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be the notes of our music ! let time beat carefully the measure, and the winds make the sharps,' &c. Thus the play begins, and every scene rises above the last in profusion of impertinence !
“ Milton pierced through the absurdity of that performance to the hidden majesty of the subject, which, being altogether unfit for the stage, yet might be (for the genius of Milton, and his only) the foundation of an epic poem.
" He took from that ridiculous trifle the first hint of the noblest work, which human imagination has ever attempted, and which he executed more than twenty years after.”
That Milton had certainly read the sacred drama of Andreini, is the opini. on both of Dr. Joseph Warton and of Mr. Hayley. Another elegant critic has observed, that Voltaire may have related a tradition perhaps current in England at the time it was visited by him ; a period at which, it may be presumed, some of the contemporarie; of Milton were living, for he was then only about fifty years dead. Milton, with the candour which is usually united with true genius, probably acknowledged to his friends his obligations to the Italian dramatist, and the floating tradition met the ardent inquiries of the French poet'.” It may be worth mentioning here, that Dante, according to the account of some Italian critics 3, took the hint of his Inferno from a nocturnal representation of Rell, exhibited in 1304, on the river Arno at Florence *; and that Tasso is said to have conceived the idea of writing his Aminta at the representation, in 1567, of Lo Sfortunato of Agostino Argenti in Ferrara.
From the Adamo of Andreini a poetical extract, as well as the summary of the arguments of each act and scene, were given by Dr. Warton, in an appen. dix to the second volume of his Essay on the 'Genius and Writings of Pope, 1782. Mr. Hayley hay cited other specimens of the poetry in this “ spirited, though irregular and fantastic, composition;" from which Milton's fancy is supposed to have caught fire. The reader will find a few quotations also, from this rare and curious drama, in the Notes on Paradise Lost. But, if the Adamo be examined with the utmost nicety, Milton will be found no servile copyist : he will be found, as in numberless instances of his extensive, his curious, and careful reading, to have improved the slightest hints into the finest descriptions. Milton indeed, with the skill and grace of an Apelles or a Phidias, has often animated the rude sketch and the shapeless block. I mean not to detract from the Italian drama s; but let it here be remarked once for all, in Milton's own
• Hist. Mem. on Ital. Tragedy, p. 170.
3 From the remarks of prince Giacomo Giustiniani, (the accomplished governour of Perugia) on the Adamo, which were transmitted to Mr. Walker, and by Mr. Walker obligingly communicated to ine, it appears that the critics of Italy consider Milton not a little indebted to their countryman. I will cite the opinion of the liberal and elegant Tiraboschi : Certo benche L’Adamo dell'Andreini sia in confronto del Paradiso Perduto ciò che è il Poema di Ennio in confronto a quel di Virgilio, no climeno non può negarsi che le idee gigantesche, delle quali l'autore Inglese ha abbellito il suo Poema, di Satana, che entra nel Paradiso terrestre, e arde d'invidia al vedere la felicita dell' Uomo, del congresso de Demonj, della battaglia degli Angioli contra Lucifero, e più altre sommiglianti immagini veggonsi nell'Adamo adombrate per modo, che a me sembra molto credibile, che anche il Milton dalle immondezze, se così è lecito dire, dell' Andreini raccogliesse l'oro, di cui adorno il $1!0 Poema.
Per altro L'Adamo dell’Andreini, benche abbia alcuni tratti di pessima gusto, ne bà altri ancora, che si posson proporre come modello di eccellente poesia.
words, that “borrowing, if it be not bettered by the þorrower, among good authors is accounted plagiarie." Let the bitterest enemies of Milton prove, if they can, whether the author of this ingenuous remark may be exhibited in such a light; rather let them acknowledge that, in fully comparing him with those authors who have written on similar subjects, he must ever be considered as
above the rest
The drama of Andreini was so little known when Dr. Birch was writing the life of Milton, that Warburton, in a letter to that learned biographer, preserved in the British Museum, ridicules the relation of Voltaire. " It is said that it appeared by a MS. in Trin. Coll. Camb. that Milton intended an opera of the Paradise Lost. Voltaire, on the credit of this circumstance, amongst a heap of impertinency, pretends boldly that he took the hint from a comedy he saw at Florence, called Adamo. Others imagined too he conceived the idea in Italy; now I will give you good proof that all this is a vision. In one of his political pamphlets, written early by him, I forget which, he tells the world he had conceived a notion of an epic poem on the story of Adam or Arthur. What then will you say must we do with this circumstance of the Trin. Coll. MS.? I believe I can explain that matter. When the parliament got uppermost, they suppressed the playhouses ; on which sir John Denham, I think, and others, contrived to get operas performed. This took with the people, and was much in their taste; and religious ones being the favourites of that sancti. fied people, was, I believe, what inclined Milton at that time (and neither before nor after) to make an opera of it.”—Even at a much later period, the very existence of the Adamo was denied; for Mr. Mickle, an ardent admirer of Milton, and the very able translator of the Lusiad, calls it “a comedy which nobody ever saw ?;" and observes, “ that even some Italian literati declared that no such author [as Andreini] was know in Italy.” Dr Johnson also, in his Life of Milton, calls Voltaire's relation “ a wild, unauthorised story.”
