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We too, ourselves, wbat time we seek again
Of thine delight in verse, if so conjoin'd In close affinity, we sympathize In social arts, and kindred studies sweet? Such distribution of himself to us Was Phæbus' choice : thou hast thy gift, and I Mine also ; and between us we receive, Father and son, the whole inspiring god. : No! howsoe'er the semblance thou assume Of hate, thou hatest not the gentle Muse, My Father! for thou never badst me tread The beaten path and broad, that leads right on To opulence, nor didst condemn thy son To the insipid clamours of the bar, To laws voluminous and ill observed ; But, wishing to enrich' me more, to fill My mind with treasure, led'st me far away From city din to deep retreats, to banks And streams Aonian, and, with free consent, Didst place me happy at Apollo's side. I speak not now, on more important themes Intent, of common benefits, and such As nature bids, but of thy larger gifts, My Father! who, when I had open'd once The stores of Roman rhetoric, and learn'd The full-toned language of the eloquent Greeks, Whose lofty music graced the lips of Jove, Thyself didst counsel me to add the flowers · That Gallia boasts,--those too with which the smooth Italian his degenerate speech adorns, That witnesses his mixture with the Goth; And Palestine's prophetic songs divine. To sum the whole, whate'er the heaven contains, The earth beneath it, and the air between, The rivers and the restless deep, may all Prove intellectual gain to me, my wish Concurring with thy will; science herself, All cloud removed, inclines her beauteous head, And offers me the lip, if dull of heart I shrink not, and decline her gracious boon. Go, now, and gather dross, ye sordid minds That covet it: what could my Father more ?,
What more could Jove himself, unless he gave
Improve the fathers of a distaut age. In 1627, Milton wrote his first Latin elegy, addressed to Charles Deodate,* in answer to a letter from Cheshire.
* Charles Deodate, the son of Theodore, was born in 1574 at Geneva, where the family still flourishes. See Galife's • Genealogies des Familles Genevoises.' Theodore came to England, and married a lady of good birth and fortune. In
Milton's Latin epistles are written in the style. of Ovid; but the matter and language not servilely borrowed from him. It seems to me extraordinary that Milton should have taken Ovid for his model. I agree with Warton, that it would have been more probable that he would have taken Lucretius and Virgil, as more congenial to him. His poems • Ad Patrem' and Mansus' I consider much superior, and in a different manner. I cannot agree that “his inherent powers of fancy and invention display themselves” much in the • Elegies. I suspect that the greater part of them might have been by any classical scholar of lively talents, rich in learning, and 1609 he appears to have been physician to Henry, Prince of Wales, and the Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen of Bo. hemia. He was brother of John Deodate, a learned Puritan divine, whose theological works, printed at Geneva, are well known. The family came from Lucca on account of their religion.
The following notice as to the family I am favoured with by one of its members, a learned librarian in the Public Library of Geneva. It is extracted from a letter written by Theodore, the father of Charles Deodate, and dated London, 20th March, 1675.
"Nous avons tenu le premier rang entre les familles nobles et patriciennes de tous tems à Lucques, et en sommes encore en possession ; le père de mon grand-père logea en son palais l'empereur Charles Quinte: il étoit alors gonfalonier; auquel tems mon grand-père nacquit, et l'empereur fût son parrain, et le nomma Charles, et lui donna l'enseigne des diamans, qu'il portait en son col à son départ. Nous avons eu des généreaux d'armées. Le général Diodati conserva Brissac à l'empereur contre l'armée des princes d'Allemagne ; et fût tué d'une volée de canon dans Munich en Bavière. A cette heure nous avons Don Jean Diodati, chévalier de Malthe, grand prieur de Venize, cousin germain de feu mon père,” &c.
practised in conversation. Not so "Ad Patrem' or “Mansus ;' or some of the college exercises. But it is no more than justice to quote Warton's more favourable judgment on the sixth elegy, also addressed to Deodate. He says, “ the transitions and corrections of this elegy are conducted with the skill and address of a master, and form a train of allusions and digressions, productive of fine sentiment and poetry. From a trifling and unimportant circumstance the reader is gradually led to great and lofty imagery."
Of all the elegies, that which pleases me most, and which I consider far the most poetical, and at the same time the most original in its imagery, is the fifth elegy, “In Adventum Veris,' ætatis 20, 1629.
But even here the images have not the raciness and wildness of the descriptions in his English poems. Warton speaks of it as excellent in all the requisites of poetry.
Here Milton says that his poetical genius returns in the spring: in later life, he has said that the autumn was the season of his composition.
The last elegy is, perhaps, the best, next to that upon the Spring. Milton was apt to encumber his poetry with too many learned allusions, which unfitted them for the general readers, who might have taste and sympathy without much technical erudition.
At this period, Milton's mind, though his English poems prove that at times it was grave and deep, yet occasionally showed all the playfulness