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with a rod of iron ; and the business of re-shaping the rough semi-Episcopal Kirk of Scotland into a more perfect practical representation of Laud's ideal Beauty of Holiness had been steadily in progress. Precisely in this business of the Scottish Kirk, however, had the policy of Thorough struck against a rock of opposition. In July 1637 the Scots had risen in riot and revolt against the attempt to introduce Laud's new Scottish Liturgy; and in March 1638 the leaders of the Scottish people of all ranks, Nobles, Lairds, Burgesses, and Clergy, leagued themselves for open resistance, and swore their famous Covenant. The news ran through England, stirring strange hopes in the hearts of the English Puritans.
ITALIAN JOURNEY. April 1638-August 1639 : ætat. 30–31. The Scottish Covenant (“s the damnable Covenant,” as Charles called it) was the last word in all English mouths when Milton, in April 1638, set out on that journey to Italy of which he had long had dreams, and to which his father had at last given consent. He took one English man-servant with him. His father meanwhile was to live on at Horton, where his younger son Christopher, already a married man, though only passing his terms for the Bar, was to keep him company, with his newly-wedded wife, Thomasine Webber of London.
Taking letters of introduction with him, one of which was from Sir Henry Wotton (see Sir Henry Wotton's Letter of April 13, 1638, prefixed to Comus), Milton arrived in Paris. Here he spent some days, receiving great attention from Lord Scudamore, English joint-ambassador with the Ear] of Leicester at the court of Louis XIII. He specially mentions an interview procured for him by Lord Scudamore with the learned Dutchman, Hugo Grotius, then residing in Paris as ambassador from Sweden. From Paris he proceeded to Italy by way of Nice. After visiting Genoa, Leghorn, and Pisa, he reached Florence. Here he remained about two months (Aug.–Sept. 1638), enchanted with the beauties and antiquities of the famous city, and forming acquaintanceships with many of the wits and scholars then living in it. Seven Florentines, most of them young men, leaders in the chief Academies or literary clubs of Florence, are particularly named by him as friends whose
merits, and whose courtesies to himself, he could never forget. These were Jacopo Gaddi, Carlo Dati, Pietro Frescobaldi, Agostino Coltellini, Benedetto Buommattei, Valerio Chimentelli, and Antonio Francini. They have all left some traces of themselves in Italian literary history, though some of them are now best remembered by the happy accident of their contact with Milton. It was either in Florence or in its close neighbourhood that he also “ found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the Inquisition for thinking in Astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought." From Florence, through Siena, Milton went to Rome. His stay here extended over nearly two months more (Oct.—Nov. 1638); and here again, besides musing amid the ruins of the Eternal City, seeing the galleries and other sights, and being present at a concert in the palace of Cardinal Francesco Barberini, where he heard the famous Leonora Baroni sing, he enjoyed the society of the literary clubs or Academies. He made special acquaintance with Lucas Holste or Holstenius, a learned German, settled in Rome as secretary to Cardinal Barberini and as one of the librarians of the Vatican, and also with Alessandro Cherubini, Giovanni Salzilli, and a certain more obscure Selvaggi. Leaving Rome, in company with “a certain Eremite Friar," he spent some little time (Nov.-Dec. 1638) in Naples. Here, through his travelling companion, he was introduced to the great man of the place, the venerable Giovanni Battista Manso, Marquis of Villa, then nearly eighty years of age. From Naples it was his intention to cross over into Sicily and thence to extend his tour into Greece ; but “ the sad news of civil war in England” determined him to return, “inasmuch,” he says, “ as I thought it base to be travelling at my ease for intellectual culture while my fellowcountrymen at home were fighting for liberty.”---The news that had reached Milton in Naples, however, was not quite that of civil war in England itself, but only of such a course of events in Scotland as seemed to make civil war inevitable. The Covenant having been adopted all but universally by the population of Scotland, Charles had been obliged to temporise so far as to permit the meeting of a General Assembly of the Kirk at Glasgow for the consideration of affairs; and at this Assembly (Nov. 21-Dec. 20, 1638) the result of the consideration of affairs had been defiance to Charles and Laud in every particular. Not only had the recent ecclesiastical innovations been condemned, but all the Scottish Bishops had been deposed and disgraced, Episcopacy of every kind had been declared at an end in Scotland, and the Kirk and nation had returned absolutely to the old Presbyterian system of Knox. To punish the Scots for such audacity Charles was certainly levying forces in England and Ireland, so that in a sense civil war in Britain had actually begun. —-It was probably the receipt of such more correct information that made Milton's homeward journey more leisurely than he purposed when he left Naples. He spent, at all events, a second two months in Rome (Jan.-Feb. 1639), going about freely, and also talking freely, though warned, he says, that the English Jesuits in the city were on the watch to entrap him into some danger from the Papal police ; and he also spent a second two months in Florence (Feb.—April 1639), where his Florentine friends were rejoiced at his reappearance. From Florence he made an excursion to Lucca; after which, crossing the Apennines, and passing through Bologna and Ferrara, he came to Venice. He spent one month in that city (May 1639); whence, having despatched to England by sea the books he had collected in Italy, he made his way, by Verona and Milan, and over the Pennine Alps, to Geneva. Here he passed a week or two (June 1639), once more among Protestants, and conversing daily with the theologian Dr. Jean Diodati, the uncle of his friend Charles. Thence his route through France took him again to Paris ; and early in August 1639 he was back in England.
