« PreviousContinue »
treated by Raphael in the gallery of the Vatican, called “la Bibbia di Raffaello.” There are indeed several interesting pictures relating to Adam and Eve in the Florence collection, together with “ the fall of Lucifer” supposed to be the work of Michael Angelo, which Milton might have also seen. Mr. Dunster ingeniously a conjectures the Paradise Regained to have been enriched by the suggestions of Salvator Rosa's masterly painting of The Temptation. The genius of Milton seems indeed to have resembled more particularly that of Michael Angelo. It is worthy of notice, as it shows a strong coincidence of taste in the poet and the painter, that Michael Angelo was particularly struck with Dante; and that he is said to have sketched with a pen, on the margin of his copy of the Inferno, every striking scene of the terrible and the pathetick; but this valuable curiosity was unfortunately lost in a shipwreck. The learned author of " Tableaux tirés de l’ Iliade, 'de 1? Odyssée d'Homere, et de l'Eneide de Virgile,” was never more mistaken than in supposing the Paradise Lost incapable of supplying an artist with scenes as graceful and sublime as can be met with in the poems of the Grecian and Roman bards : for, in the words of Mr. Hayley, there is no charm exhibited by painting, which Milton's, poetry has failed to equal, as far as analogy between the
a Addition to his edit. of Par. Reg. 1800.
See “ A Sketch of the Lives and Writings of Dante and Petrarch, 1790,” p. 31.
different arts can extend. Indeed the numerous exercises for the painter's skill, which Milton's works afford, have, in later times, commanded due attention; and Fuseli, by his happy sketches from such originals, has taught us how to admire poetry and painting “ breathing united force.” .
: At Rome Milton was honoured with the acquaintance of several learned men, more especially with that of Holstenius, keeper of the Vatican library. By him he was introduced to Cardinal Barberini, the patron Cardinal of the English; who, at an d entertainment of musick, performed at his own ex
• I learn from a manuscript of Dr. Bargrave, (preserved in the Library of Canterbury Cathedral,) that, “ at Rome, euery forraigne Nation hath some Cardinall or other to be their peculiar Gardian : when I was 4 seuerall times at Rome,” Dr. Bargrave says, “ this Cardinall Barberini was Gardian to the English.”. He adds, “ When I was at Rome with the Earle of Chesterfield, then under my tuition, 1650, at a yeare of Jubilee, this Cardinall (formerly kinde to me) would not admitt my lord or myselfe to any audience, though, in eleuen months time, tryed seuerall times; and I heard that it was, because that we had recommendatory letters from our Queen Mother to Cardinall Capponius, and another from the Dutchess of Sauoy to Cardinall Penzirolo; and no letters to him, who was the English (I say REBELLS) Protector; and that we visited them before him.”
d Mr. Warton says, that Milton heard the accomplished Leonora Baroni sing at the concerts of this Cardinal, and that there is a volume of Greek, Latin, Italian, French, and Spanish poems, printed at Rome, in praise of this, lady. I have sought in vain for this curious volume; as have two or three literary friends, both abroad and at home. I must observe however that this book is described, in the Barberini collection, as printed at Bracciano. Index Bib. Barberin, fol. 1681. tom. i. p. 114. ....
pence, waited for him at the door, and condescended to lead him into the assembly. Milton did not forget the extraordinary civilities of this accomplished Cardinal. In thanking Holstenius afterwards for all his favours to him, he adds é “ De cætero, novo beneficio devinxeris, si' Eminentissimum Cardinalem quantâ potest observantiâ meo nomine salutes, cujus magnæ virtutes, rectique studium, ad provehendas item omnes artes liberales egregiè comparatum, semper mihi ob oculos versatur.” At home also, Selvaggi and Salsilli praised the attainments of Milton in those verses, which are prefixed to his Latin poetry.
