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were all regarded as subdivisions of the one supreme category of ENS or BEING. First, ENS was subdivided into the two general categories of Ens per se or Substance, and Ens per accidens or Accident. By farther divisions and subdivisions, however, Accident was made to split itself into nine subordinate categories,-Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, Place where, Time when, Posture, and Habit. Prefix to these nine categories, developed out of Accident, the one unbroken category of Substance, and you have the Ten Aristotelian Categories or Predicaments, once so famous in the schools. What Milton said, therefore, was virtually this :-I, as Father, choose to represent myself as ENS or Being in general, undivided Being; and you, my sons, Messrs. So and So and So and So (to wit, certain students of Christ's acting along with Milton in the farce), are to regard yourselves as respectively Substance, Quantity, Quality, Relation, Action, Passion, Place, Time, Posture, and Habit. Thus I have assigned your parts in what is to follow of our proceedings.
We have here then the key to the dramatic speeches in English with which Milton's address was wound up. After apologising for having detained the audience so long with his Latin harangue, he announces that he is about to break the University statutes (which ordained that all academic discourses, etc., should be in the learned tongues) by "running across " from Latin to English. At this point, therefore, he suddenly exclaims
"Hail! Native Language, that by sinews weak
Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak,
He continues this episodic address to his native speech through a goodly number of lines, but then remembers that it is a divergence from the business in hand, and that his sons are waiting to hear him speak in the character of ENS. Accordingly, he does speak in this character, calling up the eldest of his ten sons, Substance, and addressing him in fit terms. Whether Substance made any reply we are not informed; but the next two Predicaments, Quantity and Quality, did speak in their turn,—not in verse, however, but in prose. It seems most natural to conclude that these speeches were made by the students of Christ's who represented the Predica
ments in question,-Milton himself only speaking in his paramount character as ENS. In this character, at all events, he finally calls by name on the student who represented the fourth category,―i. e. Relation; and with this speech of ENS to Relation the fragment, as we now have it, abruptly ends. "The rest was prose," we are informed,―i.e. whatever was said by Relation, and to or by the six remaining Predicaments, was said in prose and has not been preserved. For some further elucidations, especially as to the particular fellow-student of Milton at Christ's who represented Relation, see our notes on the fragment.
ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S NATIVITY.
This magnificent ode, called by Hallam "perhaps the finest in the English language," was composed, as we learn from Milton's own heading of it in the edition of 1645, in the year 1629. Milton was then twenty-one years of age, in his sixth academic year at Cambridge, and a B. A. of a year's standing. There is an interesting allusion to the ode by Milton himself, when he was in the act of composing it, in the sixth of his Latin elegies. In that elegy, addressed to his friend Charles Diodati, residing in the country, in answer to a friendly epistle which Diodati had sent to him on the 13th of December 1629, there is a distinct description of the Ode on the Nativity, as then finished or nearly so, and ready to be shown to Diodati, together with the express information that it was begun on Christmas-day 1629.
This piece, as the opening stanza implies, grew out of the Ode on the Nativity, and is a kind of sequel to it. It was probably written for Easter 1630. It is but the fragment of an intended larger poem, for which, after the young poet had proceeded so far, he thought his powers unequal.
SONG ON MAY MORNING.
This little piece has been usually assigned, but only by conjecture, to the year 1630. If this were correct, the exact date would be May 1, 1630. There is some reason for think. ing, however, that this date is too early, and that the piece may belong to May 1633, Milton's first May at Horton.
This famous little piece is sometimes spoken of as Milton's "Sonnet on Shakespeare"; but it is not even laxly a Sonnet, as it consists of sixteen lines. In its anonymous printed form, among the commendatory verses prefixed to the Shakespeare Folio of 1632, it is entitled "An Epitaph on the Admirable Dramatick Poet, W. Shakespeare." That it was written two years before its publication in so distinguished a place appears from the date "1630" appended to its shorter title in the original editions of Milton's Poems. It seems to me not improbable that Milton originally wrote the lines in a copy of the First Folio Shakespeare in his possession, and furnished them thence to the publisher of the Second Folio.
ON THE UNIVERSITY CARRIER.
The two pieces on this subject are chiefly curious as specimens of Milton's muse in that facetious style in which, according to his own statement, he was hardly at home. They celebrate an incident which must have been of considerable interest to all Cambridge men of Milton's time,--the death of old Thomas Hobson, the Cambridge University carrier.
