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Ad Salsillum, Poetam Romanum, ægrotantem.*
O MUSA gressum quæ volens trahis claudum,
* Giovanni Salsilli had complimented Milton at Rome in a Latin tetrastich, for his Greek, Latin, and Italian poetry. Milton, in return, sent these elegant Scazontes to Salsilli when indisposed.
1. O Musa gressum quæ volens trahis claudum,] Mr. Bowle here cites Angelinus Gazæus, a Dutch poet, in Pia Hilaria. Antv. 1629. p. 79.
Subclaudicante tibia redi, Scazon.
It is an indispensable rule, which Milton has not here always observed, that the Scazon is to close with a spondee preceded by an iambus.
1. In their Scazons, the Greeks use a spondee in the fifth place,
Virosque, doctæque indolem juventutis.
O dulce divum munus, O Salus, Hebes
23. O dulce dirum munus, &c.] I know not any finer modern Latin lyric poetry, than from this verse to the end. The close which is digressional, but naturally rises from the subject, is perfectly antique.
27. Querceta Fauni, &c.] Faunus was one of the deities brought by Evander into Latium, according to Ovid, Fast. b. v. 99. This is a poetical address to Rome.
28.―mitis Evandri sedes,] The epithet mitis is finely characteristic of Evander.
33. Ipse inter atros emirabitur lucos, &c.] Very near the city of Rome, in the middle of a gloomy grove, is a romantic cavern with
a spring, where Numa is fabled to have received the Roman laws from his wife Egeria, one of Diana's nymphs. The grove was called nemus Aricinum, and sometimes Lucus Egeria et Camanarum, and the spring Fons Egeria. See Ovid's Fast. iii. 275. And when Numa died, Egeria is said to have retired hither, to lament his death. Ovid, Metam. xv. 487.
-Nam conjux, urbe relicta, Vallis Ariciniæ densis latet abdita sylvis, &c.
On these grounds Milton builds the present beautiful fiction. See Montfauc. Diar. Ital. c. xi. P. 152. edit. 1702.
Suam reclinis semper Ægeriam spectans.
38. Nec in sepulchris ibit ob-
This was Horace's inundation of
Joannes Baptista Mansus, Marchio Villensis, vir ingenii laude, tum literarum studio, nec non et bellica virtute,
For the left side, being on a declivity, was soon overflowed. See ibid. v. 15.
Ire dejectum monumenta Regis. * At Naples Milton was introduced to Giovanni Battista Manso, Marquis of Villa. See Prose Works, vol. ii. 332. Milton leaving Naples sent this poem to Manso. He was a nobleman of distinguished rank and fortune, had supported a military character with high reputation, of unblemished morals, a polite scholar, a celebrated writer, and an universal patron. It was among his chief honours, that he had been the friend of Tasso: and this circumstance, above all others, must have made Milton ambitious of his acquaintance. He is not only complimented by
name in the twentieth canto of the Gerusalemme, but Tasso addressed his Dialogue on Friendship to Manso, "Il Manso, ovéro "Dell' Amicitia. Dialogo del
Sig. Torquato Tasso. Al molte "illustre Sig. Giovanni Battista "Manso. In Napoli, 1596.” In quarto. Beside a Dedication expressing the sincerest regard and attachment, five Sonnets from Tasso to Manso are prefixed, and Manso is one of the interlocutors. Manso in return wrote the Life of Tasso, published in 1621. And, as it here seems, of Marino. Hence our author, ver. 18.
Nec satis hoc visum est in utrumque, et nec pia cessant
Officia in tumulo; cupis integros rapere Orco,
Qua potes, atque avidas Parcarum eludere leges: Amborum genus, et varia sub sorte peractam Describis vitam, moresque, et dona Minervæ, &c.
Among Manso's other works, are, " Erocallia, in Ven. 1628." In twelve Dialogues. And "I "Paradossi, 1608," He died in
apud Italos clarus in primis est. Ad quem Torquati Tassi Dialogus extat de Amicitia scriptus; erat enim Tassi amicissimus; ab quo etiam inter Campania principes celebratur, in illo poemate cui titulus GERUSALEMME CONQUISTATA, lib. 20.
Fra cavalier magnanimi, e cortesi,
Is authorem Neapoli commorantem summa benevolentia prosecutus est, multaque ei detulit humanitatis officia. Ad hunc itaque hospes ille antequam ab ea urbe discederet, ut ne ingratum se ostenderet, hoc carmen misit.+
HÆC quoque, Manse, tuæ meditantur carmina laudi Pierides, tibi, Manse, choro notissime Phœbi; Quandoquidem ille alium haud æquo est dignatus
Post Galli cineres, et Mecænatis Hetrusci.
Tu quoque, si nostræ tantum valet aura Camœnæ,
1645, aged 84. See supr. note on Epigr. vii. 1.
+ Wood calls this " an elegant "Latin poem," Ath. Oxon. i. F. 263. This judgment undoubtedly came from Edward Philips, Milton's nephew, through Aubrey the antiquary.
1. Hæc quoque, Manse, tuæ meditantur carmina, &c.] Because he had already been celebrated by many poets. Quadrio says, by more than fifty.
5. See the same verse Ad Pa-trem, 102. 10. ille tuum dici se gaudet alumnum,] Marino cultivated poetry in the academy of the Otiosi, of which Manso was one of the founders. Hither he was sent by the Muse, who was non inscia, not ignorant of his poetical abilities and inclinations, &c. For at first, against his will, his father had put him to the law.
Dum canit Assyrios divum prolixus amores;
11. Dum canit Assyrios divum prolixus amores;] The allusion is to Marino's poem Il Adone, prolix enough if we consider its subject; and in other respects spun out to an unwarrantable length. Marino's poem, called Strage de gli Innocenti, was published in 1633, about four years before Milton visited Italy. To this poem Milton is supposed to have been indebted in Paradise Lost. Mr. Hayley thinks it therefore very remarkable, that our author should not here have mentioned this poem of Marino, as well as his Adone. The observation at first sight is pertinent and just. But it should be remembered, that Milton did not begin his Paradise Lost till many years after this Epistle was written, and therefore such a poem could now be no object. Milton thought it sufficient to characterize Marino by his great and popular work only, omitting his other and less conspicuous performances. See Kippis's Biogr. Brit. iv. p. 341. From what is here said, however, it may be inferred, that Milton could be no stranger to the Strage, and must have seen it at an early period of his life.
16. Vidimus arridentem operoso ex ære poetam.] Marino's monument at Naples, erected by Manso. But the Academy of
the Humoristi are said, in Marino's epitaph, to have been the chief contributors.
Tasso was buried, in 1595, in the church of the monastery of Saint Onufrius at Rome; and his remains were covered, by his own desire, only with a plain stone. Cardinal Cynthio, whom he made his heir, soon afterwards proposed to build a splendid tomb to his memory; but the design never was carried into execution. Manso, to whom he bequeathed only his picture, and to whom he had committed some directions about his funeral, coming from Naples to Rome about 1605, and finding not so much as his name inscribed on the stone under which he was laid, offered to erect a suitable monument, but was not permitted. However, he procured this simple but expressive inscription to be engraved on the stone, Torquati Tassi ossa. At length the monument which now appears, was given by Cardinal Bevilaqua, of an illustrious family of Ferrara.
For a more particular account of the very singular attentions and honours which Marino received from Manso, the reader is referred to the Italian Life of Marino, by F. Ferrari, published at Venice in 1633, 4to. At the end of Marino's Strage de gli