« السابقةمتابعة »
observations concerning the true pronunciation of that language for the use of foreigners.
So much good acquaintance would probably have detained him longer at Florence, if he had not been going to Rome, which to a curious traveller is certainly the place the most worth seeing of any in the world. And so he took leave of his friends at Florence, and went from thence to Sienna, and from Sienna to Rome, where he stayed much about the same time that he had continued at Florence, feasting both his eyes and his mind, and delighted with the fine paintings and sculptures, and other rarities and antiquities of the city, as well as with the conversation of several learned and ingenious men, and particularly of Lucas Holstenius, keeper of the Vatican library, who received him with the greatest humanity, and showed him all the Greek authors, whether in pript or in manuscript, which had passed through his correction ; and also presented him to Cardinal Barberini, who at an entertainment of music, performed at his own expence, waited for him at the door, and taking him by the hand brought him into the assembly. The next morning he waited upon the Cardinal to return him thanks for his civilities, and by the means of Holstenius was again introduced to his Eminence, and spent some time in conversation with him. It seems that Holstenius had studied three years at Oxford, and this might dispose him to be more friendly to the English, but he touk a particular liking and affection to Milton;
and Milton, to thank him for all his favours, wrote to him afterwards from Florence the ninth of his familiar epistles. At Rome too Selvaggi made a Latin distich in honour of Milton, and Salsilli a Latin tetrastich, celebrating him for his Greek and Latin and Italian poetry; and he in return presented to Salsilli in his sickness, those fine Scazons, or Iambic verses having a spondee in the last foot, which are inserted among his juvenile poems.
From Rome he went to Naples, in company with a certain hermit; and by his means was introduced to the acquaintance of Giovanni Baptista Manso, Marquis of Villa, a Neapolitan nobleman, of singular merit and virtue, to whom Tasso addresses his dialogue of friendship, and whom he mentions likewise in his Gierusalemme Liberata with great honour. This nobleman was particularly civil to Milton, frequently visited him at his lodgings, and went with him to show him the Viceroy's palace, and whatever was curious or worth notice in the city; and more. over he honoured him so far as to make a Latin dis. tich in his praise, which is printed before our author's Latin poems, as is likewise the other of Selvaggi, and the Latin tetrastich of Salsilli, together with the Italian ode and the Latin eulogium before mentioned. We may suppose that Milton was not a little pleased with the honours conferred upon him by so many persons of distinction, and especially by one of such quality and eminence as the Marquis of Villa; and as a testimony of his gratitude he pre
sented to the Marquis at his departure from Naples his eclogue intitled Mansus, which is well worth reading among his Latin poems. So that it may be reckoned a peculiar felicity of the Marquis of Vila's life, to have been celebrated both by Tasso and Milton, the one the greatest modern poet of his own, and the other the greatest of any foreign nation.
Having seen the finest parts of Italy, Milton was now thinking of passing over into Sicily and Greece, when he was diverted from his purpose by the news from England, that things were tending to a civil war between the King and Parliament; for he thought it unworthy of himself to be taking his pleasure abroad, while his countrymen were contending for liberty at home. He resolved therefore to return by the way of Rome, though he was advised to the contrary by the merchants, who had received intelligence from their correspondents, that the English Jesuits there were forming plots against him, in case he should return thither, by reason of the great free. dom which he had used in all his discourses of reli. gion. For he had by no means observed the rule, recommended to him by Sir Henry Wotton, of keeping his thoughts close and his countenance open : he had visited Galileo, a prisoner to the Inquisition, for asserting the motion of the earth, and thinking otherwise in astronomy than the Dominicans and Franciscans , thought: and though the Marquis of Villa had shown him such distinguishing marks of favour at Naples, yet he told him at his departure
that he would have shown him much greater, if he had been more reserved in matters of religion. But he had a soul above dissimulation and disguise; he was neither afraid nor ashamed to vindicate the truth; and if any man had, he had in him the spirit of an old martyr. He was so prudent indeed, that he would not of his own accord begin any discourse of religion ; but at the same time he was so honest, that if he was questioned at all about his faitli, he would not dissemble his sentiments, whatever was the consequence. And with this resolution he went to Rome the second time, and stayed there two moths more, neither concealing his name, nor declining openly to defend the truth, if any thought proper to attack him : and yet, God's good providence protecting him, he came safe to his kind friends at Florence, where he was received with as much joy and affection, as if he had returned into his own country.
Here likewise he stayed two months, as he had done before, excepting only an excursion of a few days to Lucca : and then crossing the Apennine, and passing through Bologna and Ferrara, le came to Venice, in which city he spent a month; and having shipped off the books, which he had collected in his travels, and particularly a chest or two of choice Amusic books of the best masters flourishing about that time in Italy, he took his course through Verona, Milan, and along the lake Leman to Geneva. In this city he tarried some time, meeting here with
people of his own principles, and contracted an in, timate friendship with Giovanni Deodati, the most learned professor of divinity, whose annotations upon the bible are published in English. And from thence returning through France the same way that he had gone before, he arrived safe in England, after a peregrination of one year and about three months, having seen more, and learned more, and conversed with more famous men, and made more real improvements, than most others in double the time.
His first business after his return was to pay his duty to his father, and to visit his other friends; but this pleasure was much diminished by the loss of his dear friend and school-fellow, Charles Deodati, in his absence. While he was abroad, he heard it reported that he was dead; and upon his coming home he found it but too true, and lamented his death in an excellent Latin eclogue intitled Epitaphium Damonis. This Deodati had a father originally of Lucca, but his mother was English, and he was born and bred in England, and studied physic, and was an admirable scholar, and no less remarkable for his sobriety and other virtues than for his great learning and ingenuity. One or two of Milton's familiar epistles are addressed to him; and Mr. Toland says, that he had in his hands two Greek letters of Deodati to Milton, very handsomely written. It may be right for scholars now and then to exercise themselves in Greek and Latin ; but we have much more frequent occasion to write letters in our own native language,