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contrary, very various metres were employed, some of them quite uncommon; and no two of the Eight Psalms were rendered in the same metre. Perhaps the main intention was to try the effect of such a freedom of metre.
SCRAPS OF TRANSLATED VERSE FROM THE PROSE WRITINGS.
It was Milton's laudable habit, and one rather unusual in his day, not to trouble the readers of his English pamphlets and other writings with quotations in Latin and Greek, but, where he did have occasion to quote a Latin or Greek author, either to give the English sense of the passage, or to annex the English sense to the quoted bit of Latin or Greek. So with Italian. Hence, when he wanted to quote a line or two from a Latin, Greek, or Italian poet, or a passage of Latin verse occurring in a prose author, he generally took the trouble to translate it off hand himself at the moment. In such cases blank verse came easiest, and all the scraps of the kind in his prose writings are in blank verse. He did not think it worth while to collect these for either the first or the second edition of his Poems; but they have very properly been sought out and placed in later editions.
INTRODUCTIONS TO THE POEMS SEVERALLY.
THE LATIN POEMS.
The Latin Poems were distinctly divided by Milton himself, in both editions, into two Books or sets-an ELEGIARUM LIBER," or BOOK OF ELEGIES; and a "SYLVARUM LIBER," or "BOOK OF SYLVE." The word Sylva (literally "a Wood") was the name given by the Latin authorcraft of the Empire, as we learn from Quintilian, to any rough thing written off at a heat; and hence the Miscellanies of many poets are printed in their works under the title of Sylva. The distinction made by Milton between his ELEGIE or ELEGIES and his SYLVÆ or MISCELLANIES seems to have been one of metrical form merely, and not of matter. Among the ELEGIES he put all pieces, of whatever kind, and whether properly" elegiac 66 or not in the sense of "pensive" or mournful," that were written in the elegiac metre, of alternate Hexameters and Pentameters, so much used by Tibullus, Propertius, and his favourite Ovid. Among the SYLVÆ or MISCELLANIES, on the other hand, he put all pieces written in other kinds of verse, whether in Hexameters only, or in such more complex Horatian measures as Alcaics and varied lambics. Later editors, indeed, have taken the liberty of cutting off a few of the smaller pieces from the end of the Book of Elegies, and combining them with two or three scraps of Latin verse from the prose-pamphlets, so as to constitute a third brief Book, called EPIGRAMMATUM LIBER, or BOOK OF EPIGRAMS. But, though the few pieces thus thrown together are of the nature of Epigrams, and some of them like Martial's Epigrams, the liberty seems unwarrantable. Milton made the distinction into ELEGIES and SYLVE suffice, and we must do the same.
Ad Carolum Diodatum.
The person addressed in this Elegy was Charles Diodati, the dearest and most intimate friend of Milton in his boyhood, and through his youth and early manhood, and for whose memory he entertained a singular affection in still later
life, after he had lost him by death. He will be mentioned again in the course of these Introductions. At present we shall trace what is known of him as far as to the date of this Elegy, i.e. to the year 1626.
The family of Diodati (pronounce it Diodati) was Italian, belonging originally to Lucca in the Tuscan States, but driven thence, apparently, on account of the Protestant opinions of its members. Of two brothers of the family, thus exiled from Italy by their Protestantism, one, named Giovanni Diodati, born in 1576, had become very eminent in Geneva, as a scholar and theologian, and was Professor of Hebrew and one of the ministers of that city. He was the author of various Calvinistic writings, much esteemed in their day by foreign Protestants and by the Puritans of England; he took a leading part in the famous Synod of Dort in 1618-19; and he would be yet remembered, if for nothing else, at all events for his Italian Version of the Scriptures, published in 1607, and known as "Diodati's Version." An elder brother of his, named Theodore Diodati, born in 1574, and educated for the medical profession, had made England his home, and, having married an English lady of some means, acquired a good practice and some celebrity as a physician, first at Brentford, and afterwards in London, where he resided in the parish of Little St. Bartholomew, not far from St. Paul's and Milton's native Bread Street. Of two sons of this naturalized London physician, by his English wife, one was called Charles and the other John. Milton knew both, but Charles was his especial friend. He was almost exactly of Milton's own age, or but a little older. He had been sent at a very early age to St. Paul's School, and it was there that Milton had become acquainted with him. He was probably somewhat in advance of Milton in the classes, for he left school for Trinity College, Oxford, in Feb. 1621-2, three years before Milton left the same school for Cambridge. The separation was no interruption of their friendship. The young Oxonian and the young Cantab corresponded with each other; and in the University vacations they were much together in London, or in excursions in its neighbourhood. Probably because Diodati was destined for his father's profession of medicine, and was preparing for it, we do not hear much of his career at Oxford; but he was well liked in his College there, and there is a copy of Latin Alcaics by him in a volume of Oxford Verses put forth in 1624 on the death of the great scholar Camden. He seems, however, to have been fond of writing his letters in Greek; and two Greek letters of his to Milton have been strangely preserved, and are now in the British Museum. In the second of these he writes from some place in the country, saying he is leading a most pleasant life on the whole, though he rather misses intellectual companionship, and he advises Milton not to "tie himself night and day to his books," but to take some relaxation. "I in all things else your inferior," he concludes, "am superior to you in this, that I know a measure in my labours."
