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Grata fuit, quod nulla tori libata voluptas,
GEMELLE cultu simplici gaudens liber,
Jan. 23. 1646.
Ad JOANNEM ROUSIUM Oxoniensis Academiæ Bibliothecarium.†
De libro Poematum amisso, quem ille sibi denuo mitti postulabat, ut cum aliis nostris in Bibliotheca publica reponeret, Ode.
be a shepherd long. His own native powers often break forth, and cannot bear the assumed disguise.
+ John Rouse, or Russe, Master of Arts, Fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, was elected chief librarian of the Bodleian, May 9, 1620. He died in April, 1652, and was buried in the chapel of his college. He succeeded to Thomas James, the first that held this office from the foundation. In painted glass, in a window of the Provost's Lodgings at Oriel College, are the heads of Sir Thomas Bodley, James, and Rouse, by Van Ling. Hearne says, they were put up by
Munditieque nitens non operosa ; Quam manus attulit
Rouse: they were probably brought from Rouse's apartment to the Provost's Lodgings, when the College was rebuilt about "1640." Hearne, MSS. Coll. xii. p. 13. Rouse's portrait, large as life, a three quarters length, and coeval, is in the Bodleian library. He published an Appendix to James's Bodleian Catalogue, Oxon. 1636. 4to. In 1631, the University printed, "Epistola ad Johannem Ciren"bergium, ob acceptum Syno"dalium Epistolarum Concilii "Basileensis AvtoygaPov, præfixa "variorum carminibus honora"riis in eundem Cirenbergium. "Oxon. 1631." In quarto. Where among the names of the writers in Latin, are Richard Busby of Christ Church, afterwards the celebrated Master of Westminster: Jasper Maine, and Thomas Cartwright, both well known as English poets, and of the same college: and Thomas Masters of New college, author of the famous Greek Ode on the Crucifixion. The Dedication, to Cirenberg, is written by our librarian Rouse. who seems to have conducted the publication. In it he speaks of his Travels, and particularly of his return from Italy through Basil. He has a copy of not inelegant Latin Elegiacs, in the Oxford verses, called Britannia Natalis, Oxon. 1630. 4to. p. 62. Hearne says, that Rouse was intimate with Burton, author of the celebrated book on Melancholie ; and that he furnished Burton with choice books for that work. MSS. Coll. cxli. p. 114.. He lived on terms
of the most intimate friendship with G. J. Vossius; by whom he was highly valued and respected for his learning, and activity in promoting literary undertakings. This appears from Vossius's Epistles to Rouse, viz. Epp 73, 130, 144, 256, 409, 427. See Colomesius's Vossii Epistolæ, Lond. 1690. fol. There is also a long and well-written Epistle from Rouse to Vossius, Ep. 352. ibid. ad calc. p. 241. Degory Wheare, the first Camden Professor, sends his Book De Ratione et Methodo legendi Historias, in 1625, to Rouse, with a Letter inscribed, "Joanni Rousæo litera"tissimo Academico meo." See Wheare Epistolarum Eucharisticarum Fasciculus, Oxon. 1628. 12mo. p. 113. Not only on account of his friendship with Milton, which appears to have subsisted in 1637, but because he retained his librarianship and fellowship through Cromwell's Usurpation, we may suppose Rousé to have been puritanically inclined. See Notes on Sir Henry Wotton's Letter prefixed to Comus, supr. p. 119. However, in 1647, he was expelled from his fellowship; but soon afterwards, making his peace with the Presbyterian Visitors, was restored. Walker's Suff. Cler. p. ii. p. 132. We are told also by Walker, that when the presbyterian officers proceeded to search and pillage Sir Thomas Bodley's chest in the library, they quitted their design, on being told what there was to be found there, "by Rouse the librarian, a con"fiding brother." Ibid. p. i. p. 143.
Wood says, that when Lord Pembroke, Cromwell's Chancellor of the University of Oxford, took his chair in the Convocation house, in 1648, scarcely any of the loyal members attended, but that Rouse was present. Hist. Ant. Univ. Oxon. i. 401. col. 2. See a visionary letter of Dionysia Fitzherbert, of Bristol, to Rouse, Bibl. Bodl. MSS. Which, I find, is printed in Ashmole's Berkshire, iii. 377. Probably Milton might become acquainted with Rouse, when he was incorporated a Master of Arts at Oxford in 1635. Neale says, the Assembly of Divines in 1645, recommended the new version of the Psalms by Mr. Rouse, to be used instead of Sternhold's, which was grown obsolete. Hist. Pur. vol. iii. 315. edit. 1736. But this was Francis Rouse originally of Broadgate Hall, Oxford, one of the Assembly of Divines, the presbyterian Provost of Eton College, and an active instrument in the Calvinistic visitation of Oxford, who was bred in Broadgate Hall, and at his death in 1657, became a liberal benefactor to Pembroke college.
