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I più profondi arcani
JOANNI MILTONI LONDINENSI :-
Juveni patria virtutibus eximio ;
Polyglotto, in cujus ore linguæ jam deperditæ sic reviviscunt, ut idiomata omnia
Illi, cujus animi dotes corporisque sensus ad admirationem commovent, et per
Cui in memoria totus orbis ; in intellectu sapientia ; in voluntate ardor gloriæ ;
Exquirenti, restauranti, percurrenti:
At cur nilor in arduum?
Tanto homini servus, tantæ virtutis amator.
* In the edition 1645, it stood “ vastitate."
PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS ON THE I
Milton is said to be the first Englishman, who, after the rest wrote Latin verses with classic elegance : but we must at least e hendecasyllables and epigrams of Leland, one of our first literar this hasty determination.
In the Elegies, Ovid was professedly Milton's model for langu tion: they are not, however, a perpetual and uniform tissue of Ov With Ovid in view, he has an original manner and character exhibit a remarkable perspicuity of contexture, a native facility a does his observation of Roman models oppress or destroy our gre powers of invention and sentiment: I value these pieces as mu and genius, as for their style and expression.
That Ovid among the Latin poets was Milton's favourite, appe his elegiac, but his hexametric poetry. The versification of our au has yet a different structure from that of the “ Metamorphoses :" clear, intelligible, and flowing ; less desultory, less familiar, and with a frequent recurrence of periods. Ovid is at once rapid and dignity: he has too much conversation in his manner of telling a of paragraph, and length of sentence, are peculiar to Milton : thi in some of his exordial invocations in the “ Paradise Lost," ar religious addresses of a like cast in the Prose Works, but in his to be wished that, in his Latin compositions of all sorts, he had be to the simplicity of Lucretius, Virgil, and Tibullus.
Dr. Johnson, unjustly I think, prefers the Latin poetry of M that of Milton, and thinks May to be the first of the three. ) sonorous versifier, and was sufficiently accomplished in poetica the continuation of Lucan's “ Pharsalia :" but May is scarcely ai his skill is in parody; and he was confined to the peculiarities which, it may be presumed, he thought excellent. As to Cowle with Milton, the same critic observes, “ Milton is generally cont thoughts of the ancients in their language : Cowley, without muel elegance, accommodates the diction of Rome to his own conception seems to lie on the side of Cowley." But what are these conceptio conceits ; all the unnatural extravagances of his English poetry bear to be clothed in the Latin language, much less are capable degree of pure Latinity.
Milton's Latin poems may be justly considered as legitimate tions, and are never disgraced with such language and such in Latinity, dictated by an irregular and unrestrained imagination, p diction half Latin and half English. It is not so much that knowledge of the Latin style but that he suffered that knowledge and corrupted by false and extravagant thoughts. Milton was scholar than Cowley, and his mind was more deeply tinctured wil of ancient literature: he was a more just thinker, and therefore a in a word he had more taste, and more poetry, and consequenti If a fondness for the Italian writers has sometimes infected his Ei false ornaments ; his Latin verses, both in diction and sentiment, from those depravations.
Some of Milton's Latin poems were written in his first year at he was only seventeen : they must be allowed to be very correct formances for a youth of that age ; and, considered in that view, extraordinary copiousness and command of ancient fable and his but add, that Gray resembles Milton in many instances : among youth they were both strongly attached to the cultivation of T. WARTON.
AD CAROLUM DEODATUM a.
Pertulit, et voces nuncia charta tuas :
Vergivium prono qua petit amne saluin.
Pectus amans nostri, tamque fidele caput,
Debet, at unde brevi reddere jussa velit.
Meque nec invitum patria dulcis habet.
Nec dudum vetiti me laris angit amor.
Quam male Phæbicolis convenit ille locus !
Cæteraque ingenio non subeunda meo.
Et vacuum curis otia grata sequi,
Lætus et exilii conditione fruor.
