« 上一頁繼續 »
The Christiad, written by Robert Clarke, a Carthusian monk, of the convent of Nieuport, near Ostend; from which he asserts that our great poet has borrowed largely. The poem, which is on the Passion of Christ, in seventeen books, con. tains, indeed, many ideas and descriptions, strikingly similar to those of Milton in his Paradise Lost. But, unless the baron can produce an edition previous to that which he possesses, which was printed at Bruges in 1678, it will be difficult to convict Milton of plagiarism in this instance ; for Johnson, if I recollect rightly, informs us, that Elwood saw a complete copy of the Paradise Lost at Milton's house, at Chalfont, in 1665; that Milton sold the copy in 1667, and that the third edition was printed in 1678, when it is probable that many copies had passed over to the continent, and contributed to increase the reputation which his name had gained abroad; and therefore we have a right to suppose, that Clarke, and not Milton, was the copyist: the poem, however, appears to have much merit. The baron has finished ten or eleven books, with what fidelity I know not, but certainly with much animation. Milton has often been accused of plagiarism, it is to be feared sometimes with truth; for though bishop Douglas, with great acute ness, detected Lauder's interpolations in the works of different writers, which were designed to disparage Milton's reputation, he by no means undertook to prove, that Milton's claim to originality might not, in other instances, be impeached; and Lauder, though persuaded by Dr. Johnson to give up, in a hasty fit of shame, his whole Essay as an imposition, afterwards, in part, recanted his recantation, and attempted, with some success, to prove the charge of forgery against Milton. But it is time to put an end to this digression designed to vindicate Milton, as every Englishman must wish to do, where he can be vindicated without injury to truth.2
To the latter part of this remark it will be proper to subjoin the words of bishop Douglas.“ Grown desperate by his disappointment, this very man, (Lauder,] whom but a little before we have seen as abject in the confession of his forgeries as he had been bold in the contrivance of them, with an inconsistence, equalled only by his impudence, renewed his attack upon the author of the Paradise Lost; and in a pamphlet }, published for that purpose, acquainted the world, that the true reason which had excited him to contrive his forgery was, because Milton had attacked the character of Charles the first, by interpolating Pamela's prayer from the Arcadia, in an edition of the Eicon Basiliké; hoping, no doubt, by this curious key to his conduct, to be received into favour, if not by the friends of truth, at least by the idolaters of the royal martyr: the zeal of this wild partyman against Milton having at the same time extended itself against his biographer, the
very learned Dr. Birch, for no other reason but because he was so candid as to express his disbelief of a tradition unsupported by evidence.”
I have been unable to discover whether there is any edition of Clarke's book, prior to that which is mentioned.
· Letters during the course of a tour through Germany in 1791 and 1792, by Robert Gray, M. A. published in 1794, pp. 19--21.
3 Entitled, King Charles I. vindicated from the charge of plagiarism, brought against him by Milton, and Milton himself convicted of forgery, and a gross imposition on the public. Not content with this title, he begiäs the two first pages with all the consequence of a keeper of wild beasts, when he exhibits a more celebrated monster than usual; “ The Grand Impostor detected !"
· VI. We are now to be again gratified with the very curious researches, and ingenious deductions of Mr. Hayley. Having observed it to be highly probable, that Andreini turned the thoughts of Milton from Alfred to Adam, as the subject of a dramatic composition, he thinks it possible that an Italian writer, less known than Andreini, first threw into the mind of Milton the idea of converting Adam into an epic personage. “I have now before me,” he proceeds, “a literary curiosity, which my accomplished friend, Mr. Walker, to whom the literature of Ireland has many obligations, very kindly sent me, on his return from an excur. sion to Italy, where it happened to strike a traveller, whose mind is peculiarly awakened to elegant pursuits. The book I am speaking of is intitled La Scena Tragica d'Adamo ed Eva, Estratta dalli primi tre capi della Sacra Genesi, e ridotta a significato Morale da Troilo Lancetta, Benacense. Venetia 1611. This little work is dedicated to Maria Gonzaga, dutchess of Mantua, and is nothing more than a drama in prose, of the ancient form, entitled a morality, on the expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. The author does not mention Andreini, nor has he any mixture of verse in his composition ; but, in his address to the reader, he has the following very remarkable passage: after suggesting that the Mosaic history of Adam and Eve is purely allegorical, and designed as an incentivo to vir. tue, he says,
Una notte sognai, che Moisè mi porse gratiosa espo tione, e m'ster'oso significato con parole tali apunto:
Dio fà parte all' Huom di se stesso con l'intervento della ragione, e dispone con infallibile sentenza, che signoreggiando in lui la medesma sopra le sensuali voglie, preservato il pomo del proprio core dalli appetiti disordinati, per guiderdone di giusta obbedienza li trasforma il mondo in Paradiso.—Di questo s'io parlassi, al sicuro formarei heroico poema convenevole a semidei.
