« 上一頁繼續 »
found fufficient inducements to make a flay of two months. For befides the curiofities and other beauties of the place, he took great delight in the company and conversation there, and frequented their academies as they are called, the meetings of the most polite and ingenious persons, which they have in this, as well as in the other principal cities of Italy, for the exercise and improvement of wit and learning among them. And in these converfations he bore so good a part, and produced fo many excellent compofitions, that he was foon taken notice of, and was very much courted and caressed by several of the nobilty and prime wits of Florence. For the manner is, as he says himself in the preface to his second book of the Reafon of Church-government, that every one must give some proof of his wit and reading there, and his productions were received with written encomiums which the Italian is not forward to beftow on men of this fide the Alps. Jacomo Gaddi, Antonio Francini, Carlo Dati, Beneditto Bonmatthei, Cultellino, Frefcobaldi, Clementilli are reckoned among his particular friends. At gaddi's house the academies were held, which he constantly frequented. Antonio Francini composed an Italian ode in his commendation. Carlo Dati wrote a Latin eulogium of him, and correfponded with him after his return to England. Bonmatthei was at that time about publishing an Italian grammer; and the eighth of our author's familiar epiftles, dated at Florence Sept. 10. 1638, is addreffed to him upon that occafion, commending his defign, and advising him to add some observations concerning the true pronunciation of that language for the use of foreigners.
So much good acquaintance would probably have detained him longer at Florence, if he had not been going to Rome, which to a curious traveller is certainly the place the most worth feeing of any in the world. And fo he took leave of his friends at Florence, and went from
thence to Sienna, and from Sienna to Rome, where he stayed much about the fame time that he had continued at Florence, feafting both his eyes and his mind, and delighted with the fine paintings, and sculptures, and other rarities and antiquities of the city, as well as with the converfation of feveral learned and ingenious men, and particularly of Lucas Holftenius, keeper of the Vatican library, who received him with the greatest humanity, and showed him all the Greek authors, whether in print or in manuscript, which had passed thro' his correction; and also presented him to Cardinal Barberini, who at an entertainment of mufic, performed at his own expence, waited for him at the door, and taking him by the hand brought him into the affembly. The next morning he waited upon the Cardinal to return him thanks for his civilities, and by the means of Holftenius was again introduced to his Eminence, and spent fome time in converfation with him. It seems that Holftenius had ftudied three years at Oxford, and this might difpofe him to be more friendly to the English, but he took a particular liking and affection to Milton; and Milton, to thank him for all his favors, wrote to him afterwards from Florence the ninth of his familiar epiftles. At Rome too Selvaggi made a Latin diftich in honor of Milton, and Salfilli a Latin tetraflich, celebrating him for his Greek and Latin and Italian poetry; and he in return prefented to Salfilli in his fickness thofe fine Scazons, or Iambic verfes having a fpondee in the last foot, which are inferted among his juvenile poems.
From Rome he went to Naples, in company with a certain hermit; and by his means was introduced to the acquaintance of Giovanni Baptista Manfo, Marquis of Villa, a Neapolitan nobleman, of fingular merit and virtue, to whom Taffo addreffes his dialogue of friendship, and whom he mentions likewife in his Gierufalemme Liberata with great honor. This nobleman was particularly civil to Milton, frequently vifited him at his lodgings, and
went with him to show him the Viceroy's palace, and whatever was curious or worth notice in the city: and moreover he honored him fo far as to make a Latin diftich in his praise, which is printed before our author's Latin poems, as is likewise the other of Selvaggi, and the Latin tetraftich of Salfilli together with the Italian ode and the Latin eulogium before mentioned. We may suppose that Milton was not a little pleased with the honors conferred upon him by fo many perfons of diftinction, and especially by one of fuch quality and eminence as the Marquis of Villa; and as a teftimony of his gratitude he presented to the Marquis at his departure from Naples his eclogue intitled Manfus, which is well worth reading among his Latin poems. So that it may be reckoned a peculiar felicity of the Marquis of Villa's life, to have been celebrated both by Tafso and Milton, the one the greatest modern poet of his own, and the other the greatest of foreign nations.
