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Anno ætatis undevigesimo.

(Editions of 1645 and 1673.)

This Elegy, which is the last of any length in the Book, and the last to which Milton attached a number, is out of its proper chronological place. "Anno ætatis undevigesimo" ("in his nineteenth year") is the dating; and, as Milton here uses the numeral adjective, and not, as in other cases, the Arabic figures for the number, it is perhaps to be understood exactly—i.e. as implying that the Elegy was written between Dec. 9, 1626, and Dec. 9, 1627. Possibly, however, even with the use of the numeral adjective, Milton gives himself the benefit of a year, and means “at nineteen years of age," or between Dec. 9, 1627, and Dec. 9, 1628. In either case the precise month is fixed by the Elegy itself as May. The date therefore is either May 1627 or May 1628. Either way the Elegy ought to have come before the two that precede it in the present arrangement. A reason, however, may be detected for its being placed last in the series of numbered pieces.

The Elegy is more decidedly and thoroughly a love-poem than any of the others. In the First Elegy, Ad Carolum Diodatum, there is a gallant mention of the London beauties to be seen in the parks and public gardens; and in a part of the Fifth, In Adventum Veris, there is a poetical recognition of Cupid's activity as one of the phenomena of Spring. But the present Elegy is a love-confession throughout, and quite precise and personal. In reading it we are reminded of the myth which tells how, as young Milton one day lay asleep under a tree, a foreign lady passing the spot was so struck with his beauty that she wrote some Italian lines in pencil and placed them in his hand, the perusal of which, when he awoke, begot in him such a passion for the fair unknown that he sought her afterwards through the world as his Lost Paradise. Not that the Elegy gives any authenticity to the myth; which, in fact, does not belong to Milton's life alone, but occurs in the lives of other poets. But the Elegy tells a story of a casual encounter with a lovely fair one which did

actually befall Milton, not while he was asleep, but when he was wide awake, and not in a wood, but in some public place in London. It was May time, we are told, and Cupid had sworn to be revenged on Milton for his contempt of love and his boasts of being heart-whole. Fifty lines are taken up in telling this and describing the little love-god and his threats. Then, at line 51, the real story begins. Forgetting all about the love-god, he takes his walks, as usual, now in those parts of the town where the citizens promenade (qua nostri spatiantur in urbe Quirites is the phrase, and the last word seems to imply London, rather than Cambridge), and now in the neighbouring country, with its hamlets and villas. He observes, in the streets more especially, the crowd of beauties, perfect goddesses, that pass and repass. He indulges in the sight, as often before, pleased, but little thinking what was to come of it this time. For alas! one fair one, supereminent above all, caught his glance, and the wound was fatal. It was but the sight of a moment, for she was gone, never again to be seen on earth; but her face and her form were to remain with him a vision for ever. No longer now is he heart-whole, for he goes about sweetly miserable. Cupid has had his revenge, and he acknowledges now that little god's power. Oh, if ever he and such a fair one should meet again, might one arrow transfix both their hearts!

A peculiar circumstance about this Elegy is that it is followed. by a Postscript. For the ten lines, beginning "Hæc ego" and ending "ipsa Venus," which I have caused to be printed in italics in the present edition, are not, as might be supposed, an epilogue to the whole series of Seven Elegies preceding them. This might be supposed, at first sight, from the fact that in Milton's ow editions there is a black line or score across the page, separating the ten lines in question from the end of the Seventh Elegy; and the supposition is almost forced on the reader by the practice of most modern editors. They not only retain the score, but they detach into a separate Book, under the name of Epigrams, the few short pieces of an epigrammatic kind which followed the ten lines in Milton's editions as still belonging to the Elegiarum Liber. This makes the Elegiarum Liber consist of the seven numbered Elegies, and causes the ten unheaded lines at the end

of the Seventh to come at the close of the Book and seem like a winding-up of the whole. But, as we have said (antè, p. 322), though Milton gives prominence to the first seven pieces of the Book of Elegies by numbering them, he does not, in his own editions, end the Book with the Seventh Elegy. He adds the scraps of Epigram in elegiac verse, and only at the end of these scraps does he finish the Book by appending the words "Elegiarum Finis." This diminishes the probability that the Ten Lines are meant as an Epilogue to the whole series of the numbered Elegies, and makes it likelier that they are a Postscript only to the Seventh Elegy, the last of the numbered ones. And the meaning of the lines themselves turns the likelihood, I think, into a certainty. Let us translate them rather literally. "Such vain "trophies of my idleness did I long ago set up in silly mood and "with careless pains. It was at a time, be sure, when unfortunate

