in the world, that of Trinity, had been but newly finished by the
architect, Ralph Symons, who altered and harmonised a group of older
buildings. In the centre of the court is Neville's fountain, built in
1602, which is a fine example of good English Renaissance work. During
four years of Milton's residence, part of St. John's College was in
process of erection in the Italian Gothic style. This was at the expense
of the Lord Keeper Williams, whose initials and the date, 1624, are
lettered in white stone near the western oriel. It was completed in 1628.
Clare Bridge was not finished until 1640, and most of the other beautiful
bridges that span the Cam to-day were unknown to Milton when he mused
beside its shady banks where

  "Camus, reverend sire, went footing slow,
  His mantle hairy and his bonnet sedge
  Inwrought with figures dim, and on the edge
  Like to that sanguine flower inscribed with woe."

Only fifteen miles away, across the level fields, lay Ely Cathedral, built
on what was once hardly more than an island in the Fens. Many a time
during his seven years in the university town must Milton have walked over
there, or ridden on one of Hobson's horses, perhaps with his dear Charles
Diodati, to view the mighty structure, or to study its Norman interior.
Its gray towers and octagonal lantern dominate the little town that
clusters around it, and may be seen from far across the plain.

During these studious years, while Milton walked among the colleges where
Chaucer, Bacon, Ben Jonson, and Erasmus had likewise walked as students,
he was not only busied with logic, philosophy, and the literature of half
a dozen living and dead languages, but his tender emotions seem to have
been briefly touched by some unknown fair one; and his interest in public
matters, for instance, Sir John Eliot's imprisonment in the Tower, is
evident. In one letter he mentions the execution of a child but nine years
old, for setting fire to houses. A scourge of the plague afflicted London
on the year that he entered Cambridge, and five years later he was driven
from town by its devastation there. The university ceased all exercises,
and the few members of it that remained shut themselves in as close
prisoners. So great was the poverty and suffering incident to this
calamity, that the king appealed to the country for aid to the stricken

During these years of quiet growth, Milton's first noteworthy poems
appear, of which the Latin poems, according to good judges, deserve the
preference. We here mention only some of his English poems. The longest of
these, which was written the month and year when he came to his majority,
was begun on Christmas morning, 1629. This serious youth of twenty-one
longed to give "a birthday gift for Christ," and thus appeared his poem,
"On the Morning of Christ's Nativity." Three or four years earlier he had
written on the death of his baby niece, Mrs. Philips's child, his lines
"On the Death of a Fair Infant." The revelation of self in his sonnet "On
His Being Arrived to the Age of Twenty-Three," makes the latter the most
interesting of these early flights of song.

The most precious literary treasure which Cambridge possesses, and as Mr.
Edmund Gosse asserts, "the most precious manuscript of English literature
in the world," is the packet of thirty loose and ragged folio leaves
covered with Milton's handwriting, which since 1691 has lain in Trinity
College Library. For a generation, they attracted no attention, but later
they were examined and handled by so many that they suffered seriously;
within fifty years, seventeen lines of "Comus" were torn out and stolen by
some unknown thief. Mr. Gosse, in a delightful article in the _Atlantic
Monthly_, upon "The Milton Manuscripts at Cambridge," gives reins to his
imagination in picturing the sudden temptation of this man, who, passing
down the long ranges of "storied urn and animated bust," which adorn the
interior of Wren's famous structure, advances beyond the beautiful figure
of the youthful Byron to the gorgeous window in which the form of Isaac
Newton shines resplendent. The careless attendant places in his hands the
richly bound thin folio,--"and now the devil is raging in the visitor's
bosom; the collector awakens in him, the bibliomaniac is unchained. In an
instant the unpremeditated crime is committed.... And so he goes back to
his own place certain that sooner or later his insane crime will be
discovered ... certain of silent infamy and unaccusing outlawry, with no
consolation but that sickening fragment of torn verse which he can never
show to a single friend, can never sell nor give nor bequeath. Among
literary criminals, I know not another who so burdens the imagination as
this wretched mutilator of 'Comus.'" These pages are the laboratory or
studio of the poet, and reveal most interestingly the progress of his art
during his earlier creative years. Like Beethoven's note-book, they teach
the impatient and inaccurate that genius condescends carefully to note
little things and to take infinite pains, whether it be with symphonies or
sonnets. Charles Lamb, on looking over the Milton manuscripts, whimsically
recorded his astonishment that these lines had not fallen perfect and
polished from the poet's pen. "How it staggered me to see the fine things
in their ore! interlined, corrected! as if their words were mortal,
alterable, displaceable at pleasure!" But the average man, who despairs of
ever attaining artistic excellence, and finds every kind of literary
composition a formidable task, takes consolation in the fact here
revealed, that even the creator of "L'Allegro" and "Il Penseroso," before
he reached the perfect phrase,--"endless morn of light,"--experimented
with no less than six others: "ever-endless light," "ever glorious,"
"uneclipsèd," "where day dwells without night," and "in cloudless birth of
night." The authorities of Trinity College, having of late realised the
invaluable service to men of letters that this glimpse into the poet's
workshop would be, have issued a limited edition, in sumptuous form, of a
perfect facsimile of the Milton manuscripts. "Now, for the first time," as
Mr. Gosse remarks, "we can examine in peace, and without a beating heart
and blinded eyes, the priceless thing in its minutest features." When it
is remembered that no line of Shakespeare's remains in his own
handwriting, and nothing of any consequence of Chaucer's or Spenser's, Mr.
Gosse cannot be accused of over-statement when he says that to all lovers
of literature this volume is "a relic of inestimable value. To those who
are practically interested in the art of verse, it reads a more pregnant
lesson than any other similar document in the world."

Some day the great university may add to its charms not only an adequate
memorial to its Puritans, but one to its poets--Spenser, Milton, Pope,
Gray, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Byron, and Tennyson, who have enriched it by
their presence, and have made Cambridge _par excellence_ the university of
the poets. It must be remembered that Chaucer and Shakespeare were not
university men.

The time for a pilgrimage to Cambridge is term time, when window-boxes,
gay with blossoms, brighten gray old walls within the "quads," and when
the streets are enlivened by three thousand favoured youths intent on
outdoor sport. Then all points of interest are accessible, and perchance
one may be so fortunate as to get entrance up narrow, worn stone stairways
into some student's cosy study; the visitor will find it lined with books,
rackets, and boxing-gloves, and decorated with trophies and photographs of
some one else's sister. Bits of college gossip and local slang, hints of
college traditions, prejudices, and customs pleasantly vary the tourist's
hours spent over the fine print of Baedeker and in search for the tombs of
eminent founders.

Even if one is a tourist and not a "fresher," he will find it profitable
to study contemporary Cambridge through "The Fresher's Don't," written by
"A Sympathiser, B. A.," and addressed to freshers "in all courtesy." As to
dress, the "fresher," among other pieces of sage advice, is told: "Don't
forget to cut the tassel of your cap just level with the board. Only
graduates wear long tassels."

"Don't wear knickerbockers with cap and gown, nor carry a stick or
umbrella. These are stock eccentricities of Fresherdom." (The genuine
Cambridge student would rather be soaked to his skin and risk pneumonia,
than encounter the derisive grin which an umbrella would evoke.)

"Don't aspire to seniority by smashing your cap or tearing your gown, as
you deceive no one."

"Don't be a tuft-head. The style is more favoured by errand boys than

"Don't by any chance sport a tall hat in Cambridge. It will come to

Under other headings, the following injunctions may be selected:

"Don't sport during your first month. You will only earn the undesirable
appellation of 'Smug.'"

"Don't speak disrespectfully of a man 'Who only got a third in his Trip.,
and so can't be very good.' Before you go down your opinion will be 'That
a man must be rather good to take the Trip. at all.'"

"Don't mistake a Don for a Gyp. The Gyp is the smarter individual."

"Don't forget that St. Peter's College is 'Pot-House,' Caius is 'Keys,'
St. Catherine's is 'Cats,' Magdalene is 'Maudlen,' St. John's College Boat
Club is 'Lady Margaret,' and a science man is taking 'Stinks.'"

"Don't forget that Cambridge men 'keep' and not 'live.'"



On leaving Cambridge, when he was nearly twenty-four years old, Milton
retired to his father's new home at Horton, about seventeen miles west of
London. Here he tells us that, "with every advantage of leisure, I spent a
complete holiday in turning over the Greek and Latin writers; not but that
I sometimes exchanged the country for the town, either for the purpose of
buying books, or for that of learning something new in mathematics, or in
music, in which sciences I then delighted."

As Milton's father was in easy circumstances his son never earned money
until after he was thirty-two years of age. These free and quiet years at
Horton, when he was his own master, and was without a care, were the
happiest of his life.

The visitor from London now alights at the little station of Wraysbury,
and if it be upon a July 4th, as when the writer made a pilgrimage to
Horton, he will find no pleasanter way to celebrate the day than to stroll
through level fields by the green country roadside a mile and a half to
the little hamlet among the trees. On the way he will espy to the left, on
the horizon, the gray towers of Windsor, and may imagine the handsome
young poet, whose verse has glorified this quiet rural landscape, pausing
some morning in the autumn on his early walk to listen to the far sound of
the huntsman's horn, and presently to see the merry rout of gaily clad
dames and cavaliers dash by, leaping fearlessly the hedgerows and barred

Horton is a tiny, tranquil village, with little that remains to-day,
outside the ancient parish church, that John Milton saw, except the Horton
manor-house of the Bulstrode family, which had had connections with Horton
from the time of Edward VI. The modern Milton manor, situated in beautiful
grounds, may or may not stand upon the site of Milton's former home, which
remained until 1798, when it was pulled down. The old tavern of uncertain
date upon the one broad street may perhaps have gathered around its
antique hob, within the little taproom, gray-haired peasants who guided
clumsy ploughs through the rich loam of the fields of Horton, while the
white-handed poet sat on a velvet lawn under leafy boughs, and penned his
blithe tribute to the nightingale, or in imagination sported with
Amaryllis in the shade, or with the shepherds, sprites, and nymphs who
peopled his youthful dreams.

As in Cambridge, runnels of clear water, which come from the little river
Colne not far distant, flow beside the road. Even to-day one has not far
to seek to find the suggestion for those exquisite lines in "Comus" which
Milton wrote in Horton:

  "By the rushy-fringèd bank,
  Where grows the willow and the osier dank,
  My sliding chariot stays,
  Thick set with agate and the azurn sheen
  Of turkis blue and emerald green
  That in the channel strays:
  Whilst from off the waters fleet
  Thus I set my printless feet
  O'er the cowslip's velvet head
  That bends not as I tread."

The student of Milton finds the centre of interest in Horton to-day to be
the beautiful old church where the Milton family attended service for five
years, and where the mother lies buried.

It stands in the green churchyard, back from the village street. Yew-trees
and rose-bushes lend it shade and fragrance. The tombs for the most part
are not moss-grown with age, but are rather new, though the slab at the
entrance over which Milton passed is marked "1612." The battlemented stone
tower is draped with ivy and topped with reddish brick. Like scores of
churches of the twelfth or thirteenth century, in which it was built, the
gabled portico is on the side. The interior is well-preserved; it has a
nave with two aisles and a chancel, and in the porch is an old Norman
arch. Upon the wall at the rear are wooden tablets which record curious
bequests of small annuities for monthly doles of bread to needy people.

Never since those five joyous years at Horton has any English poet blessed
the world with verse of such rare loveliness and perfection as fell from
the pen of Milton during this time, when spirit, heart, and mind were in
attune. The world's clamour had not broken in upon his peace.

Probably at the request of his friend, the composer Lawes, he wrote his
"Arcades" in honour of the Countess Dowager of Derby, who had been
Spenser's friend. The venerable lady lived about ten miles north of Horton
on her fine old estate of Harefield, where Queen Elizabeth had visited her
and her husband. On that occasion a masque of welcome had been performed
for her in an avenue of elms, which thus received the name of the "Queen's
Walk." It was in this verdant theatre that Milton's "Arcades" was
performed by the young relatives of the countess. Among these were Lady
Alice and her boy-brothers, who on the following year took part in
Milton's "Comus," which he wrote anonymously to be played at Ludlow Castle
upon the Welsh border, when the children's father was installed as lord
president of Wales. Besides these longer poems, Milton wrote his "Il
Penseroso" and "L'Allegro" at Horton, as well as the noble elegy
"Lycidas," which was written in memory of his gifted friend, Edward King,
who was drowned in the summer of 1637, just before Milton left his
father's home.

In this peaceful valley of the Thames, his clear eye searched out every
sight, his musical ear sought out every sound that revealed beauty or that
suggested the antique, classic world in which his whole nature revelled.
He walked in "twilight groves" of "pine or monumental oak;" he listened to
"soft Lydian airs" and curfew bells, to the lark's song, and Philomel's.
He watched "the nibbling flocks," the "labouring clouds," and saw,
"bosomed high in tufted trees," towers and battlements arise, and beheld
in vision his--

              "Sabrina fair,...
  Under the glassy, cool translucent wave
  In twisted braids of lilies knitting
  The loose train of her amber dropping hair."

He lived in a world enchanted by the magic of his genius. Yet in his
little world of loveliness he was not deaf to the distant hoarse cry of
the coming storm, and at the last the Puritan within him awoke and cried
out at those--

            "who little reckoning make
  Than how to scramble at the shearers' feast ...
  Blind mouths! that scarce themselves know how to hold
  A sheephook--or have learnt aught else the least
  That to the faithful herds-man's art belongs!
  What recks it them? What need they? They are sped;
  And when they list, their lean and flashy songs,
  Grate on their scrannel pipes of wretched straw;
  The hungry sheep look up and are not fed
  But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw
  Rot inwardly and foul contagion spread."

In the spring of 1637, the last year that the poet spent at Horton, just
before another outbreak of the plague, his mother died. We may think of
brother Christopher, a young student of laws of the Inner Temple, and the
widowed sister Anne and her two boys coming post-haste from London, and
standing beside the desolate father and the poet-brother in the chancel,
when the tabernacle of clay was lowered to its resting-place. A plain blue
stone now bears the record: "Heare lyeth the Body of Sarah Milton, the
wife of John Milton, who died the 3rd of April, 1637."

The American visitor to Horton on the day that commemorates his country's
declaration of independence will remember Runnymede and Magna Charta
Island. And he will find nothing more consonant with his feeling, after
visiting the home of the republican Milton, than to wend his way across
the fields, golden with waving grain and gay with scarlet poppies, to the
spot where his ancestors and Milton's in 1215 brought tyrant John to
sullen submission to their just demands.

On the margin of the river he may embark, and as the sun casts grateful
shadows eastward, he may drift gently down beside the long, narrow island
in the rushy margin of the stream, where white swans build their nests. A
notice warns him not to trespass, for the gray stone house upon it, whose
gables are half hid by dense shrubbery, is private property. Some day
perhaps this English nation that so loves its own great history will
reclaim this historic spot, and mark Magna Charta Island with a memorial
of the brave men who made it world-famous. Or perhaps,--who knows?--some
American, who has spent three years at Oxford, and learned to love the
history of the race from which he sprang, may be impelled to honour that
which is best in her, and after placing in Cambridge and in Horton fit
memorials of Milton, may be moved to erect here a worthy monument to the
bold barons.



One year after his mother's death, and probably just after Christopher's
wedding, the poet, now a man of thirty, arrived in Paris, accompanied by
his servant, and bearing valuable letters of introduction, among others,
some from Sir Henry Wotton. As we are dealing with Milton's England, scant
space must be allowed to this year or more spent among the _savants_ and
the unwonted sights of France and Italy. In Paris the young scholar was
introduced by Lord Scudamore to the man whom he most desired to see,--the
great Hugo Grotius, a man of stupendous erudition and lofty character.
Milton declared that he venerated him more than any modern man, and well
he might, for the Dutch hero and exile had not his equal upon the
Continent, even in that age of great men.

Passing through Provence, Milton entered Italy from Nice, and found
himself in the land whose melodious language he had made his own, and
whose history and literature few Italians of his age knew better than he.
He went to Genoa, "La Superba," which then boasted of two hundred palaces;
thence to Leghorn, and fourteen miles farther to Pisa on the Arno, and,
farther up the Arno, to beautiful Florence. Here he paused two months,
lionised by the best society, and hobnobbing with painters, poets,
prelates, and noblemen as he walked in Santa Croce, or on the heights of
Fiesole, or in the leafy shade of Vallombrosa. Here it was that he was
presented to the blind Galileo, "grown old," he writes, "a prisoner to the
Inquisition for thinking in Astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and
Dominican licensers thought." Doubtless, in later years, when blindness
and royal disfavour had embittered but failed to crush his spirit, the
gray-haired poet often recalled this visit made in his radiant youth.

Going by way of Siena, on its rocky height, Milton passed on to Rome in
the autumn, and here spent two months in the splendid city of the Popes,
in which great St. Peter's was but newly finished. The city swarmed with
priests and prelates, but the poet spoke freely of his own faith. One of
his great joys was to listen to the incomparable singing of Leonora
Baroni, the Jenny Lind of his time, to whom he wrote exuberant panegyrics
in Latin.

In November, Milton drove to Naples, a hundred miles away, where he was
favoured with the hospitality of the aged Manso, the friend of Tasso, and
the wealthy patron of letters; he showed the young Englishman his beloved
city, presented him with valuable gifts, and welcomed him in his villa at
Pozzuoli, overlooking the bay of Naples.

Milton had planned to visit Sicily and Greece, but he writes: "The sad
news of civil war coming from England called me back; for I considered it
disgraceful that, while my fellow countrymen were fighting at home for
liberty, I should be travelling abroad at ease for intellectual purposes."

War, however, had not yet broken out, and Milton lingered another two
months in Rome, little aware of the relics of the Cæsars that lay buried
in the Forum under the cow-pasture of his time.

Another visit to Florence, where he was again the centre of attraction,
was followed by trips to the quaint mediæval cities of Lucca, Ferrara,
Bologna, and to Venice by the sea. Guido Reni, Guercino, Domenichino, and
Salvator Rosa were then living, and he may have chanced upon them in his
wanderings. From Venice he turned back through Verona and Milan, and
paused a little in Geneva, which was still under the strong influence of
its great reformer, Calvin; then he journeyed on to Paris, where a royal
infant, Louis XIV., had been born during his travels. On reaching home,
after this journey into the great splendid world full of temptations to
every man who was dowered with keen susceptibilities and a passionate,
vehement disposition, Milton writes: "I again take God to witness that in
all those places where so many things are considered lawful, I lived sound
and untouched from all profligacy and vice, having this thought
perpetually with me, that though I could escape the eyes of men, I
certainly could not the eyes of God."

It was a chaste and modest love that inspired the six amatory sonnets in
Italian, which were probably written during his stay abroad. It was a
refined and high-bred man, who knew the world and took it at its just
measure, who was now to lend his hand to fight the people's battle.

On his return to England Milton did not take up his residence again in his
father's home at Horton, which was then kept by his younger brother and
his wife. He went to London, and for a brief time made his home with a
tailor named Russel in St. Bride's Churchyard, near Fleet Street, within
view of Ludgate Hill and St. Paul's. Here in the winter of 1639-40 he
began teaching the little Philips boys, his nephews, and took entire
charge of his small namesake John, but eight years old. His sister Anne by
this time had remarried, and was now Mrs. Agar. During his stay in St.
Bride's Churchyard, Milton jotted down on seven pages of the manuscript
that is now in Trinity College Library suggestions for future work with
which his brain was teeming. Of the ninety-nine subjects that he
considered, sixty-one, including "Paradise Lost" and "Samson," are
Scriptural, and thirty-eight, including "Alfred and the Danes" and "Harold
and the Normans," are on British subjects. Like the young Goethe who
projected "Faust," which was not finished until his hair had whitened,
Milton conceived his epic when it was to wait a quarter of a century for

Says Edward Philips, the elder nephew whom he taught: "He made no long
stay in his lodgings on St. Bride's Churchyard: necessity of having a
place to dispose his books in, and other goods fit for the furnishing of a
good handsome house, hastening him to take one; and accordingly, a pretty
garden-house he took in Aldersgate Street, at the end of an entry, and
therefore the fitter for his turn, besides that there are few streets in
London more free from noise than that."

At that time the entrance to the street from St. Martin's-le-Grand was
one of the seven gates of the city wall. A new one, on the site of a far
older one, had been erected when Milton was nine years old; this had "two
square towers of four stories at the sides, pierced with narrow portals
for the foot passengers and connected by a curtain of masonry of the same
height across the street, having the main archway in the middle." Besides
the figures of Samuel and Jeremiah, the gate was adorned with an
equestrian statue of James I. on the Aldersgate side, and the same monarch
on his throne on the St. Martin's-le-Grand side. In 1657 Howell says:
"This street resembleth an Italian street more than any other in London,
by reason of the spaciousness and uniformity of the buildings and
straightness thereof, with the convenient distance of the houses."

Amid the labyrinth of dingy, crowded alleys with which the garden spaces
of the seventeenth century now are covered, one looks in vain to-day for
any trace of Milton's home; in short, of all the houses that he occupied
in London, no one remains, or even has its site marked. All we know of the
house on Aldersgate Street is, that it stood in the second precinct of St.
Botolph's parish, between the gate and Maidenhead Court on the right, and
Little Britain and Westmoreland Alley on the left. Near by dwelt his old
teacher, Doctor Gill, and Doctor Diodati, the father of his dearest
friend, whose recent death he mourned in a touching elegy written in
Latin. Upon his walks into the open fields, which were not then far
distant, he must have passed many fine town houses of the gentry, their
sites now covered by a dreary waste of shops and factories. During these
years we learn that he varied his studies in the classics, and his keen
observations on the doings of the newly assembled Long Parliament by an
occasional "gaudy-day," in company with some "young sparks of his

It was in Aldersgate Street that Milton began writing his vehement
pamphlets, and it was Thomas Underhill, at the sign of the "Bible" in Wood
Street, Cheapside, who published the first polemics which he and young Sir
Harry Vane sent forth upon the burning questions of the day, into which
the scope of this volume forbids us to enter. Milton's future career was a
complete refutation of Wordsworth's conception of him as a lonely star
that dwelt apart. The gentle author of "Comus" and the composer of elegant
sonnets had changed his quill for that "two-handed engine" which was to
smite prelate and prince.

During these days the post brought daily news of the horrors of the
insurrection in Ireland; Milton read "of two and twenty Protestants put
into a thatched house and burnt alive" in the parish of Kilmore; of naked
men and pregnant women drowned; of "eighteen Scotch infants hanged on
clothiers' tenterhooks;" of an Englishman, wife, and five children hanged,
and buried when half alive; of eighty forced to go on the ice "till they
brake the ice and were drowned." These, and the hideous tortures upon
thousands, which history relates, may explain, if they do not palliate the
cruelties a few years later which Cromwell committed, and which have made
his name synonymous with "monster" to this day throughout this much
tormented and turbulent Irish people.

Americans who sharply condemn the devastation which old Oliver wrought
will also do well to cry out no less loudly at the like barbaric slaughter
in the island of Samar, which was ordered two hundred and fifty years
later by some of their own officers.

War opened. There were doubtless anxious days in the house on Aldersgate
Street, for brother Christopher, who stood with the royal party, had moved
with his father from Horton to Reading, which was besieged. But war was
not the sole cause for anxiety. When old Mr. Milton arrived safely in
London late in the summer he found his son John married and already
parted from his bride of seventeen, who had lived with him but one short
month. Of the brief courting of Mary Powell at her father's house at
Forest Hill, near Oxford, we know little. But one day in May, when King
Charles I. had driven her brothers and all other students out of Christ
Church, and had taken up temporary residence there himself, the
venturesome lover came into the enemy's country and called on her. The
family was well known to him; their comfortable mansion housed ten or
eleven children and had fourteen rooms. We read of their "stilling-house,"
"cheese-press house," "wool-house," of their two coaches, one wain, and
four carts. It was a merry household, and one well-to-do in worldly goods.

Whether the girl was deeply enamoured of the grave, handsome man, twice
her age, who asked her hand, is doubtful, but they were soon married, and
in the Aldersgate house, the nephew relates, there was "feasting held for
some days in celebration of the nuptials, and for entertainment of the
bride's friends." Then the relatives bade the bride goodbye. But the young
wife, having been brought up and lived "where there was a great deal of
company and merriment, dancing, etc., when she came to live with her
husband found it very solitary; no company came to her;" consequently at
the end of a month her preoccupied husband gave consent to the girl's
request to pay a visit home, with the promise of returning in September.

Some sons of intimate friends joined the nephews as pupils, and the elder
Milton was added to the household. But the bride declined to answer her
husband's letters or to return; during the following months the irate man,
thus deserted, wrote his pamphlets on "Divorce," while all England was
astir with the meeting of the famous Westminster Assembly, the spread of
Independency, and the king's defeat at Marston Moor. During these days
also Milton wrote his remarkable scheme for the education of gentlemen's
sons, in which he showed himself as radical and original and as ready to
make learning a delightful and not an odious process as did Rousseau and
Froebel a century or more later. Marvellous was the work accomplished by
Milton's young pupils at Aldersgate Street. We read of these boys of
fourteen and sixteen, though even their learned teacher knew not yet of
the microscope and the law of gravitation, studying not only Greek and
Latin, but Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, and Italian.

Milton's noble "Areopagitica"--a plea for freedom of the press--was
written during these melancholy, wifeless months, while the din of civil
war was in the air, and he mused in wrath and bitterness over his
country's miseries and his own.

The fortunes of the Powell family had waned with the king's cause. One
day, when Milton called on a relative who lived near by his home, on the
site of the present post-office, "he was surprised," writes his nephew,
"to see one whom he thought to have never seen more, making submission and
begging pardon on her knees before him." A reconciliation was effected,
and, with the wife of nineteen now two years older and wiser than since
their first attempt at matrimony, they began housekeeping in the Barbican.

This was a larger house than the one in Aldersgate Street, and only a
three minutes' walk from it. It remained until Masson's lifetime and had,
he says, "the appearance of having been a commodious enough house in the
old fashion." "And I have been informed," he adds, "that some of the old
windows, consisting of thick bits of glass lozenged in lead, still
remained in it at the back, and that the occupants knew one of the rooms
in it as a schoolroom, where Milton had used to teach his pupils." The
visitor to the noisy, bustling Barbican to-day, close to old London wall,
will find nothing that Milton saw.

Here he published the first edition of his collected poems. The title-page
tells us that the songs were set to music by the same musician, Henry
Lawes, "Gentleman of the King's Chapell," who had engaged him to write the
"Arcades" and "Comus." It was to be "sold at the signe of the Princes Arms
in Paul's Churchyard, 1645." The wretched botch of an engraving of the
poet which accompanied it displeased him, and he humourously compelled the
unsuspecting and unlearned artist to engrave in Greek beneath it the
following lines:

  "That an unskilful hand had carved this print
  You'd say at once, seeing the living face;
  But finding here no jot of me, my friends,
  Laugh at the botching-artist's mis-attempt."

Unfortunately this was the only published portrait of Milton during his
life, and gave strangers at home and abroad the impression that his face
was as grim as his pamphlets were caustic.

By strange coincidence this house, where Milton lived when "Comus" was
first published, was but a few yards distant from the town house of the
earl in whose honour the masque had been composed a dozen years or more
before this. With him was the "Lady Alice," now nearly twenty-four years
old, who, as a girl of eleven, had sung Milton's songs in Ludlow Castle.
The earl loved music, and his children's music teacher, Lawes, and others
who had acted in the merry masque comforted his invalidism with concourse
of sweet sounds, almost within hearing of the old scrivener and organist
and his poet-son. Milton loved Lawes, and wrote a sonnet to him; doubtless
during these days they were much together.

About the time that Milton's first baby daughter appeared, the Barbican
house was crowded with the disconsolate Powell family, who had nearly lost
their all, and fled to Mary's husband for protection. Mother Powell seems
to have been a woman of strong personality, and the new baby was
christened "Anne" for her. Within two months, both the Milton and Powell
grandfathers were buried from the house in Barbican. In the burials at St.
Giles's Cripplegate appears, in March, 1646, the record: "John Milton,
Gentleman, 15."

While worrying over the settlement of the Powell estates and brother
Christopher's as well, Milton continued his teaching; his pupil writes:
"His manner of teaching never savoured in the least anything of pedantry."
Cyriack Skinner, grandson of the great Coke, to whom he wrote two sonnets
in later years, was his pupil in the Barbican.

In 1647, just after the march of Fairfax and Cromwell through the city,
Milton removed to a smaller house in High Holborn, "among those that open
backward into Lincoln's Inn Fields," which had been laid out by Inigo
Jones. Here he ceased playing the schoolmaster, became definitely a
republican at heart, and busied himself with the writing of a history of
England, and compiling of a Latin dictionary and a System of Divinity. The
new home was among pleasant gardens, and near the bowling green and
lounging-place for lawyers and citizens. Its exact site is unknown. In
1648 a second baby girl, called Mary, was born to the Miltons in the new

By his bold tractate on the "Tenure of Kings and Magistrates," which was
written during the terrible days of the king's trial and execution, Milton
put himself on the side of the regicides. Exactly a month after its
appearance he was waited on at High Holborn by a committee from the
Council of State, who asked him to accept the position of "Secretary for
Foreign Tongues." His eyesight was already failing; he could no longer
read by candle-light; but here was a great opportunity for public service,
and he did not long hesitate. On March 20th, when he entered upon office,
he learned that all letters to foreign states and princes were to be put
into dignified Latin form, so as to be instantly read by government
officials in all countries, and not into the "wheedling, lisping jargon of
the cringing French," as his nephew calls it. His salary was a trifle over
£288--worth about five times that sum to-day. Sometimes an early breakfast
at High Holborn was necessary in order to meet the council at seven A.M.
in Whitehall, but usually it met at eight or nine. It seemed, however,
best for the Miltons to move nearer Whitehall, and while he waited for his
apartments to be ready, Milton took lodging at Charing Cross, opening into
Spring Garden, where now is the meeting-place of the London County
Council. This was on the royal estate, and was so named from a concealed
fountain which spurted forth when touched by the unwary foot. It must have
been a pleasant spot, with its bathing pond and bowling green and pheasant
yard, which led from what is now Trafalgar Square into St. James's Park.
Opposite, at Charing Cross, was the palace of the Percys, later called
"Northumberland House," and next to it, where now stands the Grand Hotel,
was the home of Sir Harry Vane. Queen Eleanor's Cross had been taken down
in 1647 and the statue of Charles I., which on the year of Milton's death
replaced it on its site, was at this time kept in careful concealment.

St. Martin's Lane was a genuine shady lane, bordered with hedges. The
church which Milton saw upon the site of the present one was erected by
Henry VIII., and was even then in reality St. Martin's in the Fields.

Upon the north side of what is now Trafalgar Square, which is occupied by
the National Gallery, stood the Royal Stables. Pall Mall, which leads
westward, was so named from the Italian outdoor game, resembling croquet,
which was played upon a green in the vicinity. It was then a resort for
travellers and foreigners, who, like the Londoners Pepys and Defoe,
frequented the chocolate and coffee houses in the neighbourhood and for a
shilling an hour were carried about in sedan-chairs. The latter tells us
that "the chairmen serve you for porters to run on errands, as your
gondoliers do at Venice."

St. James's Palace, with its picturesque brick gateway, had but just seen
the last hours of the monarch whom Milton had helped dethrone. Here
Charles II. had been born in 1630, and here the Princess Mary was born in
1662, and was married to William, Prince of Orange, fifteen years later.

[Illustration: PART OF WHITEHALL

The Banquet-Hall by Inigo Jones is in the centre at the rear.

_From an old engraving._]



Milton remained in Spring Gardens about seven months, when his new
apartments in the north end of Whitehall Palace were ready. These opened
from Scotland Yard, in which was the Guard House. The yeomen of the guard
wore red cloth roses on back and breast, and must have seemed very gay and
imposing personages to the little girls of the Milton family. Their rooms
were connected with the various courts and suites of apartments that
extended down to the Privy Garden. The palace in Cromwell's time probably
retained in residence a large portion of the small army of caterers,
butchers, brewers, confectioners, glaziers, etc., who provided for the
constant needs of the huge establishment. The Horse Guards, built for
gentlemen pensioners, was erected in 1641, and was still quite new. This
apparently was not on the site of the present Horse Guards, which was
built in 1753.

