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been exercised in the tongues, and some sciences as my age would suffer, by sundry masters and teachers both at home and at the schools, it was found that whether ought was imposed on me by them that had the overlooking, or betaken to of my own choice, in English or other tongue, prosing or versing, but chiefly this latter, the style by certain vital symptoms it had, was likely to live.” In a letter, which from its date was written about two months before his Lycidas; he lays open to his friend Deodati the lofty hopes and the daring projects of his heart.
“ But you are now anxious, as I know, (the writer says) “ to have your curiosity gratified. You solicitously enquire even about my thoughts. Attend then, Deodati, but let me spare myself a blush by speaking in your ear; and for a moment let me talk proudly
Do you ask me what is in my thought? So may God prosper me, as it is nothing less than immortality. But how shall I accomplish it? My wings are sprouting, and I meditate to fly: but while my Pegasus yet lifts himself on very tender pinions, let ine be prudent and humble.”
For the amusement of my readers I will insert the whole letter from which I have made this extract, with a translation of it by my friend Mr. Wrangham. We find by this document that Milton
We shall again have occasion to remark
had just accomplished a very rugged journey through some of the most barren and unsightly tracts of history. Of all the productions of the pen, familiar letters give us the most insight into the sanctuary of the writer's bosom.
CAROLO DEODATO. “ Quod cæteri in literis suis plerunque faciunt amici, ut unicam tantum salutem dicere sat habeant, tu illud jam video quid sit quod toties inpertias; ad ea enim quæ tute prius, et alii adhuc sola afferre possunt vota, jam nunc artem insuper tuam, vimque omnem medicam quasi cumulum accedere vis me scilicet intelligere. Jubes enim salvere sexcenties, quantum volo, quantum possum, vel etiam amplius. Næ ipsum te nuper salutis condum promum esse factum oportet, ita totum salubritatis penum dilapidas, aut ipsa proculdubio sanitas jam tua parasita esse debet, sic pro rege te geris atque imperas ut dicto sit audiens; itaque gratulor tibi, et duplici proinde nomine gratias tibi agam necesse est, cum amicitiæ tum artis eximiæ. Literas quidem tuas, quoniam ita convenerat, diu expectabam; verum acceptis neque dum ullis, si quid mihi credis, non idcirco veterem meam erga te benevolentiam tantillum refrigescere sum passus; immo vero qua tarditatis excusatione usus literarum initio es, ipsam illam te allaturum esse jam animo præsenseram, idque recte nostræque necessitudini convenienter. Non enim in epistolarum ac salutationum momentis veram verti amicitiam volo, quæ omnia ficta esse possunt, sed altis animi radicibus niti utrinque et sustinere se; cæptamque sinceris et sanctis rationibus, etiamsi mutua cessarent officia, per omnem tamen vitam suspicione et culpa vacare: ad quam fovendam nou tam scriplo sit opus, quam viva invicem virtutum recordatione. Nec continuò, ut tu non scripseris, non erit quo illud suppleri officium possit, scribit vicem tuam apud me tua probitas, verasque literas intimis sensibus meis exarat, scribit morum simplicitas, et recti amor; scribit ingenium etiam tuum, haudquaquam quotidianum, et majorem in modum te mihi commendatQuare noli mihi, arcem illam medicinæ tyrannicam nactus,
these aspirings of his mind to the high pro
terrores istos ostentare, ac si salutes tuas sexcentas velles, subducta minutim ratiuncula, ad unum omnes a me reposcere, si forte ego, (quod ne siverit unquam Deus,) amicitiæ desertor fierem; atque amove terribile illud 'WITEIXIoua quod cervicibus nostris videris imposuisse, ut sine tua bona venia ne liceat ægrotare. Ego enim, ne nimis minitere, tui siiniles impossibile est quin amem; namn de cætero quidem quid de me statuerit Dens nescio, illud certe, δεινόν μοι έρωτα, είπέρ τω αλλω, τα xanõ evés tače. Nec tanto Ceres labore, ut in fabulis est, Liberam fertur quæsivisse filiam, quanto ego hanc 78 xanõ ideas, veluti pulcherrimam quandam imaginem, per omnes rerum formas et facies : (πολλαί γαρ μορφα των Δαιμονίων) dies noctesque indagare soleo, et quasi certis quibusdam vestigiis ducentem sector. Unde fit, ut qui, spretis quæ vulgus prava rerum æstimatione opinatur, id sentire et loqui et esse audet; quod summa per omne ævum sapientia optimum esse docuit, illi me protinus, sicubi reperiam, necessitate quadam adjungam. Quod si ego, sive natura sive meo fato, ita sum comparatus, ut nulla contentione et laboribus meis ad tale decus et fastigium laudis ipse valeam emergere; tamen quo minus qui eam gloriam assecuti sunt, aut eo feliciter aspirant, illos semper colam et suspiciam nec dii puto nec homines prohibuerint. “ Cæterum jam curiositati tuæ vis esse satisfactum scio. Multa solicite quæris etiam quid cogitem. Audi, Theodote, verum in aurem ne rubeam, et sinito paulisper apud te