<%= render :partial => '/v9/shared/analytics'

John Milton

Poet and Prose Polemicist
Born Dec 9, 1608

John Milton was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth (republic) of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about John Milton.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of John Milton.


1608 Birth John Milton was born in Bread Street, London, on 9 December 1608, the son of the composer John Milton and his wife, Sarah Jeffrey. … Read More


1625 17 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1625 Milton began attending Christ's College, Cambridge. … Read More
1626 18 Years Old Later, in 1626, Milton's tutor was Nathaniel Tovey. … Read More


1632 24 Years Old 1 More Event
Upon receiving his M.A. in 1632, Milton retired to Hammersmith, his father's new home since the previous year. … Read More


1638 30 Years Old 1 More Event
In May 1638, Milton embarked upon a tour of France and Italy that lasted up to July or August 1639. … Read More
1639 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Originally Milton wanted to leave Naples in order to travel to Sicily, and then on to Greece, but he returned to England during the summer of 1639 because of what he claimed, in Defensio Secunda, were "sad tidings of civil war in England." … Read More
1642 34 Years Old In June 1642, Milton paid a visit to the manor house at Forest Hill, Oxfordshire, and returned with a 16-year-old bride, Mary Powell. … Read More
1643 35 Years Old 1 More Event
Milton wrote The Doctrine & Discipline of Divorce in 1643, at the beginning of the English Civil War. … Read More
1645 37 Years Old 1 More Event
Partly because of the outbreak of the Civil War, she did not return until 1645; in the meantime her desertion prompted Milton, over the next three years, to publish a series of pamphlets arguing for the legality and morality of divorce. (Anna Beer, one of Milton's most recent biographers, points to a lack of evidence and the dangers of cynicism in urging that it was not necessarily the case that the private life so animated the public polemicising.) In 1643, Milton had a brush with the authorities over these writings, in parallel with Hezekiah Woodward, who had more trouble. … Read More


With the parliamentary victory in the Civil War, Milton used his pen in defence of the republican principles represented by the Commonwealth. The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649) defended popular government and implicitly sanctioned the regicide; Milton's political reputation got him appointed Secretary for Foreign Tongues by the Council of State in March 1649. … Read More
1650 42 Years Old Milton embraced many heterodox Christian theological views. He rejected the Trinity, in the belief that the Son was subordinate to the Father, a position known as Arianism; and his sympathy or curiosity was probably engaged by Socinianism: in August 1650 he licensed for publication by William Dugard the Racovian Catechism, based on a non-trinitarian creed. … Read More
1652 44 Years Old 1 More Event
On 24 February 1652, Milton published his Latin defence of the English People, Defensio pro Populo Anglicano, also known as the First Defence. … Read More
1654 46 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1654, in response to an anonymous Royalist tract "Regii sanguinis clamor", a work that made many personal attacks on Milton, he completed a second defence of the English nation, Defensio secunda, which praised Oliver Cromwell, now Lord Protector, while exhorting him to remain true to the principles of the Revolution.
1655 47 Years Old Alexander Morus, to whom Milton wrongly attributed the Clamor (in fact by Peter du Moulin), published an attack on Milton, in response to which Milton published the autobiographical Defensio pro se in 1655.
1656 48 Years Old On 12 November 1656, Milton was married again, to Katherine Woodcock. … Read More


1658 - 1660 3 More Events
1662 54 Years Old Milton married for a third time on 24 February 1662, to Elizabeth Mynshull (1638–1728), the niece of Thomas Mynshull, a wealthy apothecary and philanthropist in Manchester. … Read More
1663 55 Years Old On 24 February 1663, Milton remarried, for a third and final time, a Wistaston, Cheshire-born woman, Elizabeth (Betty) Minshull, then aged 24, and spent the remaining decade of his life living quietly in London, only retiring to a cottage—Milton's Cottage—in Chalfont St. Giles, his only extant home, during the Great Plague of London. … Read More
1667 59 Years Old On 27 April 1667, Milton sold the publication rights to Paradise Lost to publisher Samuel Simmons for £5, equivalent to approximately £7,400 income in 2008, with a further £5 to be paid if and when each print run of between 1,300 and 1,500 copies sold out. … Read More


1671 63 Years Old Milton followed up Paradise Lost with its sequel, Paradise Regained, published alongside the tragedy Samson Agonistes, in 1671. … Read More
…  By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life, yet famous throughout Europe and unrepentant for his political choices.
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Milton.
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.