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I, therefore, though a stranger youth, who come. Chill'd by rude blasts, that freeze my northern home, Thee dear to Clio, confident proclaim,

And thine, for Phoebus' sake, a deathless name.
Nor thou, so kind, wilt view with scornful eye
A Muse scarce rear'd beneath a northern sky;
Who fears not, indiscreet as she is young,

To seek in Latium hearers of her song.

We too, where Thames with his unsullied waves
The tresses of the blue-hair'd ocean laves,

Hear oft by night, or, slumbering, seem to hear,
O'er his wide stream, the swan's voice warbling clear;
And we could boast a Tityrus of yore,

Who trod, a welcome guest, yon happy shore.
Yes-dreary as we own our northern clime,
Ev'n we to Phoebus raise the polish'd rhyme;
We too serve Phoebus: Phœbus has received,
If legends old may claim to be believed,
No sordid gifts from us, the golden ear,
The burnish'd apple, ruddiest of the year,
The fragrant crocus, and, to grace his fane,
Fair damsels chosen from the Druid train;
Druids, our native bards in ancient time,
Who gods and heroes praised in hallow'd rhyme !
Hence, often as the maids of Greece surround
Apollo's shrine with hymns of festive sound,
They name the virgins, who arrived of yore

With British offerings on the Delian shore:
Loxo, from giant Corineus sprung;

Upis, on whose bless'd lips the future hung;

And Hecaerge, with the golden hair,

All deck'd with Pictish hues, and all with bosoms bare.
Thou, therefore, happy sage, whatever clime

Shall ring with Tasso's praise in after-time,
Or with Marino's, shalt be known their friend,
And with an equal flight to fame ascend.
The world shall hear, how Phoebus and the Nine
Were inmates once, and willing guests of thine.
Yet Phoebus, when of old construin'd to roam
The earth, an exile from his heavenly home,
Enter'd, no willing guest, Admetus' door,
Though Hercules had ventured there before.
But gentle Chiron's cave was near, a scene
Of rural peace, clothed with perpetual green!
And thither, oft as respite he required
From rustic clamours loud, the god retired :
There many a time, on Peneus' bank reclined
At some oak's root, with ivy thick entwined,
Won by his hospitable friend's desire,

He soothed his pains of exile with the lyre.
Then shook the hills, then trembled Peneus' shore,
Nor (Eta felt his load of forests more;

The upland elms descended to the plain,
And soften'd lynxes wonder'd at the strain.
Well may we think, O dear to all above!
Thy birth distinguished by the smile of Jove;
And that Apollo shed his kindlies! power,
And Maia's son, on that propitious hour;
Since only minds so born can comprehend
A poet's worth, or yield that worth a friend.
Hence, on thy yet unfaded cheek appears,
The lingering freshness of thy greener years;
Hence in thy front and features we admire
Nature unwither'd, and a mind entire.
O, might so true a friend to me belong,
So skill'd to grace the votaries of song,

Should I recall hereafter into rhyme

The kings and heroes of my native clime;
Arthur the chief, who even now prepares,
In subterraneous being, future wars,
With all his martial knights, to be restored
Each to his sent, around the federal board;
And, O if spirit fail me not, disperse
Our Saxon plunders in triumphant verse!
Then, after all, when with the past content,
A life I finish, not in silence spent,

Should he, kind mourner, o'er my death-bed bend,
I shall but need to say, "Be yet my friend!?
He too, perhaps, shall bid the marble breathe
To honour me, and with the graceful wreath,
Or of Parnassus, or the Paphian isle,
Shall bind my brows-but I shall rest the while.
Then also, if the fruits of faith endure,
And virtue's promised recompense be sure,
Borne to those seats, to which the blest aspire

By purity of soul and virtuous fire,

These rites, as Fate permits, I shall survey

With eyes illumined by celestial day;

And, every cloud from my pure spirit driven,
Joy in the bright beatitude of heaven!

We may conceive what delight Milton had in talking with Manso about Tasso, and how it encouraged his own desire of poetical immortality. The honours paid to Tasso as a poet were of a kind of which the cold northern clime of England gave no example. Spenser had died in poverty, ruined and neglected: Shakspeare seems to have been little personally known in his lifetime; for nothing is recorded of his habits and private character.

