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THE FIFTH ODE OF HORACE, LIB. I.—“ Plain in thy neatness ?” Warton objected to this translation, on the ground that Horace's words “simplex munditiis” mean "plain in her dress, or, more periphrastically, in the manner of adorning herself.” But Milton, in the Latin copy of Horace's ode printed parallel with his translation in the edition of 1673, adopts the reading “simplex munditie”; and to this his translation is exact.
Psalms LXXX.- LXXXVIII. — See Introd. I. pp. 241—245. Milton's statement, in his note prefixed to his version of these Nine Psalms, being that he had translated punctiliously from the original Hebrew, and that all save the Italic phrases in his version were exact renderings of that original, I submitted the proof for this edition, with Milton's marginal Hebrew notes and comments copied in it from the edition of 1673, to the Rev. Dr. A. B. Davidson, Professor of Hebrew in the New College, Edinburgh, with a request that he would report on the accuracy of the marginal notes, and on the amount of knowledge of Hebrew indicated by them. Dr. Davidson has favoured me with the following remarks :
“P. 8. marg. I: for Be Sether read Besether (one word) as in p. 9; marg. 2 [Be is a preposition, but is always attached to its
“P. 9. marg. 3: Tishphetu would be more accurately pro“nounced tishpetu ( for ph); but probably the author wrote ph.
“P. 10. marg. 7: Shifta is read in the Hebrew Bible Shofta “ (0, not i). Probably Shifta is a mere misspelling. [Some verbs 'give i for o in this part; and, if an unpointed Bible had been
used, the reading shifta might indicate not very accurate knowledge “ of the language. But the accuracy of the other words seems against this supposition.]
“The printing of the words is extremely accurate. The author “ must have had, I should say, a familiar acquaintance with the “ vocalised text; and some of his remarks—such as that on p. II
marg. 7 : “ neoth elohim bears both ”-indicate also familiarity with 66 Hebrew idiom.
“Of course, in the transcription of Hebrew words gn represents “the Ayin, and j is to be pronounced y as in Hallelujah.”
While these remarks by a Hebrew scholar will suffice for the main professed feature of the Version of the Nine Psalms, the English reader may judge for himself of the poetical merits. (See Introduction, and remember also Landor's remark that “Milton was never so much a regicide as when he lifted up his hand and smote King David.") One or two verbal notes may be added :Ps. LXXX. 35, haut, for haughty, an old form, found in Spenser and Shakespeare, but nowhere else in Milton's poetry.—Ibid. lines 14, 30, 78, the identical rhyme of vouchsafe and safe ; and line 60 vine rhyming with divine. In the edition of 1673 vouchsafe is so spelt in lines 14 and 30, but voutsafe in line 78, as generally in Par. Lost.—Ps. LXXXVI. lines 26—28, the word "works” rhyming to itself.
PSALMS I.–VIII. —As has been pointed out in the Introduction (I. p. 246), the peculiarity in this version of the first Eight Psalms is that in each Psalm there is an experiment of a special metre. Psalm I. is in heroic couplets; Psalm II. in Italian tercets, or rhymes interlinked in threes, as in Dante's Divina Commedia ; Psalm III. in a peculiar six-lined stanza ; Psalm IV. in a different six-lined stanza; Psalm V. in, a peculiar four-lined stanza ; Psalm VI. in another kind of four-lined stanza; Psalm VII. in a six-lined stanza different from either of the previous six-lined stanzas; and Psalm VIII. in an eight-lined stanza. But in each metre there are irregularities and laxities. Observe the double rhymes "nations” “congregations” in Ps. II. 1—3, "glory” "story,” and “millions”
“. "pavilions” in Ps. III. 7, 8, and 15—18, “ unstable” “miserable" in Ps. V. 25-27, "reprehend me" "amend me," and "weeping" " “keeping” in Ps. VI. 1—4 and 17-20, “under," "wonder," "asunder," "nation," “ habitation," " foundation," and "offended,” “ bended,” “ intended,” in Ps. VII. 2–5, 25—30, and 44—47.—Note also, as peculiar verbal forms, “sustain" used substantively in Ps. III. 12, “ deject” used adjectively Ps. VI. 3, and “bearth” for “birth” or “production," Ps. VII. 4 (compare Par. Lost, IX. 624, and note there)
SCRAPS FROM THE PROSE WRITINGS.—See Introduction, I. pp. 246, 247.
PART II.: THE LATIN POEMS.
