« AnteriorContinuar »
Cernis, quas merui dura sub casside rugas, Utque senex armis impiger ora tero:
pranks of Christina had neither elegance nor even decency to deserve so candid an appellation. An ample and lively picture of her court, politics, religion, intrigues, rambles, and masquerades, is to be gathered from Thurloe's State Papers. She had all the failings of her own sex, without any of the virtues of the sex she affected to imitate. She abdicated her kingdom in 1654. So that this Epigram could not have been written after that time. It was sent to the queen with Cromwell's picture, on which it was inscribed. It is supposed to be spoken by the portrait.
Doctor Newton, whose opinion is weighty, ascribes these lines to Milton, as coinciding with his department of Latin Secretary to Cromwell. See also Birch's Life of Milton, p. lxii. Toland, by whom they were first printed, from common report, indecisively gives them either to Milton or to Andrew Marvell. Life, p. 38. Prose Works, vol. i. p. 38. Tol. I suspect, that Milton's habit of facility in elegiac Latinity had long ago ceased: and I am inclined to attribute them to Marvell, so good a scholar, as to be thought a fit assistant to Milton in the Latin Secretaryship, and who, as Wood says, was "C very intimate and conversant "with that person." Ath. Oxon. ii. 818. Again, he calls Marvell, "sometimes one of John Milton's companions." Ibid. p. 817. And he adds, that Marvell was "cried up as the main wit"monger surviving to the fana"tical party." In other words,
Marvell satirised the dissipations and profligate amours of Charles the Second with much wit and freedom.
I must however observe, that this Epigram appears in Marvell's Miscellaneous Poems, fol. Lond. 1681. p. 134. Where it follows other Latin poems of the same class and subject: and is immediately preceded by a Latin distich, entitled, In Effigiem Oliveri Cromwelli, " Hæc est quæ "toties, &c." Then comes this Epigram there intitled " In ean"dem [effigiem] reginæ Sueciæ "transmissam." Where the second distich is thus printed,
Cernis quas merui dura sub casside rugas,
Sicque senex armis impiger ora fero.
And in To the Reader, these poems are said by his pretended wife, Mary, to be " printed according to the exact copies of my late dear husband, under "his own hand-writing, &c." I think we may therefore fairly give them to Marvell. But see Marvell's Works, Lond. 4to. 1766. vol. iii. p. 489.
Of Marvell's respect and friendship for Milton some proofs appear, among other anecdotes of Milton and his friends not generally known, in the Second Part of Marvell's Rehearsall Transprosed. Lond. 1673. 8vo. This book is an attack on Dr. Samuel Parker, famous for his tergiversation with the times, now an antipuritan in the extreme, and who died Bishop of Oxford, and King James's popish president of Magdalen College, Oxford. See
Invia fatorum dum per vestigia nitor, Exequor et populi fortia jussa manu.
p. 377. He reproaches Parker, for having in his Reproof, and his Transproser Rehearsed," run upon an author John Milton, "which doth not a little offend "me." He says, that by accident he never saw Milton for two years before he wrote the First Part of his Rehearsall, which Parker had attributed to Milton. "But after I undertook writing "it, I did more carefully avoid "either visiting or sending to "him, lest I should any way "involve him in my consequences. Had he took you in "hand, you would have had "cause to repent the occasion, "and not escaped so easily as "you did under my Transprosal. 66 -John Milton was and is, a
man of as great learning and "sharpness of wit as any man. "It was his misfortune, living "in a tumultuous time, to be "tossed on the wrong side; and "he writ flagrante bello, certain dangerous treatises.-At his majesty's happy return, John "Milton did partake, as you "yourself did, for all your huf"fing, of his royal clemency, "and has ever since expiated "himself in a retired silence. It "was after that, I well remem"ber it, that being one day at "his house, I there first met you, and accidentally.-Then "it was, when you, as I told you, wandered up and down "Moorfields, astrologizing upon "the duration of his majesty's government, that you frequented John Milton incessantly, and haunted his house "day by day. What discourses
you there used, he is too generous to remember. But he "never having in the least pro"voked you, for you to insult "thus over his old age, to tra"duce him by your scaramuc"cios, and in your own person, "as a schoolmaster, who was "born and hath lived more in"genuously and liberally than
yourself; to have done all "this, and lay at last my simple "book to his charge, without "ever taking care to inform
yourself better, which you had "so easy an opportunity to do: "it is inhumanly and inhos"pitably done; and will, I hope,
be a warning to all others, as "it is to me, to avoid (I will not
say) such a Judas, but a man "that creeps into all companies, "to jeer, trepan, and betray "them." The First Part of this Rehearsall was published 1672. This was in answer to a Preface written by Parker to Bishop Bramhall's Vindication of Himself, &c. Lond. 1672. 8vo. Reprinted by itself the next year. Parker replied in A Reproof, &c. Lond. 1673. Marvell answered in a Second Part of the Rehearsall Transprosed, cited above.