But though Tasso was cruelly used by his inglorious and base prince, his countrymen worshipped him, and bore with all his eccentricities. In England, except by Chaucer and Spenser, there had been no great epics of fiction. The metrical narratives were, for the most part, dull chronicles: that fiery force, where life breathes in every line and every image, was almost unknown. It is by the invention of grand fables that poets must stand high: little patches of flowers-a style of similes and metaphors, will not do. The manners and credences of Europe, from the commencement of the crusades, afforded inexhaustible subjects of heroic poetry: fictions improved upon the romantic tales of the Provençal bards could never be wanting to the imagination or the lyre.

Milton returned by Venice, where he made a large collection of music for his father; and thence passed through Geneva, at which he made a short sojourn with John Deodate, a learned theologian and professor, the relation of his friend Charles Deodate, and became acquainted with Frederic Spanheim. Here he is supposed to have renewed his Calvinistic and puritanical prejudices. It is somewhat strange that this small place should have been the focus of all that troubled the governments of Europe for more than a century. They were not content with forming a republican government for their own petty canton, for which it was well suited, but struggled to turn all the great monarchies into republics.

The poet must have been delighted with the lake-scenery and Alpine summits of this magnificent country: yet, after the pomp of Italy, its splendid arts, its princely societies, its genial skies, its imaginative delights, men must have seemed here to have dwindled into formal and dull automatons. Here might be learning; but it was dry and tasteless: here was now no Beza, or D'Aubigné; nor any anticipation of the eloquent and passionate Rousseau, or spiritual De Stacl, or historic and philosophical Sismondi.

I have endeavoured to find some traces of Milton's visit in Geneva; but have yet discovered none. I am told it is a mistake that the Deodate campagne at the adjoining village of Cologni, which Byron inhabited in 1816, was that which belonged to the Deodate family when Milton was here. In the "Livre des Anglais," preserved in the state-archives at the Hôtel de Ville, are registers of the English (including John Knox), who took refuge here from 1554 to 1558, and had an English chapel in Geneva.

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CHAPTER IX.

ON THE COMMENCEMENT OF MILTON'S PROSE WORKS.

IN 1639 Milton returned to England: he had the grief of finding that his friend Charles Deodate was already dead: on that occasion he wrote the Latin pastoral entitled "Epitaphium Damonis." He now undertook the tutorship of his two nephews, John and Edward Phillips, and added to them some other pupils. Having professed to have been drawn back to England to take a part in the cause of liberty, then breaking out into open contest, Johnson considers this occupation a falling off from his boasted high intentions, and utters a growling sort of merriment at the failure. This is in the tone of the biographer's usual insults on the great bard: he is on these occasions coarse, pompous, and unjust. Milton did not come home to take a part by the sword, but by the pen: if therefore he endeavoured to aid an incompetent income by taking pupils, what inconsistency was there in this? The sneer comes doubly ill from one who had been himself a schoolmaster.

It seems that Milton endeavoured to teach his scholars a wider range of knowledge than the Doctor thought practicable; whereupon follows that famous passage of Johnson, which has been so often cited, and which is so excellent, that I must repeat it again:"The purpose of Milton," he begins, "was to teach something more solid than the common literature of schools, by reading those authors that treat of physical subjects, such as the Georgic and astronomical treatises of the ancients. This was a scheme of improvement which seems to have busied many literary projectors of that age. Cowley, who had more means than Milton of knowing what was wanting to the embellishments of life, formed the same plan of education in his imaginary college.

"But the truth is, that the knowledge of external nature, and the sciences which that knowledge requires or includes, are not the great or the frequent business of the human mind. Whether we provide for action or conversation; whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong: the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with those examples which may be said to embody truth, and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions. Prudence and justice are virtues and excellences of all times and all places; we are perpetually moralists, but we are geometricians only by chance. Our intercourse with intellectual nature is necessary; our speculations upon matter are voluntary and at leisure. Physiological learning is of such rare emergence, that one may know another half his life without being able to estimate his skill in hydrostatics or astronomy; but his moral and prudential character immediately appears.

"Those authors, therefore, are to be read at schools that supply most axioms of prudence, most principles of moral truth, and most materials for conversation; and these purposes are best served by poets, orators, and historians.

