ePub 版

30 Mil

presented him with respect to the company. ton speaks of the Cardinal as one · Cujus magnæ virtutes, rectique studium ad provocandas item omnes artes liberales egregie comparatum, semper mihi ob oculos versatur.' Salselli and Selvaggi praised him in some commonplace verses, (yet the best, I suppose, which they could give); and wherever he went, admiration and esteem accompanied him.

From Rome he passed on to Naples, in company with a hermit, to whom he owed his introduction to Manso, Marquis of Villa, a nobleman of distinguished rank and fortune (who had supported a military character with high reputation) of unblemished morals, a polite scholar, and known to posterity as the friend, the patron, and the biographer of Tasso.81 To him Milton addressed a beautiful Latin poem, in which he expresses his hope, if he could find such a friend and patron as Manso, of celebrating in verse the exploits of King Arthur and his knights.

Si quando indigenas revocabo in carmina reges
Arturumque etiam sub terris bella moventem;
Aut dicam invictæ sociali fædere mensæ
Magnanimos heroas, et O modo spiritus adsit
Frangam Saxonicas Britonum sub Marte Phalanges.

80 It was at the concerts of Barbarini, that Milton heard Leonora Baroni sing: who with her mother, Adriana of Mantua, was esteemed the first singer in the world. Milton has celebrated her in three Latin epigrams. It was the fashion for all ingenious strangers who visited Rome to leave some verses in her praise. Pietro della Valle, who wrote in 1640, on the Muses of his Time, speaks of thé fanciful and masterly style in which Leonora touched the Arch lute to her own accompaniments, v. Warton's Milton, p. 479.

81 Tasso mentions Manso in the twentieth book of his Gierusal. Liberata, among other princes of Italy. He addressed to him five sonnets. Manso was also the patron of

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Dr. Johnson very justly says, that this poem must have raised a high opinion of English elegance and literature among the scholars of Italy.

From Naples he intended to visit Sicily and
Greece; but he now heard of the commencement
of the quarrel between the king and the parlia-
ment; and he thought it his duty to hasten home
where his countrymen were contending for their
rights, rather than to pursue the enjoyments of
more extended travel. Turpe enim existimabam
dum mei cives de libertate dimicarent, me animi
causâ, otiose peregrinari. He returned by way
of Rome, though some merchants had informed
him of the enmity of the Jesuits on account of
his freedom of conversation ; and Manso was
withheld from showing him some favours by the
opinions which Milton had too openly expressed
on religious questions. Sir Henry Wotton's ad-
vice, though neglected, was now seen to be pru-
dent and wise; but we may conceive, that in those
times, it was difficult to withhold opinions on sub-
jects so much agitated, affecting the temporal in-
terests of some, and awakening the spiritual alarm
of others. The schism between the churches was
comparatively fresh; the Church of Rome reluct-
antly beheld a great and growing kingdom rescued
from her avarice and power. 82 In the freedom of
opinion, and by the discussion of rights, she saw
Marino; and was the biographer of both these illustrious
poets. Mr. Walker, when at Naples, endeavoured to dis
cover the villa where Manso had received the visits of
Milton and Tasso. See Hist. Mem. 1799. App. p. xxvi.
82 Dum Cathedram, venerande tuam, diademaque triplex

Ridet Hyperboreo gens barbara nata sub axe
Dumque pharetrati spernunt tua jura Britanni.'

Miltoni Sylv. Quint. Nov. v. 94.

[ocr errors]


her safety endangered, or her splendour diminished. She had fostered for her protection a body of men the most politic, and deep in worldly wisdom, whose existence depended on her prosperity: we shall not therefore be surprised if a young and zealous Protestant, who could not well endure the ecclesiastical establishment of his own country, simple and moderate as it was, should give offence when expressing his feelings in the inmost bosom of the Papal Church, in the verge of the Vatican, and under the very chair of St. Peter himself. He says, speaking of his conduct whilst in Italy, • I laid it down as a rule for myself, never to begin a conversation on religion in these parts, but if interrogated concerning my faith, whatever might be the consequence, to dissemble nothing. If any one attacked me, I defended in the most open manner, as before, the orthodox faith for nearly two months more, in the city even of the sovereign Pontiff.