At Scotland Yard, Milton's only son, John, was born, and here his
protracted labours in his vehement controversy with Salmasius brought on
the blackness of great darkness which, at the age of forty-three, for ever
shut his world from view. For the next twenty years and more it is the
blind poet whose life we follow, during the period when his fiery spirit
was chastened not only by his own afflictions, but by the nation's also.

In 1652 Milton moved to Petty France, now York Street, near the Bird Cage
Walk, which was so named from the king's aviary there. Here the next year
his little daughter Deborah was born, and soon after his wife, at the age
of twenty-six, after nine years of married life, died. After the first
estrangement and reconciliation, so far as we know, all had gone well. Her
little John, who had scarcely learned to speak his father's name, soon
followed her to the grave.

The household then consisted of the poet, his nephew and amanuensis John,
and his three motherless little girls. Masson describes the house as he
saw it before its destruction in 1875. It was then No. 19 York Street, and
had a squalid shop in its lower part, and a recess on one side of it used
for stacking wood. On entering by a small door and passage at the side of
the shop, one groped up a dark staircase, where several tenants lived, in
the rooms that were once all Milton's. "The larger ones on the first floor
are not so bad, and what are now the back rooms of the house may have been
even pleasant and elegant when the house had a garden of its own behind
it, and that garden opened directly into the park."

Jeremy Bentham, who over a century later was landlord of the house and
lived close by, placed a tablet on the rear wall inscribed "Sacred to
Milton, Prince of Poets." After 1811 Bentham's tenant was William Hazlitt;
before that his friend James Mill occupied the house.

Lord Scudamore, who had given Milton an introduction to Grotius, was his
next-door neighbour at York Street. To-day the loftiest apartment house in
London stands upon the unmarked site of Milton's house. The frequent walk
which Milton took to Whitehall, with a guide to his dark steps, during his
eight years' residence here, led him half a mile across St. James's Park
from Queen Anne Gate to Spring Gardens or the Horse Guards. The ornamental
water was not then there, but there were ponds and trees and pleasant
stretches of green turf. Charles II. had it later all laid out by the
famous French landscape artist, Le Nôtre.

Occasional sonnets--those to Cromwell, Vane, "On his Blindness," and "On
the Late Massacre in Piedmont"--appeared in the increasing leisure of this
period, when his duties lessened, and he retired on a diminished salary.
But Milton was become a man who was sought out by foreigners of note and
persons of quality; among his friends, Andrew Marvell, the poet, and his
pupil, Cyriack Skinner, were frequent visitors, with charming Lady
Ranelagh, his neighbour, who persuaded him to teach her little son, and
who he said had been to him in the place of kith and kin.

After four years of widowerhood, when his little girls were sadly in need
of a mother, Milton married Katharine Woodcock, daughter of a Captain
Woodcock of Hackney, in the church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, on November
12, 1656. Her coming into the home in Petty France brought serenity and
happiness to all its inmates. During the brief fifteen months of their
married life, a little daughter came, who followed her soon after to her
grave in St. Margaret's Church beside the Abbey, and the sorrowing husband
was again left in his blindness to bring up his three motherless little

After eighteen years, the poem, sketched out in St. Bride's Churchyard,
was resumed, and in the lonely house in Petty France, the first lines of
"Paradise Lost" were dictated, just before the closing days of Cromwell's
life. Under Richard Cromwell, Milton retained his secretaryship, but with
the return of Charles II., in May, 1660, he fled his home in Petty France,
for he well knew the vengeance that might follow. His little girls were
sent no one knows whither, and he took refuge in a friend's house in
Bartholomew Close, a passage which led from West Smithfield, through an
ancient arch. It was filled with quaint old tenements, where Doctor Caius,
the founder of Caius College, Cambridge, had lived, and also Le Soeur,
who had modelled the statue of Charles I., which, as has been stated, was
concealed during the Commonwealth, and was soon to be erected. Sixty-five
years later, young Benjamin Franklin set up type in a printing-office
here. To the blind refugee, it mattered little that he had left his garden
to be hemmed in by narrow walls. The labyrinth of little courts and
tortuous passages was his safeguard. During those days of arrests and
executions of his friends, Milton must have known that any day might bring
the hangman's summons for him. Many a time during the nearly four months
that he was hidden here must he in imagination have heard the shouts of
the fickle populace, and seen himself haled in a cart to Tyburn gallows.
Says Masson: "Absolutely no man could less expect to be pardoned at the
Restoration than Milton," and "there is no greater historical puzzle than
this complete escape." But his faithful friend, Andrew Marvell, pleaded
for him, and other powerful friends did their utmost in his behalf; the
brain that was to give birth to a great epic was spared to England.

Though Milton lay in some prison for a little time, during which his
"infamous" books "were solemnly burnt at the Session house in the Old
Bailey by the hand of the common hangman," he was soon a free man, though
many of his companions were meanwhile hanged and quartered, or like Goffe
and Whalley fled beyond seas and even there scarcely escaped the king's
swift avengers.

In December, Milton emerged from prison and moved temporarily into a
little house on the north side of Holborn near Red Lion Square, which was
behind it, and nearer Bloomsbury than was his former residence upon the
street. Close by was the Red Lion Inn, where in January, on the
anniversary of the execution of Charles I., lay on a hurdle, amidst a
howling mob, the ghastly bodies of Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, which
had been disinterred and were on their way to Tyburn to be swung upon the
gallows. It was well for Milton to sit behind barred doors in silence in
those days, while Sir Harry Vane languished in prison, bold Algernon
Sidney was in exile, and the England that he loved seemed in eclipse.

In 1661, Milton, who had good reason to reside as far away from Petty
France and the court end of town as possible, returned to the
neighbourhood of his early married life, and took a house in Jewin Street,
off Aldersgate, at the end of the street nearest St. Giles's, Cripplegate,
where his father lay buried. For the remainder of his life, here and in
Artillery Walk, he was a parishioner of this church. During the three
years spent here, Vane was beheaded, two thousand clergy were ejected from
their livings, and many, as Richard Baxter tells us, starved on an income
of only eight or ten pounds a year for a whole family; men of Milton's way
of thinking struggled for daily bread on six days in the week, and
preached on the seventh with the police upon their track.

During these fruitful years in Jewin Street, while "Paradise Lost" was
growing apace, Milton had about him his motherless and ill-educated girls.
The oldest, about seventeen years of age, was handsome, but lame, and had
a defect of speech. It fell to Mary and little eleven-year-old Deborah to
read, with scanty comprehension of the words, as their father required
their services, from his Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and
Italian works. To them, and to a group of young men who felt it an honour
to serve him, he dictated the sonorous lines of his great epic. No wonder
that girls of a dozen or sixteen years of age found life in Jewin Street
dull, and Greek dictionaries and the daily records of the doings of the
hosts of heaven and hell abominably irksome. They served their father with
grudging pen, and pilfered from him, and tricked him in his helpless
sightlessness--small blame to them, perhaps, whose rearing had been by
servants and governesses, but pitiable for the father of fifty years, who
fought his daily battles with fate alone in the dark.

Andrew Marvell and Cyriack Skinner sought him out, and doubtless told him
the latest literary news of Henry More, the Platonist; of Howell, but just
appointed historiographer royal; of Samuel Butler, who had just gone with
the Lady Alice of "Comus" to Ludlow Castle; of Richard Baxter, whose
popular book, "The Saints' Everlasting Rest," Milton had doubtless read
when it appeared five years before; of Pepys, now secretary to the
Admiralty; of Izaak Walton, whose "Complete Angler" Milton may have read
ten years before; of Evelyn and of the poet Cowley; of Bishop Jeremy
Taylor; of George Fox, the valiant Quaker, and the philosophers, Hobbes,
and John Locke, who was then at Oxford; and the budding poet, John Dryden.

We learn from Richardson that Milton usually dictated "leaning backward
obliquely in an easy chair, with his leg flung over the elbow of it,
though often when lying in bed in a morning." Sometimes he would lie awake
all night without composing a line, when a flow of verse would come with
such an impetus that he would call Mary and dictate forty lines at once.
During these days a newly converted young Quaker, Thomas Ellwood, who was
desirous of improving his Latin, and to see John Milton, who, he writes,
"was a gentleman of great note for learning throughout the learned world,"
betook himself to the modest home on Jewin Street, got lodging hard by,
and engaged to read Latin to him six afternoons a week. Milton, noticing
that he used the English pronunciation, told him that if he wanted to
speak with foreigners in Latin he must learn the foreign pronunciation.
This Ellwood by hard labour accomplished, when Milton, seeing his
earnestness, helped him greatly in translation. These happy hours were
interrupted by Ellwood's arrest for attending the Quaker meeting in
Aldersgate Street. Three months were spent in Bridewell and Newgate,
where he saw the bloody quarters and boiled heads of executed men, and
wrote out in detail an account of the hideous spectacle. One heavenly day
in a quiet library reading of Dido and Æneas with Milton, the next in an
English hell of bestiality, filth, and cruelty--a memorable experience for
a young man of twenty-two, was it not?

Household affairs were going from bad to worse in Jewin Street, and the
unhappy home needed a wife and mother. When the news came to the daughter
Mary that her father was to marry again, she exclaimed that it was "no
news to hear of his wedding, but if she could hear of his death, that
would be something." The third wife, Elizabeth Minshull, was twenty-four
years old when Milton married her, in the church of St. Mary Aldermary, a
little south of his boyhood's home near Cannon Street. She proved an
excellent wife, and was of a "peaceful and agreeable humour." There are
traditions that the young stepmother had golden hair and could sing; her
good sense and housewifely accomplishments brought peace, comfort, and
thrift into the discordant household.

Soon after his marriage, the Milton family removed to a house in Artillery
Walk, leading to Bunhill Fields. This was on the roadway which is the
southern part of Bunhill Row. Not only was there a garden here, but the
site of the present Bunhill Fields Cemetery, where Defoe, Bunyan, Richard
Cromwell, and Isaac Watts lie buried, was then an open field; while, close
at hand, was Artillery Ground, where trained bands occasionally paraded,
as they have done from 1537 to the present time. Of the house we know
little, except that it had four fireplaces. Near by was "Grub" Street,
since changed to "Milton" Street, partly perhaps to commemorate the fact
of the poet's residence in the neighbourhood. In June, 1665, while the
Great Plague had begun its desolating course, Milton had completed the
last lines of "Paradise Lost." It was then that young Ellwood came to his
assistance, and engaged for him "a pretty box in Giles-Chalfont," whither
he was driven with his wife and daughters.



If the pilgrim to the shrines of Puritans and poets has thought worth
while to spend an afternoon at Horton, he may well spare two or three days
more for a drive from there to Stoke Pogis, Harefield, and the region
thirteen miles north of Horton in lovely Buckinghamshire, among the
Chiltern hills.

Here stands, about twenty-three miles northwest of London, in the little
village of Chalfont St. Giles, the only house that still exists in which
Milton ever lived. The village lies in a quiet hollow among the hills,
three or four miles removed from the shriek of any locomotive. One may
approach it by train from the little stations of Chorley Wood or Chalfont
Road. It will well repay one before doing so to make a detour of a mile
and a half to Chenies,--one of the loveliest villages in all
England,--beside the tiny Chess, where Matthew Arnold loved to angle. A
delightful hostelry is the "Bedford Arms," where he always "put up." The
chief feature of the place is the mortuary chapel of the Russells,
where the family have been buried from 1556 until the present day. But the
lover of the picturesque will more admire the adjoining Tudor mansion.
American multi-millionaires have built no Newport palace that is so
attractive to the lover of the beautiful.


As one drives toward Chalfont, he enters it at the end farthest from
Milton's cottage, which is one of the last houses upon the left of the
main street. It is on the road that leads to Beaconsfield, four miles
away. The cottage lies at the foot of a slope close by the roadside; it is
built of brick and timber, and has two entrances, four sitting-rooms, and
five bedrooms.

On the floor which is level with the garden are two sitting-rooms that
look toward the hill slope and Beaconsfield. Their quaint old windows are
filled with diamond panes, which are set in lead and open outward. The
long carved dining-table, in the room at the left, and the small table,
cabinet, and stools in the room at the right, which is seen in the
illustration, were Milton's own. Here at the open casement, during those
days of horror in the stricken city, Milton sat and breathed the fragrant
air, and in the evening listened to the nightingales which haunt the
Chalfont groves. Hither the brave young Ellwood came to greet him, fresh
as he was from another imprisonment; he returned with his comments the
manuscript of "Paradise Lost," which Milton had loaned to him, and added:
"Thou hast said much here of Paradise lost, but what hast thou to say of
Paradise found?" To which the poet answered nothing at the time, but, as
the result proved, the query brought later a fitting response in "Paradise
Regained." Perhaps the visitor may be allowed to ascend the narrow winding
stair with its carved railing to the humble chambers under the gables,
whither the poet groped his way to bed, and to glance into narrow
cupboards, where he may have piled his books and manuscripts. There is a
tender, pathetic charm about the place, which even the greater poet's
house at Stratford lacks. The man Shakespeare--the successful
dramatist--we know little of; his inner life we only guess at and infer.
His consummate genius wins our worship; it does not touch our hearts. But
the blind poet, the passionate lover of liberty and fearless pleader for
justice, the man who like blind Samson shook his locks in defiance of
fate, and would not be cast down, this man we know. We have followed step
by step his brilliant youth, his strenuous manhood, and his brave,
declining years. With all his faults of temper we love him as we love
Dante and Michael Angelo and Beethoven. We linger reverently in the
little house made dear to England by his presence there.

Then we wander back a little on our way, to a row of antique houses and go
through a passage to the venerable parish church and churchyard where
Milton's feet doubtless have trod.

_En route_ to Beaconsfield the traveller will not fail to pause at
Jordan's, a plain, square structure in a leafy grove, beside a green God's
Acre. It was the Quaker meeting-house in Milton's day as it is still. At
the rear is a concealed gallery where the worshippers took refuge when
their service was broken up by armed pursuers. Close by are many unmarked
graves, and among them is Ellwood's. But the grave of William Penn, the
founder of a great American State, and the graves of his wife and
children, have low modern headstones, for their position was well known.
Here the man of gentle birth, the hero and saint, who is dear to all
Americans, sleeps peacefully among his English kindred. During the year
when Milton was at Chalfont, Penn was a youth in Paris, seeing the world,
but keeping himself unspotted from it.

At Beaconsfield we drive through a broad country road to the Saracen's
Head--a conspicuous landmark. We turn our steps at once to the gray old
church and its battlemented tower, whose walls of flint rise in rugged
strength from the churchyard with its mossy tombs. Within the centre aisle
lies buried the valiant apostle of American freedom--Edmund Burke.

He was a man with whom the refugee at Chalfont would have found much in
common had he lived a century and a quarter later. The inscription over
his grave is modern, and so are the bas-relief and inscription to him on
the side wall. His former seat within the parish church is marked upon the
floor, and a fine carved desk is made from his old pew. Within the
churchyard gay roses and solemn yews droop over ancient monuments, among
them, the showy obelisk on Waller's grave. Nothing is lovelier than the
drive late in an afternoon over the high hills, from which one catches far
distant views, to Amersham, which lies in a little valley among the hills.
This was a seat of the Puritan revolt and earlier martyrdoms. John Knox
preached here--an obnoxious personage to the worthy sexton of the
beautiful church, who told the writer that he had buried every man and
woman in the parish for forty years. "The fact is," quoth this worthy,
"John Knox traduced Mary Queen of Scots; now I've no use for a man who
isn't good to the ladies." On being reminded that Elizabeth did worse and
cut her head off, he condoned that as being "probably an affair of
state." A lover of poets was this sexton. "I've read 'em all," he said,
"but my favourite is Pope." Isaac Watts likewise shared his approval, and
he volunteered upon the spot a number of his hymns from memory. "But I
take a lugubrious view of life," continued this digger of many graves,
"for it's just grub, grub, grub, all your life, and then be shovelled
under; the fact is, as any man can see with half an eye, that this is the
age of mammon and no mistake." Shakespeare would have found a gravedigger
to his mind in the sexton of Amersham.

Amersham does not offer so favourable accommodations for the night as does
Wendover, which has a choice of hostelries, and is but a few minutes' ride
by train from the Amersham station, a quarter of a mile away. After
viewing the early English church in Wendover next morning, one may hire a
trap and drive to Great Hampden, three miles distant, to the stately home
of John Hampden, within a large park. There are still traces of the
ancient road which was cut through the park for Queen Elizabeth. The shady
avenue of beeches around the side leads up to the little church of gray
flint stone which stands near the great mansion and its mighty cedars of
Lebanon. The little churchyard is carpeted with velvet turf, starred with
tiny white flowers which recall the foregrounds in the brilliant
paintings of Van Eyck.

The reader of Puritan history is reminded of that mournful day after the
battle of Chalgrove Field, when the body of John Hampden was brought home.
As many soldiers as could be spared accompanied it, marching with arms
reversed and muffled drums, while, with uncovered heads, they chanted the
solemn words of comfort that begin the ninetieth Psalm: "Lord, Thou hast
been our dwelling-place in all generations." They laid him in a grave
within the chancel, which still remains unmarked; it is close beside the
slab on which he had written his beautiful epitaph to his wife. When they
marched back beneath the beeches their voices rang out with the lines of
Psalm Forty-three: "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou
disquieted within me? hope in God." Says a writer of that time: "Never
were heard such piteous cries at the death of one man, as at Master

Within the spacious mansion, which once was red brick and now is covered
with gray plaster, are various relics of Hampden and Cromwell, and a
portrait of Queen Elizabeth in the room which she occupied on her visit
here. Two miles further, on one of the finest estates in the county, is
Chequer's Court, an imposing brick mansion of the Tudor period, once
owned by Cromwell's youngest daughter and her husband. It stands in a
park, and contains the greatest collection of Cromwelliana in the kingdom.
But these and the Hampden relics owned by the Earl of Buckingham at Great
Hampden are rarely shown to visitors who do not apply in writing some time
in advance of their visit. It is to be hoped that some day the nation may
own these and make them freely accessible to all scholars. Through a
circuitous drive between beautiful fields of grain, in view of the
Chiltern Hills, the traveller reaches the old parish church at Great
Kimble, where John Hampden, the sturdy cousin of Cromwell, in 1635 made
his refusal to pay King Charles's demands for ship money. Near by lies the
field whose tax was in question. The sum was paltry,--only twenty
shillings,--but, like George Third's tax on tea in the colonies, the
refusal to pay it meant war in the end. This whole section of beautiful
Bucks is rich with memories of Milton, and of the men whom he knew and

Ellwood records that "when the city was cleansed and become safely
habitable," the Miltons returned to Artillery Walk. This must have been
about March, 1666. The open fields close to their house had been filled
with the bodies of thousands of the plague victims, many of whom were
uncoffined. Thereafter it was made a regular cemetery, and was surrounded
with a brick wall, and became what Southey called, "the Campo Santo of the
Dissenters." On a side street near by, next to a kind of institutional
meeting-house belonging to the Friends, is a beautiful green inclosure
where fourteen thousand Quakers lie buried in unmarked graves. One humble
headstone alone marks a grave near the fence, which was opened in the
nineteenth century, and was found to be that of Milton's
contemporary,--George Fox,--the tailor with the leather suit, who founded
the sect of the uncompromising democrats who called no man "Lord," who
used no weapons but their tongues, and who thundered with them to such
purpose as to make men quake.

While Milton was on the point of publishing his "Paradise Lost," another
calamity, to be described later, befell the stricken city. For three days
the Great Fire crackled and roared, and drove man and beast before its
fearful heat westward to Temple Bar, and swept away Milton's birthplace,
which he still owned. It wiped out the church where he was christened, the
school where he had studied, and came so far north as almost to bury his
father's grave under the walls of St. Giles's, Cripplegate. Amid the
horror of smoke and the sound of distant explosions and wild confusion,
the poet sat during those awful days, when it seemed as if the fate of
Sodom had befallen his dear London town. Up to that date his birthplace
had been visited by admiring foreigners. This was the only real estate
that he then owned, and its loss must have crippled his resources.

The precious manuscript of "Paradise Lost" fell to the censorship of the
young clergyman of twenty-eight, who had married Milton to his youthful
wife, Elizabeth. This man, named Tomkyns, like Pobedonostzeff two hundred
and fifty years later, held that liberty of conscience was a "highly
plausible thing," but did not work well in practice, and he came near
suppressing the volume, so tradition says, for imaginary treason in some
lines; but he relented, and the world was spared its greatest epic poem
since the Æneid.

The many booksellers around St. Paul's suffered terrible losses, and Pepys
estimates that books to the value of £150,000 were burnt in the vicinity.
Most of them were hurriedly stowed in the crypt of old St. Paul's Church,
but when the walls of the great cathedral fell, they let in the fire which
consumed them. In April, 1667, when the ruins had hardly ceased smoking,
Milton agreed, for £5 down and three times as much at certain future
dates, to sell his copyright to Samuel Symons, printer. Thirteen hundred
copies constituted the edition. Through the days of dusty turmoil while
the new city was slowly rising on the ashes of the old, the proof-sheets
passed from the printing-press in Aldersgate Street to Artillery Walk.
There was only an interruption of five anxious days in June, when the
bugle sounded, and terrified citizens assembled to ward off the Dutch,
who, bent on vengeance, burnt English ships and sent cannon-balls hurtling
at English forts. In August "Paradise Lost" appeared as a rather fine
looking, small quarto of 342 pages, which could be bought for three
shillings in three bookstores. For artistic purposes the poem is written
according to the Ptolemaic theory of cosmos, though Milton of course
accepted the Copernican view.

While John Milton was expecting £15 or £20 for his work of more than seven
years, John Dryden, who was much more in fashion in those days of Nell
Gwynne and the reopened theatres, was receiving a yearly income of £700.
But John Dryden knew a poet when he read him. After reading "Paradise
Lost," he exclaimed: "This man cuts us all out, and the ancients, too."

About 1670, Milton's three daughters left their father's home. Knowing
that they needed to be fitted for self-support, he paid for their
apprenticeship, and had them taught embroidery in gold and silver.
Doubtless bright silks and gay patterns were much more to their mind than
their father's folios, and the change was best for all concerned. Their
father sat at his door on pleasant days, dressed in his gray camblet coat,
wearing a sword with a small silver hilt. He received many visitors--some
of them men of rank and note.

He is described as wearing at this time his light brown hair parted from
the crown to the middle of the forehead, "somewhat flat, long and waving,
a little curled." His voice was musical and he "pronounced the letter r
very hard." He rose early, began his day by listening to the Hebrew Bible,
and spent his morning listening and dictating. Music, as much walking as
his gouty feet permitted, and, in the evening, a smoke, were his sole
recreations. He belonged to no church, and attended no service at this

As his end drew near he told his brother that he left only the residue of
his first wife's property to their three daughters, who had "been very
undutiful;" but everything else to his "loving wife, Elizabeth." Just one
month before he had completed his sixty-sixth year, John Milton died on a
Sunday night, November 8, 1674. He was buried beside his father in St.
Giles's, Cripplegate, and was followed to the grave by many friends. What
hymns were sung we do not know, but certainly none could more fitly have
been sung than that noble one by his dear friend, Sir Henry Wotton:

  "How blessed is he born or taught
    Who serveth not another's will,
  Whose armour is his honest thought,
    And simple truth his highest skill.

       *       *       *       *

  "This man is freed from servile bands,
    Of hope to rise or fear to fall;
  Lord of himself, though not of lands,
    And having nothing, yet hath all."

Milton's wife was thirty-six years old when the poet died. She lived to be
nearly eighty-nine years old, but never remarried. Deborah lived until
1727, when Voltaire writes: "I was in London when it became known that a
daughter of blind Milton was still alive, old and in poverty, and in a
quarter of an hour she was rich." The latest descendants of John and
Christopher Milton died about the middle of the eighteenth century, but
their sister Anne's posterity may perhaps be traced to-day.

The forgotten Duke of York has his great column in Waterloo Place. The
scholarly but uninspired Prince Consort has his gorgeous Memorial, and a
hundred nobodies have their lofty monuments scattered all over England,
teaching the rising generation their fathers' estimation of the relative
worth of names in England's history. The only statue of Milton known to me
in England, except the one on the London University Building, is the
modest figure which stands, together with Shakespeare and Chaucer, upon a
fountain in Park Lane opposite Hyde Park.

No student of the period which is treated in this little volume should
fail to visit the upper floor of the National Portrait Gallery, and view
the portraits of the many noted men who were Milton's contemporaries.
Besides portraits of the royal families, he will note those of William
Harvey, Samuel Pepys, Cowley, old Parr, Sir Henry Vane, Andrew Marvell,
Cromwell and his daughter, Inigo Jones, Selden, Sir Julius Cæsar, Samuel
Butler, Hobbes, Dryden, Ireton, Algernon Sidney, Sir Christopher Wren, and
the Chandos Shakespeare portrait. Milton's own portrait in middle life,
which is little known, is most impressive, and very different from the
common portraits.



Except Westminster Abbey, no spot in England is so connected with every
phase of England's history as is the Tower of London. A map, printed in
the generation before Milton, shows us the ancient moat full of water, and
the space within its walls that now is gravelled then covered with
greensward. North of St. Peter's little church, where lay the bones of
Anne Boleyn, stretched a row of narrow gabled houses like those seen in
the neighbouring London streets. The White Tower, built by William the
Conqueror, stands to-day practically as it stood in William's time and
Milton's. Built of durable flint stones, it has withstood time's decay as
few other buildings erected far more recently have done, when they were of
the soft, disintegrating quality of stone so often used in London. True,
Christopher Wren faced the windows with stone in the Italian style, and
somewhat modernised the exterior, but the interior remains practically as
it was built over eight hundred years ago.

As there is no need of duplicating here the main facts about its history,
which are to be found in every guide-book, let us confine ourselves to the
chief literary and historical associations with it, that must have
appealed to the boy and man, John Milton.

One can imagine few things more exciting and stimulating to the mind of an
observant boy in 1620 than a visit to the Tower. In the days when circuses
were unknown, and menageries of strange beasts were a rare sight, the view
of such behind the grated walls of Lion's Tower must have delighted any
London lad. The wild beasts were not very numerous,--only a few lions and
leopards and "cat lions,"--but no doubt they were as satisfactory as the
modern "Zoo" to eyes that were unsatiated with such novelties. Whether
small boys were allowed for sixpence to see the rich display of state
jewels is not quite clear, yet it is certain that they were shown to

Says that indefatigable antiquarian, Stow, whose old age almost touched
the babyhood of Milton: "This Tower is a citadel to defend or command the
city; a royal palace for assemblies or treaties; a prison of state for the
most dangerous offenders; the only place of coinage for all England at
the time; the armory for warlike provisions; the treasury of the
ornaments and jewels of the Crown; and general conserver of the records of
the king's courts of justice at Westminster."

In Milton's boyhood, the royal palace in the southeast corner of the
inclosure was standing. But in his manhood, his staunch friend, Oliver,
having got possession, it was pulled down. The little Norman chapel of St.
John, within the Tower, is one of the best bits of Norman work now extant
in England. Its triforium, which extends over the aisles and semicircular
east end, probably was used in ancient days to permit the queen and her
ladies to attend the celebration of the mass, unseen by the congregation
below. The chapel was dismantled before Milton's time. But doubtless as he
entered it he could picture in it, more vividly than we in our later age,
that scene when from sunset until sunrise forty-six noblemen and gentlemen
knelt and watched their armour, before King Henry IV., on the next day,
bestowed upon them the newly created Order of the Bath.

In this chapel, while he was kneeling in prayer, the lieutenant of the
Tower received an order to murder the young Edward V. and his brother, and
refused to obey it. Here Queen Mary attended mass for her brother, Edward

In the present armory, once the council chamber, King Richard II. was
released from prison, and sceptre in hand and the crown on his head,
abdicated in favour of Henry IV. Shakespeare thus depicts the scene, and
puts the following words into the mouth of the mournful king:

  "I give this heavy weight from off my head,
  And this unwieldy sceptre from my hand,
  The pride of kingly sway from out my heart;
  With mine own tears I wash away my balm,
  With mine own hands I give away my crown,
  With mine own tongue deny my sacred state,
  With mine own breath release all duteous oaths,
  My manors, rents, revenues I forego;
  My acts, decrees, and statutes I deny.
  God pardon all oaths that are broke to me,
  God keep all oaths unbroke are made to thee.
  Make me that nothing have with nothing grieved,
  And thou with all pleased that hath all achieved!
  Long may'st thou live in Richard's seat to sit,
  And soon lie Richard in an earthen pit!
  God save King Henry, unkinged Richard says,
  And send him many years of sunshine days!"

On this same spot, in 1483, the Protector, afterward Richard III., came in
among the lords in council, and asked the Bishop of Ely to send to his
gardens in Ely Place, off Holborn, for some strawberries. The terror which
royalty inspired--and with good reason in that day--is well described by
Sir Thomas More, who was himself a prisoner in less than a half century
after the scene which he so graphically describes:

"He returned into the chamber, among them, all changed, with a wonderful
sour, angry countenance, knitting the brows, frowning and frothing and
gnawing of the lips; and so sat him down in his place, all the lords much
dismayed and sore marvelling of this manner of sudden change, and what
thing should him ail." Then asking what should be the punishment of those
who conspired against his life, and being told that they should be
punished as traitors, he then accused his brother's wife and his own wife.
"'Then,' said the Protector," continues More, "'ye shall see in what wise
that sorceress and that other witch ... have by their sorcery and
witchcraft wasted my body!' And therewith he plucked up his doublet sleeve
to his elbow upon his left arm, and he shewed a werish withered arm, and
small as it was never other. And thereupon every man's mind sore misgave
him, well perceiving that this matter was but a quarrel ... no man was
there present but well knew that his arm was ever such since his birth.
Nevertheless the lord chamberlain answered, and said: 'Certainly, my lord,
if they have so heinously done they be worthy heinous punishment.' 'What,'
quoth the Protector, 'thou servest me ill with ifs and with ands; I tell
thee they have so done, and that I will make good on thy body,
traitor!... I will not to dinner until I see thy head off.' Within an
hour, the lord chamberlain's head rolled in the dust."

The author of the "Utopia," being a knight, was leniently treated while in
the Tower. He paid ten shillings a week for himself and five shillings for
his servant. Occasionally his friends came to see him, and urged in vain
that he should propitiate Henry VIII. and his wife, Anne Boleyn, against
whose marriage he had objected. But he remained immovable. "Is not this
house as nigh heaven as my own?" he asked, serenely, when wife and
daughters pleaded with him to reconsider. Lady More petitioned Henry for
her husband's pardon, on the ground of his illness and her poverty; she
had been forced to sell her clothing to pay her husband's fees in prison.
But Henry had no mercy on the gentle scholar, the greatest English genius
of his day, and who had been lord chancellor of England.

For a time he was allowed to write, but later, books and writing materials
were removed; yet he occasionally succeeded in writing to his wife and
daughter Margaret on scraps of paper with pieces of coal. "Thenceforth,"
says his biographer, "he caused the shutters of his cell to be closed, and
spent most of his time in the dark."

When the end came, his sentence to be hanged at Tyburn was commuted by the
king to beheadal at Tower Hill. Cheerful, and even with a tone of jest, he
said to the lieutenant on the scaffold, "I pray thee, see me safely up,
and for my coming down, let me shift for myself." He removed his beard
from the block, saying, "it had never committed treason," and told the
bystanders that he died "in and for the faith of the Catholic Church," and
prayed God to send the king good counsel. More's body was buried in St.
Peter's Church, where that of the fair young Anne Boleyn herself was soon
to lie. His head, after the savage custom of the time, was parboiled and
affixed to a pole on London Bridge.

Dark and bloody were the associations that centre around the Tower in the
century preceding Milton's. Few of these have touched the popular heart
more than those which cluster around the girl-queen of nine days--the fair
Lady Jane Grey. In the Brick Tower, where she was imprisoned, she wrote
her last brave, pathetic words to her father and sister upon the leaves of
her Greek Testament. From her prison window she saw the headless body of
her boy-husband pass by in a cart from Tower Hill, and cried: "Oh,
Guildford! Guildford! the antepast is not so bitter that thou hast tasted,
and which I soon shall taste, as to make my flesh tremble; it is nothing
compared with that feast of which we shall partake this day in heaven."

