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The World in the shape of a man, exulting in his own finery.
Scene 5. Eve and the World He calls forth a rich palace from the ground, and tempts Eve with splendor.
Scene 6. Chorus of Nymphs, Eve, the World, and Adam..He exhorts Eve to resist these allurements-the World call the demons from hell to enchain his victims-Eve prays for mercy :
Adam encourages her.
SCENE 7. Lucifer, Death, chorus of Demons.They prepare to seize Adam and Eve.
SCENE 8. The archangel Michael, with a cho. rus of good Angels. After a spirited altercation, Michael subdues and triumphs over Lucifer.
Scene 9. Adam, Eve, chorus of Angels. They Tejoice in the vi&tory of Michael : he animates the offenders with a promise of favour from God, and future residence in heaven :they express their hope and gratitude. The Angels close the drama, -by finging the praise of the Redeemer.
After this minute account of Andreini's plan, the reader may be curious to see some specimens of his poetry in an English version. I fhall select three: First, the chorus of angels, which serves as a prologue to the drama, and has been fo ludicrously described by Voltaire ; fecondly, the foliloquy of Lucifer on his first appearance; and, thirdly, the scene in which Eve induces Adam to taste the fruit. I shall prefix to them the preface of Andreini; but as these specimens of his composition
might seem tedious here, and too much interrupt the course of this Essay, I shall detach them from it, and insert them as an Appendix.
The majesty of Milton appears to the utmost advantage when he is fully compared with every writer, whose poetical powers have been exercised on the subject, to which only his genius was equal.
Let me observe, however, for the credit of Andreini, that although he has been contemptuously called a stroller, he had some tin&ture of classical learning, and considerable piety. He occasionally imitates Virgil, and quotes the fathers. He was born in Florence, 1578; his mother was an actress, highly celebrated for the excellence of her talents, and the purity of her life; the appeared also as an authoress, and printed a volume of letters and effays, to which two great poets of her country, Tasso and Marini, contributed each a sonnet. Her memory was celebrated by her son, who published, at her death, a collection of poems in her praise. Having distinguished himself as a comedian at Milan, he travelled into France, in the train of the famous Mary de Medici, and obtained, as an actor, the favour of Lewis XIIIth. The biographical work of Count Mazzuchelli on the writers of Italy, includes an account of Andreini, with a list of his various productions; they amount to the number of thirty, and form a fingular medley of comedies and devout poems. His Adamo alone seems likely to preserve his name from oblivion; and that indeed can never cease to be regarded as a literary curiosity, while it
is believed to have given a fortunate impulse to the fancy of Milton.
If it is highly probable, as I think it will appear to every poetical reader, who peruses the Adamo, that Andreini turned the thoughts of Milton from Alfred to Adam, and led him to sketch the first outļines of Paradise Lost in various plans of allegorical dramas, it is possible that an Italian writer, less known than Andreini, first threw into the mind of Milton the idea of converting Adam into an epic personage. I have now before me a literary curiofity, which my accomplished friend, Mr. Walker, to whom the literature of Ireland has many obli. gations, very kindly sent me, on his return from an excursion to Italy, where it happened to strike a traveller, whose mind is peculiarly awakened to elegant pursuits. The book I am speaking of is entitled La Scena Tragica d’Adamo ed Eva, Estratta dalli primi tre capi della Sacra Genesi, e ridotta a significato Morale da Troilo Lancetta, Benacense. Venetia 1644. This little work is dedicated to Maria Gonzaga, Dutchess of Mantua, and is nothing more than a drama in prose, of the ancient form, entitled a morality, on the expulsion of our first parents from Paradise. The author does not mention Andreini, nor has he any mixture of verse in his composition; but, in his address to the reader, he has the following very remarkable paffage: after suggesting that the Mosaic history of Adam and Eve is purely allegorical, and designed as an incentive to virtue, he says, “ Una notte fognai, che
6 Moisè mi porse gratiosa espositione, e misterioso
significato con parole tali apunto :
“ Dio fà parte all' huom di se stesso con l'intera “ vento della ragione, e dispone con infallibile “ sentenza, che fignoreggiando in lui la medesma “ sopra le sensuali voglie, preservato il pomo del
proprio core dalli appetiti disordinati, per gui
derdone di giusta obbedienza li trasforma il “ mondo in Paradiso.—Di questo s'io parlasli, al “ sicuro formarei heroico poema convenevole a < semidei.”
“ One night I dreamt that Mofes explained to me the mystery, almost in these words :
“ God reveals himself to man by the intervention “ of reason, and thus infallibly ordains that reason, us while she supports her sovereignty over the sen“ sual inclinations in man, and preserves the apple “ of his heart from licentious appetites, in reward “ of his just obedience transforms the world into “ Paradise.Of this were I to speak, assuredly “ I might-form an heroic poem worthy of demi
It strikes me as possible that these last words, asfigned to Moses in his vision by Troilo Lancetta might operate on the mind of Milton like the queltion of Ellwood, and prove, in his prolific fancy, a kind of rich graft on the idea he derived from Ana dreini, and the germ of his greatest production.
A sceptical critic, inclined to discountenance this conjecture, might indeed observe, it is more probable that Milton never saw a little volume not published until after his return from Italy, and written by
an author fo obscure, that his name does not occur in Tiraboschi's elaborate history of Italian literature; nor in the patient Italian chronicler of poets, Quadrio, though he bestows a chapter on early dramatic compositions in profe. But the mind, that has once started a conje&ure of this nature, must be weak indeed, if it cannot produce new shadows of argument in aid of a favourite hypothesis. Let me therefore be allowed to advance, as a presumptive proof of Milton's having seen the work of Lancetta, that he makes a similar use of Moses, and introduces him to speak a prologue in the sketch his various plans for an allegorical drama. It is indeed poslible that Milton might never see the performances either of Lancetta or Andreini-yet conjecture has ground enough to conclude very fairly, that he was acquainted with both; for Andreini wrote a long allegorical drama on Paradise, and we know that the fancy of Milton first began to play with the subject according to that peculiar form of composition.--Lancetta treated it also in the shape of a dramatic allegory; but said, at the same time, under the character of Moses, that the subject might form an incomparable epic poem; and Milton, quitting his own hafty sketches of allegorical dramas, accomplished a work which answers to that intimation.
After all, I allow that the province of conjecture is the region of fhadows; and as I offer my
ideas on this topic rather as phantoms that may
amuse a lover of poetical speculation, than as folid proofs to determine a cause of great moment, I am persuaded