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Ah wretch! what bootes thee to cast back thy eyes,
If Hell must mourne, Heaven sure shall sympathize:
And yet whose force feare I? have I so lost
Heaven saw us struggle once; as brave a fight
Thus spoke the impatient prince, and made a pause :
Be it thy part, Hell's mighty Lord, to lay
What thy Alecto, what these hands, can doe,
With him below : here thou art Lord alone
That Crashaw and Milton should concur in similar sentiments and expressions, when Marino dictates to both, can be a matter of little surprise. But, when we compare the passages in Milton which may be considered as harmonizing with these in Crashaw, we shall not hesitate to declare that, in bold and glowing phraseology, as well as in beautiful and expressive numbers, the palm,due to the improvement of the original, belongs to the former. Nor shall we forget the hints from Æschylus and Dante, which Milton finely interweaves in the character of his Prince of darkness. Milton, do doubt, had read Crashaw's translation; as he had read the translations also of Ariosto and Tasso by Harington and Fairfax; to various passages in which he has, in like manner, added new graces resulting from his own imagination and judgment. There are also a few resemblances in Crashaw's poetry to passages in Milton, which I have noticed in their respective places. Crashaw, I may add, is entitled to the merit of suggesting the combination and form of several happy phrases to Pope. Of a poet, thus distinguished, I take this opportunity to subjoin a few particulars from the unpublished manuscript of his fellow-collegian, Dr. John Bargrave. " When I went first of my 4 times to Rome, there were there 4 revolters to the Roman Church that had binn fellowes of Peterhouse in Cambridge with myselfe. The name of one of them was Mr. R. Crashaw, whoe was of the Seguita (as their tearme is), that is, an attendant, or one of the followers of Cardinali Palotta, for which he had a salary of crownes by the month, as the custome is,) but no dyet. Mr. Crashaw infinitely commended his Cardinall, but complayncd extreamly of the wickedness of those of his reti. nue, of which he, having his Cardinall's care, complayned to him; vpon which the Italians fell so farr owė with him, that the Cardinall, to secure his life, was faine to putt him from his service; and, procuring him some smale imploy at the Lady's of Loretto, whither he went in pilgrimage in summer time, and ourheating him selfe dyed in few weeks after he came thither; and it was doubtfull whether he were not poysoned 8."
Mr. Hayley notices the existence also of the following pieces relating to Milton's subject :
1. Adamo Caduto, tragedia sacra, di Serafino della Salandria. Cozenzo, 1647. 8vo.
II. La Battagalia Celeste tra Michele e Lucifero, di Antonio Alfani, Palermitano. Palermo, 1568. 4to.
III, Del Adamo di Giovanni Soranzo, Genova, 1604. 12mo.
They had however, escaped the researches of Mr. Hayley. Signor Signorelli, the learned and elegant correspondent of Mr. Walker on subjects connected with his Memoir on Italian Tragedy ', published in 1799, had not then seen them. Whether Milton had perused them, must therefore be a matter of future inquiry. Mr. Walker, to whom the reader is indebted for the curious Note on the dialogue between Satan and Michael, Par. Lost, B. vi. 292, &c. observes that all the commentators pass over the obligations of Milton to the Gerusalemme Distrutta of Marino. From the seventh canto, which is all that is printed", and which is subjoined to two small editions of the Strage de gli Innocenti in his possession, Mr. Walker has made a few extracts; and I have cited those relating to the com. passionate countenance of Christ, and to the glorious description of God, in the Notes on B. jï140, 380. Sce also the note on B. xi. 406.
Mr. Hayley further notices the probable attention of Milton to Tasso's ? Le Set.
After the restoration of Charles II. Dr. Bargrave became prebendary of Canterbury, to the library of which cathedral he gave many books and other curiosities. See a further account of this MS. in the note on Christina, queen of Swedeu, in Todd's Milton, Vol. VI. p. 270.