e Lit. Lucæ Holstenio, dat. Florent. Mart. 30. 1639, ProseWorks, vol. iii. p. 327, edit. 1698. - Milton, it may be observed, is careful not to omit the title first applied to the Cardinals by Barberini : since whose time, Dr. Bargrave relates, “ the title of Padrone continueth to the Pope's chiefe Nephew, and the title of Eminenza to all the Cardinalls. Indeed the authority which Urban VIII. gave to Francisco (Barberini, his eldest Nephew,] was not ordinary; for he thought it not enough to give the powre, except he gaue it the vanety and title of Padrone, that is, Master and Lord, a title never heard of before at Rome. But Urban had nothing in his mouth but the Cardinall Padrone : Where is the Cardinall Padrone? Call the Cardinall Padrone: Speake to the Cardinall Padrone : Nothing was heard of but the Cardinall Padrone; which the embassadors of Princes did not like, saying they had no Padrone but the Pope himselfe. However theire (the Barberinis'] ambition stayed not at this title: they tooke exceptions of the quality of Illustrissimo, with which hitherto the Cardinalls had binn content for so many ages. The title of Excellency belonging to soveraine Princes in Italy, they strove to find out something that should not be inferiour to it; and, canvassing many titles, at length they pitched upon Eminency, which the Princes hearing of, they took upon themselves the title of Highness.” MS. as before.
· He next removed to Naples, in company with a hermit; to whom Milton owed his introduction to the patron of Tasso, Manso, marquis of Villa, a nobleman distinguished by his virtue and his learning. To this eminent person he was obliged in many important instances ; and, as a testimony of gratitude, he presented to him, at his departure from Naples, his beautiful eclogue, entitled Mansus ; which Dr. Johnson acknowledges must have raised in the noble Italian a very high opinion of English elegance and literature. Manso likewise has addressed a distich to Milton, which is prefixed to the Latin poems.
From Naples Milton intended to proceed to Sicily and Athens : “ Countries," as Mr. Warton has excellently observed, & “ connected with his finer feelings, interwoven with his poetical ideas, and impressed upon his imagination by his habits of reading, and by long and intimate converse with the Grecian literature. But so prevalent were his patriotick attachments, that, hearing in Italy of the commencement of the national quarrel, instead of proceeding forward to feast his fancy with the contemplation of scenes familiar to Theocritus and Homer, the pines of Etna and the pastures of Peneus, he abruptly changed his course, and hastily returned home to plead the cause of ideal liberty. Yet in this chaos of controversy, amidst endless disputes concerning religious and po-
& Preface to his Edition of the Smaller Poems.
litical reformation, independency, prelacy, tithes, toleration, and tyranny, he sometimes seems to have heaved a sigh for the peaceable enjoyments of lettered solitude, for his congenial pursuits, and the more mild and ingenuous exercises of the muse. In a Letter to Henry Oldenburgh, written in 1654, he says, h • Hoc cum libertatis adversariis inopinatum certamen, diversis longè et amoenioribus omninò me studiis intentum, ad se rapuit invitum. And in one of his prose-tracts, iI may one day hope to have ye again in a still time, when there shall be no Chiding. Not in these Noises. And in another, having mentioned some of his schemes for epick poetry and tragedy, ‘of highest hope and hardest attempting,' he adds, k. With what small willingness I endure to interrupt the pursuit of no less hopes than these, and leave a calm and pleasing solitarinesse, fed with cheerful and confident thoughts, to imbark in a troubled sea of noises and hoarse disputes, from beholding the bright countenance of Truth in the quiet and still air of delightfull studies, &c. He still, however, obstinately persisted in what he thought his duty. But surely these speculations should have been consigned to the enthusiasts of the age, to such restless and wayward spirits as Prynne, Hugh Peters, Goodwyn, and Baxter. Minds less refined, and faculties less elegantly cultivated, would have been better employed in this task: .
h Prose-Works, vol. iii. p. 330, ed. 1698.