"Let me not be censured for this digression as pedantic or paradoxical; for, if I have Milton against me, I have Socrates on my side. It was his labour to turn philosophy from the study of nature to speculations upon life; but the innovators whom I oppose are turning off attention from life to nature. They seem to think that we are placed here to watch the growth of plants, or the motions of the stars: Socrates was rather of opinion that what we had to learn was, how to do good and avoid evil.

“Οττι τοι ἐν μεγάροισι κακόντ' ἀγαθόντε τέτυκται.”

Had Johnson always written so, what a beautiful and perfect work he would have made!

But now Milton's evil days began: he entered into thorny controversies which blind the imagination, and harden and embitter the heart. It was not for sublime talents, like his, to entangle themselves in these webs: his mighty genius could not move under the oppressive weight of so much abstruse, and, I will add, useless, though multifarious and astonishing learning. But I am bound to notice what has been stated on the other side. Fletcher, in the "Introductory Review of Milton's Prose Works," says, "Let us never think of John Milton as a poet, merely; however in that capacity he may have adorned our language, and benefited, by ennobling, his species. He

was a citizen also, with whom patriotism was as heroical a passion, prompting him to do his country service, as was that 'inward prompting' of poesy, by which he did his country honour. He was alive to all that was due from man to man in all the relations of life: he was invested with a power to mould the mind of a nation, and to lead the people into the glorious ways of truth and prosperous virtue.' The poet has long eclipsed the man: he has been imprisoned even in the temple of the Muses; and the very splendour of the bard seems to be our title to pass an act of oblivion' on the share he bore in the events and discussions of the momentous times in which he lived. Ought not, rather, his wide renown in this capacity to lead us to the contemplation and study of the whole of his character and his works? Sworn by a father, who knew what persecution was, at the first altar of freedom erected in this land, he, a student, of the finest temperament, bent on grasping all sciences, and professing none, and burning with intense ambition for distinction, forsook his harp, and the quiet and still air of delightful studies,' and devoted the energies of earliest and maturest manhood, to be aiding in the grandest crisis of the first of human causes: and he became the most conspicuous literary actor in the dreadful yet glorious drama of the grand rebellion. He beheld tyranny and intolerance trampling upon the most sacred prerogatives of God and man; and he was compelled by the nobility of his nature, by the obligations of virtue, by the loud summons of beleaguered truth; in short, by his patriotism as well as his piety, to lay down the lyre, whose earliest tones are yet so fascinating; to 'doff his garland and singing robes,' and to adventure within the circle of peril and glory; and buckling on the controversial panoply, he threw it off only when the various works of this volume, surpassed by none in any sort of eloquence, became the record and trophy of his achievements, and the worthy forerunners of those poems, which a whole people will not willingly let die.""

The summit of fame is occupied by the poet, but the base of the vast elevation may justly be said to rest on these prose works; and we invite his admirers to descend from the former, and survey the region that lies round about the latter;-a less explored, but not less magnificent domain.

Fletcher has (p. vii.) inserted the following extract. In the "Second Defence of the People of England," Milton is led in self-defence, he says, "to rescue his life from that species of obscurity which is the associate of unprincipled depravity. He then commences in this strain his too brief autobiography :

"This it will be necessary for me to do on more accounts than one: first, that so many good and learned men among the neighbouring nations, who read my works, may not be induced by this fellow's calumnies to alter the favourable opinion which they have formed of me, but may be persuaded that I am not one who ever disgraced beauty of sentiment by deformity of conduct, or the maxims of a freeman by the actions of a slave; and that the whole tenour of my life has, by the grace of God, hitherto been unsullied by any enormity or crime: next, that those illustrious worthies, who are the objects of my praise, may know that nothing could afflict me with more shame than to have any vices of mine diminish the force or lessen the value of my panegyric upon them; and, lastly, that the people of England, whom fate, or duty, or their own virtues, have incited me to defend, may be convinced from the purity and integrity of my life, that my defence, if it do not redound to their honour, can never be considered as their disgrace.