• One night I dreamt that Moses explained to me the mystery, almost in the:e words:
“God reveals himself to Man, by the intervention of reason, and thus infa'libly ordains that reason, while she supports her sovereignty over the sensual inclinations in Man, and preserves the apple of his heart from licentious appetites, in reward of his just obedience transforms the world into Paradise.-Of this were I to speak, assuredly I might form an heroic poem worthy of demi-gods."
" It strikes me as possible that these last words, assigned to Moses in his vision by Troilo Lancetta, might operate on the mind of Milton like the question of Ell. wood, and prove, in his prolific fancy, a kind of rich graft on the idea h: derived from Andreini, and the germ of his greatest production.
“ A sceptical critic, inclined to discountenance this conjecture, might indeed ob. serve, it is more probable that Milton never saw a little volume not p:oblished un. til after his return from Italy, and written by an author so obscure, that his name does not occur in T'iraboschi’s elaborate history of Italian literature; nor in the patient Italian chronicler of poets, Quadrio, though he bestows a chapter on early dramatic compositions in prose. But the mind that has once started a conjecture of this nature, must be weak indeed, if it cannot produce new shadows of argument in aid of a favourite hypothesis. Let me therefore be allowed to advance, as a pre. sumptive proof of Milton's having seen the work of Lancetta, that he makes a si. milar use of Moses, and introduces him to speak a prologue in the sketch of his various plans for an allegorical drama. It is indeed possible that Milton might never see the performances either of Lancetta or Andreini; yet conjecture has ground enough to conclude very fairly, that he was acquainted with both; for Andreini wrote a long allegorical drama on Paradise, and we know that the fan. cy of Milton first began to play with the subject according to that peculiar form of composition. Lancetta treated it also in the shape of a dramatic allegory; but said, at the same time, under the character of Moses, that the subject might form an incomparable epic poem; and Milton, quitting his own hasty sketches of alle. gorical dramas, accomplished a work which answers to that intimation."
The following analysis of this drama has been made by Mr. Hayley :
Act I. Scene 1. 6 God commemorates his creation of the heavens, the earth, and the water-determines to make man--gives him vital spirit, and admonishes him to revere his Maker, and live innocent.
Scene 2. " Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Angels. Raphael praises the works of God—the other angels follow his example, particularly in regard to Man.
Scene 3. “ God and Adam. God gives Paradise to Adam to hold as a fief forbids him to touch the apple- Adam promises obedience.
Scene 4. “ Adam acknowledges the beneficence of God, and retires to repose in the shade.
Act II. Scene 1. “ God and Adam. God resolves to form a companion for Adam, and does so while Adam is sleeping-he then awakes Adam, and, presenting to him his new associate, blesses them both; then leaves them, recommending obedience to his commands.
Scene 2. 66 Adam and Eve. Adam receives Eve as his wife--praises her, and entreats her to join with him in revering and obeying God- she promises submission to his will, and entreats his instruction-he tells her the prohibition, and enlarges on the beauties of Paradise-on his speaking of flocks, she desires to see them, and he departs to show her the various animals.
Scene 3. “ Lucifer, Belial, Satan. Lucifer laments his expulsion from Hea. ven, and meditates revenge against Man-the other demons relate the cause of their expulsion, and stimulate Lucifer to the revenge he meditates—he resolves to employ the Serpent.
Scene 4. “ The Serpent, Eve, Lucifer. The Serpent questions Eve—derides her fear and obedience—tempts her to taste the apple-she expresses her eagerness to do so--the Serpent exults in the prospect of her perdition-Lucifer (who seems to remain as a separate person from the Serpent) expresses also his exultation, and steps aside to listen to a dialogue between Adam and Eve.
