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“the original of a likeness, as opposed to the portrait. The word “avropuns, which means primarily self-grown,' is generally applied “ to 'natural,' opposed to artificial.' If dvojíunua existed, it would
probably mean a thing hard to imitate,' not a bad imitation.'"
AD SALSILLUM, POETAM ROMANUM, ÆGROTANTEM.
SCAZONTES. 1–5. “O Musa gressum que volens trahis claudum," etc. A humorous description of the kind of verse in which Milton chose to address Salzilli : viz. the Scazon, Choliambus, or Hipponactic Trimeter (see Introd. I. pp. 308, 309). Though it is a limping measure, and walks with the gait of the lame Vulcan, it thinks itself no less becoming on occasion than when Deiope, the fairest of Juno's attendant nymphs, moves her perfectly-matched limbs before the couch of that goddess.—In Latin Scazons the strict rule of prosodians is that the last foot should always be a Spondee and the penultimate always an Iambus. Greek Scazons allowed either an Iambus or a Trochee for the penultimate. Milton, in the present piece, uses great licence. He has frequently a Spondee for the penultimate; and once at least (22) he has an Iambus for the last foot, converting the line into a regular Iambic trimeter.
6. “s'is,” i.e. “si vis.”
7, 8. “ Camæna nostra cui tantum est cordi, quamque," etc. The reference is to Salzilli's extravagant Latin compliment to Milton (printed ante, I. p. 473), where he had said that Milton would be equal to Homer, Virgil, and Tasso put together.
9. “ Milto.” Observe that Milton adopts here the Latin form of his own name which Salzilli had used in his verses, instead of Miltonius or Miltonus, which were the more common forms.
15. “Visum superbâ cognitas urbes famâ," etc. Compare stanzas 6-9 of Francini's Italian Ode to Milton (ante, I. pp. 474, 475).
“ Tam cultus ore Lesbium condis melos.” This line is not a Scazon : see note, 1–5. The Lesbium melos is poetry after the manner of Alcæus and Sappho, natives of Lesbos. By Romano ore Milton probably means Italian, not Latin, as it seems to have been by his Italian poetry that Salzilli was best known in Rome.
25, 26. “sive tu magis Pæan libenter audis”: a Latin idiom. Compare Epitaph. Dam. 209, 210, and Par. Lost, III. 7. 26. " hic”: Salzilli.
Querceta Fauni, vosque rore vinoso
Colles benigni, mitis Evandri sedes.” These are poetical designations for Rome and its neighbourhood. Both Faunus and Evander are important personages in the myths of primitive Latium. They are represented as contemporaries: Faunus,
an old native king, fond of agriculture and cattle-breeding, and afterwards worshipped as the God of Fields; and Evander, a refugee Greek king from Arcadia, who came into Latium, helped to civilise it, and led a mild and hospitable reign there. Thus, of Evander, Ovid, Fasti, V. 91-96 :
" Exsul ab Arcadiis Latios Evander in agros
Venerat, impositos attuleratque deos.
Et paucæ pecudes, et casa rara fuit.
• Nam locus imperii rus erit istud,' ait.” There was a sacred oracular grove of Faunus on the Aventine hill, where also Evander had an altar.—Mr. Keightley notes that, though there are vineyards on the Roman hills, they are not famed for wine.