grandia loquar: quid cogitem quæris? ita me bonus Deus, immortalitatem, Quid agam vero? lecobucũ, et volare meditor: sed tenellis admodum adhuc pennis evehit se noster Pegasus; humile sapiamus." Dicam jam nunc serio quid cogitem, in hospitium juridicorum aliquod immigrare, sicubi amena et umbrosa ambulatio est, quod et inter aliquot sodales, commodior illic habitatio, si domi manere, et ógurTYCOV EU at Pené otepoy quocunque libitum erit excurrere; ubi nunc sum, ut nosti, obscure et anguste sum. De studiis etiam nostris fies certior. Græcorum res continuata lectione deduximus usquequo illi Græci esse sunt desiti: Italorum in obscura re diu versati sumus, sub Longobar, spect of poetic immortality, till the baleful dis et Francis et Germanis, ad illud tempus quo illis ab Rodolpho Germaniæ rege concessa libertas est: exinde quid quæque civitas suo marte gesserit, separatim legere præstabit. Tu vero quid? quousque rebus domesticis filius familias imminebis urbanarum sodalitatum oblitus? quod, nisi bellam hoc novercale vel Dacico vel Sarmatico infestius sit, debebis profecto maturare, ut ad nos saltem in hyberna concedas. Interim, quod sine tua molestia fiat, Justinianum mihi Venetorum historicum rogo mittas, ego mea fide aut in adventum tuum probe asservatum curabo; aut, si mavis, haud ita multo post ad te remissum. Vale.”
Londini, Sep. 23, 1637.
TO CHARLES DEODATI. “ Other friends in their letters generally reckon it sufficient to wish only a single health to their correspondents; I can assign a reason, however, why you so often repeat the salutation. For in addition to your old wishes, which are all that others are still able to offer, you would have me now consider your whole art and energy of medicine as engaged: since you bid me hail indefinitely, to the height of my desires, of my powers,-nay, beyond. You must surely have become of late the very
housesteward of Health, you so lavishly dispense her whole stores; or Health herself is without doubt your obsequious attendant, you so imperiously like a king enjoin her obedience. Accept therefore my congratulations, and allow me to return you my double thanks, on account both of your friendship and your profound skill. I had long indeed, in consequence of your arrangement, been expecting a letter from you; but, trust me, so far was I from feeling the slightest diminution of kindness towards you on account of its non-arrival, that I had even anticipated the very excuse for its delay which you yourself allege in the beginning of it: and this too justly, and without any derogation from our intimacy. For true friendship should not depend upon the balancings of letters and salutations, which may be all hypocritical ; but should cling and sustain itself by the deep roots of the soul, and, originating in pure and hallowed principles, should through the whole of life, even without the intervention of
fury of politics diverted his fancy from where she
Rollid o'er Elysian flowers her amber stream, into a channel polluted with weeds and horrid with precipices. reciprocal civilities, avoid both suspicion and offence, cherished not so much by letters as by the lively remembrance of mutual virtues. Nor, should you happen to omit writing, would you be without a substitute in that office. Your integrity writes to me in your stead and inscribes its deep characters upon my inmost senses. Your simplicity, your honour, and your genius (genius of no common stamp) are my correspondents, and give me a still stronger impression in your favour. Do not then from your lordly eminence of medicine, hold out to me the threat of reclaiming, with rigid minuteness of calculation, your indefinitely-multiplied salutations, in the event (which God avert!) of my proving treacherous to friendship; but take off that dread injunction, which you seem to have laid upon me, of not daring to be sick without your leave. For, without your denunciations, I cannot help loving such as resemble you; since, whatever God may have determined concerning me in other respects, he has certainly implanted in me, if in any one, a vehement love of the to manoy: nor is Ceres herself
represented in fable to have sought her daughter Proserpine with so much zeal, as I daily and nightly pursue and trace the steps of this fair idea, this enchanting image through every form and face of things—“ for various are the shapes which people heaven." Hence he who, in contempt of the depraved estimates of popular opinion, dares to think and speak and be what genuine wisdom has universally pronounced best, by a kind of necessity becomes instantly, wherever I find him, an object of my ardent attachment. I inyself may from nature or through destiny be 80 circumstanced as to be incapable, by any struggles or exertions of my own, of attaining such an honourable elevation: but neither gods, 1 trust, nor men, will forbid my looking up to such as have attained, or are successfully labouring to attain it, with reverence and veneration,