« ForrigeFortsæt »
friend Mr. R. in the very close of the late Mr. Ro's poems, printed at Oxford, whereunto it is added, (as I now suppose,) that the accessory Inight help out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and learethe reader con la bocca dolce.
Now, Sir. concerning your travels, wherein I may challenge a little more privilege of discourse with you; I fuppose you will not blanch Paris in your way. Therefore I have been bola to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B. whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. as his governor; and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Ituly, where he did relide by my choice fome time for the King, after mine own recess from Venice.
I should think, that your best line will be through the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence by sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge. I hasten, as you do, to Florence, or Sienna, the rather to tell you a fhurt fory, from the interest you have given me in your fatety.
At Sienna I was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipioni; an-old Roman courtier in dangerous times; Having been steward to the Duca di Pagliano, who with all his family were ftrangled, fave this only man, that escaped by forefight of the tempelt. With him I had often much chat of those affairs, into which he took pleasure to look back from his native harbour, and at my departure toward Rome, (which had been the centre of his experience), I had won confidence enough to beg his advice, how I might carry myfelf fecurely there, without offence of others; or of niine own conscience. Signori Arrigo mio, (fays be,) I penfieri fresti, et il vifo sciolto, that is, your thoughts clofe, and your countenance loose, will go safely over the whole world. Of which Delphian oracle (for fo I have found it;) your judgment doth need no com mentary; and therefore, Sir, I will commit you with it to the beit of all fecurities, God's dear love; re
maining your friend, as much at command as any of longer date,
P.S. “ Sir, I have expressly fent this by my foot. boy, to prevent your departure without some acknow. ledgment from me of the receipt of your obliging letter, having myself through some business, I know not how, neglected the ordinary conveyance. In any part where I shall understand you fixed, I shall be glad, and diligent to entertain you with home-novelties, even for fome fomentation of our friendship, too foon interrupted in the cradle."
Soon after this he set out upon his travels, being of an age to make the proper improvements, and not barely to see fights and to learn the languages, like most of our modern travellers, who go out boys, and return such as we see, but such as I do not chuse to
He went first to France, where he had recommendations to the Lord Scudamore, the English ambassador. As soon as he came to Paris, he waited upon his Lordship, and was received with wonderful civility. Having an earnest defire to visit the learned Hugo Grotius, he was by his Lordship's means introduced to that great man, who then resided at the French court as ambassador from the famous Christina Queen of Sweden. The visit was to their mutual fatisfaction; they were each of them pleased to see a perfon, of whom they had heard fuch commendations. But he staid not long at Paris; his thoughts and his wishes hastened into Italy. He therefore after a few days took leave of Lord Scudamore, who very kindly gave him letters to the English merchants in the several places through which he was to travel, requesting them to do him all the good offices which lay in their power.
From Paris he went directly to Nice, where he took shipping for Genoa; from whence he went to Leghorn, and thence to Pisa; and so to Florence, in which city he found sufficient inducements to make a
stay of two months; for, befides the curiosities and other beauties of the place, he took great deliglit in the company and conversation there, and frequented their academies as they are called, the meetings of the most polite and ingenious persons, which they have in this, as well as in the other principal cities of Italy, for the exercile and improvement of wit and learning among them.
In these conversations he bore fo good a part, and produced so many excellent compositions, that he was soon taken notice of, and was very much courted and caressed by several of the nobility and prime wits of Florence ; for the manner is, as Milton tells us, that every one must give some proof of his wit and reading there. His productions were received with written encomiums, which the Italian is not forward to beltow on men of this side the Alps. Jacomo Gaddi, Antonio Francini, Carlo Dati, Beneditto, Bonmatthei, Cultellino, Frescobaldi, Clementilli, are reckoned among his particular friends. At Gaddi's house the academies were held, which he constantly frequented. Antonio Francini composed an Italian ode in his commendation. Carlo Dati wrote a Latin eulogium of him, and corresponded with him after his return to England. Bonmatthei was at that time about pubblishing an Italian grammar; and Milton addressed an epistle to him upon that occasion, commending his design, and advising him to add fome 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 'feeing of any in the world. From Florence he went to Sienna, and from thence to Rome, where he staid 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, particularly of Lucas Holstenius, keeper of the Vatican library, who
received him with the greatest humanity, and lowed him all the Greek authors, whether in print 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 espence, 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 Audied three years at Oxford, and this might dispose him to be more friendly to the English; but he took a particular liking and affection to Milton; and Milton, to thank him for all his fa. yours, wrote to him afterwards from Florence. At Rome too Selvaggi made a Latin distich in honour of Milton, and Sallilli a Latin tetrasich, celebrating hini for his Greek, and Latin, and Italian poetry; and he in return presented to Sallilli in his fickness those fine Scazons, or lambic verses having a fpondee 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 fingular merit and virtue, to whoin Taffo 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, went with him to show him the Viceroy's palace, and whatever was curious or worth notice in the city, and honoured him so far as to make a Latin distich in his praise, which is print. ed before our author's Latin poems, as is likewise the other of Selvaggi, and the Latin tetraftich of Salfilli, 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 teftimony of his gratitude, he prefented to the Marquis, at his departure from Naples, his eclogue, entitled Mansus, which is well worth reading among his Latin poems: So that it may be reckoned a peculiar felicity of the Marquis of Villa's life, to have been celebrated both by Taffo and Milo ton, the one the greatest modern poet of his own, and the other the greatest of foreign nations.
Having seen the finest parts of Italy, Milton was now thinking of passing over into Sicily and Greece, when he was diverted from his purpofe by the news from England, that things were tending to a civil war between the King and parliament; for he thought it unworthy of himfelf to be taking his pleasure abroad, wliile his countrymen were contending for lio berty 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 cafe he ihould return thither, by reason of the great freedom which he had used in all his discourses of religion ; 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 Gafileo, a prisoner to the inquisition, for asserting the motion of the earth, and thinking otherwise in aftronomy than the Dominicans and Franciscans thought; and though the Marquis of Villa had shown him fuch 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 foul above dillimulation 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 faith, he would not dissemble his sentiments, whatever was