When she was ready to lay her fair young head upon the block, she cried:
"I pray you all, good Christian people, to bear me witness that I die a
true Christian woman." "Then tied she the handkerchief about her eyes, and
feeling for the block, she said, 'What shall I do? Where is it?' One of
the standers-by guiding her thereunto, she laid her head down upon the
block, and then stretched forth her body, and said: 'Lord, into thy hands
I commend my spirit.'" So perished this girl of eighteen, whose beauty,
learning, and tragic fate make her one of the most pathetic figures in

The most interesting parts of the Tower, including St. Peter's Church, the
dungeons, Raleigh's cell, and the spot where he wrote his "History of the
World," are not shown to ordinary visitors. They can be seen, however, by
the receipt of a written order from the Constable of the Tower, and should
not be missed by any student of English history. Even a few moments spent
in those dark lower vaults help the torpid imagination of those who live
in freedom as cheap and common as the air they breathe to realise through
what horror and bloody sweat of brave men and women in the past his
freedom has been bought. Though these dungeons now are clean and a few
modern openings through the massive walls admit some feeble rays of light,
it is not difficult to conjure up the black darkness, filth, and vermin,
and noisome odours of the past, or the shrieks of saint or sinner, who,
like Anne Askew and Guy Fawkes, suffered upon the rack. Only two years
before Milton's birth, the conspirators of the Gunpowder Plot were immured
in these dungeons, and then hanged, cut down, and disembowelled while they
were still living.

In Milton's youth, in 1630, while he was writing Latin verses at Christ's
College, Cambridge, that brave, heroic, noble soul, Sir John Eliot, was
committed to the Tower. Those were sad days for England. Free speech in
Parliament was throttled. The nation's ancient liberties were in jeopardy.
Says the historian, Green: "The early struggle for Parliamentary liberty
centres in the figure of Sir John Eliot.... He was now in the first vigour
of manhood, with a mind exquisitely cultivated, and familiar with the
poetry and learning of his day, a nature singularly lofty and devout, a
fearless and vehement temperament. But his intellect was as clear and cool
as his temper was ardent. What he believed in was the English Parliament.
He saw in it the collective wisdom of the realm, and in that wisdom he
put a firmer trust than in the statecraft of kings." Of the memorable
scene in Parliament in which he moved the presentation to the king of a
remonstrance, in the session of 1628, a letter of the times gives a
description. By royal orders the Speaker of the House stopped him, and
Eliot sat abruptly down amid the solemn silence of the members. "Then
appeared such a spectacle of passions as the like had seldom been seen in
such an assembly; some weeping, some expostulating, some prophesying of
the fatal ruin of our kingdom, some playing the divines in confessing
their sins and country's sins.... There were above an hundred weeping
eyes, many who offered to speak being interrupted and silenced by their
own passions."

Says President Theodore Roosevelt of Sir John Eliot: "He took his stand
firmly on the ground that the king was not the master of Parliament, and
of course this could but mean ultimately that Parliament was master of the
king. In other words, he was one of the earliest leaders of the movement
which has produced English freedom and English government as we now know
them. He was also its martyr. He was kept in the Tower, without air or
exercise, for three years, the king vindictively refusing to allow the
slightest relaxation in his confinement, even when it brought on
consumption. In December, 1632, he died; and the king's hatred found its
last expression in denying to his kinsfolk the privilege of burying him in
his Cornish home."

At last the "man of blood," who had tried to wrest England's liberties,
himself perished upon the scaffold at Whitehall, and in his condemnation
the same author cites his treatment of Sir John Eliot as one of his
greatest crimes. "Justice was certainly done, and until the death penalty
is abolished for all malefactors, we need waste scant sympathy on the man
who so hated the upholders of freedom that his vengeance against Eliot
could be satisfied only with Eliot's death; who so utterly lacked loyalty,
that he signed the death-warrant of Strafford when Strafford had merely
done his bidding; who had made the blood of Englishmen flow like water, to
establish his right to rule; and who, with incurable duplicity, incurable
double-dealing, had sought to turn the generosity of his victorious foes
to their own hurt."

These grisly tales of executions and of scenes of fortitude we close with
a few words on that valiant, noble soul, Sir Harry Vane, to whom Milton
dedicated the well-known sonnet beginning: "Vane, young in years, but in
sage counsel old."

Speaking before the Phi Beta Kappa of Harvard University, Wendell
Phillips, America's silver-tongued orator, uttered a memorable word upon
the man whose governorship of Massachusetts for two years of its infant
history makes the name of Vane for ever dear to the American descendants
of the Puritans:

"... Roger Williams and Sir Harry Vane, the two men deepest in thought and
bravest in speech of all who spoke English in their day, and equal to any
in practical statesmanship. Sir Harry Vane--in my judgment the noblest
human being who ever walked the streets of yonder city--I do not forget
Franklin or Sam Adams, Washington or Fayette, Garrison or John Brown. But
Vane dwells an arrow's flight above them all, and his touch consecrated
the continent to measureless toleration of opinion and entire equality of
rights. We are told we can find in Plato 'all the intellectual life of
Europe for two thousand years.' So you can find in Vane the pure gold of
two hundred and fifty years of American civilisation, with no particle of
its dross. Plato would have welcomed him to the Academy, and Fénélon
kneeled with him at the altar. He made Somers and John Marshall possible;
like Carnot, he organised victory; and Milton pales before him in the
stainlessness of his record. He stands among English statesmen
preëminently the representative, in practice and in theory, of serene
faith in the safety of trusting truth wholly to her own defence. For other
men we walk backward, and throw over their memories the mantle of charity
and excuse, saying reverently, 'Remember the temptation and the age.' But
Vane's ermine has no stain; no act of his needs explanation or apology;
and in thought he stands abreast of the age--like pure intellect, belongs
to all time. Carlyle said, in years when his words were worth heeding,
'Young men, close your Byron and open your Goethe.' If my counsel had
weight in these halls, I should say, 'Young men, close your John Winthrop
and Washington, your Jefferson and Webster, and open Sir Harry Vane.' It
was the generation that knew Vane who gave to our Alma Mater for a seal
the simple pledge, Veritas."--_Wendell Phillips, in his Harvard address on
the "Scholar in the Republic."_

To the profligate Charles II. few men must have seemed more dangerous than
the man who had dared to teach that the king had three "superiors, God,
Law, and Parliament." The man who had once walked through the stately
halls of Raby Castle as its master found a Tower cell his last earthly

When Sir Harry Vane was arraigned as a "false traitor," he made his own
defence, well knowing what the end would be, but determined, for the sake
of England and the cause he loved, to put his plea on record. For ten
hours he fought for his life without refreshment, then later, in his
prison, wrote out the substance of his plea. Though, as his biographer
relates, "he had torn to pieces as if they were so much rotten thread the
legal meshes in which his hunters sought to hold him fast," his doom was
sealed. Something was gained when the original sentence of hideous torture
and dismemberment was commuted into simple beheading. The day before his
execution, Vane said to his children: "Resolve to suffer anything from men
rather than sin against God.... I can willingly leave this place and
outward enjoyments, for those I shall meet with hereafter in a better
country. I have made it my business to acquaint myself with the society of
Heaven. Be not you troubled, for I am going home to my Father."

"As one goes through Eastcheap to-day, out upon the open space of Tower
Hill, he finds himself among prosaic surroundings. Over the pavement
rattles the traffic from the great London docks close at hand. High
warehouses rise at the side; the sooty trail of steamers pollutes the air
toward the river. In one direction, however, the view has suggestions the
reverse of commonplace. Looking thither the sensitive beholder feels with
deep emotion the fact brought home to him, that to men of English speech,
the earth has scarcely a spot more memorable than the ground where he is
standing. There rise, as they have risen for eight hundred years, the gray
walls of the Tower,--the moat in the foreground, the battlemented line of
masonry behind; within, the white keep, with its four turrets.... As
mothers have shed tears there for imprisoned children, so children
standing there have wondered which blocks in the grim masonry covered the
dungeons of their fathers and mothers. Again and again, too, through the
ages, all London has gathered, waiting in a hush for the dropping of the
drawbridge before the Byward Tower, and the coming forth of the mournful
train, conducting some world-famous man to the block draped with black, on
the scaffold to the left, where the hill is highest.... On the 14th of
June in 1662 in the full glory of the summer, Vane, in the strength of his
manhood, was brought forth to die." Thus writes James K. Hosmer in his
scholarly biography of Vane. He quotes an eye-witness, who relates how
cheerfully and readily Vane went from his chamber to the sledge which took
him to the scaffold, and how "from the tops of houses, and out of windows,
the people used such means and gestures as might best discover, at a
distance, their respects and love to him, crying aloud, 'The Lord go with
you, the great God of Heaven and Earth appear in you and for you.' When
asked how he did, he answered, 'Never better in my life.' Loud were the
acclamations of the people, crying out, 'The Lord Jesus go with your dear
soul.'" As Vane stepped upon the scaffold, clad in a black suit and cloak
and scarlet waistcoat, a silence fell, and calmly, serenely, he addressed
the throng around him. His address displeased the officers, and the
trumpets were commanded to silence him. His words, however, had been well
prepared and delivered in writing to a friend, so that the world to-day
knows with what dignity and truth he spoke. His prayer, however, was not
thus broken. "Thy servant, that is now falling asleep, doth heartily
desire of thee, that thou shouldst forgive his enemies, and not lay this
sin to their charge.... I bless the Lord that I have not deserted the
righteous cause for which I suffer."

The heads of Cromwell and Bradshaw hung on the poles of Westminster Hall
when Vane's fell. Blake's and Ireton's bodies had been flung into
dishonoured graves. Pym and Hampden had died early in the civil strife.
Algernon Sidney was to be a later victim. In Jewin Street the blind Milton
was solacing himself in an uncertain seclusion and quietude, with the
preparation of his "Paradise Lost." Everything the Puritans had stood for
seemed eclipsed. But the truths these men had lived and died for could not
die. Says Lowell, writing for his countrymen: "It was the red dint on
Charles's block that marked one in our era."

The reign of the Stuarts was doomed, and the Nemesis of what they stood
for was assured. Says John Richard Green: "England for the last two
hundred years has done little more than carry out in a slow and tentative
way, but very surely, the programme laid down by Vane and his friends at
the close of the Civil War." It was government of the people, by the
people, for the people, for which Vane and Washington and Lincoln lived.
Without the foresight and the valour of the brave man who died on Tower
Hill the work accomplished by the two later heroes might not have been



At the end of Great Tower Street is the church of All Hallows, Barking,
anciently known as "Berkynge Church by the Tower." The edifice, which is
situated close to Mark Lane Station on the Metropolitan Railway, ranks as
the oldest parish church with a continuous history as such in the city of
London. One hundred and fifty years before the union of the seven kingdoms
under Egbert, over four hundred years before the Conqueror and the
building of the White Tower, a thousand years before the boy Milton
visited its historic site, the foundation of the church was laid. For six
hundred years a close connection existed between the court and this church
when the Tower was a royal residence.

Some traces of old Norman work remain, but the present building belongs to
the Perpendicular type, and assumed nearly its present shape about one
hundred years before Milton's age.

From its nearness to the Tower, the church became the burial-place of some
of its victims. Here was placed the headless body of Lord Thomas Grey,
uncle of Lady Jane, who was beheaded in 1554 for taking part in the
rebellion under Wyatt. The heart of Richard the Lion Heart was once placed
under its high altar. After his execution on Tower Hill, the body of
Archbishop Laud rested here some years, and was "accompanied to earth with
great multitudes of people, whom love or curiosity or remorse of
conscience had drawn together, and decently interred ... according to the
rites and ceremonies of the Church of England, in which it may be noted as
a remarkable thing, that being, whilst he lived, the greatest champion of
the Common Prayer Book ... he had the honour, being dead, to be buried in
the form therein provided, after it had been long disused and almost
reprobated in most of the churches of London."

Two hundred and fifty years later an Archbishop Laud Commemoration was
celebrated here, and where the scaffold stood on Tower Hill services were

The chief interest of the church for American visitors may be the
baptismal register, in which is recorded the baptism, during Milton's
early manhood, of Sir William Penn's infant son, the apostle of peace, who
was destined to found a great state in the New World. The Great Fire of
1666 touched the church so closely that Pepys tells us the "dyall and part
of the porch was burnt." Its interior is beautifully preserved. Its old
brasses attract so many who desire to make rubbings that a snug sum for
church purposes has been raised by the small fees charged. The church
possesses the oldest indenture for the construction of an organ known in
England. Its date is 1519.

On the south side of Tower Street, at number 48, was formerly a public
house painted with the head of the Czar of Muscovy. Here Peter the Great,
when he was studying the dockyards and maritime establishments of England
under William III., used to resort with his attendants and smoke his pipe
and drink beer and brandy. Near by is Muscovy Court, a present reminder of
the ancient name.

A little farther north, on Hart Street, once stood the richly decorated
timber house, called "Whittington's Palace." According to doubtful
tradition this was where the famous Dick Whittington, with princely
magnanimity, burnt the royal bond for a debt of £60,000, when Henry V. and
his queen came to dine with him. "Never had king such a subject," Henry
is reported to have said, when Whittington replied to the hero of
Agincourt, "Surely, Sire, never had subject such a king." This palace,
with its whole front of diamond-paned windows, stood in Milton's time.

Near by, on Hart Street, is the church of St. Olave, which with All
Hallows, Barking, escaped the Great Fire, and stands as it stood in
Milton's life. The tourist must time his visit to it on a week day to the
noon hour, as, unlike All Hallows, Barking, it is not open all day.

The monastery of the Crutched Friars must have covered in ancient days a
large part of the parish of this church. Its dimensions are of the
smallest--it is only fifty-four feet long. Its name takes us back to the
times of the Danish settlement, for St. Olave is but the corruption of St.
Olaf, the Norwegian saint who was the martyred king of the Northmen. The
body of this saint rests in the great cathedral at Trondheim, Norway. His
history is closely connected with the immediate region. As a boy of twelve
he started on his career as viking; later he fought with Ethelred against
the usurping Danes in London. The latter held the bridge which connected
the walled town with low-lying Southwark across the Thames. The struggle
waxed desperate, when the bold Norwegian at a critical juncture fastened
cables to the bridge, and then ordered his little ships, which were
attached to them, to row hard down stream. The piles tottered, the bridge,
which swarmed with the Danes, fell, and those that were not drowned were
driven away. When William the Conqueror sailed up the Thames a half
century later, the stories of the intrepid Olaf, who had become Norway's
king and had died in battle, must have been fresh in mind.

Not only this church, but others in the city were erected in his name. The
present structure was probably built about 1450, and was repaired about
the time that Milton returned to London from Italy.

During the Reformation, in 1553, St. Olave's had "a pair of organes."
During the Civil War in 1644, an ordinance was passed that all organs in
churches "should be taken away and utterly defaced." It is very certain
that the music-loving Milton, who joyed to hear

  "... the organ blow, to the full-voiced choir below"

must have mourned this stern decree. In consequence of this, most organ
builders for sixteen years were obliged to work as carpenters and joiners.

The famous diarist, Pepys, who attended St. Olave's, writes on June 17,
1660: "This day the organs did begin to play at Whitehall Chapel, where I
heard very good musique, the first time that ever I remember to have heard
the organs and singing men in surplices in my life." On April 20, 1667, he
records: "To Hackney Church, and found much difficulty to get pews. That
which I went chiefly to see was the young ladies of the schools, whereof
there is great store, very pretty, and also the organ, which is handsome,
and tunes the psalms and plays with the people, which is mighty pretty,
and makes me mighty earnest to have a pair at our church"--which meant St.

About the time of Pepys's writing, a peal of six remarkably sweet-toned
bells was placed in the tower. In the church are quaint brasses and
monuments, the most interesting of which is the tomb of Pepys. An elegant
monument of alabaster, with a bust of Pepys, taken from his portrait in
the National Gallery, was unveiled in 1884. It bears the dates: "b. 1632,
d. 1703." The monument is near the door where Pepys used to enter the
church from Seething Lane.

Pepys, like Milton, was educated at St. Paul's School. His fame rests
chiefly on his diary, which was written in cipher, and not deciphered and
published until 1825. On the unveiling of his monument, James Russell
Lowell, in his address, spoke of Pepys as "a type perhaps of what is now
called a Philistine. We have no word in English which is equivalent to
the French adjective 'bourgeois,' but at all events, Samuel Pepys was the
most perfect type that ever existed of the class of people whom this word
describes. He had all its merits, as well as many of its defects." With
all these defects, perhaps in spite of them, Lowell maintained, Pepys had
written one of the most delightful books that it was man's privilege to
read in the English language, or in any other. There was no parallel to
the character of Pepys in respect of naïveté unless it were found in that
of Falstaff, and Pepys showed himself, too, "like Falstaff, on terms of
unbuttoned familiarity with himself.... Pepys's naïveté was the
inoffensive vanity of a man who loved to see himself in the glass." It was
questionable, he said, whether Pepys could have had any sense of humour at
all, and yet permitted himself to be so delightful. The lightest part of
the diary was of value historically, for it enabled us to see the London
of two hundred years ago, and, what was more, to see it with the eager
eyes of Pepys. It was not Pepys the official, the clerk of the acts and
secretary of the Admiralty, who had brought that large gathering
together--it was Pepys the diarist.

Pepys's diary was begun in 1660, when he was in his twenty-seventh year.
Ten years later, when he feared blindness, he ceased writing it. He
bequeathed it in six volumes, written in cipher as above stated, with his
library of three thousand books, to his old college, Magdalen, at
Cambridge, and it is now its greatest treasure. Pepys was no Puritan. His
comments on the Calvinistic teaching of his pastor, Daniel Mills, are
characteristic. In 1666, he writes: "Up and to church, where Mr. Mills, a
lazy, simple sermon upon the Devil's having no right to anything in this
world;" and again he writes: "Mr. Mills made an unnecessary sermon on
original sin, neither understood by himself nor the people." He writes
that when he invited the reverend gentleman to dinner on a Sunday, he "had
a very good dinner and very merry."

Among the notable men buried near Pepys is William Turner, an early
Puritan, who was educated under Latimer and died in 1568. He wrote the
earliest scientific work by any Englishman on botany. His great object was
to learn the _materia medica_ of the ancients throughout the vegetable
kingdom. But he wrote against the Roman Antichrist as well. The title of
one book illustrates the orthography of his day: "The Hunting and Fynding
of the Romish Fox: which more than seven years hath been among the
Bysshoppes of England, after that the Kynges Hyghnes, Henry VIII. had
commanded hym to be driven out of hys Realme." Of Sir James Deane, a
merchant adventurer to India, China, and the Spice Islands, it is recorded
that he gave generous bequests, and directed £500 to be expended on his
funeral, a vast sum for those days, yet probably no more than was
customary for wealthy men.

Of Sir John Mennes, who is buried here, Pepys tells us that "he brought
many fine expressions of Chaucer which he doats on mightily," and naïvely
adds, "and without doubt he is a very fine poet." Droll, lively, garrulous
Pepys! Who would have dreamed that this boyish writer was in reality a
great military authority, and in a large measure responsible for the care
of England's navy?

As in All Hallows, Barking, and several old "city" churches, the visitor
will notice in St. Olave's the remarkable, wrought-iron "sword-stands,"
used in Elizabeth's reign and placed in the pews of distinguished persons.
The pulpit, with its elaborate carving, said to have been done by Grinling
Gibbons, is one that was removed from the "deconsecrated" church of St.

St. Olave's had one of the churchyards in which the victims of the plague
were buried in great numbers, and of which Pepys writes: "It frightened
me indeed to go through the church, to see so many graves lie so high upon
the churchyard where people have been buried of the plague." The gruesome
skulls and crossbones, carved over its gateway, are a dismal reminder of
the horrors of that time. In the chapter on the "City of the Absent," in
his "Uncommercial Traveller," Dickens thus graphically describes his visit
to it: "One of my best beloved churchyards, I call the churchyard of Saint
Ghastly Grim; touching what men in general call it, I have no information.
It lies at the heart of the City, and the Blackwall Railway shrieks at it
daily. It is a small, small churchyard, with a ferocious strong spiked
iron gate, like a jail. This gate is ornamented with skulls and
cross-bones, larger than the life, wrought in stone; but it likewise came
into the mind of Saint Ghastly Grim that to stick iron spikes atop of the
stone skulls, as though they were impaled, would be a pleasant device.
Therefore the skulls grin aloft, horribly thrust through and through with
iron spears. Hence there is attraction of repulsion for me in Saint
Ghastly Grim, and having often contemplated it in the daylight and the
dark, I once felt drawn toward it in a thunder-storm at midnight. 'Why
not?' I said; 'I have been to the Colosseum by the light of the moon; is
it worse to go to see Saint Ghastly Grim by the light of the lightning?'
I repaired to the Saint in a hackney cab, and found the skulls most
effective, having the air of a public execution, and seeming, as the
lightning flashed, to wink and grin with the pain of the spikes."

In the chapter on "A Year's Impressions," in which Dickens depicts
repeated visits to the deserted churches of the London of the past, he,
with a deft touch, describes the commercial atmosphere which now
impregnates all of what poetry, history, and romance remain to-day.

"From Rood Lane unto Tower Street, and thereabouts, there was often a
subtle flavour of wine. In the churches about Mark Lane, for example,
there was a dry whiff of wheat, and I accidentally struck an airy sample
of barley out of an aged hassock in one of them. One church near Mincing
Lane smelt like a druggist's drawer. Behind the Monument the service had
the flavour of damaged oranges, which, a little farther down toward the
river, tempered into herrings and gradually toned into a cosmopolitan
blast of fish.... The dark vestries and registers into which I have
peeped, and the little hemmed-in churchyards that have echoed to my feet,
have left impressions on my memory, distinct and quaint. In all those
dusty registers that the worms are eating, there is not a line but made
some heart leap, or some tears flow, in their day. Still and dry now,
still and dry, and the old tree at the window, with no room for its
branches, has seen them all out. These churches remain like the tombs of
the old citizens who lie beneath them--monuments of another age. They are
worth a Sunday exploration, for they echo to the time when the City of
London really was London; when the Prentices and Trained Bands were of
mark in the state; when even the Lord Mayor himself was a reality."

In Milton's day, on the street of the Crutched Friars, named from the
ancient convent of Crossed Friars, was the row of almshouses built by Sir
John Milborne in 1535 in honour of God and the Virgin. In some way, the
relief of the Assumption of the Virgin at the entrance gate escaped
destruction by the Puritans, and remained with the almshouses to a late
period. To the American, to whom the word "almshouse" signifies the
English "workhouse,"--an institution of paupers where all live in
common,--little idea is conveyed of the comfortable, and usually quaint
and picturesque retreat which "almshouse" signifies to the English mind.
In many London suburbs one may see little rows of cottages within walled
gardens, where, in quiet and comfort and serenity, aged couples spend
their last days, in some ways the happiest of their lives, though it be in
an almshouse.

At 53 Fenchurch Street, in Milton's time, stood the Queen's Head Tavern,
where the Princess Elizabeth dined on pork and peas after her release from
the Tower in 1554. The modern building erected on the site bears a
commemorative statue of her.

Mincing Lane, in the vicinity, was named from houses which belonged to the
Minchuns or nuns of Saint Helen's. Near its entrance is the Hall of the
Clothworkers' Company, whose badge is a ram; within are gilt statues of
James I. and Charles I., which were saved from the Great Fire. Its garden
was once the churchyard of All Hallows, Staining, whose fine old tower,
which escaped the Fire, still stands as when Milton strolled past and
gazed on it. The church, which was demolished recently, was reputed to
have been the earliest stone church in the city. "Stane" is the Saxon word
for stone, and the word "Staining" indicates the fact mentioned above.

Passing north to Aldgate, Milton must have seen the great gate, which was
not destroyed until 1760. It was the chief outlet to the eastern counties
from the time of the Romans until its destruction.

In the dwelling over the gate, according to Loftie, the poet Geoffrey
Chaucer lived in 1374. This gate, however, was pulled down just before
Milton's birth, and rebuilt the year after he was born, in 1609. When he
saw it, a gilded statue of James I. adorned its eastern side, and on the
west were statues of Peace, Fortune, and Charity.

Aldgate to-day is the entrance into that sordid, dismal region, known as
Whitechapel, where within easy walking distance from the site of the
ancient gate is its chief attraction to all tourists. On Commercial
Street, standing in a group, are the little church of St. Jude, and close
beside it that Social Settlement, reared in memory of the gentle Oxford
scholar and philanthropist, Arnold Toynbee. This is one of the few
beautiful oases in a desert of squalor and commonplaceness, which the name
Whitechapel now signifies to most readers.

[Illustration: ST. CATHERINE CREE CHURCH IN 1736

The steeple dates from about 1505. The old church was pulled down in 1628,
and the present one finished in 1630. Cree Church is a corruption of

_From an old engraving._]

But for Milton's haunts, we need not wander farther east than Aldgate; for
though Whitechapel Street was thickly lined with houses for some distance
even in his day, little of interest remains. Turning back through
Leadenhall Street, one sees a little gray stone church, with a low tower
and round-arched windows, known as St. Catherine Cree's. This was rebuilt
in Milton's youth in 1629, and consecrated two years later by the
ill-fated Archbishop Laud. The ceremonies which he used on this occasion
savoured so much of Popery, however, that they were later brought
against him, and helped to accomplish his downfall. In an older church,
upon this site, the famous Hans Holbein, to whom we are indebted for his
portraits of Henry VIII., Sir Thomas More, and other famous Englishmen,
was buried in 1554, after his death by the plague. Within the church may
be seen the effigy in armour of a man who played an important part in
England when Milton's father was a boy. To-day, only the historian recalls
the name of Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, whose daughter married Walter
Raleigh, who was chamberlain of the exchequer, ambassador, and chief
butler of England. The stories of his fruitless embassy to Mary Queen of
Scots to prevent her marriage with Darnley, and the records of his trial,
imprisonment, and death of a broken heart must have been as familiar to
the youth of Milton's time as the life of Disraeli or Joseph Chamberlain
is to Cambridge youth to-day.

Above the gateway, in the churchyard, is a ghastly memorial to the builder
of it in the form of a shrouded skeleton on a mattress. In Shakespeare's
time, within this churchyard, which is now much smaller than it was then,
and is concealed by modern buildings, scaffolds were erected on all sides,
and religious plays were performed on Sundays.

Every year, on October 16th, the "lion sermon" is preached within the
church in memory of an ancient worthy, who in 1648 gave it the sum of
£200, in remembrance of his delivery from a lion's paws in Arabia. As at
St. Olave's, the noon hour, when daily service is performed for the
benefit of the one or two worshippers who may stray in, is the time to
visit this historic church.

The first edition of "Paradise Lost" bears the imprint: "Printed, and are
to be sold by Peter Parker, under Creed Church near Aldgate, 1667." "Creed
Church" was this same Catherine Cree's.

A little north of Leadenhall, at the entrance to the ancient street called
St. Mary Axe, stands the church of St. Andrew Undershaft, another of the
churches which remain, of those that Milton saw within the city walls. Its
name recalls the ancient English custom of the May-day dance. A lofty
May-pole, higher than the tower of the church, once stood beside it, and
was pulled down on "Evil May Day," in the reign of Henry VIII., about the
time the church was built, 1520-32. It is a gray stone edifice, well
preserved, and well worth a visit if for no other end than to see the tomb
of the learned and devoted chronicler, Stow--a name dear to every student
of ancient London and of English history. Of his "Survey," Loftie says:
"It was a wonder even in the age which produced Shakespeare."

Stow was bred a tailor, but in middle life retired on a modest competence,
and for forty years almost immediately preceding Milton's birth had with
unparalleled industry studied the history of his city and native land. His
collection for the Chronicles of England, now in the British Museum, fills
sixty quarto volumes. Every street of London and prominent building, every
church, and almost every monument and inscription, are faithfully recorded
in his volumes on London and Westminster. To him and to his editor,
Strype, who has continued his work until a later period, modern London,
and all who love her and her long history, owe an incalculable debt of

But so little was his invaluable service recognised in his day that his
great collection of books aroused suspicion in some quarters, and his
outspoken words on public questions stirred up the jealous and malevolent,
as his biographer shows. He was reduced to poverty in his old age, for he
had spent his substance in his great enterprise. Like a genuine historian,
he sought original sources, and "made use of his own legs (for he could
never ride), travelling on foot to many cathedral churches and other
places where ancient records and charters were; and with his own eyes to
read them." He studied the records in the Tower, and was expert in
deciphering old wills and registers and muniments belonging to
monasteries. He seems to have been somewhat conservative; perhaps, as his
biographer suggests, "being a lover of antiquity and of the old Religious
Buildings and monuments, he was the more prejudiced against the Reformed
Religion, because of the havoc and destruction those that pretended to it
made of them in those days." One instance of Protestant fanaticism that
tended to make him more opposed to zeal without knowledge was that a
curate of St. Paul's, which was his parish, inveighed "fervently against a
long Maypole called a Shaft in the next Parish to his, named St. Andrew
Undershaft, and calling it an Idol; which so stirred up the devotion of
many hearers that many of them in the afternoon went, and with violence
pulled it down from the place where it hung upon hooks; and then sawed it
into divers pieces, each householder taking his piece as much as hung over
his door or stall, and afterward burnt it."

Sir Walter Besant, in a delightful chapter in his "London," describes an
imaginary visit to the learned man, and a stroll with him through the town
five years before Milton opened his eyes in Bread Street: "I found the
venerable antiquary in his lodging. He lived--it was the year before he
died--with his old wife in a house over against the Church of St. Andrew
Undershaft. The house itself was modest, containing two rooms on the
ground floor, and one large room, or solar, as it would have been called
in olden time, above. There was a garden at the back, and behind the
garden stood the ruins of St. Helen's Nunnery, with the grounds and
gardens of that once famous house, which had passed into the possession of
the Leathersellers' Company.... I passed within, and mounting a steep,
narrow stair, found myself in the library and in the presence of John Stow
himself. The place was a long room, lofty in the middle, but with sloping
sides. It was lit by two dormer windows; neither carpet nor arras nor
hangings of any kind adorned the room, which was filled so that it was
difficult to turn about in it, with books, papers, parchments, and rolls.
They lay in piles on the floor, they stood in lines and columns against
the walls; they were heaped upon the table. I observed too that they were
not such books as may be seen in a great man's library, bound after the
Italian fashion, with costly leather, gilt letters, golden clasps, and
silken strings. Not so; these books were all folios for the most part;
their backs were broken; the leaves, where any lay open, were discoloured,
many of them were in the Gothic black letter. On the table were paper,
pens, and ink, and in the straight-backed armchair sat the old man
himself, pen in hand, laboriously bending over a huge tome. He wore a
black silk cap; his long white hair fell down upon his shoulders. The
casements of the window stood open, and the summer sunshine poured warm
and bright upon the scholar's head."

In an age of many elaborate and tasteless monuments, Stow's is singularly
interesting and tasteful. An almost life-size figure of him is seated,
dressed in a long robe, before a table on which rests a book in which he
is writing. The whole is placed within a niche in the tomb; upon the
sculptured sides, the artist has carved, among other devices, a beggar's
wallet, indicative of Stow's poverty, for which James I. in his old age
issued him letters patent permitting him to solicit aid. These letters
grant "to our loving subject, John Stow, who hath to his own great charge,
and with neglect to his ordinary means of maintenance, for the general
good of Posteritie, as well as the present age, compiled and published
diverse necessary books and chronicles, and therefore we in recompense of
his painful labours, and for the encouragement of the like ... authorise
him and his deputies to collect among our loving subjects their
contributions and kind gratuities." Thus was the man who has chiefly
contributed to our knowledge of ancient London allowed in his extreme
old age to live in unappreciation and neglect.


_From an old engraving._]

The visitor cannot but query, as he surveys the handsome monument erected
to him by his wife, how this was paid for, but there are many explanations
that suggest themselves.

Many a time may Milton as a boy and man have stood before this tomb, and
viewed the fine timber roof and the late Perpendicular windows, which
to-day remain just as he saw them. If the modern visitor would study the
fashions of his day, he can do no better than inspect such monuments as
the costly Hammersley erected here. The date thereon is 1636, when Milton
was a young man of twenty-eight. The absence in the life-size kneeling
figure of the huge stiff crinoline on the tombs of a little earlier date
shows that the fashions changed as sharply as in the latter half of the
nineteenth century. The date of the handsome organ is 1695.