. Charles Deodate was one of Milton's most intimate friends : he was an excellent scholar, and practised physic in Cheshire. He was educated with our author at St. Paul's school, and from thence was sent to Trinity college, Oxford, where he was entered February 7, 1621, at thirteen years of age. He was a fellow-collegian there with Alexander Gill, another of Milton's intimate friends, who was successively usher and master of St. Paul's school. Deodate bas a copy of Alcaics extant in an Oxford collection on the death of Camden, called “ Camdeni Insignia." He left the college, when he was a gentlemancommoner, in 1628, baving taken the degree of master of arts. Toland says, that he had in his possession two Greek letters, very well written, from Deodate to Milton. Two of Milton's familiar Latin letters, in the utmost freedom of friendship, are to Deodate: both dated from London, 1637. But the best, certainly the most pleasing evidences of their intimacy, and of Deodate's admirable character, are our author's first and sixth Elegies, the fourth Sonnet, and the “ Epitaphium Damonis :' and it is highly probable, that Deodate is the “ simple shepherd lad," in " Comus," who is skilled in plants, and loved to hear Thyrsis sing, v. 619. seq. He died in the year 1638. This Elegy was written about the year 1627, in answer to a letter out of Cheshire from Deodate.— T. Warton.
b Vergivium. The Irish Sea.-T. WARTON.
cMe tenet urbs reflua quam Thamesis alluit unda. To have pointed out London, by only calling it the city washed by the Thames, would have been a general and a trite allusion : but this allusion being combined with the peculiar circumstance of the reflux of the tide, becomes new, poetical, and appropriate. The adjective reflua is at once descriptive and distinctive. Ovid has " refluum mare," “Metam." vii. 267.-T. WARTON.
0, utinam vates nunquam graviora tulisset
Ille Tomitano flebilis exul agro;
Neve foret victo laus tibi prima, Maro.
Et totum rapiunt me, mea vita, libri :
Et vocat ad plausus garrula scena suos.
Seu procus, aut posita casside miles adest,
Detonat inculto barbara verba foro e;
Et nasum rigidi fallit ubique patris ;
Quid sit amor nescit ; dum quoque nescit, amat.
Quassat, et effusis crinibus ora rotat,
Interdum et lacrymis dulcis amaror inest :
Gaudia, et abrupto flendus amore cadit;
Conscia funereo pectora torre movens':
Aut luit incestos aula Creontis avos.
Irrita nec nobis tempora veris eunt.
Atque suburbani nobilis umbra loci.
Virgineos videas præteriisse choros.
Quæ possit senium vel reparare Jovis !
Excipit hinc fessum sinuosi pompa theatri, &c.
e sive decennali fæcundus lite patronus
Detonat inculto barbara verba foro. He probably means the play of “ Ignoramus.”—T. Warton.
i By the youth in the first couplet, he perhaps intends Shakspeare's “I second, either “Hamlet,” or “ Richard III.” He then draws his illust ancient tragedians. The allusions, however, to Shakspeare's incidents correspond. In the first instance, Romeo was not torn from joys “puer” and “ abrupto amore” are much in point. The allusions are I from memory, or not intended to tally minutely.-T. Warton.
& Atque suburbani nobilis umbra loci. Some country-house of Milton's father very near London is here intom bave now no notices.-T. WARTON.
Collaque bis vivi Pelopis quæ brachia vincant,
Quæque fluit puro nectare tincta via !
Aurea quæ fallax retia tendit Amor!
Purpura, et ipse tui floris, Adoni, rubor!
Et quæcunque vagum cepit amica Jovem.
Et quot Susa colunt, Memnoniamque Ninonh;
Et vos, Iliacæ, Romuleæque nurus:
Jactet, et Ausoniis plena theatra stolis.
Extera, sat tibi sit, fæmina, posse sequi.
Turrigerum late conspicienda caput,
Quicquid formosi pendulus orbis habet.
Endymioneæ turba ministra deæ,
Per medias radiant turba videnda vias.
Alma pharetrigero milite cincta Venus;
Huic Paphon, et roseam post habitura Cypron.
Mænia quam subito linquere fausta paro;
Atria, divini Molyos usus ope.
Atque iterum raucæ murmur adire scholæ.
Paucaque in alternos verba coacta modos.
Et quot Susa colunt, Memnoniamque Ninon.
Xerxes marched from this city, to enslave Greece. It is now called Souster. Ninos is a city of Assyria, built by Ninus : Memnon, a hero of the Iliad, had a palace there, and was the builder of Susa. Milton is alluding to oriental beauty. In the next couplet, he challenges the ladies of ancient Greece, Troy, and Rome. — T. Warton.
| Nec Pompeianas Tarpëia Musa, &c. The poet has a retrospect to a long passage in Ovid, who is here called “ Tarpëia Musa," either because he had a house adjoining to the Capitol, or by way of distinction, that he was the Tarpeian, the general Roman Muse.—T. Warton.
The learned Lord Monboddo pronounces this Elegy to be equal to anything of the elegiac kind, to be found in Ovid, or even in Tibullus."-T.WARTON.