Obrazy na stronie

Act III. Scene ). “Lucifer, Belial, Satan. Lucifer exults in his success, and the other Demons applaud him.

Scene 2. “ Raphael, Michael, Gabriel. These good spirits lament the fall, and retire with awe on the appearance of God.

Scene 3. God, Eve, Adam. God calls on Adam-he appears and laments his nakedness-God interrogates him concerning the tree---he confesses his offence, and accuses Eve—she blames the Serpent—God pronounces his malediction and sends them from his presence.

“Raphael, Eve, and Adam. Raphael bids them depart from Paradise-Adam laments his destiny-Raphael persists in driving them rather harshly from the garden-Adam begs that his innocent children may not suffer for the fault of their mother-Raphael replies, that not only his children, but all his race must suffer, and continues to drive them from the garden-Adam obeys–Eve laments, but soon comforts Adam--he at length departs, animating himself with the idea, that to an intrepid heart every region is a home.

Scene 5. " A Cherub, moralizing on the creation and fall of Adam, concludes the third and last Act.”

Mr. Walker, in his Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy, has enlarged this analysis with some specimens of the author's style and manner, together with a fac similes of the quaint table, exhibiting the morale esposatione of the work. From the same ingenious and entertaining volume we learn that, “as Lancetta denominates himself Benacense, it is presumed he was a native of that part of the riviera of Salò, on the lago di Garda, which is called Tosolano, and whose inhabitants are styled Benacenses, from Benacus, the ancient name of the lake. He was, he modestly declares, neither a poet nor an orator,-poeta non son’io, ne oratore,--but I am willing to believe he was a good man, and that it was rather his virtues than his talents which recommended him to the accomplisha ed family of Gonzaga, of which he seems to have been a protégé. Such is the deep obscurity in which this author is buried, that the most sedulous inquiry has not led to the discovery of any authentic notices concerning him. His drama is slightly mentioned by Allacci, who supposes it to be his only production 6."

Mr. Hayley adds, to his remarks on the dramas of Andreini and Lancetta, that Milton was probably familiar with an Italian poem, little known in England, and formed expressly on the conflict of the apostate spirits; the Angeleida del Sig. Erasmo di Valvasone, Venet. 1590. Dr. Warton was of the same opinion. See the note on Par. Lost. B. v. 689. 'And Mr. Hayley has cited the verses, in which the Italian poet assigns to the infernal powers the invention of artillery. With this poem, I think, the mind of Milton could not but be affected. It begins :

lo canterò del ciel l'antica guerra,
Per cui sola il principio, et l' uso nacque,
Onde tra il seme human non pur in terra,
Ma souente si pugna anchor sù l'acque :
Carcere eterno nel abisso serra
Quel che ne fù l' authore, St vinto giacque :
Ei vincitori in parte eccelsa, & alma

Godon trionfo eterno, eterna palma.
5 Hist. Mem. Appendix, p. xlviii—Ivi.

. Hist. Mem, p. 172

Valvasone's description of the triumphant 'angels in B. iii. is particularly interest. ing. The poem concludes with an animated sonnet to the Archangel Michael, preceded by the four following lines :

Cosi disse Michele, & da le pure
Ciglia di Dio refulse un chiaro lampo,
Che gli die segno del diuino assenso,
E tutto il Ciel fà pien di gaudio immensos

All Arcangelo Michele.
Eccelso Heroe, Campion inuitto, & Santo
Del imperio diuin, per cui pigliasti

L'alta contesa, e 'l reo Dragon cacciasti

Da l' auree stelle debellato, & franto;
Et hor non men giù ne l'eterno pianto,

Onde ei risorger mal s' attenta, i vasti
Orgogli suoi reprimi, & gli contrasti,

A nostro schermo con continuo vanto ;
Questi miei noui accenti, onde traluce

La gran tua gloria, e 'l inio deuoto affetto,
Accogli tu fin da P empirea luce:
Sieno in vece di preghi, & al cospetto
Gli porta pio del sempiterno Duce,

Che di sua gratia adempia il mio difetto. Mr. Hayley seems to think also, that Milton may be sometimes traced in the Strage de gli Innocenti of Marino. The late Mr. Bowie appears to have enter. tained a similar notion. See also Mr. Warton's ‘note In Mansum, ver, 11. A few passages are accordingly cited, from this poem, in the Notes on Paradise Lost. It was first published at Venice in 1633; and consists of four books: 1. Sos. petto d’Herode: 2. Consiglio de Satrapi: 3. Essecutione della Strage: 4. Il Limbo. Milton has been thought indebted likewise to Crashaw', the transla. tor of the first of these books. I will select a few passages, therefore, from this version, which seem to have afforded some countenance to the opinion. Sospet. to d'Herode,stanza, 5. Description of Satan.. Crashaw's Poems, edit. 1648, p. 59.