Passing by the tiny churchyard of St. Andrew Undershaft, by several narrow
and obscure passages amid crowded business blocks, one comes upon the
famous Crosby Hall on Bishopsgate Street. This presents to-day one of the
most picturesque examples of the beam and plaster houses of the fifteenth
century to be found in England. It was, says Stow, "the highest at that
time in London," that is, about 1475. Doubtless his reference is to a high
turret which once surmounted it, but of which no traces now remain. This
was before the more pretentious Tudor buildings of the next century, of
whose high towers Stow's biographer says: "He could not endure the high
turrets and buildings run up to a great height, which some citizens in his
time laid out their money upon to overtop and overlook their neighbours.
Such sort of advanced works, both towers and chimneys, they built both in
their summerhouses in Moorfields and in other places in the suburbs, and
in their dwelling houses in the City itself. They were like midsummer
Pageants, 'not so much for use and profit as for show and pleasure,'
'bewraying,' said he, 'the vanities of men's minds. And that it was unlike
to the disposition of the ancient citizens, who delighted in the building
of hospitals and almshouses for the poor; and therein both employed their
wits, and spent their wealth in the preferment of the common commodity of
this our city.'"

Crosby House was, as Sir Thomas More relates, where Richard, Duke of
Gloucester, "lodged himself, and little by little all folks drew unto him,
so that the Protector's court was crowded and King Edward's left
desolate." Here he probably planned his treasonable and malicious scheme
for the death of the little princes. In his play of "Richard III.,"
Shakespeare mentions Crosby Hall more than once; doubtless he knew it
well, for ten years before the birth of Milton it seems evident that he
resided in a house hard by. It is quite certain that it is to his
immortalising Crosby Hall that its preservation to this day is due, when
almost everything else that was contemporaneous in secular architecture
has disappeared in its vicinity.

The building has been much restored, and its banquet-hall is now utilised
for a first-class restaurant, where he who will may dine where dukes and
princes dined four centuries ago. Sir Thomas More lived here for several
years, and here doubtless wrote his life of the base king, to the echo of
whose voice these walls had once resounded. Sir Thomas sold the place to
that dear friend to whom he wrote with a coal a sad letter of farewell
from his Tower cell before his execution. Later, his daughter, who loved
the place where her dear father had passed so many days, hired it, and
came here to live.

Some years later, in 1594, the rich mayor of London, Sir John Spencer,
bought the place, and entertained an ambassador from Henry IV. to King
James I. An interesting incident of this visit is related in the memoirs
of this ambassador. It appears that much scandal had been wrought by the
mad pranks and rioting of the attendants of former envoys. What, then, was
the horror of the French duke, when he discovered that one of the young
nobles in his train, on going out of Crosby Hall in quest of sport, had
got into a fight and murdered an English merchant close by in Great St.
Helen's. The duke, determined on making an example, bade all his servants
and attendants range themselves in a row against the wall, and taking a
lighted torch, he looked sharply in the face of each in turn until he
found the terrified face of the guilty man. Determined to wreak speedy
vengeance, he ordered, after the arbitrary method of the times, his
instant decapitation. But the lord mayor pleaded for mercy, and the
youth's life was spared; whereupon, the duke records, "the English began
to love, and the French to fear him more."

This same Lord Spencer, Mayor of London, had one fair daughter, a gay
deceiver of her honoured sire, and as much a lover of fine clothes and
service as any modern dame who orders gowns from Worth's, or buys her
jewels on Bond Street. She loved, or at all events made up her mind to
marry the Earl of Northampton, a man who was _persona non grata_ to her
father, who had no mind to wed his daughter, the greatest heiress in
England, to this gentleman. But the young folks were not daunted. One day
when the mayor gave a sixpence to the baker's boy, who had come with a
covered barrow to bring bread, he learned later that the barrow contained
not bread, but his own naughty Elizabeth, who was trundled off by her
lover in disguise.

When their baby came, some time later, grandpapa was wheedled into a
reconciliation, and the gay young bride again lived in Crosby Place, the
past forgiven. As an illustration of what wealthy ladies in Milton's
boyhood demanded for their pleasure, a quotation from her letter written
to her husband shortly after marriage, may prove entertaining: "I pray
and beseech you to grant me, your most kind and loving wife, the sum of
£2,600 quarterly to be paid. Also I would, besides that allowance, have
£600 quarterly to be paid, for the performance of charitable works; and
those things I would not, neither will be, accountable for. Also I will
have three horses for my own saddle, that none should dare to lend or
borrow; none lend but I, none borrow but you. Also I would have two
gentlewomen ... when I ride a hunting or a hawking, or travel from one
house to another, I will have them attending; so for either of these said
women, I must and will have for either of them a horse. Also I will have
six or eight gentlemen. And I will have my two coaches, one lined with
velvet to myself, with four very fine horses; and a coach for my women,
lined with cloth and laced with gold, otherwise with scarlet and laced
with silver, with four good horses. Also I will have two coachmen. Also,
at any time when I travel, I will be allowed not only coaches and spare
horses for me and my women, but I will be having such carriages as shall
be fitting for all; orderly, not pestering my things with my women's nor
theirs with their chambermaids, nor theirs with their washmaids.... And I
must have two footmen; and my desire is that you defray all the charges
for me. And for myself, besides my yearly allowance, I would have twenty
gowns of apparel. Also I would have to put me in my purse £2,000 and £200,
and so you to pay my debts. Also I would have £6,000 pounds to buy me
jewels, and £4,000 to buy me a pearl chain. Now, seeing I have been and am
so reasonable unto you, I pray you do find my children apparel and their
schooling, and all my servants, men and women, their wages.... So for my
drawing-chambers in all houses, I will have them delicately furnished,
both with hangings, couch, canopy, glass, carpet, chairs, cushions, and
all things thereunto belonging.... I pray you when you be an earl to allow
me £2,000 more than I now desire, and double attendance."

The Countess of Pembroke, sister of Sir Philip Sidney and friend of Ben
Jonson, once lived as mistress in the halls of Crosby Place. The latter's
epitaph upon her is well known:

  "Underneath this sable hearse
  Lies the subject of all verse:
  Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother.
  Death, ere thou canst find another
  Good and fair and wise as she,
  Time shall throw a dart at thee."

Crosby Hall originally occupied far more ground than is indicated by that
part of it which stands to-day. A wine cellar with finely groined roof
probably belonged to a crypt of its chapel, which has vanished. In its
great hall, fifty-four feet long and forty feet high, one sees to-day, in
beautiful modern workmanship, the arms of St. Helen's Priory, the earliest
proprietor of the place; of Sir John Crosby, its builder; of the
"crook-backed tyrant," Richard, and of the wise, the gentle, the learned
author of the "Utopia." Its "louvre," or opening in the roof, is found in
ancient halls in lieu of a chimney. This hall, however, has a regular
fireplace, but perhaps of later construction. The louvre now is closed by
the same piece of woodwork that formerly was raised above it. The
beautiful carved roof itself is now as it was over four centuries ago, the
chief glory of the place. Beneath it the most accomplished musicians of
the past discoursed sweet music, and the noble, the learned, and the
fashionable gathered at the hospitable board. Not unlikely, the author of
"Comus" and "Lycidas," in the days before its owner fought under Charles
I., may have been among their company.

In Milton's blind old age, Crosby Hall became a Presbyterian
meeting-house, and for a century afterward devout worshippers sang psalms
beneath its carved oak roof, which had echoed for two hundred years to
sounds of mirth and feasting.

A little to the left of Crosby Hall, through a low gateway, the sightseer
passes from the noisy thoroughfare into a quiet court. Its pavement covers
the ancient garden of Crosby Place. But it is not all paved. A small green
churchyard still occupies a part of the site of the ancient priory of St.
Helen's, and surrounds the low Gothic church to which one descends a few
steps from the modern pavement.

Helena, the mother of Constantine, according to tradition, discovered the
tomb of Christ and thereupon was canonised. From remote antiquity a church
in her honour has stood here. Three centuries before Milton's day, the
Benedictine nuns built a priory close by the ancient church. They built
their church, and finally, getting possession of St. Helen's, incorporated
it with their own. To-day the ends of the two naves, with a little cupola
at the intersection, present an irregular and picturesque aspect; the
interior, likewise, by its irregularities, recalls the curious origin of
the structure. An agreeable harmony of differing forms and proportions has
been accomplished. The old, old church, dim even on a sunshiny June day,
is pervaded by a strange charm. Business has crowded to its very walls;
but the rumble of the streets is dulled by the intervening structures of
modern prosaic type that hem in its peaceful solitude. Unlike the last
three churches of which we have spoken, its doors are open all day long,
and the traveller has not to make painful search amid warehouses and down
cross streets for the sexton's keys. St. Helen's is large enough and
beautiful enough to lure the frequent visitor; and perhaps it is a welcome
refuge to many a perplexed and overwearied man of business, who, for a few
moments, now and then, flees from his office and commercial cares, to rest
and lift his thoughts to heavenly things within this sanctuary.

St. Helen's is noted for its tombs, and has been called the Westminster
Abbey of the "City." Here lies that noted and remarkable man, Sir Thomas
Gresham. The visitor to the upper floor of the National Portrait Gallery,
in those rooms where hang the portraits of the Elizabethan era, will
remember the strong face and figure, elegantly clad, of the man whose
bones rest here, and of whom we shall have more to say in connection with
his college and the exchange which rose under his direction. His monument
is a large marble slab full of fossil shells, and raised table high. The
date is 1579. From the beautiful, great window of the Nun's Church, the
coloured rays of his own arms fall on his tomb.

Upon the wall behind it are niches; one of them faced by a little carved
arcade, through which, it is said, the nuns who were in disgrace listened
to the mass from the crypt below. A large ugly piece of masonry on the
same wall near the farther end once contained the embalmed body of Francis
Bancroft, whose face was visible through the glass lid of his coffin. A
few years since both body and tomb were placed within the crypt. According
to his will, on the occasion of an annual memorial sermon for which he had
arranged, his body was exhibited to certain humble folk for whom he had
erected, in expiation of his misdeeds, the almshouses now at Mile End.
Browning has with characteristic power depicted the Roman Jew scourged to
the Christian church, and forced to hear a sermon once a year for his
conversion. Perhaps some later poet may find as gruesome a theme for his
sarcastic pen in the scene which imagination conjures up when these feeble
and aged recipients of the gift of this erratic snob were yearly brought
to listen to the tale of his benefactions, and to gaze upon his
shrivelling corpse. Bancroft as a magistrate had been so unpopular that
the people tried to upset his coffin on its way to the tomb, and pealed
the bells.

The oldest monument in the church is to Thomas Langton, chaplain, buried
in the choir in 1350. One tomb bears the remarkable name of Sir Julius
Cæsar. The inscription is in form of a legal document with a broken seal,
in which Sir Julius gives his bond to Heaven to surrender his life
whenever it shall please God to call him. If one would see Sir Julius as
Milton saw him, let him look upon his portrait that hangs in the National
Portrait Gallery with his great contemporaries.

The obdurate father-in-law, the rich Sir John Spencer of Crosby Hall, is
commemorated, by his son-in-law, the Earl of Northampton, in a stately
alabaster tomb. The figures of Sir John and his wife rest under a double
canopy, and at their feet kneels the runaway daughter, in the enormous
stiff crinoline of 1609, the date of her father's death. Some thousand men
in mourning cloaks are said to have attended his funeral. The tomb of Sir
John Crosby and his wife, of 1475, the beautiful and perfectly preserved
tomb of Oteswich and his wife, of the time of Henry IV., and the fine
figure of a girl reading, are a few of the works of art that deserve
careful attention. The beauty of that which antedates the Tudor and Stuart
periods, as contrasted with the works of art of those periods, is almost
as marked as it is at Westminster Abbey.

When Milton lived he must have seen still standing the refectory and
cloisters, and the old hall of the nuns, which was later used by the
Company of Leathersellers. The whole group of buildings, with the
adjacent gardens, must have formed a highly picturesque reminder of the
days before King "Hal" had ruthlessly swept his besom of destruction over
the many houses in the land which sheltered nuns and friars.

During Milton's life there stood on Bishopsgate Street the first
charitable institution for the insane that was ever established. Its name,
"Bethlehem Hospital," was corrupted into Bedlam, and has become a term of
general application to scenes of disorder. Just after Milton's death, it
was removed to Southwark, where the gray dome of the present structure
rises conspicuous amid the London smoke.

Passing northeast along the crowded thoroughfare of Bishopsgate Street,
but a short distance from St. Helen's, the student of antiquities may see,
almost concealed by parasitic houses, the little ancient church of St.
Ethelburga. He will need to cross the street in order to perceive the name
inscribed in large letters upon the church, beneath the short tower and
cupola, and above the clock and the shop that masks its front. In Milton's
boyhood, this church was ancient, and had been standing for at least three
hundred and fifty years, for it is mentioned as early as 1366. Here
Chaucer may have knelt to say his Paternosters.

The visitor should time his coming to the middle of the day, when the door
opening upon the sidewalk is unlocked, and he may enter into the solemn
little sanctuary, and at the farther end step out into the tiny garden at
the rear. Here, if it be summer, he may sit in this shady retreat and
meditate upon the history of the bit of ancient wall said by the verger to
be a Roman wall, the fragments of which are preserved here. The church
itself is plain and bare; simply a Gothic nave, with no side aisles. Its
chief interest to some may be its antique organ, of uncertain date, but
old enough from its appearance to have been heard by the little lad from
Bread Street whose soul was full of music. One can easily imagine the
father of John Milton, who was himself so skilled in the great art,
bringing his son to every church within his neighbourhood that boasted
such an instrument.

The church stands on the site of a much older one, and is named from the
daughter of the French princess, Bertha, who brought to Canterbury, to the
home of her Saxon husband, Ethelbert, the Christian religion, which was
then new to pagan England. Visitors to the little church of St. Martin's
at Canterbury will recall the font in which this king was baptised into
the faith of his wife.

Not far down Bishopsgate Street, upon the opposite side from St.
Ethelburga's, when Milton lived, stood a house with such a marvellous
carved front with oriel windows, that when it made way for a modern
business block, it was transferred to the South Kensington Museum, where
it may now be seen in one of its lofty halls. In Milton's youth, Sir Paul
Pindar, its owner, was the richest merchant in the kingdom, and often
loaned money to James I. and his son Charles. As ambassador to
Constantinople, he did much to improve England's trade in the East. On his
return, when Milton was a schoolboy of a dozen years at St. Paul's School,
he brought, among his other treasures, a great diamond, valued at £30,000,
which he loaned to the king to wear at his opening of the Parliaments; it
was afterward sold to Charles I. Twenty years later, when Cromwell and
Milton were fighting for the rights of Englishmen, and Charles's strength
was failing, this same Paul Pindar provided funds for the escape of Queen
Henrietta Maria and her children.

He gave £10,000 for the restoration, before the fire, of St. Paul's
Cathedral. But his loyalty to the house of Stuart was put to a hard test,
for the king borrowed such enormous sums that he was all but ruined. When
Milton walked down Bishopsgate Street, past his quaint dwelling-house, he
must have seen the mulberry-trees planted in the park to please James I.
by his devoted subject. These ancient mulberry-trees disappeared only
within the memory of men now living.

Passing westward along the northern site of the old city wall, in search
of the few landmarks that escaped the Great Fire and still remain, we come
to that church of all others most dear to Milton lovers. St. Giles's,
Cripplegate, is not easily entered on Sunday, except during hours of
service. But a courteous question to the burly guardian of the peace who
patrols the neighbourhood may effect an unlocking of the gates and a quiet
stroll through the green garden that surrounds the church upon two sides.
The big policeman is a good talker, and relates with gusto the ravages of
the great fire a few years since, which came so near as to melt the lead
upon the church roof.

The massive wall which forms a corner of the green yard is a bastion of
the city wall in the time of Edward IV. Possibly the long, narrow bricks
which still gleam red in the lower part may be a lingering remnant of the
old Roman wall. Certainly they are the type that the Romans were wont to
use. The policeman assures us that there are mysterious "submarine"
passages leading from this wall, and one may well believe almost anything
as one thinks of the strange sights that it has witnessed. High walls
of business blocks of nondescript style replace the gaps made by the
recent fire, which fortunately stopped before it touched the narrow,
gabled houses of wood which cluster close about the church. These give
almost the only example to-day in London of the type of building which
housed the poorer class of Londoners of Milton's time.


Dedicated to St. Giles, who lived about the year 700; founded in 1090;
destroyed by fire in 1545, and rebuilt within the Liberty but without the
City of London.

_From an old engraving._]

The church is on the site of an older one of 1090, and was built about one
hundred years before Milton's birth. It is late Perpendicular, and has
some good detail.

As one enters the church from the garden, the first monument on his right
is Milton's, which contains his bust, under a Gothic canopy. The poet's
bones lie by his father's, under the pavement near the choir. According to
the evidence of a little book written about 1790, it seems that his coffin
was opened by irresponsible persons, who found the lead much decayed and
easily bent back the top. A servant-maid for a consideration let in
sightseers through a window, some of whom, after satisfying their
curiosity in gazing on the well-preserved figure, snatched hair and teeth
and even an arm-bone to carry away as relics. A later authority questions
whether it is certain that the grave thus desecrated was indeed Milton's
or another's, and leaves a grain of comfort in the thought that perhaps
his honoured remains still rest untouched by vandals.

Within this church Ben Jonson was married in 1623, and here Oliver
Cromwell, a sturdy youth of twenty-one, married his bride on August 22d in
1620. Little thought the parson, as he and Elizabeth Bourchier knelt
before him, to be joined in holy wedlock, that one day he would be
entitled not only "Protector of England," but "Protector of
Protestantism." A marvellous man, this Oliver, whose deeds left much to be
forgiven by a later age, for they sometimes had more of the spirit of
Joshua than of the Founder of the Christian Faith, and yet as a lover of
England, and a minister to the court of Queen Victoria from England's
lusty kin beyond the sea has said:

  "He lived to make his simple oaken chair
  More terrible, more grandly beautiful,
  Than any throne before or after of a British king.

       *       *       *       *       *

  One of the few who have a right to rank
  With the true Makers; for his spirit wrought
  Order from Chaos; proved that right divine
  Dwelt only in the excellence of truth;
  And far within old Darkness' hostile lines
  Advanced and pitched the shining tents of Light
  Nor shall the grateful Muse forget to tell,
  That--not the least among his many claims
  To deathless honour--he was MILTON'S friend,
  A man not second among those who lived
  To show us that the poet's lyre demands
  An arm of tougher sinew than the sword."

                        --_"A Glance Behind the Curtain," Lowell._

One grave within the church may have been dear to Milton besides that of
his honoured father. As he lived only one generation removed from the
martyrs of Smithfield, he must often have pored over the record of their
heroism and cruel deaths, by Fox, the famous martyrologist. Near the west
door lies the slab above his grave. The date is 1587. Here, no doubt,
Milton, who, as has been said, at different times had dwellings near the
church, must often have entered within its doors and paused.

Says the historian Marsden: "Fox placed the Church of England under
greater obligations than any writer of his time, and had his recompense in
an old age of poverty and shame.... Nor were his writings undervalued even
then; they were commanded to be chained up in churches by the side of the
homilies and the English Bible;... thus the 'Book of Martyrs' stood
amongst the high, authentic records of our Church, whilst its venerable
author yet lived."

Frobisher, the great navigator, is also buried within the church.

On the left wall, as one faces the choir, is a curious doggerel
inscription to one Busbie. If it be on a Sunday afternoon, and the
children have gathered for the Sunday school, it may be interesting to
pause a bit, as we have done, before the epitaph, and, while copying it,
to lend a half ear to the teaching that goes on within hearing. Three
small boys sit on a bench before a solemn youth who holds a book and
instructs their infant minds as follows: "Who is God? Where is God? How
many persons are there in the Godhead? Keep still there--don't answer
until it is your turn. When God put Adam and Eve out of Eden, what did he
promise them?" "That they should be saved," mumbles one youngster. "Whom
did he promise should save them?" "His Son." "What do we call his Son?"
"Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ." The next class and all the others
scattered through the church are progressing in Christian nurture in much
the same way, and one wonders whether the pedagogical skill of the
teachers has advanced one whit in all the hundreds of years since the
church was built. We hear no "opening exercises," no joyous singing, no
tender, earnest talk about right-doing and the temptations that little
boys on Fore Street may encounter on Monday morning. There is nothing but
a purely formal catechising of these eager, impressionable little souls
as to a theology that they cannot understand, and a history of the world
which their first lesson on geology will undermine. This modern Sunday
school is the one blot upon the memory of the beautiful old church so dear
to every lover of Milton.

On a week day one may stand on Redcross Street, and behold, as did the
travellers in "The Hand of Ethelberta," "the bold shape of the tower they
sought, clothed in every neutral shade, standing clear against the sky,
dusky and grim in its upper stages, and hoary gray below, where every
corner of stone was rounded off by the waves of wind and storm. All people
were busy here; our visitors seemed to be the only idle persons that the
city contained; and there was no dissonance--there never is--between
antiquity and such beehive industry.... This intramural stir was a
fly-wheel, transparent by infinite motion, through which Milton and his
day could be seen as if nothing intervened."



Through Milton's lifetime and for nearly a century after, there stood on
Gresham Street and Basinghall Street the famous Gresham College, founded
in 1579, in honour of Sir Thomas Gresham, who gave the Royal Exchange to
the city on condition that the corporation should institute lectures on
divinity, civil law, astronomy, music, geometry, rhetoric, and physics, to
be delivered at his residence. His dwelling-house was a spacious edifice
of brick and timber, "with open courts and covered walks which seemed all
so well suited for such an intention, as if Sir Thomas had it in view, at
the time he built his house." Seven professors were appointed and lectured
in the morning in Latin, in the afternoon in English for two hours each
day. Among the number was Sir Christopher Wren, who not only was the
greatest architect, but, as is elsewhere said, was one of the famous
astronomers of his day. It was out of his lectures on astronomy, which
were attended by learned men, that the Royal Society originated. On
Cromwell's death, all college matters were put in abeyance, and the
college was temporarily turned into barracks, and so polluted that Bishop
Sprat wrote to Wren that he "found the place in such a nasty condition, so
defiled, and the smells so infernal, that if you should now come to make
use of your tube [telescope] it would be like Dives looking out of hell
into heaven."

After the Fire, Gresham College was temporarily used for an Exchange,
where merchants met. "Gresham College became an epitome of this great
city, and the centre of all affairs, both public and private, which were
then transacted in it."

Except "London stone" and bits of the Old Wall, little more remains to
consider among the important landmarks of the city that was nightly locked
within the city gates, and which still endures after the Great Fire. Of
this little part, Austin Friars Church, on the site of the Augustinian
Convent, is the most notable. Of the extensive and magnificent
establishment that was founded here in 1253, nothing to-day remains but
the nave of the great church of former days, which is now reached through
narrow passages from Old Broad Street north of the Bank. Originally the
church was cruciform, with choir, transepts, and a "most fine, spired
steeple, both small and straight." Henry VIII. at the Dissolution bestowed
the house and grounds upon the first Marquis of Winchester, but the church
was given by the young King Edward VI. "to the Dutch nation in London, to
be their preaching place." From that day to this the Dutch have worshipped
here, and in the days of persecution it was the religious home of other
Continental refugees. In the generation before Milton, thousands of the
skilled artisans of the Netherlands and France had fled to England,
impoverishing the lands of the short-sighted tyrants who drove them forth,
to add to English industry and commerce. The most eminent pastor of these
exiles was a Polish nobleman, John a Lasco, who shepherded, not only this
flock, but all the other foreigners in England, and superintended their
schools as well. He was a friend of Melanchthon and Erasmus, was with the
latter when he died, and became possessed of his library.

It was to these refugees in London, Norwich, and other towns that
harboured them, that England owed the introduction of many new, choice
flowers, among them, the gillyflower, carnation, Provence rose, and
others. The handiwork of these industrious folk produced many new stuffs
unknown to English ladies, among others the fine light fabric known as
bombazine. One of the Dutch ladies, who taught the English to starch and
launder cambric ruffs, was so much sought after and charged such high
fees, that she soon earned herself a competence. Evidently these strangers
paid their way.

The church assigned to them in London once possessed a marvellous array of
tombs of noted men. The register is crowded with the names of earls and
barons, all of whose monuments were sold by the impecunious and callous
marquis for £100. Just before Milton's birth the fourth Marquis of
Winchester was compelled to part with all his possessions in Austin
Friars. At about this time the tower, declared to be "one of the
beautifullest and rarest spectacles" in the city, was pulled down, and the
choir and transepts were demolished. The size of the original building may
be imagined when we remember that the length of the nave alone is one
hundred and fifty feet to-day. The chronicler records that in the
beginning of the Dutch services, the church was filled to overflowing.
Whether there are fewer Dutch in London four centuries later, or fewer who
are glad to worship in their own tongue, cannot be said. But to-day, the
visitor, who on a Sunday morning walks through the silent and deserted
streets north of the Bank of England, and penetrates to the seclusion of
Austin Friars Church, will find but a scant congregation of perhaps two
hundred, who gather cosily within the curtains in the centre of the nave,
which shut out the great bare aisles. If he thinks of the old days when
Roger Williams taught Dutch to his learned pupil, John Milton, he may let
his fancy picture to him these men, who ranked among the nation-builders
of their day, stepping some Sunday morning under its Gothic arches from
out the greensward that then surrounded them, and listening to the gospel
in the tongue of those brave exiles who, like them, had fought for freedom
of conscience.

If the visitor waits after service, he may see in the pastor's room the
portrait of John a Lasco, to whom all the congregation point back with
pride, as the first and greatest preacher in their history; and the
courteous pastor may point out many things of interest that would escape
the casual observer. Standing at the front of the church, beside the
little tower at the left, whose beautiful spire no longer rises aloft, one
finds himself in the heart of the modern business world, relentless,
pushing, loving neither beauty nor the sacredness of age. One
sign--Barnato Brothers--may attract his attention in a window close to the
gray church walls. Here the ambitious and ill-starred king of African
mines, Barney Barnato, brought his power to bear upon the men on 'Change
a decade since. A decade hence his name, like John a Lasco's, will be
remembered by few. These names and the associations they suggest are no
unfitting theme for meditation on a Sunday morning stroll amid the stony
streets of London past and present.

Further west, amid the district swept by the Great Fire, stands Guildhall,
not as it stood either before or after the fire, but still worthy of
mention in the category of buildings that withstood the flames. Only the
roof perished in the fire, and its walls stood intact; but so great have
been the changes since their restoration that very little which belonged
to Milton's London remains above the crypt.

A clergyman, writing the year after the Great Fire, thus describes it, as
he saw it during that terrible conflagration: "And amongst other things
that night, the sight of Guildhall was a fearful spectacle, which stood
the whole of it together, after the fire had taken it, without flames (I
suppose because the timber was such solid oake), like a bright shining
wal, as if it had been a palace of gold, or a great building of burnished

The present roof is as nearly as possible a reproduction of the one that
perished in the fire: it is an open oak roof, and has a central louvre.
The figures of giants in its hall represent Gog and Magog, who were the
Corineus and Gogmagog of the ancient city pageants. The former was a
companion of Brutus, the Trojan, and according to tradition killed
Gogmagog, the aboriginal giant.

The crypt is reputed to be the finest now remaining in London. It is a
portion of the ancient hall of 1411. The north and south aisles had
formerly mullioned windows, which are now walled up. The vaulting, with
four centred arches, is notable, and is probably of the earliest of that

The Guildhall was founded in 1411, in the time of Henry IV., and when
Milton was a boy had attained a certain venerableness. Within its walls
had taken place, not merely the civic banquets for which its modern
successor is noted, but also many tragic scenes in English history. Here
the evil-minded Protector who wished to supplant his boy-nephew, Edward
V., had his name presented to the assembled multitudes as the legitimate
monarch, by his oily courtier, Buckingham. The people, "marvellously
abashed," listened in dead silence, as the accomplished orator proclaimed
the bastardy of the little prince, and urged the claims of his ambitious
uncle. The speaker, somewhat disconcerted, explained again, louder and
more explicitly, his meaning. "But were it for wonder or fear, or that
each looked that other should speak first, not one word was there answered
of all the people that stood before; but all were as still as the
midnight." Then the recorder was summoned to use his efforts with the
people. "But all this no change made in the people, which alway after
stood as they were amazed." At last some servants of the duke, and
'prentices and lads "thrusted into the hall amongst the press," began
suddenly to cry out aloud: "King Richard, King Richard," and "they that
stood before cast back their heads marvelling thereat, but nothing they
said. And when the duke and the mayor saw this manner, they wisely turned
it to their purpose, and said it was a goodly cry and a joyful to hear
every man _with one voice_, and no man saying nay." Thus a bold _coup_,
struck with a masterful hand, surprised an honest people without organised
opposition and leadership, and as so many times in the history of the
Anglo-Saxon race, the voice of a small and powerful minority was
impudently declared to be _vox populi_.

One of the saddest sights that the Guildhall Milton knew ever witnessed
was the trial, in the reign of Henry VIII., of that young lady, Anne
Askew, whose courage and devotion never were surpassed within the
Colosseum, among the Christians who fought with beasts or were sawn
asunder. Having become a Protestant, she was driven by her husband, who
was a papist, from his home. King Henry, it might have been supposed,
would have at least taken no action against her, but she was arrested and
examined. The lord mayor of London asked her whether the priest cannot
make the body of Christ, to which she replied as shrewdly as Jeanne d'Arc
to her inquisitors: "I have read that God made man; but that man can make
God, I never yet read." She was condemned at Guildhall to death for
heresy. A daughter of a knight, this delicate lady, reared in comfort, was
carried to the Tower, thrust into a cell, where but for a few brave
friends she would have starved, and then her tender body was put on the
rack, and Chancellor Wriothesley himself applied such power as nearly rent
it in sunder. The story of her cruel death amid the flames at Smithfield
belongs rather to that bloody spot than to the Guildhall. Her life she
could have saved, even at the last moment, had her heroic soul faltered,
and unsaid what conscience taught. Those were tales to freeze the life
from out young hearts, that grandames told in Milton's boyhood. To the men
of his day, Guildhall stood chiefly connected with some of the most
remarkable trials in England's history.

Among them was that of Throckmorton for complicity in Sir Thomas Wyatt's
attempt against the Catholic Queen Mary. In those days, when trial usually
meant speedy death, his acquittal, due to his own forensic skill and
eloquence, is recounted in detail by historians as most remarkable. He it
was whose tomb in St. Catherine Cree's is mentioned, and for whom a London
street is named.

The church of St. Mary Aldermanbury is one that few visitors to London
ever enter, but the follower in Milton's footsteps will not fail to seek
out, a little west of the Guildhall, this church, whose registers record
that here Milton, at the age of forty-eight, married his second wife,
Katherine Woodcocke. Aldermanbury derives its name from the ancient court
or _bery_ of the aldermen, which is now held at the Guildhall. The church
stands in its tiny green churchyard closely surrounded by business blocks,
amidst the bustle of the city; on a summer noontide, in its shady retreat,
the seats are filled with loiterers who chat or meditate or read their
papers around the central monument.

This monument, though modern, is of great interest. It records the fact
that J. Heminge and Henry Condell, Shakespeare's fellow actors and
personal friends, lived many years in this parish, and are buried here.
Says the inscription: "To their disinterested affection the world owes
all that it calls Shakespeare; they alone collected his dramatic writings,
regardless of pecuniary loss, and without the hope of any profit gave them
to the world.

"First Folio: 'We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead,
without ambition of selfe-profit or fame, only to keep the memory of so
worthy a friend alive, as was our Shakespeare.'

"Extract from Preface: 'It had been a thing, we confesse, worthie to have
been wished, that the author himselfe had lived to have set forth and
overseene his own writings, but since it hath been ordained otherwise,...
we pray you do not envy his Friends the office of their care and paine to
have collected and published them, absolute in their numbers, as he
conceived them, who as he was a happy imitator of nature, was a most
gentle expression of it. His mind and hand went together, and what he
thought he uttered, with that easiness that wee have scarse received from
him a blot on his papers.'" In 1656 Milton's marriage took place in the
earlier church, of very ancient foundation. The present building was
designed by Wren, and was begun in 1668, during Milton's blindness. It has
a square tower capped by a square bell turret about ninety feet in height.

The register of the church, which was preserved, records that: "The
agreement and intention of marriage between John Milton, Esq., of the
parish of Margaret's in Westminster, and Mrs. Katharine Woodcocke of
Mary's in Aldermanbury, was published three several market days in three
several weeks ... and no exception being made against their intentions,
they were according to the act of Parliament, married on the 12th of
November, by Sir John Dethicke, Knight and Alderman, one of the Justices
for the Peace in the City of London." A justice instead of a clergyman was
prescribed by the Marriage Act which was then in force.