9 See the Hist. Mem. Appendix, p. 33. i Ibid. p. 36.
- Dr. Warton mentions only the edition of Viterbo, in 1607. There had been an earlier edition thus entitled, I due primi Giorni del Mondo Creato, Poesia sacra. Venet, 1600, 4to. And a later, Le sette Giornate, &c. Ult, impress. ricorretta. Venet. 1637.
te Giornate del Mondo Creato. See likewise Dr. Warton's note on Par. Lost, B. v. 689. Tasso, like Milton, follows indeed almost the very words of Scripture in relating the commands of God on the several days of the Creation. The poem is in blank verse. I submit to the reader the following pious address :
Dimmi, qual opra alhora, ò qual riposo
In the preceding verses Milton's address to the Holy Spirit, “ Instruct me, for thou know'st,” is perhaps observable. They close also with a similar sentiment to his invocation of the same assistance in his Paradise Regained, B, i. 11.
VII, The latest observation respecting the origin of Paradise Lost, which has been submitted to the public, is contained in Mr. Dunster's Considerations on Milton's early Reading, and the prima stamina of Paradise Lost, 1800. The object of these considerations is to prove that Milton became, at a very early period of his life, enamoured of Joshua Sylvester's translation of the French poet, Du Bartas. Lauder had asserted long since that Milton was indebted to Sylvester's translation for “ numberless fine thoughts besides his low trick of playing upon words and his frequent use of technical terms. From him,” he adds, “ Milton has borrowed many elegant phrases, and single words, which were thought to be peculiar to him, or rather coined by him; such as palpable darkness, and a thousand others.” Lauder has also said, that Philips, Milton's nephew,“ every where, in his Theatrum Poetarum, either wholly passes over in silence such authors as Milton was most obliged to, or, if he chances to mention them, does it in the most slight and superficial manner imaginable, Du Bartas alone excepted.” But Sylvester is also highly commended, in this work, for his translation. Mr. Hayley well observes, in apology, for other omissions of Philips, which are too frequent to be considered as accidental, that he probably chose not to enumerate various poems relating to Angels, to Adam and to Paradise, lest ignorance and malice should absurdly consider the mere existance of such poetry as a derogation from the glory of Milton.”
Lauder adds, that there is a commentary on this work, called A Summary of Du Bartas, a book full of prodigious learning, and many curious observations on all arts and sciences; from whence Milton has derived a multiplicity of fine hints,
scattered up and down his poem, especially in philosophy and theology.” This book was printed in folio, in 1621; and is recommended, in the title page, " as fitt for the learned to refresh their memories, and for younger students to abbreviate and further theire studies.” From this pretended garden 'of sweets I can collect no nosegay. It cannot indeed be supposed that Milton, when he wrote the Para. dise Losts was só imperfectly acquainted with the purer sources of knowledge, as to be indebted to such a volume.
That Milton, however, had read the translation of Du Bartas, has been admit. ted by his warmest admirers, Dr. Farmer, Mr. Bowle, Mr. Warton and Mr. Ileadley. A slight remark, which the editor of these volumes long since ventured to make, in the Gentleman's Magazine 3, respecting Milton's acquaintance with the poetry of Sylvester attracted the notice of the author of the Considerations, &c. just mentioned; and appears to have stimulated his desire to know more of the forgotten bard. Mr. Dunster, therefore, having procured an edition of Sylvester's Du Bartas, drew up his ingenious volume; and, with no elegance of language than liberality of opinion, pointed out the taste and judgement of Milton in availing himself of particular passages in that book. With honourable affection for the fame of Milton, he observes that “ thing can be further from my intention than to insinuate that Milton was a plagi. arist, or servile imitator; but I conceive that, having read these sacred poems of very high merit, at the immediate age when his own mind was just beginning to teem with poetry, he retained numberless thoughts, passages, and expressions therein, so deeply in his mind, that they hung inherently on his imagination, and became, as it were, naturalized there. Hence many of them were afterwards in. sensibly transfused into his own compositions.” Sylvester's Du Bartas was also a popular book when Milton began to write poetry; it was published in the very street in which Milton's father then lived ; Sylvester was certainly, as was probably Jlumphry Lownes “, the printer of the book, puritanically inclined ; Milton's fa. mily professing the same religious opinions, would powerfully recommend to the young student the perusal of this work : by such inferences, added to the preceding remark, the reader is led to acknowledge the successful manner in which Mr. Dunster has accomplished his design; namely, to shew Milton's “ early acquaintance with, and predilection for, Sylvester's Du Bartas.” I am persuaded, however, that Milton must have sometimes closed the volume with extreme dis. gust; and that he then sought gratification in the strains of his kindred poets, of Spenser and of Shakspeare; or of those whose style was not barbarous like Syl. Vester's, the enticing Drummond, the learned and affecting Drayton, and several other bards of that period; as may be gathered from expressions even in his earliest performances s. But, to resume Mr. Dunster's observation respecting the
3 Sce November 1796, p. 900. See also Mr. Dunster's Considerations, &c. p. 3. I take this opportun ty of adding that Dr. Farmer's remark occurs in a note on the “ married calm of states," in Troilus and Cressida. See Steevens's Shakspeare, edit. 1793. Vol. Xl. p. 254.
