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bered he was their countryman, and would fain have induced him to return to Scotland by the offer of some suitable post. But England could outbid Scotland for him, and retained him to the end. In 1644, when the University of Cambridge was visited by Parliamentary authority, and refractory Heads of Houses and Fellows were turned out, and their places filled with new men, Young was appointed to the Mastership of Jesus College, in place of the ultra-Royalist and Laudian Dr. Richard Sterne. On the 12th of April in that year he was incorporated in the University ad eundem,-i.e. to the same degree of M.A. which he had taken at St. Andrews nearly forty years before. On the 28th of February 1644-5 he preached a Fast-day Sermon before the House of Commons, which was published under the title of Hope's Encouragement. He lived for ten years longer, holding his Mastership of Jesus College in conjunction with his Vicarship of Stowmarket, and honoured as D.D. and otherwise. He died in 1655 at Stowmarket, at the age of about sixty-seven, and was there buried. A portrait of him, which was kept in the vicarage, is still extant; and a print from it, after a photograph, is prefixed to "Biographical Notices of Thomas Young, S.T.D., Vicar of Stowmarket, Suffolk," privately printed in 1870 by Mr. David Laing, of Edinburgh. It exhibits, through the blur of age that had come over the original, a really powerful, calm, and well-featured face.
Anno ætatis 20.
In Adventum Veris.
This Elegy may be referred to the early part of 1629, when Milton had just taken his B.A. degree at Cambridge. Bachelor-like, he exults in the arrival of Spring, hailing the glad season of Nature's renewal in a poem which may be described as a laborious Latin amplification of the sentiment of Tennyson's lines :
"In the Spring a livelier iris changes on the burnish'd dove;
In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love."
Ad Carolum Diodatum, ruri commorantem.
The life of Diodati, and the history of Milton's friendship with him, as far as to the year 1626, have been sketched in the Introduction to the Elegia Prima. Three years had elapsed since then, and the two friends had been pursuing their separate courses, Diodati with the medical profession in prospect, but retaining his connexion with Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in July 1628, and Milton persevering at Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in January 1628-9. But their friendship was firm as ever, and they may have had meetings in the interval. One such meeting, of more than ordinary interest to both, may have been at Cambridge in July 1629; for Diodati, though then an Oxford M. A. of but one year's standing, was incorporated ad eundem at Cambridge in the July Commencement of that year. So early an incorporation in the sister University was unusual, and one seems to see in the fact an arrangement between the two friends.
The heading of the Elegy tells the rest. The sprightly, quick-witted Italian had gone again into the country in 1629, either to the neighbourhood of Chester, as on the occasion of the First Elegy, or to some other part of England. There, in some pleasant country mansion, and among pleasant and hospitable friends, he is having a delightful winter holiday. It is but the 13th of December, but they are making Christmas of it already,-good cheer, blazing fires, wine, music, dancing, games of forfeits, etc. So Diodati informs Milton, pleading these festivities in excuse for neglect of Poetry. The reply is very characteristic. After messages of affection, Milton playfully objects to Diodati's excuse, and maintains that festivity and poetry, Bacchus and Song, Venus and Song, are naturally kin and always have gone together. Suddenly, however, in this vein he checks himself. What he has said is true, he explains, only of certain kinds of poetry and certain orders of poets. For the greatest poetry there must be a different regimen. For those who would speak of high matters, the deeds of heroes and the counsels of the gods, for those whose poetry would rise to the prophetic strain, not wine and conviviality were fitted, but
spare Pythagorean diet, the beechen bowl of pure water, a life even ascetic in its abstinence, and scrupulously pure. This is an eminently Miltonic idea, perhaps pre-eminently the Miltonic idea; and it occurs again and again in Milton's writings. Nowhere, however, is it more finely expressed than in the passage in this Elegy beginning " At qui bella refert" and ending "ora Jovem" (lines 55-78). These twenty-four lines are about Milton's noblest in Latin, and deserve to be learnt by heart with reference to himself, or to be written under his portrait. They give a value to the whole Elegy. The lines that follow them, however (79-90), have also a peculiar interest. They inform us that, at the very time when Milton was writing this Elegy to Diodati, he was engaged on his English Ode "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity." He had begun it, he says, on Christmasday, and he promises to show it to Diodati. As the Ode, in its place among the English Poems in Milton's First Edition, is dated "1629," this fixes the date of the Elegy.
Anno ætatis undevigesimo.
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 adjectivė, 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.
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. 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 London where the citizens promenade, 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 among 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 "Hac ego" and ending "ipsa Venus," which I have caused to be printed in italics in the present edition, are not, as might be supposed at first sight, and has been generally assumed, an epilogue to the whole series of Seven Elegies preceding them. If the Epilogue is carefully read, it will be seen that in no mood of sternness could it be applicable to all the seven numbered Elegies, or to most of them. There were some of them of which, juvenile though they were, Milton 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 love-confession of the Seventh Elegy delayed him. He thought it maudlin; perhaps he re
membered 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.
PRODITIONEM BOMBARDICAM and IN INVENTOREM BOMBARDÆ.”—The anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot seems to have been a regular occasion for versifying in English Schools and Colleges in Milton's time. Among the Sylvæ 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."-These three pieces of compliment must have been written at Rome in one or other of Milton's two terms of residence in that city during his memorable 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