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so in Naples, because in my religion I had disdained all disguise*.
Pleasing and honorable as the civilities were that our young countryman received from this Nestor of Italy, he has amply repaid them in a poem, which, to the honor of English gratitude and English genius, we may justly pronounce superior to the com. pliments bestowed on this engaging character by the two celebrated poets, who wrote in his own language, and were peculiarly attached to them.
Of the five sonnets, indeed, that Tasso addressed to his courteous and liberal friend,
* Neapolim perrexi: illic per eremitam quendam, quicum Roma iter feceram, ad Joannem Batistam Mansum, Marchionem Villensem, virum nobilissimum atque gravissimum (ad quem Torquatus Taosus, insignis poeta Italus, de amicitia scripsit) sum introductus; eodemque usus, quamdiu illic fui, sane amicissimo; quiet ipse me per urbis loca et proregis aulum circumduxit, et visendi gratia haud semel ipse ad hospittium venit: discendenti serio excusavit sc, tamebi mullo plura detulisse mihi officia maxime cupiebat, non potuisse ilia in urbe, proptcrca quod nolebam in religione esse tcctior.—I>eiensk> Secunda.
two are very beautiful; but even these are surpassed, both in energy and tenderness, by the following conclusion of a poem, inscribed to Manso, by Milton.
Diis dilecte senex, tc Jupiter sequus oportet
Tandem ubi non tacitae permensus tempora vitas,
Annorumque satur, cineri sua jura relinquam,
Lie mihi lecto madidis astaret ocellis,
Astanti sat erit si dicam sim tibi curse:
Ule meos artus, liventi morte solutos,
Curaret parva componi molliter urna;
Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus,
Nectens aut Paphia myrti aut Parnasside lauri
Fronde comas; at ego secura pace quiescam.
Well may we tbink, O dear to all above,
And O! if spirit fail me not, disperse
Our Saxon plunderers 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 still my friend!"
He, faithful to my dust, with kind concern,
Shall place it gently in a modest urn;
He too, perhaps, shall bid the marble breathe
To honor 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 promis'd recompence 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 illumin'd by celestial day,
And, every cloud from my pure spirit driven,
Joy in the bright beatitude of heaven.
The preceeding verses have various claims to attention; they exhibit a lively picture of the literary project that occupied the mind of Milton at this period; they forcibly prove with what vehemence of desire he panted for poetical immortality, and for the superior rewards of a laborious life, devoted to piety and virtue.
His acquaintance withManso may be regarded as the most fortunate incident of his foreign excursion. Nothing could have a greater tendency to preserve and call forth the seeds of poetic enterprize in the mind of the young traveller, than his familiarity with this eminent and engaging personage, the bosom friend of Tasso; the friend who had cherished that great and afflicted poet under his roof in a season of his mental calamity, had restored his health, re-animated his fancy, and given a religious turn to the latest efforts of his majestic muse. The very life of Tasso, which this noble biographer had written with the copious and minute fidelity of personal knowledge, and with the ardour of affectionate enthusiasm, might be sufficient to give new energy to Milton's early passion for poetical renown: his conversation had, probably, a still greater tendency to produce this effect. Circumstances remote, and apparently of little moment, have often a mar