4 I may observe that the fulio edition of Spenser's Faery Queen, and of bis other poems, in 1611, came from the press of Humphrey Lownes; the date at the end of the Faery Queen is, however, 1612.
In 1611 also Humphry Lownes printed the second edition of the little volunie, from wbich shall presently bave occasion w make an extract or two, entitled Stafford's Niobe : or bis Age of Tearcs. A Treatise no lesse profitable and comfortable than the Times damnable, &c. 12mo.
Sce the notes on his translations of the 113th and 136th Psalms.
Origin of Paradise Lost: Sylvester's Du Bartas" contains indeed, more material prima stamina of the Paradise Lost, than, as I believe, any other book whatever : and my hypothesis is, that it positively laid the first stone of that monumentum are perennius. That Arthur, for a time, predominated in Milton's mind over his, at length preferred, sacred subject, was probably owing to the advice of Manso, and the track of reading into which he had then got. How far the Adamo of Andreini, or the Scena Tragica d'Adamo et Eva of Lancetta, as pointed out by Mr. Hayley; or any of the Italian poems on such subjects, noticed by Mr. Walker; contributed to revive bis predilection for sacred poesy, it is beside my purpose to inquire. If he was materially caught by any of these, it served, I conceive, only to renew a primary impression made on his mind by Sylvester's Du Bartas; al. though the Italian dramas might induce him then to meditate his divine poem dramatic form. It is, indeed, justly observed by Mr. Warton, on the very fine passage, ver. 33, of the Vacation Exercise, written when Milton was only nineteen, that it contains strong indications of a young mind anticipating the subject of Paradise Lost.'--Cowley found himself to be a poet, or, as he himself tells us, was made one,' by the delight he took in Spenser's Fairy Queen, ! which was wont to lay in his mother's apartment;' and which he had read all over, before he was twelve years old. That Dryden was, in some degree, simi. larly indebted to Cowley, we may collect from his denominating him the darling of my youth, the famous Cowley.' Pope, at a little more than eight years of age, was initiated in poetry by the perusal of Ogilby's Homer and Sandys's Ovid; and to the latter he has himself intimated obligations, where he declares, in his Notes to the Iliad, that English poetry owes much of its present beauty to the translations of Sandys.' The rudimenta poetica of our great poet I suppose similarly to have been Sylvester's Du Bartas; which, I conceive, not only elicited the first sparks of poetic fire from the pubescent genius of Milton, but induced him, from that time, to devote himself principally to sacred poesy, and to select Urania for his immediate Muse,
magno perculsus amore." While I agree with Mr. Munster, that Milton has adopted several thoughts and expressions from Sylvester, I hope I may be permitted to observe that, although the poem of Du Bartas treats largely of the creation of the world and the fall of man, the origin of Paradise Lost may not perhaps be absolutely attributed to that work. “Smit with the love of sacred song,” Milton, I apprehend, might be influenced, in his “ long choosing and beginning late,” by other effusions of sacred poesy, in the language which he loved, and in the epic form, on several $ubjects; besides those of Dante, of Tasso, and of the Italian poets already men. tioned. In the following list the Muses of Spain and Portugal also will be found to have chosen congenial themes :
I. Discorso in versi della Creazione del Mondo sino alla Venuta di Gesù Cristo, per Antonio Cornazono. 4to. 1472.
II. Della Creatione del Mondo, Poema Sacro. del Sig. Gasparo Myrtola. Giorne sette, Canti sedici. 12mo. Venet. 1608.
JII. Epamerone, overo l'opera de sei Giorni, Poema di Don Felice Passero. 12mo. Venet. 1609.
IV. Creacion del Mundo, Poema Espagnol, por el Doctor Alonzo de Azevedo. Svo. en Roma, 1615. VOL. VII.