« AnteriorContinuar »
“ earliest represented drama, not of a religious nature, in a modern language "), holds an important place in the history of Italian literature. See Hallam, “History of Literature," i. 194, 197, and 214.
Dr. Johnson, before his coming to London, prepared to publish by subscription an annotated edition of Politian's Latin poems. See Boswell's “ Life,” Bohn, i. 54.
1. 31, his vernal fertility. His youthful ease in writing poetry.
1. 32, Cowley. Abraham Cowley (1608-1667), published his “ Poetical Blossoms" in 1633, at the age of fifteen. Cf. Johnson’" Lives of the Poets,” Bohn, i. 5, where, however, Johnson (wrongly) gives Cowley's age as thirteen.
p. 3, 1. 2, two Psalms. Owing to the disuse of ecclesiastical chanting by the Puritans, metrical versions of the Psalms were in demand. For Milton's versions of Psalms 114 and 136, see the Globe edition, pp. 477, seq., Aldine, i, 1. He also did about a dozen of the other Psalms into metre at a later period of his life. See Globe, pp. 535-574, Aldine ii. 327.
1. 6, his elegies. Globe, pp. 582, seq.
1. 9, Mr. Hampton. James Hampton (died 1778), of Christ Church, Oxford, published his translation of the “History of the Greek Polybius," in 1756-1761. It was reviewed by Dr. Johnson in the " Literary Magazine,” Boswell, Bohn, iv. 340.
On Milton's Latin poetry, see Mark Pattison, “Milton," p. 41.
1. 13, Haddon. Dr. Walton Haddon (1516-1572), Professor of Civil Law at Cambridge and afterwards President of Magdalen College, Oxford. His “ Lucubrationes" were published in 1567. He imitated Cicero, “but without catching his manner, or getting rid of the florid, semi-poetical tone of the fourth century." (Hallam, "History of Literature," ii. 32.) When Queen Elizabeth was asked whether she preferred Haddon or Buchanan as men of learning, she replied, “ Buchananum omnibus antepono, Haddonum nemine postpono.”
1. 13, Ascham. Roger Ascham (1515.1568) Greek reader at St. John's College, Cambridge, and for two years tutor to Elizabeth. He was Latin Secretary in succession to Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth. His Latin Epistles and Poems (1578) are almost forgotten; but his “ Toxophilus” (1534) and “Schoolmaster” (1570), are still interesting and readable.
Johnson once wrote a “Life of Ascham." See Boswell, Bohn, i. 369.
1. 17, Alabaster's “Roxana.” William Alabaster (15671640), was an eccentric and learned scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, who also had a great reputation as a Latin poet. His tragedy of “ Roxana" was acted in the hall of Trinity
College some forty years before its publication in 1632. He wrote a “ Lexicon Pentaglotton" of Hebrew, Chaldaic, Syriac, Talmudic Hebrew, and Arabic (1637). It is founded, as Hallam discovered, on the “ Dalida” of Groto, an Italian dramatist of the previous century. (“ History of Literature,” iii. 278.)
Hallam (it may be remarked) places May's continuation of Lucan's “Pharsalia" higher than any Latin verse written by English writers before Milton.
1. 20, some were published. They were published in 1674. See p. 47 above.
1. 23, with no great fondness. See Masson’s “Life,” i. 159161.
1. 28, publick indignity of corporal punishment. Aubrey is the authority. But although there is no reason to doubt Aubrey's accuracy or good faith, his statement is only (to use Pattison's Johnsonian language), in the form of a “ dubitative interlineation in his MS.” The actual words are “ whipt him.” Most modern biographers seem unnecessarily scandalized by the story ; but as corporal punishment in spite of Johnson's assertion) existed at Cambridge well into the reign of Charles II., there is nothing intrinsically improbable in it.
Dr. Garnett remarks that Aubrey probably only meant that Milton's tutor "on some occasion struck or beat his pupil.” It will be remembered that as late as 1747 Goldsmith was beaten, or knocked down in his rooms by his tutor at Trinity College, Dublin, for an infraction of discipline.
