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A pastoral elegy by Milton, written 1637, published 1638. It is a pastoral elegy on the death of Edward King, a fellow student of Christ's College, Cambridge, though not, it would appear, a close friend of Milton. Like Milton himself, he had aspirations as a poet and as a clergyman. He was drowned while crossing from Chester Bay to Dublin, his ship having struck a rock and foundered in calm weather. Milton, in lamenting his premature death and the uncertainty of life, suggests deep anxieties about his own ambitions and unfulfilled promise. It is one of the finest elegies in the English language, and a work of great originality.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John Milton (1608—1674) poet and polemicist

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