Milton staid about two months at Rome, and pursued his journey without molestation to Flo

He then visited Lucca, and spent a month at Venice. There he shipped for England the collection of books and music which he had formed, and travelled to Geneva, which, Johnson observes, he probably considered as the metropolis of orthodoxy.

At Geneva he became acquainted with John Deodati,34 and Frederic Spanheim, the father of the eminently learned scholar and antiquary, whom


83 See Second Defence of the People, p. 384, ed. Burnet.

34 See some account of this Giov. Deodati, of his preaching at Venice in a Trooper's dress, and converting a Venetian courtesan, in Warton's Milton, p. 548. He was uncle of Charles,' mentioned below.


Milton subsequently knew. He now passed through France, and returned home after an absence of fifteen months. Of his habitual purity of morals, and sanctity of character, when abroad, he has himself informed us. « Deum hic rursus testem in vocem, me his omnibus in locis ubi tum multa licent, ab omni flagitio ac Probro, integrum atque intactum vixisse, illud perpetuo cogitantem, si hominum latere oculos possem, Dei certe non posse.

On his return he heard of the death of Charles Deodati,85 and he has recorded the affection which he felt for his friend, in the Epithalamium Damonis.

Nec dum aderat Thyrsis, pastorem scilicet illum
Dulcis amor musæ Thuscà retinebat in urbe
Ast ubi mens expleta domum, pecorisque relicti
Cura vocat, simul assuetâ seditque sub ulmo,

Tum vero amissum, tum denique sentit amicum.36 Some passages in this poem are borrowed from the Aminta of Tasso; a few more lines, alluding to his recent travels, I shall quote.

Heu quis me ignotas traxit vagus error in oras,
Ire per aerëas rupes, alpemque nivosam!
Ecquid erat tanti Romam vidisse sepultam ?
(Quamvis illa foret, qualem dum viseret olim,
Tityrus ipse suas, et oves et rura reliquit?)

85 C. Deodati was a native of England, but of an Italian family, which came originally from Lucca; but in its last generation established at Geneva. His father, Theodore, came early in life to England, married a lady of family and fortune, and practised as a physician. The son was bred to the same profession, and settled in Cheshire. See some further account in Todd's Milton, vol. vi. p. 173, 360. The two Greek letters of Deodati, possessed by Toland, are now in the British Museum, (MS. Add. No. 5017, f. 71,) and will be found in the Appendix to this Memoir.

86 v. Ep. Damonis, ver. 12.

Ut te tam dulci possem caruisse sodale
Possem tot maria alta, tot interponere montes,
Tot sylvas, tot saxa tibi, fluviosque sonantes.
Ah certe extremum licuisset tangere dextram,
Et bene compositos placide morientis ocellos,
Et dixisse “vale, nostri memor, ibis ad astra."

[ocr errors]

O ego quantus eram, gelidi cum stratus ad Arni
Murmura, populeumque nemus, qua mollior herba,
Carpere nunc violas, nunc summas carpere myrtos,
Et potui Lycidæ certantem audire Menalcam!"

88 but

In these verses 87 he repeats his design of writing an epic poem on some part of the ancient British history. Dr. Johnson has observed that this poem is written with the common but childish imitation of pastoral life.' As it is not however intended deeply to move the sources of our sympathy, or to come across a strong and recent sorrow, to express, as in Lycidas, in a pleasing and gentle manner, the poet's affection and regret; the pastoral veil, in imitation of ancient poetry, and of later Italian models, is not inelegantly assumed. Besides, as Warton observes, “the common topics are recommended by a novelty of elegant expression; some passages wander far beyond the bounds of bucolic song, and are in his own original style of the more sublime poetry. He might speak of its purpose as he does in his Prolusions (p. 91) of the Province of History; Nunc inquietos animi tumultus sedet et componit, nunc delibatum gaudio reddit, mox evocat lacrymas, sed mites eas, et pacatas, et quæ moestæ nescio quid voluptatis secum afferat


87 See ver. 161–167.

88 • Methinks, said Sancho, the thoughts that give way to verses, are not very troublesome. Therefore versify as much as you list, and I'll sleep as much as I can.' Don Quixote, vol. iv. p. 212, (Shelton's Transl.) VOL. I.


« 上一頁繼續 »