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Secunda, published in 1654, or perhaps a year before the present Sonnet was written, he had inserted a more express passage, to the effect that when he had undertaken the reply to Salmasius the sight of one eye was already nearly gone, and he had persevered in his task, from a sense of paramount duty, against the positive warnings of physicians that it would accelerate total blindness. ——“my noble task, of which all Europe rings.” Only in this case have I adopted a reading from Phillips's printed copy of 1694. In the Cambridge draft of the Sonnet, as dictated by Milton, the word is "talks” and not “rings,” and I have no doubt “talks” is what Milton himself would have printed. But the word "rings,” substituted by Phillips, probably because the first line of the Sonnet to Fairfax was still echoing in his ear, has so recommended itself by its energy, and has become so identified with the passage by frequent quotation, that no editor has had the heart to return to “talks.”
SONNET XXIII. :-“ like Alcestis," etc. The reference is to the beautiful drama of Alkestis by Euripides, where it is told how the brave god Herakles, Jove's great son, brought back the dead Queen Alkestis from her tomb and restored her to her husband Admetus. The story is now best accessible to English readers in Mr. Browning's fine transcript of it in his Balaustion. -— “ Purification in the Old Law.” See Levit. xii.
The Fifth ODE OF HORACE, LIB. I.—“ Plain in thy neatness ?” Warton objected to this translation, on the ground that Horace's words “simplex munditiis” mean "plain in her dress.” But Milton, in the Latin copy of Horace's ode printed parallel with his translation in the edition of 1673, adopts the reading “simplex munditie,”
Psalms LXXX. -- LXXXVIII. --- See Introduction. Landor's remark on these translations was that “Milton was never so much a regicide as when he lifted up his hand and smote King David.”—Ps. LXXX. 35, haut, for haughty, an old form, found in Spenser and Shakespeare, but nowhere else in Milton's poetry-Ibid. lines 14, 30, 78, the identical rhyme of vouchsafe and safe ; and in line 60 vine rhyming with divine. In the edition of 1673 vouchsafe is so spelt in lines 14 and 30, but vout safe in line 78, as generally in Par. Lost.-In Ps. LXXXVI., lines 26-28, the word “works " rhymes to itself.
Psalms 1.–VIII.—As has been pointed out in the Introduction, the peculiarity in this version of the first Eight Psalms is that in each psalm there is an experiment of a special metre. Psalm I. is in heroic couplets ; Psalm II. in Italian tercets, or rhymes interlinked in threes, as in Dante's Divina Commedia ; Psalm III. in a peculiar sixlined stanza; Psalm IV. in a different six-lined stanza ; Psalm V. in a peculiar four-lined stanza; Psalm VI. in another kind of four-lined stanza; Psalm VII. in a sixlined stanza different from either of the previous six-lined stanzas ; and Psalm VIII. in an eight-lined stanza. But in each metre there are irregularities and laxities. Observe the double rhymes “nations " "congregations” in Ps. II. 1-3; "glory” “story,” and “millions" " pavilions " in Ps. III. 7, 8, and 15-18; “unstable” “miserable” in Ps. V. 25-27 ; “reprehend me" "amend me," and “weeping" "keeping” in Ps. VI. 1-4 and 17-20 ; “under,” “wonder," "asunder," "nation," ohabitation,” “ foundation,” and “offended,” “ bended,” “ intended,” in Ps. VII. 2-5, 25-30, and 44-47.— Note also, as peculiar verbal forms, " sustain” used substantively in Ps. III. 12, “deject” used adjectively Ps. VI. 3, and “bearth” for “birth” or “production” in Ps. VII. 4 (compare Par. Lost, IX. 624, and note there).
SCRAPS FROM THE PROSE Writings. -See Introd.
NOTES TO THE LATIN POEMS.
“DE AUCTORE TESTIMONIA.” — About the Neapolitan MANSO, the writer of the first of the five testimonies, sufficient information has been given in the Introduction to the Latin Poem “ Mansus.” About the Roman SALSILLI, the writer of the second, there is similar information in the Introduction to the Latin Verses addressed to him. Of SELVAGGI, the writer of the third, nothing is known, save that he was probably a Roman. ANTONIO FRANCINI and CARLO DATI, the writers of the fourth and fifth, were Florentines, and leading spirits in the Literary Academies of Florence at the time of Milton's visit. There is special mention of both by name in his Epitaphium Damonis, written immediately after his return to England (lines 136138); and Dati, who was a very young man when Milton first saw him in Florence, was one of his correspondents afterwards.