Milton, at Rouse's request, had given his little volume of poems, printed in 1645, to the Bodleian library. But the book being lost, Rouse requested his friend Milton to send another copy. In 1646, another was sent by the author, neatly but plainly bound, munditie nitens non operosa, in which this ode to Rouse, in Milton's own hand-writing, on one sheet of paper, is inserted be
tween the Latin and English Poems. It is the same now marked M. 168. Art. 8vo. In the same library, is another small volume, uniformly bound with that last mentioned, of a few of Milton's prose tracts, the first of which is of Reformation touching Church Discipline, printed for T. Underhill, 1641. 4to. Marked F. 56. Th. In the first blank leaf, in Milton's own hand-writing, is this inscription, never before printed. "Doctissimo viro pro"boque librorum æstimatori Jo"hanni Rousio, Oxoniensis Aca"demiæ Bibliothecario, gratum "sibi hoc fore testanti, Joannes "Miltonus opuscula hæc sua, in "Bibliothecam antiquissimam at
que celeberrimam adsciscenda, "libens tradit: tanquam in me"moriæ perpetuæ famam, eme
ritamque, uti sperat, invidiæ "calumniæque vacationem, si "veritati bonoque simul eventui "satis sit litatum. Sunt autem "De Reformatione Angliæ, lib. "2.-De Episcopatu Prælatico, "lib. 1.-De ratione Politiæ Ec"clesiasticæ, lib. 1.--Animad"versiones in Remonstrantis De"fensionem, lib. 1.-Apologia, "lib. 1.-Doctrina et disciplina
Divortii, lib. 2.-Judicium Bu"ceri de Divortio, lib. 1.-Co"lasterion, lib. 1.-Scripturæ lo
ca de Divortio, instar lib. 4.— "Areopagitica, sive de libertate
Typographiæ oratio.--De E"ducatione Ingenuorum episto"la. [Tractate of Education to "Hartlib.] Poemata Latina, et
Anglicana seorsim." About the year 1720, these two volumes, with other small books, were
Dum vagus Ausonias nunc per umbras,
Indulsit patrio, mox itidem pectine Daunio
Vicinis, et humum vix tetigit pede :
Quis te, parve liber, quis te fratribus
Cum tu missus ab urbe,
hastily, perhaps contemptuously, thrown aside as duplicates, either real or pretended: and Mr. Nathaniel Crynes, an esquire beadle, and a diligent collector of scarce English books, was permitted, on the promise of some future valuable bequests to the library, to pick out of the heap what he pleased. But he, having luckily many more grains of party prejudice than of taste, could not think any thing worth having that bore the name of the republican Milton; and therefore these two curiosities, which would be invaluable in a modern auction, were fortunately suffered to remain in the library, and were soon afterwards honourably restored to their original places.
1. Gemelle cultu simplici gaudens liber, Fronde licet gemina, &c.] By Fronde gemina we are to understand, metaphorically, the two-fold leaf, the Poems both English and Latin, of which the
volume consisted. So the Bodleian manuscript: and printed copies: but fronte is perhaps a better reading. This volume of Poems, 1645, has a double front or title-page; both separate and detached from each other, the one, at the beginning, prefixed to the Latin, and the other, about the middle, to the English poems. Under either reading, the volume is liber gemellus, a double book, as consisting of two distinct parts, yet cultu simplici, under the form and appearance, the habit, of a single book.
9. Insons populi,] Guiltless as yet of engaging in the popular disputes of these turbulent times.
10. —mox itidem pectine Daunio] His Italian Sonnets.
16. Docto jugiter obsecrante amico,] Hence it appears, that Rouse had importuned Milton to give the volume that was lost to the library. I suppose it was presented immediately on its publication in 1645.
Thamesis ad incunabula
Aonidum, thyasusque sacer
Modo quis deus, aut editus deo,
18. Thamesis ad incunabula] The Thames, or Isis, rises not very many miles west of Oxford about Cricklade in Gloucestershire. Unless he means the junction of Tame and Isis, fancifully supposed to produce Thamesis, at Dorchester near Oxford.
29. Tollat nefandos civium tumultus, &c.] I fear Milton is here complaining of evils, which his own principles contributed either to produce or promote. But his illustrations are so beautiful, that we forget his politics in his poetry.
In reflecting, however, on those evils, I cannot entirely impute their origin to a growing spirit