His eyes, the sullen dens of death and night,
Startle the dull ayre with a dismal red:
Such his fell glances as the fatall light
Of staring comets, that looke kingdomes dead.-
He shooke himselfe, and spread his spatious wings;
Which, like two bosom'd sailes, embrace the dimme

Aire, with a dismall shade ; but all in raine;
Of sturdy adamant is bis strong chaine,"

Part of his speech: st. 28.

And should we Powers of Heaven, Spirits of worth,
Bow our bright heads before a king of clay?
It shall not be, said I, and clombe the North,
Where never wing of Angell yet made way.

What though I mist my blow ? yet I strooke high;
And, to dare something, is some victory. +

7 Biogr. Brit. edit. Kippis, vol. iv, p. 431.


- Ah wretch ! what bootes thee to cast back thy eyes,
'Where dawning hope no beame of comfort showes ?
While the reflection of thy forepast joys,
Renders thee double to thy present woes ;
Rather make up to thy new miseries,
And meete the mischiefe that upon thee growes.

If Hell must mourne, Heaven sure shall sympathize :
What force cannot effect, fraud shall devise.


And yet whose force feare I? have I so lost
Myselfe ? my strength too with my innocence ?
Come, try who dares, Heaven, Earth; whate'er dost boast
A borrowed being, make thy bold defence :

Come thy Creator too; what though it cost
Me yet a second fall? we'd try our strengths.

Heaven saw us struggle once; as brave a fight
Earth now should see, and tremble at the sight.


Thus spoke the impatient prince, and made a pause :
His foule bags raised their heads, and clapt their hands
And all the powers of Hell, in full applause,
Flourisht their snakes, and tost their flaming brands.
We, said the horrid sisters, wait thy lawes,
The obsequious handmaids of thy high commands:
- Be it thy part, Hell's mighty Lord, to lay
On us thy dread commands; ours to obey.


What thy Alecto, what these hands, can doe,

Thou mads't bold proofe upon the brow of Heaven;
Nor should'st thou bate in pride, because that now
To these thy sooty kingdomes thou art driven.
Let Heaven's Lord chide above, lowder than thou,
In language of his thunder ; thou art even
With him below: here thou art Lord alone
Boundlesse and absolute: Hell is thine owne.

That Crashaw and Milton should concur in similar sentiments and expressions, when Marino dictates to both, can be a matter of little surprise. But, when we compare the passages in Milton which may be considered as harmonizing with these in Crashaw,we shall not hesitate to declare that, in bold and glowing phraseology, as well as in beautiful and expressive numbers, the palm,due to the improvement of the original, belongs to the former. Nor shall we forget the hints from Æschylus and Dante, which Milton finely interweaves in the character of his Prince of darkness. Milton, no doubt, had read Crashaw's translation; as he bad read the translations also of Ariosto and Tasso by Harington and Fairfax; to various

passages in which he has, in like manner, added new graces resulting from his own imagination and judgment. There are also a few resemblances in Crashaw's poetry to passages in Milton, which I have noticed in their respective places. Crashaw, I may add, is entitled to the merit of suggesting the combination and form of several happy phrases to Pope. Of a poet, thus distinguished, I take this opportunity to subjoin a few particulars from the unpublished manuscript of his fellow-collegian, Dr. John Bargrave. “ When I went first of my 4 times to Rome, there were there 4 revolters to the Roman Church that had binn fellowes of Peterhouse in Cambridge with myselfe. The name of one of them was Mr. R. Crashaw, whoe was of the Seguita (as their tearme is), that is, an attendant, or one of the followers of Cardinall Palotta, for which he had a salary of crownes by the month, (as the custome is,) but no dyet. Mr. Crashaw infinitely commended his Cardinall, but complayned extreamly of the wickedness of those of his retinue, of which he, having his Cardinall's care, complayned to him; vpon which the Italians fell so farr owè with him, that the Cardinall, to secure his life, was faine to putt him from his service; and, procuring him some smale imploy at the Lady's of Loretto, whither he went in pilgrimage in summer time, and ourheating him selfe dyed in few weeks after he came thither; and it was doubtfull whether he were not poysoned 8.”

