« 上一頁繼續 »
ory of their student. Some of the songs of Lycidas I have read, for
they are, for the most part, complimentary effusions on the birth of the children of Charles the First; but I have discovered nothing that I could extract with advantage. 22 The beautiful monody of Lycidas shows an intimate acquaintance with the Italian metres; and to one poem, the Alcon23 of Balth. Castiglione, it is more peculiarly indebted for some of its imagery. It discovers also Milton's familiarity with our elder poets, and supported by the authority of his ‘Master Spenser,"24 in similar allusions; it has mixed up with its pastoral beauties a stern and early avowal of his hostility to the church.25 The short, but exquisitely beautiful poem, called 'the Arcades,' was, as I have previously said, composed about this time; Milton wrote only the poetical part, the remainder probably consisted of prose and machinery
2 Edward King, of Christ's Coll. Camb. son of Sir John King, Secretary for Ireland in the time of Elizabeth, James, and Charles. He was drowned on the passage from Chester to Ireland. See Birch's Life, p. xvii. for an account of the collection in which Milton's Poems were published. The names of T. Farnaby, H. More, J. Beaumont, Cleaveland, W. Hall, are in the list of contributors. The shipwreck of Mr. King took place on the 10th of Aug. 1637; it appears that he might have escaped with some others in the boat; for an account of his poetry, see Warton's Milton, p. 39, second ed.
23 See Class. Journal, No. Ixiii. p. 356, by G. N. Ogle.
24 There is among Spenser's Poems a Pastoral Æglogue on Sir P. Sydney's death, by L. B. which Milton had read when he wrote Lycidas. v. Todd's Spenser, vol. viii. p. 76.
25 Mr. Peck thinks that the manner in which Milton has dispersed his rhymes In Lycidas, is an attempt, though secretly, to give a poetical image or draught of the mathematical canon of music: he informs us how to make this out, ' by drawing a bow line from rhyme to rhyme,' he considers the whole poem as a lesson of music consisting of such a number of bars. The rhymes are the several chords in the bar: the odd dispersion of the rhymes may be compared to the beautiful way of sprinkling the keys of an organ. He says, Dryden imagined the rhymes fell so, because Mister Milton could not help it. I think they lie so, because Mr. Milton designed it. v. New Memoirs, 4to. p. 32. Mr. Peck has favoured us with stage directions for Paradise Lost; as Enter Adam, with his arms across. Adam pauses. Thunder and Lightning. Eve approaches him. Adam kicks at her. Eve embraces his legs. Eve is ready to faint, &c. He considers Paradise Lost as partly formed out of Gusman d'Alfarache, the Spanish Rogue. He says Mr. Fenton was a good judge when he took time to consider things, p. 83; he has composed an epitaph for Mr. Milton, out of Val. Maximus, p. 101. He says,
• His tip, and whiskers (an essay towards a beard), were of a thick, lightish colour,' p. 103; that his eyes were black at twenty-six, but blue at sixty. He is satisfied that Milton could take an organ to pieces, and clean it, and put it together without help, p. 111; this he deduces from Par. Lost, i. 709; he thinks ducks ana nods' in Comus a sneer at the country people. He mentions Eve's instituting a religious order of young women, who Et modo qua nostri spatiantur in urbe Quirites,
Having completed his circle of study in the retirement of the country, Milton became anxious to enjoy the learned society, and the refined amusements of town. “Excipit hinc fessum sinuosi pompa Theatri.' He writes to Deodati, I will tell you seriously what I design.—'To take chambers in one of the inns of court, where I may have the benefit of a pleasant and shady walk, and where with a few associates I may enjoy more comfort, when I choose to stay at home, and have a more elegant society when I choose to go abroad : in my present situation you know in what obscurity I am buried, and to what inconveniences I am exposed.'--His seventh Elegy discovers that these shady26 and suburban walks were enlivened by forms that made no light impression even on a scholar's heart,
Et modo villarum proxima rura placent;
Splendida per medias itque reditque vias.
Impetus et quo me fert juvenilis agor.
Principium nostri lux erat illa mali.
Sic regina dellm conspicienda fuit.
Ablata est, oculis non reditura meis.
Et dubius volui sæpe referre pedem.
were to continue virgins, 196 ; he speaks of Milton's great intimacy with Mrs. Thompson, p. 274. He considers King Charles the First a very proper person for Milton to present a poem to, by order of the House of Commons, p. 284. The Biography of Milton reads very differently through the medium of the laborious Mr. Todd, and the lepid Mister Peck.
26 In the time of Milton's youth, the fashionable places of walking in London were Hyde Park, and Gray's Inn Walks. See Warton's Quotations from Sir A. Cockaine's Poems, p. 470. In his Prolusiones, p. 113, he mentions the pleasures of London ; Cum ex ea urbe, quæ caput urbium est, huc nuper me reciperem, Academici, deliciarum omnium, quibus is locus supra modum affluit, usque ad saginam, prope dixerim, satur; sperabam mihi iterum aliquando otium illud Literarium, quo ego vitæ genere etiam cælestes animas gaudere opinor; eratque penitus in animo jam tandem abdere me in Literas et jucundissiino Philosophiæ perdius et per nox assidere, ita semper assolet laboris et voluptatis vicissitudo amovere satietatis tædium,' &c.