Judge Jeffreys of bloody memory is buried in the church (d. 1689).

A little west of it is Christ's Hospital, which, since its establishment
in 1552 by the boy-king, Edward VI., until the summer of 1902, has been
one of the most noted of London schools. Its revenue is about £60,000. Its
removal to Horsham in the country will provide the ample playgrounds and
modern accommodations that the times demand; but even an American, to say
nothing of native Londoners, must feel a pang of regret at the
disappearance from the street of the bright-eyed, bare-headed lads, whose
quaint costume has for centuries given their school its name of "Blue Coat
School." Anciently the boys wore caps, but now they go bare-headed through
the year.

The school was originally established on the site of the Gray Friars
Monastery, as a kind of asylum for poor children. Stow gives the following
account of the opening of the institution. "In the month of September they
took in near four hundred orphans, and cloathed them in Russet, but ever
after they wore Blue Cloath Coats, whence it is commonly called the Blue
Coat Hospital. Their habit being now a long coat of blue warm cloth, close
to their arms and Body, hanging loose to their Heels, girt about their
Waist with a red leather girdle buckled, a round thrum Cap tyed with a red
Band, Yellow Stockings, and Black Low-heeled Shoes, their hair cut close
their Locks short."

"Their fare was Breakfast, bread and beer, 6.30 summer, 7.30 winter.
Sunday, beef and pottage for dinners. Suppers, as good legs and shoulders
of mutton as can be bought. Tuesdays and Thursdays, same dinner as
Sundays. Other days, no flesh--Monday, milk porridge; Wednesday, furmity;
Friday, old peas and pottage; Saturday, water-gruel. Rost beef, 12 times a
year. Supper, bread and butter or bread and cheese; Wednesday and Friday,
pudding pies."

This seems to have been a liberal table compared with that of the famous
Winchester school in its early days, when two meals a day were all that
were allowed, except for invalids.

Stow mentions that "the King granted all Church Linnen formerly used in
the Churches of London" to the hospital, as a superabundance had been
found. Girls as well as boys were lodged and taught here. Stow tells us of
the custom which prevailed from his day to ours: "One boy being appointed,
goeth up into a pulpit there placed and readeth a chapter ... and prayers.
At the end of every prayer all the boys cry 'Amen,' that maketh a very
melodious sound. The boy that reads is designed for the university. A
Psalm is named by the same boy; and all sing with a good organ that is
placed in the said great Hall." He describes the grace said by one boy in
the pulpit, and the boys and girls quietly seating themselves while
"multitudes of city and court" came to witness it.

An ancient writer recounts the joy of the half-starved youngsters when
they were first taken into its dining-hall and saw the baskets heaped with
bread, and knew that there was enough for all. Among the buildings which
are about to be replaced by mercantile establishments there is little, if
anything, that Milton saw. Christ's Church, beside it, where Richard
Baxter lies buried, was built by Wren a little after his time.

Where so many famous men in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were
to be numbered as students,--Coleridge, Leigh Hunt, Charles Lamb, and
others,--the one name on its register that would have most interested
Milton was that of William Camden who studied here, as well as at St.
Paul's. A visitor from Boston, Massachusetts, is interested to know that
in 1626, one little lad in yellow stockings and dark blue coat, who
studied Latin here to some purpose, was Ezekiel Cheever, who became the
master of the Boston Latin School. For thirty years he taught the Yankee
boys in the little wooden house on School Street at the foot of Beacon
Hill, and made them learn his famous "Accidence," which went through many
editions. Often as he wandered over the "rocky nook with hilltops three,"
where "twice each day the flowing sea took Boston in its arms," his
thoughts must have turned back to the walled city with its spires and
palaces and prisons which he and Milton knew when they were boys.

The London tourist, who visits London for the first time after 1902, will
miss seeing one of its most fascinating sights, for he can never stand in
the great dining-hall of Christ's Hospital on a Sunday noon and see the
procession of pink-cheeked lads in their knee-breeches and long skirts
come trooping in an orderly procession into the great hall, bearing great
platters of steaming meats and baskets piled with rolls. The "Grecians"
and "Deputy-Grecians," and the less distinguished rank and file will
never again pause here to listen to the Latin grace, nor will gaze at the
huge canvas on the long wall between the galleries at either end. One
wonders what will become of the old desks in the schoolroom, into which a
score of generations of schoolboys have carved their names, and whether in
their splendid new surroundings they will not look back half regretfully
to the dim old cloisters which linked them with their great historic past.

Old Newgate was a foul prison in Milton's day. Here in filthy chambers,
gentlemen like Ellwood, Defoe, and William Penn were thrown together with
felons. Diagonally across the street from the huge grim prison of later
days, which since 1770 has stretched its length along the thoroughfare
which bears its name, is St. Sepulchre's Church. From its tower the knell
was struck for executions at the neighbouring Newgate, and many a time
must the boys in Christ's Hospital and the Charterhouse School north of it
have listened in horrified curiosity as the bell tolled, and they knew it
meant that a man, blindfolded and with bound hands, was standing on the
scaffold in front of Newgate. St. Sepulchre's has been much altered since
Milton entered it, perhaps in search of the same monument that first of
all attracts Americans. This is the monument of that bold discoverer and
coloniser, John Smith, who settled Jamestown in Virginia the year before
Milton was born. Who knows but Milton may have met him, or have gazed upon
the dark-eyed Princess Pocahontas, who left her native forests and became
the bride of the Englishman Rolfe, after she had saved the life of the
gallant Captain Smith.

His old tombstone is nearly defaced, and lies in the side aisle, some
yards from its original site. A replica of the original inscription is
placed on a brass tablet near it:

  "Here lyes one conquered, who hath conquered kings;
  Subdued large territories and done things
  Which to the world impossible will seem
  But that the Truth is held in more esteem,...
  Or shall I tell of his adventures since,
  Done in Virginia, that large Continente?
  How that he subdued kings unto his yoke,
  And made those Heathen flee as wind doth smoke,
  And made their land, being of so large a Station,
  An habitation for our Christian nation."...

The above-mentioned "kings" were doubtless Indian sachems. The Anglo-Saxon
satisfaction at the way the heathen were made to flee like smoke, and make
room for a Christian nation, as shown by the writer of this effusion,
indicates that the white Christian of Smith's day was not unlike his
posterity three centuries later in the time of Cecil Rhodes and of
Philippine campaigns.

John Rogers, the Smithfield martyr, was vicar of this church. During his
residence in Antwerp, he had made the acquaintance of Tyndale, the
translator of the Bible, and continued Tyndale's work after his death.
Dean Milman tells us: "There is no doubt that the first complete English
Bible came from Antwerp under his superintendence and auspices. It bore
then and still bears the name of Matthews's Bible. Of Matthews, however,
no trace has ever been discovered. There is every reason for believing the
untraceable Matthews was John Rogers. If so, Rogers was not only the
protomartyr of the English Church, but, with due respect for Tyndale, the
protomartyr of the English Bible."

Among the most eminent men buried at St. Sepulchre's was Roger Ascham, in
1568. Doubtless Milton, before writing his own remarkable treatise on
education, must have studied the progressive theories of this man who
taught Latin and Greek to Queen Elizabeth.



When Milton was a lad at St. Paul's School, it is more than likely that he
sometimes visited the boys of Charterhouse. Let us imagine him on some
holiday taking a stroll outside the city wall through Newgate, over
Holborn Bridge, that arched the Hole Bourne or Fleet, which flowed
southward to the Thames, at Blackfriars; then up Holborn Hill and to the
right to Charterhouse Square. It is still a quiet square of green shut in
by pleasant residences, which replace the handsome palaces, such as
Rutland House, which stood here during the Stuarts' reign.

If his father accompanied the lad he may have recalled to him the horror
of the pestilence which three hundred years before had swept from Asia
across Europe. In foul, crowded London, it so filled the churchyards to
overflowing, that in 1348, when thousands of bodies were flung into pits
without a Christian prayer said over them, the Bishop of London
purchased three acres for a burial-ground upon this spot. Near here fifty
thousand bodies were buried, one above another in deep graves. But three
hundred years is a long time to one who has lived something less than ten,
and perhaps these grisly tales of a shadowy and forgotten past appealed
less to Milton's boyish heart than those of a nearer time, which his
father's life had almost touched.


_From an old engraving._]

Above the monastery doors which rose here after the Great Plague, might
have been seen, only a half century before, the limb from the dismembered
body of the martyred prior, who fell beneath the wrath of Henry VIII. He,
with divers of his brethren, perished for their faith as nobly as John
Rogers, a few years later, died for a different one. Heroism belongs to no
one creed. Thus ended the monastic institution, the House of the
Salutation of the Mother of God, which since 1371 had housed twenty-four
Carthusian friars. Their quiet lives and austere fasts had been in sharp
contrast to those of the Knights of St. John, their ancient neighbours,
whose habitations perished at about the time when theirs arose.

Some remains of the old monastery may be seen within the gates to-day, and
doubtless there were many more reminders of it when Milton was shown about
by his boy-friends. Perhaps the tall youth, Roger Williams, nine years
his senior, whose later life was to touch his, may have noticed the
handsome lad who read the Latin inscriptions as easily as boys of his age
now read English, and who showed a marvellous comprehension of the
antiquities of the place.

The visitor to-day on entering the chapel, as Milton did, may notice at
the left of the door a white marble tablet framed in yellow marble, on
which an American citizen, in memory of the founder of Rhode Island,
almost the only tolerator of all religious faiths in an intolerant age,
has recently inscribed the fact that Roger Williams studied here.

Since Milton's day the character of Charterhouse has not much changed,
though many buildings have been added. The present foundation marks the
benevolence of one of the richest merchants of Elizabeth's day, whose
prayer was: "Lord, thou hast given me a large and liberal estate; give me
also a heart to make use thereof." In 1611, Thomas Sutton purchased the
Charterhouse for £13,000, from the Earl of Suffolk and his relatives, and
made over twenty manors and lordships and other rich estates, including
the Charterhouse, in trust for the hospital.

The pensioners were originally eighty in number, and the boys, forty-four.
Hubert Herkomer's well-known, beautiful painting in the Tate Gallery of
the Charterhouse chapel and the venerable figures of the aged gentlemen
who daily worship here in their quaint gowns, depicts a scene that Milton
saw, and that the modern visitor may see to-day. Beyond the huge,
pretentious monument of Sutton, that fills one corner of the chapel, is
the side room, where, until quite recent years, the boys sat at morning
service. Now their numbers are increased, and they are more happily housed
out in the country, where outdoor sports and rural life can do more for
them than this region, which is now hemmed in by the encroachments of
commercial London. Stow tells us that the master was required to be
twenty-seven years old, and that the highest form must every Sunday set up
in the Great Hall four Greek and four Latin verses, "each to be made on
any part of the second Lesson for that day."

One cannot but feel that the old gentlemen must sadly miss their sprightly
young comrades, and long for the sound of their merry shouts and whistles.
Their numbers are falling off, for the revenues, drawn from agricultural
sources, are diminishing. To-day about fifty-five are entered. All must be
over sixty years of age. They have all the freedom of private citizens,
except that they are expected to dine together in the great panelled
dining-hall, and at night to be in by eleven o'clock. Each pensioner has
a bedroom and sitting-room, and a loaf and butter is brought him for his
breakfast. About £30 a year are allowed each for clothing and other food,
and a female attendant is assigned to each half dozen gentlemen.
Thackeray's description of Founder's Day is most touching, and deserves to
be read by all who visit Charterhouse, where he studied, and in
imagination saw the last days of Colonel Newcome:

"The custom of the school is on the 12th of December, the Founder's Day,
that the head gown-boy shall recite a Latin oration, in praise of our
founder and upon other subjects, and a goodly company of old Cistercians
is generally brought together to attend this oration, after which we go to
chapel and have a sermon, after which we go to a great dinner, where old
condisciples meet, old toasts are given, and speeches made. Before
marching from the oration hall to chapel, the stewards of the day's
dinner, according to the old-fashioned rite, have wands in their hands,
walk to church at the head of the procession, and sit in places of honour.
The boys are already on their seats with smug fresh faces and shining
white collars; the old black-gowned pensioners are on their benches, the
chapel is lighted, the founder's tomb, with its grotesque carvings,
monsters, heraldries, darkles and shines with the most wonderful lights
and shadows. There he sits, Fundator Noster, in his ruff and gown,
awaiting the Great Examination Day. We oldsters, be we ever so old, become
boys again as we look at that familiar old tomb, and think how the seats
were altered since we were here, and how the doctor used to sit yonder and
his awful eye used to frighten us shuddering boys on whom it lighted; and
how the boy next us _would_ kick our shins during the service time, and
how the monitor would cane us afterward because our shins were kicked.
Yonder sit forty cherry-cheeked boys, thinking about home and holidays
to-morrow. Yonder sit some three-score old gentlemen--pensioners of the
hospital, listening to the prayers and psalms. You hear them coughing
feebly in the twilight--the old, reverend black gowns.... A plenty of
candles light up this chapel, and this scene of youth and age and early
memories and pompous death. How solemn the well-remembered prayers are
here uttered again in the place where in childhood we used to hear them!
How beautiful and decorous the rite! How noble the ancient words of the
supplications which the priest utters, and to which generations of bygone
seniors have cried, 'Amen,' under those arches."

We pass up, as Milton may have done, the broad carved oak staircase of the
period antedating Sutton's purchase, when Lord North welcomed the Princess
Elizabeth as his guest and entertained her royally, five days before her
coronation. In these spacious rooms, with deep-set windows, and richly
decorated ceilings, the cautious princess held meetings daily with her
councillors. The lofty fireplace and the tapestry hangings that remain
recall in their dim splendour days when lords and dukes and maids of
honour waited in trepidation upon the behest of the haughty woman who was
soon to become their dread sovereign. It was in one of these rooms that
the pupil orator gave his oration upon Founder's Day.

One of the rooms not always shown to visitors should not be missed. It is
the long, cosy library of the pensioners. Here, leaning out of the
diamond-paned windows upon a summer's day, or grouping themselves in easy
chairs about the blazing hearth in gray November, one loves to think of
these lonely gentlemen, who have seen better days, spending their last,
quiet years among their books.

The visitor to the Charterhouse will not fail to spend a half day within
the vicinity. In spite of its sordid and commercial aspect, it possesses
many of the most precious relics of the past.


_From an old engraving._]

A little to the northwest of Smithfield, where it spans a narrow and
somewhat squalid street, stands the huge stone gateway of St. John's.
Nothing in its vicinity reveals the fact that once beside it stood a
conventual church, and a bell-tower that was one of the glories of London,
and nothing to indicate that, centuries before these, one of the richest
and most famous of all the monastic establishments around London was built
here. The history of the Knights of St. John is one of the longest and
most romantic of mediæval histories. The prototype of their ancient
hospital was in Jerusalem, where the knights of the order lived lives of
abstinence and charity. The English establishment in Clerkenwell was
founded in 1100 A. D., only a generation after the coming of the Norman
Conqueror. This was the time of Godfrey of Bouillon and of the first
Crusade. Forty years later the monks in Jerusalem became a military order,
and thenceforth their history is one that seemed guided by Joshua rather
than the Prince of Peace. Large gifts and power led them soon far from the
simple habits of their early days. Of their fights with pirates and with
Turks and with rival Christian bodies, there is no space to tell. Like the
Christian Church itself, in many periods, they waxed fat and gross, and
became the hated "plutocrats" of the working men of their time. In that
sweet story, written in Saxon English, by William Morris, of the monk,
"John Ball," we have a picture of the brave men of Kent who rose in wrath
to destroy, as did the Paris mob of 1793, the men who long had mocked at
their impotence and fed upon their toil. The rebels marched with spear and
bow to London, and wreaked their vengeance on many, but especially those
whose travesty on the teaching of the saint whose name they bore had
maddened them to fury. They burnt all the houses belonging to St. John's,
and set on fire the beautiful priory, which burned seven days. King
Richard II., safe in the Tower, in vain besought his Council for advice in
this extremity. The prior himself did not escape, but fell beneath the
relentless axe of the men of Kent, as thousands for a like cause fell
under the guillotine in Paris.

The present gateway was not erected until the following century. In the
reign of Edward VI., the church with the "graven gilt and enamelled
bell-tower" was undermined and blown up with gunpowder, and the stone was
used for building the Lord Protector's House upon the Strand. To-day the
members of the revived English League of the Order of St. John hold their
meetings in the gate.

With the exception of Westminster Abbey, probably no church has more of
interest than St. Bartholomew's at Smithfield. Within the century that saw
the White Tower of the Conqueror begun, a monastery and church rose on
this site. "A pleasant-witted gentleman, who was therefore called 'the
king's minstrel,'" as Stow relates, was blest with a most singular vision
on his pilgrimage to Rome. Like Saul of Tarsus, he felt the Lord's command
to leave his old life and begin anew. Accordingly on his return to England
he established a priory for thirteen monks, and in 1123 built the Norman
church, part of which stands practically as he left it. Says a
nineteenth-century antiquary: "Except the Tower and its immediate
neighbourhood, there is no part of London, old or new, around which are
clustered so many events interesting in history, as that of the priory of
St. Bartholomew-the-Great and its vicinity. There are narrow, tortuous
streets, and still narrower courts, about Cloth Fair, where are hidden
away scores of old houses, whose projecting eaves and overhanging floors,
heavy, cumbrous beams and wattle and plaster walls must have seen the days
of the Plantagenets. There are remains of groined arches, and windows with
ancient tracery, strong buttresses, and beautiful portals, with toothed
and ornate archways, belonging to times long anterior to Wyclif and John
of Gaunt yet to be found lurking behind dark, uncanny-looking
tenements.... When Chaucer was young, and his Canterbury Pilgrims were men
and women of the period, processions of cowled monks and chanting boys,
with censers and crucifix, wended their way from the old priory of the
Black Friars beside the Thames; and when Edward III. had spent the morning
in witnessing the tourney of mailed knights at Smithfield, have they and
their attendants, with all the pomp and pageantry of chivalry, passed
beneath this old gateway to the grand entertainment of the good prior in
the great refectory beyond the south cloisters.... As we go round the
Great Close we pass by some very old houses that occupy the place where
was once the east cloisters. Behind these houses used to be a great
mulberry-tree, only removed in our own time."

Here may Milton, during those dark days of the Restoration, when he
retired to the seclusion of these narrow streets to escape observation,
have sometimes ventured. Here sitting on the stone seat beneath its shade,
he may have seen in fancy the processions of sandalled monks, with
rosaries dangling against their long gray robes, move silently by as in
the olden time, and pass within the portals of the church. And stepping
beneath its round arches, he may himself have stood, as countless monks
and pilgrims before him have done, before the recumbent painted figure of
the tonsured monk, Rahere, who lies under a beautifully wrought Gothic
canopy of a much later period. Around him rise the solemn, massive pillars
with their cubiform capitals, which seem scarcely less fresh and solid
than when Rahere gazed on them with pride. Here are to be seen the slight
intimations, even amid Norman semicircular arches, of the Gothic pointed
arch that was to supersede them in the near future. Of the four superb
arches which once supported the great central tower, two are the
half-circle and two are slightly pointed.

An interesting and lovely feature of the church is the oriel window by the
triforium, opposite Rahere's grave, built by the famous Prior Bolton. Here
the prior seems to have had a kind of pew or seat from whence he could
overlook the canons when he pleased, without their being aware of his
presence, as it communicated with his house. The aisles form a fine study
for the architect. The horseshoe Moorish arch is much used, as well as the
simpler Norman arch, and there is seen a regular gradation from one to the

Among the tombs that must have most interested Puritan Milton was one of
James Rivers, who died in 1641 just as the civil war was about to break
forth, who evidently, had he lived, would have thrown in his lot where
Milton did. His epitaph contains the lines:

  "Whose life and death designed no other end,
  Than to serve God, his country, and his friend;
  Who, when ambition, tyranny, and pride
  Conquered the age, conquered himself and died."

A tomb that may have interested Milton is that of Sir Walter Mildmay, the
founder of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, which sent so many Puritans to the
new colonies in Massachusetts. It was this Mildmay to whom, when he came
to court, Queen Elizabeth said: "I hear, Sir Walter, that you have erected
a Puritan foundation." "No, madam," was the answer, "but I have set an
acorn, which when it becomes an oak, God knows what will be the fruit

In Milton's time many Puritans lived in the parish, and a manuscript book
preserved in the vestry records that there was "Collected for the children
of New England uppon 2 Sabath daies following in february, 1643, £2, 8.
9." This was a goodly sum for those days, and was doubtless much
appreciated by the English cousins, who in their bare pine meeting-houses
beside the tidal Charles remembered that the Puritans who remained at
home were called to wage a fiercer fight with priestcraft, prerogative,
and privilege than they, with poverty.

The church to-day is but a fraction of its former size, in fact, hardly
more than the choir of the noble building which Rahere erected. The entire
length of the church as it left his hand is supposed to have been 225
feet. In 1539 Sir Richard Rich bought church and priory for little more
than £1,000, and the thirteen evicted canons were pensioned off.

Close by old St. Bartholomew's is Smithfield, so near that, in the reign
of the Tudors, the ruddy light of martyrs' fagots must have cast a glow
upon its roof and its walls must have resounded to the screams of
sufferers in their last agonising moments.

On the south side of Smithfield, in Milton's day, rose St. Bartholomew's
Hospital, founded by Henry VIII., upon the site of Rahere's earlier one.
The great Harvey, the physician of Charles I., who discovered the
circulation of the blood, was physician to this hospital for thirty-four
years, and here, in 1619, he lectured on his great discovery. The present
structure dates from a period early in the eighteenth century.

Directly opposite St. Bartholomew's Church, in 1849, excavations three
feet below the surface exposed to view a mass of unhewn stones, blackened
as by fire, and covered with ashes and human bones, charred and partially
consumed. This marked the spot where martyrs, facing eastward toward the
great gate of St. Bartholomew's, were chained to the stake. The prior was
generally present on such occasions. An old print of the burning of Anne
Askew displays a pulpit erected for the sermon, and raised seats for the
numerous spectators who came to view the spectacle with probably no more
shrinking than the Londoners of the early nineteenth century viewed the
hangings at Newgate.

Of the two hundred and seventy-seven persons who in Mary's reign here
perished for their faith, none is more lovingly remembered in Old England
or in New England than John Rogers, the first martyr in the Marian
persecution, to whom we have already referred. For a century or more,
Calvinistic New England taught its children from that quaint little book
known as the "New England Primer," and now treasured in many families as a
curiosity. No one among its wretched little woodcuts struck such a solemn
awe into the child's mind,--making the courage of the soldier on the
battle-field shrink to nothing in comparison, as that picture where John
Rogers, surrounded by his wife and nine children and another at the
breast, testified to his faith within the flames. "That which I have
preached I will seal with my blood," said the indomitable man, when
offered pardon for recantation. "I will never pray for thee," quoth his
angry questioner. "But I will pray for you," said Master Rogers. History
does not record that his little children saw their father die, but only
that they met him on the way, and sobbed out their farewells. But enough;
we need not enter on the hideous story of this spot in the generation that
followed this martyr.

In early days, Smithfield, or Smoothfield, was the Campus Martius for sham
fights and tilts. All sorts of sports, archery, and bowls, and ball games
were played here, and it was a resort for acrobats and jugglers. In 1615,
says Howes, "The City of London reduced the rude, vast place of Smithfield
into a faire and comely order, which formerly was never held possible to
be done, and paved it all over, and made divers sewers to convey the water
from the new channels which were made by reason of the new pavement; they
also made strong rails round about Smithfield, and sequestered the middle
part into a very fair and civil walk, and railed it round about with
strong rails, to defend the place from annoyance and danger, as well from
carts, as all manner of cattle, because it was intended hereafter that in
time it might prove a fair and peaceable market-place, by reason that
Newgate Market, Moorgate, Cheapside, Leadenhall, and Gracechurch Street,
were immeasurably pestered with the unimaginable increase and multiplicity
of market folks. And this field, commonly called West Smithfield, was for
many years called Ruffian's Hall, by reason it was the usual place of
frays and common fighting during the time that sword and bucklers were in
use. But the ensuing deadly fight with rapier and dagger suddenly
suppressed the fighting with sword and buckler." In his "Henry IV.,"
Shakespeare makes Page say of Bardolph: "He's gone to Smithfield to buy
your worship a horse." To which Falstaff replies: "I bought him in Paul's,
and he'll buy me a horse in Smithfield; an I could get me but a wife in
the stews, I were manned, horsed, and wived."

Ben Jonson's merry play, "Bartholomew Fair," written in 1613, gives a good
account of the babel of entreaties and advertising boasts that assailed
the ears of the unwary customer: "Will your worship buy any gingerbread,
gilt gingerbread; very good bread, comfortable bread? Buy any ballads? New
ballads! Hey!

  "Now the fair's a filling!
    O, for a tune to startle
  The birds of the booths here billing
    Yearly with old St. Bartle.

"Buy any pears, pears, very fine pears! What do you lack, gentleman? Maid,
see a fine hoppy-horse for your young master. Cost you but a farthing a
week for his provender.

"Buy a mouse-trap, a mouse-trap, or a tormentor for a flea?

"What do you lack? fine purses, pouches, pin cases, pipes? a pair of
smiths to wake you in the morning, or a fine whistling bird?

"Gentlewomen, the weather's hot; whither walk you? Have a care of your
fine velvet caps; the fair is dusty. Take a sweet delicate booth with
boughs, here in the way, and cool yourself in the shade, you and your
friends. Here be the best pigs. A delicate show-pig, little mistress, with
sweet sauce and crackling, like de bay-leaf i' de fire, la! T'ou shalt ha'
the clean side o' the table-clot' and de glass vashed!"

From all which, and much more to the same purport, one may judge that
whether in Ben Jonson's time or Browning's, whether in Smithfield or in
the modern charity fair, the art of alluring or browbeating the man with a
purse into buying what he does not want is much the same. Long after
Milton's death, the fair was famous, and drew gaping throngs to witness
mountebanks swing in mid air, and to view the fat woman and double-headed
calf, for all the world like "The Greatest Moral Show on Earth" to-day.

Now Smithfield has banished mountebanks and bellowing herds. Only the
carcases of the latter may be found in the huge brick market that covers a
large part of the once open space. The original size of Smithfield was but
three acres, but since 1834 it has been over six acres in extent.



Holborn was paved long before Milton's birth, and was a street of
consequence, because of the Inns of Court, which opened north and south
from it. From his time until 1868 a row of small houses southward from
Gray's Inn blocked up the street, and became even in his day "a mighty
hindrance to Holborn in point of prospect."

Ely Place, off Holborn, is little known to hasty tourists who have not
time to leave the beaten track of sightseeing. But any one who has a quiet
hour to spend in the exquisite little church of St. Etheldreda, and to
recall the glories of the past which its Gothic walls have witnessed, will
be well repaid.

Ely Place, a rectangle of dull, commonplace houses, at its entrance gives
no glimpse of the chapel, which is shrinkingly withdrawn a little among
the interloping walls that now replace the gardens and the palaces of
Milton's day. In Chaucer's lifetime, the Bishop of Ely built this very
chapel to the Saxon saint, the daughter of the king of the West Angles,
who was born about the year 630. She took part in the erection of the
Cathedral of Ely amid the morasses of the "Fen" country, and was chosen as
its patron saint. In 679 she died, the abbess of the convent of Ely.
Singularly enough, this modest lady gave the origin to the word "tawdry,"
so Thornbury declares. For her name was sometimes called St. Audry, and
some cheap necklaces sold at St. Audry's fair at Ely were known as
"tawdry" laces, whence the name was applied to other cheap and showy

After long continuance in the hands of Protestants, the church has again
reverted to the faith of those who built it. It is the only instance of a
"living" crypt in London, _i. e._, one in which tapers burn and kneeling
worshippers assemble before shrines. On any week day, one may in three
minutes turn from Holborn into its mediæval quiet and seclusion and tell
one's beads, either in the upper or lower sanctuary, or gaze at the
glorious decorated east window, and on the chaste proportions of an
unspoiled Gothic structure. Its wealth of windows remotely reminds one of
the Sainte Chapelle of good King Louis, whose jewelled windows in their
slender lofty frames are one of the marvels of the island in the Seine.

In the Plantagenet and Tudor period, vineyards, kitchen garden, and
orchard surrounded the magnificent buildings of Ely Place. Hither, at the
Duke of Gloucester's bidding, as Shakespeare, following history, records,
the bishop sent hastily for the strawberries for which his garden was

  "My Lord of Ely, when I was last in Holborn
  I saw good strawberries in your garden there;
  I do beseech you send for some of them."

In the reign of Elizabeth, Sir Christopher Hatton was the owner of Ely
Place. Except a cluster of houses,--Ely Rents,--standing on Holborn, the
land round about this great estate seems to have been unbuilt upon.

Sir Christopher, who rose to be Elizabeth's lord chancellor, was a
striking looking man and a graceful dancer. He captivated the queen, who
was very susceptible to manly beauty. The state papers in the Record
Office, it is said, disclose her fond and foolish correspondence with him.
In Milton's lifetime, Lady Hatton--a gay and wealthy widow--was wooed and
won by the famous Sir Edward Coke. But Hatton House saw many an open
quarrel between the ill-matched pair.

In the time of Charles I., a pageant almost unparalleled in magnificence
was arranged in Ely Place. The redoubtable Prynne, who had preached
against all such frivolities in the customary strong language of the time,
had not yet lost his ears, as he did later, in the pillory. But his
strictures had given offence at the court of Queen Henrietta Maria, who
was minded to amuse herself with masques; consequently this famous masque
came off. Mr. Lawes, the famous musician and friend of Milton, was set to
composing music for the occasion. On an evening in 1633, when Milton was
living at Horton, the magnificent procession wended its way through crowds
of enthusiastic spectators toward Whitehall. One hundred gentlemen on the
best horses that the stables of royalty and the nobility could offer, all
clad in gold and silver, and each accompanied by a page and two lackeys
carrying torches, were only one feature of the pageant; the others were
some of them as odd as these were splendid. Tiny children, dressed like
birds, rode on small horses; every beautiful or fantastic conceit
imaginable was carried out, and the cost of the whole was no less than
£21,000, a sum which meant far more in purchasing power than it does
to-day. Some of the musicians, however, received £100 apiece--a fee quite
satisfactory to many a prima donna in our time.

No more characteristic part of Milton's London exists to-day than the
various Inns of Court that lead north and south from Holborn. As the
sightseer passes from the jostle and turmoil of the thoroughfare, he is
transported in a moment into a silence and seclusion that remind one of a
Puritan Sabbath. Quadrangle opens out of quadrangle, shut in by rows of
unpretentious buildings, whose monotony is broken by Gothic chapels or
Tudor dining-halls surmounted by carved cupolas. Occasionally a cloistered
walk under low Tudor arches, or a group of highly ornate terra cotta
chimneys is seen, as one wanders around the dim and shadowy passages. All
at once a turn, and behold, here in the heart of the life of this six
million people of the great overgrown metropolis, still stretch long
reaches of greensward, locked safely from the intrusion of the public by
their handsome wrought-iron gates.

In Gray's Inn, to the north of Holborn, Francis Bacon wrote his "Novum
Organum," which he published in 1620, when Milton was a schoolboy at St.
Paul's, and when the Leyden Pilgrims in the _Mayflower_ landed on Plymouth

The gardens of Gray's Inn, which Bacon set out with trees, became a
fashionable promenade in Milton's old age. Pepys tells us that he took his
wife there after church one Sunday, "to observe the fashions of the
ladies, because of my wife's making some clothes." It was, in short, quite
as much a dress parade as Fifth Avenue on Easter Sunday in New York.

Lord Burleigh, Elizabeth's great minister, was, next to Bacon, the most
eminent of the members of Gray's Inn.

Its hall, which dates from 1560, is little inferior to any hall in all the
Inns of Court. It has carved wainscoting, and a timber roof, and windows
emblazoned with the arms of Lord Bacon and Lord Burleigh. In Milton's
time, Gray's Inn marked the northern limit of the town, and all beyond it
was green fields and country lanes. Therefore we now turn south and west
to explore briefly the numerous other inns that must often have echoed to
the steps of Milton when he lived almost within stone's throw of them.