Milton's fifteen or sixteen months of foreign travel and residence contributed but few additions to the list of his writings. Besides two Latin Familiar Epistles written at Florence, one to the Florentine grammarian Buommattei (Sept. 10, 1638), and one to Holstenius at Rome (March 30, 1639), we have to note only the following: Ad Leonoram Romæ canentem (three pieces annexed to the Elegiarum
Liber). 1638. Ad Salsillum, Poetam Romanum, ægrotantem (among the Sylvæ).
1638. MANSUS (among the Sylvæ). 1638.
Five Italian Sonnets, with a Canzone. 1639 ? The Introductions to these will add particulars to this section of the Memoir.
BACK AT HORTON AND IN LONDON : LODGINGS IN ST.
BRIDE'S CHURCHYARD, FLEET STREET.
1639—1640 : ætat. 31–32. At Horton, where Milton found all well, there had been born in his absence a little nephew, the first child of Christopher Milton and his young wife. The infant, however, had died and been buried five months before.
Another death that had happened in Milton's absence was that of his friend Charles Diodati. Milton had vaguely heard of the fact while abroad; but not till his return did he learn the exact particulars. How profoundly they affected him may be learnt from that Latin pastoral of lament for Diodati which he wrote immediately after his return to England, and which deserves here to stand by itself :
EPITAPHIUM DAMONIS (among the Sylvæ). 1639. The importance of this poem in Milton's biography will be further explained in the introduction to it; where also the reader will find those particulars as to the circumstances of the death of Diodati which Milton did not know fully till his return to England, and which, after eluding research for two hundred years, have recently been recovered.
Not long after Milton's return to England the household at Horton was broken up. The father, with Christopher Milton and his wife, remained at Horton, indeed, to as late as August 1640, Christopher having been called to the Bar of the Inner Temple, January 26, 1639-40 ; but soon afterwards Christopher, his wife, and a second child, born at Horton, went to live at Reading, the father accompanying them. Some time before that removal (probably in the winter of 1639-40) Milton had taken lodgings in London, 6 in St. Bride's Churchyard, Fleet Street, at the house of one Russel, a tailor,” consenting at the same time to an arrangement which can hardly have added to his comfort. His only surviving sister, whom we saw married to Mr. Edward Phillips of the Crown Office in 1624, was no longer Mrs. Phillips. Her first husband had died in 1631 ; and, after some time of widowhood, she had married his successor in the Crown Office, Mr. Thomas Agar. There had been left her, however, two young boys by the first marriage, Edward Phillips and John Phillips. The younger of these, aged only nine years, Milton now took wholly into his charge; while the elder, only about a year older, went daily, from his mother's house near Charing Cross, to the lodging in St. Bride's Churchyard, for the benefit likewise of his uncle's lessons. And so, teaching his two young nephews, meditating literary projects, and looking round him on public affairs, Milton found himself in the famous year 1640.
What a year that was ! In the previous year there had been the First Bishops' War, i.e. the first war of Charles for restoration of Episcopacy among the Scots. It had ended in collapse on the King's side. Charles had advanced to the Scottish border with a reluctant English army; but, met there by an army of the Scottish Covenanters, he had not risked a battle, but had agreed to terms, granting the Scots their Presbyterian Kirk, and substantially all else they asked (June 18, 1639). That war, therefore, had been begun and ended while Milton was still abroad. But Charles had again broken with the Scots, and was resolved on their subjugation and chastisement. In his straits for money and means for that purpose, he had even ventured, after eleven years of uninterrupted absolutism, to call another English Parliament. That Parliament, which met April 13, 1640, proved as stubbornly Puritan as its predecessors, and, instead of yielding supplies against the Scots, with whom it was in secret sympathy, fell on the question of English grievances. It was, therefore, dismissed, after little more than a fortnight (May 5), and is remembered as the Short Parliament. Milton, who had been observing all this, with the feelings of an English Puritan, then saw Charles plunge, nevertheless, with resources otherwise raised, into the Second Bishops' War. In August 1640 Charles was at York, with the Irish Viceroy Wentworth, now Earl of Strafford, in his company, on his way to Scotland, and with an English army between him and the doomed country. But the Scots did not wait this time on their own side of the border. They invaded England, August 20; they beat a detachment of the English at New burn, near Newcastle, August 28 ; they entered that town August 29; and they spread themselves thence over the northern English counties. With the Puritans of England all in sympathy with them, and welcoming their invasion