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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 I seem 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 Decem ber, but they are making Christmas of it already-good cheer, blazing fires, wine, music, dancing, games of forfeits, &c. 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
em, 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 Christmas-day, 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 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.
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 loveconfession 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 heartwhole, 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 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 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.
"IN 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 undergraduate
ship. 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 ROME 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 seven"teenth 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 66 Spanish, printed at Rome under the title of 'Applausi Poetici alle glorie della
Signora Leonora Baroni." Leonora went about usually with her mother, the beautiful Adriana Baroni, and a sister called Katarina. 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."-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.
DE MORO. So we may entitle the lampoon on Milton's antagonist Morus, or Alexander More, which appeared 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 entitled
Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Cælum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos" ("Cry of the King's Blood to Heaven against the English Parricides "). In this treatise Milton was attacked for his Defences of the Regicide; and, though it was anonymous, and was really not by More, but by Peter du Moulin the younger, Milton made More responsible. In his Defensio Secunda and in his Pro se Defensio he dragged More through a perfect ditch of invective, publishing all sorts of scandals against More's private character, which had come to him from correspondents in Geneva and elsewhere. The present distich, though now printed as Milton's, because used by him twice, was really by some Dutch wit.
AD CHRISTINAM, SUECORUM REGINAM, NOMINE CROMWELLI.-The lines printed with this title in most modern editions of Milton's poems are supposed to have been written for Cromwell in 1654, the first year of his Protectorate, to accompany a portrait of himself which he then sent to the eccentric, and then famous Christina, Queen of Sweden. Being in elegiac verse, they have their proper place here in the Elegiarum Liber, if they are Milton's. But, almost certainly, they are Andrew Marvell's. They appeared as his, with only slight verbal variations, in his Miscellaneous Poems, published by his widow in 1681, three years after his death.
IN OBITUM PROCANCELLARII MEDICI.
Anno ætatis 17.
In both Milton's editions this piece is dated " Anno ætatis 16." This date is a blunder. For, even if we allow Milton his ordinary liberty of dating, according to which the phrase must be translated "at the age of 16 years" and not in the 16th year of his age" (see Introductions to Elegies Second and Third), the dating will not correspond with the incident of the Poem. That incident was the death of John Gostlin, M.D., Master of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, from 1618, and Vice-Chancellor of the University for the second time in the year 1625-6. His Vice-Chancellorship would have expired Nov. 3, 1626; but he died some days before that date, and still holding the office : viz. on the 21st of October, 1626. The Michaelmas Term of Milton's third academic year had just begun, and Milton was full seventeen years of age, and, in fact, verging on eighteen. This dating anno ætatis 16" was, therefore, a slip of memory.-The Dr. Gostlin, whose death is lamented in the poem, in very pretty mythological language and in good Horatian verse, was a Norwich man by birth, educated at Caius College, admitted M.D. in 1602, and afterwards Regius Professor of Physic in the University. When his turn came round to be Vice-Chancellor, it was something of a rarity in the University to see an M.D. rather than the customary D.D. in that office. "Here comes our medical Vice-Chancellor, one may fancy the Cantabs of 1625-6 saying to each other when they saw Gostlin in the streets. His death, just at the close of his year of office, and when the Colleges had reassembled for a new session, naturally occasioned versifying.
IN QUINTUM NOVEMBRIS.
This is a Gunpowder Plot poem, written by Milton for Guy Fawkes's Day, or the Fifth of November, 1626. There are four Latin trifles on the same subject among the Elegies, but the present piece, in sustained Hexameters, is a much more elaborate performance. It is, indeed, one of the very best of Milton's things in Latin. The spirit, it is true, is that of the common popular Protestantism of England in Milton's time, which firmly believed in all the traditional details of the Plot of 1605, and regarded it as a wide-spread conspiracy of the Roman Catholics, characteristic of their principles and prompted by the Papacy itself. Naturally, such a poem (and there are minuter ferocities
against the Papacy in the filling-up) will be read in different humours by different persons. But the execution of the poem, the power of imagination and of language shown in it, cannot fail to strike even the reader who is least satisfied with its spirit. I would instance particularly the description of Satan flying through the air and beholding Britain (lines 7-47), that of the den of Murder and Treason (lines 139-156), and that of the Temple of Fame (lines 170—193). The ending of the poem is rather abrupt.
IN OBITUM PRÆSULIS ELIENSIS.
Anno ætatis 17.
On the 5th of October, 1626, or only a fortnight after the death of Dr. Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, there died another prelate, Dr. Nicholas Felton, Bishop of Ely. Like Andrewes, he was a Cambridge man, of Pembroke Hall, and he had, like Andrewes, been for some time Master of that Hall before he was made a bishop. Milton, who had just written his Elegy on Andrewes's death (Elegia Tertia), paid a similar honour to his brotherbishop, but employed Iambic verse of alternate Trimeters and Dimeters instead of Elegiacs. Hence this piece on Felton comes among the Sylva.
NATURAM NON PATI SENIUM.
From one of Milton's Epistola Familiares, dated " 'Cambridge, July 2, 1628," and addressed to his former master at St. Paul's School, Alexander Gill the younger, it appears that these Latin Hexameters were one of the pieces of verse printed copies of which were distributed, according to custom, by the University Bedels at the Cambridge Commencement ceremonial, or annual meeting for the conferring of degrees, held in St. Mary's Church on Tuesday, the 1st of July, 1628.
The ceremonial, though held at the end of the academic year, was called the "Commencement," because those who graduated in Divinity, Arts, Law, Physic, and Music were then said to "commence" in their respective faculties, and were designated Inceptores. Part of the business in the graduation in each faculty consisted of what was called an Act or Disputation in that faculty, carried on in Latin between one appointed debater-in-chief called the Respondent (in the Divinity Act there were generally two Respondents) and other · debaters who attacked him successively and were called Opponents. First, early in the morning, as soon as all had assembled in St. Mary's Church, the Vice-Chancellor presiding, there began the Divinity Act, or Debate, accompanied by a distribution of copies of verses, and ending in the ceremonious conferring of the degree of D.D. on all the candidates of the year for that degree. Next, and usually about mid-day, came on the Philosophical Act and Graduation in Arts. This was a richer and more diversified affair than the Divinity Graduation which had preceded it, not only because the candidates for the M.A. degree each year were a very numerous body, consisting of young men from all the Colleges, but also because custom tolerated a great deal of liberty and even of fun in the philosophical discussion. Here also, however, the backbone of the business was the Latin logomachy between the appointed representative of the Arts faculty, called the Respondent, and the Opponents who successively