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BY JOHN MILTON.
PRESENTED AT LUDLOW CASTLE, 1634,
BEFORE JOHN, EARL OF BRIDGEWATER,
THEN PRESIDENT OF WALES.
PRINTED FROM THE TEXT OF
THE REV. HENRY JOHN TODD, A. M. F. A.S.
WITH SELECTED AND ORIGINAL
ANECDOTES AND ANNOTATIONS,
Biographical, Explanatory, Critical and Dramatic.
With Splendid Embellishments.
Printed by W. Clowes, Northumberland Court, Strand.
PUBLISHED BY MATHEWS AND LEIGH, STRAND. .
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
JOHN LORD VISCOUNT BRACLY,
Son and Heir Apparent to
This Poem, which received its first occasion of birth from yourself and others of your noble family, and much honour from your own person in the performance, now returns again to make a finall dedication of itself to you. Although not openly acknowledged by the author, 3 yet it is a legitimate off-spring, so lovely, and so much desired, that the often copying of it hath tired my pen to give my severall friends satisfaction, and brought me to a necessity of producing it to the publike view; and now to offer it up in all rightfull devotion to those fair hopes, and rare endowments of your much promising youth, which give a full assurance, to all that know you, of a future excellence. Live, sweet Lord, to be the honour of your name, and receive this as your own, from the hands of him, who hath by inany favours been long obliged to your most honoured pårents, and as in this representation your attendant Thyr. sis, so now in all reall expression, Your faithfull and most humble Servant,
* This is the Dedication to Lawes's Edition of the Mask, 1637, to which the following motto was prefixed, from Virgil's second Eclogue,
“Eheu! quid volui misero mihi! floribus austrum
« PerditusThis motto is omitted by Milton himself in the editions of 1645, and 1673.
WARTON, This motto is delicately chosen, whether we consider it as being spoken by the author himself, or by the editor. If by the former, the meaning, I suppose, is this: I have, by giving way to this publication, let in the breath of public censure on these early blossoms of my poetry, which were before secure in the hands of my friends, as in a private inclosure. If we suppose it to come from the editor, the application is not very different; only to floribus we inust then give an encomiastic sense. The choice of such a motto, so far from vulgar in ito self, and in its application, was worthy Milton.
HURD, 2 The First Brother in the Mask. 3 It never appeared under Milton's name till the year 1645.
The Copy of a Letter written by Sir Henry WooTTON
to the Author, upon the following Poem.
From the Colledge, this 13th of April, 1638. * SIR.
It was a special favour, when you lately bestowed upon me here the first taste of your acquaintance, though no longer than to make me know that I wanted more time to value it, and to enjoy it rightly; and in truth, if I could then have imagined your farther stay in these parts, which I understood afterwards by Mr. H.S I would have been bold, in our vulgar phrase, to mend my draught, (for you left me with an extreme thirst,) and to have begged your conversation again, joyntly with your said learned friend, at a poor meal or two, that we might have banded together som good authors of the ancient time : among which I observed you to have been familiar.
Since your going, you have charged me with new obligations, both for a very kinde letter from you dated the sixth of this month, and for a dainty peece of entertainment which came therwith. Wherein I should much commend the Tragical part, if the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your songs and odes; wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our language: Ipsa mollities. But I must not omit to tell you, that I now onely owe you thanks for intimating unto me (how modestly soever) the true artiticer. For the work itself I had viewed som good while before with singular delight, having received it from our common friend Mr. R. in the very close of the
4 April, 1638.] Milton had communicated to Sir Henry his design of seeing foreign countries, and had sent him his Mask. He set out on his travels soon after the receipt of this letter. TODD,
5 Mr. H.] John Hales.
6 Mr. R.] I believe “ Mr. R.” to be John Rouse, Bodley's librarian. “ The Late R.” is unquestionably Thomas Randolph, the poet.
late R's Poems, printed at Oxford, wherunto it is added (as I now suppose) that the accessory might help out the principal, according to the art of stationers, and to leave the reader Con lu bucca dolce.
Now, Sir, concerning your travels wherin I may chalenge a little more priviledge of discours with you; I suppose you will not blanch Paris in your way; therfore I have been bold to trouble you with a few lines to Mr. M. B.? whom you shall easily find attending the young Lord S. 8 as his governour; and you may surely receive from him good directions for the shaping of your farther journey into Italy, where he did reside by my choice som time for the king, after mine own recess from Venice.
I should think that your best line will be thorow the whole length of France to Marseilles, and thence hy sea to Genoa, whence the passage into Tuscany is as diurnal as a Gravesend barge: Í hasten, as you do, to Florence, or Siena, the rather to tell you a short story from the interest you have given me in your safety.
At Siena I was tabled in the house of one Alberto Scipioni, an old Roman courtier, in dangerous times, having bin steward to the Duca de Pagliano, who with all his family were strangled, save this onely man that escaped by foresight of the tempest: 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 center of his experience,) I had wonn confidence enough to beg his advice, how I inight carry myself securely there, without offence of others, or of mine own conscience. Sigror Arrigo mio, (sayes he,) I pensieri stretti, et il viso sciolto, will go safely over the whole world; of which Delphian oracle (for so I have found it) your judgement doth need no commentary; and therfore (Sir) I will commit you
? Mr. M. B.] Mr. Michael Branthwait, as I suppose; of whom Sir Henry thus speaks in one of his letters, Reliq. Wotton. 3d edit. p. 546. “ Mr Michael Branthwait, heretofore His Majestie's Agent in Venice, a gentleman of approved confidence and sincerity.'
8 Lord S.] The son of Lord Viscount Scudamore, then the English Ambassador at Paris, by whose notice Milton was honoured, and by whom he was introduced to Grotius, then residing at Paris also, as the minister of Sweden.