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attacked him; and here also the logomachy began with the reading of the Respondent's thesis, and the distribution of his verses, while he was reading it, by the University Bedels. After the Act was over, there was a specimen only of the actual graduation in Arts within the church, in the persons of the ten or twelve Commencers from King's College; and the rest were marched off to receive their M.A. degree in the Public School. For by this time it was growing late, and the Law Act, the Physic Act, and the Music Act, with their accompanying graduations, had still to come.

Milton may have been present already at three Commencements; but that of 1628 had a peculiar interest for him. Bainbrigge, Master of his own College of Christ's, was Vice-Chancellor of the University for the year 1627-8, and here was a relish for the undergraduates of Christ's in this fact, and in the prospect of his presidency in the Comitia of July 1628. Nor was that all. One of the Senior Fellows of Christ's, it appears, had been selected for the important post of Respondent in the Philosophical Act for that year; and he had found the bit of verse expected from him quite out of his habits, or had broken down over it at the last moment, and had asked Milton to help him out. With some pains, from the shortness of the time, Milton had furbished up what he thought would pass; and so the Christ's College people might congratulate themselves triply on the representation of their College at the Commencement of 1628. Not only would their Master preside as Vice-Chancellor, and not only would a Fellow of their College be Respondent in the Philosophical Act, but the Latin verses which the University Bedels would distribute in connexion with that Act would be (but perhaps it was a secret) by an undergraduate of Christ's. Actually the verses were put into print and distributed by the Bedels ; and on the 2nd of July, or the day after the Commencement, Milton was able to send a copy, or some copies, of them to Gill in London.

One would like now to know which of the thirteen Fellows of Christ's it was that begged Milton's poetical help, and what was the subject of the thesis which the verses were to illustrate. We have light only on the last point from Milton's lines. "That Nature is not subject to old age" is the proposition they maintain. They are, in fact, a powerful, and very eloquent and poetical, protest against the notion of a gradual decadence or deterioration of the physical Universe or visible frame of things. The verses being in this strain, we are led to think that the Philosophical Thesis which they were written to illustrate must have been some form of the same proposition. It is certainly known, at all events, that a question much debated in the speculative world of England about 1628 was the question whether there were signs of decay in Nature, whether the Present were necessarily inferior to the Past, or whether endurance, or even general progressiveness and improvement, might not be the rule. Bacon's influence, opposed as it was to that abject reverence for antiquity which had prevailed since the Revival of Letters, had given an impulse to what was still perhaps the heterodox sentiment, namely faith in the present and in the future.


This is, clearly, also an academic exercise; but in which year of Milton's residence at Cambridge it was written, and for what occasion, I cannot determine. It answers exactly to its title, "On the Platonic Idea as understood by

Aristotle." That is to say, with an evident admiration of Plato, and an imaginative sympathy with his doctrine of an eternal Idea or Archetype, one and universal, according to which Man was formed, and which reproduces itself in men's minds and thoughts, it yet shows how, by a too physical or too coldly rational construction of this doctrine, it may be turned into burlesque.


These Hexameters are undated, but their date is hinted by their meaning. They are an affectionate address to the poet's father, apparently in reply to some mild remarks of the father on the subject of the son's dedication of himself to a life of mere Poetry and Literature, and not, as had been hoped, to one of the professions. They were written, therefore, after Milton had left Cambridge, and had begun his secluded life of study at his father's country-place at Horton in Buckinghamshire. In lines 73-76 the reference to Horton seems to be distinct.

Milton's father was himself an excellent and interesting man. He was from the neighbourhood of Oxford, where a Roman Catholic family of Miltons, the poet's ancestors, are found living, in the rank of yeomen, from about 1550 onwards. One of the family, Richard Milton, of Stanton St. John's, yeoman, was very resolute in his adherence to the old Religion, and is mentioned twice in the Recusant Rolls for Oxfordshire as among those who were heavily fined towards the end of Elizabeth's reign (1601) for obstinate non-attendance at their parish churches. He was the poet's grandfather, one of his sons, John Milton, being the poet's father. This John Milton, who became a Protestant, and is said to have been cast off by his father on that account, had settled in London, and was in business there as a scrivener, before the above-mentioned date of his father's fines for recusancy. The business of a scrivener in Old London was an important, and sometimes a lucrative, one. It consisted in the drawing up of wills, marriage settlements, and other deeds, the lending out of money for clients, and much else now done partly by attorneys and partly by law-stationers. The house of the new Scrivener, John Milton, which was also his place of business, was the Spread Eagle in Bread Street, Cheapside, in the very heart of London.

