John Milton (Life's summary)
John Milton, the son of a scrivener, was born in london in 1608. He was educated at St. Paul's School of London. Milton was originally destined for a ministerial career, but his indipendent spirit led him to give this up. He matriculed at Christ's College, Cambridge, and studied there for seven years before he graduated as Master of Arts. After leaving Cambridge in 1633 he retired to his father's residence at Horton in Buckinghamshire, where he intensively read to improve his literary education and composed his first poetical works. In 1638 Milton left England for a tour in Europe. He visited France and Italy, where he met distinguished men such as the aged Galilei. The beginning of the conflict between Charles and the Parliament induced him to come back to England. By this time Milton forsook poetry and devoted himself entirely to the Puritan cause. In 1642 the poet married Mary Powell, a young girl belonging to a royalist family, but the marriage soon proved unhappy. Milton was appointed Latin Secretary to the Council of State in 1649, and he vividly defended the new Commonwealth against the attacks of political opinions abroad. By 1652 Milton became completely blind and lost his wife. In 1656 he married again with Catherine Woodcock, but she died in childbirth. The Restoration of 1660 destroyed Milton's political hopes. The poet scarcely escaped the most serious persecutions, then he retired to private life and reverted to poetry. In this period Milton produced his best poetical works. In 1663 he married Elizabeth Minshull, his third wife. Milton died in London in 1674 and was buried in St. Giles-without-Cripplegate.