That Milton had conceived, in his younger days, as Dr. Warburtun has observed, the notion of an epic poem on the story of Arthur, is evident from his own words in the Mansus, v, 80, &c. and the Epitaphium Damonis, v. 155, &c. Where see the notes, vol. vi. p. 357, and p. 373. Mr. Hayley, with his usual acateness and elegance of language, remarks that "it seems very probable that Milton, in his collection of Italian books, had brought the Adamo of Andreiui to England; and that the perusal of an author, wild indeed, and abounding in grotesque extravagance; yet now and then shining with pure and united rays of fancy and devotion, first gave a new bias to the imagination of the English poet, or, to use the expressive phrase of Voltaire, first revealed to him the hidden ma. jesty of the subject. The apostate angels of Andreini, though sometimes hide. ously and absurdly disgusting, yet occasionally sparkle with such fire as might awaken the emulation of Milton.”
The English reader is indebted to Mr. Hayley for the following analysis of the arguments of each act and scene in the Adamo.
6 E conoclastes, Prose-Works, edit. 1698, fol. vol. ii. 1. 509.
66 God the Father.
Act J. Scene . « Chorus of Angels, singing the glory of God. After their hymn, which serves as a prologue, God the Father, Angels, Adam and Eve.-God calls to Lucifer, and bids him survey with confusion the wonders of his power. He creates Adam and Eve-their delight and gratitude.
Scene 2. 66 Lucifer, arising from Hell—he expresses his enmity against God, the good Angels, and Man.
Scene 3. 66 Lucifer, Satan, and Beelzebub.—Lucifer excites his associates to the destruction of Man, and calls other demons from the abyss to conspire for that purpose.
Scenes 4, 5, and 6. “ Lucifer, summoning seven distinct Spirits, commissions them to act under the character of the seven mortal Sins, with the following
Act II. Scene I. " The Angels, to the number of fifteen, separately sing the grandeur of God, and his munificence to Man.
Scene 2. « Adam and Eve, with Lurcone and Guliar watching upseen.Adam and Eve express their devotion to God so fervently, that the evil spirits, though invisible, are put to flight by their prayer.
Scene 3. “ The Serpent, Satan, Spirits.-The Serpent or Lucifer, announces his design of circumventing Woman.
Scene 4. “ The Serpent, Spirits, and Volano.-Volano arrives from Hell, and declares that the confederate powers of the abyss designed to send a god. dess from the deep, entitled Vain Glory, to vanquish Man.
Scene 5. “ Vain Glory, drawn by a giant, Volano, the Serpent, Satan, and Spirits.—The Serpent welcomes Vain Glory as his confederate, then hides himself in the tree to watch and tempt Eve.
Scene 6. “The Serpent and Vain Glory at first concealed; the Serpent discovers himself to Eve, tempts and seduces her.–Vain Glory closes the Act with expressions of triumph.
Act III. Scene 1. 66 Adam and Eve.—After a dialogue of tenderness she produces the fruit.-Adam expresses horrour, but at last yields to her temptation. When both have tasted the fruit, they are overwhelmed with remorse and terrour; they fly to conceal themselves.
Scene 2. " Volano proclaims the Fall of Man, and invites the powers of darkness to rejoice, and pay their homage to the prince of Hell.
Scene 3. “ Volano, Satan, chorus of Spirits, with ensigns of victory.--Ex. pression of their joy.
Scene 4. “ Serpent, Vain Glory, Satan, and Spirits.-The Serpent com. mands Canoro, a musical spirit, to sing his triumph, which is celebrated with songs and dances in the 4th and 5th scenes; the latter closes with expressions of horrour from the triumphant demons, on the approach of God.
