Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/109

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95
NEW LIGHTS OF MILTON

drowned. It is more to the purpose that Milton was 'thinking as much of himself as of his dead companion,' Lycidas was Edward King, but he also personified the Cambridge culture struggling against the dry scholastic stupidity of the college authorities. The poetry in this sense represents a genuine emotion. Milton is still steeping his mind in literary studies, reading alternately classical tragedy and the comedy of learned Jonson and c sweetest Shakespeare,' losing himself in old romances, calling up

    him that left half-told
The story of Cambuscan bold,

out-watching the Bear with thrice-great Hermes; and holding that our 'sage and serious Spenser . . . is a better teacher than Scotus or Aquinas.' The college dons, certainly Mr. William Chappell, represented spiritual slavery equally in literature and theology. They embodied the obscurantism against which he felt himself to be already set apart as a champion of liberty. St. Peter therefore introduces himself quite naturally in company with Father Camus and the 'herald of the sea.' Laud is the common enemy of both; and Milton is already preparing himself, as he