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prove him in his learning. Elwood was recommended to him by Dr. Paget, and went to his house every afternoon except Sunday, and read to him such books in the Latin tongue, as Milton thought proper. And Milton told him, that if he would have the benefit of the Latin tongue, not only to read and understand Latin authors, but to converse with foreigners either abroad or at home, he must learn the foreign pronunciation: and he instructed him how to read accordingly". And having a curious ear, he understood by my tone, says Elwood, when I understood what I read, and when I did not; and he would stop me, and examine me, and open the most difficult passages to me. But it was not long after his third marriage, that he left Jewen-street, and removed to a house in the Artillery Walk leading to Bunbill Fieldse: and this was his last stage in this world; he continued longer in this house than he had done in any other, and lived here to his dying day: only when the plague began to rage in London in 1665, he removed to a small house at St. Giles Chalfont in Buckinghamshire, which Elwood had taken for him and his family; and there he remained during that dreadful calamity; but after the sickness was over, and the city was cleansed and made
* Elwood mentions that he Millington the celebrated aucpronounced the Latin c like the tioneer, who was accustomed to English ch, and sc as sh, upon lead his venerable inmate by the which Rolli remarks, questa par- hand when he walked in the ticolarita mostra che Milton pro- streets, is mentioned by Richardnunciava la lingua Latina come
on the testimony of a person, gli Italiani e particolarmente i who was acquainted with Milton, Romani fanno. E.
and who had frequently met him * The circumstance of his lodg- abroad with his conductor and ing for some intermediate time, host. Symmons. after he left Jewin Street, with
safely habitable again, he returned to his house in London.
His great work of Paradise Lost had principally engaged his thoughts for some years past, and was now completed. It is probable, that his first design of writing an epic poem was owing to his conversations at Naples with the Marquis of Villa about Tasso and his famous poem of the delivery of Jerusalem; and in a copy of verses presented to that nobleman before he left Naples, he intimated his intention of fixing upon King Arthur for his herok, And in an eclogue, made soon after his return to England upon the death of his friend and school-fellow Deodati, he proposed the same design and the same subject, and declared his ambition of writing something in his native language, which might render his name illustrious in these islands, though he should be obscure and inglorious to the rest of the world. And in other parts of his works, after he had engaged in the controversies of the times, he still promised to produce some noble poem or other at a fitter season; but it doth not appear that he had then determined upon the subject, and King Arthur had another fate, being reserved for the pen of Sir Richard Blackmore. The first hint of
Dr. Symmons remarks, that " The reader should consult a rumour had been circulated of the Preface to the second book Milton's having fallen under the of the Reason of Church Govern. desolating disease. And he cites ment, from “ Concerning therea very interesting letter to Peter“fore this wayward subject" to Heimbach, occasioned by this re- the end, vol. i. p. 61–65. ed. port. See Pr. W. üi. 586. ed. 1753. This passage gives the 1753. E.
fullest insight into Milton's hopes * See Mr. Warton's note on and intentions. E. the Mansus, v. 80. E.
Paradise Lost is said to have been taken from an
The Drama alluded to is the at Venice in 1644, and which Adamo of Giovanni Battista An- Mr. Hayley has given together dreini, son of the celebrated with an analysis of the drama in actress Isabella Andreini. (See his Appendix, seems extremely Bayle's Dictionary, Art. Andre- visionary. But it is not improini.) G. B. Andreini was born bable that Milton was acquainted at Florence in 1578; he was also with Marino's Strage de gli Innoan actor of some repute, and centi (see note on the Mansus, author of about thirty poems and v. 11.) and with the Angeleida of comedies. (See Count Mazzu- Erasmo Valvasone, Venice, 1590. chelli's work on the writers of And it is curious that the latter Italy.) The Adamo was printed work, which is formed expressly at Milan in 1613, and again in on the rebellion of the Apostate 1617. It is like the mysteries Spirits, attributes to them the of our early stage, and belongs invention of artillery. But it to that class of dramas foundled may be said of these, and a long on the Scripture which the Ita- list of Italian, Spanish, and Porlians call Rappresentazioni. (See tuguese works, which are noticed Rolli's Life of Milton.) Whether by Mr. Hayley and Mr. Todd, Milion ever saw it or not, is and treat of the same or similar mere matter of conjecture. Vol subjects with the Paradise Lost, taire first started the notion that that it is very doubtful whether Milton was indebted to it for the Milton ever saw most of them, idea of Paradise Lost, in his or made use of any of them. No Essay on Epic Poetry, 1727. one has yet discovered the tra. Mr. Hayley has pursued the idea gedy called Il Paradiso Perso, in his Conjectures on the origin of which Dr. Pearce mentions as the Paradise Lost, annexed to having afforded the first hint of his Life of Milton. In the