"I will now mention who and whence I am. I was born at London, of an honest family my father was distinguished by the undeviating integrity of his life; my mother, by the esteem in which she was held, and the alms which she bestowed. My father destined me from a child to the pursuits of literature; and my appetite for knowledge was so voracious, that from twelve years of age I hardly ever left my studies, or went to bed before midnight. This primarily led to my loss of sight: my eyes were naturally weak, and I was subject to frequent headaches; which, however, could not chill the ardour of my curiosity, or retard the progress of my improvement. My father had me daily instructed in the grammar school, and by other masters at home: he then, after I had acquired a proficiency in various languages, and had made a considerable progress in philosophy, sent me to the university of Cambridge. Here I passed seven years in the usual course of instruction and study, with the appro

bation of the good, and without any stain upon my character, till I took the degree of Master of Arts.

"After this I did not, as this miscreant feigns, run away into Italy, but of my own accord retired to my father's house, whither I was accompanied by the regrets of most of the fellows of the college, who showed me no common marks of friendship and esteem. On my father's estate, where he had determined to pass the remainder of his days, I enjoyed an interval of uninterrupted leisure, which I devoted entirely to the perusal of the Greek and Latin classics; though I occasionally visited the metropolis, either for the sake of purchasing books, or of learning something new in mathematics or in music, in which I, at that time, found a source of pleasure and amusement. In this manner I spent five years, till my mother's death: I then became anxious to visit foreign parts, and particularly Italy. My father gave me his permission, and I left home with one servant. On my departure, the celebrated Henry Wotton, who had long been King James's ambassador at Venice, gave me a signal proof of his regard, in an elegant letter which he wrote, breathing not only the warmest friendship, but containing some maxims of conduct which I found very useful in my travels. The noble Thomas Scudamore, King Charles's ambassador, to whom I carried letters of recommendation, received me most courteously at Paris. His lordship gave me a card of introduction to the learned Hugo Grotius, at that time ambassador from the Queen of Sweden to the French court; whose acquaintance I anxiously desired, and to whose house I was accompanied by some of his lordship's friends. A few days after, when I set out for Italy, he gave me letters to the English merchants on my route, that they might show me any civilities in their power.

"Taking ship at Nice, I arrived at Genoa, and afterwards visited Leghorn, Pisa, and Florence. In the latter city, which I have always more particularly esteemed for the elegance of its dialect, its genius and its taste, I stopped about two months; when I contracted an intimacy with many persons of rank and learning, and was a constant attendant at their literary parties; a practice which prevails there, and tends so much to the diffusion of knowledge and the preservation of friendship. No time will ever abolish the agreeable recollections which I cherish of Jacob Gaddi, Carolo Dati, Frescobaldo, Cultellero, Bonomatthai, Clementillo, Francisco, and many others.

"From Florence I went to Sienna, thence to Rome; where, after I had spent about two months in viewing the antiquities of that renowned city, where I experienced the most friendly attentions from Lucas Holstein, and other learned and ingenious men, I continued my route to Naples; there I was introduced by a certain recluse, with whom I had travelled from Rome, to John Baptista Manso, marquis of Villa, a nobleman of distinguished rank and authority, to whom Torquato Tasso, the illustrious poet, inscribed his book on 'Friendship.' During my stay, he gave me singular proofs of his regard; he himself conducted me round the city, and to the palace of the viceroy; and more than once paid me a visit at my lodgings. On my departure he gravely apologized for not having shown me more civility, which he said he had been restrained from doing, because I had spoken with so little reserve on matters of religion.

"When I was preparing to pass over into Sicily and Greece, the melancholy intelligence which I received of the civil commotions in England made me alter my purpose; for I thought it base to be travelling for amusement abroad, while my fellow-citizens were fighting for liberty at home.

"While I was on my way back to Rome, some merchants informed me that the English jesuits had formed a plot against me if I returned to Rome, because I had spoken too freely of religion: for it was a rule which I laid down to myself in those places, never to be the first to begin any conversation on religion; but, if any questions were put to me concerning my faith, to declare it without any reserve or fear. I nevertheless returned to Rome. I took no steps to conceal either my person or my character; and for about the space of two months, I again openly defended, as I had done before, the reformed religion in the very metropolis of popery.

"By the favour of God, I got back to Florence, where I was received with as much affection as if I had returned to my native country. There I stopped as many months as I had done before, except that I made an excursion of a few days to Lucca; and crossing the Apennines, passed through Bologna and Ferrara to Venice.

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