Mr. Hayley notices the existence also of the following pieces relating to Milton's subject :

1. Adamo Caduto, tragedia sacra, di Serafino della Salandria. Cozenzo, 1647. 8vo.

II. La Battagalia Celeste tra Michele e Lucifero, di Antonio Alfani, Palermitano. Palermo, 1568. 4to.

III, Del Adamo di Giovanni Soranzo, Genova, 1604. 12mo.

They had however, escaped the researches of Mr. Hayley. Signor Signorelli, the learned and elegant correspondent of Mr. Walker on subjects connected with his Memoir on Italian Tragedy ', published in 1799, had not then seen them. Whether Milton had perused them, must therefore be a matter of future inquiry. Mr. Walker, to whom the reader is indebted for the curious Note on the dialogue between Satan and Michael, Par. Lost, B. vi. 292, &c. observes that all the commentators pass over the obligations of Milton to the Gerusalemme Distrutta of Marino. From the seventh canto, which is all that is printed', and which is subjoined to two small editions of the Strage de gli Innocenti in his possession, Mr. Walker has made a few extracts; and I have cited those relating to the com. passionate countenance of Christ, and to the glorious description of God, in the Notes on B. iii. 140, 380. See also the note on B. xi. 406.

Mr. Hayley further notices the probable attention of Milton to Tasso's ? Le Set.

After the restoration of Charles II. Dr. Bargrave became prebendary of Canterbury, to the library of which cathedral he gave many books and other curiosities. See a further account of this MS. in the note on Christina, queen of Sweden, in Todd's Milton, Vol. VI. p. 270.

See the Hist. Mem. Appendix, p. 33. 1 Ibid. p. 36.

a Dr. Warton mentions only the edition of Viterbo, in 1607. There had been an earlier edition this entitled, I due primi Giorni del Mondo Creato, Poesia sacra. Venet, 1600, 4to. Anda later, Le sette Giornate, &c Ult. impress, ricorretta. Venet. 1637.

te Giornate del Mondo Creato. See likewise Dr. Warton's note on Par. Lost, B. v. 689. Tasso, like Milton, follows indeed almost the very words of Scripture in relating the commands of God on the several days of the Creation. The poem is in blank verse. I submit to the reader the following pious address :

Dimmi, qual opra alhora, à qual riposo
Fosse ne la Diuina, e Sacra Mente
In quel d' eternita felice stato.
E’n qual ignota parte, e'n quale idea
Era l' essempio tuo, Celeste Fabro,
Quando facesti à te la Reggia, e'l Tempio.
Tu, che'l sai, tu 'lriuela: e chiare, e conte
Signor, per me fà l'opre, i modi, e l'arti.
Signor, tu se'la mano, io son la cetra,
La qual mossa da le, con dolci tempre
Di soate armonia, risuona; e molce
D'adamantino smalto i duri affetti.
Signor, tu se' lo spirto io roca tromba,
Son per me stesso à la tua gloria ; e langue,
Se non m'inspiri tu, la voce, e 'l suono.

In the preceding verses Milton's address to the Holy Spirit, “ Instruct me, for thou know'st,” is perhaps observable. They close also with a similar sentiment to his invocation of the same assistance in his Paradise Regained, B. i. 11.

Thou spirit,

As thou art wont, my prompted song, else mute.

VII. The latest observation respecting the origin of Paradise Lost, which has been submitted to the public, is contained in Mr. Dunster's Considerations on Milton's early Reading, and the prima stamina of Paradise Lost, 1800. The object of these considerations is to prove that Milton became, at a very early period of his life, enamoured of Joshua Sylvester's translation of the French poet, Du Bartas. Lauder had asserted long since that Milton was indebted to Sylvester's translation for “ numberless fine thoughts besides his low trick of playing upon words and his frequent use of technical terms. From him,” he adds, “ Milton has borrowed many elegant phrases, and single words, which were thought to be peculiar to him, or rather coined by him; such as palpable darkness, and a thousand others." Lauder has also said that Philips, Milton's nephew,“ every where, in his Theatrum Poetarum, either wholly passes over in silence such authors as Milton was most obliged to, or if he chances to mention them, does it in the most slight and superficial manner imaginable, Du Bartas alone excepted.” But Sylvester is also highly commended, in this work, for his translation. Mr. Hayley well observes, in apology, for other omissions of Philips,“ which are too frequent to be considered as accidental, that he probably chose not to enumerate various poems relating to Angels, to Adam and to Paradise, lest ignorance and malice should absurdly consider the mere existance of such poetry as a derogation from the glory of Milton.”

Lauder adds, that there is “ a commentary on this work, called A Summary of Du Bartas, a book full of prodigious learning, and many curious observations on all arts and sciences; from whence Milton has derived a multiplicity of fine hints,

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