the Paradise Lost. sages which Mr. Hayley has ex The origin therefore of this tracted from the Adamo I can great poem we are little likely trace no resemblance to the Pa to ascertain with any thing like radise Lost; but in the analysis certainty. Whoever wishes to which he has given of the drama pursue the subject may read Mr. there appears more resemblance Hayley's Conjectures above noto Milton's plans for dramas or ticed; Mr.J. C.Walker's Thoughts moralities on the same subject on the origin of Paradise Lost, than would have been to be ex printed with his Historical Me pected, perhaps, if Milton had moir on Italian Tragedy, 4to. never seen Andreini's work. That 1799; Mr. Dunster's Considerathe idea of writing an epic poem
tions on Milton's early reading, on the fall of Adam was first and the prima stamina of his pusuggested to Milton by the pre- radise Lost, 8vo. 1800; and Mr. face to the Scena Tragica d'Adamo Todd's Inquiry into the origin of ed Eva of Troilo Lancetta, printed
Paradise Lost, prefixed to his
it a tragedy himself, and there are several plans of it in the form of a tragedy still to be seen in the author's own manuscript preserved in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge. And it is probable that he did not barely sketch out the plans, but also wrote some parts of the drama itself. His nephew Philips informs us, that some of the verses at the beginning of Satan's speech, addressed to the sun in the fourth book, were shown to him and some others as designed for the beginning of the tragedy, several years before the poem was begun: and many other passages might be produced, which plainly appear to have been originally intended for the scene, and are not so properly of the epic, as of the tragic strain. It was not till after he was disengaged from the Salmasian controversy, which ended in 1655, that he began to mould the Paradise Lost in its present form; but after the Restoration, when he was dismissed from public business, and freed
edition of Milton's Poems. Mr. “ ers;" and he made the right Todd gives a summary of all the use of learning in greatly iminquiries of this kind.
proving upon the hints of others. But with the fanciful question This will continually appear in of the origin, or first hint, of the notes on his Poems. But Paradise Lost, is much mixed up there was nothing like plagiarism the consideration of Milton's use in this; and indeed, his comand imitation of earlier works. mentators, and the ingenious men It is most probable that he was who have been named above, are well acquainted, as Mr. Dunster always anxious that an imputacontends, with Sylvester's trans- tion of this kind should never, lation of Du Bartas; and that for a moment, be thrown upon he had seen Stafford's Niobe, as Milton, whose originality, they Mr. Todd suggests, and the work all contend, was as great as his of the Anglo-Saxon poet Cedmon, erudition. which Mr. Todd quotes from
of the shameless attempt of Turner's History of the Anglo- Lauder to convict him of plagiaSaxons. Milton's great learning rism a full account is given by in fact made him acquainted Bishop Newton in the Postscript " with the poverty as well as the to Paradise Lost. E. “ riches of numerous other writ
from controversy of every kind, he prosecuted the work with closer application. Mr. Philips relates a very remarkable circumstance in the composure of this poem, which he says he had reason to remember, as it was told him by Milton himself, that his vein never bappily flowed but from the autumnal equinox 10 the vernal, and that what he attempted at other times was not to his satisfaction, though he courted his fancy never so much. Mr. Toland imagines that Philips might be mistaken as to the time, because our author, in bis Latin elegy, written in his twentieth year, upon the approach of the spring, seemeth to say just the contrary, as if he could not make any verses to his satisfaction till the spring begun: and he says farther that a judicious friend of Milton's informed him, that he could never compose well but in spring and autumn. But Mr. Richardson cannot comprehend, that either of these accounts is exactly true, or that a man with such a work in his head can suspend it for six months together, or only for one; it may go on more slowly, but it must go on: and this laying it aside is contrary to that eagerness to finish what was begun, which he says was his temper in his epistle to Deodati, dated Sept. 2, 1637. After all, Mr. Philips, who had the perusal of the poem from the beginning, by twenty or thirty verses at a time, as it was composed, and having not been shown any for a considerable while, as the summer came on, inquired of the author the reason of it could hardly be mistaken with regard to the time: and it is easy to conceive, that the poem might go on
See the note on v. 6. El. vü. In Adventum veris. E.