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Ludlow-Castle. There was formerly a prefident of Wales, and a fort of a court kept at Ludlow, which has fince been abolished; and the prefident at that time was the Earl of Bridgwater, before whom Milton's Mask was presented on Michaelmas night, and the principal parts, those of the two brothers were performed by his Lordfhip's fons the Lord Brackly and Mr. Thomas Egerton, and that of the lady by his Lordship's daughter the Lady Alice Egerton. The occafion of this poem seemeth to have been merely an accident of the two brothers and the lady having loft one another in their way to the caftle: and it is written very much in imitation of Shakefpear's Tempest, and the Faithful Shepherdefs of Beaumont and Fletcher; and though one of the first, is yet one of the most beautiful of Milton's compofitions. It was for fome time handed about only in manuscript; but afterwards to fatisfy the importunity of friends and to fave the trouble of transcribing, it was printed at London, though without the author's name, in 1637, with a dedication to the Lord Brackly by Mr. H. Lawes, who compos'd the music, and played the part of the attendent Spirit. It was printed likewise at Oxford at the end of Mr. R's poems, as we learn from a letter of Sir Henry Wotton to our author; but who that Mr. R. was, whether Randolph the poet or who else, is uncertain. It has lately, tho' with additions and alterations, been exhibited on the stage several times; and we hope the fine poetry and morality have recommended it to the audience, and not barely the authority of Milton's name; and we wish for the honor of the nation, that the like good taste prevailed in every thing.
In 1637 he wrote another excellent piece, his Lycidas, wherein he laments the untimely fate of a friend, who was unfortunately drown'd that fame year in the month of Auguft, on the Irish feas, in his paffage from Chester. This friend was Mr. Edward King, fon of Sir John King,
Secretary of Ireland under Queen Elizabeth, King James I, and King Charles I; and was a fellow of Christ's College, and was fo well beloved and esteemed at Cambridge, that fome of the greatest names in the university have united in celebrating his obfequies, and publifh'd a collection of poems, Greek and Latin and English, facred to his memory. The Greek by H. More &c; the Latin by T. Farnaby, J. Pearson &c; the English by H. King, J. Beaumont, J. Cleaveland with several others; and judiciously the last of all as the best of all, is Milton's Lycidas. “On "fuch facrifices the Gods themselves ftrow incense;" and one would almost wish so to have died, for the fake of having been fo lamented. But this poem is not all made up of forrow and tenderness; there is a mixture of fatir and indignation; for in part of it the poet taketh occafion to inveigh against the corruptions of the clergy, and feemeth to have first discovered his acrimony against Archbishop Laud, and to have threaten'd him with the loss of his head, which afterwards happen'd to him thro' the fury of his enemies. At least I can think of no sense fo proper to be given to the following verfes in Lycidas.
Befides what the grim wolf with privy paw
About this time, as we learn from one of his familiar epiftles, he had fome thoughts of taking Chambers at one of the Inns of Court, for he was not very well pleafed with living fo obfcurely in the country: but his mother dying, he prevailed with his father to let him indulge a defire, which he had long entertained, of feeing foreign countries, and particularly Italy: and having communicated his defign to Sir Henry Wotton, who had formerly been embassador at Venice, and was then provost of Eton College
College, and having also sent him his Mask of which he had not yet publicly acknowledged himself the author, he receiv'd from him the following friendly letter dated from the College the 10th of April 1638.
"It was a special favor, when You lately bestowed upon me here the first taste of Your acquaintance, tho' "no longer than to make me know, that I wanted more
time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly. And in truth, "if I could then have imagin'd Your farther stay in these
parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H., I "would have been bold, in our vulgar phrase, to mend my draught, for You left me with an extreme thirst, and "to have begged Your converfation again jointly with "Your faid learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together fome good authors of "the ancient time, among which I obferved You to have "been familiar.
"Since Your going, You have charged me with new "obligations, both for a very kind letter from You, dated "the fixth of this month, and for a dainty piece of enter"tainment, that came therewith; wherein I fhould much "commend the tragical part, if the lyrical did not ravish with
a certain Doric delicacy in Your fongs and odes, wherein I must plainly confefs to have feen yet nothing pa"rallel in our language, Ipfa mollities. But I must not " omit to tell you, that I now only owe You thanks for intimating unto me, how modeftly foever, the true arti"ficer. For the work itself I had view'd fome good while "before with fingular delight, having received it from our
now suppose, that the accessory might help out the principal, according to the art of ftationers, and leave the "reader con la bocca dolce.
common Friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late R's poems printed at Oxford; whereunto it is added, as I
Now, Sir, concerning Your travels, wherein I may challenge a little more privilege of difcourfe with You; "I suppose, You will not blanch Paris in Your way. "Therefore I have been bold to trouble You with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending "the young Lord S. as his governor; and you may furely receive from him good directions for shaping of your "farther journey into Italy, where he did refide by my "choice fome time for the king, after mine own recefs "from Venice.
"I should think, that Your best line will be thro' the "whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by fea to Genoa, whence the paffage into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravefend barge. I haften, as you do, to Florence or Sienna, the rather to tell You a short story, from the "intereft You have given me in Your safety.
"At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one Alberto "Scipione, an old Roman courtier in dangerous times, having been steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with "all his family were ftrangled, fave this only man, that
escaped by forefight of the tempeft. With him I had "often much chat of thofe affairs; into which he took
pleasure to look back from his native harbour; and at "my departure toward Rome, which had been the center "of his experience, I had won confidence enough to beg "his advice, how I might carry myself fecurely there, with
out offense of others, or of my own confcience: Signor Arrigo meo, fays he, i penfieri ftretti, et il vifo fciolto, "that is, Your thoughts close, and your countenance loose, " will go fafely over the whole world. Of which Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) Your judgment "doth need no commentary; and therefore, Sir, I will "commit You with it to the best of all fecurities, God's "dear love, remaining Your friend, as much at command as any of longer date.
P.S." Sir, I have expressly sent this by my foot-boy to prevent Your departure, without fome acknowledg"ment from me of the receipt of Your obliging letter, having myself thro' fome business, I know not how, "neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where "I shall understand You fixed, I fhall be glad and diligent to entertain you with home-novelties, even for "fome fomentation of our friendship, too foon interrup"ted in the cradle."
Soon after this he fet out upon his travels, being of an age to make the proper improvements, and not barely to fee fights and to learn the languages, like most of our modern travellers, who go out boys, and return fuch as we fee, but fuch as I do not choose to name. He was attended by only one fervant, who accompanied him through all his travels; and he went first to France, where he had recommendations to the Lord Scudamore, the English embassador there at that time; and as soon as he came to Paris, he waited upon his Lordship, and was received with wonderful civility; and having an earneft defire to vifit the learned Hugo Grotius, he was by his Lordship's means introduc'd to that great man, who was then embaffador at the French court from the famous Christina Queen of Sweden; and the visit was to their mutual fatisfaction; they were each of them pleased to see a person, of whom they had heard fuch commendations. But at Paris he stayed not long; his thoughts and his wishes haftened into Italy; and so after a few days he took leave of the Lord Scudamore, who very kindly gave him letters to the English merchants in the feveral places thro' which he was to travel, requesting them to do him all the good offices which lay in their power.
From Paris he went directly to Nice, where he took shipping for Genoa, from whence he went to Leghorn, and thence to Pifa, and fo to Florence, in which city he found