Having seen the finest parts of Italy, Milton was now thinking of paffing over into Sicily and Greece, when he was diverted from his purpose by the news from England, that things were tending to a civil war between the King and Parlament; for he thought it unworthy of himfelf to be taking his pleasure abroad, while his countrymen were contending for liberty at home. He refolved therefore to return by the way of Rome, tho' he was advised to the contrary by the merchants, who had received intelligence from their correfpondents, that the English Jefuits there were forming plots against him, in cafe he should return thither, by reason of the great freedom which he had used in all his discourses of religion. For he had by no means observed the rule, recommended to him by Sir Henry Wotton, of keeping his thoughts close and his countenance open: He had vifited Galileo, a prisoner to the Inquifition, for afferting the motion of the earth, and thinking otherwise in aftronomy than the Dominicans
and Franciscans thought: And tho' the Marquis of Villa had shown him fuch diftinguishing marks of favor at Naples, yet he told him at his departure that he would have shown him much greater, if he had been more referved in matters of religion. But he had a foul above diffimulation and disguise; he was neither afraid, nor afhamed to vindicate the truth; and if any man had, he had in him the spirit of an old martyr. He was fo prudent indeed, that he would not of his own accord begin any discourse of religion; but at the fame time he was fo honeft, that if he was queftioned at all about his faith, he would not diffemble his fentiments, whatever was the confequence. And with this refolution he went to Rome the fecond time, and stayed there two months more, neither concealing his name, nor declining openly to defend the truth, if any thought proper to attack him: and yet, God's good providence protecting him, he came fafe to his kind friends at Florence, where he was received with as much joy and affection, as if he had returned into his own country.
Here likewise he stayed two months, as he had done before, excepting only an excurfion of a few days to Lucca: and then croffing the Apennine, and paffing thro' Bologna and Ferrara, he came to Venice, in which city he spent a month; and having fhipped off the books which he had collected in his travels, and particularly a cheft or two of choice mufic books of the best masters flourishing about that time in Italy, he took his course thro' Verona, Milan, and along the lake Leman to GeneIn this city he tarried some time, meeting here with people of his own principles, and contracted an intimate friendship with Giovanni Deodati, the most learned profeffor of divinity, whose annotations upon the Bible are published in English. And from thence returning thro' France, the fame way that he had gone before, he arrived fafe in England, after a peregrination of one year and about
bout three months, having feen more, and learned more, and conversed with more famous men, and made more real improvements, than moft others in double the time.
His first business after his return was to pay his duty to his father, and to vifit his other friends; but this pleasure was much diminished by the lofs of his dear friend and schoolfellow Charles Deodati in his abfence. While he was abroad, he heard it reported that he was dead; and upon his coming home he found it but too true, and lamented his death in an excellent Latin eclogue intitled Epitaphium Damonis. This Deodati had a father originally of Lucca, but his mother was English, and he was born and bred in England, and ftudied phyfic, and was an admirable fcholar, and no lefs remarkable for his fobriety and other virtues than for his great learning and ingenuity. One or two of Milton's familiar epiftles are addressed to him; and Mr. Toland fays that he had in his hands two Greek letters of Deodati to Milton, very handfomely written. It may be right for scholars now and then to exercife themselves in Greek and Latin; but we have much more frequent occafion to write letters in our own native language, and in that therefore we should principally endevor to excel.
Milton, foon after his return, had taken a lodging at one Ruffel's, a taylor, in St. Bride's Churchyard; but he continued not long there, having not fufficient room for his library and furniture; and therefore determined to take a house, and accordingly took a handsome gardenhouse in Alderfgate-street, fituated at the end of an entry, which was the more agreeable to a ftudious man for its privacy and freedom from noife and disturbance. And in this house he continued several years, and his sister's two fons were put to board with him, firft the younger and afterwards the elder: and fome other of his intimate friends requested of him the fame favor for their fons, efpecially fince there was little more trouble in inftructing