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they mentioned what had happened. Milton opened the paper, and, with surprise, read these verses from Guarini : (Madrigal. xii. ed. 1598.]
' • Ye eyes! ye human stars ! ye authors of my liveliest pangs ! If thus, when shut, ye wound me,
must have proved the consequence had ye been open ? Eager, from this moment, to find out the fair incognita, Milton travelled, but in vain, through every part of Italy. His poetick fervour became incessantly more and more heated by the idea which he had formed of his unknown admirer; and it is, in some degree, to her that his own times, the present times, and the latest posterity must feel themselves indebted for several of the most impassioned and charming compositions of the Paradise Lost.”
On the death of his mother in 1637, Milton prevailed with his father to permit him to visit the continent. This permission Mr. Hayley supposes to have been “ the more readily granted, as one of his motives for visiting Italy was to form a collection of Italian musick.” His nephew Phillips indeed relates, that, while at Venice, he shipped a parcel of curious and rare books which he had collected in
his travels; particularly a chest or two of choice musick-books of the best masters flourishing about that time in Italy. Having obtained some directions for his travels from Sir Henry Wotton, to whom he had communicated his earnest desire of seeing foreign countries, he went in 1638, attended with a single servant, to Paris; where, by the favour of Lord Scudamore, he was introduced to Grotius. Of this interview, although the numerous letters of Grotius afford no trace, Milton's nephew gives the following account; Grotius took the visit kindly, and gave him entertainment suitable to his worth and the high commendations he had heard of him.
Having been presented, by Lord Scudamore, with letters of recommendation to the English merchants in the several places through which he intended to travel, he went, after staying a few days in Paris, directly to Nice, where he embarked for Genoa. From Genoa he proceeded to Leghorn, Pisa, and Florence. The delights of Florence detained him there two months. His compositions and conversation were so much admired, that he was a most welcome guest in the academies, (as in Italy the meetings of the most polite and ingenious persons were denominated,) held in that city. He has affectionately recorded the names of these Italian
t“ Tui enim Jacobe Gaddi, Carole Dati, Frescobalde, Cul
friends; and has expressed his obligations to their honourable distinctions. Dati o presented him with a Latin eulogy; and Francini with an Italian ode. A few years since, Mr. Brand accidentally discovered on a book-stall, a manuscript which he purchased, entitled La Tina, by Antonio Malatesti, not yet enumerated, * Mr. Warton says, among Milton's friends. It is dedicated by the author to John Milton while at Florence. Mr. Brand gave it to Mr. Hollis, who, in 1.758, sent it together with Milton's works, both in poetry and prose, and his Life by Toland, to the Academy Della Crusca. The manuscript, as Mr. Warton observes, would have been a
telline, Bommatthæe, Clementille, Francine, aliorumque plurium memoriam apud me semper gratam atque jucundam, nulla dies delebit.” Defens. Sec. Prose-Works, vol. iii. p. 96, edit. 1698. It is to one of these friends that he professes his love of the Italian language. “Ego certè istis utrisque linguis (Greek and Latin] non extremis tantummodo labris madidus; sed, siquis alius, quantum per annos licuit, poculis majoribus prolutus, possum tamen nonnunquam ad illum Dantem et Petrarcam, aliosque vestros complusculos, libenter et cupidè comessatum ire.” Epist. B. Bommathæo. Prose-Works, vol. iii. p. 325, ed. 1698.
" Rolli has made the following remark on the commendatory notices of his countrymen. “ Osservissi nelle lodi dagl' Italiani date a questo grand Uomo; com'essi fin d'allora scorgevano in lui l'alta forza d'Ingegno che lo portava al primo Auge di gloria letteraria nel suo Secolo e nella sua Nazione ; e gliene facevano gli avverati Prognostici.”. Vita di Milton, 1735. Dennis pays much compliment to the discernment of the Italians who discovered, while Milton was among them, his great and growing genius. See his Original Letters, &c. 1721, vol. i. p. 78, 80.'
* Milton's Smaller Poems, 2d edit. p. 555. But Milton mentions this friend in a letter to Carlo Dati, Epist. Fam. X.
greater curiosity in England. And, since my account of the Life of the poet was published in 1809, I learn that it had found its way back to this country, had become the property of a gentleman whose books were not long since sold by Mr. Evans of Pall-Mall, and that the full title of the manuscript is, “ La Tina, Equivoci Rusticali di Antonio Malatesti, coposti nella sua villa di Taiano il Septembre dell' anno 1637. Sonetti Cinquata. Dedicati all' Illmo. Signore et Padrone Ossmo, il Signor Giovanni Milton, Nobil Inghilese.”
Milton became acquainted also with the celebrated Galileo, whom many biographers have represented as in prison when the poet visited him. But Mr. Walker has informed me that Galileo was never a prisoner in the inquisition at Florence, although a prisoner of it. On his arrival at Rome on February the 10th, 1632, that illustrious philosopher had surrendered himself to Urban, whọ ordered him to be confined for his philosophical heresy in the palace of the Trinità de' Monti. Here he remained five months. Having retracted his opinion, he was dismissed from Rome; and the house of Monsignor Piccolomini in Sienna was assigned to him as his
prison. About the beginning of December, in 1633, · he was liberated; and returned to the village of Bel
loguardo near Florence, whence he went to Arcetri, where, it is probable, he received the visit of the English bard. Milton himself has informed us that he had really seen Galileo ; and Rolli, in his Life of
the poet, considers some ideas in the Paradise Lost, approaching towards the Newtonian philosophy, to have been caught at Florence from Galileo or his disciples.
From Florence he passed through Sienna to Rome, where he also stayed two months ; feasting, as Dr. Newton well observes, both his eyes and his mind, and delighted with the fine paintings, and sculptures, and other rarities and antiquities, of the city. It has been judiciously conjectured, that several of the immortal works of the finest painters and statuaries may be traced in Milton's poetry. They are supposed by Mr. Hayley to have had considerable influence in attaching his imagination to our first parents. “ He had most probably contemplated them," the elegant writer continues, “ not only in the colours of Michael Angelo, who decorated Rome with his picture of the creation, but in the marble of Bandinelli, who had executed two large statues of Adam and Eve, which, though they were far from satisfying the taste of connoisseurs, might stimulate even by their imperfections the genius of a poet.” The description of the creation in the third book of Paradise Lost, (ver. 708, 719,) is supposed by Mr. Walker to be copied from the same subject as
y “ In Firenze certamente egli apprese dagli Scritti e dalle Massime del Galileo invalorite già ne' di lui Seguaci, quelle Nozioni filosofiche sparse poi nel Poema, che tanto si uniformano al Sistema del Cavalier Newton.” Vita, &c. 1735. z Hist. Mem. on Italian Tragedy, p. 166.