error held me in its whirl, and my indocile age was a bad "mistress, until the shady Academy (by Academia Milton here means not the University, but Plato's philosophy) opened its "Socratic streams to me, and untaught the yoke to which I "had submitted. From that time forward, flames having been "extinguished in us, our breast is stiff with accumulated ice; "whence the Boy himself fears freezing for his arrows, and Venus "herself dreads our Diomedean force." Now, in no mood of sternness in later life could this conclusion be applicable to all the seven numbered Elegies, or to most of them. There were some of them of which, juvenile though they were, he could still approve in his manhood. But, in 1645, when he looked over those pieces before giving them to the printer for Moseley's volume, that loveconfession of the Seventh Elegy delayed him. He thought it maudlin perhaps he remembered the exact incident and its circumstantials with half a blush. Ought he to print the thing? His hesitation to do so accounts perhaps for its coming out of its proper chronological place; but at last he lets it go, only adding the Postscript of recantation. That Postscript, therefore, has to be dated 1645, or eighteen years after the Elegy to which it is attached. Yet, though attached specially to that Flegy, it separates conveniently the seven numbered Elegies from the scraps of Epigram that follow in the same Book.

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"IN PRODITIONEM BOMBARDICAM and IN INVENTOREM BOMBARDE" (editions of 1645 and 1673).-The anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot seems to have been a regular occasion for versifying in Schools and Colleges. Among the Sylve there is a long poem in Hexameters by Milton on this subject, entitled In Quintum Novembris; and the four little pieces on the same subject among the Elegies may have been Milton's easier tributes to University custom on some one, or on several, of the Fifths of November of his Cambridge undergraduateship. They express rather wittily the popular Protestant horror of Guy Fawkes and his attempt. The fifth piece, not on the Gunpowder Treason, but on the Inventor of Gunpowder, is but a variation of the general theme; and the five together may be called the Gunpowder Group.


'AD LEONORAM ROMÆ CANENTEM" (editions of 1645 and 1673).—These three pieces must have been written at Rome in one or other of Milton's two terms of residence in that city during his Italian tour. His first visit, in October and November 1638, is the more likely time. An incident of that visit, recorded by Milton himself in one of his Familiar Epistles (Luca Holstenio, Romæ, in Vaticano), was his presence at a magnificent musical entertainment given by Cardinal Francesco Barberini in his palace. All the élite of Rome were present at this concert; but the courteous cardinal, receiving the crowding guests at the doors, had singled out the English stranger, and welcomed him with special attention. To Milton, with his love of music, this concert may have been an unusual pleasure, especially if it was there that he heard the singer Leonora to whom the present pieces are addressed. There or elsewhere in Rome he did hear that paragon of voices. For, throughout the world, or at all events the musical and Italian world, there was no singer then so renowned as Leonora Baroni. There is an article on her in Bayle's Dictionary, the substance of which, apart from minuter information in the notes, runs thus: " 'BARONI, LEONORA, an “Italian lady, one of the finest voices of the world, flourished in "the seventeenth century. She was the daughter of the beautiful

“ADRIANA, a Mantuan, and was so admired that an infinity of “beaux esprits made verses in her praise. There is a volume of "excellent pieces, in Latin, Greek, French, Italian, and Spanish, “printed at Rome under the title of ‘Applausi Poetici alle glorie "della Signora Leonora Baroni.'" I have tried, in vain, to see this volume mentioned by Bayle, thinking it just possible that Milton's three pieces in Leonora's praise might be included in it. But, indeed, there are scattered testimonies to her divine singing in various books of her time, and Milton's pieces may not be in the volume of Applausi. Certainly she had no greater admirer than he, and his praises of her are thoroughly in earnest. One notices a tone of respect in them too, which accords with all that we otherwise know of Leonora. She went about usually with her mother, the beautiful Adriana Baroni, and a sister called Katarina. All three were highly accomplished in other things than music; Leonora, though the matchless singer, was not so handsome as her mother had been; sometimes she accompanied herself, but more frequently her mother accompanied her, on the lute or theorbo, and sometimes her sister on the harp. Though Bayle makes the family Mantuan, it was originally Neapolitan, and had migrated from Naples to Mantua. From 1637 onwards, however, Rome was the head-quarters of the fascinating three.

“Apologus de Rustico et HERO" (edition of 1673).—There is nothing to date this Apologue, except that its non-appearance in the edition of 1645 suggests that it was written after that year. Indeed there is a touch of political significance in it, belonging to a time when Milton's thoughts had become steeped in politics.

DE MORO. So we may entitle the bit of shabby lampoon on Milton's antagonist Morus, or Alexander More, which appeared first in Milton's Defensio Secunda pro Populo Anglicano (1654), and was reproduced in his Pro se Defensio contra Alexandrum Morum (1655). More was a Frenchman, of Scottish parentage, born in 1616, who, after a varied career of celebrity as a Protestant preacher and Professor of Greek and of Theology in various parts of the Continent—at Geneva, in Holland, and again in France— died in Paris in 1670, four years before Milton. His collision with Milton dates from the year 1652, when he caused to be printed, at the Hague, a treatise against the English Commonwealth

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