Francis Bacon (1561-1626) and John Milton (1608-1674)

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    Jan 27, 2013
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Bacon was the son of the lord Keeper of the Great Seal in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, so he had ample opportunity for study and advancement. He had great intellectual gifts and under Elizabeth`s successor, James I, he became Lord Chancellor of England (the highest position which a lawyer can hold). In 1621 he was accused of taking bribes while acting as a judge, and as a result he lost his position. It has been said of him that “his mind soared into the heavens, but his feet were of clay.”

He wrote an important philosophical work in Latin – Novum Organum – and works in English on scientific, humanistic and historical subjects. He is now best known for his Essays, to which he himself, however, did not attach great importance.

Milton combined ardent Protestantism with devotion to Classical and Renaissance studies. He was educated at Cambridge University and afterwards lived quietly for a time at his father`s country home. Here he wrote a number of lyrical poems: L` Allegro, II Penseroso, Lyeidas, etc. These poems show both his great learning and his love of nature. In 1638-9 Milton travelled in Italy, but returned because of the troubled state of England, which was on the verge of civil war. For a short time after his return, Milton kept a small school in London, but soon entered politics on the side of Parliament against the King, to strive for the freedom of the Press and of religious thought.

Under Cromwell`s Commonwealth Government, he became Foreign Secretary. During this period of his career he wrote many pamphlets and other prose works. In 1653 he became blind, and when the Monarchy was restored in 1660 he lost his position and influence. Living in retirement, he composed his greatest work, the blank-verse epic, Paradise Lost, which describes the revolt of the angels and the fall of Man. Milton`s last works were Paradise Regained and a classical tragedy, Samson Agonistes.

           

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