Dickens's description of the little Staple Inn gives the reader an exact
impression of the place to-day: "Behind the most ancient part of Holborn,
where certain gabled houses some centuries of age still stand looking on
the public way, as if disconsolately looking for the Old Bourne that has
long since run dry, is a little nook composed of two irregular
quadrangles, called Staple Inn. It is one of those nooks, the turning into
which, out of the clashing street, imparts to the relieved pedestrian the
sensation of having put cotton in his ears and velvet soles on his boots.
It is one of those nooks where a few smoky sparrows twitter on smoky
trees, as though they called to each other, 'Let us play at country,' and
where a few feet of garden mould and a few yards of gravel enable them to
do that refreshing violence to their tiny understandings. Moreover, it is
one of those nooks that are legal nooks; and it contains a little hall
with a little lantern in its roof."

Walking through the further quadrangle, and following the narrow street
down past the towering, vulgar conglomeration of every incongruous
architectural device,--the new Birkbeck Bank,--we enter presently the wide
spaces of Lincoln's Inn.

The style of buildings, whether new or old, is largely Tudor of the type
of Hampton Court. The walls of red brick are inlaid with diagonal lines of
darker bricks. The chapel, of Perpendicular Gothic, built by Inigo Jones,
is raised on arches which leave a kind of open crypt below, where Pepys
tells us he used to walk. The stained glass windows antedate Laud's time,
and Laud is said to have wondered that the saints emblazoned on them
escaped the "furious spirit" that was aroused against those "harmless,
goodly windows" of his at Lambeth.

At number 24 of the "Old Buildings," the secretary of Oliver Cromwell
lived from 1645 to 1659, where his correspondence was discovered behind a
false ceiling. The tradition that the Protector was overheard to discuss
with him here about the kidnapping of the three little sons of Charles I.
may be dismissed as mythical.

Beside the noble brick gateway of Lincoln's Inn, which bore the date 1518,
it is said that rare Ben Jonson, in his early days of poverty, was found
working with a trowel in one hand and his Horace in the other, when some
gentlemen, having compassion on him, as did Cimabue on the gifted child,
Giotto, rescued him, and let loose the imprisoned genius who found
Shakespeare for a friend, and the Abbey for his tomb.

Of Furnivall's, Scroope's, and Barnard's Inns, and Thavie's, oldest of
them all, we have no space to write. The characteristics of the four great
inns are stated in the lines:

  "Gray's Inn for walks, Lincoln's Inn for wall,
  The Inner Temple for a garden,
  And the Middle for a hall."

The modern sightseer finds, as probably Milton found, much more of
interest in the two latter, which lie south of Fleet Street, than in all
the others combined.

Before crossing Fleet Street, mention should be made of Temple Bar, which
was erected by Wren four years before Milton's death, and marked the
transition from Fleet Street to the Strand. The "Old Cheshire Cheese" in
the ancient and dingy Wine Office Court, which opens north from Fleet
Street, probably was built a dozen years before Milton died. It was Doctor
Johnson's restaurant, and his fame brings many customers to sit in his old
seat, which is still carefully preserved.

Between the Tower and Westminster stands half-way one little edifice more
ancient than any other on that route. It is the little Temple Church of
Norman and transitional design, which stands secluded from the traffic of
the streets within a stone's throw of Temple Bar.

Of its dimensions and manifold restorations, the ordinary guide-books say
enough, and make a repetition unnecessary. The round church with its
interesting arcade of grotesque, sculptured heads, and its rare
proportions; the choir, "springing," as Hawthorne says, "as it were, in a
harmonious and accordant fountain out of the clustered pillars that
support its pinioned arches," are both a delight to every lover of the

Hardly more than a century after the Norman conquest we find the Knights
Templars on this spot. The year after their removal here from Holborn in
1185, they built their Temple church, the finest of the four round
churches that still remain in England. The choir, which is one of the most
beautiful specimens of pure early English, was finished in 1240.

In early times, the discipline of the knights was most severe. The Master
himself scourged disobedient brethren within its walls, and on Fridays
there were frequent public whippings within the church. In a narrow,
penitential cell to be seen in the church walls, only four and a half feet
long and two and a half wide, a disobedient brother is said to have been
starved to death.

The interesting recumbent figures clad in mail, upon the Temple floor, are
not, as is popularly supposed, Knights Templars, but Associates of the
Temple, who were only partly admitted to its great privileges.

Shortly after the downfall of the Templars, the property passed into the
hands of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, whose priory, as we
remember, was burned by the wrathful men of Kent in Wat Tyler's rebellion.
The knights leased it to the law students who belonged to the "King's
Court." Therefore, when the rebels reached London, they poured down on the
haunts of the Temple lawyers, carried off the books, deeds, and rolls of
remembrance, and, in vengeance on the Knights Hospitallers, burned them in
Fleet Street. So determined were these men, goaded by years of tyranny, to
put an end to all the laws that had oppressed them.

In later years, we find that the Temple church in the time of Henry VIII.,
and later still, of Milton and Ben Jonson, was used in term time for the
students as a place for rendezvous. Discussions on legal questions
sometimes waxed boisterous, and, as a contemporary said, as "noisy as St.

In Elizabeth's day the Middle Temple abandoned the old Templar arms--a red
cross on a silver shield with a lamb bearing the sacred banner surmounted
by a red cross--and substituted a flying Pegasus. Both of these emblems
meet the visitor's eye as he winds through the labyrinthine passages of
the old quadrangles, and comes at every step upon some spot rich with the
associations of centuries.

Of the well-known story of the origin of the Wars of the Roses within the
Temple Gardens it is not necessary here to speak.

An old print of Milton's later years shows the gardens of the Inner Temple
laid out in many straight rows of trees, like apple-trees in orchards,
which extended down to the wall that bordered the Thames. North, toward
Fleet Street, rows upon rows of gabled houses, four stories in height,
enclosed quadrangles and courts. The dining-halls, built in the Tudor
period, stand as they stood when Spenser, in the generation before Milton,
wrote of--

              "those bricky towers,
  The which on Thames' broad back do ride,
  Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers;
  There whilom wont the Temple knights to bide
  Till they decayed through pride."

The little Fountain in Fountain Court is dear to lovers of Dickens, for
here Ruth Pinch tripped by with merry heart to meet her lover. In Queen
Anne's time, a fountain of much loftier altitude sparkled and splashed
here, and for aught we know made music when Milton and Shakespeare
wandered within the Temple precincts.

It was not until after Milton's birth that James I. in 1609 granted the
whole property to the two societies of the Inner and Middle Temples;
whereupon they presented his Majesty with a precious gold cup of great
weight, which cup was esteemed by the monarch as one of his most valued
treasures. When the king's daughter Elizabeth was married four years
later, the Temple and Gray's Inn men gave a masque, which Sir Francis
Bacon planned and executed. The bridal party came by water and landed at
the foot of the Temple Gardens amid peals of the little cannon of that
day, and with great pomp and merriment. The king gave a supper to the
forty masquers. This masque, however, did not compare in splendour with
the one given twenty years later, and already alluded to, which was
planned by members of the Inns of Court meeting in Ely Place.

In Milton's middle life the learned Selden, who died in 1654, was buried
in the choir of the Temple church. Of him Milton writes that he is "one of
your own now sitting in Parliament, the chief of learned men reputed in
this land." When Milton was in his thirty-sixth year and had published his
treatise on divorce, he writes of Selden, then in his sixtieth year, whose
acquaintance he had probably made, and begged those who would know the
truth to "hasten to be acquainted with that noble volume written by our
learned Selden, of 'The Law of Nature and of Nations,' a work more useful
and more worthy to be perused, whoever studies to be a great man in
wisdom, equity, and justice, than all those decretals ... which the
pontifical clerks have doted on." Of his well-known "Table Talk,"
Coleridge observes: "There is more weighty bullion sense in this book than
I ever found in the same number of pages of any uninspired writer."

One of the greatest names connected with the Temple is that of Richard
Hooker, author of the famous "Ecclesiastical Polity." He was for six years
Master of the Temple--a position which Izaak Walton, who wrote his life,
says he accepted rather than desired. The interest in music in the
seventeenth century is evinced by the fierce contest which lasted for a
year, as to the organ which should be erected in this church. Two organs
were put up by rivals. The great Purcell performed on one which was
finally selected by Judge Jeffreys of the Inner Temple. He was a capital
musician, and in his case at least the adage seemed disproved that "Music
hath charms to soothe the savage breast."

With the Restoration and the opening of the floodgates of luxury and
licentiousness, which the stern Puritan had for twenty years kept in
abeyance, the Temple renewed the banquets and merry-makings of an earlier
day. At a continuous banquet which lasted half a month, the Earl of
Nottingham kept open house to all London, and entertained all the great
and powerful of the time. Fifty servants waited on Charles II. and his
company, while twenty violins made merry music at the feast.

The Great Fire of 1666 ceased ere it reached the Temple church, but it was
not stopped until many sets of chambers and title-deeds of a vast number
of valuable estates had perished. Another fire only a dozen years later
destroyed much more of the establishment which Milton knew. Of the Inner
Temple Hall little exists to-day that his eyes rested on. But the stately
Middle Temple Hall, built in 1572, still stands, and is one of the best
specimens of Elizabethan architecture that London boasts. The open roof of
hammer-beam design, with pendants, is especially characteristic of the
work of that period. The screen is an elaborate one of Renaissance work,
more interesting for its age and associations than for its conformity to
true principles of art. This famous hall witnessed the performance of
Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" in 1601. The same strong, oak tables of the
days of Bacon, Coke, and Jonson still stretch from end to end. Viewed from
the western dais, the portraits, armour, and rich windows combine with the
massive furniture and carved screen to present a scene of sober richness
hardly equalled outside of a few dining-halls of Oxford and Cambridge
which belong to that same period. Among the eminent men of the Middle
Temple whose lives Milton's life touched were Sir Walter Raleigh, John
Pym, Ireton,--Cromwell's son-in-law,--Evelyn, Lord Chancellor Clarendon,
and many others of equal note in their day.

Only one who has delved long in the biography and literature of this great
age can realise the stupendous scholarship of the men of this
period,--Coke, Selden, Bacon, Newton, Milton, and their contemporaries
across the Channel, Grotius, Spinoza, and Galileo,--who, with the men of
action of their day, make the century in which they lived one of the most
significant since time began. What period since the Golden Age of Greece
can match their achievements? Where on earth since the days of Periclean
eloquence and wisdom in Athens could be found one spot where so much
genius and learning had its centre as in the England into which Milton was
born, and in which he lived for two-thirds of a century?

"We are apt," says Lowell, "to wonder at the scholarship of the men of
three centuries ago and at a certain dignity of phrase that characterises
them. They were scholars because they did not read so many things as we.
They had fewer books, but those were of the best. Their speech was noble,
because they lunched with Plutarch and supped with Plato." Of the long
list of eminent men who studied here in the century after Milton, perhaps
none was more akin to him in scholarship than the learned Blackstone; none
who more deeply understood his Puritan seriousness than Cowper; none who
in boldness, love of liberty, and justice more resembled him than Edmund

Fifty years before Milton's birth, as Aggas's old map of 1562 gives
evidence, London had extended but a little way beyond the city walls and
the Strand. But in Elizabeth's prosperous age, noble mansions and
extensive gardens began to replace the fields, commons, and pastures that
stretched westward from St. Martin's Lane. One of the busiest spots in
modern London, that is, Covent Garden, begins to come into prominence in
London history just as Milton reached early manhood. For three centuries
before his time the abbots of Westminster had owned "fair spreading
pastures" here, now all included in the general name of "Long Acre." Part
of this they are thought to have used for the burial of their dead. In
Aggas's old map, a brick wall enclosed all but the southern side where the
houses and enclosures separated it from the Strand. The property belonged
to John Russell, Earl of Bedford, to whom it was given by the Crown in
1552, at which time it had a yearly value of less than £7. To-day his
successor holds one of the richest rentals in the world. In 1631 a square
was formed, and the famous architect Inigo Jones built an open arcade
about the north and east sides. Upon the west rose a Renaissance church by
the design of the same artist, and the south was bordered by the garden
of Bedford House and a grove or "small grotto of trees most pleasant in
the summer season." The duke, in ordering the erection of the chapel,
declared that he would go to no expense for it, and it might be a barn.
"Then," said Inigo Jones, "it shall be the handsomest barn in England,"
and fulfilled his promise. It was the first important Protestant church
erected in England. Only the portico of the original church remains, as
the first building was destroyed by fire in 1795.

In the popular dramas written in the last part of Milton's lifetime,
constant allusion is made to the fashionable and even licentious companies
that frequented the piazza of Covent Garden, and it is safe to say that it
was never at any time a haunt of the serious-minded Puritan. The poet Gay,
writing in the next generation after Milton, thus describes the Covent
Garden that he knew:

  "Where Covent Garden's famous temple stands,
  That boasts the work of Jones' immortal hands,
  Columns with plain magnificence appear,
  And graceful porches lead along the square;
  Here oft my course I bend, when lo! from far
  I spy the furies of the football war:
  The 'prentice quits his shop to join the crew,
  Increasing crowds the flying game pursue."

At first, peddlers of fruit and vegetables used the gravelled centre of
the square for their booths, and gradually the market grew into a
well-recognised establishment, and the open square was finally in 1830
covered over. In Milton's later years Covent Garden was fashionable as a
residence for the nobility. Bishops, dukes, and earls had here their town
houses, and among the titled residents was the painter, Sir Godfrey

[Illustration: SOMERSET HOUSE

This view represents the house as it stood in Milton's boyhood, previous
to the alterations by Inigo Jones. Adjoining it is the Savoy, and
immediately behind it is the only view extant of Exeter House.

_From an ancient painting in Dulwich College._]

The palace on the Thames known as "Somerset House" was in Milton's
lifetime a magnificent structure; built in 1544-49, it was from the time
of Elizabeth to 1775 a residence much favoured by royalty. Pepys tells us
in 1662: "Indeed it is observed that the greatest court nowadays is
there." It was then the residence of the queen mother, whose rooms he
describes as "most stately and nobly furnished," and he remarks upon the
echo on the stairs, "which continues a voice so long as the singing three
notes, concords one after another, they all three shall sound in concert
together a good while most pleasantly." The site occupied an area of six
hundred feet from east to west and five hundred from north to south. The
present large edifice, which was erected on the site of the old one,
demolished in 1775, is used for many important public purposes.



Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, discloses in
its cramped and dingy quarters little if anything that remains of the time
when Milton lived within its precincts. In the days when he dwelt here and
assisted Cromwell as his Latin secretary, some remnants of the former
palace of the Scottish kings, which once had occupied this site, were
still to be seen. Hard by at one time lived both the greatest architects
of that age of building, Jones and Wren. From Scotland Yard to Cannon Row,
Westminster, there extended in Milton's lifetime the stately old palace of
Whitehall, built in the Tudor style of Hampton Court. A writer in the last
days of Queen Elizabeth tells us that it was truly royal; enclosed on one
side by the Thames, on the other by a park which connects it with St.
James's, another royal palace. He speaks of an immense number of
swans,--birds favoured by royalty then as now,--which floated on the salty
bosom of the tidal Thames as now they do upon its sweeter waters at
Runnymede and Windsor. He also mentions that deer were numerous. An open
way led through the palace grounds from Charing Cross to Westminster,
which, although shut in by gates at either end, was an open thoroughfare.
When Cardinal Wolsey owned Whitehall, it was known as "York Place," and
did not receive the former title until Henry VIII. had taken possession of
it. Here the voluptuous monarch visited his great rival in magnificence,
and at a masque within these walls cast covetous eyes upon fair Anne
Boleyn. Within these richly tapestried and stately halls a few months
later, the "little great lord cardinal" bade a long farewell to all his
greatness, and with a heavy heart entered his barge at the foot of
Whitehall stairs.

Henry added many features to his new possessions, among others a stately
gateway of three stories with mullioned windows and octagonal towers
designed by Holbein. Sir Thomas More at Chelsea had discovered the merits
of this artist, and there presented him to the king, who was a clever
connoisseur in art as well as wives. It was in Whitehall that Hans Holbein
painted the well-known portrait of the straddling monarch. From the advent
of that shrewd politician, great sovereign, yet vain and silly woman,
Elizabeth, Whitehall became definitely the seat of royalty, though the
Tower theoretically remained so. The library of this learned woman was
well filled with books, not only English, but French, Latin, Greek, and
Italian. Masques, tournaments, and every form of gorgeous entertainment,
from Wolsey's time to that of William III., made money flow like water in
Whitehall, except during the short domination of the Puritan party. James
I., upon the burning of the Banquet Hall in 1615, determined to commission
Inigo Jones, not only to build a new one, but to build a whole new palace,
of which this hall was but the fortieth part.

The Banquet Hall is in the Palladian style of architecture, and is 111
feet in length, and half as great in width and height. Its ceiling is
decorated with pictures by Rubens, painted on canvas and sent from abroad.
They represent the apotheosis of James I. and scenes from the life of
Charles I. The original plan, which was not carried out, was to have
included a number of mural paintings by Van Dyck, which should represent
the history and ceremonies of the Order of the Garter. The palace was
planned to cover the whole space from the Thames to St. James's Park, and
from Charing Cross to Westminster. In Milton's time of residence in
Whitehall upon the south was the Bowling Green, and north of it the Privy
Gardens. The front consisted of the existing Banquet Hall,--the only part
of the plan of Inigo Jones that ever materialised,--the gateways, and a
row of low gabled buildings. Behind these were three courts or
quadrangles. East of the Banquet Hall were a row of offices, the Great
Hall or Presence Chamber, and the Chapel and private rooms of the king and
queen. The art treasures and library were in the "Stone Gallery," which
ran along the east side of the Privy Garden. The magnificence which was
displayed at Whitehall in Milton's early boyhood may be perceived from the
pomp and luxury of George Villiers, afterward Duke of Buckingham, when he
came to make his fortune at the court of James I. "It was common with him
at any ordinary dancing to have his cloaths trimmed with great diamonds;
hatbands, cockades, and earrings to be yoked with great and manifold knots
of pearls--in short, to be manacled, fettered, and imprisoned in jewels,
insomuch that at his going over to Paris in 1625, he had twenty-seven
suits of cloaths made, the richest that embroidery, silk, velvet, gold,
and gems could contribute; one of which was a white, uncut velvet, set all
over, both suit and cloak, with diamonds valued at fourscore thousand
pounds, besides a great feather stuck all over with diamonds; as were also
his sword, girdle, hatband, and spurs." He drove in a coach with six
horses, and was carried sometimes in a sedan-chair, which mode of
conveyance then was new and caused much outcry against the using of men as
beasts of burden.

We have already alluded to the famous masque, which was planned by members
of the Inns of Court at Ely Place, and carried out in 1633 to please the
queen--an entertainment so unique in its splendour as to be referred to in
every account of Whitehall. But the palace is chiefly notable, not for
scenes of gaiety, but for that mournful sight which struck terror to the
breast of every European monarch, and horrified every believer in the
divine right of kings. On the 27th of January, 1648-49, the death sentence
was passed upon Charles I., of whom a few months later one of his
followers wrote:

  "Great Charles, thou earthly god, celestial man,...
  Thy heavenly virtues angels should rehearse,
  It is a theam too high for human verse."

Cromwell hesitated long before he signed the death warrant. If banishment
of the king could have secured their rights to Englishmen, gladly would he
have urged a milder sentence. But with the king alive, he felt there was
no surety of peace or justice, and after painful hesitation he set his
seal to the death warrant. Says Masson: "At the centre of England was a
will that had made itself adamant, by express vow and deliberation
beforehand, for the very hour which now had arrived. Fairfax had relented
... Vane had withdrawn from the work ... there was an agony over what was
coming among many that had helped to bring it to pass. Only some fifty or
sixty governing Englishmen, with Oliver Cromwell in the midst of them,
were prepared for every responsibility and stood inexorably to their task.
_They_ were the will of England now, and they had the army with them. What
proportion of England besides went with them, it might be difficult to
estimate. One private Londoner, at all events, can be named who approved
thoroughly of their policy, and was ready to testify the same. While the
sentenced king was at St. James's, there was lying on Milton's
writing-table in his house in High Holborn at least the beginnings of a
pamphlet on which he had been engaged during the king's trial, and in
which in vehement answer to the outcry of the Presbyterians generally ...
he was to defend all the recent acts of the army, Pride's Purge included,
justify the existing governments of the army chiefs and the fragment of
Parliament that assisted them, inculcate republican beliefs in his
countrymen, and prove to them above all this proposition: '_That it is
lawful, and hath been held so through all ages, for any who have the
power, to call to account a tyrant_, or wicked king, and, after due
conviction, to depose and put him to death, if the ordinary magistrate
have neglected or denied to do it.' The pamphlet was not to come out in
time to bear practically on the deed which it justified; but while the
king was yet alive, it was planned, sketched, and in part written."

Three days after his sentence the king bade farewell to his sobbing little
son and daughter at St. James's Palace, and walked across the park between
a line of soldiers to the stairs, which then were on the site of the
present Horse Guards. From thence he crossed the street by a gallery,
which led him past the scaffold draped in black, and into his own
bedchamber in the Banquet Hall. From there, a little later, he passed
through a window, or possibly an opening in the wall, upon the scaffold,
with his attendant and Bishop Juxon. Two unknown men in masks and false
hair had undertaken the grim and dangerous task of executioner. For among
the throngs that filled the streets from Charing Cross down to Westminster
there were many who would readily have torn them in pieces. The
"martyr-king," as Jacobins still call him, now that the end of his
arbitrary reign had come, behaved with dignity. His last words were: "To
your power I must submit, but your authority I deny." From the roof of a
neighbouring mansion, Archbishop Usher stood until he sickened at the
sight and swooned, and was carried to his bed. Andrew Marvell's well-known
lines upon this scene will be recalled:

  "While round the armed bands,
  Did clasp their bloody hands,
  He nothing common did or mean,
  Upon that memorable scene,
  Nor called the gods with vulgar spite,
  To vindicate his hopeless right;
  But with his keener eye,
  The axe's edge did try;
  Then bowed his kingly head,
  Down, as upon a bed."

Strangely enough, it was on this very spot where his death forecast the
dawning of that new principle of government of the people, by the people,
for the people, which his whole nature loathed, that London had seen the
beginnings of the civil strife. Here a company of the citizens, "returning
from Westminster, where they had been petitioning quietly for justice,
were set upon by some of the court as they passed Whitehall, in the which
tumult divers were hurt, and one or more slain just by the Banqueting

The regicides, who felt their bloody deed to be a sad necessity for
England's safety, had no desire to wreak a mean revenge upon the body of
the king. Unlike those of many far nobler men who had died as "traitors,"
his body was not dishonoured, but was treated with due respect. It was
embalmed, and lay for days under a velvet pall at St. James's Palace,
where crowds came to see it. The authorities objected to his burial in
Westminster Abbey, as the place was too public, and crowds might gather
there. But they accorded him a burial in St. George's Chapel, Windsor,
whither his body was taken in a hearse drawn by six horses and followed by
four mourning coaches. His coffin was placed beside that of Henry VIII.
within the choir. The next month after the death of Charles, the
Parliament voted the use of a large part of Whitehall to Cromwell. Every
Monday he dined with all his officers above the captain's rank. Milton, as
his Latin secretary, and Andrew Marvell must have been often at his board,
and Waller, his kinsman, and perhaps the youthful Dryden. He was a great
lover of music and entertained those who were skilful in any form of art.
It is through Cromwell that England owns to-day the Raphael cartoons at
Kensington. He purchased many other of the paintings which had belonged
to the magnificent collection of Charles I. and had been sold. Here his
old mother died, and here in 1658, on a wild August day, amid the tumult
of a storm that raged and howled over a large part of England, the great
heart of the Protector ceased to beat. On the day that he lay dying, a lad
of fifteen years, named Isaac Newton, turned the violence of the storm to
his account by jumping first with the wind and then against it, and
computing its force by the difference of the distances.

As the dying Oliver approached his end, he was much in prayer; an
attendant has recorded some of these last utterances in which he commended
God's people to the keeping of the Almighty: "Give them," he prayed,
"consistency of judgment, one heart, and mutual love; and go on to deliver
them and with the work of reformation; and make the name of Christ
glorious in the world. Teach those who look too much on thy instruments,
to depend more upon thyself. Pardon such as desire to trample upon the
dust of a poor worm, for they are thy people too." Probably never by any
master of Whitehall was such a sincerely devout and magnanimous petition
raised to heaven. Of the decapitation of his dead body and its subsequent
history, when Charles II. was able to wreak his vengeance, we need not
speak. Neither need we rehearse the well-known record of the dissolute
monarch who on the Restoration set up his profligate court at Whitehall.
Of the last hours of Charles II. Evelyn paints a loathsome picture: "I can
never forget the inexpressible luxury and profaneness, gaming, and all
dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetfulness of God (it being Sunday
evening) which I was witness of: the king sitting and toying with his
concubines, a French boy singing love songs in that glorious gallery,
whilst about twenty of the great courtiers and other dissolute persons
were at basset around a large table, a bank of at least two thousand
pounds in gold before them.... Six days after all was in the dust." In the
reign of William III. two fires, in 1691 and 1697, consumed all of the
palace except the Banquet Hall of Inigo Jones.


_From an old engraving._]

The Westminster Abbey that Milton knew, unlike the old St. Paul's of his
day, was indeed a house of God, and was not defiled with the intrusion of
hucksters and dandies and the bustle of the Exchange. Its lofty walls,
ungrimed by smoke, rose fair and stately; the present towers of the west
front were then unbuilt, and its mass presented a long, unbroken,
horizontal sky-line. Under its high, embowered roof, Milton may have seen
less warmth of colour than we, for the stained glass is modern, but he
was spared the majority of the pretentious and tasteless monuments which
crowd the transepts and the side aisles to-day, and for the most part are
in bulk in inverse proportion to their artistic merit, and to the
importance of those whom they honour. Perhaps there was no man in England
to whose sensitive soul the solemn minster spoke more eloquently. With a
mind richly stored in history, and with the artist's eye and prophet's
soul, every stone of this most venerable and beautiful of English churches
must have been dear to him. It is not within the scope of this little
volume even to touch upon the romantic history of this centre of English
life or to examine its noble architecture, but only to indicate what may
most have touched the mind and heart of the great scholar and
patriot-reformer who often passed its portals on his walk from Petty
France to Whitehall.

In the south aisle of the nave are buried two ladies whom Milton probably
knew. They are the two wives of Cromwell's secretary--Sir Samuel Morland,
the inventor of the speaking trumpet and improver of the fire-engine. The
inscriptions by their husband appear in Hebrew, Greek, Ethiopic, and
English. In the north aisle is a curious monument of 1631 to Jane Hill. At
the rear of the lady's figure is a skeleton in a winding-sheet. Among the
memorials of his contemporaries which must have peculiarly interested
Milton was the little slab in the nave marked, "O rare Ben Jonson," which
slab was later removed to the Poets' Corner. Beneath a modern paving
stone, which now covers the spot, in an upright posture was placed the
coffin of the poet who in his last days of poverty, in 1637, asked Charles
I. for eighteen inches of square ground in Westminster Abbey. He died in a
house between the Abbey and St. Margaret's Church. Newton's tomb near by
Milton never saw, as the youth of the man of science covered only Milton's
later years. On entering the south transept, the first monument that must
have claimed his interest was that of Camden, the learned antiquary. Just
before going to Cambridge, in 1623, Milton may have attended the funeral
of this man, whose great work, "Britannia" added new lustre to Elizabeth's
glorious reign. Camden did for England what Stow did for London, and
preserved the knowledge of the nation of that day. His bust, in the rich
costume of his time, presents a speaking likeness, and with his portrait
in the National Gallery make the eminent scholar seem a personality as
real as Raleigh's. Ben Jonson, who was one of his pupils when he was head
master of Westminster School, lovingly ascribes to him the source of his
own inspiration:

  "Camden, most reverend head, to whom I owe
  All that I am in acts, all that I know."

Camden wrote in 1600 the first guide-book of the Abbey, which, being in
Latin, would have served Milton better than it would the modern visitor.
In an unmarked grave lies the body of Richard Hakluyt, the great
geographer, who died in 1616.

Just beyond Camden's tomb is that of the great scholar, Casaubon. On its
front are plainly scratched the initials of the gentle angler, Izaak
Walton, by himself, with the date, 1658. A few feet distant on the
pavement a slab marks the grave of the "old, old, very old" man who died
in 1635 at the reputed age of one hundred and fifty-two. "Old Parr," as he
was known, is said to have been born in 1483, and married his first wife
at the age of eighty, and his second in 1605, when he was one hundred and
twenty-two years of age. The Earl of Arundel, determined to exhibit this
"piece of antiquity," had him carried by litter from Shrewsbury and
presented to Charles I. On being questioned by the king about religious
matters he cautiously replied that he thought it safest to hold whatever
religion was held by the reigning monarch, "for he knew that he came raw
into the world, and thought it no point of wisdom to be broiled out of
it," an opinion quite to be expected of a man who had lived through the
reigns of all the Tudors.

Further on, within the Poets' Corner, two monuments especially must have
been dear to the author of "Comus" and "Lycidas." One marks the grave of
Chaucer, who lies under a beautiful Gothic canopy erected in 1558, after
the removal of his body to this spot; the other marks that of Edmund
Spenser, who died in 1598 in King Street, hard by, "for lacke of bread."
Yet Dean Stanley tells us that "his hearse was attended by poets, and
mournful elegies and poems, with the pens that wrote them, were thrown
into his tomb. What a funeral was that at which Beaumont, Fletcher,
Jonson, and, in all probability, Shakespeare, attended! What a grave in
which the pen of Shakespeare may be mouldering away!" Of the author of the
"Faërie Queene" Milton himself said: "Our sage and serious Spenser, whom I
dare be known to think a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas." Near by
to Spenser's tomb is the monument to Ben Jonson, at some distance from his
grave, as has just been said, and close at hand are the memorials to
Dryden, Drayton, Cowley, and Francis Beaumont, Milton's famous
contemporaries. If the poet could have looked forward two generations he
might have seen his own counterfeit presentment in marble upon these
walls. By that time the royalist feeling against him had abated, and when
in 1737 this belated recognition of his greatness was placed upon the
wall, Doctor Gregory remarked to Doctor Johnson: "I have seen erected in
the church a bust of that man whose name I once knew considered as a
pollution of its walls."

After Shakespeare's death there was a strong desire to remove his bones
from Stratford to the Abbey, upon which Milton and Jonson both protested.
The former wrote:

  "What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones
  The labour of an age in pilèd stones?"

and Jonson more emphatically exclaimed:

  "My Shakespeare rise! I will not lodge thee by
  Chaucer or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
  A little further on to make thee room;
  Thou art a monument without a tomb,
  And art alive still while thy book doth live
  And we have wits to read and praise to give."

In St. Benedict's Chapel may be noted the graves of Bishop Bilson, Doctor
Tunson, Sir Robert Anstruther, and Sir Robert Ayton,--famous men of
Milton's time.

In St. Edmund's Chapel, farther on, Milton as a lad of fourteen may have
seen in 1622 the young man interred whose tomb is surmounted by a
beautiful figure of a youth in Roman armour. Hard by under a lofty canopy
lie two notable recumbent figures, which mark the grave of the Earl and
Countess of Shrewsbury, and show the style of costume of Milton's boyhood

Among the monuments of his contemporaries in the chapel of Henry VII. that
must have awakened a sensation of disgust in the mind of the Puritan poet,
was that of the Duke of Buckingham, whose barbaric splendour of attire has
already been noted, and who was murdered in 1628. Near by his huge and
ostentatious tomb, so characteristic of the man whom it commemorates, lie
under the pavement the graves of his king, James I., and his consort.