Milton's tutor was William Chappell, afterwards Bishop of Cork, who was in the language of the Puritans an “ Arminian," that is, not a bigoted Calvinist, but belonging to the more liberal school of theology, of which Laud, Chillingworth, and Taylor were in different ways the exponents. That Chappell was a pedant and exaggerated his authority, is likely enough. On 6. Arminianism," see pp. 50, 133.
1. 33, verses to Diodati. The first Latin elegy, Globe, p. 582.
Charles Diodati (died 1638), Milton's schoolfellow, was the son of a foreign physician settled in England. The family had left Italy in consequence of their Protestantism. The uncle of Charles, Jean Diodati, was a distinguished Calvinistic divine, and preached at Geneva. Milton's friend practised medicine for some years before his death, at the age of about thirty, in 1638. See pp. 9, 92.
p. 4, 1. 14, He declares. The line which Johnson renders is the sixth in the quotation on p. 4. It “ obviously means nothing but a repugnance to the observation of those petty formalities and rules which irritate and insult great minds; it is absurd to
construe it to have been capital punishment.” (Sir Egerton Brydges, “Life of Milton," p. 9; quoted by Cunningham.)
It is noteworthy that although Milton was rusticated, or sent down for a term, he was permitted to return in time to keep the Easter term, and he was allowed to change his tutor, and became a pupil of Tovey, instead of Chappell. This seems to show that the college authorities did not entirely sympathize with Chappell in the matter.
1. 30, inscribed to Hartlib. Milton's pamphlet “Of Education” (1644), takes the form of a letter addressed to Samuel Hartlib, an ingenious theorist who wrote works on agriculture and education. Hartlib was of Polish origin, and came to England at the beginning of the reign of Charles I. After spending his fortune in his agricultural experiments, he received a pension from Cromwell. To him were dedicated a couple of Sir William Petty's early pamphlets on Economics. His “ Reformation of Schools” is based on the doctrines of his fellowcountryman, Kommensky or Commenius, the great educational reformer.
Milton's "Letter to Hartlib ” will be found in the Bohn edition of Milton's " Prose Works," iii. 462, seq.
1. 34, “On the likeliest Way to Remove Hirelings.” Milton's “Prose Works,” Bohn, iii. 1 seq. It is curious that preceding editors of this “ Life of Milton" have not noticed that Johnson's quotation is far from verbally exact. Milton says nothing at all about “the profits of lands forfeited by the act for superstitious uses." These words are added by Johnson himself. Milton is talking of the expenses of properly educating ministers and teachers. He says: “But be the expense less or more, if it be found burdensome to the Churches, they have in this land an easy remedy in their recourse to the civil magistrate; who hath in his hands the disposal of no small revenues, left perhaps anciently to superstitious, but meant undoubtedly to good and best uses ; and therefore, once made public, applicable by the present magistrate to such uses as the church, or solid reason from whomsoever, shall convince him to think best. And those uses may be, no doubt, much rather than as glebes and augmentations are now bestowed, to grant such requests as those of the churches: or to erect in greater number, all over the land, schools, and competent libraries to those schools, where languages and arts may be taught free together, without a needless, unprofitable, and inconvenient removing to another place. So all the land would be soon better civilized, and they who are taught freely at the public cost might have their education given them on this condition, that therewith content, they should not gad for preferment out of their own country, but continue there thankful for what they received freely, bestowing it as freely on their country, without soaring above the meanness wherein they were born. But how they shall live when they are thus bred and dismissed, will be still the sluggish objection. To which it is answered, that those public foundations may be so instituted, as the youth therein may be at once brought up to a competence of learning and to an honest trade; and the hours of teaching so ordered, as their study may be no hindrance to their labour or other calling " (p. 27). The clause in p. 5, 11, 4-7 above (“' by which means" to the end) is not in Milton.
