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A SHEAF OF GLEANINGS

AFTER HIS

BIOGRAPHERS AND ANNOTATORS :

I. GENEALOGICAL INVESTIGATION.
II. NOTES ON SOME OF HIS POEMS.

BY JOSEPH HUNTER.

LONDON: JOHN RUSSELL SMITH, 4, OLD COMPTON STREET, SOHO SQUARE.

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MILTON.

I. GENEALOGICAL INVESTIGATION.

I. His PATERNAL ANCESTRY.—In a well-known passage of the Defensio Secunda, Milton claims for himself that he was of generous descent: “ Londini sum natus, genere honesto." Yet no proof of this has been given either by his earlier or later biographers, and we should apply in vain to the ordinary sources of information of this kind, for any thing that could support such a claim, if the phrase is to be taken in any of the higher senses which belong to it.

For any thing beyond the father the little that has been transmitted to us is comprised in the following statement in Mr. Archdeacon Todd's Life of the Poet :-" The grandfather was Under-ranger or Keeper of the forest of Shotover near Halton in Oxfordshire. He was a bigotted Papist, and disinherited his son, the poet's father, because, when a member of Christ Church, Oxford, he became a Protestant."

I have discovered evidence which enables me to give a little more of precision and authority to some part of this statement.

There exists among the Records of the Exchequer a series of Rolls known by the name of the Recusant Rolls, on which was entered year by year an account of the fines levied on those persons who had not acquiesced in the Reformation recently effected, for non-attendance at their parish churches, or of compositions made by them.

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