“ DE AUCTORE TESTIMONIA.”—These five pieces of eulogium prefixed to the Latin Poems in the edition of 1645, and repeated in that of 1673, were a selection from complimentary testimonies which Milton
a had received from the Italian scholars and wits whose acquaintance he had made during his residence in Italy in 1638-9 (General Introd. I. p. 90). His reception among these scholars and wits, especially in Florence, Rome, and Naples, had been most cordial ; they had entertained him privately, and admitted him to the meetings of their “Academies": viz. the Literary and Philosophical Debating Societies which then abounded in all the Italian cities; and the impression he had made on them, by his conversation, and by incidental specimens of his writing in Latin and Italian (for few, if any, of them knew English), had been quite extraordinary. This appears even through the extravagant Italian politeness of the written compliments they addressed to him before his departure back to England. Milton, while printing these compliments, notes their extravagance, but confesses to his pleasure in being able to produce to his countrymen such proofs of the estimation in which he had been held by honourable men abroad. There can be little doubt that one motive for printing them was a desire to counteract, as much as possible, that opinion of Milton which prevailed among his countrymen in 1645 in consequence of his numerous polemical writings of the four preceding years,—the opinion, namely, that he was merely a fierce prose-pamphleteer, of extreme and revolutionary ideas.—About the Neapolitan Manso, the writer of the first of the five testimonies quoted, sufficient information has been given in the Introduction to the Latin Poem “Mansus” (I. pp. 309-315). About the Roman SALSILLI, the writer of the second, there is similar information in the Introduction to the Latin Verses addressed to him (I. pp. 308, 309). Of SELVAGGI, the writer of the third, nothing known, save that he was probably a Roman. ANTONIO FRANCINI and CARLO DATI, the writers of the fourth and fifth, were Florentines, and leading spirits in the Literary Academies of Florence at the time of Milton's visits. Of all the Florentine group they were the two who seem to have recollected Milton most fondly, and whom he recollected most fondly. There is special mention of both by name in his Epitaphium Damonis, written immediately after his return to England (lines 136—138); and Dati, who was a very young man when Milton first saw him in Florence, was one of his correspondents
afterwards. Three letters of the correspondence are extant,Latin from Milton to Dati, dated “London, April 21, 1647," and two in Italian from Dati to Milton, dated from Florence, “Nov. I, 1647," and "Dec. 4, 1648."
occiduâ Deva Cestrensis ab orâ.” See Introduction, I. p. 256; and compare Lycidas 55, and note there.
4. “ Vergivium . . . salum”: the Irish Sea. Camden's Britannia, Warton says, had familiarised the name in Milton's time. Drayton, in his Polyolbion, several times uses Vergivian as the name of the sea.
8. “Debet, at unde brevi reddere jussa velit.” A recollection, as Richardson noted, of Horace, Od. I. iii. 5-8. 9. “refluâ .
undâ”: i.e. its tidal wave.
11–20. “Jam nec arundiferum,” etc. These ten lines are supposed to convey the story of Milton's temporary rustication from Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1626 (see Introd. I. pp. 257, 258); and it seems impossible to evade that interpretation. The phrases most significant are dudum vetiti laris,"
,” “duri minas Magistri," “ Cætera ingenio non subeunda meo,” “exilium," " profugi nomen,” and “exilii conditione." One might propose, indeed, to construe the first of these phrases in a way different from that which has been usual with those who have read it with the story of the rustication in their minds. They (e.g. Cowper in his translation of the Elegy, and Warton, Todd, and Mr. Keightley) have taken “lar” to mean “college," or "college-chamber," and so have read the whole line thus: “Nor does any love of [longing for] my lately forbidden college-room vex me." But why, one may ask, not take “lar” in its more direct sense of " home, fireside,” and so read the line thus : “Nor does longing for my lately forbidden home in London now vex me, as it used to do at Cambridge,”—i.e. “Nor, now that I am back in London, have I any longer the feeling of home-sickness”? Plausible as this is, and more consistent than the other reading with the ordinary usage of lar, I am still not sure but the other reading is the right one. It seems to fit in better with the context; and that “lar" might have been used by Milton in the sense of college-room seems the likelier from his subsequent use of “patrios penates" for
his father's house in London. Either way, the interpretation of this particular line leaves the other phrases untouched, and they contain sufficient allusion to some incident in Milton's college-life equivalent to rustication. “Si sit hoc exilium,” etc., can hardly be understood otherwise.—In Buchanan's curious Elegy, entitled Quam misera sit conditio docentium literas humaniores Lutetiæ, there is a distich not unlike lines 15, 16 :
Quid memorem interea fastidia mille laborum,
Quæ non ingenuâ mente ferenda putes ?” 21-24. “O utinam vates . . . ille," etc. Milton's fondness for Ovid finds here very exaggerated expression.
29–36. “Seu catus," etc. On these eight lines Warton remarks that the comedies hinted at are rather the Terentian than those of the contemporary English stage. “It is the view of a scholar, and he does not recollect that he set out with describing a London theatre.” 35, 36.
Sæpe novos," etc. Richardson compared two lines in Claudian's De Nuptiis Honorii et Maria, 3, 4 =
“Nec novus unde calor nec quid suspiria vellent
Noverat incipiens, et adhuc ignarus amandi ;”. and also Ovid's lines, Met. IV. 329, 330 :
“pueri rubor ora notavit Nescia quid sit amor ; sed et erubuisse decebat.” 37, 38. “Sive cruentatum furiosa Tragedia," etc.
See note, Penseroso, 97—102. 40. “lacrymis dulcis amaror.” So Catullus (Ad Manlium) :
Quæ dulcem curis miscet amaritiem.” 41, 42. “ Seu puer infelix," etc. Shakespeare's Romeo ?
43, 44. “Seu ferus e tenebris," etc. In Shakespeare's Hamlet or his Richard III. ?
45, 46. “Seu mæret Pelopeia," etc. He reverts now to Greek Tragedy.
49, 50. “Nos quoque lucus habet,” etc. The allusion does not seem to be, as Warton fancied, to any country-house of Milton's father nearer town than the house at Horton he afterwards occupied ; for, as Mr. Keightley asks, what could have brought thither the Virgineos choros of line 52? Some suburban place of public resort, such as Gray's Inn Garden, or one of the Pa ems to be intended. Kensington Gardens would be about the present equivalent.