We may be sure that the graves which most interested Milton here were
those of Oliver Cromwell, his mother and sister, and his daughter,
Elizabeth Claypole, his son-in-law, Ireton, and Bradshaw, who was
president of the tribunal which condemned Charles I. The Genoese envoy of
the time thus described Cromwell's death and burial in his despatch to the
Council of Genoa: "He left the world with unimaginable valour, prudence,
and charity, and more like a priest or monk than a man who had fashioned
and worked so mighty an engine so few years.... His body was opened and
embalmed, and little trace of disease found therein; which was not the
cause of his death, but rather the continual fever which came upon him
from sorrow and melancholy at Madame Claypole's death." Cromwell's body
lay in state at Somerset House, and was thence escorted to the tomb by an
immense throng of mourners, which included the city companies. "The effigy
or statue of the dead, made most lifelike in royal robes, crown on head,
in one hand the sceptre and in the other the globe, was laid out on a bier
richly adorned and borne hither in a coach made for the purpose, open on
every side, and adorned with many plumes and banners." It is said that
Cromwell especially loved the Abbey, and instituted the custom of
commemorating English worthies within its walls. Admiral Blake was the
first to receive this honour in 1657. "Cromwell caused him to be brought
up by land to London in all the state that could be; and to encourage his
officers to adventure their lives that they might be pompously buried, he
was with all solemnity possible interred in the Chapel of Henry VII.,
among the monuments of the kings." Who can doubt that Milton stood in
sightless grief beside these tombs, before the desecration of "Oliver's
Vault?" Only the body of Cromwell's daughter was left in peace, and still
remains. His mother and sister were reburied in the green, and the reader
already knows what was the vile treatment of the other bodies. It is said
that to the royalist dean of Westminster, Thomas Sprat, we owe the refusal
of interment in the Abbey to the "regicide" John Milton. Had he been
buried later where Cromwell's body had lain, he too might have been thrust
forth. It was this dean who esteemed Cowley as a superior poet to Milton,
and called the former the "Pindar, Horace, and Virgil of England." In the
south aisle lie General George Monck and Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia,
eldest daughter of James I., whose marriage we have seen was celebrated by
a merry masque within the Temple grounds. This was the English princess
for whom a part of Heidelberg Castle was built; she was mother of Prince
Rupert, whose strenuous efforts to save the fortunes of his uncle, Charles
I., did not endear him to Milton and his friends. In this chapel lies a
wretched victim of her cousin, James I. This is the Lady Arabella Stuart,
whose marriage so displeased the king that he immured her in the Tower,
where, bereft of reason by her miseries, she died when Milton was a boy.

At the eastern end of the north aisle of the chapel of Henry VII. is a
baby's cradle-tomb, which has been the frequent theme of verse. Standing
beside the little marble form of this daughter of James I., Milton may
have felt a pang of heart as he thought of his own little one buried in
St. Margaret's, but a stone's throw distant. Of those who were associated
with Milton's public work at Whitehall, was Admiral Edward Popham, general
of the Fleet of the Republic under Cromwell, who died in 1651. He was
buried at the state's expense in the chapel of Henry VII., but after the
Restoration his monument, on which is his figure full size in armour, was
removed to John the Baptist's Chapel and the inscription on it was erased.
Opposite his tomb is the grave of Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex,
son of Elizabeth's unhappy favourite, who, after serving King Charles,
became General-in-Chief of the Parliamentarian army in 1642. He died in
1646, and was buried with high honours by the Independents. In St. John's
Chapel rests the body of the wife of Colonel Scot, one of the judges of
Charles I., who was executed at Charing Cross.

At the foot of the steps which lead to the chapel of Henry VII., in
1674,--the same year in which Milton died,--was laid under a nameless
stone the body of the famous Earl of Clarendon, who was born in 1608-9,
the same year in which the poet was born. This famous Tory, the historian
of the Civil Wars and Restoration, was perhaps more responsible than any
other man for creating that popular detestation of the name of Cromwell
which prevailed until the present generation had been better instructed by
less partisan critics. After two hundred years his name was inscribed upon
the stone that covers his ashes. Within the Abbey rest twenty of his
relatives and descendants, among them his royal granddaughters, Queen Mary
and Queen Anne. Not far distant, in the north ambulatory was interred in
1643 the body of the redoubtable John Pym, nicknamed "King Pym" by the
Royalists, for as Clarendon himself said: "He seemed to all men to have
the greatest influence upon the House of Commons of any man, and in truth
I think he was at that time (1640), and some months after, the most
popular man and the most able to do hurt that hath lived in any time."[2]
Two years after Pym's burial, there was laid close to his grave the body
of William Strode, one of the five members demanded by Charles I. when he
made his famous entry into the House of Commons with an armed force in
1641-2. The bodies of both were exhumed in 1661, and flung with others of
their compatriots into a pit outside the Abbey walls. There is every
reason to assume that Milton would have attended the funerals of both of
these men. A man whom he must have known well by reputation, Doctor Peter
Heylin, who died in 1662, is buried beneath the sub-dean's seat in the
north aisle of the choir. He was Laud's chaplain, and wrote a life of the
great archbishop; under Charles I. he had for a time supreme authority in
the Abbey and superintended its repairs. During the Civil War he suffered
and was deprived of his property, but on the accession of Charles II., he
was reinstated in the Abbey. It is interesting to note that the coronation
chair of oak, decorated with false jewels, which has been used at
coronations since the time of Edward I., has never left the Abbey except
when it was taken to Westminster Hall, when Oliver Cromwell was there
installed as Lord Protector.

A few of the scenes that the great minster witnessed in Milton's time may
be alluded to. The funeral of James I. in 1625 was the most magnificent
that England had ever seen. The hearse was fashioned by Inigo Jones. The
sermon was two hours in length. Mourning cloaks were given to nine
thousand persons, and the rest of the outlay was proportionate. No wonder
that Charles I. within two months sent word to the Commons that "the
ordinary revenue is clogged with debts, and exhausted with the late king's
funeral and other expenses of necessity and honour." The Abbey suffered
somewhat from the Puritan hatred of images and "idolatry," during the
Commonwealth. By order of Parliament the sacred vestments were seized and
burned. Of the curious wax effigies of monarchs who antedated Milton's
death, only one is still preserved. It is that of Charles II. and is robed
in red velvet with collar and ruffles of real point lace. For a long time
it stood above his grave in the chapel of Henry VII. These waxworks used
to be publicly exhibited, after which the cap was passed around for
contributions. Milton, in his boyhood, may have gazed in wonder at the
gorgeous figure of Elizabeth arrayed as a later one still is to-day, in
her own jewelled stomacher and velvet robe embroidered with gold;
doubtless he found a visit to the effigies of Westminster Abbey as
entertaining as a modern boy finds a visit to Madame Tussaud's to-day.
From the time of Edward I. it was customary to make effigies of kings. Up
to the time of Henry V. the embalmed bodies and not the effigies were
displayed upon the funeral car. At first these figures were made of wood,
with perhaps the faces and hands of plaster. These were set up in the
church for a season, after which many of them were preserved in presses
standing in a row, and shown as has been described. In Milton's time it
seems evident that the list included Edward I. and Eleanor, Edward III.
and Philippa, Henry V. and Katherine, Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York,
James I. and Anne of Denmark, and Henry, Prince of Wales.

It is probable that Sir Christopher Wren's plan for the completion of the
Abbey would have materially added to its beauty. His scheme is said to
have included a graceful Gothic spire rising from the low central tower.
The incongruous towers of the west front were chiefly due to Hawksmore.



During the Civil War, the spot within Westminster which most interested
every reformer was that where, for over five years, the famous Westminster
Assembly gathered. During that time this body of one hundred and
forty-nine prelates and learned men held over fifteen hundred sessions, at
first in the chapel of Henry VII., and later in the warmer and cosier
apartment known as the "Jerusalem Chamber." This room was in the present
generation occupied by the scholars who for years laboured together on the
revised version of the Bible. The Assembly was called by Parliament "to be
consulted with by them on the settling of the government and liturgy of
the Church, and for the vindicating and clearing of the doctrine of the
Church of England from false aspersions and interpretations." In that age,
when religious questions were paramount, the work that devolved upon these
men demanded insight, honesty, and great courage. The members, for the
most part, were elected from the different counties and merely confirmed
by Parliament; but to these, ten members of the House of Lords and twenty
members of the House of Commons were added. Only those questions could be
considered that should be proposed by either or both houses of Parliament.
Four shillings a day for his expenses was allowed each clerical member,
with freedom from all other duties except attendance on the Assembly.
Among the one hundred and forty-nine were several members, like Archbishop
Usher, who were defenders of Episcopacy. In that age no modern questions
as to inspiration disturbed the minds of devout men, but church government
was to them a matter of such serious moment as the modern mind can
scarcely understand. As the results of these prolonged and serious
conferences, Dean Stanley says we have the "Directory, the Longer and
Shorter Catechism, and that famous Confession of Faith which, alone within
these Islands, was imposed by law on the whole kingdom; and which, alone
of all Protestant Confessions, still, in spite of its sternness and
narrowness, retains a hold on the minds of its adherents to which its
fervour and its logical coherence in some measure entitle it."

During Milton's lifetime the Chapter House, which had become public
property after the Dissolution, was used for storing public documents,
and here he may have seen the ancient Domesday Book, which until within
fifty years was treasured there. At the time of the Commonwealth, the
ancient chamber close by the Chapter House, and known as the "Pyx," held
the regalia, and was broken open by the officers of the House of Commons,
in order to make an inventory, when the Church authorities refused to
surrender the keys. The Pyx no longer holds the regalia, which, after the
Restoration, was transferred to the Tower. The keys of its double doors
are seven, and are deposited with seven distinct officers of the
Exchequer. The door is lined with human skins. Within the cloisters Henry
Lawes, the musician, was buried in 1662.

Near by the Abbey stands Westminster School, founded early in the
sixteenth century upon the site of the ancient monastery. The dormitory
has been turned into a noble schoolroom ninety-six feet in length. Camden,
the famous antiquary, was once master of the school, and among its famous
pupils whose lives touched Milton's, were the poets, George Herbert,
Cowley, who published poems while he was at school here, and Dryden. Among
men famous in other walks of life were the great geographer, Hakluyt, and
Sir Christopher Wren. Hakluyt, who died the same year that Shakespeare
died, in 1616, tells us that his interest in discovery and in naval
science began when he was a Queen's Scholar in "that fruitful nurserie."
At Oxford he pursued his favourite studies, and read "whatsoever printed
or written discoveries or voyages he found extant in Greeke, Latine,
Italian, Spanish, Portugall, French, or Englishe languages." Evelyn says
in his "Diary:" On "May 13th, 1661, I heard and saw such exercises at the
election of scholars at Westminster Schools to be sent to the university,
in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Arabic, in themes and extempry verses, as
wonderfully astonished me in such youths, with such readiness and wit,
some of whom not above twelve or thirteen years of age." Here Milton may
have witnessed, on a Christmas-tide, a play of Plautus or of Terence,
given by the boys of Westminster according to their annual custom, which
is still maintained.

In the seventeenth century, the double Gatehouse of Westminster, which
once stood on the site of the Royal Aquarium of to-day, held as prisoner
Sir Walter Raleigh, who passed the last night of his life here. The night
before his execution his cousin called on him; Raleigh tried to relieve
his sadness with pleasantry, when his cousin remonstrated with the words,
"Sir, take heed you go not too much upon the brave hand, for your enemies
will take exceptions at that." "Good Charles," replied Raleigh, "give me
leave to be merry, for this is the last merriment that ever I shall have
in this world, but when I come to the last part, thou shalt see I will
look on it like a man," and even so he did. When he had reached the
scaffold in Palace Yard the next day, and had taken off his gown and
doublet, he asked the executioner to show him his axe. When he had taken
it in his hands he felt along the edge, and smiling said: "This is a sharp
medicine, but it is a physician for all diseases." Then he granted his
forgiveness to the sheriff who knelt before him. When his head was on the
block, before the fatal blow, he said: "So the heart be right, it is no
matter which way the head lies." So perished the bold discoverer and
coloniser, the author and gallant knight, when ten-year-old John Milton
lived in Bread Street. Near the spot where his body rests in the church of
St. Margaret's, Westminster, now rises a memorial window presented by
Americans and inscribed by Lowell in remembrance of Raleigh's connection
with America:

  "The New World's sons, from England's breasts we drew
    Such milk as bids remember whence we came;
  Proud of her past, wherefrom our future grew,
    This window we inscribe with Raleigh's name."

In this prison, afterward, John Hampden and Sir John Eliot were confined,
and Richard Lovelace, who was imprisoned for his devotion to Charles I.,
wrote the well-known lines:

  "Stone walls do not a prison make,
    Nor iron bars a cage;
  Minds innocent and quiet take
    That for a hermitage."

Where Westminster Palace Hotel now stands, in the ancient Almonry of the
Abbey, Caxton set up his press, and in 1474 printed his first book--the
"Game and Play of Chess."

In Milton's day, a grim old fortress marked the "Sanctuary," or place of
refuge for criminals. From the sacred shelter of this retreat the mother
of the little Edward V. surrendered him with sad misgiving to his cruel
uncle, who carried him to the Tower. This spot was a resort for persecuted
saint and guilty sinner. Within its walls he was as secure as was the
ancient Hebrew in his city of refuge. When Milton lived in Petty France
and passed from there to Whitehall by the Sanctuary, it had fallen into
disrepute and only the most abandoned sought its shelter. The Sanctuary at
Westminster was only one of thirty known to have been contemporaneous with
it in the monasteries of England before the Dissolution.

The magnificent royal palace of Westminster, which was built by Edward the
Confessor, and improved by William the Conqueror, had largely disappeared
in Milton's time. The Great Hall and the crypt under the chapel of St.
Stephen are almost all that now remain, but Milton, in addition to these,
saw the chapel itself and its cloisters, and the famous "Star Chamber" and
"Painted Chamber," which were preserved until the fire which burned the
Houses of Parliament in 1834. Previous to the Dissolution, the Commons had
sat within the ancient Chapter House of the Abbey, at an inconvenient
distance from the House of Lords. Then they were transferred to St.
Stephen's Chapel, an oblong building ninety feet in length and thirty in
width, which had externally at each corner an octagonal tower. It was
lighted by five windows on each side, between which its walls were
supported by great buttresses. It had two stories, and the upper one was
occupied by the House of Commons. These walls have echoed to the ringing
words of Eliot, Hampden, Pym, Sir Harry Vane, and Cromwell, to Burke and
Fox and Pitt, and the long line of valiant Englishmen who never confounded
patriotism and loyalty to country with subserviency to the will of any
fallible man whom chance had placed upon the nation's throne. Here Eliot,
in sharp, emphatic words, which contrasted with the ponderous phraseology
of the time, cried out against the gorgeously apparelled and arrogant
Buckingham: "He has broken those nerves and sinews of our land, the stores
and treasures of the king. There needs no search for it. It is too
visible. His profuse expenses, his superfluous feasts, his magnificent
buildings, his riots, his excesses, what are they but the visible
evidences of an express exhausting of the state, a chronicle of his waste
of the revenues of the Crown?... Through the power of state and justice he
has dared ever to strike at his own ends." Bold words! which took more
courage than to face the cannon's mouth, for his protest then and later
meant to face a dungeon in the Tower, from which only death gave him

But Eliot's words were a tonic to his fellows, and when they met two years
later, in 1628, Sir Thomas Wentworth showed himself a worthy follower: "We
must vindicate our ancient liberties," said he, "we must reinforce the
laws made by our ancestors. We must set such a stamp upon them, as no
licentious spirit shall dare hereafter to invade them." Of the Petition of
Right, and the Remonstrance; of the dissolution of Parliament, and the
eleven years when these walls were silent; of Charles's revival of Star
Chamber trials to fill his empty exchequer by the fines, and the
Parliamentary history of the Civil War, and all that centres around these
walls which echoed with the eloquence of England's noblest statesmen,
there is no space to speak.

The Star Chamber was probably so named from being anciently ornamented
with golden stars. It stood parallel with the river on the eastern side of
Palace Yard and was formerly the council chamber of the police. It was a
beautiful panelled room with mullioned windows. The lords who tried
offences were bound by no law, but they created and defined the offences
which they punished. Every penalty except death could be inflicted. In
such tyrannies the Star Chamber could have been exceeded only by the
terrible Council of Ten in Venice. One of the first deeds of the new
Parliament of 1641 was to abolish the Star Chamber. That year a mob of six
thousand citizens in Old Palace Yard had come armed with swords and clubs,
and had seized the entrance to the House of Lords and called for justice
against Lord Strafford.

The Painted Chamber was named from its mural decorations, which antedated
Milton's time at least three hundred years. It was strangely proportioned,
eighty feet long, twenty broad, and fifty feet high. Here the Confessor
died. Here was the trial of Charles I. when it was adjourned from
Westminster Hall. Here his death warrant was signed, which is now
preserved within the library of the House of Lords.

Says Knight: "Amid all the misgovernment of the reign of Charles II., the
rights of the House of Commons and its true position in the Constitution
were recognised in a manner in which they had never been in the former
days of the monarchy. Attempts were made to manage the Parliament, and
also to govern without it; but when it was suffered to meet, its debates
were nearly as free as they are at present, and took as wide a range as
they have ever done since. The Commons for session after session during
this reign discussed the question of excluding the heir presumptive to the
throne, the king's own brother, and even passed a bill for that purpose.
Would any approach to such an interference as that have been endured
either by Elizabeth or James I.?... and this change, this gain had been
brought about by the Long Parliament and the great Rebellion."

In the time of Milton the pillory stood before Westminster Hall, and here
he may have seen, on one of his trips from Horton in 1636, the
stiff-necked Prynne branded on either cheek, and exposed with one ear cut
off, according to the barbarous methods of the time, for writings which
were supposed to have reflected on the queen. In those days the noble
proportions of the hall were partly masked by neighbouring shops. The
architecture and the long history of this famous hall of William Rufus are
almost as familiar as those of Westminster Abbey, and therefore need
little comment here. The story of Guy Fawkes and the sentence passed upon
the conspirators here in 1606 was one of the first bits of English history
that a boy born but two years later would have heard. In 1640, Charles I.
and his queen, concealed behind the tapestry of a dark cabinet, listened
to the trial of Strafford, which lasted eighteen days. Nine years later
the king sat at his own trial beneath the banners of his troops, which had
been taken at the battle of Naseby. When the clerk read the words:
"Charles Stuart, as a tyrant, traitor, murderer," etc., the king is said
to have laughed in the face of the court. In Pepys's diary we get a
glimpse, a few years later, of the commercial uses to which this stately
edifice had been degraded, for we find little booths and stalls for
selling scarfs and trifles were ranged along the walls of the interior.
More than a hundred years later, part of the hall seems to have been
reserved for stalls, which presumably were removed for coronation days and
the great functions, for which its stately proportions are so well fitted.
The building is one of the most spacious edifices of stone whose roof
is unsupported. The roof of Irish oak is said to be always free from
spiders and insects.


Begun by William Rufus in 1097. Here William Wallace, Sir Thomas More, Sir
Thomas Wyatt, Robert Devereux (Earl of Essex), Guy Fawkes, the Earl of
Strafford, and Charles I. were condemned to death. The chief access to the
House of Commons in Milton's lifetime was by an archway on the east side,
through which Charles I. passed to arrest the Five Members. Here Cromwell,
in 1653, wearing the royal purple, and holding a gold sceptre in one hand
and a Bible in the other, was saluted as Lord Protector.

_From an old engraving._]

Close under the shadow of the towering Abbey lies the little church, St.
Margaret's, which must have had peculiarly tender associations in Milton's
mind. Here he buried his beloved second wife, whom, from Aldermanbury
church, he had taken to his home in Petty France, near the Abbey, for one
short happy year of married life. It is of her that he speaks in his
beautiful sonnet beginning:

  "Methought my late espoused saint,
  Brought to me, like Alcestis, from the grave."

The large memorial window to Milton at the west end of the church was in
recent years presented by Mr. Childs of Philadelphia. This depicts
numerous scenes from "Paradise Lost" and from Milton's life. He is
represented as a youth visiting the aged Galileo, and as the old blind
poet dictating his immortal lines to his two daughters. The inscription by
Whittier expresses the thought and feeling not only of the New England
poet, but of every American scholar:

  "The New World honours him whose lofty plea
    For England's freedom made her own more sure,
  Whose song immortal as his theme shall be
    Their common freehold while both worlds endure."

Amongst the Puritans who preached here was the famous Richard Baxter,
author of "The Saints' Rest," whose glum visage in the National Gallery
reveals little of the true nobility of his character and of his
well-ordered mind. The modern inscription by Lowell on Raleigh's memorial
here has been already mentioned.

The church is rich in monuments of figures clad in the fashions of
Milton's time and that which just preceded it, the architectural
accessories of which indicate the gradual deterioration of Renaissance
decoration. The rare old glass of the chancel window is referred to in
every guide-book, and its remarkable history need not be here detailed. In
the reign of Charles I. fast-day sermons were preached here, and both
houses of Parliament met here with the Assembly of Divines, and prayed
before taking the covenant.



In Milton's day, London Bridge, over the narrowest part of the Thames, was
the only bridge that spanned the silent highway between the Tower and
Lambeth. The venerable pile of buildings which then, as now, was the chief
point of interest on the southern bank, was usually reached by one of the
many barges that plied up and down and across from shore to shore. In
Milton's boyhood its gray towers had already marked for three centuries
the residence of the Archbishops of Canterbury. It has now been the home
of more than fifty primates. The student of English history will find no
building, with the exception of the Tower and the Abbey, which brings him
so closely into connection with the whole history of England as does
Lambeth Palace. It lies low upon the site of an ancient marsh overflowed
by the Thames at this, its greatest width, this side of London Bridge. As
late as Milton's boyhood the shore between Lambeth Church and Blackfriars
was a haunt of wild fowl and a royal hunting-ground. A grove stood then
on the site of the long line of St. Thomas's Hospital. Lambeth Bridge, so
called, was at that time simply a landing-place. As every schoolboy
remembers, it was here that on a December night in 1688, Mary of Modena,
the fair queen of James II., alighted on her flight from Whitehall,
disguised as a washerwoman; under the shelter of the tower of Lambeth she
cowered, awaiting the coach that was to rescue her, while in an agony of
fear she embraced the parcel of linen which held concealed the infant who
was to be known in history as the "Pretender."

The visitor to Lambeth will find it worth his while to pause a few minutes
before presenting his letter of permission to enter the palace, and spend
the brief time in Lambeth Church, if only to see the quaint old window of
the peddler and his dog, a memorial of the peddler who centuries since
gave an almost worthless acre of land to Lambeth, from which it has since
drawn large revenues. There is a peal of eight bells in the old gray
tower--the music of the bells was one that our forefathers loved
apparently more than other folk. "The English are vastly fond of great
noises that fill the air," wrote Hentzner shortly before Milton's birth,
"such as firing of cannon, beating of drums, and ringing of bells. It is
common that a number of them who have got a glass in their heads do get up
into some belfry, and ring bells for hours together, for the sake of
exercise. Hence this country has been called 'the ringing island.'"

In Milton's time the buildings of Lambeth were less extensive than they
are to-day. Its beautiful, lofty gateway known as "Morton's," which was
built in 1490, is of red brick with stone trimmings, and has an arched
doorway under a large window in the middle portion. It is perhaps the
largest and best specimen of the early Tudor work that now remains in
England. It is flanked by two massive square towers five stories high. At
this gate, from earliest times until recently, a dole of money, bread, and
provisions was weekly given to thirty poor parishioners of Lambeth. In
earlier times the hospitality that was offered was excessive and
encouraged beggary. Stow tells us of the gifts of farthing loaves which
amounted to the sum of £500 a year. At present the doles amount to about
£200 a year and are given only to well-known persons. In addition to these
doles, huge baskets of fragments from the three tables in the long
dining-halls sufficed, as Strype tells us, "to fill the bellies of a great
number of hungry people that waited at the gate." Some conception of the
size of Cranmer's establishment may be gathered from the authentic list
of his household: "Steward, treasurer, comptroller, gamators, clerk of the
kitchen, caterer, clerk of the spicery, bakers, pantlers, yeomen of the
horse, ushers, butlers of wine and ale, larderers, squilleries, ushers of
the hall, porter, ushers of the chamber, daily waiters in the great
chamber, gentlemen ushers, yeomen of the chamber, carver, sewer,
cupbearer, grooms of the chamber, marshal groom ushers, almoner, cooks,
chandler, butchers, master of the horse, yeomen of the wardrobe, and
harbingers." Over such a rich and splendid household did the Establishment
place the man above all others who was to be to England its highest
embodiment of the spirit of the young Carpenter of Nazareth. To-day the
Archbishop of Canterbury is given two residences, and a salary of £15,000,
that he may keep up these establishments; that of the average curate is
about £100.

[Illustration: IN LAMBETH PALACE

_From an old print._]

The great hall, which to-day contains the library, is on the site of that
of Boniface, who built the first in the thirteenth century. Archbishop
Juxon, who attended Charles I. upon the scaffold, rebuilt the present
edifice after the original model, which had been destroyed during the
Commonwealth. One of the great treasures of this library is Caxton's
"Chronicles of Great Britain," which was printed in 1480 at
Westminster. The Mazarin Bible, the Life of Laud, with the autograph of
Charles I., and many books and manuscripts of great rarity and value are
also preserved here. The library is open to the public under proper
regulations on five days in the week. Among the names of eminent men who
have served as librarians over this small but precious library, none
interests us more than that of John Richard Green, the historian of the
English people.

The chapel, built in the last half of the thirteenth century, is the
oldest part that remains. An opening into Cranmer's ancient "parloir" is
now the organ-loft. From the chancel one has a glimpse of the original
beautiful ceiling. The wall pillars of Purbeck marble in the atrium are
said to be one thousand years old. In this chapel two of the first
American bishops were consecrated. The oak screen was erected by
Archbishop Laud. This chapel contained the windows that were destroyed in
the Civil Wars, which served as such a theme of controversy in Laud's
trial. He testified as follows: "The first thing the Commons have in their
evidence against me, is the setting up and repairing Popish images and
pictures in the glass windows of my chapel at Lambeth, and amongst others
the picture of Christ hanging on the cross between two thieves in the
east window; of God the Father in the form of a little old man with a
glory, striking Miriam with a leprosy; of the Holy Ghost descending in the
form of a dove; and of Christ's Nativity, Last Supper, Resurrection,
Ascension, and others.... To which I answer first, That I did not get
these images up, but found them there before; Secondly, that I did only
repair the windows which were so broken, and the chapel, which lay so
nastily before that I was ashamed to behold, and could not resort to it
but with some disdain, which caused me to repair it to my great cost;
Thirdly, that I made up the history of these old broken pictures, not by
any pattern in the mass book, but only by help of the fragments and
remainders of them which I compared with the story." It is related that at
a dinner of the domestics during Laud's primacy, the king's jester
pronounced the grace, "Give great praise to God, but little Laud to the
devil," for which jest he paid by long imprisonment.

In the so-called "Lollards' Tower" at the west end of the chapel, the only
part of the existing palace that is built of stone, is a niche in which
was placed the image of St. Thomas à Becket, to which Dean Stanley tells
us "the watermen of the Thames doffed their caps as they rode in their
countless barges."

The small room at the top of the tower is wainscoted with oak over an inch
thick, upon which prisoners chained to its iron rings have carved words in
early English and Latin. Through the oubliette in the floor dead prisoners
were doubtless dropped into the Thames, which in former days washed the
very walls of Lambeth, and swept under this tower. Whether any Lollards
were ever lodged here is very doubtful, although it is true that Wyclif,
the arch-Lollard, was at one time examined for his opinions, by the
bishops at Lambeth. The real Lollards' Tower seems to have been an adjunct
of old St. Paul's Cathedral. More probably the prisoners here were
Episcopalians of Milton's own time.

In the dark crypt, the wretched queen, Anne Boleyn, heard from the lips of
Cranmer the annulment of her marriage with Henry, and was forced to affirm
the disinheritance of her offspring. From thence she went to the Tower and
her doom. In this same palace, where she lay a prisoner in 1533, her
predecessor, Katharine of Aragon, was a guest on her arrival in England in
1501. Milton must doubtless sometime have visited this princely residence,
and have mused upon the martyred Cranmer and Latimer and Sir Thomas More,
and the long list of kings and queens and men, who, as masters, guests,
or prisoners, have slept within these walls. Of all the noted men who were
connected with Lambeth in his day, none, of course, so stirred his spirit
as did Archbishop Laud, who lived here, and exercised his power in the
Star Chamber, during the years when Parliament was silenced. From 1633
until his committal to the Tower on the charge of treason in 1641 after
the assembling of the Long Parliament, he was master here. It was while
here at Lambeth that he supervised the compilation of the Service Book;
when this was enforced in 1637 upon the Scottish churches, it was so
repugnant to them that the riot begun in Edinburgh, by Jenny Geddes
flinging her stool in St. Giles's Cathedral at the bishop's head,
initiated a national revolt, which led to the signing of the famous
Scottish National Covenant. Milton at this time, at the age of thirty, was
living at Horton. Little by little the resolute archbishop came to be
looked upon by men of Milton's way of thinking as one whose system
demanded submission to absolutism in the state. The student of Milton's
prose writings is familiar with the troublous history of Laud's time, and
the ludicrously trivial matters that then estranged earnest men. But,
while the ceremonies permitted in the church two generations later were
practically those that Laud had so zealously striven for, the result,
says Gardiner, "was only finally attained by a total abandonment of all
Laud's methods. What had been impossible to effect in a church to the
worship of which every person in the land was obliged to conform, became
possible in a church which any one who pleased was at liberty to abandon."
After Laud's execution the see of Canterbury was vacant nearly seventeen
years. Among the many portraits of the archbishops which hang at Lambeth,
the portrait of Laud by Van Dyck is one of the most admirable. We read
that his successor, Sheldon, in 1665, in the time of the Great Plague,
"continued in his palace at Lambeth whilst the contagion lasted,
preserving by his charities multitudes who were sinking under disease and
want, and by his pastoral exertions procured benevolences to a vast
amount." Admission to Lambeth must be obtained by written request, but is
by no means difficult, yet no important spot in London is so rarely
visited by the general public. The enthusiasm and intelligence of the
resident guide, who has several times in the last ten years conducted the
writer through its historic precincts, makes an hour at Lambeth a
memorable lesson in English history. His huge gray cat, whose name,
"Massachusetts," in other years brought a smile to the lips of every
American who chanced to learn it, no longer purrs a welcome to the dim
corridors and towers of the old palace, but has gone the way of all his
short-lived contemporaries. Let us hope that his master may for many years
to come live to tell the long, romantic tale of these old walls to all of
England's kin beyond the sea who journey hither to study with reverent
eyes the history of the land from which they came.

Among places of minor interest in Southwark, which doubtless Milton well
knew, was the "Tabard Inn," the starting-point of Chaucer's Canterbury
Pilgrims. This stood on High Street, and was not demolished until 1875. In
Milton's time it was inscribed: "This is the Inne where Sir Jeffrey
Chaucer and the nine and twenty pilgrims lay in their journey to
Canterbury anno 1380." It had then a more modern façade than Chaucer saw.
The Globe Theatre of Shakespearian fame was then on the site of the
present brewery of Barclay, Perkins, & Co. The visitor to the region just
south of London Bridge who would see a bit of quaint domestic architecture
that recalls the past, would do well to seek out, amid the noisy, hideous
streets, a tiny green oasis, bordered by what is known as the Red Cross
Hall and cottages. Thanks to Miss Octavia Hill and her friends, the little
Gothic hall, with its frescoes of civic heroes, designed by Walter Crane,
and its little row of picturesque gabled houses, stand here as a rest and
solace to weary eyes and hearts that hunger amid ugliness for beauty. Just
such houses Milton saw at every turn in the beautiful old London that he

No church in Southwark and only two or three in London are of so great
interest to the antiquarian as St. Saviour's or St. Mary Overy's, whose
curious name is explained in every guide-book. It has a record of more
than a thousand years. Chaucer, Cruden, the author of the "Concordance,"
Doctor Samuel Johnson, Oliver Goldsmith, Baxter, and Bunyan were closely
connected with this church and parish. In one of its chapels, in the
generation preceding Milton, beneath its three-light window, the Bishops
of Winchester and London, and others acting for the see of Rome, tried and
condemned to death by the flames seven ministers of Christ. Their only
crime was opposition to the "usurpations of the Papal Schism." Among these
were the rector of the church in which a half century later Milton was
baptised, Bishop Hooper, who was burned at Gloucester, and John Rogers,
the famous martyr of Smithfield. Another heretic, more fortunate than
these seven, had just previously been condemned to the stake and pardoned
for the sake of his musical talents. In this stately edifice, which has
recently been admirably restored, lies the dust of many dear to lovers of
poetry. Chaucer's fellow poet, friend, and teacher, John Gower, lies under
a lofty Gothic canopy; his sculptured head rests on three large volumes,
which represent his works. Milton's contemporaries, Massinger and
Fletcher, lie buried in the same grave. The latter died of the plague when
Milton was at Cambridge. His well-known poem on "Melancholy," beginning:

  "Hence, all you vain delights,
  As short as are the nights
    Wherein you spend your folly!"

was probably familiar to the young poet at Horton, when he penned his "Il
Penseroso," although Fletcher's poem was not published until after that.
Both Massinger and Fletcher are commemorated by modern windows. The
latter's colleague, Francis Beaumont, whose writings are so indissolubly
connected with his, is honoured with a window in which the friendship of
the two is typified by the figures of David and Jonathan.