Scene 6. “God the Father, Angels, Adam and Eve. -God summons and rebukes the sinners, then leaves them, after pronouncing his malediction.
Scene 7. “ An Angel, Adam and Eve.-The angel gives them rough skins for clothing, and exhorts them to penitence.
Scene 8. “ The Archangel Michael, Adam and Eve.—Michael drives them from Paradise with a scourge of fire. Angels close the Act with a chorus, exciting the offenders to hope in repentance.
Act IV. Scene 1. " Volanó, chorus of fiery, airy, earthly, and aquatic Spirits.— They express their obedience to Lucifer.
Scene 2. “ Lucifer rises, and utters his abhorrence of the light; the demons console him-he questions them on the meaning of God's words and conduct to. wards Man-He spurns their conjectures, and announces the incarnation, then proceeds to new machinations against Man.
Scene 3. " Infernal Cyclops, summoned by Lucifer, make a new world at his command. He then commissions three demons agaiost Man, under the characters of the World, the Flesh and Death.
Scene 4. " Adam alone. He laments his fate, and at last feels his sufferings aggravated, in bcholding Eve flying in terrour from the hostile animals. Scene 5. " Adam and Eve. She excites her companion to suicide.
Scene 6. " Famine, Thirst, Lassitude, Despair, Adam and Eve.-Famine explains her own nature, and that of her associates.
Scene 7. “ Death, Adam and Eve.- Death reproaches Eve with the horrðurs she has occasioned—Adam closes the Act by exhorting Eve to take refuge in the mountains.
Act V. Scene 1. “ The Flesh, in the shape of a woman; and Adam.--He rcsists her temptation.
Sceno 2. “ Lucifer, the Flesh, and Adam.- Lucifer pretends to be a man, and the elder brother of Adam.
Scene 3. " A Cherub, Adam, the Flesh, and Lucifer.-The cherub secretly warns Adam against his foes; and at last defends him with manifest power.
Scene 4.6 The World, in the shape of a man, exulting in his own finery.
Scene 5. “ Eve and the World.-Ile calls forth a rich palace from the ground, and tempts Eve with splendour.
Scene 6. “ Chorus of Nymphs, Eve, the World, and Adam. He exhorts Eve to resist these allurements—the World calls the demons from Ilell to enchain his vietims—Eve prays for mercy: Adam encourages her.
Scene 7. “Lucifer, Death, chorus of Demons.-They prepare to seize Adam and Eve.
Scene 8. “ The Archangel Michael, with a chorus of good Angels.-After à spirited altercation, Michael subdues and triumphs over Lucifer.
Scene 9. “ Adam, Eve, chorus of Angels. They rejoice in the victory of Mi. chael: he animates the offenders with a promise of favour from God, and future residence in Heaven: they express their hope and gratitude. The angels close the drama, by singing the praise of the Redeemer."
When the reader compares the allegorical characters in this drama with those in Milton's sketches on similar subjects, intended once for tragedies, he will again see reason to admit that the Adamo had made considerable impression, either in representation or by perusal, on the miud of the English poet. See the Appendix, at the end of Paradise Lost, in the third volume of this edition,
Of Andreini, who has been contemptuously called a stroller, Mr. Hayley has vindicated the fame. “ He had some tincture of classical learning, and considera. ble picty. He occasionally imitates Virgil, and quotes the Fathers.” In one of the passages, cited from his Adamo by Mr. Hayley, Mr. Walker observes that the course of a river is described with a richness of fancy, and a 6 dance of words,” that prove Andreini to have been endowed with no common poetic powers. Of the Adamo there have been four editions, those of Milan in 1613, and 1617, printed in quarto; that of Perugia in 1641, printed in duodecimo; and that of Modena in 1685, printed in the same form. The edition of 1641 is considered the most rare. The description to which Mr. Walker alludes, is beautifully amplified in that edition; and has been given in the Appendix to the Historical Me. moir on Italian Tragèdy, 1799, p. xliv. Andreini was the son of the celebrated actress, Isabella Andreini '. His various productions, says Mr. Hayley, “ amount
8 Hist. Memoir on Ital. Tragedy, p. 160.
9 Giovanni Battista Andreini, Fiorentino, o piuttosto Pistojese, fù figlio dela celebre Comica Isabelia Andreini (della quale si veda il Bayle, e il Mazzuchelli,) e nacque nel 1578. Dopo essersi