There the scrivener married, probably in 1600, and there his children were born. They were six in all; of whom only three survived to maturity-the eldest, a daughter Anne, afterwards Mrs. Phillips, and again, by a second marriage, Mrs. Agar; John Milton, the poet, born Dec. 9, 1608: and Christopher Milton, afterwards Sir Christopher Milton and a judge, born Dec. 3, 1615. The household in Bread Street seems to have been a peculiarly peaceful and happy one, with a tone of pious Puritanism prevailing in it, but with the liberal cheerfulness belonging to prosperous circumstances and to ingenious and cultivated tastes. For one thing, music was perpetual in it. The scrivener was not only passionately fond of music, but even of such note as a composer that, apart altogether from the great fame of his son, some memory of him might have lingered among us to this day. Madrigals, songs, and psalm-tunes of his composition are to be seen yet in music-books published before his son was born, or while he was but in his boyhood, and not in mere inferior music-books, but in collections in which Morley, Wilbye, Bull, Dowland, Ellis Gibbons, Orlando Gibbons, and others of the best artists of the day, were his fellow-contributors. There must have been frequent musical

evenings, with one or more musical acquaintances present, in the house in Bread Street; books of music and musical instruments were parts of its furniture; and the young poet was taught by his father both to sing and to play the organ. But the scrivener's designs for his children went beyond their mere training in his own art. It was his care to give them the best education possible, and to grudge nothing of his means towards that end. From the first there is proof that his heart was bound up in his son John, and that he had conceived the highest expectations of what that son would turn out to be. A portrait of the poet, as a sweet, serious, round-headed boy, at the age of ten, still exists, which his father caused to be done by the foreign painter then most in fashion, and which hung on the wall of one of the rooms in the house in Bread Street. Both father and mother doted on the boy and were proud of his promise. And so, after the most careful tuition of the boy at home, by his Scottish preceptor Young (see antè, p. 453), and his farther training by the two Gills at St. Paul's School, close to Bread Street (see antè, p. 453), he was sent to Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1625, whither his younger brother, Christopher, followed him in Feb. 1630-31. The expense of maintaining two sons at Cambridge was considerable, and proves that the scrivener must have succeeded well in his business.

That the scrivener's business had been a flourishing one is farther proved by the fact that he was able to retire from it, in whole or in part, in or about 1632, to the country-house at Horton, which he either took then, or had already been in possession of for some time. Thither, in that year, his son, having completed his seven years at the University and taken his M. A. degree, went to reside with him. So far all his highest hopes of that son had been fulfilled. He was then twenty-three years of age; and what youth comparable to him had the University sent out-what youth of such fair grace of form, of such genius and accomplishments, of character so manly and noble? A second portrait of Milton, done in the time of his Cambridge studentship, when he was about twenty-one years of age, attests the continued pride in him of his father and mother. Only one thing a little troubled the elderly people, and particularly the father. This son of theirs, whom they had destined for the Church, had clearly and resolutely abjured that destination of himself as against his conscience; the profession of the Law, thought of for a moment, had also been set aside; and here he was back on their hands, with no clear line of life before him, such as other young men of his age had, but buried in books and lost in Poetry. Some remonstrances to this effect may have been expressed by the father; but, if so, they must have been in the mildest and most hesitating terms (for Milton, I fancy, had learnt to be master and more in his father's house). Or, without any such remonstrances, Milton may have divined what was passing in the minds of his parents and in their colloquies concerning him. And so, on some occasion when the subject had been broached, or it was strong in Milton's musings, he writes this grateful and affectionate poem Ad Patrem.

"Well, John, I have faith in you: take your own way, whatever it is; God has given me enough of means, my son, for all immediate needs; and, while I live, what I have is yours.' Ás surely as if we had heard these words spoken, they were the response of Milton's father to the pleading of this poem. They were his response not in words only, but in fact. Until Milton was thirty-two years of age, if even then, he did not earn a penny for himself.

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Milton, though an assiduous and enthusiastic reader of the Greek classics, did not give much time to the practice of Greek composition. He has left but three pieces of Greek verse; and the verdict upon them by the critic of subsequent times who has published the minutest examination of them (Dr. Charles Burney, 1757—1817), is that they show imperfect Greek scholarship. He finds lax construction in them, questionable usages of words, and even false quantities.

PSALM CXIV.-This seems to have been a favourite Psalm with Milton, for it is one of the two which he had paraphrased in English when he was fifteen years of age (see antè, p. 403). The present version of it in Greek Hexameters was done in 1634, as appears by a Latin letter of Milton to Gill the younger, of date Dec. 4 in that year.

PHILOSOPHUS AD REGEM QUENDAM, ETC.-As these Hexameters appear in the Edition of 1645, and as their tenor suggests that they were done after the Civil War had begun, we may date them between 1642 and 1645.

IN EFFIGIEI EJUS SCULPTOREM.-These satirical Iambics were engraved by way of practical joke under Marshall's portrait of Milton in the 1645 Edition of his Poems (see antè, p. 398); in the Edition of 1673, which did not contain that portrait, they were put into the text.


