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THE Introductions to the Poems in these volumes contain necessarily a considerable quantity of biographical matter. All that is needed here, therefore, by way of general memoir, is a map or chronology of the life as a whole. A very sure Topography of the life may be combined with such a Chronology.


1608—1625: ætat. 1-17. Born in Bread Street, Cheapside, on Friday, December 9, 1608, in a house known as “The Spread Eagle,” and baptized in Allhallows Church in the same street on the 20th of the same December, Milton was for the first sixteen years of his life a denizen of the very heart of Old London.

His father, John Milton, originally from Oxfordshire, was a prosperous London scrivener, and owner of the Spread Eagle, which served him both as residence and place of business. See more about him in the Introduction to the Latin poem Ad Patrem. As to the name of Milton's mother there has hitherto been some uncertainty. One tradition calls her Sarah Bradshaw, and another Sarah Caston ; and yet in the register of Allhallows Parish, Bread Street, there is this distinct record : “The xxiind daye of February, A°. 1610 [1610-11], was buried in this parishe Mrs. Ellen Jefferys, the mother of Mr. John Mylton's wyffe of this parishe.” This Mrs. Ellen Jefferys, who seems thus to have lived with the scrivener and his wife till two years after the birth of her grandchild, the future poet, is ascertained to have been the widow of a Paul Jeffrey or Jeffreys, of an Essex family, who had died before 1583, after having been for some time Citizen


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