Scene 5. “ Eve, Adąm. Eve declares her resolution to taste the apple, and present it to her husband-she tastes it, and expresses unusual hope and animation -she
says the serpent has not deceived her- she feels no sign of death, and presents the fruit to her husband-he reproves her--she persists in pressing him to eat—he complies—declares the fruit sweet, but begins to tremble at his own nakedness—he
expresses his remorse and terrour-he proposes a form a covering of leaves--they retire to hide themselves in foliage.
4 Conjectures on the Origin of Paradise Lost, at the end of the Life of Milton, 2d edit, 1796, p. 364, &
Act III. Scene 1. “ Lucifer, Belial, Satan. Lucifer exults in his success, and the other Demons applaud him.
Scene 2. “ Raphael, Michael, Gabriel. These good spirits lament the fall, and retire with awe on the appearance of God.
Scene 3. God, Eve, Adam. God calls on Adam-he appears and laments his nakedness—God interrogates bim concerning the tree-he confesses his offence, and accuses Eve—she blames the Serpent-God pronounces his malediction and sends them from his presence.
Scene 4. “ Raphael, Eve, and Adam. Raphael bids them depart from Paradise-Adam laments his destiny-Raphael persists in driving them rather harshly from the garden-Adam begs that his innocent children may not suffer for the fault of their mother-Raphael replies, that not only his children, but all his race must suffer, and continues to drive them from the garden-Adam obeys–Eve laments, but soon comforts Adam-be at length departs, animating himself with the idea, that to an intrepid heart every region is a home.
Scene 5. "A Cherub, moralizing on the creation and fall of Adam, concludes the third and last Act.”
Mr. Walker, in his Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy, has enlarged this analysis with some specimens of the author's style and manner, together with a fac similes of the quaint table, exhibiting the morale esposatione of the work. From the same ingenions and entertaining volume we learn that, “as Lancetta denominates himself Benacense, it is presumed he was a native of that part of the riviera of Salò, on the lago di Garda, which is called Tosolano, and whose inhabitants are styled Benacenses, from Bepacus, the ancient name of the lake. He was, he modestly declares, neither a poet nor an orator,-poeta non søn' ia, ne oratore, but I am willing to believe he was a good man, and that it was rather his virtues than his talents which recommended him to the accomplish. ed family of Gonzaga, of which he seems to have been a protégé. Such is the deep obscurity in which this author is buried, that the most sedulous inquiry has not led to the discovery of any authentic notices concerning him. His drama is slightly mentioned by Allacci, who supposes it to be his only production6."
Mr. Hayley adds, to his remarks on the dramas of Andreini and Lancetta, that
lo canterò del ciel l'antica guerra,
Hist. Mem. Appendix, p. xlviii-Ivi.
Hist. Mem. p. 172.
Valvasone's description of the triumphant'angels in B. iii. is particularly intereste. ing. The poem concludes with an animated sonnet to the Archangel Michael, preceded by the four following lines:
Cosi disse Michele, & da le pure
All' Arcangelo Michele.
Da l' auree stelle debellato, & franto;
Onde ei risorger mal s'attenta, i vasti
A nostro schermo con continuo vanto;
la gran tua gloria, e 'l mio deuoto affetto,
Accogli tu fin da l' empirea luce:
Gli porta pio del sempiterno Duce,
Che di sua gratia adempia il mio difetto. Mr. Hayley seems to think also, that Milton may be sometimes traced in the Strage de gli Innocenti of Marino. The late Mr. Bowle appears to have entere tained a similar notion. See also Mr. Warton's note In Mansum, ver. 11. A few passages are accordingly cited, from this poem, in the Notes on Paradise Lost. It was first published at Venice in 1633; and consists of four books: 1. Sos. petto d'Herode: 2. Consiglio de Satrapi: 3. Essecutione della Strage: 4. Il Limbo. Milton has been thought indebted likewise. to Crashaw', the transla. tor of the first of these books. I will select a few passages, therefore, from this version, which seem to have afforded some countenance to the opinion. Sospet. to d'Herode,stanza, 5. Description of Satan. Crashaw's Poems, edit. 1648, p. 59.
His eyes, the sullen dens of death and night,
Aire, with a dismall shade; but all in raine;
Part of his speech: st. 28.
And should we Powers of Heaven, Spirits of worth,
What though I mist my bluw? yet I strooke high;
1 Biogr, Brit. edit. Kippis, vol. iv, p. 431.