It seems possible that in this Greek missive, now in the British Museum, we have that very letter of Diodati to which Milton's Latin Elegy is an avowed reply. It is, at all events, a reply to some letter of Diodati's sent from near Chester, and which reached Milton in London. The interest of Milton's Elegy in reply is, to a large extent, autobiographical; and there is one passage of particular moment to the commentators. It is that beginning line 9 and ending line 24. Milton is supposed to refer here (and the supposition seems inevitable) to a fact in his life of which there is other evidence-viz. a quarrel he had, in his undergraduateship, with the authorities of Christ's College, Cambridge, and his temporary retirement or rustication from the College in consequence. It is
positively known that Milton, while he was an undergraduate at Christ's, had some disagreement with the tutor under whose charge he had been put at the time of his first admission: viz. William Chappell, afterwards Provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and Bishop of Cloyne and Ross; and it is farther known that, in consequence of this disagreement-in the course of which Dr. Thomas Bainbrigge, the Master of the College, may have been called in, or may have interfered-Milton was transferred from the tutorship of Chappell to that of another of the Fellows of the College: viz. Nathaniel Tovey, afterwards parson of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. The probable date of this incident was the Lent or Easter term of Milton's second academic year, i.e. of the year 1625–6. The present Elegy was probably written during Milton's absence or rustication from College that summer; and in the passage indicated he speaks of this absence or rustication (exilium is the word he uses) as not such a bad thing after all. Nevertheless, as he says in the end of the Elegy, it is arranged that he shall return to Cambridge. Actually, as we know, he did return, to finish his undergraduate course, under Tovey's tutorship. His temporary absence, we also know, counted for nothing against him; for he did not lose a term, but took his B. A. degree at exactly the proper time.
Anno ætatis 17.
In obitum Præconis Academici Cantabrigiensis.
Richard Ridding, M. A. of St. John's College, was Senior Esquire Bedel of the University when Milton went to Cambridge. Through two University sessions Milton had been familiar with his venerable figure; but about the beginning of Milton's third University session (1626-7) Ridding died. I have not ascertained the exact day, but the probate of his will is dated Nov. 8, 1626. The death of
a University personage so conspicuous naturally gave occasion for versifying; and Milton's Elegy was one of the results. It ought to be noted that Milton's own dating of the Elegy “ Anno ætatis 17” is either wrong by a year, or must be translated laxly as meaning "at seventeen years of age.'
Anno ætatis 17.
In obitum Prasulis Wintoniensis.
On the 21st of September 1626, just before the beginning of Milton's third academic year at Cambridge, there died, at Winchester House, Southwark, the learned and eloquent Dr. Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, at the age of seventy-one. Milton's ecclesiastical opinions in his later life led him to be rather critical in his estimate of this famous Bishop, and indeed of Bishops generally; but in his Cambridge undergraduateship his anti-prelatic feelings were less pronounced, and he willingly joined in the chorus of regret over the loss of one of the brightest intellects in the English Church. The reader ought to note the historical allusions which the Elegy contains. The year of Bishop Andrewes's death had been one of great mortality by the Plague in England and of the deaths of several men of note abroad.
Anno ætatis 18.
Ad Thomam Junium, præceptorem suum, apud mercatores Anglicos
Thomas Young, Milton's first preceptor, was a Scotchman. He was born at Luncarty in Perthshire in or about 1588, was educated at the University of St Andrews, and took his M. A. degree there. Perhaps because the accession of James to the English throne in 1603 had opened up for many Scots prospects of a better livelihood in England than their own country afforded, Young had migrated thither while still a young man; and there are indistinct traces of him in the capacity of curate or assistant to Puritan parish-ministers in London and its neighbourhood before 1618. He seems, however, to have employed himself chiefly in teaching; and, in the course of that employment, it was his good fortune to happen upon one pupil who was to be immortal. It is just possible that Milton had been boarded under Young's charge somewhere near London before he went to St. Paul's School; but it is more likely that Young had only been his first domestic preceptor, and continued to be his private preceptor while he was at St. Paul's School, adding to the education which he was receiving publicly from Mr. Alexander Gill, the head-master of the School, and his son and assistant, Mr. Alexander Gill the younger. In that case, however, Young's tutorship of Milton did not extend over the whole period of his training under the two Gills. Milton, so far as is known, went to St. Paul's School in 1620, when he was eleven years of age, and he remained there till the winter or spring of 1624-5, when he left for Cambridge at the age of sixteen. But Young had left England for his chaplaincy to the English merchants at Hamburg at least as early as 1622. He was then a married man, with children, and matters had not been so prosperous with him in England but that a foreign chaplaincy was acceptable.
Milton, it appears, had cherished a warm recollection of Young in his exile, and occasional communications had passed between them. The first of Milton's Latin Familiar Epistles is addressed to Young (Thoma Junio, præceptori suo). It is dated London, March 26, 1625," and was written, therefore, after Milton had been admitted at Christ's College, Cambridge, but before his residence at Cambridge had fairly commenced. It is expressed in terms of the most ardent affection and gratitude, with apologies for having been remiss in his correspondence, and especially for having allowed three years to elapse since his last letter; and there is an acknowledgment also of the gift of a Hebrew Bible which Young had sent to him. Two years more had passed since that Epistle was written, and Milton had again been remiss. The present Elegy is his atonement. He has been moved to write it by ominous news from the Continent. The great Continental war, known afterwards as The Thirty Years' War, was then in its second stage, when Christian IV. of Denmark was the leader of the Protestant Alliance against the Imperialists under Tilly and Wallenstein. Saxony, to which Hamburg was attached, was inextricably involved; and actually, while Milton wrote, the rumour was that the Imperialist soldiery were all round Hamburg and threatening it with siege. What might befall poor Young and his family? On this cause of alarm