33–35. "Ipse inter atros emirabitur lucos Numa, ubi," etc. Warton's note on the passage is as follows :-“Very near the city of Rome, in the middle of a gloomy grove, is a romantic cavern with a spring, where Numa is fabled to have received the Roman laws from his wife Egeria, one of Diana's nymphs ... When Numa died, Egeria is said to have retired thither, to lament his death ... On these grounds Milton builds the present beautiful fiction that Numa, still living in this dark grove, in the perpetual contemplative enjoyment of his Egeria, from thence will listen with wonder to the poetry of the neighbouring bard. This place is much frequented in sultry weather by the people of Rome, as a cool retreat Milton might have visited it while at Rome.”—The Grove or Valley of Egeria was one of the famous spots about Rome in the time of the Empire; and Juvenal has a passage (Sat. III. 12—20) complaining that the place had been let out to the Jews, and its natural beauty spoilt by a litter of panniers and hay where there ought to have been pure green turf.—It appears to be disputed now whether the place pointed out by Roman ciceroni to tourists as the Valley of Egeria is the actual place so distinguished by the old Romans and referred to by Juvenal. See Smith's Dict. of Greek and Roman Geog. II. 820 (Art. Roma). 38, 39. “ Nec in sepulchris ibit obsessum reges,
Nimiùm sinistro laxus irruens loro." Inundations of the Tiber were frequent; and Milton has here in view Horace's description of one such in his Ode I. ii.
• Vidimus flavum Tiberim, retortis
Littore Etrusco violenter undis,
'curvi . .. Portumni.” Mr. Keightley does not see why the epithet curvus should be applied to Portumnus; but, as that god of harbours stands here for the open sea, may not the curves or windings of his shores be signified ? — There was a temple to Portumnus at the mouth of the Tiber.
“ Hæc quoque,” etc. Because, as Warton notes, these verses of Milton were but an addition to the numerous poetical testimonies already received by Manso. More than fifty poets, we are told by the Italian literary historian Quadrio, had written in his honour.
4. Post Galli cineres, et Mecanatis Hetrusci.” Caius Cornelius Gallus, who died B.C. 26, at the age of about forty, was distinguished as a general, and also as a poet and orator, and was the intimate friend of Virgil, Ovid, and all the other eminent writers of the Augustan age; by whose affectionate references to him he is now chiefly remembered. Of the Etruscan Mecænas, and his celebrity in literature, nothing needs be said. He died B.C. 8.
6. “ Victrices hederas inter laurosque sedebis.” A line transferred from the Verses Ad Patrem. See line 102 of that poem, and note there.
7–10. “Te pridem ... concordia Tasso junxit . . . Mox tibi . Musa Marinum tradidit." For Manso's relations with Tasso and Marini see Introd. I. pp. 310, 311.
II, 12. “Dum canit Assyrios divům prolixus amores," The reference is to Marini's poem L'Adone, which is suitably characterised.
16.“ Vidimus arridentem operoso ex ære poetam”: Marini's monument at Naples. 20, 21, “ Amborum genus
describis,” etc. See Introd. I. p. 311. 22, 23
" Æmulus illius qui,” etc. : i.e. Herodotus, born at Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, not far from Mount Mycale, and imagined to be the author of the Life of Homer still extant, but now named “ Pseudo-Herodotean." 24.
“ Cliús.” See note, Ad Patrem, 14. 29. " Imprudens Italas,” etc. Perhaps an allusion to the things he had written in Italy,—his Italian Sonnets, the Epigrams Ad Leonoram and the Scazons to Salzilli; or perhaps by “Musa” he only means himself, the poet.
30–33. “Nos etiam in nostro modulantes flumine cygnos," etc.
“I believe it is an old tradition," says Warton, “that, if swans sing, it is in the darkest and coldest nights of winter.” The Thames has always been famous for its swans; and Ben Jonson had this in mind when he wrote of Shakespeare
“ Sweet swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear,
That so did take Eliza and our James !” 34. “ Tityrus." By Tityrus Milton is supposed here to mean Chaucer, who had visited Italy about 1373 and seen Petrarch (Prologue to the Clerke's Tale). In Spenser's Pastorals Tityrus is a fancyname for Chaucer. See February Eclogue in Shepherd's Calendar, and the opening of Colin Clout's Come Home Again, where Spenser speaks of himself as
“ The Shepheard's boy (best knowen by that name)
That after Tityrus first sung his lay.” 36, 37
Quà plaga septeno mundi sulcata Trione ... Boöten." See note, Eleg. V. 35.