These plans of life were suddenly changed by his mother's death in 1637,27 and he then obtained his father's permission to go abroad. He left England in 1633, having previously obtained some directions for his travels from Sir Henry Wotton; and, as a presiding maxim of prudence, and means of safety, amid civil broils, and spiritual dissensions, he was desired to recollect the following sentence, which that experienced statesman had also impressed on other travellers.—' I pensieri stretti, ed il viso sciolto.'
On his arrival at Paris, by the favour of Lord Scudamore, he was presented to Grotius, then residing at the French court, as ambassador from the celebrated queen of Sweden.
Philips says, 'that Grotius took the visit kindly, and gave him entertainment suitable to his worth, and the high commendations he had heard of him. After a residence of a few days, he proceeded directly to Nice, and embarked for Genoa,* from thence he passed through Leghorn and Pisa in his way to Florence. Milton had studied the language and literature of Italy with peculiar diligence and success; and at Florence he found himself honourably received by the most enlightened persons,2
27 Mr. Godwin says, “There is great confusion among all the biographers of Milton, respecting the period of his travels, and this confusion originates with Milton himself.' See his Life of Philips, p. 357.
,28 as well as by the learned academicians. He formed a friendship with Gaddi, Carlo Dati, Frescobaldi, and other ingenious scholars. Dati presented him with an encomiastic inscription in Latin, and Francini with an Italian ode. A manuscript entitled, La • Tina,' by Antonio Malatesti29 was also dedicated to him while he was at Florence, by its author. His visit to the great and injured Galileo must not pass unnoticed. Most of the biographers of Milton have asserted that our poet visited the philosopher in prison ; but the superior information of Mr. Walker has proved that Galileo was never a prisoner in the inquisition at Florence, but was confined at Rome, and at Sienna. After his liberation, he went to Arcetri, where it is probable that Milton saw him.
From Florence he passed to Sienna, and then to Rome, where he resided two months, experiencing the civilities, and partaking the hospitality of the learned, and the great. L. Holstenius, an eminent scholar, was at that time keeper of the Vatican Library; he introduced Milton to Cardinal Barbarini, who was the peculiar guardian, or patron of the English ;' and who, at a musical entertainment waited for our youthful poet at the
28 See his verses to his friend, Giov. Salsilli, 10.
Hæc ergo alumnus ille Londini Milto
Virosque, doctæque indolem juventutis.
Quin et nostra suas docuerunt nomina fagos
Et studiis noti, Lydorum sanguinis ambo. 29 The full title of this work is · La Tina, Equivoci Rusticali di Antonio Malatesti, exposti nella sua villa de Taiano il Septembre dell'anno 1637. Sonnetti Cinquante, dedicate all' II. Signore, e Padrone off'no il Signor Giovanni Milton nobil' Inghilese." This manuscript was discovered by Mr. Brand on a book-stall; it was sent as a present to the Academia della Crusca, but came back to England, and was sold by Evans the auctioneer, in Pall Mall. See Todd's Life, p. 34. Mr. Hollis searched unsuccessfully the Laurentian Library for six Italian sonnets of Milton, addressed to his friend Chi. mentelli; for other italian and Latin compositions, and for his marble bust, said to be at Florence. v. Warton's Milton, p. 333. Hollis's Meinoirs, p. 167, 491.
door, and presented him with respect to the company.30 Milton speaks of the Cardinal as one 'Cujus magnæ virtutes, rectique studium ad provocandas item omnes artes liberales egregie comparatum, semper mihi ob oculos versatur.' Salselli and Selvaggi praised him in some common-place verses, (yet the best, I suppose, which they could give); and wherever he went, admiration and esteem accompanied him.
From Rome he passed on to Naples, in company with a hermit, to whom he owed his introduction to Manso, Marquis of Villa, a nobleman of distinguished rank and fortune (who had supported a military character with high reputation,) of unblemished morals, a polite scholar, and known to posterity as the friend, the patron, and the biographer of Tasso.31 To him Milton addressed a beautiful Latin poem, in which he expresses his hope, if he could find such a friend and patron as Manso, of celebrating in verse the exploits of King Arthur and his Knights.
Si quando indigenas revocabo in carmina reges
Dr. Johnson very justly says, that this poem must have raised a high opinion of English elegance and literature among the scholars of Italy.
From Naples he intended to visit Sicily and Greece; but he now heard of the commencement of the quarrel between the king
30 It was at the concerts of Barbarini, that Milton heard Leonora Baroni sing; who, with her mother, Adriana of Mantua, was esteemed the first singer in the world. Milton has celebrated her in three Latin epigrams. It was the fashion for all ingenious strangers who visited Rome to leave some verses in her praise. Pietro della Valle, who wrote in 1640, on the Muses of his Time, speaks of the fanciful and masterly style in which Leonora touched the Arch lute to her own accompaniments. v. Warton's Milton,
31 Tasso mentions Manso in the twentieth book of his Gierusal. Liberata, among other princes of Italy. He addressed to him five sonnets. Manso was also the patron of Marino; and was the biographer of both these illustrious poets. Mr. Walker, when
Naples, endeavoured discover the villa where Manso had received the visits of Milton and Tasso. See Hist. Mem. 1799 ; App. p. xxvi. xxxi.