This was written at Rome, either in 1638 or in 1639, in one of Milton's two visits to that city. The person addressed is Joannes Salsillus, or Giovanni Salzilli, a Roman Poet, whose acquaintance Milton had made in these visits. He must have been of considerable note in Roman society in his day; for I find him a leading contributor to a volume published at Rome in 1637 and dedicated to Cardinal Cesarini under the title of "Poesie de' Signori Accademici Fantastici," i.e. Poems by members of the Academy of the Fantastics. Apparently he was a young man and habitually an invalid. He was in bad health, at all events, when Milton addressed to him these Scazontes, i.e. verses written

in the " limping measure employed by the Greek poet Hipponax, the

peculiarity of which is that the verse is regular Iambic trimeter until the last foot, where, by the substitution of a spondee or trochee for the expected Iambus, an effect is given as of coming to the last step of a stair with the wrong emphasis. To bring out this effect fully, the fifth or penultimate foot ought always to be an Iambus; but Milton has not attended strictly to this rule. In the verses Milton expresses his wishes for Salzilli's recovery, pays him a compliment on his poetry, and refers to the four lines of Latin elegiac verse in which Salzilli had, with Italian politeness, so hyperbolically praised Milton, on slight acquaintance, extolling him above Homer, Virgil, and Tasso. See the lines among the Testimonies to Milton by Italians, prefixed to the Latin Poems.

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This is a poem of remarkable interest, addressed to the most distinguished, in some respects, of all the Italians with whom Milton became personally acquainted during his Italian journey, viz. the Neapolitan, Giovanni Battista Manso, Marquis of Villa, and Lord of Bisaccio and Panca.

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Manso was born in 1561, three years before Shakespeare; and his long life had been spent chiefly in such occupations as the political condition of Naples and Southern Italy, then subject to the Spaniards and governed by Viceroys from Madrid, permitted to a wealthy and high-minded native of those parts. The cultivation of philosophy, art, and poetry for himself, and the encouragement of these pursuits in others, and of a life of at least pleasant sociability where political independence was denied, had been his business and delight. His life had been identified with the history of Italian Literature for half a century. No Italian of note during that period but Manso had known; few but had known and been indebted to Manso. Above all, he had been the friend, the bosom friend, of the two greatest poets of Italy in his generation, Tasso and Marini. -Tasso, in the strange madness that came over him in his manhood, clouding his beautiful mind, but leaving it still capable of the noblest poetry, had been led, in his wanderings over Italy, to Manso's door at Naples (1588). Manso, then in his twenty-eighth year, while Tasso was in his forty-fifth, had received the illustrious unfortunate, had kept him in his splendid villa at Naples and in his country-house at Bisaccio, had tended him in his fits of gloom, and soothed him in those moments when the frenzy was at its strongest, and the air around him was full of visions and voices, and he would call on Manso to look and listen. Thus had grown up a friendship which lasted with Tasso's life. Twice again he had been Manso's guest; it was in Manso's house, in one of these visits, that he completed his Gerusalemme Conquistata, in one of the books of which he introduces Manso's name; in his Dialogue on Friendship Manso is one of the speakers, and it is dedicated to Manso and entitled Il Manso; and there are other recognitions of their intimacy in sonnets of Tasso addressed to Manso. On Tasso's death-bed in Rome (1595) he spoke of Manso ; a picture of Tasso which Manso had painted was bequeathed back to him; and it was Manso that, some years afterwards, caused the well-known inscription "Torquati Tassi Ossa" to be cut on Tasso's tomb. In 1619 there had been published at Naples a Life of Tasso, without Manso's name, but known to be his, and containing an affectionate collection of personal details respecting the poet. It was a popular book in Italy, and had been several times reprinted. -Hardly less intimate than Manso's friendship with his illustrious senior, Tasso, had been his friendship with his junior, Marini (born 1569), Tasso's most celebrated successor in Poetry, though a corruption of Italian taste in Poetry is traced now to his sweet and sensuous genius. Marini, a Neapolitan by birth, but, like Tasso, much of a wanderer, had also been a frequent guest at Manso's villa, had been protected by him and served in many ways; and, when Marini died, in 1625, two years after the publication of his Adone, the charge of his burial and of erecting his monument was left to Manso. It was understood that Manso was preparing a biography of Marini similar to that he had written of Tasso.And now, with all these recollections of the past circling round him, the Marquis Manso, verging on eighty years of age, was living on at Naples, the most venerable man in the city, and indeed the most conspicuous private patron of Art and Literature in all Italy. In the society of Naples he was supreme. He had founded there a club or academy, called the Oziosi ("The Idlers") of which he was president, and the meetings of which were held in his house; and there was another institution of his foundation, called the College Dei Nobili, the purpose of which was the education of the young Neapolitan nobles in manly arts and exercises. In the meetings of these institutions the old nobleman would be gay as the youngest present, joining even in their


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