ELEGIA PRIMA. 3. “occiduâ Deva Cestrensis ab orâ.” Compare Lycidas, 55, and note there.
4. “ V'ergivium . . . salum”: the Irish sea.
11–20. “Jam nec arundiferum,” etc. These ten lines are supposed to convey the story of Milton's temporary rustication from Christ's College, Cambridge, in 1626 (see Introd). The phrases most significant are “nec dudum vetiti laris," "s duri minas Magistri,” “ Cætera ingenio non subeunda meo," “ exilium," "profugi nomen,” and “exilii conditione." The first of these phrases may be construed in a way different from that which has been usual with those who have read it with the story of the rustication in their minds. They have taken “lar” to mean “college-chamber," and so have read the whole line thus : “ Nor does any love of [longing for] my lately forbidden college-room vex me." But why not take “lar" in its more direct sense of “home,” “ fireside,” and so read the line thus : “Nor does longing for my lately forbidden home in London now vex me, as it used to do at Cambridge”?
21—24. “ O utinam vates ... ille," etc. Milton's fondness for Ovid finds here exaggerated expression.
29–36. “Seu catus,” etc. Warton remarks that the comedies hinted at are rather the Terentian than those of the contemporary English stage.
41, 42. “ Seu puer infelix,” etc. Shakespeare's Romeo ?
43, 44. “Seu ferus e tenebris,” etc. In Shakespeare's Hamlet or his Richard III. ?
45, 46. “ Seu maret Pelopeia,” etc. He reverts now to Greek tragedy.
49, 50. “Nos quoque lucus habet,” etc. Some suburban place of public resort, such as Gray's Inn Garden or one of the Parks, seems to be intended.
69, 70.“ Nec Pompeianas Tarpëia Musa,” etc. The “ Tarpëia Musa” is here used for the Roman poets generally, or more expressly for Ovid, whose house was near the Tarpeian Rock.
73. " Tuque urbs Dardaniis, Londinum," etc. London, in the British legends, was founded by the Trojan settlers who came in with Brutus.
77–80. “ Non tibi tot cælo,” etc. An expansion of Ovid's, Art Amat., 1. 59.
ELEGIA SECUNDA. 5, 6. "plumis sub quibus accipimus delituisse Jovem." Warton quotes Ovid's line (Heroides, viII. 68): “Nec querar in plumis delituisse Jovem."
9, 10. “ Dignus quem ... Coronides.” Æsculapius, the god of medicine, son of Apollo, but, here, after Ovid, called Coronides because his mother was Coronis, restored to life Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, whose death had greatly vexed Diana.
21. “ Academia." Here, as well as in the only other instance of the use of the word in Milton's Latin poems (Epilogue to Eleg. VII.), the penult is made short.
ELEGIA Tertia. 3–8. “ Protinus en subiit,” etc. The reference is to the ravages of the Plague in England in 1625 and 1626.
9--12. “ Tunc memini,” etc. The other recent calami. ties were the deaths of some of the conspicuous champions of Protestantism on the Continent in that early stage of the great Thirty Years' War the object of which was the recovery of the Palatinate for its hereditary Prince - Elector, nominally “King of Bohemia,” husband of the English Elizabeth, daughter of James I.
49, 50.“ Talis in extremis terræ Gangetidis oris Luciferi regis,” etc. “ Lucifer rex," as Steevens pointed out, is here not a name for Satan, as Warton imagined, but simply for the Sun or Light-bringer, whose home is placed by all poets in the far East.
63, 64. “ Nate, veni,” etc. Rev. xiv 13.
ELEGIA QUARTA. 3. “ Segnes rumpe moras." Quoted verbatim, as Mr. Keightley notes, from Virgil, Georg. III. 42, 43.
5. 6. “ Sicanio frænantem carcere ventos Æolon." Copied, as Warton noted, from Ovid, Met. xiv. 224.
15, 16. “ab Hamâ,” etc. According to Warton, “Krantzius, a Gothic geographer, says that the city of Hamburg in Saxony took its name from Hama, a puissant Saxon champion, who was killed on the spot where that city stands by Starchater, a Danish giant.” Hence the Cimbrica clava of line 16.
23--28. “ Charior ille mihi quàm,” etc. Here Milton helped himself, as Warton noted, with recollections from Ovid
-Art. Amat. I., II and 337, Met. II. 676 (where Cheiron is expressly called “ Philyreius heros "), and Fasti, v. 379 et seq. (where “ Philyreius heros” occurs again).
33–38. “ Flammeus at signum ter," etc. Thrice had the