The year before Milton's birth, the author of "Hamlet" and "Lear"
doubtless stood within the choir of this church beside the grave of his
young brother Edmond, an actor, who died at the age of twenty-seven, when
his great elder brother's genius had nearly touched its zenith of
creative power. The parish boasts that some of the most magnificent
masterpieces of the world's literature were written within its borders by
this, its most distinguished parishioner, and England's greatest son. In
his youth Milton may well have attended the funeral of the great Bishop
Andrewes, whose recumbent effigy is on one of the tombs that scholars will
seek out. This man, who knew fifteen languages, was president of the
little company of ten who gave the world a large part of the King James
version of the Hebrew Scriptures, whose perfection of literary form has
never been equalled. In the Lady-Chapel may still be seen inscribed upon
the windows the virulent words which would not have as greatly offended
Milton's taste as that of the present parishioners: "Your sacrament of the
Mass is no sacrament at all, neither is Christ present in it;" "From the
Bishop of Rome and all his detestable enormities, good Lord deliver us."

The London Bridge of Milton's day was one of England's marvels. Standing
on the site of two or three predecessors, it stood 60 feet above high
water and stretched 926 feet in length. It contained a drawbridge, and
nineteen pointed arches, with massive piers. Much of its picturesqueness
must have resulted from the irregularity of the breadth of its arches.
The skilful chaplain who built it doubtless planned his spans according to
the varying depth and strength of current of the tide, and would have
scorned the modern mechanical habit of disregarding conditions in order to
attain exact uniformity; thus his arches varied in breadth from ten to
thirty-two feet. Over the tenth and longest was built a little Gothic
chapel dedicated to the then new saint, Thomas of Canterbury. In Milton's
lifetime, rows of houses were added to the chapel and stretched across
toward the Southwark side.

Between the chapel and the southern end of the bridge was a drawbridge,
and at the north end of this was a remarkable edifice of wood in Milton's
boyhood. This was called "Nonsuch House." It was said to have been built
in Holland and brought over in pieces and put together by wooden pegs. It
stretched across the bridge upon an archway, and was a curious, fantastic
structure, carved elaborately on three sides. The towers on its four
corners bore high aloft above the neighbouring buildings low domes and
gilded vanes. It stood upon the site of the old tower whereon the heads of
criminals had been exposed; when it was taken down, the heads were removed
to the tower over the gate upon the Southwark side. This had four circular
turrets, and was a notable and imposing entrance to the bridge. At the
north end of the bridge was an ingenious engine for raising water for the
supply of the city. It was originally worked only by the tide flowing
through the first arch; but for this work several of the water courses
were later converted into waterfalls or rapids, and thereby greatly
inconvenienced navigation. An extension of this simple, early mechanism
lasted as late as 1822.

This bridge, which was to last six hundred and thirty years, was as long
in building as King Solomon's Temple, and, at the time, probably surpassed
in strength and size any bridge in the whole world.

London Bridge is famous the world over in the nurseries of every
English-speaking child. Milton himself, as the fair-haired little darling
in the scrivener's house on Bread Street, probably danced and sang the
ancient ditty, as thousands had done before him:

  "London bridge is broken down,
    Dance over, my Lady Lee;
  London bridge is broken down,
    With a gay ladee.

  "How shall we build it up again?
    Dance over, my Lady Lee;
  How shall we build it up again?
    With a gay ladee.

  "Build it up with stone so strong,
    Dance over, my Lady Lee;
  Huzza, 'twill last for ages long,
    With a gay ladee."

For centuries before Milton was born, Billingsgate, a little to the east
of London Bridge, had been one of the city's water-gates, and long before
his time its neighbourhood was filled with stalls for the sale of fish, a
far more necessary commodity in days when no fresh meat was to be bought
in winter. When Stow was preparing his "Survey," Billingsgate was "a large
water-gate, port, or harbour for ships and boats commonly arriving there
with fish, both fresh and salt, shellfish, salt, oranges, onions, and
other fruits and roots, wheat, rye, and grains of divers sorts."



In the summer of 1665, the Great Plague appeared in the midst of the alarm
over the Dutch invasion. The three earlier visitations of the terrible
disease during Milton's youth were to be eclipsed in horror by this, the
last great one that England was to know. Little connection between dirt
and disease existed in the minds of even scientific men. Dirt was
condemned as unæsthetic; but that earth floors covered with rushes, mixed
with greasy bones and decaying cabbage leaves, had any connection with the
griping pain of the groaning child upon the cot, its father did not dream.
Some water was brought in pipes from Tyburn, but much of it was taken from
the polluted Thames near London Bridge and carried about the streets in
water-carts. How much was taken for bathing purposes may be imagined. When
a luxurious monarch like Louis XIV. found a bath no necessity, we need not
wonder that the English cartman, and blacksmith, and craftsman, housed in
his narrow tenements near Smithfield or in Southwark, considered it a

The summer of 1665 was hot and oppressive. All through the pitiless heat
the wretched inmates of the town, whence two hundred thousand of the
fortunate ones like Milton had fled, walked around the gloomy and deserted
streets gathering their dead. By September fifteen hundred were dying
every day. The heat was aggravated by the bonfires which were kept burning
in vain hope of purifying the atmosphere. Physicians, ignorant, but
heroic, remained at their posts, cupping and blistering, and uselessly
tormenting the helpless folk who with pathetic confidence looked to them
for salvation. Some men became insane, and some died of sheer fright. The
suddenness of the death was one of the most ghastly features of the
scourge. The mother who nursed her child at morning handed its little
corpse at night to the man with the bell and dreadful cart, and knew not
where its tender limbs were rudely thrust with the haste of a great terror
which possessed the wretched gravediggers.

Out of a population of less than seven hundred thousand, probably one
hundred thousand perished, and starvation and poverty stared many others
in the face.

[Illustration: Erected in 1564-70 by Sir Thomas Gresham, and burned in the
Great Fire in 1666.

_From an old engraving._]

Something must have been learned of the need of purer water, for we find
London, after the fire next year, bestirring itself to get a general
supply of water from a canal forty miles long, called "New River," which
conducted a supply from Chadswell Springs in Hertfordshire to a reservoir
at Islington.

The summer of 1666 was likewise hot and dry, and a furious gale blew for
weeks together. Conditions were the same as in Chicago before the
conflagration that in November, 1871, swept over 1,687 acres, which
covered a territory four miles long and nearly three miles wide, and
entailed a loss of $300,000,000, though half of the buildings were of
wood. The moment was as propitious for the fire fiend as when Mother
O'Leary's cow kicked over the lamp in the Windy City of the West. A
baker's oven took fire in Pudding Lane, two hundred and two feet from the
site of the present Fire Monument, which Wren erected in memory of it that
number of feet in height. The fire began on Sunday night. It was
twenty-four hours before the dazed citizens attempted organised relief,
but then it was too late. By Tuesday evening the flames had licked up
everything as far west as the Temple. The resolute king came to the help
of the inefficient mayor, and ordered gunpowder to be used to blow up
buildings and thus create open spaces where the fire would lack food. By
Thursday evening the fire had practically ceased, and the citizens who had
looked on at the destruction of their homes and churches and shops and the
inestimable treasures of the past, sought shelter for their weary limbs.
No telegraphic messages of sympathy, no carloads of provisions from
neighbouring cities poured in to their relief, and homeless children cried
for bread.

Evelyn, in describing the conflagration, says: "All the skie was of a
fiery aspect like that of a burning oven, and the light seen above forty
miles round about for many nights. God grant mine eyes may never behold
the sight--who now saw ten thousand houses all in one flame; the noise and
crackling and thunder of the impetuous flames; the shrieking of women and
children; the hurry of people, the fall of towers, houses, and churches
was like an hideous storme and the aire all about so hot and inflamed that
at last one was not able to approach it. The clouds also and smoke were
dismall and reached upon computation neere 56 miles in length. The poore
inhabitants were dispers'd about St. George's Fields and Moorefields, as
far as Highgate, and several miles in circle, some under tents, some under
miserable hutts and hovells, many without a rag or any necessary utensils,
bed or board, who from delicatenesse, riches, and easy accommodations in
stately and well-furnished houses, were now reduc'd to extremest misery
and poverty."

Pepys tells us that the entire lead roof of St. Paul's Cathedral, no less
than six acres by measure, "fell in, the melted lead running down into the
streets and into the crypt where books had been carried for safety." He
notes that the fire burned just as many parish churches as there were
hours from the beginning to the end of the fire.

Dryden, in the long section of his "Annus Mirabilis" which describes the
"Great Fire," has a few lines among his prosaic stanzas which bear

  "The ghosts of traitors from the bridge descend,
    With bold fanatic spectres to rejoice:
  About the fire into a dance they bend,
    And sing their sabbath notes with feeble voice.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "A key of fire ran all along the shore,
    And lightened all the river with a blaze:
  The wakened tides began again to roar,
    And wondering fish in shining waters gaze.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "The rich grow suppliant, and the poor grow proud:
    Those offer mighty gain, and these ask more:
  So void of pity is the ignoble crowd,
    When others' ruin may increase their store.

       *       *       *       *       *

  "The most in fields like herded beasts lie down,
    To dews obnoxious on the grassy floor;
  And while their babes in sleep their sorrows drown,
    Sad parents watch the remnants of their store."

The king, who for the time being had behaved in manly fashion, went back
to his dalliance with courtesans and "the burning lusts, dissolute court,
profane and abominable lives" of which Evelyn writes on the day of fast
and humiliation ordered for the occasion.

Though there was not a particle of proof that the Catholics had anything
whatever to do with the origin of the fire, the frenzy and prejudice of
the populace attributed it to them, and an inscription to that effect,
which later was erased, was placed upon the monument.

The fire destroyed eighty-eight churches besides St. Paul's, together with
the city gates, the Exchange, the Custom House, 13,200 dwelling-houses,
and four hundred streets. A space of 436 acres, two-thirds of the entire
city, was consumed; and property then valued at £7,335,000 was destroyed.
For six months London remained a chaos of rubbish heaps. Pepys writes that
in March he still saw smoke rising from the ruins. The eight churches in
the city proper that still remain practically as Milton saw them have been
described in detail. They are All Hallows Barking, St. Ethelburga's, St.
Andrew Undershaft, of Saxon foundation; St. Olave's, of Danish; and St.
Helen's, of Norman foundation; St. Catherine Cree, Austin Friars, which
was the Dutch church, and St. Giles's, Cripplegate, just beside the city
wall. Of the six others that were not destroyed, All Hallows by the wall
(Broad Street Ward) and St. Katherine Coleman (Aldgate) were rebuilt
later. The four that then remained but have since disappeared were St.
Christopher le Stocks, and St. Martin Outwich (Broad Street Ward),
All-Hallows, Staining (Tower Ward), and St. Alphage, Aldermanbury.

Forty churches were rebuilt after the fire, and these were all designed by
Sir Christopher Wren, who when he began his gigantic task was a young man
of thirty-five. Wren, who was a nephew of the Bishop of Ely, was trained
under Doctor Busby in Westminster School, and then at Wadham College,
Oxford, and was there noted by John Evelyn as a "miracle of a youth," "a
prodigious young scholar," who showed him "a thermometer, a monstrous
magnet, and some dials."

Wren was a little later one of the chief founders of the Royal Society,
and its first meetings were held in his rooms. As versatile and original
as Da Vinci, he excelled in Latin, mathematics, and astronomy, and was a
close student of anatomy, and other sciences as well. Ten years before the
Great Fire he was professor of astronomy in Gresham College, London, and
at the age of twenty-eight, he was elected to the professorship of
astronomy in Oxford. Before he was thirty and had done any work in
architecture, Isaac Barrow declared him to be "something superhuman."
About this time he invented an agricultural implement for planting, and a
method of making fresh water at sea. A year before the Fire he solved a
knotty problem in geometry which Pascal had sent to English
mathematicians. Says Hooke, "I must affirm that since the time of
Archimedes there scarce ever met in one man in so great a perfection such
a mechanical hand and so philosophic a mind." Had Wren never designed a
building he would have been famous for his achievements in the study of
the cycloid, in rendering practical the use of the barometer, in inventing
a method for the transference of one animal's blood to another, in methods
for noting longitude at sea, and for other studies and inventions too
numerous to mention.

Wren was a self-taught architect. Before the Fire he erected Pembroke
College Chapel at Cambridge, and the Sheldonian Theatre at Oxford. He then
visited Paris, where he saw Bernini, and made the most of observations of
the Louvre and such Renaissance work as Paris then afforded. His bent of
mind was wholly divergent from the Gothic, and as it proved, in the few
instances in which he introduced its features into his Renaissance
churches, the result was as incongruous as Chaucer's cap and gown upon a
Roman emperor.

London's calamity was the opportunity for this little man of mighty
intellect. Four days after the fire ceased he laid before the king the
sketch of his plan for the restoration of the city. He looked far into the
future, and in vision saw a splendid town built on a well-conceived,
harmonious plan. He proposed to have Ludgate Hill widen as it approached
St. Paul's, where it would divide into two broad streets around the
cathedral and leave ample space for its huge mass to be plainly viewed.
One of these streets should lead to the Tower and the other to the Royal
Exchange, which was to be the centre of the city. Around it should be a
great piazza, from which ten streets were to lead, and on the outer edge
of this piazza would be situated the Post-Office, the Mint, and other
important buildings. "All churchyards, gardens, and trades that use great
fires and noisome smells" were to be relegated to the country, and the
churches with their spires were to be placed in prominent positions on the
main thoroughfares.

All this meant present sacrifice for future good; but the short-sighted
and impatient Londoners thought of the crying needs of the present year
alone. The architect might implore and weep bitter tears, but all in vain.
London must rise again on its old, congested plan, with its crooked
alleyways and narrow courts. But, though the ground-plan was discarded,
Wren was to make the new city his monument. Besides St. Paul's he built
within and without the walls fifty parish churches, thirty-six of the
companies' halls, the Custom House, and much besides.

During the last eight years of Milton's life, the destruction of the walls
of St. Paul's went on and the new edifice was assuming shape in the mind
of its creator. The old walls were blown down by gunpowder explosions and
by battering-rams. This took about two years, and the clearing away of
rubbish and building the massive foundations, longer still. Several
schemes were considered and rejected, and the plan which finally took its
present form was not begun until the funeral wreaths were withered upon
Milton's grave. Into the history of this mighty structure we may not
enter. In 1710 the last stone of the lantern above the dome was laid by
Wren's son in the presence of the now aged architect and of all London,
which assembled for the proud spectacle. The fair walls, ungrimed by soot
and smoke, rose fresh and perfect, a monument to one of the greatest
geniuses of all time.

One building erected the year after Milton's death is worth mentioning as
an illustration of the consideration shown for the insane at that period.
Bethlehem Hospital, which has been referred to, was in Milton's time
situated on Bishopsgate Street Without. "This hospital stood in an obscure
and close place near unto many common sewers; and also was too little to
receive and entertain the great number of distracted Persons both men and
women," writes an old author. But the city with admirable public spirit
gave ground for a better site against London wall near Moorfields. A
handsome brick and stone structure 540 feet long was erected in 1675, and
large gardens were provided for the less insane. Over the gate were placed
two figures representing a distracted man and woman. This building had a
cupola surmounted by a gilded ball; there was a clock within and "three
fair dials without." Men occupied one end of the building, and women the
other. Hot and cold baths were provided, and there was a "stove room,"
where in the winter the patients might assemble for warmth. Considering
the ignorance of the time, astonishingly good sense was displayed in all
the arrangements, insomuch that two out of every three persons were
reported cured.

As if this were not enough for one man's work, Wren of course was busy all
these years with the care of all the churches. Before Milton died he had
been knighted, and lived in a spacious mansion in Great Russell Square. He
had by then rebuilt St. Dunstan's in the East in Tower Ward; St.
Mildred's, Bread Street Ward; St. Mary's, Aldermanbury; St. Edmund the
King's; St. Lawrence's, Jewry; St. Michael's, Cornhill, where he attempted
Gothic work; the beautiful St. Stephen's, Wallbrook; St. Olave's, Jewry;
St. Martin's, Ludgate; St. Michael's, Wood Street; St. Dionis's,
Langbourne Ward; St. George's, Botolph Lane; and the Custom House.

No interior, either of these or those that followed these, is so perfect
as St. Stephen's, Wallbrook. Architecturally speaking, it has been
questioned whether St. Paul's itself shows greater genius.

In most of his labours Wren was embarrassed by lack of adequate funds and
the caprice of his employers. Most of his churches were ingenious
compromises between his ideals and their necessities or whims. His spires
were in the Renaissance forms, but of endless variations. The most
beautiful are so placed as rarely to be seen to advantage. Probably the
most admired of all of them are St. Bride's and St. Mary le Bow. The
former, which overshadows the spot where Milton conceived the plan of
"Paradise Lost," is situated on a little narrow street called after St.
Bride or Bridget, the Irish maiden, who died in 525. She had a holy well,
which is commemorated by an iron pump within a niche upon its site.


_From a print published in 1798._]

The lofty spire of the church rises to an altitude of 226 feet, a trifle
higher than Bunker Hill Monument, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which is
a measuring-rod for many Americans.

St. Mary le Bow is on the site of a Norman church of the Conqueror's time,
and so named because it was built on arches or "bows" of stone. This crypt
still remains. The steeple of the later church, which rang its bells above
the head of little John Milton on Bread Street, close by, was built a
hundred and fifty years before his birth; the church was said to have been
a rather low, poor building. Bow bells were nightly rung at nine o'clock,
but an old couplet shows that they were not always punctual:

  "Clark of the Bow Bell, with the yellow lockes,
  For thy late ringing, thy head shall have knockes."

To which the clerk responded:

  "Children of Cheape, hold you all still,
  For you shall have the Bow Bell rung at your will."

From the days when little Dick Whittington, a forlorn runaway, heard from
far Bow bells summon him back to London, the bells have played a notable
part in the life of Londoners. A true cockney is supposed to be one born
within hearing of these bells. Certainly the boy in Spread Eagle Court
deserved the title.

The spire of St. Mary le Bow rises a little higher than St. Bride's, and
bears a golden dragon nine feet long.

Upon the side of Bow Church, half hidden behind the tower, is an
inscription which the pilgrim to Milton's London will step aside to read.
It is on the tablet which was transferred from All Hallows Church, in
which Milton was baptised, when it was torn down. It closes with the
familiar lines of Dryden, the poet whom England most admired when this new
spire of Wren's was rising upon the ruins of the old, and close beside the
birthplace of the greatest soul ever born to London in all her two
millenniums of history.

  "Three poets, in three distant ages born,
  Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
  The first in loftiness of thought surpassed,
  The next in majesty, in both the last;
  The force of nature could no farther go,
  To make a third she joined the other two."



  Aldersgate Street, 89, 122.

  Aldgate, 155.

  All Hallows, Barking, 143.

  All Hallows Church, Bread St., 42, 45, 306.

  All Hallows, Staining, tower of, 155.

  Amersham, 116.

  Andrewes, Bishop, 289.

  "Arcades," 81.

  "Areopagitica," 94.

  Artillery Walk, 110, 119.

  Ascham, Roger, 201.

  Askew, Anne, 191.

  Austin Friars, 24.

  Austin Friars' Church, 185-188.

  Bacon, Francis, 225.

  Bancroft, Francis, 173.

  Barbican, 95.

  Bartholomew Close, 105.

  Bartholomew Fair, 218.

  Baroni, Leonora, 87.

  Baxter, Richard, 107, 108, 197, 276.

  Beaconsfield, 113, 115.

  Beaumont, 288.

  Bethlehem Hospital, 175, 303.

  Billingsgate, 292.

  Blake, Admiral, 257.

  "Blindness, On His," Milton's ode, 104.

  Blue Coat School, 195-199.

  Boleyn, Annie, 132, 283.

  Bread Street, 42-46, 120.

  Browne, Robert, 68.

  Buckingham, Duke of, 243, 256.

  Buckinghamshire, 112-119.

  Bunhill Fields, 111, 120.

  Burke, Edmund, 116.

  Burleigh, 226.

  Cæsar, Sir Julius, 174.

  Cambridge, 57-77;
    university life in Milton's time, 64.

  Camden, William, 252, 266.

  Caxton, William, 269.

  Chalfont St. Giles, 111, 112.

  Charles I., 244-248, 272, 274.

  Charles II., 250, 262, 298.

  Charing Cross, 99.

  Charterhouse, 202-208.

  Cheever, Ezekiel, 198.

  Chenies, 112.

  Chequer's Court, 118.

  "Cheshire Cheese, The," 229.

  Christ's Church, 197.

  Christ's College, 59, 62.

  Christ's Hospital, 195-199.

  Civil War, 87, 92.

  Clarendon, Earl of, 259.

  "Comus," 80, 82, 96.

  Conventual establishments, 22.

  Covent Garden, 237-239.

  Cranmer, Archbishop, 280.

  Cromwell, Oliver, 59, 92, 101, 141, 180, 228, 244, 248, 249, 256-258,

  "Cromwell, Ode to," Milton's, 104, 106.

  Cromwell, Richard, 105, 111.

  Crosby Hall, 164-170.

  Danish Remains in London, 20.

  Darwin at Christ's College, 64.

  Dickens on Old London Churches, 152-154.

  Diodati, Charles, 88, 91.

  Dryden, John, 122, 248, 297, 306.

  Dutch in London, 186.

  Education, Milton's Essay on, 94.

  Eliot, Sir John, 134-136, 268, 270.

  Elizabethan Age, 36.

  Elizabeth, Queen, 208, 241, 262.

  Ellwood, Thomas, 109, 111, 115.

  Ely Cathedral, 71.

  Ely Place, 221.

  Emmanuel College, 60, 62.

  Evelyn, 267, 296.

  Exchange, The Royal, 184, 298.

  Fire of London, The Great, 120, 145, 189, 295-298.

  Fletcher, 288.

  Forest Hill, 93.

  Fox, George, 120.

  Fox, John, 181.

  "Fresher's Don't, The," 76.

  Frobisher, Martin, 181.

  Galileo, 86.

  Gatehouse, Westminster, 267.

  Geneva, Milton at, 87.

  Gill, Alexander, Milton's schoolmaster, 53.

  Globe Theatre, 286.

  Gog and Magog, 190.

  Gothic architecture, 26-30, 34.

  Gray's Inn, 225.

  Great Hampden, 117.

  Great Kimble, 119.

  Gresham College, 184.

  Gresham, Sir Thomas, 172, 184.

  Grey, Lady Jane, 132.

  Grotius, Hugo, 85.

  Grub Street, 111.

  Guild Hall, The, 189-193.

  Hakluyt, Richard, 266.

  Hampden, John, 117-119, 268.

  Hatton, Sir Christopher, 223.

  Haw, The, 51.

  Heminge and Condell, monument to, 193.

  Henry VIII., 249.

  Heylin, Peter, 261.

  Hobson, 57.

  Holbein, 157, 241.

  Holborn, 98, 106, 225.

  Hooker, Richard, 234.

  Horton, 78-84, 92.

  "Il Penseroso," 68, 82.

  Inns of Court, 225-235.

  Ireland, Horrors in, 92.

  Italy, Milton in, 86.

  James I., 262.

  Jeffreys, Judge, 196, 234.

  Jerusalem Chamber, 264.

  Jesus College, 60.

  Jewin Street, 107.

  Jones, Inigo, 238, 240, 242, 262.

  Jonson, Ben, 180, 228, 252.

  Jordan's, 115.

  Juxon, Bishop, 246, 280.

  King's College Chapel, 67.

  King, Edward, 82.

  Knox, John, 116.

  "L'Allegro," 82.

  Lambeth Palace, 277-286.

  Lasco, John a, 186, 188.

  Laud, Archbishop, 144, 156, 281, 284.

  Lawes, Henry, 81, 96, 97, 224.

  Lincoln's Inn, 227-228.

  Lincoln's Inn Fields, 98.

  Lollard's Tower, 49, 282.

  London, origin and early topography, 14-25.

  London life in Milton's time, 38-40.

  London Bridge, 289-291.

  Long Acre, 237.

  Lovelace, Richard, 268.

  "Lycidas," 82, 83.

  Manso, 87.

  Mary of Modena, 278.

  Marvell, Andrew, 104, 108, 247, 248.

  "Massacre in Piedmont, On the Late," 104.

  Massinger, 288.

  Mermaid Tavern, 46.

  Milborne, Sir John, almshouses built by, 154.

  Mildmay, Sir Walter, 214.

  Milton, Anne, sister of the poet, 43, 57, 83, 89, 124.

  Milton, Christopher, brother of the poet, 43, 83, 92, 97, 124.

  Milton, Deborah, daughter of the poet, 102, 107, 108, 124.

  Milton, John, father of the poet, 42, 78, 92, 94, 97.

  Milton, John, son of the poet, 102.

  Milton, Mary, daughter of the poet, 98, 107, 108, 110.

  Milton, Sarah, mother of the poet, 43, 83.

  Milton Street, 111.

  Minshull, Elizabeth, Milton's wife, 110, 123, 124.

  More, Sir Thomas, 131, 166, 241.

  Morland, Sir Samuel, 251.

  "Morning of Christ's Nativity, On the," 72.

  Newgate, 199.

  Newton, Isaac, 249.

  Norman remains in London, 21, 24.

  Oxford, 62, 67, 93.

  Painted Chamber, Westminster, 270, 272.

  Paley, William, at Christ's College, 63.

  Pall Mall, 100.

  "Paradise Lost," 89, 105, 107, 111, 114, 120-122, 158.

  "Paradise Regained," 114.

  Paris, Milton in, 85, 88.

  Parr, Old, 253.

  Pembroke, Countess of, 169.

  Penn, William, 115, 145.

  Pepys, Samuel, 147-150.

  Peter the Great, 145.

  Petty France, 102.

  Philips, Edward, 89, 94.

  Philips, John, 89, 94.

  Pindar, Sir Paul, 177.

  Plague, The Great, 111, 293.

  Plantagenet Period, 22, 28.

  Powell, Anne, Milton's wife's mother, 97.

  Powell, Mary, Milton's wife, 93, 95, 97, 102.

  Prynne, 273.

  Puritans at Cambridge, 60.

  Pym, John, 260.

  Queen's Head Tavern, 155.

  Raleigh, Sir Walter, 133, 267, 268.

  Ranelagh, Lady, 104.

  Raphael cartoons, 248.

  Reading, 92.

  Red Cross Hall, 286.

  Red Lion Square, 106.

  Renaissance architecture, 30-33.

  Richard II., 129.

  Richard III., 129, 165, 190.

  Rogers, John, 201, 216, 287.

  Roman remains in London, 16.

  Runnymede, 84.

  Salmasius, 102.

  St. Andrew Undershaft, church of, 158.

  St. Bartholomew the Great, church of, 24, 211-215.

  St. Bartholomew's Hospital, 215.

  St. Bride's Church, 305.

  St. Bride's Churchyard, 89.

  St. Catherine Crees Church, 156.

  St. Ethelburga's Church, 175-176.

  St. Etheldreda's Church, 221-222.

  St. George's Chapel, Windsor, 248.

  "Saint Ghastly Grim," 152.

  St. Giles's Church, Cripplegate, 38, 97, 107, 120, 123, 178-183.

  St. Helen's Church, Bishopsgate, 24, 171-175.

  St. James's Palace, 100, 246, 248.

  St. James's Park, 99, 103.

  St. John's Gate, 209.

  St. John, Knights of, 209.

  St. Jude's Church, 156.

  St. Margaret's Church, 104, 268, 275.

  St. Martin's Lane, 99.

  St. Martin in the Fields, 100.

  St. Mary Aldermanbury, church of, 104, 193.

  St. Mary Aldermary, church of, 110.

  St. Mary le Bow, church of, 305.

  St. Mary Overy's Church, 24, 287.

  St. Olave's Church, 146.

  St. Paul's, old cathedral, 48, 121, 297;
    new cathedral, 302.

  St. Paul's Cross, 50.

  St. Paul's School, 48, 52;
    early cathedral body, 23.

  St. Peter's Church, 126, 132.

  St. Saviour's, Southwark, 287.

  St. Sepulchre's Church, 199.

  St. Stephen's Chapel, 270.

  St. Stephen's, Wallbrook, church of, 33, 304.

  "Samson," 89.

  Sanctuary, Westminster, 269.

  Saxon names in London, 17.

  Scotland Yard, 101, 102, 240.

  Scudamore, Lord, 85, 103.

  Selden, 233.

  Shakespeare, 165, 255, 288.

  Sidney, Algernon, 107.

  Sidney Sussex College, 59, 62.

  Skinner, Cyriack, 97, 104, 108.

  Smithfield, 215-220.

  Smith, John, Captain, 200.

  Somerset House, 239, 257.

  Spencer, Sir John, 166, 174.

  Spenser, Edmund, 254.

  Sprat, Thomas, dean of Westminster, 258.

  Spread Eagle Court, 45.

  Spring Gardens, 99, 101, 103.

  Staple Inn, 266.

  Star Chamber, 270, 272.

  Stow, John, 158-163.

  Strode, William, 261.

  Sutton, Thomas, 204.

  Tabard Inn, 286.

  Temple, The, 228-235.

  Temple Bar, 229.

  Temple Church, The, 229.

  Thackeray on the Charterhouse, 206.

  Throckmorton, Sir Nicholas, 157, 193.

  Tower Hill, 139, 144.

  Tower of London, The, 126-136.

  Toynbee Hall, 156.

  Trafalgar Square, 99, 100.

  Trinity College Library, Milton manuscript in, 73, 89.

  Turner, William, 150.

  Tyndale, 201.

  Usher, Archbishop, 247, 265.

  Vane, Sir Harry, 91, 99, 107, 136-141.

  Vane, Milton's Ode to, 104.

  Waller, Edmund, 116.

  Wendover, 117.

  Westminster Abbey, 250-266.

  Westminster Assembly, 264.

  Westminster Hall, 261, 274.

  Westminster Palace, 269.

  Westminster School, 266.

  Whitechapel, 156.

  Whitehall, 99, 101, 240-250.

  Whittington's Palace, 145.

  Williams, Roger, 61, 188, 204.

  Windsor, 79, 248.

  Wolsey, Cardinal, 241.

  Woodcocke, Katharine, 104, 193, 195, 275.

  Wotton, Sir Henry, 85, 124.

  Wren, Sir Christopher, 184, 240, 263, 266, 299-304.

  York Street, 102.

  Young, Milton's early preceptor, 47.



  "Here lies old Hobson. Death hath broke his girt,
  And here, alas, hath laid him in the dirt;
  Or else, the ways being foul, twenty to one,
  He's here stuck in a slough, or overthrown.
  'Twas such a shifter, that if truth were known,
  Death was half glad when he had got him down;
  For he had any time these ten years full,
  Dodged with him, betwixt Cambridge and the 'Bull,'
  And surely death could never have prevailed,
  Had not his weekly course of carriage failed.
  But lately finding him so long at home,
  And thinking now his journey's end was come,
  And that he had ta'en up his latest inn,
  In the kind office of a chamberlain,
  Showed him his room, where he must lodge that night,
  Pulled off his boots and took away the light;
  If any ask for him, it shall be said,
  'Hobson has supt and's newly gone to bed.'"

[2] It is interesting here to contrast John Morley's judgment with that of

"Surrounded by men who were often apt to take other views, Pym, if ever
English statesmen did, took broad ones; and to impose broad views upon the
narrow is one of the things that a party leader exists for. He had the
double gift, so rare even among leaders in popular assemblies, of being at
once practical and elevated; a master of tactics and organising arts, and
yet the inspirer of sound and lofty principles. How can we measure the
perversity of a king and counsellors who forced into opposition a man so
imbued with the deep instinct of government, so whole-hearted, so keen of
sight, so skilful in resource as Pym?"

Transcriber's Notes:

Passages in italics are indicated by _italics_.

Images have been moved from the middle of a paragraph to the closest
paragraph break.

Punctuation has been corrected without note.

"Thockmorton" has been corrected to "Throckmorton" in the index.

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