‘To Cambridge...for Seven Years’
After leaving St Paul’s, Milton came up to Christ’s College, Cambridge in 1625, at the age of sixteen. Milton’s parents may have chosen Christ’s because of its lingering Puritan reputation. At that time, the university taught a five-year BA course of rhetoric, logic, and philosophy. It was examined on the basis of a series of formal Latin orations, exercises at which the young Milton excelled.
Milton later recalled his time at Christ’s with great fondness, but was frustrated by what he saw as the limitations of the university’s curriculum. On leaving Cambridge, he attempted to supplement this lack through several years of self-directed study in retirement at his parents’ house, followed by travels on the Continent from 1638-39. During this period, Milton composed some of his finest Latin poems, as well as Lycidas—an elegy for Edward King, Milton’s contemporary at Christ’s—the first landmark of his poetic career.
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