Born in 1544, or twenty years before Shakespeare, Hobson had for more than sixty years been one of the most noted characters in Cambridge. Every week during this long period he had gone and come between Cambridge and the Bull Inn, Bishopsgate Street, London, driving his own wain and horses, and carrying letters and parcels, and sometimes stray passengers. All the Heads and Fellows of Colleges, all the students, and all the townspeople, knew him. By his business as a carrier, and also by letting out horses, he had become one of the wealthiest citizens in Cambridge,-owner of houses in the town and of other property. He had also such a reputation for shrewdness and humour that, rightly or wrongly, all sorts of good sayings were fathered upon him. Till his eightysixth year he had persisted in driving his carrier's waggon himself. But, in April or May 1630, a stop had been put to his journeys. The Plague, after an interval of five years, was again in England; it was rife in Cambridge this time, so that the colleges had been prematurely closed and all University
exercises brought to an end; and one of the precautions taken was to interdict the continued passage of Hobson, with his letters and parcels, between Cambridge and London. Though many of his neighbours among the townspeople died of the Plague, the tough old carrier escaped that distemper. But the compulsory idleness of some months was too much for him. Some time in November or December 1630, just as the Colleges had re-assembled, and, the Plague having abated, he might have resumed his journeys, he sickened and took to his bed. On the first of January, 1630-31, he died, aged eighty-six. Before he died he had executed a will, in which he left good provision for a large family of sons, daughters, and grandchildren,—one of his daughters being then the wife of a Warwickshire baronet. Nor had he forgotten the town in which he had made his fortunes. Besides other legacies for public purposes to the town of Cambridge, he left money for the perpetual maintenance of the town-conduit; and to this day the visitor to Cambridge sees a handsome conduit, called after Hobson's name, in the centre of the town, and runnels of clear water flowing, by Hobson's munificence, along the sides of the footways in the main streets. In some respects, Hobson is still the genius loci at Cambridge.
Little wonder that the death of such a worthy as old Hobson made a stir among the Cambridge dons and undergraduates, and that many copies of verses were written on the occasion. Several such copies of verses have been recovered; but none so remarkable as Milton's. Milton seems to have had a fondness for the old man, whose horses he must have often hired, and by whom he must often have sent and received parcels. The title of Milton's two pieces is exact to the circumstances of the case: "On the University Carrier, who sickened in the time of his vacancy, being forbid to go to London by reason of the Plague." The gist of the poems themselves, too,—in which, through all their punning facetiousness, there is a vein of kindliness, is that Hobson died of ennui. Both pieces must have been written in or about January 1630-31.
AN EPITAPH ON THE MARCHIONESS OF WINCHESter.
The date of the composition of this poem is determined by that of the event to which it refers, -the death, in child-birth, of Jane, wife of John Paulet, fifth Marquis of Winchester. This
lady, who was but twenty-three years of age when she died, and was much spoken of for her beauty and mental accomplishments, was a daughter of Thomas, Viscount Savage, of RockSavage, Cheshire, by his wife, Elizabeth, the eldest daughter and co-heir of Thomas Darcy, Earl of Rivers. Her husband, the Marquis of Winchester, who had succeeded to the title in 1628, was a Roman Catholic; he subsequently attained great distinction by his loyalty during the civil wars; and he did not die till 1674, forty-three years after he had been made a widower by the death of this, his accomplished (first) wife. That event occurred on the 15th of April 1631, in circumstances thus communicated in a contemporary news-letter, dated the 21st of the same month :-"The Lady Marquis of Winchester, daughter to the Lord Viscount Savage, had an imposthume upon her cheek lanced; the humour fell down into her throat, and quickly despatched her, being big with child whose death is lamented, as well in respect of other her virtues as that she was inclining to become a Protestant." An unusual amount of public regret seems to have been caused by the lady's melancholy death. It was the subject of a long elegy by the poet-laureate, Ben Jonson, printed in his "Underwoods"; and there were verses on the occasion by Davenant and other poets. How Milton, then in his twenty-third year, and still at Cambridge, came to be so interested in the event as to make it the subject of a poem, is not known. Warton had been told that there was a Cambridge collection of verses on the occasion, among which Milton's elegiac ode first appeared; and some expressions in the ode might imply that fact; but no such volume has been found.
L'ALLEGRO AND IL PENSEROSO.
These were written as companion-pieces, and are to be read together. There is some doubt as to the time of their composition, there being no drafts of them among the Cambridge MSS. In the edition of 1645 they follow immediately after the pieces on Hobson, and precede the Arcades, with the intervention, however, of the ten Sonnets printed in that edition. With great probability they are assigned to the period immediately subsequent to Milton's student-life at Cambridge, i.e. to the time of his studious seclusion in his father's country house at Horton in Bucking