The proper title of the pamphlet runs: “Considerations touching the likeliest Means to Remove Hirelings out of the Church.”
p. 5, 1. 8, One of his objections. Milton was seldom above complying with the prejudices of the audience which he might be addressing. Himself an admirer of Shakespeare and Jonson, he assumes the intolerance of the vulgar Puritan when a controversial point can be made by doing so. Thus in the “ Eikonoklastes" he covertly sneers at Charles for his acquaintance with Shakespeare, and calls Sidney's “ Arcadia " "a vain, amatorious poem "not to be “read at any time without due caution” (“ Prose Works,” Bohn, i. 326-28).
Plays, as is well known, were constantly acted at the universities. At Cambridge the hall of Trinity College was the usual theatre ; but, in the time of Elizabeth, we hear of plays in the ante-chapel of King's College.“ The last dramatic performance at either university was, it is said, "The Grateful Fair,' written by Christopher Smart, and represented at Pembroke College, Cambridge, about 1747” (Note in Murphy's edition of Johnson's “ Works").
The quotation given is from the “ Apology for Smectymnuus,” “ Prose Works," Bohn, iii. 114. What follows is worth quoting as an example of the bitterness of the Puritan controversialist, as well as of the lofty self-consciousness of the superior undergraduate. “ There, while they acted and over-acted, among other young scholars, I was a spectator; they thought themselves gallant men, and I thought them fools ; they made sport and I laughed; they mispronounced and I misliked; and to make up the Atticism, they were out and I hissed. . . For if it be unlawful to sit and behold a mercenary comedian personating that which is least unseemly for a hireling to do, how much more blameful is it to endure the sight of as vile things [as the Tempest'?] acted by persons either entered, or presently to enter, into the ministry, and how much more foul and ignominious for them to be the actors ? "
1. 12, Trinculos. This probably refers to Shakespeare's “Tempest," and the reference is quite in keeping with Milton's con
troversial acerbity. But the anonymous annotator in Murphy's edition of “Johnson" says, “By the mention of this name he evidently refers to ‘Albemazor,' acted at Cambridge in 1614."
l. 17, pleasures of the theatre. Elegia Prima, Globe, pp. 582-83. Compare also “L'Allegro,” 131 seq.; “Il Penseroso," 97 seq.
1. 20, entering into the Church. The Church means here the ministry of the Church, the clerical state. A man enters the Church, in the more exact sense of the term, by baptism; he enters the ministry by ordination.
1. 21, he declared. “Reason of Church Government argued against Prelacy,” Milton's “ Prose Works,” Bohn, ii. 482.
1. 22, subscribe slave. Write himself down as a slave.
1. 24, that could retch. Unless his conscience could throw it off lightly.
1. 29, the articles. It is curious to note that Milton, when he wrote this (1641), had already twice subscribed the Thirtynine Articles, viz., at the time he took his degrees (B.A. and M.A.), and was not, therefore, exactly in a position to speak in such a disengaged manner of others who did the same thing. Probably, as Johnson suggests, his objection was rather to the oath of canonical obedience, than to the doctrinal statements of the articles.
p. 6, 1. 1, in a letter. This letter is now in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. It bears no date, and no address : but seems to have been written in 1631 or 1632. See Masson's “Life," i. 323 [ed. 1881] where the letter is given in full.
1. 10, When he left the university. In 1632, after taking his M.A. degree
1. 11, Horton, a small village in Bucks, a few miles to the south of Colnbrook, and to the north of Wraysbury station, on the London and South Western Railway to Windsor.
1. 17, Masque of “ Comus.” A masque was an entertainment introduced from Italy in the time of Henry VIII. See Morley's “First Sketch of English Literature,' p. 298. The name " Comus” was not given to the piece by Milton himself. When it was first printed in 1637) is was called simply “ A Maske. Presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, on Michaelmas Night." This edition was put forth by Henry Lawes (died 1662) the musician, brother of the still more noted composer, William Lawes, with a dedication to Lord Brackley, eldest son of the Earl of Bridgewater. Henry Lawes had composed the music for the Masque, and had taken part in the performance. On “ Comus," see Masson in the Globe edition, p. 427.
1. 18, Lord President of Wales. The office of Lord President of Wales was established in 1478 by Edward IV., and the official