And here it must be remarked, that Marvell was mistaken in supposing the Transproser Rehearsed, in which most of this abuse of Milton appears, to be written by Parker: it was written by R. Leigh, formerly of Queen's College Oxford, but now a player, Oxon. 1673. 12mo. In which the writer styles Milton the blind author of Paradise Lost, and talks of his groping for a
Ast tibi submittit frontem reverentior umbra : Nec sunt hi vultus regibus usque truces.
beam of light, in the Apostrophe Hail, holy light, &c. p. 41. In another place, Milton is called a schismatick in poetry, because he writes in blank-verse, p. 43. See also p. 126. seq. He is traduced as a Latin Secretary and an English Schoolmaster, p. 128. Other scurrilities follow for several pages, too gross and ob
scene to be recited. I must not forget, that in the Reproof, really written by Parker, Milton is called "a friend of ours." p. 125.
Marvell was appointed as sistant secretary to Milton in 1657. See Sec. P. Rehears. Transpros. ut supr. p. 127, 128. And Christina ceased to be queen of Sweden in 1654. At least therefore, when these lines were written, Marvell was not associated with Milton in the secretaryship.
I must add, that neither Marvell nor Milton lived to read the abuse which Parker bestowed on both of them, in his posthumous Commentarii sui temporis, Lond. 1727. 8vo. I will translate a small part only. He is speaking of the pamphleteers against the royal party at Cromwell's accession. Among these calum"niators was a rascal, one Mar"vell. As he had spent his "youth in debauchery, so from "natural petulance, he became "the tool of faction in the "quality of satyrist. Yet with
more scurrility than wit, and "with a mediocrity of talents, "but not of ill-nature. Turned "out of doors by his father,
"expelled the university, a vagabond, a ragged and hungry poetaster, kicked and cudg "elled in every tavern, he was "daily chastised for his impu"dence. At length he was made "under-secretary to Cromwell, "by the procuration of Milton, "to whom he was a very ac
ceptable character, on account "of a similar malevolence of "disposition, &c." B. iv. p. 275. This passage was perhaps written about the year 1680. Paradise Lost had now been published thirteen years, and its excellencies must have been fully estimated and sufficiently known; yet in such terms of contempt, or rather neglect, was its author now described, by a popular writer, certainly a man of learning, and very soon afterwards a bishop. See Life of Bathurst.
To recur to the text, which perhaps has been long ago forgot. Milton, has a prolix and most splendid panegyric on queen Christina, dictated by the supposition that she dismissed Salmasius from her court on account of his Defence of the King. See Milton's Prose Works, ii. p. 329.
What ground Mr. Warton had for his suspicion, that "Milton's "habit of facility in elegiac La"tinity had long ago ceased," he does not specify, nor is it easy to conjecture. I should not willingly persuade myself that our author could soon lose any faculty which he had acquired. Besides these verses must have been written before 1654, and
only nine years before that, when he published a collection of his Latin and English poems in 1645, he had added to his seventh Elegy ten lines, which sufficiently shew that he then perfectly retained his Elegiac Latinity. It was also an employment which, we may well suppose, he was fond of, as at this time he certainly thought highly of Christina. He was indeed rather unfortunate in his selection of a favourite from among the crowned heads of his time; but he saw only the bright side of Christina's character, and considered her as a learned, pious,
In obitum Procancellarii, medici.*
Anno Etatis 17.
PARERE fati discite legibus,
Manusque Parcæ jam date supplices, Qui pendulum telluris orbem
Iäpeti colitis nepotes.
Vos si relicto mors vaga Tænaro
Si destinatam pellere dextera
Nessi venenatus cruore,
*This Ode is on the death of Doctor John Goslyn, Master of Caius College, and King's Professor of Medicine at Cambridge; who died while a second time Vice-Chancellor of that University, in October, 1626. See Fuller's Hist. Cambr. p. 164. Milton was now seventeen. But he is here called sixteen in the editions of 1645 and 1673.
I am favoured in a letter from Doctor Farmer with these informations. "I find in Baker's "MSS. vol. xxviii. Chargis of "buryall and funeral of my bro
"ther Doctor Gostlin, who de- On this fable of Hercules, our