Excerpt from The Poetical Works of John Milton, Vol. 1: From the Text of Dr. Newton; With a Critical Essay
From early youth, Milton seems to have been characterised by a lofty and elevated mind. Educated in a distinguished seat of learning, and deeply imbued with the classica... l literature which at that period, perhaps, was studied with more ardour than it has ever been since, he soared to no common height in his juvenile exercises, and attained an etcellence in Latin poetry which is a topic of admiration to his biographers. The intrinsic value of his performances in this class has, indeed, been differently estimated; but it is certain that they bespeak an imagination fed with no trivial or vulgar ideas, and a soul big with high resolves, and the anticipation of future fame. Various passages in his Latin poems have been adduced as denoting the seeds of great designs which then lurked in his mind but none are more striking than the fol lowing lines of an address in English verse to his Native. Language, delivered at a college exercise, when he was nineteen years old.
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