38—48. “Nos etiam colimus Phæbum, nos munera Phæbo ... misimus," etc. There is a reference here, as Warton pointed out, to the belief that Apollo was worshipped by the ancient Britons. The belief is argued, with some minuteness, by Selden, in his notes to Drayton's Polyolbion (Songs VIII. and IX.), where he shows how Belin, or Belinus, the “All-healing Deity” of the Druids, and the chief object of their worship, might, by antiquarian ingenuity, be identified with Apollo. Assuming this belief, Milton, in the present passage, goes farther, and ventures to claim as native British Druidesses those Hyperborean nymphs who, according to Herodotus (IV. 35), brought from their far country offerings to Apollo and Artemis in Delos. Herodotus gives but two of these nymphs, and names them Upis and Arge; but Milton, as Warton noted, takes as his authority Callimachus, Hymn. Del. 292
“ Ούπις τε, Λοξώ τε, και ευαίων Εκαέργη,
θυγατέρες Βορέαο.” To adapt these three nymphs the better to his purpose, he characterises each of them, making Loxo the daughter of the famous giantkilling Corineus of Cornwall, the companion of Brutus (see note, Lycidas, 156—162), Upis a famous prophetess, and Hecaerge yellow-haired. Moreover, he supposes all the three British beauties to have been stained, after the fashion of their country, with the Caledonian woad; and, not content with this, he feigns that the tradition of their visit had been preserved in Delos, so that the Greek girls there still had songs about Upis, Hecaerge, and Loxo.
Altogether, the passage is a piece of scholarship finely turned into poetry,
49. “ Fortunate senex! ergo quacunque per orbem.” An adaptation, as Mr. Keightley notes, of Virgil's line (Ed. I. 47) >
“ Fortunate senex, ergo tua rura manebunt." 52. “Tu quoque in ora frequens venies plausumque virorum.” From Propertius, III. ix. 32, as Bowle noted :
“ Et venies tu quoque in ora virûm.” Todd quotes also Virgil, Georg. III. 9:
Victorque virûm volitare per ora. 56–69. “At non . . . cælo fugitivus Apollo," etc. Another passage of mythological poetry. Apollo, when he was banished from heaven, came to the domain of Admetus, King of Pheræ in Thessaly, son of Pheres (hence named Pheretiades), the same who had previously received the great Hercules (Alcides) as his guest. For nine years the god kept the herds of this king Admetus; whose hospitality he at length rewarded in various ways, but especially by obtaining for him the favour that he should not die if he could find any one else to die for him,-a boon afterwards leading to the touching story of his wife Alcestis (note, Sonnet XXIII.) But, while the god was in this service, it was his wont, when he would be at leisure for music, to retire to the cave of the gentle and cultivated centaur Cheiron (notes, Eleg. IV. 23-28, and In ob. Proc. Med. 25, 26), which was in the same Thessalian region, deep in woods, and near the river Peneus. And O what music the god would make in those leafy retreats, the friendly Centaur sitting beside him and listening! The banks of the valley reeled, the
, deepest stone-blocks were stirred, with the ravishment; the Trachinian rock (Mount Eta) nodded its vast weight of woods; the ash-trees came in troops from the hills; the spotted lynxes gathered to gaze, lured from their forest haunts ! In all this Milton recollects the chorus in the Alcestis of Euripides, describing Apollo's music while he kept the herds of king Admetus (570 et seq.); and several of the phrases in the passage are waifs from Virgil, Ovid, and Horace. He has not, however, studied minute geographical consistency; for, though Mount Pelion, where the Centaur had his cave, is near Pheræ, it is at a considerable distance from the river Peneus on one side, and from Mount Eta on the other. It was enough for the poet to keep his range within Thessaly. The purport of the whole passage, as regards Manso, is that he in Naples had been to Tasso and Marini what the hospitable king Admetus of Pheræ and the good centaur Cheiron of Mount Pelion had been to Apollo in his Thessalian banishment.